Tag Archives: advice

Choose Happy

13 Jan

cow

Over the Christmas break I was having a very funny conversation with my parents about someone who is particularly difficult to deal with – historically and present day.  I said to my Dad ‘how can that person not recognize how off-putting and polarizing their behavior is?’  Dad said ‘I think a lot of it is genetic and it isn’t going to change in this instance.’  He said ‘just like intelligence, some people are smart and some people are negative.’  I’ve always been adverse to such ways, but with age I have become even more turned off by it.  As in, I literally find myself tuning out of conversations where the outlook is negative or critical of others.  As I get ready for my day I listen to podcasts.  I start off my day  listening to inspiring talks with inspiring people.  Today it was Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations and she was talking to Gretchen Rubin who wrote The Happiness Project.   It was 32 minutes of I TOTALLY AGREE WITH THAT content.  She stated that happiness is actually 50% genetic, so it seems that my Pa was correct!  It got me thinking about happiness and how it is such a prevalent topic.  How do you find it?  How do you stay happy?  Why are some people more happy than others even though they have less or have more challenges?  Why are some people never happy?

I’ve always been a naturally ‘happy’ person.  I generally see the positive side of things and I always remain optimistic.  I guess we can say that is 50% because of my genetics, but what about the other 50%?   Or let’s say 40% because no one is 100% happy or positive (and anyone who acts like every single thing is amazing is covering something up).   Believe me, there are times when I feel like giving the finger, I’ve done my fair share of gossiping (and complaining) and I’ve been in a relationship that definitely brought me down.  And I am now 37 and single – not what I envisioned when I was younger.  Some days the inner cynic in me comes out, but I genuinely try to kick those shitty thoughts to the curb.

To exemplify what I am talking about, I will give you a little window into my world.  When I wake up in the morning I send a few girlfriends (who need a little pump up) positive thoughts, videos or quotes for the day.  It is therapeutic for me too.  Millie (my dog) and I head out for the day – I never used to listen to music when I walk, but now I do.  As I trot along I often find myself singing out loud to the songs I am listening to.  The music puts a little more bounce in my step and it has been a great addition to my morning.   We walk to my brothers house where we scoop their Golden Retriever (who is always pumped to see us).  Along the way to the office we talk to many people who love dogs.  In particular, there is a guy who asks for money on Spring Garden Road and we walk by him most days.  The dogs LOVE him, and so most mornings we stop to chat with him.  The dogs lean into him, lick him and just give him a big dose of love.  Earlier this week he told me that he watches for us every morning and that seeing the dogs is the best part of his day.   (Heart warmer!!)   I am sure he is invisible to most people, but the dogs treat him like he is the best thing since sliced bread.  After that we make our way my way to the office to start the day.    This past Wednesday it was super icy.  Black ice everywhere along the way.   When I got to my office I changed from my sensible winter walking shoes to my ‘not so sensible for the winter booties’ (they are leopard so that should indicate their level of their uselessness in winter).  Shortly after arriving I had to pop out for a meeting which was only a block from my office.  Forgetting about the black ice I stepped off my office steps with great vigor (at the same time two guys were walking by).  My front foot hit the ice and slid forward while my back foot was still on the step.  I literally did a full Nadia Comeneci style splits.  I popped back up (in my dress) in record time to the boys saying “Oh wow, ahhhhh, are you okay?” to which I said “Oh yes, I am fine!’  I took one step forward and BAM I went down again.  This time a face plant type of fall.  I again popped right back up and one guy said to the other ‘Take her hand man’.  I said laughing ‘No, no, I got it.  I am going to walk gingerly now.  I didn’t even rip my tights and I gave you guys your story for the day!’  We all had a solid laugh and I made my way to my meeting.  My hands were burning from hitting the pavement and my legs were wet.  The meeting was with a mom who recently lost her 43 year old daughter to ovarian cancer over Christmas.  Talk about a way to snap back out of your own shit and be grateful for everything you have.

