Monday, January 31, 2011

Work – End of Month Summary

I’m going to go ahead and give work month a passing grade.  If nothing else, finding a new job within the month is grounds for successful resolution completion.  I’ve been doing alright on my tutorials.  My two week goal will be completed in three, not too shabby.

I still need to come up with some of my own projects to create with Illustrator.  I thought maybe I’d make some of my own greeting cards, or have a party so that I can make invitations.  I also thought maybe I’d do a designer resume.  I think colorful design-y resumes are frowned upon in the majority of the working world but whatever world, you don’t own me!  I also thought I should just make some random stuff in a ‘look what I can do’ type way and make a portfolio of non-school related stuff.  These ideas are all fine and good but I need to work them through a bit more.  It’ll be easier to apply what I’ve learned to my projects if I’m keeping an eye out for applicable tricks before hand.  It’s better to watch a video and see that I could use that to do this, instead of later on being like oh hey I saw something… which one of the 300 videos I watched was it in…?

I’m not sure I’m any closer to figure out my life’s passion or what type of work I should be doing, but hopefully the new job will set me up to be more successful in money month with saving, etc.  Not sure if this new job will be a step forward, it feels more like a step sideways right now.  Trying to be positive anyway,  if I hate my job at least it pays better and I’ll feel less apprehensive about change now that I know I can do it.

This month has shown me how quickly things can change.  I’ve been humming and hawing over making a job change for a while and with Melissa’s shoving the papers in my face and making me do it persistent encouragement I made a huge change in only a few weeks.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Almighty Dollar

Work month has been quite the experience.  I’ve been doing my tutorials, but I haven’t always gotten in my two hours a day.  I had originally planned on catching up on what any hours I didn’t get in during the week on the weekend.  Well, I found that I much prefer to do them on my work computer AND my laptop.  I watch the tutorials on my work computer and follow along with the exercises on my laptop.  At home, I have to keep flipping back and forth on my 15” screen.  It’s annoying, and it makes the tutorials take way longer because instead of doing it at the same time as I watch I have to watch and then flip over to my program and do what I just saw.  So next week I’m buckling down and committing to getting this set of tutorials done at work.

The prospect of change can be a scary thing, dedicating this month made me opening my mind up to the possibility of working somewhere else.  It’s a nerve racking thing, the idea of quitting my job.  I have never actually quit a job before.  I left my high school job to attend university and throughout school I worked during the summers so my employer and I both knew I would be leaving when classes started in the fall.  I have always left jobs for school, I have never left a job for another job, until now.

I found a new job, or should I say Melissa found it for me.  I have a lot of mixed feelings about this.  On the one had there are a lot of positives about my current job, and only two negatives, but the two negatives are pretty huge.  One being that I’m not busy, not being utilized, the other that my job leaves a lot to be desired in the salary department.  The longer I work here the more I feel frustrated by not being busy because I don’t see how the salary will improve if the workload doesn’t pick up.  So I have accepted at a job at a different type of firm.  My job won’t be design it will be administrative but the pay is better.  It’s a trade off.  I feel like I’m at a point in my life where I can’t turn down a better paying job.

My current boss was very nice about the whole thing but, in the form of advice, more or less told me he thought this was a step in the wrong direction for me.  I found this to be very disheartening.  I’ve been thinking about making a change for a long time, and have always been scared to take any steps forward because I didn’t want to make a mistake.  I didn’t want to leave the design world for fear of never being able to get back into it.  It was hard to have some of my fears confirmed. 

On a less depressing note I will be starting a new job around mid February.  It’s a bigger office and it sounds like I will be a million times busier.  I also know that my supervisor/co-worker is very excited to have me working there.  It’s only a couple blocks from where I work now so my commute is pretty much the same.  My office now is pretty relaxed and flexible with a 9am start.  At my new office I’ll start at 8 and it’s much more structured.  I realize the entire world starts work at 8 or earlier, but mornings are my nemesis and it will be an adjustment for me.  I’m trying to be excited about it… but in the back of my mind I’m a bit wary.  Guess I’ll have to do something fun like buy new work clothes closer to my start date.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Reaching Out...touching me....touching you!

