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Ashley Comeau

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LIST IT: Use lists to organize and de-stress your life

Living in the world today I’ve noticed that it is very easy to become overwhelmed. Everything can seem as if it is adding pressure to your already chaotic existence: family, friends, remembering the name of the co-worker sitting beside you (you know the one with the “hang in there” cat poster and the overbite). How does one juggle all of the demanding schedules, hectic lifestyle choices and keep up with the latest trends in socio-political concerns of third world nations? Lists!

I have found that a simple list can make me feel like a goddess! Athena, eat your heart out! Making the list will ensure several things:

i) that a record has been made of what needs to be done

ii) that I will not forget my goals

iii) that I can cross something off when I have finished it. (See what I did there? I made atiny list!)

I must make a confession though, I cheat at lists. Sometimes when no one is looking, I add things that I have already completed down on the list. I do that or I add things I will be doing regardless of time constraints. For example, if the list reads: do dishes, walk dog, write article for Women’s Post, I may (read: do) add items like: make tea, brush teeth and breathe. Yes, they are things I would (hopefully) do without reminders, but crossing something off of a list feels so good. Why would I deny myself that pleasure? In cases of something like writing down the word “breathe”, it serves as a good reminder to catch my breath amidst the rat race.

Focusing your goals by writing them down is a great way to check in with yourself as well as to what those goals really are, whether they be doing laundry or patching a rift in the space-time continuum.

All joking aside, life can become terribly overwhelming when we look at it as a whole. Lists help compartmentalize and help with the realization that it is our tiny victories that lead to the bigger ones, and that what may appear to be the most daunting of tasks can be overcome with smaller steps.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go watch the epic 2007 thriller The Bucket List starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson.

To Do:

Write Article about lists.

Make inappropriate jokes about lists.

Breathe.

“Jump… and the net will appear”

By Ashley Comeau

My English teacher from college ends all of his email correspondences with “Leap… and the net appears”. It is a proverb type saying from the Sufi doctrine, and though I may not know much of their practices, these words have inspired many of my decisions.

Upon further research of the quote many people have claimed it to be their own, including American John Burroughs and the Zen Leadership. (What is the Zen Leadership? I thought Zen was about rearranging furniture.)  In any case, these words are inspirational and wise and it is no wonder that many people want to be credited with saying them.

Humour me for a second while I deconstruct this adage in a way that illuminates my self worth, okay? After the “leap” there is an ellipsis. What does the “…” mean? The dot dot dot, as it were, is the good stuff.  The life stuff. The make-your-heart-swoon, cry-your-eyes-out, lose-a-limb, on-top-of-the-world, mistaken-for-your-twin-sister-in-Tallahassee, bottom-of-the-barrel, world-is-against-you, feel-like-a- million-bucks stuff. It is the goings on that defines our characters.

You can also look at the expression and decipher that if you take a risk and leap, you will be caught safely after your decision, which is so lovely and positive. Disclaimer: Please do not leap literally, especially if it is out of a moving car, high window or if you have weak ankles like myself, I will not be held liable for the literal leapings of women Nationwide.  However, leaping metaphorically is just divine.

When one “leaps” they take the essential risk that propels them into a flurry of the unknown, thus garnering them life experience, lessons learned and, in the end, confidence.

Now if you will excuse me, I have to go strengthen my ankles. I’ve got some leaping in Tallahassee to do.

Patio etiquette 101

Despite winter’s desperation to survive, it finally happened: spring has broken through. In celebration of this glorious event and me being a living stereotype (actor/waiter), please let me remind the general populace about a simple forgotten code: patio etiquette.

When dining upon a patio, please do your best to encourage the following:

1) Please do not sit until at least three-quarters of your party has arrived.
Toronto is a crammed city; green space and patio space are among the first to be consumed when nicer weather is upon us. I’m serious, try setting a blanket down at Trinity Bellwoods in June. It is a cruel joke when someone sits at the last patio table, occupying it for hours, as other poor souls develop shin splints standing in line with their full parties present.

