Things I Think About: Burnout & Life Trajectory

 

It is my morning off. I am in Calgary, drinking my very large McDonald’s coffee in my bed watching Youtube – because I have next to zero responsibilities until 1135pm when I need to check in for work. It is a rare occasion I am home alone; the weather has broken its unbearable cold snap to a balmy -4C and it has been a mega mood shifter. Things today seem like they are a -ok. However, the last month or so things have been far from okay.

The truth is – I have been crying a lot lately. And I think we don’t talk about being sad enough. People get sad and it is okay.

I have known for many years that I struggle with winter depression and this winter hit me hard – like really hard. I don’t know if it is the extreme cold the last few weeks, or so much other chaos in my life. But seriously I haven’t cried this much in years. I know it is healthy to let out the frustration but LORDY it has been a lot. Feeling this way always leads to me over committing and under delivering in my life, to my friends, to my family and to basically anyone – I then over-work to deal with all my stress. Because I am a grown ass woman and dealing with stress by working too much is obviously the way to handle life.

One of my biggest, crippling life stressors is finances. I have a lofty goal of crushing out my student loans in the next couple years and I literally have a plan and I am sticking to it. But fuck me it is hard to stay on track and literally limit social interactions just so I can pay off my debt. I am literally barely dressed drinking my coffee reading up on side hustles and wondering if I had an online business what exactly would I sell?! I would love to just get all those bad ass brand deals by posting videos of me drinking umbrella drinks on my overnights in warm locations, but I do actually think it is more work than that. ‘Cuz well imagine if it was that easy? Why would any of us have Monday to Friday jobs?!

Yesterday morning while I was in Puerto Vallarta, I was recording an episode on my podcast about feeling burnt out. I actually found a Forbes articles detailing signs of burn out and I think I hit all 10 of them with a ‘bang on – ya, I sure am’.

See I think that the first part of fixing any sort of life problem is actually realizing you have the problem. Then the fun part begins and that is figuring out  how to solve the problem – like what do I do to stop the burn out from happening because girl needs a payday and also a vacay (that rhythmed and I am very okay with that).

So today I am just being a social media whore. I am writing, I am searching, I am signing up for freelance work websites – I am literally doing all of this from my bed because it feels like I am kind of resting all while getting shit done. Is it the dream? I am not sure but today it feels right!

I am actually curious what the rest of the world does to deal with burn out. How do you deal with that stress of it all? The stress of life? I mean as I approach 40 things seem to be so different than before, life is different – I actually started worrying about different things like retirement funds and buying property and if I will ever be able to retire. I wonder if I will eventually need to settle for a man that is ill suited to me because I long for some sort of companionship that I have yet to find. I think about all sort of things that on the surface seem really, really sad but are just a harsh truth. These are things I think about.

We all get there in life. It happens. We need money, we work too hard, and then we negate all the other things in our life that create balance. I am well aware of the fact that I have lacked balance in my life for a long ass time because I over work ALL THE DAMN TIME. But the truth is it is all on me to fix. There isn’t another person that can fix my trajectory but me. Being aware of your situation certainly helps in the process – because we all know you can’t fix something you don’t know is broken. So it just leaves me with this isolated feeling of what my next steps should be. Am I paralyzed in my own fear? yes – it is hard to make decisions when you feel stressed and burnt out.  It’s so easy to shut the word out and just focus on pushing through and not really thinking of anything else but making it to your end goal. But that just leads to all sorts of questions about what life is really for, right?! like am I having a good enough time? am I laughing enough? do I have enough people around me that support me? Am I enough?

Anyway – here I am just thinking about things – lots of things – am I the only one?


 

 

2019: Bucket Lists & Tangible Goals

  • Location: Cancun, Mexico
  • Currently Eating/Breakfast: Mexican Doritos with cilantro guacamole and a light coke (weight watchers fail)
  • Smokes: Zero (but it is still early)

It is actually really nice in Cancun today. It is 27C but the sun isn’t shinning bright and it doesn’t really feel like a beach day for me today. I am not overly sad about that but mostly because I am exhausted. After a few drinks last night I literally slept for 13 hours. I absolutely had to have the melatonin to sleep because my anxiety has been so bad that I literally cant get more than 3 or 4 hours at a time lately.  My body clock is off and I am ready for a few days off.

