SOL: 2017

1475081480857.jpg

Over the course of the past twelve months, I have been subjected to a crash course of what most millennials would likely call a “poor example of adulthood.” I divided my time between Toronto and Barcelona, where I found myself renting a small room and working for next-to-nothing at a bar near Las Ramblas. I watched happily as friends got engaged, married and reproduced yet I started to wonder if there was a memo I didn’t receive. Even in a happy relationship, the end-goal of marriage is not forefront on my mind, not to mention the thought of being a homeowner repels me to the core. As for children? I am still learning to take care of myself, therefore the responsibility of taking care of another human being is simply beyond me at this point.

Those three major life events are nowhere on my to-do list for 2017, instead I feel that in the coming year I will embrace being rudderless. I was brought up being unknowingly spoon-fed North American consumerism culture and as such the ingrained need to be somebody and be successful are not so easily traded for the joie de vivre approach Europeans have towards life. My heart beats for Europe; it soars for traveling and it pines for Barcelona… But my head? It is less concerned with lofty aspirations and instead causes omnipresent anxiety as I consider a career, retirement savings and how to make good use of my degree. To my very core I am divided into two separate people with two separate sets of needs (some would argue three or four people, depending on the day). I am concerned with the existential repercussions of this mentality; namely, how can I make my way towards self-actualization if each day the route is changed?

In coming months I truly hope to throw myself into the unknown in ways I have been too cautious to do before. Taking risks with safety nets hardly helps the pursuit of happiness. I aspire only for my most simple needs to be met (a job, a home, love and support from family and friends) yet I wish to reach this goal on my own terms. I truly believe I have become too fearful to make bold choices. Now, I hope to fail, and in all honesty I prefer the fear of rejection  rather than the cozy blanket of complacency.

The last three years of travel were initially to explore but eventually became an escape. The lessons I hoped to learn on the road were lost during the trip and now I am left with fragmented experiences I am hoping to mold into future foundation. I am optimistic that by accepting the success and failures that will inevitably occur this year, I will open the door to new possibilities and be confident in saying “yes” to each new adventure.

I hope this year brings all of you health, happiness & prosperity.

Safe travels,
AS

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.

IMG_0075[1]

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.

IMG_0095[1]

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.

IMG_0035[1]

Lean, Mean… Green?

IMG_0040[1]

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: 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.

Spain

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