A Much Anticipated Purchase

I have been entertaining the idea of purchasing a fountain pen for ages, and for some reason I never bothered to act on the thought until last week. I found a reasonably priced basic fountain pen on Amazon and clicked the “purchase” button. It arrived three days later and I am IN LOVE.


It has a simple, yet elegant design and I am very impressed with it considering I paid less than $30 for it. I have spent a lot of time with it, both seriously writing and just doodling and it is the best pen I have ever used. I simply cannot understand why I didn’t do this sooner!


The pen I purchased is a the silver fountain pen with a fine nib from the Pilot Metropolitan collection. I also purchased some ink cartridge refills for starting out. It did come with a converter, but I think I will leave using it until I have a bit more experience. In the meantime, I’m just going to write like crazy with it. This could be a dangerous purchase for me. I could see myself owning many more in the future and many more colours of ink!

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Inspiration

After a quiet holiday long weekend with some minor frustrating occurrences, I think I may have finally found the inspiration to write something of substance. It feels like it has taken years for me to get to this point.

I started it last night. I’m not going to talk about it here until I have something a little more substantial than a few sentences.

I just wanted to share that it may finally be happening after what feels like far too long. Thank you to everyone I talked to this weekend; you helped me to get to this point.

If only I could finally get these exams out of the way already…

Life Reboot Take Two – An Update 

It’s been two months since Life Reboot Take Two was published on May 15, 2016.The first few weeks were off to a great start, especially regarding food and eating and physical activity. I made it to 10,000 steps in a day for the first time, and actually lost about five pounds! Alas, in June and early July it all fell apart. June was the busiest and most stressful month of 2016 for me, and it really had a detrimental effect. I gained back the weight I lost and then a bit more as a result. I also had some very frustrating issues with my Fitbit which now seem to be resolved. I struggled a lot with having no real consistency in my routine. I wrote the final exam for my CIP course on July 4, and took a few days to recover. This week I am ready to get things back on track. Let’s take a detailed look at how I did with each item I put on my list:

Drink less pop

I did really well with this in those initial few weeks. I only had at most a 591ml bottle once a week; usually just a can. This was in comparison to 2-3 per week or maybe even more. Unfortunately, during June it all went out the window. I turned to pop for a caffeine boost over coffee. It was less intense and I was out of coffee for most of the month anyway. It was just a bad scene all around. 

Goal: Get back down to a maximum of one can of pop per week. 

Read more

This item went completely the opposite way of my first item. During the first few weeks I read a few pages here and there, which was already more than I was reading previously. It seemed like as I got more stressed, the more I was inclined to read. By the end of June I had finished three books, and made a good dent in The Goldfinch as well.

Goal: Read 100 more pages of The Goldfinch by the end of July.

Write more 

I tried, but didn’t write quite as much as I’d have liked. I worked at journaling a bit, but I didn’t have a whole lot of luck. Through June, I stopped writing completely aside from jotting down the odd to-do list. I picked up with the journaling a bit post-final, but not by much. 

Goal: Write a minimum of half a page each day in my notebook, publish one more blog post in July.

Sleep better/more

I have not been sleeping better OR more all along. The more stressed I got the later I stayed up and the more poorly I slept. 

Goal: Find a sustainable bedtime and wake up time and keep it up for one month. 

Practice better self care

I really need to do a better job at this. It just isn’t happening at this point. 

Goal: Take a minimum of 10 minutes each day to check in with and look after myself.

Eat better foods in more reasonable portions

I did great initially, but again, fell off the wagon once the pressure mounted. I started taking the easy ways out again – ordering take out and the like. I’m still not completely comfortable with cooking for one, and that needs to happen as well.

Goal: No more ordering in/eating out in July and no more than twice in August. 

