Sunday, 7 January 2018

Lanterns & Longish Weekends

It figures that the first week of the year, the week I'm all gung-ho to jump back into blogging we had a big snowstorm. Which caused a power outage, followed by an even longer Internet outage which essentially put a halt on all blogging enthusiasm. 

Ironically I had planned to publish a post about how one of my intentions for the year is to do less multi-tasking and how I thought I might be able to manage life one thing at a time. As it turns out multi-tasking is a lot harder when there's no electricity. For starters it eliminates the option of watching TV along with anything else. And since I was 95% prepared and not 100% prepared my cellphone wasn't fully charged which eliminated the option of listening to music or Podcasts as I went about my afternoon and evening.

I found a book and blanket and cozied up on the couch and read for almost two hours without interruption. When supper time rolled around I made some guacamole and ate by lantern light without any background noise. Then I went back to reading until the power came on a little while later. I won't pretend I didn't leap up to charge my phone and make a hot cup of tea but I also didn't immediately turn on all the lights and fire up Netflix. I kept reading and being content just reading my book and enjoying the quiet. 

Shortly after that I realized that the power came on but the Internet did not. In fact it was gone from Thursday at 3:30-ish until Saturday afternoon at 3:30ish. I tried to enjoy it and I did pop in Friends DVDs to watch while I worked on my Project Life album but I seriously felt like I was disconnected. I wasn't totally disconnected, my phone was fully charged and I was using data to scroll through Twitter for the latest news and check in on Instagram but it sure felt that way.

It left me wondering if I should re-evaluate my plans to go an entire week without multi-tasking, a week is a long time when you're only doing one thing at a time. And it really left me wondering how I can incorporate some regularly scheduled technology breaks into my life. 

Sunday mornings or afternoons seem like the most logical time to implement some slow down time but then again so do Wednesday evenings. Maybe it should be a daily thing instead of a weekly thing, although I know that's not realistic. 

Do you have mandated technology breaks? I know I go long stretches without my phone or computer if I'm out and about but if I have an evening or day at home it's likely I'm going to be watching TV and texting and aimlessly browsing....possibly all at once and there's no way that can be a healthy habit!

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

2018 - Brought To You By The Letter H

A few months back I briefly mentioned I had been reading about the difference between goals and intentions. It's still something I'm thinking about and I want that to reflect any sort of to-do list I make  going forward. I broke things down into four categories where I want to be intentional over the next year, they're purposely broad so that any goals I create will fit into one of the four categories. I'm not sure yet if I'll set monthly or quarterly goals or a mix of both but I do know that these will be the categories:

For the first time since finishing high school I know I'm going to live in one place for the whole year and foreseeable future. Since moving in at the beginning of September I've bought a few pieces of furniture and done a little rearranging to make it feel like home but there's still more to be done. The intention here is to create a place that is warm and inviting and homey. Goals in this area will be specific things like adding more art to the walls and creating a scrapbooking nook. 

Gratitude was one of my main resolutions for 2017 and while it wasn't perfect most days I did take time to list a minimum of three thankful thoughts. Lately I've been topping 20-30 things each day and it is true that the more you do it the easier it becomes. Along with continuing be thankful I want to be kinder and gentler to myself and others. Be a little less judgemental and a lot more compassionate, even when my Type A-ness just wants to solve the problem and move on with life. Difficult things to measure but might end up including sending more snail mail, planning more coffee dates and less meetings. 

The first year of a new job is always going to be rough but looking back I had a terrible work/life balance. I planned almost everything around work and it left me feeling resentful and generally unhappy. There's absolutely value in working hard and getting things done but there's also a whole lot of value in having interests and life outside the office. Reading more books, decreasing screen time and planning time away from work are all going to fall under this category. 

One difference between intentions and goals is the idea of forming habits. When you set a goal it's a task that you accomplish and then move on to the next task. Intentions don't necessarily have an end, it's about being mindful about how you're interacting with the world. Mostly all of these goals are about creating new habits and being intentional and less about doing x number of things before a certain date. My morning routine is going to get an overhaul in this area as is my tendency to multi-task. 

How is 2018 shaping up for you? Are you making resolutions? Setting goals? Carrying on with life like usual? Let me know!

Monday, 1 January 2018

One Little Word 2018

I hadn't given any thought to choosing a word for 2018.

I was starting to see posts pop up on social media and I watched the official launch of Ali Edward's One Little Word workshop but it wasn't resonating with me and I wasn't interested in forcing something. Last year I had the grand idea to choose one word each week...which was indeed a wonderful idea until about March. At which point it became a chore and I stopped even looking at the list of 52 words I had previously chosen. 

A little over a week ago I was journalling at the end of the day and thinking about words and it occurred to me that 'magic' should be my word for 2018. My first reaction was more of a 'Ugh, again, I don't want to pick a word.' than excitement but I let my subconscious mull it over and before I knew what I was doing I was browsing 'magic' and 'magical' quotes on Pinterest. 

