“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.” Thich Nhat Hanh
Alright, so I know that everyone is getting pretty sick of reading a bunch of Instagram posts about what their friends have accomplished in 2018 and how freekin blessed and happy and obsessed with themselves they all are. But guess what? For the sake or gratitude and appreciating the simple stuff, I’m going to hit you with another one – so get ready. Sorry not sorry!
Dear 2018, thank you for:
- The tree outside my window, and all the tiny birds who called it home
- Beach sunsets
- Vintage coats
- Hugs- so many hugs
- Words that took my breath away
- Wine – even the sparking red that I exploded all over a bunch of strangers and ruined my shoes with
- New friends
- Old friends
- Friends who become family
- Library books
- The music I danced and cried and sang along to
- The babies I smiled at
- Pink jeans
- This Instagram account <–
- Dogs – all the dogs
- Farmers market swiss chard
- The tears I cried
- The boys I kissed
- Smoothie bowls
- Red lipstick
- Light reflections at magic hour
- The bike rides to work
- The meals I shared with friends
- Purple sea shells
So thanks for the mem’s, 2018. Sure, the big moments were great too, but it was really all of the tiny moments of joy that got me through the year and made it so enjoyable. Can’t wait to stare at the sky and dance and laugh and cry and smile at even more babies in 2019.
Hey friends! It’s Jessica here, coming to you via the World Wide Web of 2018. Man it’s a crazy time on the internet these days, hey? Right now it seems that everywhere I look I’m either being advertised to, or bombarded with information about how the human race is destroying everything.
It seems like everything we eat is killing us and destroying the planet, and everything we buy is made by underpaid children, in horrible working conditions, in factories that are polluting the environment, shipped in plastic that is destroying the earth… and then somehow it’s all giving us cancer. The polar bears are dying, the oceans are rising, children are starving, the forests are burning, the sea turtles are sad, our politicians are out to get us, social media is turning us all against each other… and it’s all our fault.
the world is doomed:
Although this horrifying information (I assume?) is supposed to motivate and encourage people to spring into action and start making the world a better place, oftentimes it leaves me feeling helpless, overwhelmed, and terrible about myself and all of humanity. I see how far we have to come, and getting there feels insurmountable, paralysing, and down right depressing. Do you feel this way too?
Everyday there is a new solution that we are promised will fix everything. “Ditch the straws! Shop local! Bike to work! Ban all plastic! No palm oil! Shop organic!“
Everyone wants to make the solutions to the worlds problems seem simple, but it turns out that it never is.
For example, one week we read that banning plastic straws will clean up the worlds oceans, so we ditch the straws, feel good about ourselves, and then read that in actuality 46% of all waste in the oceans comes from abandoned commercial fishing net’s, not from straws or other single use items, and we think “Well screw it then! I can’t do anything right, I will never be good enough to actually make a difference, the world is doomed, I’m just a tiny person, and nothing I do matters.”
Does this sound familiar? I know personally I have these thoughts all the time, and it’s not fun. If you feel this way too, I’m afraid to say that unfortunately, you’re not wrong. I mean if we’re being realistic here… one person saying no to straws and biking to work twice a week isn’t going to save the polar bears, but then I think…what other choice do we have? Sure, we can’t change the world over night, but is throwing our hands in the air and giving up the only other option?
progress has to happen:
Here’s the thing that we often forget – the world has to progress if we want to survive... we don’t actually have a choice.
We have to stop using single use plastics if we don’t want the world to turn into a giant garbage pile, we have to drastically cut down on animal product consumption if we plan to feed the earths growing population, cut down on greenhouse gasses, and reduce pollution… and most importantly, we have to stop buying tons of cheap stuff we don’t actually need if we want to keep the planet healthy. We have to start giving a fuck – end of story, and we have to start now. There is no other option.
But here’s the thing, these changes don’t have to be a dramatic, abrupt, or stressful.
We don’t have to commit to changing everything at once, we don’t have to overwhelm ourselves, and we don’t have to feel ashamed about starting from square one. The idea of progress doesn’t have to paralyse us with fear, and we don’t have to hate ourselves or others for not progressing as quickly as we feel we ought to be… or god forbid… if we’re not perfect.
perfection is a trap:
Yes perfectionism, it creeps into every area of our lives. Western society idolises it, and social media makes it seem like everyone else is mastering perfectionism but us. We see perfection as a good thing – perfect people have ultimate control over their lives, everything goes as planned, and they are loved and praised for it.
But you know what? Perfection is not real, not attainable, not productive, and striving for (or faking) perfection helps no one.
To make this more clear, I’m going to quote Brené Brown on this.
In the book “The Gifts of Imperfection”, she writes:
“Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving to be your best. Perfectionism is the belief that if we live perfect, look perfect, and act perfect, we can minimise or avoid the pain of blame, judgement, and shame. It’s a shield. It’s a twenty-ton shield that we lug around thinking it will protect us when, in fact, it’s the thing that’s really preventing us from flight.”
