marginI often think in life that there are two kinds of people: those who take notes in their textbooks, and those who don't. (These people can also be found in the same category as the people who keep their books pristine for resale.)
Personally, I've always been a page-filler-upper. iBooks and eBooks don't work for me, because I need the tactile contact of excitedly highlighting sentences, circling words, and writing exclamation marks in the margins. It's where argument A and B come together to make magic. When I can't do that, I don't learn as well. It's almost as if I don't function.
Margins were, in fact, invented for that very purpose. For real. Look it up on Wikipedia: they were created in the early 1900s at the request of a judge who was looking for space in which he could comment on his own notes.
When I was a teenager, my youth pastor explained that he was going to scale a few projects back in order to create margins into his life. At the time, I thought it was a strange concept. It was only when I was into the later years of my undergrad — when I was dealing with a lot of turmoil — when that concept resurfaced for me, and I began to find a firmer grasp on the need for it.
During those years, I was working three part-time jobs, balancing an undergraduate degree on a full-time basis, trying to keep a turbulent relationship afloat, and trying to manage family life during the end stages of what would eventually become my parents' separation. Things were messy. And very busy, filled with hurt and stress and awfulness. But mostly messy.
Cue that memory of my youth pastor. I'd been so busy filling myself to the brim with school, work, family, and friends, that I wasn't allowing any opportunity for reflection, intention, or mindfulness. I was just trying to keep my head above water. While it took a while for that realization to take root, that memory began a process of scaling back that's taken years to get the hang of. And to be honest, I'm still working on it to this day. (Which is part of what List30 is all about.)
Whether it's just ten minutes of quiet time before I go to bed or a whole Saturday spent by myself, building margin into my life has made space for me to breathe, think, and grow. It's the place where I can go to create and strategize. It's where I can hear myself work through the confusing bits of life, and to reflect on where I'm headed.
While it's true that not everyone needs a margin for the same reasons that I do, it's hard to argue the function that it serves for most. Whether you're a fellow page-filler-upper or otherwise; what rejuvenating things would you do given some extra margin in your life?
photo via flickr


The resuscitation of reading

I've always been an avid reader. I was the kid who, in family photos, had my nose behind abook at birthday parties. I'd read everything that I could get my hands on. I'd read the back of the cereal box while scarfing down a bowl of Cheerios. When I was done with it, I'd move on to reading the nutritional content. Not because I was health-obsessed, but because it was there, and it was words, so I consumed those too.
My voracity didn't stop when I was in high school; I used to skip class so that I could go to the library to read. Sitting between the stacks, powering through fantasy, fiction, biographies, poetry, history - that was my little piece of heaven. Forget about running for student council, forget the popular kids. Just give me a little section of carpet in the quietest back corner of the library where I could listen to my discman, read the world away, or dream of a time when it'd be my name on the books surrounding me. That was perfection.
Somewhere in between then and now ... things got hectic. Studying replaced pleasure reading; efficiency replaced lingering over delicious metaphor and rich imagery. And now that I've graduated and am between degrees? I can't get myself back to where it all began. I catch myself halfway down a page, not really remembering how the plot got there; I skim articles that I come across with the intention of reading them later (but never, ever do). It feels like life happens too quickly to accommodate the literary digestive satisfaction of a good, thorough read.
I'm sure that I could launch into a rant of the connection between the nature of information consumption, web writing, and what seems to be an ever-shortening attention span ... but I won't. Not today, at least. That's a post for another time.
However, with that, my next addition to List30 is a combination of two things: slowing down and mindfulness as it comes to hobbies such as reading. I'm taking the time to step away from my phone and with it, the mindless scrolling that goes with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. I've been taking time before going to bed at night to read—whether it's been for fifteen minutes or an hour and fifteen—and reading a book. Slowly, being sure to take in each word.
And you know what? It makes a difference. It's coming back.
Which past loves do you want to resuscitate?


Video: What if money didn't matter?

