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.
1. Starting this blog was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Regardless of whether or not my random posts are being read / enjoyed / appreciated / contemplated… This weird little corner of the Internet is a documentary of my adventures and gives me incredible perspective through the long lens of my posts over the last few years. I recently reread my Thirty Thoughts when I was feeling low to remind myself of some of the big ideas I had and I was so grateful to have that list available to recapture where I was and what I thought around this time last year. Lots of things have changed (and lots of things have stayed the same), so I feel compelled to complete this exercise a second time, adding one extra thought for this last yearlong trip around the sun.
2. Let’s all try to be grateful. The gratitude I felt as I was reading my thirty-year-old lady musings from 2016 stemmed from a conversation I’ve had with a friend several times over the last year about how we must remember to be grateful for what we have and to practice that gratitude in our day-to-day lives. I am thankful I have a roof over my head, food to eat, clean water to drink, my health, and the best family and friends a person could ask for. The rest is inconsequential, so I do my best to focus on and say a silent thank you for the things that I am fortunate to have. And speaking of gratitude…
3. Vacation days are literally the best thing ever. OK, I know this one is obvious, but I’ve realized that there are some people in the world who don’t value their vacation time, and that is just CRAZY to me. When I take days off work, I am OFF. No email. No phone calls or texts from co-workers. No thought whatsoever about what is happening at the office. Completely disconnecting is the healthiest thing I can do for my brain and I always come back to work refreshed and happy with a positive attitude. (That might also have to do with the vacation days being spent in the best places in the world with my favourite people… but that sort of comes with the vacation territory, right?)
4. Exercise = Improved Mental Health. In the last 2 years I have started to prioritize loving my body by treating it to exercise and good care… and while the exercise has changed (Dear Yoga, I still miss you and I promise I will come back to you one day), the resulting endorphins are consistently wonderful. It became glaringly clear one day a few weeks ago when I had a would-be terrible day at work paired with a speeding ticket on my lunch hour, and I found myself laughing it off. When I later questioned how it could be that I was so upbeat, I remembered that I had done a heavy round of resistance training that morning before work… and voila, happy me. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
5. I am happiest next to a body of water. Ocean, lake, canal, whatever. Give me a spot in the sand with the rhythmic sound of waves crashing loudly against the shore, or let me find a quiet spot along something smaller to take in the smell of damp earth under the ripple of ebbing waters… I’ll take anything.
6. Every year gets better – even during the hardest time of my life. In the last couple of years I ended a long term relationship, gave up my animals, said goodbye to the beautiful home that I built with my best friend, and pretty much turned my entire life upside-down. It was sad and hard… but somehow when I look back on 2015 and 2016, I can say with complete certainty that they have been the best years of my life. Sure, I lost a lot. But I gained so much more – a greater perspective about my life and priorities, a freedom and drive to explore all the things, new friends, and a newfound positive attitude that was missing throughout my twenties. It feels like every passing year has been better than the last and I’m inclined to believe that this upward trajectory continues as we get older. (Like a fine wine? 1985 was a good year after all.)
7. I might be a little bit psychic. Seriously. I dreamt of a poster for Montreal’s Osheaga music festival featuring Radiohead and Lana Del Rey’s names side by side, and 3 days later THAT POSTER WAS RELEASED. I’m telepathic. (And I bet I know what you’re thinking right now – that I’m nuts – am I right? Psychic, I told you!)
8. Music and dancing are core to my existence. Last year I swore that I would dance more and… oh, did I dance. 2016: year of the dancing emoji. I discovered new genres of music that filled my body with ecstatic joy, I swayed to my all-time favourite musicians (and discovered a few new ones) at Osheaga, I tore up the dance floor at weddings and parties, and I realized that the best and last boyfriend in my life will always be music. I sang at the top of my lungs pretty much every time I was alone in my car, shamelessly sang karaoke (loved every minute and am hoping to do it again soon), and even braved an open mic night after a few drinks (which I did not love as much… lack of lyrics in front of me and messing up the words to Blackbird = awkward and disrespectful to The Beatles).
