It’s Official: I’m 30

12112418_10103710375679472_1827329500092118583_n“Aren’t you too old to stay in hostels?” my brother asked me the other day as I was casually perusing travel websites. “When all those young folk are going out, you’ll be telling them to shut up ‘cause you’re trying to sleep.”

“I mean, you’re basically 30.”

I momentarily feigned offense before conceding the obvious: he was right.

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730 Days Later: Am I a Grown-Up?

“Where are my pants?” “Was her name really ‘Areola’?” “We gotta get Grose outta here.” “I think I’m going to follow through on our drunken deal to vomit on the bridge.”

And then we got on an airplane.

areola

At the airport coming back. Fresh out of the ocean, and into an intense hangover.

On this day two years ago, I set foot back on Canadian soil — carrying one of the worst hangovers of my life — with the intention of staying for a while. It’s been quite a ride.

In order to look forward, it’s first necessary to look back.

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It’s Been a While

man-mirror-david-wygant-300x200Well hello, there. I didn’t see you come in. It’s been a while since we last talked, and you better have a seat because we have much to catch up on.

When we last spoke, 2015 was just starting, and now it’s more than halfway spent. I was in the midst of a 21-day cleanse; I had also made various calendar-induced vows to myself — feebly disguised as New Year’s Resolutions — of which some I have followed through on and some that escaped my routine the moment my fingers left the keyboard.

My how times have changed. If you’re keeping score at home, here’s how things stack up at the halfway point: Continue reading

12 Months, 21 Days, and Another Year

“Are you sure you want to do this?” was the only utterance, phrased as a question, my mother could evoke moments after I informed her I was moving to Costa Rica. On that day, in the spring of 2010, I assured her that I would only be gone for six months with the rationale of finding myself, escaping winter, and fulfilling study abroad experiences that had up until then eluded me. Almost four years later, I returned to Canada for good.

The ice storm was a nice welcome back.

The ice storm was a nice welcome back, three days after arrival.

375 days ago I arrived in Toronto, severely hung-over and sunburnt, without a plan or idea of what the future might entail. I wrote at the time that coming back to Canada was as much a move abroad as leaving was, and the parallels, over a year later, have proven that to be true.

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A T-Shirt and Blue Genes

There was a queue outside one of the classrooms at work as many of us waited to get our flu vaccinations. Of those in line, many retorted their dislike for getting a shot. The absence of others spoke even more loudly of where their position resided.

I didn’t even flinch when the needle pierced my left arm. For me, needles have become so common that, for some reason, I now find myself enjoying watching the needle penetrate the skin, as if it adds some sort of challenge to the exercise. When you get blood drawn as much as I do, perhaps you need to add a little excitement to the mundane.

Flu season apprehensions aside, yesterday I found myself once again in a place that I pay a visit to on at least an annual basis: the hospital. Continue reading

Busy Is As Busy Does

I’ve become very proficient at not-doing. I don’t like that I’m good at it, but know very well that I can come up with a seemingly logical explanation to put something off, or simply get out or something altogether, under the guise of being busy. I’ve also discovered that this is a giant cop-out.

Everyone is busy. There isn’t a person in the world who has nothing to do. If someone tells you they did nothing on the weekend, they’re lying; they, by the laws of existing, did something. Though, whether due to embarrassment, privacy, or an insecure or irrational sense or priorities, it is painstakingly easy — and often reassuring — to talk oneself out of something, rather than indulging.

It is this thought process which I’ve recently grown to employ, and one which I need to stop.

JL Continue reading

Obamacare is the Rob Ford of Policy

I don’t always watch Fox News, but when I do it’s in a drunken stupor.

Whenever I need a good laugh I turn on the conservative network. Never in the morning, because that’s too much to handle before my first cup of coffee. Never at night either, as that’s not what I want to be thinking about as I go to bed. Also never for more than thirty consecutive minutes, as that becomes simply overwhelming. But for those thirty glorious minutes in the afternoon, Fox News hits the spot.

There’s something to be said for over-the-top, completely ridiculous television. I understand the need for this type of programming – and more importantly the audience it attracts. I also understand logical arguments when I hear them; I don’t often hear these on Fox News. Needless to say, I don’t schedule thirty minutes of my day to be intellectually stimulated. Rather, this blocked off period is for pure amusement.

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A one way ticket to somewhere

I’m used to buying plane tickets. When you live abroad, visits home at least once a year are usually requisite. This is doubly true in my case. I spent an entire twelve months in Costa Rica when I first arrived, almost to the day, before I went back home. After that, I’ve made the trip roughly every six months. Always at Christmas – as per mom’s orders – and then once to enjoy the (normally) gorgeous Ontario summers.

So when I sat down this week to buy yet another plane ticket, nothing felt weird about it – until Expedia kindly asked me to specify a return date. I didn’t have one. Err, I don’t have one.

I haven’t bought a one-way ticket since that first flight that brought me here to Costa Rica. As it dawned on me that I won’t be coming back this time, I unexpectedly felt many similar emotions and thoughts that first occurred to me on my last one-way adventure; feelings that I haven’t really felt in the last three years. That sense of an unknown entity.  Not knowing what exactly the next step is or what it’s going to be like when you arrive at your destination.

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