Tag Archives: Canadian

2016 – The Year of Living

new-year-resolution-c-carouselHappy New Year 2016!

I’m not a fan of resolutions, as I think they set us up for disappointment and self-loathing. Setting a resolution tends to make us over-critical of ourselves, as if somehow we aren’t good enough just as we are. Sure, we can all get healthier, lose weight, quit smoking, etc., but those are things we should be doing all the time anyway without needed to start self-hating. At the end of the year we can look back on everything we didn’t accomplish and feel even worse about ourselves. Resolutions are not necessary or healthy. For example, I quit smoking a few years ago and I didn’t make a resolution to do it. I just did it.hobbes

What I’d like to do is set loftier goals. What are loftier goals you ask? Good question. I am going to aspire to be a nicer person, and a happier person. I’m going to set some realistic goals for myself that are based more on personality development, and then on the first of every month, I’ll revisit my goals. I can pat myself on the back for the ones that I am actually doing, I can re-commit to some others by re-thinking how to achieve the goal, or I can completely discard the goal if I don’t think it’s realistic, or if my interests have changed. No long-term commitment – this is like a month-to-month lease.

I want to be more conscious of what I’m buying and eating, and I’m not talking diet. My purpose is to buy Canadian products whenever and wherever possible and share my Canadian finds with as many people as I can. I think this is a good way to raise awareness of where our products are grown, produced, manufactured, etc. and might have a positive influence on Canadian jobs. If I can’t find a Canadian product (for example, pineapples don’t grow in Canada), I’ll look for products from the USA.

foot in mouthI also want to be a more positive and less critical person. My purpose is to try to elevate my moods by spreading kindness around. Some people do this by paying it forward at a coffee shop drive through. I don’t use drive throughs though (I actually think they’re the best example of laziness and disregard for our air quality), so I’ll do it by trying to say something nice about most people I meet. I’ll try for three a day. It might be to compliment someone on their appearance, or thank them sincerely for good service, etc. I’ll smile more too – smiling is infectious. Before I make a comment, I will try to ask myself, “Is it helpful?” “Is it supportive?” “Is it necessary?” I’m going to try to be more patient and remember the golden rule – if I can’t say something nice, say nothing at all. Not terribly hopeful on that last part, but I’ll re-evaluate how realistic it is after a month.

I want to disconnect from a lot of social media as well. The town I live in has several Facebook pages, and so many of the comments on them can be very negative. I have a tendency to try and correct misinformation, but I now realize that ignorance truly is bliss for most people. A friend recently pointed out to me that most successful people aren’t on Facebook very much and I realize that’s true. It’s also true that the people who are on Facebook most of the time, don’t have much else going on in their lives. Please don’t let that be me!

I’m going to put a limit on my Facebook activities and even leave some of the groups that I’m a part of because of the negativity. All town information will be on a need to know basis and I don’t need to know about other people’s negativity and close-mindedness. It just makes me lose faith in society. Along those same lines, I’m going to learn to walk away or set boundaries with negative people or people who consistently upset me. I don’t know if they do it deliberately or if it’s just how I’m perceiving it, but whatever the reason, I will no longer accept that negativity in my life. It’s bad for my chakra*.

Since I’ll be disconnecting from Facebook more, I’d like to devote some time each week to writing. I find writing elevates my mood, and allows me to connect with my inner spirit. I’ve already started writing more with this blog and by joining a writing group, so I’m well on my way! I’m also going to spend some time each week reading. I find I’ve been spending more time reading news lately and not recreational reading. I have a list of books I’d like to check out – some e-books and some physical books, but reading a novel for even for 15 minutes a day will be relaxing for me.

And here’s a weird one – I’d like to watch more television shows/movies. This is something I’ve stopped doing over the past year and like reading and writing, it’s a way for me to relax. I’m not going to expect to watch television every evening or go to the movies every week, but I’d like to go to the movies at least every two months if there’s something worth seeing, and watch recreational television for at least an hour or so a week.

I’d like to try something new at least once a month. It might be colouring, a drum circle, wine-tasting, bus trips, whatever – just something to get me out of my stale routine and keep life interesting. If I hear that friends are going to be doing something different, I’m going to speak up and ask if I can join them. I’ve met some really nice, positive people over the past few months by doing this, and it’s definitely a positive thing. I’d like to try yoga and meditation for example. Maybe I can find a friend who would be interested in these things as well. I’d also like to go to Toronto on a Friday evening for storytelling. I used to go years ago and really enjoyed it, so I’d like to do it again and maybe introduce some friends to it.

