Advice from my 20-Something Year-Old Self

It has been awhile since I lasted created a post. Here is a quick debrief of my life before I get into it:

  • I witnessed my mother commence her last radiation treatment. (HURRAY!)
  • I moved my twin sister into her new apartment cities away.
  • I fell out of love: with my job and my significant other.
  • I didn’t know what to do with my life.

I know you are probably thinking, “Why are you even telling me this?”. I am telling you because each of these experiences have taught me something invaluable and I wanted to share my advice with you.

1) Every breakup happens for a reason. It may not seem like it at the time but it is true. Your heart is going to break. You may think you will never be able to move on, but I can promise you that you will – whether that is in a month, or 2 years (everyone has their own timeline). Each breakup means that you are that much closer to finding the person that is right for you.

2) Don’t be so rigid about your plans. Likely, they are not going to go as planned. Having second thoughts about your job is normal. Find a job that makes you excited to go to in the morning and don’t let money be your motivator – it will follow.

Also, this is the time in life (being in your 20’s and all) you are likely going to see your friends get engaged, get married, have children or a buy a house. I know sometimes you are going to wish that you were at a similar stage… it is OKAYYYYY! Take a look at where you are and be happy because you are not the only one having wishful thoughts.

3) This is the time you are possibly going to be in debt. Once again, this is OKAY! Like myself, you are probably just getting familiar with paying all of these bills. You may see your credit almost reach its limit and you may be going ballistic. Make regular payments on your credit card, make sure you pay your bills and relax…. this is the time to be in debt. My best advice is to create a monthly budget to help you plan for those payments that you will likely forget about and stick to it.

4) Keep in touch with your lifelong friends. I know just from moving my sister cities away it can be hard. You are most likely going to experience the same with your friends. We are at a time in our lives where we are starting to create ‘our lives’ and that may mean moving away. Make sure to keep in touch. With technology these days you have no excuse. Goodness, you can be making your morning coffee and in that time send a quick message to your friend(s).

5) Your life is going to be busy. Whether that is trying to find the job of your dreams, working multiple jobs, going to school, or whatever it may be, you are going to experience moments that make you overwhelmed. That is completely normal, but my best advice to you is to make sure to take time for yourself and the moments that matter. I know my life was busy when my mother was commencing her cancer treatments, but I made sure to be there for the phone calls, texts and moments she needed me.

6) Lastly, stop doubting yourself. Everybody has their own clock and your time will come when you can see the future you wanted happening (planned or not). This is where the whole ‘my life in a glance’ comes to play; without these experiences that I went through, I wouldn’t be where I am at today:

  • I realized the importance of making time for myself and family.
  • I may have fell out of love, but I found a job I see myself growing in and gained the independence I needed to be happy without relying on others.
  • I learned to let go of the friendships that were not ‘friendships’ and appreciate the loyal sidekicks I have.
  • I learned it is okay to go off track. There is a purpose for it and now I know that where I am in life is where I am suppose to be.

To finish this post, I am going to leave you with a quote:

In the end, everything will be okay. If it is not okay, it is not yet the end. – Fernando Sabino

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Better Late than NEVER! New Year; New Rules!

It has been awhile since my last post but thank you for being loyal to my blog! I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and had a great New Year!

As I reflect on our last year I recognize that I experienced some happy moments such as graduating from SLC, meeting Charles, my person and working for the college for the first 6 months after commencement.I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to work for Lush Cosmetics during the holiday season and fell in love with the company and people working for it. I also recognize that it was a hard year for me with my mother’s diagnosis, bouncing from jobs and gaining 40 pounds (give or take).

Enough said about the good and bad of 2016! To hopefully avoid a troubling year, I am making some new rules for the new year:

1) Create a healthy diet and stick to it

2) More working out at the gym – TIME TO LOSE SOME WEIGHT

3) Primarily focus on my physical and mental health

4) Continue to strive for the future I desire

5) Less Lazin’ – more doin’

6) More freelance photography and graphic design

7) Continue to be supportive for my family

8) More ‘me’ time and family time

6) Less Netflix – more reading because I LOVE BOOKS

7) Less spending – even though it is so tempting working at Lush

8) Stay away from my cell phone before bed – because SLEEP matters

9) NO MORE EXCUSES

What I have learned from this past year is that life is going to throw you some curveballs that may slow you down, but everything happens for a reason. If you feel like you are falling behind, remember that everyone has their own clock and it just isn’t your time yet. Your time will come. I believe that 2017 is going to be a better year for me! I am going to focus on my well-being and future. I am dedicating more time for myself and mental health! MY YEAR IS THIS YEAR!

