Category Archives: Journalling

Out With The Old Year, In With The Year of Lasts

On Facebook, my friend Jason posted that it’s “The first day. 364 to go.”

I have been so very conscious of this day coming, for so long, like it’d be a countdown clock ticking in the background.

My New Year’s is weird and very anti-climatic. I’m doing as little as I can. Decidedly so. I’ve left the house once in over two days, and that was only so I could walk around the block at midnight with an empty suitcase.

Weird, right? It’s actually a South American New Year’s superstition. Take the empty-case stroll at the stroke of 12 and your upcoming year will feature abundant travel. What the heck, right? So there I was, 11:59, taking a walk around the block with a carry-on case. Maybe I should’ve taken my largest suitcase. I was trying not to be penis-y about it, though.

But in those other 60 or so hours, I haven’t been case-marching around the block; I haven’t even been outdoors.

Now that six days of sun have bled into a week of forecasted rain, I’m feeling a spot of regret I’ve not been out in the world much. You know what, though? I’m having EXACTLY the holiday I wanted when I asked my boss at the start of November if I could have 16 days off. EXACTLY.

Do nothing often? Check. Do something sometimes? Check. Set a new world record for pajama-wearing? You betcha. Watch whole series on Netflix? Yup. Sleep as late as 10? Yep. Get up and then go back to bed for the hell of it EVERY SINGLE DAY? YUP.

I have the luxury of knowing that I’ll very likely not be around for, well, five years. I’ve deliberately chosen to stay longer than I want before I leave for my world travels because I decided to savour The Last of Everything. Every season, every holiday, every weather, everything. I wanted to live knowing that this would be The Last Time I have any of these specific experiences for a very long time, maybe ever. Like, seeing the leaves fall in the park. Maybe I’ll never live here again, right?

After all, the only thing I can tell you with any certainty is that I have about nine months left in Victoria. Then, where? I don’t know. I don’t know where I want to start my adventure. I’m not committing to anything.

Except, that is, I’m committing to selling half of what I own, blowing this town, and becoming a citizen of the planet. Hopefully I’ll have it in me to experience five years of rootlessness. If not, so be it.

But when I’m done, my expectation is that I might find a new place on the planet to live. A new tribe. A new culture. A new thing. Newness. My eyes are wide open and my future’s whatever I want it to be — when I know what I want it to be, that is.

Nine months and then all my future is an unknown. Period. Blank slate.

It intimidates the shit out of me. It makes my heart go pitter-patter. And makes me smile a little too.

That’s what awaits me this year. Up to 10 months of redundant routines, and then POW, the complete opposite.

So these days, I don’t want to have any new experiences, or at least I’m not chasing them down. I kind of want to enjoy my life of routine and comforts, because for maybe five years I’ll never have a home longer than maybe two months, but often not even for that long.

I won’t have a favourite blanket. I won’t get to spend a week sitting on my ass watching Netflix because I’ll have too much guilt that (Portugal’s wine country awaits / nearby French markets bustle / Croatia’s seashore entices me / Istanbul lurks beyond the door / Prague beckons…) and that’s only where I might go in the first six months or year.

For five years, I’ll have to be social and rely on the goodness of strangers to get me where I want to be. Recluse? Not a chance. I’ll have to talk a lot, be interested and plugged in. I’ll have to be constantly creative and engaged. I’ll need to write every single day. I’ll never get to have a favourite comfort food because I’ll never be around long enough to get comfortable. I won’t get to have favourite anythings because I’ll always be days or a couple weeks away from somewhere new with more millions of things to experience — which is the whole point of travel.

It’s okay to mourn the end of my mundanity and comfort. Mundane comfort is a beautiful, glorious, wonderful thing. Do-nothing days can be magical.

This, my wonderful spread of boredom, wine-drinking, TV-watching, slack-ass relaxation is possibly the last time I’ll get to do THIS without pressure and anxiety about all the things I should be doing before I leave, let alone for the five years which follow.