This week I actually got into a conversation with someone about top 10 bucket list items. I literally rattled off a few things that have been on my bucket list for YEARS … like I am talking a decade – that I have actually never done and always thought – one day, one day I will do that. I wrote down a list in my bullet journal of bucket list stuff and realized that I needed to make some tangible goals about actually achieving some of the items.  I mean it is a bucket list so there are lots of items on there that are massive undertakings and require a certain about of money to make happen. This time I actually added to the list things that I never had before like … PAY OFF MY STUDENT LOANS  … things like that are seriously a slow progression and not happening without hard work and a whole lot of budgeting.

In the spirit of “its the end of the year and I should makes goals for 2019” – I actually thought it would be fun to list out some of my bucket list items and to actually try and accomplish one of them in 2019. I haven’t decided completely but honestly if you don’t take a dream, analyze it to death and start with small steps to the bigger goal it’ll never get done.

So here is my top 10ish list as of today:

  1. Take the train from Beijing to Moscow via Mongolia

  2. Stay in an ashram in India/travel India

  3. Travel through the ‘Stans – but mostly Uzbekistan 

  4. go to Rythmia healing centre in Costa Rica

  5. Write & Publish a novel

  6. Become a successful content creator on youtube or a blog or podcast or some combination of all of the above

  7. Open a vegan coffee shop/café/ sustainable food place

  8. Make a vegan cook book

  9. Pay off my loans and have a moment to understand what debt free feels like

  10. Buy a Sprinter Van (or something similar) and convert it into a living space – tiny house life

 

Now that is a list Friends – The thing that I have learned over the years is that if I set myself unrealistic goals then I will surely never accomplish them. But if I am truthful to myself about things I can actually accomplish I am more likely to see success and keep going.

Lets break down the things I think I want to work on in 2019:

Goal 1: Paying down my debts. This has been something I have been working on for while now but I actually made a practical debt repayment plan in the spring of 2018 that I am still following and if all goes to plan I will be completely debt free in 2.5 years. All the hard work I have been doing with actually start to slowly show its efforts this year but I do owe a chunk of money to student loans and when you compare that to my annual income  – it is a lot for me. So I guess without going into to much detail on that bucket list item  – just know I am working on it and I won’t see the end of that for a couple more years.

Goal 2: I would like to do one of my travel bucket list items this year. If I am being truthful the train trip is gonna be super expensive and I just don’t have the money for that right now  (see goal one) …  And I don’t actually want to take that much time off of work just yet – so that leaves me with Uzbekistan and Costa Rica – both on the list, both take less time. So I will spend the next couple of weeks researching and seeing what I actually need to make those trips happen, look into cost and visas and all the things and start planning that for one of my holidays this year. Small goal, easily accomplished.

Goal 3: The vegan eBook. I get people asking me all the time for recipes and if they can come over for food I have prepared. I love cooking. I have a vegan Instagram right now that I have been building followers on. I just think it would be super fun to figure out how to actually put together and ebook or cookbook of all my favourite recipes.  Maybe just one recipe a week for the year and get it published for Christmas. We will see – also something that needs to be planned out and researched and photographed and edited and all the things.

So here I am, December 30th, in Cancun I have a few more hours to soak up the warm weather and then off to Vancouver.  What is on your bucket list? Have you been trying to break down some of that list into things you can actually accomplish? Leave me a note below sharing your top 2019 must do!!

All the Love,

C

 

 

 

 

 

Oh Hi, new job, new life and new adventures ….

Someone had to stand up for me … it might as well of been me  ….

The cat is outta the bag; the metal bars of fear have finally broken: the cheesy lines are a rollin’ and alas change is finally here!

 

“You’ve got to let go of who you were, to become who you will be.”

Friends, Family, Readers … I have finally done it. I have resigned from both my jobs. I have resigned from this life I have created in Edmonton. I have resigned from this insanity. I have finally admitted to myself that I am fucking tired.  I have finally decided that I need to put myself, my health and my mental sanity first. And  … stop doing things I think I should do and start doing things I want to do.

I jumped, arms swinging, heart chakra bursting open to something new.  It is terrifying and super exciting. I have not figured out all the details, I have not sorted everything out, I have not even figured out anything accept on Sunday the 27th of August my journey begins.

be-in-love-with-your-life-640x445

For some time now I have been feeling stressed and depressed and over worked and under paid and dealing with a lot of bullshit and I hit my breaking point. I hit it like a semi truck on a squirrel running across the highway.  It was gnarly. I have felt undervalued and a victim of an abusive work environment. I have taken it out on my kitchen, on my refrigerator and now on my waistline and I am just done. I need to take back what the last two years has stolen from me.