This is definitely a scenario of my word finding me versus me choosing a word. And I'm still a little bewildered about what I'm supposed to do with the word 'magic'. In a lot of ways it seems like a juvenile word conjuring up images of unicorns and rainbows or on the opposite end something dark and scary. I'm much closer to the unicorn end of the spectrum but I'm not about to redecorate everything pink and I'm also not going to start consulting a psychic. I'm left shrugging my shoulders and actively deciding to go with the flow.

I'm not going to do the Ali Edward's workshop and I probably won't actively incorporate it into  my Project Life album on a regular basis. I'm anticipating documenting most of my word in my art journal with doodles and collages and whatever I feel like doing, whenever I feel like doing it - maybe it will be weekly, maybe it will be every few months the one certainty is that I'm not attaching any rules to the process. 

Are you embracing a specific word for 2018?  I'd love to know your word and how you're planning to interact with it over the year!

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Favourite Things 2017 Edition

Along with the end of the year comes the invitation to reflect and compile all that reflection into lists. And since there are few things I find as comforting as lists it's the perfect motivation to dust off the keyboard (literally) and document a few of my favourite things from 2017. 

Book: You Are A Badass - Jen Sincero. I loved this book. I've read a lot of self-help type books and things that generally fall into the 'self-help' category but this one was different. The information was familiar but it was presented in a way that made it fun and friendly. A friend recommended it to me and then I recommended it to another friend and now I have this little pod of people who are all equally as interested in the power of positive thinking and encouragement. 

Show: The Ranch I came across this show in July and it quickly became a favourite. There's something about the way it balances humour and drama, it feels real and not too ridiculous. Of course, some of it is kind of ridiculous but in the same way real life is ridiculous. There's a lot of swearing, which generally turns me off of a movie/show but it works in this context. I like it so much that I'm not even binge watching the most recent season because I want to savour it! 

Move: The Fundamentals of Caring This is a wimpy favourite...I'm not even sure I watched this movie this year or towards the end of last year. Either way I don't watch a lot of movies and when I do watch movies I watch the same ones. I'm including it because it was a decent movie and every other movie I watched this year I either didn't really like or was made in the 90s. 

Song: I'll Name the Dogs - Blake Shelton A few summers ago a friend consistently pointed out that country songs are ridiculous and when I first heard this song I thought about how much P. would dislike it and how much I like it. It is silly and it's also incredibly sweet and I listen to it on repeat at least once a day. 

Podcast: The Lively Show This started as a one off listening to an episode about work/life balance and I really liked what she had to say so I kept listening. I haven't made it through the entire library of shows but I'm slowly making my way through them and keeping up with recent episodes. It might be a little out there for some people and sometimes it's a little too out there for me but it is really interesting and usually motivating!

App: Instagram Nothing too exciting here, I was briefly addicted to a game called 'Cookie Jam' but Instagram was definitely the most used overall.

Photo/Moment: I had a lot of feelings during/after visiting camp in the summer but afterwards a group of us went to a friend's cottage and I snapped this photo. It illustrates a whole lot of my favourite things from people to places and is the perfect reminder that life is weird - and it always works out. I'm immensely grateful for these people and the place that brought us together even though it wasn't something I planned or wanted. 

Usually people choose a word at the beginning of the year to set the tone this year I've been thinking about a word to sum up all the events of 2017 and I've come up with disorientating. On paper and in practice life was pretty good and at the same time totally not what I envisioned. And maybe that's not a bad thing but time will tell. 

Monday, 20 November 2017

Let's Regroup

I started writing this post back in August and the original title was 'Mid-Year Regroup' and now it's nearing the end of November. The time has come and gone to do any sort of mid-year regroup but I've made up my mind to return to a semi-regular blogging schedule and after more than six months of sporadic blogging a regroup is definitely in order!

I've managed to post an extremely general and not very interesting post once a month or so but nothing more than that so here's a month by month summary of what I've been up to since I essentially stopped blogging back in February.

February & March// This two months blend together in a lot of 'what the heck am I doing here'. My introduction to the new job and new community and all the newness was a struggle. I'm pretty sure the only motivation for sticking with it was pure stubbornness and a vague belief that everything happens for a reason and this is the place I was meant to be in this moment.

April// By April I felt a little more hopeful that maybe my 'yes' to this adventure wasn't a colossal regret. There were sprinklings of 'God Moments' and I found myself breathing a little easier, feeling a little less anxious and cautiously optimistic.

May// Some, but not all of the decreased stress and optimism followed me into May. Some days were easier than others but I still felt like I was in survival mode just making it through the day. I think I learned a lot during the month and was really excited that spring had arrived!

June// I was so happy that winter was really over. I spent a lot more time outside, going for walks in the evening and going with the flow. Looking back over the year the common thread seems to be that when I was 'going with the flow' life felt easier and happier. Maybe that's because I've been reading a lot of books and listening to a lot of podcasts lately on the theme of flow/living with intention etc.

July// The beginning and middle of July was pretty great. I felt like I was maybe starting to hit my stride and finding my place. I was house and pet sitting for most of the month and it was really lovely having pets to keep me company in the evening and having access to satellite T.V..  I was able to visit camp at the end of the month and that heavily influenced August...

