1. A lot changed between thirty and thirty-two thoughts. I don’t go to yoga anymore. My divorce feels like it happened in a completely different lifetime. I forgot a few things that felt important at thirty or thirty-one that make sense today but aren’t top of mind. (“Let go of what doesn’t serve you” is a great thought from my yoga days that I’d like to return to.) Thoughts I had 2 years ago have evolved into core philosophies that I now live by. It’s evolution.
2. I’m better at being patient, but still not great. It’s evolution. I don’t mind if I have to wait in line. If someone in front of me at a store is arguing about a discount that didn’t get applied on their purchase, I consider that maybe those extra few dollars make all the difference for that person, rather than rolling my eyes and sighing impatiently. I’d rather be empathetic than impatient. But… make me wait to see a person I love? NOPE.
3. Repetition still permeates my brain. Speaking of evolution, there is something about pattern and repetition that I still can’t put my finger on. I’ve tried (and maybe failed?) to put my thoughts about this in writing (twice!) and I’m not sure it translates. That strange dichotomy and neccesary balance between repeating ourselves and trying something new – it fascinates me. Case in point: I read over my thirty and thirty-one thoughts to see if my ideas this time around would be too repetitive. I was right. There’s a lot in here that I’ve already touched on, but the thoughts have evolved and matured. It’s quite incredible to see in action and STILL not be able to explain it clearly in writing.
4. Ritual is a form of repetition that I’ve come to value. I have a morning ritual that I’ve been following for several months: I pull a card from my Animal Spirit deck, read up on the animal’s meaning in the companion guidebook, and contemplate what the card might be telling me to consider for the day. It’s the last thing I do before I walk out the door. The Wild Unknown cards came into my world through a magical being in my life and the ritual I perform, while simple, sets the tone for my day and has become a highly valued form of repetition that I embrace without question. I’m all about the unknown, after all.
5. The unknown third is almost always the thing. Last year I wrote about how there is always a third option – another angle we haven’t considered when we so firmly believe that there is only 1 of 2 options available to us. What I’ve come to learn is that the beautiful and unknown third is almost always the best and final option or outcome. We don’t know what we haven’t considered but if we remain open to letting it find us, it usually does and it is so much better than the strict black and white we are contemplating.
6. Budgeting is HARD. You know that emoji of the flying money? It basically represents me and my relationship with money.
7. Interesting is an illegal word. My friend repeated these 5 words to me for months and months before explaining their meaning, and that this phrase actually comes from the film Captain Fantastic. The idea is that saying that something is interesting is like an easy excuse to avoid saying how you really feel or what you think about the matter at hand. It is a challenging practice but I love it because it forces me to use my words thoughtfully and really think about what something means to me.
8. My parents are the best. With every passing year, I love and appreciate them more and more.
9. I’m still stunned by how much technology has changed our lives. I found myself in NYC without a WiFi connection for a few hours and while sitting alone in a restaurant waiting for friends, I watched all the people around me. It was enjoyable, looking around instead of staring at a screen. But, it was also a little sad to see that every single person around me was fixated on whatever they were looking at on their phones. We live in a completely different world now.
10. Mini heartbreak is terrible and wonderful. The concept of “mini heartbreak” is something I coined with a friend to describe the sensation of going all in with a person, even when you know that your love affair will be short-lived. It is terrible and wonderful. It’s a stretch for your heart to accept the ephemeral nature of giving your love to someone when you know it won’t last. But doing so allows you to flood your heart with love so even when it cracks in a mini break, and hurts as it always will, it is better and more evolved for having loved hard in a short span of time.
11. Music is forever the love of my life. I never go very long without music in my ears. I know I said music is my boyfriend, but I think we’re taking it to the next level.
12. It is hard but powerful to speak your truth. Complete and total honesty is tricky. We naturally hold back our truths to protect ourselves or protect others so we can avoid getting hurt or hurting others. But speaking your truth and being fully honest with an open and conscientious heart feels liberating and can yield surprising results.
13. We should all be talking about sex-positivity. Enough with being shy when it comes to talking about sex. Enough with feeling like it is taboo to express our sexuality in an open and confident way. Enough with avoiding conversations about sex that feel hard or awkward. Sex is a normal and central part of the human experience – why don’t we talk about it?
