100 Things I Love Part 5: 81-100

Happy New Year! I wish you all the best in 2017. I am feeling a lot of positivity about this coming year and am looking forward to seeing what it brings. In the meantime, I bring you the last installment of my little self-care project. 100 Things I Love, has been really uplifting, and I have found that I have generally been able to keep a more positive attitude versus before. I am calling this self-care project a success!

  1. Watching my friends’ and my sisters’ kids grow up
  2. A freshly tidied space
  3. Scented candles that smell like baked goods
  4. Breakfast
  5. Scarves – I hate having a cold neck!
  6. A nice hot bath
  7. That I can take medication to help manage my depression
  8. Super hero movies
  9. My antique desk
  10. Being able to play PC games again (It’s been years.)
  11. Organizing my clutter
  12. Coming home after time away
  13. Sleeping in my bed after I’ve been away for a night or two – it really feels amazing
  14. Being able to drink tea from a travel mug!
  15. A sense of accomplishment at the end of the work day
  16. Writing when I can; when I feel inspired (however rare it may be)
  17. Curling up in bed right before I fall asleep when I am good and tired
  18. Fresh starts
  19. The amazing friends I have in my life
  20. Coming up with this list

And there you have it. 100 things I love, complete.

2016 was a heck of a year. There were a lot of changes, and a lot of things that stayed the same. I started a new job, and as a result I made an amazing new friend. The new job also resulted in working at the first job I’ve ever felt appreciated and respected. She is truly wonderful. I finally started loving living alone, and that has resulted in being able to focus on things I wasn’t able to before. My best friend moved across the country. I am thankful however, that we are able to keep in touch thanks to Apple! I had a health scare with Tobi, but we weathered it and she is healthy now, aside from the continuous issues she has had to deal with for most of her life.

I have big plans for 2017 though. I plan to travel! I plan to meet people! I will be starting my house savings. I will be improving things around my apartment, a plan for which has already been set in motion. I will be taking better care of myself and my health as well. I have many goals I have set out to accomplish. I am excited for these things, and will of course be sharing what I can.

Happy New Year!

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100 Things I Love Part 4: 61-80

I know it’s been a little bit since I last published for this project. Family Christmases got in the way! I have a break from gatherings now, and thought I would continue on.

Welcome to Part 4 of the 100 Things I Love project. Reflecting over Christmas and being away from work made it a bit easier to come up with some additions for the list, which was pretty awesome.

  1. Any kind of cool nerdy coffee mug
  2. My TARDIS collection
  3. Wiggling my toes in new warm grass
  4. Sitting around the table chatting with the family after a big holiday dinner
  5. Sitting on my back patio/landing reading a book in the sun
  6. Finishing the latest project
  7. Wayne’s snickerdoodles – Gluten Free and AMAZING
  8. Quiet days to myself with no expectations
  9. Yummy-smelling candles
  10. When plans go off without a hitch
  11. Feeling prepared (this one is helpful for my anxiety too!)
  12. A glass of ice-cold water
  13. A nice, brisk walk.
  14. Great conversation
  15. Bookstores
  16. Having a library card
  17. Collecting Classics (the books, that is)
  18. Holiday leftovers
  19. Learning to manage my money effectively
  20. Treating myself from time to time (It’s just good self-care.)

I hope you had a great holiday! I did, for the most part. I find it a bit more difficult these days to really get into it as the majority of my family are adults or are nearing adulthood. There is less emphasis on the excitement of gift-giving, and more on just being with family. Don’t get me wrong, it’s really great. It’s one of my favourite parts of the season. It’s just hard to get pumped up and in the “holiday spirit” when that’s the case. I am back to work for the rest of this week, and then we are on to New Year’s Even this weekend. I have plans to go see some friends and spend the night playing board games and eating and drinking lots of wine. I am very much looking forward to it. I hope you have some exciting New Year’s Eve plans as well!

100 Things I Love Part 3: 41-60

Welcome to part three of my self care project. These are items 41-60. This bunch was quite a bit more difficult to come up with. It seems to be more difficult as I get deeper into it. The rest of these are going to be a challenge to come up with!

