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

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_

Growing Pains: Why “Knowing How” Is Not Enough To Change Your Life and Habits

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I’ve been stuck. I’ve been stuck for a long time. Moreover, I’ve been stuck and waiting. Waiting for something to change. Waiting for my dreams to miraculously fall into my lap; for an opportunity to appear out of nowhere, and for someone to give me all the answers.

Answers about where life is going and what it’s supposed to look like.
Am I making the right decision(s)?
What am I supposed to be doing?
Am I a good person?
Do I have a purpose?
Was I right/wrong?
Will I have a good life?
Should I go on this date with this person? But where should we go, and what should I wear?

What I’m starting to understand is KNOWING will never replace DOING. Even if by some miracle, I were given all the answers and could see my entire life mapped out, it would still leave the DOING to get there. Even if I were given the answers about why I get depressed, why I procrastinate; if I could scrutinize and distinguish every detail about WHY I am the way I am, how my childhood has affected my adulthood, and the “reasons” behind all my actions, it would still leave me not knowing HOW to change, or WHAT to do with that information.

Knowing will never replace doing, nor does it actually produce the results we want. However, neither does knowing how and what we need to do to achieve what we want.

I KNOW that the source of my poor relationship to food and body-image has to do with feeling criticized by my family as a child and teen. I KNOW that when I’m stressed or depressed, I use food as a means to feel better. I KNOW that when I’m hungry and binging on food, it is usually something else I’m hungry for, or I’m dehydrated. I KNOW that to lose weight, I’ve got to eat less, DO more, stay hydrated, and get more sleep.

Does knowing ANY of that make losing weight and getting fit easier? No. Does knowing make me put my fork down? No. Putting my fork down is what puts my fork down.

It is the DOING of the action that gets results.

 

One of the most important keys to success is having the discipline to do what you know you should do, even when you don’t feel like doing it. – Unknown

The incessant need for humans to understand WHY and psychoanalyze our lives, our pasts, and every single decision we make easily becomes another form of procrastination that excuses us from actually taking the actions to change, or grow.

Of course, there is a necessary degree of knowing that must occur; the degree of which will vary under different contexts. For example, knowing HOW to lose weight may not help us lose weight, but NOT knowing at all is certainly a hindrance.

Therefore, there is a healthy degree of responsibility we must all take to be well-informed, and gather the basic understanding of the WHYs, WHATs and HOWs of any given situation. But that is where we must learn to draw the line, and not fall into the curiosity trap of analysis paralysis, OVER-thinking, and hesitation, which often leads to justification, resignation, and avoidance.

The most effective way to become unstuck, find “answers”, and change our lives (or aspects of it) is to do things in a way that is different from how we have become accustomed to doing them—simple, right? But not easy.

 

Insanity is doing thing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results – Albert Einstein

Growth does not feel good, at first. Growth is NOT fun – at first. Growth may even feel counterintuitive at times. You sure as hell can bet that when you’re running your first mile after months or years of inactivity, every cell in your body will be screaming, “NO! This is not right! What are you doing?! WHY are you doing this??? Stop!!”

As human beings, we are hard-wired for survival, which means doing things we know will keep us safe. It means not taking too many risks, or going past our comfort zone.

CHANGE feels really difficult and downright impossible at times.
STRETCHING YOURSELF past your current limits is uncomfortable. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. And as humans, we love to make it especially difficult by expecting to be at Point Z before we’ve even reached Point A.

Growth is not always fun, but necessary to your happiness, sanity, health, goals, and fulfillment in life. Taking Action To Grow is the only way to get the answers you’ve been looking for, whether that answer is a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’, to ‘Proceed’ or ‘Change Paths’.

Growth will NOT always feel intuitive. It is easier to be resigned or cynical about growth, than to have to endure the pain of change, which is really the pain of taking unfamiliar actions. Growth can be painful, but it is always less painful and more rewarding than staying stuck, living the same predictable cycles for the rest of your life.

#WhereHappinessBegins
Instagram @WhereHappinessBegins_

Making decisions when you’re in analysis paralysis

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Art installation by David Shrigley featured at Art Basel 2018 in Basel.

You either let them in, or you don’t. What are you afraid of?
You either jump in with two feet, or you don’t. What are you afraid of?
Would you rather choose, or have it be chosen for you? What are you afraid of?

Would you rather be the decider, the creator of your life, or allow life to happen TO you as you sit idly by, paralyzed by indecision? WHAT are you afraid of?

What I’ve been learning recently is that the point is no longer necessarily WHAT I’m afraid of, or over-analyzing why I am/am not doing something. It’s about being able to make decisions, and FULLY accepting them with all the things they may or may not bring, DESPITE any fear of the unknown, neuroticism, worry.

Lately, the challenge I’ve been rising up to is making a DECISION in the face of indecision, and letting the chips fall where they may. And believing that I am capable of handling anything that comes my way.

No more getting stuck in analysis paralysis. No more toiling, twisting & turning, sitting on a decision for days, weeks, months, even YEARS. You’d be surprised how freeing that is.

“Come in. Don’t come in” –> You choose.

#WhereHappinessBegins #CraveGoodArt #HappyTravels
Instagram @WhereHappinessBegins_

Cocktails with Seedlip Gin

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Majorly cutting down on alcohol has been a relatively long and difficult journey! These days my alcohol consumption is few to none.

My reasons for reducing alcohol intake:

  • Getting tired of the same old weekend haze, doing the same shit, with the same people
  • Questionable, or emotional decision-making
  • How expensive it is!
  • Empty calories
  • Negative effects on my body and skin (bloating, water retention, dullness)
  • Occasional post-drinking blues
  • Brain fog & fatigue for DAYS
  • Seeing the amazing people around me who DON’T drink and have just as much, if not more, fun
  • Wanting to fully experience everything I’m doing and the conversations I’m having
  • Wanting to learn how to break down my own mental/emotional barriers without the help of alcohol
  • Wanting to learn how to manage my own stress from the week without having to rely on alcohol to “unwind”

This journey has definitely been so much easier with brands today such as @seedlipdrinks creating such cool, sophisticated high quality non-alcoholic spirits that are beautifully branded as well.

Location: Daylesford Farmshop & Café, London, United Kingdom

#WhereHappinessBegins #CraveGoodDrinks #HappyTravels
Instagram @WhereHappinessBegins_