An update

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There’s been a lot of change in my life in the past few months, and there’s going to be even more in the months to come. I wanted to make an update post to keep people that I know in the loop about what the heck I’m up to these days.

  1. I’ve had an injury. The week after I made my post about how active I was and how much I love being active, I got a stress fracture. I was told to immediately stop any activities that had a high impact on my foot (ie: running). I tried yoga, but the upward to downward dog transition hurt my foot. I tried swimming, but the foot paddling associated with anything but the breast stroke also caused foot pain. I tried to walk less, but I’m such a big walker, and honestly it’s been a crazy struggle. 4 weeks later, I’m not feeling that much better, and I’m wondering if the end will ever be in sight.
    I’m going to try to get back to going to the gym, but with no box jumps, skipping, steps ups, etc etc etc, and see how it goes.
    I’ve seen so many runners that I know deal with injury, and it’s so fucking difficult. On the plus side, it has made me MISS running so much. I constantly think about how much I love it and how much I want to get back out there. Distance is definitely making the heart grow fonder in this case. So much fonder.
    I’m trying to remember to see the long game (patience!). In the big scheme of things, one month off (or two…) is so short when you compare it to a lifetime of physical activity.
    This injury was also a good reminder for me. I knew that it was time to replace my shoes. I could tell that they were worn. But I put it off. And with the level of physical activity that I was putting in, that was a fucking stupid decision. I will never do it again.
  2. I’ve started freelancing full-time. This decision came about in late 2016 after a series of personal breakdowns and revelations, and I finally realized, “I CAN DO WHATEVER I WANT” and went for it. I spent the next few months taking every meeting and coffee that I could get, and now things are starting to come together. I’m so god-damn excited about the year ahead. I’m excited for the variation in projects and clients, and the feeling that I never have to be stuck in a specific job if I don’t want to ever again. BUT WHAT DO YOU DO, ALTAIRA? Well, I’m still kind of figuring that out.
    For now it mostly falls into a few buckets:

a. Writing. I love writing, and I’m good at it, and I can pretty much write about anything. I’m hoping to do more health care communications work, some work related to environmental and social issues, and also some work making online resources on various topics. This will be balanced with a healthy dose of blog posts on things like running and mental health and creativity. Writing all the time.

b. Research. I’m good at digging for things online, I know how to identify legit sources, and I’m basically a professional lurker. If you need something from the Internet, I can find it. I love going down knowledge rabbit holes and digging forever until every bit of useful information has been found. Whether it be for an environmental scan, or a policy paper, research holds a special place in my heart. It is a good partner to writing.

c. Other consulting. This third basket is a mixed bag of other things that I like doing. This includes some consulting about events (how should it run, what issues might you come up against, what are your goals), some strategy, and I’m hoping in the future to help teams develop online courses/workshops etc to supplement their own consulting work. I’ve helped to shape countless workshops and online education modules in the academic world, and I’m ready to take those skills and apply them to creative projects.

d. Workshops. I’m also running a series of workshops here in Toronto called Just Write. The purpose of which is to give participants the tools that they need to turn off the part of their brain that tells them that they can’t, and to just start the writing project that they have been thinking about, because that is the first and most difficult step. The next one is THIS SATURDAY. If this sounds interesting to you, I encourage you to register. This month’s workshop is only 45 bucks and will include a really great yoga session by City Yogis.

  1. I’m (mostly) moving back to BC. You heard me. May 2017, I will be packing up my Toronto life and moving it back across the country to Gibsons, BC. I’ve known for a few years that I would be planning a move to BC’s Sunshine Coast, and now the stars have finally aligned and it’s time to go home. I. CANNOT. WAIT. If we’ve ever spoken about my homeland in real life, you will have noticed how my eyes light up when I talk about the smell of the forest, and the damp air coming off the sea. I’m ready for bonfires and vegetable gardens, for trail runs and swims in the ocean on my lunch break, for easy west coast hangs that blend from morning into night, for long table dinners in apple orchards and afternoons spent holding baby sheep. READY. FOR. IT. In large part, this readiness has been facilitated by my decision to freelance. I was always hesitant to move back, because even though my heart ached for the West Coast, the thought of leaving my Toronto life completely behind, and visiting a week or two a year was just too much to bear. So at the moment I’m building up my Toronto clients, with the plan to have a home base in Gibsons but to come back and live in TO 2-3 months a year. The Sunshine Coast has so much possibility, and I cannot fucking wait for the projects, events, community building that I have started brainstorming for the year ahead.
  1. I’ve met so many wonderful people. WEST COAST HIPPIE MOMENT. When I finally gave in to what I really want from my life, I started to meet even more of the best people. I already have some truly wonderful, supportive, funny, generous friends in my life. But the connections that I’m making have just started to explode off the fucking charts in recent months. It’s blowing my mind a little.
  1. Everything is always working out for me. My fam, Jacqueline Jennings Pierrot has started using the term, “coming out of the spiritual closet” for people connecting with their purpose, and generally getting into new age spiritual practices like tarot readings, crystals, positive vibrations with the universe etc. One morning, on my most recent trip to BC, she was like, “I’m listening to this positive thinking podcast, I know you think that it’s stupid, but whatever, it’s totally working”. One of the things that she said from the podcast as a positive mantra was, “everything is always working out for me”. And my immediate reaction was *EYE ROLL* *FUCKING GAG ME* and J was like WHATEVER. And then I started saying it as a joke, because it was too self help, new agey for me, but then actually everything started just working out for me in exactly the way that I hoped it would. Soooooooooooooo… EVERYTHING IS ALWAYS WORKING OUT FOR ME.

