On… The Fear of Rejection

Rejection-A-Motivational-Quote

I had an interesting conversation with a good friend of mine last week. He asked me if I would be trying out for a specific competitive team at school and I immediately cringed. The case competition program at my university is extremely well known and seeks out well spoken students to represent the school around the world at competitions. You crack a case from a real company with your team, and present to a panel of judges- often the panel includes executives from the company in question. I’ve been told at least a dozen times by friends who’ve competed that I should try out, and I’ve always hesitated or laughed it off. “Case competitions aren’t for me” I’ve always said.

Maybe that’s true. I don’t really like the idea of being in a room for three hours with the knowledge that when you walk out of that room, you need to present your solution. Truth be told, I’ve never really been interested in competing, but the program itself has kind of fascinated me. This year, instead of competing, I applied and joined the organizing committee for the competition that actually takes place at OUR university. I thought that if I wasn’t going to participate, I could at least experience some version of competing through the organization of the event itself.

But this particular team my friend was asking me about wasn’t one of the super scary teams. It was a debate team. One of the reasons I didn’t want to try out because I knew I would have to debate against really qualified students who had done this many times before, and I didn’t want to go up there and look completely ridiculous. I didn’t just hesitate- I really did cringe at the idea.

When did I become so afraid of rejection? 

It’s not the only recent instance in my life where I cringed at the thought of rejection. Since losing in the university-wide election last year, there are certain parts of campus that I can’t go to without sorta kinda hyperventilating a little bit. I always associated the feeling with the idea that I was probably still upset about losing, not to mention all the time and energy I put in those 6 months of my life. But is that really all there is to it?

In the last two years of my life, I’ve become a much more confident and outgoing person than I ever was as a teenager. I still joke that I’m a silly, socially awkward person, but I realize that I’m not really that person anymore- not like I used to be. I like meeting new people because I see my value in a conversation and feel quite comfortable in my own skin. I know what I have to offer and I constantly strive to improve myself and find success and happiness. So why do I keep short changing myself on certain new opportunities?

“You need to stop being afraid of trying new things because you’re afraid of losing or being rejected” my friend said to me.

“I’m not afraid of being rejected. I’m afraid of putting my heart and soul into a project and then coming up short.”

“I don’t care if you don’t try out for case competitions. I really don’t. But you need to embrace rejection and loss and realize it will only make you stronger. Stop considering how others will view your losses, and see how you will gain from them” he countered.

Well, okay, this is advice I can work with. There was a second where I kind of wanted to argue with him a little bit and explain that I wasn’t afraid of loss, what was he talking about, he had no idea. But the truth is, he was on that team with me when we lost. He’s had his fair share of putting himself out there and not quite getting his way. I had to accept that his advice did have some merit, because it did. I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Are some rejections bigger than others? I can dust myself off pretty easily after being rejected from a job (even if I really want it), but  when it comes to opening myself up in front of a room of my peers? That seems unfathomable to me still. I’ve come a long way in two years, but I think I still have some work to do on my self confidence. I know people won’t see me differently if I don’t do well, but will I see myself differently?

I want to say no to opportunities because they don’t feel right to me, not because I’m afraid of not getting them. So maybe I really don’t want to participate in case competitions, but he was definitely seeing a pattern in my decisions that I was choosing to avoid seeing mysel. When I say no to a situation where I have to take myself out of my comfort zone, I want to think a little longer about it and make sure I’m making the choice for myself, and not to save face.

Being confident in yourself is something you always have to work on, and I’m still working on mine. I’ve come a long way, but I know I still have a little ways to go. You have to believe in yourself before you ask anyone else to. I’m still a work in progress, but I’m trying to be less afraid.

How do you deal with rejection? 

Big Girl Job

photo 10

Exactly one month ago, I said goodbye to my part-time job of 6 years, and hello to my first ever “big girl job”. I was excited, of course, and SO ready for the change. I loved my part-time work the entire time I was there (I did get to sell books, after all) but I knew that at 25, it was time to find something new, challenging, and in a field that I would be interested in pursuing as a career.

I was really nervous, too. I don’t think I accepted just how nervous I actually was until the day before I started, when I spent the entire afternoon cleaning and organizing my room from top to bottom. Cleaning = classic calming strategy in my books. But if my crazy university life taught me anything, it’s to embrace new challenges. I knew I wouldn’t be there unless I deserved to be, so I got myself ready, grabbed a coffee on my first day of work, and began my new adventure in the world of marketing.

On my first day, I was handed a notebook, pen, cute coffee mug, a desk in the loft-space office, a tour, and a brief introduction to my coworkers. I took a lot of notes, and mostly kept to myself. I didn’t leave after my first day ecstatic about my new job. I missed knowing what I needed to do, what was expected of me, and who I worked with. I missed working a short bus ride away from home, walking around, talking about books all day, and having the freedom to choose my days off to sleep in. After one day, being an adult was kind of difficult. My first week was mostly me trying not to jump out of my chair and take a walk every 15 minutes. I had never worked in an office environment before, and found it strange to get to sit by a computer all day. I was also given a lot of reading to do that week, until my scheduled training the following Monday. Every day was a little bit better, but the 6:30am wake-ups weren’t getting easier just yet.