Exercise more

I got off to a great start with being more active and I really enjoyed it. I started with my main focus being a 10,000 step per goal. That went pretty well until around mid-June or so, when I started encountering some serious issues with the accuracy of my Fitbit. Step goals faltered then, but according to my phone I was still managing about 7000 steps each day without really trying. I even added some periodic workouts. This has continued to slow down and decrease though as it has been quite hot and not exactly ideal for walking. 

Goal: Work back up to 10,000 steps a day, 2 workouts per week (yoga or otherwise).

July 11th was the first day I really focused on turning things back around. On that day alone I grocery shopped, cooked a healthy dinner, did a workout, wrote a bit in my notebook, didn’t drink any pop, and read a few pages of a new book borrowed from a coworker. I am working now to find a new balance, and hopefully one that sticks. I have been writing on a daily basis since the 11th. It is just journaling, but we all need a starting point right? This is a good sign!

I had a lot of other thoughts over this period of time that seem rather pertinent to this reboot. Firstly, that I am thankful for my coworker and super awesome need-friend Jen for being so supportive through all of the stress and whatnot throughout June. I was struggling and had it not been for her, I don’t think I’d have managed nearly as well as I did. I am going to try a new approach going forward: smaller goals that work toward the main goals of this reboot. I am hoping that smaller concrete goals will be more effective than the all-encompassing goals of the reboot as a whole. These smaller goals are what I wrote down after my recap of each large goal above. I may even come up with some small daily goals to keep me even more motivated. 

On another note, this week I am one year single and on own. Some of the memories popping up on Facebook right now are hard to see. I am keeping my head up however, and doing well overall. I have my home (which I love), I also my cat (whom I love arguably more than life itself), I am doing the things I want to do and that make me happy, I am happy at my job (even if it does get stressful at times), and I am (mostly) happy with myself. I have nothing of substance to complain about! 

Anyway, stay tuned for another update in the near future! 

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.

A Bit of Poetry

I have been muddling all day, in between cleaning and a visit from my Mom, about what to write about for tonight’s post. I just published on Thursday, and I simply just can’t decide. This is hard for me. I wanted to write something amazing for you guys that you would love. I’ve really got nothing. So instead, I’ve decided to finally publish that poem I mentioned a couple of posts ago. I have had a few peers read it and have gotten nothing but good feedback, so I think I am feeling confident enough to share with the world in this personal place of mine. I hope you like it as well:

I feel more free than I have ever felt.
For the first time, I don’t feel the need to put my effort into pleasing others over myself.
I am no longer a slave to what everyone else thinks I should be.
I am me, and I will be the me I choose to be as I move forward.
I will not let someone else tell me what I should think is important, what I should wear, where I should work, what I should do, what I should be.
I will decide what I think is important, what I will wear, where I will work, what I will do, what I should be.
I am me and I am free to be whoever and whatever I want to be.
I know this now.

It’s not much. It’s short. But it’s something I feel I can be proud of. Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments!

Eventful.

It was just a week this week aside from a milestone or two, but my weekend was quite pleasant and social. I think I am finally starting to get the hang of this whole being single and living alone thing! It hasn’t been easy, but I think I am finally starting to get it.

I mentioned a couple of milestones I accomplished. The first of these as that I have officially been discharged from my therapist. No more weekly appointments with my psychiatrist, because she thinks I’ve made enough progress that I can now tackle the world on my own. It’s quite a feeling, knowing that someone has the confidence in you that you don’t really have in yourself. In itself, it is quite a confidence-building experience. I’m very proud of myself, even though it was very hard to listen to her tell me all of the things she had noted that I have accomplished during our eighteen months working together. I had some tears in my eyes; I will admit. This week, the second milestone was that I finally wrote something. I WROTE SOMETHING. It was (only) a short piece of poetry, but I freaking WROTE SOMETHING. It makes me so happy. I’ve wanted to write something for so long and I have finally done it. It sure took me long enough! I’m not sure I feel comfortable enough to publish it here, but if you are interested in reading it, you are welcome to contact me be it via email, Facebook, Twitter or otherwise. There are many ways to contact me. I just can’t believe I have finally accomplished what I have wanted so badly. It made me a happy girl this week.

