The here and now.

I officially graduated this past week, and it was more emotional then I thought it would be.

 I’ve been operating under the assumption that I’d already completed my degree for a while now, so convocation was just the official handing of the paper. However, the night before I found myself reflecting on how much I’ve worked through to get to now. Yeah I’ve been done technically for a while, but all of a sudden the official completeness of it hit me. This chapter is closing, and now it’s time to reveal the next page.

I’ve written a lot about transition the last little while. Fall is always a transitional time, and as I find myself stepping away from academics for a bit to develop my business and career… I’m a little terrified. The past year has been all about me doing me, and for someone who finds it easy to get wrapped up in the 5 years from now and into other people’s lives… I’ve worked pretty hard at staying true to myself and doing what I need to to further my own personal development. Now, here we are at another stepping stone. I have a paper that succinctly sums up 4 years (and a bit) of endless learning, hard bouts of burn out, low points, high points, and enlightenment. Can a piece of paper signify the amount of personal growth I’ve done emotionally and mentally? Not really.

I wasn’t hit with this wave of emotions because of the next steps I face in my career or even academically.. I think the emotions were stemming from the more unknowns that are at my door step, and the known fact that I still have a lot of personal development and experience to go through (which is something that never ends, I’m learning). The things I know right now are that I have a vision for the next year of my life. Any ideas I have for the next 5 years are hazy, and while some of them may occur the truth is I don’t know where I want to be. I know who I want to be, and what I want to accomplish within that time frame… but in what order, where, and how is still unclear. As, again I’m learning, it probably should be for where I’m at. I’m uncomfortable with the unknown. Not that I want to know my exact future. But I’m uncomfortable with the known that things as they are now are likely to change, again and again. I recognize that this is okay, and normal, and even to be expected… but the simple act of graduating unleashed all these new, somewhat unfamiliar emotions and concerns about my personal life.

I vaguely remember feeling like this after my high school graduation. In a different capacity, of course, but some of the same “fear of the unknowns”.

I’ve talked to and read about many who say the 20s are the most difficult age for this reason. Everything is always transitional. You’re always learning, adjusting, losing, gaining, and finding out who you are and where you’re supposed to end up. Life is all about not knowing when the next curveball will be thrown, but still managing to swing at it with some success. The support systems you develop are there to rebound off of as you ricochet towards the next thing. The ones you love bolster you, and/or keep you focused in their own ways.

I’ve been taking some time the last few days to reflect on where I’m at, and make peace with not knowing what comes next.. even if I have strong feelings about what is coming next. It’s really easy to get wrapped up living 5 years from now, and ignore the amount of work, exploration, learning and turmoil that has to come first. It’s very interesting to me that I can feel so confident in my education and professional life, while so confused about parts of my emotional life. Even operating under the deep sense of “it will be what it will be”, why can’t I quit pondering the “it”? I have this intuition that I always get exactly what I need, even if it is tough to process.. and that long term there is some sort of path we are all placed on. Our decisions and choices lead us towards ultimately what we’re supposed to experience, and those experiences cultivate the individual we are to be. All you can do in the process is enjoy the here and now.

All a blur

This week went by too fast. Stupid short week. I’m having to look back at my Facebook newsfeed to figure out what I crammed into my days lately, because my brain isn’t functioning so well at the recall. And you all thought I post things just for you’re enjoyment, HA, it’s really just because I need some sort of tracker for my life.

What I’m getting so far from my week is that I practiced a lot of first responder scenarios. Like, every day a lot. I am very comfortable with a spine board now. First with Nikki, my football supervisor, and her study partner as they prepared for their CATA exams which took place this weekend (so glad I have another 1-2 years to fret about that one). From this we learned that I am a horrible actor. Unless I actually have had the injury in the scenario (good chance of that). Otherwise it’s clear that I made the right decision to leave my theatre minor when I did. Other practicing took place with some of my classmates, as we prepped for a scenario presentation taking place this coming week. Only a 5% version of our actual 45% final practical. It was very, very interesting going from practicing with two basically certified therapists, who have miles of experience in the field, to practicing with other rookies. There was a lot more awkward silence and panicked looks in the latter.

