Ahhhhhh we’re in Reykjavik

So I rode the plane, it was awesome.

Well, it was okay… It was really difficult to sleep face down on my table in a 1’x1′ space. At least there were movie options and I was able to slumber off to Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (more specifically the part where Lena falls in love with Kostas by accident). The kid beside me picked at the wifi sticker on the back of the seat in front of him for 3 hours and by golly he succeeded at it by the time we were over Greenland. Everyone has goals, you know?

Here’s the photo I took from the air on our flight from Ottawa to Toronto:

Nothing special, but I felt like I needed to mark the moment.

We screwed up transportation to the Blue Lagoon (we booked months ago), and ended up just hanging out in Reykjavik for the day. It really wasn’t that bad. We decided not to be angry about it and just enjoy some sights and get our bearings.

It’s really beautiful here.

We set out this morning with our rental car to do some serious driving and see a bunch of stuff.

Already there’s amazing hills and mountains. We’re about 15 minutes out of Reykjavik where these photos were taken:

Höfn, here we come.

Iceland, the intro.

So big surprise, I haven’t been able to write a blog post every day. Maybe you’ve noticed, maybe you haven’t. It doesn’t really matter.

It’s been a big lesson for me this year that some things are just out of my control. That as long as I keep making an effort to simply do my best with what I’ve got and the time I have, then I feel just as fulfilled with what I’ve already done and less inclined to give up on the things I want to do.

On Thursday, we leave for Iceland.

This trip is big on many levels, but I would say the number one thing that makes this an important trip is that I’ve never left the country before. I’ve never even been on a plane.

It’s kind of embarrassing for me to admit, as this lack of experience makes me feel less like an adult the older I get. I’ve had a hard time watching my friends travel the world while I worked on my career.

I very enviously watched as one friend taught English in Japan, another in Korea, and a handful of others going abroad for post-secondary or just satiating their need for wanderlust on what seemed like a whim.

I have a good friend who lived and taught in the Yukon and has basically traveled the world and now she lives with her husband and new baby in frickin’ Norway. Upon her return home last month with both, we were all joking about how large her sweet baby boy is in comparison to her own teeny frame. Her husband looked at me with a huge smile, pointed enthusiastically to the baby and offered me one word: “Viking!”

Both of my closest friends got to rip their way through South-East Asia hand-in-hand. I’ll never get the experience of being in my early 20s with them, binge drinking on beaches, partaking in general tomfoolery, meeting cool people and barely surviving the balmy heat by napping all day or enjoying a $10 massage.

I’ve been very, very jealous of all of this, feeling less worldly and immature because my decisions in my adult life up until now haven’t led me to all corners of the planet.

But here’s the thing I kept having to remind myself. I worked on my career. Some of the people my age haven’t acquired skills I have because they chose to spend their time on other things. I know what I’m capable of, and I know I can teach myself to do pretty much anything if I need to.

This thinking never used to help me when I felt like I wasn’t going anywhere because I wasn’t physically doing so.

Here’s where it came full circle for me – I’ll re-state:

Some things are just out of my control. As long as I keep making an effort to simply do my best with what I’ve got and the time I have, then I feel just as fulfilled and less inclined to give up on things I want to do. 

And now, on Thursday, I get to start doing the stuff I want to do. Working through the jealousy and the wanderlust got me here with a plane ticket and a trip I’ve already fully paid for without going into debt.

I’ll be blogging it, but probably not every day.

And I’m so grateful and excited.

 

 

October 22

If my cup of coffee was a tree, then the rings inside of it would mark how many years I’ve been sitting at this table,

Each sip traces the mouthful I’ve tried to write,

and the darkness of each line whispers about the amount of attention I forgot to give it.

Its lip wears the shade of the season – a deep red,

collected in smatterings around its breadth, at random.

If I drink all of it,

perhaps I can build a poem with its remains.

Normalcy

I see a lot of blogs and YouTube channels and articles about how people went from having a mundane life to a job they love and now they’re telling you how to do it.

Ah yes, lifestyle bloggers. Pinterest boards, Instagram fame, Podcast hosts.

I admit I read, listen and watch content like all the time because I do find it inspirational, but I don’t really find anything I can relate to. I think part of the draw is that I’m hoping that I’ll feel like the person on the other side is just like me.

