Air conditioning is a luxury – a rant

The past few days I’ve seen quite a few people around the internet stating that people in the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada are stupid for not having air conditioning.

I’d like to remind those people that air conditioning is a luxury. It’s not automatically installed in every home that’s built.

Why? Why should it be?

We don’t all live in Arizona. I say that jokingly, but also truthfully. The Pacific Northwest is the rainiest place in the continental USA. Western Canada is covered with snow 6-8 months of the year, and the rest of the year, barely manages to reach 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit). It’s not normal for the weather to be this hot. Nor should it be.

Fewer than 50% of homes in Canada are built with air conditioning. Actually, it’s probably closer to 30%.

I’m not as familiar with the warmer states, but I have a hunch that air conditioning is not as likely of a regular feature there as well. Air conditioning costs money. A lot of money. To install. To run. To maintain. With so many people at, or below, the poverty line, air conditioning isn’t likely something accessible to them.

Please don’t call people stupid for not having air conditioning.

Be grateful that you have air condition and recognize it for the luxury that it is. Then, understand that not everyone in the world does, and that’s okay. Heat waves like this make life unnaturally difficult to bear in this part of the world. But, there are people who deal with this heat regularly where no one has air conditioning at all! Have some compassion. It’ll take you a lot farther in life.

End Rant.

Financial Trauma

Recently, one of my favourite YouTube commentator channels, Tiffany Ferg, did a video about the role that wealth and class play in one’s ability to succeed with social media as a career choice. Video here, for reference:

One of the things that Tiffany spoke of in this video is the way that money, or lack thereof, can play a significant role in who we are, and who we become.

So, let’s talk about financial trauma.

The concept of financial trauma is the idea that those from low-class economic status have larger portions of their personality shaped around money than those raised in the middle class or upper class. Essentially, growing up poor or barely scraping by, play a considerable role in who you become.

From a personal perspective, this is absolutely true.

From a societal standpoint, I do believe this to largely be true. It’s one of the reasons, I think, why lottery winners are infinitely more likely to file for bankruptcy than regular folk. The sudden windfall of money is something that they really don’t know how to deal with, especially if lands in the laps of someone who’s spent their whole life scraping by, or just making it pay cheque to pay cheque.

But, let’s backtrack here.

I grew up in what is regularly defined as one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in. I was one of five biological children and seven total children living in the house. As a family, we were very much house poor. This means that we were living in a house, we had a roof over our heads and were ultimately very privileged in that sense, but the sacrifices made to ensure that roof stayed over our heads meant a lot of sacrifices in other areas of life.

My siblings and I would regularly go out on bicycles after dark to collect cans and bottles from dumpsters, to earn what very little money we could so that my father would have a way to and from work each day. There were actually days in which he hitchhiked to work. (Due to my father’s profession and the location of our house relative to where he worked, it was very difficult for him to find a coworker who was headed there at the same time as him)

Those memories, they stay with you. They define you, dare I say.

Even so, I know that while I may have grown up low-class in an upper-middle and upper class world, I still acknowledge how blessed I was to be in the situation that I was. Sharing a bedroom with three other people was annoying at times, but I did have a room. I had a house. I had a place to come home to. It’s something that I know a lot of people in the city which I grew up, and the world, did not and still do not have. For the sake of this share, I just wanted to acknowledge the privilege that I did/do have.

One thing I distinctly remember from my childhood is that, for the years in which we did have a vehicle (largely my teenaged years), the gas tank was always riding ‘Empty’. My parents had scraped together enough to get the vehicle, but between the vehicle and the house payments, things felt tighter than ever before.

I think this is very much one of the reasons why I didn’t purchase my own vehicle until I was 31 years old. I think this is one of the reasons why you will never, ever, ever see the gas-tank in my car get below the half-way mark. I can’t do it. The anxiety and stress that I get from seeing the gas-tank read closer to ‘E’ than it does to ‘F'(Full) is something that I cannot tolerate. If I cannot afford to fill up my car with gas, to keep it above the half-way mark on the tank, then I won’t drive my car until I can.

This, to me, is the idea of financial trauma. That the socioeconomic status in which you’re raised is something that stays with you, for what I can only assume is your whole life.

I know I’m not alone in this.