Family month is coming along nicely.
I had another call with my Dad last night. We discussed the Superbowl whilst watching the Steelers/Jets game. I'm a Steelers girl myself so I was really excited about their lead! Of course Steelers made me think of the Penguins and we discussed Sidney's concussion and how worried we both are that he's been out for a month, and has opted out of the All-Star game! We need him to return, as the Pens have now dropped out of their number 1 spot, AND Malkin is injured. UGH. We also talked about work and the big appointments we both have this week, and my trip to Whistler commencing this weekend. Chatted about our weekend, all in all a great little convo! This conversation felt less forced than the last one, which leads me to believe the "dad only" phone calls are an amazing idea and should absolutely keep going not just throughout the Happiness Project but for the rest of life! I told my Dad about next month (the dreaded love month)...I don't think he was AS interested in that topic as he was NFL, NHL and work haha.

I have not received any "reach out" responses back yet, but that's okay. Not everyone is as avid with emails/facebooking as my family is. Chatting more often with my cousin Ashlie has been good. She's fun, and by the sounds of it coudl definitely keep up with the Lemieux/Nadeau way of partying!

No word from my sister this weekend but she was on a bbm chat a little bit so that was fun! I'll try calling her before I go to Whistler on Friday!
My nagging tasks list has not all. Kirby did force me to tackle the suitcases/boxes in the storage closet to make room for Flash to move in. He is part of my family now and so far, so good! I really enjoy having Flash around. I find him absolutely hilarious so i'm laughing A LOT these days which is nice because my work days are usually very busy and stressful. We have a lot in common and can watch everything from NFL Sunday, to Pens games, to The Bachelor! haha. Kirby made a comment yesterday that we very much act like brother and sister and I think it's very true. I never had a brother, and I think Flash is definitely in brother territory. I love him so. He is messy haha, but something that I think will start to be corrected as he is emmersed more into Kirby and I's lifestyles. At least he's stopped leaving lights on (my biggest pet peeve ever) and he's been closing cupboards too! I think it will take some slow grooming. I'm letting Kirby mostly take the reins on that, the last thing I want is Flash to feel like he has ANOTHER girl friend he has to please haha.

Feeling good about my family, our connections, my love for them and all things happiness!!!

I sincerely hope I can keep up this optimism in 8 days when I start working on my Male Relationships. Hate hate hate hate hate.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Be Here Now

Gretchen Rubin recently posted a list of questions she encounters a lot when she talks to people about happiness on her blog.  I found that several of them resonated with me:

  • How do I balance what makes me happy now with what will make me happy in the long term?
  • Should I make myself do something I don’t want to do? And how do I make myself do something that I want to do (but for some reason, am not doing)?
  • Do I expect too much? Too little?
  • If I try to be positive and enthusiastic, does that make me insincere?
  • When should I accept myself, and when should I expect more from myself?
  • What if I not only want you to do something, but I want you to want to do it? And to do it without me asking you to do it?

Notice the striking resemblance to my Should-ing post a few days ago?

Some things are challenging because I’ve never really done them.  For example, I played sports in high school, but I never did formal workouts in a gym.  On a team, you’re accountable to your coach and teammates, you need to do well because it’s fun to win and the better you are the more playing time you’ll get.  I’ve never had the sense of accomplishment from losing a significant amount of weight or the satisfaction of working my ass off in the gym for three months and having an amazing beach body for the summer.  I’ve never stuck with a gym routine long enough to see noticeable results.  The only drive for me to do it is the potential positives like having more energy or being more toned.  These are such elusive goals that I can’t seem to find motivation to work towards them day in and day out.

I feel like I’m moving away from cumulative goals and spending my time focusing almost exclusively on my current month’s goals.  I’m still staying away from things that I have told myself I can’t have such as fast food, I’ve made significant cut backs on sugar and I cook far more often.  I had some ambitious goals in the first three months and haven’t been able to maintain them long term.  I seem to have reset my happiness project with the beginning of the new year.  My ability to multi task my goals… fail.  It’s a bit overwhelming to try and work out five times a week, walk 10,000 steps a day, eat breakfast, eat only healthy home cooked meals, wake up earlier, look cute, stretch daily, do affirmations daily, always be nice, don’t nag, give proofs of love, be a fantastic friend, go out of your way attend social events, read about all of these things, spend countless hours on computer tutorials, draw, read for pleasure and find clever ways keep track of your progress and blog about it.

