So I’m my late twenties… now what?

Halfway through 2019, and here I am: blogging/e-journalling with a creeping migraine. Some days I feel great about where I’m headed, the progress I’ve made. Other days I feel like I’m so far behind everyone else, why even bother trying?

I’m 27, turning 28 in a few months. Eek. Did I think I’d be here when I was eighteen? Definitely not.

When I was teenager, I thought I’d have everything together by 28. Maybe engaged, or married. Career thriving. Travelling the world. Making and saving comfortably. I thought I’d be the fittest I’d ever be, and basically just have all my shit together.

Now that I’m sitting here, reflecting on the past 10 years, one thing I know to be true is no matter what age you are, it never really feels or looks the way you think it’s going to. I have a pretty unoriginal theory that our physical bodies age at a much faster rate than our minds and souls, leaving us feeling like time has flown by before we’ve had the chance to really live.

I mean, yes, I have a lot more experience and am a completely different person than who I was ten years ago. At the same time, it feels like high school graduation was just yesterday.

Needless to say, 2019/Year 27 has been a year of renewal and realignment. It’s been a year of questioning old beliefs, digging up and healing old wounds, rediscovering who I am NOW today (not who I wanted to be 5-6 years ago), and updating my list of goals and dreams accordingly.

It’s been a year of learning how to set boundaries (still learning), and stepping into my flow whilst relinquishing control at the same time… I know, it hurts my brain too.

Where I think these next 10 years are headed is focusing on becoming the most raw, authentic version of myself possible. The most raw, authentic, creative, go-getting, stock-investing, TFSA/RRSP-maxing, take-no-bullshit, happy, conscious version of myself.

Yayyyyyy. I’m not gonna lie, I’m kinda scared. But then I remember life is extremely, extremely short. All of this life is just going to pass me in the blink of an eye, and none of this small stuff (overthinking, over-worrying, being scared) will really matter.

Then I just breathe, take it all in, and enjoy this beautiful fragile human life for what it is: a tiny blip in the grand history of time. So important and consequential, yet so meaningless and inconsequential. Everything we do matters, and nothing we do matters. Ultimately, therefore, life is what you make it.

What I wish for in my life is to have made a difference in the world for the better, to have loved and been loved, to tell great stories, to create, to laugh, to cry, to give generously; to stand up for what I believe in; to not waste a single second of my precious time and attention; to appreciate every moment, even the bad; to pass on, free of burden and regret.

What do you wish to accomplish in your lifetime?

🌻 #WhereHappinessBegins
IG: @WhereHappinessBegins_

Featured Image by Wolf Zimmermann on Unsplash

Choose longterm happiness over short-term gratification

@WhereHappinessBegins_ Fondation Beyeler Artwork - Cumulo by Tacita Dean

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There is no light without the dark. I don’t believe in the idea of false positivity. Or that the point of life is to always be happy, laughing, and dancing. Every emotion on the human spectrum has its place, cause, and purpose – even the ones we deem as “negative”.
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I don’t believe in burying negative/unwanted emotions with positivity quotes and meaningless feel-good advice that miss the point entirely.
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I believe in self-awareness and going deep to locate the ROOT of our unwanted emotions. If you’re going to distract yourself because you aren’t ready to deal with an emotion yet, at least be aware that’s what you’re doing.
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Choose longterm growth and happiness over temporary emotional bandaids, and lean into the entire spectrum of your thoughts and feelings. Because what you resist persists!
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An ignored thought/feeling will only keep getting louder and louder and louder until it is addressed. It WILL demand to be seen and heard, and likely in ways you do not want.
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Don’t be an ostrich by sticking your head in the sand 😝 Learn to pull back the curtain on the shadowy parts of your mind so that the light and warmth can come through.

🌻 #WhereHappinessBegins
@WhereHappinessBegins_
Artwork: Cúmulo by Tacita Dean
Location: Fondation Beyeler, Basel, Switzerland

Becoming the local traveller – bringing wonderment and curiosity to your hometown

