Life Reboot Take Two

About six months or so ago, maybe more now, I was inspired by Wil Wheaton to reboot my life just as he did his. While he has been successful overall, my own reboot was dismal. I have fail pretty miserably on all but one item: using my phone more appropriately. Yay for me, I guess?

I’m feeling worse physically than I did when I set up my original version of this. This time I desperately need to start making some massive, very drastic changes in my lifestyle. It’s time to genuinely live for myself and my health and try not to let my anxiety and depression get in the way of things like I did last time. It’s funny (funny-frustrating not funny-haha) that these are things that will help me improve my overall mental health, and yet my mental illness doesn’t want me to do these things. Mental illness, especially depression is an asshole, yo. But this is my time to win, to beat this asshole for real. I want to not only feel better, I want to BE better, and happy and healthy in my body. It was a huge eye opener for me when I realized that doing laundry was a struggle for me when it wasn’t not so long ago. I really wanted to cry about it, but didn’t and I won’t. I’m fixing it instead.

As a first step in fixing how I feel, I want to try this again. Sadly though, I’ve really been beating myself up a lot over it, and the self-loathing is hanging like a massive dark cloud over the whole project. I hope that writing about this will help me work through those feelings, I know I can’t possibly be the only one struggling with this sort of things. I’m really hopefully that writing about both the struggle and my progress will help me work through the whole larger problem – working through severe lack of motivation due to depression…anxiety…illness…feeling bad physically…etc…etc…etc…

So, let’s start with a new list of things in my life that need rebooting:

Drink less pop

In my original reboot, I had “drink less pop and coffee” on the list. I was drinking far too much of both. Caffeine in the coffee was doing bad things to me, and pop is…well, pop. It’s basically a ton of sugar and is completely detrimental to what I am trying to accomplish for myself here. Looking back, I was actually very successful in cutting back on coffee. I now only drink caffeinated coffee periodically on weekends or on especially bad mornings, while I normally drink decaf coffee most of the time I choose to have a coffee. The struggle now is cutting back on drinking pop. I drink far too much of it. I am having a can or a bottle of it two to three times a week. That is far too often. My goal is to make pop more of an occasional beverage, rather than a regular one. I intend to replace it with water and/or tea. I have started buying lemon to spice up the flavour of the water, and the majority of the teas I have are decaf and/or herbal and overall very healthy. I also intend to increase my daily intake of water to approximately 2 litres ideally. Putting less sugar into my body should have a multi-faceted result: decreased anxiety, and helping jump-start weight loss. Drinking more water should help get my metabolism going as well as decrease water retention. I struggle with swelling hands and feet periodically. The whole change should be a winning one.

Read more

This one was on the list for my original reboot as well. I’ve been trying to read more for ages, even after it was apparently my original reboot was an utter failure. It has been shockingly difficult even though reading has been one of my favourite things since I first learned how to read. Over the past months, I did start paying attention to possible reasons WHY I was reading as much as I would like. I came to a surprising realization, something I didn’t expect: I spend a lot of time in front of the TV watching/catching up on TV shows. Somehow TV had become a higher priority than reading. I’ve also developed an annoying habit of starting books and then forgetting about them. I think, to be successful with this list item, I need to focus on changing these habits. I need to and will be focusing a lot less on watching television and more on trying to read a few pages here and there when I have a free few minutes. I also plan to finish the books I’ve started and forgotten before I move on to the rest of my to-read list. I have high hopes I will be more successful with this list item since I have pinpointed the major issues that were curbing my potential success in the past. Next will just be making time regularly to pick up my book/e-reader.

Write more

I have had a bit more success with this list item relatively recently, actually. From early March to early April, I actually participated in a 30-day writing challenge. Over those 30 days I wrote at least a few lines every day and it felt great. I haven’t done quite as well as that since the challenge ended, but I have found myself putting a lot more planning and passion into posts for my blog, with some of them taking days or even weeks (like this one! I’ve been working on this post for close to a month now!) to be written to my satisfaction. I guess you could say I’ve been feeling something along the lines of “inspired”, and when it comes to writing from and about life. I also think the quality of my writing has greatly improved. With this list item, I would like to start writing at least a few lines each day, as well as publish posts to my blog on a weekly basis at least. It’s a tall order for me, but I think it is something that will be easy to keep up with once I get into a routine. I’m excited to pick things up with this because it’s another thing I love.