That constant whirlwind of stimulation that is proper travel, it daunts me a little because I love the end-of-travel flop-on-my-own-bed feeling, and I won’t even own a bed while I’m abroad. I mean… zoinks. Serious commitment to the cause, that — selling everything before I go.

So this Christmas holiday, I’m overdosing on domestic bliss. I’ll always be able to remember when I wasn’t sick or injured yet chose not to leave my house for over 72 hours. Except that walk around the block to summon the coming year of travel, of course. And tomorrow I’m only ending the isolation because I’m being bought a fancy meal and get to wear fancy pants (or at least my new jeans).

I like that I’m “mourning” Christmas as much as I’m celebrating it. I’ll miss this apartment and the simplicity of Christmas here. I like that I’m aware of so many “lasts” as I go through this final year. It’s a year of bittersweet savouring. It makes smaller moments seem very poignant.

Because I’m also excited to know my life will be me not knowing what’s next yet believing EVERYTHING is possible. I like knowing I’ll have week after week after week of amazing new experiences in mind-blowing places. I like that I’ll meet new people everywhere I go. I love that I’ll probably never see a sunset in the same place more than two or three times for five years.

It’s so completely opposite of the life I have chosen to live here in Victoria.

That’s the beauty of life. We can be whatever we want, live whatever life we choose. Most people just don’t get creative or risk-taking enough about it. Victoria was always going to be my jumping-off point. For awhile, I was trapped by life as one of those folks who couldn’t take a risk, then I decided to stop all that, and Victoria was step one. This around the world thing was a dream I didn’t have the guts to share, at first, but now I’m confident that I’ll make it happen. Somehow.

Today, I have three quotes I’m trying to live my life by. One of them is relevant to my five-years-around-the-world dream:

“It’s not who you are that holds you back. It’s who you think you’re not,” attributed most often to Denis Waitley.

Waitley Quote

Right now, I’m a reclusive writer girl trying to resurrect her mojo (and succeeding at it). I’m still trying to decide what Next Phase Steff’s catchy tagline is. I’ll know it when I see it.

So for nine months, give or take, my life’s all about the Last Time. Comfort food, quiet nights at home, old casual lounging clothes, favourite blankets, sunsets in the boring same places, creature comforts of all kinds — that’s my year ahead.

Until one day it’ll be the complete opposite. Poof! All new! All firsts! All the time! ALL THE PLACES.

When I’m not daydreaming about my future, I’m completely stuck in the moment. It’s a nice, weird dichotomy, and I know what to love and appreciate about both. (And there’s not much to dislike about each of ‘em, either!)

I’m excited about 2015, minions. I’m really stoked.

I hope you are, too. Happy new year, you.

My last sunset of 2014, from one of my "boring old" sunset spots.

My last sunset of 2014, from one of my “boring old” sunset spots.

Victoria's Dallas Road. Sun, storm, turbulent ocean -- it ain't clear sailing, but isn't it fucking beautiful? And that's life.

For the Love of a Storm

The Pacific is a vast and daunting thing. All the world’s continents can fit inside it with more room leftover for an extra Africa. 99% of the Pacific is water. 1% is land.

Living on its edge means a constant barrage of weather rolling in over the winter, all that turmoil brewing over those high seas. Today we’re warned of an “incredible series” of subtropical storms that have set sail and will land here shortly, the first of which is expected dump within the hour.

The novelty of incoming storms never grows old for me. Inside, I completely understand the unbridled rage and joy with which Lieutenant Dan screamed into the hurricane from the crow’s nest of that Bubba Gump shrimping boat.

There’s a primal sense felt by those of us who are storm fanatics. We feel a storm brewing on the wind. We can read it in the ripples on the water. We smell rain on the breeze. The stormfront’s pressure throbs behind our eyes as the changing, charged airmass nears us. In the day leading up to it, a dull pain hits the joints and we creak like the Tin Man before he got his oil.

It comes. Slowly, but it comes. The skies are blackening and a strange eerie calm has descended. These are the moments when one turns and sees a spider scurrying up a wall. Nature understands nature. Even dogs can feel an earthquake before it comes.

