Top Ten Tips for a Happy 2021

With the uptick in COVID-19 cases in our province and the heightened alert of everyone regarding isolations, I think it necessary to concentrate on what we can control. We can control our behaviours, ie, wear a mask and wash our hands. We can also control how we react to situations, ie, restraining the urge to gossip about how cases evolved or how someone was irresponsible with lax protocols. We can also choose to remain positive and upbeat, and maybe spread a smile instead of a virus.

In the spirit of maintaining sanity and spreading joy not disease, I’ve concocted a Top 10 list to lighten your spirit. Or make you drink. Either way, it is a real mood enhancer. Enjoy!

 Now go wash your hands!

Top 10 Tips for a Happy 2021

10.  Last year is so last year – Resist the urge to look into the rear-view mirror with horror-stricken eyes on a year that dragged its ass into your world and ate your last donut. Instead, look ahead to all the possibilities that are laying at your feet. “What, a new brand of wine? How nice!” See?  POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS.

9. You don’t have to visit family, unless you want to – “Uh, I can’t come over, Aunt Martha.  COVID, remember?” Sometimes, it’s better to stay away from family. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, or something like that. Maybe Aunt Martha was nasty to you one too many times, so visiting her can be off the table with no guilt. A GIFT FROM THE UNIVERSE.

8. Outside doesn’t have to be scary- Even in the grips of winter, the outdoors can trigger all kinds of good feelings. Go for a walk in the woods, (not in the creepy woods, but in the nice bright ones with sunshine) snowshoeing (Hubby bought us both a pair to try. Should be interesting) or take the doggo out for a trot. The fresh air will do wonders for your body and your mood. You won’t act like such a twatsicle when someone asks you a simple question, if you’ve just spent half an hour laughing at your neighbour for falling on her ass in the snow. See? I’m helpful.

7.  You can choose to tell, ‘Dry January and February and every other month’ to Fuck-off – It seems to be all the rage, now. People are posting about not drinking for the next few months because everyone consumed copious quantities of alcohol during the initial COVID lockdown and thereafter, BECAUSE IT WAS NECESSARY TO KEEP LIVING.  STOP THE MADNESS. We are still in a pandemic and while I applaud the do-gooders who are keeping themselves ‘dry’ for a cause or just for themselves, I am choosing to drink my face off. I’ll be posting my weekly posts about how much wine I consumed on the weekend. I’m helping to keep the liquor stores stocked and the wine prices lowered while the rest of you ‘dryers’ are abstaining now, so when you do return to drinking, there’s not a shortage. Can you imagine if everyone stopped drinking? The liquor stores would stop ordering supplies, because of lack of sales. People will be laid off. The public would resort to standing outside the liquor stores wondering where all the wine went and why the shelves remain empty. They’ll be brandishing cocktail forks and little paper umbrellas protesting the government and their lack of response to a dire situation…I JUST SAVED ALL OF THAT FROM HAPPENING BECAUSE I KEPT DRINKING. YOU. ARE. WELCOME.

6.  Try something new – It can be a new hobby, a new tv show, a new movie, a new hairstyle, a new spouse…I kid. I kid.  A little bit of change can make a big difference, so embrace the time to try something you’ve always wanted to try. Paint, draw, write, dance; something that’s different and maybe challenges you. I’m going to try drunk snowshoeing. See? Add alcohol and ANYTHING can be fun. See #5.

5. Redecorate – I’m talking rooms in a house, here. I redecorated the front room of our house and although it was a lot of work, it’s one of my favourite places to hang out, now. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, Hubby has decided to take it one step further by redoing all the floors in all 3 bedrooms on the second floor. With hardwood. Meaning he is responsible for tearing up the carpet, because he wanted to even though SOMEBODY told him not to.  Yay. So, he’ll be tearing up carpet and I’ll be drinking because nothing says, ‘support for Hubby in his new endeavour’ like a wife standing by with a full glass of wine repeatedly reminding him, “I told you not to do that by yourself.”  So much fun!

4. Rest – Sometimes, just taking a day to sit and watch the snow fall or watch a mindless tv program can ease your brain and give yourself a much-needed break. No need to work endlessly or try to keep yourself too busy. There’s such a thing as burning out and you do not need to be everything to everyone all the time. Take it easy. *sip, sip*

3.  Get some exercise – I’m not talking about a marathon or the World Body Building Championship, just move a bit. Go for a walk, take in a yoga class or something to get your heart rate up. You will be surprised how much better your feel afterwards…and, you will have burned enough energy to have that glass of wine. Or five. It’s all about balance, people.