On my first Friday, the office was closed for a “team-bonding” event. We all met at lunchtime, in the Old Port of Montreal, for an organized “Amazing Race” of the surrounding area of the Old Port. We were broken up into 3 teams, and spent nearly 4 hours following a map and answering close to 40 questions about our city. It was FANTASTIC. We were all out of the office getting some exercise, learning new things about each other and about Montreal. It was a beautiful day, and at the end of the afternoon we all got together at a restaurant for drinks and to find out who won.

mediacom

I was 4 days into a new career, I had been named team captain, and after finding out that my team won the race, I got to make a speech about what we learned most in our afternoon. It might have been a tough first three days in the office, but after the amazing race, I was feeling right at home among my coworkers.

The next three weeks went by in a blur. I was in summer school finals (and managed to pass one of the toughest-to-me classes I’ve ever taken). I started having dreams about still working at my old job (these have persisted until now and I’m sure will continue) but all that I feel when I wake up, is glad that I took one of the biggest steps out of my comfort zone so far in my life. It would have been easy to continue living life as a part-time worker, part-time student, enjoying a social life and feeling financially irresponsible. But the truth is, I wasn’t happy anymore.

My job has taken me in a very new direction, and I’m nowhere near knowing exactly what the next couple years has in store for me. What I do know is that every day I am learning about the world of marketing and advertising, and I am falling into a routine of waking up, but certainly not one of comfort. I go to class after work, I go out for drinks, I have meetings, I write, and I am reading more now than I have in months. I love having my weekends, knowing that I have several days to do whatever I want. I can go shopping, see friends, go out for dinners, and feel less guilty about spending a bit more money if I need (or want) to.

Part of me is really scared to fall into a boring routine, get too comfortable, and too tired to do anything with my evenings. But I’ve promised myself not to become that person just yet. I want to listen to my body when I’m too tired, but still make time to go out, even on the days where I’d rather just crawl into bed. I have this strange fear that being an adult means having a full-time job and no time for fun things, which I know is ridiculous, so I’m trying to beat that feeling every day in any way I can. So far, each week that goes by I love what I do even more, and find that my current routine, although very different for my previous, erratic lifestyle, is one that I can gladly get used to for a little while.

I love working downtown, despite the long travel days. Despite summer school having just ended a couple weeks ago, I’m taking classes I’m excited about and feel like the worst of it is behind me before now. My new job has rejuvenated me, and made me feel like I’m less in the throws of a quarter-life crisis. I told myself I wanted to be happy, figured out what was making me unhappy, and am taking steps to fix it. Work was a big part of that, and I’m still proud of myself for trying something new after so many years!

Mid-Summer Goals, Re-Visited

In late June, I set myself up with 10 mid-summer goals. I was at a pretty unhappy point in my life, despite feeling more like myself than I had in a really long time. I think I had just forgotten who I was a little bit in the last year, and similar to a bad breakup, was slowly picking up the pieces leading up to my (scary) 25th birthday.

I more or less forgot that I set these goals, to be honest. I haven’t been a very good blogger in quite a long time, so I never really found myself re-visiting my page to track any progress. It’s no surprise that I didn’t accomplish all 10 of them (or even close, for that matter) but I wanted to re-visit them and see what kind of progress I DID make, because looking back, all ten of these goals still matter to me. I’m a big believer that setting goals is about making a difference in your life, no matter how big or small, even if you don’t hit the full target you had planned out. Setting goals is about wanting to take steps to a change, and I’m still all about that!

So let’s see how I did, and what I have let to do:

1. Read 10 books. 6/10. I found it really hard to get back into reading this year, and didn’t pick up a book in 2014 until the month of April. My reading has only really picked up in August/September. I’ve read 6 books in July/August/beginning of September, but most of those were in Aug/Sept. My 3 hours of traveling every day to and from work have really helped pick my habit back up, and now I’m finally reading because I love doing it again, not because I’m forcing myself to. It feels fantastic, even if I couldn’t read 10 books all summer!

photo 20

2. Get my driver’s license. FAIL. I actually had a bit of a disagreement with family over this. People like to make up excuses for me and why I don’t have a license at age 25. I realize it’s some kind of “stepping stone” into adulthood, but I’ve been kind of busy with a million other things that the average adult never accomplishes. I am 100% okay with not having had the time to accomplish this. I will keep it on my “to-do” list until it becomes a priority and until my schedule opens up and I want to add it in there. It’s not that I’m “not ready” or “don’t like to drive”, and I hate when people try and fill in those blanks for me. I like driving, and will get to it when I want to!

3. Renew my passport and my medicare card. FAIL. Okay but I really do need to get this done. I like to travel and I like free health insurance. This is next.