When I get stuck in a rut, I start to become afraid of change. I need to get out of my comfort zone and stretch my wings a bit. Life’s too short just to go through the motions and soon I’ll be another year older. I’m now at the age where I never know how much time I have left. Time to learn to live.

So here’s a summary of my list of goals:Growing

  • Buy and promote Canadian products (because this is important to me)
  • Say something nice to 3 people a day
  • Be less critical and impatient
  • Avoid negative people
  • Limit interactions on Facebook
  • Make time to write
  • Make time to read (aim for 15 mins a day)
  • Make time to watch TV (aim for an hour a week)
  • Go to the movies at least once every 2 months
  • Try to do something new or different at least once a month
  • Try yoga and meditation
  • Re-visit the goals on the first of every month

Welcome to 2016 – I’m looking forward to the journey!

*This is the first time I’ve used the word “chakra”. It just felt right. I looked it up after I used it and it definitely is the word I wanted to use.

Give Me Back My Canada!

Right before every election, I become very outspoken. So much so that many of my friends and relatives think I’m very politically involved. I’m not. I’m not even a supporter of any particular party. I like to judge each of them each on their own merits and record.

In case you’re wondering, I’m not anti-government either, because that would make me an anarchist, wouldn’t it? No, I’m one of these rare people who actually doesn’t mind paying taxes. We need people to run the government, right? They need to get paid. We also need all the stuff the government is supposed to do – improve our infrastructure, develop our social and healthcare programs – lots of stuff. It takes money.

What I don’t like is wasting money. Or greed. I work hard for my money. I don’t want to give it (voluntarily or not) to be wasted foolishly. Isn’t that reasonable?

Our current federal government believes in trickle down economics which, if I’m not mistaken, means giving tax breaks to corporations who in turn will create more jobs. Guess what? It doesn’t work.

A business owner I know (who shall remain anonymous) is actually a huge supporter of unions (imagine that!), and when we discussed the tax breaks our government was giving businesses, he told me he’d gladly take the tax break but he wouldn’t be creating any more jobs with it. He just increased his profits. He even went so far as to say if the government cancelled those tax breaks or INCREASED his taxes, he’d be okay with it. He said he could afford to pay more.

Isn’t that interesting?

So, we have a Conservative federal government that has operated on the principle of trickle-down economics and what does their record show? I’ve lost count of the number of criminal charges against members of parliament or the senate. Our environmental record is terrible. Our treatment of First Nations people is shameful. Our rights and freedoms are under attack. We have to deal with a secretive, disdainful government (how many times did Harper prorogue parliament? Remember when he was found in contempt of parliament?) Our national resources are being sold off to foreign interests. The economy is stagnate, unemployment remains the same, and we’re actually heading into a recession. Good job guys!

On the other hand, we have a Liberal provincial government who loves to waste money. Cancelled gas plants, the ORNGE scandal, the e-health scandal – not to mention the assets we’ve lost – selling off Hydro One, allowing beer and wine to be sold in the stores, etc. All to “balance the budget”. The provincial debt has gotten so bad, we’ve had our credit rating downgraded. Even the CEO of Chrysler Canada is complaining that the high costs of hydro is this province may force them to leave. But this is the land of milk and honey, isn’t it? So we’re going to give the organizers of the Pan Am games millions of dollars in bonuses, and for what? For doing jobs they already are being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars (over $400k to one). Wow. Can I get a 100% bonus too for just doing what I’m paid to do? Where’s the rationale for that?

(Update Sept. 16/2015 – The cheques are being cut now, and  53 Pan Am executives will split $5.7-million in bonus pay – http://tinyurl.com/nwppw26.)

It’s easy to throw other people’s money around I guess. And when we have no more revenue generating assets left, we can always go back to the trough and raise taxes, right?

I’m becoming cynical. I’m starting to believe the reason these people are in politics is because they are incompetent and would not survive in the corporate world. It’s time we start holding our government responsible. It’s time to see politicians charged when they breach our trust. Take their gold plated pensions away when they break the rules.

More importantly, it’s time to elect responsible government. A Government with the interests of the people in mind – you know, common people, working people, people like you and me.

Give me back the Canada I was born into.
Give me back the Canada who was respected internationally.
Give me back the Canada that was a shining example of fiscal responsibility.
Give me back the Canada I used to be so proud of.

I don’t belong to a political party so I’m not going to suggest who people should vote for. Each one of us needs to examine the leaders we have in power today, and decide what type of country we want Canada to be.

What do you want your Canada to look like?

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