Living daily life in a Hawaiian vacation state of mind

I’ve been to the Hawaiian island of Kauai a few times, and while I am not a fan of sun and heat, I am a huge fan of the way a lot of people there live. I’ve consistently seen folks of Kauai being kinder and more courteous than people anywhere else in North America, even in high tension situations like rush hour traffic. I’ve also seen lots of large families having get-togethers and bbq’s on the beach — they seem to really value quality time together. And I’ve seen a lot of older people being really active, like surfing and even doing sit-ups at the beach.

I think all of that is amazing. Those are things that I value greatly, and things that I feel get lost in the hectic madness of the North American world. We’re always so busy trying to get ahead, get better jobs, make more money, and buy nicer stuff, that we neglect the stuff that actually makes us happier — like being kind, spending time with people we care about, doing fun things, and staying fit and active.

But what I don’t understand is that most people go to places like Hawaii for vacations to get just a short taste of what life is like when those things are prioritized over rat race stuff. They spend a week there, relax, have a great time…and then head home and jump right back into the rat race.

If people like the pace of life while they’re on vacation in Hawaii, if they like it so much that it’s what they want to escape to when they have some time off, why don’t they just incorporate some qualities of Hawaiian/vacation living into their daily lives so they get small doses of it all the time?

I don’t know. I think probably because we don’t want to stand out from our suburban neighbours and look like some sort of lazy hippie weirdos. And I think it’s tough to change your habits. And I think most people aren’t self-aware enough to realize that they could be much happier and healthier.

Personally, I think most of us would benefit from a bit more of a Hawaiian vacation approach to our entire lives.

awkward-funny-family-vacation-photos-porn-shoot-beach

I looked up “family on vacation” pics and found this. Not what I had in mind but I’ll run with it.

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Boring, Sidney

Last week, I had the subject of an old blog post contact me and give me shit about some things I wrote about them. It caused me some mixed emotions. I was annoyed that someone was trying to censor me; I felt guilty for having written such mean things about a person (which I’ve done to a lot of people here, over the years); I felt justified in that, regardless of how I said it, I still agreed with my assessment of that person. I considered taking down the 4-yr old post that virtually no one has ever looked at but after chatting with a few friends about it, I decided to ignore the whole situation and put it out of my mind. After all, this blog is basically my online diary, and I wouldn’t tear a page out of my diary — each entry is a snapshot into my mind at the time, and I value that. I want to always have this, to always be able to look back on where I was at a given time.

But one tiny detail kept nagging at me, and it’s this: the post was just plain mean. I still think the post was both true and funny, and I still value it simply as something I took the time to sit down and write, but I talk on here all the time about valuing kindness and ‘doing the right thing,’ blah blah blah. So I felt like a real hypocrite leaving this post up after learning the subject was clearly upset by it.

Fortunately, I was able to simply change the post to a private one that only I can see. So all’s well that ends well, right?

Not really. Now I’m thinking about the myriad other cruel posts I’ve made here about specific people, and I’m wondering, is that who I want to be? It’s tough, and really annoying. On one hand, I like voicing the dichotomy of my nature that virtually everyone struggles with — the urge to be kind and good, and the urge to do whatever I please regardless of who it might hurt. I mean, I find it amusing. I’m almost bipolar, at times.

On the other hand, I feel like the Jekyll and Hyde thing may just be a clever excuse to keep being shitty. Like, “I’m aware of the lousy things I do and that makes it sort of ok,” which is a fallacy — shitty is shitty. I also think it’s easy and convenient to keep doing the wrong thing one has been doing forever, and harder to change and live better, so being shitty is also lazy.

But I also feel like the quest to be totally virtuous makes people really fucking boring and irritating. I like making crass and inappropriate jokes, and I love it when other people do too. I think it’s good to laugh at serious topics. Heaven knows we’ll all get cancer soon enough and then none of the good cancer jokes will be funny anymore, so I want to get the laughs in while I can.

I suppose the difference between brutal jokes and hurtful blog posts that I find funny is that the jokes aren’t directed at a specific person. Hmmm. What I’m leaning towards here is that perhaps I shouldn’t single anyone out when making brutal yet amusing blog posts.

My next conundrum: should I go back over all of my previous posts and either edit the ones that do single people out (Jon Jones excluded, he’s a piece of shit through and through and deserves all the hate I can throw at him), or perhaps just set those posts to ‘private’ as well? I’ll have to give it some thought.

