It’s Saturday. I’m lazy. Here is a list.

  1. I turned 33 a week ago. I know I probably say this every year, but this feels like legit adult territory. I’m feeling good about it though. I’m where I need to be.
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  2. To all you guys around the world that feel the need to yell FHRITP behind female reporters, what is wrong with you? You are adults. Some of you are even 33. Why are you acting like 6-year-olds hyped up on sugar and the influence of the bad kid that lives down the street? This whole thing is turning into a debate on the ethics of social shaming which is so incredibly beside the point. When you chose to yell immature, stupid sh** at the TV camera, well, you’re making your own bed. Be prepared to lie in it. Didn’t your grandma tell you that?
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    Oh, and guys around the world that feel the need to yell FHRITP, thanks for being regular readers of my blog!
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  3. Literally the moment that I complained about life being boring, my social calendar filled up. Speaking too soon: my greatest skill. And you know, while 30-somethings are pretty good at living the quiet life, when it is time to socially engage, we leave all you 20-somethings in the dust. BBQ’s are better because we (royal we) own our own homes and can therefore do what we want. Birthday’s are better because our champagne and wine budgets are much higher than they used to be. And the celebrations are better because the milestones in your 30’s are just that much huger. At least in my social circle anyways. Homeownership and weddings and engagements and great, big, massive promotions that just didn’t happen 10 years ago. That is worth toasting with the good stuff. (Apologies for the righteousness. I’m just so excited to be leaving my house again.)
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  4. I got engaged. Three weeks ago the best man I’ve ever known got down on one knee in our kitchen and gave me the prettiest ring I’ve ever seen and promised me a lifetime of laughter and love. Obviously I said yes. I’m totally one of those girls too. I’ve had a “Secret Wedding” Pinterest board since long before three weeks ago. And I’ve been quietly putting money aside for the “big day” ever since I knew Kurt was the one I would marry. Love it or hate it, there will be a lot of wedding talk on this blog over the next 10 months.

Happy long weekend!

 

Getting There

As comfortable as I am settling into my 30’s (I’ll be 33 in a couple of weeks), I have to admit, there are parts of my youth I’m having a hard time leaving behind. Over the last six months I’ve been struggling on and off with how boring I feel. How boring my life has become. I realise how ungrateful I sound. My life is awesome. But it’s been awfully low key for awhile now.

I didn’t start the 9-5 lifestyle until I was 26, which is late but I was still the first of my friends. And having to be all bright eyed and keen first thing in the morning, did not stop me from keeping up my late-night, mid-week, super fun socializing. At least in the beginning. I remember the first time I said no to a mid-week social event. It felt like I was breaking up with the world I knew, like I was about to be left behind. But I survived and from there my homebody ways spiralled out of control.

By the time I was in my 30’s, most of my friends had eventually gotten day jobs and the FOMO subsided (are you allowed to use that word at my age? I’m not even sure). My routine was ruled by that 6:30AM alarm, but so was everybody else’s. For awhile I lived for the weekends, but even then the parties became less fun. Actually that’s not true. The parties were just as fun, it’s the next days that became unbearable. Over the last few years, my definition of fun has changed and it’s taking some getting used to.

But not only that, as I grow in my career my work days have become more challenging and full. I work harder and longer. There is more at stake. These days there isn’t always the emotional and mental room to do much after work, other than binge watch The Good Wife and eat cheese.

And all too often, this is what my life has become. I go to work. I work out (I will save a rant about my slowed down metabolism for another day). I watch TV and hang with Kurt. Sometimes I see my friends too. It’s not to say it’s not wonderful or that I’m not fulfilled. I am.  But sometimes it’s just boring. I’m boring.

I know what you’re thinking, Shut up Colleen. And you’re right. My life is boring because I allow it to be. If I want it to be more exciting I have to get off the couch and do something. I need to turn on the number one of all time best dance song full blast and figure it out, redefine what excitement means to me.

So I will. Luckily for me it’s May.

Life Lottery Win #4

I had minor surgery last week. Over the last 17 years, I’ve watched a little lump on my neck (a harmless, benign cyst) grow from the size of a mosquito bite into the size of a large marble and last Thursday was the day that I finally got it removed.

Here are some facts about that:

  • Getting the lump removed was my choice.  I had the autonomy to decide if I wanted to let it grow or have it removed with surgery.
  • The whole process involved an appointment with my doctor, an appointment with a specialist, the surgery and a follow up appointment. I paid $0 for the entire thing.
  • The hospital I attended was sterile and clean. It had running water and reliable electricity.
  • My boyfriend drove me to and from the appointment. It was about a 40 minute round trip.
  • I felt surprisingly fine afterwards, so I went into the office. But I didn’t have to. I could have worked from home or not worked at all and my employer would have been fine with that.

Every day at my job I read and share the stories of people in the developing world who have similar conditions–small lumps that grow into bigger lumps–but entirely different experiences. They have no choice but to let the lump grow until it takes over their life. If (and it’s a big if) medical help is available, it is likely unaffordable or inaccessible.

Being born in Canada, where the above facts are just a given,  is such a great blessing.

 

“Busy”

Hey. Next time you try to meet with a friend and they don’t have time, don’t be so quick to lay into them with Wow! You’re always soo busy. Ok?

Being busy has become a thing that no one is supposed to be any more, as the righteous and privileged of the world are all too eager to point out. But some people don’t have that luxury. And others aren’t even that busy, they just don’t want to hang out with you.