4. Eat healthier. SORT OF. I can’t say this was something I was working on for 2 straight months, but especially since working at my new job I’ve made a very conscious effort to eat better. Mostly it works, sometimes it doesn’t (like the days I’m craving vanilla ice cream with nutella drizzle, yes that is a thing). Overall, I am being more conscious and happy with my food decisions, and I will continue to work on this forever.

photo 19

5. Take a small trip. ACCOMPLISHED. I spent a MUCH needed week away camping as a volunteer with girl guides, which ended up being a very needed, summer-changing experience for me. I left two weeks after writing these goals (in mid-July) and came back feeling very centered and ready to tackle new challenges. I also spent a weekend in Toronto visiting my best friend, and it was absolutely fabulous. She took me and a few of our friends around to visit, we went to the beach, and I finally got to see where she’s been living since November!

photo 18

6. Start another 365 photo project. ACCOMPLISHED! I started on my birthday on July 10th, and have been posting daily photos to Facebook. This is the most time consuming project to take on (you need to remember it every day) but the most rewarding. I love looking back every day to a moment captured in time. It helps remember the little things that I do throughout the years. It’s my third picture project, although my 2nd one fizzled out after close to 300 days. Still regretful about that.

7. Do things that matter. ACCOMPLISHED… SORT OF. I don’t really remember why I had this goal written down, but I sense it was to make sure that I paid attention to certain things coming up in my life and to make the right choices. Some of these things included passing my summer class (a class I have previously failed twice because I refused to accept the work I needed to do), and start volunteering again (I went camping with Girl Guides & have decided to volunteer semi-regularly for them this year as well). This is what I wrote:

I’d like to focus my energy on other projects that really matter to me- not just *things* to keep me busy, which we all know I love. It’s time to be more selective, and see big results.”

I think this was a way for me to write out a reminder to myself not to let my motivation die down, and that I should always push myself to do things that will have an impact. I hope this is something I am always doing, not just in the summer!

photo 17

8. Remember the Summer Ground Rules. SORT OF. These ground rules have been my mantra, if you will, over the last few months. Sometimes I forget about them though. It would be worth printing them out, because they are more than just “summer” ground rules. They feel like life ground rules, and I always want to be thinking about them.

9. Get my finances in check. SORT OF. It was difficult to do much about this until I either got a job, or accepted that I needed a line of credit. Luckily for me, the job came first, and I’m working my first couple months to finally cross this goal off.

10. Apply for jobs I’m passionate about. ACCOMPLISHED. I applied to a handful of jobs throughout the summer, despite sometimes wanting to apply to anything and everything, just to get out of my summer rut. I’m so glad I held out, and am now working full-time in a marketing/advertising company. It’s entry-level, and exactly what I need to learn and decide if I want to pursue a career in the field.

5 Months

Dear Eliana,

I can’t believe we’re already right around the corner from your very first half birthday. It still feels like just yesterday that we were finding out about you for the first time, and now you’re already a smiling, giggling, sweet baby girl that has changed our lives forever.

photo 6

Your first couple months weren’t easy. You had some complications at birth, which meant you were in and out of the hospital as a newborn. Your parents were so strong and helped you through that tough beginning to your life. But you know what? I think it will only make you more brave and beautiful as you get older. As a little girl, you’re a lot more simple, sweet, and easygoing than your big brother. You don’t play games that include throwing you in the air like a plane; instead you like to cuddle your monkey, and smoosh your face into anything soft.

You LOVE to move around, you’re always wiggling and pushing yourself up to see what’s going on. When you’re over at my house with grandma, you spend half the day screaming out to the puppies so they come and pay you more attention. You laugh endlessly as they give your toes and fingers kisses, and you could sit around watching them play and sleep all day long without complaint.

photo 2

It’s been very interesting trying to split my time between you and your brother. Because of your tough start, we didn’t have any sleepovers until you were 4 months old; by then, your brother was already staying over quite regularly. Sometimes it feels like I’m still getting to know you, and yet you’re already so familiar to me. I love walking around with you, watching you giggle at your reflection in the mirror, and make up silly games to watch you burst into a fit of more giggles.

You’re not a very temperamental baby, but I still spend so much time trying to decide if you’re happy, comfortable, bored, or sad. You’re my favorite little girl, and I always want to make sure that you’re in a good mood. I worry about you constantly, but only because I’m so protective of you. It’s so different in comparison to your big brother, who always wanted to be thrown in the air. The rougher you played with him, the more he laughed. But you? You’re a whole new ball game. You’re so content to sit with a toy and watch everything around you.

photo 5

You know what, though? I wouldn’t want it any other way with you. There is so much of you as a baby that reminds me of your brother, and that makes me so nostalgic for the last three years, but you are so distinctly YOU, such a beautiful, precious baby girl with an entirely different personality, I am so happy to get to know you and try and figure out what kind of toddler you’re going to be. I forgot just how much I loved the baby stage, so I’m enjoying your baby smiles, pudgy legs, tiny hands & feet as much as I possibly can. I know you’re going to be a young lady in the blink of an eye, so I’m just focusing on your pretty little face to think back on when you’re big and running around outside.

photo 9

Things you love: giving kisses (and getting kisses!), playing with puppies, your multi-color monkey, elmo, watching you brother play (and laughing at him), being placed on the ground to practice crawling, being cuddled, sleeping, lying on your back and being tickled. :)

Happy 5 months to my favorite niece, and baby girl. Every day I am so thankful that you are getting healthier, that you are happy, and that you are continuing to grow and do new, wonderful things. You are the most precious things to come into our family’s life, with the sweetest disposition, and a face that is just impossible not to squish it’s so darn cute. Of course I’m excited to see you continue to develop your unique personality, but I am also just so happy to watch you today, right now, in this moment. I am hardly thinking of what’s next. I do know, without a doubt, you’re going to break a lot of hearts when you’re older!