I do feel some guilt over how many of my resolutions have fallen off, but not guilty enough to force myself to do them.  I need to re-evaluate.  Some things, like attitude and relationship month have made me more aware of myself and my behaviors.  The ability to snap myself out of, or at least acknowledge my mood and not allow myself to wallow has been helpful.  Perhaps that awareness is enough.  I think some goals, like fitness, I should try again in the summer.  The cold, dark, short days of winter give me too many excuses to avoid walking, getting up earlier and leaving the house period.  Maybe I’m just not ready to commit to working out as much as I would need to in order to see changes.

I’m more excited about my current and future months goals.  I plan on spending more of my energy on them and not wasting energy feeling guilty about failed resolutions.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It’s About Doing The Work When No One’s Watching

I haven’t made the progress I wanted to with work month.  I keep finding distractions for myself.  Melissa won an ipad and I went to set it up for her and it wasn’t working.  Turns out my operating system was out of date.  This spawned an obsessive need to get my computer up to snuff.  I upgraded my operating system from Mac OSX 10.4.11 to Mac OXS 10.6 which involved 3 trips to Future Shop.  1. To buy the disc to upgrade my system.  2. To go back and buy an external CD/DVD player because mine has apparently decided it doesn’t want to work anymore and I need one to load the disc to do the upgrade.  3. To return the external CD/DVD player because I ‘changed my mind’ about it.

I then upgraded my itunes, got the ipad in working form, updated any programs I could to newer versions.  Discovered that I could get an Adobe Creative Suite upgrade from a friend of mine.  Spent a day going from CS2 to CS5 and another cleaning out all of CS2.  Had to restart some of my tutorials because they were for the CS2 versions and there are newer tutorials for CS5.

I planned to play catch up on tutorials this weekend because I have been receiving work to do sporadically throughout the day at my job lately and have been having trouble finding a stretch of time to do it.  I did about 1 hour of tutorials on Saturday and found plenty of errands, reading and napping to distract me from doing any more.  These are lame excuses because I know perfectly well that I could find the time.  A couple options I’m debating are mornings (which probably won’t work) and staying at work after 5 and doing them there.  I also thought about taking my laptop to work on a Saturday and doing it.  That way I can’t take a break and go watch 4 hours of Keeping up with the Kardashians.  I need to get myself into doing them regularly, get into a groove.

I want to do these tutorials, it’s just that sometimes they can be a little…boring.  I find it hard to engage in some of them for hours on end.  The tutorial for Illustrator CS5: The Fundamentals is 23 hours long.  I figured if I did about 2 hours a day during the week and a couple on the weekend I could do it in 2 weeks.  Fundamentals is only part one of learning Illustrator CS5.  There are two more parts that are about 8+ hours each.  I have a lot of programs like this on my list.  I’m never going to get through them without a set time to work.  Yes I can do some tutorials on a slow afternoon at work, but I can’t guarantee I’ll always have that time and the inconsistency is preventing me from making progress.  Must get organized.

You’d think being organized with stuff would lend itself naturally to being organized with time.  For me, not so much.  Organizing my free time into things like, working out or doing these tutorials has never been easy for me.  In school, I didn’t leave my work to the last minute, I’d always leave myself enough time to do it, but I rarely started things before I had to.  I am someone who needs a deadline to get things like that done.  There’s no real consequence for missing deadlines I set for myself.  If it takes me two weeks or two months to do this set of tutorials, then whatever.  The only person I’m letting down is myself.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Making Space

Flash has decided that he will officially move in with me and Melissa. Since he practically lives there anyway the most significant change will be the permanent addition of his stuff to our small two bedroom apartment. I have been trying to get rid of everything humanly possible to make room for him. Luckily for me I have very little sentimental attachment to stuff; I have no problem making cut throat decisions about clothes and as for organization well, it’s kind of my thing.

I have added a dresser to my room and have cut the number of hanging clothes in half. HALF! I dragged Melissa boxes and suitcases out of our little in-suite storage room, pointed to them and said ‘Do it, do it’. It turns out Melissa keeps a colorful assortment of the most random shit stored inside all of her suitcases. Three garbage bags later and voila more room.

