thoughts as of lately

I love the fact that February allowed me to see the sunrise every day. Sunrises and sets put a smile on my face whether I’m weathering minus 40 in Edmonton or swaying to the waves in Thailand. It did however, take my travelling to realize how beautiful they are…and they’re free 😉

When you skip the gym for a week your ego is less important than your back. Weight down.

Stampede is four months away. A lot happens before then…but I’ve also been in Edmonton for four months which has flown by. Somehow I feel like I won’t be home until I go.

I think my trip basically jinxed me for the rest of my travels. It seems fundamentally wrong to fly anywhere for less than a month. Additionally nowhere seems ‘cool’ enough…I’m of the Pyramids or nothing mentality at the moment, which could keep me Alberta locked until next decade.

I’m really really really excited for outdoor farmer’s markets this summer.

What did people do before tinder? …What do people without tinder do?

Vitamins actually make you feel so much better. #mindblown

I spent $120 on hair product this weekend. Got more compliments on my hair in 3 days than I have in three months. Best. Investment. Ever. (I don’t have a shred of care for how vain that sounds)

Suits is amazing. Apparently shot in Toronto—less amazing. If legal secretaries actually made how much Donna must make to upkeep that wardrobe I’d switch careers.

Orange is the new black…less amazing once again. One of those Netflix stole 10 hours of my life tragedies.

There’s nothing quite like foreign roommates who don’t clean and leave open cans of tuna in the cupboard to make you realize you are no longer a student, and although you are not Harvey Specter, you make enough money to live somewhere that isn’t at a risk of burning down from a perma-on rice cooker at any given minute. We are young…but not that young.

Which leads me to my final point. How are children, yes, CHILDREN born in 1996 allowed in bars?

“I used to be am an athlete”

Last night I did 85 full push ups, rows with a 20lb weight, tuck jumps, mountain climbers, Russian twists, plank jacks, weight swings, and squat shoulder presses…for half of my workout. That statement may be super un-relatable, unimpressive, or arrogant in your opinion…Personally I think it’s pretty damn good considering that a month ago push ups quickly fell to my knees, I struggled with a 15lb weight, and took one (or two) breaks in 45 second mountain climber intervals.

I digress…The point of this is not to post all about the butch sweaty shit I fill my evenings with, but instead to speak about fitness from the perspective of a former ‘athlete’. It wasn’t until I was talking to my doctor before the holidays that I realized how far off the fitness trail I had gotten. I think those of us who grew up playing competitive sports consider ourselves [still] to be athletes…training the amount my peers and I did, the mentality becomes a fiber of your self-image.

We, the starlets of ‘girls’ and ‘boys’ athletics may or may not have gone on to play varsity sports…hell, I ran a bloody marathon…or did something to keep the freshman 15 off….but now we’re men and women. Men and women who work, 8-5, which is really 6-6 when you consider getting ready and the commute, and then we go to happy hour because some days never end and we work now, so we can afford pretentious hipster beer to support local start ups run by 20 year olds making triple our salary. Then we go home and creep social media comparing ourselves to all of our other graduate friends while also watching Netflix and planning our next trip on our grown up vacations to motivate ourselves to go to the gym. But we’ll go tomorrow because we’re athletes and we get fit/lose weight/look great easily and naturally due to ‘muscle memory’. Then the vacation is actually soon, we check the weather to see how much we will need to be in a bikini, then pay too much for shadowed spray tans, cut out carbs and drink 4L of green tea a day.

Or something like that.

As mentioned, I had a moment of clarity when I went to my physician before Christmas. She asked what my fitness habits were like. I promptly said: “I’m fit”. She asked what I did to be ‘fit’, to which I got flustered and began reciting my athletic achievements from high school and college to have her so bluntly clarify what I had done in the last week, ‘’or month even’’. My response was “I walk to work…which is like 30 mins a day…and I go to yoga….sometimes…well….but not hard yoga”. Yes, my lack of evidence was a bit embarrassing… perhaps worse, she said I was ‘just an average adult’…I think I signed up for the Blitz Conditioning 30 day challenge that night.