Sleep better/more

I feel like the general consensus on this one is no one seems to get enough sleep or good quality sleep. I can definitely say I am one of those people who doesn’t get nearly enough good quality sleep. I’ve been working on that in general because sleep is super important. I’ve been trying to get to bed at a reasonable hour, and not consume any caffeine of any kind (if I do that day) after noon. I have noticed some improvement, but I feel like I still have a long way to go. I plan to try some different things to try and be successful with this list item – they include aromatherapy, and creating a bedtime routine to stick to. I am also hoping that I will be able to find a way to keep track of the quality of sleep I get. Adding these, or variations of these to my plans for better sleep will be a winning combination.

Practice better self-care

This is something I don’t do well with. I never seem to take great care of myself and it’s something that causes me a lot of problems along the way. Not practicing self-care leads to breakdowns related especially to my anxiety; it leads me to isolating myself from my friends and family when things get bad, it leads to not eating well, not sleeping well, and a boatload of other things. It’s just not pretty when I don’t practice self-care regularly. So, for this list item I will be putting more effort into self-care; doing things that are good for me, good for my body. In putting together this new collection of things to reboot in my life, I did notice an interesting overlap: all of the things I will be doing fall under the umbrella of self-care in one way or another.  Adding the specific list item though, creates intention to work harder at it in the other ways that are not included in the list. I need to remember to do more things that make me feel good about myself: hair appointments are a perfect example. If I don’t love my hair, I am definitely less happy with myself. I love experimenting and trying new things with my hair, so it’s something that is important and therefore something I can’t forget to do. There are other things, but this is a very easy example. I am also going to revisit the list of self-care items I developed with my therapist, as I found it very helpful. Self-care needs to be a priority and I intend to make it happen!

Eat better foods in more reasonable portions

This exact item was on the previous list. It makes its return because I have failed this one miserably and continue to do so. Living on my own has made this one incredibly difficult because it is SO hard to find the motivation to cook for one. I’ve done tons of reading on ways to make it easier but they haven’t done a thing to motivate me. At this point, I think I have to find/develop the motivation from within. This is going to be hard. It also seems, through a bit of research (admittedly though, not a doctor diagnosis) that I may struggle with disordered eating, so this list item is two-fold: eat better by cooking more for myself, and create new healthy eating habits by overcoming this disordered eating. I don’t think this item will be easy for me at all. To help me get started though, I made myself a colourful little poster with a list of reasons why I should cook for myself at home rather than order take out. I think it is a good jumping-off point for me. The first step is to get me to stop ordering and cook for myself. I’ll admit though, this item may be one of the most difficult.

Exercise more

This final item was also on the previous list. It’s also another item I miserably failed at for a number of reasons. For one, I am not an athletic person.  I’m much more the clumsy type. And the biggest reason: again, with the lack of motivation. I’ve done many things in many attempts to get moving more. I bought a gym membership. That was the biggest step I’ve taken toward exercising more. Turns out, I do not enjoy the gym and therefore hasn’t worked out so great so far. I am going to give it another go though, I think. Most recently though, as in within the past couple of weeks, I think I discovered the key to keep up my motivation to move. I am in a fitness group on Facebook, and not only are they very encouraging, but a large number of people in that group swear by their Fitbits. About a week ago, I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I installed the Fitbit app, which can still be used with just my phone and no device linked to it. I found it to be excellent. Through my phone it was able track basic stats like steps taken (as long as I keep my phone on my person) and distance travelled. It was really neat to see. Having these stats at my fingertips seems to be the key to keeping me motivated. I also participated in my first couple of challenges. I was in a challenge last Thursday with seven other people, and WOW, all I wanted to do was move! It felt fantastic. With the success of it using my phone only, this weekend I went out and bought an actual Fitbit device. I mulled over which model to get for several days and finally settled on the Fitbit Alta. I’ve been using it since Saturday afternoon and I LOVE IT. In the short time since I’ve been using Fitbit I have already increased my average number of steps per day from 4000 to 5000. I have a long way to go to the doctor-recommended 10,000 steps per day, and I also need to start exercising and sweating much more frequently. The cool thing is Fitbit can track that too. Awesome! It seems that I have found the key to getting me to move more, and that is so important right now. It’s a great start to exercising more.

