On the Road to Reykjavik

After dipping down below the acceptable depression threshold a few too many times recently I did a little thinking. It started out primarily as a WTF attitude (as in why me? Why again?!) but perspective comes from the strangest places.

What are you doing to take care of yourself? people often ask. Do you get enough sleep/exercise/time to yourself? And the answer to all of those is, mostly, yes. I mean, yes and no (because does any parent of young children really get enough?) but I think I do okay in those areas.

The trouble is I haven’t been doing the right things. I’ve become really good at sitting on my bed after the boys are (finally) asleep and browsing through Facebook. I can read status updates and comment and click that like button with the best of them. It’s definitely a retreat, but it’s not exactly fulfilling.

That realization (as obvious as it might be) didn’t really become clear until I was talking to a friend recently. This guy — a firefighter, sort of a guy’s guy — asked a simple question: “What’s your outlet?”

What’s my outlet? Um, gee. That’s a good question. I like to write and I like to run, but have been doing neither on a consistent basis.

“You know that giant LEGO Death Star in my basement?” he continued. “Yeah, that was an outlet.”

I pictured him escaping his three kids or a long day at work by going to the basement and slowly, literally piece by piece, putting that together.

That’s what I need – not a LEGO Death Star, but a project.Team Diabetes

In my last race package was a brochure for Team Diabetes and, unlike most of the brochures I get in race packages, I had kept it. I’ve supported the Canadian Diabetes Foundation in various ways for a long time because I’ve had several family members affected by diabetes. Most personally for me was my Grandma, who was legally blind after losing much of her sight to the disease.

True to my largely impulsive nature, I had a look at the Diabetes Association’s website and found myself signing up for a Team Diabetes race in Reykjavik, Iceland next year. I registered without worrying too much about the slightly intimidating fundraising requirement, because I needed a project and this would be it. (Or one of them, anyway. I’m nothing if not ambitious when it comes to finding projects to distract myself with.)

Islandsbanki Marathon

Photo credit: Islandsbanki Marathon

I’ve already got some fundraising plans and some donations from supportive friends. And I’ve got a bit of a posse too. After I signed up, 6 friends (so far) did as well, and more are thinking about it.

Fundraising for this event will be a challenge and a bit outside my comfort zone (especially because I hate asking for money), but that’s sort of what I like about it. It’s something to focus on other than who has posted a new photo to Facebook. I’m excited about it, so that qualifies it as an outlet, don’t you think? I do, so here I go on something that is just for me – not me as a mom or anything else. Just me on the road to Reykjavik.

If you want to support me in my fundraising goal, you can donate here

Look to the Sky

I left work late tonight, as is often the case these days. But I guess the days are indeed getting longer, because instead of being dark the sky was full of brilliant tiger stripes of colour – pink and red and orange and wisps of blue. The city skyline was a barely lit silhouette, and at the end of the wash of colour was the outline of the mountains and a brilliant, golden glare as the sun started to sink behind the horizon. It was incredible. Stop-to-take-a-picture incredible. (But of course no picture I could take would ever do it justice.)

I breathe deeply when I see sunsets like that (even if I’m in my car). And in doing so I pause, sometimes just figuratively and often just for a moment, and think about something other than what I have to do next.

brick wall

Your comments on my post about missing inspiration were interesting. Good interesting, even though I don’t agree with many of you, including my mother. (Sorry, mom.)

Here’s the thing: I like that wide open space of a new year. I love the anything-is-possible feeling. I thrive on change and possibility and new. Day-to-day life gets boring pretty fast, and if I don’t have something to jolt me into a new perspective I will blink and 20 years will have gone by and my small boys will be big and all I will remember is how much laundry I did.

That is not how I wish to live my life.

I realized, upon reading (and railing against) some of those comments on that last post, that I don’t necessarily want some huge, gigantic goal and I’m not really looking for change. But I also don’t want to let life just happen. I prefer living with intention.

That’s why I’ve chosen one word as a guide post for the last few years. It’s why I have a life list and why I breathe in sunsets.

Northern lights in night sky

So where does that leave me? I’m not sure yet. I will probably start by committing to my one word for 2014 (and sharing it here). I’m going to make some changes to my day-to-day focus and schedule. I’m going to move away from feeling stuck in the everydayness of wake/feed children/commute/work/commute/feed children/put children to bed/walk dog/do dishes/fold laundry/repeat.

