Thanks for being an interesting one, 2016

My view while brushing up on my skiing skills last January

This time last year I was fighting to keep a love that I was losing. I think it’s amusing to look back at the situation, because I was fighting so hard and of course it did nothing because: I was the only one left fighting. I just hope that the next time that happens, I stop fighting sooner so I can save myself the time. I’ve spent the last four months of the year off of online dating platforms and also not actively seeking┬áto date1. It has been extremely rewarding to say the least2.

Stunning views in Pemberton, BC

This Christmas season, as the entire world welled up with sentimental, and loving feelings it was really tempting to feel sad about the things I still miss. Except I have so much to be grateful for in my life right now that I’d be foolish to give in permanently. I’ve allowed myself small moments of sadness, but just enough that allows me to appreciate all that I do have.

I’m not going to pretend I’m completely healed though. I have a long way to go, but at least it’s gotten easier to see, and remain on the bright side. I’ve been listening to The Book of Joy by Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama and Douglas Carlton Abrams and it’s the most perfect thing to listen to around this time of year, but I’m sure it would be great at any time.

When depression is something you’re susceptible to, it’s so far too easy to become angry at the world; to become someone quick to anger, and to become afflicted by that cynicism that every city-dweller is so prone/accustomed to. I hate being that way. I was there though: Someone’s bag on the subway accidentally touched my leg and that person is an asshole; someone didn’t respond to my text message for two days and that person is an asshole3.

I had actually downloaded the book in September, but I had to wait until I finished a few other books before I could listen to it. What karmic timing that I was able to start it last week. My favourite lessons are:

Be mischievous. Don’t take life too seriously; don’t be afraid to make jokes and to have fun with life.

Let suffering shape you. There are always going to be bad times; be prepared for it, don’t escape it and allow it to teach you the life lessons it is meant to teach you. Be graceful in spite of suffering, but don’t judge yourself for the times when you aren’t able to be. Just strive to be better next time. So much of what causes heartache is when you try hard to change the way things are, rather than just accepting them as they are.

Fear has a purpose. If something terrifies you, take the time to figure out what that fear is trying to teach you. Sometimes it’s only purpose is to show you what you want most of all, and sometimes that fear is trying to show you areas in which you still need to grow.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it”.

Minimizing worry is a worthwhile exercise. Stress and Anxiety are a part of life, and can’t be avoided. Something is always going to happen to cause stress, anxiety or worry. It takes training, but it is possible. There isn’t really an easy answer to make it happen either. You have to find what works for you but I would suggest reading or listening to audiobooks such as The Book of Joy or The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck might be a good place to start.

Prioritize Rest. Whether you just need 10 minutes of absolute quiet or 10 hours of sleep, or a good 3 hours at the gym – whatever you need to feel ‘right’. It’s easier to maintain your calm, and not over react to what life throws at you when you’re in a good head space.

Joy and Sorrow are tied together, and the less you try to separate them the easier it will be to see the importance of both in maintaining happiness and joy.

By far, my absolute favourite lesson from the book, and one that continually comes up as they carry on:

Be compassionate. Make it the focus of your life. Spend minutes, even hours a day figuring out how you can be better at being compassionate every day. Practice it so it becomes like breathing. It doesn’t matter whether other people will be doing the same – that isn’t your burden to carry. But MOST IMPORTANTLY: Be compassionate with yourself. Allow yourself to get angry, allow yourself to feel all the things – both positive and negative. What matters are your actions. Remain positive in your actions, and you can help spread joy and compassion.

It’s been great feeling like I can trust the universe again. It’s been great feeling like I can trust people again. What i am really enjoying is the feeling that I can trust myself to make the right choices, and behave in a way that I can be proud of. I’m also enjoying the fact that I don’t beat myself up too much when I don’t behave in a way that I can be proud of, because I know that I’ll behave in a way that at the very least attempts to make up for it. I know I’m not perfect, but that doesn’t mean I can’t stop trying and it doesn’t mean I should give up when I fail either.

I know we’re all still trying to figure things out, and I think that’s the most important thing to remember. No one has all the answers and when someone does something that doesn’t make sense or seems to be coming from a negative place – give them the benefit of the doubt. Rather than acting as if you are sure their actions are rooted in the negative, assume the best, and give them a chance to explain. I know it can seem like the world is inherently evil because of what we hear in the news but believe anyway damn it. Just fucking do it.

