Sick, yet Satisfied: Appreciating the Little Things

(Suggested song to listen to while reading [mentioned later on]: Brandy Alexander -Feist)

There’s a bad cold going around right now and it seems that I’ve caught it.

This past Sunday, I woke to the two glands below either side of my jawline being swollen and my throat hurting quite badly. I had that taste in my mouth, the taste that was less ‘last night’s dinner party wine’ and more ‘uh-oh a cold is developing.’

I soldiered through Sunday’s baby shower festivities and Monday’s hours of working on a commissioned painting that I still need to finish. Chris and I ran errands on Tuesday and the whole day slipped by.

This morning, Wednesday October 19th, I opened my eyes and realized that I actually felt much worse than the first few days even though I’ve been taking medicine regularly since it started. I took some daytime cold and sinus pills and crawled back into bed with a still sleeping Christopher. Unlike most days, I fell back to sleep quickly with heavy eyes, a stuffed nose, and my face feeling the fiery heat of what might’ve been a mild fever.

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Battlefield 1’s female protagonist (there are multiple protagonists that you play as) is actually really cool!

I woke at 11:49am. This was a very late morning for me, but my body obviously needed it. I told myself that today was a mandatory rest day, which worked perfectly in terms of timing because Chris had just gotten a new videogame that he was dying to play called Battlefield 1.

I remind you that yes, we are married adults, but that we have an odd schedule right now. You see Chris’ job as a commercial pilot for the mineral surveying industry keeps him out of the country for a month at a time. He has been home for almost two weeks now and when he’s home, he’s really home. We get approximately a month to spend as much time together as possible. This has been made ‘easier’ this fall by me not having to go back to school, but also currently remaining unemployed.

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Editorial cartoon by Gary Varvel.

I graduated this past spring and have been applying to jobs like mad. A handful of interviews have come and gone to some dream jobs. I pick myself up after each kindly written rejection to keep moving forward, reminding myself that something else will come up (I’m currently hopeful about a promising prospect).

The constant frustration with unemployment and the full-time job of applying to full-time-jobs occasionally lifts and I appreciate what I do have. I try to really focus on these positive moments to make up for the negative thinking that comes with new-grad-stresses.

This unplanned time off in my life allowed me to spend valuable time with Daq before I had to put her down. I would not have been able to take care of her the way that I did and spend whole days by her side if I had a full time job. This time off also gave me room to grieve for her, a family member to myself and many others.

I was struck by the luck of my unlucky unemployment once again this morning. Thankful that I got this bad cold/flu before getting a new job so that I can take a rest day without worrying about who I might be letting down somewhere else.

After I slept in, I didn’t have to rush out of bed. I took in the beauty of the way that the light from the bedroom window danced on the wall that I lay facing. My sweet husband had gotten up, let me sleep, and closed our bedroom doors so that his videogame didn’t wake me. I brought my bedroom pillow to our only couch on the main floor to spend some time with my guy. How many grownups get to have their spouses take care of them when they’re off sick?

I laid next to him while he cheered about not being the worst player on his online team (a victory for him) and I read a good book all day. I drifted off for a couple minutes at a time, waking here and there to the sound of Battlefield 1 machine guns. Being sick when he was home with me was so much better than when I’ve had to take care of myself in an empty house.

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Our receiver, globe, and a wedding photo.

When Chris made his afternoon coffee he also made a ginger-mint tea with some honey for his sick wife. We had a wonderful lazy day together where he enjoyed something that he doesn’t play nearly as often as some people I know and I was able to rest properly.

We were happy to have our leftovers for dinner, an easy dinner for an easy day. I slouched comfortably in my chair and we talked while sipping red wine. I admitted to him how content I felt even though my nose was on fire and my right ear popped whenever I swallowed. I explained that sometimes I experience these moments of recognized bliss that I never could have imagined earlier in my life.

What sparked one of these moments this evening?

Sitting at our vintage walnut mid-century dining table, sipping wine, and talking with my best friend.

The sounds of Feist’s soothing voice singing Brandy Alexander on vinyl while the taste of red wine still lingered on my bottom lip.

The vibrancy and beauty of the red leaves covering our back fence that I could see out of our dining room window – leaves that so often annoy me because they are the result of our backing neighbour’s creeping vines that we involuntarily maintain in our yard. Today they make me happy.

The dim light of the sun already having gone down and few lights being on in the room.

Chris’s smile as he agreed that he was also happy.

That we love each other very much.

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Our vibrant coloured backyard after some rainfall this autumn.

So although things might not be perfect in terms of: me still looking for a job six months after graduating at the top of my class in university; recently losing a best friend who Chris and I consistently miss in the house; a cold that has my body in a lot of pain; and that god awful arrival of the first of many student loan collection notices – it’s important to remind myself that I have a really great life.

Try to think of some things in your life right now that make you happy (as small as they may be). Here are some helpful questions and tips to get you started:

  1. Do you have a loved one or a close friend that makes you smile?
  2. Put on a favourite song and try to enjoy your surroundings with your own personal movie soundtrack.
  3. Tell someone that you appreciate them (this makes you feel good for making someone else feel good and everyone wins there).
  4. Watch the show “Life in Pieces” (It is currently a Netflix favourite and it makes me laugh.
  5. Did you see a dog today (if so I’m jealous, but also happy for you)?
  6. If you feel all alone, think of one nice thing about yourself and try to believe it (I’ll help you and tell you that you have good taste in blogs because you’re reading mine [yes I think I’m funny])

Let me know some positive things going on for you, leave a comment.

