Tag Archives: Blog

The Quarter-Life Crisis. My Experience

 

Fear, an anxiety that burrows deep and this incredibly urgent desire to ‘escape’ are some of the symptoms of the little documented, newly prevalent crisis that is sweeping through my generation and most familiarly, within my own social circle.

Even now, as I type this my fellow mid-twenties to mid-thirtyers  are fumbling through this early on-set predicament. And I get it. I know what it is and I understand the anxiety and discomfort it’s coupled with. I’ve been there. When I took off to BC for an undetermined Continue reading The Quarter-Life Crisis. My Experience

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Enough. Enough? Never

 

A friend of mine from an older generation commented the other day that my generation is very much in the ‘self.’ We’re picky and stubborn, especially when it comes to our personal happiness.

And I almost took offence to it, but then I nodded. Because it’s true.

Continue reading Enough. Enough? Never

Searched Far And Wide. Now It’s Real

Goldilocks wandered the home of the bears, plopping her bottom atop chairs too big and too small, stuffing her face with porridges too hot and too cold and playing mattress roulette like she was a valued customer at Sealy’s. Sure, she may have been dabbling in a high stakes game of breaking and entering in the lair of a family of bears and her particularity verged on fussiness, but her intention was to satisfy a basic desire of ours to just be comfortable.

Never thought I’d say it…but I get it. I get the need to wait; To hold off for that perfect fit.


I started this search over a year ago. A relentless, stubborn, tedious and exceedingly self-severe quest onto myself.

Too big. Too small. Too plain. Too extravagant.

I became real life Goldilocks. But I wasn’t in search of a mattress (although that’s on the list), nor was I taste-testing breakfast gruel. I had this corner of my apartment cleared, found a chair that wasn’t only comfortable but sexy in that way only good furniture can be and daydreamed openly about the better half I’d be setting it up with.

My desk was out there and I was going to find it.

Now, sitting back, with my feet propped beneath its luxuriously finished, glossy top I’m not only the proud owner of a new desk, I’m also finally feeling like a  writer. A real life, bona-fide writer. Well, at least I’m a step closer to that bombshell in my own mind.

As I explored and scrutinized stores throughout Toronto and endlessly browsed pictures online, it became clear that this single piece of furniture wasn’t just a single piece of furniture anymore. It was important. Somehow this new ambition of mine, this new endeavour that demanded the risk of jumping blind, wouldn’t be real until I was working towards it from behind this desk. Investing in it became a priority not just to fill a space in my home, but to make this whole thing an actuality.

I really won’t be a writer until I’m holding a copy of my own, physical book in my hands, but, damn…I’m almost there.

Don’t Tread Lightly

Dear ME2.0,

You’re going to be so tired. You’re going to keep being told to ‘take it easy.’ Everyone is going to be concerned because of those shadows under your eyes, and that strange slur in your character that hints towards another sleepless night.

Colds will be countless.
Your immune system will hate you.

You’ll question your ability to formulate spoken words because paper and keyboards become all you know. Emotions and feelings and thoughts separate between life and the string of words you lace together on a page.

You’ll be grateful for the sun on your skin those few moments that you force yourself outside. You’ll still be spewing imaginary dialogue and description in your head, and occasionally speak under your breathe the words of your next page, but at least you’ll only be considered crazy in populated areas.

You’ll forget to eat. Prepare your stomach for neglect.

Minutes slip to hours and you’ll look up and be discouraged by the minimal page count you’ve been able to turn out.

And you’ll be annoyed. Annoyed that you aren’t doing more, although you’re working yourself raw. Annoyed that time has no other agenda then to keep ticking by despite your plea for it to slow. Annoyed that all you wrote yesterday seems ‘blah’ today.

But.

Just ignore all of that. Forget the discomfort, the worry, the caution to ‘take it easy.’ You don’t need to tread lightly here. You’re ME2.0. You’ve been there – Done that. Survived and thrived. So keep striving. Keep thriving. Keep writing. Keep working. Keep doing more than anyone expects or asks or wants. Every minute of it is worth it. Be the you that stretches to the limits. Be the you that doesn’t second guess saying ‘yes’ to another task, another errand, another shift. It’s the best of you that shrugs off the obstacles and embraces the doubts of others and yourself. As ME2.0 you have a responsibility to be more. To be the better and the best. To write without pause and leap without looking. To know that a net will appear if you just trust the fall. So fall. So jump. So tread not so lightly and be amazed.

