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Tag: Journal Day (Page 2 of 2)

Journal Day \ six

Everyone has different things that keep them going. Sometimes it’s the people around us, other times it might be what’s waiting for us on the other side of hard work. Whatever it may be, there’s usually some sort of motivation to get up every day, get things done, or maybe even go the extra mile. With that said, what would you say is your biggest motivation in life? Has it always been this way? 

Photo by @wanderingseth

I read this prompt on Sunday & have been thinking about it since. I knew that many people would post that their children are their biggest motivation, but I know this isn’t the case for me. We’re not there yet. I hope that someday it will be my biggest motivation, but that’s not what either of us wants right now.

I think everyone goes through a phase in life where they’re a little bit selfish. Every year, I find I’m less so, but my life is still primarily about me. What I want, who I want to be, what I want to do. It’s evolved from those angsty teenager days of true selfishness & it will continue to evolve as I add more pieces to my puzzle. One of the more recent additions has been N. 
This guy motivates me in many ways. He’s my example of patience & the calm to my storm. He reminds me not to make a mountain out of a molehill (although I often still do). He’s the easygoing, optimistic one, & this inspires me to look at things from his perspective. Think before you speak, you know? 
Another big motivator was born of Fitness Friday. These Friday workouts started over a year ago & I honestly never expected much to come of them. I honestly kind of figured it would remain the couple of us in Solutions, being goofs at the end of the week. Somehow, it took off though & when I don’t feel like writing up a workout, these people that show up every week motivate me to do so. It’s for them that I keep doing this & because of them that I look forward to Fridays for a reason other than the weekend. 
My biggest motivation in life is myself though. I’m happiest when I feel strong, healthy, and successful. There are so many things that contribute to these feelings – eating healthy, spending time with family & friends, working out, finishing a project at work, having people enjoy something I’ve written…so. many. things. I guess in a way that means that what’s waiting for me on the other side of hard work motivates me as well. I think that’s a big reason why I love CrossFit. Why I love cooking (& eating, & thinking about food, & planning travel around eating). Why I love being busy. Why I love planning. 
This is my sixth post in response to Danielle’s Journal Prompt. For the prompts & other responses, check out Danielle’s blog Sometimes Sweet. Learn more about the project here

Journal Day \ five

We all encounter challenges on a daily basis. You may consider yours something small, like having enough time in the day to accomplish everything you set out to do, or it may be a bit bigger- perhaps something you have to overcome mentally or emotionally, or even a struggle when dealing with a difficult person. Whatever the case, take a look at your daily life- what would you say is your biggest challenge? Or if you have a past struggle you were able to overcome, how did you do it? This week, write about a challenge you currently deal with on a day to day basis, or discuss one you managed to get past.

I find this question a difficult one to answer. Are there people I find challenging to deal with? Yes, of course, there are. I’m not always an overly patient person so this is definitely something I struggle with regularly. I also tend to let go of that type of thing very quickly though. In the moment, I express my frustration, but it usually doesn’t carry over into my day to day. (The only person I see literally every day is N anyways. We tend to get along most of the time.)

I’d definitely say I sometimes struggle to accomplish everything I’ve set out to do for the day too. For the most part though, I’m fairly successful in my endeavours. Every once in a while I’ll overload my expectations, but I wouldn’t say this is a huge challenge for me.

I’m hesitant to write about a past challenge as I think it’s easy to fall into a cliché & I don’t want this to be that kind of post. Let’s say in the present, shall we?