We humans, not so much. We invented clocks and then we let machines do our natural thinking for us.

Still, there are those who do feel and see nature like the animal world does. Like natives who listen to the wind and smell the earth. They can tell you when a storm comes. We can see it in nature — the bugs skitter, squirrels panic about nut-gathering, birds seem to vanish from the skies. Nature knows when the skies are due to unleash fury.

Us, we fall into ruts of Westernized life. Clock-watchers, weather-forecast-readers. So plugged into the digital world that we’re not in tune with things from nature that our forebears could read for generations before us.

So few people notice when a first gust of wind rises, signalling a shift in climate. They don’t see when clouds appear menacing all of a sudden or their direction seems to change. They don’t feel a sudden drop or rise in temperature that signals an onslaught of wind or rain.

But some of us do.

Weather, for me, is something I feel in my bones. My head throbs, my throat gets scratchy, my eyes grow heavy and pained. And yet I watch out my window like a kid on Christmas, for I know, when that storm hits peak and rages like a woman scorned, I’ll feel an utter release of all those barometric head systems and I’ll be sharp and alert and happy again.

“Weather migraines” are a curse for some folks. I’m usually not fond of them myself, but I am deeply grateful to be one of those people who “feels” the climate.

It’s satisfying when I feel like I’m of the Earth and privy to what it’s going through. I love this bursting sense of anxiety that pulsates under my skin as a storm draws near. I understand the skittishness and apprehension of the natural world — the squirrels who panic, the birds who take cover, and the ants running for their hills — because I feel it too.

Unlike them, I have the luxury of knowing my phone and flashlights are all charged up, and the noodle house is a short walk away. I have a nice comfortable home and warm socks and blankets. For me, a storm is a chance to bundle up and be witness to something greater than us.

And so, like Lieutenant Dan, I say bring it. I promise you, at least once tonight, I will shout out my window into the wind and rain, “IS THIS ALL YOU’VE GOT?”

Then, like a pussy, I’ll batten down the hatches, bundle up, pour a whiskey, and watch Netflix until the power craps out. If it does. And then it’s book time.

Because: Storms.

Sunset over Beacon Hill Park.

Rain-Streaked Daydreams of a Would-Be Nomad

It’s one of those Wet Coast days I think might wash away all my sins if I stand in it long enough. The kind of rainy day that makes my head thick and my eyes heavy.

I sit by a window, umbrella-head after umbrella-head passing me by. Between pulled-taut hoods and umbrellas, I’m not sure anyone with a face remains. It’s like some surrealist daydream. The bobbing umbrella-heads.

This rain, these days… in some ways it’s all I’ve ever known.

photo 3

I drift off between the wet tires splashing and my clacking keys, wishing it was the clickety-clack of a train rumbling under me instead of the Wet Coast Writer soundtrack that it is.

I have a tentative date of November 1st, 2015, for when I set out on a bold adventure I hope will last me five years. Trains, planes, and automobiles: Steff Style. If I don’t leave earlier, that is.

I have ideas of where my path will lead but I’ve learned life’s more fun if you misplace the roadmap. Maybe I’ll plan it out, maybe I won’t.

For now, I have a rough idea of my first year abroad with pretty simple rules — stay nowhere less than two weeks or more than three months. I’ll tell you more about that one day.

I have many places on my list. Many weird little things I want to do, like ride as many funiculars as I can everywhere I can. Forage for food in every region I stay longer than 4 weeks in. Write ebook upon ebook, but in the classic travelogue or literary journal style, not the “I got your deets” type travel-writing one sees everywhere on the web.

I want to write about places and times, peoples and experiences. My culture-shock and awe. I want to dream of adventures to come then embark on a completely different journey than planned, and to be changed in every way by the world I get to explore.

I’ll sell half of what I own before I go, strategically “loan” my antiques to friends and family. I’ll start over with a simpler life when I return. I wonder sometimes how living around the world for five years and opting out of this rooted life, tapping into a roaming nomad life will change me. What new values will be sculpted? What parts of the old me will crystallize? How much metamorphoses do I have in me?