Love always,

ME (the original)

 

Playing It Cool. Super Mantra-ing

There’s a time for everything. A time for quiet, for speaking out, for being stubborn and for giving in. Lately, it’s been my time to play it cool.

Busy. So busy. Play it cool.

Meetings, conferences, deadlines and rush. Play it cool.

Don’t neglect your friends. Drag yourself out of bed to have a drink with a heartbroken bud even though you need to be up in 5 hours. Play it cool.

Writing, writing, writing. Edit. Write some more. Play it cool. Wait, did I run yet today?? Play it cool.

Playing it cool is just surviving with an easy expression plastered to your face even if your shoulders are tense or even if there’s butterflies playing smash bros. in your stomach. Generally I’m laid back, but this is a new level of mantra-ing even for me. What is this mantra-ing I speak of? It’s the secret to success. Too far? I actually don’t think so.
A mantra may sound like I’m going all hippie/yogi on you guys here, but it’s actually so much more universal than that. It’s the secret to playing it cool. I discovered mine more by accident than in active search. Somewhere on the side of a hill that just wasn’t ending, my brain was trying to logic my body into keeping its stride. Logic just doesn’t have the upper hand when it comes to lung capacity though and my lungs were pretending they had no more space for the oxygen I was sucking up. ‘Liar,’ I accused. Another deep breathe. ‘Breath. Push.’ Those words, that’s all it took to set my pace again. It reined in all the logic-ing, all the complaints and refocused that frustration. A good run wasn’t going to end on a crappy note just because a few kilometres back I had thought ending at the top of this hill was a brilliant life decision.

‘Breath. Push.’

Each time my foot hit the concrete I would think the word ‘push.’ It was the metronome to my run, to my pace and stride, distracting the ache and playing off my naturally stubborn nature. At the top of the hill I stopped, resting my hands on my hips, huffing like the classiest of struggling civics and didn’t think another second about the magical words. (Because come on now, you aren’t thinking anything at the top of a hill while resembling a dying honda).

Days later the words would slip back into my mind amidst another physically trying, self-induced adventure. Then again a week later. Sometimes the words would change on me. I caught myself picking only one word to mentally yell at myself, or changing it all up completely. I was going farther. I was getting faster. I had discovered magic. Or, less Hogwarts-y, my mantra.

It wouldn’t be until I was suffering writers block and feeling the burn of being over-worked and generally just feeling grumpy that my magic words would sneak up on me without the pressure of a hill beneath my feet. ‘Well then. This is a thing then, huh,?’ I had thought. My collection of playing it cool worthy mantras has since grown and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

My ‘off-the-top-of-my-head’ mantra list:

1. (The classic)  Breath. Push.
2. I’m stronger than I think.
3. Don’t Whine.
4. You’ll be proud later.
5. Be better than yesterday.
6. Keeping writing.
7. Get your shit together.
8. You’ve got this.
9. Go with it.
10. It’s worth it.

These words, my mantras, have a power to them. They’re so simple. So classically unassuming. But heed my warning: they’re not to be solely relied upon. If you start whispering these lines to yourself, your world isn’t going to flip and you’re not going to turn superman on anyone or anything. Self control, confidence and an inclination towards stubbornness are highly encouraged. You ARE stronger than you think and a mantra is meant to be used as a tool. It’s helpful but not a problem solver. It won’t jot down words on the page for you or transport you to the top of the hill, but it can encourage, focus and keep you in the moment.

Being Polite: A Dying Trend

I remember when I was praised for being such a ‘polite little girl.’ Older aunts, uncles, family friends and my parent’s coworkers admiring my practiced inquisition as to how they were, or the eye contact and smile that were just second nature when it came to responding with manners when spoken to. I was taught manners as though it were a religion of its own. Sit up straight, don’t chew with your mouth open and be polite. Those were the rules. They were simple and clear. You don’t ignore someone who is speaking to you, say please and thank you, don’t interrupt anyone and treat people nicely. That’s what being polite is. It’s being nice.