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Try a Little Tinder-ness: Outsider Observations on the Dating App

(I recommend that you listen to Try a Little Tenderness by Otis Redding while reading this post)

I met my husband Chris just over four years ago and we married this year, Chris at 32 and myself at 25, but many of our friends have profiles on Tinder.

“Today, if you own a smartphone, you’re carrying a 24-7 singles bar in your pocket.” – Aziz Ansari (TIME’s adapted excerpt from Modern Romance)

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Cover of Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance. I also recommend his show Master of None on Netflix.
Tinder is a popular online-dating app that was released a month or two after I started dating Chris so neither of us have used it personally. Not only has our relationship lasted for over four years, but somehow so has this application! I find Tinder fascinating which is why I was excited when one of my best friends downloaded it recently.

HOW IT WORKS (for those out of the loop like me):
You use your finger to swipe through the very concise online dating profiles that present a small number of photos and even less information about the person. If you swipe the profile to the left it means you’re not interested, a swipe to the right means that you are and you hope that they swipe right on you to make a match (if you swipe up it is a ‘super like’).

Our friends range from approximately 23-43 and come from a variety of walks of life. I have heard more about the Tinder experience from my male friends than the females and they never have rave reviews. I often hear that “Tinder is great for women, but terrible for men” or “It’s so much harder for guys on Tinder.” Generally, in terms of connecting through conversation, getting more matches, and having more options, I think that this is true (but this doesn’t account for all the creeps that need to be subtracted from the average woman’s message box).

My male friends consistently say that the worst part of Tinder is that girls who seem interested drop off the face of the Earth without being honest about why. My female friend who has had the recent success with Tinder said that most guys she talked to were genuinely surprised to get her responses because “most girls don’t talk on Tinder.” I have heard that some users create Tinder profiles to get more Instagram likes or even just to boost their own egos. Natalie Wolchover states what we all know, that the physical distance makes it easy to be mean online or at least easier to avoid doing the right thing.  

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Promotional poster for Meet the Patels.
After watching Meet the Patels on Netflix about six months ago (I loved this movie), I connected the similarities between arranged marriage practices and online dating. They are pretty similar with the questionnaires, profiles, and filtering systems (Aziz Ansari also makes this connection in his book Modern Romance that I hope to read soon) – they mainly differ in the sense that one has an actual paper trail instead of a digital footprint. It’s the technological aspect that allows Tinder user experiences to remain detached and dehumanized, two elements that make it easy to ignore messages or avoid telling the truth about how you feel.

Kate Hakala describes why over half of “location-based dating app users” are men. She compares Tinder to gaming apps, this assessment is based on the finger swiping – Hakala claims that men are just trying to beat the odds.

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In 2014, Nick Bilton, of the New York Times, wrote that “men are nearly three times as likely to swipe ‘like’ (in 46 percent of cases) than women (14 percent).” My male friends and I have joked about how often times guys (including them) seem to swipe right for ‘like’ without even looking at the profiles that scroll past. They’re more likely to get matches this way – they can sort through their options later if they swipe ‘like’ now.

Whether they are swiping right like mad, as if they’re hitting that N-64 A-button as fast as they can, or they are legitimately more open minded, I wonder, do these swipe-happy males care more about quantity of matches over quality?

But what if the goal of the game is less about your quick finish time and more about your high score?

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My female friends who use Tinder have both good and bad things to say. For example, my aforementioned friend who recently downloaded the app changed her main profile photo after being less than impressed with her options on the first day – BAM matches were flying in. Once she had chosen a sultrier photo she was quickly matching with guys that she deemed as more attractive, however, more matches also meant that the amount of ‘creeps’ increased as well – by this I mean guys who open with “What’s your favourite position?” instead of a polite hello.

I was blown away by how fast the list of cute guys she matched with grew. It’s been a little more than a week and it actually seems like she found a keeper already! If she has, of course, in due time she will remove her profile from Tinder and there will be one less female user for the statistics.

Now this is the story of an attractive girl in her early twenties, but my friends in their 30s haven’t had the same luck.

A couple of years ago, I went to my friend Lori Anne’s house for a girl’s night. Lori Anne and I both had serious boyfriends, but her three single friends were talking about how hard finding the right guy was. I don’t remember what I had said, but I clearly recall one girl biting my head off. She told me that my opinion didn’t count because I was in my twenties and that I had no idea how hard it was for older women. I laughed at how rash of a statement it was, but I find myself wondering how true it might be.

My early-twenty-something friend found that the number of guys interested was overwhelming for her, whereas my friends in their thirties finds that options are sparse. This leads to questions such as is Tinder ageist? Is the offline dating game ageist too? What other prejudices does the app enable?

I think Tinder sounds like fun, but everyone should be aware of abuse within the system including fake profiles for advertisements, general misuse, and catfishing.

I know people who have married after meeting on online dating sites like Plenty of Fish, but do you know any long-term commitment success stories from couples who have met on Tinder?

Let me know some of your experiences and enlighten me on the world of Tinder.

all-paws
Visit their site here.
PS – What’s way better than Tinder? The All Paws app that matches you to adoptable dogs!