It’s a big goal. I don’t have anything emotional invested in making it to the end of that five years. Instead the end of the journey will be something organic. Like love or a really good sale — I’ll know it when I see it.

I want to live in locations as far flung as Tangier, Zagreb, Prague, off the beaten path in Spain, Cape Town, the vineyards of Mendoza. I want to sit in Iceland’s Blue Lagoon, photograph Madagascar’s baobab trees, dip a toe in the Congo river while I read The Heart of Darkness. I want to walk the beaches of Fiji, visit family in Australia, live in the mountains of Ecuador. I want to see cherry blossoms in Japan, drink tea in Osaka, and ride a scooter in Vietnam.

The list keeps getting longer, because that’s what good lists do.

photo 2 (3)

So today I stare wistfully through my rain-soaked window, knowing that all this familiarity and routine is not long for my world. I relish in being bored and stuck in routine lately. I cherish bad hair and pajama days. I know it soon won’t be an option soon. Not for the better part of five years.

In the end, this life of mine where I’ve felt trapped in this costly part of the world is proving to be a gift — the gift of losing connection, of sensing opportunity, and of daring to take a chance.

I’ve deliberately made my departure date further away, because I think I want another summer here in Victoria. Like I say, I’m not married to my plans. I’m going to listen to the wind and go where it leads. Those winds may gust sooner than November, like say on my 42nd birthday in September. I’ll listen for the breeze and heed its way.

Paul Theroux once wrote that tourists don’t know where they’ve just been, and travellers don’t know where they’re going.

And so I daydream of all the many places I would love to see while committing to none of them. Wherever I start, it’ll be the adventure of a lifetime. With every day that passes, I grow a little more ready for it.

For now, I’ll return my gaze to the screen, fall back into the routine of the dayjob, and sigh wistfully about a future I’m not sure I can wait 11 months to begin.

As that day draws near, I’ll begin issuing ebooks of all kinds on my travels — the days leading up to it, the dreams I have for it, the plans and logistics of it, and more. If you’d like to be on the mailing list for when I begin issuing those books, that’s here.

One Month Down, Eleven to Go: The State of the Steff

Why, hi there, you.

I’m just checking in. It’s a nice morning. My coffee cup is full. I thought, “Why don’t I go say hello to my minions?”

Yoo-hoo, minions! Hallo-o-o-o-o, minions.

Your friendly neighbourhood blogger is doing just fine, thankyouverymuch.

My year of Being Better is underway. I promised myself I wouldn’t make New Year’s Resolutions, and I didn’t. Instead, I would become a better version of myself by the year’s end. In, well, hopefully every way.

A better writer, a better exerciser, a better eater, a better sleeper, a better relaxer, a better coper, a better friend, a better daughter. You know. A better me.

We get so hell-bent on timers in this digitally-powered world we live in. We have reminders to set reminders. From iCal date-planning to the extreme, to actually CHOOSING to get Facebook and Twitter notifications, as if life wasn’t full enough of micro-management.

You know, if y’all like that shit so damned much, you can keep it. I set reminders for when missing something would cost me money. Otherwise, I roll with it. And I’ve never, ever had any smartphone notifications turned on besides texting. Because life is meant to be lived, not full of alarms.

On this quest of betterment, I’m not micro-managing myself. I’m not setting a timeline and measuring my progress constantly. Instead, I find myself now and then remembering where I was a year ago today (packing and panicking ahead of my move to Victoria), maybe 4 years ago today (just beginning to make progress after my first back injury), even 8 years ago today (recovering from a head injury).

What was life like at those times? What were my goals? How would I stack up now?

Uh… everything is better now. I’m better now. I have far to go, sure, but don’t we all?

I’m in a lucky place because I know exactly how far I’ve come on the inside. I need to be in a place now where that shows on the outside.

I need to eat better and exercise better because it’s not an option. Either I feel good and enjoy life again, or I continue hiding out in the Cave of Mordor (what I call my apartment).

