Friendship is something that can be taken for granted. For many people, they have always had friends surrounding them, and it is a blessing. Old, long-lasting friendships are truly a treasured thing for they have endured the test of time; a friendship that has grown and changed just as the people have. It can be rare to find these days. People tend to move with work opportunities and for the hopes of a different life. These decisions impact those friendships simply because distance is a difficult thing to endure.
New friendships are forged, and they become equally as important. They are based in what is relevant in their lives at the time they were brought together. The great thing about new friendships is that they all have the opportunity to turn into old friendships, given enough time. Neither one is more valuable than the other. They are all equally as important.
I am grateful for all the friendships in my life, both new and old. I look forward to these newer friendships growing and ageing along with me, and I truly hope they do. I do not ever wish to take any of my friendships for granted. For me, they are blooms in my garden of life. I want to cultivate them, removing the weeds, and feed the flowers.
I spent yesterday evening thinking back to what the past five years has brought me, and how my life has changed. Yes, divorce will do that to you. But, there is more to it than that. I have realized when I look back at the past five years, I am amazed at how much I have done and how it has helped me grow as an individual.
Not only have I become free from a life (and marriage) that were strangling me, I have opened myself up and become more of who I truly am. I have taken courses and completed two certificates, with the third and fourth ones to be completed shortly. None of which have anything to do with my profession, I might add. They are simply because I enjoy them and choose to increase my knowledge in other areas that interest me. I have dramatically improved my photography skills through practice, mentorship, and coursework, and continue to do so. I have taken myself out of my comfort zone and explored places I would never have expected to go on my own before these five years. I have joined groups and met new friends that mean the world to me. I have plans and aspirations for the next five years that have spiralled off of what the previous five years have provided me.
Something that I didn’t realize when I was in the midst of it all, but when I look back, I can see how much the little bits have changed me over time. Tony Robbins says that people overestimate what they can do in a day but underestimate what they can do in a year. It’s true. I have seen it in myself, and I believe what he has said. I am grateful for my self-motivation to do more. I am glad I have not allowed my life to become passive, but instead, take an active role in what happens in my life. This is my journey, and I want to make the most of it!
The term “self-improvement” has always left me with a cliché sense to the term. What exactly do you mean when you say you’re doing some self-improvement? The term, to me, implies that you felt you weren’t enough as you were. Harsh, I know.
It isn’t what it means at all. In fact, I too, have been working on some self-improvement. I do it all the time, even if I may not use that term specifically.
Self-improvement really refers to bettering yourself as time goes on; to compete with the person you were, not anyone else. We all improve with age, don’t we? Any time we pick up one of those self-help books, or an audio podcast designed to help us with one aspect of our lives or another, we are tuning into self-improvement.
Striving for more is self-improvement in itself. Are you looking to learn a new craft, a new language, or try a new cuisine? Anything that broadens our own experiences is a form of self-improvement. It doesn’t have to be the inspirational, motivational speakers, or the life coaches, the woo woo, or even the subliminal tapes. Anything we do to experience more that our world has to offer is a form of self-improvement.
So, call it what you will, but whatever it is, I encourage you to continue to be a better person tomorrow, than you were today.
This is my self-diagnosis. It captivated me years ago and it keeps me hostage in my safe place. Whatifitis is rooted in fear. It prevents me from taking chances in so many areas of my life: my career, my hobbies, my love life, my dreams. It keeps me frozen in my current state because it is a comfort zone, although comfort zones aren’t always as safe as what they appear to be.
Don’t get me wrong, I have conquered some of my whatifitis, such as taking solo trips and visiting new places with my sons, but it still keeps me in shackles when it comes to other aspects in my life.
It keeps me from taking the what-if leap.
What if I started that small business.
What if I allowed that man to come into my life and my family.
What if I didn’t overthink every single solitary step in my life?
Overcoming whatifitis isn’t an overnight thing. The cure is hard work and determination. There needs to be a realization and self reflection on what I am doing. Is there is any self-sabotaging behaviours present? There needs to be a plan; a schematic to ensure whatifitis doesn’t return to take me back to that place. I have had a glimpse of the freedom from whatifitis, and it is a beautiful thing. I think I am ready to explore that further, and to find a way to cure myself of this condition.
I am certain that we all have times where we experience self doubt. The am I good enough, or the what if they don’t like me, or the I can’t do this feeling creeps into our lives at times of self doubt. I know for certain these feelings come into my life often. I worry about failure because of self doubt. I might not even attempt to try what I wanted because self doubt tells me I can’t do it.
Then, there are times when I have allowed self doubt to win and I see someone else out there doing what I had wanted to do. I realize that they are no better at it than I am. The difference though? They didn’t let self doubt stop them from going out and doing it.
Dreams and aspirations don’t need to be halted because of self doubt. Put yourself out there. You may be surprised at just how much you can accomplish when you put self doubt into the back seat and let confidence take over the steering wheel for a while. Believe in yourself.
Decisions in life aren’t always black and white. How do you choose which path to take when the answer isn’t completely clear? Do you trust your instinct, go with your gut? Do you make a pros/cons list for every option and weigh them out? Do you gain advice from friends, family, and professionals?
