Stumbling towards something better

As I was nearing 13 kilometers, my longest run since my half marathon in May, I caught my toe on the curb and stumbled into a superman dive. I would like to think it was the dive of a superhero, and that’s why I walked away with just a few scrapes and bruises. Lately, I do feel like I have super human powers as I juggle my three jobs, but today, as I nurse my wounds, I’m realizing that I can’t do it all. I need to stumble towards something better.

Honestly, it wasn’t just today that I had this realization. It’s been building up. I guess it started a few months ago when I bought a Hallmark birthday card, just because it spoke to me. “The little things in life are the big things.” Inside it reads, “Happy Birthday to someone who’s always known that.” It sits on my kitchen table, a daily reminder to appreciate all the wonderful little things, and to remember that my decisions, no matter how little, will lead to something bigger.  A series of decisions have led me back to where I was a year ago.  Indeed, it is bigger – more responsibilities, more challenges. Both are good, but my work-life balance is going out the window. And when I do indulge in things that bring me joy, like running or spending time with loved ones, I feel guilty because I am thinking about work or receiving work-related texts.  I know I shouldn’t whine – we all go through periods like this, right? And I chose this. Even though I knew it wouldn’t bring me joy-money-flow, I chose it.

What is this “Joy – Money – Flow” formula? Back to the build up of my realization. Last month, on a day that I was feeling particularly frustrated, I took an extra long lunch at a bookstore.  Chris Guillebeau’s, Born for This: How to Find the Work You Were Meant To Do (The Crown Publishing Group, 2016) spoke to me, so I bought it. (Just so you know, I don’t buy everything that speaks to me!) I loved his $100 Startup (The Crown Publishing Group, 2012), so I thought I could also gain some inspiration from this book. Tonight I finally dove in.  In Born for This, Chris outlines his formula for what we should be looking for in a career, as follows:

  • Something that makes us happy (joy)
  • Something that’s financially viable (money)
  • Something that maximizes our unique skills (flow)

This combination always seems to allude me. I’ve been lucky enough to have work that has brought me the joy and flow, but the money rarely follows. When I was younger and living in the East, I was able to let this slide as the cost of living was cheaper and I was still developing my skills. However, now that I am older and living in the West, the money part is a key ingredient for stumbling towards something better.

It goes beyond the money. I want to feel valued, and know that my work makes a positive impact. I want to build a full life for myself, a life in which I am more than my career, where I can cultivate my hobbies and develop my skills, and  be there for those who matter to me. My superman dive, my brush with the unforgiving pavement, has made me realize that I am not super human, and that I need to find my balance and a space where I have Joy-Money-Flow. I may stumble towards something better slowly, but I need to make a move in that direction.  “The little things in life are the big things.”

But sometimes we can’t and that’s OK!

 

Status update: Everybody loves love

I changed my Facebook status from ‘Single’ to ‘In a Relationship’ 24 hours ago, and so far I have received 71 reactions – mainly thumbs ups, but a few hearts too. The funny thing is, I didn’t intend it to go public in the newsfeed.  As I was updating my ‘Education’ and ‘Employment’, I noticed that my relationship status had expired some time ago. In the spirit of honesty, I updated it. Then I saw it in the feed, and little notifications started popping up and a few comments too. (My favourite comment so far has been “What??? I want mooorrreee.”) The introvert in me is debating taking it down. (This is my relationship. I’m not sharing the juicy details!) But the nerdy me, who once upon a time updated Facebook regularly, has kept the post up. My reasoning, everybody loves love. I’m already sharing my love on Instagram. Why not celebrate my happiness and ‘In a Relationship’ status with the Facebook world?! More love, less fake news.

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Quarterly Resolutions

It’s never too late to make New Year’s Resolutions….or is it?  Maybe these should be my quarterly resolutions, as we are a quarter of the way through the year. The first three months of 2017 have gone by in the blink of an eye, and to be honest, I don’t feel like I’ve been very productive. I’ve managed to start a handful of books, and just completed one tonight, and I’ve had a week off my marathon training, and am nursing a two day old cold. This cold has got me tired and rethinking my priorities. So, before I lose this urge to write, I am going to share my resolutions for the next three months.

