How Not to Waste Away Your Life

By nature, I am not an outdoorsy-spontaneous person. I will happily spend the whole day lying on the ground with my hands behind my head daydreaming or listening to music or just being random on the computer. I always think well, if I lived in _____ or I had _______ or _______ was near, then I would be. But I’ve vacationed in Vegas, lived on my own in Edmonton, and lived 5 minutes from a fantastic mall and go-cart place (which is quite fun by the way)..and nope, nothing of that ever manifested. But I have travel-lust and brazen dreams, and for the most part I’m happy to say, I walk the talk (which is why I have to be so careful when I talk about my dreams. I hate telling people and then not making them happen.)

So I’m an introverted homebody with insane dreams and a drive to make them come true. Continue reading

30 Lessons in 30 Days of Walks

For the last 30 days, I’ve walked everyday without fail for at least 30 minutes, often much longer. I almost always take the same route, walk on the same trail, everyday, I’m boring like that. It started as just needing to get headspace and air, an escape if you will. Then I got my fitbit, and it became about reaching my daily step goal. And then it became much more, so here are 30 lessons I’ve learned from my walks.

  1. Moving promotes creative thinking. At least for me. I think better, I’m more imaginative, and it’s mentally refreshing. Every plan or goal I’ve made in the last month or so has been dreamt up and refined on a walk. I’ve thought of future products, new ventures, better ways to approach personal development, and even about this blog during my walks. I’m an avid daydreamer and my daily walks have just amplified my ability to do so, it feels.30lessons_2
  2. It can take multiple passes. I walk the same route everyday. And everyday I notice something I didn’t before. There was a small amount of pretty graffiti (been painted over now) in a tunnel I walk through, and would you believe it, I never noticed it until the fifth time I went through that tunnel! This is important because we often expect ourselves to take in and process all the information from a situation in one go. But to really get everything you can out of something, you have to take it in and process it multiple times, and if possible, with gaps of time in between sessions.
  3. Embrace boring. No matter how passionate you are about something, no matter how much you want something, no matter how much it means to you, it’s going to get boring. The journey towards any goal or objective has its boring times. And these are the hardest. You watch an inspiring movie about someone or some people striving towards the goal and it all looks super motivating and intense, eye on the prize oh man! But in reality, not every part of the journey is crazy interesting. And that’s when people will often give up. Learn to enjoy it, predictability is not a bad thing.
  4. One step at a time. This is an obvious one, but worth reiterating. If I start thinking about the whole 4 mile walk, it can seem daunting and sometimes my mind will start making excuses for why I shouldn’t do the whole 4 miles. But all you have to do is concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other, again and again. Your mind can’t argue against that because it’s so easy. And that’s how you do the 4 mile work, one foot in front of another, again and again.30lessons_4
  5. Focus on walking, not finishing. This is related to #4. Honestly, if I start thinking about finishing, it can seem a long way off and can be discouraging. But if I just focus on the process, it’s not bad, because the journey is actually quite fun, if I let it be.
  6. You can’t do it without doing it. You can think about it all you want, but not all the thinking in the world is going to do anything if you don’t put on your sneakers and step out the door. If you wait until you feel like it, you’ll never get to it. Not everything should be done at the whim on your feelings, some stuff, you just gotta get done.
  7. It will suck, sometimes. It was 1pm and the sweltering afternoon heat was killing me. I was thirsty and although I was on the way home, I still had another 2 miles to go and on the leg of the walk without any shortcuts. All I could think about was getting home and drinking ice cold water and kicking off the sneakers. Not fun. No peace and calm on that walk. It can’t always be – and won’t be – all fun and rainbows.
  8. It will be amazing, sometimes. On the other hand, some days will take your breath away with sheer awesomeness. I was off in my own head, it had been raining earlier, when all of a sudden I looked over to my right and stopped dead in my tracks. FOUR rainbows were crisscrossing the whole sky and a fifth one was becoming brighter. I was so surprised, I forgot to take a photo. It was beautiful, magical. And I was so glad I was out on a walk and caught that view.