Some decisions aren’t as monumental as others, but when they are, many things hang in the balance. What compels you to choose one path over another is different for each one of us. While I may be sitting in this situation right now, I am trying to gain as much information as possible from as many sources as I can. I want to make the right decision, not just the right decision for right now.
So, while I am busy trying to make my best decision, I feel rather absent minded when it comes to other areas, pushing them to the back burner as it were. Single parenting, while rewarding in itself, is also very challenging. Adding major decisions makes it even more challenging. To those who are sitting in a similar position as I am, my heart goes out to you.
This weekend, my youngest son and I went out for a while, just the two of us. There is a local centre that has a few boutiques that was having a family fun day. We decided to go and check it out. We wandered around and looked at the fun garden pieces they had for sale, and looked at the delicious organic candies and cookies. I offered to buy him a cookie so we could sit and enjoy the moment, but he opted not to. He asked instead if we could go and find a present that he could gift to his brother for Christmas. We decided to go to Indigo, but before shopping for his brother, we opted to sit and have a drink at Starbucks. He loves the vanilla bean Frappuccino, so I ordered him one of those, and I bought one of their specialty holiday hot drinks for myself. We sat and talked about the holidays and the excitement. We watched people as they came and went. He sipped from his straw as his feet dangled and swung while he sat in his chair. I watched my youngest son as he showed pure happiness by just having some one on one time with me, his mother.
Families often do things together, but it is so important to give children one on one time with their parent too. My older son gets his one on one time as we share our common passion of photography, but there was something magical about this time with the younger one. He is still so full of holiday excitement, seeing the magic of the season. I love the shimmer in his eyes as he talks about our traditions. And the most wonderful part is that none of it involves receiving gifts. It is all the other stuff: the holiday treats, the music, the friends that we gather with, and the special dinner that we decide collectively on having.
This was one of those moments where my heart swells with pride and love. My son is growing up with love and compassion in his heart. As he grows, he is thinking of others more and more. He is becoming more like his older brother every day. They both make me very proud.
Yesterday, I was out for breakfast with one of my newest, yet closest friends. We have regular ‘dates’, but sometimes they get shifted around due to other schedules. We are ok with it, and sometimes it allows us the opportunity to do something different and fun. We missed our regular Friday night get-together because of a work Christmas party. Instead, we opted for Saturday morning breakfast at a popular little restaurant in town.
We did our usual chatting, catching up on the last couple of weeks. Then she stopped and noticed something about me. She said how she can see me with short hair when we are older and showing more grey. She commented on us still getting together when we are old friends.
The thought of having old friends has always been elusive to me. I have been the type to move every twelve years or less, but knowing I will be here, in this location, for far longer it finally dawned on me: I can have old friends here. I have never given myself permission to look that far ahead in relationships because none of them, except for my absolute best friend 2000km away, has ever lasted the distances. Old friends. Greying, aging, and still there for each other kind of old friends.
This innocent comment that I am sure she had no idea of its impact, was in fact, the best gift I could have been given.
There is a certain sense of accomplishment that comes along with having a clean home. I find there is pleasure not only in the final product, but also in the process. I wouldn’t say I love to clean, but I do love when it is clean; but to get to that point, the action has to be taken.
I devote certain days to cleaning. I do a seasonal deep cleaning, so like spring cleaning four times a year. I love the freshness of this routine. It helps me get to the areas that I may have forgotten or overlooked during my routine cleaning. It is also that sense of accomplishment that rewards me every time I do it. It also helps me to flush out the unwanted clutter that somehow always seems to make its way back into my spaces.
Yesterday was one of those seasonal deep cleaning days. It was the three of us working away at it. Ok, it was mostly me, and my older son was a great help, but the younger one did minimal work because he has been down with a hefty cold and lacking on energy. Still, that feeling when you sit down, sore back and dried out hands from soapy water washes…that feeling is so rewarding. Good, old fashioned manual labor. It still has a place in our technologically driven world.
With a minimalist-style lifestyle, the seasonal cleaning sessions, as well as the weekly and daily I might add, they have become easier and shorter sessions. They no longer take a week, or a weekend. They take an afternoon, give or take. Another reason why I adore this philosophy. Now there is more time to do what I want, and I was able to sleep well last night knowing that the chore of house cleaning was completed.
With November comes the prelude to the holiday season. The buying season. It makes me cringe thinking about it sometimes. There is nothing that I need, except for a few renovations around my house. My children have everything they need too.
The holiday season is that time of year where you feel that push…that obligation to buy things that really have no business coming into my home. I do not need more kitschy knick knacks. My kids don’t need more useless toys that they won’t play with. And I certainly do not need to get deeper in debt for a holiday that seems more and more to be focused on spending money instead of time.
I am digging in my heels this year. Yes, we have preplanned gifts from my parents, and that will still happen. But, I have already forewarned my children that there is a strict budget in place for Christmas spending, and I will not go beyond it this year.
The great thing is, they are old enough to understand that the less we buy, the more money we can save for vacations and adventures. This appeals to them; well more so to one of them, but the other can be fairly easily convinced…
As a minimalist (in the making), I feel that I need to cultivate the principal of spending more time together over spending more money on each other. I hope this will become a trend with my loved ones. Life is expensive enough without having to keep up with the Jones’, or even the exes for that matter. I hope that one gift I can give to my children is the understanding that the holidays are meant for spending together, and not for overspending on the budget.