Dumpster Fire or "Lighting a Fire"?
Individuals across the world can probably agree on one thing when reflecting on 2020 as a whole: this year has been a struggle. From the pandemic that has swept the world, to social justice movements and protests demanding change, to lockdowns, mass unemployment, and a severe decline in mental/physical health, the cracks in our governments and social systems have never been more apparent. A common theme that has been portrayed across social media platforms is that 2020 is similar to a "dumpster fire" - a putrid, foul, burning mess. And while I have found myself agreeing with this sentiment at times throughout this never-ending year, I can't help but look at 2020 as one of the most formative years of my life. At the beginning of this year, much like many other Millennials, I felt that this was the year that I was finally going to "get my shit together". In fact, that was my New Year's resolution. Upon reflection, I can see that this year has taught me some very valuable life-lessons - ones that have, in turn, allowed me to start fulfilling that resolution.
"Aim for Excellence, Not Perfection"
When I was in grade 4, I remember being given a standardized test. We were told it was happening in advance but none of my classmates, myself included, knew what it was for. I remember being one of the first to finish this multiple- choice test, and a couple weeks later, was brought out of class with about ten other peers. We were given another test to complete. As we all glanced nervously at each other, the teacher told us that we all scored the highest on the test, which is why we were selected for the second round. Feeling more confident, we all sat down and wrote test number 2.
The "B.C. Effect"
When my friends and family read the title of this story, they will no doubt roll their eyes and say something along the lines of, "OK, OK, we get it - B.C. is the best place on earth...now shut it and move on!" And honestly, I wouldn't blame them. I haven't shut up about how beautiful the Western-most province of Canada is since I came back home to Ontario in July. But - can you really blame me for this?! There's just something about that province that was able to completely flip my perspective and mindset. Having grown up in the suburbs outside of Toronto, I typically think of "nature" as being up at a cottage in the Muskokas. Yes, we have lovely, curated trails to walk and bike through, with beautiful trees and gardens. But...nothing, and I mean NOTHING, compares to the majesty of British Columbia.
Accidentally Put Together
I did it. I finally did it. I escaped my toxic relationship in June 2020 - once and for all. He tried everything he could to manipulate me into staying...but I knew better than to fall for it again. I was back in BC, on the West Coast, and feeling so consistently happy - more than I had in, well, years. I was solo-travelling, planning to move into my own place on Vancouver Island. I had packed my car full of the things I needed to feel safe and at home, drove 5000 kms from Ontario to BC and managed to land an apartment to move into on July 1. The only downside to all of this was that I had no steady income (thank you COVID) and a mountain of debt. And, some emotional baggage left over from my experiences with my ex...but that's beside the point.
Wine'd and Dine'd by a Beautiful Stranger
This past Sunday night proved one thing to me: chivalry and respectful men are not a thing of the past. They are not simply men that we daydream about from Old Hollywood films, or the "Prince Charming" that we always wanted as a child. As a woman whom has experienced several narcissistic people and their behaviours, I have always been skeptical of others that automatically treat me as a princess. I mean, I deserve to be treated like royalty, but how can one know that upon first meeting? Ya feel?