Value Time [09/05/19]

Every resource is scarce. That’s what economics tells us. Some resources we don’t really consider scarce though, such as air. Other things we don’t even consider to be a resource even though it really is.

Time, in my opinion, is a resource! It’s limited too, even though we tend to forget that. Sometimes we feel we have all the time in the world.

But when time suddenly becomes limited, and you can’t spend all your time on something you want to, you suddenly become all too aware of how limited time really is.

Someone very close to me that I used to spend ALL my time with (or at least as much as I could) has taken on a new job that makes him much busier. I’m proud of him, and happy for him, but I miss spending my time with him.

It just makes me much more aware of how limited time really is. It also makes me aware of how precious of a resource time is, and how much we should value it! Enjoy the time you have, and enjoy the time you get to spend with the people in your life.

I’ve started to work harder in advance to make sure I can just be in the moment when I get to spend time with that special someone. I ask myself if being caught up in my worries when I’m with him is worth it, or if I would rather be present and enjoy his company.

It’s easy to get caught up in life and forget to be in the present and enjoy the moment. But it’s so important to take a step back and examine how lucky you are to have the time you do.



The True Cause [08/05/19]

Things are not always as they seem. I have found that there are times when the littlest thing upsets me. It shouldn’t be a bit deal, but I just blow up. I also know that logically I shouldn’t be that upset over something small, and knowing that just makes me feel even worse!

Emotions are a tricky thing though, and we can’t always take them at face value.

I have realized recently that when little things cause great distress it is likely that there’s an underlying feeling that is being ignored. Sometimes we are already upset about something deep down, but it’s easier to ignore it than to address it.

The other problem is that when we are upset about things that don’t have an obvious cause we invalidate our own emotions! And then push them down and pretend we don’t feel anything at all.

But of course that doesn’t really work.

Emotions are a part of the human experience and we can’t just ignore them. Whether we acknowledge them or not, our feelings are there, and we are going to experience them willingly or not.

When we ignore our feelings about one thing they often just come bubbling up in some other form. So when we are overwhelmed by emotions OF COURSE it’s easy to blow up over little things!

The important thing is not to completely invalidate how you feel. Even if you think it’s something small or silly, acknowledge it and validate it. And if you blow up over the smallest convenience then step back and think about it. Grab a journal or something and write. Try to figure out what you’re feeling, and why you’re feeling it.

It’s okay to feel things! It’s normal! You just have to give yourself permission to do so.


It’s All a Cycle [07/05/19]

Life ebbs and flows. Things change. Even though in the moment it feels like things will stay the same forever, they don’t. That’s not how life works. I heard someone once describe life as a pendulum, and we are always swinging back and forth between two extremes. Chaos and order, relaxation and stress, energetic and lethargic.

Just like a pendulum life will always, eventually, swing back the other way. But I think that sometimes it’s possible to get stuck in a certain mindset and make a phase last longer than it would if we just went with the flow.

Last week I was sick and spent most of my time curled up in bed, sleeping. I was already low on energy because I had just finished exams, so getting sick was just cherry on top of a big old tired sundae. I was(and still am) worn out.

The thing is I don’t think I really did anything to help how I felt. Actions, mindset, environment, all these things affect the way we feel. I TOLD myself I was tired and low energy, therefore I was.

But a few small changes like picking up my room a bit and forcing myself to sit up straight rather than slouch made all the difference. I still feel low energy, but not as lethargic as I was before.

Isn’t it funny, how a few small changes can make all the difference?

Now I’m back on that upward swing, and I better make the most of it.


Why so serious? [06/05/19]

I have this tendency to stretch things out in my brain, to warp them and make them seem so much worse, or at least more important, than they really are. It can be so hard for me to step back from something and realize that it’s actually just ME placing more emphasis or importance on something than it really deserves.

Take this blog, for example. I’m not saying that it isn’t important. To me, it really is! But I think that in my head I’ve managed to warp that importance, and turn it into something it’s not. I’ve made it seem like it’s some big formal thing that needs a great amount of effort, and everything needs to be perfect. But that was never my original intent when I started it, and I think this warped view has really come between me and my ability to write for this blog. When I started this blog I just wanted it to be like a fun little brain dump. And somewhere along the way, I’ve lost that!

