Decisions, Decisions 

Decisions, decisions. Sometimes I’m a bit impulsive and I don’t make the best ones. Gratefully one decision doesn’t have to spiral into another and another and another. It can by all means BUT it doesn’t have to.

You choose who you want to be. Some choices are easier than others but at the end of the day you have to live with yourself so choose to be someone that you can like *correction love.

And what happens if you make a decision that is contrary to your very nature? Do you roll over and die wallowing in the error of your ways? No. You acknowledge the poor choice and remind yourself that it isn’t who you are nor who you want to become.

Decisions are what make or break us. But there is no reason that you can’t take a different path once you’ve already started on one. Perhaps you are going to have to literally back track or go off terrain forging a new path, struggling along the way. But struggling is better than willfully accepting defeat in life – becoming someone who you can’t face in the mirror.

Impulse comes with the territory of being bipolar, but it’s not an excuse to throw all reason out of the window! Although I’ve definitely been guilty of that… We need to set up safety precautions when we are fully aware; road blocks that will slow us down when we start to slip out of a reality that faces any consequences. Becuase in that particular moment it’s hard to think of the repercussions.

 If you have a weakness that you are more inclined to when you are either really high or really low, acknowledge it and look for ways to hinder it’s immediate progress. If you have to stop along the way it may give you enough time consider the consequences of your actions.

I’m not saying it’s a full proof plan, but it’s definitely something that may help you prevent some oopsies otherwise

If you fall off the horse you get back on. But always acknowledge and own what you did, don’t stuff it in a closet that’s going to burst open on you. You’ll feel much better about yourself if you take back control. And if you acknowledge it, your giving yourself the opportunity to prevent it from happening again.

I made an impulsive decision recently and it wasn’t the best one. But it’s not going to define me or erase all the hard work I’ve been putting in to be the best version of me – unless I let it, and I’m not. I know what led up to me being in a position to make that decision and I’m consciously making a plan that will not put me at risk of repeating history.

Live life and love life. Love yourself and don’t let a few poor choices define who you are. You are so much more. 

– Steph  

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It’s a New Dawn

It’s the start of a new school year, but this isn’t just any school year this is my last year! I entered into a 2 year program and I’m actually going to finish it completely! This may not seem like much to most people but I graduated high school in 2009 and I have been all over the maps with my post secondary since 2010 bouncing from one thing to the next because they seemed like a great idea… first it was a fashion designer, then it was a speech pathologist, then it was a teacher, a dental hygienist… HR business personnel and finally I’ve committed and I’m completing a diploma to be a legal assistant. My health was a huge contributing factor for my prolonged post secondary experience but you live and you learn and you meet people along the way. 

I finished last year with a 3.8 GPA. I’m not saying this to boast but to point out that having bipolar with all of it’s ups and downs … switching medication… upping my doses of medication didn’t prevent me from succeeding. If you put your mind to it anything is possible, we are our only limit.

I’m excited and nervous for this year, there is a lot to learn and a lot of work ahead of me. I’m excited for my practicum and to experience working in a law firm (I’m pretty confident I’d like to go for law and become a lawyer … but slow and steady wins the race, I want one stable career under my belt first) 

I’m not going to lie I’m worried about entering the real life adult work force, sure I’m an adult but working summer jobs and having the luxury of calling in sick if I was really feeling like I couldn’t function is very different than a stable 9-5 Monday thru Friday. In the legal field there are deadlines and as the legal assistant to the lawyers I’m expected to meet them otherwise what is my value to the firm. I’ll face that hurdle when I get there. This year is preparatory for that, I’m working with my doctors and I’m trying to better myself and that’s all I can do.

I’m so proud to say I will be graduating this year, it’s been a long time coming. But if it takes you longer than most people, so be it. Never let go of a dream and goal just because you have to work differently than most people to achieve it. 

 I hope everyone has an exciting year and challenges themselves to dream big and work hard to make it happen. 
– Steph 

What If?

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I don’t really like living with the question “what if?”