Wednesday night I attended the Clansmen’s end of season football banquet. Where I was initiated as a team rookie. Apparently its tradition for rookies to be told that the banquet dress code is game attire (jeans and black collared shirt), when it is actually more of a dressy event. Since I am a newbie, I was told just that. I got ready at Nikki’s house, and she went as far as to dress in her game attire, only to change last minute and fill me in on the joke. Didn’t really bother me, I was happy to be going and I was definitely not the only rookie on the team. Also, as a resident kin student, jeans are pretty much my dress-up anyway.

On Thursday apparently the only thing I did was change my profile picture.

Just kidding. We all know my Thursdays are never that simple!

I’ve been picking up my regular evening shifts at MORfit again, both of which with Claude. Tuesday was the crazy day, due to a significant increase in clientele both in the gym and in the clinic, as well as a staff meeting in the middle of it, I was running between the clinic and the desk all night. Thursday was much the same, however I was able to spend a bit more quality time in the clinic. I got to observe and input on an assessment, as well as massage two clients. The second client was my first deep pec massage, and I got to do it with Claude standing over my shoulder. That wasn’t intimidating. However, he gave some really good advice- and soon I was much more effective for both myself and the client. That evening ended with Claude first making sure I was working with him next week, as he had booked extra clients already, and then giving me a legit pat on the back and a “great job tonight” before going on his way.

I remember last week writing something about not knowing what to fill my Fridays with, now that football is over for the year. This week I found a worthy replacement, as I got to have a flat lesson with C on Megg’s horse Justinian, our favourite import over at McMullan’s! I love it when she goes away and asks me to exercise him! Mostly because I get to avoid studying..

Anyway, flat lesson! Probably the most out of shape I’ve felt all year.. It’s definitely my off season. After huffing and puffing my way through a warm-up, I started to get back into “the zone”, if you will. Justinian is a completely different ride from my own Willard. And completely different shape, and has a completely different attitude. But it didn’t seem to take long to adjust to his style, it definitely helped that I’d hacked him a few times this summer. C tuned up my equitation, and reminded me how much I’m missing being in training. Stupid school, stupid career goals.

It was nice to have some guidance with the very minor details in the equitation of working with younger horses, though, especially to gain some exercises to throw good ol’ Sonny into next time I ride at HC. I fully believe every rider should have a few lessons a year on a horse that isn’t their own, just for the added benefit of learning the adaptivity needed to be a well rounded rider. When you’ve been working with one horse predominately for a while, the ability to just think something and have the horse respond instantly because he can pretty much read your mind and you his, can be taken for granted. Getting on a less familiar mount, things change. You have to be crystal clear with your questions, because if you aren’t you for sure won’t get the answer from the horse you wanted or expected.

And then here we are at the weekend again. I actually did get some studying in, but I also spent a good chunk of time with my brain in park. Which is what my weekends turn into. My crazy weeks turn my head into mush, and it usually takes me to just before I write my weekend blog posts on Sundays to recover. This weekend I had some delicious home cooked food, as always, visited with my grandparents over grandpa’s massage, and got to spend time with a good friend. Old fashioned slumber party and all. Thank you bad roads!

This week is bringing more practicing, working, studying, and hopefully eating better then I did last week. I really started to notice how much I’d fallen off the “not eating gluten/sugar” wagon when I just couldn’t keep my energy up no matter how hard I tried. So half way through last week I reevaluated my eating habits and started getting myself back on track. With exams coming up I really have to keep the right things for my body available, because nothing is possible without that piece of the puzzle. I’ve also started adding a few more gym days to my schedule. My body is much happier when I eat right and actually use it.

2 weeks til Finals! Ah!

“The young do not know enough to be prudent- and therefore attempt the impossible- and achieve it- generation after generation.”

From the pages..

