When I grow up.

As of tomorrow, it will be four weeks since I became self-employed. This is what it looks like when I work:

Photo on 2014-03-23 at 5.12 PM_2

There’s a lot of coffee and tea involved (you can’t just sit in coffee shops without ordering a drink! There are rules and I follow them!). It’s pretty awesome. I’m not going to lie; there’ve been ups and downs and stressful times, but all of my own doing, seeing’s how I am, in fact, the boss of me (see below).

mr. manager

One thing there hasn’t been is regret, which isn’t surprising to me, but still a nice validation of my decision, nonetheless. Regret isn’t really my style. I don’t generally linger in my decision making and once I’ve committed to my choice, I look forward from there at what’s next.* Giant ball of fears and insecurities though I am (remember; I’m a human), I tend to follow this advice:


* That being said, there have for sure been areas of my life where I was carrying around a lot of significance and not letting go of my past, partly because I hadn’t yet realized that who I am is not the same as the things that have happened to me. I’m a work in progress, but it’s progress!

The week before last, I was talking to my coach about a familiar story that is driving me Up The Proverbial Wall: When I get to X, then I can Y. It’s very closely related to my “not-good-enough/all-or-nothing” story; the one in which I’m simultaneously the tragic protagonist and nasty-ass villain in my own story.

Yeah, there’s going to be a lot of storybook references in this post. I’ve always loved make believe and fairy tales. I’ve lived in a committed certainty that my fantasy just outside my peripheral vision. I don’t ever open a wardrobe without hoping, just a little bit, that there might be pine trees and snow just past the jackets.

What I wanted to work on with my coach was the way I continue to get in my own way. As in, here I am, in the future I’d oh-so-longed for, and yet, I wasn’t doing the stuff I wanted to be doing. Why wouldn’t I look at what I wanted? What was stopping me from creating my vision? There was nothing in my way but me and it was getting really, really irritating. When I get irritated/irritating, all possibility of self-compassion takes off, fleeing for safety in higher ground, and I’m left being a not very nice person to me.

It was time to bankrupt this story and that’s precisely what we did. I looked at every single way in which this story was costing me joy and happiness. The evidence was plentiful and obvious. Eventually, we got to the point at which we realized that I believed I had to bust my ass to deserve anything, and even when I did just that, I still couldn’t enjoy the fruits of my labours.

“You’re addicted to suffering,” said my coach. “What’s that about?”

“Well, I am Catholic; it makes sense,” I joked half-heartedly. And then I got frustrated. After all, I actually remember a time when this wasn’t the case.

“I don’t get it,” I said, my frustration mounting. “I used to be so happy. When I was a kid, I was happy.”

It’s true: Despite growing up in a pretty stressful family life and amidst lots of sadness, fear and anger, I was a happy-go-lucky little kid. If it wasn’t fun, I’d go off and play by myself and find some fun. I was a genuine Sally Sunshine.

“Seriously,” I said, “I loved my childhood. When other kids wanted to play grown up, I’d peace out. I never wanted to grow up. Ask my mom.”

“So, what happened?” asked my coach.

“I don’t know. It’s like I just passed this imaginary line and life got all hard and—oh! Oh my god. I can see it.”

Forget the penny dropping: It was like a massive tree falling right in front of me. It all made sense and it had never occurred to me before.

Here’s what I saw:

I’d lived in my happy childhood (my therapist thinks it’s hilarious when I try to convince her my childhood was happy; she knows my family situation from way back when), never wanting to grow up, because all the grown ups I knew were sad, scared, angry, stressed out and unhappy. Why would I want that? Nope. I had a serious case of Peter Pan-itis: If that’s what growing up entailed, then I wasn’t ever going to do it. Other kids couldn’t wait until they were a grown up for real. This was not my idea of a fun game or promising future.

So what happened? Well, somewhere along the way, I guess I grew up anyway, despite my protestations and denials. When I wasn’t looking, Life caught up to me and turned me into an adult. I inadvertently stepped over the line I’d drawn in the sand and I grew up, and from that point forward, I looked at my life the only way I understood adulthood to be: Hard, scary, stressful and unhappy.

This kind of took my breath away. I mean, I can see it. I can see how I made this real, without meaning to do it at all. How I’d been suiting up for a fight and approaching my life like a linebacker heading for a tackle, all the while wondering what the heck happened, like the concussed quarterback who got taken down.

The day you realize that you’re the reason your life feels hard is a pretty big day. Suddenly, I could choose anything else. Today is going to be fun. Today will be peaceful. This day, I’m going to enjoy myself. This one is going to be an adventure.

