Life advice from someone who may not be completely qualified to give it.

What makes someone qualified on giving life advice, anyway? It’s not like we all don’t have experience..

Through my adventures so far this week I had some thoughts that lead to these small pieces of advice being formed.  Whether or not their relevant to anything but my crazy little world, I don’t know. But most of them are what get me through my craziest hours (weeks, months). There are many things I could have written down, but these are the ones that came to mind during my short period of time in which I had to write them down. Feel free to add some of your own in the comments section!

1. Socks. Always have a pair handy.
The number one thing I get stuck without is probably socks. Or food. But mostly socks. This is why I have a pair always in my car, my purse, and my room. This might not be a big deal for you if you don’t live a life that requires socks. But putting on paddock boots and riding with no socks, while completely doable, is not comfortable. Neither is being the sock-less employee at a facility where socks tend to be highly regarded in daily apparel.

2. Know your schedule, plan ahead, and have snacks ready. 

The only thing that has gotten me through this week is the fact that I have made a point of eating properly (well.. better anyway). Eating healthy isn’t a problem for me.. but eating enough is. I had a good system going for meal planning.. but then my schedule had other plans. I’ve had to get creative- but creativity is very necessary when you work 9-5, 5-10 or 9-5 followed by the rest of the evening committed to the barn. As much as I love everything about food, it just takes too much time sometimes. I get impatient. And my bad habit is to not make enough time to actually eat real meals, but rather sporadic bits and pieces of this and that where I find time. Planning out meals for the week has become my saviour. Cooking when you do have a spare hour, and cooking enough to pack meals for the next day or so. You have to eat, you feel better if you eat the right things and regularly- so make it happen.

3. Being able to small talk is a valuable life skill. 

And I suck at it. Or I used to (still do). Unfortunately I also suck at improv (ask anyone who attended the 2010 Miss Manitoba Pageant). What I’ve learned through my various jobs and experiences this past year or so, though, is that small talk can sometimes lead to big talk- which can lead to things you might not want to miss out on. As challenging as it is, just make a comment about the weather and see where it takes you. Hell, make a comment about anything- start a conversation. You might brighten someones day, or you might learn something. Maybe both. Try it. It’s one of those skills you learn to do by doing.

4. Technology is great… but get away from it once in a while. 

More and more I am finding I like to just have stretches of time where I’m not staring at a computer screen, answering texts, or checking emails. I’d much rather be talking to someone in person (small talk, maybe?), doing something productive like riding my horse, going for a run, or lifting heavy objects and putting them back down. Maybe it’s because of my constant on the go lifestyle, but those quiet moments are what’s kept me sane the past few weeks (relatively). Take a breather, your phone will still be there when you catch your breath.

5. Appreciate what you have, and find inspiration in the little things. 

Cliche, much? But for actual, look around you and find something to be happy about. Even on the craziest day of your life, something awesome is happening- you just have to look in the right directions. Maybe it’s something that isn’t directly related to you- like another bus passenger seat dancing like no one is watching (even though everyone is). Worth a smile, isn’t it? Maybe it’s not the biggest inspiration ever, but if it makes you smile, and a little bit cheerier, motivation towards every other aspect gets a little bit more achievable. What I’m trying to say is just spend a few moments letting yourself appreciate the happiness you have around you, because it’s always there. If you can’t find it, then smile and make small talk with someone- maybe they’ll return the favour!

6. Know when to say no, and that you can’t make everyone happy.

In contrast to what I just said, sometimes you just have to say no. Or hold your ground. This will make people upset. Or disappointed. Or indifferent. Well.. sh** happens. They’ll live. I have a problem with saying no, often, which is why my schedule fills up so fast. Whether its saying no to others, or to myself. I can make a day off look crazier then a double shift day in 3 seconds flat. I am, however, working on it. Furthermore, I’ve learned that people will do many things to try and make things work out perfectly- and from what I’ve experienced, sometimes the more you try to please everyone, the less people end up happy. Make a decision and stand by that decision. Yes, be open to new ideas and alterations- but don’t flip flop back and forth. There is nothing worse then trying to satisfy two sides of a losing battle.