Happy Halloween Everyone!

Happy Halloween Everyone! 

Today is the perfect day to be someone you have always imagined being! Whether that is a fairy tale princess, a pop star, a fireman, your favourite celebrity or well… a cat (because, let’s be honest – cats do kind of live the easy life). The possibilities are endless.

This past weekend many young and old went to Halloween festivities dressed up in their costumes. I did something completely different. I decided to save my money and use it for someone special.

This past Thursday my mother commenced her surgery to remove the cancer! She came out of the surgery as strong as ever but I knew that she still needed the support of her family. So, I decided to surprise her with a special visit!

When I first surprised my mother with flowers, and chocolates she burst into tears. Not tears of sadness, but tears of happiness because she wanted so badly to see me during this time and thought she wouldn’t (little did she know I had it planned for weeks). This was the best feeling to experience and was well worth missing any Halloween festivities.

People that haven’t gone through breast cancer don’t realize the impact of losing one of your lovely lady lumps has on you. Everything from dressing, bathing and even something as simple as holding your purse changes – especially during the healing process. I expected my mother to experience feelings of grief, anger or even resentment but instead she felt relieved – relieved that the cancer she had been carrying was no longer there. All she has left to do is radiation!

So maybe I didn’t dress up as Superwoman, Lady Gaga or Snow White for this Halloween, but I still feel like a hero for my mother and that is better than any costume I could ever wear!

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A Letter to my Parents

Dear well… you know who you are (all of you),

There are not enough words to describe how blessed I am to have you in my life. As life goes on I have not been able to see you as much as I wish but I hope you know that everyday I am not spending time with you I miss you. Sometimes life may bring us closer and sometimes more distant, but I want you to always remember that I am thankful for these things:

  1. For your complete support, no matter what. Thank you for always believing in me when sometimes I struggled to believe in myself. During times when I felt like the world was closing its doors on me, you opened your arms to let me in.
  2. For being my shoulder and my comedian. You always knew when I needed a good cry or a simple laugh. You always gave me advice even when sometimes I didn’t take it (and I probably should have).
  3. For showing me how to be a respectful, caring human being. Without you, I wouldn’t be the person I am today and I surely wouldn’t have a passion for helping humanity. You have helped me to always remember to try to be humble and look out for others.
  4. For the simple “I love you” texts or evening phone calls. I know it seems minor but they mean a million to me because I know in that moment how much you miss me and it reminds me of how much I miss you too. It reminds me of how lucky I am to have you.
  5. For giving me strength. You are probably thinking to yourself “but how did I do this?”. You did it simply by displaying such strength in yourselves – Mom, you are kicking cancers “derrière” with a smile on your face. You have given me the strength to see my worth and to bring me the confidence I need to go forward with my future aspirations.
  6. For making me feel deeply and believing in much greater things in life. “Everything happens for a reason” has always been my motto because of you. It helps me get through my struggles to later experience my successes. Thank you for making me understand that no matter what happens in life everything will be okay… as long as we have one another. You proved to me that it is not the possessions in life that make us happy. It is the people.

But most importantly, I want you to always remember that I will always love you. No matter what happens in life. I love you unconditionally and always will. Thank you for giving me the life every child deserves. Thank you for everything and most importantly, thank you for being such encouraging, amazing parents.

 

theslclife.com: A Place to Relate

Working for St. Lawrence College this summer has been truly rewarding. I have had the opportunity to work on various projects for the college while assisting the SLC Life team as they grasp the ropes of marketing and creative writing. What I am most proud of thus far, is the development of our VERY OWN website – AND YES, WE CREATED IT (both Jess and I with the help of the team)! This website is called theslclife.com.

This website is a ‘Place to Relate’.

Why you ask? As a recent graduate from the college, I recognize some of the struggles, and benefits of attending the college. I am able to relate to many of the blog posts because they are created by the students within the college. You can find blog posts about specific programs, sports, important deadlines and so much more!