Today, in a society so rarely face-to-face we’re forgetting to be nice. We’re defensive and suspicious, blocking out the world with headphones and commanding our attention away from those around us in our everyday lives. Rush hours of subways and buses crammed with people have their silence broken only by the squeal of the tracks or the dispersed chatter of groups of companions. Strangers brush arms and bump into one another as their jostled against the movement of the transit, but b52they keep their eyes glued to the floor, a phone, an advertisement on the wall or just stare, a dead-eyed stare at nothing at all. We shift uncomfortably under the gaze of anyone who looks at us and sometimes straight up ignore that rare person who tries to initiate conversation. As a woman, I’m guilty of not only ignoring a guy who tries to get my attention, but also going as far as to relocate myself to put distance between myself and the possible threat. That’s what people have become to us: threats or inconveniences. Instead of being polite first, we’ve gotten into the habit of being stand-offish and skeptical.

It’s hard to break this habit though, and it’s questionable if we’ll ever be able to revive this dying trend of politeness. We’re a society that’s become impersonal. Connections are made online, dates organized via text, jobs applied to over email, interviewers following the initial googling of a candidate’s name. We’re forgetting that to be polite isn’t meant to be flirtation. To hold a door open for someone isn’t the first step in courtship, it’s being considerate. Replying to someone and affording them your full attention isn’t a green light for romantic advancements, it’s being a decent human being.

I want to find the little girl who knew the difference without hesitation. Who not only understood what it meant to be polite but did it unconsciously, without fear of making a social faux pas. I want to be nice again.

The Day I Woke Up Fat

It’s a cruel truth that we get complacent with ourselves. Our looks, so easily noted by others, remain unchanged to our easy eyes. That mirror doesn’t have notifications that flash across its screen at the slightest change and so we watch, unknowingly, as our bodies morph.

Then there’s this trigger that happens.

Maybe it’s the subtle squeeze of old jeans or the shock of a picture your friend has taken of you in that bathing suit. All of a sudden, you know. You’ve gotten bigger. There are rolls where there weren’t before and you scrutinize yourself, offended for not having noticed the weight creeping onto you. You battle against this realization, asking ‘how’. You run through all the stats: My routine hasn’t changed in over a year.
But I did move, and quit my job.
I haven’t changed my eating habits in longer.
But now I cook for two.
I still run, work out, or do yoga throughout the week.
But I allocate more of that time to writing now.
Yes, I eat dessert once in awhile, but not religiously and i tend to avoid most sugars.

How? Why?

It’s scary. My body has never turned on me like this, and now I panic.

Isn’t that ridiculous? A body image scaring me. Pounds gained around my middle and thighs inducing panic. We try, as a society, to fight the expectations of media. We cheer Dove for their beauty campaigns that stand in proud contrast to the otherwise picture perfect models everywhere else. Yet, individually, we still unconsciously (and sometimes consciously) yearn to cheer in bodies that more resemble the models on Vanity Fair. It’s hardwired into us.

It’s embarrassing to care; to admit that my aversion to swimming is rooted in the body I hide under my clothes. It’s embarrassing to doubt myself, especially when mine is a body that’s hiked, trekked, canoed, kayaked, won soccer championships and competed nationally in figure skating competitions. My body is strong. My body has been pushed and has surprised me again and again. It hasn’t let me down, and now I sit here scowling at it as though it were a foreign disease. I’m still beautiful. I’m still strong. And I’ll get even stronger. And I’ll get more happy with what looks back at me from the mirror, because I’ll work for it. I can step up my game.

__________________________________________

I wrote most of this post a month ago. Back then, I didn’t know how to end it. And I was embarrassed by the truth of it all. It’s been over 4 weeks now. And I have stepped up my game. I’m more fit now than I was all summer, and I can feel it. I don’t have to scrutinize a mirror image in search of the inches I’m wishing will fall off. My runs have gotten longer, I’m covering more miles in a shorter amount of time, and I feel great. There’s still so much more I want myself to accomplish, but it’s finally about what I want of myself rather than how I want myself to look.

Sometimes it takes waking up fat to wake up.

The Makings of a Writer…Maybe?

I’m ashamed of my blogger silence. But I’ve already prepped and loaded an excuse!

I’m writing!

