Wednesday, September 23, 2015

If only....

The last few weeks have been quite tough. But I really believe that struggles provide us moments to stop and examine ourselves...Hopefully taking a pause makes us stronger for the future. Even if in the moment it definitely doesn't feel that way!

There are a few themes that have been reoccurring in my thoughts lately - They definitely relate to finding what makes me happy and outdoors. Two of my H2 goals. 

First, let's set the stage a bit. Friday was a rough day, I was at a pretty low point - living on very little sleep, dealing with a lot of work stress (and performing poorly), and not dealing with some loss that had occurred the week prior.  I went home and to bed post work meetings, and then returned to work for a strategy meeting where I managed, against my better judgement to say some thoughts very inelegantly that were probably better not said. So Friday night was full of exhaustion, shame, feeling of inadequacy and grieving. I had very little control of my thoughts or feelings. My view of the future was very very bleak. 

Theme 1: Nature's healing power
But on Saturday, despite a poor Friday nights sleep, I went for a hike with my family. While the weather was rainy, cold and windy and we hit mud and snow on the was an amazing hike. As you can see from the photos, it was not awe-inspiring, but the action of being in nature was so cleansing and rejuvenating. I felt the trees take my negative thoughts and feelings and send back positivity and optimism, just like they do with our breath. I wanted to hug the trees and thank them for all the healing they preformed. By the end of the hike I was my usually talkative, happy self. I was cold, and wet and my feet hurt, but it was fabulous.  
Blistery on Burstall Pass
The hike make me even more sure that nature really does make me happy, not just a superficial happy, but a deep down feeding of the soul happy. It takes ones soul to be really banged up to have you realize how much a day amongst the trees and mountains and open skies really does create strength deep within. All feels okay when I'm in nature. 

Theme 2: Connecting
After the hike, two of my very dear girlfriends met me for drinks and dinner. It was so amazing to connect and talk with two intelligent, thoughtful ladies. I felt so isolated for the past week, that having moments to share my fears, sorrows, and dreams with others that truly care took such a weight off of my shoulders. (and funny enough putting them down on here does a similar thing) Instead of thinking "I'm the only one, no one will understand, I can never get out" I left the evening thinking that we all have struggles and that it is all manageable. It's just called life. 

Theme 3: There Are No Short Cuts
This is definitely something that I knew all along, but it never really hit me until recently. I have been struggling with my skin. It turns red, is splotchy and generally quite sensitive. I thought going to a specialist getting this special cream etc... would help me with my issue. I thought it was a 'condition' but last week, with the wonderful creams and a doctor having me on a strict regiment, my skin was still terrible. I am seeing that it's not going to be a quick fix. My skin reacts to the way I treat my body. Lack of sleep, water, and stress show. So a path to clear skin is more in my lifestyle than in my cream. There are no magic creams. It all comes down to fundamentals. Realizing this with my skin is something I can also translate into health, lifestyle, work... everything. 

But then I wonder - how can I have it all? The answer is editing. Pick the most important things and don't stress the rest. I've heard it before, but making that list of 'top - top priorities' is probably the most difficult thing I have to do. 

Theme 4: No More Struggles Than The Next Guy
One of these amazing girls that I had dinner with said something that made me take a moment. We have no more struggles than the next person. I definitely fall into this trap. With a demanding job, I constantly say - if I had more time, if I exercised more, if I... then I would be happier. But really, I have no more constraints on my life than anyone else. I'm healthy, physically able and definitely have been provided with the most amazing opportunities to do what I would like... So the only thing in the "if I..." that is stopping me from that happiness is the I. There is not going to be an Aha! moment when I finally become happy. There are always going to be constraints on time, money, people... And everyone has the same constrains (well many have more, but of the people around me), so the difference between the person who is seemingly happy next to me and me, is me. No more excuses. My life is no harder than anyone else, I should stop trying to make it seem that way and use it as a crutch to achieving happiness. 

So those are the things I have been thinking about lately. I'm sure I haven't had enough time to flush them out, but over the next few weeks, I'm sure I'll keep on thinking through them. Hopefully with the help of a few good friends xo
No short cuts. One step at a time

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

August Angst

Now that it is September, I can write this post - while I'm in my August 'state' there is really no point to talk about it... I only grow more angry! But thankfully August and the angst has past. 

Around the middle of August, I tend to get antsy, have angst and am generally kind of angry, I'm angry at the weather for not being super hot, I'm angry at the sun setting earlier, I'm angry at work that is keeping me indoors, I'm angry that people won't drop everything to go outside with me, but mostly I'm just angry at myself. I always feel like I have not done enough in the summer and disappointed for not making the most of the warm, long days.

I can't decide if this is a normal reaction to the closing of flip flop season or if it is actually a function of actually not getting my plans together and not fulfilling my outdoor summer desires? Even this summer, which found most of my weekends since the beginning of June booked and out of town, I'm still feeling this August syndrome. So it may just be the natural reaction to an all too fast transition into winter (last year it snowed on September 9th!). And it may be the natural reaction, but I'm not going to accept it, just yet. 

But what does one do to avoid this angst and anger and enjoy the last few weeks of the season? I have tried booking vacations at the end of August, planning for winter, and diving into work, but none of those things have abated this feeling. 

To be honest, even when on summer holidays, they don't feel as good as summer vacations should, or as how I remembered them. So what am I doing wrong? I'm at the cabin, the water is warm, the weather is nice, but it just doesn't feel right. What is the missing piece? 

Cabin time this year. Beautiful, but in need of some adventure.
What made summer vacation so special when I was younger?... It was that I was able to do things I couldn't do the rest of the year. I would build forts in the forest, go tubing and water skiing and play kick the can with all of my cousins, staying up late and having wayyy too many marshmallows. It was the adventure. Summers will filled with adventures - biking to random destinations, back country hikes, kayaking between islands I didn't know existed a week prior. Adventures. Check. I need more of them. Problem solved. 

But is it just adventures? I also remember people (one can't play kick the can by ones self!), large groups of family and friends together laughing, sharing stories, food, drinks... 

So maybe the answer is adventures with friends/family. Which, in our hectic world means planning ahead. So maybe for me avoid August Angst desire will involve more adventures, and more friends/family more planning! 

I'm going to test this theory and head out to the mountains in September for a moderately epic trip with a friend and see how I feel after that. And if there's positive feedback, then let the adventure planning for summer and winter begin in order to avoid this August angst. Besides I hear angst is not good for ones heart!