Transitions

I work for a university in Student Affairs and Services, specifically dealing with a program that addresses the transitional needs of students as they come from high school into post-secondary. So a lot of my time is thinking about how we can best address these issues, what ways we can help the students, and really, just helping introduce students to a new way of life. Ironically, I too, am having issues transitioning – not from high school to university, but from student/young adult into adult life.

When I left high school, I was ready. I couldn’t wait to start my program and really dive into my passion for music. So my transition from high school to university was flawless. However, I can distinctly remember the unease I began feeling at the end of my degree. What the hell comes next?

In theory, it’s easy. Job, marriage, kids, retirement, die knowing that you lived a meaningful and fulfilled life. It’s what everyone expects to happen for themselves. But thus far, I’ve discovered that it is not such a straight line. Instead it’s a twisty, scary, and unexpected journey. Now, there definitely have been moments of fulfillment and happiness, without a doubt. But those moments did not come without struggles.

The worst part is, I have this terrible habit of looking at others and comparing myself and my life to them. I see people my age with 70K in a savings account, and I am living week to week. I see people my age with MULTIPLE children and I am lucky if I’m able to kick myself out of bed in the morning. I see people my age buying houses, going on trips around the world, going out for brunch on the weekends, and I’m sitting here screaming at my computer screen “How are you all so well adjusted! Please let me in on the secret!”

But there is not secret. There’s no magical solution, or guide book. Life just is. And I think that fact is more frustrating than if someone where just keeping the solution a secret.

I think the world needs new-adult Orientation. Yep. Just like new-student Orientation that I’m planning, it would be this mini course of stuff you do to get you ready for adulthood. I can see it now, a full day of figuring out how to be a grown up, with sessions like: “How to get your shit together in 7 easy steps!” and “Things you should be doing right now instead of binge-watching Netflix.” or even “Why you really need to be concerned with your health and dental coverage.” I think it would be a hit! I think that it’s something that would prevent a lot of anxiety in people as they transition to “the real world” which is a lot less cool than it’s cracked up to be.

But since that isn’t a thing, I’m just here trying to navigate life day by day. And hopefully, one day, I’ll be able to sit back and realize that along the way I have figured it out all by myself like a big girl.

But seriously, if you know the secret, please just let me in on it.

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It all began with a pair of socks.

photo (11)A few people have asked me how this all started. My resolution to be “selfish”, that is.

In November 2014, I was at my local yarn shop, Cast On! Cast Off! and we were talking about socks – how much we all loved knit socks, how many pairs we had ourselves, how many pairs we needed to make before christmas, etc. One lady in particular has a sock drawer FILLED with hand-knitted socks that would bring out the envy of any knitter. And during that discussion, I realized that I hadn’t actually made myself anything in 2014.

For a casual knitter, that is understandable. But if I’m not working or sleeping, I’m most likely knitting. To add that up, lets average two hours a day (low-balling it for the odd day I didn’t knit). So that’s 14 hours a week AT LEAST spent with needles and yarn in my hands. Over a year,  I spent (at the very least) 728 hours knitting. And in 728 hours of my time, I couldn’t find the time to make something for myself? That’s craziness. Don’t I deserve 10-12 hours of my own time?

So I decided to purchase Biscotte and Cie’s self striping yarn (in picture) and swore then and there that these socks were MINE. I even took it one step further and learned a new technique (toe-up) just to make them extra special.

They were cast on in November, but Christmas knitting was in full swing, so they we hidden frequently. Finally, over the holiday break, I could concentrate on them fully.

They were cast off at 11:57pm on December 31st. I could officially say that I made myself something in 2014. And not just something, but something pretty awesome. There’s nothing quite like a hand-knit sock.

So that’s the story of these wonderful socks and where this journey really began. And they are also a reminder to myself that I’m worthy of knitted items. They are a reminder of why I made this promise to myself. And so far, so good! I’ve already made big plans for a hat. 🙂

“If you fail to prepare, then you prepare to fail.”

photo (2)The title of this post is credited to my co-worker. In a discussion about how she prepares her meals for the week, she said “If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail.”

It really struck a chord. Not just for food preparation (though it is incredibly true) but with anything. If you don’t prepare for what you want to do, it will never happen. There are so many ways that this is relevant.

I think back to the days that I wanted to get up and go to the gym in the mornings. If I had packed my bag the night before, 9 times out of 10, I was up and ready to go. If not, I usually re-set my alarm.

Or when I have knitting orders to complete. If I take the time to prep all the materials, I’ll likely get started at it. If not, I’m more likely to procrastinate.

So basically, it’s my new motto.

This week, I am trying to kickstart my body into not craving chips and chocolate and to balance out my food intake. I met with a dietition at Dominion on Blackmarsh road FOR FREE. And when I say free, I mean absolutely no currency left my wallet. She was a fabulous resource and we chatted about what I eat, where I’m going wrong (apparently having an entire plate of macaroni and cheese is not a great idea…) and how to start fixing it. I left with a bunch of handouts and also was enrolled in her upcoming Nutrition program: 4 Weeks to Wellness. Again. FOR. FREE. There are still spots available if you’re interested. Just call 727-4446 to sign up!

