Tuesday Thoughts

Well hello, there!

I've wanted to blog for a few weeks' now but never knew where to start. Isn't that something we all struggle with? Where to begin? What to do first? What to stick with? What to love the most? What to get rid of and leave behind? So much has been going on as of late, its hard to know where to start and what to share.

Springtime

There is something about this spring that has awaken me to so many new things. New things about the world around me, about people, but most importantly, about myself. The new greenery and flowers blooming, even the fresh smell of spring has awoken me in a different way than the last few years. I've happily welcomed this.

Motherhood/Back to Work #onthecampaigntrail

Its an overwhelming bittersweet time for me personally right now. I'm transitioning from my year off on maternity leave, entering back into not only the workforce, but the campaign trail. Ontario's provincial election is 23 days away on June 7th. When I began working 4 years ago in politics at Queen's Park, I knew this election time would come eventually, I just didn't think it would come this fast. Much like my time with Blake. Where did this past year really go?

Because of the transition heading back to work, it has meant closing the book on being a stay-at home mom for the past year. It has meant starting a new chapter of watching Blake transition to day care. I'm also preparing to move back home to Peterborough for a few week's while I work #onthecampaigntrail. I promise to blog about this exciting adventure in a separate post.

What the last few weeks has taught me is about sacrifice. Loving what you do for a living, while you have to watch what you've did for the past year fade into the sunset. Knowing that while it is hard to watch your child grow up, this is what life is all about.

I've been trying to soak up as many friend hangouts, family catch up's, sunsets on the dock and coffee shop visits before reality sets in next week when I officially go back to work.

I love me some routine

I've enjoyed setting up a productive routine for the past little while, knowing full-well that, that routine is going straight out the window now that the campaign has started. If there is something I have learned about myself, its that while I love new things and discovering the unknown, I thrive on routine. Don't we all as human beings? I've learned this the most from watching Blake. He loves meeting new people, taking in new things, not going to bed on time once and a while, but he pays for it a few days later. He sleeps better, eats better and you can tell he's just an overall more happier baby when he's in his routine. This is us as adults too, we just don't like to admit it.

Learning Overload 

I've been the type of person that has 100 tabs open in my browser; articles saved to read; and so many random notes about motivational TED talks written down in my notebook but it hasn't been until recently that I've wondered... is it too much? I'm not saying I want to stop learning but at some point, is it too much? If I want to speed up in the areas of my life I want to succeed it, does it mean I have to slow down in other areas of my life that don't allow me to grow? If anything, Blake has been the greatest reminder for me to slow down.

[Photo Source]

A Blanket of Calmness & Clarity

This past weekend marked the first big snow fall of the season back at home on the farm and across much of Ontario. Who knew Ontario could (still) be host to this much snow early in December and -20 degree temperatures?! I thought this type of winter was something only my in-laws experienced in 'Winter-peg" Manitoba in December.

There is nothing better than being in the countryside to take in the first snowfall to unofficially mark the start of winter. Blake is in awe. You can see through his eyes, the newfound magic of seeing snow for the first time. The sounds he makes as he screams (in joy I hope?! ha) watching the white stuff fall has been one of the coolest things to experience with him. I am beginning to understand why parents say they get to relive everything over again when you watch and experience everything for the first time through your children's eyes.

There is something about the first snowfall of winter that I SO welcome. It is so calming; looking out of the window and seeing the snow settled on the ground, like a warm blanket comforting the earth.

Its reason #93746284758 to love living in Canada because I really do love the change in seasons. Each season provides just enough time for us to enjoy its welcomed differences from the last season, before we get bored with it and then all of a sudden, a new season is upon us. I love how different each season is; how each season renews us; and how each season allows us to do something completely different. Hard to believe only four months ago you could have found me on the water in a bathing suit on a dock and now we're zipped up in parkas in freezing cold temps.

I think that is the whole point of each new season - each season ushers in a different feeling for us.

