Author: frompanictoplate

I’m Not There Yet & That’s Okay

People say that in your 20s, it’s your prime time to “find yourself” and “discover who you are” because “these are the best years of your life.” Wow, I may have overused the quotation marks just a tad there but that was probably to mask the nauseating feeling I get whenever I hear the words “find yourself.”

As I veer into my “late” 20s, it is apparent I have hit the stage where large life changes are happening around me. I’ve experienced a few of them as well. But many of them I haven’t and you know what? That’s okay.

I’ve had many discussions with friends of mine about the rush for getting married, having kids, buying a house, getting the dream position at your dream job, travelling the world, and having life figured out before the age of 30. That’s bullshit. Life isn’t a race. Yet we’re forced into this snow globe where we make our lives look so pretty on the outside and meanwhile we’re trapped in a bubble of self-comparison to others’ and where they are in life.

Allow me to self-reflect:

  • I’m 26 turning 27 in a few months
  • I’m not engaged
  • I don’t have kids
  • I’m not even remotely thinking of having kids
  • I am still paying off OSAP
  • I’m still paying off my car
  • I’m still in school
  • I recently obtained my master’s degree
  • I am still very early in my career, but am blessed to be working in the field I want to be working in
  • I have an amazing partner (now roommate)
  • I do not [entirely] love my body in its current form
  • I have some good habits (i.e. meditation, yoga)

It’s so much easier said than done to say “I’m not going to care what others think of me” or “I don’t care that I’m not as far in life as other people” but how can we not fall into the traps of self-comparison when social media has taken over our lives? It seems like everyone is trying to “one-up” each other by having a bigger, better wedding, or posting the better selfie, or posting how wonderful their lives are because they are part of some pyramid-scheme business (probably) and making “so much money” before the age of 30. Meanwhile, my life feels incredibly uneventful because I’m being unapologetically selfish about having to work and do school because I am one of the few people in any of my friend circles still in school.

In the list above, the things I don’t have yet or have not done yet are not things I’m bothered by. And I am proud of myself for being able to say that. I’m not in a rush for things to happen. I have been working so hard on different aspects of my life and have done so in private. I’m not ashamed of where I am in life. And I am SO incredibly happy for my friends and family who ARE at different stages of life. It’s a messy time. Everyone is doing his or her own thing, and I honestly think that is so awesome. I think we need to support each other for what they are doing or where they are.

I found this picture on Instagram a while ago, and I think it sums it up what this rambling post hasn’t said yet: the definition of “behind in life” is subjective and the “timetable of life” is really individualized.

As my dad always used to tell me (from one overly anxious individual to another), “don’t worry about the things you can’t control.” I’m choosing to enjoy every moment of every day instead of rushing towards “the next big thing.” The things I can control, I’m working on them. I’m happy for others and where they are in life and am open to listen if they are unhappy. I’m happy where I am and where life is going. There will always be something where I will say “I’m not there yet” and it really is okay. 69603287_667367610428598_8774124848604512256_n.jpg

 

Unapologetically Selfish

I was on Instagram yesterday and came across a picture that really upset me. This is what it said:Screen Shot 2019-05-28 at 10.11.04 PM.png

I don’t know if I was hangry and it struck a nerve the wrong way or what, but my first thought reading it was, “you don’t know my life!”

I’ve reached the point in my life where I don’t even bother complaining about being so busy. This is the path I’ve chosen. I suppose I’ve reached a state of complacency. This is the new normal. It has been for almost four years now.

I work full time. I am enrolled in classes for my BCBA credential which I watch videos for every day after work. And in between all of that, I find time to sleep, eat, exercise, errands, and maybe if I’m lucky, I will get to spend time mindlessly scrolling on my phone or reading a book, or texting a friend to check in. I don’t even have free weekends. The downside of working full time is the only spare time I have for my online meeting and tests is on the weekend. Saturday mornings, too. Thank goodness I’m a morning person. But that eats up time I have and takes it away from someone else.

Guilt is such a useless emotion, yet one that seems to overpower me at least once a week. I succumb to my anxiety and get overwhelmed by the guilt of not being a good enough friend because I still haven’t invited them over, or made plans to see them, or have texted them to check in, or any of those emotions. I feel guilty when my schedule doesn’t align with my mom’s and I can’t help her run errands or even come in for a visit after work because it doesn’t line up right. I feel guilty and I cry about it, which takes me further away from my to-do list and further into a hole of self-loathing and shallow breaths.