 

 

Everything I was trying to get together has fallen apart because I am so stressed. Working has been all I do, all I talk about and I have given everything with no payoff. My finances are a mess, I gained back all the weight I lost, I am struggling with vegan choices, I struggle with going to the gym. I have lost control of myself, my emotions and my prowess for awesomeness. I got lost. I forgot who I was because I got busy trying to be someone I am not.

Why am I sharing this … because I am gawd damn excited. And with that you should expect the return to travel adventure blogging and vlogging …  lots of laughs and smiles and a whole lots less stress.

Have you even just stood up and said FUCK IT. I’m done?!

I wanna hear all about it below!

shanghai 845
Having a time in Halifax. 2012

 

tell tale signs of impending change

20161031_115556
Fig.1:  When I need to clear my head, clear my thoughts, I go to the water.  Reykjavik Iceland. Greenland Sea.

 

I have a huge decision to make. HUGE. And while for some people that is super easy for some reason at this point in my life (or maybe all points) I am really struggling with decisions. I stress like an overthinking motherfucker, I lose sleep, I talk to everyone about, I even go as far as being physically unable to sleep, socialize or do anything normal because of it.

In my later years I have noticed patterns or things I do when a massive change in my life is about to occur:

  1. Anxiety. My anxiety reaches an all encompassing level.  I literally walk around in days in a full blown anxiety attack. I even wish I had friends these days with Xanax or something of that nature. I have an inability to focus, to have conversations, to just be a normal person doing normal things.
  2. I buy hair dye. Currently at home I have lavender and pastel pink, both wash out in 6 washed but nonetheless I bought the hair dye – lots of hair dye. I then do something stupid to my hair. I usually then spend 6 months repairing said stupid hair decision.
  3. UNSUBSCRIBE.  This time I unsubscribed to all the YouTubers I was following who weren’t aligned with my current mission. I also deleted Facebook and YouTube from my phone. In the past I have deleted social media apps – take away all social influence.  I also turned off notifications to everything on my phone so I am not getting 5000 little icons telling me to watch videos, pay attention to traffic, weather pop ups and everything else. I shut off.
  4. Clean out my closet and donate. This will inevitably be a weekend project. But I have so many things that I don’t wear, don’t fit or are just not right. Get rid of old me stuff.
  5. Eat up all the things in my freezer. I am a meal prep machine. Often I make extra so I can freeze them. But every now and again my freezer goes all crazy and I need to eat up everything and start fresh.
  6. Clean out my cupboards. Same concepts. Clean out and regroup.
  7. Drink tea. Tea is so relaxing and it makes you think. I forget to attempt to shut everything off.
  8. Think about it to a point that I can no longer write about it.
  9. Finally reach a point that I can write  – hello blog post?!@
  10. Agonize over every possible life solution and try to make what I deems is a sound, grown up decision.

The truth is since I moved to Edmonton. Life hasn’t been that much fun. I have had fun times but over all I feel low most of the time. I have consistently worked 50-60 hours a weeks to at first catch up on bills and now to pay for my life.  In the last year I have dabbled on and off with weight watchers in hopes to get back to my healthy self. However, it has proven to be incredible difficult with working so much. So a few months ago I decided I needed a better paying job. I needed to change things up. I needed something different.  So my decision is contemplating a shift. Choosing me and health before choosing a job and money.

 

I got offered something that isn’t in my field that I would be a perfect fit for. I accepted it instantly doing all the things I need to do to make it happen. Then I realized my current life with all my bills that the perks of this job  wouldn’t be perks because I would never be able to actually use them making me wonder if it really is worth it. Enter Crisis.

So now I am about a few weeks out and I need to make decisions. I need to wake up, smell the coffee and get all grown up about what my actual needs, desire and wants are. What the fuck do I want my life to look like?

As I savagely tear apart my apartment I wonder what the universe has in store of me. See I have known for a long time there are no right or wrong decisions just choices. And with every choice there are pros and cons and you just have to fucking deal with the consequences of your choices. How do you make a decision knowing all those things? I am proposing a plan. I am just going to throw it out in the universe and if it is meant to be, it’ll happen. Nothing else I can do about it.

How do you deal with impending change? What are you go to decision making solution? What do you do when you really want something but road blocks are there?

 

If I do this, then I get to do that …

I have finally gone and done it. I booked my appointment for the full extraction of my last two wisdom teeth. On May 29th I will finally get to tick this big thing off my list of health issues I need to deal with before I can think about my next move. Actually it isn’t that big of a list but the things on the list are big-ish. It is sort of like a Health and Wellness list.

