SOL: Denied

The truth is that at
times, without reason, we are
held back from our dreams.

3AM Thoughts
// AKA “Haiku 83.”

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BODY: Ameliorate

It is inevitable that every time a New Year rolls around we get sucked into the marketing vortex of “New Year, New Me” and all the health supplements, workout clothes and gym memberships that are sold as the complete package of health.

I guess, “New Year, Same Lazy Piece of Shit” doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Saying that, while it is noble to implement health goals at the start of each year, more often than not we set ourselves up for disaster. More than half of people who set New Year’s goals backslide within the first month, sometimes giving up on themselves altogether. While roadblocks occur in the pursuit of any dream, I think it is crucial to stay focused on the bigger picture.

Personally, I think setting highly specific goals, while initially effective, can become the bane of your existence, especially for weight loss. Focusing steadfastly on a “goal weight” will make you more likely to cut calories (or entire food groups) and resort to over-exercising and under-eating. Less emphasis should be placed on the number and more on the quality of your health and the way your body feels. Aches, pains, inflammation and rashes are all signs that your body is off-balance and through a healthy diet and exercise you can often alleviate or even eliminate these symptoms.

As I get older and more in tune with my body, I start to realize how sensitive my system is and the importance of good nutrition. While in my early party days I was able to indulge in all manner of vices (i.e. booze, party candy, and post-party Cora’s trips) without feeling too much damage the next day. Now… A few drinks and the next morning I can feel my body running at a sluggish pace. As such, I’m looking to significantly cut down, and by all means eliminate, my alcoholic intake over the next few years. As my Brit preaches ad nauseam, “Every extra drink robs you of happiness the next day.” I’ll cheers to that.

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Happy New Years Eve = Not So Happy Morning

Looking forward to the rest of 2016, I’m taking note of how I feel more self-aware of my body than in previous years. As such, my goals for this year are to give my body the nutrients and self-care it needs, while also setting and reaching the new goals I want to put into place. One huge drawback to working in Canada during the winter is that I find it is typically too cold to run outside, however I’ve substituted my long running route in Spain for a membership to IAM Yoga and Wynn Fitness, both of which are located quite close to my office. Having a pre- or post-office workout gives a bit of a jump start to each day.

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Exercise Gives You Endorphins = Endorphins Make You Happy

I’ve swapped my carb-heavy Spanish breakfast of olive-oil on thick whole wheat bread for a super-charged “Green Smoothie” (complete with spinach, flax, mango, banana, dates and a splash of chlorophyll) to start my day. My lunch is now more than half pure vegetables, as is my dinner. As a perpetual vegetarian and sometimes vegan, I have the tendency to lean towards carbo-loading every meal. By planning my meals at least a day in advance (and including some fresh fruit for snacks) I eliminate the risk of becoming hangry or splurging on something sweet.

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Lean, Mean… Green?

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Cold Pressery in Mississauga, ON. Easily One Of The Best Places For Vegan Food!

In the next few months I will have to adjust yet again to living in a new country (!!!!) and being 100% accountable for my budget and lifestyle choices. I think getting accustomed to a regime where I incorporate healthy eating, consistent workouts and a full-time job will make the transition a bit easier. I hope to run my first half-marathon by the end of the year, and what better place to accomplish that feat than Europe?

Good luck & good workout.

AS

 

SOL: Twenty-Four

B5

The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it.

// Jean-Paul Sartre

It is bittersweet to acknowledge that I am already another year older. The past twelve months have flown by, yet each one held its own milestone. I am eternally grateful for the life I lead and for the people who enrich my life and support me throughout all my ridiculous endeavors.

While it brings me existential angst to reflect on the fact that another year has already passed, I am comforted by the knowledge that I am in a better place emotionally, physically and mentally. I’m constantly in the pursuit of growth, whether it be through new cultural experiences, challenging relationships or continuing education. While in my 23rd year I was internally focused on rebuilding my foundation, in my 24th year I will start living externally and bringing to fruition the goals I have internalized for years due to fear of failure. It has come to my attention that I have been choosing the “safe” options for far too long and I want to start taking risks and pursuing happiness on my own terms.

I am constantly astounded at how quickly we can alter our lives and at how rapidly our goals can change. Last year I was preaching ad nauseam that I was going to eschew all acceptable avenues of living and perpetually travel the globe as a nomadic yuppie hipster. Travel will remain one of the great loves of my life; in order to fully understand yourself and the world you live in it is imperative to experience new climates, cultures, and styles of living. However, I do believe that there comes a time when being rooted and establishing a home base of your own becomes less of a hindrance and more of a luxury.

If I am brutally honest, my travels last year were used as a coping mechanism; the adventurous equivalent of a jet-pack emergency release. Life had simply become too much for me to handle and leaving the country felt like the only way to re-calibrate and regain control. I didn’t realize how much more stable I had become until I began to prepare for this trip and realized that I did not need to leave this time around – I wanted to (albeit reluctantly at times). Even now, I can feel that my relationship with travel has changed and this will be my last extended trip abroad. The desire to flee is not omnipresent; my priorities have changed (for the time being) and I am more interested in building a future and investing my time with those who are important to me.

Leaving home this time around was bittersweet but settling in Spain has given me the kick in the ass that I needed. If I am going to willingly separate myself from the people I love, I want to be able to have something to show for it in the end. While last year I genuinely needed time to balance myself, I now have the tools I need to pursue my goals and make things happen. My youthful entitlement has evaporated and I want to push towards what I want – fear of rejection or failure be damned.

My goal for my 24th year is simple, straight-forward, and ultimately clichéd as hell; I aspire solely to create a life that fits my own ideals of health, wealth and happiness. I do not wish to be rich, mass success holds no appeal and I do not dream of fame. I simply want to be happy (inside and out) and as a result, bring happiness to other people’s lives.

As my birthday is rapidly coming to a close on this side of the globe, I want to once again thank my friends and family who thought of me today. Sending lots of love from Europe.

Safe travels,
AS

MIND: Battle

I am two women: one wants to have all the joy, passion and adventure that life can give me. The other wants to be a slave to routine, to family life, to the things that can be planned and achieved. I’m a housewife and a prostitute, both of us living in the same body and doing battle with each other.

Eleven Minutes // Paulo Coelho

SOL: 2015

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.

// T.S. Eliot

I’m a sucker for a fresh start, or perhaps more accurately, I am inclined to be perpetually changing and for that reason I look forward to each New Year as a chance to start fresh and keep working towards my goals.

Last year started off rockier than I would have liked, but over the course of the past twelve months I feel as though I have taken the appropriate steps to ensure I mature emotionally, mentally and spiritually. During my vagabonding excursion in Europe I was able slough off layers of resentment and self-loathing and as a result my life has taken on a more promising hue. That said, I have clearly defined my goals for this year and I hope to achieve all of them. If I can’t, then I hope to fail so spectacularly that I will learn a bunch of new things along the way. I’ll be happy with either.

Looking forward in 2015, I will be embarking on yet another extended voyage to Europe. Starting in April I will be residing in Sant Pol de Mar (up the coast from Barcelona) teaching a young boy English through a placement secured using Workaway. Aside from a whirlwind weekend in Barcelona in April of last year, I have not experienced much of Catalan lifestyle, but I feel that it will be an amazing opportunity.

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The coast of Sant Pol de Mar!

Once again I am faced with the smothering fear of leaving, but deep down I know that staying is impossible. I am eternally torn between a life of societal conformity (read: the house, the husband, the kids) and one of wanderlust indulgence. I hope this year brings more love, experiences, laughter, growth and wisdom.

Safe travels,
AS