Yeah, these people started on my level and have made it to their dream jobs and sometimes they give me the kick in the pants I need to improve or to reach higher. But they’re doing it by trying to sell me shit I don’t need and trying to make all of us believe they’ve figured it out for us. Nah, they’ve figured it out for them. And that’s great. But they can’t get on our level because they’re not anymore.

Here’s the thing. There’s not a popular spot on the internet where you see an “influencer” slugging away at something for a long time, just being a “normal person”. And writing about it so that people can relate and find some sort of comfort in knowing they’re not alone in the world because they’re not the ultimate version of themselves. 

They try.

“Hey, I’m over here just sitting on my couch in my housecoat trying to write my book and finish the final edits before I take my trip to Ibiza on Monday.”

You just don’t see it your friend Brittany’s sister out there filming a video about how she went to work and ate a lunch she brought and how she felt about her day and what inspiration she found out there for herself.

You know why? It’s not glamorous.

But you know what? It doesn’t need to be.

I’m not writing this to show you how I’m doing something awesome or to help you make a decision or to inspire you to get where I am.

I’m writing this because I am where you are. We are the same. We’re both working at jobs, probably for other people.

We both grocery shop weekly, sometimes bi-weekly, and if we can’t get our acts together, every day for a little something.

We both try to stay active but get busy or tired so it doesn’t happen as much as it should.

We drink coffee in the morning and fall asleep on the couch in the afternoons on occasion.

We have a million unfinished projects and are probably pretty unorganized in some areas of our life.

I see you. I can’t support you or teach you because I’m busy over here supporting and teaching myself.

But I can write about it and throw it out there in your general direction in case it helps you to know someone is here with you, on your level.

I didn’t bring my lunch to work, and I felt pretty good about my day. It was normal. But I can still do something good with that fact.

 

October 19

One of my favourite parts of working for a small, local business is being involved in creating community and connecting with other small businesses.

Ever seen a latte art competition? Ever seen one where you have to pour into weird objects?

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This is Little Victories Coffee Roasters, and tonight they held a latte art competition with a twist. Everyone from cafes all over the city came together to get weird.

I took some photos, enjoy.

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The Weekend

No, not the critically acclaimed Canadian singer, songwriter, and producer. I’m talking about that blank space that happens between the chaotic days when your job is in charge.

This post is in honour of today, Wednesday. Classically portrayed enemy of the weekend.

You may or may not get a weekend. If you’ve played your cards right, you get a couple of days. If you’re lucky, you get them together. If you’re really lucky, you don’t have to live your life waiting for them.

I have days where I don’t want to go on doing what I’m doing. Everyone does. I’m trying to find a way to enjoy what I’m doing while I’m doing it so my weekend and my work week don’t feel like different entities entirely. So that I’m not dragging myself through work days just to get to the weekend.

The mistake I’ve made is to be constantly working. Yeah, this makes my weekend not feel different than my work week, but it sucks. I can’t turn it off now. It’s stressful and unhealthy and no one’s fault but my own. Really, I take full responsibility. No one has asked this of me.

I’ve gone as far as to finally seek therapy for it. I have a problem saying no, with setting boundaries, with feeling like I’m going to get in trouble for not getting everything done quickly, correctly and to the best of my ability. I didn’t realize this was the source of so much of my emotional distress until I sat down and started picking it apart.

And this doesn’t just apply to my job. I feel responsible for not being a slob at home, staying active, keeping plans, being a good friend and partner. I get really upset when I feel like I’m not doing a good job of balancing it all. Even thinking about it makes my throat ache and tears well up in my eyes.

Why am I like this? No idea. Just trying to figure that out. I’m also hell-bent on succeeding at that.

Hell-bent on. Hell Benton. Ha.

In the grand scheme of things, I feel pressure. I put in a lot of effort to not live up to the cliche that has been given to my generation (holla if you’re a millennial):

You can’t deny that we’ve received the short end of the stick as of late, as a number of less-than-flattering stereotypes follow us everywhere we go. Like what, you ask? Well, let’s start with how millennials are lazy and have no work ethic. Or how we’re vain, self-centered, and don’t value relationships, largely because we’re too busy valuing Instagram likes. (Bustle)

I’ve realized that by being a diligent, reliable, loyal and hardworking employee, friend and partner, I’m ironically daydreaming about a way out from a job that could give me a really happy, fulfilling life. I’m not trying to shift the blame here. I just feel like I’m trying so hard to prove this idea wrong, that I’m burning out.