This weekend was a great weekend, very enjoyable. I spent Saturday afternoon with a dear friend gallivanting about the city and then just relaxing here at my place. We went for  fantastic lunch at the Covent Garden Market – fish and chips, and a pot of tea from The Tea Haus, which is a fantastic little local shop, by the way! I love it even more every time I go. We wandered about and visited a few different vendors before we visited Bijan’s, THE local art supply store. It has an amazing selection at very reasonable prices, and the owner is such a kind person who simply wants to make art supplies as accessible and as affordable as possible. After that we visited Michael’s, a craft store chain that seems to be pretty much everywhere, and then we went to Chapters to browse for books and colouring books, where I found the tiniest weird thing I found to be absolutely hilarious.

img_2267 We then we checked out Mary Maxim to see what they have for yarn selection. Jess found some skin toned yarn for a doll she plans to make, and I didn’t buy anything, because yarns stores are just dangerous. After we were done spending money we didn’t have, we headed back to my house where we just hung out and relaxed, while watching Jessica Jones on Netflix as she hasn’t seen it yet. I also did my laundry and a bit of cleaning while she was here, as she’s been in my life for so long I don’t feel the need to entertain her as a guest while she is here, which is great because otherwise nothing would have gotten done this weekend. I cooked dinner for us, and then she headed home later in the evening. img_2276I spent the rest of the evening colouring and watching Vikings while drinking a nice cuppa tea. I even had a random idea that I instantly fell in love with and decided to keep. It was the simplest thing, img_2281I just used one of my tea towels as a tablecloth of sorts on my night stand. It looks so great. It was a very good day.

 

I had plans for Sunday to go to some friends’ house for dinner. Ashley picked me up around 1:30 this afternoon, and we went and ran a bunch of errands before heading back to her house. We had a great visit and I got to spend tons of time with their baby girl, who is completely adorable, especially when she’s happy! img_2296And she was so happy today. We had a great meal, and some wine, and watched some Avengers while the kids played. I even got a few rows of my new scarf done, which is going to be gorgeous when it’s finally done. I left there with a full stomach, leftovers, and a few awesome little geeky items to add to my collection. A great way to wrap up a weekend!

After this week past, I am hopeful that the week to come will bring good things. I have no real plans yet, but I am optimistic that this week and the rest of this month, even this year will bring many great things for me. My, how my attitude has changed!

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Lastly, I leave you with a photo of the scarf I am currently working on. I am SO in love with the yarn AND the pattern. I can’t wait to finish it!

A 30 Before 30 Update

It is about five months into my 30 Before 30 project, and I thought it’s about time I wrote an update. Not all items on the list are easy to write about, and not all are worthy of posts of their own. A few of the items are quite difficult to write about while they are in progress. So here I am, writing an update post so I can include all of those things. A lot has happened and I am excited to finally write about it all.

As written about in earlier posts, I have learned to crochet. As of a couple of weeks ago, I started my blanket! It’s a bit of an eclectic thing, this blanket I am crocheting. I am using a random collection of yarns scraps and small balls of yarn I have acquired over the past few months. They are different colours and textures, and I think this blanket might end up being the ugliest blanket I have ever seen!wpid-wp-1435100108442.jpgBut it has already proven great fun to crochet, and it is also teaching me how different each yarn is, so it has been an excellent learning experience so far as well. I think it is something I will be very proud of when finished. I am using the corner-to-corner afghan pattern I practiced before. It’s a very pretty pattern and I feel I have made the right choice in choosing it. Starting this blanket was a big accomplishment for me, and it’s just the beginning!

wpid-wp-1435100119716.jpgSeveral weeks ago now, Jay designed and printed an art piece for me for the bedroom based on something he included with my Valentine’s Day gift. I love it. It now sits on my nightstand, but it may move. That’s still to be determined. Either way: mission accomplished. I have more art in my bedroom!