I know someone who grew up in a world-renowned mountain town, one famous for skiing/snowboarding, winter lifestyle and affluence. Their parents brought them to this country as refugees and they landed in this mountain town by some sort of cosmic coincidence.

Their upbringing was hard. This mountain town, known for accepting wealthy tourists from all over the world year-round, was one where cost of living was high, while the possible wages able to be earned by a refugee couple and their children was.

They’ve told me stories about working as a bag-boy and shelf-stocker in the grocery store every day of the week from as early in life as they were able to work, with the money they made in week not even being able to afford them the groceries they would want to buy from that very store. And of following their mom and dd to work as janitors at night to help them get work done faster so they can get more done, and thus make a little more money for the family.

This person, a lot of the financial decisions that they make today are the outcome of what they went through growing up. They go out of their way to ensure that living pay cheque to pay cheque will never again be their reality. They also go out of their way to ensure they don’t/won’t work in any industry remotely related to the jobs they worked growing up. The way in which they grew up has played a big role in defining the decisions they make today.

To an extent, I think this idea of financial trauma will be present in anyone who has lived, or is presently living in a situation in which money is not something that allows them to be comfortable. And, when you really stop to think about it, it’s something that really doesn’t affect those who come from a higher-level socioeconomic class. Because they’ve never had to worry about money, they’ll likely continue to not worry about money, or the choices they make with their money. Not unless they suddenly fall into bankruptcy.

So what shapes them, then? What shapes the upper half? If they’re not plagued by the choice of which bill to decide to pay this month, how do they discern how to make difficult decisions in life? I’m not too sure, really. I can speculate. But, since I’ve never experienced being in that place in which I don’t have to worry about money, it wouldn’t really be fair for me to do as such.

Also, I just want to point out that this is not my shaming of people who come from, or presently reside in, upper-half socioeconomic classes. Money is a wonderful thing. And, if you’re able to reach a point in life in which you’re comfortable, which you have a cushion in your bank account, I think that’s a very good thing.

I wouldn’t say that I have a cushion, where I’m presently at in life. But, I did manage to pay off my debts earlier this year, so I reckon I’m probably in better financial standing that many people my age. That feeling of having no debts, that feeling is unlike anything I’ve ever achieved before.

Funnily enough, my parents, in their late 60’s, have officially paid off all of their debts this year as well. While I’ve noticed a certain ‘lightness’ to them that I’ve never experienced before in my life, I also notice that there are certain things they’re unwilling to do. There are certain decisions being made out of the preservation of their present status in life, to ensure they never go back to their state of financial trauma.

I’d also like to note that financial trauma affects everyone differently. For some people, I think financial trauma manifests itself in hyper-consumerism. People desire to have things to showcase their status. For other people, financial trauma can manifest itself in an unwillingness to buy anything.

As much as money can’t buy happiness, it doesn’t play a very large contributing factor in who we grow up to be. Whether we went through financial trauma in the past, or we’re presently going through it now, money affects every decision in our lives, to some extent.

I’m not really sure how to close this, so I’ll just leave with an ideological thought that’s been on my mind for years. Internships should be abolished. The concept that young people should be forced to work for free and that University, College or High School credit, or ‘experience’ should be enough of a reason to force them through financial hardships should end. Free labor/labour should not exist in the western world. It shouldn’t exist in the world at all, actually. But that’s a discussion for another day – something I need to do a lot more research on and learn a lot more about. The concept of forcing a young person to work for free, ‘to pay their dues’ whilst they’re still required to pay their bills, their rent and they still need to eat is wholly unfair. At the very least, interns should be paid minimum wage in the industry for which they work.

At what point in time do we stop wishing for younger generations to ‘pay their dues’ (a grossly misguided belief) and start saying ‘perhaps the favour I can do for future generations is to ensure they don’t have to go through that which I did’.

Fin.

Saturdaze – Rambling about nothing.

There’s a stipulation in my lease agreement that says the tenant (I) and all visiting parties are only to use entrances and exits to this house for entering and exiting the house. Now, I love a good excuse for defenestration as much as the next gal, but puhhhhlease… give me some credit. Anyone going out of or coming into my house through any other means than use of the door would be silly.