When I initially moved to Edmonton I had also been considering a return to Seoul, South Korea. I was in a bind and I needed steady, consistent income to pull myself out of a bit of a financial pickle. I gave myself 6 weeks to find work in Alberta and if that didn’t happen teaching was going to happen. South Korea has always been my back up plan. By the grace of the universe I found work in Edmonton and have been working tirelessly to get myself back on track.  The thing is – I am back on track and now I am ticking the things of the Health and Wellness list.

Truth be told -I have had an irrational fear of getting my wisdom teeth out. I have no idea why I started living in fear but here we are in my late 30ies doing that fear thing that is so irrational. Sometimes I feel like I lacked the years in growing up and all the sudden I need to do all of this shit so fucking quickly. Maybe that just comes with being in your late 30ies. Sometimes I feel sad that I was so lost for so long; the wake up smack didn’t hit me till recently in a way I never saw coming. Now I am just questioning and judging and trying to figure myself out so I can figure out relationships and friendships. I digress.

There are a couple of other things on this list that I have started that aren’t complete. My lease is up in April of next year … so I have some investigating, planning and figuring out to do. But all of that is on the back burner while I actually just do some living, loving and some gawd damn self care.

My new questions in life are … how will this impact my financial well being and how will this affect my emotional and health well being? The answer is simple friends –  getting my teeth out will likely stop my mouth from hurting, jaw pain, headaches and such, my over all oral hygiene will be better and now that I have dental coverage this should not impact my  wallet too much – in fact doing it now will likely save me money later.

Are you on a journey of self improvement? What is on your “if I do this , then I get to do that” list?

Lets talk about it below!

xoxo, C

 

 

The bag of burritos I needed.

Truth: Even though I had a fairly great job situation in Calgary post SAIT I quit my job and moved to Montreal. I transferred with Starbucks to get me started and took my boho looking, dreadlock sporting self to the city of liberty and freedom and decided it was about time I make a life for myself.  My friend told me there were lots of jobs, and even though I hadn’t actually found anything online and had no response I packed my stuff, shipped my entire life and decided to make a go of it.

Truth: Montreal was the hardest 6 months of my life.

Truth: I struggled with my pay dropping to a quarter of what I was making in Calgary.  I struggled with transferring into a store that instantly and blatantly hated me because I had dreadlocks among other stupid reasons (sidenote: I later actually made some amazing friends and connections at that Starbucks – Monkland represent!). I was already feeling self conscious and that just wreaked havoc on my emotions and my state of mind. I struggled with sleeping on the hardwood floor for 6 months. My self worth was trapped in material possessions.  When I finally made the decision to leave Montreal my options were limited. I didn’t have any money. I was so fucked. My spirit and soul were crushed. Needless to say moving in with my sister and her family for a couple months changed my life. It propelled me to get where I needed to be.

Edmonton has been a lot of growing and progress; baby steps to a brighter future. However, because I moved here under those dire circumstances. Edmonton has always felt like a failure. That my life is a fail. I failed at Montreal. And that, right there, my friends is a lesson I just learned after almost 2 years in Edmonton.

I have felt like a failure in Edmonton because of the hiccup of time I spent in Montreal that crushed my soul.

It is funny how that works.

So while this might sound like a pity party. It is actually a blessing and a break through in my development as a human. I am so focused on why this (Edmonton) was a fail I have failed myself in seeing my success. I feel so profound in my discovery. Like someone has ripped off some blinders.

So how did I get here ?…. Mark Manson.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.

Saturday. I read the entire book. It is fresh in my head so I am trying to implement as many of the lessons as I possible can. But the overarching theme is taking a look  at yourself and your self worth and basically working on yourself to become better for you and then others. I am not going to lie it sucks to realize that you are the root cause of all your problems. It sucks to realize that you are causing your own unhappiness from preconceived notions of yourself. But it makes me smile when I think about all the foolish pressure I have put on myself in the last couple of years because I have limiting beliefs about myself. My mind is fucking blown Friends. All the sudden I am peeling back the layers of destructive self hatred and attempting to lift some pressure from myself and work on my own happiness instead of placing that in other people’s hands and other peoples acceptance of me.