We're bringing up children to live the same kind of lives that we don't want to live in order they may justify themselves by bringing up their children to do the same things; it's all retch and no vomit. It never gets there. And therefore, it's so important to consider this question:

What do I desire?


Introducing The List30

Anyone who knows me in real life knows that I tend to give things 110%. Unfortunately, this 110% has been off-kilter for work/life balance for the past ... well, too long. I rarely take lunch breaks; I drink too much coffee; I don't often cook (which results in buying overpriced, high-sodium, high-carb meals in the campus caf); and what's more ... I have a really hard time leaving work at work. I've been known to check my work email from my phone first thing in the morning, late at night, and on weekends.
With that, inspired from a conversation that I had over a year ago, I'm reviewing my goals.
A few years ago, I wrote on the notion that what we give our attention to is what we become. To this day, it's still resonating deep down to my core; my list, therefore, is a tangible reminder of what's important to me.
To start, I'm not going to exhaust myself by starting big. I have a small, measurable way to implement each new direction. From there, I'll build out. Stay tuned, or if you're up for the challenge, join me!
  • Nurture relationships by spending better time with loved ones. Do one thing weekly with a friend or family member that doesn't revolve around sitting on the couch. Bonus points for combining with one of the below items. 
  • Get moving for 30 minutes a day, four times a week. Whether it be just by walking to work, going to moksha yoga, or hitting the gym, getting moving is a key item in my plan due the the bazillion benefits that it provides. Bonus points for breaking a sweat. 
  • Try one new recipe a week. I have a penchant for collecting cookbooks but never using them. I love cooking, but never get around to doing it because I'm too busy being exhausted. Bonus points for veggie recipes. 
  • Show appreciation to at least one person per day. People just don't get told often enough when they're being awesome. Bonus points for reaching out to someone having a tough day.
What's on your list?


Reflections on 30

Having recently celebrated that birthday milestone that's supposed to turn everyone from rational, youthful, fun-loving twenty-somethings to stress-filled year-counting thirty-something-approaching-midlife-crisis messes, take my word for it: your thirtieth is the same as every other birthday.
Maybe I'm being a wise owl, but freaking out over your age seems so not worth it. There are so many other ways to spend your energy
Instead, I've decided to assess where I amwhere I'm headed, and when I'd like to get there.  The morning after my birthday last year, I had brunch and life talks with one of my closest friends and then went for a long, long walk around my neighbourhood. I listened to music, and sighed with happiness as I saw everyday things with new eyes.
A dog! Chasing a ball! In a park! *sigh*.Kids! Playing soccer! They're so little! *sigh*
Perfect amounts of sunshine and clouds! *sigh*The leaves on the trees are perfectly autumny! *sigh*
And I came to a realization that day on the sidewalk. In a lot of big ways, my life was more or less the way I'd hoped it to be when I was younger. And that feeling has stuck with me since that day. Partly because it was so great (really, how many people get to say that?!), and partly because I realized that I needed to make a new plan.
So one year and a few days after this wonderful revelation, in typical me-fashion, I'm crafting a list. A post-30 list, just because it's as good a place to start as any. This week, I'm drawing inspiration for list items from a wide variety of people around me. I'm collecting ideas. I'm getting there.


A few years ago, I made some huge decisions and changes to my life. There was a disconnect from where I'd always envisioned myself while in my mid-20's and, to be perfectly honest, it was really far from where I was.
Since then, I've moved to one of my favourite neighbourhoods, scored a job that I absolutely love, made a surprise re-connection with my high school sweetheart and we're now living our little life in Leaside. Yeah, it's pretty alright.
My goal now? To get myself back into the saddle with the things that I'm really passionate about: writing, crafting, stuff-making, adventuring, cooking, and social media-ing. Over the past four years, I've fallen out of the blogging habit; my writing muscles have been flexed in my day job—but it's just not the same.
So without any further ado, I'm ready. Let's do this.


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