When the first lockdown occurred here in Ontario — and especially when there was a lot of uncertainty about the way forward — I stayed positive. Despite losing my job, I saw it as an opportunity to focus on my writing and other creative pursuits. And that was how I spent my days. Being creative. And since March, I’ve written three novels (two solid first drafts and one that’s almost ready for publication). I learned to make duck confit. I ran (until an injury sidelined me for a while). Writing. Running. Being creative in the kitchen. Those things made staying positive in the early days of the pandemic possible. [Read more…] about Staying Positive During a Pandemic
It’s like a magic pill. The moment I turn off social media, everything falls away. The overwhelm. The doubt. The fear of both success and failure. It’s the easiest way to get back to myself, to remind myself of what really matters. So, that’s what I did last week. I unplugged from social media, and that gave me seven days of bliss.
The ONE Thing
When life gets busy, and I feel overwhelmed, some of the things I love fall to the wayside. Like listening to podcasts. During my time away from social media, I downloaded a few episodes from the ‘Achieve Your Goals with Hal Elrod’ podcast. Elrod’s interview with Geoff Woods, the Vice-President of The ONE Thing, stopped me in my tracks. The conversation reminded me about all the ways I’ve gotten off track. And that to achieve my goals, I had to simply focus on one thing. My ONE thing. Writing. [Read more…] about 7 Days of Bliss
When I learned to kayak, my instructor made swim the rapid. Even though I grew up with a pool in the backyard, I wasn’t a strong swimmer. And the lifejacket strapped to my body didn’t really comfort me, either. “Don’t panic. And take a big breath when the rapid shoots you out, because then it’s going to pull you back down again.” Sure enough, I panicked. Underwater, my arms flailed grandly as I tried to reach the surface. When my head popped out of the water, I took a breath — probably not as big as I should have — and then quickly disappeared underwater. When I came to the surface again, I was beyond spent and, to my dismay, headed straight for the next rapid. And I was desperately in need of a course correction. [Read more…] about Course Correction
The last thing I wanted to do was travel during a global pandemic. The idea of being stuck on a plane for hours with others held zero appeal. In fact, just thinking about it made me even more anxious and paranoid. But on 30 September, I flew to Edmonton to see a dear friend who was diagnosed with glioblastoma in August. Glioblastoma is the most common and most aggressive primary brain tumor. My friend’s diagnosis has left me in shock, and I’m asking myself a lot of questions about life and this journey. And one thought runs constantly through my mind: it wasn’t supposed to be like this.
In life, we’re always waiting for the perfect moment, the perfect opportunity that we believe will allow us to pursue a dream or goal. I hear people say, “When I retire…” or “Once I get a new job…” or “When I’ve saved ‘X’ amount…” The problem is that when we wait, we’re kind of tempting fate. We hope that when all those perfects align, we’ll take the plunge and do the thing that calls to us. But, sometimes, life has other plans for us.
So, don’t wait. Whatever you need to do, or feel compelled to do, do it now. Take one small step forward that sets you on the path to achieving your goals. It doesn’t all have to be done at once. You don’t have to wait until everything is perfect. Because it may never be.
It Wasn’t Supposed to be Like This
I had a great visit with my friend, even though it was tough to see her in pain and how tired she was after radiation therapy. (But I am forever grateful to the thoughtful and dedicated staff at the Cross Cancer Centre for their marvellous care.) We shared some great belly laughs, and tears. Quiet moments of reflection and power naps. (Falling asleep in a hospital chair can really put a kink in your neck!). Twenty-six years of friendship, we’re not just friends. We’re more like brother and sister.
And, still, that thought is ever-present: it wasn’t supposed to be like this. Yet this is the reality we face. And, if anything, it’s a wake-up call.
Don’t wait. Do what you love. Live your best life.
I’m starting from zero. And it’s hard. It means ‘forgetting’ everything I’ve learned, everything I know. Especially when my instinct tells me to just press on, to keep going as if nothing has happened. As if everything is normal. But everything isn’t normal. Because I screwed up. Royally.
Running Through the Pain
I don’t remember when exactly the pain started in my foot. I just remember how, when my goal was a 15-km run, my foot began to throb when I hit 12 km. At that point, I still had to get home. And as the pain seared my foot with each step, I slowed my pace, eventually running with a pronounced limp. Maybe no one else noticed that I was limping, but I did. And I couldn’t wait to be home.
Stubbornness. That’s what told me to keep running through the pain. Running has become as big a part of my morning routine as my morning cup of java that I didn’t want to give it up. Didn’t want to go through ‘withdrawal.’ I pressed on. Mistake!
I wanted to believe my foot pain was a result of worn out shoes. So, I bought a new pair. The pain didn’t go away. Bought two different pairs of insoles. Still … pain. Yet, I kept running. Even when my first steps in the morning (plantar fasciitis) brought tears to my eyes, I ran. Until running even ten kilometres required multiple stops. That was when I knew I couldn’t, like with previous injuries, just run through the pain and hope that everything would be okay. I had to stop living in denial mode. Time to face reality. Starting from zero was the only option.
Starting from Zero
I stopped running. Well, I did for five days. On the sixth day when I ran again, the pain was less but it was time for a reset. As hard and frustrating as it is, I’m running about every second day, and no more than five kilometres. I’m being more intentional about pre- and post-stretching sessions. Getting back to basics, per se.
Starting from zero gives perspective — about what’s working and what’s not, and what needs to be done differently. Not just with running, but in so many areas of my life. It’s an opportunity to assess where I am and where I’m hoping to go, and if the plan to get me there is the right one. Or are adjustments needed? But the hope, as I slow things down, is that I’m come out on top stronger and better off for it.
Have you ever had to start from zero? What was its biggest lesson? Click Reply to share your thoughts.