Then I read that quote: “If they truly care, they will make time.”

And I’m crying all over again.

It’s not that I don’t care about you. If you are my friend, and truly my friend, you would try to understand and be patient with me. Maybe I can’t meet up in person but we could chat over video messaging, a phone call, text, it’s 2019 for goodness sake! But know that it’s not that I don’t care about you. It’s that I care about me.

What kind of friend would I be if I agreed to hang out and wasn’t really listening to our conversation because I was going over my to-do list in my head the entire time? Sitting there and suppressing every negative thought I have only to potentially have a panic attack the second I get in my car? I love you. I do. But one of my methods of getting through the week is setting up a “time budget” where I allocate my time into rough categories. It helps me feel safe, with flexible boundaries, and organized. I am calm when things are organized. It is not that I don’t want to make time for you or that you’re not important, but at this stage in my life, I have other things that are important to me and my well-being.

As a lovely friend stated last night, “if you truly care, you won’t ask someone to overextend themselves when they’re too busy.”

I’m doing the best I can with the time I have and the circumstances I have chosen or have been handed to me. And for that, I am unapologetically selfish.

Wellness Wednesday: March Check-In

There has been so much I have wanted to say in the past month but the words don’t come as freely to me as they did before. It has been quite the month to say the least but what I can say is I’m exhausted, I’m worried, and I’ve been fighting the fight since day one.

But before I get into that, let’s check in with my February goals and see how that’s going:

Goal #1: Be more physically active

I am so happy to say I have actually done well in this area! I am continuing to do yoga every day when I wake up, and am doing another form of exercise (usually HIIT or another more intense yoga video) three times a week.

While I haven’t been following Yoga with Adriene’s March calendar, I have been selecting videos based on my mood or muscle groups to target and have still maintained this habit.

I feel lighter, taller, my posture is better, and I’m overall feeling more awake in the morning.

Goal #2: Eat better 

So far so good for this one too! Woohoo! I am still keeping track of the meals I eat. Rather than strictly counting calories, I am also being more mindful of eating more vegetables and meal prepping more. I am not skipping breakfast (for the most part) and with my Hidrate Spark water bottle, I am also drinking more water and reaching my water intake goals for the day. Although they are a little more on the pricey side, the glowing reminders and the graph tracking my progress throughout the day has been very reinforcing.

 Goal #3: Keep Going

With this mindset, I am feeling proud of the work I have put towards improving myself. I have lost about 8 lbs since February 2nd but even more importantly are the non-scale victories I have been achieving:

  • my clothes fit better
  • my energy levels are much higher
  • I have continued sticking to a routine
  • I am more mindful of what I eat, do, and how much I sleep

Other Events in My Life:

I may have mentioned this in the past but I work as an instructor therapist with children with autism and other developmental disabilities. If you aren’t a resident of Ontario (or even if you are), you may not have heard that the provincial government has changed its autism program in terms of funding.

To quickly summarize: children were previously assessed on need and several children were on a waitlist to access services such as IBI (which is work I do – Intensive Behavioural Interventions). This plan claims to clear the waitlist and provide families with more choice.

While on the surface, it looks to be more fair and equitable, it isn’t. The only way it IS fair and equitable is that NO children will be able to access the treatment they need for success. Here are Mike Moffat’s 10 short reasons the new Autism Program should be scrapped. (I could honestly write like, 10 more blog posts on this subject ALONE)

For a more detailed look at what the Ontario PC government has claimed and the truth behind those claims, check out this article.

Here’s how it affects me:

  1. I am so worried for the children and families. I have worked in adult services and that is no walk in the park (honestly, I could also write a few blog posts about this as well). I have so much hope for these children, especially those I have worked with and I want the best for them and their futures. Families are being put in a difficult position financially, emotionally, and mentally. They have a hard enough time with day-to-day activities but are now forced to spend what little spare time they have to fight against the government on social media, through emails, meetings, and other efforts. Being an empathetic person by nature, it is impossible not to take these feelings to heart and feel what they feel. I continue to fight with them for a better solution.
  2. Job security – Families pay for services which then pays us. Lack of access to services due to insufficient funds means lack of work. It is very uncertain in the field of ABA how companies will be able to stay strong financially throughout this crisis. This is widespread across the province with layoffs beginning in companies already. While I have faith in my organization and the strong, dedicated leaders, the uncertainty is not something I am good at handling as someone with a diagnosed anxiety disorder. I am a planner. I like to know what lies ahead. I don’t have that. I am nervous. I am trying to remain positive.

