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Erin

on star wars

In this day and age, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone that hasn’t seen a single Star Wars movie. I have vivid memories of watching the movies for the first time: I was enthralled by the adorable Ewoks; loved the “golden droid”; and, in one of my more embarrassing childhood moments, dressed up like Jar Jar Binks for Halloween. (My younger brother went as the much cooler Darth Maul; thankfully my favourite character selections have evolved since then.)

To me, though, Star Wars is more than just an entertaining film series; it’s a way of staying connected to my family.

When I was quite young, I inherited a set of action figures that my dad’s youngest brother had played with when he was a kid. We spent hours playing with them, and, as a first-time uncle, I’m sure he was quite glad that they provided some common ground.

After I went away to university, Star Wars became my immediate family’s de facto annual Christmas film – no matter how busy we were during the holidays, my mom, my dad, and I always set aside time to go to our local cinema together. Even when I had already gone to see the new film on opening night with friends (which so far has been every time… sorry, mom), I would still look forward to going again with my parents: hearing my dad’s not-so-quiet running commentary while my mom and I rolled our eyes and shared popcorn is, at this point, one of my favourite holiday traditions.

This family tie means I’ll likely never get sick of the series; even instalments that were objectively not the greatest (looking at you, Solo) are associated with enough nice, warm memories that I can’t help but look upon them favourably. I have fully accepted that Star Wars is my bias, and I can’t wait for this year’s family bonding session in the cinema.

looking forward: 2019 goals

I have a confession to make: I’m terrible when it comes to New Years Resolutions. As with everything in life, I’m overly ambitious when it comes to goal setting, and I assume that I will be able to tackle tens of heavy resolutions all at once. I always start off so well, but by the end of the first week, I’ll slip up once… and then it’s all over from there.

This year, I decided to take a few days to reflect upon what I learned in 2018 and to use that growth as a catalyst for the changes that I want to make in 2019. I truly believe that there’s something magical about writing down your ambitions and wishes, so hopefully putting my aspirations out into the universe will give them even more power to come true.

Cut back on unnecessary spending

I’ve always been pretty good with money, and have tended to save more than I spent. Going back to school after spending a few years with a full-time job, however, means that it’s time for me to start living within my new means. Meal prep at the beginning of each week, bringing my own tea from home instead of grabbing Starbucks, taking public transit instead of Uber (even if the TTC is always late), and engaging in less retail therapy are a few ways that I plan to adjust my spending.

De-clutter my apartment

After living in the same space for any amount of time, you’ll find that you just start to accumulate stuff — and after living in Kitchener-Waterloo for 7 years, I’m amazed by just how many belongings I have. In 2019, I’m looking to get rid of anything that I don’t need or use; I’ve already created an Outfit Spreadsheet to keep track of the clothing that I wear this year and anything that is unworn at the end of a season will be dropped off at a thrift store.

Be more proactive about my health

In university, I was the poster child for healthy living: I went to fitness classes every day, drank lots of water, ate (almost) enough vegetables, and always got 8 hours of sleep per night. After my daily commute started, though, I was lucky to get 5 hours of sleep per night and this healthy lifestyle quickly went out the window.

In 2019, I plan to follow the Blogilates monthly calendar and work out at least 5 days per week. Since Blogilates is (mostly) equipment-free, I will have no excuses during the upcoming cold winter months or on nights that I’m staying in the city. I’m going to drink more water, continue to live as an “honorary vegetarian”, and get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. I also plan to reduce the amount of added sugar that I eat – as someone who loves to bake and eat any kind of sweet treat, this is easily going to be my most difficult resolution.

Schedule in social time

The end of 2018 was all about learning to love my own company. In embracing my newfound “me time”, however, I found that I wasn’t nurturing my close relationships as much as I should; in 2019, I hope to find a sustainable balance.

Maintain an 80%+ average

Even though I’ve always done well in school, the prospect of going back to college and completely changing my career trajectory fills me with a bit of anxiety. I feel like I have a lot to prove, both to myself and to everyone else, and getting good grades is just one way to affirm that these huge life changes are a step in the right direction.

Create more content

Last year, I made the commitment to take photography more seriously, and I sealed the deal with a brand-new Fujifilm X-T20 camera. This year, I’m going to set aside more time to practice photography – whether that involves taking more photos, editing photos in a more timely manner (I still have photos to edit from a trip I took in early June), or learning new Photoshop skills.