If I can avoid it – I will.
I’m pretty direct when I communicate it can be scary and liberating all at the same time. I wasn’t always as direct as I am now, but an accumulation of what ifs made it clear something had to change. Anddddd I can honestly say I’ve found more piece of mind when it comes to the dealings of my life. Being clear is always the most effective path. (I think)

I don’t always get the answer I want BUT I still get an answer.  And an answer illustrates that I tried. I did all I could do and because of that – I can live with the answer. (Even if a person omits an answer …. silence can be heard loud and clear)

Sure, when the answer is “no” it hurts, it stings and honestly sometimes it makes me cry. That makes me human and that would make you human as well. BUT what I’m slowly starting to realize is “rejection” is merely me avoiding the wrong path. A “no” from a person, a job, a school… means that I’l be finding the right yes that much sooner.

No happens, but eventually we’ll get the yes so keep trying. Don’t live with an overshadowing what if because of fear. Talk, ask & apply yourself; when you’ve done all you can do you’ll thank yourself. Their won’t be any looming uncertainty.

No is an answer, it may not seem like the right one to us in the moment BUT when all the pieces fit together we’ll look back and see our growth and be amazed that we had the strength to move forward and keep trying and for heavens sake that the one particular no could have been a saving grace in our life leading us to greater opportunities.

Live and Learn and avoid the what ifs?

– Steph

Seize the Day!

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This quote is blunt, but that’s why I like it. Sometimes bluntness is exactly what we need, whether it be for ourselves or dare I say… directed at others! (Oh yeaahh…I said it)

There are times when I admit the day runs me and when it does, I feel exhausted mentally & physically entrapped in a feeling of defeat. On these days I generally feel like I’m behind on everything and there is no way on earth I’ll ever manage to regain control of my life!! It’s over!! I’m doomed! There’s no hope!! Goodness gracious… how utterly depressing to think like that. BUT at times I do think like that, it’s a reality of my life. (It’s also called distorted thinking)

On days that mirror the above description my secret anitodte for survival is…. breathing. Who knew right??  I breathe and if I’m exceptionally lucky sometimes I manage to successfully remind myself that there is hope, and that day by day I’ll live my life to the best of my ability on that day. It is my life; Stephanie’s. It’s not my Bipolar’s life, or my anxiety’s life or my ocd’s life. It’s mine. So on the days that feel like they are running the show instead if vice versa… I try to remeber they are my days. (Sometimes that’s all the comfort I need)

Attitude plays a huge role in what we accomplish and how we accomplish it. Yes, we may finish a grandeur task but if we do it begrudgingly we will most likely take nothing away from it, aside from a check mark on our To Do List.

By all means checkmarks are great BUT that little check mark doesn’t necessarily signify that we’ve taken charge of our life. Of our day.

We have bad days and for some of us those bad days literally last days or weeks… it’s part of the package deal we took ownership of in this life (regardless to the fact we didn’t ask for it). But eventually  (it may seem like forever) those days pass and we will have good days in their stead. On those days we need to take back our full ability to choose. Choose to run the day. Don’t let it run you. PLEASE, PLEASE do not let the day run you when you have the complete choice and ability at hand.

This isn’t suggesting that on our off days we roll over and die until the off days cease. No, we fight. We are fighters and we do our best to run the off day just as we would any other day. BUT we recognize that if by chance this day or days are getting the best of us we are not failures, we merely need to recuperate so that we can get up and fight again for our days to literally be our days to the best and fullest every other day.

Life is a challange, Life is also an opportunity to grow because of the very nature of its challange. Cease the day, to the best of your ability. Rise to recognize all that you have to offer and all that you have to gain.

– Steph

A Little Bit of Dr. Seuss

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I’m not sure if any one could possibly say it better than Dr. Seuss did.

Life is about learning to learn. That’s the fun adventure we get to experience each and every single day. Yes… I’ll admit that line was a bit of an eye roller BUT if we can use our eyes beyond just rolling and take the following advice seriously, I promise you’ll see a difference in your life. (Look at all those play on words. Dang sometimes I impress myself)

Anyways…. reading and learning; it’s all in our approach, that’s what my dad always told me. We can literally take the most boring topic of life and still find some valuable & applicable information.

I used to read a ridiculous amount of fiction, then one day I woke up and decided it wasn’t for me. I started reading only non-fiction. Self improvement. Self help. Financial, Positive thinking … blah blah blah. So I pose the question is non-fiction with all of it’s decorated authors more valuable than reading fiction? NO! Not by a long shot! Although in all honesty that was the mindset I adopted…. don’t ask me why?!

