2020 has not been an easy year. From a lot of tragedy amongst my friends and family, to the global pandemic, and so much more, I’ve learned a lot. I wanted to share some of these lessons, perhaps they will help guide you into the second half of this year.
1. How to grieve
As I mentioned, this year has been full of tragedy. I’ve lost 3 people who were very very close to me and my heart in some really terrible ways. Prior to this year I’d been fortunate enough to have suffered very few losses. While anyones passing is sad, none have had the overpowering impact of the amount of loss this year, and for the first time I really had to learn how to grieve. Accepting the fact that I have family members who will no longer come to Christmas dinner, that I have a roommate who’s room sits empty and who isn’t coming home every evening. It’s a lost presence, and it’s a lot to deal with. But grieving is not a linear process, you have to take it day by day, and eventually you will laugh again, and eventually that will feel okay.
2. To forgive
It’s cliché to say, but you never know when it’s the last time you’ll see somebody, even if it’s because the world goes into quarantine for 4 months. It’s important to forgive, maybe not forget, but forgive the people who matter to you – you might always regret it if you don’t.
3. Who is helping my life and who is hindering it
When you can’t see anyone for months, you start to realize that the people you would be happy to continue not-seeing probably don’t need to be in your life. This doesn’t go against forgiving, you can still forgive others for the wrongs they’ve done, but you don’t have to remain friends with someone if they aren’t adding any value to your life.
4. How to interior decorate on a budget
I am lost without a project, and much of my house hasn’t been updated since the 70’s. Sooo I’ve been decorating! I’ll be posting a before/after video of one room in my house soon, but just adding fresh paint and putting art on the walls can go a loooong way. Shop HomeSense, Winners, Value Village, leftover paint, Habitat for Humanity, trust me – you’ll find some awesome stuff.
5. How to spend time with yourself
Extrovert should be my middle name. I thrive around other people, and being alone with myself can be kind of draining for me. But obviously quarantine has forced many of us in that direction, and I’m learning to spend time with myself and have fun with it too! Taking up new hobbies, working on projects, reading, or just watching TV.
6. That it’s okay to relax
Closely related to my last post, I’m trying to learn that it’s okay, actually it’s healthy, to take time to just relax and not be working on something (See my post on Hustle Culture for more)
7. To count my blessings
With all of the bad that has happened this year, it’s been easy to focus on the negative, and continue with the narrative that nothing in my life is going well or without struggle, but it’s really all in perspective. Each day I count my blessings, even after the hardest or the worst of days. I may ask for reasons or guidance, I’m not always smiles and happiness, but even when I’m in a rough place, lost and confused, I have to be thankful for the blessings I’m given every single day.
8. To keep learning
I signed up for Masterclass at the start of the pandemic, so I could continue learning new skills while stuck at home. It’s really great and I do enjoy learning from real, successful professionals. It’s also important to continue to learn about yourself, your emotions, your privilege, and so on. The Black Lives Matter movement has really taken a stand this year, and I want to continue learning about the systemic racism felt by both Black and Indigenous people in our country, so I can understand how to better myself and help become an ally.
These are my lessons of 2020 so far, I know there will be many more to come. All I can hope is that with each experience this year brings, I continue to get up each morning with the intent to learn and grow.
I am currently writing this while on vacation from work. A vacation I took because I was struggling through some recent traumatic events, and needed to rest, relax, and reset.
However, by day 2 I had already scrubbed and organized my entire fridge, reorganized the cupboard under the sink that housed all of our plastic bags and junk, and cleaned out the front hall closet. I have completed a workout every day, spent time with family, made multiple meals, and went grocery shopping.
The point is… I’m terrible at relaxing. I always have been. The idea of the hustle is what keeps me going throughout my day. Of course, this mentality has its benefits. I work hard, I get a lot done, I manage to tackle a lot of projects. During non-quarantine time any given week, I’m splitting my time between working 8-10 hour days Monday-Friday, rehearsing for shows at night, taking vocal lessons once a week, volunteering, blogging, going to the gym, and keeping up an active social life.
Then one day this past August, a doctor told me I needed to learn how to slow down. She said that time for relaxation isn’t something that should be “scheduled in” only when I was on the verge of burning out, it is something that should be part of your regular routine, and not just jammed into a hectic schedule.
