Doing What You Don’t Want To Do

Doing What You Don’t Want To Do

One of the consequences of growing up and becoming an adult is that you will need to force yourself to do a lot of things you would otherwise not want to do. Before, it was your parents’ responsibility to do a lot of that for you, or at least push you to do it. But, as we get older and more of these challenges come our way, we tend to find ways to run and hide from those responsibilities – at least, I do.

I am not one to step out of my comfort zone, and if there is something I need to do and cannot predetermine how exactly it will pan out, then I am jumping straight into overthinking mode. I will essentially create a dozen different scenarios that all end in the worst thing imaginable; I will scare myself so much all because I don’t want to take care of certain responsibilities. Does this all sound familiar or a little bit crazy?

It is a bit crazy and quite exhausting actually. The more time I spend freaking out about something, the less I want to do it, the scarier it becomes and the more I freak out. Truth be told, my brain often finds itself trapped in this vicious loop. But unfortunately, there are many times where I still have to do the thing I don’t want to or take care of a certain responsibility I would rather avoid for the rest of my life.

So, how do I do it? Here a few reminders I pull out whenever I am consumed with paralyzing anxiety over doing something I do not want to do.

1.       Ground Yourself in The Present Moment

It is so easy to get lost in our heads that we forget what is happening in the world outside of our heads. When you feel yourself getting anxious, take a few deep breaths and focus on just being in the moment. Tell your brain and those negative thoughts that you are here right now, not anywhere else. Often, we stress or get anxious about things that will happen in the future, I find that reminding myself to be in the present gives my brain a bit of breathing room and eases my anxiety a little.

2.       It Will Be Over, Eventually

The passage of time can sometimes be a blessing. Remember that what you are feeling right now, what you think will happen when you do the thing you don’t want to do, and time, in general, will pass. Even if it goes horribly, it will eventually pass, and time will keep moving. Everything eventually comes to an end.

3.       Prepare as Much as You Can

When I am about to enter a situation where I don’t know what will happen, there is only one thing I can control and sometimes figuring that out helps calm my nerves. If you are scared of not being in control of a situation (we can’t always be in control of everything), then remember what you can do. Can you do some more research to prepare? Can you plan something out that would make this easier? Is there a reward you can give yourself at the end of this task or a responsibility that will make you feel better? Trying to prepare for what is to come can help you feel more grounded, present and less insecure about yourself in the future moment you are doing the thing you don’t want to do.

There are a lot of things I hate doing, but there are just some things I cannot avoid doing – no matter how much I try. Take a deep breath, get out of your head, plan what you can and remember it will be over before you know it. Good luck!

Your Dreams Are Allowed To Change

Your Dreams Are Allowed To Change

Yes, you are allowed to change your dreams.

Nowadays, the concept of bettering yourself, growing or changing is the norm in society. There are countless books, tv shows, apps and journals designed to help you just that. But what they often forget to include is that as you are changing and growing as a person, your dreams and goals will inevitably also change.

Whenever someone asks me what my life plan is, or where do I see myself in five years? I have a hard time responding, mainly because it is terrifying to think that far ahead. But mostly because of who I am, my interests and my aspirations have changed so much throughout the years. No one ever really talks about just how much one person can change in a short amount of time or when faced with a series of obstacles and challenges in their life.

I just wish that someone could tell 18-year-old me that things are allowed to change. Not only am I allowed to change, but what I want from life and what I want to contribute to the world can also change.

In my life, there have been two specific times where I essentially realized that I didn’t want something I had wanted for a very long time. From the ages of about 13 to 17, I wanted nothing more than to be a lawyer. But then one night as I was studying, it dawned on me that that was not what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be anymore. It was crushing, to say the least. It was as if I was crushing my own dreams, instead of someone else doing it for me. Eventually, I came to terms with that realization and embarked on what I would refer to as a 5-year journey of confusion.

This brings me to the second instance of realization. A few weeks ago, I was just journaling as I normally do, and without even realizing it I was writing about how I didn’t know what my next step would be. I was so intent on doing this one thing with my career for so long that I lost sight of how much I didn’t like it. I forgot how sad, depressed, and miserable that work environment made me, so why was I clinging on to it?

