Confessions of a Canadian navel gazer

Navel-gazing. It’s a Canadian pastime. All huddled up against the 49th parallel, we desperately try to prove we are somehow different from our behemoth neighbour to the south. Fearing we will be swallowed up by the Stars and Stripes, we grasp onto small differences: “toque” for they call ski hat, “pop” for soda.

The guy in the beer commercial proclaims “I Am Canadian”and goes on to list dozens of little quirks, some of which, being from the West Coast, I don’t even understand.

As we try to forge a unique identity out of ten disparate provinces and three territories, we take great pride in claiming not only hockey and our flag, but our artists, our movie stars and musicians.

We are very interested in how the rest of the world views us, especially our national politeness, but maybe that’s not polite to mention.

Too much inward focus I say, kind of fun, but not really productive.

I confess I am guilty of my own navel-gazing. It’s not that I go looking for Celine Dion’s Grammy awards or how many movies Michael J. Fox made, my navel gazing is the social media sort.

Blogging is fun and fascinating, because you see, there are stats I can look at and I like to look at them. A lot. (Looks down). To see if you, the reader, are there reading and commenting. It’s good and useful to know how things are going maybe a once or twice a week, but not twice a day.

I didn’t sign up for Facebook for a long time, because I knew what would happen. Exactly what did, wasted time. Notifications, some about stuff I posted, lots about stuff other people posted. I have an insatiable desire to know, did you see what I said? Then I watch some mindless videos that someone posted and check again. I forget about what I was going to do; write, for instance.

Navel-gazing is not good use of my time. It doesn’t contribute to my writing or my life and when done too often erodes my self-confidence. How many views I got, how many notifications, does not change who I am, any more than spelling “colour” the Canadian way changes the spectrum of the rainbow.

So, un-Canadian as it may be, on this New Year’s day, I resolve to do less navel-gazing.

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