  1. Dark chocolate
  2. Hand dyed wool
  3. Geeky memorabilia – autographs, pop figures, art, etc.
  4. Leaving work early
  5. Owl-themed décor
  6. Travelling to new places
  7. Sleeping in
  8. Sleeping in general
  9. My comfy green wing chair (It’s vintage!)
  10. Not having to cook if I don’t want to
  11. Adult colouring books
  12. Pen pals – the old-fashioned kind!
  13. Receiving letters and packages in the mail
  14. Candy canes
  15. Wine
  16. Sleepy kid/baby snuggles (while babysitting)
  17. Tabletop game nights with friends
  18. Video gaming with friends (World of Warcraft, Path of Exile)
  19. Wrapping gifts for others at Christmas
  20. My Batman coffee mug

It should also be noted that today is my blog’s anniversary! I have been active on this blog in one way or another for five years. It feels like a real achievement!

100 Things I love Part 2: 21-40

Welcome to part two of my new self care project. These are items 21-40. This next bunch was a bit trickier to come up worth. I think this is going to get more difficult as I continue!

  1. A good movie drama
  2. Teddy bears/stuffed animals
  3. “Character” – as found in old buildings
  4. My family – even if they sometimes drive me crazy from time to time…
  5. My new computer
  6. Tea! (loose leaf)
  7. Helping friends when I can
  8. The people I work with – they are some truly great and kind people
  9. Radiator heat – so warm and cozy!
  10. The first snow of the season
  11. Not owning a car
  12. Being able to live (relatively) comfortably on my income
  13. Comics
  14. Feeling valuable, like my work/effort is appreciated
  15. Being free to do what I want, when I want
  16. Productive days
  17. Sailor Moon
  18. Crochet
  19. Shopping for gifts (mostly for others, but sometimes for myself too)
  20. Cat snuggles

100 Things I Love Part 1: 1-20

Welcome to part one of my new self care project. These are items 1-20. These first few were pretty easy to come up with. I’m not sure if it will stay this easy!

  1. My cat Tobi
  2. My apartment
  3. Living alone
  4. Coffee
  5. Sunshine
  6. Tacos
  7. Cozy blankets
  8. Doctor Who
  9. My blog – even if I don’t post as much as I would like anymore. It’s been a 5-year labour of love so far.
  10. Playing games (both video games and board games)
  11. Books/reading
  12. Pens
  13. Tragic Toys
  14. Feminism
  15. Trying/learning new things
  16. Pizza
  17. The colour grey
  18. Sci-fi TV
  19. Stars
  20. Lilacs
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*sings* These are a few of my favourite things… *sings*

Some Thoughts on Self Care

I’ve been publishing mainly regular life and personal posts and I’ve also been thinking it might be time to change things up a bit. I want to write a bit about self-care.

Self-care is the thing I never knew I needed until I started seeing my therapist in August 2014. With her help I learned that self-care is key to managing mental illness, especially anxiety and depression, as is my case. It’s also something I’m not very good at, or at least feel like I’m not very good at. Self-care can be as simple as taking a nice hot shower after an especially trying day, or curling up with a good book on a weekend afternoon. Simply put, it is taking the time to check-in with and look after yourself.

Some of the things I do for myself are take baths in the evening, read, play World of Warcraft, and have a regularly scheduled weekly movie night with a dear friend of mine. She struggles with her mental health as well, and the movie nights keep us both social even when we are having a hard time getting through the day. It also gives us both someone who is there and supportive. Basically, it helps us to both feel like we’re not alone and going through things on our own. The movie nights have gotten me through some pretty tough times.

The point of this post is something of a self-care exercise in itself – something outside of my ordinary realm of self care. I can across it on Pinterest, in a pin about practicing self care when things are especially tough, and I think it is a beautiful idea. The idea is to compile a list of 99 things you love. I’ve decided I am going to do this… with a slight modification just because of my own idiosyncrasies: 100 things I love.