Ahh, can we all just take a minute to soak that in? Perfectionism is just a shield we use to try and protect ourselves from vulnerability, not a useful tool for change.
In my experience, perfectionism is more about control rather than a desire for growth. We hold ourselves to an unattainable standard because we are terrified of the vulnerability that trying and failing brings. We strive to be perfect and impenetrable, thinking that if we are perfect enough no one can judge us (hurt us), and therefor we will be safe. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work like this.
Again, let’s let Brené tell us why:
“Healthy striving is self-focused: “How can I improve?” Perfectionism is other-focused: “What will they think?”
Understanding the difference between healthy striving and perfectionism is critical to laying down the shield and picking up your life. Research shows that perfectionism hampers success. In fact, it’s often the path to depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis.”
Ahh yes, depression, anxiety, addiction, and life paralysis… my old friends. I definitely know a thing or two about those; I think we all do. If you’ve been there too, you’re not alone, but just know that it doesn’t have to be this way.
perfection vs. progress:
The idea that we have to be perfect in order to progress is so messed up that I don’t even know where to begin, but it permeates so much of the way we think about personal growth. How many book clubs, bootcamps, or 30 day challenges have we all given up on because of one small misstep – or even worse – have we been too overwhelmed by to even start? Sometimes we get so caught up in our progress being a perfect upward-trajectory that we never actually start, or we can’t keep it up to the standards we think we ought to be at, so we quit half way through.
If you’ve been there, I get it, but in these vulnerable moments of growth we have to remember that our best is good enough. In fact, our best is the most we can ever expect from ourselves, and there is no shame in starting from square one.
Perfection is not the goal – progress is, and the key to progress is not feeling ashamed for being imperfect (human?), and persist instead.
For example, I’ve spoken openly about how rejecting the idea of being a “perfect vegan” and instead just doing my best has allowed me to be a (happy) vegan for three + years, and develop a healthy relationship with food and my body in the process. If I was focused on being “perfect” instead of doing my best, I probably wouldn’t have even started because I would have been too overwhelmed, and if I did start, I wouldn’t have been able to keep it up 100% of the time and the shame would have eaten away at me.
Being imperfect doesn’t make me a failure, it makes me a human, and there is no shame in this. I can see the progress I’ve made over the years, and none of it is thanks to perfection. Instead it’s qualities like being open-minded, curious, honest, and vulnerable that have gotten me to where I am today, and I know the same is true for you too.
where to start:
The convenient part about the human race currently doing so much wrong is that we all have many avenues in which we can start to improve ourselves and affect change in the world. So ask yourself…
What are you curious about?
What sparks your interest?
What makes you sad?
What makes you mad?
What are you passionate about?
Are you interested in human rights? Start by checking the tags on your clothes and do a quick search on the conditions in which they were made. See where that information leads you.
How about pollution? Look at your garbage. What are the items you’re throwing in the trash every day? Is this necessary? How can you reduce?
Interested in health? Read the list of ingredients in your beauty products and packaged foods. Don’t recognise any of those words? Maybe that’s a sign they don’t belong in your body. Ask a health conscious friend where they started and go from there.
just do it:
The incredible thing about positive change is that it has a snowball effect that eventually makes its way into other areas of your life – you just have to start.
When I became vegan three years ago I had no idea about the worlds current issues surrounding animal rights, human rights, human health, climate change, plastic pollution, ect. I just started with something I was interested in and progressed little by little.
It is okay to learn at your own pace – there’s no pressure – but do not remain stagnant. Growth starts now.
The world is too big, too beautiful, too interesting and too incredible to sit back everyday and scroll through posts of people pretending to have it together on social media and buy stuff you don’t need. Isn’t your time more valuable than that? Isn’t your life more interesting and more joyful than that? Isn’t our planet worth taking care of? Don’t you want to look back on your life and see passion, growth, and humility? I know I do.
So moving forward, let’s all be proud of ourselves for taking two steps forward and one step backwards – that is how all progress is made after all. Let’s be open to new information, new lifestyles, and new opinions. Let’s be curious and humble. Let’s put our ego’s down and drop the shield of perfection. Let’s build each other up and cheer each other on.
Let’s start and keep going… after all, what other choice do we have?
Love you, believe in you, proud of you.
Did you forget about me? It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here.
… Like, quite a while… oops!
Life is a perfect mixture of crazy wild and crazy boring at the same time for me right now. A lot is changing, but the future is looking bright none the less. I’m currently in one of those in-between transitional phases of life that’s making me feel all sorts of nostalgic and confused… you know the feeling, right? So before we talk about the future, let’s first get on the same page and talk about where I’ve been.