9. Turning 30 was the beginning of an enormous life shift. It’s not like I woke up at 30 and suddenly everything had changed, but as I approach 32 in a few months time, I’ve realized that I’ve started on a new journey in the span of 2 years and I don’t think it is a coincidence that it coincides with the start of a new decade of my life. It’s sort of wild to think that we can suddenly change and grow and evolve every 10 years, no?
10. Having a mortgage is cool but not having one is fine too. Home ownership was great in so many ways, but selling my house and walking away from that heavy commitment was liberating. I’m glad to have seen both sides and to know what each experience feels like.
11. Living alone is fantastic. It was funny reading about my adjustment to living in an empty because my post last year was written only a few months after my ex had moved out. Forget the thought that “living alone isn’t so bad” – all said and done, I lived alone for 15 months and I genuinely loved it by the end.
12. Being scared is life affirming and exhilarating. Two experiences taught me this lesson. First, I repelled down a rock and climbed back up the rope on a hike in beautiful British Columbia. It was steep. I was sure I was going to fall and cut myself open and bleed out in the woods or smash my head or break a limb. But I didn’t. I was strong and powerful and I did it. Second, I got lost in a mosh pit in the middle of a rowdy set at a music festival and was separated from friends in a sea of people. It took 20 minutes to break through to a clearing on the side of the crowd and another 5 to find my friends, who were traumatized. But me, I felt a natural high. I actually threw my head up to the sky and yelled, “WE’RE ALIVE!!!” Does that mean I’m a little bit crazy? Maybe. But in both cases, my pounding heart and the hot blood coursing through my veins gave me an appreciation for life unlike anything I have ever felt before.
13. Being brave sometimes means you need to be a little vulnerable. Yes, doing the scary and life threatening things means subjecting your body to being its most vulnerable and fragile. But, even more terrifying is the bravery it takes to get vulnerable with your words – to really speak your truth without holding back. I can’t always get there but I’m doing my best.
14. I am always hungry. Actually starving. Dying to eat at all hours of the day. Will always answer “yes” when asked if I want to eat. Thinking about what I will eat next, when in the middle of a meal. Can I blame this on all that extra exercise? Why is my stomach growling right now?
15. Everything changes but some things stay the same. Yes, I know that’s an oxymoron. But it’s true, no? When I was packing my entire life into boxes late last year, I came across some old journals and found entries from over 10 years ago that captured a lot of things about me that remain true to this day: I hate making decisions. I am boy crazy. I feed off of and respond to the energy of people around me. While I was just a kid then with little understanding of what was ahead and how much I would grow and change, I still hit on some fundamental things about myself that are consistently part of who I am.
16. There are very real #relationshipgoals in my life. I find myself stepping back lately and observing the healthy relationships around me and thinking about how modelling after the people I love in their interactions with the people they love is a very real goal for me. The couples are all different and have their ups and downs, but they have these admirable qualities that show me what a great relationship should look like: Caring for your best friend, seeking out adventure together, sweetness in all your interactions, openness and trust in your journey together, and crazy-head-over-heels-madly-in-love love for each other. #relationshipgoals right?
17. Single or spoken for are both perfectly fine. Don’t get me wrong, although I’m writing about some serious goals for my next relationship, I’m also extremely content with this single lady life I’m making for myself. This is a pretty big deal for me because I pretty much spent all of my late teens and twenties going from one long term relationship to the next, and I’ve never really spent that much time alone with myself. It’s wonderful. Sometimes hard. Sometimes amazing. Always fascinating. And often confusing, because in this adjustment to single life I find myself going back and forth between an impulse to find a partner and a desire to continue on this solitary journey – at least for now.
18. The struggle to decide between two options is extreme for me. Certainly the debate of single vs. taken is a good example of this challenge, but it goes much deeper. I can always look at both ends of a spectrum or see both sides of a story, and I consistently find myself stuck somewhere in the middle, unable to settle on which way to go. A friend of mine helped me realize how extreme this is for me recently when she said that everyone struggles with making choices but that it seems to her that it’s somehow much harder for me… And I was so grateful that she said it because it has made me feel crazy for the longest time. It doesn’t change my inability to decide but at least knowing that I have this greater affliction keeps me a tiny bit saner. And…
19. There is always a third option. This was one of those big “AHA!” moments in a discussion with my friend where we hit on this incredible concept that we never need to feel locked into only two choices or two ends of a spectrum. There’s always another angle to consider, always an alternative we haven’t looked at yet, and always a third option. We just need to remember it’s there.