I’ve considered flipping the bird to our one bedroom apartment, burning my furniture in some sort of pagan sacrificial ceremony (we’d really be burning my sanity), and camping out in my parents’ basement for the winter. There would be lots of ketchup pringles and sleeping involved. And my boyfriend would definitely not come with. The cat definitely would. 

But I can’t do that. Because it’s unhealthy and I’m trying to be an adult here. Also, I’m pretty attached to the boyfriend.

Anyway, if you’ve made it this far into my pretty pointless story about more crying and burn-out, stay tuned for more insights which could possibly be helpful to more people than just me. I’m positive the insights are coming, whether you want them or not.

Keep on that grind (whoever you are… hi mom?), practice mindfulness, and enjoy your upcoming weekend – whatever that means for you.

April 25, 2017

So here I go;

From my brain to the page,

I want to acknowledge that

I am anxious

about things going on

in my life.

 

I feel like I’ve lost a little

bit

of control.

 

But now I’m gaining it

back.

I’ve decided not to carry

such self-doubt.

 

So here I lay

it down.

Scintilla

I like Merriam-Webster’s word of the day. I follow along sometimes.

It’s part of a long list of stuff I do every day that probably even my best friends don’t know about. I listen to Rich Roll, I wake up some days a little bit early so  I can read before I go to work, hang out with the cat and wake up slowly. I make the bed after I get home from work. I take lots of pictures. I actually floss my teeth.

And yeah, I like the dictionary’s word of the day.

Last Sunday, it was Scintillate. The origin is from the Latin word scintilla.

I originally giggled because it sounds like Synchilla. You know, the synthetic chinchilla fleece that Patagonia makes. It’s actually called that.

But no, scintilla means spark. I think it’s supposed to be literal, like a spark from some flint.

I’m going to JK Rowling* this word. She used all sort of Latin words to come up with her spells, probably most famously “Avada Kedavra”, which means, “I destroy as I speak” – the inverse to the infamous “Abracadabra”, which actually roughly translates to “I create as I speak”. Cool, huh?

Scintilla, a spark of knowing, of creation. If you were to mutter it as an incantation, perhaps a small glitter of light would stretch briefly to you, so quick that maybe it didn’t even happen.

That’s kind of like inspiration, right? It’s so fast that if you miss it, you’ll forget about it. If you catch it, you move so quickly towards creation that you forget it took a little spark to get anything going at all.

Scintilla. I think if even the word itself sparked my imagination, think of all the inspiration that’s out there for the taking if we’re just observant enough to see it and quick enough to catch it.

Just a thought.

 

*Yeah, I turned her into a verb. I’m sure it’s been done before.

Time

It must have been the mid 1990’s.

I was just old enough to know to ask my mom “How long?” but just young enough to not really understand what that meant.

I was definitely getting impatient, but she was on the phone in her bedroom. The windows at the back of the house are West facing, and the sun was going down. Little slits of light were coming through the shades.

There was carpet in there at the time, I think it was beige. Or maybe it was burgundy.

I don’t remember a whole lot from when I was very young. Just little bits – like the view from my treehouse – you could see my neighbour’s farm truck from the very top, a little dent on the right front bumper. Or the ceramic balloons that hung on the wall of my bedroom, before that same room became my sister’s. That room definitely had burgundy carpet.

I know she was on the phone because I can envision the black phone cord coming from the bedside table. That phone was black. The kitchen phone was white.

“Mom, how long?”

“You’re supposed to say, ‘Excuse me” when you interrupt someone.”

“Excuse me.”

“Yes?”

“How long?”

“Ten minutes”

“Is that a long time?”

“No, it’s not.”

I remember being confused about the concept of ten minutes. Ten was a big number. It was two numbers.

I don’t think the basement was finished at that time, because otherwise, I would have gone down to watch the digital clock on the face of our VHS player. But I think the only other digital clock in the house was on the kitchen phone.

I must have pushed one of the dining room chairs up to the island to sit on the counter and watch that one. I didn’t know what I was looking at, but I knew how to count to ten.

I remember very distinctly how slowly it went. It seemed like the numbers only moved when I got bored of staring. I was frustrated that my mom had told me ten minutes would be quick.

Here’s the part of the story when I’m supposed to come to a conclusion that ties the whole thing together. But I don’t really have one. I think maybe it’s about how we don’t get to choose the memories we keep. Or maybe about how if we don’t want time to move so quickly, we should watch it more closely.

All I know is that when I started typing, I didn’t expect to miss the view from my treehouse quite so acutely.