this will always be home…
city girl with a weakness for country music.
I couldn’t tell you the last time I was this sick, bad enough that I actually took sick days. Anyone that knows me knows that’s a huge deal, because I just don’t take them. Ingulfed in a routine of sleep, tea, soup and repeat these past few days with no voice. There’s only soo much movies/tv shows before you feel couped up. You start to reflect on what got you to this miserable point… The choices youve made. The stress you carry. The lingering thoughts.
I started looking into the past; even reading my old blog… looking for the point I started losing myself, where everything became more important then myself. I was determined to be all that I could be, but never thought it would mean losing the ability of pure joy. From being over-dedicated to work, to building a small business, to volunteering, to training demands, to taking care of a family member and keeping up with being a good friend. I figured this was the best plan of action. Busy was ‘successful’ in my eyes.
But it came with a lot of heart ache – Stress, Pressure, and Insecurity. There have been many times where I didn’t feel good enough, which only fueled the fire of needing to do more. The more I added, the more failure I felt. I’ve been soo hard on myself most of my life but recently, it became unbarable. I’m not sure how I ever let it get that way because I am good enough. I just have way too much on my plate and in that stress, I let the insecurities find a way in. Trying to be good at everything, when I should thrive with what I’m naturally good at.
At times the toxic thoughts have cost me my health, my happiness and perhaps has harmed the relationships I have with some people. What I’ve learned in the last little bit is that, the small things truly are the best moments. The awards go out of sight and recognition fades. But the random photos still bring a smile. It’s the memories will be the moments you’ll miss the most.
I vowed I would take April to myself… to book nothing. To just be. To hit the mountains, to do more yoga and to shoot for myself (not for a client). Being this sick has re-confirmed this need. I need to get back to the basics, to slow the hell down, to let go of the toxic aspects of my life and to work on some self-love.
I need to break the need of perfection. I need change.
I feel like I’m not alone in this… I think this how our society is. It’s something that we need to break. This fast paced life.
where life stood still.
where the top priority was a good wave.
where a camera was never left behind.
where barefeet were ok.
where smiles were in art galleries with painters.
where dinner was always spent with loved ones.
where the beauty inspired the soul.
No need to be at the office and yet, I have a bunch of work to do… a recent spike in shoots has left me with editing galore. As I rolled out of bed and looked out the window to a seemingly rare (lately) beautiful day, I cringed at the thought of a day in the house. I debating putting off editing for another day, to take a personal day that I’m trying to give myself more of. But in my true fashion, I knew I would regret not being productive.
Advice came from a friend via text message… ‘go find a patio and take your laptop’.
Where did I want to go? Where would I spend my day if I didn’t have a care in the world? I jumped into the car, grabbed a decaf coffee and headed for the mountains.
45 minutes later, I rolled into Canmore. A town that is a little less prone to tourism that Banff is accustomed to. I grabbed the 7D and wandered, finding a place to sit rear a creek. As I sat there, I was grateful for my friend’s advice and felt blessed that this amazing space is close enough to escape to. Surrounded by the calm, it always sinks into my soul. The mountains are where I feel my best. The place where I feel the closest to my proper being: it grounds me to my core.
The wind made it too cold to sit outside and work, so sat cross legged on a lounge chair against the window in Good Earth. A cheese scone and a decaf almond milk latte as a treat. As Coldplay played through the speakers, I made progress with the shoots that scheduled for delivery next week. I watched people stream through the cafe, I envy the people that making living out here work. I’ve always been drawn to the small town feel. I think growing up in a major city makes you crave it.
Today has been exactly what I needed. I needed out of the city.
I needed to get away from life, yet still be productive. This is what work/life balance feels like. Content.
(and of course, who doesn’t go to the candy store when visiting the mountains…)
Gosh, I feel like I’m failing my blog… with a busy schedule and sitting on a computer most days for work, it’s tough to come home and turn on the computer to write. And well, I’ve basically been avoiding my laptop for any other than my photography (trying to be more proactive with proper downtime). Limiting computer time at home has been long overdue. I’ve found some TV series that I’ve been glued to… Mad Men, Suits, Nashville and Chicago Fire. Sweats. Popcorn. This is home time for me right now.
As dinner cooks and a glass of wine sits waiting, I know I need to be here more. I need to write more.
But what to say… Words have been tough lately. I’ve struggled with deciding how much I want the world to know about my life. Whether it be the struggles of a loved one with mental illness, how a condition I’ve had my whole life has begun to worsen or the complications of love. These all have been weighing on my mind a lot lately. A lot of stress to carry at times. I’m sure there will be a time where I feel comfortable to turn these thoughts into blog posts.
Until then, I’m grateful for the experiences I’ve had lately… Volunteering with Kids Up Front, being invited to work with a photographer that I’ve admired for a few years, Haleigh learning to read, Bones learning to *high five* and the perks of quitting caffeine (who knew this would make the happy list – ha).
Thankful that the Calgary deep freeze has ended, leaving runners happy to hit the pavement again. Maybe next winter, I’ll be a little more willing to attempt -15/-20 running. I’m happy camper in the gym those days. I hate to admit that my training schedule has been affected by everything going on lately but happily planning to amp it up starting on Monday. There are 86 days until Calgary Marathon. Where did the time go?!
I’m blessed to have the camera batteries on the chargers and the memory cards cleared for another shoot tomorrow; rustic outdoor engagement shoot (another reason why I’m happy the deep freeze has ended). It never ceases to amaze me that people appreciate my work, that people believe in something that I love. Truly grateful for everyone that has been a part of this journey, from supportive family and friends to clients who after years tell me that my images are still their favourite.
What I’ve been reminded of lately is that life will always be a mix of hardship and happiness, to be grateful for everything that comes your way… lessons let us grow and smiles save our spirit.
Happy Friday! (thanks for reading this rambling)
1/2 cup dry quinoa
1/3 cup red onion, chopped
1 orange, peeled and segments chopped
1 avocado, chopped
1 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup pomegranate arils (about 1 pomegranate worth) – I use blueberries when unavailable
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
1/3 cup cilantro, chopped
salt & pepper
For the Lemon Vinaigrette:
2 lemons, juiced (need 1/4 cup juice)
2 garlic cloves, microplaned or finely minced
dash of sweetener (agave nectar, stevia or white sugar)
salt & pepper
6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Set aside to cool.
2. For the Lemon Vinaigrette: combine all ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid, and shake to combine. Or, add lemon juice, garlic, sweetener, salt and pepper into a small bowl and whisk in oil.
3. Combine cooled quinoa with red onion, orange segments, avocado, beans, pomegranate arils, corn, cilantro, salt and pepper. Pour Lemon Vinaigrette over the salad and stir to combine. Serve cold or at room temperature.