I am going to create a list of 100 things I love. I wont share them all at once… It might get overwhelming, and it might take me awhile! I will probably share twenty or so at a time as I come up with them. The goal is to remind myself and maybe you as well, that there are great and beautiful things out there to keep us going. For those of us that live with mental illness in our daily lives, it is something important that we shouldn’t forget.

So, stay tuned for it. It will be coming soon:

100 Things I Love

 

Catching Up

The last few months have been a whirlwind. Event after event has taken place, and I have just had so much going on I haven’t found the time to sit down and chronicle it all. That is the case, yes, but I also made the conscious decision to be as present as I could possibly be for it all. There were happy and fun moments, frustrating moments, stressful moments… I experienced it all through the eyes of someone who was actually there for it all and not worrying about something like writing a blog post about it just to stick to a schedule I created for myself in my head. Things have slowed down, and now I am finally back to enjoy the summer and get back to some of the little things I do really enjoy like blogging. It’s time to catch up now! And catching up takes us back to the end of April…

On April 30, an event took place in London called the London Game Crawl. It took place on International Table Top Day and it was all quite fitting. It was my first event with a new friend: Jen, a coworker at my new job whom I discovered is a) super awesome and b) a fellow nerd. Since then we have done tons of things and had lots of fun together… But back to the Game Crawl now. Several local shops participated and we played lots of games and even collected a free London Game Crawl edition of the game Love Letter for attending. It was a lot of fun.

On Friday May 6, I met several more new people as I went to see Captain America: Civil War with Jen and her husband and daughter and several of their friends. GREAT MOVIE and great company as well. The next day was Free Comic Book Day and I met up with Jen and a few others bright and early in the morning for the festivities. I pulled out the TARDIS dress and my light-up headband and didn’t feel the tiniest bit out-of-place. We managed to make it to every comic book shop that was participating in FCBD, while also avoiding the rain, and discovering a great local restaurant. I even ran into another friend from my old job who was dressed up as well! It was a great day all around.

Next up was my first game night with my new friends. We played a game we had discovered at the game crawl called Camel Up. Basically, you’re betting on a camel race and you win money based on how well you bet. It is a ton of fun with the right people, and I was definitely playing with the right people! I ended up live-tweeting the game because it was so hilarious. You can find those tweets looking back in my twitter feed to the right of this post.

Things just kept getting busier from this point on. I think June of 2016 was one of the busiest months I have ever had in my life. I wrote a midterm for my CIP class at the beginning of the month which I did very well on. I attended the Gathering on the Green in Wortley Village, I went to my first Paint Nite event with my friend Ash, I went to a couple more game nights, I went to see a live band on the beach in Port Stanley, I planned and executed a surprise birthday party for my Mom’s 50th with the help of my sister and my stepdad, I took my dad to a baseball game and then my sister and I took him out for dinner afterward for Fathers’ Day, I attended the Ingersoll Relay for Life for the first time as a member of my niece’s team, I went to my first Staff Appreciation Day with my new employer, attended the London International Food Festival and a cookout at a friend’s place, and all the while I was studying for my final for my CIP course which took place just two days ago. Oh, and I donated blood somewhere in there too. I have been a very busy girl! But it was all a ton of fun and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

The reasons for my long absence…in a nutshell. I’m nervous about my final, but I won’t find out how I did for probably a month or so. Since I have to wait so long, there is really no point in working myself up over it. I have a life to live, though hopefully not so crazy a one as I have been living up to this point this summer.

I have also been trying to focus on my second attempt at a life reboot. As you can probably imagine, I have been doing well with some things but not with others. I am attributing much of it to the stress I was putting myself through while trying to study and prepare for my exam. Turns out that after a seven-year break from writing them, I get some massive test anxiety when they come back around! That stress made a number of other things harder as well.I am hoping though, that now I know what to expect, the next one won’t be so bad.