You see, we might change and grow every day, but we often forget to update our dreams and goals along the way. It is perfectly normal to not want to same things you used to hope and pray would happen to you. I was holding on to this dream that no longer fit who I was now – it was very much a leftover mark of who I used to be.

Your dreams and goals are allowed to change.

What often happens is that we don’t give ourselves permission to change them. Suddenly our minds wonder what everyone will think. Will I leave my comfort zone? Will I fail? Which are all normal questions, but I have come to understand that when you don’t check in with yourself, or when you keep outdated dreams and goals in the back of your brain, you are essentially holding on to your comfort zone and stopping yourself from truly growing.

That’s what I was doing. I had built up this fantasy in my mind for so long about how my dreams and goals would look, but how they were playing out was so different. I was holding on to these dreams out of fear of failure and out of fear of the unknown.

It was only when I came to a breaking point that I realized how miserable my dreams and goals made me, and started thinking, well what can I do? Did I realize how much I was stopping myself from actually living my life the way I wanted to?

To sum it up, yes, you are allowed to change your dreams. If anything, I encourage you to check in with yourself and see if what you wanted for so long is still what you want from life right now, as the person you are today. If not, don’t worry. Give yourself some time to explore, think, feel out the edges of your comfort zone and remember that you can quite literally do anything with your life.

Why Am I Scared Of Growing Up?

As a kid, I had high hopes and expectations for adulthood. I was the one kid going on and on about wanting to grow up and how it would be so freeing and liberating. In some ways, it has been, but in other ways, it has been a tumultuous roller-coaster filled with so many highs and lows I can’t keep up anymore.

For some reason, the older I get, the more terrified I am to grow up. Not necessarily physically age, but of just taking on more responsibility and having to make harder decisions. But why is that? Why am I scared of responsibility and life-altering decisions?

As I was pacing around my room last night it dawned on me that I was scared of growing up because I had convinced myself that every decision, I would make at 22 years old would be permanent. Somehow, I had told myself that any decision I would make right now is what my life would be, and there would be no wiggle room to change in my future.

Which after some reflection, I find a bit ridiculous? Why do we think that most of our decisions are so permanent when everything around us, including ourselves, is constantly changing? Society has conditioned us to think that the box or category we fall into at the age of 20-something is the same one we will be in when we are in our 30s or 50s. But that could not be further from the truth. First off, you are never constrained to a box or category. Second, you are allowed to change and grow, and the decisions you make now can also change and grow with you.

This idea that I would be constrained by the decisions I made as a 20-something year old for the rest of my life is terrifying. But that idea is simply not true.

The decisions you make at this point in your life are not always permanent. Yes, some things are permanent such as having children or taking care of an elderly family member. But there are so many other factors of your life that can change and grow with you as you change if you let them. If I have learned one thing, it is that nothing is permanent. Nothing is guaranteed, and everything is subject to change. Understanding this has eased my anxiety that was so intertwined with growing up and all that it entails.

Take comfort in the fact that growing up does not necessarily mean making one big decision after another and never having the ability to change it. You will always be making life-altering decisions, but that does not mean you can’t change your mind.

There will always be that opportunity to change direction, to try something new, to grow. 

Embracing Our Complexity

Embracing Our Complexity

Do you ever feel constrained by society? Do you ever feel trapped inside one box that you can’t ever get out of? Do you ever feel like there is so much more you want to explore and are interested in but you can’t? Chances are, you are not alone in feeling this.

Society has a way of ensuring that you stay in one lane or path for a very long time, and diverging from it can cause some strong reactions both from those around you and society in general.

There are so many things that we are constrained by, and I never understood why. From a personal standpoint, I feel as if I cannot like makeup and also be a woman who argues about politics. I feel like I can’t enjoy baking and be someone who loves to study history and read books. It’s as if anytime I try to break out from the one box or thing I am suddenly faced with a heavy dose of criticism. The truth of the matter is society has not yet evolved to understand this idea that we are more than the one thing they label us as.