For me making space is not the biggest challenge, it’s the maintaining a level of cleanliness once Flash and all of his stuff are added. Flash is a bit messy. The concept of not throwing his clothes on the floor, putting dishes in the dishwasher right away and throwing trash in the garbage immediately are challenges. Since his clothes will be all over my floor I’ll either have to live with it or pick them up myself. I do not plan on doing either.

I love a clean surface. Whether that is a made bed, a clear kitchen counter, a bare table, coffee table or bedroom floor. It suggests possibility, so much space for activities!  Clutter is an uncomfortable itch that I must scratch.

I have accepted that living with someone can be a tricky thing. I’ve had pretty good luck with roommates, but invariably you hit a few snags. In instances where the apartment was messier than I was comfortable with I accepted that if I wanted a clean apartment I would have to do it myself. Luckily, Melissa is a very clean roommate. She respects and appreciates my neurotic need keep things clean and tidy by doing her best to help keep the apartment neat.

Flash, however, is a work in progress. He can not relate to my love of clean surfaces. If you leave your dishes lying on the counters, stove and sink for a week and then spend an hour on Sunday doing them, the result is living in a dirty house for 6.5 days of the week. Tidying as you go, cleaning the kitchen up after dinner, putting clothes away or in the hamper. These all make such a big difference, especially in a small living space.

I’m not sure if this is unreasonable to most people but I think it is pretty standard, especially when living with roommates. I’m not asking anyone to wash floors or scrub toilets, periodically go through the fridge and throw out expired food. I’m not even expecting anyone to vacuum. I am happy to do all of that myself. What I’m not happy to do is pick up after Flash. I think anything that makes me feel like his mother is to be avoided.

So I have been trying to problem solve. I’m making as much space as possible so that things are not lying around because there’s no where to put them. A place for everything, that’s been my goal. I’ve also been pointing out some of these messy behaviors to Flash. He would say I’ve been huge nag. Flash has made big improvements as far as clothes go. He tries to hang things on the hooks in my room; he no longer throws towels on the floor. I can see him becoming more aware of where things go.

I know that Flash is not the only one that needs to change. I’m going to have to relax, be less of a control freak, and get used to the apartment not always being the way I want it to be.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Should-ing All Over Yourself

I’m always thinking about things I should be doing for my happiness project.  SHOULD being the key word.  Even though one of my guidelines for the project is Be Kirby I’m not sure how well I’m sticking to that.

I have a hard time figuring out the difference between I should in a keeping up with the Joneses type of way and I should because I actually should.  For example, I still feel guilt about things that I think I should be doing like the gym.  In all honestly, I absolutely hate the gym.  It is not my happy place, it sucks balls.  So can I accept that I, Kirby, do not find happiness at the gym and therefore should not go, or do I have to accept that the gym is one of those things that I actually should do even if I hate it because the benefits outweigh the fact that I don’t like it.

I argue with myself that I hate the gym but what I actually should be doing is exercise, it does not have to take place in the crappy little hole in the wall gym my building has.  I spend a lot of time walking, in the summer.  Oh yeah I live in a frozen wasteland where it’s so cold that my dog cries when I take her outside and going for walks is NOT happening.  How do you distinguish what’s right in a battle of shoulds and wants.  I want to spend my time watching movies, sleeping, eating, reading, playing video games, or on my laptop.  All of these things are lazy sedentary activities.  I know that if I only ever spent my time doing these things that eventually I would fall into a low mood.  I know I need to get out and do things to stimulate my brain.  Staying in low energy mode too long makes me feel perpetually tired.  

The truth is that I should has gotten a bad rap.  Anyone who has gone through emotional low periods in their life knows that shoulds are necessary.  I’m not talking about the I should weigh 100 pounds, I should run a marathon or I should have a boyfriend.  I mean the, I should get out of bed today, I should spend time around other people, I should get outside and go for a walk.  The shoulds that contribute to mental health.  Eventually the I shoulds get more ambitious, I should spend time around other people becomes I should be a better friend, and I should go for a walk becomes I should hit the gym 5 times a week.  So when should I do something for my own good, and when should I admit that something isn’t right for me and let it go?  When can I don’t want to replace the feeling of I should?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I am killing my 'Family' month for the Happiness Project. Last Sunday I called my dad. The process of getting my Dad on the phone was hilarious.

