Give a Little. Get a Little.

I have not been in the best of moods lately. And I’ve had a hard time composing a post. I have had a constant feeling of anxiety. I’m trying my best to get thru it but sometimes your best just doesn’t cut it.

I called ìn sick to work yesterday. I felt paralyzed. I couldn’t breathe and my whole body felt heavy. The idea of leaving my bed made me sick. I anticipated spending the whole day in bed but by 11:00 am I had talked myself thru my anxiety and got up to go to work. A small feat but I am proud of myself. I made it to work albeit late but I made it.

Living on my own has almost given me a bit too much time on my hands. I’ve been filling my agenda with things to do but primarily I am alone. There is this constant focus on myself and quite frankly I’m tired of it. Sure, I like working on bettering myself but that shouldnt limit me to only thinking of myself. It’s great to improve yourself but part of that improvement comes from actively serving others.

Service. That is what I am missing. When I lived at home before I started school again I volunteered at a hospital with seniors. I loved it. I went once a week for 6 months. I also worked at a seniors home and spent a lot of time talking and visiting with the residents. I grew to love them all and I miss that. While I was in school I served as a youth Sunday school teacher for almost 2 years, I loved my youth. Every week meeting with them was something I looked forward too.

I was thinking about it today. And I’ve determined that this is an aspect of my life that’s missing. I’m missing service. Ideally I’ll be able to find a role that allows me to bring Nutmeg along. I’m thinking either at a hospital or a seniors home. The idea has already lifted my spirits.

I feel like I’ll be a happier, better version of me if I’m taking the time to lift somebody else up.

Give a little. Get a little.

It’s a theory. And I’m going to test it out to see the difference it makes in my life. It definitely can’t do any harm.

– Steph

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Choose Happy

It’s that time of year again – when it’s a new year.

I love New Years, it’s a time of reflection and anticipation. What a sublime mix!

So much has happened in the year 2017, I’d say mostly good but undoubtably there were some challenges along the way. I feel excited to see what 2018 brings. There have been so many new beginnings for me recently so New Years seems fitting and right on schedule.

I love the simple illustration above, 1 year = 365 opportunities. How great is that?!

We are about to embark on a new 365 day adventure.

And what would New Years be without goals?? I’m all about goals, I believe they should be set beyond the New Years hype but if New Years gets people into a goal oriented mindset so be it. My “2018″ goal is to work on my balance. I want to be a modern renaissance woman. I want improve my intellect, spirituality and physicality. I want my knowledge, enlightenment and action to all increase.

It’s exciting to think I have an entire year to measure my progress. From where I was at the beginning of 2017 to where I am now. Life changing. I’ve had so many profound experiences that have shaped me. I think I’ve managed to become better from my experiences – not bitter. And now I get to bring my new package into 2018.

I recently bought some wall hangings for my new apartment one says “This is the good life” and the other says “choose happy”. I get a kick out of both. I live with bipolar, I live a life that no one would wish on anyone but at this point in my life I know I’m living the good life – bipolar and all. And secondly, choose happy, sometimes my mood is not my choice. This is why I chose this wall hanging. I used to resent when people would say “just choose to be happy” but now my perception has changed and I bought this wall hanging to remind myself that beyond the scope of my health their is a choice with how I choose to live. Regardless to my lows and highs. I still can choose me. And I choose happy.

If I feel nothing – I still choose happy.

If I’m crying for hours – I still choose happy.

If I have to fight with myself for days or weeks – I still choose happy.

It’s worth fighting for, it’s the life I want, the person I want to be – happy. We may not get to feel happy but the twist is that we can still choose happy. And at the end of the dark tunnel, that is the light that I see and hold on to.

Think of 2018 and all that it has to offer. Think of where you want to be in life and make it happen, you have 365 days to try and I guarantee you will become better day by day.

Look for positivity, radiate positivity and do not settle for anything less.

There is no need to justify negativity in your life whatever form it may be. 2018 is your year.

Choose happy, and remind yourself that it’s your life and you are living the good life. And if you aren’t then change things until you can say you are. Be in control of your life because it’s yours and yours alone.

Own 2018.

Happy New Years everyone!

– Steph

Shine Bright

Gratefully I have not had to encounter this that much in my life in recent years (I learned to cut people out who demonstrate this type of negative energy). Ultimately this quotes communicates a compliment that I think everyone should understand.

People who attack you as this quote expresses should only reassure you of your infinite potential. What a compliment. The fact they are trying to bring you down already testifies that you are above them. Not in a superior way (because everyone has value) but in way that you you are going places that they can’t follow, because of their self-loathing that manifests itself outwardly as attacking other genuine people.