My landlord is an intelligent, Tesla driving, progressive, open-minded individual. Knowing what I know about him, this stipulation in my lease leads me to believe he might have had some specific issues related to people not using the door in the past. Which is weird. Though, people overall seem to be weird creatures and the stupidity people are capable of really doesn’t surprise me these days. So, I’m fine to sign the lease agreement stating that I, nor anyone else, will exit the house through anywhere other than the doors.

In other news, I had the inspection of my car done about 400 miles ago but the individuals who did the inspection never reset the notification so every time I turn my car on and off all I hear is beeping with the car screaming “INSPECTION DUE”. I have to go back to the dealership to get this notification reset. It won’t just allow me to reset it myself. So that’s annoying.

First world problems, I know.

Right now I am hiding in my bedroom, largely because it is the coolest room of the house. The lights are off and I’m watching a show called Scandal, which if you’ve never seen, I highly recommend. I didn’t get much done today. It was a lazy Saturday. I didn’t even clean my house. I’ve just been enjoying myself.

I love summer.

I love warm weather.

I love that the sun shines for so long each day.

I know that the heat can be bothersome to many, and pose serious health risks to people without shelter or adequate water who could likely suffer from heat stroke. I am not a huge advocate for single use plastic bottles but on days like these, I recommend them. For you. For friends. For strangers. There’s a few different charities here in the city who are accepting bottled-water packs as donations so they can hand them out to the homeless around the city. I reckon there’s arrangements like that in place all over, so if you’re curious about what you can do to help in times like these, consider looking into that? It’s something so small, but it could quite literally make a world of difference to donate a twelve pack of water to a shelter or community group in weather stretches like these.

And, of course, stay hydrated yourself. Drink twice as much water as you would normally drink. Your body needs it. I’m saying that even though I know it sounds like I’m lecturing.

Stay cool. (Literally)

Acronym Only cont’d

The head of the applicable business unit at Acronym Only sent me a private message on LinkedIn last week that is/was very interesting. They actually want to meet with me. That, in itself, was shocking. There was a couple of paragraphs of stuff in there that really surprised me. I have not responded yet. I wonder if they think that I’m ignoring them. I might be, to an extent. I’m not exactly sure how to respond.

Anyways…

1,000,000

That’s a lot of zeros.

Yesterday this blogged reached an interesting milestone… something I never dreamed of or comprehended.

#MillennialLifeCrisis, this little corner of the internet where I blabber on about my life, reached one million hits. One million.

I’m dumbfounded.

I started this blog in January of 2019. That means that in 2.5 years, this blog has been clicked on one million times.

That’s a lot.

I’m overwhelmed just envisioning that number.

(For context, as to not confuse here – one million hits is not one million people. One million hits is how many times this blog has been accessed)

Okay, byeeeeeee

Health is wealth

I’ve previously used this blog to explain that I was being plagued by some sort of mystery illness that I couldn’t quite figure out. It’s been affecting me for YEARS.

Prior to COVID, I spent nearly five years going to specialists of all different types. I seemed to be in the doctor’s office, or the emergency room, once a month, and no one would/could pinpoint what was wrong with me. I multiple allergy spectrum tests done, I was tested for 15 different auto-immune conditions, even had a biopsy done. I saw an ear, nose and throat specialist who shoved a camera in through my nose and throat (not the same camera) down to my stomach. I had cat scans, ultrasounds, and cervical examinations. I was screened for cancer at one point.

I avoided foods that I was told I was allergic to, but beyond that, I still felt like shit. I felt like shit and all of my tests were coming back normal. No one could figure it out.

Through that time I was on antibiotic after antibiotic, steroid after steroid, and so much medication that I can’t even begin to tell you.

I saw a doctor who told me that I have Crohn’s Disease shortly before COVID became quite bad in Canada. Though I did not have the symptoms of it, he’d decided that was the case and he offered me advice of what to eat and what not to eat and told me to ‘just deal with it’.

I’m pretty sure he thought I had munchausen.

I saw another doctor about two weeks later who told me it was just IBS and if I stopped eating fast food, I’d be fine.

I’m pretty sure he just wanted me out of his office so he could go home for the day.

I always knew that whatever was happening was related to food. Despite avoiding the foods that I was told I was allergic to (from the allergy testing), I was still having severe reactions to food, every day… some days multiple times per day. I knew it was food, though. I knew it was food because if I didn’t eat, I wouldn’t have symptoms. I was fine. Hungry, but fine.