[Tweet “The day you realize that you’re the reason your life feels hard is a pretty big day.”]

It turns out, I’d been living a fantasy the whole time, but I’d been picking pretty crappy chapters for my choose-my-own-adventure. If I could choose joy before, I can choose it again.

Now, I’m not saying that life is easy, but does life have to be hard?

Only if I say so. And this time, I say something different.



Seattle Sundays!

Hi guys!

I’m in Seattle again (if you’re very clever, you may have gathered as much from the title of this post). Back in the Team ‘Bucks, with only a few of the regular offenders this time. The Professor’s here, but he’s sleeping. Must be gearing up for a big lecture. And there’s another dude showing a significant amount of rear cleavage, but it’s a different guy this time. I feel like I would notice if my nether regions were exposed, not only to significantly more fresh air than normal, but also to the entirety of a very large and popular café. I’ve checked and retucked my shirt at least three times.

Anyway, that’s about it on this front. Not a wildly interesting morning in here, but Jay and I have are having a good time, so that’s all that matters. Some days, you gotta make your own fun.

Hmm, so let’s see. What should I write about, I wonder. I could write about how it’s been made painfully clear (and I mean, I made it painful by taking it really, really personally) that I’m too funny and know too many interesting facts. I suppose it’s more the expression of the aforementioned offences that is of issue.

So that’s been fun. Hasn’t made me feel at all awkward and self-conscious. My god, I’m like a character in a Judy Blume novel. It’s like I’m feeling all the teenaged angst I was fortunate enough to avoid when I was actually an adolescent. “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margar— Bay— Rachelle— Oh Shit! I Don’t Even Know Anymore.

Anyway, I’ll sort it out. Kind of have to, but it’s not very fun. It makes me keep quiet and feel  yucky (official term) and I imagine I look like this:



It also makes me want to buy shoes. Granted, this is generally a fairly normal condition, but boy oh boy does it ever kick in when I’m sad/upset (angry/happy/whatever else). But I have not bought any shoes. Yet. It’s hard to say what’s going to happen during the course of today and there is a Nordstrom Rack here. We’ll see…


Icing on the cake.

I realize I’m writing about dessert a lot lately. Weird. (not really)


Have you heard about Mr. Cake? This guy is quite the inspiration.

The way he quit his job became world news and I love that he did it in style, in integrity and in cake:


I love it. I mean, obviously, because it is cake, so of course I love it, but also that he’s following his passions and creating a life where he is doing what he loves to do. More of us should do that, I think. Which is why I’m working on it, too. It’s hard work, though (I know, “If I say so, right?”). If I lived over there, I’d buy his cakes and talk to him a lot, because I think it would inspire me.

No one ever said doing what you love is easy. I suppose if it were, a lot more people would be doing it. And I don’t know about you, but I find that if you are determined to find a way, people really love to remind you of all the things you should be worrying about, if you aren’t already, and as if you don’t have enough of your own stuff to get a handle on, too. I guess that’s their way of caring about you, but I suspect it also serves them by reinforcing the reasons to support the choices they’ve made.

Alan Watts talked about this in his clip “What if Money Was No Object”. This video is not new and I’ve posted it on Facebook often, usually when I’ve needed the reminder that I’m not crazy for wondering about the way we spend our lives (you know, the only lives we get).

Here’s what he said:

“But it’s absolutely stupid to spend your time doing things you don’t like, in order to go on spending [money on] things you don’t like, doing things you don’t like and to teach our children to follow in the same track.”

I mean, you guys? You get to live once. You don’t know how long you get, either. Unless you have some kind of inside track on living more than once and/or living forever, in which case, can you tell me how? Is how you’re spending your days what you dream of? I know there’s a disconnect for me in what I want to do and what I’m doing. Sometimes it makes me sad, other times frustrated, but lately in addition to those sentiments, it makes me dedicated, driven and committed to creating something different.

Just in case you needed some inspiration (and because I needed some today):

Sunday Morning S’bucks Ramblings

Well hello again. How are you? However, and wherever, you are, I hope it’s beautiful, because it is STUNNING out here on the west coast. If it is currently snowing where you are, I’m very sorry that you are having to deal with that. I hope that you realize that I actually do not have the power to control the weather. Yet. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. In the meantime, you could always move. Plus, then we could hang out. It’s a win-win.