Rest assured that you have infinite value and potential contrary to what people might say. When people speak ill of you, they want you to feed into their lies. That way you to become dependant on their opinion of you rather than being independent with how you personally view and value yourself. When they do this it gives them the power to bring you up or bring you down – it gives them the power to determine your value and ultimately your happiness or perception of happiness.

If you need someone else to reassure you of your value, you will never truly be happy or in control of your life. Separate yourself from the opinions of others. Stand on your own with a surety that come what may you are priceless with infinite potential.

Potential scares weak people, that’s why abusers try to take it away from you. Potential leaves people behind who don’t meet a certain standard, people who are complacent in life. It’s terrifying to know you are being left behind BUT rather than stepping up to change their own lives they seek to corrupt yours – it’s the easier thing to do. Something that requires less effort and creates a pretence of power in their life.

Never doubt your potential. Never let anyone dictate your value to you.

Take comfort in knowing that abusers attempts to speak ill of you should only reassure you that you are shining bright and they can’t handle the shine.

Shine bright. Stay grounded. Know your worth. And never let anyone bring you down – you are priceless.

– Steph

Step By Step

Life is so unpredictable, but I’m taking it step by step.

I still feel like I’ve won the lottery because I’m confident with who I am and I have so much to be grateful for. But oh boy, I broke a mirror on moving day … and 7 years seems like a long time!

I was in a fender bender on the day I moved – whilst driving my mother’s vehicle to my apartment (packed with my some of my things) a young girl cut me off as I was letting another car in front of me while in rush hour (she almost hit the car merging into my lane) and alas the immediate break while in bumper to bumper traffic wasn’t enough. So I clipped her car.

What else-

The fellow I’ve been seeing the past 2 months went to my work Christmas party last Saturday with me. Something felt off and I was left uneasy. So what did I do? I talked to him on Sunday.

It wasn’t just Saturday that felt off, ever since I got back from my trip he’s been hot and cold. I don’t play games – and I don’t appreciate being treated like one.

This conversation should have happened sooner, but it took place Sunday. I bit the bullet and faced the elephant in the room – why? Because I was unhappy, and why should I suffer silently when I’ve been gifted a voice and mind of my own.

Ultimately we weren’t on the same page, so we are parting ways. He wasn’t a toad – just a frog.

I get to hold my head up high because I was mature enough to communicate my feelings. I expressed what I needed to express, I didn’t just go with the flow. Who knows how long it would have dragged out.

Don’t be silent and passive in your relationships. If you have the opportunity to be happy take it. Even if it means you have an uncomfortable conversation.

2 months with him is better than 6 months or a year when ultimately we aren’t heading in the same direction.

Back to square one! Oh how I hate dating but as before my focus will be on myself and improving myself – when I meet the right guy he won’t catch me twiddling my thumbs in a castle tower. I’ll be living my own adventure and he’ll have to catch up to me.

A new beginning.

Nothing is wrong with that.

I feel stronger than I did before, I know my worth and it wasn’t dependant on the young man I was seeing. I’m priceless and one day I’ll meet someone who sees that. Until then I know it – and that’s all that matters.

What else –

Living on my own has been great, I miss my family and my close proximity to them all but Nutmeg and I are getting along pretty good.

I am still settling in, so I haven’t made a direct routine yet. I’ve been fitting in snowboarding … or perhaps snow falling is more accurate (I’ve been improving, but my body and ego are bruised) I have yet to go to the gym though. Next week. That’s when I’ll make my triumphant return. This week I’ll make my workout schedule. I’ll plan my meals. And I’ll be ready to go starting Monday.

I am planning to take classical guitar lessons starting January. And I’m planning on making a trip to the library to get my card (and books). So much to do!

I’m also thinking of taking Nutmeg to doggy daycare once a week (on Wednesdays) starting in January, just to get her out of the house in the winter since we can’t go for walks. I feel like she needs the socialization and something out of our ordinary to look forward to. I’m home Saturday and Sunday so it’s a nice way to break up the week for her.

Ultimately things are still going great. The frog wasn’t a setback, he was just a clean slate.

Never pass on a conversation because you think it will be uncomfortable. You will feel worse dwelling on the thoughts and emotions you feel than you will by just talking. Even if the outcome isn’t what you want – at least you get an answer.

Chin up.

Onward in our adventure of life!

– Steph

An Extra Happy Pill


Did you take your daily dose?

I am uploading this post early because I will not have a wifi connection on Thursday. That being said I will potentially also not have a wifi connection for the next 2 weeks, so if I don’t post it’s not because I’ve fell off the wagon its just because I am in the sunny country of Nicaragua!

It’s honestly been my dream to visit Nicaragua for as long as I can remember. My dad is from Nicaragua so it is important to me that I see where he is from and see my heritage. I will be going with my parents and I could not be more excited to share this experience with them. This trip was a graduation present and I can’t accurately express how grateful I am for this opportunity.