The only conclusion I can render as to why society functions that way is because it’s simpler. It’s simpler to see someone and immediately be able to categorize them into one box, even though there isn’t a single human on this planet who is that simple.

So, I am here to remind you that you can love more than one thing. You can love sports and makeup. You can enjoy dancing and be an electrician. You can enjoy the piano and still attend rock concerts. You can be multifaceted.

Categorizing people under this one thing harms the beauty and complexity of what it means to be human. It strips us of this ability to embrace the different aspects of ourselves and trains us not to see that complexity in others.

However, things don’t have to be this way. We don’t have to just love one thing or fit it into one box. We were never meant to be on one path and only do that one thing; We were meant to grow, change, learn and explore anything and everything that piques our interest.

It’s okay to love more than one thing. To be interested in more than one thing should be seen as an opportunity, not something to be looked down upon because it might require a few extra seconds to wrap your mind around it.

For a long time, I thought I couldn’t blog about life, organization and motivation because I was studying political science. I thought I could not love makeup because I loved to read; I believed I couldn’t care about my appearance because I was a feminist. But the truth is, you can do everything and anything you want. I came to understand that in this world, I could blog, study politics, care about my appearance, be a feminist and still spend hours watching makeup videos for fun. I have come to understand that life is so much more complex than society makes it out to be and that you are allowed to be as complex as you want to be. It is not up to anyone else to constrain you to one thing you can love everything and anything – it seems complicated but choosing to embrace every part of who you are is one of the most relieving and beautiful things you can ever do.

The Reset Routine

Do you ever have those weeks that feel so draining and chaotic? I used to feel like that a lot, but a few years ago I started building this habit that I have come to label as a ‘reset routine’. I usually do this on Sunday or Saturday, but when or how you do this routine does not matter as much as the actions you take to reset your day or week.

The reset routine I have come to create is essential for keeping my life in order and my sanity intact. But I understand that creating this routine might sound a bit daunting, but I promise you it does not have to be complex and intricate. All you need to do is carve out a bit of time in your day of choice and you can build your reset routine.

As I mentioned earlier, I usually do this on Sunday because I like the tone it sets for the week. Some weeks I might dedicate only a few hours on Sunday to this reset routine, but most weeks I split up my reset routine to last the entire day. Once you have carved out some time and space to reset your life, it’s time to build a routine that suits your needs.

1)      Reflection & Intentions

First, take a moment to reflect on the past week, the upcoming week and how you are feeling about it all. Before you do any sort of routine it’s important to evaluate where you are mentally, physically, and emotionally. Establishing where you are at can allow you to create a routine that will address your needs. Once I understand what’s happening internally, I take a few minutes to set my intentions for the week.

2)      Clean, Clean, Clean

Second, once you have checked in with yourself, it’s time to start tackling the space around you. I am sure you all know that your physical environment affects your mental and emotional health, which is why it’s important to keep it clean and organized. What I do is make a list of chores that need to get done. Depending on the size of your home, the number of people you are living with and other factors, this might differ for everyone. But creating that list makes the chores tangible, easier to digest and easier to tackle. For many people, including myself, cleaning my physical space helps clear my head, which is why it is the first thing I do. When my space is clean, I can think clearly. 

3)      Plan the Week Ahead

After I finish cleaning, I will move on to planning my week. This step is especially helpful if the week or coming days are going to be hectic. As mentioned in my last post, I love time blocking and find it best to do during my reset routine. Planning the week also allows your brain to anticipate what’s to come and it can start mentally preparing for anything you have to do that week.

4)      Take Care of Yourself

Once your home is tidy and your week is planned, it’s time to focus on yourself. We checked in with ourselves at the beginning of the day, but now it’s important to help ourselves feel whatever we are feeling. I like to carve out an hour or two (more is also great) to journal, do a hobby, meditate, read, or even just sit on the couch and watch a tv show. What I am trying to get at is that during your reset routine, you must listen to what you need. What kind of rest do you think you need? Does your brain need a bit of creative time? Are you feeling lonely, sad, happy? Do you feel like you need to call a loved one? Resetting ourselves for the week requires that we check in with ourselves and that we feel whatever we are feeling and then deal with it accordingly. Some weeks you won’t be able to but feeling the emotions you are feeling is a big step in the right direction.

