“No.” is a complete sentence.

I fully expected that having time off would call for a reevaluation of where I am in my life, where I’d like to be and how I’m really feeling about it.

I had a difficult time going from work mode to vacation mode.

I’m not the type of person who can just hand over responsibility and be unphased by the possibility of everything falling apart while I’m gone. I kept thinking, “If something goes wrong, it’s my fault. It was my job to set it up properly before I left.”.

This is the one disease I’ve gained by working for a small business. Growth in a small business means someone is in charge of implementing systems that will help the whole thing work smoothly. I’m one of those people in my workplace.

My need to prove myself, the things I tell myself about how I’m a quitter (that this has made me a failure in the past), and my loyalty to people I respect (wanting to make sure they’re comfortable and everyone is taken care of) have made for the perfect storm for self-deprecation and guilt if I’m not pulling 3x my weight and working an insane amount of hours.

At the other end of that, I end up thinking, “This is not efficient, it shouldn’t take me 50 hours a week to do this. This must mean I’m not doing a good job.”.

For the past few months, I’ve struggled. A lot. And I can’t seem to stop talking about it or thinking about it or writing about it, or worrying what people think and stressing that I don’t have anything to fall back on if I fail at this job.

Towards the end of this week, something clicked. And, unexpectedly, two random people have changed my life.

One is Jane Fonda. The other is Thomas Edison.

I was watching the Netflix documentary called Feminists: What Were They Thinking?, and Jane Fonda was talking about the opening titles she had to pose nude in for the Sci-Fi movie BarbarellaShe notes that she hated being naked but she trusted the director’s vision. In the end, she said, she just didn’t know how to say no. And here’s where my heart dropped. She said (and I paraphrase),

“It wasn’t up until ten years ago that I learned “No.” is a complete sentence.

No.

No explanation, no beating around the bush (so to speak). Just. No. If Jane Fonda can say it, I can say it.

As I’ve said, I have a hard time with failure. This has been the theme of my thoughts during and after sessions with a therapist. And I don’t know what brought it on. It’s not like I was heavily pushed to succeed as a child. No one punished me if I didn’t do well in school or in sports. I’m just naturally hard on myself when I can’t do something better than others or feel like I’m moving forward when I’m trying my best.

Here’s where Edison comes in.

Thomas Edison tried somewhere between one thousand and ten thousand times before creating the light bulb.

Along the way, he realized he was experimenting and not failing. It’s the same motion, but a different outlook.

Aha! I’m experimenting.

Being part of a small business has given me the platform to experiment without being 100% responsible for the outcome. Because I’m not. I’m part of a team who is supposed to support me and work with me.

Is it time to move forward and conduct new experiments? I’m not sure.

But, can I continue to strip myself of my energy and sanity for another person’s project?

No.

 

 

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

Back in Reykjavik

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We made it to the Hertz rental by 2. Actually, we cut it pretty close at 1:45, but we did it.

We then spent the evening last night relaxing, making dinner and watching Netflix. It was badly needed and helped us feel immediately at home here.

We’ve been in Reykjavik for just over 24 hours now. We picked up our City Pass which allows free access to almost all of the art galleries and museums, public transportation and thermal pools (shout out to my friend Talia who tipped me off about this sweet deal).

And of course, we immediately located the nearest Reykjavik Coffee Roasters which is thankfully in the same block as our Airbnb (#blessed) and pulled me out of my morning slump. Yes, we made a second stop later on this afternoon.

All of the footage from our trip back to the capital and our adventures in it will be all tied up nicely in a final video whenever I get down to it. For now, enjoy some photos I took yesterday into today.

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Iceland Part 2

Today was glacier day.

Last night we drove in late after the sun had set. All you could see was the road in front of you and even then, the wind was so strong that it was blowing snow all over it. So when we woke up this morning, it was a shock to see that there were mountains surrounding this small little fishing village. Oh, to live in a place where even the grocery store has a view.

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(this is literally the view from the grocery store, I kid you not)

We left Hofn around 10am to make our way to Skaftafell (about a 2 hour drive west) to do a hike up and around the waterfall and around the glacier. Of course, it was incredible. From the top you could see miles and miles to and probably past the ocean.

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Everything here makes you feel like a small freckle on a tiny ant in the middle of the desert.

The glacier was so blue and the water was so clear. We sat for awhile and just stared at it. Sometimes it’s difficult to realize that we’re here in the middle of it, part of it. Taking a few deep breaths and sharing the same mountain air as the glacier felt like slowly waking up from a delicious sleep.

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We then headed back east and stopped at the glacier beach. It was incredible to see the amount of glacier running down into the ocean. Absolutely incredible.

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Tomorrow we start back to the capital before the crack of dawn to hopefully return the rental car before 2pm.

Iceland Part 1

Yesterday we woke up bright and early in Keflavik.

Okay, so it wasn’t bright since the sun here rises at about 9am and sets at about 5pm this time of year. But whatever, just take the expression with a grain of salt. You can ask our 7:30am cab driver for some, he apparently has lots.

We picked up our car at KEF and started our drive to South Iceland. We’re spending three days (ish) sightseeing and staying in a small fishing town called Hofn (there’s an accent on most of these words, but I’m unsure of the keyboard shortcuts for them).

We knew Iceland was going to be beautiful, but we never expected to find mountains around every corner. Everywhere you look is more stunning than the last. More times than we could each count you could hear, “Where the heck are we?” being muttered under Adrian’s breath.

And the landscape and weather changed like, 8 times since we’d left Reykjavik. At one point we left rain, came through a clear patch and was nearly swept off the road by wind and snow all within the span of 45 minutes.

I honestly can’t believe how incredible the landscape it. I’m sure there are many more surprises awaiting.

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.

I read an article

entitled “The Most Important Thing Nobody Taught You”. It starts,

…we can’t help but run from the problems of our emotions into the false comforts of the mind.

When I read this, I exhaled a deep whistle in response. I can relate.

It goes on to talk about how solitude doesn’t mean you have to feel alone.

How we spend so much time in the act of distracting ourselves and trying to be inspired, that we forget the most inspiring and stimulating experiences happen when we’re alone.

Boredom should become a place to discover self-knowledge, do some reflecting and experience the world around us in greater, slower detail. To feel more alive and connected.

Interestingly, the main culprit isn’t our obsession with any particular worldly stimulation. It’s the fear of nothingness — our addiction to a state of not-being-bored. We have an instinctive aversion to simply being.

Even if you’ve considered this before, or attended a yoga class or have done some meditation, we can all benefit from a repeated revisitation of the idea.

I think part of it is that people don’t realize there is a possibility to simply be. That there is something that exists beyond the realm of our real world melodramas.

I’m attempting to not sound like a preacher here, but to communicate thoughts and also do some reflecting of my own:

Why do I keep losing sight of myself? Well, idiot, it’s because you’re not paying attention. You’re not looking at yourself. Step back, try to be alone from time to time and carry a mirror.

Here’s the article. You know, if you’re interested.