this is my time

 

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Notebook from the Dayna Lee Collection

Call me crazy but taking a break from blogging was the best thing I’ve done this year.  Since taking a break I’ve finished a manuscript (and then chucked it out the window), began outlining a completely new project (a NOVEL),  submitted essays to a few online magazines (SHE DOES THE CITY PUBLISHED ONE about me hating everyone and everything while wedding planning), spent more time wandering around Toronto, and developed a confidence rooted in the acceptance of failure.

I owe my new-found motivation to all of the mistakes and shortcomings I’ve experienced in the last few years. I owe it to the like-minded and goal-oriented people I’ve surrounded myself with. I owe it to notebooks with powerful sentiments scribbled on their covers. I owe it to sleeping in and going out.

Most importantly I owe it to myself to use this motivation and allow it to spring me forward.

Yours,

Vanessa xo

 

You Don’t Blog Anymore (what was all of it for?)

I didn’t consciously decide to take a break from writing blog posts, it just happened. I’ve been writing a lot (well some days) thanks to my editing/writing meetings with Amanda (from Be the Next Her) but that’s for a different project. It’s not that I’ve been too busy to blog, I just haven’t felt like it. My mind is focused on other things and my time is being dispersed in very calculated ways.

And now, after an insanely eye-opening conversation with a few of my high-school besties, my time is going to be spent in even more calculated ways. As my friend so eloquently put it:

When struggling with a decision you have to ask yourself:  Is this going to help get me to where I want to be in my life? Is this going to affect my friendship/relationship positively or negatively? Is this adding value to my life?

Based on your answer to these fundamental questions, making decisions will be a helluva lot easier. The only thing left to do is figure out what I want for my life. I know that I want to work in Toronto (with a career rooted in writing and social media), I want to have honest and nurturing friendships, and I want to have a love-filled marriage based on communication and trust. Now that I’ve narrowed down what I want out of life, making decisions might be a little easier.

Yours,

Vanessa xo

Satisfaction (not) Guaranteed

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WANT NOTHING + DO ANYTHING = HAVE EVERYTHING

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’m currently reading The Happiness Equation. I’m trying to figure out how to be happy every single day. First things first – I am NOT unhappy. I am very happy. I have a good family, a wonderful husband, and a steady job. However, there are many mornings where I wake up feeling dissatisfied, where I want more, where my current job, phone, or writing is just not enough.

According to The Happiness Equation, I’m not the only one. We’ve gone from a society who was happy with what they had to a society that is always reaching for more. For society as a whole this is amazing! It’s progress! It’s evolution! It’s change! It’s technology! But as individuals, is it good to always want more? How draining is it to always feel unsatisfied?

When I got my iPhone 5SE I was in love but as soon as the 7 came come, my phone just wasn’t enough. When I self-published my first book I was completely content until 3 seconds after my book launch. That very evening I wanted to write another book but get it published by an actual publishing company this time. When I worked at Caruso’s all I wanted was a full time job and a proper paycheck. Now that I have one, I yearn to make more money, to move up, to move on.

We have a coffee, we want a second cup.

We have sex, we want to do it again.

We achieve a goal, we want to make a new one.

I am all for self-improvement, for growth, for becoming a better person, for pursuing your passions. But shouldn’t that moment of happiness, of contentment, of pride, last a little longer? Shouldn’t we relish in those feelings before we dismiss them and move on?

Yours,

Vanessa xo

Yo-yoing into the New Year

Last week I decided to try out my new year’s resolution a bit early; I logged out of Twitter and Instagram (I don’t have Snapchat or Facebook) and deleted the apps from my phone. I’m not sure what I thought would happen but I surely wasn’t expecting to feel so…bored. Yes, bored. I didn’t feel left out or anxious, I felt bored.

Hour after hour I looked at my phone and thought what is the point of this thing if I can’t log into Twitter or Instagram? Other than social media, banking, and music I very rarely use my phone. Yes, there’s the random iMessage or group chat and a few phone calls from my mother or husband but that’s it. My phone is a social media hub, without those apps I didn’t feel the need to keep my phone on me.

There were moments before bed or while lounging on the couch when I read. I sat there by the fire and while my dad flipped through channels I simply read (I just finished reading Sweetbitter and LOVED it). I didn’t look at my phone because there was nothing to look at. I read without interruption, with a delicious sense of calm. It was magical.

When it comes to family, work, and my husband, whenever I say I’m going to do something I do it. There is no yo-yoing or second guessing. I tend it get all bent out of shape over these menial things that don’t matter. These decisions I rush to make because I feel like I have to just do SOMETHING. It is always these decisions that give me instant regret.