All my love,

auntie Melissa

photo 3

photo 1

25 and 1/12

It’s been close to 10 years that I have been a blogger or regular writer of some sort, and I think this is the first year I didn’t write a single thing on my birthday or anywhere near it. I still like thinking of myself as a blogger, even though I blog so rarely these days, and after celebrating one whole month of being 25 on Sunday, I felt it might be time for a real, proper, 25 year old update.

photo 1Blew out the candles on my cupcakes with my nephew, of course :) 

Regardless of the season, it seems I’m still managing to be keeping plenty busy. The strange thing about not blogging much anymore- despite still writing plenty everywhere else- is that I feel a little bit out of practice. It feels strange putting a post together even now, knowing I have so much to say and talk about.

25 started off being really scary and I didn’t want to talk about it much. I spent a pretty solid 3 months making jokes about it like “oh god I’m so old, you’ll find me in my room crying with a tub of ice cream on my birthday” but the truth was, it wasn’t all that far off from what I thought I might end up doing. I wasn’t looking forward to my birthday- and I ALWAYS look forward to it.

I spent the months leading up to my birthday doing a few important things:

1) Taking some time away from school to decompress from my year of crazy

2) Figuring out what kind of vacation I could take to really, truly clear my head

3) Falling back in love with my part-time job because I didn’t know when I might be able to leave it (following my loss in the elections, I had stopped loving a lot of the things I used to, like my job in a bookstore)

4) Looking for a real, big girl job, because I knew that I needed to move on to something challenging again, and because I need real adult amounts of money (now that I was becoming a real adult, in my eyes, anyway)

5) Re-focusing my energies on the things that mattered most to me; family, friends, Confront Magazine, reading, doing fun carefree things I had stopped doing last year when I was too busy for much of anything

Following these five important inner-goals, I managed to quietly accomplish some really great things, and stopped being so terrified of a number. Okay, well truthfully, I was pretty scared right up until 12:01AM on my actual birthday, July 10th. Some friends took me out after a meeting on July 9th around 11pm, got me a lot of drinks, and by 11:58PM I was pretending I wasn’t completely terrified of being a 25 year old. I took a couple shots, made a few more jokes about being old, and before I knew it, it was my birthday. The world didn’t end, my life didn’t suddenly become meaningless, I didn’t suddenly wrinkle up and become THAT old. I just got to celebrate my special day for another year, with some really great people.

I started reading again, did my best to enjoy my job and make some money, and persisted in the search for a new job. I knew it would happen when it was time, and so it did. The week leading up to my birthday I had a 2 hour interview with a company that I immediately felt a strong attachment to. The week after my birthday, I heard back from them saying they wanted to do some reference checks and potentially make me an offer. Another week after that and I was handing in my notice at my job of nearly 6 years. Today, I’m starting said new job!

photo 5One of my last shifts with some of the girls I worked with for years <3

I knew I couldn’t afford to go on a big, fancy trip like I had so many other years, but I heard about Girl Guides needing some volunteers for their Provincial summer camp this year. I had been looking for a reason to get back involved in an organization that I really loved, and after growing up in Girl Guides, this seemed absolutely perfect. I was placed with a team of 5 other leaders, and just a couple days after my 25th birthday I packed up and spent 7 days as a leader for 21 7-9 year old girls, sleeping in a tent, making food on an open fire, and clearing my mind of absolutely everything. It was fabulous.

photo 3It was such a gorgeous camp ground, I had trouble leaving- even after 7 days of sleeping in a tent! 

I came back home just in time for midterms in the second summer semester; I had let my studies go during elections in the winter semester and failed a class that I really disliked, which I am now retaking. I spent an entire week studying for the exam, and ended up doing really well for the first time ever in the class.

I’ve spent more time outdoors reading, feeling nostalgic about a workplace I grew up in but was ready to leave,  and going out with friends- just because.

photo 4Spent a weekend in Toronto to visit my best friend who moved there! 

It hasn’t been an epic summer spent traveling like the last few years, it hasn’t been a summer of romance and crazy excitement. But it has been a summer of immense change. I feel more uncertain about myself than I have in a long time, and yet more confident than ever before. I’ve taken new opportunities, met new people, taken myself out of my comfort zone career-wise, and taken leaps of faith when I wasn’t sure I wanted to. I took 5 big steps back from working crazy hours. It was time to re-connect with my passions, and do things for no one but myself. Despite getting a little lost along the way in the last few months, I think I’ve managed to find my way back to steady ground.

