Twenty-Three

And so twenty-two is done. I am twenty-three.

Some people have asked me, what’s so bad about 23? Why the fuss? And I know, I know, I was drama queening a little bit, gotta make a fuss around birthdays you know! Adds to the fun! But 23 does feel different for some reason. Usually ages don’t feel like a big deal, at least I don’t find them a big deal, but this one felt different.

I always wanted to be twenty-two. I think I romanticized the age a bit. I was born on the twenty-second, 22 was my jersey number in basketball, twenty-two was my mum’s age when she got married. It seemed like it would be a big year, a special year! It was my champagne birthday after all! #22onthe22 (and I’ve realized I had no champagne all year, this is what happens when you don’t really like alcohol all that much…)

And it was a great year! I finally hit a rhythm and completed my second year of my degree instead of changing my degree again, a wonderful boyfriend came into the picture, I made new friends and had great times with old friends, there was a road trip to BC, adventures in Seattle… Twenty-two was a good year, I enjoyed it!

But see, seven year old Becky would disagree. Seven year old Becky would have graduated by now and would be a teacher. Seven year old Becky would have gotten married this year. Seven year old Becky would be very pleased that I actually have dyed my hair red. (six year old Becky would be quite pleased with that fact too…) So I’m sorry seven year old Becky, red hair is the only part of your plan that will ever come to pass because I’m no longer twenty-two, the goal age has passed. I cannot fulfill your dreams in the time you gave me, but no, no I won’t say sorry for that seven year old Becky, because sometimes some things need a bit more time. You see life isn’t all as quick and easy as dying your hair. Life is messy and doesn’t fit into molds very neatly. The future is unknown, it’s unplanned, and it’s very unlikely to be uneventful.

Now I get to be twenty-three.

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This Is It.

Heyyyyyy friend! It’s been, let’s see now, well, umm, it’s been a while hasn’t it? Nearly five months?! Sheesh, my bad… So how ya been?

Summarizing the last five months could be tricky, lets see, I did keep cooking a bit, I know the posts dropped off at “E” but I made chicken broccoli noodle thing (F), pretzel buns with cream cheese icing dip (G), and Sloppy Joe Mac & Cheese (H) and maybe some other stuff but I don’t remember. I’m going to try and get back into weekly cooking, still ironing out my back-to-school schedule though.

But the summer was great! Mostly worked, but did get to take a trip to BC with mah boyfriend Ryan to visit with family and adventure down there for a bit! If you’d like to see some of what we did I did put together a video shortly after the trip

And since then school has started up again! Well for me, Ryan’s a fancy graduate with a grown-up job and everything (he’s my inspiration for what to be like next year, you see!). I am in my last year of school. It’s weird. I remember my last year of high school, it was exciting and incredibly nerve-racking all at once. There’s the excitement of moving on but also the emptiness of what is going to happen next, it feels like everything is so unknown. I’m getting feeling like that again now. This is my fourth year in university, I have the year mapped out until April when I wear the gown and funny cap and get handed a piece of paper and then I have absolutely no idea and when I start to think about that, it terrifies me. I feel so unprepared and inadequate.

Now I’m not saying that school has let me down and not taught me what I needed, I hope it has, but I am not confident that I’ll find a job, I’m not confident there will be a job, I worry I’ll be working 34.5 hours a week in a minimum wage job forever because why would someone chose me over someone else? I realize my instinct here is to say, “I wouldn’t.” and that makes me sad. Why wouldn’t I chose me? What’s wrong with me?

The other day my alarm went off and I opened my eyes after a night of tossing and turning. I couldn’t have gotten more than two hours “sleep” all night – the start of a terrible day, no? But a thought popped into my head. My boyfriend (who is a very smart man) has three things he tries to do (or would it be, be? Grammar… :P), Be optimistic, be patient, and no complaining. So I turned off that alarm and I took a breath and I decided, this is my day. No one can ruin it but me, and I say it’s my day and it’ll be just fine. And you know what, it was. It was very nearly a pretty good day actually.

So this is my year. I’ll try and blog bits and pieces of it but I know already it’ll be busy as heck so I don’t know how often I’ll pop in. I wrote out a list of all my assignments and due dates and oooh baby, this’ll be fun! But it’s my year, it’s going to happen. There will be no repeats of grade 12’s downward spiral to capital “B” Bad Times, these are sure gonna be some capital “B” Busy Times, but capital “G” Good Times too. We got dis, got a team of great folks to support and be supported by and we’re gonna do some cool stuff this year 🙂

– B

PS – I went exploring in the woods behind my university the other day. That was fun.