I love travelling but this trip is especially special to me.

Now, onto my post’s topic.

Gratitude.

Life can be so unbelievably hard sometimes, however if we can manage to have a grateful heart it can make a world of a difference.

I am not saying having a grateful heart is an easy task when things seem to be going wrong or when you are in the depths of despair, but I have personally tried really hard to look for the silver lining in every situation.

And boy – it’s not easy.

However, gratitude, is the key to a happy heart. When you see what you have, rather than what you don’t. When you can look at any situation and ask yourself what can you take away from it? 

There is always, always something positive that you can be grateful for.

I was once told that I say thank-you too much. Nonsense. You can never say thank-you too much. And I believe it’s important to share your gratitude with those around you. Not only will it make you feel better, but it will most likely lift the spirits of others. When you express your gratitude it’s harder to take things (or people) for granted and it sheds some light into your dark abyss. When have you ever felt worse off for hearing someone say thank-you to you? I’m going to guess never. So, fill your heart and someone else’s and say thank you.

If you have no one to physically express your gratitude to, write it down. Gratitude journals are a great idea, I have one (I haven’t recorded in this particular journal in a while since I record my thoughts in my personal journal), but looking back on what I wrote in the past is always uplifting. My sister recently bought a gratitude journal, and it’s rekindled the flame and I think I will intentionally write in my gratitude journal moving forward. I literally only listed 5 things a day, and that is probably where I will start again. It can literally be as simple as catching the bus on time – or waking up without having to hit snooze because you felt so rested.

The more we start to recognize the small things the more grateful our hearts will be and we won’t always have to look for the obvious things to be grateful for. The more grateful our hearts are the less anxious, resentful, envious or depressed we will be for the things we don’t have.

Here is a prime example, when I am in my lowest of lows and I am in bed for the majority of my day (or all day) my beloved little dog Nutmeg stays with me – she just cuddles up next to me and waits till I get up. I am so grateful for her unconditional love and her companionship. It warms my numb heart on those days and makes me feel when I would otherwise feel nothing.
To be grateful is to be intentional. And I believe acting and thinking with intention is the best way to better yourself. The best way to get to know yourself better, to be confident and comfortable in your skin.

Start in reverse, start thinking of all the obvious big reasons you are grateful and then work your way towards the smaller inconspicuous reasons. Fill your heart to the brim, and I guarantee you won’t regret it. Conscientiously make the decision to be grateful.  

Existing happens one way or the other BUT living is a choice. Choose to add meaning to your life. Choose to add depth. Choose to be a round character in your life’s story rather than a flat character.

Once upon a time with bipolar, I chose to be grateful and it gave me a life I never could have imagined.

– Steph

Think About It

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about thinking.

I don’t think I’m doing enough of it. That’s not to say I’m an airhead, I have thoughts BUT they just aren’t as profound as I would like them to be.

My conclusion is I haven’t been feeding myself enough mentally.

So, what am I going to do – or what do I need to do? I need to start reading, watching documentaries and making things.

I haven’t made the time to read, it’s on my list of things I want to start doing. I want to read at least 1 book a month (this is a realistic goal, because I can generally finish a book in a day or two) any genre, fiction or non-fiction. I just need to start. I used to read quite often, and then school happened and my reading consisted of text books and lecture notes. School has been over since May and I have yet to pick up a book. It’s a tragedy. I feel like my vocabulary is digressing.

Reading opens the mind to so much perspective (and broadens your vocabulary), regardless to whether its fiction or non-fiction. I went thru a phase where I would only read non-fiction (I take notes while I read) it was great, BUT one day I decided to change things up and I read a novel called “These Is My Words”, it was life changing. It moved me in a way that none of my non-fiction books could have ever done and it inspired me to start journaling again. It was incredible. I highly recommend reading it.

Reading is so enjoyable and I’ve learned that you should not set limits on what you read, sure I want to learn more so non-fiction seems like the logical choice, but fiction can be just as enlightening – and it’s fun to escape – to laugh and cry and become invested in characters. I’ve learned it’s important to let your brain take a break from structure.

I don’t have a library card BUT once I move, it is the first thing on my list to get and then the world will be my oyster.

That’s actually some exciting news I can share – I AM MOVING OUT! I am taking my final step of independence. I am finally at a place where I feel stable enough in my life (especially mentally) to make the move. I am nervous to be on my own BUT I will have my trusty sidekick Nutmeg to keep me company. I have a plan of action – I plan to keep myself busy and engaged. I will be maintaining my doctor appointments and checking in with my family, so I am not being tossed out to sea with no lifeline.

I am very excited, and I can’t wait to share my new adventure with you. I anticipate my life is going to get a lot more interesting since I won’t be spending 3 hrs a day in my car and on a train commuting. There will be so much more to do, especially since I will be in the big city.