20. The dynamic of public and private is perplexing. We’re more than half way through my brain dump of random thoughts (with hopefully the teeniest bit of wisdom) and I’m starting to realize that I’m really baring my soul with this one. It’s a strange thing, to be so open and public on this blog when I tend to be very private and shy in real life, always hesitant to talk about myself and quietly protecting from – what, the world? Two ends of a spectrum and I guess I’m somewhere in between, as usual.
21. “Girls doing whatever the fuck they want” is a bitching motto. Speaks for itself. My thanks to The Wing for this one.
22. There are parts of my job that I actually really love. It feels sort of strange to say it, but it’s true. There’s been this huge project at work that I’ve been leading for almost a year and it’s sort of taking over my life, but somehow I’ve gotten to the point that I’m starting to enjoy it. We’ve hit a stride and we are making progress. Organization and producing work are my strongest qualities and I’m getting to stretch those muscles on a daily basis. I’m working with really smart people who get the goal of the project. I am challenged every single day and pushed harder to produce, and it feels great.
23. But… I still have no idea what I’m doing with my life. It’s nice to be in a place where I feel like I don’t hate my work but I still know that this isn’t my forever career and that I’ll need to eventually make a change. But, see above point #18 – I’ve got this little problem with making big life-changing decisions, so I’m still feeling a little stuck. Will it ever be easier? I’m not sure, but I’m really trying.
24. Letting go and letting things be is sometimes best. While I’m still totally lost and unsure of where I’m going and what I’m doing, I’ve decided that easing up is better than forcing it. Trying to define and decide and figure everything out is doing nothing for me and a friend recently suggested that little steps are perfectly fine. This revelation isn’t really new but it’s something I seem to always forget and rediscover on an annual basis – going back to nonetofigo (no need to figure it out, it’s a thing, don’t question it), doing one thing at a time and believing that it will all become clear and that things will reveal themselves naturally.
25. Different types of love are possible. Alright, I’ll be honest, I stole this line from Desert Island Disk off of Radiohead’s new album (did Thom know I needed this beautiful collection of songs last year?) but the words are perfectly true. We can love and be loved in so many different ways, yet I think we often feel constrained by the concept of a traditional love story. It’s not always boy-meets-girl-they-fall-in-love-they-break-up-they-get-back-together-and-live-happily-ever-after. It can be complicated or obvious or challenging or simple or hard or fun or gut-wrenching or thrilling or feel both right and wrong and everywhere in between. It can be different from one day to the next and it can change with alarming frequency. And in all these different types of love – whether confusing or crystal clear – there is still a persistent and underlying joy in the act of loving. Thom!! How do you always know!?
26. Marriage and babies are starting to make me feel like a grown up. Let’s be clear. I’m not married. I have no babies. I don’t think either of those things are anywhere close to possible in my current world but seeing people around me going down that road definitely makes all us big kids seem a little bit more adult. It’s totally weird.
27. “Tell me about yourself” are 4 words I often dread. How can I possibly summarize all the things about me that I feel are important, and how do I bypass all the boring things that I think are meaningless? I’m generally terrible at small talk and meeting new people – socially awkward for life, yo. And yet, I absolutely love getting to know new people. There’s something exciting about someone being a blank slate, like a mystery that you get to solve in your own unique way. It is fascinating to encounter another person and know nothing about them, slowly piecing together who they are by hearing their stories and asking the kinds of questions you hope they might ask you. (My questions are usually food-related, are we surprised?)
28. My head is always in the clouds. I mean… I might be a tiny bit obsessed with skylines, and my favourite sunsets are those with a cluster of clouds. The layers of colour and dimension are out of this world when clouds pile on top of each other and I suppose I am attracted to the dreamlike quality of these fluffy puffs of air that are constantly moving and changing and reconfiguring in a beautiful slow dance across the sky. I can’t help but stop sometimes to tilt my head up to the sky and take it all in. Am I just a dreamer who refuses to be grounded in reality? Or does this just mean I have a deep appreciation for beauty? Probably both.
