Another one! Give me more!


KO 2014 May with balloonDo you know what’s awesome about raising a child? It’s the privilege of getting to experience a continual flow of “first experiences” through their eyes.

Yesterday, KO learned how to load the dishwasher. Not from start to finish. But he learned where cutlery goes, and where plates and glasses go. And I got to be there while he focussed on placing each piece of cutlery where it belonged. I was there when he asked innocuously while wielding a butcher’s knife, “Where do I put this big knife?” And I got to show him how to handle the potentially lethal weapon knife responsibly and lay it carefully on the knife rack. I watched as he experimented with arranging plates closer and farther apart with painstaking concentration. And the best bit was when he turned to me with bright eyes and said excitedly, “Another! Give me more! Give me another one!”

These first experiences full of joy and exploration happen daily, but they never get any less wonderful.

Yes, this is an idealistic snapshot of parenting, a moment taken out of context. All the wonderful moments are interspersed among challenging moments where my limits of patience, strength, creativity, kindness and wisdom are tested (and often found wanting). Read: I raise my voice (fine, I mean “shout”) more often than I would like. And there have been some sharp smacks to the bottom. Smacking and its purposes are a much discussed topic at home. That’s a subject for another blog post.

But most days as I’m working, the moments that come to mind vividly, filling my heart and making me grin, are those of KO looking as though he’ll burst with delight, every ounce of his being absorbed in something new he’s learned to do, or a new object he’s playing with, and his expression as he turns to me saying, “Give me more!”

Finding my passion daily is a lesson that I learn from my little boy. As I engage in each task in my day, I want to say, “Another! Give me more!”


Fuck the bucket list! (And fuck off to New Year’s resolutions!)

[Warning: If you haven’t guessed, there is swearing in this post. If that offends you, you may want to stop reading now.]

I’ve always bristled at any attempts to contain individuality. I don’t like labelling people. Once, when I was a student, I sent a boyfriend a long letter ranting about why I hated it when people approached dating and potential partners with a huge tick list (that’s “check list” in North American English). As you can imagine, he was a bit bemused.

The mere idea of trying to reduce a person to a list of traits gets my hackles up. I know that labels and details of humans and human behaviour can be useful for all sorts of things, like figuring out ways to help people. Labels are useful because they reduce something that is very complex to something that is graspable, quantifiable. Things that are impossible to pin down can be reduced to data that you can manipulate for your own purposes.

The problem is that anything viewed in quantifiable terms lends itself to being judged. This isn’t a problem if you’re a researcher, looking for ways to innovate, and you need data. But it can be a HUGE problem for anyone who is seeking to be a happy healthy human. Judging oneself (and consequently others) is short cut to misery.

So what does this have to do with bucket lists? Well, a bucket list is basically a way of quantifying experiences that your life has to include in order for you to feel most fulfilled. Well, fuck off to that. Whatever happened to enjoying the moment, and appreciating being alive, right NOW regardless of what the past has been like and what the future holds?

OF COURSE everyone has difficult experiences in their history. And OF COURSE we all want to experience wonderful, magical times in our future. But the only time that we are EVER alive is the present. And the only way we can experience the wonder and magic of being alive is if we pay attention to what is going on in our present, and participate in that. And the best way to participate in the present is to say FUCK OFF to judgements and agendas: stop judging yourself, judging others, judging life.

I say leave your agenda where it belongs (which is anywhere but in the present moment), and open yourself up to the infinite possibilities of each moment. Fuck the bucket list. And experience THIS moment to its fullest.

In fairness, I do like certain aspects of bucket lists. “What do I REALLY want to do?” is a GREAT question. And “What can I do with what I’ve got NOW, in a way that honours my desires, as well as the present moment? How can I stop making excuses for not doing NOW what I really want to do?” are more great questions.

It’s the “What do I really want to do BEFORE I DIE?” bit that pisses me off.

Anyway, a belated Happy New Year to you! I’d best be off now … to tackle something on my bucket list 😉