14. My curiosity and drive to ask questions has grown exponentially. I love to learn new things and I have a natural curiosity that I love to feed. But in the last year I’ve observed a friend who asks questions without pause – digging deeper and deeper to understand a person or their thought process or life. At some point in time, I picked up that practice and now find myself asking questions whenever they come to me. “Why?” and “What do you mean by that?” and “How” and and and. The answers never disappoint.
15. I’m a bookworm. I went to a bookstore this summer and bought a pile of books and the 8-year-old version of me woke up and is thrilled to be reading every single day.
16. I have 2 personas that live by the seasons. Classic Gemini. Summer me is fun-loving and has no problem with going out on a school (work) night. Winter me is tired and wants to burrow under some blankets for a few months. Summer me has a lust for life that burns with a fire that I don’t fully understand. Winter me is quiet and contemplative.
17. “If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” This is a quote from Thomas Edison and I wrote about it waaaaay back in 2013 when this blog was only a few weeks old. I don’t mean to repeat myself or just steal an idea from an old post… but, I gotta say, Edison knew what he was talking about. This year, I am a little astounded by what I’ve done and I sort of think I can actually do anything. I moved (almost entirely) alone. I applied for and got a new job at a company I am so excited to be working for. I lived through the struggle and discomfort of being the new kid on the block at work. I dated and embraced mini heartbreak. I stretched and continue to stretch my heart. I feel strong, independent, brilliant, powerful, and astounded.
18. Asking for help is important, and ABSOLUTELY OK. Note that I said I moved almost entirely alone. I couldn’t do it alone, not really. Boxes and boxes of kitchen goods and books? No problem. A couch? A bit of a problem for me. We do best when we support each other. Telling someone you need them is important, especially if you struggle with that nagging feeling that you might be putting someone out by asking them for help. It’s OK. We all need help sometimes.
19. Accepting help when it is offered is just as important. There is a gut reflex in me to say no when someone offers me something. I’m not sure where that comes from or why I don’t say yes, but this year I’ve consciously tried to accept offers of help when given. We do best when we support and help each other.
20. Cooking for a crowd is more fun than cooking for one. I don’t really enjoy making food for one and I’m happiest in the kitchen when I’m cooking for one or many. Come over, friends and lovers! Let me feed you!
21. Sometimes rules are made to be broken. At some point in the last 2 years, my sister and I discussed a “rule” that you shouldn’t have more than 1 big change in your life every year. More than that is just too much. In my 30th year, I got divorced. In my 31st year, I sold my house. Those 2 were big. The rule made sense. And then, in my 32nd year, I threw that rule out the window. I decided to move to the city. That’s a pretty big change. I went from a house shared with a partner to my parents’ basement to a little studio apartment that I adore. That could have been it. But then, only 2 months later, I made an even bigger change. I took a new job after 10 years with the same company. That’s a HUGE change. It felt like everything in my life was different and it was a major adjustment. But, it turns out, it’s totally legit to have more than 1 change in a year. Who knew?
22. Feeling lost does not feel good. Duh. This one isn’t so groundbreaking, but I haven’t felt it so palpably in a long time. Starting my new job was… difficult, and that’s an immense understatement. I went from 10 years of experience with a company that I knew inside and out – all the people, the dynamics of how to work with them, how the company works, what my role was within it – I knew (almost) everything. My first day, week, month at the new job – I felt like I knew nothing. I was without question, completely lost. I mixed up people’s names, the smallest tasks felt complicated, I was unsteady and unsure of myself, and above all, hard on myself for not adjusting faster. More than once, many of my loved ones told me to take it easy and accept that it would take time. They were right. I’m more than 3 months in and my perspective has completely changed. I’m a long way from feeling sure of myself, but I certainly don’t feel as lost as I did on day 1.
23. We have very little control in our lives. That experience of feeling so lost was a good reminder – there is a lot in life that we cannot control. The pace at which I adjusted to my new job, waiting in line at the store, the health of a loved one, the way someone speaks to you – none of it is controllable. All we can do is accept this as truth and attempt to control how we react to and handle what’s put in front of us. I said very little control, not zero. How you respond is where individual power lies.
