The snow is falling without fear, without apprehension. My morning commute is becoming an hour longer than it has to be. My hands grip the wheel as my shoulders hunch up toward my ears. My mind is racing a mile a minute in spite of my car’s snail pace. The flashing break lights in front of me are no longer in focus – I force myself to blink.
If you’re like me, doing one thing at a time isn’t enough. I like to feel busy, to use my time wisely. I like to have a lot different projects on the go. Recently I have been writing for my Writing Group, trying to revamp my blog and pump out a few posts, spending loads of time on social media, looking into the job market to see what else is out there, reading whatever book I can get my hands on, and trying to purchase the necessities for our condo.
The problem is that nothing is getting finished. Everything is started and each time I go back to a new task I’m left frustrated, confused, and cannot seem to focus. I come home from work a stressed out, tired mess and spend my evenings and weekends watching Netflix or making excuses to spend time with my family just to avoid my long-winded to-do list.
Simply put, I cannot do it all. Not all at once. As much as I’d like to re-brand and revamp my blog, I know that I won’t be able to dedicate myself to the blogging world like I did when I was in my early twenties. So, I’ve chosen to focus on writing for my Writing Group (which I hope leads to the writing of a novel) and reading. I can buy things for the condo closer to our move-in date, I will spend less time on social media, and I’ve signed up for Indeed’s emails to keep me in the loop when it comes to jobs.
It’s time to switch focus and get rid of the blur.
*photo is a stock photo from WordPress*
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.
Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed, when there are too many people at home, or when my anxiety gets to its max, I go for a car wash. The vibrant colour of the soap combined with the sound of the brushes smacking against the car create a womb of comfort. I can move forward without actually doing anything. I don’t have to worry. I can coast and allow my thoughts to hatch without any sort of distraction.
Last week I decided to get a car wash because I don’t think I’m living my best life. There, I said it. Like many people (I’m sure), my weeks blend into one another without a moment of real pause for excitement. I wake up early, head to work, work my 8+ hours, come home, eat, work out (if I find the energy), sleep and begin again. I find little joy in what I do. My job is great and challenging in its own right but most days I feel as though I might be wasting my time. I am reminded quite often that a job is a job. You have to work, you have to make money but that can’t be all there is to life, can it?
Apart from feeling unfulfilled at work I noticed that I haven’t been taking care of myself. I used to work out 5-7 days a week and now I’ll be lucky if I get 2 or 3 days in. I used to write and read like crazy and now I don’t. I used to go for a manicure or pedicure and really enjoy pampering myself, now I don’t. I used to stay away from sweets and junk food and now I can’t.
There are many things I am proud of and so many people in my life that fill me with warmth and happiness, but there is a large piece of me that knows I am not living my best life. I keep thinking that if it all disappeared tomorrow, what would I regret not doing? What would I wish I had made more time for? Which routines would I regret not breaking?
I don’t want to write about this but I should because sometimes a step back means taking a leap forward. I hoped that my previous post about anxiety would be my last. I truly believed that I had gained control over it, that I would never have to deal with the severe heart palpitations, nausea, aches and pains, headaches, and panic attacks again. I didn’t have the slightest inkling that it would come back, that I would need to take my medication again. I believed with every ounce of my being that I wouldn’t sit at my desk and have to feel like I was drowning, gasping for air.
Oh, how wrong I was.
A few weeks ago my mom noticed a change in my attitude and I noticed the small signs of my anxiety coming back. It happened slowly, a few sleepless night, the dread of looming Mondays, and a shorter temper. Then suddenly I was over the edge. I became filled with fear and worries. My anxiety wrapping its arms around me like an old friend. I tried my breathing exercises, repeating my mantras, and working out more but to no avail. After yet another panic attack and a conversation with my husband and mom, I decided it would be best if I went back on my anxiety medication.
What I am now trying to figure out is what my trigger is. Why did it come back? How come I could keep it at bay for months and then it returns with a vengeance?
When family and friends ask me how married life is going, I stand there with a blank look on my face or stare at my phone with a million thoughts running through my head. Most of these thoughts are works of fiction filled with lust, drama, and romance.