Truth: Sometimes I compare Carol today to Carol back then (not Montreal just happier times) to try and learn from the times in my life when I thought I was my happiest. The thing is. Those were times where I literally and wholeheartedly didn’t give a fuck about what anyone else thought. I never listened I just got on the plane and went. I went to Japan. I went to Korea. I went to China. I went to Chile. I went everywhere. I met amazing people. I didn’t give a flying fuck. I have realized recently I don’t actually want to live like that anymore. I like the stability of not having to figure out where I am going to move every year. I like knowing that my job still exist tomorrow. I don’t need visas and immigration and worrying about whether I can afford a visa run. I don’t have to save for my next flight – unless I truly want to. I think all that time I was searching for security and the only one that can provide that is me.

So today I commit to trying my best to stop that self deprecating behavior. Stop comparing myself to other people doing different things at different phases of their lives. And to just breathe. Because honestly I couldn’t of lived my 20ies any cooler than I did. I didn’t get where I am today but not chancing all those things …testing myself.  Learning that I can build a life where ever I go. Learning that people are selfish assholes and that most advice comes for their own personal experiences, drives, desires and failures. I commit to opening myself up to the possibilities of a wonderful life right here in this city – a place that has been so incredibly good for me, my bank account and my financial well being. I also commit to trying to stop interjecting my suggestions when people what to talk to me. My opinion doesn’t matter much.

So if your are reading this thinking – good gawd – know this – I feel like I am bursting with positivity because I unlocked a secret about my life or I finally figured something out. It is going to be a journey to a brighter Carol. It isn’t my first time pulling myself out of a mess. And I have the power to change everything. It’s a choice.

So Friends – are you trapped in a circle of negative behavior and thoughts? Are you trapped on the hamster wheel of self deprecating behavior and don’t know how to jump off? The sad reality is … it is a choice. Bad things may have happened to you but in the end you chose how you feel about it, how you internalize it or if and when it’s time to let go. You chose to stay. You chose to go. Everything is a choice. So you need to chose to not let past experience affect your current life. And it is hard as fuck. But I am sure as fuck it is going to be worth it.

And with that – all my Love and Self help magic vibes!

Stay dirty,

C

 

Goal Setting.

This last little while I have been extremely interested in the age old classic of goal setting.  I have been reading articles online, watching You-tubers and all around just asking people how they go about achieving their goals. Most of the goal setting strategies encourage people to write things down. The theory being that once you have a goal to work towards you can actually work towards it. Most of the top gurus of goal setting make implications that sharing these things with friends and family  are actually supposed to help you achieve your goals because you are being reinforced by your friends etc etc …  this all seems good right?!

This last few months I have actually wondered if the opposite is true. I find sometimes when sharing goals with people the truth is – in the moment I share my goal  – I activate it to no longer happen. Say what?!  Yes. This in fact has happened to me.  I read an article in psychology today discussing the reality of sharing your goals. It was saying that sharing your goals can be damaging to goal setting itself.

When you vocalize your goals – you then make yourself think that it has already happened therefore making it less likely to be achieved.

I am absolutely an ambition setter. I am a dreamer. I am a sharer of my wildest dreams of adventure. I am also someone that fails to meet a lot of their goals because once I share my process – the desire dwindles. And I am onto a new adventure, new topic, new life.

Typically what happens is I think I want to do something. So I plot it out in my mind. I plot it out on paper. I plot it out into the reality of what it would look like if I decided to do it. I start working towards those goals.  I see a small amount of success. I get excited. I share my dreams with other people, they get on board. Then I start telling everyone. And then that is when shit goes whack. That is the moment I lose momentum in my goals. Once I have shared the desire – it is like it has already happened. And poof! it’s gone.

There are quite a few things in my life recently that have fallen into this trap. So while I what to be transparent and share my goals – I also want to achieve them. So here we have it – the crossroads of drive to achieve success and social acceptance in goals setting. Do I share my goals with friends and family or not?

I have noticed the less I share the more likely it is to happen. So with that – I am going to run an experiment on goal setting and sharing of knowledge. I have a few goals that I want to achieve this year. I am going to actively not share those goals with people then just work away at them. And see what happens. They are not written down anywhere. This is just an evasive way of planning things out and sharing with you that in fact that it is a thing. My goal setting experiment.

I will run this experiment privately while I also try to publicly achieve my financial goals and we will see which goals yield more success.  If I am being honestly – while I have been paying my minimum payments on loans I am currently behind 500$ of extra AB loan payments and that I am hoping I can make up in April and still achieve my first goal of paying off my Alberta student loans at the end of May.

So with that I wonder – which way do you typically have the most success in goal setting?

Lets discuss – leave me some love down below!

xoxo,

C