That was just one example. I think I tend to do this with almost everything. I’m cautious, and a worrier. It’s good to be like that sometimes. Caution is a good form of prevention and therefore a good protection. But too much caution can be harmful, too.

Too much caution can hold you back from doing what you want to do. It makes it hard to be a risk taker. Too much worry disrupts daily life and, for me at least, causes agony over every little decision. But sometimes you just have to move on.

Not everything matters as much as it may seem. Sure, in the moment it feels like a big deal, but think about it in the long run. Does it really matter?

Just ask yourself that. Sometimes taking a few deep breaths and thinking about how important something really is makes all the difference.


Lessons from my first year of university

I just finished my first year of university and I sure have learned A LOT. I mean, the whole point of going to post secondary is to continue your education, but I didn’t expect to do so much introspective learning too.

I didn’t take a gap year. I went straight from high school into university. I also had no idea whatsoever what I wanted to do with my life. I went in blind. I started a degree based on what other people told me they thought I would want. I still don’t really know what I want to do with my life, but now I know a bit more what I don’t want to do.

You learn a lot about yourself very quickly when you enter university. Sure, there’s all that academic learning you do, but a whole lot of learning happens outside the classroom and that is just as important as what you learn in your lectures.

You may not like the degree you pick, and that’s okay.

It’s true! Especially if you go straight from high school to post secondary! Some people know exactly what they want to do with their life, and that’s great! But a lot of people have absolutely no clue, and go in blind. A lot of people, like me, pick something to study under the influence of expectations. Expectations from teachers, friends, and families.

When you don’t know yourself and what your interests are, the easy answer is to go with what people around you tell you. There’s nothing wrong with that! Just don’t freak out if you don’t like your degree.

Of course, there is such a thing as first year jitters. Taking on a degree is a big commitment, and it’s not uncommon to question if this is really right for you. If those feelings linger though, don’t ignore them. They’re very real and totally valid.

Being good at something is not the same as liking it.

THIS was a hard lesson for me to learn. In high school I excelled in every subject, but I was a real star in math and science. Of course, since I got a lot of praise for being good in math, chemistry, and physics, I thought I liked those subjects the most.

However, after a year of engineering I can tell you that being good at something doesn’t mean that it’s something I want to do for the rest of my life. I don’t want to make a living out of math and science. It’s a struggle just for me to make myself do mandatory assignments, let alone all the extra work it would take to really be successful in the engineering field.

Take a variety of classes.

This is a pretty basic lesson. EVERYONE says it. But it’s true. Taking a variety of classes makes such a big difference.

The thing with engineering is that first year especially is so rigid that you don’t really get to try anything else. Your whole life is just engineering. Every class is geared towards engineering. So first semester I was full of denial that I didn’t really like it, because it was all I knew.

Second semester, though, I was lucky enough to take an option. I took AP in high school so I didn’t have to take chemistry, and I replaced that class with a history class instead.

There was such a difference.

I actually wanted to do the work for my history class. I actually wanted to go above and beyond. I loved it. And that’s when I realized I needed a change. That maybe engineering wasn’t for me. Because my engineering classes felt like a chore, but my history class was so much fun and I actually wanted to do the readings and the studying.

Make your schedule work for YOU.

Okay. Okay. I get it. You want to take classes with your friends. You want to know someone in every class. But this is your education. Yours. Maybe take one or two classes with your friends, but don’t build your whole schedule around what they’re doing. If you know you won’t make it to that 8 am then DON’T TAKE IT! If you would rather take all morning classes and be home by noon, but your friends want to sleep in, still take the morning classes! You’re the one that has to attend those lectures. Besides, as awesome as it is to take classes with your friends, you will probably pay more attention if you don’t have them in your lecture.

Also, if you can avoid it, try not to take lectures back to back. Two lectures back to back isn’t the worst, but don’t take three in a row. By the time you get to that third lecture you will NOT be paying attention. You will be clocked out and not absorb a single word that professor says. Even a short break between lectures makes a huge difference.