How’s married life? they ask
Oh it’s wonderful! He’s more kind and caring than he’s ever been. He literally cannot keep his hands off me and sends me dirty text messages and brings home bouquets of roses. Only a few months into our marriage and we’ve filled our days with adventure, wine, and music that inspires us to dance. He spins me around and leaves me breathless.
How’s married life? they ask
Well, it’s nothing like I imagined. It’s like the magician has disappeared and I’m left standing in a reality that I don’t recognize. We’ve let ourselves go and all bets are off. We’re far more gross and weird than we’ve let on and it’s beginning to wear us thin. We don’t go more than a few hours without seeing each other and are constantly getting on each other’s nerves.
How’s married life? they ask
It’s like having a second full-time job. It’s a lot of work and the work has only just begun. We’re learning how to live together and still stay sane. Some days we want to strangle one another while other days we don’t want to be around anyone else. The hardest part in mixing our two lives into one.
Of course I don’t say any of this out loud. I allow these little stories to flutter around in my head because they seem far more interesting than the current status of my reality. How’s married life? The truth is it’s comfortable. Not much has changed from us dating to us being husband and wife. We have the same arguments, enjoy the same moments, and as much as I wish he was suddenly more weird and gross so I would have something to write about, he isn’t.
How’s married life? It’s wonderful and silly and fun and infuriating and a work-in-progress. What’s married life? It’s different for every couple so it’s difficult to explain. For us, it’s sweat and farts and morning-breath and smiles and laughter. It’s planning for the future and figuring things out together. It’s comfort and boredom and rare moments where I still find butterflies in fluttering around in my stomach.
How’s married life? It’s great!
Fate can come in different shapes and forms; it can be personified as a person, place, coincidence, accident, letter, email, or sign. I met Fate mid-Sunday morning at a new diner close to home. This version of Fate came in a 5 foot 2 bundle of confidence and happiness complete with gorgeous eyes and an open heart. I call her Alanna, mostly because that is her name but I digress.
Alanna and I have been friends since high school and after we meet up I always find myself a smidgen more confident and a boatload more inspired. As always, our conversation went from love and married life to work, family, and friends. We talked about adulting and everything that goes along with it. What struck me most about our conversation was how in the last few years we’ve changed dramatically. Thanks to our own circumstances, we’ve become more confident, happy, and untouched by the opinions of others. We went from caring about what people think about us to completely not giving a f*&$. There is an incredible freedom that comes with letting going of insecurities brought on by other.
Eventually our conversation veered to our creative pursuits, she is one half of Out of the Blue and I’m a writer. She asked me how my writing is going and it’s definitely going – fingers crossed that the literary agent interested in my work gets back to me in 2017 with some good news. We started talking about another story that I’ve been itching to write. A story that has been right in front of me for years but I haven’t sat down to let it all out. It would be really cool to see both perspectives side-by-side. I think you should write this book, Alanna said.
The more we discussed it the more I realized that I had to go for it…
I was at my aunt/florists house the other night pretending to help with wedding things when she admitted to me that my blog posts leave her with a heavy heart. I was a little stunned by the comment – I always thought my posts sounded jovial and inspired. I wanted them to say: I’m content with my life and where I am right now but I am working toward something bigger. Something different. That’s the conundrum with writing; it doesn’t really matter how you wanted your words to resonate with people, it matters what they actually get from them.
My aunt has known me for twenty-seven years. She’s been extremely involved in my life and is quite possibly the only one who still reads my blogs. As she is my mother’s sister, whatever I don’t tell her, my mother does. It’s safe to say that she knows and understands many aspects of my life. She’s seen me go through a crazy year and listened to me complain, cry, or question my life choices. As my florist, she’s been with me (and my mom) through every step of the wedding planning process. It’s understandable that when she reads my writing she doesn’t take it at face value or even relate it to her own life. What she sees is a niece who is constantly striving for more, a niece that isn’t as happy as she should be, a niece who cares too much about everything and doesn’t live for today.
