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For Which I Am Grateful | Volume I

I read something somewhere recently (can’t remember what or where, nor could I find it… so typical) about a woman who had a great friend. Any time that they were talking and got stuck in a negative spiral, complaining or otherwise criticizing and grumbling, the friend would stop and say, “Quick! What are three things you are grateful for right now?” Then, they would each think up three and suddenly, things felt better.

I love that. As a human who is prone to anxiety, I fret often and with great tenacity. But I am so, so lucky. And I would do well to remind myself of that more often.

So here are ten things for which I am grateful.

  • The honest and complete joy that my dog feels when he realizes we’re going for a walk. Waking up and coming home to that exuberance is as good as it gets.
  • Dishwashers. They’re the best. Even if you have to rinse stuff off first.
  • New friends. As I get older, I am realizing that relationship by proximity does not a friendship make. Meeting a new person that you really connect with is wonderful and rare and I love it.
  • Old friends. There is much to be said for history and not having to explain yourself.
  • Airplane food. No, it’s not exactly Michelin material. Yes, sometimes I just bring my own food to eat. But, hello, you’re eating IN THE SKY. That’s some cool shit right there.
  • Erasers. To err is human.
  • Comfortable shoes. You only get one pair of feet, you know. Might as well treat ’em right. Someday, all my shoes will be comfortable. Someday.
  • Taps. I can turn this handle and out will pour crystal clean, pure, life-sustaining water. This is magical.
  • Etsy. Because I think it is wonderful that I can order cufflinks made by a local artisan in Pakistan for my friend who lives in Australia while I’m drinking wine in my bed here in Canada.
  • Flowers. Did you know that having plants or flowers near you can lower your blood pressure, reduce anxiety, and improve your reaction time? Plus, they are beautiful and do that cool oxygen-making thing that keeps us alive. Dope.

What about you?

– K

David and Freddie and me

Alternatively: Under Pressure

When you write all day for work, you don’t always feel like attaching yourself to your keyboard again when you get home……she said, lamely. Miss you guys. Sorry.I’d say about…. 70% of the time I feel like I’m under pressure. And about 90% of the 70% is pressure coming directly from and applied directly to myself.

  • I want to save money.
  • I want to acquire nice things.
  • I want to be fit and exercise often.
  • I want to be comfortable in my body the way it is.
  • I want to spend quality time with people I love.
  • I want to be alone.
  • I want to foster positive relationships.
  • I want to read more books.
  • I want to be open to spontaneity.
  • I want to have a plan.

All these things that I want are great. (e.g. I want to write in my blog, I want to nap under my desk, etc.) But all the pressure, all the different directions, all the “why haven’t you yet?” also makes me feel like I’m going to pull out my eyelashes.

For me, this points back to my 2015 goals — cultivate excellence but also a sense of ease. These ideas are not fundamentally opposed yet often feel at odds for me. In part, this is due to my trouble remembering that it’s the journey, not the destination.

Pressure is good. It moves things forward. It makes things happen. It is a catalyst for great things. But too much pressure squishes you flat. Perhaps part of life is a struggling for balance. Except if yoga classes have taught me anything it’s the harder you try to balance, the more likely you are to embarrass yourself doing that stupid crow pose.

Anyway. Thoughts? I’m going to achieve balance tonight by going to the gym and then drinking two and half glasses of wine.

K

Happy 2015 :)

Last year I wrote this piece about my resolutions for 2014. (Yes, that was a whole year ago. I know!) Thought I’d check in and see how I did…

  1. Eat Breakfast. — Welp. Varying degrees of success with this one. If liquids like coffee and water and the occasional caesar count then I’m all set but looks like Past K was pretty specific on that one requiring solid foods. Whoops. Back on the roster with you, breakfast.
  1. Cultivate Excellence. — “In my wardrobe, in my skill set, in my relationships.” While these next two babies are obviously ongoing I’d like to stop and give myself a little credit for sticking to this one. In addition to killing it in the wardrobe department, I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished in the cultivation of excellence this year. Sometimes that meant knowing when enough was enough and sometimes that meant asking for what I needed. It also meant throwing out those uncomfortable but pretty pumps that I bought in Amsterdam because my toes deserve excellence too. Let me be clear, I fucked up a lot in 2014. But I feel like I did it a little…better than before.
  1. Sense of Ease. — We’re still getting there with this one. But I’m closer. I’m better at accepting things without fighting if the fighting isn’t mine to do or even a possibility in the first place. And I’m coming around to the idea that being an imperfect person is actually kinda cool because it keeps things interesting. Plus when my Sense of Ease isn’t around, there’s always wine and online shopping. Wait, what?

My resolutions for 2015 are a little different. They’re more specific, and if I’m honest, probably easier to accomplish. But here’s some, in case you were wondering.

  • Read more. Novels, non-fiction, biographies, nutritional information labels. Just more. And not more online. More actual books. I read plenty online already.
  • Stick to your budget. Past-, Present-, and Future K all want you to. We can do this!
  • Be conscious of my “wasted” time. I don’t want to lose bits and pieces of my day to television and solitaire and imgur and Thought Catalog unless I intend to. I want take back those moments.
  • Give more hugs. For real. Shit’s good for you.
  • Stop waiting so long to ask for help or admit that something is wrong.
  • Trust my instincts. They’re solid and usually right the first time and just hush with the second-guessing already.
  • Wash my car more than once a quarter. Come on, I love it when he’s clean and yet somehow I manage to avoid washing him for months at a time? We can do better than that.
  • Write more. And believe it’s good more too.
  • Always pet the dog.

Love you. Happy 2015.