Consider this.

Four years ago my life was bonkers. I had a full time job that kept me busy much more than 40 hours a week. I had a volunteer commitment I was passionate about, but required at least another 10 hours of my time on a weekly basis. I maintained very close relationships with 4 different groups of friends, many of those individuals I made a point of seeing once or twice each week. If someone called and wanted me to volunteer for something, have a drink, go for a walk, come over for dinner, anything really, I would say yes. I never said no to anyone and was constantly rearranging my schedule to make time for everything. And to be honest, there were aspects to this lifestyle that I loved.

However, my house was a glorified storage unit, as I was never there. I regularly had wine for dinner and rarely cooked anything healthy–I had no time. I never exercised and I pretty much didn’t sleep. I was so unhealthy. That lifestyle was in no way sustainable.  But here’s the thing. No one ever accused me of being too busy. Ever.

These days I make a conscious effort to keep an open schedule. I limit my extracurriculars to 1-2 nights during the “school” week, and maybe 1 or 2 more on weekends. I make time for being healthy, for running and hiking and just being outside. I spend time alone, with my partner and nurture a few close friendships with visits on a weekly or monthly basis. I cook healthy food. I sleep. There are a few people and activities that I don’t get to with enough regularity, but I will. And they understand.

My life is so much healthier now, it’s better in every way. Better, except for one thing. I am regularly told that I am too busy. The irony. As soon as I actively began not being busy, that is exactly what people started accusing me of being. It’s infuriating really. I’ve made a commitment to myself to no longer overbook, overextend, overcommit. And now when I saw no, I am now faced with You’re always way too busy! 

I’m not busy, I’ve just changed my priorities.

Calling someone out on being too busy has become an insult these days, a passive aggressive accusation that they don’t have the time to be present, to stop and smell the roses, to spend time with the accuser. While this may be true for some people, it is definitely not true for everyone being called the dreaded b-word. Some people don’t have the luxury of having a spacious schedule–they have to work two jobs and go to school and care for children or parents and all those other things that can take over a life. And others would just rather go to bed at 10pm on a Tuesday than take you up on your offer to see your boyfriend’s cousin’s band.

Understanding another person’s changing priorities can be hard. I get that, I do. But it doesn’t mean they have bought into the “cult of busy” or fallen into the “busy trap” or whatever the latest catch phrase coined by The Atlantic is. Maybe that makes a person boring, but it certainly doesn’t make them busy. So lay off, ok?

 

 

 

Life Lottery Win #3

I’m grateful for friendships that span 20 years. I’m grateful that some things will never change.

Ugh. So cliché. Anyways.

My friend Raju came to visit me last week. We met in 1995 in Mr. Goodrich’s grade 8 gym class. For 20 years we’ve been one another’s best pal, sounding board and voice of reason as we’ve stumbled through life, relationships and careers. We made it to our early 30’s through a combination of luck and hard work and guessing. And now, both with our dream partners and dream jobs, it’s really freaking fun to reminisce and laugh about all the mistakes we made along the way.

And even though these visits don’t happen as near as often as they used to I’m grateful that they still happen and that they probably always will.

 

And then 2014 happened

2014, like every other year of my adult life, was a year of music. White Denim, Paul Simon, Cave Singers, Hayes Carll, Kurt VileShotgun Jimmie, Pink Mountaintops, Jack White, and Shakey Graves were all beautiful highlights, but I’m lucky enough that these don’t even scratch the surface of the live music I saw this past year.

2014 was a year of travel. I went to Vancouver eight times. Every time was fun, but it was too much. Too much Vancouver. There was also a lot of British Columbia exploring by way of Hope, Vernon, Green Lake, Comox, Salt Spring Island and everywhere in between. I ate my way through Portland and Seattle, a couple of times. I took Kurt to Texas, my home away from home. He loved it, but not the way I love it, though few do. I went to the Congo and stayed on a giant hospital ship, met patients, met volunteers. Felt totally humbled. Kurt and I spent a week together in love in Paris. I get the hype now. I went to Toronto for work and sat in on meetings with Canadian diplomats and heads of international banks and felt totally confused as to how I ended up at the table, though I guess most people my age feel like that sometimes. Kurt took me to Los Angeles. He sold it as a romantic trip with roller coasters, though it was definitely a hockey trip. That’s okay, it was still a blast. It was all a blast.

2014 was a year of celebration. While I’m sure there were hundreds of cool babies born last year, I was particularly excited about two of them, Vivian and Quinn, the children of two of my closest friends from high school. I got to celebrate the marriage of two awesome couples and the engagement of two more, all of whom I hope to be friends with forever (and one of whom I introduced FTW). And birthdays. So many people had birthdays in 2014, including me (32), Kurt (33)…haha, just kidding. But I will give a shout out to my best friend Katie who had a 30th birthday party that will go down in the books.

And most notably, 2014 was a year of change, as every year kind of is in its own way. Some changes were minor. I went from brunette to blonde. I both formed and quit the habit of eating chocolate and cheese for dinner. I both lost and regained my ability to run further than 10km. Other changes were big ones. In January I started sleeping like a normal person, thanks to about a million lifestyle adjustments and trazadone. It’s been nearly a decade since I’ve slept both soundly and consistently. It’s a different world, I tell you. And finally, the easy highlight of 2014, I moved in with Kurt. We live together now. In a home that is ours and where will stay for a long time. It’s a good feeling.

Thanks 2014.