The Need of Internet

I don’t need the Internet anymore.

Now there are a couple things in this sentence you could confront me on, first, need – who needs the Internet? But also anymore – so I did need it then? And what changed?

I’m reading a book for my Media and Society class right now called The Digital Invasion: How Technology is Shaping You and Your Relationships and it’s sort of freaking me out a tad but I think I’m also learning lots. It talks about Internet addiction and how it affects our brains and how we function and how it changes our relationships (for better and for worse, it’s not a doomsday book, they acknowledge that there are benefits!) but it’s making me consider how much I use the Internet and social media and why.

I began using the Internet more and more starting from around age seventeen. A friend introduced me to the vlogger (video-blogger) side of Youtube and within a few months I was vlogging myself. At this time I was in grade twelve and slowly giving into minor depression as I grew increasingly afraid of my unknown future and saw my friends all drifting into the great unknown. I felt that I was losing my friends, didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, didn’t like my part time job at a grocery store post-grad (I would “entertain” myself by seeing how far into a shift I could get without talking to someone. I clearly wasn’t a cashier!) and wasn’t pushing into God and building my faith thus allowing that to drift away too. I was lonely.

And the Internet, oh the Internet! The Internet helped me find friends, find friends fast and who had common interests and fun hobbies. I had Facebook, and now Youtube, next was Twitter and Tumblr, more and more ways to connect with my new friends. Now I’m not bashing this because it actually served a purpose in where I was at because as I somewhat dissolved into “living in” the Internet, it also helped bring me back out. I went to a convention in California, meeting friends I’d only previously known online. I’ve since gone on a second trip to DisneyWorld with them. I began organizing meet ups in Winnipeg a couple times a year for other people who were fans of some of the same Youtubers as I was.

"Nerdfighter" meet-up 2012

“Winnipeg Nerdfighter” meet-up 2012

"Nerdfighter" meet-up 2013

“Winnipeg Nerdfighter” meet-up 2013

The Internet sucked me in, yes. I became too reliant on it, yes. But it also helped me grow, a lot. I planned my portion of two trips out of the country and then travelled there alone. I organized meet-ups with people I’d never met before and spent time getting to know them. As I found solace online I began to gain more confidence in my real life outside of the Internet. I made friends with coworkers, I reconnected with high school friends, I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. As I gained a few subscribers on Youtube I began to value my voice and think about what I was saying more and through vlogging I actually developed an interest and some practical skill in video making, an aspect of what I hope my future career will involve.

Lately the Internet hasn’t been very fulfilling though. It’s no longer serving the purpose it once did and I think perhaps I’ve outgrown it. It’s not that I don’t value the friendships I made while regularly vlogging or even regularly watching Youtube videos – I do, very much, I would consider many of them to now be friends, but I no longer solely need the Internet to feel that I am connecting with people and being heard. I begin to find it tiresome, Internet connections cannot interact the same way as people in real life. I have friends and hobbies and goals and a life that extends past the limitations of my laptop and my wifi. I can appreciate the ability to stay connected using social media and the like, but I prefer to see friends in person and actually go out and to things and build relationships in that sense. And that’s a big change for me. There was a time when I would Facebook message you instead of trying to get together in person. Now, well… now I’ll do both 😉

I suppose over the last five years I’ve been able to mature and get to know myself better. I’ve experienced life online, and it’s fun for a time and serves its purpose, but I’ve discovered it’s crucially important to maintain a solid foundation in the real world. To be able connect with people in person is something that cannot be replaced and it is only through the challenges and bumps that we face along the road that we can grow, and those are rarely found within the safe walls we build up for ourselves online. Online is a place to hide from challenges and bumps, however, in the sage words of The Sound of Music‘s Reverend Mother, “These walls were not built to shut out problems. You have to face them. You have to live the life you were born to live.”

-B

The Love/Hate Relationship of Photography

I have a love/hate relationship with taking photographs. I love photography and wish I knew more about how to make my camera function. I love looking at photographs and admiring the amazing shots people are able to capture through their lens. I love taking pictures and taking pictures that I like, that capture moments and tell stories, however, I have come to realize, that by taking pictures, I am not seeing things.

When I take my camera everywhere I see the world through a viewfinder. I don’t make memories I make photographs, copies of things I never truly saw. When I was younger I always had my camera with me. I have three full Facebook albums of photos all taken at one youth group bowling night back in 2008. I saw my world through a viewfinder and I missed so much. I have been able to capture memories for friend who are in the photos, they can look at them and remember what happened. I can only hear a story and reply, I think I remember seeing a picture of that! It’s not the same.