I learned that just because you turn 25, it doesn’t mean your life is supposed to be perfect. At any age, your life can be turned upside down. The unfortunate number of break-ups I’ve witnessed lately are a testament to that fact. It’s about making every day count in a way that is important to you, always taking a step out of your comfort zone (just to keep things interesting) and continuing to move forward in a positive direction.

photo 6Celebrated turning 25 and 1/12 with some of my closest friends because we didn’t have the chance to see each other in July! 

I’m nervous, but excited to see where this new direction leads. I may not be quite where I thought I would have been by 25, but that’s all just part of growing up. I think this year will be about learning more about myself, becoming more independent- especially financially- and figuring out what it’s like to be on the edge of being a real adult.

Here’s to another interesting 11 months, hopefully I’ll be a lot less scared of 26 when it comes around!

Looking Forward

montrealphotoAbove Montreal streets in the summer <3

Happy July!

This is my favorite month- not just because it’s my birthday month- but because summer is finally OFFICIALLY here by now, relaxing-time is in full swing, and overall I am just a summer kinda gal so this time of year works well with my mood! In anticipation of this fantastic time of year, here are some things I have to look forward to.

Today, I am looking forward to… getting back to school and some long-overdue meetings. 

I’m one of those weird people who loves being exceptionally busy (in case you didn’t know) but I’ve been taking some much needed time off from long days at school. I specifically planned a morning and afternoon of meetings to get through some work for my new school project, which basically means meeting with friends, probably ordering yummy food, and spending endless hours in one of my favorite places, downtown Montreal. :)

This weekend, I am looking forward to… possibly going to Vans Warped Tour, seeing family, and one last little bit of relaxation time before summer school. 

Last year, Warped Tour was cancelled in Montreal (for no good reason!) but it’s BACK this year, and I do really want to go. Depending how I feel money-wise, I might go last minute. It’s one of my favorite music festivals, and I love spending the day outside with good music when it’s sunny. If that doesn’t work out, I’ll sneak over to my brother’s house to spend time with my niece & nephew, and soak up a bit of quality time with them before summer school kicks off next week.

This month, I am looking forward to… MY BIRTHDAY, going camping, and maybe *whispers* getting a tattoo! 

So besides the obvious awesomeness of July that I love oh-so-much, I have some great things to look forward to! I’m turning 25 on July 10th (I haven’t been too excited about it but I’m trying to change that around) and I really, REALLY want to get my first tattoo for the occasion. I also volunteered to be a leader at Girl Guide camp for a week, so I’ll be roughing it out from July 13-19th in a tent, swimming & doing arts and crafts with a lovely group of 7 to 9 year old girls. I grew up with Girl Guides and always wanted to volunteer with them. We’ll be doing a ‘Christmas in summer” theme for the week, sleeping in tents, making s’mores, and o-m-g I am excited! I may not be going on vacation this year, but I have been wanting to go camping for YEARS.

This year, I am looking forward to… two weekends of summer festivals in August, potential summer getaways, getting a full-time job, and going back to school. 

That’s a lot for one sentence and honestly, a lot of those were assumptions, but that’s my way of throwing out my good vibes to the Universe and hoping for the best! I am in FACT going to two summer music festivals; Osheaga (indie) and Ile Soniq (EDM) which should be a wonderful adventure. I’m also attempting to plan a little weekend away at a cottage of some sort, but that will depend on summer school. As for a full-time job, well I’m applying to some things in my field and crossing my fingers. I’m being picky and only applying to jobs that I truly see myself enjoying, and it’s very tough. I’ve done some great interviews but with no luck on an offer yet. I’ll keep trying, so keep me in your thoughts! And, well, school… I’m kind of looking forward to getting back into that routine, but I’ll probably regret saying that come September, ha. :)

What are you looking forward to?

Mid-Summer Goals

photo

I was looking back on the first half of 2014 recently, and was kind of feeling down about it. “What have I really accomplished?” was a fleeting thought, but I did my best to stomp that out because hey, I actually did a lot, and I seem to be getting harder on myself. It also just doesn’t feel like I’ve done all that much because I haven’t been keeping very proper track of it at all.

That is very, very unlike me.

I miss goals. I spent so many years setting goals for myself and working towards them, and it was always just a really comforting thing to have, because I felt like I was working towards a clear cut objective. I never realized just how much I valued being able to quantify what I’ve accomplished through goals. I just like writing down the things I have to do, and being able to cross them off after.

So! I’m not sure if I’ll get ALL of these accomplished, but I’d certainly like to try. Here are a few things I’d like to do this summer:

1. Read 10 books. That’s an average of about 5 books for the next two months. Considering I hadn’t picked up a single novel from January-April, I’m going to consider that really solid. I got back into reading this month luckily, and I realized I missed it a lot. Time to keep it up!

2. Get my driver’s license. Or at least, work really hard towards it. I have to renew my learners permit, pass the written exam again, and learn how to drive my mom’s manual car. I can do it!

3. Renew my passport and my medicare card. My passport expired in January, and I hate the feeling that I can’t leave my country. Not cool. And my medicare card has been expired since my last birthday in July. I am SO fortunate I haven’t gotten sick enough to need it since then. How awful of me. Must do this ASAP.