What I am getting at – the other 40% is within you.   It is how you choose to use your time, control your thoughts, perceptions and reactions to life.   I dated someone who made lots of money and he was one of the most negative creatures I’ve ever met.  Happiness doesn’t come from money.  I’ve met people who are married and they complain endlessly about their partner.  Happiness doesn’t come from having a partner (or how they behave).  I’ve met people who have great jobs, but they are miserable.  Happiness doesn’t come from your job.  I know people who are beautiful and thin, but they are insecure and self critical.  Happiness doesn’t come from being beautiful or skinny.  I’ve met people who have all of the nicest things (big house, cars, clothes, travel) their heart could desire, but they aren’t happy.  Happiness doesn’t come from things.

As my very wise brother told me once upon a time – life is mostly made up of choices.  Most of the parts of your life are choices you made:  the big house (that you might have to work your ass off to pay for), the job (that you are spending too much time at to pay for the house), the partner, the kids, the commitments and the list goes on. Now don’t get me wrong folks – there is nothing wrong with a nice house, a busy job, wanting to climb the ladder or having nice things.   I am talking about your attitude towards it.  How do you treat other people, do you complain, do you feel stressed, do you feel joy?   Life is going to throw curveballs at us – lots of shitty things happen that we can’t control.  If you’re already off balance when those things happen it is going to be a real challenge.  One of my dearest friends lost her Dad unexpectedly on Christmas Day.  The support she has received from others is amazing because she is awesome and always goes out of her way to help others.  You get out what you put in.

Everyone’s idea of what makes you happy is different.  I dare you to do a few things that make you feel happy – it will make your day better and anyone who you come in contact with too.  As one of my favorite quotes states: Awesome things will happen today if you choose not to be a miserable cow.

 

 

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Resolution Revolution

4 Jan

resolution

 

Every single year in early January we make BIG declarations about what we are going to be better at this year.  Exercise more! Lose weight! Money! Time management!  No drinking!  Putting yourself ‘out there’ more!  More adventure!  And so on.  Monday, January 16th, will be what we call Blue Monday or better known as ‘The Most Depressing Day of The Year’.  Christmas cheer has worn off, you’ve likely broken your resolutions, its flipping freezing out and your December credit card statement has arrived in your inbox.  A dirty-dirty combination indeed.

I am going to focus on the one I think is the most common:  lose weight.  I don’t know about you, but most every weight related resolution I’ve ever made has not happened or if it happened it wasn’t maintained long term.  I go out of the gate strong, planning, hitting the gym, packing my lunch and then I fall off the self  betterment rails – thus making the resolution a failure.  Left with tight pants, a gym membership not being used and a bad case of the guilt’s for not using it (and for failing at the big resolution).  Oprah is a favorite of mine and as you most certainly know she has dealt with weight her entire life.  Up and down.  Skinny to fat – fat to skinny.  This was all under the watchful eye of the world.  I remember she once said that when her pants don’t fit her she feels the exact same way as anyone else does.  The difference being she was photographed, scrutinized and criticized.  How could someone who has chefs and trainers at her beck and call, still fail at weight loss?  Over the last few years, she says, she has changed her relationship with her body (and food).  In the past she focused on hating her thighs, criticizing her body and dieting.  Instead, she changed her thoughts: it isn’t about a diet, but instead a commitment to see things differently.  Starting out from a place of gratitude and positivity instead of a state of self loathing.  It isn’t about saying: I am cutting out sugar! I am cutting out carbs! I am cutting out gluten! I am cutting out wine!   I am running a marathon!  Or when I lose 20 pounds I’ll be HAPPY.  I’ve run 3 half marathons in my life and when I did them I lost weight.  I hated every-single-minute of it.  That runners high everyone talks about.  I never achieved it.  The only high I ever felt was when I crossed the finish line and thought THANK JESUS that is over and I was able to take off my two sports bras.  Resolution statements are usually short term – 5 pounds down and then 7 back on when you start to eat pasta again or stop doing whatever you were doing as it probably wasn’t enjoyable!