Tia Mary, I get it. After reading my posts over from the last few weeks, I completely understand how you’re reading my work and why you feel the way you do. I don’t mean for my words to leave you or anyone with a heavy heart and the look in your eye the other night almost brought tears to my eyes. I am not unhappy. I’m just unfulfilled. I’m content with where I am right now but know that once I allow myself to get comfortable I will not challenge myself to move on or try new things.
I also understand what you mean when you say: Live for today. Enjoy every moment! That is something I need to work on. Bringing little joys to every part of my day is one thing I aspire (and NEED) to do. What I am trying to say here is thank you, for hearing the sadness in my words and providing advice that I can take to heart and use.
On Monday morning, I won’t grumble or allow my anxiety to skyrocket. I will smile, turn on some tunes, dance in the hallway, and get shit done! I will open my eyes to everything I am experiencing and be happy about it.
Life is too short not to.
Thanksgiving is my favourite day of the year. If you’ve been following my blog since 2010, you’ll remember that my family is all about our Thanksgiving day traditions. The day begins with a trip to Downey’s Farm where we scarf down the best fries with gravy (or a hot dog), take photos in the pumpkin patch, and buy 3 different pies from the bakery. Next we head over to the closest apple orchard and pick to our hearts’ content. Then we all head to my parents’ house to snack, nap, and await an epic turkey dinner. Although the day itself has lost some of its magic, I’m thankful for its continuity. We’re growing up and perhaps we’ve exchanged hot chocolate for coffee (or wine) but we still enjoy being together and continuing the tradition that started long before my nieces were born, before my sister was married, my brother graduated high school, or Alex and I got engaged.
Thanksgiving, apart from the family time and overeating, always makes me think about what I’m thankful for, what I’ve accomplished, and how I can better myself. It’s one thing to be thankful for people and the many things they do for us and it’s another to show thanks – which is something I don’t do enough of. This last month or so I’ve felt extremely overwhelmed, headstrong, and stubborn. Nightmares, thoughts about a disastrous wedding, and planning has me going a little nuts. There is always something on my mind and with the final countdown beginning I’ve turned into a BRIDEZILLA. I’ve been short with a lot of people and stress is no excuse for a bad attitude. This bridezilla has to morph back into the anxious humble little nobody who appreciates all of the help and care people (my mom especially) have put into this wedding.
As far as my own accomplishments go and the goals I want to set for myself I’m afraid that I’ve become lazy. What happened to the girl who used to blog her heart out, who used to jump at the chance of attending every event she was invited to? What happened to the woman who wanted to make a difference with her words? Who looked to young writers for inspiration and allowed herself to get lost in creating worlds filled with characters that people could relate to? What happened to the woman hell-bent on acquiring a literary agent who could both challenge and help her create beautiful stories? She got a full-time job and a suitcase filled with excuses and used them every chance she could. I’m proud of all I’ve accomplished at work but it’s time to go back to my roots and get excited about words, books, bookish people, and spinning tales. It’s time to get back to being me.
I spent last Sunday afternoon in the VIP tent at the Cirque de Soliel! My bosses took the entire Serrano Imports staff to the Luzia show as a little staff appreciation gift.
We were given our VIP passes and escorted into a dark tent filled with with cozy sofas, Mexican decor, hot and delicious hors d’oeuvres, and women with sparkling wine dresses (and I mean that literally, they had dresses holding glasses filled with sparking wine). After an hour or so of chatting with my coworkers we made our way to the main tent to enjoy the show. We were seated about four rows up from centre stage which made the costumes, dancing, and tricks all the more vivid.
I was blown away by the strength and poise the was possessed by every person on the stage. It’s alarming what a human body can do if trained hard enough. Although the stunts were incredible, I fell for the beauty of the stage, costumes, music, and story. At the beginning of the show, the clown comes on stage and turns a key that opens and a magical world filled with wonder. Each act left me longing for a few more seconds of unadulterated bliss.
One of my favourite acts incorporated a man-made waterfall where the water actually depicted different things – flowers, fish, hearts, designs. It was incredibly stunning.
Luzia made me believe in magic again. It left me feeling hopeful, young, and optimistic.