I kept a food journal for years.

Every time I look at what caused me to have these massive, at times violent, reactions, I could never connect it. It was always random foods. There were days I just felt as though I couldn’t eat anything because everything was making me sick.

If I ate something that my body didn’t agree with, I would bloat to the point where I looked 6 months pregnant. My throat, sinsuses and ears would swell to the extent that it became difficult to breathe (why I wound up at the doctor or hospital so much). For someone who never had acne as a teenager, by the time I reached my late 20’s, I was covered in acne. My body was in a constant, consistent state of inflammation and I didn’t know what to do about it. I just felt gross/bad/sick all of the time. I was always tired and I didn’t know why. I was deficient in so many vitamins and I didn’t know why. Someone could touch me and my body would bruise. I could touch myself and my body would bruise. No one could figure out why.

Well…

Earlier this year I learned that I’m allergic to pork.

Earlier this year I also learned the extent to which pork is in just about fucking everything.

For context, gelatin is most often (not always, but most often) made from pork. Gelatin is used in shampoos, face masks, and other cosmetics; as a thickener for fruit gelatins and puddings (such as Jell-O); in candies, marshmallows, cakes, ice cream, and yogurts; on photographic film; and in vitamins as a coating and as capsules, and it is sometimes used to assist in “clearing” wines. 

Furthermore, most bread that is purchased from the store and even bakeries, are made using a dough conditioner called L-cysteine which are certain proteins gathered from the hair and follicles of pigs.

A lot of cheeses are “thickened” in the process of being made with pork enzymes.

A lot of shelf-stable peanut butters contain gelatin that is pork derived.

Vitamins and pain-killers (Motrin, Tylenol, etc) that are made in the gel-cap formulas are all made with pork derivatives for the gelatin caps. When my body was inflamed, I was taking Motrin gel-caps to help with the pain, not realizing the gel-cap itself was contributing to my pain.

A lot of baked goods – cookies, croissants, brownies, etc… use something called sodium stearoyl lactylate. Sodium stearoyl lactylate is a cheap ingredient used to increase the shelf life of food products because it keeps mold away. PRESERVATIVES CONTAIN PORK.

This is just a few of the things I’ve discovered beyond the obvious – don’t eat bacon, ham or sausage.

Freaking protein bars have pork protein in them.

So, what did I do? Once I came to the realization this could be an allergy, I cut it from my diet completely. I became even more of a hawk for reading labels then I ever was before. I’ve learned the 40+ different things that a company can put on a label that’s code for pork derivatives, and if something was/is fishy, I call or email the company. I switched to eating Halal meat products. I haven’t had anything with pork in a long time.

I stopped taking gel-caps pills and vitamins. You know, Motrin actually works for me now when I need it.

I am stupidly, disturbingly happy to admit that I feel the healthiest I have in ten years. My body has moved away from the state of feeling constantly inflamed and I feel like a normal person. My throat, sinuses and ears have stopped swelling, my skin has completely cleared up. I feel awake and alive. I can digest food without wanting to throw up. I can breathe properly. I sleep properly at night. I just feel like a whole new person.

I have to schedule some blood-work at some point this summer. Now that I know what it is/was that was causing me so many issues, I want it officially confirmed for my medical records. With the amount of pork that’s used in medication (pork and eggs are used as base ingredients for some medicines, which is why people with egg allergies can’t have certain medications), if I ever get sick or injured in the future, I don’t want to be prescribed medication that’s just going to make more sick.

I feel so normal (from a physical health perspective). This feeling has been a long time coming.

I can’t even begin to explain how good that feels.

Summer Solstice 2021

Today is the longest day of the year.

For anyone who doesn’t know what the the summer solstice is, the summer solstice, also known as estival solstice or midsummer, occurs when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt toward the Sun. Now, if you live closer to the equator, it might not make that much of a difference in your day. But, if you live closer to the North Pole, the summer solstice makes for almost complete 24 hour daylight.

I’m far enough away from the North Pole that it’s only around 20 hours of daylight here. Maybe 21 if we’re stretching it.

After today all of our days will get shorter.

After today, all of our days will feel darker until Winter Solstice in December.

So, if I can encourage you to do one thing today, it’s enjoy the sunlight, the daylight and the summertime.