Here are a few things I know about myself:

  1. I am not a naturally thin woman
  2. I love amazing food and culinary experiences
  3. I am not a lover of winter
  4. My disdain for winter causes me to not be as active
  5. 1 + 2 + 3 +4 = weight gain over the winter

So, here is my little attitude-behaviour changing story: I started to change my winter attitude about 7 years ago when I got a dog. That little white rocket requires me to hit the pavement no matter what day, no matter what season and no matter what weather. My brother and his family got a dog last year too. I already bring Millie to work with me, so it only made sense to add him into the gang! I now walk to my brothers most days of the week, pick him up and deliver him back end of day. That’s about 8 km of extra walking a day. It helps them, he adds more joy to my day and it adds to my movement.  So everyday I get nearly 10 km in.  I know that I would rather walk 10 kms than run 1.   It works for me.  For the past 6 months I do hot yoga over my lunch on average 4 times a week.  I love it.  I am in competition with no one but myself.  I am still not sporting a six pack (nor do I want to or ever will), but I feel healthy, it is consistent, it works for me and it creates a solid base. One pound, two pounds, three pounds… it has consistently come off.   If I add anything more to more routine it makes a real difference.  Rather than the usual January boom and bust and being cooped up inside wearing lululemon’s (which trick you into thinking you are not putting on weight)  I am on the move when the snow flies!   It is already a habit.   Also, being single is definitely a way to keep yourself slimmer – just like in nature, when you’re on the hunt you’re hungry!!

Last year I spent a month in Australia where you would think I would have tipped the scales to the right.  Nope.  I lost weight.  Why?  Because I was on the go all day long.  Walking, swimming, moving, talking and sweating from that glorious sunshine!  Doing things I love to do.  Not sitting in front of a computer, avoiding going out at lunch as it is freezing, and then crashing home in the dark (it is dark here shortly after 4 pm in the winter) cursing about my numb fingers.

In an effort to combat my winter weight I am doing the same thing this winter. Walking every day, downward dogging and sweating at hot yoga over lunch, going away on a trip mid-February to a hot country for 3 weeks, and I am going to keeping myself busy doing things that bring me joy.  I’ll be busy doing things I love.  Busy learning new things.  Busy spending time with people who make my mind curious.  Keeping my mind positive, laughing and feeling grateful for my life.  I am going to bring out my French heritage – as you know those bitches are skinny and they eat cheese everyday.  The secret is that they don’t deprive themselves and physical exercise generally flows within their daily life – the slow burn.  I can guarantee you that when you lose 10 lbs by starving yourself or doing a physical activity you hate –  the relationship you have with your body, food and exercise isn’t positive and it will limit you in other ways. The conversations we have with ourselves directly correspond to how we present ourselves to the outside world and those closest to us.

So, if you are looking to shed some lbs, get tighter or achieve some kind of health goal – don’t give your credit card so readily to a gym.  Figure out what it is you really love to do, amuse-toi bien (have fun), do more of it and give yourself some self love along the way.  I can guarantee if you asked someone else what they see when they see you – it isn’t your cellulite.

37 Reasons Why

28 Apr

Happy Birthday

A week from today I will officially be in my upper-mid 30’s.  37 years or 444 months or 1,924 weeks or 13,505 days or 324,120 hours.  Whatever way you want to put it.  Birthdays are a great time for reflecting.  Thinking about what has happened in the last year and what you desire for the year ahead.  Now that I am in my ‘upper-mid 30’s’ I’ve been around the block, I’ve learned a few lessons and since it is ‘International Pay It Forward Day’ I am going to share some of my thoughts with you and hopefully you can absorb something from them.  Since I am the only one who can see things through my own eyes and mind – this is my list not yours.