The internet here has been very slow- that’s why I haven’t posted anything in a while. I want to post some pictures of the beach and my wanderings the past week and bit, but the low speed internet won’t permit that. So I figured I’d put a little bit on from my journal- just kind of a reflection piece I guess- most of you have probably heard all these stories from me before. If so, the other point of this post is to let all you out there know I’m still alive! Yay! Pictures will come soon, I promise! For now, here’s some thoughts from the pages of.. me? There’s news at the bottom of this post. I give you permission to skip down to that if you don’t feel like reading  a novel first :). You’re welcome.

Nov 23- Change. It effects us all. Where were you 5 years ago? I was in 9th grade. A shy, reserved kid who dreamed of going to college in Alberta to study equine science. I played volleyball at school, but didn’t plan on playing many other sports- especially not basketball. I was bff’s with somebody who I never thought would leave my life, we were inseparable. Thinking back, this year had a few life changing moments I didn’t see coming. The first; Mr. Martin approaching me, asking (telling) me to come to JV basketball practice. After much convincing, I agreed to go. After all, Erica did it and I idolized her as the big sister I never had- and, if I hated it- I could quite anyway, right? Wrong. I came home from the first week of practices bawling. All the other girls were so much better then I, and I made so many mistakes and got yelled at so much. I can’t do it. I’m not going back! This idea ended quickly. Mom said I was at least finishing the season- no quitting- that was that. I’m forever grateful for this. Also for Mr. Martin including me in the team, tough love and all. I learned (started to) how to be tought and determined that year playing with the older “athletic” girls. This is where I first learned what being a true athlete means. That year I also got Will. He also was something that taught me how important confidence is.

Jump to 2 years ago. My grade 12 year. I now played every high school sport I could. Captain of volleyball, soccer, and basketball, as well as riding on average 4 times a week (often during school hours (spares.. of course..)). Through grades 10-12 I met Lyle Myers- who is definitely responsible for taking me to the next level of toughness. Character building as he would call it (I’m shaking my head as I write this). I remember when I first started training with him in the mornings, this would have been in grade 10. Joel, Pierre, Mackenzie, Garth and I would be in the gym every morning at 7am running sprints. Hell. Sometimes Mr. Martin would watch from his office. I always tried harder if he was watching. I swear this was why I got off the bench and got to play more Varsity in my gr. 10 year. As much as Lyle caused me physical pain and discomfort with his training- I can now see how much it helped and changed me as an athlete- and person. I’m sure anybody who knows Lyle, or has trained with him, would say the same thing.  What a crazy old man. Back to my senior year. By this time I’d made many new great friends, most of which were on teams with me. My best friend who’d been by my side for 7 years decided that I wasn’t putting enough effort into her and all but cut me out of her life. What would high school be without a little drama, right? Those close to me know how much this effected me. As it would anyone I’m sure. To this day I still get confused about the whole situation- and it took me a long time to get over it. It didn’t stop me from pushing myself in every way I could.

Our basketball team made Provincials that year, after an amazing season. I’ll never forget what it was like to be apart of that 2010 team, and it still inspires me. That was true teamwork. Every time we pulled a one-point win out of our asses it was because of pure heart and athleticism. On the court, it was like we were one person. When we were on, nothing could stop us. No matter how much taller the other team was, or how many more players they had (often close to double our team in both height and numbers). I draw from the experiences I had that season all the time when I need a little reminder of what awesome feels like.  I learned so much that year about people, myself, and life. But I guess that’s what high school if for. Setting you up to learn those things. I say “setting you up” because you re-learn a lot of things you thought you know as soon as you get into the real world. This same year, I was also faced with my coach of a year and a half pulling a giant con on Bluebear and in the process leaving me without a coach 3 weeks before my first time competing at a Gold (national) level show (Royal Manitoba Winter Fair). Putting on a brave face through this time was unbelievably hard. It felt like, yet again, I was being left behind and having to start all over.. again.  With the help of Sheryl Feller, someone who’s been with me since the beginning of my riding career, I was able to keep training up to Fair week- where Wilf McKay took over as my temp show coach- a role he has filled a few times over the years.