Breakfast. Excellence. Ease.

– K

Strength

“Never apologize for being sensitive or emotional. Let this be a sign that you’ve got a big heart and aren’t afraid to let others see it. Showing your emotions is a sign of strength.”

 

 

– Brigitte Nicole

My Darling Parka – An Ode

Though cold, biting winter approaches once more

Gusting gusts of wind, swirling swirls of snow

No longer do I cringe at what is in store

For I abide by my infallible parka.

 

While the biting frost can cut right to the quick

Freezing noses, numbing toes, chilling fingers

While slipping, sliding, skidding on the ice so slick

Through it all I remain in my parka

 

Bundled and cozy, covered up to my chin

With my hat and my boots and my scarves

I turn my face to great winter and welcome him in

For I wait safe and snug in my parka

 

Dearest parka, without you I know not what I’d do

In years past I have frozen and fretted

Now in your arms I face winter anew

With spark and real thirst for adventure

 

Come what may this cold winter we’ll face it together

With true vitality, great vim and vigor

Gallivant through this season and all of the weather

For with you, darling parka, I go forth with pleasure

 

– K

Why I Won’t Be Shopping On Black Friday

Don’t get me wrong, I like buying things on sale as much as anyone else. Well, actually, that’s definitely not true, since I won’t go to extreme lengths in order to buy things on sale. For example, I’ve never participated in Boxing Day shopping, partly because I hate the crowds and partly because I’ve just participated in a holiday where I spent hundreds of dollars buying things for others that they don’t actually need, and they in turn spent hundreds of dollars buying me things I don’t really need.

But Black Friday, much like its name, seems a lot darker and more sinister to me. It always reminds me of the Wall Street Crash of 1929 that kickstarted the Great Depression, which was dubbed “Black Tuesday” – perhaps appropriate as they’re both days on which capitalism has careened totally out of control.

Here are my own personal reasons for not participating in Black Friday sales:

  1. I don’t want to die. If you think this sounds a tad dramatic, let me refer you to a website called “Black Friday Death Count” that helpfully reminds us that the casualties from shopping on this day total seven deaths and ninety four injuries. SEVEN DEATHS. Wtf? How does this happen? I’ll tell you: several dozen people trampling a fallen man to get twenty dollars off a PS3. These scenarios sound so completely absurd that it sounds more like a dark satire commenting on consumer capitalism than actual reality. But this is where consumer capitalism has brought us: valuing deals on goods over human life. Which brings me to:
  2. I’m already too consumer-driven in my day-to-day life. I already have too much stuff and spend too much money on things I don’t need, while others in the world and in my very city lack the basic necessities. I already spend too much time caring about things rather than focusing on what’s really important in life. This is something I’m trying to reduce. We should all be trying to reduce our society-wide obsession with material goods, not dedicating a day to all-out binge on it.

Also, doesn’t it seem totally counterintuitive that Black Friday happens the day after American Thanksgiving? (We Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving back in October.) The day after a holiday supposedly completely dedicated to giving thanks for what we already have, people go out and aggressively buy a whole bunch more things… cognitive dissonance, anyone? My city got about thirty centimetres of snow in the past two days, and the temperature hit -20 degrees Celsuis. After two days of slipping and sliding and freezing while trying to get around to school and work, I’m just really happy to have a warm house to come home to and not worry about where I’m going to spend the night, as so many in this city are.

I have enough, Black Friday. You can keep your shit.

J

I’m baaack!

And it feels good. I’ve been on a blogging/writing hiatus for a long time while doing some serious soul-searching. I had a big year this past year. I graduated from university, started a new university program in a new field, switched jobs, ended an intense two-year volunteer commitment, moved, took on a mortgage, and tried to figure out what the hell I want to do with my life in a time when young people are receiving unprecedented amounts of information about what they should be doing with their lives. Let me tell you, it has not exactly been an easy ride. Especially since I’m not exactly a person who takes kindly to change. But I’ve learned a few things:

  • There is time. I’m 23. While I’ve taken on way more responsibility this year than I have ever before, I’m still so young. I need to embrace that. I can still wear neon nail polish, eat an entire pizza in one sitting without consequence, pull all nighters, and try out different things to figure out what I want.
  • No one can tell you your life. You can only read so many bullshit Thought Catalog articles about just how much travelling you should be doing in your 20s, or how many people you should date before you can settle on just one, before you lose your mind. If there’s one thing I really don’t need, it’s someone else’s idea of how 20-somethings should live their lives. No one can tell you who you are or what your life is.
  • Sit with the uncertainty. You know, my favourite life stories are never the ones where the person had it all figured out from the beginning. The best ones are where the person really just let themselves live and saw where that took them.
  • Be open. It’s easy to get into a mindset where you view yourself as being a particular way; a person who does certain things and doesn’t do certain things, especially as you get further into adulthood (…said the 23 year old. hehe). It’s easy to close off options for yourself without even really thinking about it. Once you start to let go of those self-imposed limitations, even a little bit, the world starts to open up in a whole new way, and life gets so exciting. Seriously. It’s like being fifteen again. (And say what you want about fifteen year olds, but I doubt I’ll ever be as raw and real as my young teen self.)

It wasn’t my first existential crisis and I’m certain it won’t be my last. Because no matter how much responsibility I take on or how much practical shit I have to deal with, I don’t ever want to lose that part of myself – the dreamer, the wisher, the artist. Living life is an art. I always want to be chasing that life where you can be the best version of yourself, you are always living to your fullest, where you feel like you are doing exactly what you are meant to be doing.

So that’s where I’m at. It feels good to be back! And boy, do I have a lot to say.

J

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