Tuesday, 26 April 2011

A Royal Pain

You knew it was coming.

We're merely a few days away from what has been tagged as 'The wedding of the century' and I think I'm about to lose my mind. First of all, how can we call something the 'anything' of the century, when we're just over a decade into it? Anyway...

What's with all this media hype over Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding? For the past five months, almost every entertainment channel, news network, and niche program has been focusing on the impending nuptials of England's future king.

I get it, I suppose -- He's Princess Diana's oldest son, and royal watchers (do such people actually exist?) have been waiting for this day since poor Wills was born. And I guess I always knew it would be kind of a big deal. But not like this! Plus, I love how they've pegged her as a 'commoner' when she's anything but. Are they forgetting that Miss Middleton is the heiress to a wonderful fortune? When I think of the word 'commoner', I expect a Cinderella-type, rags to riches story. Someone who paid her way through school with part-time jobs and student loans.

Still, they fell in love, and they're together, and that's awesome.


It seems to me like every show in every time-slot from CNN (they're sending a staff of 400 people to cover this event) to the Food Network has somehow managed to incorporate the royal wedding into their programming.

"What will they serve?"

"Who will she wear?

"Will she produce an heir and a spare?"

Seriously? Is there nothing better to broadcast, write, tweet or blog about? I get that the media covers news as it's happening, and focuses on the big stories... but this would never have become a big story if we didn't let it.

Then there's the tabloids...

"Will Harry ruin William's big day?"

"What does the Queen really think of Kate?"

"The Diana curse... exposed!"

Are they ever having a field day with this or what? Looks like there won't be a 'slow news day' for a while.

Ugh! And then there's the Royal Wedding paraphernalia. There's everything from commemorative mugs (the mistake on this mug kills me), to commemorative barf bags. And just when I thought they'd covered everything, along came commemorative air. Yep. Now you can purchase a bottle of air from the area around Westminster Abbey, for the low, low price of... your dignity.

And let's talk about the blue sapphire engagement ring, shall we? It's beautiful, it's an heirloom... some people might argue that it's cursed and it's a questionable choice, all things considered *ahem! Elton John*, but the point is, it's romantic and a wonderful story.

What gets me are the ads running on TV, stating that you too can purchase a copy of this ring for the low, low price of $29.99, and that it comes with a certificate of authenticity... Hmm. Something about that doesn't sound quite right, does it?

Everyone is trying to make a buck off this wedding. I suppose one can argue that it's bringing the world together in a sense. But recent polls show that people in the U.K. itself can't wait for the hooplah to end. We, in North America are more excited about this wedding than the locals. What does that say about us?

I'm not anti-wedding, or anti-romance or any of that fun stuff. But for heaven's sake, put a cork in it already! I can't turn on the TV without being forced to think about this wedding. I've channel surfed and hit the mute button more in the past few months than ever before.

I really thought I was alone with my feelings, until I stumbled across this gem of support. I don't care about the Royal Wedding is a blog entry on Thought Catalog, about how one guy doesn't have any more room in his reality TV lineup for another piece of pop culture. It's pretty entertaining. The writer is mad, and he doesn't care who knows about it.

Seriously, Wills and Kate, I wish you two the best of luck, and a lifetime of love and happiness. But I can't wait for you to retreat into matrimonial bliss, so that the world can go on with its regular programming.


Image courtesy of Google Images

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Spring blooms and wishes

Happy Easter, everyone! Here's wishing you all the best and brightest of this beautiful season of rebirth and renewed hope.


Thursday, 21 April 2011

Learning to balance

I can't believe I've only written one other blog post this month. I was doing so well! One of the hardest parts of adjusting to the new job has been balancing work and my life in general. I know it sounds cliché, but it's quite difficult to find a work/life balance when you start a new gig. And if you don't figure it out quickly, you'll find yourself in an unhealthy pattern of stress.

This isn't the first time I've had a full-time job, but it's the first time I've been delegated this much responsibility. I love it, but I need to learn to allow myself some down time as well. One of my favourite things to do in my down time is update this blog. Straight From The Curls is my baby, and I love coming here and sharing little anecdotes and stories from my life with you.

But because I spend my whole day on the computer dealing with another aspect of the WWW, I come home and crash. I have thoughts of coming here and talking to you all about what's running through my mind, but by the time I get home and unwind, all I want to do is hit the hay.

This has to change. And it will. I promise to sort myself out and figure out a balance somehow, so that I can do the things I love more often.

I've often wondered though, about people who do the 9-5, commute across the city, and still have the time and energy to come home and do so much more. By the time I come home, I barely have enough time to cook dinner before it's lights out.