Recently, I’ve read a fictional book about a women’s trials crossing the plains, finding love and losing it. I cried like a baby at one point and time…. this women wasn’t real BUT the feelings evoked from the novel were. The way I could relate to her; it was incredibly real.

Fiction is just as valuable as non-fiction. When people make remarks about my vocabulary (for some reason people they often consider it a little more diverse than the average joes) I can honeslty acredit it to the plethora of fictional books I read growing up… we are talking hundreds of books…. yes hundreds…. I’m a proud self-proclaimed nerd.

Fiction contains a wealth of knowledge for our taking. You can learn about different countries, cultures, rituals, relationships, empathy, vocabulary… the skies the limit and for a while there I was ignorant enough to think it was a waste of time….

Honestly, sometimes escaping into a fictional novel is just what we need. To see something from someone else’s point of view totally eclipsed from our own lives. However, that being said I am still highly in favor of delving into non-fiction. The priceless applicable information found within those books… blows my mind. I love learning and challanging the way I think; gaining more perspective as I go.

Perspective is Priceless.

There’s honestly so much to be read and discovered within the pages of a book. You learn about others but you also learn about yourself.

If you go in with a closed mind you’re not going to get anything aside from a headache. Which nobody wants…
Life is meant to be lived. To be had. And reading provides extra tools that you apply to your personal adventure!

Life is a balance between learning and doing. Both are critical for our growth.

However, really quick I’d like to mention something I read, which was great advice. Never finish reading a book just because you started it! I read a book titled the “Perfectionist Handbook” (I figured that if I acknowledged my perfectionist characteristics I’d be able to manage them better, so they weren’t so crippling) This book pointed out a trait that I was guilty of and maybe you are too.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER finish a book JUST because you started it! Don’t begrudgingly turn pages and painfully read the content just because you need to finish what you started! I was that person and after being called out because of this book I had a nice wake up call.

Remember that time is the most precious commodity we have in life. Yes! There is something to be learned from anything and everything BUT maybe the lesson is that you are not interested in whatever you were trying to read about! Don’t force it just because! Take what you read dissect it and move on. (Just a little spin on the topic for those who have a bit of ocd and perfectionist ticks)

All in all, I implore you to crack open a book. Let the sky be your limitless limit. Learn to Learn, Live and Learn, Love to Live.

– Steph

Find A Little Freedom

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Read this quote… alright, read it again… and now read it one more time for good measure.

Now relax, sit back and allow yourself to savor every single word. I really want you to think about what you’ve just read; what this quote actually means. To me it means freedom and it means liberation!

I think and over think to a point where I can literally make myself sick. And more often than not I’m worrying about things I have absolutely no control over (can I get an AMEN! if you know what I’m talking about) So what has been my antidote to fight these turmetulous thoughts? Learning. Learning has seriously been my saving grace in life, and undoubtedly it can be one in yours as well.

Applying ourselves to different scenarios, exposing ourselves to different situations; this is living. This is what life’s about. This is exercise that our minds yearn for, not worrying incessantly.

Yesterday I was determined to be productive; challenging both my mental  and dexterous skill set. So what did I end up doing? I went to a pick n’ pull car yard! I am by no means a mechanic however, I did some research and I knew which parts I wanted to fix up my little beast of a car. (Beast in the sense that it’s a little car that keeps running even though it shouldn’t be.. it’s a 2003 Toyota Echo)

Generally speaking the parts were mostly cosmetic… visors and knobs however there was a side mirror I wanted to change and a hefty piece which involved me taking apart my passage door… the door stopped opening from the inside… due to some hardware mechanical problems involving latches and jazz…. sorry for that poor description.

Anywho, I was up for the challange, and wanted to feel good about passangers being able to escape from my car incase we ever got stuck on a railroad track with a train accelerating towards us… yes a wee bit dramatic BUT you never know!

So I went to the car junk yard, I hunted down old echo and I jumped in getting my hands dirty AND I loved every single minute of it! I honestly felt like I had stepped onto the set of “I ROBOT” or a random “end of the world” type movie where there are scavengers digging around haha… it was so awesome!

After I collected my treasures I went home and got to work. The cosmetic pieces and side mirror were a walk in the park to install (a man at the junk yard helped me get off the mirror, so I knew how to put it on) the side door took some time, patience and detective work.