I also want to spend at least 5 hours per week creating content for my freelance Marketing Consultant job. It’s a great opportunity to apply what I will be learning in school to real-life scenarios, and will hopefully help me to be more competitive when I go to apply for fall internships. Plus, extra income is never a bad thing!

 

What do you think? What are your 2019 resolutions?

thank u, next: a 2018 retrospective

2018 was easily the most difficult year of my life thus far: I left the startup that had occupied 99% of my time, thoughts, and (literal) tears without a backup plan; I had a quarter-life crisis that led me to doubt if my current field was the one that I actually wanted to be in; and my serious, long-term relationship ended suddenly, leaving me with under a month to find a new place to live.

It’s easy to focus on these negatives and to paint 2018 as a terrible year, but 2018 was also filled with so much light and growth:

  • I learned how to code and built two websites, completely from scratch, along with a handful of unfinished apps
  • I learned to be comfortable with both silence and being alone
  • I learned to love my own company
  • I learned how to put my own needs first
  • I experienced the rush of falling in love, even if it didn’t last
  • I made the difficult decision to switch fields and to go back to school (one more week until classes start!)
  • I was fortunate enough to visit Paris, my favourite city in the world, twice
  • I experienced the magic of Walt Disney World for the first time as an adult
  • I learned how to ask for help in a way that is productive and that is respectful of others’ time, energy, and boundaries
  • I learned that even the most stressful situations can be managed with the help of good friends, chocolate chip cookies, and lots of lists
  • I treated myself to all the concerts, including two nights in a row with Mumford and Sons

I start every year with the same wish: “[year], please be good to me.” While 2018 may not have been as noticeably good to me as I would have wanted, it was a year filled with growth and self-discovery, and I wouldn’t trade the learnings for anything.

finding my Happy Place

If you’ve ever experienced a Canadian winter, you likely know these three things to be true: it starts far too early, lasts much too long, and is ridiculously cold. While my February birthday technically makes me a winter baby, I’m definitely not cut out for temperatures below 10C and find myself constantly drained of energy as soon as the cold weather hits.

I’ve mentioned before how Instagram-friendly locations are one of my (many) weaknesses, so after seeing places like the Museum of Ice Cream and Color Factory all over my feed, I made it my mission to find something like that near Toronto. Enter Happy Place, a pop-up installation filled with bright colours, lots of confetti, and rainbow grilled cheese sandwiches – the perfect Instagram-worthy cure for winter melancholy.

After a full week of suffering through rain, wind, and the first snowfall of the season, my Happy Place appointment had finally arrived. Armed with my brightest sweater (who knew I owned clothing that wasn’t monochrome?), a fully-charged phone (a truly rare sighting), and my best friend/reluctant photographer, I set off for the Harbourfront Center.

And, of course, I had to dress up for the occasion – a phrase here which means “wear clothes that weren’t monochrome.” ModCloth made my dream of looking like a fun schoolteacher come true with this bright, rainbow sweater which perfectly coordinated with the buttons on my matching skirt. The Happy Place employees all gave me compliments, which I guess means that wearing colour once in a while can pay off.

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For the first ~5 minutes of the visit, there were only a few of us inside. This lulled me into a false sense of security, leading to me spending far too much time eating tiny M&M candies in the entranceway and being startled by the 5 o’clock rush. Even with an influx of people, I rarely had to wait more than a few minutes for a photo spot – something that was probably helped by the time limit imposed on a few of the installations. (That said, if you think I’m tempted to go back for a second visit, just to get more cute photos with candy machines, you would be correct.)

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An hour later, once I had made it through all the installations, I found myself fully recharged and ready to take on the world. Sorry Instagram haters, it turns out that good selfie lighting really can be the best medicine.

on new beginnings

I’ve been drafting this post for what feels like years now. Starting a more personal blog has been on my New Years Resolutions list since I finished high school – and I’m about to start a post-graduate degree, so you can tell how long I’ve been putting this off! For the last few years, January 2nd would roll around and I’d tell myself that I missed my window and that I would start something in February… and so began a seemingly never-ending cycle of trying to find the “perfect start date.”

If I’ve learned anything over the years, it’s that a) the perfect date is April 25th, which I’ve already missed by a lot and that b) assigning arbitrary start dates without anything to hold me accountable to them is really just me setting myself up for failure. So far, 2018 has been all about embracing change and jumping into more things head-first; about committing to starting something instead of putting it off, even if it’s messy and imperfect and kind of terrifying. So here I am, on November 25th, getting a heads start on next year’s New Years Resolution. 😉