  1. Read more. Last year I started instagramming all the books I finished, and making lists of the books I had read and wanted to read in goodreads.  For a while, these apps kept me on track, but then I fell into my old habit of reading too many books at once, and not finishing any of them. And Netflix and cable TV did not help in my literary pursuit. Tonight I finished my first book of 2017 – a true crime, Deadmonton! It’s a small victory, but I hope it will motivate me to read more. My cable has also been cut off, so I have one less distraction.
  2. Stop apologizing and be more direct.  I’ve spent most of my life saying sorry for things that are often not my fault. I’ve spent most of my life stumbling to get what I want because I don’t speak my mind. In my professional and personal life, I have suffered the consequences of this passive behaviour. Today I stopped myself from apologizing to my late student, and informed her that I would charge her for the full session, even though she was 30 minutes late. And you know what? It was easier than I thought, and empowering too. Going forward, I will only apologize when I am in the wrong, and be more direct about what I want.
  3. Make weekly to-do lists. Sometimes I fall into an unproductive rut. I become overwhelmed by the exhaustive lists I write in my head. Although I use an online calendar, I like to breakdown my tasks even more. I’ve started printing out a weekly list that includes things like “lesson preparation”, “go for a run” , “do laundry”, “arrange social activities”, “write a blog post”, “read a book”, “grocery shopping” , and much more. After I complete these tasks, I can check them off and feel a sense of small accomplishment.  I schedule and edit my activities on this Excel sheet, but Coach.me is a great app for checking in, too.
  4.   Write More.  It’s been nearly four months since I updated my blog. My emails are getting poetic, and this is a sign that I need to let my creativity out. I’ve started  reading Eat, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation (Profile Books, 2003) by Lynn Truss and Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen (W.W. Norton & Company, 2016) by Mary Norris.  I tuned into Michael Hyatt‘s online webinar, The Busy Person’s Guide to Writing a Book the other week.  I love writing….I do. I do want to write a book one day, but I am a procrastinator and a perfectionist, who is too timid (lazy?) to get serious about it.  Anyhow, I want to write more, so I will write more.

Since this is my quarterly list, I’ve kept it short and sweet. I find resolutions are more digestible in small bites. What are your quarterly resolutions?

NaBloPoMo Day 6: Vancouver Fun

NaBloPoMo Day 6, Vancouver, 11:19pm

I’m trying to get this in just under the wire. After a day of traveling, eating Peruvian food, and walking through Gastown in Vancouver, the last thing I want to be doing is blogging. It’s especially difficult knowing that an alfajor (Peruvian caramel cream filled  cookie) is on the nightstand waiting to be eaten. 

Remember I said this November blogging would be from the heart in the here and now? Well, right now I’m out of words to describe my recent happiness. I just want to soak up the next two days before I’m off to Thailand for two weeks. So, I’ll leave you with some photos from my day :).

On the way to Vancover…
Peruvian dinner in Gastown
Gastown Steam clock

Saturday Birthday Party?

Day 5, 9:41pm, Victoria

Here I am again writing from my phone. Love technology! I’m on my way to a birthday party for someone I don’t know. Why? She’ s a friend of my new guy. Yeah, I really like him. For an introvert, this is huge. 

I’m a bit of a stress ball right now. We’re going to Vancouver tomorrow, and then I’m off to Thailand on Tuesday. I’m not as excited as I should be….not sure why. I am all packed, but feel like I’m forgetting something. 

Ok…..off to the party. Good night, NaBloPoMo Day 5!

Friday Night

I’m writing a new story to my Fridays. Tonight I went to prison, but it’s not what you think. We went on a date; every year the inmates perform a play- this year it was the Sleeping Giants. 

Anyhow, the play is over and now we’re enjoying chocolate pudding and pisco at The Livet. I’m also being anti social because Im typing this as my date patiently moves a strand of hair behind my ear, and waits for me to publish this. 

Happy NaBloPoMo Day 4!

Keep Going: It’s Supposed to Be This Way

” As painful as this all is, I know that in the end things will work out how they’re supposed to, and I’ll keep going.”

Lotusgirl80, November 25, 2014

I still remember when I wrote those words. At the time, I’m not sure I whole-heartedly believed them to be true. My heartbreak was fresh, I was taking it day by day, trying to stay positive, but losing interest in those life sustaining activities, like sleeping and eating. My days went by in slow motion, and life seemed to be a chore. I had lost a piece of myself, or at least that’s how it felt. It took time, a long time, to truly believe that things would work out, and that I’d keep going.