4. Eat healthier. I find this goal very vague, but that’s what I like about it in this sense. I don’t want to track my food intake or anything like that, I just want to make healthier choices again. I want to eat more vegetarian dishes like I used to, more fruits, less crappy food. School has a way of bringing out my worst eating habits & I want to get rid of them!

5. Take a small trip. Okay so I can’t afford to travel to another continent entirely, but I’d still love to take an opportunity and road trip over the summer. I had this goal in mind months ago when I first started drafting this post, and I’m currently planning a week-long camping trip where I’ll be a Leader for a Girl Guide camp. I’m excited! If I can do another little weekend getaway, I’ll be so happy.

6. Start another 365 photo project. I started one on my 24th birthday and was doing really well until around February when I gave up on it. I miss doing it and I’m sad I stopped, but between elections and life, I barely had time to sleep, let alone take interesting photos every day. I’d love to do it again though.

7. Do things that matter. I’ll be taking a summer class in July/August, and I know that’s going to take up a lot of time (I want to do well!) so I’d like to focus my energy on other projects that really matter to me- not just *things* to keep me busy, which we all know I love. It’s time to be more selective, and see big results.

8. Remember the Summer Ground Rules. I wrote them MONTHS ago and had kind of forgotten about them, but I’d like to try and get back to the ground rules when I make decisions. They’re still totally valid and I don’t apply them often enough yet.

9. Get my finances in check. This is a long-standing goal of course, but it’s time to set some spending boundaries and make sure I can pay for school until I’ve graduated.

10. Apply for jobs I’m passionate about. In between having a quarter life crisis and working my part-time job, I’ve come to the decision that I need a job in a field I want to pursue as a career. I’ve started applying to jobs here and there, but I want to keep applying to these jobs, particularly in fields I’m super passionate about. I’m not entirely convinced I have enough qualifications for anything I truly want yet, but I want to keep trying!

Do you have any summer goals? 

June Five

photo 3

After a really hectic few months at school, I was really looking forward to having the time to get back into blogging as the summer months rolled in- and then I just didn’t blog. The truth is, I’ve had the *time* to do it, but I haven’t had the motivation or the interest. This year still remains my least documented year EVER, and that makes me so sad. I wish I knew why I lost the enthusiasm I used to have towards blogging, but I think the truth is that I’m still just really busy and I let blogging fall behind until it seems almost impossible to catch up.

Despite not really feeling like a blogger anymore, I still do miss it terribly, and I’d like to find the time to get back into it a couple times a week. I was walking home from work late last week, thinking over the plans I have over the next few weeks/months, and how I really haven’t had any time to just sit down and reflect over any of it. I’ve always been one to sort through my thoughts and feelings through writing, so it makes sense that my brain has felt significantly more all over the place than usual.

So I guess there’s no easy way to write a catch-up post except to just dive right in there, so here are a five things I’ve been up to lately:

1. Working, a LOT. I had kind of given up on my one single paid job over the year because I was just so busy, and it was the strangest thing to not spend much time there. I work in a bookstore- so lovely- and have been there for close to 6 years now. I’ve grown up so much there, and since finishing the year of crazy, it’s been really nice to be back there, falling back in love with reading, and settling back into a routine that makes my life feel less upside down overall. Also, the money part has been helpful!

photo 2

2. Spending time with family. I’ve always made time for my family- spending time with them has always made me feel sane- but I’ve been making an exceptionally conscious effort, especially on weekends, to see my niece & nephew, and enjoy quality time with the whole fam jam. Whenever I go a week without seeing them I am very sad and miss them tons, so family BBQ’s and hanging out with my favorite little kiddos has been the absolute best. I spent  two full days at my brother’s house with my sister-in-law and the kids a week and a half ago, and it was really really nice. Granted I was pretty behind on work after, but I literally just played with my nephew nonstop, ate my sister-in-law’s amazing food, and cuddling my baby niece. I’m very excited to find time to do it again!

photo 1

photo 2

photo 4

3. Reading. Not as much as I’d like to, but I’m working back up to the reader that I used to be. Which means I’ve also started buying books again, and that’s not the best, but I did miss that too. I read a really great contemporary-ish YA novel called Noggin by John Corey Whaley which I LOVED, and I picked up Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo today as well- the third book in her fantasy series ‘The Grisha’. So good. I’m also really looking forward to the Hilary Clinton biography, as crazy as that sounds, I’m so excited about it! I’ve been trying to spend some time outside reading, which has been all sorts of lovely.

4. Seeing friends. This seems like a silly point, but I was just so BUSY during the year that a lot of my good friendships took a back burner because I didn’t have the time or energy to go out and see them. If I had any spare time, I would try and squeeze in an evening with family. Anyway point being, I missed friends a lot and I finally get enough sleep in my life to actually enjoy spending time out with them. Dinners, terrace drinks,  random coffee dates, it’s been all around very lovely seeing friends more regularly!