It certainly wasn’t my easiest show. I had the added pressure (that I put on myself) of making a good impression on my future coaches Mike and Charlene. The days leading up to and the first few days of Fair week I was all but a nervous emotional wreck. I remember one morning I was reviewing my courses by the ring and Charlene came up beside me and helped me dissect the course. No introduction (not that she needed one), just straight to the point in that calm tone of hers. I relaxed so much after that. And had a very successful first showing at RMWF. That same year, I applied for the Miss Manitoba Pageant as a joke. Well, it started as a joke. Then I actually got accepted. And followed through with the whole thing. Swim suit competition and everything. I remember telling my mom about it, and her first reaction was laughing for about 5 minutes and then saying “they actually accepted you?!”. Thanks Mom.  But also, thank you for letting me go through with it. To Dad too. I know how grateful you were when I only placed third (boo yah top 3!). I learned a lot from that. One that pageants are generally a money grab. Two- spray tans are really, really questionable. And useless. Three- confidence is beauty. It was something I never thought I’d do, but can now say that I successfully did. I’m very proud of winning 4/5 special awards, but also very very happy i didn’t win my category. It was just enough to remind me to believe in myself, because even when something seems insane chances are I’ll get through it, and learn a lot on the way.

Today, looking back on all the chaos that was the past few years- all the friends I’d gained, and lost, all the teachers and coaches who pushed and believed, all the things that cause me to break down, every lesson I learned the hard way- it all brought me to here and now. I have all of the above, and lots more (I could list everything.. but you’d be reading for as long as I’ve been alive probably. I’ll save you that), to thank for who I am today. So many memories, good and bad. I’ve grown and changed a lot since then. Made new friends, kept old ones, reconnected with some. I definitely couldn’t have handled some of the things I’ve dealt with in my first year of Uni, or in the past few months in NZ. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to come this far away from home if I hadn’t learnt how to believe in who I am early on. It just goes to show that everything-mo matter how devastating, amazing, hard, easy- benefits you if you let yourself learn from it. Living means changing constantly. We always have to be learning and adapting to keep up with our world. It’s okay to screw up, or to be different, or to be the rookie. How else do you gain experience? You gotta start somewhere. Live is either a daring adventure, or nothing.

Well, there’s your novel for today. Gonna have to buy a new journal soon. Don’t worry, not all the entries are that.. thoughtful.

In other news, as I said up top- the internet is slow. Those of you that have me on Fbook will have seen my pictures from the beach and the area around where I’m living. Lucky you! I’m still unemployed (although I’ve applied for probably close to 100 jobs- including going into town and handing out resumes in person), and still unable to drive standard. Which leaves me at the house a lot of the time. Cooking, baking, cleaning, reading (‘Tis by Frank McCourt if you were wondering- great read!), going for walks, just chilling. I’ve been trying to add more working out to get some strengthening accomplished for the good ol’ back/hip situation. I’m backing off on that though, as it’s STILL consistently bothering me. So no change on that front. I won’t get started on that.

I just realized I’ve been here for over 3 months already. Wow!

I’ve booked a ticket to Christchurch for Dec. 7, where I’ll be staying with some more family connections for a few days- then going down to Dunedin for the 12th to do something that I haven’t spilled on yet. With the exception of a select few (whom I expect to keep quiet). My only hint is that it’s something I never EVER thought I’d do. Actually, I’m pretty sure I’ve said once or twice that this is something I couldn’t and wouldn’t ever do. Well, I’m pushing myself to a new limit. December 12th something crazy goes down. Stay tuned for more on that.

After my weekend in Dunedin I haven’t quite decided what I’ll do. I might visit some other family connections that live not far from there, in Alexandra, and then head farther south and do some exploring there. Then back to Cchurch and eventually back to the North here in Whangarei where I’ll be for Christmas.

I’ll stop writing now, because this post has now reached the word count of a research essay. Also, there’s no pictures. That’s no fun! I’ll post again soon with some pictures and hopefully some adventures. There will definitely be more on December 12th’s events!

Ciao!