29. There are things that are impossible to describe or explain but can be felt with complete certainty. This is probably what most would describe as a gut feeling. But it’s something more – it’s an unspoken communication that is felt. Whether that communication is individually with ourselves, with another person, or with the entire universe – it is intensely powerful and a little bit magic. Sometimes we can’t find words to express a feeling or a thought but it’s there, like it’s on the tip of our tongues… And that inability to put it in words isn’t a failing, it’s the nature of the thing being so huge that we can’t even define it. If that idea feels wild but somehow makes sense (because really, how can I put into words a thing that is founded on being unable to speak the words), then just wait, because…
30. There is an unspoken third element in every connection we make with another person. You are an individual human being on this planet with your own unique experiences and perspectives that you can and do try to share with others. And every other person in the world is exactly the same – we all see things differently, even if we are aligned in our values and beliefs, and no matter how hard we try, we will only ever understand others through our own lens. But, we crash into each other every single day and those differences somehow fuse together to create this powerful and unspoken third element that connects you with that someone else. So when you make a friend or find a lover or pretty much interact with any person anywhere at any time, you create a relationship with this person that is made up of that magical connection of you and them combined – and that third thing binds you together in a way that cannot be explained, only felt.
31. The universe is magic and gives us exactly what we need. Have I made this statement on this blog already? I think I probably have and I don’t care if it’s repetitive. (I love repetition, remember?) There is no doubt in my mind that things happen for a reason and that the universe is constantly conspiring in our favour to make magic, happy coincidences, powerful connections, and all the good things in between. And, in the darkest times when I question all the ugliness and bad feels in the world, I still know deep down that this is the universe at work, turning and moving toward something new and better. I know, I know. I went all magic crazy with my last 3 thoughts but… Magic is something you make, and I think we all need some magic in our lives.
2015 was a big year. I turned 30. I travelled to my favourite places and saw my favourite people. I celebrated the (very) bittersweet 5-year anniversary of purchasing my first house (also known as the end of my first mortgage term) only a few months after agreeing to end the 7-year relationship with the man who shared that home with me. I learned how to live alone. I felt like I was really growing up in a way I’ve never felt before.
It was a doozy, and who knows what 2016 will bring… But it seems fitting to kick off my first post of the year with some random thoughts that came to me over the course of 2015. Call it 30 years of “wisdom” (used with overly enthusiastic air quotes since I feel neither wise nor old enough to give advice). Or more accurately, call it a cumulative list of musings gathered from countless discussions with family, friends, myself, and readings from this brilliant female duo you may be familiar with – Amy Poehler and Tiny Fey.
Here, in no particular order, are an aging 30-year-old lady’s thoughts:
1. Meal planning is quite possibly the best thing I did for myself in 2015. I’m so glad that I committed to sharing my menu adventuring on this blog because it made me accountable to myself and my invisible online friends to keep it up and I benefited by building a repertoire of meals and techniques to maintain a (relatively) healthy diet and stable routine. I’m still at it in 2016 in a different kind of way – but I feel like I laid the groundwork for keeping this going for the rest of my adult life. On a related note…
2. Being an adult is hard. Why does nobody tell you this when you’re a kid?! Seriously. This is no walk in the park. Meal planning, making and keeping a budget, working hard and trying to find work-life balance, maintaining adult friendships, being in a long-term relationship with a partner, trying to be responsible while simultaneously trying to enjoy life… None of it comes easy. I still haven’t figured out this whole grown up thing, and I’m not sure I ever will.
3. Nobody ever grows up and nobody ever really feels their age. The week I turned 30, I told my mom that I still felt like a teenager and she responded that she still feels like she’s 30, so I am now convinced that age is a weird abstract concept and that nobody anywhere in the world actually feels like a real-life grown up. (Anyone care to argue this point? Are there any responsible adults reading this blog?) I think the reality is, we just go along year after year and figure it out as we go. At certain points in time we stop and realize that years have passed and in those fleeting moments we see that we are constantly growing and changing without realizing or understanding how. Really, we’re all just big kids.