6

5

7

5. Writing. Okay so I haven’t been around my blog much, but I have been super busy between Confront Magazine and MTL Blog- where I started working again in June. It’s been really nice getting back into the swing of writing, and doing some interviews for Confront. I interviewed this great Montreal girl band called Motel Raphael two weeks ago, and the very talented Canadian pop singer Victoria Duffield last week. Still one of my favorite parts of the job! Oh, and I was also featured as a travel guest blogger right here a few days ago! I am actually really happy with how that post turned out, even if it made me miss traveling a LOT.

So that’s where I’ve been this last month or so! I never imagined that picking my life back up would feel like such a process, but I’ve really enjoyed getting back into the swing of things that I love doing most!

How has June been treating you?

Summer Ground Rules

summer-birds-end

This summer, I’m not going on any big trips. I’m not starting any  new, hugely time consuming jobs. I’m not planning anything big at all, really. The current plan? Get myself more on track.

I’m turning 25 in July, and I came to the realization that I’m not where I would have liked to be for my impending age. I’m still in University, I’m not saving up to move out, I’m not dating anyone seriously to consider a long-term life with, I’m not working a career job… I don’t even have my driver’s license yet.

I’m not saying that I regret anything- I’ve done a lot of things, too. I’ve traveled to almost a dozen countries, spent two years working with a charity organization and raising almost $80,000 for charities around the world, continued to work as editor-in-chief for a music magazine that is slowly becoming more successful, I’ve managed over 30 people at once in my spare time, and I’ve gotten myself halfway through a Bachelor’s degree in business.

But at 25, I just wish I had found a way to procrastinate less, watch less TV, and spend less money. I wish I had found a way to start putting more money away for my future, or work on those pesky, annoying tasks that adults have to do (like, get a license). I’m turning 25 and I feel like I’m perpetually stuck at the age of 16. I’m so happy and proud of myself for all of my accomplishments, but I also feel like I’ve spent so much time working on some projects, that others get conveniently forgotten.

This summer, in an attempt to avoid the “quarter-life crisis” that I’ve half-joked is coming my way, I’m setting myself some ground rules, and some goals (those will come soon enough). Five rules that I’d like to remind myself of every single day, as I continue to work on myself  and hopefully accomplish a few things that bring me closer to a happier place in my life.

The Rules

1. Set an alarm 5 days a week.
I let sleep steal so many hours from me, and make me far too unproductive. I spent so much of my time in the last 6 months or so living on a lack of sleep, that I’ve spoiled myself with 9-10 hour nights’ of sleep lately. Whatever it takes, even if I need to get to bed a bit earlier, I want to be up earlier than 1o or 11, even on some of my days off.

2. Always make the tough choice.
I want to apply this to all areas of my life. Whether the choice is between chips or an apple; paying off a bill or going out for dinner; accomplishing an annoying task or watching TV, I want to make the decisions that make me a better person in the long-term, not just make me feel good in that instant.

3. Make the time. 
I often convince myself that certain things don’t get done because I didn’t have time for it, and “at least I got those other things done”. But the truth is, those other things aren’t always important. I want to make the time to do the things that are more important, and that I’ve somehow pushed back and forgotten about.

4. Do things for me. 
I have found myself so often very close to burning out, or being so over the edge of that cliff that I stop caring. I think about others a lot more than I think about myself, and I will always prioritize work that affects others before I take any time for me. In an attempt to avoid a burn out, I want to do more things for me. It’s important to make time for important things, but it’s also important to take an hour to read, or enjoy the nice day!

5. Take chances. 
I’ve been learning a thing or two about failure, these last few months, and it hasn’t been easy. But I imagine it’s good for me, and in the long-run I’ll see some great lessons come from it. The thing with failure, is it finds a way to inflict fear and self-doubt in you. I want to keep taking chances on myself, no matter how much I may grow to doubt a certain ability or another. New opportunities will never come if I don’t at least put myself out there and give things a try.

Figuring Things Out

So this past semester, I ran to be the President of all the undergraduates at my University- basically the representative for all undergrads on campus. I was approached for the position in November by a good friend, thought it was complete insanity, but knew in my heart that I would forever regret not giving it a try.

And so began the craziest 5 months of my life. Once I made my decision, I walked up to one of my closest friends in school and asked her if she’d like to run in the elections on my team with me. Without a moment’s hesitation, she agreed. Together, we slowly built a team of 8 executives. It took a long time- our last member joined days before we had to pick up our forms to present our candidacy. But what an all-star time we had. 8 people that represented almost all the faculties, with such a wide range of interests and experience. Those people became half the reason I was so excited to be going on this crazy, crazy adventure.

We spent an insane amount of time putting our campaign together. The weekend before campaigning began, I spent 19 hours working on the same one thing, until it was as close to perfect as can be. Every step of the process was a steep learning curve. It was scary, and it was so easy to doubt everything we were doing because we still had NO idea who we would be going up against. But we rallied, had a few sleepless nights, and put together a really great platform for students.

I remember the first day we went around getting signatures to submit our candidacy and I found out who my Presidential opponents were. There were three of them. That entire week of getting signatures from students was like one anxiety attack after another. Every time I thought I  couldn’t handle one more piece of news, there were 10 new things happening that could change the entire game. I was so anxious, so nervous, and still had very little idea what to expect.