It’s the first weekend of the month, so I’m in Seattle for training. I got all in a tizzy yesterday because I didn’t get something. Turns out, I don’t like to not understand things. This is not shocking. I spent the majority of my MBA finance exam in tears. And in prayer, eyes skyward, praying for divine intervention. For three hours. I failed the exam (hey, there’s a first time for everything), but I passed the course. HOLLA! Anyway, I’m not used to not understanding things. Or maybe just knowing I’m not understanding things. Perhaps I don’t get stuff all the time, but live in blissful ignorance. WHOA, YOU GUYS, THIS IS GETTING SUPER META.

Anyway, I’m back at the ol’ Sunday morning Starbucks. The Team Starbucks, Or Teambucks, if you will, where I’m an honourary monthly member. Beardy Bearderson isn’t here, but there is another guy with a beard, so we’re still meeting our facial hair requirement. Phewf. I don’t bring a lot to the table in that regard (I’m counting blessings today).

The gentleman whose pants don’t leave much in the way of mystery (apart from how he doesn’t feel compelled to wear a belt) is here, talking to another regular; a wiry, greying black man with a few artfully placed dreads. Now, Friends, this is fascinating. The honourable Mr. Dread is explaining the universe to young Master Saggypants. I’m not even making this up, though I think perhaps Mr. Dread might be.

When I sat down, he was explaining how to count to thirteen trillion. I have no idea if he’s right or not (remember my finance exam? Numbers give me anxiety and anger; if you don’t believe me, ask to see the remnants of my grade 12 math textbook), but his audience is enthralled, which is utterly charming. I mean, you guys, when was the last time you heard someone exclaim, “Wow!” in a breathy, riveted fashion? I don’t know about you, but I certainly haven’t inspired such beguiling enchantment with my mere words (I need to start making up better stories).

This lemur is fascinated. "Tell me more, O Wizard!"

This lemur is fascinated. “Tell me more, O Wizard!”

Our astronomy lecturer is now expounding on the Big Bang Theory and I have no idea if he’s correct in his facts or not, either, seeing as how I spent my year of Astronomy 120 meeting boys, one of whom I married. Worked out pretty well for me, really, but honestly, I have no idea about anything in space. I had no idea there would be so much math involved. Or crushing on cuties.

Speaking about space, thank heavens for Colonel Hadfield. Have you been following this guy? He’s amazing. He’s a space commander, so that’s freaking cool, and for kicks, he’s up there doing science experiments in space, for the children (and me) back on Earth. Know what? I tweeted him. He hasn’t responded yet, but my question was super advanced, so I’m sure he’s just doing some diligent fact-checking and then he’ll hit me back. I tweeted him from work, and let me tell you: After communicating with AN ASTRONAUT IN OUTER SPACE, I really felt like I’d accomplished everything I could hope to do that day. “GUYS, I JUST MESSAGED SOMEONE OUTSIDE OF GRAVITY, SO I’M DONE HERE TODAY, KAY, BYE. OVER AND OUT. DID YOU SEE WHAT I JUST DID THERE? I USED SPACE-TRONAUT TALK. I’M AN ASTRONAUT NOW.”

I used to want to be an astronaut. I was the top science student from grade 8 to 10, inclusive—”What? IT AIN’T BRAGGIN’ IF YOU DONE IT!” By grade 11, science strangely turned into math—”Come ON!“—and I was out (my solution was to take IB Physics instead of biology. I know. I was clearly confused.). This brief dream burned brightly, until I really understood what a lack of oxygen meant and I was all like, “Feck this shit—I’m out!” Actually, there’s no WAY I would’ve said that then. I was not a swearer of obscenities. I was this kid. But I was a coward, thanks to Total Recall. I was going to link to a video of the scene where the dude’s eyes bulge out of his head, but it grossed me out, so you’ll have to look for it elsewhere.

Moving on.

Next to me is a big table, which is currently inhabited by a group of six retirees sporting team shirts. They’re blue—the shirts, not the people; they’re not Smurfs, after all—and they say “Alaska Bound, May 5 2013.” On the backs, they have their names. I suppose in case they get lost in a crowd (is Alaska crowded? I feel like it isn’t…). To my left are Deb, Teri and Bob. They seem like real nice folks, you know? I hope they find Alaska and everything they’re looking for and I hope Alaska is everything they’ve dreamed it would be.

Anyway, I love this Starbucks. If you’re ever here on the first Sunday of a month, before 8:45 am, come and find me. You’ll know me when you see me: I look like someone who is typing. And then you can learn about the universe and how to count to a bazillion. You won’t regret it.

