My Big Girl Panties Are a Thong, and Other Confessions of a Reluctant Grown Up.

I use the saying, “put on your big girl panties” all the time. Meaning, suck it up and do what needs to be done, because you’re a grown up, and that’s just what you have to do as a grown up sometimes.

Except that my big girl panties are a thong.

Which can be looked at in two ways. My big girl panties are really big girl panties. Because how many kids do you know running around wearing g-strings? Um, inappropriate.

But the flip side of that is that sometimes there isn’t enough panty there to be much use to anyone, big girl or not.

And that’s a perfect analogy for my life. Sometimes I’m really good at sucking it up and doing what needs to be done, usually even with a smile on my face! And sometimes, I feel totally incapable and incompetent to make any decisions for anyone, even myself.

This week I was the proud driver of a dead car. And it turns out my engine seized. That’s likely because there was not enough oil in the engine. Now, the check oil light never came on to alert me that I was low, and I had put oil in about a month ago. But ultimately, I suppose it’s my fault for not checking my oil every time I filled my car with gas…because that’s what a responsible grown-up who knows anything about cars should do.

I am either not a responsible grown-up or I know nothing about cars. Or possibly both.

Now my car is dead. And I have to choose whether to put $3000+ into a car that is only worth $5000, or cut my losses and buy a new car instead. And what I really want to do is stick my head in the sand and curl in a ball and cry in my bed. Forever.

I’m trying to deal with the situation logically and without too much emotion. I’m trying to find the gratitude for the opportunity to get a new car (and the necessity to pay for it, which will push me to get creative financially), instead of feeling victimized by some shitty circumstances.

I’m trying to put on my big girl panties.

But when my big girl panties are a thong, that is not always successful. Unless I plan to pole dance to pay for my car, then the thong might come in handy….

There are so many things that I see other people doing successfully as grown ups. They power wash their decks. They do yard work. They clean their gutters. They have savings accounts (that actually have money in them). They make budgets and buy all the right insurance. They have RRSPs.

Do they feel like grown ups? Or are they faking it too? Because I’m still waiting to feel like a grown up. And in the meantime, I’m just playing dress up in these big girl panties from time to time.

But seriously, sometimes this thong rides right up my ass.

Let me know in the comments below if you ever actually feel like a grown up…and what kind of panties your big girl panties are! Do they feel like they provide adequate coverage….?

xo,
❤️S

Besties Are So Smart. And Some Summer Body Love Challenges, Once Again.

I’m 38 years old. At this point, my goal is to feel good in clothes, not look good in a bathing suit. Because really, how much of my time do I actually spend in a bathing suit?

These unwittingly wise words from my very smart bestie changed my life.

That very, very smart bestie and our extended families, along with our other bestie and her extended family, take a family vacation together every year. Like, every year since we were born. So, it’s a bit of a tradition.

And us three girls, at least since we hit puberty (some of us longer), have tended towards….let’s just say my dad used to call us “Big Girls On Parade.” (Such a sensitive guy.) Each a little differently, but each with our own body struggles. And every year since we were teenagers, the running mantra was, “I’m going to be so skinny for our holidays!” Every summer. For our whole teenagehood.

Three Besties - Sara Ramsay

Adulthood saw us faring a little more sanely. Sometimes. Having kids of our own, growing up, and caring less about the boys on the beach helped us feel a little less insecure about our bathing suit bodies…but only sometimes.

“I’m going to be so skinny for our holidays. You don’t even know.” It morphed from dead serious to dead-pan comedy somewhere through the years. Thank god.

Each of us has waged our own battles – some more privately, some more publicly – with our bodies over the years. And as I look down the barrel at summer again this year, realizing that I am an unwanted 15 lbs heavier than I was last summer, I am stopping to pause and reexamine a few things.

I am considerably more fit this summer than I was last summer, as I’ve been running as consistently as my body has allowed, for over a year now. I have good days and bad days, good weeks and bad weeks, good months and bad months, in terms of my body cooperating with my exercise plan. But overall I can move more, and that movement is full of more joy than it was a year ago. That’s a win.

I am once more facing the struggle of choosing to love my body where it is, because I know from years of personal experience that my body will not shift for the better until I love it as it is. I have not found the golden ticket. This is a struggle I come around to time and time again. I choose to see that as an opportunity for learning. And say thank you. Again.