Make time for your friends.

In high school I saw my friends every day. I didn’t have to put that much effort in. But in university it takes so much more effort to make plans. Everyone has different schedules and you have to plan days or weeks in advance.

It’s totally worth the effort though.

It’s easy to get lost in your studies and become a hermit. Making time to see your friends for something unrelated to school at least once a week is so helpful to your mental health, though. Humans are social creatures and keeping up with relationships is important. Besides, this gives you both time to unwind and relax, and that’s important too.

Some of these things I heard in passing as I got ready for my first year of university, but I didn’t really take them to heart. I wish I had. By the end of the second semester I started to figure them out, and it made my life a lot easier.


Hobbies can just be hobbies

I feel like in today’s world there is a huge pressure to be productive all the time. There is a big push to always be working towards something, to always be hustling, to always be adding to your wealth. Name any interest or hobby, anything at all, and someone is probably making money off of it.

But not everything has to bring in profit.

Hobbies don’t have to be monetized. They can just be hobbies.

This isn’t me saying that you CAN’T monetize hobbies. Of course, lots of people do! Lots of people make a living off of things that started as hobbies! And that’s awesome. I’m just saying it’s not a requirement. You don’t have to start thinking about how to make a profit off of something the instant you show any skill or interest. You can just enjoy it.

Trying to monetize something can actually ruin it for you. People always say your should do what you love and love what you do, and that is true. You don’t want to be miserable all day every day. However, trying to monetize something you love can take the fun out of it. Suddenly you aren’t doing it just for the pure joy of doing it. Rather, you are doing it to gain something. The hobby has become a job.

Monetizing something takes far more than just doing the thing. Prices have to be figured out, and a reliable routine of production must be established, and a venue to offer services has to be made. And say every step is accomplished to actually be capable of making money off the hobby. At the end, when it comes time to sell, it’s not going to happen right away. It takes time. And that, more than anything, is frustrating and will kill the joy of the hobby.

You can create something, and share it with the world, without making a profit. That’s okay!

Your purpose on this earth is not to make money. Money certainly helps to achieve a comfortable lifestyle, but it does not necessarily bring fulfillment. Just let yourself do things for the sake of enjoyment.
Just let yourself be happy.


What are you afraid of?

What are you afraid of? What is holding you back doing what you really want? Is there an external force blocking your path, or is it just yourself?

Behind every excuse there is a fear, and that fear holds us back. In a world of opportunity, our fears hold us back from doing the things we are capable of doing and what we want to do.

Fear is a useful tool. We feel it for a reason. It let’s us know when something isn’t quite right, when we should be cautious, and where there might be danger. But in this day and age fear is becoming less of a tool and more of a hinderance. Instead of us taking note of that fear and analyzing why we are feeling it, we let it control us. Sometimes it is necessary to listen, but not always. Fear is a natural reaction to the unknown, but sometimes you have to take that leap of faith to be better.

My biggest fear is failing, or missing out and falling behind due to lack of effort. I’m afraid of other people thinking I’m a failure, or thinking less of me because of choices I make. But I’m not even sure what I would define as a failure! I don’t know where the line between failure and success lies. And being afraid of failure isn’t even my biggest problem. Being afraid of what people think of me, or of people thinking I’ve failed, is so much worse.

The world is not black and white. There is a lot of ambiguity. And so, for many things, there is no true definition of success. Everyone’s going to see it differently. Everyone values different things. So trying to please everyone won’t work. It’s important to figure out what you value, and what you really care about.

Now I know everyone has different fears, but to really get down to the root of things and face whatever is holding you back, just take time to consider what matters to you. It seems like such a simple question, but it has so many layers. 

I struggle with making decisions. And why is that? Because I’m afraid of the consequences. I’m afraid of the unknown outcome, and having to deal with that. But the best that I can do for myself is to think about what matters, and try to make a choice that aligns itself with those values.

Facing fears without any obvious, physical danger can be really hard. It’s hard to deal with something that you can’t explain, or don’t even know where that feeling is coming from. But it’s possible. It just takes work.