I got to a point where I wanted to get fit. A point where losing weight was secondary to performance. I had been to Blitz’s HIIT (High intensity interval training) a few times. The first time I was sore for 5 days (also part of ‘I used to be an athlete’ syndrome….known as ‘5 years ago this was a joke, so obviously I can do it now’ complex”), so committing to 4 days a week for a month seemed extreme. Also, Blitz is pretty far from my house considering I commute by foot or transit, AND the challenge was 200 buckaroos. (Successful completion results in a ‘free’ February). So if, IF, there were days where my performance and restoring the facet of my identity that included ‘athlete’ weren’t enough…the mentality of it being a ‘$200 class’ got my ass to the gym.

30 Day Challenge: Nailed it!

30 Day Challenge: Nailed it!

A month, nearly a ‘stone’ lighter, and many inches slimmer I can say with confidence that the 30 day challenge was the best ‘diet’ I could have done. Why? Because I am going to stick to it. Why? Because my life is more fun, includes more great people, I don’t crave my old lifestyle, and I am achieving goals (fitness and otherwise) again. Having to get classes done by Friday has made me avoid procrastination in the challenge but in every part of my life. I feel like I belong to the Blitz community; seeing the familiar faces is my social fix and it keeps me accountable.

Four days a week is a lifestyle challenge not an ego challenge (like 30 day every day events). If all studios did 4 day a week challenges there might be hope to a healthier Edmonton (& society in general). How can people preach to make ‘SMART’ goals, then host challenges that represent unrealistic long-term outcomes?? Exercising 4 days a week should be a habit. It shouldn’t be ridiculous. It isn’t ridiculous. And by the end of 4 weeks—the time it takes to break a habit—you realize it. More importantly you enjoy it, and you want to keep doing it.

HIIT is a great workout, you can read that in any journal or health blog, and many places offer it. So why Blitz? Because I am an athlete: I train, I set goals, I crush them, I set goals, I fail, I re assess, repeat. I’ve come to the conclusion that being an athlete is a mindset rather than a level of performance, and Blitz has made that accessible to me when I thought it was lost with my ‘youth’. I think I have been through every single one of those phases in the last months and I have felt supported and inspired to continue both by the trainers and my peers at every step of the way. That is worth any commute or price tag in my opinion.

25 by 25

So there’s this post being shared incessantly about what to do before 23 besides getting married. I took a gander and decided that I had either accomplished the list at 5 years old (get a passport) or really couldn’t give two shits (join the peace corps)…and as any slightly arrogant 20-something I thought I would just write my own. So here is my list before 25 but really just how I think I’m a grown up…because writing to-do lists and actually doing what’s on them is honorary #26

1. Move out. You will not only learn how much your parents did for you growing up, but you will also get a rude realization as to the cost of actually living. Toilet paper is the hardest money to part with…but then you travel to Asia and it all sort of makes sense. You learn how empowering and lonely your independence can be and how to maximize the former.

2. Be Irresponsible. Often coming with #1, but sometimes (from what my younger sister says) very easily accomplished in high school. Get it out of your system. Everybody has an part of them that wants to see how cool 20 tequila shots and your head in the toilet at a rave really feels. So do it, then understand why it is (or should be) a phase. It will also make you way better at managing your time in the long run when you can go to bed on time when you have a real job because you know you aren’t missing out.

3. Be responsible. By responsible I am also implying learning how to manage your time. Responsibility never tasted so sweet as when you reflect to your less proud days. Doing laundry day more than once a month, actually buying groceries, having a bedtime, and everything else that has to do with being a ‘grown-up’ isn’t actually all that lame. Who knew the day would come when people would respect you for having only one beer because you need to go to the gym in the morning?

4. Be selfish. When else can you ever focus on you and only you. Soon enough there will be career, spouse, kids, and our aging parents. Savour the time to do what you want when you want. Be selfish to figure yourself out. What makes you tick? Do it, be aware that your doing it, and when you’ve taken what you need, carry on. Being selfish at least once (not a day, like a year) will not only refocus your life, it will make you accountable for everything in it…quite the humbling lesson.