Also, if you’re interested in seeing what summer looks like when one lives close to the North Pole, there’s an Instagram user @sejsejlija who lives in the worlds Northernmost town. She’s been showing a lot lately what it’s like to be out and about this time of year when the sun shines on her town 24 hours a day.

It’s the longest day of the year people. Enjoy it! Soak up that Vitamin D! (wearing SPF of course)

The reality of social anxiety

A while back I shared “Life with social anxiety”. In the post I go into great detail about what it’s like, from my perspective, to deal with social anxiety.

The reason why I mention that post today is because I want to, again, talk about social anxiety.

For people that don’t suffer from social anxiety, it’s hard to understand it. For people that do, it’s hard to explain it. This can lead to confusion, misunderstanding, misrepresentation of how conversations are carried out. It’s a tangled web.

See, I’m not very good with people. I’m not the type of person who will start a conversation. In fact, if you don’t start the conversation, we might not even have one. I don’t find silence to be awkward. I actually find silence to be calming. People often, though, mistake my silence for attitude.

If there’s one thing that this pandemic has done for me the past year-and-a-half, I haven’t had to explain myself as much. I haven’t had to come up with excuses for why I couldn’t go somewhere or do something. The pandemic did that for me. Now that I’m fully vaccinated and the majority of people in this province are also vaccinated, or getting vaccinated, it’s much safer to go out and do things. Events are starting again. People are meeting for coffees, or dinner and drinks, or just to sit around the table and talk.

All of those things are good. Believe me, ALL OF THOSE THINGS ARE GOOD. They’re just hard for me.

I’m awkward.

I don’t love hugs.

Most days I don’t even appreciate handshakes.

In social settings, I won’t deny someone a hug or a handshake if they gesture for it, but I’m definitely not going to initiate it. Sometimes I get the sense that people think I’m cold-hearted because of that.

It’s been nice to not have to force myself into situations that make me uncomfortable for a year and a half. I know, I know, I know all about how we’re supposed to do things in life that make us uncomfortable to ensure that we grow, but, when it comes to social anxiety, it isn’t a situation in which if I do it more, I become more comfortable with it.

I’ve come to the realization that I will always be awkward.

I’ve always been that person that smiles and nods at a stranger if they ask me a question or give me a compliment. Actually, when it comes to compliments, I don’t take them well at all.

Being vaccinated has given me a lot of freedom back. For that, I’m grateful. Wandering the aisles of the grocery story without worry is a really good feeling. It will take me some time to adjust, though, to being around people again. Conversations in passing, meeting for coffee, going to birthday parties (haven’t really started here yet but I know they will), getting my haircut… these things will take me time. I am that girl who will sit in the stylist’s chair for several hours (I have long hair) and maybe say two or three words the entire time. Over the course of those several hours getting my hair cut, I will worry about what the stylist is thinking of me. But, I won’t open my mouth to talk. That is social anxiety guiding me.

For those that know me, they know that I struggle with social interactions. For those that don’t, I’m all too sure they think I’m rude. I think about that a lot, actually. I think about what everyone thinks about me. All the time. They don’t dictate who I am, or who I get to be, but I still do worry I’m leaving the wrong impression.

I guess, as the world opens up again, it’s important to be patient with people.

I am who I am. My social anxiety guides a lot of what I do. If I say no to an invitation, that’s not a reflection of the invitee, that’s me. If I integrate back into the world slowly, there’s a reason for that.

Social anxiety is complicated.

Boston Locals!

If you’re a Boston local, or just someone who frequents Boston, or has frequented Boston in the past, I need your advice!

I need to do some ordering of clothing and food and I want to give the business to local Boston shops/stories/restaurants/bakeries.

Please, if you have some advice, leave me a comment.

I am looking for:

  • Athleisure clothing (Doesn’t have to be a small brand, can just be a local shop that sells bigger brands)
  • The BEST bakery
  • A great restaurant or catering company

I have looked on google. I have seen business listings in the categories which I am searching. I’m looking for I’m not looking for a list. I’m more so looking for anyone who’s had first-hand experience. Anyone who can make recommendations of where to go and where I should avoid!

Small, medium or large shops/restaurants/bakeries are all fine. I’d rather give money to a local business than to order from a national or international business and ship it to Boston.

Many thanks