Wednesday, November 19, 2008

To baby or not to be?

Women's night. The evening is slowly winding down. A few of us are sitting in the kitchen while another handful of ladies are talking in the living room. Two women come in from the living room and crack up laughing as they hear our conversation.

We are all in our early or late thirties. We are mostly all climbers. We are all wondering if having babies is a must. None of us feels the urge; the clock ticking; the intense desire for "that" kind of responsabilities. Yet, we all wonder. We are all nagged by what, at our age, we are expected to do: having babies.

We live in a time of choice, where we can have kids or not, we can be women with a job - or not, we can become president of jobs who were men only jobs just yesterday, we can be married or single or divorced and it's no longer stigmatized, we can be gay, straight, bisexual, we can live anywhere we want.

But with choices come questions, existentialism, a loss of social status that we need to reinvent on our own. We now need to define who we are, who we want to be, on our own, because we no longer have to obay social structures. But defining oneself is no easy task. What is my role as a women in the world? what is the role of a man in the modern world?

At 32, I wonder. Deeply. I went to law school, knowing that law "wasn't my thing", but I decided to push through and finish. I did. Later, I started going through the mountain guide certification . I love the mountains. I love people. I will finish my certification. Yet, I need to be fulfilled both physically - my guiding and climbing life - and intellectually. I need the latter to be motivated in the physical realm. I need to find a balance between the two to be fulfilled. Yet, at 32, I wonder what it is going to take to satisfy my intellect: going back to school is stimulating, yet, how much sense does it make, when I am at the age when women should be thinking about having children. Shouldn't I be just having kids? but to have kids I need to be making money, and to make money I need to be going back to school. And all the while, I want to climb, climb and climb. And I still feel no urge to have kids. But I feel like I should be wanting to have them. And sometimes, I feel that I want them, because I feel it would bring an easy answer to the turmoil of life questions.

As Emery said tonight, you can't have kids to find fulfilment in your life. You need to find fulfillment within you first. But what is fulfillment: is it being where you are socially expected to be at? is it being successful in your job? is it having babies? or is it having defined what you expect yourself to be and being just that? or maybe, it's just being satisfied with what you have right now...

I wonder....

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tolerance in the time of elections?

The elections are taking place today and I can barely stand still. I have lost sleep over it. I am just as antsy and excited as I was twenty years ago, waiting to open my presents over Christmas. The tension is high everywhere. I have never seen so many people stand up for what they believe in: people express their opinion by putting up signs in their front lawns; friends are sending text messages as a reminder to vote; some Facebook members have given their status away to remind the world to vote, others – from countries around the world – are urging us Americans to vote; parties and celebration are being organized to celebrate Obama, because who could imagine that anyone else would get elected? Even my yoga teacher has made the elections a part of her class opening speech. Yesterday, in class, she was talking about how she has butterflies in her belly, because she is so worried about the election outcome. I, myself, have been loosing sleep over it. I am frightened by Sarah Palin’s appalling lack of experience in every issue this country is dealing with and in her inability to actually build a proper sentence! She is not fit to be the VP of one of the most powerful nation in the world!

I live a sheltered life, within a community who will vote for Obama because that community – the outdoor community – is sick of this useless war, worries about the environment, about health care, women’s right, and much more. A few days ago though, I was exposed to people who have different views of this country’s future. And, although I had never voted before and thought that I had no political opinion, I felt personally attacked that anyone could even envision voting for McCain, especially since he chose Palin as his VP – an illiterate, uneducated, unworldly, contradictory women who is against women’s rights, on top of it all! It is scary that this woman could one day be the president of the most powerful nation on earth.

Again at yoga though, that same teacher expressed that right now is a great time to practice tolerance. She said that, but I could see how hard it was for her too to put that in practice. How can one be tolerant when your own values and ethics are at stake? When everything you believe in has been trashed for the past 8 years and there is now hope to remedy to what Bush has done to this country? I love this country and I feel that I know what is best for it. Much like the rest of the people surrounding me. But truth is, everything is relative, and people voting for the other party are probably feeling just as cheated by me as I am by them.

In the light of this perspective, I realized that my intolerance of other’s views of politics is the same intolerance leading to wars, leading to people voting to protect their own little comforts, leading to people being afraid of change, and therefore leading people to vote McCain / Palin. This perspective has helped accept that not everyone will vote Obama today and be somewhat OK with it. We can agree to disagree.

As a friend just wrote to me:

“It will be what it will be (the election that is)... nothing to worry about. Barak by a landslide :-)

And, if I'm wrong, which is often the case, McCain is an okay guy. He means well for the most part. If for some reason Palin ended up in the driver's seat, impeachment is always a handy tool that is possible.

And, if things become incredibly unbearable, Canada has great climbing!”

But let’s hope that we don’t have to move. Let’s hope that everyone votes. Let’s hope there will be no cheating this time. Let’s hope that people vote for freedom. The real freedom: that which is not imposed by fear and war. Vote for change! Vote OBAMA!