I dread the night’s most.

Lately I’m finding that when the day winds down and everyone goes to bed for the night, that’s when my anxiety takes over. Swallowing every ounce of what’s good about my mood and my being, I turn into a twisted knot of explosive fear and delirious sadness.

I tried to stay positive about the world this week, I really did. I made a conscious effort every day to try and see the good in what was happening. The good was there. There was good in my life and I did see it. The problem was, the negatives seemed to swallow me whole.

I’m scared that I’m going to make the wrong decisions, do the wrong things or say something that cannot be taken back. I’m scared that I’ll never feel like myself again. As much as I can give myself pep-talks that fear doesn’t really seem to fade these days. Coping techniques help, for a little while. It always comes back though, seemingly stronger than before.

It’s a vicious hamster wheel I’m spinning in.

The largest Ancient Inland Rainforest on Earth

Nestled in the heart of the British Columbia interior is the largest ancient inland temperate rainforest on earth. The watershed of the upper Fraser River has given rise to a unique inland wet-temperate rainforest; a forest ecosystem that combines attributes of both the coastal wet-temperate rainforests of British Columbia and adjacent boreal forests of Alberta and the far north.

Though forests are plentiful in British Columbia (close to 25% of the earth’s temperate rainforests are in BC), this particular region of the province is something special. Showcasing trees that span five meters in diameter at their base, reaching hundreds of feet towards the sky, densely packed to canopy vegetation and plant life found nowhere else on earth, it’s estimated the trees in this forest range between 1,000 – 2,000 years old.

Though this land has been protected as provincial park for several decades, in 2016 a portion of the park was turned into a hiking/walking trail to teach people the importance of rainforests in our ecosystem. What a perfect place for Auntie Vee to take the little chickens for an adventure! Their dad works 5-5 on Friday’s and mom had to be in court, so I had my niece and nephew and we went for a day hike.

Without further adieu, here are some unfiltered photos from the largest ancient inland temperate rainforest on earth.

It was quite a rainy day for an adveture. But hey, there’s something poetic about finding rain in the rainforest. The kids loved it, and me, I’m always happy to experience just how vast this planet truly is and remind myself what a beautiful corner of this world I come from.

Collect moments, not things.

30 lessons to live by

While I believe there’s truth to the statement ‘you learn through experience’ I also believe there’s truth to the idea of learning from other’s mistakes, gaining from other’s wisdom and becoming who we are thanks to those we surround ourselves with.

Even if they might sound cliche, there’s plenty of life lessons that can be learned from the simple act of listening/reading. In a lot of cases you might already know these lessons. In a lot of cases, it’s just a matter of re-reading it to put it top of mind.

Here are 30 lessons to live by that withstand the test of time:

  1. You are not your parents. As much as people might try to tell you that you’re just like them… you are not, I repeat YOU ARE NOT, doomed to repeat their mistakes or force yourself into the same situations as they are/were in. Be yourself, don’t try to become them.
  2. Collect moments, not things. Memories are the only currency we have that doesn’t diminish in value with time. While tangible objects collect dust and can invariably disappoint over the years, our memories never dim, nor fade. They forever live on in our minds with a bittersweet sense of belonging.
  3. A man is not a financial plan. This one comes directly from my mother. Trying to hinge your bets on living off someone else is an insecure way to live. Make sure that you’re capable of looking after yourself financially, then your partner can add to your life, not control it.
  4. Debt isn’t worth it. Buying things you cannot afford might fix your problems in the short-term, but long term will give you nothing more than stress and anxiety.
  5. Failure is growth. Society tends to tell us that failure is a bad thing and that’s really not the case. So long as you’re learning from your failure, you’re growing as a person. Learn from your failure and you’ll appreciate your success so much more when you accomplish it.
  6. Comparison is the thief of joy. As cliche as it sounds, it’s true. Don’t compare your step one to someone else’s success. [Insert Name Here] might be a billionaire at 20, that doesn’t mean you’re a failure if you’re not.
  7. Change is good. Even when it seems like it sucks. Remaining stagnant in a world where change is all around you is a naive failure to flow with the natural order of the world.
  8. Age is just a number. Don’t ever discount someone because of their age. Age does not tell you intelligence, competence, capability, confidence, or anything about a person beyond the year they were born.
  9. Body positivity has zero to do with what you believe is attractive. Body positivity is a respect for the human body and what it does for a person. What you find attractive in a person has NOTHING to do with treating people with respect and appreciating what your body does for you and their body does for them.
  10. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. There’s no need, reason or excuse for being rude, mean or demoralizing. If you can’t be kind, keep your mouth shut.
  11. Putting up walls diminishes authenticity. Creating a persona to shield yourself from surrounding judgment, or potential judgment, diminishes the integral aspects of who you are. Don’t let your true self fade behind the walls you build.
  12. Exercise contributes to every aspect of your well being – physically, mentally and emotionally. It improves your health and your outlook. It forces much needed serotonin on your brain and can vastly benefit your outlook towards the world.
  13. Giving love is one of the best gifts you can give. Receiving love is one of the best gifts you can receive. Never underestimate the value of love.
  14. You get more from giving more. Success doesn’t come from seeing how much you can take. If you want to live a life of abundance, give with grace and give as much as you can.
  15. Even if you’re questioning whether to let your head or your heart decide, ensure you listen to your head. That tiny-voice inside of you always knows what’s right.
  16. Grudges cause nothing but pain. Allow yourself to move on from the past. Remember that just because you forgive does not mean that you need to forget. You can forgive someone and not carry the weight of the pain they caused whilst remembering so that you don’t ever have to suffer that same pain twice.
  17. Travel makes you more interesting, insightful and accepting person. You learn when you see how others experience and you become more open to things beyond what you could ever imagine. Travel and travel often.
  18. You aren’t always right. There’s always more than one version to the story. Practice humility and remember that you’re wrong sometimes, too.
  19. You define your life. If you want it to be meaningful, make it meaningful. If you don’t, you won’t.
  20. You cannot control others, only yourself. Make sure that you’re a positive example of what you want the world to be.
  21. Gratitude multiplies happiness. Consciously focusing on what you have, rather than what you don’t, is the best use of your brain.
  22. Please yourself first. Don’t wait for approval from others in order to look after yourself. Just like no one in this world can make us feel as bad as we can, no one in this world can make us feel as good as we can.
  23. Self-awareness is more valuable then personal achievement.
  24. Knowledge is power. The more you learn, the more you earn. The more you know, the more you bring to the table. The more insightful you can be, the more tolerant and understanding you are. Don’t ever stop learning.
  25. If you want something done right, do it yourself. You know what’s right for you. Don’t try to pass it off on someone else if you know you’re more than capable.
  26. Your thoughts are like boomerangs. What you put out into the universe will come right back to you. What do you want coming back?
  27. The easy road is never that. Trying to take the easy way out is like trying to cheat the system. In the end, it’s going to come back to haunt you.
  28. Honesty, even when it hurts, is far better than any lie, comforting or not.
  29. If someone shows you who they really are, believe them the first time. I’ve heard this quoted to Mya Angelou. She’s pretty darn right on the money when it comes to this quote. Offering second chances always seems to show you what you already know/knew.
  30. Make every day count. You never know when it will be your last.

Good Friends

I’ve always been a firm believer in the distinction between friends and acquaintances. And, though over the years I’ve qualified some into the friend category that really didn’t deserve to be there, or belong there, I’ve learned my lessons and I think I have a sincere understanding of those that cultivate my inner circle.

See, good friends don’t want things from you. Good friends don’t put stipulations on your friendship. Good friends are just there for you. Good friends help when they can, listen when they can’t and call just to genuinely see how you’re doing. Good friends add to your life. And you, if you’re a good friend, do the same for them.

Good friends are good people. And you know who are good people and who aren’t.

When you really stop to think about it, you know who your good friends are. Like they say in the song, ‘somebody’s gonna drop everything, run out and crank up there car, hit the gas to get there fast and never stop to think what’s in it for me… or it’s way to far’.

Are you a good friend?

Do you have good friends? Is there anyone you’ve categorized as a friend who is more of an acquaintance?