I love photography and I want to grow better at it, but I also know that its necessary to balance. See the world, experience things. Don’t just take copies of other people’s experiences, make your own too.

Planning to be Planless

Sometimes the best plan, is no plan. Spontaneity is actually something that is good for your health, essentially it means being more flexible and not requiring a strict plan that must be adhered to. Often people who crave structure see spontaneity as dangerous, however there is a difference between spontaneity and impulsiveness. Leon F. Seltzer from psychologytoday.com writes that “although a spontaneous act may be impromptu, unconscious, or casual, it’s generally seen as safe–rather than precarious.” (x) One does not generally get advised to be more impulsive in ones lifestyle, but recommendations to be more spontaneous are fairly common.

Spontaneity is known to make people more creative as well as generally happier. In the last few months I have been working on being more spontaneous and have found my stress levels to be lower and my general mood to be more cheerful. When you aren’t bound by a rigorous schedule there are less things to miss and fall behind on, leaving a less stressful life and more time to enjoy it. Going for a spontaneous walk or outing can not only be surprisingly fun, but a great stress reliever as things like exercise are known to reduce stress.

To Us Be the Glory?

Free the Children and Me to We are two sister charities started by brothers Craig and Marc Kielburger. They also run WE Day, a day long event that takes place in fourteen different cities across three countries striving to empower hundreds of thousands of young people to make a difference in their world and to help others. One cannot buy a ticket for WE Day, but must earn it through an act of both local and global service. We Day works to make the shift from a “Me and You” mentality, from a “Us and Them” mentality, to a “We” based mentality. That we can all help each other, that people in a remote village in Ecuador are not separate from us but that we can partner with and help them.

WE Day at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg. 11/16/15

WE Day at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg. 11/16/15

This year I had the opportunity to attend WE Day for the first time and I found it to be an interesting experience. The MTS Centre was packed out with aproximately 16,000 students and the day was peppered with speakers, musicians, and advertisements – seriously, so many advertisements! but it felt like it was always just about to hit *that* moment. There would be a inspirational speaker, but then they only spoke for about three minutes. There would be a cool musician and the crowd would be starting to get into the music, but then they would only play one song.

It was saved by the fact that the speakers were good, the musicians energetic, and the cause worthy. This was the first charity-based event I’ve been to that was not a specifically “Christian” event and I found it very interesting. It felt very “me” centred – which is ironic as its big idea is “We” instead of “Me”, but it was! Without the reason of “a God” to be doing these actions, without the reason of it being God’s will for us to help others, that it’s through him we are able to do this, that along with bringing aid we can bring the hope of salvation and the story of Christ, it felt very human-glorifying. The speakers echoed with *I* had this issue, that *I* overcame, and *I* did this to help others, and *I* was self-sacrificing, and *I* believe that *You* can do this too so *You* feel better about yourself because now *You* are doing this wondering thing. I, I, I, You, You, You. It felt very individualistic. Ultimately the goal isn’t to simply help others, but to help others so *You* feel good about your actions.

Free the Children and Me to We are wonderful charities as far as I can tell. They have a worthy cause, they’re doing great projects, helping so many people all over the globe, and the fact that they can inspire so many young people to be taking such action to help others is amazing and it’s absolutely fantastic. I am definitely happy to support their charity whether it be through volunteering or purchasing merchandise that supports their projects. As a Christian though, I couldn’t help but think the day fell a little flat without the message of hope that so many lives depend on. That though life is hard and often unfair and we can do what we can to help, ultimately we aren’t the source of aid, God is and he will provide for people’s needs and move in their situations. Often through people, yes, but that is not something we can take credit for, it remains God and he who should be receiving the glory.

Mayday, Carpool Down!

I commute to school. Now commuting has benefits, I get to have a forty minutes adjustments period to allow my mind to slowly realize it’s awake and needing to function before actually being in class. I can study in the car. I can socialize with my friends. However, there are some downfalls when it comes to carpooling. If the driver is down, chances are the carpool is too, and if you don’t go to school in the same city, other modes of transport aren’t really an option.

Carpoolers rely as much on each other as they do on their vehicles. By saving the environment one less car at a time, they strengthen their bond of trust that they have each others’ backs, that they’ll get to school on time for their classes.

Turns out I have an unplanned day off tomorrow. Good thing I already brought home my textbooks to study for my midterm on Friday.