trees stars lights filip bunkens

2017: A Year in Review

I remember feeling so tired and jaded by the end of 2016. I even declared that year as “the dawn of the apocalypse”. And yet, I was still hopeful that 2017 would be an upswing in the right direction.

LOL!

As I had anticipated, 2017 was a true test of our collective strength and our personal resilience. These past 365 days were flooded with major shifts, disappointments, frustrations, heartaches, and negativity on a scale I had never witnessed before. Without rehashing all of the awful things that happened this year (because why would we want to relive all of that again?), I am choosing to focus on celebrating the milestones (traveling to Italy, having amazing concert experiences, building unforgettable friendships, accomplishing career goals, and becoming more self-assured) and reflecting on how the good and the bad experiences will inform how I approach the present and the future. Nevertheless, I will persist, and you shall too.

As we gear up to say GTFO to 2017, I’d like to share the moments that made this year an unforgettable one…

Throughout the year, I’ve been compiling a page of memories from 2017 — including notable experiences I had, concerts I attended, music I listened to, movies I watched, television shows I  followed, and books I read — and now the time capsule is complete! Check it out here at Scrapbook 2017.

Featured Image by Filip Bunkens.
woman girl beach sand brooke cagle

Life Lessons Learned From… Moving On

I originally planned to publish this blog post on the eve of whenever I happened to start the next exciting chapter of my life. It was to be a cause for celebration after a long and hard battle won. Now that my original deadline has passed and said chapter still remains in the draft stage, I had to re-evaluate what I was going to do with this post.

Recently, I poured out all of my fears and frustrations after facing a devastating setback. I felt so inspired by the outpouring of encouragement, support, and love I received from friends in response. When I am surrounded by darkness, my friends are always there to help me see the light, and I am truly blessed to have them in my life.

One friend brought something to mind which I found to be perspective shifting. The way we measure success tends to be limited to whenever we reach significant Facebook-worthy life events. Landing the promotion, getting married, starting a family… all the landmark milestones you share on your timeline and watch as the likes pour in. But why don’t we treat our moments of personal growth with the same regard and value? How have you transformed from the person you were ten years ago to the person you are today? What challenges did you overcome through hard work and dedication? How has the way you see the world evolved and expanded? Let’s not forget to measure our success by how much we’ve achieved and how far we’ve come along the way to hitting those milestones.

2017 has been filled with ups and downs, triumphs and heartbreaks, accomplishments and disappointments. Every goal unreached tests my ability to get up, persevere, and move forward in the face of hard blows. This whole idea of growing through what you go through in life is what keeps me moving along this obstacle course and moving on toward the next big thing. I realized I don’t need to wait until I’ve reached that big milestone to share what I have learned over the past year, because my success story has already begun. So, here goes….

Continue reading “Life Lessons Learned From… Moving On”

elephant andy brunner

Life Lessons Learned From… Kicking the Elephant Out of the Room

Death. Illness. Divorce. Job loss. We will all inevitably encounter hard times through devastating losses in our lives. It is through how we deal with our grief and eventually rebuild from tragedy that we discover the full capabilities of the human spirit. Someone who has known this well over the past two years is Sheryl Sandberg.

In Sandberg’s latest book, Option B, the Lean In Foundation founder and Chief Operating Officer of Facebook draws from the experience of her late husband’s death to open up the discussion around building resilience in the face of adversity. The concept of post-traumatic growth and finding greater strength and deeper meaning in the wake of crushing blows resonates with me. In particular, I found the chapter on kicking out “the elephant in the room” to be most profound. During a loved one’s time of bereavement, we tend to avoid discussions on loss and grief, which, will well-intentioned, can actually have the opposite effect of providing comfort during tough times. This is a hard truth we need to rectify.

Continue reading “Life Lessons Learned From… Kicking the Elephant Out of the Room”

rome italy roman colosseum roma italia

La Dolce Vita in Italy!

From March 29th to April 11th, I ventured to Italy for two weeks of eating, playing, and exploring my way through the Italian cities of Rome, Florence, and Venice. The Eternal City is the last city in my trio of major European capitals on my travel bucket list—London was in 2015 and Paris was in 2016, so naturally Rome was next on the hit list. I was also curious to witness the birthplace of the Renaissance in Florence and wander about the winding canals of the floating city of Venice, so I extended my sojourn into a two week excursion to cover multiple destinations. Thus, my fortnight of an Italian extravaganza was born!

While solo travel in the spring is a tradition of mine, this particular trip was quite the spur-of-the-moment decision. Due to the sudden life changes that had occurred at the start of the year, I had originally postponed my trip planning as I tried to determine my next career steps. However, after encountering bouts of anxiety over the uncontrollable uncertainty of my current situation, I realized that I wasn’t ready to enter the next phase just yet. I needed a break. I needed a temporary escape. I needed a vacation.

So, three weeks before my eventual departure, I booked an open-jaw ticket from Vancouver to Rome, and from Venice to Vancouver—and added train tickets from Rome to Florence and from Florence to Venice—and I vowed to take a breather and mend my mind, body, heart, and soul through living la dolce vita in Roma, Firenze, and Venezia.

Continue reading “La Dolce Vita in Italy!”

woman girl train station

Building Resilience and Moving Ahead Through Tough Transitions

Breakups and layoffs suck. Whether it’s the end of a long-term relationship with someone you love, the loss of a job you were dedicated to, or another life-altering situation, being thrust into these scenarios where a big part of your life comes to a sudden end is downright unnerving and terrifying.

You enter into that uncomfortable grey area of uncertainty, where before you looms a tough period of passage from what you knew towards what is unknown. To help you build resilience and respond better to an imposed transition, we share a few ways you can begin to part with the past, return to the present, and move ahead towards the future.

Continue reading on The Hudsucker…

Featured image by Eutah Mizushima.