Monthly Archives: October 2017

developing your style

I was told this past week that my photography had become identifiable; that I had developed a style.  I found this to be interesting as I felt like I was still working on that.  Perhaps I have developed a certain style, and I can see where he was coming from when I went back to review my own work.

I believe that in many ways, I have developed a style within a lot of facets in my life.  I have my own writing style, I am drawn to certain clothing styles, I have a hippie/boho chic decorating style, and my jewelry designs seem to follow a similar style as well.

Being unique, as all of us are, we should develop our own style.  We should not feel compelled to follow another exactly.  Learn to create something unique to yourself and leave your own footprint for the world to see.  Develop your own style in whatever it is you do.

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love for the library

I love libraries.  I love the smell of books, and seeing row upon row of books in the stacks.  I love the nostalgia I feel when I enter a library and think back to my days as a preteen girl, spending my summer holidays amongst the millions of stories that lived within the library walls.

Libraries, I am afraid, seem to be losing their appeal.  With the advent of ebooks, ereaders, and google, libraries seem to be less frequented by society as a whole.  It saddened me recently when there was a vote in my community where a new library was proposed to be built, and more than half the votes declined building the new branch library.  A part of my heart broke when the results were posted.  It seemed to signal the end of an era: an era where everyday life could be escaped and instead lived in the adventures awaiting in the library stacks.

But libraries still do amazing things.  They house audiobooks and videos alongside traditional paper books.  They house events for writers and readers, programs for preschool, children and teenagers.  They host author readings and interviews.  I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to photograph three published authors for my local library this past week.  It was an honour to do so, and my nervousness quickly melted away as I had the chance to learn just a little bit of each author as a person, not just a master of the written word.

For those who still strive for simplicity in their lives, don’t forget about all the pleasures the library still provides.  Revel in the books and stories still available within your reach without adding to the clutter in your minimalist home.  Take in a book club discussion, or volunteer with other programs your library provides.  It is worth it.

do nothing

One of the things that I have noticed as I get older is how much I value having simplicity in my life.  I value a quiet existence.

When I was younger and eager, I had grander plans for my career.  I set myself up for a workaholic lifestyle.  I was no stranger to this; my father did the same, and even now, he still continues to do so even though he should maybe be enjoying his retirement years.  I worked hard, worked extra on my own hours assuming that this is what life was supposed to be, and at some point I would be rewarded with all the fruits of my labor.

It took a couple of decades (plus some) to realize that this is not the life I wanted.  I did what I thought I was supposed to do, then at the end of every night I would crash into bed for a couple hours of sleep only to rise again early the next morning and do it all over again.  I was exhausted, fuelled by caffeine and deeply unsatisfied even if I didn’t realize it at the time.

It took a major life event to change all of that for me.  It took a complete upheaval in my personal and even professional life to realize that I was miserable with what I was doing, and looked at how I could change my life to enjoy what I had.  The key was simple.  The key was a simple life.

Your job or your career is only a means to an end.  It does not define you.  It finances your life but it is not who you are.  

Once I looked at it in this way, my personal life began to flourish in ways I never saw before.  I love my personal time now.  I choose what to do with it.  I take classes in what interests me, not what I think will give me more advantages for work.  I create.  I love.  And sometimes, I do nothing.  Doing nothing was a difficult concept to grasp, but now that I have released so many of the career-focused ideals I enforced upon myself, I can now see how wonderful and refreshing doing nothing really can be.  I highly recommend it to anyone.

Enjoy your life.  Relax.  Take time to appreciate things.  Do something for yourself.  You won’t regret it.

mental health

Taking time for mental health is something often forgotten. While many separate mental and physical health, they are closely linked in my opinion. When something is weighing heavily upon us and we have difficulty dealing with it yet still continue to go about our daily lives, we end up with mental trauma and anguish. 

Taking time to ensure we have good mental health is equally as important as making sure our bodies are healthy. If you suffer from anxiety, depression, suicidal ideations, or anything that is making your quality of life less than ideal, please visit a medical professional. Please do not wait until it goes too far. 

If you see a loved one suffering, do not avoid them. Engage them and offer your support. People need to know they are cared for.  You might be the one thing that shows them that life is still worth living. 

reframing

We all, at one point in time or another, have experienced something negative.  Something beyond our control that affected us in a less than positive way.  Perhaps it was the abrupt end to a relationship or being forced to move out of an apartment before you were ready.  Maybe you were released from a job that you were incredibly good at, and still cannot figure out why it happened.

These kinds of things can affect us in a negative way, sometimes leaving us to think that we did something wrong or were responsible for the event, and as such, we take responsibility for the consequences.

But what if we shifted our thinking?  What if we reframe those events to see that events can happen independent to us, even though they affect us?

Positive things can happen from negative points in our lives.  What if that relationship needed to end in order to see that there was a host of mental and emotional abuse involved, creating a harmful environment to you, but you just couldn’t see it until you were on the outside looking in?  What if that apartment that you loved was simply too expensive, but you found a smaller flat closer to work that allowed you to walk there, thereby allowing you to spend less on rent, not have to pay for public transportation, and increased your level of physical activity which not only results in a healthier you, but you also lose those couple of pounds that were troubling you, and you also have extra money in your pocket at the end of the month?  Or that job that you loved and were so good at, but you now realize how very toxic that office was that you now, in your new job, feel less stress because there is not the constant talking behind every one’s backs, and your new job has a superior support system where they can see your amazing skills and potential, but not only that, there is also an incredible benefit and pension package that goes along with your new position.

Some say that things happen for a reason.  Perhaps that is true.  Whether they do or the don’t is beside the point.  What we can work with is how we look to these scenarios.  We can choose to see the negative, never having closure as to why the people in that office were so hurtful to you and why you never received closure as to why you were let go.  But, we can also see that these negative things need to happen so that we can truly and honestly appreciate when something wonderful happens, without taking it for granted, assuming that all things will work out the same way.

Reframing our outlook changes how we view the world.  It can make us appreciate the good in our lives, even when there are terrible things happening in our world around us.