So, newly inspired and believing that I can indeed start making some meaningful changes, I grabbed a cart and started. I got my fruits and veggies, my snacks, and a treat for the week. I went home and then spent 4 hours putting all of that together into a weeks worth of meals repeating the mantra “I will not fail to prepare”.

And it’s totally worth it. Not only am I preparing to eat healthy, but I’m preparing to not spend money on terrible food, to have more time in the evenings to myself, to keep my kitchen cleaner for longer, to not waste food that I am bringing into my house, to use the containers I bought months ago, and so on and so on.

So here’s to week one of this meal prep thing. Let’s hope it turns into one of those good habits I want to develop in 2015.

The night I did absolutely nothing.

Today, I left work at 5:03pm, drove home, fed the animals, let the dog out, got into my jammies, and got in bed.

“Hold on now,” you say. “Isn’t it a red flag when someone with anxiety/depression issues spends an entire evening in bed?”

Short answer: yes. If you notice a friend or family member is having difficulty doing anything but lying in bed, that may be a sign that they should go talk to a doctor. However, for me, this was progress.

This is the first night in ages that I felt completely comfortable in my own company. Most nights, I need to do something – go shopping, clean, knit, bug boyfriend, etc. Sometimes because it needs to be done, but a lot of times to distract from constant over-thinking and bad moods. However, tonight, I felt truly relaxed. I didn’t feel the need to occupy my mind. Instead, I was able to turn my mind off which was lovely. I chilled out in my cozy bed (I’m writing this from bed now to be quite honest), watched 12 episodes of Friends (Bless you, Netflix), played with the cat and dog, and now I’m about to finish the night by reading.

Sure, this time could have been better spent. I could have cooked supper instead of having a bowl of cereal. I could have finished knitting my scarf. But honestly, I think I needed this more than another night of forced productivity. Today, so many of us feel so pressured to be ON all the time. You’re busy at work and/or school. And then you come home and you’re busy with life stuff. And then you have to make dinner plans with this person, and coffee dates with that person, and clean the dishes because your mother is coming to visit. And then, if you’re not breaking into song and dance with happiness, you are judged. So you put on a huge smile and keep going because you feel that you have to. And if there’s anything more exhausting than never having a moment to yourself, it’s pretending to be happy about it.

So tonight I did nothing. And I couldn’t be happier.

Good-Bye 2014. Or should I say good riddance?

photo (10)

2014 was not my favourite year.

Since January 1st, 2014 I have:

  • Been diagnosed with anxiety and depression after I could barely sleep or get through a week without having an anxiety or panic attack.
  • Moved TWICE in two months.
  • Lost a valuable friendship because of poor circumstances.
  • Figured out finances, and then messed it up again.
  • Gained 15 pounds (Any other stress-eaters out there?)
  • Put strain on a wonderful relationship by bringing too much outside influence in.
  • Cried more in a year than I have in my adolescent/adult life

In 2014, I faced some of the most difficult situations I’ve ever had to. And while I do believe it’s life’s challenges that gives us the opportunity to learn and become better people, there is a point when it becomes too much to handle. Most of the above could have easily been handled by regular old Katie, but the anxiety/depression made sure that it was all a struggle.

That’s not to say there haven’t been some wonderful moments in 2014. I bought my first car (FREEDOM) and adopted a new friend from the SPCA in August. I also transferred to a new job, which was the position I actually changed career paths for. So it hasn’t all been bad, just clouded by negativity.

Skip ahead to January 1st 2015.

Here’s the deal. 2014 was not my favourite year so I want to make up for all my bad moods and crying spells by making 2015 all about me. A lot of what I do (or don’t do) I’ve learned is often influenced by other people – what would thisperson think if I tried this? People will think I’m ridiculous if I do that. I don’t want to do this alone so I’m not going to. etc. 

I’ve decided that I’m tired of putting other people’s opinions and needs before my own. I realized this when I asked my boyfriend if it was ok with him if I tried Roller Derby. His reaction: “You don’t need my permission for that. It’s up to you.”

I actually asked permission to do something for myself. WHO AM I!?

When I say that 2015 is the year of Katie, I mean that I hope to do a lot more things for myself this year, and not be so dependent on other people for happiness. Over the past year, I feel that I’ve really lost a sense of who I am. Maybe this is the quarter-life crisis John Mayor sang of, but whatever it is, it needs to be done.

I know it’s cliched to start something like this in the new year as a resolution, but why not. This year, maybe I’ll go to a movie by myself. Maybe I’ll take a week’s vacation and spend it in Twillingate. Maybe I’ll lose weight, or take up a dance class, or actually make it to one of the roller derby teams. It doesn’t matter what I do, as long as I do it for myself. And hopefully I’ll find some of the pieces of Katie that are lying around here somewhere.