It was the time and distance from my heartbreak that gave me a new perspective, and made me realize that all the pieces were already inside me. The love we had was beautiful, but it wasn’t perfect. We both had our faults, and I kept making excuses for him and trying to change who I was. I couldn’t see that when I was with him, and it took me a long time to realize that after we broke up. Now that I have distance, I can admit to myself that he was not the one that got away — it just wasn’t meant to be. Still, he’ll always hold a place in my heart, and the beauty of his faith and integrity will never escape me. He taught me to always be grateful, and to ask for more — not to settle.

And as I keep going, it is with gratefulness and a desire for something more. And this is reflected in all aspects of my life, not just my dating life. (I know my stories here have morphed into a dating blog recently, but there’s been a lot more going on behind the scenes.) In January, I started a post-graduate program, and after many all-nighters and internal questioning, I completed what I had started, and am now looking into new possibilities. In May, I quit a job that filled my need for productivity and belonging to the daily grind, but was ultimately no longer serving me, filling me with confusion and resentment. In June, I began following a dream that stemmed from my elementary school days, a dream to run long distances. After an intense 16-week training program, I ran my first half marathon in October, and now I have plans to run a marathon….eventually. To be honest, I’ve had my doubts along the way, but I have moved through these changes, thankful for the support of others, and my own internal drive that has kept asking for more of myself.

And love. I’ve had my doubts. For a long time, I didn’t believe it was out there and was so reluctant to make another connection, especially an online one. However, I did get back in the game, even created an online dating profile (hovering over ‘delete’ the whole time) before settling for that good-on-paper guy who totally didn’t get me. That didn’t last long, because my inner voice kept speaking out and I decided to listen. And I am so glad I did listen because I was shutting myself off to a real connection.

The real connection. I’ve met someone who gets me. I’ve met someone who makes me believe in love again. I’ve met someone who’s not afraid to share what’s on his mind, and I feel comfortable reciprocating. I’ve met someone who uses the word ‘love’ freely to talk about what matters to him, and  notices how guarded I am with that same word. I’ve met someone who makes me laugh to the point of tears. I’ve met someone who appreciates my randomness, or peculiarities, as he calls them. I’ve met someone who wants to explore the world and all the possibilities it holds. I’ve met someone who has woken me up to the possibility of an ‘us’.  And if you must know, we met on that feminist app, Bumble.

So, I’m glad I didn’t give up on online dating, and that I kept going, asking for more in all aspects of my life. I truly believe I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

Before I die, I want to fall in love again....
Before I die, I want to fall in love again….

 

Making my phone smart: Pocket, Coach.me and Goodreads

At 35, I decided that I truly wanted a smart phone. It was time to go beyond Facebook, Pinterest, and Angry Birds. While those apps served as great distractions in my twenties, it was time to level up and make the most out of my idle time. Now, with apps like Pocket, Coach.me, and Goodreads, I’m smartening up, and using my time with technology wisely.

*******

Pocket.  The Pocket app lets you easily find, save, and share articles, videos and other online content.  The beauty of the app is that it allows you to “pocket” your findings for later, off-line consumption. In the morning, I’ll save a bunch of articles and read them throughout the day. It’s perfect for those days that I forget my book at home.  Also, before long journeys, I’ll browse Pocket for some interesting reads, and then read them off-line on my mode of transportation.  Last year, I saved an article about the history of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, and it kept me awake (and disturbed) during my flight from Calgary to Victoria. I used to proudly assert that I was an INFJ, the Advocate, but now I am not only hesitant to put myself in that box, but to identify with a test that was created by such a woman. Curious? Here’s the article: Uncovering the Secret History of Myers-Briggs.  Of course, there are a wide range of articles to be pocketed in Pocket. The most recent recommendation for me is The 7 Fatal Flaws of Thinking — and How to Fix Them. Pocket is the app that feeds my curious mind.

Coach.me. This app lets you track your habits, set goals, and connect with an online community. Do you want to meditate everyday? Are you trying to create a daily writing habit? Do you want to know how others stay motivated? With Coach.me, you can create or join goals, give props (thumbs up) to support others, and ask questions to help you in your habit shaping. My current goals are Study, Read a book for 30 minutes everyday, Write 500 words a day, Learn to speak a foreign language, no sweets, wake up early, Exercise, Eat breakfast, Drink more water, and Motivational quotes. Some goals are easier to achieve than others, but since I’ve started using Coach.me, I’ve been reading more, and eating breakfast. Baby steps.  Coach.me is the app that keeps me on track, and it comes with messages of encouragement — “Good job, you checked into 3 goals yesterday! I’ll be right here while you eat no sweets, wake up early, and  study (hard).”

