Summers in Toronto are supposed to be breath-taking – well aside from the smock being so thick sometimes you can’t see the CN Tower and you can’t breath right– I guess that could be considered Breath-taking – but its a wonderful place to be during the warmer months. There are plenty to do – from our International film festival to Caribana and the Pride parade – then there are different fests like Buskerfest and Afro-fest–then there are smaller things like garage sales, China Town a-buzzing, parties, concerts, beach days, Taste of Danforth! There are tons to do! But lately, I find I’ve been stuck. I guess I should start at the beginning.
Starting at the beginning–here goes–Toronto hasn’t been having a great summer this year. It’s like Toronto is bummed out and depressed – from rumors of our mayor being on crack (yeah THAT crack), to our CNE opening with people getting sick – its been a horrid summer for us. As the summer draws to a close however, I am forced to look back at all the things I wanted to do but didn’t get done. I’m suddenly feeling as if the whole summer was spent staring at deadlines and though meeting said strict timelines, nothing I wanted came to fruition.
I managed to get over to Centreville for the summer – spent a few hours walking over there and taking some pictures as well as teaching my niece about photography – I didn’t get to see nearly enough movies, didn’t have nearly enough beer and wing Saturdays, didn’t go to church once, nor travel anywhere. What is it about summer that we put so many things on some grand to do list and wind out crushing said list in a meaty fist at the end of August thinknig “aww screw it”?
There is something to be said for the summer time that make us feel so hopeful and positive. Perhaps it is the sunlight or the fact we no longer have to wear eighty layers of clothing just to avoid frostbite and amputations. There is something freeing about walking around in a little shorts or summer dress or being able to walk barefooted by the lake that just make me feel free and able to do just about anything. Then I leave the confort of the rocking waves and soft sand under my feet and get back to the crowd, noise and choas of my life, of the world around me, and I think well damn, here I go again.
Why is that? Why is the life we live so completely out of control? Think about it – you work, try to have a social life, try developing hobbies along with new skills, and constantly trying to improve yourself by taking a few extra classes at some college or university as well as hitting the gym, raising a family and the list of things we bombard ourselves with goes on and on. We don’t have time to breathe, to slow down and lay in the sun or just to sit down and breathe. Then if we do take some time for vacation we bring cameras, and books and cell phones and we worry that when we get back to our lives we would have fallen behind on the choas. That means, when we get back from time away, we need a vacation from our vacation.
And–even if we do take time away, we feel guilty for taking a break so we didn’t burn out because for some reason we fancy ourselves superman (I would have said Batman but since Ben Afleck is the new batman I lost all respect for the franchise- just my 2 cents). Why? Why do we feel the constant need to be on green–to have our fingers so firmly stuck on GO that we miss our lives completely? It does not bring us happiness–sure it might bring us a little faster to our graves so who are we really helping when we’re burnt out and frazzled?
No one takes time to unplug and just BE anymore. I got on a bus and I watched these men in suits and the moment I got on the bus and sat across from them they didn’t look up from their screens once. First, they missed my gorgeous self and second, they didn’t know if I was some punk robber or what. They had their headphones plugged in, fingers poised and scrolled all during the 45 minute ride and when the bus reached the final stop, they got up and headed off the bus, looking up once to ensure they wouldn’t fall on their faces.
I watch teenagers on the bus, sitting beside each other texting. When did ignoring our friends who are right in our faces for others on the other side of a keyboard become more important? Somewhere along the way we’ve developed this obsession with technology and this force is causing marriage break downs, friendship implosions and some utterly horrid things.
What brought this on? Lately I’ve been thinking of taking some time off work, get on the GO train and just head somewhere. Not particularly sure where but I just wanted to take a me weekend. But each time I think about it, I think of all the things I would be missing out on, like working to get paid, and edits and other priorities in my life that barred me from doing what I really wanted to do. I haven’t taken a break all summer – so who am I fooling?
It is time to look up from the blind screens of our lives – release the Matrix if you will. We have to look around at the world with new eyes, see what’s right in front of us and love those in front of us. We have to set new goals and stick to the plans of reaching them–for myself, I find I have to stop putting everyone else ahead of what I need to grow further as a person and just learn to live life for what it is. So, pick a dream (a positive one) and go for it.