24. Going dark and being light are part of the highs and lows in life. There are times that I get really low and feel darkness around me regardless of how fortunate I am to have a good life and people in it that I love and care for. And then, there are times that I feel light and high on life when I consider everything that is possible within it. Going dark and feeling that low allows me to better appreciate the light and highest high when I swing back in the opposite direction. It’s a part of life that I now accept and embrace, particularly my tendency to go dark.
25. Sometimes you need to let things be. I strongly advocate letting things be and taking time to let things pass. It’s part of the nonetofigo mantra (nonetofigo = no need to figure it out, it’s a thing guys) but takes it further. I believe the best thing we can do for our mental health is to acknowledge and allow whatever feelings arise without pushing them away because they don’t feel happy or right. Feeling lost doesn’t feel good, but I can’t control it so I need to be patient and go through the learning process until lost turns into found. Feeling sad and dark is a serious low but there is something real causing that emotion and feeling it as fully as possible is instrumental to understanding it and getting stronger. Getting angry points to a deeper emotion at play. Experiencing loneliness allows us to better love ourselves. Letting the bad feelings in so they can run their course is fine. All things must pass. (Yes, I stole that line from George Harrison. He knew what was up.)
26. But, sometimes you just need to JUMP. There is a very big difference between letting yourself feel low, as opposed to wallowing in it. While there is very little we can control beyond how we handle the chaos around us, when we let ourselves sit through a low we sometimes come out on the other side with clarity and the knowledge that we can take action to change our circumstances. And when that happens, you take control – you gotta jump. I did that this year, more than once. And, if you aren’t totally sure that jumping is right, great news:
27. You can always change your mind. This is a big one for me. For a long time I’ve felt stuck or worried about making big decisions because it feels like once you do – that’s it. No turning back, you’re committed for life. Or, I’ve felt crazy for feeling so sure and certain of something only to have a complete change of heart in a very short period of time. This year I learned to accept that discomfort by recognizing that changing your mind is completely acceptable. Nobody is the same person they were a decade ago, a year ago, a month ago, even a day ago. We evolve. We change. Our minds change too, and that’s OK. For years I claimed I was going to move across the country but I changed my mind and moved only 50km away from my hometown… and I’ve never been happier. Here’s why:
28. City life kicks ass. Seriously. I am in love with my life in the city. Being able to step outside and walk in any direction and be surrounded by people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives is a complete departure from my life in the suburban countryside. There’s plenty that I loved about that life, but there is an energy in the city that never stops buzzing. I thrive on it. City life, my life in Montreal, kicks ass. And…
29. Public transit kicks ass too. A large part of my love affair with Montreal is the ease with which I can hop on a metro and find myself in a completely different section of the city, by travelling through the winding underground tunnels of our subway system. I’ve stopped driving to work. I catch a metro and then ride the bus to my office. The commute is easy and relaxing. I read a book, I don’t worry about traffic, I watch people, and I get to work feeling calm and happy (compared to tense and stressed, when I drive).
30. I am a witch. Magic is something you make. I said it last year, and I think I’ve done a great job of making magic. I see and feel its energy around me – when I pull Animal Spirit cards that speak so perfectly to where I am in that moment, when I have dreams with vivid images that come to life within a matter of days, when I can feel the universe conspiring in my favour or for loved ones around me. I don’t cast spells – I’m no Sabrina the Teenage Witch – but I’ve got some witchy powers in me that are strong and magical.
31. Everyone is a little bit magic. (Maybe.) It’s not just me. Everybody has some magic in them, or the inherent ability to manifest it. It reveals itself in people who are open to the magic of the universe and it’s easier to identify than you think. What’s something you are really good at? I’m very observational and as a result I can usually guess at what’s going to happen using logic and deduction. That’s my real life 3D power. The magical 4D version of that power is that I am psychic. I already told you about this last year – how things I see in my dreams happen soon after in waking life – and it’s shown itself many times over in the last 12 months. Now that I have acknowledged that I’m a full-fledged witch, I’m working on honing that skill when I’m awake. All it took was recognizing it, and anyone can do this. We’re all magical, we just need to tap into it.
32. Sonder is my new favourite word. I was telling a friend about how I love watching people on the bus because I am so curious about every person’s story. What is her life? Who is he? Who are their people? In response, my friend shared this beautiful word and definition:
n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.