Mom- "Hello Melissa!"
Me- "Hi Mum, can I talk to Dad?"
Mom- "You don't want to talk to me? Ohhhh is this Dad's phone call?!"
Me- "Yes."
Mom- "Do you have something to say to him?"
Me- "Yes I do! I have exciting news actually i'm excited to talk to him!"
Mom- "Well what's the news? I want to know!"
Me- "Well it's DAD'S news Mom, he can tell you after I get off the phone!"
Mom- "Well is it something I would want to know!?"
Me- "No not really, it will be so-so interesting to you, but very interesting to him."
Mom- "Ooookay! haha"
(Internal thought- gatekeeper much? haha Just kidding Mom you're hilar)

My mom is the information hub of the family, I knew it must have been secretly killing her that Dad was about to find something before her. Alas, my Dad had already picked up the phone and was awaiting his phone time.
*For everyone beyond curious about what the news was, it was that via my slightly hungover Sunday of watching nothing but '24/7: Capitals Penguins Road to the Winter Classic on HBO, I realized that a friend of mine from high school, who once crashed at my house after a party, and dated my best friend Laura, now plays for the Washington Capitals. GO GORDO!!!!

Anyways, my Dad and I had a great chat, spanning about 12 minutes in length. I ran by him something that happened at work that week and he gave me really good advice that I will absolutely take forward and learn from. The thing I always forget, or I guess just don't really pay attention to, about Moe Moe (short for Morley) is that he is a very successful business man! He has a lot of knowledge and experience to share and these kinds of things are so good to bounce of him. Of course we also chatted hockey, and our shared love for Sidney Crosby, as that is something we can ALWAYS fall back on :)
Anyone who tries to claim that OVI is a better hockey player does not stand a chance against don't even try. SID THE KID FOR LIFE!

Also in compliance with my Happiness Project, I send my first "reach out" email to a family member I wanted to re-connect with. I started off with Tracy Harriman, probably because I have seen Tracy a bit over the years and felt like it was a good warm opening and would probably be received well. I am most nervous to reach out to Ches, mostly because I don't want to end up looking/sounding like an idiot. But I'm really excited too!

I don't know how to chat with my sister more, as she is electronically retarded and doesn't answer bbm (BlackBerry messenger) and is always at Turbokick and therefore also doesn't answer the phone. Arg. I will keep trying :)

All in all, I feel great. New Year. New Goals. New Gym gear (thanks Jenn!) and feeling good about mind, body and spirit. I am absolutely DREADING "love" month at this point. I've managed to wiggle myself into a weird place with boys---but we will chat about that next month! Muahaha. No dirt for now!
Do you think Kirby will let me substitute "love" month for my "nagging tasks" month (I absolutely suck at to-do lists, Kirby drools at the thought of them). Nahhh,I guess it is important that I start working on attracting the right people, stop dating assholes, and eventually procreate (wayyyyyy down the line Mom, relax). My genes are just too good not to ;) <---My confidence level has not been affected in the making of this Happiness Project.

Another successful mid-month update. Yay!!!


Monday, January 10, 2011


Sometimes I struggle a lot with the big questions in life. 

Sometimes I over think. 

Sometimes I feel like the weight of my potential will crush me.

Sometimes I feel like an epic failure.

Sometimes I feel like everyone is more successful, makes more money, is more in love, has more fun, is smarter and more talented than me.

Sometimes I think that society has made it impossible to ever feel truly happy or satisfied.
(Sometimes I think that I need to lay off the celebrity gossip and Facebook when this thinking occurs)

Sometimes I want change.
Sometimes I am scared of change.

Sometimes life throws you a bone and you feel like the universe is taking care of you.
(When typing this into Google to make sure that is was a real saying and not something I made up I typed: When life throws you a b and Google gave me the option of curveball when life throws you a brain tumor)

Sometimes I think everything is going to work out.
(Or at least I did until I realized how common brain tumors are since Google is suggesting I search it)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Gifts of Imperfection

I came across a link on Gretchen Rubin’s Happiness Project Blog for Brené Brown’s TEDx video.  I’m a big fan of TED videos so I watched it and thought it fit into the category of appropriate readings for my happiness project so I bought her book The Gifts of Imperfection and read it. 