That is just scratching the surface of all of the thoughts and feelings I have about this today. I will be releasing an infographic I created talking more about the Ontario Autism Program for those interested.

I’m off to do a night yoga routine before going to sleep. I need it tonight, especially.

23dfd7ad18bf3024dd58ecbfe8f8f5ff.jpg

A Day of Love

Ahh Valentine’s Day. Can you smell the love in the air?

I have to admit, I wasn’t going to blog tonight. I’m not even really a fan of Valentine’s Day. Never really have been.

When I was 3 and in toddler time at the library, I remember (quite vividly, believe it or not), coming home from “library school” and being upset because I had received valentines from kids who I didn’t want valentines from because I knew they didn’t like me and I didn’t want them to give them to me because they felt like they had to (or really because their moms filled them out for everyone in the program). I even kept that group of valentines in my memory box for far too long.

When I was in grade 7, my first “boyfriend” broke up with me on Valentine’s Day because he wanted to ask some other girl to be his girlfriend but he still gave me a stuffed animal and chocolate, so that end of the deal wasn’t bad.

At the end of the day, it’s a commercial holiday which is exciting because tomorrow, chocolate will be half price and THAT is something to celebrate. (JK I’m eating healthy now… see yesterday’s post)

On social media, I see posts upon posts of significant others and blah blah blah. My boyfriend won’t answer my text messages let alone care that I’ve posted a picture of us for the world to see and collect likes. I am totally NOT meaning to bash the people that do it, but maybe I just feel like I don’t need to do that. I think my mentality has shifted a bit with me [trying] to post less on social media. Particularly, less about my personal life on social media.

Do I love my boyfriend? Without a shadow of a doubt. I tell him every day. Probably about a million times a day. Every day, at some point during the day, I tell him I’m glad he’s my best friend and I appreciate everything he is.

Truthfully, I am happy I have found someone who I can share all the deep dark stuff and the sunshine and rainbows stuff. I can be in a room with him and be perfectly comfortable saying nothing just being in each other’s presence is enough. I can also talk to him about anything. I’m honestly surprised sometimes how we haven’t run out of things to talk about. He is my best friend and best half. I couldn’t ask for a better partner to journey through life with. There I go, sharing publicly with the world that I love him.

On this day of love, I just want to briefly say, I hope you all have had a wonderful day of love. You are all loved. You are all worthy of love. Give yourself a little self-love today.

February Check-In

It has been a quiet start to 2019 thus far. January knocked me off my feet, quite literally, as I had shingles for the first part of the month and spent a lot of time quarantined in my bedroom.

Now that I am feeling much better, February has become the new January in terms of putting goals into action. To hold myself accountable, I am sharing some of my goals on here (as I usually do).

Goal #1: Be more physically active

I have mentioned Yoga with Adriene before but if you’re hearing about her for the first time, she is my go-to yogi on YouTube. Her videos are easily accessible, and each month, on her website she posts a calendar and an overall focus for the month. This month’s focus is Care. Here’s the link to check out her website: https://yogawithadriene.com/calendar/ and one for her YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/yogawithadriene. I promise, there is something for everyone.

I am doing the Care videos every day this month and haven’t missed a beat. I have even started waking up at 6:30am every day to squeeze it in. This weekend, I will be away and I will be swapping out the longer videos with the short 5-7 minute practices so I can still stay in my routine.

56c7336b-fa93-4550-a43f-a2d867e9a6b7.jpg

I recently cancelled my gym membership. Although I have nothing bad to say about the facility, I don’t live close to it anymore. It wasn’t convenient, especially not with work and school right now. Driving 20 minutes to the gym seemed a bit out of the way and it was wasted money. So I thought about it and if time to go to the gym is the biggest barrier, how can I make up for it? As a two-in-one kind of way, I decided to take 20 minutes away from screen time (phone, laptop, tablets), 3 times a week. I have chosen 3 times a week so I can still prioritize school and watch lecture videos and study when I am home from work. I am using the Nike Training Club app. It’s free and I can cast it to the TV. Afterwards, I can shower and head to bed. This routine is going well so far.