This was a huge blow to my ego. See, up until this point, being busy, constantly on the go, overworked, over-tired, over-achieving… this had been my identity. Beginning in University, I had formed a shell to show the world that I should not, could not, and would not, be underestimated. I made it known that I could achieve anything, I was above sleep, I was above needing to take a break, better than those who spent time doing anything other than furthering their career, their resume, their fitness, etc. My life was scheduled to the last minute, nothing was done for joy anymore, it was all just part of the to-do list.
“Paint nails 11:15-11:30, See friends for lunch at 11:30 am, workout at 3 pm, clean and organize bedroom 4-5 pm”.
When you make every part of your life regimented, eventually you no longer find joy in the things that you are doing or calmness in the parts of your day that are supposed to be relaxing, and it becomes a problem.
See, I believe that we are constantly surrounded by the hustle. The Monday-Friday workweek takes over people’s lives. The more hours you work, the more valued you are as a person. The more you can fit on your plate without dropping it, the more people will respect you. There is a constant battle between who is the most exhausted or takes the least sick days, who comes in earliest and leaves the latest, who does the most outside of their standard job. It’s not enough to just work hard at your job, you have to have a small company on the side, a “passion project”, a side hustle. When you listen to successful people speak, they always refer to themselves as “workaholics” or they “always need to be doing something”… so when is there time to relax? Relaxation is seen as weak. We, (or at least in my case) are so quick to tell others to relax, to take a break, telling friends that to be successful you don’t have to be busy or working or keeping up appearances 24/7, but the second I throw on Netflix instead of a Masterclass, or take a nap after work instead of working out and having a blog meeting, I instantly hear a voice in my head say “if you’re going to take time to do nothing you’re never going to achieve anything”.
So enjoying life becomes a job. Painting my nails becomes a chore, seeing my friends have become a way to keep up social relevance and ends with exhaustion, rehearsing for a show becomes mandatory work, and eventually you burn out.
The truth is, I’m not superhuman, nor am I above relaxing or taking a break. I’m not better than the person beside me because I’m more exhausted nor am I achieving anything greater than my peers because I refuse to ever sit down. This post isn’t a “how-to”. It’s more of a journal. I live in this toxic mindset of the constant hustle, and it’s an excruciatingly difficult pattern to break. I think the key is to change perspective. When I do fun home decorations, when I workout, when I sip my coffee in the morning, these aren’t moments that are meant to be scheduled into my to-do list or to cause stress, they are moments I take just for me to enjoy. We are all allowed to take time to do nothing, to watch a show and nothing more, to see friends because we feel like it and not because we have to, to say no to plans when you just want to sleep early or take a vacation from work just because you want to and not because you’re close to a breaking point.
I hope that soon I will be able to have a lazy Sunday without feeling guilt. It’s something I’m working on a little bit everyday, changing my perspectives to improve my mind. During this long self-isolation period where the world seems to have slowed down, I have to learn to do the same.
…can’t live without it…hard to live with it…
Rejection is inevitable. Hate to say it but ya can’t live without it. And ya can’t grow without it.
On a podcast (Guys We F****d hosted by Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson) a quote was shared that literally changed my whole perception of rejection. They discussed that with rejection comes confidence. For example in terms of job applications men will apply to jobs even if they don’t fill all the job classifications of requirements whereas women will not because of the fear of rejection. Therefore as women we should put ourselves out there more and become more comfortable with rejection. This may not ply to everyone but this sure designated with me.
It’s like that saying practise makes perfect. Haha strange but the more rejection you it yourself out for the easier it gets to deal with. I have had a good portion of rejection when it comes to jobs, friendships and yes of course love.
Through travelling solo I gained a new level of confidence and I owe 90% of it from being rejected. I was rejected like ten times a day. Whether it be asking if I could sit beside someone for a meal or approaching someone at a bar there were different outcomes for each.
It’s taken some time but i look at rejection as a positive, sometimes I even laugh at it because what else is there to do but laugh and move on. Two of my favorited quotes are “everything happens for a reason” and “you miss 100 of the shots you don’t take” so… as long as I’m taking the shots and putting myself out there than thats all I can do… the rest is up to fate. And if it doesn’t work out then oh well… I gotta remind myself that that plan wasn’t for me and something WAY better is out there for me.
If you still don’t believe that rejection is what every girl needs than here are a few personal stories on how I grew as a person from rejection.