I find myself drawn to books in which the author has done the work for me.  I really liked reading the Happiness Project because Gretchen is an overachiever researcher type and did all the leg work to get the facts and compare the studies and presented me with a nice summarized version of her findings on a dozen different topics.  I’m not really interested in reading 15 books on relationships, I’d rather read one or two that sum things up nicely.  So, when I saw in Brené’s video that she began as a perfectionist, skeptic, researcher who discovered through her work that she wasn’t living a “wholehearted life” and proceeded to change her ways I thought it would be interesting.  I mean, doesn’t everyone like a good skeptic become believer story?

As I’m reading I like to highlight select phrases that resonate with me.

  • to believe in myself and the possibility of living a different life
  • to begin by always thinking of love as an action rather than a feeling
  • incongruent living is exhausting
  • we can only love others as much as we love ourselves
  • the opposite of play is not work

She says she posted the discussion on her blog about only being able to love others as much as you love yourself and got a lot of angry responses by people who claimed to love others more, like parents who claimed to love their children more than themselves.  One woman, who works with women with addiction said that many mothers with addiction hate themselves but love their kids.  I thought that was kind of bullshit. Maybe it’s not a perfect balance but to say that you can hate yourself and love your kids is a lie.  If you’re a addict, that probably means you’re sucking at life somehow.  If you’re a drunk you’re probably not being the best mom since you are both physically and mentally unavailable most of the time.  Your kid probably feels abandoned, has no role model on how to grow up and be well balanced, confident and able to deal with problems in a healthy way.  OH but you love your kid.  If you hate yourself, one way or another that’s going picked up and internalized by your child.  To say that addicts or people suffering from depression or whatever are incapable of love is not the point I’m trying to make.  I simply believe that you have a greater capacity for love when you do love yourself.  I think it can happen in a reverse order in which learning to love someone else helps your learn to love yourself. 

Brené has done a lot of research on shame.  Shame isn’t something I think about very often.  Whenever I think of negative emotions I never think of the word shame. Brené describes it as the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.  The more I thought about it the more I realized how powerful the word shame is and that it’s had a big impact on me.  I grew up in an environment where criticism came quick and often and praise came…rarely.  I think I adapted the feeling of not being good enough early and it’s made it difficult for me to deal with tough situations in life because they confirm some deep rooted belief that I’m not good enough.  On an intellectual level I know this isn’t true, but sometimes knowing and believing don’t go hand in hand.  Thinking about moments in my life that I once thought of as rejection, embarrassment, humiliation in terms of worthiness and shame has allowed me to look at them in a different way.

I think there’s lots of good stuff in this book, but it was a challenge for me to get through and it’s not very long.  I struggled with it because there is a strong researcher textbook quality about it.  The most interesting parts of the book were the ones in which she described some of her findings by telling stories from her life.  There are very few of these examples but I think they are the best parts of the book.  I wish she’d written the entire thing as her journey to come to terms with and embody her research findings as opposed to describing her research and the definitions she’d come up with as a result.  I’d even be interested in individual interviews with people she spoke with for her research.  Making the story a personal journey would have been a more interesting and relatable read.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

You’re Crazy but I Like You

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.” Mary Schmich

A good thing about connecting with friends is that your universe gets a little bigger.

I find it interesting to see how friendships change. I have a group of friends from high school and we all managed to stay friends for several years after graduation. In the past couple years I have noticed a shift. I’ve always been really nostalgic about change. In my childhood I moved a couple times, at the age of 7 I can clearly remember looking out the back window of the car as we drove away from the house, even at that age I knew the moment was significant. Before a second move in my early teens I went one Saturday and sat in my school playground. Scanning the empty playground, trying to make a mental memory of this place before I moved to a nearby town.

Everybody is growing up and starting to do their own thing. We are no longer all home for our two week Christmas break from school, some only have a couple days off from work and traveling eats up a lot of their time off so they want to get in as much time with their families as possible. Some members of the group aren’t as close as they once were and for others the holidays are being split between old friends and the new boyfriend’s family. I’m a latch key friend waiting for my weekend as per the new custody agreement.

