Sunday, September 30, 2018

Three Changes I've Noticed Since Quitting My Job

It has been a month since I left full-time employment, and I've noticed some changes. I provided an overview in this YouTube video, but I also wanted to go into a little more detail in this blog post.



1) I have a lot more energy.

When I was working full-time, I was always exhausted. It got to the point that I was tired pretty much right when I got home, and I could barely keep my eyes open after dinner. I had no creative energy, but I still wanted to post YouTube videos, so I would take the lazy way out and film what was easiest for me, like empties videos or vlogs. I had a lot of other videos I wanted to film (bags I sold and why, finances, etc.), but I just didn't have the mental energy to think through the message.

Besides my lack of creativity, my low energy levels also meant I didn't want to go out very much. I was strict about going out only 2 or 3 days during the work week and only 1 day on the weekend. I didn't like to make stops or detours on my way home, because I felt like I had to rush home to cook dinner. The weeks became very monotonous and routine. I felt like I was living my life on repeat.

Now that I have a lot more time and space to explore life's possibilities, I have so much energy. I am always creating or thinking about creating. I'm constantly jotting down ideas or notes for future videos, blog posts, or projects. I have the energy to go out with friends, experiment with different recipes, and watch a late night film with hubby. I have the energy to stay up late, because my mind is racing with fun ideas. Each day is different, but equally special.

2) I feel happier and lighter.

The amount of stress I felt at work was impacting my physical and mental health. I didn't talk about this in a lot of detail in the video, but I was experiencing shooting pains up my arms, pressure in my chest, and light-headedness. On a few occasions, I would be talking to coworkers, and I would feel like I was about to faint. My mental health and personality suffered as well. I was highly irritable, impatient, short-tempered, and anxious.

It got to the point where I would have a drink almost every night. I reasoned that it was only a glass of wine or half a beer, but drinking so frequently was uncharacteristic of me. It seems obvious now, but at the time, I didn't realize it was related to my stress levels. I didn't try to drink less when I left work, but it naturally followed the lack of stress. I only have a drink 2 to 3 times a week now (sometimes even less!).

Now that I am no longer experiencing such high levels of stress, I feel so much happier and lighter. I don't want to make it seem like I'm happy all the time as I still go through ups and downs, but the general level of happiness is significantly higher. I smile and laugh more, I sing and dance more, I'm sillier, and I'm more easygoing.

3) I feel like I can be more authentically me.

I don't think I explained this concept very well in the video, so I'm going to try again here. I've always felt like I couldn't be myself at work. Perhaps this was due to my own insecurities or fear of being judged, but I've always felt like I had to be a different person at work. I've always felt torn between my work life and my personal life. This was very difficult for me, as I have always prided myself on marching to the beat of my own drum. Not being true to myself caused all sorts of problems. I gradually became less confident in myself and my decisions. I gradually became increasingly hard on myself. I gradually started feeling a lot of self-loathing.

Now that I no longer feel like I am living a double life, I feel much more like myself. This positive change has manifested itself in a lot of different ways. Leaving a stable and well-paying job is very much against societal norms, and I regained so much confidence in myself when I made this decision. I am proud of myself for making this decision. I've noticed that I'm more flexible, more independent, and more selective with how I spend my time. I no longer want to plan very many things in advance. I prefer instead to go with the flow, roll with the punches, and see what life will bring. I'm starting to believe in myself again, I'm starting to trust myself again, and I'm starting to be kind to myself again.

***

If you had told me a month ago that I would have noticed all these changes, I may have believed you, but I wouldn't have understood how drastically different I would feel. I feel like a new person. I know it's still early in the transition, and as House Stark says, "Winter is Coming," but I want to thank you all for being supportive and for your kindness over the past month. I will continue to keep you updated on this journey.

When I started blogging every day, I really only committed for a month, because I wanted an "out" in case I got tired of it, but I've been enjoying this creative outlet so much that I will keep up with daily content for at least another month. I would like to focus on financial content in October, not only because I have a few requests, but also because I want to reassess my own investments. Please stay tuned for lots of financial content coming both on my YouTube channel and on this blog!

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Ugly Bowls

I made two really ugly bowls today.

As part of Culture Days, I attended a pottery session at the Toronto Public Library, and we had some time near the end of the class to try hand-forming a bowl out of clay. The simple pretty bowl I was planning to make wasn't taking shape, so I decided to make a cute little bowl in the image of Lulu instead. Except it didn't turn out so cute. The tongue makes it extra special, no?

Truffle's bowl was fashioned quickly as an afterthought, and it's probably a little less ugly, but that's because I was out of clay (and time), so I couldn't make his eyes or nose.