And so, there we have it: a new and improved life reboot list. I am going to keep track properly this time because I want to make real progress. I want to be happier and healthier, and it has become such an important thing for me. I’m 30 now, and if I don’t take control of things nothing is going to get better. I will continue to feel terrible, I will gain weight, my health will deteriorate… I don’t want any of these things to happen. My goal is to be the happiest and healthiest I have ever been and to develop new healthy habits to keep it going. Being successful in this, I will also be in a much better mental and emotional state than I have ever been and that is definitely something to look forward to. Here’s to my second stab at a life reboot!

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Probably the most recent photo I have of myself. I don’t feel great about it, but I am ready to change that with this “reboot”. We’ll call it the starting photo…

 

 

Trying Something New

I was browsing on Pinterest awhile back and found a simple 30-day writing challenge that I wanted to try. I pinned it to my writing board and promptly forgot about it until this week. I decided to finally give it a go tonight. I also think it might help me get things back on track a bit more too. For the next 30 days I will be posting the results of the day’s prompt.

Today’s Prompt: List 10 things that make you really happy. 

  1. Tobi: The best cat ever, and too often, the only reason I keep going. No matter how much she frustrates me, I’m happier knowing she’s here and she’s mine.
  2. Having my own apartment: It’s a daily reminder of how far I have come in a short time. It’s proof of my independence, of things some people never thought I would be able to do, that I accomplished anyway.
  3. Books: I love reading! I don’t feel like I read enough, but being surrounded by books I’ve read and books I plan to read makes me happier.
  4. My Blog: Being able to write about my life, the things I love, and anything else I feel like is such a liberating experience for me. I feel like I can be honest about how I feel and what I like with no judgment.
  5. Doctor Who: The best TV of life. I LOVE it! I discovered the greatness that is Doctor Who I forget how many years ago and I never looked back. It has become a huge part of my life and my life is better for it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.img_2733
  6. Games: They are a great distraction for me whether they be board games, card games or video games. They’re also a better way for me to pass the time than sitting like a bump and watching TV…unless it’s watching one of my favourite TV shows, anyway. Magic: The Gathering is a favourite game of mine right now. It makes for some pretty amazing nights with a great friend of mine!
  7. My Vintage Furniture Pieces: I have a forest green wing chair which I LOVE, and sit in every single day. It’s so comfortable, and quirky, and everyone agrees that it suits me. I am also super proud of my antique desk. I found it online and got it at a great price. I hope to refinish it sometime this Spring or Summer.
  8. The Freedom to Make My Own Decisions: It’s an amazing feeling to be able to make my own decisions without someone causing me to second-guess myself or undermine my confidence, or be condescending to me over it. The lack of judgment is great…or Fantastic! as the Ninth Doctor would say…
  9. Having a Social Life: It’s not much of one but it exists! It always feels great to spend time with friends, even if it’s just a short coffee date or an evening in watching movies or playing a game.
  10. Going to Work Every Day to a Job I Like: I forgot what it felt like!

Okay, so I’m not sure this writing prompt required me to elaborate on everything in my list but I felt inspired to, so I just went with it.

30 Before 30: Nearing the End

This post is a few days (4!) later than I planned, but as you read I think you may see why.

The timeframe for my 30 Before 30 project is nearing the end. I have just shy of three weeks left, and I have come to a realization: I’m not going to complete my list!

A month or two ago, I might have been upset that I won’t be completing everything on my list. Today, I have accepted that I gave myself a lot to do with this list and while I haven’t managed everything, I have learned and accomplished much more than what was on this list.

First of all, these are the things I didn’t manage to accomplish:

  • I didn’t go on a picnic.
  • I didn’t go for a hike.
  • Bird of Hope WIP remains unfinished.
  • I still can’t drive standard.
  • I didn’t read the books I own that I haven’t read yet; however, the number of books managed to increase!
  • I read only 1 non-fiction book.
  • I didn’t lose 15 pounds, instead I gained 30.
  • I only made 1 “new, healthy, interesting” meal.
  • I only noted 11 specific new things I have learned.