2) It is illegal to smoke while sitting on an enclosed or partially enclosed patio.
Don’t get me wrong, I too love a drag when I’ve had a few G & Ts, but the law says no.

3) For the greater good and all that is holy, if you have a fungal infection or mangled hobbit feet, please wear closed-toe shoes.
They are sensible, stylish and inoffensive. On this note, I must confess, I wrap my hairy French feet up for the summer. I don’t want to ruin anyone’s appetite.

4) If it begins to rain, please remember: it is not your server’s fault.
They do not possess any voodoo mama juju powers. And even if they do, do you think they’d use it to spoil their chance at making money? Servers have other things to worry about, like gaining Patrick Dempsey’s love or solving world hunger.

5) Sadly, and as much as everyone loves them, dogs are not allowed on patios.
I wish I could change this one, but I can’t.

6 )Please pay your bill.
This one sounds ridiculous to have to mention, but all too often and a few pitchers in, a party may get up to leave. Let me put this into perspective: as a server you tip out, so a percentage of your tips goes to tipping the wonderful kitchen staff and bar staff. (We work together as a great team.) If a party forgets to pay their bill, the server has to pay for it. All of it. Sometimes this forces him or her to have to go to an ATM to take out money, as all of the tips earned that day have to go to paying that very bill.

7) Control your volume.
I am 100% guilty of this one, but I like to think it’s because I’m a stage actor and I accidentally slip into my “stage voice.” Please be aware of Toronto’s patio shortage (see point i) and try your best to be courteous of other diners around you.

8) Have fun.
You’ve worked a long week. We’ve had a long winter. Enjoy every second of it. Don’t forget sunscreen and/or hats for prolonged visits. Stay as long as you’d like, you deserve to soak up this beautiful sunshine. Hope to see you around.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go shave my feet.

An open letter to the kid I may never have

Dear Daughter/Son (But I’d want a daughter more):

How are things?

I guess I should introduce myself. I’m your non-existent mother. I say that because we may never meet, because you may never exist, so I’d prefer to remain ethereal and somewhat magical. This isn’t a letter to mothers who have come before me or women who want nothing more than to be a mother. This isn’t a letter about the right to have you, or if I would or not, it’s a confession mostly.

I am sorry I may never have you. Currently, my age is 28, old enough to have you, and yet I still don’t. Here are some of the reasons:

Financial stability is out of the question as I am an arts worker, so there’s that. Being a Canadian actor is amazing when you get to work, but what good is living pay cheque to pay cheque when you want to raise a child in a world with financial certainty? (Well, as certain as it can get. Although I’m sure I’ll be fine— I’ve purchased cheap stocks that can only go up with Blockbuster, Atari and Enron.)

Then there is the shudder I feel in my bones at the thought of another human living inside of me. It actually makes me think of that scene from Aliens. This is in no way natural for me to think this way, right?

Not to mention the fact that overpopulation is at an all-time high, so even if I were ready to have a child, I’d probably adopt to cut down on our carbon footprint. You see? I am nowhere near ready to have children when I’m more concerned about eco-conservation than the want to grow a family.

Essentially, right now, I just can’t. And I’m sorry for that.

Dear little one, if you are to be born in the future, when things are different, I’d like you to know this:

I love you. I will always love you. I will do anything and everything to protect your heart from breaking, grow your mind to the best of its abilities and set you free to develop your own character and sense of being. You are worthy of great things, but keep humble as to not piss off anyone (and try your best during your teenage years). Stay positive as best you can. Be realistic and logical, but dream and vie for those dreams to become your realities. Spread kindness. In this, you will find love and your life will be full and rich regardless of finances.

Forgive your mother for her inability to get her ducks in a row upon the status quo calendar, and know that when you do come into existence one day, there will be no person loved as much as you.

I look forward to the day my fears dissipate and the stork brings a little baby to my doorstep. That’s where babies come from right?

Love,

Yo Mama.