I’m much further along both those paths than I expected to be just one month into the year. How very exciting, minions. Do you see my excitement? I see my excitement. Yes, I do.

Soon to be my shiny new bike.

2012 ended with an incredible gift: The complete, final realization that my bike is continuing to be the main reason my back issues exist.

There’s a point in chronic injury where pain or discomfort (whether a livable level or something debilitating) is so omnipresent that you just lose your ability to discern what improves it or hurts it. It’s when you’re so unable to tell what the spikes are from that you just don’t know what to change to move beyond that.

I rode an upright hybrid bike recently, and better yet, one fitted to my measurements taken by a great bike shop. This was like a Dutch-style bike with a step-thru frame, suspended front forks & seat, nice big tires with semi-slick tread, and elevated close-to-body almost-wrap-around handlebars, and it was almost a religious experience. All this pressure inside my back kind of fell away, the strain on my shoulder and neck reduced.*

To imagine cycling, that thing I love, being comfortable? Even painfree? Or… dare I even think it, beneficial?

This weekend, it looks like I can buy this bike. Let’s see.

Today, I’m showing my old bike, Mighty Murphy. (Named, of course, for Dervla Murphy, the old Irish travel writer who cycled Africa’s Ukimwi Road in her 60s.) Hoping it sells. It feels like I’m breaking up with my past. Like I’m stomping my foot and pulling a Gloria Gaynor moment. You’re not welcome ’round here no more!

And it’s kind of like that. The painful breakup of a relationship. That bike is two worlds for me. It’s the thing that makes me one of the rare people who can say I know what it’s like to lose 80 pounds through nothing but hard damned work and powered by ME, but it’s also the thing that makes me one of those rare people who can say they know what it’s like to live with chronic pain for more than four years.

“Love/hate” doesn’t even begin to describe it.

Had I not gotten sick at Christmas and laid low with a massive marathon of three seasons of The Wire plus an endless tirade of overrated TV on the PVR, my back wouldn’t have gotten the rest it needed so I could get on my bike in the new year and actually discern what was really going on inside me.

Then I had pain again, and I saw how I couldn’t stand straight when walking, and finally everything made sense.

Some might think the solution would be getting off the bike. But that’d be like telling me to live life without writing or photography or cooking. It’ll never, ever happen. I need that to be myself.

So. The new-ish me, the bettering me, the under-progress me is pretty pleased to be starting a new phase as “the urban cyclist” this weekend.

A shiny bike, a clean slate, and roads I’ve never seen before in a town that’s been my home for less than a year.

Being better, becoming better shouldn’t be an ordeal. You shouldn’t be punishing yourself for failing to meet expectations or demanding greater than what you’ve done. All progress is progress. Our lives are long. We can always keep becoming better. Growth has no end-point. Stop thinking you need to be the person you dream of being tomorrow, and be present in the moment while you’re getting yourself there. Maybe you’ll never be this person, this version of you again. Remember the moment.

Relax, grasshopper. Enjoy the ride. Like I am. Or soon will be.

______________________

* Buying a bike isn’t a “Ooh, shiny. Look, it’s green!” thing. You need to get FITTED for it. The right bike for ME could be entirely wrong for YOU. I not only have been fitted by a fantastic bike shop, but I was referred there by my Ironman-competing masseur and I got my bike style approved by my physiotherapist. The last time I bought I bike, I bought what I thought was pretty. It’s cost me thousands of dollars in lost income, pain, and more. Do your research. Don’t listen to anyone except professionals. Period.

Of a Girl and Her Overfilled PVR

Moving means lots of change.

Like, cable providers.

The good news is: My new apartment building comes with free extended cable TV. The bad news is: It means I have to cancel my Telus Optik contract and turn in my PVR.

Unfortunately, my PVR is jam-packed with programming I’ve not yet watched.

Just now, I was flipping through that dreaded unwatched PVR recording list and my little grey cells began hopping with thoughts.

Art by http://feliciamaystevenson.blogspot.com is very groovy.