As I mentioned, a short time ago this list would have sent me over the deep end with an anxiety attack of epic proportions; but I can handle things like this a bit better these days. It’s in keeping with my promise to be more kind to myself and to not hold myself to a ridiculous double standard as I have so often in the past. So no, I didn’t complete everything on my list. But I also recognize that I learned and did so much more than the things on this list. This list does not define me!

That all being said, let’s take a look at what I’ve learned during the same time period:

  • Cross stitching is out for me right now and that Bird of Hope WIP won’t be getting done anytime soon. Crocheting is my jam right now, and I’ve made many things to be proud of including dish cloths, coasters, scarves, and my now half-finished blanket.
  • I’m not at all adventurous when it comes to cooking. As much as I love food and trying new dishes, it’s just too much work to try and find new recipes and test them. I’m also not a baker.
  • Losing weigh is HARD, gaining it is much easier. ESPECIALLY when dealing with many months of an emotional rollercoaster. I feel like telling anyone who judges overweight people to just fuck off, because you have no idea what they are dealing with, myself included. Also, the next episode of the day’s TV show is MUCH more enticing to me than any kind of physical activity…but that might also be my depression talking.
  • The Winter Blues is a thing. I have been officially diagnosed as have persistent depressive disorder with seasonal worsening. And OH BOY does it ever worsen! It starts in October for me, and there went a good chunk of my list completing time. Another thing I am learning to accept about myself. Things sometimes don’t happen because of things are that aren’t completely within my control. I can’t control or fix my depression, I can only manage it. And during the fall and winter months, that usually means that getting my dishes done is a huge victory, let along doing something like going for a hike.

Some of these things are minor things and some of them are pretty huge; however all of it is indicative of my getting to know myself better. This is a huge deal considering I have spent a good chunk of my life trying to make everyone around me happy and be what they think I should be rather than make myself happy and be who I want to be. Not living like that has made my life much easier, and much happier. It has led me to accomplishing so many more things outside of my 30 Before 30 list, just general life-things. Things even bigger than the list:

  • I made a very difficult and life-changing decision over the summer (as you, my readers well know) and my life has taken off and been a bit of a whirlwind ever since.
  • I moved into a place that is truly my own, and I am living completely on my own for the very first time ever.
  • I’ve reconnected with many friends and made many more. I have a real social life.
  • I am spending more time with family than ever, and am finally getting to know my nieces and nephew.
  • I wrote a short piece of poetry that I continue to be proud of.
  • I crashed emotionally and have built myself back up slowly but surely to be stronger than ever.
  • I GOT A NEW JOB!

The items in this list include so many different things, small accomplishments that were stepping stones to the large. I’m still learning and accomplishing as we speak. I don’t think it’s ever going to end! There has just been so much change in the past year, it’s hard to believe, even for myself. I am so proud of EVERYTHING I had accomplished in this past year. This year, I am convinced, will only be full or more. More accomplishments, more experiences, more learning, yet more self-discovery. More everything. As I embark on this new journey that starts with a new job on February 16, I couldn’t be more excited for what is to come. I think the 30 Before 30 list has been and is a raving success. It has really been an experience in personal growth. It got me started, and just look where I am now!

 

The To-Read List…

I spent a couple of days this week going through my books because I was close to finishing one of the ones I’ve been working on. It turned into compiling my to-read list or rather, my to-read pile. Now that it’s together, it’s quite intimidating!

Three of the books are books I have read in the past and want to revisit, but the majority are books I have never read before.  There are twelve in total, which doesn’t sound like much, but when you look at them…

img_2349The photo is terrible, but the list is as follows (from top to bottom):

  • The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
  • The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  • The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  • From Hell by Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell
  • V for Vendetta by Alan Moore & David Lloyd
  • Spontaneous by Joe Harris & Brett Weldele

Since taking this photo earlier tonight, I also added The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien to the list, I started reading it well over a year ago and still haven’t finished it. It’s time to work on that one again, along with the rest of these. Three of them are already on the list to read for my 30 Before 30 list, and here’s hoping I will still be able to finish them in time. An update on that will be coming probably next week, since time is becoming short. Only a few more weeks left before my 30th birthday! Wow, how time flies!