The clothes I had that I rocked last summer are a little too tight this year. I’m a little too stubborn and a little too broke to buy new ones. So I’m deciding to force myself into them anyway, bound and determined that it won’t be long before I fit them properly. Not sure that’s really a win of any variety.

Wanting my weight back where it was so badly brings up all my food issues. Again. When I was so sick with migraines for a year and a half that I lost 85 lbs as a result of not being able to eat, that was what you call medical anorexia. It was the first time in my life I had ever danced with an eating disorder on that end of the spectrum. I’d always been a compulsive overeater – an emotional eater. But never purged or withheld food. But once I couldn’t eat because of the migraines, it was pretty easy not to eat for whatever reason. I was always aware that it was a slippery slope, and I kept in good communication with my doctor about it. And it never got too out of hand.

But boy does it look attractive now. I could just go back to not eating for awhile and drop the extra weight. Wouldn’t be that hard. Wouldn’t even take that long.

Fucked. Up. Yo.

This is what we do to ourselves when we wage a constant battle with our bodies. We need to work with our bodies, not fight against them. We need to love our bodies, not hate them into submission.

We need to work with and love our bodies, not fight against them. Not hate them into submission. Tweet it!

“I’m 38 years old. At this point, my goal is to feel good in clothes, not look good in a bathing suit.” I come back to these words again and again. I’m 41 now, but the words mean the same thing. At this stage of my life, I’m not here to have a Baywatch moment, I’m here to enjoy my life and feel confident in it. And feeling confident in my life includes loving the body I’ve got, dressing for the setting (I happily wear a bikini on the beach, baby tiger stripes and all, because dammit….they don’t make a one piece that will hold my tits up), and choosing confidence and joy.

It’s a choice. Nobody gets to determine how you feel about yourself except you.

You. You choose.

So how do you feel about yourself?

(Or…how do you want to feel about yourself, and what steps are you taking to make those feelings reality? Tell me in the comments below…)

xo,
❤️S

The Beginning and the Ending. Or, the Chicken and The Egg.

Mercury is in retrograde. With big, bold, flying colours.

Painful colours. Colours full of goodbyes. Endings. Cycles coming to full and final closures.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t plan my life according to astrology. I keep an awareness of it – I think there’s something to it, but I haven’t ever been really up for throwing my whole lot in with the stars, full stop. So I take my astrology with a grain of pink Himalayan salt.

I read a couple of round-ups of the coming month at the beginning of June and thought, “Well, shit. Mercury is going into retrograde (June 7-July1). That never goes well. But it’s rarely the end of the world either. Life goes on and we’ll all come out the other side.”

All the predictions said this one was going to be full of goodbyes, full of long-standing relationships and cycles we have struggled with for ages coming to final closure. Letting things go and moving on, once and for all.

And then I didn’t think too much more about it. After all, I only take my astrology with a grain of salt, right?

And then we actually entered into that period of time, and life became so sluggish. I couldn’t seem to accomplish anything. I couldn’t make forward motion with anything I tried to work on. (Mercury retrogrades typically do involve business and tech things going sideways.) My focus was non-existent, and I was fighting myself on every endeavour.

Then the school strike happened and my kids were home two weeks early. Which meant that all of a sudden I had fewer hours in the day that I could devote my brain-power (feeble as it seemed to be) to my own projects.

I had someone close to me who has some health issues hit a new milestone with their health concerns, and that one hit me pretty hard. I found myself quite emotionally off-balance, and reaching out for support.

And then the people around me started falling apart. Somewhat literally. So many people close to me are experiencing the end of their relationships, or looming potential for the end. So. Many. People. And one of my own most cherished relationships has ended in one form, and will only continue in a different form.

And I am alternately worried about the people concerned, and pleased that I am the one that many of them turn to for support when their lives are imploding. And mixed in there somewhere is a feeling of occasional overwhelm that there is so much going on, and there are so many people feeling fractured in my life, and I am the one so many people seem to be looking to for support, in a time when I feel broken myself. (Not that I want them to do anything different, not for a second…I’m just having moments of overwhelm, that’s all.)

So, while it feels like so much is ending, I am aware that every ending is a beginning. And while we often don’t want the endings to occur, we may not even be aware of the greatness that the new beginnings offer. And those new beginnings will never be possible without first making room in our lives, with the ending of something else.