  9. Looking back is a great motivator. When you’re working away on something day in day out, you can lose motivation. The first time I decided to attempt the whole trail, I stopped at the half way mark and looked back, and man, I’d come a long way from home. It looked far. It gave me enough energy to finish the walk without wilting from tiredness.
  10. Eventually, you won’t need will power. Nowadays, I slip on my sneakers, plug in my earphones and am out the door without a second thought. I’ve done it consistently for days. Taking my walk is second nature now, I don’t have to worry about making myself do it. And you know what, it rocks. Now I get to use my reserve of will power to create another habit.
  11. Some days it will feel pointless. Why the hell am I walking this route every freaking day? WHY? For those days, have something to remind you why you began your journey in the first place. I started walking to give my work-from-home self a daily reason to get out of the house and be active, and let me remind you, Aurooba, it’s done wonders for you.
  12. You will change. That sounded dramatic. In reality, the change will not be dramatic, but it will be a change. When I started these walks, I was sad, angry, and more than a little lost. Now, more than 30 days later, I’m happy and I’m finding my way again. When you do something everyday, it changes you and it’s wonderful.
  13. Your ambitions will grow. I’ve started to add small bursts of running into my walks. Now I’m planning on working my way up to running the whole route. And I’m excited.
  14. Not everyone will understand. It was raining cats and dogs, and there I was grabbing a raincoat and tying my shoelaces. The family was like, it’s raining so hard, just go tomorrow. And I was like nope. Gonna go. Gotta go. And it rained cats and dogs the whole time, and I was glad I hadn’t let that stop me, because I saw a cute dog swim across the pond to bring back a little boy his toy boat. Don’t worry about other people, it’s not their goal and not their journey.
  15. Some days won’t progress so well. A really creepy guy had set up camp beside the trail about half way and he just stared. And he had a lighter he kept playing with. And he thoroughly creeped me out. I turned around and marched back home, making do with just a 1-2 mile walk that day. And that’s okay.
  16. You’ll have to slog through tiredness. Some days you’re going to be tired. Tired with everything, yourself, your project, Life. The tiredness will feel heavy in your body and mind and heart. I’m telling you, the only way to get rid of the tiredness is to keep going. Just keep going.
  17. Music can alter your mood, so use that to your advantage. Feel down? Put on an upbeat song or a whole playlist, after a few songs, your gloom will lift. Need to feel more meditative, put on a slower, more heartfelt song. Using outside stimulus is not a weakness, it’s an advantage that can help you on your way to a goal when the rest of you doesn’t cooperate.30lessons_2
  18. Appreciate the moment, damnit. Stand still for a second. Survey what you’re doing. Acknowledge the awesomeness of what you’re doing. These moments will be what you will look back to once you’ve reached your goal.
  19. Take calculated risks. Get to know the work a little and then take a risk. For me that meant trying to run some parts of the walk or venturing onto a small offshoot that looks a biiiit sketch, because I know how to get outta there fast if need be.
  20. Stand still in that moment where you’re knee-deep in the shittiest part of your work. Okay so there’s this part of my walk where I SWEAR TO GOD the bugs JUST WAIT for me, and then they see me and swarm like mad. I’ve felt bugs in my mouth more times than I care to count. Ihateithateithateithateit. So one day I just stood there. It’s cold shower therapy dude. And what do you know, the bugs started to bother me a little less every time. I still don’t like them, but I deal.
  21. Again, people won’t necessarily get it. They don’t have to get it and they might not get why you want what you want or why you’re doing what you’re doing. Don’t let this stop you. Don’t let someone else dictate your life. Live on your own terms. Yes, remember life is made up of other people too, but don’t live someone else’s blueprint dude. Do what you gotta do.
  22. Don’t give up. Unless giving up is what you want to do. I know, contradictory advice. It’s like this, some goals are worth striving for and then sometimes you permanently lose meaning and reason to strive for something and then you have to make the decision to give it up. Don’t NOT give up because you’ve already invested too much. Sometimes you just have to cut your losses and get the hell outta there. Oops, this one was supposed to be about NOT giving up..haha.
  23. Sometimes there is no lesson. Not every day needs to have abreakthrough or a revelation. Sometimes a day is just another day. And I think that’s lesson enough.

    30 Lessons in 30 Walks

    I couldn’t find my flats or my sneakers, and had to wear these not so pretty sketchers.