2. Clean up – It’s a large task and one that I abhor. It’s time-consuming and tedious, however, decluttering has advantages beyond a tidy house. The process of purging gives you a sense of purpose. You have a task that keeps you focused on the activity of improving your space. AND, what you decide to toss may still be appropriate for donation. Check with your local Salvation Army or Diabetes Association for their guidelines during COVID. You could be making a big difference in someone else’s life, not just your own.

1. Choose to be happy – I read this somewhere and there’s elegance in its simplicity. You can choose to be happy instead of lamenting the situation you find yourself in. You can choose to smile instead of frowning your way through the day. You can choose to lift someone up with a positive word or a kind gesture instead of begrudging her. It’s simple. And it doesn’t cost anything. A win-win all around.

Those are the tips to keep your spirits up and your mood in-check. When in doubt, there’s wine.

Always.

Stay safe and stay healthy,

KJ xo

Mommy Days

The other morning when leaving Bootcamp, I heard a woman exclaim how mundane her life had become with making lunches and gathering kids to the bus for school.  I remember those days.  Frankly, I’m glad they’re over.  It’s challenging being a mom and working and shuffling after-school activities, homework, discipline and then you still have to feed these people.  It’s exhausting.  And then, it seems a few days later, they’re driving cars and shuffling themselves to after-school activities.  They’re going to parties and getting part-time jobs.  They buy their own lunches and get busy with friends.   Pretty soon, she’s going to college or university and taking classes we’ve never heard of and dating people we don’t know.  Who owns you?

 Then you find yourself sitting at her convocation and celebrating her achievement (which is really yours, as well) and then she’s stressed because she has to find a job.  Then you turn around and she’s moved out into her own apartment because she has actual employment, her own vehicle and a life.  And here you are Mommy, with her lunch in your hand saying, ‘but I made you peanut butter, your favourite.’   She shrugs and says she has her own food and will see you later.  Like next week.  When she has the time and is not on shift.  And she needs food for her fridge. 

The mundane is how you go from ‘Mommy, I need you’ to ‘Mom, I’ll see you later.’  It’s all the crap you have to endure in order to see that snotty-nosed kid become an adult.  One capable of making her own lunches and paying her own bills and taking care of somebody else’s sick baby.  But then she comes home and opens the fridge to see what’s to eat and she wants to watch Arthur’s Perfect Christmas with you and everything is right with the world, until she has to go back to work and become an adult and someone else’s caregiver.

You did that, Mommy.  Because you made her lunches and you got her shuffled to the bus and you read her stories at night for the one-hundredth millionth time and you did it because you knew, someday, it would all be worth it.  I know, right now it’s tiring and challenging.  I know you have no time for yourself and you wish she would just be a bit more independent, but don’t rush it.  She’ll get there.  In her own time. 

Hang in there, Mommy.  You are doing a great job.  Make those damned lunches, take her to the bus stop and read the bed-time stories.  You’ll blink and you’ll be hanging art in her new apartment and wondering if she has enough toilet paper for next week. 

The mundane stuff is what she relies on.  You are her safety net.  Keep going.

She’ll.  Be.  Great. 

Positive Parenting

With all the bad news in the world, I thought it would be a perfect time to engage everyone into tips on parenting young people.  You know.  So, we can move forward into the great unknown with a renewed sense of purpose through empowering our young people to be more positive and productive.  And because we need people to lead our universe without using the idiom of building walls or threatening minorities.  Less assholes, more leaders.  Yes, we have that power.

  1. Watch your words. They can hurt easily.  They can also provide an ongoing narrative of encouragement and support.  Your choice.   Hearing “I Love you” every day is much better than nothing.  Silence is heartbreaking.  Unless you are alone and the kiddies are safely tucked away, then it’s wine.
  1. Speak the truth. Trying to lie your way out of a question can be damning.  There’s Google and damned Wikipedia so the youngin’s think they have you covered on the information gathering.  Also, a little life truth never hurt anybody.  My quote this week of “Get used to it kid.  It’s not all lollipops and unicorns” sent D2 into a wow moment. Truth.

 

  1. A little struggle never hurt anybody. Learning anything new is hard.  Growing up is hard.  Going to school is hard.  Getting your first job is hard.  Getting out of bed is hard.  LIFE IS HARD.   We have all struggled with something.  It’s getting past that struggle and moving on that builds character.  Instead of trying to save the child, stand beside the child while he saves himself.  You will do him a grander favor by supporting, not carrying.

 

 

  1. Get a sense of humour, will ‘ya? Teaching the child that laughing at a situation instead of worrying or crying over it is a much better option.  Nothing is ever that bad, that pointing out the absence of obvious logic isn’t funny.