Every ending makes room for a new beginning, pregnant with the possibility of greatness. Tweet it!

And so I have chosen to be gentle with myself, and let myself off the hook for the rest of this month. I am not looking to accomplish any of the plans or projects I had originally intended for this month. That has all been out on hold. Instead, I am giving myself the rest of this month to follow my feelings, and tend to my own emotional needs. In July, I can turn it all back on, but for now, everything is on hold, and in just worried about making sure I’m good.

For me that means eating right, lots of exercise, plenty of fresh air, time and communication with friends and loved ones, journaling, quiet time, reading, tea, sleep, and feeling my feelings.

How many of us schedule time for ourselves to feel our feelings? I bet not many. I certainly don’t, not on the regular.

And I have to say, it feels very weird and slightly awkward to totally let myself off the hook for all my plans and projects for the rest of this month. I mad the decision a few days ago, so that’s somewhere around 10 days or so when I am not worried about accomplishing much of anything. In a completely guilt-free manner. I keep thinking, “oh, I should do X.” And then I stop myself and realize that there’s no deadline hanging over my head…

Because I am taking care of myself.

A little foreign. A lot needed. And entirely healthy.

In the comments below, tell me what you have felt going on this month. Have you felt cycles ending, or big goodbyes? Have you had trouble making forward progress with any projects? How have you decided to approach your challenges?

xo,
❤️S

We All Need Our Tribes. In Life. Our Life Tribes.

We all need our tribes.

You’ve heard it said before – find your tribe. And it’s true for business, as Seth Godin has pointed out with great clarity.

But it is also true for life. We all need our tribes.

We need our people.

We take on different roles in our lives. We might be the one who keeps it all together, or we’re the one who always falls apart. The controlling one, the organizer, the wild child, the saucy one, the baby, the teacher, the mess, the clown, the argumentative one, the pouter, the intellectual, the airhead, the one who remembers everything always, the one who’s chronically late…there are so many more.

We take on different roles in our lives. Sometimes we take on different roles with different people.

I tend to be someone who usually has it mostly together, who often organizes, and who is a teacher. Sometimes a little bit of an airhead, and often chronically late. There are other elements to my personality, and different parts show up in different relationships.

I have one close friend who is going through something extremely difficult in their life, and it is something that also touches me quite directly. I am well aware that I have to be strong for them as the situation unfolds, because they will have a hard time with it, and in our relationship, I have always been the one who keeps it together, and they have been the one who goes off the rails.

I was talking to a mutual friend of ours recently, feeling like I needed a shoulder to cry on. And this friend told me to buck up, reminding me that I’m the one who needs to be strong because our other friend will have a hard time coping.

And my response was so immediate and so clear for me that it made me stop short. I said that I knew that I would have to be the one to keep it together, and I was all good for that. I knew that would be my role, and I was set for it. But what I also needed was a place that was separate from that where I could fall apart now and then, when I needed to.

And that’s what it really boils down to. When the role that we take on is one of control, of keeping it together, of doing all the right shit (or so we think), it is absolutely imperative for us to have someplace soft to land that is all our own. Someplace where we can let go of doing it all right, and just wail and grieve and be angry and have all the messy emotions that we keep in check so much of the time.

Because sometimes we do need to be strong for other people. Sometimes we do need to be the one keeping our shit – and everybody else’s – on track, so that everything doesn’t fall apart.* But that cannot be 100% of our existence, or it will swallow us whole.

(*To be clear: I am not, in any way, advocating doing everything for everybody all the time, or taking on other people’s stuff. Sometimes old patterns and relationships are long established, and in times of crisis, emergency, trauma or drama, the best way to be there for someone is to be strong so that they have the freedom to fall apart…putting your own “stuff” away until later. Not forever, just…later. This is also not always the best way to do things. But it is one possibility in a myriad of options.)

I think that within our personal tribes at large, sometimes we are the strong ones, and sometimes other people are strong for us. Sometimes we hold other people up, and sometimes they hold us up. And that is precisely why we need a tribe.

We cannot be everything to one person. And one person cannot be everything to us. We need our tribes.

We cannot be everything to one person. And one person cannot be everything to us. We need our tribes. Tweet it.

This is why we have some girlfriends we laugh with, some we cry with, some who are that phone call that get us through the dark nights, and some who will lend us those killer red boots and make us go dancing.