I need to accept the fact that even though we have done an impressive job of staying in touch for 7+ post high school years that eventually my friends are going to have lives that they can’t or don’t want to leave for an annual girl’s trip/Christmas get together.

I feel a little sad at the realization that everyone’s got to go their own way. It’s the end of an era, the group era. Okay maybe it’s not over but it’s… let’s say evolving. Our lives are no longer intertwined and it’s been a conscious choice for us to keep these friendships intact. It’s not that this year was all that different from the last, the changes are subtle, but I can feel them. So where does that leave me? I need to do what I can do which is maintaining my individual friendships. I know I could be a better friend, but then I think about it and I’m an alright friend. I’m the first one to send out a big catch up email and I was the originator of the idea for the annual girl’s trip (which was a product of a Sex and the City Marathon).

The three most recent genuine friends I’ve made have been my past three roommates; I lived with each of them individually. In other words I am capable of making new friends, if you live with me… for at least two years… Making new friends can be scary. At least with a guy there’s the whole physical attraction thing to get your foot in the door, but with women you have to bring something more to the table. I keep thinking of that movie I love you man, where the guy is getting married and has no guy friends so he basically starts going on friend dates to find himself a guy friend who can be his best man.

I use my friendships back home as a crutch. Social skills aren’t at the top of my list of things I kick ass at and making new friends has always been… interesting. I’m bad at small talk, better at heart to hearts. More of a pick my spot and let people come to me than constantly float around a party type. My first impression is standoffish. I’ve never felt any pressure to create new friendships because as far as I’m concerned I have a pretty solid group of girlfriends from home. I’m not going to date around, I’m not a friendship whore. I’m only interested in serious long-term friendships. As much as I value my friends from home I do think I should have more face-to-face friends. Women love Sex and the City and it’s not because of the sex but because of the friendship between the women. I think I need more of that type of connection in my life.

Monday, January 3, 2011

JANUARY- An Ode to my Family

As ALL of you can see, I took December off from the Happiness Project, from a blogging perspective. It was supposed to be my "Body" focus month, but with year end at work, and the holidays, the only focus I had was attempting to get everything done in the run of 24 hours.

Alas, it is a new year, and am back on track. This month is being dedicated to my one and only FAMILY. My mom always used to say something to me, "at the end of the day, you're family is all you have, friends come and go." I always hated when she said this, because my friends are SO important to me...but as the years have gone on, she was right. I am barely in contact with those friends that I would have picked to hang out with over my family, and Jen, Mom and Dad are by far the 3 most important people to me in my life. Since I talk, on the phone, with my Mom about once a week, I have noticed that all my family information comes from her. So I have decided that this month, I am going to make a solid effort to call my DAD at least once a week. It doesn't have to be long conversations, but just to hear his voice, say hello, see what he's up to.

The Lemieux clan (my Mom's side) is a HUGE family, my mother is one of 14 children. My Dad also has a big family, he is one of 5 boys. With that comes SOOO many cousins I can't even describe the depth behind them. So many stories, so many family chains, and I barely know any of them. I have picked 4 family members, of distant relations, that I would like to get back in touch with. I have picked the following:

Ches Nadeau- CEO, Total Logistics
Ches is my Dad's cousin and he is a very successful business man. I feel like Ches is a great example of someone who is a bit of a rags to riches story. I could learn a lot from him, and I want to surround myself with people like that.

Tracy & Kevin Harriman- Cousins of my Dad
Tracey and Kevin were two of the cousins I looked up to the most when growing up. They were just so COOL to me. Kevin had the coolest room with dark walls and stars and planets that would glow in the dark everywhere. He was also such an amazing soccer player and I loved watching his games. I play soccer to this day, I think he would be impressed.
Tracey was so smart, and beautiful and she rowed crew which was SO cool and something I never did and I was so wishing that that had been something I had gotten in to. Their house in Hamilton, Ontario was so beautiful, this huge old brick home on such an old gorgeous street. We had the best Nadeau family parties there. Kevin and Tracey are both all grown up now, with families of their own, and I miss the connection to them. I think I could still learn a lot from them and grow.