Update COMPLETE. Big thanks to everyone who keeps reading my blog, and sending kind words or letting me know in person that a post that I wrote really resonated with them. You’ve helped me to write more consistently and honestly in the year that’s passed, and encouraged me to dig more deeply in the year ahead.

 

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the 100 day project – day 39

This month, I have been totally slacking on CreativeMornings. I wish that it wasn’t true, but it is. The combination of two events back to back, and just a heavy month personally for a number of our org committee members, plus moving to a new home, just completely wiped me out. And i’ve been having a little bit of trouble finding my way back.

So tonight, I finally hunkered down and checked a few things off of my CMTO to do list, and just getting through those things rather than continuing to put them off and become increasingly stressed out about them, has already given me a new wind. It’s funny how that works.

I keep having to remind myself that at the moment, it’s all still a learning process, and I’m still finding my feet as a leader, and not only that, we’re still finding out feet as a chapter. It’s a time of a lot of personal growth, and a lot of figuring out the new balance of my life. It’s been a really incredibly amazing year so far, and it’s only going to keep getting better.

Toronto updates

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Hello Blogworld!

It’s now been just over four months here in Toronto. Things are going pretty well so far. I’ve done some dating, made some friends, found a yoga studio, done some side contract work, and joined a pretty awesome running club.

Life is good. I guess that this post is going to be a little summary of life to date, as well as some general observations about moving to a new city and life differences between Toronto and Van.

LIFE TO DATE!

Like I said, I have finally settled into a new yoga studio, which is great, because I was really missing something from my life without it. Over my four month break, I lost a lot of my flexibility and arm strength, which is a MEGA BUMMER, but I am looking forward to getting it back. I’ve also started running with the Parkdale Roadrunners a few times a week, and it’s been so amazing in terms of fitness, and just making me feel great about life. I’ve decided that I’m going to do a long slow train for the Detroit Half-Marathon in October. It’s gonna’ be great. It’s been wonderful to feel FIT again. For years, I’ve been doing cycling and yoga, with maybe some dodgeball or other sport thrown in there, but something was just missing. I was very slowly putting on weight, and just feeling like I needed more in the physical activity area of my life. Now, a few months into running, I’m feeling stronger and faster, and I’ve melted off that extra ten pounds of love handles. The love handles were not a huge deal, but I am just happier that they are not there anymore. Plus, slowly making pals with this group of runners is awesome. I can’t wait until 6-8 months from now, when we are actually buddies, and running is this great healthy and fun social activity that is a big part of my life. ANYWAYS.

Other things… also did some contract work with Emily Carr again, and work is going well, and I am feeling more competent and awesome about career stuff than I have ever felt in my life. It’s amazing.

I also seem to have more confidence about dating than ever before? I have a long history of being kind of “why doesn’t anyone loooooooove meeeeeeee????!?!” And now I know why. It’s because if I’m honest with myself… I was kind of desperate. I was so eager to have a bf, that I would just bend over backwards to accommodate any kind of behaviour or schedule, even if it didn’t really suit me. I didn’t even really have to like the person like crazy. I would just do it. This is not an attractive characteristic. It wreaks of nervous insecurity. I’m not sure what happened when I moved. But after about a month of being here, that characteristic was gone. I feel calm and confident, and like I know what I want and what I don’t want, and like if something is going to work out then that is great, but I do not have to strain myself to make it happen.

OBSERVATIONS ABOUT MOVING IN GENERAL

It takes a long time to get settled. A really long time. I am still in a kind of mid-way home, where it’s good, but not quite HOME. I often miss my Vancouver apartment, which was not perfect, but reflected me so well, and was definitely mine. I miss sitting on my porch and listening to the rain, and having friends over for dinner. I miss my books, and my art, and my kitchen corkboard full of mementos.  I miss getting home late, and turning on music to dance around my livingroom, and smoke on my porch.

I miss my friends. So much sometimes that it hurts. The Internet helps things, but I miss the everydays of our lives together. I miss J and Clayton on the weekends. I miss easy hangs. The thing that is both wonderful and exhausting about being in a new city, is that there are so many new people to talk to.  It’s so great, but it also means that most social interactions take a lot of energy. There is no “Just come over with some chips to drink beer in my livingroooooom. I’m still in a housecoat, but can we just watch trashy TV and talk about our love lives all afternoon?” I don’t know how else to summarize best friends level of comfort differently right now. So, I miss that.

Again, as with friends, places are easy to miss. In a new city, when I want a specific thing, I might not have any idea how to get it. It took me like 3 weeks to figure out where to go for my birthday, because I didn’t know where the type of place that I wanted to go to existed. In Vancouver, it would have been easy. Or like, if I need weird cheap crafty things… where do those come from?