In grade 12, I along with many of my classmates applied to universities. I’m just gonna say it…I got rejected to all the programs I applied to…ALL. I applied to neuropsychology programs, international business programs, and social psychology programs. Those programs you need a high averages and that I did not which that completely took a blow to my grade 12 ego. I did get alternative program offers, one of them being political science which is funny because it is what I ended up minoring. Anyway, since I didn’t get into any of the programs I ‘wanted’ I took a year off. I went back to highschool for the first semester took some classes to boost my average, one of them being Canadian Law where I then learnt my interest for law hence later minoring in political science. I worked for the other semester and went to a university that felt home(y) and a program that I had a real interest in. My point is if i didn’t rejected, I wouldn’t have found a program that really interested me. Also…taking that year off meant I was starting university at 19…the legal drinking age in Canada…I’m sure you can imagine how much fun I had in Residence. Also since I worked for a semester I wasn’t broke… woohoo
When I was in London on my recent trip, I went to Borough market and got an amazing bowl of Thai chicken curry. I went up to a picnic table where three people were sitting down and asked if I could sit with them… they were waiting for friends. That’s fine. So I move onto the next picnic table and ask with my Canadian kindness “may i please sit with you guys?” And they stare at me and reply with “we wait friend” oh ok yea I get it everyone has friends here but me its fine. I keep walking and probably about 10 feet ahead and around a corner were all these benches and a busker performing songs like maroon 5’s she will be loved and she’s so high ! So I sat there eating my curry being serenaded, not gonna complain,and you know what was right there too? A fresh fudge stand. Imagine if I sat with those strangers, I would have prob ate my curry in silence and on my phone. But because of those two no’s I got to experience my favorite thing… food and buskers.
How could I talk about rejection and not mention a relationship… this happened in Munich, at Octoberfest. (honestly make it a drinking game at this point for how many times I mention Oktoberfest throughout this blog, I’m sorry it was a blast). My first night out in Munich, we were drinking and feasting at the Hofbrauhaus when we started talking to this group of Americans, twins from South Carolina and a guy I just referred to as Patagonia (cause he was wearing a patagonia sweater). The guys I was with started making bets on which twin I was into. We leave the hofbrauhaus, I start talking to one of the twins on the walkover to a club and then once at the club I start dancing with the other. I wasn’t really into either of them to be honest, the one tried to teach to dance the charleston… at a club with a jason derulo song on… fun but I have two left feet and prefer to drink at the bar. So I went to the bar, got a drink, went outside met up with my friends and when I returned to the dance he was dancing with some other girl!! Lol if I stopped there that would be a pretty bad rejection story…LOL so I see him dancing with another girl and go back outside to find my friends they decide to leave but I wasn’t ready I was at Oktoberfest (drink) for goodness sake. So as I go back into the club you know who I run into… Patagonia!! Yupp and we sit outside and chat for a really long time, convince strange drunk people we’ve been dating for 5 years and blah blah blah, it’s finally 4:30 am, the club is gonna close so he walks me back to where I’m staying and we sit on the step in front of the main doors still talking…I’m trying to be flirty and give him the do you wanna come in vibe… then he put his arm around me, kisses my forehead and says he’s gotta go back to his hotel. So I ask if he has facebook so we can connect our two friend groups again tomorrow…he says he doesn’t use facebook, hugs me and watches as I climb the stairs into the building and up to my room. He was still there when I peaked out the window in my room. We waved goodbye and he left. I liked that. Although this was a rejection… it was refreshing. One night stand
I hope now if you aren’t already, will put yourself out there and welcome rejection because it brought me onto some new adventures. Whether its school, career, relationships or just some small things like being somewhere on your own.
Single Girls + Wine + Valentine’s Day = MOVIE NIGHT
The equation is simple but picking the movie might not be. Here’s a few movies to help you narrow down your choices! These are hand picked and will be watched with our hands in a bowl of popcorn!
Back with the Ex
interesting… Reality show onNetflix
SET IT UP!
LOVE AND HONOR
WOLF OF WALL STREET
THIS MEANS WAR
MR & MRS SMITH
MANHATTEN LOVE STORY
THAT AWKWARD MOMENT
IN A RELATIONSHIP
or you could just spend hours watching trailors…
xoxox enjoy…. 😉
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