You know, it’s really exciting to say that I have money in a savings account now. It isn’t a lot, but it is definitely there. It will come and go as I save up and buy various things, but just that there is a plan in place for saving money for one purpose or another feels pretty great. Strike that one off the list!

As of yesterday, I officially started attempt number two at a writing course. This course isn’t a “creative writing” course, but rather an effective writing course. I’ve completed the first module, and I already feel like this is a good choice now. I definitely won’t regret it. It’s a course  reviewing the basics of speech, writing and grammar; the “tools of the trade” so to speak. I figure it never hurts to review the basics periodically. This course will give me a good foundation for future writing attempts.

Reading a lot is also very good for writing, and so far I have managed to read two contemporary fiction novels out of the goals of five I set for myself. They were The Luminaries by Eleanor Carton and Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. I also have two now  in progress: The Quest by Nelson DeMille and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I have actually surprised myself with how quickly this item on my list has moved along.

I find I am always learning new things these days. It’s hard to find just one thing I’ve learned to share on my list. I’ve found that a lot of the things I have learned have been about personal growth. Others are interesting facts or skills. Here is my list so far:

  1. The Bystander Effect – the more people there are around, the less likely a person will react to a situation (i.e. seeing someone being attacked) (Jan 2015)
  2. I can control my path. I’ve just kind of let things happen for so long. I know now that I have complete control over where my life goes and what I do with it. My confidence has increased since I learned this. (Feb 2015)
  3. I have a lot more value than I think I do. I don’t often think about the impact I have or have had on others’ lives. A few conversations have taken place recently to help me have a better grasp of the value I do have – to myself and others. (Mar 2015)
  4. I learned the basics of building a Magic:The Gathering deck! (Apr 2015)
  5. Set backs do not equal failure. I had a major setback this month, with the help of Jay and my therapist, I have come to better understand that a setback is just that: a setback. It doesn’t mean I have failed at the task at hand. (May 2015)

I will soon be adding June’s item. Not sure what it will be yet!

I’ve added another local restaurant and new food to the list as well. I wrote about them both just last week. Here are the lists so far as a recap:

Try 3 local restaurants I’ve never tried before:

  1. The Byron Freehouse
  2. The Early Bird Cafe

Try 5 brand new foods:

  1. El Diablo hot chocolate – Feb 14, 2015
  2. “The Closer”: a deep-fried chicken sandwich – Apr 18, 2015
  3. Turducken Deli Club – Jun 13, 2015

I will be sad when these items are completed. It has been so much fun so far.

This next item, I am not at all surprised that I have crossed it off the list. I have watched twelve new movies already. It was incredibly easy to complete this item. I didn’t even have to try that hard. These are the movies I watched:

  1. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Jan 11, 2015)
  2. The Fault in Our Stars (Feb 6, 2015)
  3. There Will Be Blood (Feb 21, 2015)
  4. Jupiter Ascending (Feb 28, 2015)
  5. Kingsman:The Secret Service (Mar 6, 2015)
  6. Anna Karenina (Mar 7, 2015)
  7. 21 Jump St (Apr 20, 2015)
  8. X-Men: Days of Future Past (Apr 25, 2015)
  9. The Host (May 16, 2015)
  10. Mirror, Mirror (May 16, 2015)
  11. Legion (June 6, 2015)
  12. The Great Gatsby (June 8, 2015)

I enjoyed some more than others. My favourites were probably The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, and Kingsman: The Secret Service. Watch them!

As I wrote about way back in February, I am  still hoping to host or at the very least collaborate on a proper game night at some point this summer. I had originally discussed planning it as a joint venture with my sister, but I am unsure. Currently the time and place is yet to be determined. I also hope to have more games to play along with Forbidden Desert, even though it is a great game.