76b99473-0476-4f29-b26f-c2bf79844b69.jpg

Goal #2: Eat better 

I decided against doing a February Whole 30 this time around. I was going to do one to “cleanse” my system out and create some good habits. Alternatively, I have decided to use what I learned from Whole 30 and really try to be more mindful of what I’m eating. I’m keeping track my meals. Each time I put an entry in, I think, “I would rather not be doing this, I think ignorance is bliss.” But the awareness is eye-opening. I have been trying to make better choices. And my partner has been doing the same, which has been motivating for me as well. We’re not really restricting anything from our diets but just being mindful of portion, type of food, and eating more fruit and vegetables. 5f46d950-f1c8-4718-afa9-a1e370e036c9.jpg             5b9051cf-ae0d-47fe-9be6-21a068eea2d0.jpg

 Goal #3: Keep Going

These are goals not new to me. I’ve had them for a while. I will keep working at them. This time around I have set up reinforcement systems in place for reaching both non-scale and scale victories to keep myself motivated. I put so much effort into other areas of my life: work, school, friendships, family – why can’t I put that much effort into myself?

57ed76aed3e27c46ff60e054c4fca305.jpg

The First Monday of 2019

Happy New Year, everyone! Today is the first Monday of 2019. A new year, a new set of goals, and new opportunities.

I tried to write a post last week about the things I learned in 2018 and I could not bring myself to finish.

To my friends and family I did not get to see much of in 2018, I am sorry.

I was rotten at returning text messages. I didn’t attend as many events as previous years. I shut myself out. It was truly a year of self-care and introspection.

To be honest, my mental health took a bit of a dive in 2018. I had panic attacks in the frequency and intensity as I used to have when I was first diagnosed in 2012. It scared me. I felt as weak as I did back then, times. I tried to push through it. But everything just felt so busy. In the past year, I worked full time, was in school part time, both completing my master’s thesis and then starting coursework, and trying to balance other responsibilities. I made it through, relatively unscathed. And now, I’ve been trying to reframe my overwhelming schedule as passionate ambitions.

Old Resolution: Social Media
One of my new year’s resolutions this year was to post less on social media. On my personal instagram, I posted about 80 times this year which works out to be about 6.9 times per month or 1.6 times per week. I liked not posting much on social media. However, when I would see people I hadn’t seen in a while, they would often say to me, “wow, it seems like you’ve been up to a lot of exciting things lately!” And naturally, I’d laugh and agree.

I, along with other millennials, embellish things on social media. No one posts the bad stuff on social media. On my blog page (@frompanictoplate), I have posted some more honest pictures and quotes, and honestly, that was refreshing. It was also comforting to have people inbox me and share their experiences and feelings with me. While social media can feel embellished and fake at times, sharing some of the vulnerable parts of yourself, the real parts of yourself, can be empowering.

New Resolution: Goals For Me and For Others
Something I started in the last quarter of 2018 was to say no to one extra responsibility a week. This meant saying no if asked to work an extra shift in an already busy week or maybe not doing the “suggested” reading for school so I could make more time for myself.

To continue this in 2019, I want to instead do (at least) one thing a week for me and just me. This may include saying no to an added responsibility or an act of self-care.

I also want to do (at least) one thing a week that improves my relationships with others. Maybe this is texting a friend I haven’t talked to in a while to see how they are doing. Maybe it’s making plans with someone for a coffee or other inexpensive outing.
I want to do better. I want to be a better friend.

Mental Health Meets Physical Health

A goal I would like to especially prioritize this year is taking better care of my mental health, especially due to the toll it has taken on my physical health in the past year. I was sick quite a bit and not just like, a little cold here and there. I had laryngitis (at least twice), one of the most painful UTIs I have ever experienced, and now, I am writing this while on the couch wincing at the overwhelming pain that comes with shingles.

To avoid feeling like this in the future (or ever again), I know I need to take care of myself and not push myself because I “like being busy.” I am learning to accept that taking care of myself is not selfish.

So here is to a new year and new exciting opportunities for growth and to make memories with those we love. 6fe48211174875e2cc330edb2519d971.jpg

Four Years Later.

The concept of time is so strange. I’m laying in bed and it feels like no time has passed while simultaneously feeling like a lifetime since I last heard your voice.

Grief has no timeline. There are the five stages, sure, but past that, there is no telling when one feels certain emotions and thinks about certain things. I haven’t stopped missing you. I could never stop missing you. You gave me life. You gave me two sisters who I am also so grateful to have in my life to check on me and be there for me as I continue to transition through new stages in my life.