As a twenty-something, I think I struggle most with whether or not I’m choosing the right path. I’ve graduated University & have been working for a few years now, but am I working towards the things that I want or or am I just working? Am I taking steps to unlock the doors I want opened? Or am I sitting back & letting things fall into place? These are hard questions to answer, but I think at some point we all stumble across them. 
When I say the right path, I’m talking career-wise. As a couple, we have goals for ourselves. Things like owning a house in the inner city, taking the time to travel together while we’re young (especially, but not exclusively), & enjoying wonderful meals together. 
There are two reasons to work towards the right career. The first one is for our own happiness – to feel a sense of accomplishment & joy around work. You spend at least eight hours a day doing it so hopefully you enjoy it to some extent. That’s the dream anyway, right? The second reason is to have the ability to achieve our personal goals. & that’s the big one. Life isn’t all about work, so I hope everyone has some goals outside of it. 
I think this challenge is an important one to think about, but a difficult one to overcome. As someone who always strives to improve, sometimes I struggle to look back on my decision without criticism. 
This post took a different turn than I was expecting, but that’s what I’m enjoying about this Journal Day. I’ve been tempted to censor some of these entries for fear of how someone may react to my thoughts, but I’m glad I haven’t yet & hope to continue with this. 
If you want to check out Danielle’s post this week or follow along with the prompts, check out her blog, Sometimes Sweet

Journal Day \ four

If you had unlimited resources, what political or social issue, or area of scientific or medical exploration would you fund? Do you have a cause that is dear and near to your heart that you’d put your time, energy, and money into if you had the means? Tell us about it, along with a bit of background explaining where you’re coming from.

3haus Photographics

When I first read this prompt, I thought for sure I’d find a social issue to write about. That seems very me for some reason. I’ve always gravitated towards the arts side of things so science and medicine aren’t something that naturally jump out at me. I was never bad at science. Really, I was never bad at school. Most subjects came fairly easily to me so even though I regularly say I’m bad at math, that’s not entirely true. I’m disinterested in math. I didn’t excel at the subject because I decided I didn’t want to.

But this post isn’t about whether or not I was good at science or math or even english. This post is about something I hold very near and dear to my heart: health. In a world where we are, literally, surrounded by illness, it’s easy to see how important health is to happiness. If you don’t have your health, things can get pretty grim, pretty quickly.

I read a lot of research on the subject & find it very interesting. It also really bothers me that there seems to be so little being done to treat the cause behind an illness. Sure, we have lots of treatments for the symptoms, but I can’t help but think how great it would be if we could treat the root cause.

I personally believe that what we put into our bodies directly influences what we get out of them. & not just in terms of energy & competition. Proper fuel in sport & fitness does tend to generate more favourable results, however, I think there’s more to it than that. That may be slightly controversial, but I really believe it’s worth looking into. It makes sense to me that what we put in our bodies could be having an effect on some of the illnesses we’re seeing. & I think that’s worth exploring.

So if I had unlimited resources, I would dedicate them to that research. It’s currently not feasible to do these types of studies involving food since the necessary funding for such a thing would be huge. There are so many things you can’t control as well. It would definitely be a huge undertaking, but one that I think is worthwhile. I know I’ve personally benefitted from changing the things I eat & thinking about what I put in my body so I think having a better understanding of what’s truly happening could be a step in the right direction.

While there is a lot of information out there on the subject, there aren’t a lot of studies out there. I think the medical community would be more accepting of diet as a form of treatment if there were.

It’s hard to choose just one issue, of course, but this one is a big one for me. Having seen huge changes in people I know from changing their diet (& in myself as well), it’s hard knowing that it’s still not widely accepted in the medical world.

You can check out Danielle’s response over on her blog & find the links to many other posts in the comments.

Journal Day \ three

They say hindsight is 20/20, and with good reason- looking back at something always gives us a better view. We’re often able to really see how our choices and decisions then shaped our today, and examine what we would have done differently given the chance. When looking back though, we often look way back, but for this exercise stay a little closer to present time and look back just 12 months. If you could go back just one year, what would you tell yourself? What advice would you offer about everything you’ve experienced?

This past year has felt like a big one. I’ve echoed this statement so often on this blog that I’m second guessing myself now as I say it, thinking everyone’s tired of hearing about this year. Here I am, believing wholeheartedly in the truth behind it, though.

Guys, this year.