4. Impatience is an ugly trait and I need to remember to slow down. You’d think I would learn from the past – the whole time I was a kid and teenager I just wanted to grow up so I could be an adult and live my fabulous life. But, uhhh, see above, point #2. Being an adult isn’t that much fun and I wish I could go back in time to tell myself to stop rushing. And here I am now, just as impatient as I was all those years ago, wanting to move forward and race through this totally weird and uncertain time in my life even though my future is just as ambiguous. I’m impatient ALL THE TIME – whatever I want, I want it NOW. It’s something I really dislike in myself and need to work on.
5. I don’t care as much about making my hair do things it doesn’t want to do. I used to blow dry my hair every other day (I’ve got a bad case of straight hair envy) but since the day I turned 30, I sort of stopped caring about wasting my time trying to tame my crazy curly-thin-but-sometimes-thick-wavy-can’t-decide-what-it-wants-to-do hair. As soon as I let it go I got all kinds of compliments, and, even better, I started to feel more like my real self – as though I was saying to the world, “Yeah, this is my frizzy hair. It’s part of who I am. Deal with it.” Now I can’t imagine myself wearing my hair any other way. (Although I won’t lie – when I get my hair cut and professionally blow dried, I still looooove the look of that silky straight hair.)
6. I am starting to love my body by appreciating and caring for it as though it is a temple. This is happening in a few distinct ways. I started to moisturize my whole body on a daily basis. I floss my teeth almost regularly. I now jog / run / walk a few times a week on a treadmill at the office gym. (It is soooo boring but feels so good to be exercising!) And the most special treatment my body gets is the wonderful practice of yoga, at least twice if not several times a week. Yoga. Wow. It feels amazing and it’s one of those things where I really can’t find words to describe how it makes me feel, except to say that I come out of every session feeling powerful and in control of my body and life.
7. There really is not enough time in the day. With my new routine of treadmill or yoga after work, I’m getting home later than ever so by the time I make dinner and clean up, it’s almost time for bed. Now that my house is for sale, I find my weekends are occupied with keeping the house tidy and clean (while fitting in yoga in the morning). I still have the weekend cooking parties that I adopted in my year of meal planning but the process is even more rigorous so I can pre-cook as much as possible ahead the weeknights knowing that I will be home so late. No matter how hard I try to get up early to tidy on workdays when I have a visit at the house, I somehow get into work later and later. How does one fit in everything they need to do on a daily basis? Getting back to writing the blog has felt nearly impossible, not to mention trying to get myself out more so I don’t become a crazy cat lady who lives alone forever without friends or acquaintances or lovers.
8. Let go of what doesn’t serve you. This is one of the many wisdom nuggets I have picked up from my yoga practice and it’s a beautiful thought that the instructor repeats at each of her sessions. When I feel a negative thought or emotion bubbling up inside of me, I acknowledge it and I feel it in its entirety because I know there’s a reason I feel that way in that moment. But once I’ve felt what I need to feel, I try really hard to let it go. Holding onto anger or sadness or bitterness (or any of that bad stuff) will do nothing to make your life better – it will only bring you down and it gives you no power to move forward. It doesn’t serve you, so move on.
9. Living alone isn’t so bad. The last few months I have adjusted to living alone and I actually quite enjoy it – you can sing as loud as you want, choose what to watch on Netflix, set the menu, and do whatever you want, whenever you want. You make your own schedule and get into your own groove, and keep your home exactly how you want it without negotiating or checking with someone to see if what you’re doing works for them. It’s actually very liberating. (But it can get a little lonely sometimes.)
10. Being alone and being lonely are different things. I learned this fairly quickly as I got used to being single and home alone in a house without another human. Alone time is great. (See above!) You can use the quiet time to reflect on your life, yourself, where you are and where you want to go… all things that sort of get lost in the background when you are surrounded by others. Being alone is a good practice. But being lonely – that’s a different story. Longing for company and feeling like you are missing something by not being with another human isn’t healthy in the way that being alone with yourself is. I think we are made to have companionship, so loneliness is natural when we are left alone for long enough.