5. Find peace with a regret. It all happens for a reason…right? Look back, think of the biggest rip-off you think life dealt you, or your most epic error….and think about who you would be had it hadn’t happened. Congratulate yourself on growing from it in the long run, and genuinely believe that it will all work out in the end.

6. Fall in AND out of Love. I’m laughing at my own cheesiness right now, but hey…25 is a long list… Live the cliche ‘young and dumb and in love’ to its fullest. Then feel yourself grow up a solid five years when the young and dumb over-power the ‘in love’. I mean that in the least cynical way possible…(and I know that this will spur controversy, oh well #7 Accept that you cannot please everyone.)

You can’t. And if it seems like you do either they’re all lying to you or you’re lying to yourself. There are ways to be unpopular for what you believe in rather than people just saying you’re a jerk…that is a fine line you should probably figure out by 25 too. The more you realize time is precious, the less you are willing to waste it appeasing to the desires of others.

8. Be the other kid. I’m sure that western schools have forced you into thinking you are a math/science kid or an arts kid. Even if you just try one thing…be the other kid and see how it goes. We live a lot of self-created stories because somebody once told us something and we held on to it for whatever reason. Test the theory, consider that you might just be OK at something else…or that doing it and not being great at it is OK too.

9. Say Yes. Not to drugs…unless still conquering #2…but to pretty much anything else to which you would have usually said No. It may go great, it may be horrid, either way you will have a first hand experience you wouldn’t have had if you had said no. And when you realize that that’s kind of how life works…that’s when the magic happens.

10. Do a diet fad. Maybe more women will agree with this than men, but regardless, being that aware of what you’re eating is actually a good thing, and while you’re at it watch one of those shocking food documentaries (if not for the skewed information, so you can converse AFTER dinner at social events). And when you realize why it is a FAD, hopefully you will have learned something about moderation as well as the value of good nutrition.

11. Learn how to cook. To pick up? Sure, Whatever floats your boat. You need to be able to nourish yourself, and eating out all the time isn’t good for your health or your wallet. Even if its a handful of signature dishes, know how to do more than use a microwave…not that also knowing how to use a microwave for anything isn’t a good skill too.

12. Go to a black tie event (other than graduations/weddings) So you can see what classy is. Not the lowest & shortest dress or having the date with one. Being able to drink a reasonable amount, and learning all sorts of staples to womanhood like double sided tape and your heel threshold are very important lessons…along with: Dancing like adults (ones that act it, not one’s who’s ID says so), having grown up –profanity free– conversation, and acting like everyone’s watching.

13. Learn your homonyms. The difference between knowing your shit and knowing you’re shit… enough said.

14. Get Stay in shape. Did you know our hair’s peak is at 19 years old? Pretty sure that it’s the peak for our whole body. I used to live a beer drinking, pizza eating college lifestyle followed by a weekly 10km run (which was never hard) and still be a size 4. Not only do hangovers now last 2 days, but I also get food hangovers, and I need about 5 times as much physical activity to stay in shape. Find something, or many things, that work for you and commit to them. Make fitness a priority, because they really aren’t lying when they say it gets harder with age.

15. Get an appropriate e-mail. (This is for you…and entire on-line identity for that matter. The world is a creepy, creepy place. I might be one of the ‘creepiest’ people when somebody has a new love interest, but I like to look at it as the modern day street smarts needed to survive. If you are putting a kegstand picture on linkedin you are neither hire-able or datable.

16. Read a fiction and non-fiction book. Read in general. Do you know how many struggling authors there are? Imagine how decent somebody must have thought these published people are to have invested money into printing their work. Read fiction, get lost in a story supported by your own imagination. Read non-fiction, learn how many captivating stories of humanity remain untold.

16. Iron/Steam your clothes. 16 a. Learn how to do grown up laundry. Also buy grown up clothes if you ever worked at lululemon…god knows we own way too much stretchy stink free neon…Know how to iron your pants and suits, how to make silk look chic, and how not to shrink your $200 shirt. When you get around to having nice clothes you will want to make them last…and the first time you pay to have your $200 shirt dry cleaned you learn to either not sweat or start reading washing instructions like your mother told you to.