You know the big events that took place this year in my life so I won’t list them here for you now. There have been many great moments & I’m so very grateful for every single one of them. If I could go back just one year, the advice I would give myself would be to hang on. Hang on, girl – they’ll be gone before you know it. 
I’d also tell myself to let go. Let go of the sadness. Don’t let the heaviness drag you down. Take N’s advice – pick yourself up & brush it off. (In a way, that actually fits in well with my New Years resolution to choose happiness too.) Stop dwelling on the things you can’t change. I think that one will always be a work in progress. 
Even this wedding planning process is flying by, just as I was warned it would. I didn’t realize how quickly it would all happen though. It seems like just yesterday I was calling venues & looking up all the information I could get my hands on about Kelowna Weddings. We’re well into the planning process now & summer is quickly approaching. What is it about aging that seems to speed up time? Remember when a two minute time-out felt like an eternity? Sometimes I feel like I’m bouncing from weekend to weekend, barely noticing the days in between. (Somehow not while I’m physically at my desk though. Funny how that works.)
There’s nothing I would change about this past year – I’m so so fortunate in this life. The only real thing I would change is how I looked at each situation, how I dealt with it, & how I choose to remember it. 
& isn’t that the way it should be? You can’t always control the things that happen, but you can control how you react to them. 
Check out Danielle’s response to this prompt over on her blog, Sometimes Sweet

Journal Day \ two

We all have songs that really mean something to us. Often just hearing it can take us right back to that place and we are able to re-experience the memory associated with the song. Sometimes good, sometimes bad, but either way music has the ability to really draw things out of us and evoke deep emotion. Choose a song that has a particular meaning to you. Tell the story of the memory associated with the song, sharing as much detail as you can. Take us there; let us experience it with you.

It had been a wonderful morning. We’d started the day as all days in the country should (bright & early) – jumping on one of the first few ferries from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay. A couple hours later, we arrived on Vancouver Island & hopped on the Patricia Bay Hwy to Victoria, making a quick detour at the house my family lived in when I was just a preschooler. As we stood in front of that old house on Costa Vista Place, I reminisced about making mud pies in Mrs Weir’s bird bath, swinging on the tire swing my dad had hung off the huge cherry tree in the back yard, and learning to ride a bike around our cul-de-sac. We stayed just long enough to snap a few photos as I shared some of those childhood stories with N before hopping back in the car.

We made a second pit stop in Victoria for lunch & some touristing before continuing on to Duncan, our final destination, for a wedding. We were driving along a particular green & beautiful stretch of the Trans Canada when talk inevitably turned to the upcoming nuptials. I knew the song the bride & groom had chosen for first dance so we listened to that before I asked N what he would choose if we got married someday. He was surprisingly quick to answer – Then by Brad Paisley. Of course, we listened to that next.

Driving along that winding stretch of highway on one of the most perfectly summery days, flanked on either side by those huge, impossibly green trees (the kind you never find on the prairies), chatting happily with my favourite guy, may be one of my favourite memories. It’s such a small sliver of our life together so far, but I always look back on that day with such joy & happiness.

This song, & Brad Paisley in general, brings back a lot of memories for me from throughout our relationship. Some big, some small, but for some reason this one stands out, this small fragment from a time in our lives when we had nothing to worry about but enjoying the day together, first with each other & later with amazing friends. Brad is N’s favourite artist so my mind always wanders back to moments we shared together (or moments when we were apart & I fell asleep to his songs on my iPod, pretending N wasn’t so far away).


You can check out Danielle’s response to the prompt on her blog today.

Journal Day \ one

Last week, Danielle at Sometimes Sweet posted about starting a Journal Day. One of my New Years resolutions is to journal more so I think this project sounds like a lot of fun! You can read more about it in her entry over on her blog as well as her first post. Here’s this week’s prompt, followed by my entry.

Everyone has a time in their life they view as a crossroad. Sometimes you can see it as it’s happening, and you’re able to choose one way or another. Other times you may not realize you’re there until you look back, and see what a turning point it really was. This week, write about a time you view as a marker in your life; a distinct place where things changed, for better or worse. 

I stepped off the train in Rennes, France in 2005 exhausted, excited, & completely unprepared for everything that would come that semester. I was entering my third year of University still very much a child & found myself an ocean away from everything & everyone I knew. Everyone says travel changes you; I just had no idea how much it would change me or that it would begin that very moment.