The self satisfaction I felt from trying something new and learning something new – was priceless. There was no fear, worry or regret as a result of this learning experience. And the focus I had on the task at hand helped keep my useless worrisome thoughts at bay.

I love learning and I never really thought about why. But when I read this quote it really hit home. In a world plagued with worry, fear, and regret… learning remains untouched & untainted. It acts as a refuge that offers our minds rest and growth.

To live a life of learning, is truly living life. Happy adventures everyone. Try something new, remind yourself how truly capable you really are. And embrace the freedom learning truly offers.

** side note: the impressed look on my family’s faces and exclamation “you did this on your own??!” when I showed them my car all fixed up (door locking and opening)… was a pretty sweet bonus!

– Steph

– Steph

Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

I’m a big time goal lover… as I’m sure you noticed if you’ve read any of my previous posts.

What makes a goal brilliant? Well obviously if it’s a super-duper-out-of-this-world-big goal!! …. Yah…. No, that doesn’t make a “brilliant goal”. Not that I’m hating on goals of that caliber because by all means they are impressive BUT for most people who want to set and achieve goals, I have a little piece of advice… have tiny goals that over time equal a nice big juicy goal.

I have a horrible habit of setting exponentially huge goals for myself… I’m getting better at NOT doing this but sometimes the old habit comes out to play. And what happens when I set HUMUNGO goals? I shall tell you, I unintentionally build a system that beats myself up, questioning my ability to do anything right let alone anything at all.. come again? Why would pursing a positive goal something exciting and amazing, bring out such negative thoughts?

Simple, because we failed to achieve our goal in one go, if at all.. remember it’s huge! Huge and overwhelming…

When I set or find myself setting huge goals a lot of self doubt swiftly follows. I’ll tell myself that by such & such a date my goal would be completed to perfection. No, IF, AND,  or BUTS. But… that didn’t always happen, and when dooms day rolled around (which was also usually unrealistic set) I usually failed to complete the goal having stopped my endeavors all together, because I was so overwhelmed. Making me feel like the biggest loser-let down and the most incapable human everrrrrr.

Am I actually incapable though? No, I’m not and neither are you, anything is achievable with time and effort and a realistic plan. Fail to plan, Plan to fail. But wait, we set the goal that was our plan duhhh we begin and we had the end goal… this my dear friends is where mini goals come into play.

Each mini goal has as much value as if you were completing the big mother ship of goals. And that’s the mind set that will help you succeed. Without planning mini goals… achieving the huge goal is daunting… and has a lower probability of success and higher a probability of you putting yourself down.

Having flexibility is key to any goal, the objective is clear BUT just like Thomas Edison, there may be a few set backs prior to the light bulb coming on. BUT he still had his goal set,  just like we do.

I used to do 5 pushups a night, why? Because that’s all I could do in one go. My goal was to be able to do more than 5… I wanted 40. Did I tell myself I’d do 40 pushups by next week? No. In the past I would have, instead this time I gave myself two weeks. In two weeks I’d be doing no less than 10.

Ooooo so vague BUT at the same time it was crystal clear. I had a goal that I was working towards. I started to increase how many pushups I did per day with baby steps … 5 in the morning 5 at night… this method gradually allowed me to do 10 in a row AND with that under my belt I felt even more motivated and confident I’d reach my goal of 40.

So did I automatically set my goal to 40 after I reached 10? Nope, I set my next mini goal to no less than 20 in two weeks. Same rountine 20 in the morning and 20 at night. By the end of the two weeks I was feeling stronger and challanged myself to try 40. If I made it, awesome if not I would give myself another goal to meet. BUT regardless to if i made 40 in a row I was able to do a lot more than when I started.

I have met my goal, and I am so proud of myself for sticking with it. I DIDN’T get there in one go BUT I got there.

The execution is critical to the success of our goals. It doesn’t have to be set in stone, it is allowed to be flexible so long as you keep your eye on the prize.

Don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to do HUGE goals in one go. Rome wasn’t built in a day, super star athletes didn’t find success with only one practice, and Lawyers didn’t become lawyers by only reading one book… persistence and focus, incremental growth so that you build confidence rather than tear it down.

Dream Big! Plan Smart! And Achieve Your Goals! Remember that just because you have to go back to the drawing board doesn’t mean your goal is unattainable.

– Steph