I’m going to look to the sky. And see where it takes me.

Tea and Quiet

‘Tis the season, as they say. Life is busy enough as it is, and now we rush around trying to get ready for Christmas. I feel as though it may whiz past me this year, whether I prepare for it or not. And yet somehow that’s okay.

I’m on the computer less, reading more. I’m writing less, playing more.

I’m finding quiet when I need it and where I can.

Are you?

cup of tea and chocolate

 

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This will be our last #iPPP link-up of the year. Happy holidays! We’ll see you again in the new year. 

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Finding Magic

You won’t often find me blogging about work—I try to keep some space between work and blogging, and there’s not much I could (or would) say that would be of much interest to anyone else—but yesterday was a pretty cool day.

For months now we’ve been working towards a big announcement and one that I knew would be pretty cool. But I really didn’t imagine how cool. You see, I work for an airline and we’ve done something as part of our partnership with Disney. It looks like this:

magicplane

I knew what the design entailed but I hadn’t actually seen it, because I wanted to keep something a surprise. So when I went into our hangar this morning in time to catch the last rehearsal of the big reveal I was pretty excited. We ran through speeches and introduced Mickey Mouse and played the video…and then the curtain dropped. It just… I mean, it looks SO cool.

The team responsible for the event did a really good job. The lighting and music made for a really fun atmosphere, and Disney provided the crowd with Mickey ears that light up in sync with elements of the show. When they changed from random colours on the heads around the room to coordinated colours I was reminded of why Disney has the market on magic firmly in their corner.

Mickey-ears

There was a huge curtain covering half the hangar and at the end of the presentation it dropped. It was totally a goosebumpy moment.

reveal

So why am I sharing this with you? Because this working-mom-of-two gig is hard – way harder than I imagined it would be. I’m struggling with it – the hours, the commute, the normal, corporate-job frustrations. We all have them, and I don’t know what the answer is. Maybe there isn’t one. Maybe this is just how it is when our kids are small.

tail

But I had a moment of magic at work yesterday, and it was nice, and needed.

I know not everyone has Mickey Mouse visit them at work, but I bet we all have a source of magic in our lives if only we take the time to look for it.

with-Mickey

What’s yours?

 

I’ve joined Greta from Gfunkified as co-host of #iPPP (iPhone Photo Phun), a weekly link-up that requires nothing more than a blog post with a photo from a phone camera (any phone camera, not just iPhones). We want to see your funny, your yummy, your heartfelt, your favourite phone photos of the week. 

Picture in Picture

marble cam image of ferris wheel

Any guesses what this is?

I took this picture with an app that takes a portion of an image, flips it upside down, and puts it in a little bubble so you can see it clearly. All the rest fades to a blur in the background.

I didn’t think of it at the time, but this is an interesting way to look at a situation. Instead of looking at the whole and seeing what you expect to see, pull out a small piece and look at it in a different way.

I tend to be a fairly black and white thinker, at least initially. You’ll occasionally find me planted firmly atop the metaphorical fence, but more often I have a definite viewpoint on things. The good thing (at least I suppose it’s good) is that I’m open to other perspectives and have sometimes been known to be persuaded to take a different stance.

I’ve had my chosen perspective challenged in any number of ways lately: Going back to work and seeing my connections to things and my priorities shift subtly from where I thought they were; letting go of things I thought were a given; accepting that taking a deep breath and a step back is okay, even if it means I have to play a different role.

One such challenge presented itself at work recently. In a very déjà-vu-esque sense I found myself staring down the mouth of a dragon I’ve fought (and been burned by) before. I didn’t want to be there, but I was having a really hard time changing my point of view.

Then a cherished colleague did for me what that app did to this picture – turned a piece of it upside down and gave me another way to look at it. I’m grateful both for her support and her insight, and I may just keep this image on my desk as a reminder.

Is there something you need to think differently about? Try this – grab hold of a part, flip it, turn it, and toss it into the air like a soap bubble. Let it hang. It might tell you a different story than the one you tell yourself.

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Want to know what the photo was originally? Here’s your answer

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I’ve joined Greta from Gfunkified as co-host of #iPPP (iPhone Photo Phun), a weekly link-up that requires nothing more than a blog post with a photo from a phone camera (any phone camera, not just iPhones). We want to see your funny, your yummy, your heartfelt, your favourite phone photos of the week. 

 

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