Anyways… so things are great, but hard. Exciting, but also lonely sometimes. I can’t wait until the summer, because it will make everything way more awesome. I can almost taste how awesome summer will be.

TORONTO VS VANCOUVER

I lied. I actually am going to leave this for a future post. I am so sleepy right now, and I’ve been writing/working on different projects on my computer for like 4 hours now, and it’s time to hit the hay.

The one thing that I will say, is that despite the cold, I am really loving the snow/sunshine as opposed to RAIN ALL THE TIME. The snow is still a magical novelty to me at this point, and even though I am dying for summer, the snow is so beautiful and I love it.

I also love how friendly people are in Toronto. I was warned before moving here that Torontonians are cold. I’m not sure what happened that those people had that experience here, but I personally find folks in Toronto so incredibly friendly, and non-flakey, and genuinely interested in other humans; I think that people here are about ten billion times more friendly, and more likely to make friends with strangers than anyone in Vancouver. But that’s just been my experience.

ON THAT NOTE – SLEEP TIME!

Until next time.

SLEEP! SLEEP! SLEEP!

Tron – week 3

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As I round out my third week in Toronto, I’m slowly starting to find my stride and figure things out a bit. I go running a few times a week, I have a few pals who I can call for hangs, or text to say hi if I’m having a good or crummy day, I’ve found a permanent place to live, and I’ve biked to most neighbourhoods in the city. It feels like I’ve been here both for a much longer, and much shorter, period of time than three weeks. This might not make sense to anyone but me, but it kind of feels like I am in a weirdo-limbo-dream-zone where nothing is quiiiiiite fully real? Maybe it’s because I still have no idea what my life is really going to be here? It’s all still pretty mysterious in so many ways. Oddly, I also keep running into people I know on the street, so that adds a bit of familiarity to the otherwise mostly unfamiliar veil over the comings and goings of my everyday life.

I’ve been on a few dates since getting here, some better than others, with one individual in particular who just seems so earnest and involved in life, that this weekend more than ever I felt the need to kickstart myself from settling in mode to settled. Consequently, I spent most of today scouring the Internet for book stores, and markets, and other things that I think that I would love in Toronto; then finished of my Internet scour by signing up for a beginner sewing class at The Workroom, and applying for volunteer positions with The West End Food Co-op and the Royal Ontario Museum’s Patrick and Barbara Keenan Family Gallery of Hands-on Biodiversity. *fingers crossed*

Ummmmm. What else… I guess that that’s it for updates. I’m not actually feeling that much like WRITING tonight, but in an effort to be somewhat productive decided that I should just do it even if it’s nothing too exciting. Right?! Right.

Topics to be covered in more seriousness in the near future:

  1. the irritation that I feel when people say things like “Oh! You write about science, but you’re still interested in creative things too? That’s great!”
  2. something about the reasons I hate the Big Bang Theory, and why it’s actually kind of offensive
  3. something in-depth about my new job
  4. maybe something about insecurity, and self esteem, and the displaced feeling of being in a new city when you’re a person who is used to being really well connected/informed and all of a sudden you’re the person being like “I have no ideas for plans! GOD, I AM BORING!”
  5. the plight of my ongoing insecurity with regards to pursuit of my own artistically creative endeavours

THE END.

thrisis crisis

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So I haven’t written anything for a while. Why is that? Well, that’s a good question. I started this blog thinking that I would put the effort in to write well thought out and researched articles about various academicey topics on a regular basis… but then most of the time when I actually FEEL like writing and no deadline is involved, it ends up being something of a more personal persuasion. And then I feel like writing on the Internet about my thoughts and feelings and life is really quite trite. So then I don’t write at all. What a vicious, self-defeating little cycle. Who do I imagine is judging me and caring that I decided to write a blog post about my day, or about struggles that I am facing as of late rather than something that is more like a mini-paper that I would have written for school?

So what compelled me to write something today? Honestly, this week is kind of bullshit: I am quasi-dating someone who lives far away, and his Internet is effed this week, so there will be no skyping until further notice; Bell decided that ‘unlimited texts’ actually meant something completely different, and I have an astronomical cell phone bill coming next month; I am so broke that I could scream; and I am having an early 30s crisis about my life and where I am going, and my career, and living situation and blah blah blah blah; also, the boxing gym that I recently joined is actually run by a crazy person, and so I sunk 300 dollars into a shitty gym rather than a pretty good training facility. Despite this, if nothing else, posting something here will make me feel like I have been even the tiniest bit productive this week, despite the feeling that I am otherwise drowning and failing at everything. Ok. So I know that I am being dramatic here, and everything will probably be fine, and I’m actually alright, but everyone is entitled to a mini-meltdown every now and then, no?

Anyways… the new plan is to write even if I feel like it’s something boring and even if I feel that it’s too personal and it’s a narcissistic snoozefest. Because whatever writing is better than no writing, and hopefully with enough persistence, the whatever writing will slowly edge its way towards writing about something more thoughtful and interesting that pertains to people who are not only myself. For now, navel-gazing snoozefest it is!

THE END