Can you be a better friend?

How can you be a better friend?

Powerful people empower people.

It sounds cliche, and I guess it is. But, the important part here is that it’s true. Don’t waste your time with silly little people that bring you down. What’s important is surrounding yourself with people who celebrate your successes, push you to be better and believe you’re always capable of more.

When people feel empowered, they believe more in themselves and their ability to control both their personal and their professional lives. Helping to empower others promotes optimism, self-sufficiency and can help immensely with ‘the battle’. As much as we like to act/pretend or believe that what others say and do doesn’t effect us, it does in a big way.

So if you’re feeling up for it, and want to empower those around you, here are some small suggestions of how to be a better support system, mentor and all around good fucking person.

  1. Always offer the words ‘thank you’. It sounds so simple but they seem to be the most undervalued words in the English language. The truth is, when you say thank you, you’re letting someone know you appreciate what they’ve done for you. And when it’s not always clear, that ‘thank you’ can go a long way.
  2. Give your time and attention without asking for anything in return.
  3. Give sincere compliments. Actually work at it if you have to. Why? Because you should never pass up the opportunity to make someone smile, and, make them feel better about their day.
  4. Go out of your way to help new people. Whether it’s a neighbour, a coworker or however they fit into your life, it’s an unnerving feeling being the new person. Make their transition a little easier by going out of your way to introduce yourself and provide help where you can.
  5. Share successes. When you find success, the people that matter will celebrate your success. The people that matter are people you’ll want to share your successes with. So, spread the wealth.
  6. Listen, listen, listen. Sometimes… actually, most of the time, what people really need is someone who will hear them. So, listen. The time will come when someone will return the favour, trust me.
  7. Exemplify the behaviour you wish for others to follow. When it really comes down to it, good people attract good people and assholes attract assholes. Who do you want in your life?
  8. Provide positive reinforcements. No, human beings don’t need compliments to be successful. But if you help someone in celebrating the small victories, each time you do it, it’ll boost their confidence more and more.
  9. Be honest, always. Honesty, even when awful, is far more valuable than any lie, no matter how comforting.
  10. Promote autonomy. Allow others to know you believe in them while giving them the leeway to do things for themselves.

At the end of the day, it’s like my grandpa always said… treat others the way you want to be treated. If you’re empowering others your benefitting others. And, if you’re empowering others, they’ll empower you. It’s a nice circle to be in. So please, consider it.

A (whiny) day in the life of an unemployed millennial.

It’s been a few weeks now since my mom was officially declared to be in remission. Here, here! I’m thankful for the incredible doctors, nurses, caretakers and specialists who looked after her for the past eight months. It’s all because of them that she’s now healthy.

Since she’s been in remission, I’ve been struggling to find my way. Truthfully, I don’t know how I fit into this family. When I was looking after my mom I had a purpose for being here. Now I just feel like a little bit of a dead-weight permanently attached to their ankles.

Every day is different, but most days involve the same themes to them.

8:30 am – Wake up, take dog outside, feed dog.

9:00 am – Eat breakfast, watch the Maury show. (I’m not sure if anyone else loves this show as much as I do but watching Maury makes me feel a lot better about my problems)

10:00 am – Crawl back into bed because… really, I don’t have anything to be awake for.

11:00 am – Wake up for a second time.

11:30 am – Go to meet my brother and sister-in-law for lunch. Tell my brother and sister-in-law how excited i am to be starting my new job next week, that I really needed this and that’s important to me to be making a pay-cheque again. Tell them all about the issues I’ve been having in the past six months trying to find work and how frustrating the process is and feel as though they genuinely understand and don’t just presume I’m lazy and unmotivated. It’s a nice change.

1:30 pm – Return home. Take the dog for a quick walk to get her out and give her some exercise.

2:00 pm – ‘To-be boss’ phones and leaves irky voicemail while I am in the shower asking me to call her back immediately.