A placeholder

Gosh, I’ve been gone too long. I promised I’d write every single week and here I’ve gone and missed two. I’m sorry. I’ve wanted to post and thought about you often. I’m not going to justify it with an excuse. I’ll just say I’ve been doing some growing and learning and it hasn’t been particularly graceful (again). But it’s good. It’s perfect. I’m right where I need to be and it’s making me a better Bay. But it’s hard. March is hard this year, all around me.

I need to go to bed—I have a well-being plan I’m following right now, so bedtime is pretty important these days. I’ll write more about that later.

So, I don’t have time to write anything momentous and earth-shakingly awesome tonight (or even ridiculous and trifling). But I do have a new band to add to my list of favourites and to share with you. Thank you Songza and 8Tracks for showing me that I am, in fact, a hipster who adores indie music. My amazing coworker Jill said she knew it all along. I think it’s my shoes…

Passenger. I love it. The melodies, the lead singer’s sweet and funny voice. The lyrics. I was walking to work today when I listened to “All the Little LIghts.” I mean, really listened, and heard, the lyrics. I invite you to listen to it now. Really listen, and hear it.

We’re born with millions of little lights shining in the dark
And they show us the way
One lights up
Every time we feel love in our hearts
One dies when it moves away

What makes your little lights go out? Do you notice? Don’t let them flicker and fail.

Light them up. Light up your world. We can use a little more light.


A new look and an old question.

Coffee-shop-blog-post outfit.

Coffee-shop-blog-post outfit.

You may have noticed that my blog has changed. You, Friend, are very perceptive. I decided, in light of my recent perspective shifts, that the View From the Bay should shift also. It’s a sleeker, more grown-up look, just like me. Ha! Just kidding. I’ve been wanted to swap it up for a while, because I didn’t like how narrow the text column was, which is irksome to my eye and most likely to yours as well. I like to write and I don’t need my posts seeming optically to be longer than they already are.

As for me being all changed and whatnot, well, that part’s true. Though, strangely, I’m quite at peace with myself. Not that I was expecting to go all “cray” and act out in my internal struggle, cutting my hair with rusty kitchen scissors in a fit of angst. Yes, that is from a country song. It’s been kind of like a breakup.

Don’t worry, though; we don’t even have rusty kitchen scissors. That’s just unsanitary.

The thing is, I am changed. Pretty profoundly. And to be honest, I struggled against it (clearly, as my last post conveyed). I didn’t think I could change me without losing me, if that makes sense. Instead, I’m pleased to learn that I’m still me, just more of me. Unfiltered, though not completely, by any means. A little more true. There was no loss that cost me anything I didn’t want to lose. It’s like being hypnotized: No one can really make you do anything you don’t want to do. I’m not saying I’m perfect (though I am, and so are you), at least not in terms of my journey. I’m pretty sure I’ve only dipped my toes in, and I’ve got a long way to go. I think that’s what life is about. It’d be pretty boring if I was on the top of my game with nowhere to go already.

I love this quote by R.W.E. and I’m pretty sure he didn’t mean this was something you just do once:

Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m a little surprised to see that life goes on as it did before. I don’t mean to sound all dramatic (though I realize I often do, but let’s face it: I’m a star), but honestly, it’s like the sky should be, or could be, a different colour. It’s not, but I will say I can appreciate the sky in whatever shade it shows up, without thinking about what it should be, so that I can have something to resent. I spent a lot of time shaking my fist at the sky, chastising it for not being something other than what it was.

And, if you think I’m just talking about sunshine and blue skies here, you’re missing the point. I’ve spent a lot of time experiencing my entire life and my relationships with people, animals, inanimate objects and fairy tales, through what they should be, or should have been or not been. It’s exhausting and let me tell you how well that was working out for me: Not so much. Unless you count me having the right to be angry and disappointed all the time. Not exactly a blue-ribbon life, huh?

peterpanAs for my old question, well here it is:

What do I want to be when I grow up?

Thing is, I’m still not sure. It’s really frustrating and it’s a question that’s plagued me for a long time. In my full-time business of making every little thing so gawd-damned significant, I’ve been utterly paralyzed. I’ve stayed where I don’t want to be, afraid to answer the question with anything but “I don’t know”. I’m not sure who I expect to have the answers to what I’d like to be when I grow up, but clearly, it wasn’t me.


Maybe I’m going to be many things. Maybe moving on doesn’t have to be so bloody significant. Maybe I move on to something and it’s the wrong something, and I move on again. Maybe I mess up and go backwards. So far, nothing in my life has done anything but add to who I am today, so why don’t I pry off those fingers of fear that have been holding me back?