Here are 37 things I believe to be true and the reasons why:

  1. Aging is a gift.  The reason why I know this is true is because being dead is the alternative.
  2. Advil Liquid Gels are amazing.  The reason why I know this to be true is if I drink a bottle of red wine and don’t take one before I go to bed – I get a roaring headache.
  3. Go with your gut.  The reason why I know this is true is had I listened to my gut I wouldn’t have dated a guy who wore a puka shell necklace, khakis and had no friends.  My gut said he wasn’t cool.  He wasn’t.
  4. If a guy stands you up or in modern terms ‘ghosts you’.  Shame on him for a being a pussy.  The reason why I know this to be true because it has happened to me before: it is both immature and flakey.  Do you really want to date someone who is immature and flakey?  Nope. Also, if someone does that to you don’t wonder: what is wrong with me?  Why doesn’t he like me?  You just aren’t what he is looking for.
  5. Don’t make assumptions.  The reason why I know this to be true is because when I’ve made assumptions it ends up not being what I assumed and it causes you unneeded drama or miscommunications.  Ask questions.
  6. Your mind is like a parachute – it only works when it is open.  The reason I know this to be true is that when you say no, judge, criticize or act out of fear – nothing good happens.  Keep that mind open.  Amazing shit happens when it is.
  7. When you find a lipstick you love buy it, stop trying other ones on and buy at least 3 of them.  The reason why I know this to be true is that I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on every type of lipstick.  Finding the right lipstick is like discovering penicillin.   When you find a good one you need one for your purse, your bathroom and an extra in case you drop the other one in the toilet or your nieces put it on and break it.
  8. There is no ‘THE ONE’.  The reason why I believe this to be true is that there are 7 billion people on this planet and you’ve only met a small number of them.  I think there is ‘someone’ who collides with place in life, attraction and timing.
  9. Further to that note there is no fairy-tale.  The reason why I believe this to be true is that I’ve seen a lot of relationships and not one of them look the way they are presented in movies and books.    Whoever you end up with – they are going to annoy you, piss you off, be late, you’re not going to be attracted to them at times and they’re going to leave laundry on the floor.  They aren’t always going to know what you are thinking or buy you amazing gifts. Prince Charming is hiding in the woods of Never Never Land.
  10. Take Risks – go outside of your comfort zone.  The reason why I know this is true is that every single time I’ve done this I’ve learned something about myself, other people and the world around me.   Spice things up.  Do new things.
  11. Travel.  As much as you can.  When you travel you grow.  The reason why I know this is true is that the most amazing memories I have involve travel.  See the world.  See your country.  See your province.  See your city.  You need to.  It makes you more intelligent.  It makes you more empathetic.  It makes you more interesting.  It makes you more dynamic.  It makes you happier.
  12. Be curious and ask questions.  the best conversations happen when you do this.  The reason why I know this to be true is that people love it when you are interested in them.  It is interesting to know more than you currently do.  Oh, and don’t date someone who doesn’t ask questions.  You will end up listening to them talk about themselves all the time and who wants to do that?  Gross.
  13. Make sure you work on your friendships.  If you don’t – you won’t have friends.  Friendships are an incredible blessing.  Friendships are one of the most gratifying relationships because there are no real rules or codes of conduct.  No hours of operation.  The reason why I know this is true is that I have loads of friends, it takes work and my life is super rich because of them.  Oh and don’t hang with friends who talk about cellulite, other girls and don’t eat anything other than salad.  They’re boring and superficial.
  14. Don’t use the excuse “I am so busy”.  It stinks.  The reason I believe this to be true is that it is overused.  There is a lot of time in the day and week.  Really the truth of it is you chose to not make it a priority and that is okay.
  15. Get a pet.  The reason why I know this to be true is that your relationship with your pet brings out a side of you that is just beautiful.  Friendship, dependence, joy and love.  I firmly believe anyone who mistreats an animal cannot have normal relationships with humans either.  You are a shitty person if you mistreat animals.  Period.  Even people who don’t like them.  I question their character too.
  16. Talk to your parents.  Let them know they are a priority to you. Your siblings too.   The reason why I know this is true is that I’ve seen 17 babies be born.  It is amazing.  A wonder.  You see how much parents love their kids,  really.  Your Mother grew you for Gods sake – she deserves a phone call.  No one knows you better than your family.  If your immediate family are jerks – talk to your grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.