I’ve been crocheting a bit, but I haven’t made much progress on my blanket for quite a long time. Most recently I have been working on dish cloths: a set for my mom for her birthday, and a set for my sister as a housewarming gift since she moved recently.

Work has been going well; I am transitioning a bit as the way things work was changed just this week. Tobi is doing well too! She is as snuggly and adorable as ever. We have had a great time just chilling out together over the past couple of days.

Oh! And I can’t forget the latest little bit of geek that has joined my collection! Here they are:

Here’s to the rest summer of exciting weekends and being busy, but not TOO busy.

Struggles

It seems I dropped the ball with publishing these daily. Time to get back on track!

Today’s (March 15, 2016) Prompt: Share something you struggle with.

Like many of us, I struggle with things from time to time, and there are other things I struggle with on a daily basis, almost constantly. The thing I struggle the most with is my mental illness. As I’ve written before, I have Social Anxiety and Persistent Depressive Disorder. I (for the most part) have my anxiety managed, but my depression keeps getting the better of me continually at this point. Right now, it is especially bad because the winter season makes things worse for me. As a result, so many things on a daily basis are a struggle. 

Nothing is easy. Getting out of bed is a struggle, getting dressed is a struggle, cleaning…doing dishes… Imagine too, when you’ve finally made yourself get up to do that really difficult thing, something happens that puts a wrench in the whole thing. It all falls apart and you become a complete wreck because you’ve failed to do that one thing. And when that happens I also struggle with being a failure. Absolutely everything is more difficult when living with depression; it’s not just being sad all the time, and it’s not something that thinking positively is going to fix. Depression makes your brain a complete asshole, and fights against you at every turn. I am lucky now that with the spring weather starting to arrive, things are getting slightly easier (even though there are still bad days), along with the things I’m doing to look after myself as best as I can on a daily basis. 

I guess what I am trying to say is with mental illness, the struggle is real. It’s not something positive thinking will fix, even though in some cases it can help a bit (e.g. in managing my social anxiety). Mental illness is a disease just like other physical illnesses. Just because it isn’t outwardly visible doesn’t mean we don’t struggle on a daily basis. It’s something to consider when interacting with someone you know to be struggling with their mental health. I encourage you to give it a try. 

Inspiration

Today’s prompt: Write about someone who inspires you.

There is one person in particular who inspires me in several aspects of my life. Her name is Felicia Day. For those of you who don’t know, Felicia is an actress, entrepreneur, and all around very talented geek. She plays video games and streams on Twitch when she can. She also created Geek and Sundry, which you should check out if you haven’t already.

So why does she inspire me? Well, for one, she is a fellow woman who loves many of the same things I do. A lot of the things  I enjoy are not necessarily typical things a woman would like, comics and video games being among them. I guess in that regard she affirms that it is okay to like the things I like and there is no reason I shouldn’t, regardless of society and its stereotypes. Having someone like her to look up to as a role model is actually quite empowering. She’s also an author, and her book is an inspiration in itself. I learned that she struggles with anxiety which I do as well. Knowing that she has accomplished everything she has while living with anxiety helps me to realize I can accomplish the goals I set out for myself. Because of Felicia, I have more confidence in my abilities, even if my anxiety sometimes makes it not feel that way.

It was also through Felicia that I discovered Team Hooman. Team Hooman is a group of like-minded people who are quite possibly the kindest, most accepting people in the world. Being a part of Team Hooman reminds me that there are quite a few good people still out there in the world. That in itself is an inspiration.

I met Felicia back in August when she did a book signing at the Indigo store at the Eaton Centre in Toronto. I wrote a blog post about it if you’re inclined to browse my blog archives. Felicia was so nice and down-to-earth and so fun and adorable. She even tried to crack a joke with me, but we both dropped the ball with the punch line. She even personalized my book, even though I didn’t go through the proper process (mostly because I wasn’t aware there was a process…). It was a pretty amazing two minutes, and I am SO glad I have some pictures to remember the experience by.

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I don’t know if you will ever read this, but Felicia, THANK YOU for being you and doing all of the amazing things you do.

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!