It’s been a crazy week, and a not-all-together bad one! Hopefully more details on that in my next post as things develop.

Keeping Busy with an Eventful Week

Well, I have to say it has been a somewhat eventful week. I am in a bit better place this week, as I spent some time with my therapist developing a self-care plan that has made the difference. I haven’t been able to stick to it 100%, but I have stuck to it enough to feel like I’m not losing my mind, or losing everything, for that matter. I still have concerns, but I’m okay right now. Onto that eventful week…

So, on the 1st, I went to see the CP Rail Holiday Train. It was a lot of fun, and the crowd is just positive and happy and it just all around feels good. My dear friend Alice met me there, even though she was feeling somewhat ill. She brought something I practically begged her to pick up for me. She’s the best. For those of you who must know, it was the Magic: The Gathering Gift Box. Boy, did I get surprise when I opened it!

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This card is worth approximately $90!!!!!!

It’s a mythic rare land card. I posted a photo of it on Instagram, and the artist who created the art for the card HIMSELF congratulated me! How cool is that?! It’s been placed in a Dragon Shield now, and I will probably never play with it. It’s something of a novelty now.

On Thursday the 3rd, in keeping with my 30 before 30 list goals, as well as the sense of mastery that comes from volunteering (as discussed with my therapist) I donated blood for the first time. I did it through a Canadian Blood Services donation clinic that took place at a church nearby my home. I had no idea what to expect, but I was determined to do it. All of the people there were very kind and it was overall a very positive experience. I will definitely be doing it again. IMG_1756I have veins that are deep and small as well, and the nurse who set me up managed it in one try. Considering the size of the needle I was very impressed. The whole process from beginning to end took about an hour, but the actual donating only took about 10 minutes. I had no idea it would be that fast! Next time, I should have my donor card and the process should be quicker. I am excited to do it again. It felt great to know that I could potentially help so many people with this single donation.

This past week has overall been positive, but also exhausting. I hope to be in an even better place next week.

A Board Game Wish List

The more tabletop games I play, the more I enjoy them. I have discovered, especially recently, that board games are a great way to bring friends and family together and have tons of fun. Just last weekend I played Cards Against Humanity with my family (yes, my family!) and it was a great time; so much laughter and enjoyment. I can’t wait to play the next game with them. I’m also looking forward to my next Magic: The Gathering night!

This past week I’ve made up a bit of a board game wish list. I would love to hear your thoughts on these, as well as what board games you wish you could have!

  1. Firefly – just because I love the show…
  2. Monopoly – it’s a classic!
  3. Forbidden Island
  4. Concept
  5. Settlers of Catan
  6. Love Letter
  7. Concept
  8. Carcass one
  9. Splendour
  10. Tokaido

  

Forest City Comicon 2015

What an amazing day today was.

 I cosplayed for the first time, and my costume was a hit apparently.
 I met Peter Williams (Apophis from Stargate SG-1) and got his autograph!

 I saw John Noble in his panel discussion; he is a brilliant, kind man and so down to earth.
  I walked a packed vendor floor, and sat in on some more great panels. My friend met and got a picture with one of her childhood heroes! 
 I even saw my friend compete in the cosplay contest. Today was amazing. I can’t wait until I can do it again!

Geek Art By Moi!

I moved into this place and quickly determined that it needed a bit of a personal touch and a splash of colour. One Saturday morning, I went out and bought a few cheap canvasses and some paint and brushes and went to town. I spent my entire first weekend in my apartment painting pieces to hang on my walls. It was a lot of fun, and a great way to pass the time considering I didn’t have internet yet.

I ended up with four very different and very fun pieces: a fez and bowtie, a TARDIS, a pair of 3D glasses and a leaf blowing in the wind; all four are geeky references to some of my favourite things (think Firefly/Serenity and Doctor Who). They are now adorning the walls of my bedroom and my bathroom and I love them. They are so bright and colourful and they make me so happy.