  17. Don’t compare yourselves to others.  Don’t.  The reason why I know this to be true is when you focus on what you don’t have there won’t ever be enough.  Unless Apple comes up with some nifty new machine that allows you to transform yourself – you can’t. So work on making your own garden green.
  18. Food is amazing. The reason I know this to be true is because it is true.  You can’t deny it.
  19. Eat really amazing food with friends and family.  The reason I know this to be true is that food tastes better when you share it with others.
  20. Make up your own mind.  The reason why I know this is true is that it sucks to be told you have to be this or that.  It sucks to be forced to act a certain way.  It sucks to be told what is this or that.  When you are old enough to make up your own mind be brave enough to do it. Don’t live your life according to someone else’s rules or opinions.  Being yourself is the best.
  21. Once you are able to make up your mind find people who think like you.  The reason why I know this is true is that when you are around people who think like you really cool things happen.
  22. When you are looking for input or advice get it from like minded people.  Don’t get it from someone who is critical, negative or insecure.  The reason I know this to be true is that I’ve done it and it doesn’t work.  Why would I ask someone who has no style what they think of my outfit?
  23. Try to laugh as much as you can.  Have fun as much as you can.  Do I really need a reason why for this one?  No.
  24. Be kind to other people. Be generous with your time, energy and skills.  The reason why I know this is true is that when you are kind everything is better.  It is true.
  25.  Tell people they are being a dick when they are being a dick.  When you do it they usually learn something too.   The reason why I know this is true is that when I’ve done it the outcome is usually better. I haven’t done it a lot of times in my life as it honestly takes so much to get me worked up.  But generally, talking about it is always better.
  26. Life isn’t about what happens to you – it is how you perceive what happens to you.   9/10 times it has nothing to do with you.  The reason I know this is true is that few people intentionally ever do something to offend someone.   Not taking things personally is a much better way to keep your blood pressure down.
  27. Exercise.  Find something that works for you.  The reason why I know this is true is because when I’ve tried to force myself to be a runner I flipping hated it.  My boobs are too big.  I run on the side of my foot a bit.  I’ve learned that walking the same distance works better for me.  And I don’t have whiplash from my rack.  Getting a dog is an awesome way to incorporate exercise into your life.
  28. People are not what they look like on social media or online dating sites.  The reason I know this is true is because when you can take 12 retakes and edit the shit out of photos you look way prettier and the scene a lot more fun than it really is.  You are just as pretty and your life just as fab.
  29. Know the difference between a man that’s not worth it and a mans that’s not perfect.  The reason why I know this is true is because I’ve given too much of my time to men who are not worth it.   Where are those imperfect but deserving creatures hiding?
  30. Bullies, cranks or gossips.  They are super insecure and unhappy.  The reason why I know this is true is that confident and happy people are not mean or negative and they don’t care about what other people are doing.  Don’t give them your power.
  31. If you are girl you can do anything you want in life.  Anything.  Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t.  The reason why I know this is true is because I am a girl and I do whatever I want.
  32. Spend time around kids – it is really good for you.  The reason why I know this is true is because I’ve spent lots of time around kids and I’ve loved (almost) every minute of it.  They are uninhibited, authentic, honest, in the moment, inquisitive, accepting and loving.  And most of them like ice cream.
  33. Get to know someone who is good with technology.  It really helps.  The reason I know this is true is because I am awful at it.  Our world is based on technology now.  I should add that to my list of things I want in a man.
  34. Spend time with your family and friends doing things you love to do.  Jobs come and go.  The reason I know this is true is because I deal with death through my work and know that people wish they worked less.  On that note – do a job you like. You spend a lot of time there so if it doesn’t bring out the best in you – make a change.
  35. Everyone is different: they don’t want the same things as you, think the way you do or do things the way you do them.  That doesn’t make them weird or wrong. The reason I know this is true is that I’ve met a lot of people in my life.  When you really listen to people you understand them more. Refer back being open minded and kind.
  36. A nap is one of the best things in the world.  The reason I know this is true is that a nap feels like someone injected me with fresh energy and that is a really good thing.  I mean, Einstein, Winston Churchhill, John F Kennedy, Thomas Edison and Salvador Dali all took daily naps.  They knew what they were doing.
  37. We need to celebrate being alive way more often than one day of the year.   You don’t need a reason to celebrate.  Just do it.  All the time.

xoxo