The following week was the official beginning of 10 (business) days of campaigning. They were spread out over 3 weeks, and then there would be 3 days of voting. Basically, the entire month of March was spent with my team, in the halls of our University, meeting students, attending events, and being under the scrutinizing eye of anyone who cared to pay attention to the elections. There were debates, radio shows, meet & greets, photo ops, and video interviews. I slept 3-4 hours a night, constantly dreamed about my campaign, and didn’t go to a single class. I barely remember my life in March- it feels like a blur. I wasn’t myself. I was always tired, always worried, always feeling like people were staring at me. I wore the same shirt for 2 weeks and couldn’t be more sick of the color red. I slept at my friends’ house near school and only went home on weekends to recuperate.

And yet? I still managed to get out of bed every single morning, ready to take on another day of campaigning. I pushed myself to what felt like the very edges of my sanity, teetered on the cliff of my own well-being, hoping to win over an entire school of students who would allow my team to represent them. It was on some days thrilling, exciting, and I felt like we were taking on the world. On other days it was terrifying, and I would sit curled up in a ball in my office wondering why the hell I was putting myself through all of this.

The truth is, I re-organized my entire life around this potential job, with this team. I re-imagined my life, visited the office, and despite being terrified every day about losing to one of my competitors, still saw some form of light at the end of the dark tunnel of the month. Presidency was juuuust out of my reach, and yet not all that far, at the same time. I doubted myself, and I never believed in my abilities more. I was confused, and so certain that THIS was what the next year of my life should be like. Complete, sleepless insanity. It would be wonderful. I truly, genuinely felt (and still feel) like it was a job I would be able to do happily, and successfully. I rarely doubted my own abilities, but rather the sheer luck that went with trying to convince students to go out and vote.

Throughout all of this, I was also planning the largest event with my Casa Cares team. Our end-of-year charity fashion show was the last day of voting. I would be hosting a 500 person event, and then heading to school once it was over to find out the results of the elections.

And so, at the end of everything, after pushing every emotion I had down as far as they would metaphorically go; after refusing to feel one more thing until all of this was over; after setting aside my passions, my hobbies, my family, all for the potential greater good of 40 000 undergraduates, I found out that my entire team lost. It was 5am and they were still counting ballots. We sat in the room and heard that we were “definitely not winning” and I was just numb. I had just gone through the craziest three weeks of my life, organized an insanely successful (and equally as terrifying) event that night, and found out that the last 5 months of my life had been spent working on a project that would never come to exist for me.

At first, I shrugged, sat down and just stared blankly ahead. Then I went outside and paced. A friend came by and told me she was very sad for me, and she started crying. And then I started crying. Some of my closest friends and teammates were there, and we all hugged. I didn’t even realize how much I wanted to win until that exact moment, until it was too late. It didn’t feel real, to be honest. I wasn’t entirely sure what to do with myself, or how to move on from that place. I ended up going home around 6 in the morning, and truth be told I don’t even remember the next day. I avoided a lot of people as the final results were announced, and I avoided school for a few days after that.

The results were three weeks ago and I’m doing a lot better. I’ve caught up on sleep, put efforts back into school, spent time with friends & family, and started focusing my energies on what comes next. What makes me most sad is how close I became to that team, and how much I would have loved working with them. But I am such a strong believer that everything happens for a reason, and I know that failure is part of life. I do believe that this wasn’t the right opportunity for me. Do I still think my team would have totally kicked ass? Yes. But I also know that I am happy to be right here, right now; able to blog again, see my family, spend time with my newborn niece, see old friends and enjoy their company, and read books. I put so much of my life on hold without even realizing how different I had become. These things that I love so much make me who I am, and I was so caught up that I didn’t realize how much I missed all of it.

I think what’s left right now is a bruised ego, more than anything. It kind of feels like a break up; like I’m picking up the pieces of my heart off the ground to glue back together. Because I did put my heart into this project, and I’m nothing if not extremely passionate about everything I undertake.

I’m finally getting to a place where I can figure out what’s next, though. I actually applied for a job a few days after losing the election, made it through two rounds of interviews and then got rejected. Suffice to say, I was on a roll. But I was reminded that I really am passionate about certain things in life, and that passion shines through when people speak to me. I was recently hired to be on the organizing committee for one of the largest business case competitions in the world. A new team, a new home next year, and a whole new experience than the one I was expecting to jump into.

I am so excited. So life isn’t quite as neat and tidy as it was half a year ago. I don’t feel like I’m *as* on track as I would have liked to be, months before my 25th birthday. Most important to me is that I don’t walk away from all of this with a 1 500 word blog post and regrets. I want to accept that this is a thing I did, it was hard, it was simultaneously emotionally exhausting and fulfilling. It was heartbreaking, and it changed me. Hopefully for the better. I think I learned so much throughout this experience, and it opened doors for new opportunities I hadn’t even considered before.

I’m sorta kinda still in limbo. I’m working on learning from my mistakes. I’m reminding myself that one lost chance doesn’t mean all hope is lost forever.

I’m still figuring it out, but I’ll be okay.