The state of the View

2017 was a year of personal growth for me.

At various points throughout the year, I found myself questioning why I was doing something that was not making me happy. Why was I trying so hard to foster a friendship that felt so one-sided? Why was I shopping at a store when their products didn’t appeal to me anymore? Why was I trying so hard to be accepted by a group of people when their interests were the polar opposite of mine?

Why was I wasting my time?

A few major events occurred this year that shook me to my core and strengthened my resolve to live a more authentic life.

Chris Cornell‘s death on May 18 was unexpected and heartbreaking. I didn’t become a fan of his until his work with Audioslave, but once I did I worked my way backward and understood why he was a such a well-respected artist. I mourned the loss of a good human being and the fact that I would never hear my favourite Audioslave song, Like a Stone, performed live. It was a harsh reminder that we never know how long we have with the special people in our life and we need to appreciate the time we have with them.

We were in London the night of the terrorist attack at London Bridge and Borough Market on June 3. Luckily my husband and I were in our hotel room at the time, but we had been in the exact same area the day before. It was a chilling feeling to know we were so close to tragedy, and yet a huge part of me felt so far removed from it because in my mind we were still in Canada just watching the events unfold on the BBC. I’m still surprised that I was unfazed and ready to continue sightseeing the day after. The event really didn’t hit me until we came home, and I’ve struggled with wanting to travel far from home ever since.

Then I lost my hero.

Chester Bennington, the lead singer of Linkin Park, passed away on July 20. I became a fan of Linkin Park just as I was finishing grade 12, and their music helped me through the years that followed as I transitioned into adult life. It was Chester’s voice, his raging scream, and his raw emotion that helped me feel like I wasn’t alone in the myriad of emotions I was experiencing at the time — Chester was with me. When he died, I felt gutted and abandoned. I still feel abandoned and find myself crying whenever I think of him. He helped me get through 17 years of my life and I was unsure how I was going to go on without him. I still can’t listen to any music by Linkin Park because hearing Chester’s voice hurts so much. As a way to sort of hold onto Chester forever, I got my first tattoo on August 4 of the six-sided Linkin Park logo behind my right ear (my right side is my dominant side). The placement behind my ear symbolizes how I became a fan through their music. The placement on my head symbolizes Chester’s struggle with mental illness.

Now he is always with me.

These three events helped steer me towards becoming my authentic self. I’ve felt like I’ve wasted a lot of my time with things I shouldn’t have so I have shifted my focus to doing more for me: I surround myself with people I like being with,  I do more of what I enjoy, and I’m getting better at putting myself first.

Which is why I’ve decided to push my blog to the side indefinitely.

Time and again I’m told I’m a talented writer, but other writers will tell you how awful it feels to write when you are completely uninspired — it’s soul crushing. Keeping up with a blog schedule and writing week after week while uninspired becomes more of a chore, and the more I did it the worse I felt. I don’t want to do that anymore. I may write something at some point in the future and feel it best to post it here, but I don’t know when that will be, if at all. I’m active on Twitter, so you can continue following me there if you’d like. I’m still iffy on how active my Instagram account will be in the future, but I do think I will close the Facebook page.

Thank you for reading my little blog for however long you have been. At the very least, I hope you learned a little bit more about me and my view of the world.

Kindest regards,

Jenn

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2016: A Lethbridgian Review

I’ve only been blogging on a regular basis for the past four weeks, so it may seem a little silly for me to write a year-end review. But I assure you, it can still be done!

I’m going to fill you in on what I was doing before I came back to the blog in November.

January

2016 was going to be the year I would finally lose weight. Forget the past nine or so years I have been saying it, I was actually going to accomplish it this year — and I did! Most of the kudos belong to my treadmill (for getting me off the couch) and my Fitbit (for helping me track my progress). I still have a little more weight to lose, but I have formed a pretty solid foundation as far as my eating and exercise habits go, so I just need to keep going strong into the new year and I may finally reach my goal in 2017. I can’t wait!

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February

For the first time since I don’t know when, I experienced true tranquility when I visited the feature pyramid dedicated to the Year of the Monkey at the Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton. Something about the sound of trickling water, the feel of cool air on my skin, and the sights and smells of the surrounding plant life made me never want to leave. The sense of calm I experienced actually brought tears to my eyes. After coming home, I knew that I needed to see the garden one last time before it changed over to a different theme, so I dragged my family up for a day trip on the final day. The trip was exhausting but worth it.

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March

This was my third year dancing in the Ammena Dance Company‘s annual show, An Explosion of World Dance & Music. I chose to be in a circus-themed burlesque piece set to Circus by Britney Spears and Applause by Lady Gaga. I wore a ringmaster’s outfit as my costume, and was thrilled to learn that this piece would open the show. It was A LOT of fun!

(photo credit)

April

This year marked 15 years since I graduated from Catholic Central High School (feeling old, now), and since plans for our 10-year reunion fell through, a group of classmates decided to organize a 15-year reunion at Average Joe’s instead. It was a night of drinks, appetizers, and a lot of catching up. Unfortunately, not many of my high school friends were able to attend, but I enjoyed seeing everyone who could.

May

There is not much to note from May aside from finally being given the go-ahead to move my desk at work to a new area. My new space is larger and has more natural light than my old desk. Plus I get to look out of a huge window every day. Not too shabby!

June

My husband and I got to dress up all fancy and attend a ball to celebrate our 9-year wedding anniversary. We clean up pretty good, eh?

July

For most of the first half of 2016, our daughter was obsessed with the children’s show Peppa Pig. My husband’s cousin tipped me off about a Peppa Pig meet & greet happening at West Edmonton Mall, so we decided to plan a whole trip around it. In addition to waiting an ungodly amount of time to meet and have our picture taken with Peppa Pig, we went to the World Waterpark, Galaxyland, the sea lion show, and observed the marine life at Sea Life Caverns.

August

For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to take our daughter to Calaway Park during the August long weekend. Nope, not doing that again. But I felt the need to have her experience a right of passage of almost every child who grows up in southern Alberta. She had a blast, so that’s all that matters. Not the line-ups, or the expensive food, or the heat, or all the walking you have to do, or…

September

Another first that our daughter got to experience this summer was her first ride in an airplane. My sister-in-law was getting married just north of Vernon, B.C., and we decided to skip a lengthy car ride in favour of an hour-long plane ride and a little bit of driving. This was one of our smarter ideas out of all of our summer excursions. I’m happy to report our daughter is a natural flyer who enjoyed every minute up in the air. It was nice to be back in B.C. again too since the last time we were both there was shortly after our wedding in 2007. Beautiful, as always.

October

I took a break from social media in October to focus more on myself. The steady decline in sunlit hours wreaks havoc with my mental health and I was not feeling great. I feel the need to take a break from social media every once in a while so I can recharge my batteries (hello, introvert!) and get away from all of the voices on my various social media feeds. It helps me retain my sanity, really, even though it pisses off my friends and followers when I disappear with no warning. But I think it’s better to go on a hiatus than to constantly post depressing updates.

Your turn!

What have you enjoyed about my blog so far?

What would you like to see more of in 2017?