I had a breakdown the other night. I sobbed and sobbed over the first major snowfall and having to drive without snow tires. It was a bad breakdown. One of my largest in a while. And it wasn’t just because it was dark out and I had to find my way home. It wasn’t just because it was my first time driving in the snow all season. It reminded me of that day. This day, just four years ago. Except I was getting my tires put on. And the garage was down the street from the hospital. And instead of going straight home, I stopped in to visit. And it was my last time holding your hand and saying goodbye. Then, it started to snow harder. Although you did not have the energy to tell me, I could hear your voice telling me to drive home before it got worse. And it did get worse. The snow diminished the visibility on the road. I drove slow. I made it home. And I got the call.

The reoccurrence of the heavy snow, the limited visibility, it all brought me back to that day. And it felt like I was re-living it all over again.

But then I sit here and think about how it has been four years. So much has happened in this time that I wish you were here for and I mean, physically here for.  I would love to hear your voice during the dark times. To get advice. To have you listen. To tell me when I’m overreacting. To tell me not to worry about things I can’t control, even though I do. I can’t help it. It’s a trait I got from you.

For the limited time I did get to spend with you, I am grateful. I am so grateful. It wasn’t all good. And that is something I have been coming to terms with a lot in the past year as I continue to grow and learn about who I am. But I did gain some valuable life lessons from you, many of which I am only coming to appreciate now, at this point in my life, and memories I will hold near and dear to my heart forever and for always.

Love forever, your little leftover.

10404069_10203017561711063_7460714692535958098_n.jpg

Soup Sunday: Chili Edition

It has been a strange week, weather-wise with fluctuating temperatures and not quite knowing when to wear your jacket.

It wasn’t quite soup weather at the beginning of the week so I didn’t make anything until the end of the week.

I didn’t make a new recipe, but I did make changes to an old recipe.

I made chili from the Whole 30 book – one of my all-time favourites. It’s beanless, so I thought it might qualify for Soup Sunday.

Unfortunately I can’t post the recipe due to copyright, but I will tell you the recipe calls for: onion, garlic, lean ground beef, bell peppers, diced tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, paprika, and mustard powder with salt and pepper, and beef broth.

Typically when I make this recipe, I double, sometimes triple the amount of chili powder, paprika, a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, and cumin for extra flavour.

This time when I made it, I also added a jalapeño pepper, cored and diced. This added a bit of spice to eat bite which I loved. I also added a few mushrooms. I don’t overly love bell peppers and since this recipe is beanless, the chili is mostly comprised of them so I wanted to add more chili-like vegetables.

Overall, this dish is very hearty and perfect for the cool, fall weather.

Soup Saturday: Sausage, Sweet Potato, and Kale Soup

This week, I made a soup that is not really new to me but one that I haven’t made since my first round of Whole 30. It is paleo-friendly, gluten free, and dairy free as well.

The flavours mix together well and it is very filling for a lighter soup.

The recipe can be found at Tastes Lovely. Variations I made to the recipe:

  • I used hot Italian turkey sausage instead of sweet Italian pork sausage. This was primarily due to cost. The turkey sausage was on sale and had to be used up right away. However, in the future when making this recipe, I will likely buy hot Italian over sweet Italian because I LOVED how the the sausage made the broth have a little bit of a bite to it. It definitely added extra flavour.
  • I used one very large sweet potato instead of 2 large ones. It yielded about 4 cups.

Tasting notes: It tasted really good immediately upon trying it but it tasted even better the next day for lunch. My mom was a big fan of this soup as well.

20181003_201203.jpg

October Goals & Thoughts

1c44ec573cf32b667c07692f6fe40770.jpgAs #MotivationMonday comes to a close, I am finally in bed with a chance to reflect on the past month and what’s to come.

September was a month of re-adjusting to a busier work schedule, catching up with friends, and catching my first cold of the season.

Today, on October 1st, I added the BCBA (Board Certified Behaviour Analyst) Course Sequence to the mix as I started my coursework through Florida Institute of Technology. It is supposed to be a demanding set of courses, requiring a minimum of a B to pass. I’m excited as it is particularly applicable to my career and the direction I want to go with my career, but I am nervous for the same reasons. I want to be knowledgeable in my field and do well in the courses that will lay the foundation for that knowledge.

With that, I will have to re-introduce the juggling act of balancing a social life, coursework, and my job while also continuing to eat well and try to get in some exercise.

I have continued to practice gratitude daily and meditate at least once a day, typically in the morning, and occasionally just before bed to help me sleep.

This blog will continue to be a safe place to share my anxious thoughts and keep my goals in written form so I can stay accountable. Stay tuned for a new soup recipe this week and weekly rants about my progress.

6c835e195156e8014483b6689e6c0f84.jpg