For me, spring brings a fresh awareness of everything new around us; summer makes me want to relax; fall provides perspective and winter is for hibernation and much needed silence, calmness and reflection after a busy year.

Each year seems to get busier and busier, so winter and its calmness and clarity (and chance to catch up on sleep!) really are welcomed. Similar to the animal kingdom, it really is a time to hibernate by getting in our comfy clothes, watching more netflix, reading more books (that we've put off reading all year), eating all the treats our heart desires and spending time with our favourite people.

After the craziness of becoming a first time mom earlier this year, for some reason more than any other year, I am SO ready for this winter season. How about you?!

Summer Searching

I've been struggling with words lately. How to find the right ones - how to string words together to create a well-articulated thought. Words just aren't flowing as easily as they typically do. I'm not sure if its because I'm 'baby drunk' (drunk on the baby, not alcohol), sleep deprived, stepping outside of my comfort zone or what. It could also be that wordsmithing, what I did in my 'day job,' has taken a back seat to motherhood as of late.

I start the day with such intention to write, only to be met with mid-day fatigue (or a hungry baby). This leads to another day gone by, resulting in me lying awake at night with what feels like hundreds of ideas being thrown around by my brain. To the point, I've put a notepad beside my bed to write everything down, afraid that it can't wait until the morning to document (or in case I don't remember).

I'm sure you've been there with me.

Blog posts unpublished; tweets sitting in draft form; instagram posts deleted because you didn't think the photo was 'good enough' for its angle or lighting and you couldn't put your own unique words/thoughts to the picture.

Writing is a lot like a muscle. To get stronger or in the case of writing, better at it, you need to work at it and eventually you'll see results. My writing will never be perfect but doing more of it will help to get better at it.

So I'm going on that basis for my writing this summer - its better to put thoughts out there as they are, imperfect with errors, rather than have the ideas sitting in the draft folder. I'll keep going with my #Blog452 commitment - blogging every week, for 52 weeks of the year.

I love that summer as a season allows us to do this - relax and be easier on ourselves. Summer is a time for welcomed self-reflection for our society - we are just too damn busy the rest of the year.

Summer is the only time of year (besides the two weeks at Christmas) where we as a society see it as 'acceptable' to unplug. We accept that people are away on holidays and relaxing during the summer months. It is almost a societal norm that everyone takes it easier on each other during the summer.

The summer also allows us time to rest our brains, self-reflect and take stock of what we love about our lives and also, what are the irritants/things we want to change, or wish we could change. Its probably because we have the time to finally think and self-reflect while we feel at peace and ease... or its the beer or wine that helps to stimulate our thoughts and relax :) I think its why so many of us come back in September recharged with motivation to want to tackle our goals.

I'm doing so much self-reflection recently thanks to summer and of course, because of Blake. Even before May, I had made a commitment in 2017 to set goals, create a routine and adjust/adapt along the way to work towards accomplishing these goals.

I think summertime reflection is necessary to a healthy lifestyle, both professionally and personally. Self-awareness is the key to happiness. Its healthy to take stock of what we're good at; what we could be better at; what we want more of; and what we could get rid of. This type of reflection allows us to enjoy more of what we love and (finally) take action on the things we want to change. This is something I've gotten a lot better at this year since becoming a mom, as I blogged about earlier - we should "Strive for progress, not perfection.'

I really love the liberating and 'free' feeling of summer. There is no better feeling than sitting on a dock at dusk, looking out at the calm waters and mentally taking stock of everything I love about life and what I want to change/do more of.

Summer searching fuels an incredible sensation to want to kick butt. I'll be so ready for fall when summer decides to be over. Until then, lets take advantage of the warm, sunny summer weather as long as it lasts.

The excitement of not knowing what's ahead

To say the last 48 hours has felt surreal would be an understatement. As of Friday, I began maternity leave to begin my {next} exciting life adventure... motherhood. Baby A hasn't arrived just yet but knowing any day now, life could change because of his/her impending arrival, is an incredible feeling. Scary yes, but exciting none the less.