Friday, September 28, 2018

Secret Poem

Poem on a post -
A happy surprise today
As I walked outside

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Buffer Festival


In my first month off, I've been spending a lot of time meeting with friends, going to events and talks, and trying to figure out my new routine. It's been a great month, but I feel like I've been neglecting my creative pursuits. Admittedly, I have a lot I want to create, but I've been distracted by my shiny new freedom. As fate would have it, I stumbled upon the Buffer Festival Insight Series, which is a day of programming centered around digital content creation. I'm incredibly lucky to have spent most of today being inspired by content creators. It's exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

KARE Toronto Showroom


It has been a while since I've really really wanted to buy something. When I first stepped into the KARE Toronto showroom a few weeks ago, I felt a teeny tiny urge to purchase something. Some of you know I like quirky animal objects. Rabbits, dogs, unicorns, deer... I want it all... and the showroom is literally filled with things I want.




KARE is a furniture and home goods company based out of Germany. There are many locations around the world; however, the Toronto location is the first one in North America. The owner of the Toronto location, Edilka, is passionate about interior design, and she hand selects the pieces for her showroom. She has impeccable taste, and the showroom is warm, eclectic, and filled with quirky objects. Everywhere you look, there is something to discover. I went back to the showroom for the fall launch event today, and my urge to buy bubbled up again.


The fall collection arrived from Munich recently, and the showroom was filled with many new and exciting pieces. I fell in love with the super cute Frenchie hugging a pineapple painting and the super soft indigo blue velvet sofa. Actually, all the KARE velvet furniture pieces look and feel amazing - they are incredibly soft to the touch yet seem durable. This is pic heavy post as I literally wanted it all. If any of the items catch your eye, be sure to pop into the showroom as there is much more to discover.





The KARE Toronto showroom is located at 553 Queen Street West. All the pieces on display, as well as the entire KARE collection, can be ordered from the showroom. If you are looking to purchase a floor model, that may be possible as well. Also, KARE is sponsoring the main stage at the Fall Home Show, which is happening this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Tickets are free if you wish to go and be sure to pop by the KARE booth to say hello!





















Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Trouble Sleeping



Last night, I went to a superfoods talk, which was located around a 45-minute walk from home. On my way back, as I stood at the corner of an intersection waiting for the light to change, I heard a huge crash. I looked up from my phone and saw that two vehicles had collided. It happened on the opposite side of the street, so I looked carefully at the cars and the bystanders, and tried to assess the situation. Nobody moved for what felt like an eternity. Oh no, why isn't anybody moving?

I called 911, reported the accident, went over to the scene, and relayed instructions from the dispatcher. By this time, one of the drivers had gotten out of his car, and bystanders were assisting the other driver. This was a busy intersection in downtown Toronto, and fortunately, it looked like there were no serious injuries. Once I heard the ambulance arrive, I continued my walk home, told hubby what happened, and went on with the rest of my evening. At the time, I didn’t think the incident affected me very much, but perhaps it did.

For the first time in almost a month, I found it difficult to fall asleep.
For the first time in almost a month, I woke up in the middle of the night and lay awake for over an hour.

Yesterday was a sobering reminder that life can change in the blink of an eye. It’s so easy these days to be too busy and too distracted. I want to remind myself that it's important to look around, be aware of my surroundings, be kind to loved ones, and be patient with strangers. Let's not be so busy and so distracted.

Having lived in a big city pretty much my whole life, I’ve seen a lot of things I don’t share widely. These are stories I keep within me. I'm sure you have stories like this. Stories you start to share, but it doesn’t feel good, and it doesn’t feel right, so you stop. I wasn’t planning to share this today, but I’m trying to talk more about the difficult things, the dark things, the things that don’t make me happy.

It's tempting to paint a picture of a happy life on social media, because I want to be a source of happy inspiration. But I'm also trying to remember that sharing what makes us human is what makes us human. I'll share happy stuff tomorrow.

Stay safe, my friends. x

Monday, September 24, 2018

The Week of the 20th

This is my 4th week of not working, and I've adjusted rather nicely to my new routine. I've been going out to enjoy the city almost every day, and I haven't really felt the impact on my wallet. I've come across a multitude of places offering inexpensive, or even complimentary, food, merchandise, workshops, and experiences. As I was planning for life after my nine-to-five, I thought I would really miss my regular paycheque, but I haven't really noticed it... until today.

The week of the 20th is when I pay all my bills. A few years ago, I would write separate dates in my agenda and pay each bill as it became due; however, this process broke down from time to time, which made me feel anxious about missing a payment. I decided to review all my recurring bills to figure out the best time in each month to pay them all at once, and I found that the week of the 20th was the ideal time for me. My agenda is set up with weekly to-do lists (which I referenced in this post), and when I see the reminder on the week of the 20th, I pay all my bills in a single session. It was a lot more efficient to batch the process, and it has worked out great.

This was the first "week of the 20th" since I left my job. When I paid my bills today, I felt a pang of anxiety. I knew it was irrational, because I have money saved up and my bills are a lot lower than they once were, but the fear was still there. As I went through the motions of checking my credit card expenses against my finances spreadsheet and reconciling each account, my fear mounted. Then I noticed a couple pending transactions on one of my credit cards, and my fear spiked. When did I use this card? What did I spend money on? How could I have been so stupid to leave my full-time job?