 

Relive

People often say, don’t linger on the past- focus on the future. I have always been one to lean towards the philosophy of learning from what’s behind you- and letting those lessons help you get through what’s ahead of you. There is something to be said for both trains of thought. Letting the past further complicate you’re future is not very constructive. Lingering in the past is only okay if you are being proactive about it.

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Quite a few times this week, through a variety of different conversations, I’ve ended up telling stories (lengthly ones) about experiences I had while overseas in NZ. For anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis, you’re probably sick and tired of reading my reflections on those experiences.. so.. sorry? Suck it up?

If you’ve travelled before- you’ll know the feeling of reliving certain experiences.. having flashbacks if you will.. of moments from wherever you were. When I first got home it happened to me all the time. Vivid recollections of the smallest random memories. Everyday, no matter what I was doing, I’d end up reliving a different part of NZ. Over time of course it’s happened less frequently, but it still happens now and again. Today, for example, it was running at 5:30am down the road outside of Clevedon- watching the sunrise and the morning mist lift. A quiet moment alone with an astounding landscape surrounding me before starting work at LC. How and why my subconscious chooses what I’m going to be reliving and when is unknown to me.

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It used to be and sometimes still is a very bittersweet thing for me. For quite a while I was pretty caught up in the negatives of some of the experiences I had. To this day if I hear the ringtone I had as my alarm while I was working at LC, I will feel physically ill. It took me a long time to get to a point where I stopped lingering on the fact that it wasn’t the “perfect” trip- but rather the perfect opportunity for me to figure a lot of stuff out. Pre-trip, I was excited for the experiences I planned (lol at planning experiences, like that ever works)- to find out who I was away from everything I knew.. during I was lost..post-trip I was somewhat bitter but mostly just still lost. In all reality, I ended up accomplishing exactly what I wanted through those 6 months away, “finding out who I was away from everything I knew”. Indirectly, by utilizing plan B, C, D, through Z- I got a solid grasp on who I am. Even if it took me a few “recovery” months to figure that out.
“…the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.”

Pretty much nothing I had planned pre-trip worked out. The job, was, to put it mildly, a low point in my life- however I am quite happy it was that. My travelling (that wouldn’t have been possible if the job had worked out), was quite alternative to the regular backpacker “thing”. I like to say that I got to see the “real NZ”, opposed to the “tourist NZ”. Seeing the country by travelling the rodeo circuit with a bunch of crazy cowboys is not something many people can say they’ve done. My travelling fund, which was supposed to have been funded by my original job, instead became funded by me selling my hair. My attempt at seeing more of the “tourist” side of the country started out according to plan (and was pretty sweet as)- but ended with me, without a phone, luckily with relatives (who I am forever grateful to), in excruciating pain for days, passing out, meeting numerous doctors, seeing the inside of a few hospitals (more of the “real NZ”?), and talking a few of those doctors out of surgery, only by promising to go straight to a doctor as soon as I got to Canada, so I could get home on time. Life keeps us humble. Of course, many of these “alternative” plans brought me to some amazing experiences! And I may not want to re-do exactly some of the things I went through, I am grateful for many of the things it brought me to (amazing family/friends, sights, sounds, smells, hairstyles I never thought I could pull off, etc.).

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“Whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.”
To nerd this post up a bit, it’s common knowledge that stressing the system is the best way to strengthen it (principle of overload); a structure will strengthen along the lines of resistance. With this in mind- I am so glad all those plans didn’t work out. Because looking back, I got through all of that- thankfully not alone (again, NZ family, my heroes for life)- lived to survive another day- plan more things to be rerouted and flipped upside down. All those days where I was lost, working through some dark stuff, where it was all I could do to get out of bed in the mornings- I still did, I kept making plans, I didn’t give up. Looking behind me now, reliving all those moments (even the unpleasant ones), helps me feel less intimidated by whatever is coming next. And believe me, I do get intimidated. Instead of making me afraid to set big goals, it did the exact opposite. It taught me that it’s okay to be flexible with my goals, my plans, my dreams. Those are lessons that are serving me well in this adventure I am now on working towards my degree and certification, and my ongoing mystery health problems..As well, of course, in my riding and athletic ventures.
“Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.”

 

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