August// I spent a lot of this month in tears and was kind of a basket case. After visiting camp at the end of July I had a whole lot of feelings. I did pull myself together coming on the end of the month, heavily infused by the fact I found out I would get to move in September!

September// At the first of the month I moved (again) to a new apartment! I'm anticipating living here for at least a year before I even contemplating moving again. It's much nicer than the first apartment I lived in, has much more privacy and I've been more interested in making it feel like home since I know I'm going to be here for awhile.

October// I had really great weekends in October and it was so nice to have that option. H. & R. came to visit when I was in the other apartment but it was pretty cramped and it rained the whole time. I love being able to host people and cook supper and have room for overnight guests! I let some negative people make me feel pretty terrible far often than I should this month. This has really been my first experience directly working with Passive Aggressive Negative Nelly's on a daily basis and it's a huge learning curve.

And there you have it, that brings us to November and things are still chugging along. I've never done a Q&A post before and I'm not even sure how many readers are still around there parts but I'll put it out there - if there's any burning questions you'd like to have answers to since I last blogged let me know in the comments and I'll compile a post!

Sunday, 12 November 2017

November Life

Personal Life// It's been a full two months since I moved and having a place that feels more long term has made a big difference. This month I'm modifying my evening schedule and even though it's only been a week I'm loving the amount of breathing room it's given me. 

Hobbies// I'm working through July in my Project Life album and seriously considering going weekly for 2018. It seems like a big undertaking and I also feel like I can make it work. My Blog is in need of some serious TLC, I managed to get rid of the unsightly PhotoBucket error images but now buttons to Bloglovin' and Instagram are also gone. If anyone knows how to fix that I'd appreciate the help!

Career// Some days I feel like it's starting to come together. Other days that statement couldn't be farther from the truth. I really need to do a full post dedicated on this topic. In general things are okay, there are pros and cons and somedays one of those columns outweighs the other. Likely, that's the way it's always going to be and it's a matter of deciding what to focus on in any given moment. 

Spirituality// Why are Bible Journal supplies so darn expensive?! I guess more specifically Single Column Bibles because I already have all of the other supplies. They all seem to be in the $50-$100 range BEFORE shipping. Maybe I'm just looking in the wrong places?  Other than that I still have a really solid bedtime routine and I've found some great podcasts that have help deal with life's stresses. 

Health// Reclaiming my evenings is going to make this a lot easier. I'm excited to meal plan again and have more control over meals. I've been doing much better in the realm of hydration. I did wind up with an autumn cold but I powered through and it only lasted a couple of days. I know I'm a much happier human when I sleep well so I try really hard to make that a priority and most days I'm successful. 

Goals// I've been reading a lot lately about the difference between goals and intentions (also a separate post) and it's totally reframed the way I think about accomplishments. While I continue to think about the implications of that I'm not making any new goals.


Sunday, 22 October 2017

September/October Life 2017

Personal Life// At the beginning of September I moved to a new apartment which was a majorly positive change. I'm struggling a little to get out of the work-place bubble. I really miss being involved in Guiding but the closest units are about 45 minutes away and that's just not practical in winter. A coworker/friend is determined to set me up with someone, the first guy hasn't worked out because he moved out west for work (much like most males in my dating age bracket). Now she has someone else in mind so stay tuned for those developments. 

Hobbies// I've managed to catch up as far as mid-June in my Project Life album so that's coming along. It's been awhile since I've done any pretty planning in my planner but I did buy a new sketch book and have done a few pages of what many would consider 'art journalling'. Books have been gathering dust in favour of re-watching Grey's Anatomy on Netflix. I usually read about one book a month but could (and should!) be reading more.

Career// Some days I feel like it's starting to come together. Other days that statement couldn't be farther from the truth. 

Spirituality// I still really like the idea of Bible Journalling but haven't done a darn thing to make that a reality. I'm still journalling and keeping a gratitude journal with an acceptable level of consistency. Recently I discovered a really great podcast that I've been trying to listen to and reflect on at least every second day.  

Health// It's ironic that one of the reasons I'm spending some time blogging this afternoon is because I've somehow acquired a cold and lack motivation to move from my couch. I was in a good rhythm for a while with eating & sleeping & hydrating and then I made a hard left. Now my sleep schedule is inconsistent, I've been eating weird meals and drinking too much coffee and not enough water. 

Goals// I've been doing some research on 'goals' versus 'intentions' and it's really changed my perspective on the whole topic. The difference between setting a goal to practice self care implies that there's a time limit on it and once it's achieved it's done. Having the intention to practice self care implies that it's not just something you do and is done but something you are constantly considering when you're thinking about goals. Moving to a new apartment was definitely a goal because now it's accomplished and it's not something I need to think about again for a while. All that to day I'm doing some reevaluating on what are my goals and what are my intentions. 

I have some drafts kicking around that I'm going to attempt to edit and get published this week. First though I'm going to eat some soup and watch an episode of Grey's before summoning all the motivation to move off the couch.