We all need our tribes.

And as we get older, we start to realize who those people are in our tribes. And authenticity becomes everything. The people we value in our tribes, and who we are in other people’s tribes, must come from an authentic place for it to really count as Tribe, and not just…flotsam.

We have less time to fritter away with people who don’t bring the real deal to the table. And so our connection with those less-than-authentic people starts to wane. And although it may seem like our tribe is getting smaller, in fact, our tribe is getting more authentic. Our tribe is composed of ONLY those people on whom you can truly rely.

Because we all need our tribes. Our real tribes. Our life tribes.

I have trouble following through on my follow through issues. Follow?

I have issues with follow through.

I have approximately 63 journals in a bin in my basement. Some very utilitarian, some gorgeous things of beauty. All of them were started with the best of intentions. And all of which are at least half empty. Some have only one or two entries. Some I have even started in different sections, multiple times. But they still have more blank pages than full.

Sometimes I thought I would write every day. Sometimes I thought I would write when I needed to. And sometimes I would.

But sometimes I wouldn’t.

I have approximately 12 years of college. I have about 4 years worth of music. I have about two years of sciences. I have another year or two of business admin. I have a couple years of computer stuff. I have a few random courses here and there which have nothing to do with anything, but they seemed interesting at the time. I have a year of Arts and Entertainment Management. And so on.

And I do not have one single degree to show for it. Just a lot of commuting time, because I always lived as far away as possible from the college I attended. For 12 years.

I do love being a student. I would be a perpetual student if I could. As a kid, I sucked at being a student. As an adult, I totally nerd out, sit in the front of my class, and come at my work from a completely different place, and get way more out of my courses.

But you’d think if I was going to spend all that time, and all that money on tuition, that maybe it would be important enough to me to have a degree to show for it. You’d think.

My house is full of projects that I have started, full of excitement, and then gotten sidetracked or waylaid. And never quite gotten back to. They pile up.

My computer is filled with notes about awesome books and killer programs and amazing business ideas I want to write and create and….

I don’t.

So what. The fuck. Is up. With that?

Am I lazy? OK, maybe. Sometimes.

Am I living with chronic pain that takes all the wind out of my sails plenty of days? Yeah.

Am I a single mom with three kids who feels like there’s never enough hours in the day? Sure am.

Does any of that seem like an OK reason not to get my shit together? At least eventually?

Well, hell no.

Part of the problem is that my attention is always split in too many directions, and I really can’t keep up. As in, I’m just interested in too many things. And I’m learning that the key to completing anything is simplifying.

Making choices.

For years, I hated making choices. Full body aversion. I didn’t want to limit myself by taking anything out of the mix, so I tried to keep my fingers in every little pie. That just makes messy hands, and inedible pies.

With age hopefully comes a little wisdom. And the ability to make choices.

I have realized that making choices doesn’t mean I can’t ever come back to those phenomenal ideas. It does mean I can’t do them all at once, and some have to go into the Big Book Of Ideas For Another Time.

But if I make choices and simplify, I can actually focus all my attention on one thing at a time. (Well, as much as any mom can ever focus her attention on one thing at a time.)

Because multitasking is not efficient. More and more research is coming out about how inefficient multitasking actually is. It is a far more efficient way to go about your day to break it up into chunks of time spent doing various tasks, rather than trying to hopscotch between them all day long. So if you simplify and choose one project, chances are much better that you – or I – will be more able to stay on task and do fewer gymnastics throughout the day.

So over the last couple of months I have been aiming my sails this way. I have so many great ideas for things I want to do. But I cannot do them all. I have to choose one or two, not 8 or 10, at a time. And it is certainly easier to stay on task. (And it means there’s something new and big and bold and shiny headed your way. Launch info will be coming soon…and pre-orders will start later this month.

Sometimes Shit Gets Real. Like, Fer Real.

So this week, I have been dealing with a really high degree of pain.

Make no mistake: I’m not complaining. Part of that was kind of self-inflicted. Sort of.

On Saturday I did the Color Me Rad 5K run. Except that I was about a week into a fibro flare. A fibro flare means that my whole body feels bruised, my skin hurts to touch, all my joints hurt, my hair hurts, my memory is extra specially ridiculous, I can’t focus even more than usual, I don’t sleep well, and my brain is super mushy…oh the joyful list goes on and on…

It was the first time I can remember pushing myself to exercise when I’ve been in the middle of a fibro flare.