I’d decided in my final year of high school that I would do an exchange to France. I’d been in French Immersion since grade one, but it was on a field trip for my spanish class that I discovered the French, Italian, & Spanish Department at the University of Calgary & made the decision that it was the place for me. I’d actually already applied to the U of C, & been accepted, as an English Major. As soon as I saw the exchange options & thought about taking French instead, I knew it was what I wanted to do. I switched my major & began dreaming of living abroad.

Since French is a rather important prerequisite for living in France, I had to complete two full years of University-level French before I could go on exchange. It would have been easy to give up on that dream. Three years is a long time for a teenager & there were a lot of obstacles standing between me & a semester in Rennes. I couldn’t, & wouldn’t, shake it though & in the winter of 2005 I was accepted to the Université de Haute Bretagne in Rennes, Brittany.

I’m not sure if there was ever truly a crossroad for me. Of course, there were always two options – to go to France or not to go to France – but I don’t think I ever wavered in my decision to go. Sure, there were setbacks along the way – the French are notorious for their bureaucracy. I often wondered if my dossier would ever be considered complete. But one day it was. One day I was saying goodbye to my parents at the airport, my passport with a French visa in one hand & all my important possessions in the other.

I knew that trip would change me, but it’s hard to fully prepare for that type of change even when you are anticipating it. There were lots of things I could never have prepared for (like having my room broken into my first week) as well as many I never thought to.

I’d been warned by my exchange advisor that my exchange experience would be different than anyone else’s that year. Almost every other school in the program would send representatives to welcome its exchange students. There would be no one to welcome me in Rennes. The Université de Haute Bretagne wouldn’t begin classes officially until a couple weeks after I arrived so I’d be all on my own to figure it out.

I knew this going in, but I didn’t really take it seriously. Sure, it’d be a challenge, but I knew French. I could figure it out. Silly teenagers think they know everything. I didn’t consider the fact that I’d be jet lagged. I didn’t know that the school would literally be completely locked down. Google maps wasn’t a thing yet so I didn’t even know what my residence building looked like & wifi wasn’t everywhere yet so I couldn’t double check my email for hints. What did we do before the luxury of constant internet access? (We got lost, that’s what.)

I talked to a lot of people that day trying to find my way, but no one was overly helpful. Here I was carting 50 lbs worth of luggage around a city I’d never been to, by myself, & I had no idea where to go. I was exhausted & feeling sorry for myself.

I finally gave in to how I was feeling. I sat down on my gigantic suitcase in the middle of a sidewalk & let the tears spill over. It was the first time I doubted my decision to go to France. I cried because I felt stupid that I couldn’t find my residence. I cried because I was mad at myself for not preparing for this moment. I cried out of sheer exhaustion. & I cried because I missed my parents.

Thankfully, it didn’t last long & the fog lifted enough for me to come up with a game plan. I picked myself up, hopped back on the metro downtown, & found a hotel for the night. I knew there was no hope of finding my residence that day. I need to regroup, talk to my parents, & go back the next day with a map & an address. (It’s embarrassing to admit this now, but my residence was literally across the street from the metro stop. I’d been staring at it the whole time. You live, you learn.)

There were ups & downs throughout that semester abroad. This was just the first of many not so great moments in Europe. There were also lots of amazing moments too though. I met amazing people from all over the world & made friends I’ll never forget. I also spent a lot of time alone & learned a lot about myself. I often travelled alone. Sure, it was lonely. I sometimes wished I had someone else to share my adventures with, but I also loved the freedom. I had the ability to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted to do it. I never had to compromise. I’ve since encouraged many other people to do the same. I learned so much about myself & saw Europe on my own terms.

I owe a lot to that first trip to France. I learned a lot – about myself, about the country, & about the world. I grew up a lot. & I awakened the need to travel. I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I’d stayed in Calgary.

If you ever have the opportunity, be it to travel or live abroad, take it. Take it & run with it. It will definitely change you, & I personally believe it will be for the better.

You can find Danielle’s journal entry over on her blog.

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