Between my writing, what I read on the web, and the fact that I work with words on the job, when I have down time, I’d rather watch TV than read, but even with the amount I do watch, I’ve managed to amass a backlog of 211 programs on my PVR, with a huge chunk of that being movies that clock in at 2-hours-plus viewing time — everything from Das Boot to Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.

Just looking at the fucking list feels like I’m giving life a cold, wet swirlie. And worse, the programs keep amassing! WHOOP, there it is — another way to suck two hours of my life through a straw.

It’s like I feel this obligation to watch it all, since this inanimate machine took the time to track it down and record it. Wouldn’t wanna hurt wittle Optik PVR’s feelings, now, would we?

These are the stupidities by which our lives are consumed. These illusions of obligations we allow ourselves to be controlled by. In a digital world, there’s no reason to have to watch it now. Once magnetic data, always magnetic data. These programs shall live to be seen again.

So, there I am, wondering when the hell I chose to get a series recording of Extreme Clutter when it occurs to me that maybe, just maybe, needing to cancel my contract for my move and give the PVR back, with these hundreds and hundreds of viewing hours left unwatched, just MIGHT be a GOOD thing.

In many ways, that’s what moving is for me. It’s a great big reboot button.

POOF. Start over. Clean slate. Movin’ on. Lock the door, Henry.*

A more judicious start with a new PVR. A decided restocking of the bookshelves with a new list of Must Reads for my Slower Life that comes with Beach Reading Time and Park Sojourns a-plenty.

But how did I fall so far into the digital/physical realm of cluttered life like I have? How did I let it get so complicated?

More importantly — how do I prevent that from happening again, on The Other Side?

See, in moving, it’s close enough that a lot of people in Victoria are acquainted with people I know over here, and vice versa. There’s the social media there bridging the gap, too. So, before even moving, I know a bunch of folk want to have drinks or whatnot, and soon. It’s a little intimidating, actually.

Now, part of me likes this. Great! Peoples! Let’s have peoples. Everybody needs peoples.

But I also worry that I might just go from working/commuting all the time to having a life filled with appointments and get-togethers. I can’t just pivot from one kind of distraction to another.

Balance, grasshopper. Except, to be a writer, the balance needs to be askew. One requires a bit more of nothing time so they can juggle the words and ideas of their craft. And there has to be moments of doing nothing. Like, watching mindless television in which thoughts can go swimming in that big vapid head, causing a sudden desire to press pause and run off to write.

Works for me.

So, naturally, I’m concerned about the social/private mix before I even get there, because I do want both, but discipline is hard to have in the summer. (Again with the “Maybe not having 500+ hours of recorded content to watch is a good thing.”)

Or maybe I deserve a few months of enjoying life and being social in a slower place, after what’s been a long road of becoming gradually unhappy with my big city life.

It’s a good thing I’m keeping an open mind about everything, and it’s nice to drop by the blog and bounce a few of these ideological balls around, because I know some of you relate to these dilemmas.

It’s also good that I’m beginning to emotionally accept that I might not do that Good Wife season 3 marathon I wanted to have, or catch up with Modern Family or watch the rest of the horror movies I’d recorded in my “exploring gore” burst last fall.

This too shall pass. Let’s have a moment for the long-neglected PVR list. I’ll rent you, Where the Wild Things Are. We’ll be together again, Harry Potter.

Now just watch. Despite my attaining some kind of Zen/Big Picture life-lesson out of all this, some geek will come along with a remedy by which I can transfer my 300 gig Optik PVR box to that external hard drive I have, and I’ll be all over that like Oprah on a ham.

Because we’re nothing if not creatures of comfort.

Oh well. There’s always Netflix.

*Except digital people I haven’t met, no one in my life is named Henry. Fact!

I Resolve Not To Make Resolutions. Or Do I?

It’s a New Year! Time for a new YOU! Rah-rah-rah! Buy this, do that, be this! Go, go, go! Team awesome, here we come! Resolutions for EVERYONE!

HURRAY!

Holy shit. Are you ready to punch someone yet? You could include it in your exercise accounting. “Punched out Bob. 15 calories.”