I knew that there would be fallout. I didn’t know what it would be. But I was willing to experiment and find out. After all, I had registered for this race months in advance, and it was the first time is ever done an organized race. I was super excited to do it.

So, I started out in pain. And then I chose to roll the dice and see what would happen…

I ran a personal best time. Go figure! So that was kind of exciting.

And then things got weird.

Color Me Rad 5K was an awesome time. Sure to become an annual event for our crew. #RAD

A post shared by Sara Ramsay (@sararamsay) on

That night I got a super awesome bruise on my foot for no apparent reason. Had I turned my ankle? No. Had I taken some spectacular fall? No. Had I done even one thing I could identify that might have some relationship with this bruise on my foot?

No.

And that folks, is part of the joy fibromyalgia. Inexplicably strange things happening to your body. No rhyme or reason. And for me, for whatever reason, the big, long, (sometimes years long), horrific flares often seem to start with weirdness in my feet.

This bruise brought with it an inability to bear weight on my foot. I could bear weight on the ball of my foot but not the side or heel of my foot. So that was awesome.

Wait. Not really was. Is. That IS awesome. Because it is four days later and I still can’t bear weight on that foot.

And my body? Every joint feels like I’m about 136. And arthritic. And I am living in the Arctic. And there are razor blades in my joints.

My skin is also feeling super awesome. You know that sort of bruised, it-hurts-to-touch-me-stay-1,000,000-miles-away feeling that you get when you have the flu? My skin feels like that times about hundred.

And you know that feeling you get when your hair is been pulled into a really tight ponytail we too long? And then you take it out of the ponytail and all your hair hurts? Like every hair follicle is being pulled against the grain horrendously? Again, let’s multiply that by a factor of about 9,000. And you’ve got my head. (Despite the fact that I get nerve block injections in my scalp every 3 weeks for this very reason…this is extra special sweetness.)

Oh I forgot about the headaches. Because they are the cats ass. let me tell you. Like, I get migraines all the time, so that’s awesome in and of itself. But my daily headaches are just sort of like a vice grip is squeezing my entire head and somebody is running their nails down to chalkboard all at the same time, just for shits and giggles.

So between my foot and my joints and my skin, moving around in my body this week has been not awesome. As in, at times, not possible. There’s been a lot of couch and bed time, often with ice packs or heat packs.

There’s been a lot of Tylenol, a lot of ibuprofen, and this week… A lot of OxyContin. Sometimes that’s just how it rolls.

And when my pain levels are this high, my ability to focus goes totally out the window. I can barely string together a straight sentence. Add the painkiller cocktail in there and things get really fun. It’s amazing how effective charades are for full-time communication.

So, I’m in a shit load of pain this week. Meh. That’s how it goes sometimes. I rolled the dice, and I knew that I was asking my chances. And I’m okay with suffering my consequences. I was in a flare before I started. Most of this is the same as it was last week. Prilmarily it’s the not walking around on my foot business that’s new since the race. The rest is just worse this week than it was last week.

So, it’s enforced rest. Really. There’s lots of shit I can’t do right now. Am I going to let it get me down?

Hell no.

I will do what I’m able. I will use the time to enjoy books. I will take naps. I will lie on the couch under a blanket like I really am 80, instead of just playing an 80-year-old on TV. I will be as present as I’m able to be with my kids, and I will be gentle with myself over what I’m not able to do.

And I will find my bliss. I will choose happiness anyway. After all, happiness is a choice, not a set of circumstances.

Happiness is a choice, not a set of circumstances. (Tweet it!)

And I am not a victim. I knew I was not feeling 100% and I chose to proceed anyway. So some of this was my choice. Some of it was not…but some of it was. And either way, I choose to not be the victim of my circumstances. I look for what works FOR me under whatever circumstances I am presented with, and I focus on that.

Tell me in the comments below – do you choose happiness under less than desirable circumstances, or do your circumstances determine your happiness? What are the three key factors that determine your happiness?

xo,
❤️S

Want Me in Your Inbox?

Don’t forget, if you like my ramblings, you can get them fresh to your inbox every Tuesday. Kind of like organic produce delivery, but with more swearing.

All you have to do is sign up below. It really is that easy.