Ashlie McCullough- My 2nd cousin, through my Mom's brother's daughter.
Ashlie is a few years younger than me, she is currently in her last year of University so we are fairly close in stages in our lives. Ashlie has tried to reach out to me several times throughout the past decade and i've always just kind of pushed it to the size. I think I could really help mentor Ashlie, and hopefully guide her through some of the wrong paths i've gone down. I am 100% someone who learns things the hard way. Always wants to make the wrong choice, opposite of what everyone told me, so that I would know I made the right choice when I finally went the OTHER way. Anyways...I think I could hopefully be someone that Ashlie bounces ideas off, and instead of telling her WHAT to do, try to guide her through my experiences.

Last but not least, my cousin Deanne (of Deanne and Leanne) here in Calgary!
I have this extended family right here in Calgary and I never spend any time with them! When my parents were here to visit they were nice enough to come to my birthday dinner, and bring me a bottle of wine, and I never really visit them. I just need to put in more effort there....because it's just not right.

So this is my month, dedicated to being nicer to my family, being in better contact, and showing my appreciation for them more. :) Because I really am blessed to have one of the most supportive, understanding, and best families in the ENTIRE world...and they need to know that above and beyond everything else, the are the most important thing to me on this planet.

Melissa, a very proud, Nadeau

January – Work

I have been avoiding work month for a while now. At first I wasn’t sure how to tackle it, after that I was simply avoiding it. The whole point of my Happiness Project is to be happier, this means adding more happiness and removing sources of unhappiness. To be honest, most of the time my job is a source of unhappiness for me so it’s time I addressed it.

In senior year of high school I felt stressed about choosing what I wanted to do. Yes most people don’t know what they want to do at 18, but when choosing where to go to school and what classes to take motivates you to narrow it down. I’ve always been smart and the difficult part of choosing for me was that I felt like I could do a lot of things. I had enough confidence in myself to believe that I could do whatever I put my mind to doing. This made me terrified to choose wrong. I wanted to do meaningful work; I wanted a job that I enjoyed, that I got a sense of purpose and satisfaction from. I felt that a job with a strong creative component would help me accomplish this.

The creative component is lacking in my work. I feel underutilized at my job and have gone for extended periods of time without much to do. I know I’m smart, but since I’m not consistently busy I find opportunities to learn new things are few and far between. It’s a weird mix of not enough work to keep my busy (due to the recession and the reduction of new projects) and my superiors not having time to sit down and train me so I’m left waiting around for projects to be at a stage where I can work on them.

I feel anxiety about the fact that I’m not learning the skills I think I need to be a well-rounded productive member of the team. I feel safe at my job, in a complacent sort of way, but I also feel trapped in the sense that I don’t think I have the skill set that would allow me to look for another job. The big thing that prompts me to consider doing something else at this point is money. My job doesn’t pay very well and I don’t see that changing anytime soon if I don’t start getting busier. I also feel some anxiety over the idea of leaving this line of work all together for something else that might pay better because I worry that if I leave the design world I’ll never get back to it. Maybe that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I worked really hard in school to be in a certain field of work and I don’t want to throw that away, not yet anyway.

I’m sick of waiting around. My goal this month is to find a way to advance my skills. I’m going to subscribe to an online training site and do tutorials for several computer programs. I have a schedule for when I think I should be done each of these and will write down how much I get done each day. I’ve done some of these tutorials before but I mostly just watched or followed along. I think the best way to get confident with these new programs is to devise my own little projects any use what I’ve learned to do them. This fits into my one word resolution: create.

I’m also going to spend a little bit of time each week looking at job postings. No harm in seeing what’s out there and getting a sense of what skills people are looking for.  As for my resolutions from the previous month… I’m feeling selective. I want to keep up with emailing my friends and getting back on track with healthy eating. I didn’t stop eating healthy, I just found that when I wasn’t organized about groceries and planning meals everything got off track. I didn’t have anything to make for lunches and we were always grabbing something for supper. It requires commitment and I need to re-commit. Exercise is my other struggle. I think I’m going to have to do another month on this, I’ve got completely off track with it and need to dedicate some real time to figuring out what works for me.

As of today I am officially committing to cutting back on sugar.  On the first I found myself sitting in front of the tv with a box of Ferrero chocolates, three Oreos and a can of Dr. Pepper.  Shit, bad start.  Everyone and their dog gave me some chocolate this Christmas.  Go team withdrawal.