I’ve lived on my own before, but it was always a struggle as I was not mentally in a good place. This time I will be standing on a firm foundation and I feel like I have a strong grip on my life

One thing in particular that I am incredibly excited about is decorating. I love decorating and my apartment is a blank canvas – my reality check is it will take me a while to furnish my apartment ($$$) BUT when I do I know it will be just the way I want it.

I anticipate that I will be fueling my brain with new thoughts, and finding new inspiration. I am not saying that you should wait till tomorrow to make things happen for you BUT by moving out my circumstances will enhance my ability to fuel my brain a lot more.

Getting back on subject and touching on what I said earlier, I would like to start watching documentaries, or at least Ted Talks. Something to inspire my thoughts and to help me learn more. Movies are fine, sure, but there is something so rewarding about watching a documentary.

I also want to start making things. I want to get my creative juices flowing. Creativity inspires new thoughts and ideas and like I mentioned I am lacking in that department. I’ve found that I am not as creative as I used to be. And I partially think that is my own doing (part of me thinks my medication may have contributed to numbing down my creative flair BUT this is just speculation), I haven’t put myself out there. I haven’t intentionally acted to create lately, I have had a hard time feeling inspired BUT again I just need to start. If my creations are terrible, they are a starting point and they will get better.

I just need to step outside of my box – I have no doubt there is a way out if I apply myself. I’ve made myself aware of the situation, I’ve recorded my feelings and thoughts on it. Now the next step is to apply my plan of action and make a change.

Thinking is something I do a lot of, I don’t want to be on a re-run thinking the same thoughts and ideas over and over again. I don’t want to be a hamster on a wheel getting no where. I want more – there is so much more out there beyond my present scope.

Challenge yourself to think more profoundly. Don’t just “think” but think.

I’ll write an update down the road, hopefully I will have more thoughts to share on the matter.

– Steph

Just Live A Little


Life.

My oh my. 

I’m currently working on making the most of my life. Recently I had someone walk into my life, mind you I showed them the exit… BUT for the brief time they were in my life they caused me to re-evaluate how I was living it. I am the most stable I’ve ever been – this is a fact. But there is more than just being stable. More than just holding the status quo.

I’ve done things in my life, but I haven’t all at the same time. Living was such a struggle for so many years I feel like my life was a bit of a write-off. Perhaps I haven’t completely escaped the mentality of just surviving. 

But I’m here. I’m alive and I want my life to reflect that.

I was asked about my bucket list and I only had 2 things to list off. On top of that the two ideas weren’t even that creative! 

That just won’t do.

Over the course of two weeks I developed a bucket list. Or rather “lists”. One list outlines things I would like to do over the course of 2017/2018, and the other lists things I’d like to do in a lifetime. I’m trying to step outside of my box, escape the mundane routine I’ve created. Add a little bedazzle. Spice things up. You get the idea.

I’m really proud of my list, it took quite a bit of effort to create it. 

It’s so easy to get into a routine, routine is good don’t get me wrong BUT there should be more. More to life. Where did my exploratory nature go? Where is my sense of adventure?

I was going thru a bit of depression the past while, feeling trapped. But I realized I was the one putting myself in the cage or like I referred to it earlier – a box. I was the one restricting myself, no one else.

When you feel trapped you are the only one who can free yourself, whatever that situation may be.

Escaping our box is a choice, and most often it requires that we put in effort and feel a bit uncomfortable. And why must we feel uncomfortable? Because my dear friends, we are stepping outside of our norm and its the price we must pay.

And when I say I want to live life I don’t mean I need to climb Mount Everest or backpack thru Europe, not saying I’d turn down the opportunity.  What I’m talking about is reading books, going to museums and art galleries, taking guitar lessons, joining a choir, going to a paint night (which I just did … my painting was terrible! But I had fun making it, and that’s what it’s all about), simple yet impactful things that will add dimension to my life. 

Dimension that’s my objective. I want to have something to talk about, things to look forward to. I want to meet people, enrich my life with perspective. Expand my way of looking at life and take advantage of the life I’ve been blessed with.

I want to be an actively engaged in my life rather than passively letting it pass me by.

I feel so passionately about this new outlook on life, I feel alive and excited for what is to going to happen because of me making it happen. 

Ask yourself if you are trapped in routine, feeling like life is escaping you – then make a list. Make a list of things outside of your box and start doing them.

It’s been a big year for me. Lots of new chapters with school ending, me getting my dream job, a couple of toads crossing my path. I feel like in my life’s story is picking up its pace and it’s only going to get better! 

Stop thinking about all the things you’d like to do. Take action and do them. Liberate yourself from the box you live in and add dimension to your life. Stay stable but add a little bedazzle. 

– Steph