There were moments during my social media detox where I truly missed my phone (#millenialprobs), where I wanted to see what was going on or share a thought or a photo. So I texted a friend to ask if I was completely horrible for not going through with my resolution even before the new year started. Could I take it back? Would I look stupid? What is this yo-yoing I’m doing?  I only lasted 19 hours without it!!!  What if I apply for jobs that require social media?  etc. etc. etc.

For over an hour my lovely friend, Alanna dazzled me with advice and honesty. She answered my every question, stunted my every concern, and helped me look at this (and many other) situations in a new light.

Oh don’t have regrets. They’re a waste of fucking time! You do what you think will work in the moment; you try new things. That’s great! You’re not a quitter. You’re an experimenter. You tried something. It doesn’t work for you – AND THAT’S OKAY.

So instead of making myself crazy or sulking into 2017 like an lost puppy; I’m going to own the fact that I decided not to pursue a resolution even before the new year started. Maybe this is the year where I don’t pretend to have a resolution that I won’t keep. Maybe 2017 is the year of real, raw, and not giving too many fucks about things that don’t matter.

Regretlessly yours,

Vanessa xo

Hello Kobo

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The year was 2012 or 2013 and I had just grabbed the last gift hiding beneath the Christmas tree. It was a gift I hadn’t noticed the first few times I snooped around to count how many had my name on it. This gift was wrapped differently than the rest with a label that read  To Vanessa, Love Santa.  It had been years since my mom stopped using the S word so I knew it wasn’t from my parents, which made it all the more interesting.

The gift was the size of a book but far too light to be one. I opened it and saw a brand new Kobo staring back. My heart saddened. I liked real books. The feel of them, the smell of them, the way I could highlight whatever I wanted and write notes in the margins. The eyesore sitting on my lap was no book. No friend of mine. “Santa” turned out to be my then boyfriend (now fiancé). His heart was in the right place, he knew that my love of books was extreme, so much so that I carried one everywhere I went. He thought that this would have been the perfect gift for me. I told him it was, placed it in my room and never looked at it again. Never gave it a chance. A year or so later I gave it away.

Fast forward 4+ years and my bookcase is overflowing, our future condo will not fit the number of books I have collected. My rule is that I can take to the condo only what I can fit in my bookcase. This is somewhat of a problem. Although I don’t receive as many books from publishing houses as I used to, I still purchase quite a few of them and end up giving them away whenever I need to free up space on a shelf.

When I noticed a contest on Casie’s blog for the Kobo Glo HD I thought, hey maybe I’ll give it a try. As luck would have it, I won the Kobo. I met this one with less apprehension than the first, and with an open mind to boot. This little gadget seems to be the answer to all my bookshelf woes. I can download loads of books without cramming up my bookshelf!!

So far I’ve read two books; One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid and Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave. Both were well-written, entertaining, and perfect reads for the beach. I just downloaded Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson and cannot wait to get started. I’ve noticed that I’ve been reading more since I received the Kobo. I love how compact it is, how easy it is to navigate, how easy it is on my eyes. I enjoy the fact that it tells you how much you’ve read and how quickly. I love that ALL OF THE BOOKS are at my fingertips. I enjoy being able to read on my side or my back without having to hold onto a  heavy book and how I can eat a meal without flipping a page.

I love my Kobo, just so you know.

Bookwormingly yours,

Vanessa xo

Not Giving a F*ck

There was once a glorious and enlightening time when I believed in myself. When I felt like I could do anything. A time when I made an effort with my writing, when I networked and asked for help, when I took writing classes, and listened to my blogging/writing mentors. I don’t know the exact moment that I gave up on myself and put my dreams on hold but I did.

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I finished reading The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck this weekend and realized that for the last few years I’ve been giving a f*ck about things that I shouldn’t. Thus leaving me constantly stressed-out, drained, and underwhelmed certain situations. I’ve spent too much time caring about what other people think, doing things I don’t want to do, and putting effort into things that don’t bring me an ounce of joy.

“Your time, energy, and/or money spent should result in greater joy for you. If it is going to result in annoy…Stop. Calculate. And maybe don’t give that fuck.” (pg 37)

Thanks to this book I’ve made lists and figured out exactly what brings me joy and what results in annoy. I’ve crossed out things, events, and people from these lists that distract from my ultimate goals and dreams, and that make me feel less than myself.

I’m adopting a new method of #NotSorry and taking control over the amount of f*cks I’m giving. When it comes to wedding plans, I’m not going to agonize over invitations because I really don’t give a f*ck if people think they look cheap (they go in the garbage) but I will ensure that the food is amazing because I like to eat. I’m not going to RSVP yes to an invitation from someone I haven’t seen in years but I will make more of an effort to hang out with my cousins and family because they’re awesome and if they can make a funeral fun, they’re people I should be spending more time with. Most importantly, I’m not going to be sorry about any of it.

It seems that life is a constant battle of choosing which f*cks are worth giving and drawing them out accordingly.

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