  24. Don’t blame your tools. I couldn’t find my sneakers at first..or was it the socks? Anyway, I think I walked the first 10 days in my flats..and made a hole in them from so much walking. If you want to do something, you’ll do it, not wait for the perfect tools for the job. Perfect tools can come later..and usually do. I found the sneakers..or the socks, and started wearing sneakers.
  25. But use good tools if you can. Your work will thank you, or in my case, my feet. Your work (or in my case, my walk) will get along faster too.
  26. Focus on finishing. Yes, this contradicts #5. It’s like this, sometimes finishing is a great motivator, so if you’re losing hope, just start imagining HOW AWESOME everything will be when you finish.
  27. No tool is beneath you. Use anything (within fair moral use) to make your work happen. Seriously. Don’t frown or start saying oh, that’s not efficient, or I should be better than that, blah blah. Get it done with what you can get at dude.30 Lessons in 30 Walks
  28. Notice the little stuff. I saw a grasshopper, a really creepy big one. I took a step back (I’m paranoid about it jumping onto my face) and then crouched down to look at it. While crouching, I looked up, and dude, the world look different. The big straw-grass-stuff was prettier, like photographs! And the sunlight hit the pond in different way, ooh pretty. Maybe this lesson should be try on a different view.
  29. Not all work has to have an endpoint. I’m still going to keep walking. So technically there is no goal here, but it’s an awesome journey. Or maybe there’s a goal, but not a very apparent one. Go with your instinct.
  30. You can find meaning in anything. Even walking, as you can see. And you should let this happen. This finding of meaning is how you’ll weave memories and grow and know yourself better.

This list is LONG.

Making My Bed and Exercising and Journalling and All That

After school was done, I had very little to anchor my daily life. Sure, I had plans and projects, but they either just remained plans or they progressed at a very slow pace.

Let me introduce you to my dear but annoying friends Distraction and Reaction. Seriously, either I was distracted (you know, checking Facebook every 5 seconds, clicking on a million links on Twitter, heart-ing a gazillion Instagram photos, etc) or I was just reacting to events (shit! It’s prayer time! shit! 5 minutes before the deadline! shit! I was going to do this before dinner!) and just like that most of my day would flit away. Then I’d have some burst of inspiration or motivation and stay up till 3 am with all the intentions of being productive..but my friend Distraction was ever-present. So..nada.

But I had excellent habits during school! When I had an office job, I got up promptly and was almost never late! What happened?!  Continue reading

Rise: An Update

Well, it’s August so it isn’t exactly mid year, but you know what I mean. I know I’ve said this before, but honestly, I can’t tell you how mind-blasting it is what one word can do.

Sometimes I’m thinking of it consciously, but mostly, I forget about my one little word for 2014 and just live life. But there’s something to be said about making an intention for the year. I had many hopes and aspirations at the end of 2013, and rise was perfect, because all of them meant rising to an occasion that could be risky and potentially scary.

Half way into this year, I have a fledgling business in partnership with The Redhead for which I have high hopes. Half way into this year, I had to make a dramatic decision which resulted in moving back home with my family. I fixed my relationship with food and am well on my way to being fit again (more on this later). And I’m repairing some battered relationships (which turned out to not be as scary as I thought it would be). Continue reading

20 Random Things

  1. I am a hopeless romantic in my head.
  2. I could dance all day everyday and still want to dance more.
  3. I’ve read Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce more than 100 times, no exaggeration.
  4. I’m so full of daydreams I wouldn’t be surprised if I floated off into the sky one day.
  5. When I’m coding in full force, there is only The Code. Food, water, the heat, nothing exists.
  6. Music has saved me more times than I care to count.
  7. I’m deathly afraid of showing vulnerability, but when I am, amazing things happen.
  8. My best friend and I laugh a lot often for no reason that anyone but us could comprehend..and I think that’s one of the reasons why we’re best friends.
  9. The first poem I can remember writing was about berries.
  10. If someone asks, yes there was a tornado and it happened to only hit my room. That’s normal, right?
  11. My aunt and uncle gave me a chain and an Allah locket when I was 8 or 9. Unless I take it off for something particular, I’ve worn it every since.
  12. I hate shoe shopping but I admire shoes.
  13. The only reason I’m getting my [car] driving license is because I need one before I can get my motorcycle driving license.
  14. I’ve recently been converted to the awesomeness of Sauerkraut, courtesy of the Redheaded Best Friend.
  15. One day, I will conquer my fear of being on camera.
  16. Every time I start worrying what people might think, I remind myself, every damn good thing that has ever happened to me happened when I didn’t give a single shit what anyone thought.
  17. I hope I never get too old to shriek with laughter and chase or get chased around the house/park/party/playground.
  18. One day I’ll actually finish writing a novel.
  19. One day I’ll actually send Redhead that story I promised I’d send her.
  20. When I chose the my one little word for 2014 to be rise, I didn’t realize just how perfect it was for everything that has happened so far.
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