My 4-Part Solution to My Ongoing Time Management Battle (And a Spoiler Alert!)

There are lots of things I do well. Time management is not one of them.

You know those people that are always late for everything? Yeah, that’s me. The one thing that I am ALWAYS on time for is work. When I worked at the airport, I was always on time, even 15-20 minutes early, most shifts. I am always on time for gigs…even usually 30-60 minutes early. And when I teach, I am usually on time for lessons at the beginning of the day, although they sometimes get later as the day goes on because I’m not great at transitioning between students, and I don’t always end on time if I lose track of time.

But if I’m meeting you for dinner, you should probably tell me we’re meeting half an hour before you actually plan to meet me. It’s not that I don’t respect your time. It’s that I can’t get my shit together.

Tweet this: Please understand, it’s not that I don’t respect your time. It’s that I can’t get my shit together.

And no matter how many lists I make, I don’t seem to do a great job of getting through my daily stuff. Or my weekly stuff. Or my monthly stuff.

Why? Well, there are a few reasons.

First and foremost, I don’t seem to adequately allot enough time to each task in my list. This is a big one. I think I can accomplish more in a smaller amount of time than I actually can. It turns out, I’m actually not Wonder Woman. Shocking.

Secondly, I don’t focus well. I get very easily sidetracked. Very easi…SHINY! 😉 I have to make a real point of saying to myself, “THIS is the thing we are doing right now. Nothing else enters in. You can do other shit later. Everything else gets turned off for now. THIS is the thing we are doing right now.” (Yes, I do talk to myself in the Royal We. Don’t you?)

And thirdly, I try to do everything. I’m that guy. I try to do it all. Or I used to be. Being chronically ill has tempered my illusion that I can do it all. I’m getting better at just doing some now, and putting more on an Eventually List.

And that’s the thirdly, part B. Because “fourthly” seems like a really weird word. Chronic illness wreaks havoc on my time management. Because, no matter what I have planned, it can all go to shit if a migraine or a fibromyalgia flare hits. If either of those things happens, I can be anywhere from functional but in pain (so, definitely not bringing my A Game), to completely and utterly incapacitated. And it can last anywhere from a day to months on end. And I have absolutely zero control over any of it. I just have to adjust and work with it, and choose to find my happiness anyway.

There are a few things that I’ve found that help me immensely in my time management cluster fuck.

For so long, I didn’t get it. I thought I had to do it all. Guess what? I totally don’t. Like, I reeeeeeeally don’t. I can do way less than I thought I had to in days gone by, and the world still goes round, my children are still successful people, and my family and friends still love me.

How does that work? Well, for starters, I delegate. “Delegate” and “outsource.” These are magical words people, and they will change your life forever.

Cleaning my house does my body in. It often triggers all my pain shit. Lots of the time, I just can’t do it. And when I can, to be honest, it’s time I would rather spend with my kids than cleaning toilets, especially when I know that the bending and scrubbing will trigger stuff in my body that is likely to put me in bed. So for me, it is money well spent to hire somebody to clean my house. That is an excellent tradeoff.

My kids are 12, 12, and 14. They are plenty old enough to do lots of stuff for themselves. They don’t always like how much they have to do for themselves when they see their friends not having to do the same stuff, but they also recognize that they are going to be very prepared to take care of themselves, and have outright said that they appreciate that. My kids do their own laundry a lot of the time. They can all cook for themselves, and do once or twice a week. They take care of their keeping their own sports gear clean, prepped and organized (soccer and dance.) When they are going between their dad’s house and mine, and they have 6 or 8 dance numbers each with a different costume with several different parts to it, and shoes, that’s no small feat. But I don’t touch that task. And they do great…without my help. Plus, they are learning valuable life skills in the doing.

I make the choice not to do much in the way of volunteering at my kids’ schools. The long time of standing often hurts my body. And since on any given day my body may cooperate or may not, I don’t like to commit to something I may or may not be able to fulfill. I do still volunteer very occasionally, depending on the responsibility. But this is one I have chosen to mostly cut out.

And on any given week, I make a list of the projects I’d like to get done, and then I cut it in half. On any given day I make a list of the projects I think I can realistically accomplish, and then I cut it in half. I am getting better at choosing less. If I get through those things and have energy for more, it will still be there waiting. But usually those fewer things fill my time and exhaust my energy.