2:20 pm – Call back my ‘to-be boss’ to be informed that the job I am supposed to start in three days I am no longer hired for. Is it technically considered as being fired if I never made it to my first day? Apparently corporate restructuring came down just three days before my start date, so my job offer has been rescinded. But, she said ‘You’re a smart kid, I know you’ll land on your feet’, so everything’s going to be okay. Right?

2:22 pm – Immediately start crying. Cannot control the crying. Text my mom and Knight to tell them what happened. Proceed to spend several hours feeling sorry for myself and mad at the world whilst trying to tell myself that this wasn’t meant to be, I’m meant for bigger things and that I’ve ‘dodged a bullet’.

6:30 pm – Ordered takeout

6:35 pm – Back to the drawing board. I opened my computer back up, searched jobs in this city and jobs in Calgary (where I’d like to be) and began editing and submitting my resume to each of these businesses.

I would just like to say, job hunting is an aggravating process. One of the applications I filled out asked “Can you speak Canada?” That doesn’t even make sense. I can definitely speak better English than that, so can I have the job of creating your job applications from now on?

8:30 pm – Take dog for a long walk. There’s a large hill with 100 stairs near my house. I like to take the dog there and I do the stairs and she runs the hill beside me a few times over to tire her out. Exercise is good for the soul, especially when you’re in a bad mood. I wholeheartedly believe that.

10:00 pm – Back to the drawing board, continuation from earlier. I’m browsing job postings. This night I am also submitting my resume to McDonald’s and Burger King. I may not like the outfits, but I think it’s time I start one of these jobs, at the least, to ensure I make some money this year.

I like to put Friends, The Big Bang Theory or Two Broke Girls on the tv in the background. The great thing about all three of these shows is that they’re pretty much on at all hours of the day if you look.

Job hunting isn’t the funnest process. At least, with these shows I can have a couple of laughs during the hunt.

1:00 am – Play Clash Royale until I’m ready to fall asleep.

I’m not really sure where I’m going next. I’m not really sure what I’m going to do. At some point I’m going to have to tell my friends and family that I was ‘unhired’ and had the rug pulled from beneath my feet. I presume that’ll come on Monday when they all ask me how work is going and I don’t have a response fo rthem.

Right now, I guess I just have to keep going until I find the path that’s right for me. I hate having so many unanswered questions. I hate having so much up in the air. For someone who moved out of the house when she was 16, it’s a really hard pill to swallow to be unemployed in my parents basement at 30.

I can truly say that I never saw this happening for my life. I can truly say that it’s a struggle, most days, to keep going. But I guess the important thing at this point is to keep going and stop feeling sorry for myself. I need to get out of this rut. Life isn’t always easy and I need to be better at dealing with that.

I know I’ll land on my feet eventually. I just wish I knew when that was. Because, quite frankly, not knowing is what makes this so hard.

Late night ramblings…

The more sad my mood, the more often I come to my blog. I’m not sure if that’s a commonplace thing, or perhaps it’s just me. But, when you find something that allows you to put your thoughts to paper (so to speak) it’s a lot better than keeping them floating around your head.

You know when someone says something that insults you, but you don’t want to let them know they’ve insulted yo because you’re worried you’ll come across as insecure, or soft, or lacking in strength? It’s like… you don’t want them to know you’re so easy to hurt or offend. And why? Perhaps if they knew they hurt or offended me, they’d think twice before they said it next time. More than likely not, though. At least that’s what I’m telling myself to try and make myself feel better.

I’m an overly sentimental person in general. I always have been. I carry this overwhelming love, compassion and desire to see people do well. People I know, people I don’t, completely strangers… those poor kids in Africa on the commercials for organizations like UNICEF, they make me cry. I wonder how I could have been born with so much and they be born with so little. I’ve always tried to use that sentiment to my advantage. After all, when you care about the world, that should make it easier for you to make an actual difference, right?

The downside to caring about everything is that it seems like people carry the ability to hurt me so much more than others. It’s hard. And I’m not saying this to try and play victim. I’m saying this because… I need to learn how to develop thicker skin.

I just want to do right by the world, whilst making myself happy in the process, whilst not being taken advantage of. It seems like a lofty goal, and I know that the making myself happy part is a tad selfish, but we all need to be a little selfish now and again.