Hands unchained

One major feature or change in my life recently was the return to freedom. Although this makes it seem like I might have been legally incarcerated, this is not the case, but living in China does limit some freedoms that one would normally wouldn’t experience in the free world...

A large decision was undertaken in September 2015 regarding changes in my life, and it was when I decided that I would seek other employment opportunities. While I love the kids I teach, the system under which I was teaching was becoming increasingly unsustainable, and I wanted out. I began interviewing in October, and I landed a contract in March.

The decision was not taken lightly; I really did mull it over for a long while. Part of me wanted to stay because living in China became easy, but there were some serious life questions that I started to ask myself: Is living here sustainable? Can I find what I’m looking for here? And after I reflected a bit, and some stuff that went down in my personal life, the answer was an unequivocal no. Thou shall hear of those reasons in reflections in the future, but for no the details are irrelevant.

And so on June 30, after leaving my apartment (and home – and yes it really did feel like home) at 21:00, our shuttle bus bound from the interior of Jiangsu Province was bound for Shanghai. In what has later become 60 hours of transit (which I originally thought was 34), I relived June 30 twice and half of June 29th and arrived into Toronto via Tokyo and Vancouver.

And thus I found freedom, sort of. It’s not my final destination and it doesn’t feel like real freedom yet, but it’s a step in the right direction. Hello Twitter, Hello Facebook, Hello Blog, Hello unrestricted internet, and Goodbye VPN.

I miss you already, China, despite your shortcomings…

Given that I’m a spiritual person, I stumbled upon a link that came up in my Facebook feed. Everyone that knows me knows that I’m into the zodiac and tarot reading, and given that I’m quite intuitive (read not psychic but pretty darn close) I had a gander at the link to “What Your Native American Zodiac Symbol Means” provided by SpiritScience.net and the results neither surprised nor shocked me.

According to this post, the following sign represents me:

Woodpecker: June 21 – July 21

Native American Zodiac Woodpecker“Woodpeckers are usually the most nurturing of all the Native American animal symbols. The consummate listener, totally empathic and understanding, the Woodpecker is the one to have on your side when you need support.

Of course, they make wonderful parents, and equally wonderful friends and partners. Another proverbial feather in the Woodpeckers cap is the tendency to be naturally frugal, resourceful, and organized. In a nurturing environment the Woodpecker is of course caring, devoted, and very romantic. Left to his/her own devices the Woodpecker can be possessive, angry, jealous, and spiteful.”

And so it got me thinking, particularly since the Native American zodiac seems to take into account relationship status of the person; either in relationship or “left to their own devices.” And so I’m represented by being possessive, angry, jealous, and spiteful. I got to thinking about it, and while these character traits are vague and can apply to any person, it’s bang on.

It’s particularly poignant when circumstances force you to reflect on positive and negative qualities of oneself, or particularly when someone brings out the bad qualities in you. I can only think back to a few weeks ago to know for sure, and to re-affirm myself in having all four of those emotions within the span of 5 minutes. Consider it a “bitch plz” moment where I go Alpha Male for pretty much the first and only time it’s likely to happen in my life.

Woody the Woodpecker beware, I’m hot on your tail, or should I say wings?

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One and a half years later I had the stomach to give it a go again, in February 2011 Facebook notified me that I was not allowed to be in a relationship with myself. Given that I’ve been married to myself since 2007 (see past posts about this), I thought I would try to give it a go again.

As you can see from the above posted pictures, Facebook has failed yet again… Why am I not surprised?

Although it did make me laugh for a second… I mean it does make sense that you have to be “friends” with someone to be in a relationship with them, but that giggling is far outweighed by my disgust.

I think that I’ve experienced enough of the negative results of technology affecting people that I can base an opinion now on personal experience. In the past few years with the advancement of technology (mobile phones, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) I find that people don’t honour commitments the same way as in the past.

What do I mean by this? Say for instance you agree with a friend to meet at a specific time and place that is pre-established. Said friend flakes on you at the last minute as something else comes up or they are distracted by something else. Or say for instance you do end up going to what was planned, but your friend is constantly checking their phone for messages or Tweeting about their experience or such.

In the second instance despite having shown up, is the friend still honouring their commitment of time to you? I’m not saying that you are writing your name or commitments in blood, but I think that a lot of people have lost the importance of doing something they say they are going to do.

Does it ever occur to them that they are taking advantage of your time, and that your time is valuable as well? In flaking on you, it’s really just a disrespect for your time and your life, and depending on the level of friendship you have, it may make you think twice about accepting and agreeing to do something in the future.

What made me think of this? Well I’ve been chatting with someone for a few weeks and they have been very eager to hang out and meet. As usual I’m hesitant at first because in the past I’ve been flaked on a lot, and so in theory if I get to know someone better first there is less likelihood of it happening (well in theory of course). After all the kerfuffle to organize a mutually agreed upon time, and pressure from them to commit to a time, they end up flaking at the last second.

At this point I’ve heard just about everything except someone died, but it’s all the same: a blatant disregard for the importance of other people’s time. I’m twenty five years old, and I’ve never said I was going to do something then didn’t do it. I’ve never flaked out on someone (regardless of how well I know them) at the last second. I understand the importance of other people’s time, and respect it accordingly. I don’t have an expectation that everyone should be as committed as me, but I truly believe that people don’t respect other people on this basic level.

This isn’t a rant, but perhaps I have done it anyways. Any comments, suggestions, experiences to share?

Despite unfavourable fortunes as outlined in my horoscope for the day or week, and seemingly frivolous attempts at maintaining and manifesting friendships in a positive manner, I find myself for the last few days at a loss and on the suffering end.

As polite as it may be to inform someone that you are terminating a friendship in a somewhat of an amicable way, doing so with a back handed compliment doesn’t serve much purpose or benefit for anyone. I’m sure most people would prefer an abrasive end to friendship or correspondence.

So you compliment someone on their gentlemanly and kind nature and yet don’t see that as being good enough to maintain a friendship? Really? – You can’t be serious.

Shocking as it may seem. I’m not overly surprised given peoples lack of social ettiquite in this day and age. Take for instance a normal friendship; should it be like pulling teeth all the time to correspond? Should there be a lot of flaking by someone and cancelling of scheduled meetings? Should you really invite 20 people to an event if you want 10 to show up?

Its all really ridiculous and I don’t think its appropriate at all. People are so capable of cutting people out of their lives now. All you have to do is click a block button and you’ll never need to deal with them again. As simplistic as that is, its quite irritating. We make such an effort to try to make friends with only ones with whom we share a common interest or dedication.

However, that’s not realistic or representative of daily life. We all encounter people we aren’t particularly fond of, but we have to develop a tolerance to their stupidity and/or aggravations in order to obtain a goal, or finish something by deadline.

Why can’t we just take the same advice and apply that theory to the rest of our interactions with people and become more tolerant and have a plethora of types of people in our social circles and not block them from our lives because they don’t fit like a puzzle?

The realist in me knows it won’t ever happen, but the humanist side is depressed and hopelessly committed to obtaining that.