11. Dancing is always a good idea. There hasn’t been enough dancing in my life and I intend to make up for lost time in the coming years. When I get those lonely feelings during my alone time, I blast music in my living room and have a solo dance party and immediately feel better. Last weekend I was terribly sick with a cold but I danced out some of the sickness with friends. Dancing is always a good idea.
12. Apparently I have a little feminist rage inside of me. I am acutely aware of what it means to be a woman in the workplace and how it is a different experience for men. It is so subtle and institutional (and certainly not always intentional) but it is always there, underpinning the way we interact with each other. Witnessing it is almost unreal – to sit in a meeting and state a valid opinion and see it get dismissed, only to be acknowledged minutes later when a man says the exact same thing is unbelievable (and insanely frustrating). GIRL POWER!
13. Friends that are gems of the world are precious and we must hold tight to them. This is the sweetest thought that my sister shared with me from a friend of hers and it is the simplest but strongest sentiment to summarize how important it is to hold on to those really special friends in our lives that bring us light and positivity and joy. On a related note, making friends is hard! So hard. It makes me appreciate my gems even more. Now move home, would you? (You know who you are!)
14. Turning 30 felt like no big deal, but turning 31 in a few months feels REALLY OLD. Why? Aging is so weird.
15. Keeping a clean house is a pain but sooooooo nice. Ah, the joys of trying to sell your house. It means that you have to be continually ready to have strangers walk through your home at any given moment… Which is a pain and quite frankly, starting to get really old. I know… it’s a necessary evil… but on the positive side, I have learned that I actually really like to have a tidy and immaculately clean living space. In the past I wouldn’t bother with it but now that I’m in the habit of cleaning up after myself on a daily basis, I just can’t stop. It’s so refreshing and serene to come home to a de-cluttered house.
16. Remember empathy and love for others, always. Empathy hits me like a punch to the gut sometimes and I feel so much for others when I hear about a personal tragedy, but then I tend to forget about maintaining this in day to day life. Having gone through my divorce and spending many, many days in a total daze at work or out and about on the weekend has taught me that we must always try to remember that we never know what someone might be going through and we should always be kind to each other.
17. I’ve stopped being afraid of saying what I want to say. This has been a really big leap for me. I used to worry about rubbing people the wrong way, or scaring them off, or revealing how “crazy” I am, or putting myself into the vulnerable position of being let down after being totally honest and open. But I’ve tried really hard to let go of the fear and just say what I want, when I want. (Of course, always thinking before I speak! I don’t want to hurt anyone, I just want to be honest and truthful to myself.)
18. Everyone’s path is different and it’s important to stay focused on your own. Facebook really challenges this idea because it is a daily reminder of all the things people are doing and achieving – or at least, what they are choosing to publicize. I went so far as to delete the app off my phone for a couple years because I started subconsciously berating myself for not being in the same place as people I went to school with. But then I remembered that we all glamourize our lives online and it really doesn’t matter where others are compared to me, because their lives ultimately have no impact on my own. We’re all on different roads going at a different pace, and that’s OK.
19. It’s easier to care less about what people think the older you get. Or at least I hope it is – there are some days that I question if I have really gotten to the point where I can safely say that I don’t care at all, but sometimes it really feels this way. In the last year, I’ve gotten tattoos on my wrists, starting saying whatever I want at work (and outside of work), I’ve stopped worrying as much about what people think of my appearance by focusing instead on what makes me happy and comfortable, and and and… it’s liberating.
20. It’s also easier to be more sure of what you want as you get older. Maybe it’s the divorce talking but things have never been clearer to me in terms of what I want in a partner, how I want to treat that partner, what I want in life, what I want RIGHT NOW and what I want tomorrow. It doesn’t mean I can have those things immediately, but the clarity is wonderful. (Even if that clarity sometimes gets blurred and confused – which it tends to do!)
