Friday, April 29, 2016

Disconnecting

Ever have this sense that the world keeps on getting busier? 

It seems to me that my lists get longer and my ability to get them done is diminishing. I have blamed my long work hours, lack of sleep, TV watching, and my high expectations. But a while ago I tracked my time for a few weeks and what I found was somewhat surprising.

 

So for about a month (on and off), I categorized every moment of my life - commuting, getting ready (for work and for bed), cleaning (haha), working, sleeping, watching TV, exercising, eating. You name it, I colour coded it into a spreadsheet. But there was always a missing hour or two. I first called it down time, but then I realized that it was too much time to be called that. It was social media time. 

I'm not a huge poster on social media. I insta a bit, but only post an amazing activity, so my weekday life doesn't usually cut it. What I do is I scroll. And as I scroll, the minutes slip by. More minutes than I care to admit. In the hours I browse other people's lives, I could likely make mine significantly more productive, or relaxing, or as I am trying to convince myself, better. 

So we'll see. This post gives me a bit of an idea of what I would do with my free time, but my experience may be different - social media hours may just become TV hours. They may (please, please) become sleep hours. 

I've logged out of my Facebook and Instagram accounts on my phone. That's it. I will try to not log back in for a week, but I don't want to completely remove them from my realm. Hopefully being logged off will allow me just enough separation that it is not an automatic time filler. I will have to master my FOMO and allow my life to be better! 

Wish me luck. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

Planning to Avoid August Angst

Last August I wrote about this nagging feeling I get every August - when there are few trips on the horizon, and not enough trips / activities in the rear view mirror. So this year - I'm going to try foresight and planning to help alleviate August Angst. I have been reading here, thishere, this and the book version of here to get me inspired.

First I'll set some summer goals (and talk about my 2016 goals - 3 months into 2016!) and then layout a few options for trips/activities.


2016 Goals
I should start with my 2016 goals since they kind of play into my summer goals and they are much simpler:
  1. Do a race or an outdoor adventure every month of the year
    • Status
      • January 16, MEC Siberian Slide, 10 km run
      • February - None
      • March - March 11, Catskiing (doesn't really count, but I have nothing else)
      • April - April 9, Light it Up, 10 km run
      • May - Camping - Enchantments, Washington & Icefields Parkway
      • June - Potentially Grand Fondo Badlands
  2. Make small changes for a month and then decide on if you want to keep them
    • Status  - Massive failure, January - Get up on the first alarm - success, February and March - I have been trying to go to bed before 11pm - failure, April - Workout every weekday, we'll see!

Summer Goals
The list may seem long, but I think I'm on my way to hitting a few of them, plus it keeps my options open!
  1. Plant a garden at the lake and at home - keep it simple and just let it grow!
    This was two years ago - it will be much simpler this year!
  2. Spend 7 days at a lake, especially shoulder weekends. I'm fortunate to have access to two cabins, and I'm not sure if I'll continue to be this fortunate in the future, so I would like to take advantage of them! 
    • Plan 1: I'm having friends up for the the Canada long weekend, which will give me 3 days
    • Plan 2: I have an option to go to our cabin during the September long weekend, which I would love to take advantage of, but it's definitely dependent on work!
    • Plan 3: Spending weekends at the lake during the shoulder months is so nice - I will be up there in May to plant my garden (see goal 1), so hopefully I'll get another night at the lake then, plust it's only 1.75 hours away, so even just one night is worth it!
  3. Camp in my Siesta for 10 nights
    • Plan 1: I already have a trip planned for the May long weekend to drive the Icefields Parkway, what a great time to use the trailer - the weather is still variable so having a solid shelter is much more enjoyable
  4. Overnight camp in the backcountry for 5 nights
    Who wouldn't want to spend more time in places like this?
  5. Go on 10 hikes / back country mountain bike rides
  6. Have 3 BBQs at my house 
  7. Bike over 200 km on my road bike
    One Ride Down... 
  8. Go to Waterton Lakes National Park - I have been wanting to go here since I returned to Calgary 3 years ago. And 2016 will be the Summer, or Spring (let's hope Spring!)
So this list looks daunting, but I have a few strategies to reach my goals:
  • Start early - we've been having the mildest end of our winter that many hiking trails and biking routes are already snow free - so I'm not going to delay!
  • Keep it simple - it doesn't have to be this crazy elaborate plan, it doesn't need to be a 25 km hike, the goal is just to get out - if that means hiking, biking, or just driving my Siesta to the nearest camp ground, then it all counts! 
  • Have a good planning tool - I'm slightly obsessed with excel, so I have been starting to make excels tables for easy reference. While I understand that the internet is a great source, it can be overwhelming and requires a lot of 'search time'. In having a spreadsheet at my finger tips I am able to quickly pick a locations and just 'go for it'!
  • Invite others - the best way to not sleep in on a Saturday morning is to get a group of like minded people together - if I promise to meet at the trailhead at 9am on Saturday, I will be there! (and not drink too much the night before!) 
  • Just do it - no more excuses, just get out there and try

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

City-cationing

I'm off on my first vacation of 2016 this week and I am just over the moon! I'm off to Washington DC and Boston, not my typical destinations, but I'm very excited for a 'city-cation'. 

Previously, wanted my vacations include adventure, physical activity and something a bit more remote, but in the past while, I have been dreaming a bit more about cities. I'm so excited to spend some time exploring a city, and really being able to slow down and smell the rose scented bath soaps.

Do you ever feel like you miss out on the wonderful things your city has to offer because you have access to it every day and you take that for granted?

I find that life in my own city is consumed with seeing friends and family, visiting habitual haunts, tackling long lists of to-dos, or fitting in fitness. My desire to to have a 'productive weekend' overwhelms any whimsical yearnings to stroll through new neighbourhoods and really enjoy the city I live in. I remember one weekend where we walked to brunch in a new neighbourhood. I had never been in this area despite it being a 20 minute walk from my house! I discovered things I had only vaguely heard of and felt elation and a brimming pride for my city, I didn't know it was so cool! 

But I haven't been able to do that since that weekend well over two months ago. I remember on Sunday night feeling disappointed that I had 'wasted' time that morning, walking to brunch, rather than getting more items done. And on Monday, I was conflicted - the weekend had been relaxing, but my laundry was not done, and those items I had to return to Home Depot were still sitting at my front door. 

So how do we balance? I keep on struggling with that every day - and to be honest, I have come to realize that checking items off my list is more important than strolling through a new neighbourhood, because those items on the list represent future fun that I am not willing to give up. So I try to keep my lists to a minimum, and not dream up more low value ideas to add.  But for me, I really think that 'city-cations' are the way to enjoy cities and slow down without worrying about the loads of dirty laundry, or the half completed DIY project sitting on my kitchen table. In Washington and Boston, I'll have time to stroll and smell the cherry blossoms. 
This is for real in Washington! Via Travel and Leisure

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Baby Boy's Room

My cousin had the most adorable little boy about two months ago - and I've offered (and didn't accept no as an answer...) to help my cousin decorate. They didn't know if they were going to have a girl or boy so they have a lot of neutral items, but didn't add any touches until the met the bundle joy. 

Here are some other rooms for inspiration:

Nautical
I love the idea of designing a room that can grow the the kid, so that they don't feel like they are in a baby's room when they are 2, 3, or 10 and my cousin doesn't need to keep on decorating! 
Rustic Old World
Modern Industrial