I’m not paying attention to any of it because I don’t have the time to be awesome this month. I have the time to be “pretty good.” Maybe “above average.” Awesome’s a bit of a reach for me. Ask me in June.

However, there’s a big year ahead of me. I’m working up to Awesome.

As of this morning, I’ve survived one week without butter or margarine. This has meant I’ve eaten less bread. And because I’ve had less bread, I’ve had less cheese. It’s this whole crazy domino effect thing. Have I lost weight? Who fucking knows?

I’ll tell you what I know — my pants didn’t fit last week. I mean, collectively.

This week, things are better. And they fit again.

Still, I know what I should feel like and look like, and right now I’m not it. But I also know I need to stay sane. I’m moving in a few weeks, I have to respect my back injury and proceed cautiously, and I’m packing as much as I can on a slow-and-steady basis. Gotta tell ya: I feel it in every single muscle and I know I’m already getting fitter. I’m not sure piling on the gym-bunny visits would be smart thinking right now. More walking, sure, less butter, better bending/lifting form, and I’m doing all that.

And that’s a great start. No butter, and a zillion squats and hefted boxes, that’s a good start.

The last time I started a “diet” with a month of no butter, I lost 18 pounds in the first 5 weeks, and went on to lose 65, because I added something new to my changes monthly and had a constantly-growing mentality about the new lifestyle.

I want to have a good start on Doing New Things For a Better Me now, and not wait until I’ve moved to be smarter.

There’s only two goals I have this year; if you break it all down to its simplest terms, there’s two. One is, Be Better. The second is, Be Honest.

There are a lot of areas in my life that need improvement. To “be better” gives me a wide berth of where to go, what to do. If I improve one thing, great. There’s something else that can get tweaked. As far as being honest goes, I’ve been unhappy in Vancouver for a couple of years now and wasn’t being honest with myself about it. My life got away from me as a result. That’s what happens when you lie to yourself daily — whether it’s about a job, home, or your life.

I want to be more aware of the moment, more open about truths, and live that way. It’s better for writing, it’s better for communication and relationships.

So, honesty and betterment, in all their forms, are the goals for my year.

Oh, come on. There’s more, right?

Now, there’re a lot of things I want to do with my life this year, and I’ll be writing those goals out for myself — from weight goals and health ambitions, to money aspirations, writing benchmarks, and more — but you don’t need to know what my plans are there.

I don’t believe in that. I think as much as we can get help and support from others by way of sharing our “goals,” we can get shat upon as well.

Self-belief isn’t some unalterable force in my life. My confidence is often akin to a leaf in the wind. It goes where it blows. I don’t need people’s doubts, questions, or concerns clouding my horizon. And I can’t be finding my strength in their support or my sense of self in some fan club who rallies around me.

One way or the other, it’s on me, right?

It’s not a bad thing, it’s just the way it goes.

I commented on The Twitter last night that I think I’m finding my mojo, and that’s sort of what I was talking about. For a long time, I’ve been feeling sort of uncomfortable in my own skin. I didn’t feel like I had control over my life or my own actions. It was just… unright. I was unright. Maybe even wrong.

A week into 2012, and that feeling’s largely dissipating. Sometimes life just needs A Decision. Once you make the choice and go all-in, it’s amazing how much it can transform your mentality.

Of course, the fact that I’m taking my vitamins and eating better and getting a lot of physical work in the way of moving, well, THAT couldn’t be helping my mentality at ALL, right?

It’s that Domino Effect, I guess. Positive change is coming, so I’ve put other positive changes into play, and thus the Snowballing Of Awesome has begun.

Be better. It’s a start. Next month, I’ll have a new normal in my betterness, then I’ll have to be even betterer.

The best thing about having “Be Better” as the resolution is that it gives a bit of a softer focus on goals met/not. If you fall short, but you’ve still done more and been better than before, well, you met the “real” resolution. We need a kinder, gentler marker to measure against sometimes.

I hope your year is off to a similarly promising and exciting start. We could all use a little “up” in our lives, I suspect.

Happy New Year, and happy Monday, then.