17. Invest money. (and save money). See how amazing it is to grow your savings, learn the insecurities of investing, and ultimately set goals and visions to the long term. You will notice that investing and saving often come hand in hand, the stock market can be just as addicting as Gossip Girl and eventually buying a house will seem more important than Apple’s latest money grab

18. Invest in your wardrobe. Power suit. You should own one. Begin to buy classic pieces you can wear to WORK. Dress for the job you want not the job you have, and stop turning a blind eye to the fact that your appearance will affect how far you get in life. ‘God’ or whatever (genetics if you ask me) gave us what we have and we have to work with, but actually doing your hair in the morning and wearing nice clothes with nice accessories is something we can control and should do. Not for the vanity but to be professional and respected. If you’ve been fortunate enough to begin your stint in the ‘corporate’ world in your early twenties, you know how important this is.

19. Thank your parents. I’m sure you’ll do this pretty quick after moving out and realizing how many fairies don’t live in your pristine childhood home. Whoever raised you invested immeasurable amounts of time, money, and worry to do so. A few moments of personal clarity that come to mind: my baby sister telling me what ‘those’girls now do in grade 7, cleaning floors and walls and every stupid surface houses have, how much weight I gain when food is ‘free’ again at home.

20. Go to post-secondary. Preferably finish it too. College, university, trades school…learn how you learn, invest in something you’re passionate about, if nothing else, realize how stupid high school really is. University taught me to ask questions, that ‘natural’ smarts aren’t everything, that you get what you put in, what hard work really is, and most importantly how little I know. I learned about myself, my limits, my learning style as well as a whole lot of stuff I will never use again–the pros still outweigh the cons, though.

21. Volunteer. Do something for the benefit of others over yourself. Be aware that there are causes and people that need more and have less than you do. Realize that you, as a young person, have time and that time matters, and that it can actually be just as needed as money. Volunteering allows you to be a part of something bigger than yourself and it is one more place to belong in this growing dog-eat-dog world.

22. Practice self-reflection. Set goals, achieve them, change them, fail at them…then think about it. Appreciate them all for what they are and be at peace with it. Be so wise as to consider how you impact other people and how you react to the presence of others. Reflect to become self-aware, to keep yourself accountable, and as the first step in winning a Nobel Prize for figuring out the meaning of life. This is my plug for yoga–try it at least 10 times. The first 9 suck for 50% of people (no, not a real stat, do it anyway)

23. Purge your friends. On Facebook and everywhere else. Learn who the real ones are (I hope for your sake it is before you get burned). Have enough self-respect to cut the people who don’t make you happy out of your life. Understand that we accumulate friends of circumstance over the years, and that’s OK, but there’s a time an a place for everything including friends. This will allow you to be a better friend to the good ones and eliminate the unneeded stress and drama that often comes hand-in-hand with the people no longer worth entertaining.

24. Learn to appreciate sentimentality. This is a new one for me…it comes along with gratitude, but ultimately what I mean, is to appreciate the tangible for their ability to remind us of the beautiful intangible memories. Value your ‘things’ and your ‘places’, screw ‘Landmark Forum’ and go tie whatever meaning you want to them. After all, in the end what do we have besides our memories (well not the actual end, nobody knows what happens then…) Example, my favourite night in Byron Bay…great people and conversation…I took a small stone from the beach to remember it by.

25. Travel. The younger you go the longer you will have the memories, and the more you probably will travel because of the oh-so famous travel bug. ‘Travelling’ will evolve for you over time, each place will be different, each trip will contrast the last… but every time you go, you will grow as a person, meet somebody you wouldn’t have met at home, humbly remember that life could be different, and be inspired. Need I say more? If you do nothing on this list, do this…and the rest of it might just follow.

Bonus: Work in the service industry. So you can realize ‘those people’ are people too, many of them just as educated as you, and so you can start being a respectful and polite customer.

That’s a wrap. (I’m sure there are more)…perhaps I’ve gained humility in my old age.