Goodreads.  This app lets you rate the books you’ve read, stack your virtual shelves with the books you want to read, and track the progress you’ve made on the books you’re reading. It’s fun to check out the books your friends are reading, and receive suggestions based on your favourite genres or the books you’ve already read. Recently, I’ve also started tapping into reviews, especially when I’m reading a book that has received rave reviews, but I’m not feelin’ it. It’s validating to read a review that reflects your thoughts; it’s comforting to know that even though a book’s a New York Times Bestseller, you’re not alone in your struggle to finish it.  Goodreads is the app that keeps my reading habit alive and lets me indulge in my nerdy side. 

*****

These are the apps making my phone smart, and in turn, making me smarter, too.  Technology is a double-edged sword; it has the power to boost our creativity and make us more knowledgeable about the world, but it can also do just the opposite.  At the end of the day, it’s up to the user. Do you want to be used by technology or do you want to use technology? With Pocket, Coach.me, and Goodreads, I feel like I am using technology and making smarter choices, but they are still distractions. Sometimes it is better to just sit with my idle time or go fly a kite.

I'd rather fly a kite than play with my phone!
I’d rather fly a kite than play with my phone!

 

Sometimes

Sometimes I think I am over him, but then I tell a friend how we met, and  my eyes tell another story.  Sometimes I think I need to be over him, when he passes me on the street, focusing on what is ahead, and it’s not me, but my heart won’t let me be.  Sometimes I wonder why I am not over him, when he once told me his heart wasn’t in it, but my patience persisted then and it still does.  Sometimes I feel that I am over him, but then I remember his embrace. An embrace that told me I was his and he was mine, and that maybe it would be like that forever.  Sometimes I know that forever is only in fairy tales. Sometimes a day goes by when I don’t wonder how he is, or if he still reads my blog. Sometimes a day goes by when I don’t whisper his name before I sleep. Sometimes I think of him and am simply thankful for the memories we shared. Sometimes I am free and my heart simply beats. Sometimes…..

flowers

NBPM #19: My 100th blog post

FanTanSo, this is how it’s going down. It’s NaBloPoMo day 19 and my 100th post, and I’m going to write it in less than an hour. I’m already getting anxious and wondering how I’m going to pull it off. You see, I usually let my fingers hover over the keys for at least 30 minutes before the tapping begins. And that tapping usually involves the delete button being tapped repeatedly. Yes, that’s me, never quite certain how much I want to share, and never planning ahead. I’m sure most NaBloPoMo bloggers have a plan, or some kind of outline. Well, not me. When it comes to this blog, I just jump right in.  Whatever is on my mind is what you’ll find here.  Tonight, I’m quite certain that this will be a random ramble. You’ve been warned!

So, why do I write? Yes, I will write about that.  I like lists. Most of us like lists, so here I will share with you a list, a list of the reasons why I write.

  1. I have a monkey mind, and when I write my thoughts down, I stop swinging from thought to thought. It gives me some mental clarity.
  2. I have a sense of humour, but I rarely let it shine through in my spoken life.  Now that I am getting older, I’m trying to let my light side flow though my life, and writing is helping with this. I’m not the quiet, conservative girl, anymore.
  3. I like to share.  I’ve always liked to share. Whether it’s cookies, flowers, or my words, I’ve got enough to go around. Maybe my words will make someone think, or smile, or laugh, or feel a little less lonely.
  4. I think I’m good at it. Yes, I do.  And to be honest with you, I don’t think I am good at many things. Being able to write helps me boost my self-confidence.
  5. I like being alone. Writing is my solitude. It gives me time to recharge for the next social engagement.
  6. It helps me develop and articulate my ideas. Writing gives me the time I need to process my thoughts.
  7.  It’s my mirror, and I can take it wherever I go. It’s my camera, too, capturing snapshots of my life.

So, there you have it.  My 100th ramble on lotusgirl80!  Thank you for reading. (I hope it was time well-spent.)