I did some research this morning and discovered an article in the Vancouver Sun addressing this very issue. The work-life crunch: Who has time for fun? highlights how many people are struggling with the 'time economy'... especially as technology keeps us wired in for more and more hours each day.

I know in my case, I'm always online. I've been working with the Internet for quite a few years now, and I'm always tuned in to what's happening. I love the work I do.

But being so wired in all the time... it can get scary. I never get the sense that I'm 'unavailable'. I'm literally just a click away, whether by a phone call, text, e-mail, tweet or... poke.

Some of the statistics mentioned in the article state:
  • The proportion of Canadians experiencing high levels of time crunch, according to the report, grew from 16 per cent in 1992 to 20 per cent in 2005. About 23 per cent of women felt time-pressured and 17 per cent of men.

  • Adults providing care to seniors grew from 17 per cent in 1996 to 20 per cent in 2006. More women (23 per cent) took care of seniors compared to men (16 per cent).

  • Time spent on social leisure activities dropped from 15 per cent in 1998 to 12 per cent in 2005.
I don't know if you'd agree with me, but I think these are some drastic increases in a short amount of time. So it begs the question: Am I really bad at balancing my work/life or am I just a victim of the times, and hence, a statistic?

I don't want to be a statistic, that's for sure. So my goal in the coming weeks is to find a solution that works for me. I'm not quite sure what that solution is at the moment, but I'm sure I'll figure it out. Plus it helps that the weather is getting nicer outside... it means I won't want to rush directly home after work. 

Anyway, if you have some tips to help me better manage my work/life situation, I'd love to hear them. What works for you, and how do you find time to do the things you love, outside of work?


Image courtesy of Google Images

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Wasted words

Sorry for the silence. I've been up to my eyeballs adjusting to the new job, which is going well so far (thankfully!). But something heavy has been weighing on my mind lately, and I figured it's time to let it out.

First off, let me start by saying this post isn't reflective of one person in particular, but rather of observations I've made over the past few months.

There are moments when I genuinely feel I should start charging people for the hours upon hours I spend listening to how stressful their lives are.

Now, here's the thing: I don't mind it. Truly, I don't mind lending an ear to people when they want to get something off their chest, or decompress their thoughts. Sometimes, when something has been floating around in your mind for so long, it loses value until you speak it out loud. Everyone deserves to be heard, and I've always been a better listener than a speaker. So generally, I don't mind it.

But what bothers me is this: People seem to walk around with this idea that they're the only ones (on a planet of close to 7 billion people) who are suffering from the problems they're encountering.

They're not complaining about unemployment, they're not complaining about sickness, they're not complaining about abuse, they're not complaining about malnutrition, they're not complaining about death.

They complain about things they shouldn't be complaining about. Silly, trivial stuff.

And then they ask for advice. Someone once told me never to give out advice for free, because chances are it will fall on deaf ears, and you'll find yourself repeating it a thousand times over. I didn't really believe them at the time...  but sure do now.

It seems to me that when people ask for advice, they only want to hear one thing -- confirmation that what they're doing, feeling, experiencing and considering is right. And if you tell them it's wrong, I think they block it out. They choose to intentionally not hear it. So you're left with wasted words... words that you'll find yourself repeating again the next time they come knocking for advice. And  the next time after that.

People, if you're able to kick back and read this blog, your life can't be that bad.

Sometimes I just want to scream when I hear the complaints. I often tell people to stop measuring their lives with someone else's yardstick. We need to stop looking at what we don't have in comparison to others, and start being grateful for what we do have. Not everyone in the world is so fortunate.

Have you read the newspapers lately? Have you watched the news? You should.

We are all dealt a different deck of cards. No one knows if someone else's life is better. What you see on the outside might very well be a show.

I'll admit, I'm guilty of complaining too. I mean, it's human nature to wonder if your life is as good as it should be. I often wonder if my life will change. If perhaps just one of the dreams I had as a child will come true. Who doesn't?

But it's the people who do it day after day.... come on! Take a step outside of yourself, and have a look around. You'll see that things aren't half as bad as you imagine them to be.

Look, all I ask is that you sit back and look at the positives in your life. You'll realize how blessed you are in comparison to a lot of people on this planet. You may not have what your neighbour has, and you may certainly not have what your best friend has.

But you do have. And you should be grateful for that.

We can only control so much in our lives. A lot of what happens to us is a result of external factors. When things get bad, you just have to keep looking forward, and remain hopeful. We're human... and are hopeful by nature.

So try to wade your way through the bad muck, and hold on to the good. It's all anyone can do.

And when all else fails, remember these wise words...

'Everything's gonna be alright.' - Bob Marley
(Sage advice from one of the most hopeful men in history.)


Image courtesy of Google Images
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