As you have read here, a lot of movement has been made on this list, even though it doesn’t seem like many things have been crossed off. The items I have made progress on are the ones that tend to involve many steps, and may seem kind of daunting. Thankfully it wasn’t! It has been quite fun and enjoyable so far. I look forward to continuing to tick things off my list, and sharing more of my progress here on the blog.

An Attempt at a Writing Course

During the month of April I attempted my first writing course. It is one of the goals I want to carry out for my 30 Before 30 list, and the opportunity for one that was free and online came to my attention so I jumped at it. Funny enough, it was a course hosted through WordPress’ The Daily Post. It was part of the “Blogging U” segment called “Writing 101”. It ran from April 6, 2015 to May 1, 2015. Each day there was a new prompt  on the community site and emailed to all participants. The idea was to write a blog post using the prompt and share it with your peers on the community site and get feedback on your writing from them. Publishing and sharing your work, however, was not a requirement for this course. I was never brave enough to share my work. I did well enough in keeping up with the posts for the first couple of weeks; writing but not sharing with the community. I struggled to keep it going though.

The prompts were interesting and fun to work with but I found that there wasn’t enough with the course to keep me accountable. Yes, there were prompts daily, but there were no goals, no due dates, nothing to keep me motivated. I missed prompts on many days. It didn’t help that the prompts were delivered in UTC time, so I would get them the night before just as I was going to bed and I’d forget about them by the next day. I learned that I need a lot more structure. I find that I thrive much more in a classroom-type atmosphere. I do better with structure. Concrete assignments, due dates and a proper forum if it’s an online course are what work for me. Things that will keep me motivated to continue on. A course in my time zone may help the cause as well.

So attempt one was not a success. I have not given up though. I am currently searching for a course that is a better fit for me, whether it be online or otherwise. I am looking into something through Coursera, and if not, I will continue my search. I would like to avoid paying for the course as I don’t have much in terms of disposable income. It’s something I will complete before I am 30, I just need to find the right course format. Onward and upward!

I Want to Write

I am feeling the urge to write something awesome. However, I can never think of anything to write about that falls into this category. I am constantly reading fantastic material written by other bloggers and it inspires me every time. But every time I sit down to write that ‘awesome’ piece, my mind just draws a blank and I’m stuck. I feel like none of my ideas are original enough  to interest the public or to attract more readers to my own blog.

pen_and_paper

I always have millions of ideas in my head and I can never seem to get them all down on paper, let alone a computer screen. It is frustrating to me. I feel like I will never be able to write something people will want to read. This is a problem since I have wanted to write something of substance for years. Obviously, it still hasn’t happened.

In school I was able to churn out A-grade papers like it was nobody’s business. Unfortunately all of them were research papers and did absolutely nothing to foster writing creatively or anything of a remotely creative nature – except maybe the research topic itself. I did have a knack for those at least.  But still not conducive to creativity in writing. As a result, the same though goes through my head every time I sit down in an attempt to write:

I am not a creative person.

At least I don’t FEEL like a creative person… No doubt someone has already written or created what I am just coming up with. So what good is it? It isn’t original. It isn’t interesting. At least not in my own head… I want to be creative. I want my material to be interesting to people. I want people to WANT to read what I write. Would I want to read what I write? Probably not. And this is where my dilemma stands. I am at a loss.

I think this may be something I struggle with for a long time – wanting to write something but feeling like I will never be able to make it happen. The urge to write that defining piece will likely never go away. I sometimes wonder if it is something as simple (relatively speaking) as a confidence issue. Do I feel this way because I don’t think I am confident enough in myself? Could be. Will I really know for sure? Likely not. And the writing dilemma continues…

I have a blog I write for (obviously, since this post is currently appearing on it). The problem for me is that I feel like none of it is really anything of substance. It feels shallow and superficial to me. Maybe people enjoy it, but I’m not completely convinced it is truly meaningful to anyone but myself, and then, only because it is my own hobbies that I write about.

I even struggled with writing this post. It has taken me months to finally get this out there. Kudos to me, I guess…