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Every Life Happens

Graffiti, Ottawa, August 2015
Graffiti, Ottawa, August 2015

There were many things I didn’t quite understand as a kid. Why adults sat forever at the dinner table to eat instead of scarfing down their food and going back to play. Why they didn’t watch TV non-stop considering they had complete power over the remote. Why they would rather drink coffee than chocolate milk. Why they would rather eat oysters, smoked salmon, vegetables and simple cookies than fries, meat patties and sticky strawberry-flavoured choco biscuits. Why they argued about us, the kids. Why they seem to behave like kids themselves when they were having problem at work. Why they forgot simple stuff like keys, where the car was parked, where the must-wear-tomorrow favourite pair of jeans was and who was who at school. Why they went to bed so late yet constantly complained they were tired. Why they cleaned instead of just slacking off. Why they worried about us. Why they worried, period. It’s not like they were accountable to anyone, after all, they were… adults!

Now that I’m told I am an adult, I get it. Well, most of it, anyway. I understand. I understand why my mother always seemed so tired and busy—that’s because she had her hands full. I understand why chocolate milk was banned at the breakfast table (I spilled it without fail every single morning because I was barely awake, eventually my mother figured I’d get calcium from cheese and other stuff—I’m just fine now, thank you for asking). I understand why life can be so stressful

Having Mark didn’t make me any smarter. In fact, if anything, I think I lost my sanity, a few neurons, some skin elasticity and countless hours spent saying “no”. But my new status as a mother and the aftermath of this little earthquake offered me ample time to think about everything. And to reconsider just about every assumption I had about the world and people, as I tackled my new tasks (“gotta keep that kid alive, fed and entertained for how many years?!”) and dealt with stress (“… and he doesn’t eat, nor sleep, nor laugh at my jokes!”).

I still strongly believe that there is no magic recipe to live a perfect life, that we are all different, that priorities shift over time and that we can all be happy if we give it a chance and stop being so fucking mean to each other (real life is a bit like the sandbox, we all play along just fine until some wise ass starts throwing sand and stepping on castles).

I like people and I’m always curious to see how lives are lived, next door or across the world. It’s fascinating how similar are our struggles, fights and hopes, no matter what we believe in, no matter who we are.

When Mark was just a baby, I spent countless hours at Chapters collecting magazines and books offering life hacks and telling inspirational journeys. I wanted to find a fix for all the raw emotions I was feeling. I wanted to know I wasn’t alone feeling lost and overwhelmed. I wanted other people’s lives too, because they just seemed to be better—the busy executive who worked around the clock, the student who slept at the lab, the stay-at-home mother of a large family, the entrepreneur, the stripper, the motivational speaker, the minimum-wage employee… hell, I even read Rural Roots at one point and convinced myself I could totally be living the rural Canada dream (and possibly give birth to another eight or nine kids, we would all eat dinner around a big wooden table and…)

Looking back, it’s probably a good thing the Jehovah’s Witnesses didn’t knock at the door during that period of my life—I would have ended up in a cult. That’s how desperate I was to find not myself per se, but the meaning of life.

In a way, understanding the world better is terrifying. There are thousands of ways to live your life, millions of decisions to make, billions of paths to explore.

I had zero success with all the recipes and fixes the magazines and books offered. I haven’t started a new life as a socialite, a DJ or a busy lawyer. I am not becoming a farmer and I think I missed the boat (and lack talent) for pop star.

But I have a future and my own life to live.

Who know what it holds.

It’s exciting.

Eventually, we all get somewhere… and we grow along the way.

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