In addition, the website is a great resource to find the following:

  1. Frequently Asked Questions – are questions that – from experience – we know many students would like to know the answers to. These Q & A’s vary from deadlines, how to pay, scholarships and bursaries, extra curricular activities and more.
  2. Surviving Residence – provides information on St. Lawrence College’s residence, tips on making friends, dorm DIY and more.
  3. Living on a Budget – displays information on how to manage your money because we all know living on a student budget can be hard.
  4. Easy Recipes – is a list of simple recipes that will kick your hunger without breaking the bank.
  5. Contact Us – has information on each member of the SLC Life team and how to reach the Peer Contact Centre if you have any questions.

I wish there was a website like this before I entered my first year of college. It was the first time I was living away from home, managing my money and well… experiencing the college life! THE SLC LIFE is a place where you can read articles that are written from a student perspective to get a better feel for the college and student life and is a great resource for other information important to students.

So check out the website! You won’t regret it.

The Life After Graduation

Have you ever wondered what happens after you graduate? I know I did. I feared graduating and not being able to find a job, or easily finding a job that I do not enjoy. I feared I took the wrong program and will have to further educate myself to obtain a future I had no plan for. Yes, there are many fears that come to one’s mind when thinking about the LIFE AFTER GRADUATION.

I am sure you prepared yourself for these possible outcomes, but did you ever prepare yourself for this:

Did you ever prepare for finding a job you love?

Did you prepare for graduating as a different person?

Did you prepare to graduate alongside some of the friends you will have for a lifetime?

Did you prepare to leave with some of the most treasured memories of your life?

I am sure you never prepared for these things, which is why I am writing to you today. After college, I obtained a job I love. Advice to you, don’t give up trying. You may get turned down once or twice until to find your dream job.

I graduated a different person – a BETTER person. The independence I gained is unmeasurable. How I view myself personally and professionally has matured. I am able to see my self-worth and spend time with those who see it too. I am way more confident in my capabilities than I ever could have imagined and have gained the skills I need to get to where I aim to be in the future.

Some people say “you find your lifelong friends in high school.” I disagree. I found my most valuable friends during my college years and so will you. Did you ever prepare yourself to leave college knowing you have friends to spend the rest of your years with? Now that is a future to be excited about!

During my time at St. Lawrence College, I made so many memories that I will remember for the rest of my life. These were my “college years”, “the good days”, and maybe the “not-so good days.” Did you ever prepare yourself leaving remembering the times when you studied for hours for that test you aced, participated in your favourite sports and clubs, and maybe spending some nights out, regretting your endeavours the next morning?

I don’t think you ever prepared for this. I don’t think anyone ever does and maybe it won’t be just like how my life rolled out but I sure believe it will be something similar. The life after graduation is something you are never really prepared for – even with all of the new knowledge you acquired throughout the years. You don’t prepare yourself for past memories and future memories to come. So do me a favour? Prepare for the best. You deserve it!

Also, a big thanks to Chris Watkins from Four/19 Photography for once again being an amazing & talented photographer in the ygk community! I love every single one of my graduation photos!

Positivity Pledge

This post has no relation to marketing but it is something that I would like to express.

Recently, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. To my surprise, she did not mourn over the news but instead spoke words of positivity. She displayed strength and calmness. She has already been such an inspiration to me but is even more now. She made me cope with the news differently and instead encouraged me to only think positively about her journey to recovery. My way of coping is fundraising for cancer research by participating in the Relay for Life.

She also inspired me to decide to take the Positivity Pledge. In doing so:

  1. I promise to stay positive in the face of negativity.
  2. I will think, feel and speak only words of positivity and hope.
  3. When faced with misfortune I pledge to find strength.
  4. I promise to be thankful for all of the wonderful things in life.
  5. I vow to be encouraging for those who need support.
  6. I pledge to be responsible and helpful when at all possible.
  7. I promise to smile as much as I can even in times of grief.
  8. I vow to embrace the change and have faith in the future.
  9. I pledge to believe in myself, others but most importantly my mother.

 This is my pledge to myself that will assist in creating a positive environment for my mother and my family. My mother has been through my ups and downs and now it is my turn to do the same for her. It is my turn to be her shoulder and her strength.

I challenge all of you to create your own positivity pledge because not only can it impact others but also it can impact yourself!

 See my personal page and/or donate here!