And let’s not forget the time I need to allot for naps. Because naps are important. Sleep as a whole is important. And I used to function on far too little of it. Now I am fierce about it. I need about 9-10 hours of sleep a night, and often a nap during the day, in order to stay human, and healthy. That requires planning in and of itself.

I use my calendar zealously. My memory is 100% useless. So if it’s not in my calendar, there is approximately -46% chance that I will remember it. I also use the Desire Map Day Planner to actually plan the stuff I want to accomplish during the week, using the “How do you want to feel?” prompt as a body-gut-intuition guide.

And then I have my own, self-designed, very specific wall Project Planner. This keeps track of each project and helps me track each task that needs to be done and keep me very focused. SPOILER ALERT: since there seems to have been a whole lots of interest in this system, I am actually going to release an updated, new and improved version of this for sale, once I have all the print details worked out. Stay tuned.

I relentlessly work to deadline. In fact, I have figured out this about myself: I actually work much better with a deadline than without. However, I am trying to give myself deadlines ahead of my deadlines. In other words, I am trying to give myself a cushion. Sometimes it works better than others. I still feel like an infant in this realm. But I think the concept is solid.

When you plan ahead, you can actually map out the different parts of a project into different tasks, and do each of them more thoroughly. If you leave it all to the last minute, it’s hard to work each up to its highest potential. Being a bit of a perfectionist, I’m learning that I’m better off giving myself a series of deadlines rather than working to one final Hail Mary deadline.

Tweet this: Pay attention to the details. When you’re always in a hurry, the details get missed. Stay. Present.

Pay attention to the details. When you’re always in a hurry, the details get missed. Sometimes this can be disastrous. Sometimes it just means that you miss out on the best parts of the party. If you don’t get all the details, and you just get the wide frame, sometimes it can change the context completely. Pay attention to the details. It’s worth your time. It doesn’t take much. Just a few deep breaths and a little mindfulness – you need to be fully in the present instead of already onto the next task. Stay present.

So all in all, here’s my solution to my time management challenges:

  1. Choices. Make more of them. Have fewer of things on your plate. Tweet it.
  2. Systems. Helping us keep track of our shit. Find what works for you.
  3. Preparedness. Don’t leave it all to the last minute. Plan ahead.
  4. Mindfulness. Pay attention. Stay present.

 

Are you totally on top of your time management, or are you challenged like me? What helps you keep on top of your time management? Tell me in the comments below any specific systems or choices that you make to help yourself with time management in your life.

xo,
❤️S

Sometimes Screwing Yourself Over Is The Best Way To Take Care Of Yourself

I take really good care of myself these days.

I eat clean. I sleep lots. I practice gratitude daily. I operate first and foremost from a place of love with almost everything. I rarely drink. I eat mostly vegetarian, no dairy, no gluten, no peanuts, little sugar, no food colouring, no MSG. I exercise. I indulge my creative passions. I love deeply. And I am present with my kids and my family and friends.

And sometimes shit slips by.

Everybody does the best they can do at the time they’re doing it. Maya Angelou said,

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.

I know better than I’ve ever known before, and I’m doing better than I ever have before. (Coming from my drinking, smoking, sex-drugs-and-rock-n-roll days, I’ve come a helluva long way.)

And sometime shit slips by.

Sunday night I played a gig and was out really late as a result. Monday morning I was up at 7:30 to take Kid #1 to a dance audition an hour away. I ended up with 5 hours of sleep. No sleep triggers all my pain, weird nervy twitchiness, and migraine stuff.

I had to drive a whole lot on Monday and I was tired as all fuck, so coffee it was. I normally don’t do caffeine. But whatevs. If there was a time, this was it. But there was no Starbucks en route, only Timmies. Which meant no soy, only dairy and sugar. Bother migraine triggers. So it was coffee in one hand and a pre-emptive dose of migraine meds in my other.

Fast-forward to the end of a long, long day.

I had Kid #2 at golf lessons, and I had just enough time to run home, throw food at the other two, and return to the golf course to pick up the budding LPGA Pro. And I had not one ounce of energy left in my fragile old bones. So I ordered pizza for the kids – a rarity in our house. (I almost always cook – we rarely eat out or order in.)

Turns out, I didn’t even have enough energy to feed myself something that would be a healthy choice for me.