Here are photos of two of them:

  
Who knows, maybe I’ve discovered a bit of a hidden talent here!

Summer’s End

On Labour Day, Jess and I went on a bit of an all day outing. On the last holiday Monday of the summer, we decided we needed a beach day to end the summer with a bang. We ended up getting off to a bit of a late start, but that was okay. It was closer to 11:00am before we started off. It’s not a bad thing to be a little bit lazy sometimes! After a stop at her place to grab some bottles of water and snacks, we were on the road. We made a short detour down memory lane, driving past the house I grew up in, and visiting an old friend from high school for a short time. After that, we continued on our way. Somewhere along the way, between Aylmer and Straffordville or somewhere around there, we ended up getting lost…for like an hour. It was actually kind of fun getting lost out there in Norfolk County; a definite departure from what I am used to. Eventually we got ourselves back on track and finally made it to Long Point in the early afternoon.

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We drove around Long Point a little bit upon our arrival. I’d never been there before, so Jess took a little bit of time and showed me some of the familiar spots, like the docks she uses and the bait shop she stops at when she is in the area fishing with friends. Afterward, she took us into Port Rowan, a small town nearby. Normally their Bay Fest happens on Labour Day weekend, but it was already over when we got there. imageWe did, however, stop at the local ice cream parlour. Twins Ice Cream Parlour is a proper vintage ice cream parlour even more true to the vintage form than Broderick’s in Port Stanley. They even had glass bottles of pop and a vintage bottle opener which I took the time to play with a little bit.image

After that, we headed back down to the beach. We parked down a sandy road off the main street. The dry sand was almost burning hot to walk on, but it was lovely closer to the water where it was more damp. We walk along the beach with our cameras and it was quite a nice walk. We missed the noon day sun so the lighting was quite pleasant. It also wasn’t excessively hot, temperature-wise. I easily took a couple hundred photos, and I am sure Jess managed the same. It was enjoyable. After the walk, we hung out around the breakwater for a bit, admiring some wooden Muskoka chairs. I didn’t sit in one because I struggle with sand and being dirty, but they were quite nice to admire. We then continued our walk back in the other direction. DSC_1178The beach sand had some really beautiful red tones in it. I tried to take some pictures of it, but none of the photos I took really did it justice. Que sera sera, I guess.

The afternoon continued on with a bit of a drive. We stopped at an abandoned house and did a little bit of exploring. It was a ramshackle old house, but it must have been nice back in the day when it was still lived in. It was full of broken windows, falling down plaster, and was incredibly weathered in its appearance. Many people had partied there and vandalized it in the process. My exploration of the inside was very short-lived as I got a little bit paranoid about the structural integrity of the floor and the building as a whole. We heard buzzing when we first arrived, a sure sign of a bee hive somewhere, so I decided to turn my attention to tracking down the hive while Jess continued to explore the inside. It wasn’t difficult to find! The bees made a home for themselves inside the walls of the house itself. The outside of the house was board and batten and the bees found a way behind it and started to build their nest. There were easily a few thousand bees in the hive. I spend several minutes photographing it from as many different angles as I could find.DSC_1183 It was very neat to observe a natural bee hive up close like that. We spent probably 45 minutes there, and decided that it was time to head back toward home.

Luckily, we didn’t get lost on the way home. We made a quick pit stop in Aylmer for dinner, and then we continued to my place in London. We settled down and had a glass of wine; a great ending to a great day. And with that, my beach day item on my 30 before 30 list is complete!

O”zen 

Recently, my friend Alice and I had a bit of a girls’ night out. We went out for dinner and dessert just to change things up a bit. We tried a restaurant neither of us had been to before on Richmond Row. It’s called O”zen and it serves Korean and Japanese food. It is a cute little unassuming place from the street, but when you walk in, it is really quite beautiful. I was rather taken aback. The menu wasn’t too big, but the selection was excellent. I already had in mind what I wanted and they had just what I was after.
 I ordered a vegetarian sushi platter, and it was absolutely delicious. It came with a cute little garden salad and a bowl of miso soup, also delicious. It was an excellent meal overall and it was beautiful to boot! I am looking forward to eating there again and trying another dish.