What an annoying post this has been. Not one of my favourite to write, and not one of my favourite to read in the future either, I predict.

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Booooring, kill me now FFS

 

reacting to accidents with rage instead of concern

a while ago, i witnessed a minor car accident at a gas station. woman #1 was in an SUV parked at a pump. woman #2 was in a new-ish but beat up car that was backing in to the pump in front of the SUV, but wound up backing right into the SUV. woman #1 honked her horn at woman #2, who had her windows down and loudly responded, “fuck you!” and continued muttering other things i couldn’t make out. woman #1 got out of her SUV and approached the beat up car. she said to woman #2, whose windows were still down, “don’t tell me fuck you, you just backed into me. you just damaged my car.” despite her brazen tone before she was face to face with the owner of the SUV, woman #2 now refused to make eye contact and instead made herself busy rummaging about in her passenger seat while muttering things that seemed to further irritate woman #1. as i drove away, i could see that the scene continued on like this for a while, with woman #1 getting more and more angry at the insolence and lack of apology from woman #2. it was a depressing thing to witness.

it made me think about how people often react absurdly to bad things, like when my dad used to step on the cat’s tail in the kitchen. this happened frequently when i was a kid, and it always went like this:

    • dad accidentally stepped on the cat’s tail;
    • the cat howled in pain and ran away as fast as it could;
    • my dad stomped his feet and yelled, “well, don’t just sit there under my feet, for fuck’s sake!”

even as a kid, i thought that was a weird reaction. why was my dad freaking out? he wasn’t the tiny creature that just had an appendage crushed by a 220 lb pale, hairy ogre in his underwear. dad should have been concerned for the cat, sympathetic to it. even if he was annoyed by how frequently this dance occurred, he could have simply shrugged his shoulders and said, “i’m sorry but you should know better by now, even if you are just a dumb cat.”

i know i’m guilty of these kinds of reactions too, and that’s what i hate about it the most. when i see other people do it, i’m embarrassed for them but i’m also embarrassed for myself because i’m reminded that other people have surely seen me react to situations just as terribly. it’s a senseless, unattractive habit that lacks any grace whatsoever.

conversely, if woman #2 from my opening paragraph had got out of her car and approached woman #1, apologized for backing into her, and asked if woman #1 was alright, i would have thought, “that’s a strong, graceful person who is quick to admit their mistake, concerned for their fellow human, and wants to make the best out of that bad situation.”

and that’s the person i want to strive to become. i want kindness to be my default state so that no matter how awful or infuriating a situation may be, i can come out of it feeling good about the role i played in it.

now that i’ve written that, i just know one of my chickens is going to flap its wings in my face when i put them to bed tonight and really, really test me.

finding myself through dish washing

more talk about washing dishes. brace yourselves.

1 – when i have dinner at someone else’s house, i like to do the dishes afterward not only to help out and reciprocate their kindness but also because i want to avoid the awkwardness of drying the dishes and having no idea where to put them. trying to help out but requiring ample assistance when doing so is a horrible, pathetic thing.

on a similar note, it’s funny how good i feel about helping clean up at get togethers because i used to absolutely loathe it. the fact that i was soon going to feel obligated to help out always cast a gloom over whatever fantastic meal the host was graciously providing me. oh yes, i was incredibly, ridiculously lazy and selfish, and i am still ashamed of it. i was the same way with thank you letters after christmas. my parents would be on my ass to write to uncle bill and aunt lois and the various other mystery relatives who kindly sent money every year despite having never met me (at least as far as i could remember), but i couldn’t have given less of a shit about thanking them back then. the worst part is that the war of attrition with my parents sometimes ended with me winning, not writing any thank you letters. it’s awful. i’m so embarrassed. it might be residual guilt from those thankless years that drives me to try to be more vocal about my gratitude now.

2 – when i wash the dishes, i no longer fill the sink with dish water. instead, i fill the largest pot or mixing bowl and use that for my dish water. it probably uses less than 1/4 of the water of the sink. i started doing that a few years ago when we were put on severe water restrictions due to drought and it’s stuck with me since. i’m proud of this method because it’s super simple yet very effective.

taking it one step further, when i’m finished washing dishes i can take the pot or mixing bowl outside and water the fruit trees and ornamental plants with the stuff. marion showed me that part, bless her eco-friendly heart.

i must be really thin on material these days.