Another pending transaction came in as I was doing my monthly reconciliation, and suddenly the fear went away. The light went on. Someone was making unauthorized transactions on my card right before my eyes! I was annoyed at the thief, but also thankful, because this discovery snapped me back to the present and propelled me to action, instead of continuing with the downward spiral of self-doubt. I called the credit card company and another transaction was attempted when we were on the phone. As we spoke and dealt with the issue, my confidence and rational mind came back. Fear quashed. I know my fear will surface again at some point, but I also know I need to learn to trust myself more.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Celebrating Love



Hubby and I went to a magical wedding yesterday. It was the perfect evening. I love celebrating love.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

One of My Favourite Creatures

It's shaping up to be a busy Saturday in Toronto. Lots of fun on the agenda, but I probably won't have a chance to blog tonight, so I'm going to share a photo of one of my favourite creatures. Lulu is so smart and photogenic. She has gotten the hang of posing for the camera; however, she likes to come in real close. Every time I back up, she comes closer and sits down again. So here's a huge photo of Lulu.

Friday, September 21, 2018

UNIQLO Pop-Up

A series of happy coincidences led me to discover a UNIQLO pop-up today, where I received a free HEATTECH shirt!

The pop-up is promoting the UNIQLO CA app. All you need to do is head to the pop-up, download the app, sign up for an account, line up, and choose a size for your complimentary shirt. UNIQLO is giving away the version with the thinner material (not the extra warm), which retails for $19.90 in Canada. I already had this in dark grey and navy (and now, black!), and it's one of my favourite styles.

The pop-up is located at 451 King Street West and will be open until 8pm today (Fri Sep 21) and from 11am to 7pm tomorrow (Sat Sep 22).

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Instant Pot Adventures - Turkey Stroganoff

Even though I have a lot more time now, I still find myself in need of some fast go-to recipes. Hubby mentioned a while ago that one of his colleagues brought beef stroganoff for lunch and that "it looked SO yummy." Yes, this was another one of his hints. I found an interesting recipe for the Instant Pot, and I filed it away in my memory, which basically means I forgot about it. When I finally remembered last week, I decided to try it with ground turkey to lighten it up a bit. The resulting dish is so quick, easy, and delicious that I've already made it twice.



I adapted the recipe from this one. I used ground turkey instead of ground beef, one tablespoon of butter instead of two, chicken stock instead of beef stock, smoked paprika instead of regular paprika, whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose flour, and green onions instead of parsley. I also omitted the mushrooms, and I added another 4 oz of noodles and 1/2 cup of broth. It's quite rich with 14% sour cream, so I may try 5% next time to see if I can lighten it up even more, without significantly impacting flavour. In any event, it's a tasty one pot meal that takes no time.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Baked Goodies

It's been a while since I've baked. I used to bake regularly - muffins, cupcakes, cakes, loaves, cookies, cinnamon rolls, scones, bagels - I pretty much love any and all baked treats. However, the more I baked goodies, the more I ate baked goodies. It was impacting my waistline, so I stopped. Now I only bake on rare occasions, and today was one of those occasions! We had some ripe bananas to use up, so I made banana bread this morning. We also have some frozen fruit that has been sitting in the freezer for a while, so since I was in a baking mood, I made a dozen little muffins as well.



Both the banana bread and the muffins were delicious. So delicious that I can't wait to go to sleep and wake up tomorrow so I can eat more. The banana bread was adapted from Jamie Oliver's Earl Grey Banana Bread Recipe and the muffins were adapted from this recipe.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

THINX Pop-Up Shop

I was recently invited to check out the THINX pop-up at the Drake General Store. THINX is a New York based company that makes period-proof panties. I've never tried this type of underwear before, so I was intrigued. I woke up bright and early today for the event, and it was time well spent!





Our morning started with an energizing yoga class at Good Space. The studio is bright, beautiful, and airy, and it smells incredible too! Our instructor led a short, period-appropriate practice that got the blood flowing, so to speak.







After our yoga class, we headed over to the Drake General Store to check out the THINX pop-up. We had a light breakfast, which included this super delicious ginger kombucha by Vams Culture.





THINX offers a number of different styles, ranging in absorbency level. The most absorbent style is the hi-waist, and the least absorbent style is the thong. Samples of the different styles are available at the pop-up. The underwear feels well-made, and I was surprised by how "normal" they felt. The absorption area did not feel overly thick, even on the hi-waist style. I took home a pair in the bikini style, and I'm excited to give them a try. The THINX pop-up is located at the Drake General Store (flagship location) at 1151 Queen Street West and will be around until Sep 22/18 in case you want to check out the period-proof panties in person!



Note: not sponsored. THINX provided a sample for PR purposes.

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