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Location: Basel, Switzerland
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I love to travel. Don’t we all? All the new sights, smells, places to explore, foods to try, cultures to observe. Every city/town with its unique hums and beats.
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Even more-so, is this profound sense of PRESENCE many of us experience whilst travelling. Because so many things are NEW and different from our usual routine, everything grabs our attention.
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🤔 We NOTICE more. We are more aware of our surroundings, how others act and behave, and in turn, how we act and behave. In other words, for many of us, we become much more mindful.
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😍 We find inspiration in the shops, and the architecture of the city. We find an electric aliveness in its hustle and bustle, and bask in the peaceful and quiet tranquility of a small town. We are more willing to try new things.
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🙌🏼 In this new place, we are away and free from all the expectations, and the “us” – the version of ourselves we’ve become accustomed to – that only exists at our lives back home.
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🙋🏻‍♀️ In this new environment, we are freed up to move and speak and choose a little differently. We are not so confined and constrained to the “we” we think we ought to be, or the “us” our friends and family have gotten to know.
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What if we could be our curious, open-minded, free, adaptable, and happy traveller selves back home too?
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And I get that there are many people who travel and are just as stressed out, rude, and uptight as they are at home. But in my experience, even the grouchiest of Ebenezer Scrooges are more willing to try something new.
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What if we took this long Easter weekend to really look and SEE our lives, the places we live, and our friends and family through the eyes of a curious and wandering tourist?
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What would it be like to approach everything and everyone – including ourselves – with a sense of renewal everyday?
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A clean slate, every day.
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The wonderment and joy of exploration and discovery, every day.
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I think life would look pretty awe-some, wherever we are in the world.

🌻 #WhereHappinessBegins
#CraveGoodTravel
@WhereHappinessBegins_

Don’t be afraid of doing things and going places by yourself!

@WhereHappinessBegins_ People Watching in Singapore

Does anybody else enjoy being by themselves over a quiet meal or coffee, and just people watch, or be with their thoughts?
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I love eating, drinking (coffee/tea), shopping, running errands by myself. I love going to Chapters Indigo and spending the afternoon tucked away in a corner, or sitting at a communal table.
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In my life, people have often expressed how they could never do that, or prefer to be with others, or that being out alone makes them feel weird or self-conscious.
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While having welcomed company is wonderful, there is such benefit to learning to become comfortable with your self and your own thoughts, and learning to put your happiness over what you THINK people are thinking about you.
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Trust me, no one’s looking. And if they are, they are either genuinely curious, or judgemental. Either way, what other people think of you, is none of your business – in this context, anyway!
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🤔 I love observing others.
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☕️🍜 I love being able to savour a meal or beverage fully.
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🙋🏻‍♀️ I love being able to say where I want to go, and how long I choose to be there for.
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💭💫 What a wonderful opportunity it is for ideas and questions to spark and grow.
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🧘🏻‍♀️ I love practicing being present, in my body, and noticing my thoughts.
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🌞 I love being able to bask in the luxury of “nowhere to be but here and now”, and in the spaciousness of time that is 100% mine.
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Spending these moments alone makes me have to be CLEAR on, “What IS it that I want right now?? What do I want to do, now that I have ALL the say?”
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This weekend, carve some time out to be by yourself. You know all those places you’ve been wanting to go to, or things you’ve been wanting to do/see that no one else seems to be interested in, or interested in ENOUGH to go? Take yourself!
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To that restaurant or coffee shop. To that “Instagram-worthy” place. To that movie, concert, event, exhibition, class, workshop, seminar! To the store. To the beach. Go on a long walk. Life is too short to have our actions dictated by what others are willing or not willing to accompany us for.

🌻 #WhereHappinessBegins
@WhereHappinessBegins_

None of us are entitled to our dreams, and we ALL have the right to pursue them.

I regularly find myself laying in bed, scrolling through Instagram, being flooded with thoughts of, “What is the point of blogging, or sharing anything online? Why do I even bother? I don’t stand a chance!”

Whatever your “thing” is, whether it’s photography, poetry, self-development, fitness, cooking/food, travel, beauty, music, business, female empowerment, dogs, cats – or any of the hundreds of other categories and specific niches under said categories – there are likely already hundreds of thousands of other people sharing and passionate about the exact same thing.

With that mindset, it can be pretty disheartening to attempt, well… anything in life.

*distant cries of all the projects I’ve started and stopped in my adult life*

But wait a minute. Why am I even trying to “keep up” with the rest of the internet?? And what is it that I don’t think I stand a chance in exactly? Being Instagram famous? Blogger famous? I mean, Seriously? Is this really what I’ve come to?

Here’s the thing. Pre-social media, in the days of the internet dial-up, I’ve been creative writing since I was 7-years-old, and journalling/blogging since I was 10 or 11. I read, wrote, drew, performed, doodled, documented, photographed. From a young age, I’ve been awestruck and inspired by art & artists, innovation & problem-solving, design, philosophy, and the many intricate details of human life and behaviour. I’ve always found different ways to express my inner world and tell stories.