Translation: I knew that eating pizza held a really, really high possibility of a migraine at the other end of it for me. But I just didn’t have it in me to make any other choice. So once again, I had pizza in one hand and the pre-emptive migraine meds in the other hand.

And yes, today, I have been on the cusp of a migraine all day long. And yesterday I knew I was rolling that big ol’ roulette wheel. And therein lies the twisted, bizarre, sometimes very hard to accept lesson:

Sometimes we make bad choices. Many times we even know we’re making bad choices as we make them. And sometimes the best thing we can do is show ourselves a little gentleness around those choices.

That’s right. I said it.

Stop beating yourself up because you ate the slice of cake you promised yourself you wouldn’t.

Stop lacerating yourself because you didn’t get to that yoga class. Again.

Stop telling yourself a story about being a terrible person because you didn’t keep up with all 312 commitments that you overextended yourself into in the first place.

Just. Stop.

Because here’s the thing. Yes, when we know better, we do better. But for so many of us, knowing better means being harder on ourselves. And that doesn’t always help us or anyone around us. Sometimes what we need is a little gentleness.

We all deserve a little gentleness in our lives, especially from ourselves. Especially when we don’t get it right.

Tweet it: We all deserve a little gentleness in our lives, especially from ourselves. Especially when we don’t get it right.

So this weekend I pretty much knowingly made myself ill with a migraine, and it was still the best way to take care of myself in the moment. And I chose to be gentle with myself around that, and let myself off the hook for not doing “better.” Tell me in the comments below – where are you unnecessarily hard on yourself? What are some ways you can best take care of yourself and extend some gentleness towards yourself?

xo,
❤️S

Vancouver’s Network of Kick Ass Chick Singers is Beautifully Killer

Vancouver has an astounding network of singers. And I feel blessed every day to be a part of that network.

Today I’d like to give you a little peek at some of the female talent that is hiding in plain sight in Vancouver, working away every weekend to bring you great music.

Not only do these women sing, and sometimes play, amazingly well, but they are stellar human beings. Perhaps Vancouver is unique in that way, or perhaps that has just been my experience of it. But I have always felt a kinship and an amazing support network with the female singers of Vancouver, whether we know each other personally, or just through the grapevine. It seems to be less about ego and more about supporting each other here, and I love that.

This is the teeniest, tiniest tip of the iceberg here in Vancouver. These are some of the women I’ve been lucky enough to come across…but there are so many more…

Behold, the talent, in no particular order:

Saffron Henderson  The Ticket
Saffron Henderson (my partner in crime in The Ticket)
(I don’t know why Saffron’s name keeps posting with a line through it. After half an hour of trying to figure it out, to no avail, I give up. I guess it means she wears the most Show Girl feathers.)

 

Sarah Johns    Dr. Strangelove
Sarah Johns and Kelly Brock (Dr. Strangelove)

 

Linda Kidder
Linda Kidder (my bandmate in Free Will Orchestra, August)

 

Camille Henderson
Camille Henderson

 

Catherine St. Germain
Catherine St. Germain

 

Joani Bye
Joani Bye

 

Rachael Chatoor  Barracuda
Rachael Chatoor and Donna Caruk (Barracuda, HitZone)

 

Troys R Us
Layla Vaugeois (Troys R Us)

 

Colby Palidwar
Coby Palidwar

 

Kylee Epp
Kylee Epp

(Again with the weird line. Sorry Kylee. I really love ya. I guess it’s just a sign of…affection?)

 

Rachel Ashmore  
Rachel Ashmore (Men Without Hats, By Starlight)

 

Aileen de la Cruz
Aileen de la Cruz

 

Stephanie Standerwick
Stephanie Standerwick

 

Abba Cadabra
Jeanette O’Keefe (Abba Cadabra, RnB Icons)

 

Sandra Volodoff-Dominelli
Sandra Volodoff-Dominelli

 

Taylor James
 Taylor James

 

Jane Mortifee
Jane Mortifee

 


Joani Taylor

 

Shari Ulrich
 Shari Ulrich

 


Kirsten Nash

 

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 12.20.48 PM
Claire Mortifee (Sweatshop Union)

 

Leslie Harris LesIsMore
Leslie Harris (lesismore)

~~~~~~~

Who is some of your favourite local talent, wherever you live? Do you enjoy seeing and supporting local musicians, or just the big guys on the radio…and why? Let me know in the comments below!