 

  1. Teaching compassion. We need to do this more often.  Sensitivity and learning how to be decent to other human beings is glaringly absent from social media these days.  Teach kindness.  Nice words.  Kind gestures.  Open a door for somebody.  Say something nice to your child about somebody else.  Point out something they did nice for someone.  They may have thought you didn’t notice their good deed or didn’t realize what they did, made an impact on that person.  Every action has a reaction.  Every word and deed has an impact on every other person.  It’s how the world works.

 

  1. Relationships are the crux of our universe. People need to learn how to relate to other people in order to survive.  Even something as simple as ordering from a menu, speaking on the telephone, asking directions, making appointments, etc.   If communication is challenging, then accepting that challenge and finding ways to deal with it is a big deal.  Accepting of others challenges can make and break a person’s ability to relate.  How you speak to someone stays with him for a long time.  Take your time.  Choose your words.   Young teens venture into the foray of relationships with wobbly legs and fearful eyes.  Rightly so.  It’s a jungle out there.  We can support their journey with big ears and some pointedly accurate words.  “Yes.  He sounds like he has an issue with you being funny.  Tell him to sog off.”   “Yes.  She sounds like she has an issue with you being friends with Jenny and Janet and Quinn.  Tell her to sog off.”  I joke, but not really.   Allowing the young person to tell someone when something is wrong or doesn’t feel right, is a great way to empower her.  We tell our kids to be nice and listen.  We also need to give them the right to say ‘back off’ when they need to.  It’s a balance thing.

 

  1. Bad things happen to good people. Tragedy is as much a part of life as breathing.  Unfortunately, it will touch everybody at some point.  Grief is a part of letting go.  Allowing them to grieve and feel sad and cry is allowing them to be human.  Emotions should not be put down as a sign of weakness or strength, but as a part of being a human being.

 

  1. Rise above.  By this I mean to remember to be better than the small person talking smack about somebody else.   Rise above that shit.  Be better than that.  Remember that if someone is saying something negative, return with a positive.  Like a tennis match.  She lobs a negative remark, you return with a positive.  She strikes back with a ‘but she’s a bitch’ and you hit the ace with ‘she’s had a rough week with her ex and needs our support, not our shit.’  YOU WIN.  Too often we are quick to judge or quick to put down without knowing the full story.  Get the story or say something supportive. Kids learn by example.  If you try to remember to remain positive and it becomes your reflex, your kids will follow suit.   It really is that simple.

I know I’ve spouted a lot of stuff here, but the basic message is to remain positive.  Even if the arse end has fallen out of ‘er, try to rise above.  Be better.  Be respectful.  Remember kindness.  Human dignity.  Compassion.  It can still exist.  We are all capable of rising above the small shit.  

 

The Positives of Positivity

I wanted to write another Top Ten, but since I couldn’t come up with anything original or interesting for you folks, you’re stuck with whatever pops into ma head next. Soooo….summer is over.

How’s that for positivity?

The fall winds have begun to blow and there goes summer, gone in a puff. What happened? Summer is so brief around here, we have to relish every second. And for the most part, we did. There were barbeques, regattas, birthdays, hot days (rare, but July was one of the hottest here…yay for me!), reading, swearing, drinking which led to more swearing, and finally vacay…2.0. It was awesome and we are all still friends, which is a tribute to great friendships but even better to rum. Yeah.

The dog survived her two and half weeks away from us, the house stood without spontaneously combusting, the cars remained intact and we are all still in one piece…no bumps, no scars but a little bruised…still not sure what that was from.

The girls are back to university, the kid is in his first year of high school (Gawd, I’m old) and I am still here.
Another year ahead of hockey, (ugh) part-time jobs, weekends with the ‘hood, working, writing and hubby complaining…because I think that’s his favorite hobby.

I think New Year’s resolutions should be made in the fall, that way we can make them while we are still in a good mood from the summer. Everything is still bright and shiny like the new pencils we bought for school and our new running shoes we got for gym.

I have some plans and I hope they get to see the light of day. In the meantime, let’s stay positive and keep on going.

I told a student today, baby steps baby. Think of last year and all the great strides you’ve made to get right here where you are today. A simple thing like walking into a building can be the biggest accomplishment you have…so take that and run with it. Doesn’t matter how big or small it is to anyone else…it only matters how big it is to you.

So, what have you accomplished this year?

Me…I’ve decided to become more inspiring…more motivational and positive. Turn stuff around so it looks better from the other side. Sometimes, all it takes is a different perspective.

So, have a great week peeps! And stay positive.

Remember…You. Are. Awesome.

Barney awesome