I’m trying. I often wear a necklace that Adam bought me for my birthday (he bought me Runaway Girl for a wedding present—subtle irony intended): It’s the silhouette of a little girl wearing a cape. I love her fearlessness and her can-do attitude. Maybe it’s time I try my cape on, instead of just talking about it. Time to actually try something, instead of worrying about whether it’s going to work out. Because there’s no way I can actually know that and staying put isn’t working out for me so well, anyway.

Do you recognize any of this in yourself? Are you holding yourself back? What’s in your way?

Growing pains.

Hey my peeps! How are you? I’m pretty good. It’s a long weekend, for one thing. Tough to beat a long weekend. It’s been about two years since I lost flex days, which have to be just about the best work flexibility ever. I sure miss my Monday flex days. Some people prefer Fridays, but here’s my strategy behind Mondays:

  • Mondays are kind of a bummer. Because they’re all Monday-ish.
  • Fridays, however, are pretty much awesome. You can wear jeans on Friday and everyone’s in a good mood, what with the impending weekend and all.

Therefore, why would I want to miss Fridays? Much better to miss every other Monday. Plus, long weekends are often Mondays, so then you get Tuesdays off, too. Anyway, I don’t get flex days anymore. I work the same hours, actually more, but alas! No flex days in recognition of it. I do definitely have a pretty flexible situation at work, so I’m not really, really complaining (much). But I still miss them…

So, I said I’d fill you in on the coaching training I’m doing. This could be a really long post, but I’ll give you the Cole’s Notes version.

The long and short of it is that I’m taking a year-long, super-intense training and accreditation program in life coaching. “Life coaching?” you say. “Oh geez. I can’t take Bay seriously now.” I know what you mean. I nearly couldn’t either, when Adam started looking into coaching. But after witnessing his personal transformation this past year, as well as seeing the results in some of the people he’s worked with, I started to change my tune. I wanted it for me. I want me out of my way. Some people live really amazing lives and, quite frankly, I’m tired of envying them. I want to be them. So I dove in.

Thus far, it’s been hard. This style of coaching is called ontological (I totally had to Google it, too). This basically means it focuses on who you are being, as opposed to what you are doing. I mean, there is power in this. But there is also discomfort. For reals. I remember when I was 13 or so and grew four inches in one year. It friggin’ HURT! It felt awkward and achey and uncomfortable. Turns out that personal transformation feels pretty much the same.

So far, both weekends I’ve been in training have been tough (this is somewhat misleading: we meet in-person in Seattle one weekend per month, but there is mad work to be done in between. I guess I’m saying that if you don’t get phone calls or coffee date requests from me, don’t take it personally.).

Tough. Ha! Understatement of the year. I LOST it, very publicly, on more than one occasion. I mean alternating between wracking, heaving, can’t-exhale sobbing and simultaneously saying, “Feck all y’all” on repeat while envisioning doing great physical harm to people. Not killing them (I’m not a monster!), but I was pretty much a Virtua Fighter in my mind. Like a crazy one, with mad ninja skillz and a cold, cruel disregard for pain.

Why was I mentally orchestrating such pointed violence, you ask? Well, there were many reasons, but largely they were of my own interpretation (so I see now. This awareness was not available to me last weekend.). Imagine you have a bear. A big angry momma bear (I think they’re grumpier), and you’ve taken away her cubs and her salmon and berries (this is all that I know that they eat, apart from hapless people), backed her into a corner and then poked at her with sticks. Picture her response, multiply it by 12 and you might be getting closer to envisioning my emotional/mental state last weekend.

The good news is that I’ve come out the other end of each weekend a better person. To my mind’s eye, too quickly for my comfort, my perceptions have shifted and I’m noticing that I’m noticing things. Hilariously, I didn’t want to admit this. That’s what I mean by too quickly. Perhaps that isn’t hilarious. More indicative, really, of some stuff I need to deal with. And this transformation is what I signed up for, after all. Add to this the fact that I am actually really enjoying coaching people (I was really not sure how I’d do/feel, but I’m loving it) and really, things are going swimmingly, if not always smoothly.

I feel like that’s a pretty heavy post, so I’ll stop rambling here. I’ll share more of what I’ve learned about me soon. And I promise I’m okay. Better than that, really. Much better. Some old chains are falling off and it feels much nicer. Lighter. More free.


Sometimes, you just need to get a new perspective.

Sometimes, you just need to get a new perspective.