So, it's January...perhaps not the first, but it's still a time for fresh beginnings. As such - and inspired by Oh She Glows! - I've written down a few things I want to focus on for the next twelve months. It's all part of my tradition of moving forward, and getting better - two important steps in getting through this Quarter Life Crisis.
1) Less Cheating; More Strength of Character
There are a lot of things I do in this world because people have "always" done them: eating, breathing, defecating, urinating, perspiring, salivating, etc. How I do those things, though, is entirely my choice - constrained, of course, by cultural rules. Luckily, I live in a world that has no rule against choosing not to eat something based on what I think is morally right for the gazillion of other creatures on the planet. As such, I want to choose that option more than I have been in the last eighteen months.
Two years ago, my sole resolution was to become a vegan. The result was that I would always chose the vegan option, but in social situations, I would be more formidable - but NEVER eat meat. By the end of 2010, I was a disgrace to any true vegan to have gone before me. I ate non-vegan mass-produced pastries daily; splurged on milk chocolates more often than dark and even had a yogurt dessert! So, it's time to put a stop to that, and grow a stronger backbone - for me and the gazillion other creatures I was put on this earth to give a voice to.
However, I recognize that people still want to socialize with me, and a large portion of being social is sharing each other's food. For example, one of my friends is Polish, and made a batch of home-made perogies this week. As she left my house today, filled with vegan noodles and cheeze, she invited me to her house for a lunch someday soon... I will more than likely accept her generous offer, bringing with me some delicious Daiya cheese for her to use in her next batch of traditional Polish perogies ;-)
2) Don't Sweat The Small Stuff; And it's All Small Stuff
Okay, now that I'm gonna scour through labels again and ensure that I am 100% Vegan five days a week, it's time to relax...
I'm reading a lot in the self improvement section...I'm not sure if you've noticed ;-) What I've learned about myself through this journey of improvement is that I need to stop worrying about being productive. One of my best guides right now has told me this before; perhaps a few times. She's right! You can't choose a time to be creative. You have to open up your day for it, and hope it comes to visit. It does visit, but not every day. Heck, how do you think my New Year's Resolution post came to be published on January 11 rather than January 1? ;-)
Those aren't the only details I need to let slide. From relationships to freelance articles to even even starting my day, I need to worry less about the details being perfect. Believe it or not, I'm a perfectionist. Luckily, I'm not very good at it, which keeps me humble. Striving for that perfection is stifling, though, and is keeping me from success. As much as I blame waiting for creativity to strike me, I'm also waiting to be perfect. Well, I'm not, and never will be. We only get one life. So, this is my time - it won't be perfect, but it'll be me!
3) Your Body Is Amazing; Treat It As Such
The last explanation I gave for why I exercise was absolutely brilliant: "I feel better after a good workout; and I sleep better. And since losing a significant amount of weight, I feel better about my body, which is all I ever needed."
I don't work out to make other people think better of me. I've realized that I may never be able to change what people think of me; I can only change how I react to what they tell me. And people rarely comment negatively on body image these days - too non-PC - Hurray! Sadly, as a former fat kid, I still pick up on those looks from young women struggling to fit into their own social standing by judging others, and, well, shame on them! But that's a blog all on its own...
I look at photos from my past, and promise myself I will never look like that again. And, it's not just about weight. It's about the girl trapped inside the weight. She didn't think too highly of her body, and you don't need to see below the neck to realize that. All you need to see is the eyes - the sullen eyes - asking you not to take the photo, wanting you to remember the beautiful person she is, and not this body she carries that person around in.
If you look at the numbers, I'm still not "healthy." If you ask my doctor, though, he doesn't want me to be at those numbers. (You can see my resistance to western medicine, no?) I feel great, though, so, I want to keep that up.
Yeah, I'm happy with my body. It's amazing! And, every day it continues to fascinate me. (There's a reason I spent eight months engrossed in the History of the Body!) There are things I want to do, and I'll have to live a LONG time to get that list done... So, I need to take care of my body for that. I used to be unable to run; now I feel the most re-charged after a twenty minute stint on the treadmill! I want to keep that up...so I have some goals. The goal for this summer is to be able to run - without walking intervals - across the river, up the Glenora stairs and back across the river. The end date for the goal is August, but if I hit it before then, even better! :-D
4) Better Late Than Never
When I was little, thinking about my life as an adult, where did I see myself at 25? Hmmmm...well, this is the first time I'll admit it, but I did have this dream to be a movie star by this time - but who didn't?!? If not a movie star, I was at least going to be somebody important. Twenty-five, as we all know, is incredibly OLD to a teenager, so there was a lot I would have done by now!
That being said, I've done a lot. I remember, back when I was 23 and JUST beginning this blog, I felt like I had accomplished nothing. My wiser, older 25-year-old sister sat me done and gave me some incredible words of encouragement. It went something like: "Stop crying! You've got a degree, which is a feat in itself; you've lived abroad, which many people will NEVER do; and you know what you want to do with your life - some people never figure that out!" Two years later, following an eighteen-month stint of trying to improve my finances (talk about failure!), I'm back at ground zero. My pay cheques come from the same two companies I worked for when I first settled down in Edmonton, and I'm back - staring at a computer, trying to figure out how I will be the next great Canadian writer...
But, I know what I want to do MORE THAN EVER BEFORE. I know why I am here, which I've never really doubted (I was just too humble to tell people). I think I know how to get there, too, which has always been the kicker. And, most importantly, I have a better understanding of the world, which is what I was looking for in my decade after convocating. I told everybody, "give me ten years! I don't want to go back to school for at least ten years." The idea of spending eight of those working for the bank terrified me so much, I tried to end it early - twice! But I learned a lot from the bank. I learned more than what I can put on a resume for some other ladder-climbing company to hire me (which, by the way, is one reason I am thrilled to be working for the same companies again, 'cause they knew my work ethic and didn't even bother with resumes this time!). I know what I need to make myself succeed this time...and THIS TIME I won't give up before it happens!
5) Never Stop Learning
"The most beautiful thing in the world is, precisely, the conjunction of learning and inspiration."
~ Wanda Landowska
Upon graduating from UBC, I changed my education status on Facebook. As I referenced above, I have become a student of Life University. It's a Master's Program that every young adult should go through, especially us twenty-somethings. I'm focusing on the following two groups of subjects: Happiness, Friendship, Peace and Frustration, Pain, Suffering, all within the field of Experience. The admission requirements were fairly simple - be born; however, to truly be a Master in Life, I have to constantly change.
My problem with New Year's Resolution is the same as my problem with diets. We always vow to do something better "tomorrow" or in the New Year; we forget about how important it is be better right now, today. That being said, this week I've returned to writing down everything I eat, and I've just listed off five mantras I want to work on this year. This is the one I know I'll keep, because I already practise it. I am always changing; I am always getting better; and I will NEVER STOP LEARNING...