Where's the manual I keep asking? Well, there isn't one. And that is the whole point to becoming a parent. There is no one size fits all - what works for someone may not work for another. Its something I've tried to embrace this entire pregnancy, especially being a woman in business.

I have to say, the feeling of not having control from here on in is ... well, liberating.

Adjusting to the smallest things - only having to charge and check one phone, not two; not having an impending schedule and calendar of meetings/briefings; getting use to not being needed in a work capacity; and ensuring I have what is needed to keep a human being alive once we are headed home from the hospital is again, scary but so liberating.

For those of us in business who like to be strategic about every move we make (so pretty much every millennial.. we all know we don't like surprises!), it is exciting to not know what is in store for us. This baby has all the control now and I'll (try) to be ready for whenever it wants to make its arrival into this amazing world.

Until then, I'm trying to wrap my mind around spending less time behind a computer to adapt to my soon-to-be-new reality of changing diapers. Here's to hoping Baby A gives us a few days to nest so we can get ready for this next crazy, awesome adventure ahead of parenthood.

Signed,

{soon-to-be} #MamaBoss

#365DaysofGratitude: My colourful jar of daily happiness

I've promised for some time I would share more about #365DaysofGratitude, something I've committed to do this year (along with #Blog452). These were 2 of the 5 goals I set for 2017 and so far, I'm happy to say its something I've stuck to doing every night. Yay to goal-setting AND actually executing as I recently shared in my 2017 Q1 check-in!

Over the Christmas holidays, I happened to stumble upon a Facebook post by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of one of my favourite books Big Magic & the well-known Eat, Pray, Love. She talked about what she called her 'Happiness Jar' and it sparked my interest to want to do something similar. The results from something so minimal, free and easy seemed so transformational. The concept is similar to what many authors suggest in keeping a 'gratitude journal' where you write down three things you are grateful for each day.

I know, a lot of people after reading something like this think:

  1.  Its a nice thought but I don't really have the time;
  2.  I would never stick to doing this everyday;
  3. Why would I write down what I'm happy/grateful for, seems pointless when I KNOW what I'm grateful for.

But for some reason, the idea stuck with me.

It was exactly the constant daily, habitual reminder I needed to appreciate the small things that make up each day that I've perhaps neglected over the years. I think its just human nature to worry more about the big ticket items of less trivial meaning and what went wrong/what could have been, rather than what is in our control that makes us happy in a day. That despite the fast-paced world we live in, cherishing the small details along the way is what gets us through life. That, and a positive attitude.

I liked Gilberts' way of putting one thought in a jar at the end of each day, because I would be able to visually see the results of sticking to it each day as the jar get fuller.

I also loved the simple fact of using bright coloured sticky notes to document my #365DaysofGratitude. Colourful sticky notes always = happiness!  ;)

Writing down one simple thing I'm grateful for at the end of each day... or something that has made me laugh, appreciative, happy or feel fortunate for.... has been such a fun exercise since starting on January 1st.

On bad days when I've need the boost to see that 'this too shall pass,' the daily habit of reflection has provided the retrospect that was so needed in moments like those.

On the good days, it has made me love and appreciate these days even more.

And the best part about using a 'jar' is it feels a lot like the passage "my cup runneth over." Its only April and my jar is already filled, to the point that I may have just underestimated how committed I was going to be to this daily challenge, because I may have bought too small of a jar. A larger jar is an upgrade I am excited to invest in.

Not only has it changed my daily mindset of how to approach things differently in professional and personal settings, I really can't wait to get to the end of the year now so I can dump out all 365 gratitude notes on my coffee table and read them back to myself. Some I know I'm going to laugh at; others I will cry at for good reason; and I suspect that at the end of the year, I will know what areas of my life I'm routinely grateful for.

This has been one of those goals I've loved executing everyday that really, anyone that has access to pen, paper, a jar/box of some type and a commitment to do it everyday, can do.

It is a worthwhile #2017 goal that has had such a profound payoff.. and its only April!