-> Grew up in Saskatchewan (Canada)
ate a lot of potatoes, was either “too hot” or “too cold” at all times
-> Attended College in Alberta (Canada)
wore high waisted patterned leggings as pants for 4 years straight
-> Lived in Vancouver (Canada) for one and 1/2 years
learned how to avoid eye contact with strangers at all costs
-> Traveled Australia / SE Asia for one and 1/2 years
discovered that peanut butter and carrots are the perfect combination, poked a lot of jellyfish
-> Lived in Saskatchewan for 4 months
took photos of grass, cried in my car
-> Lived in Vancouver for 1 year
had an existential crisis for 365 days straight, talked to/about the neighbourhood geese way more than is socially acceptable
-> Present Moment
Alright! So the present moment is upon us! Currently I am back in Saskatchewan spending some time with family, doing a whole lot of yoga, eating entire jars of my Grandmas homemade pickles in one sitting, and watching an obscene amount of crime television shows. Life is pretty great.
Oh, and I’m preparing to leave for Mexico City in a few days! Yowza!
The entire time that I’ve been back in Canada after traveling Australia and Asia has been a bit of a whirlwind of emotions for me, to say the least. In the age of social media, it seems that we’re all very quick to share the great parts of travel, but no one really talks about how isolating, confusing, and downright depressing it can be to return home after a long time spent abroad. The whole time I’ve been back in Canada I have been longing to travel, but lacking the energy and motivation (and money, let’s be honest) that traveling requires. 2018 was a serious rebuilding year for me, and now towards the end of the year, I finally feel clear headed, energised, strong, and ready to tackle traveling again.
Ahh! I can’t believe it’s happening.
I’m a little concerned with how abrupt this transition will be from the cocoon I’ve been living in Vancouver and then at my parents house straight into the chaos of Mexico City, but I’m just trying to remain calm and positive and remind myself of how adaptable, smart, and capable I am. Everything is going to be just fiiiiiiiine… right? Right???
Everyone asks, but no- I don’t know where I’m headed, I don’t know how long I’ll be gone, I don’t know anyone there, I don’t speak Spanish, I don’t have a plan, and I don’t care to have one, either. I’m just living life, one day at a time, and it feel’s pretty damn good.
Oh yeah, did I mention I’m going alone? Double yowza. (Do people still say that? Whatever.)
Does it seem like I’m calm and collected about this? I guess I kind of am, but there’s also a big part of me that’s freaking out, too. There’s so much that is unknown, and the thought of throwing myself into a foreign culture all alone is pretty terrifying at times, so I honestly just try not to think about it. I guess you could say that ignoring my worries is my current coping mechanism, and so far it’s going pretty well!
Will I be incredibly lonely at times? Will I get lost? Will I get cheated? Will I be uncomfortable? (yes, yes, yes, and yes). But then I just think… Am I safe? Am I capable? Am I going to be fine? Am I going to pull through? Am I going to grow? Is the risk worth the reward? (yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes).
Yes, it’s pretty scary to throw yourself into unknown situations sometimes, but what is my other alternative… to sit at home in a bubble? To live a life of nothing but comfort and stability, but at the expense of what? Of enjoying my life? Sometimes I just have to say to myself “fuck it”, and go for it, you know? Thats how all the best decisions in my life have been made so far anyways. I just throw myself in and trust that everything will be fine. (It will)
So yeah! Mexico! I am so ready to shove my face with literally ALL the Mexican food, take pictures of pretty doorways, sleep in tiny hostel bunk beds, smile at other peoples children, and people watch my days away. It’s going to be great. My parents and grandparents are convinced that I am going to die down there. I am convinced that I will not. Currently the future is unclear, but I am incredibly excited either way.
So friends, wish me luck! And if I don’t come back, please throw a party, eat a taco, and drink a mezcal margarita in my memory 😉
Chao for now!
Hi! Welcome to the blog post that absolutely no one asked for, but I wrote anyway. Enjoy!
Reasons why cows are perfect angels:
- Cows aren’t racist, sexist, ageist, or classist
- Cows are great listeners
- Cows don’t judge you based on your appearance or financial status
- “Treat others how you want to be treated” is the moto of a cow
- Cows are masters at living in the present moment
- Cows are the embodiment of what it means to be zen- they’re the ultimate yogi’s
- When has a cow ever wronged you? I’ll wait…
- Cows aren’t materialistic- some grass and sunshine is all they need to have a great day
- Cows are non-violent
- We could all learn a thing or two about patience from a cow
- Cows are vegan, but aren’t preachy about it
- If you feed and smile at them, they’ll love you forever
- Cows could sit on you, but they don’t… How nice is that?
- Cows are grateful for whatever life gives them
- Cows are worldly- they live on every corner of the planet
- Looking deep into the eyes of a cow is more profound of an experience than tripping on a psychedelic could ever be (you know it’s true)
- Cows are the most beautiful, natural redheads
- Their huge ears must be full of secrets, but they never tell
- Cows love themselves exactly how they are, no matter how much the media tells them to be thinner
- Have you seen those eyelashes??? Perfection
- Cows are the definition of humble
- Cows are the most gentle, calm, accepting, and forgiving creatures on this earth
- WWCD- what would a cow do?