­čÖé Or don’t. I’m not a cop.

In no particular order, my 2016 recapped in pictures:

Footnotes:
  1. for the first time in my life since I’ve known anything about dating and love[]
  2. funny though that I haven’t been ‘alone’ in that time… the difference is that I haven’t been actively seeking anything[]
  3. for the sake of argument, let’s say they had a legitimate reason for not responding[]

Once Upon a Time

love

Once upon a time I thought that I had my chance at true love and that I fucked it up, and that was that. I didn’t decide to think that because I wanted to be sad. I thought I was being realistic. I thought that I was just the kind of person for whom talking about important things with someone I really cared about would always be difficult. I’m happy to report that I was so very wrong.

I’m delighted to have discovered that I can actually care about someone with all my heart, hold their opinions in the highest regard and still talk about something that means the world to me without having to break down a lot of walls to get my point across. As an added bonus, I remain open to the things that matter the most to him whether or not they are things that we agree on in the first place. Of course, most of the things that matter the most to us just happen to be things that we share the same perspective on – so far1.

Sometimes you meet someone who is very similar to you, but those similarities clash with each other. I’m so lucky to have met someone who shares the kind of similarities that simply fit into the holes that have been missing in my life. All I need these days is to be with him. Which might explain why everything else in life seems to be so easy2, because nothing else matters as much.

He didn’t ride in on a white horse, he wasn’t wearing shiny armour, nor did he lay down his coat so I could walk over a puddle. He did make my heart stop when he smiled at me that first time I laid eyes on him; he listens to me and he encourages me to listen and care for myself. I’m not saying I think it’s going to be happily ever after, but I do know now why none of my other attempts ever worked out. And keeping in line with being realistic, if this doesn’t work out, at the very least I know what to look for. I know how it’s supposed to feel when the love & respect is so mutual that you literally just want to be with that person body, mind and soul. All. The. Time.

I know I say it all the time but thank you for being you. You’re the best.

Do you have a Once Upon a Time story? Do share!

Footnotes:
  1. I am a realistic dreamer[]
  2. except for making enough money to live but all in good time[]

So this is how it feels

Samuli Ik├Ąheimo on Flickr: ilotulituspari - firework couple

It’s funny how your life can change without you noticing or even thinking twice about what is happening. I’ve been dreaming a lot since I’ve started staying over here1. They’ve been interesting dreams. The kind of dreams that make me think I watch too much television, too many movies or read too many stories. Of course, I’m well aware that there is no such thing as too much of any of that.

I’m surprised at how easy everything is. I’m even more surprised that I swoon every day. I used to think that if something was going to be this easy, that it would have to be boring. There is nothing boring about this. The inside jokes keep piling on top of each other, making my smile grow larger and larger with each day that passes.

I know it won’t always be easy. There are things that have to happen in the future that will be difficult, but they aren’t things that either of us have to worry about now. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if we found a way to make that easy too. Being on the same page with someone is easy when your priority is to remain on the same page with each other. It’s the kind of thing that makes you feel all the things. The good things, the bad things but especially the great things.

Against all my will and might, I was losing hope that I’d ever get to connect with anyone like this again. Mind you, I’d never lose hope completely because that’s just not who I am2 but it was getting pretty hard down in that rabbit hole. The sun’s out now though, and the best thing about all this is that even when it isn’t I know he’ll be there beside me, holding my hand.

Footnotes:
  1. where here is, is for me to know and you to wonder about for all your days[]
  2. eternal optimists for the win![]

I don’t want to bitch

Because I did it for long enough and I have been given one of the best gifts in life, and I don’t want to take it for granted. But, today was a pretty shitty day. Though, I’m still not going to complain; Peter was still there for me today. Even across the seas, even in different time zones. He was there to comfort me, and remind me that I am a strong person and that I can get over it.

I would have been able to get over it myself, without his help, but it just reminds me why I love him so much. And why we are so lucky. And so I won’t bitch about the day I had. Because luckily, at the end of his not-so-great-day I will be going to bed with happy thoughts instead of bitchy ones. I hope everyone else had a great day!