Clearly not here. But I am writing. My book is in full swing and I’m skimming past self inflicted due dates with a personally prideful determination. There’s been hard days of writer’s block, entire pages that I reread only to discover i hate them and way too many puppy induced distractions to wade through. (Not to mention my own nagging thoughts and injustices I love pushing upon myself). Each day, as the words become sentences and those sentences become paragraphs that fill page after page, I have a sense of growth. I’m getting better. I’m more confident than I was at the start of this shaky blog and i’m starting to believe that maybe I have a talent for this after all. Lacking the insane page output that Stephen King is famous for, I’ve struggled with feeling slow and inadequate. I criticize myself endlessly; pages don’t fill fast enough and I’m not piecing my thoughts together efficiently enough. Then I remember, this is me. It’s me finding my prose, it’s me developing my language and it’s me heading this project. These words are mine, this style is me and i can do this my own way. Discovering those they things have altered each step in this process.

Writer’s block is my mind telling me to let go. To give my thoughts space and time to collect. What’s the point in raging and letting my frustration leak onto the pages? I know what I’m writing about. Just breath.

So what if a few hours work seems like rubbish. I can revise it. Reword and rework what I have; It’s not all trash. There’s something buried in there for me to work with – be smart. Be patient. Be creative. There was a reason I wrote what I did, now rediscover it and find that purpose.

Distraction will happen! I’m human! If anything is worthy of breaking my concentration, it’s definitely the things I love most. The world won’t end and my book won’t fall to the wayside to be forgotten about and defeated if I take a few minutes to award my attention elsewhere. I’m going to jump back into it. I’ll write more, and maybe even with more of the happiness I get from my distractions translating onto the pages.

I’m still scared. I still question exactly what I’m doing with this foolish dream and big project daily. Yet something in me is pushing me on. Even if I’m being silly. Even if this never gets read by anyone but me. I can promise it will get done, and I’ll do my best each day to make it the best thing i’ve ever written. There’s a new calm that i can’t quite explain…but it keeps me going.

From The Depths Of Zero Fashion Sense

Tom boy Liz, in all her glory, has been known to rock soccer shorts, baggy man tees, ripped jeans (not the fashionable ones…I take care of tears all on my own), stained tank tops and mis-matched socks with shoes that have reached a point that no manufacturer envisioned for them. I’d like to say those days are long gone, but I confess to still being clad in massive sweat pants and shirts with holes in them way too often. If you ever intended to pick up some fashion tips from this blog, just click the little ‘x’ in the corner – I’ve got nothing for you.

My employment history easily assists in an explanation as to my pathetic style-sense. I’ve worked in scrubs and clothes that are guaranteed to get torn and dirty on a potentially daily basis. Animals aren’t the most considerate of fashion and I’ve (not so unwillingly), abided by their rules.

Now, without the excuse of animal interference, I’m faced with learning the art of being presentable on a regular basis. Sure, I can clean up when I need to. I’ve obviously not been totally hopeless. Living in a house of five girls, having a ‘girly’ best friend and maturing have all aided to my overall comprehension of how to dress. Malls are still places of struggle, dressing rooms mind as well be chasms and ask my opinion on accessories and I can promise a stare filled with mild confusion and a hint of fear. Oh and make-up? Nope. Just nope – Let’s leave it at that.

With this new path I’m wandering along in life, I’ve had to encourage the style-aware part of me to take some reins. It’s a sad truth that the way we look greatly affects how we do in life. It’s why theories such as the Halo vs Horns affect exist. Sure there are exceptions to the rule, but vaguely speaking, we’re judged a lot by how we carry ourselves. I’m not horrendous looking, but I’m far from stunning. Add some frayed jeans and ill-fitted shirts, and I’m barely grazing a 5/10. Professionally speaking, I’m in need of a re-vamp.

I’m not good at this. It doesn’t come naturally. Yet, what in life really does? Even the creative of us need practice to affirm those skills, and those fresh out of school need a little guidance in a new work place. There’s rarely just ease. Not being a natural at something is a poor excuse. It means that getting to the finish line may take longer, but at least your staying in the race. I’m working on myself. On my confidence, my style and even my hair. I need to up my game in every department now that I’m pursuing this new life. Be honest in my efforts and commit to each little step that may get me closer to my goals. It may seen like an insignificant change, but if it can, in any way, vouch for my word on how much I want this, then it’s big enough for me.

Cheers to a year of keeping track.