My point is, when you are clear on the things you’re authentically passionate about and why, none of that other stuff matters. It doesn’t matter how many likes or followers you get. It doesn’t matter whether your passion turns into a full-fledged career, or remains as a hobby. Although, I’ll admit that being seen and acknowledged is way more fun than not at all. And how fun would it be to get to “play” and create for a living?

(Pssst. As someone who is a full-time creative freelancer who gets to work from home every day, be careful what you wish for!)

 

I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer. – Jim Carrey

I believe the act of creating alone should be enough to bring you fulfillment, with or without recognition. So here are a few questions I’ve asked myself:

If the internet did not exist, would I still be doing this, or its relevant equivalent? If the internet did not exist, would I still want to do this for a living, would it be a hobby, or would I be interested in something different?

What is it that I truly want, and think I’m going to achieve by pursuing this?

For example, in my teens and early twenties, I was certain I had to be an actor, or writer/author. What I realize now in my mid-late twenties is what I truly wanted and want is a platform where I’m free to express my thoughts and be creative; to provoke deeper feeling and thought in myself and others; to open conversations; to help others alleviate pain and suffering.

That desire isn’t attached to any specific thing, vocation, or “dream” I have for myself. Nor is it attached to a specific platform.

It is ESPECIALLY not attached to any number of likes, views, or followers.

We are all blessed to be living in an era where making an income through our hobbies and passions is more viable than ever. On the flip side, many of us forget that it is actually a privilege to be able to do so – especially for the younger generations for whom this way of life is all they’ve ever known.

None of us are entitled to our dreams, and we ALL have the right to pursue them.

What you have to share, create, do, or say does matter, and can make a difference.

My only interjection is that whatever you pursue, do it because you truly believe in what you’re doing and why. Not because you desire fame or recognition, or because everyone else is doing it and you’re scared of missing out.

#WhereHappinessBegins
Instagram @WhereHappinessBegins_

Trust that the path you’ve been taken in life is where you’re meant to be.

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Trust that the path you’ve been taken in life is where you’re meant to be.

I’ll be honest. Some days feel pretty repetitive and meaningless – this blog is, after all, a discovery of where happiness begins; why would there need to be a discovery if one was already at their desired destination?

It can be easy to fall into the melancholic trap of thinking, “Why this?

Why that?

What is the point of it all?

Who am I doing it for?

And my brain is right! Life can be repetitive and meaningless, if you so choose. Think of it this way: Life is essentially your personal vehicle on this Earth, and you are the GPS.

I love long drives (and walks) with nowhere to go, and nowhere to get to, just a good playlist in tow. There’s something meditative and lovely about simply being in life with no expectation or distraction.

 

You grow your best thoughts in silence, solitude, and meditation. When you relax and think deeply, you are giving your inmost powers their best opportunity to disclose themselves. — Grenville Kleiser

All of my best, most revelatory thoughts happen in moments of deep solitude and meditation. I think if someone told me I could sustain myself on solitude, deep thought, and philosophical ponderment for the rest of my life, I’m 98% sure I’d be content 95% of the time.

But this is real life, and short of becoming a recluse or a monk, at some point you’ve got to choose to turn off somewhere and rejoin the world of the living. For deep thought will bring about deeper thought, but it is only in the act of living in which you feel truly alive, meaningful, and human.

The act of living is simply this: to choose with intention, the acts and destinations in life which make you feel alive.

To return to our car and GPS analogy, you choose where you want to go and why. You choose where to stop, turn off, get a coffee, and who to pick up along the way.

The act of living means going from aimless driving and autopilot-mode to one of intention and choice. When was the last time you made an intentional choice to make the choices that make you feel alive on any given day? No, not planning for this evening after work, not planning for the weekend, but NOW on THIS day today.

And in that vein, when was the last time you did something just for you that adds meaning to your life?

How many times are you going to talk about starting that hobby or project, learning that new skill, treating yourself to that self-care thing, going to the place with that person, reorganizing your finances, picking up the book that’s been collecting dust on your nightstand? Even if it may be unexciting to the average person but means something to YOU, and adds to YOUR life.

Yes, life can feel repetitive and meaningless because many of us live every day waiting for the life we want to happen to and for us. We live vicariously through characters in movies and TV shows, and strangers in a box on our cellphone screens—strangers and characters, by the way, whose lives seem to bounce from BIG moment to BIG moment, skipping everything else in between.