21. I’m still a hopeless dreamer and romantic who believes that something great is ahead. I mean… I know my life isn’t like a movie (no life is) but I still believe that I will eventually have a great love, a great career, a great home, a great life… Is that foolish? Optimistic? Basic? I don’t really care. All I know is that I believe that loving hard and wanting to love and be loved is a beautiful thing, and sort of the whole point of our crazy existence. I believe it is out there for me, not only romantically but in the way I want to live the rest of my life.
22. A well stocked wine rack is a blessing, but also dangerous. So very dangerous.
23. Logic and emotion are at opposite ends of a spectrum that I cannot master. These guys do NOT see eye to eye but in my brain they are equals, fighting each other constantly with the same weight and pulling me from one end to the other. The emotional side makes me feel ALL the emotions in the most extreme way while the logical side makes me reason with and explain the emotions, either telling me why I shouldn’t feel a certain way or helping me to understand the emotion even if I can’t pull myself out of it. These guys really need to buddy up. It would help me feel a little less crazy. Speaking of opposite ends of a spectrum…
24. Life is paradoxical and confusing. Is it just me? Is it because I’m a Gemini? It seems to me that we are surrounded by paradox and that we must constantly negotiate between these battling juxtapositions whether internally or externally. For example: My current mood includes frustration at myself for being indecisive about a good number of open questions in my life at this exact moment while also trying to hold onto my laid back mantra of “nonetofigo” that tells me to sit back and NOT decide, trusting that things will work out. I feel a strong desire to be alone now that I’m single, but an equally strong desire to have someone special in my life. I feel the need to propel myself forward into a new phase of my life but also feel terrified at the thought of moving forward, instead opting for the safety and comfort of standing still.
25. There could be something to astrology. When I was younger, I remember reading my horoscope in the newspaper nearly every morning, but none of it ever made sense or really seemed to apply. I’ve always sort of appreciated astrology at a distance – not really paying too much attention but knowing the details at a high level. But more recently I find myself really seeing myself and others as those cosmic signs attributed to the time of year we are born. Really though. I am SUCH Gemini. My twins are constantly fighting each other in my head or tagging in and out in my dealings with the world.
26. It is good to challenge yourself to say yes, but just as good to challenge yourself to say no too. I believe so strongly in trying to live with yes energy. It’s this special attitude focused on positivity, an openness to saying yes, and a constant endeavour to push that yes out into the universe so you can give and get it back. For a Gemini like me, it’s hard to keep at it all the time (that evil twin comes out, and she can be a real downer). But I’m working hard to try to say yes more, keeping in mind that it’s OK to say no. A friend reminds me regularly to practice saying yes, but not to forget to practice saying no when something doesn’t feel right or just isn’t what I want.
27. Being uncomfortable can be a good thing. It means that you might be pushing yourself to try something new. It means that you might be opening yourself up to an incredible experience because you’ve said yes instead of no. It means that you might be on the verge of some significant personal change and growth. It means you might be accepting that change sucks but is something we gotta do. Or it might mean that your jeans are too tight. That’s a bad kind of uncomfortable.
28. You have to keep pushing yourself, ALWAYS. Nobody else is going to do it for you. You can be encouraged by others (directly or indirectly) but at the end of the day, they won’t be there to nudge you forward. Push out of your comfort zone, push to keep doing the thing you want to do (or don’t want to do but know you need to do). Push past the fear of saying what you really want to say. Push yourself and great things will happen. But, pushing ourselves isn’t always easy… I know this from experience…
29. Pushing to keep this blog alive is a challenge. Just like pushing myself to run or go to yoga, just like getting myself out of my comfort zone to enhance my life, just like everything that requires giving myself a nudge, I love writing this blog so much and it feels so great to do it… but somehow it just doesn’t come easy. It’s like knowing how good I will feel after yoga but really having to force myself to go sometimes – I’m still working at it.
30. Just Ride. Lana Del Rey knows what’s up: “I hear the birds on the summer breeze, I drive fast, I am alone at midnight, Been trying hard not to get into trouble, but I, I’ve got a war in my mind, So I just ride, Just ride… I’m tired of feeling like I’m fucking crazy, I’m tired of driving ’til I see stars in my eyes, It’s all I’ve got to keep myself sane, baby, So I just ride, I just ride.”