Happiness can be comprised of moments of all sizes. While we’re waiting for those BIG moments of happiness—that promotion, vacation, graduation, relationship, proposal—it’s important to enjoy the little moments in between.

Let’s put the joy back into the little everyday things that are sacred, and just for us.

No matter what, whether your life is filled with big moments, or small… whether you prefer to spend today driving around aimlessly & freely, or GPSing it with choice & intention:

Move when you are called to move. Stop when you’re tired—in fact, feel free to take a nap on the side of the road. Switch lanes when the one you are on no longer serves in getting you to your desired destination. Crank up the music when things start to get boring. Roll the windows down. Barely make that red light. Go on cruise control. Change the station.

Remember, it’s never too late to change where you’re going. Where you end up is exactly where you’re meant to be.

#WhereHappinessBegins
Instagram @WhereHappinessBegins_

Remember when you wanted what you currently have?

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YOU KNOW. That relationship, that career goal, that destination holiday, that THING you wanted more than anything—until you got it, and subsequently moved onto the ‘next’.

As humans, we are often searching for MORE, bigger, better, of sometimes simply different. The second I get or achieve the thing I’ve been wanting, my mind immediately goes:

  • What’s next?
  • How can I make this or get EVEN better??
  • How do I get to the next level/step?

As a result, I’m in a constant state of bottomless dissatisfaction, PEPPERED with momentary flashes of bliss. And that’s all well and fine… except for the fact that it can feel a little empty, meaningless, stressful, and endless.

Rather than continue this inane Cycle of Discontent, it’s important to step back, and appreciate/acknowledge our accomplishments, and what we have SO THAT we can have more meaningful and happy lives. So that our accomplishments and goals actually hold MEANING and purpose.

Cliché and perhaps eye-roll-worthy, but quite effective when applied. It’s not about giving up your goals, life standards, or ideals. It’s not about settling for a lesser life, and pretending to be “happy” about it. Do/get/make whatever you want.

The thing about gratitude and learning to appreciate what you have is it allows for ease and contentment in your life EVEN IF nothing else were to ever change about it again. It adds meaning to the rat race, and relieves a bit of the self-inflicted pressure.

Stop, breathe, and pat yourself on the back. You’re doing good.

#WhereHappinessBegins
Instagram @WhereHappinessBegins_

Letting go of the old, embracing the new

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Midnight Thoughts:

Dreams change. Priorities change. Weight, size, hair, skin change. Friends change. Jobs and career paths change. Favourite foods, books, drinks, hangout spots may change. PREFERENCES change. Values change. Who we want to invest time into changes – WHAT we invest time into changes. How we view money and finances changes. Where we’d like to live, who we’d like to be, and what we want out of life changes. What lights our soul and spark changes.

These kinds of changes to our “fundamental” selves can be scary. We spend so many years knowing ourselves as everything we’ve stuffed into this box of “Who I Am”, that sometimes we don’t even realize or WANT to accept that things may have changed – for the better, or for the worse (hopefully always better).

I’m personally going through one of those major shifts right now. I grow and change every day. Who I am now sometimes feels like a completely different person from who I was last month. Yet only very recently did I realize just how FUNDAMENTALLY different I am today in my mid-late twenties, from who I was just 4-5 years ago. Everything has completely changed, what I want has changed, yet I am/was still living like I was the same person. No wonder I’ve felt so unfulfilled, lost, and unhappy!

It’s so important to stop and acknowledge when a change or shift has happened, embrace it, reflect on our “old” self, then let go and bravely leap into the next chapter with abandon. No good is had holding onto our past selves and the things we USED to want.

The truth is, real happiness does not live in the past. It does not live in the future. It lives in the here and now where the real magic happens.

#WhereHappinessBegins
Instagram @WhereHappinessBegins_

Image by @AliceKassLingerie

Love in Chicago

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To me, happiness begins right here. At 640am, with the love of my life, straight from the airport after over 12 hours of travel from Vancouver > Seattle > Chicago, because it was too early to check into our Air BnB.

Whenever I see this photo, I’m filled with so much joy. I love how the shadows complement the light (as they always do). And the quietness of the coffee shop just before the 730am rush.

Location: La Colombe Coffee on N. Clark & Foster Ave, Chicago, Illinois
Highlights: Almond milk cappuccino; Almond milk ‘Pure Black and Tan’ draft latte

#WhereHappinessBegins #HappyTravels #CraveGoodCoffee
Instagram @WhereHappinessBegins_