I hope you try building your reset routine and give yourself some grace. The routine and habits themselves will take time to build, but the more you do this the better you will feel and the more prepared you will feel for the week ahead.  

The Concept of a ‘Happy Life’

Why do we create this idea that living life to the fullest is synonymous with always being happy? That idea could not be farther from the truth and it’s unrealistic to expect our lives to always be happy.

What I have come to learn, is that living life to the fullest does not always mean you will be happy.

Life needs to include feeling all the sad, hurtful, and painful things that come our way.

Living life to the fullest means dealing with the messy and complicated situations we find ourselves in.

Living life to the fullest is not living each day as if it were a movie or an Instagram story.

You are meant to experience a multitude of situations, emotions, and circumstances.

I used to think that to live a happy life, everything around me had to be perfect. But as you will eventually come to understand, that is not what it means to live a happy life. Living a happy life is one where you feel and experience struggle, hardships, and difficult situations and yet, you have the ability to try and find moments of joy in those hardships.  

Don’t think that your life is terrible because you haven’t lived every day perfectly, or you don’t feel happy every day. It is completely normal to feel tired, exhausted, sleepy, anxious, agitated, irritated, etc., and at the same time experience moments of joy. But living your best life means feeling those things and learning how to deal with them. It means addressing issues that are hard to face but also finding the lessons and joys that will come out of it.

No matter how hard things get, there will always be a joy. Sometimes you might just have to look for it a little harder than usual, but that is life. Life is not just one or the other, it is a complex combination of every emotion you could think of. It’s exhausting but loving; It’s tiring but inspiring; It’s difficult but also full of joy.

You do not have to feel amazing every day; you do not have to feel horrible every day. But the key to living your best life is to understand that those two feelings can co-exist and that doesn’t make your life bad, it just makes it real and authentic.

The Consequence of Not Facing Your Fears

We have all had moments in our lives where our fears were staring us right in the face and we had a decision to make. Did we face them? or did we turn away from them?

More times than I can count, I have chosen to run in the opposite direction. At the time, running in the opposite direction felt like the right thing to do. In those moments, it felt safer and easier to run. I will admit, the relief I felt after not facing those fears was indescribable, but there was always a small voice in the back of my head telling me I had made a mistake.  

Little did I know that voice in the back of my head was on to something. At that moment, I would feel relieved, but in the long-run, I would pay a price for never facing my fears. This leads me to the point of today’s post. What happens when we don’t face our fears? What consequences do we face instead?

You see, when we run from our fears, we are essentially running from an opportunity to grow as a person. We take away the option of change or just seeing something different. I get it, change and growth are messy and difficult but they are vital to all of our lives. Just think for a moment, if you did not face your fears ever, who would you be today? How would you act? Who will you become?  

Things in life are meant to be done even with fear at the forefront. One of my favourite quotes about fear by Meg Cabot and says “courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgement that something is more important than fear”. Your growth, your happiness, your development as a person, is more important than fear. There is an endless list of things in life that are more important than fear. But when we come face to face with fear, we are reminded of how easy it could be if we just backed down and turned away from it.

But unfortunately, as we will all come to learn, sometimes you can’t run from fear. You will be put in circumstances or situations where facing your fear is quite literally the only option. But you shouldn’t wait until that point to face your fears or develop the tools you need to face your fears.

It is not easy, but that’s the point, it is not meant to be easy. But turning in the other direction can harm your growth and life more in the long run. Not facing your fears stifles your growth and impedes your development as a person.

Fear can stop your life from becoming better, it can stop you from doing what’s right by you and by others, it can stop you from chasing after the life you have always dreamed of. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The consequences you will face by not facing your fears are far greater than the ones you will

The Changing Meaning of Life

The initial idea behind The Life We Dream Of was to encourage people to accomplish their life goals and live the life they have always dreamed of living. It sounded simple, easy and was a bit niche in my opinion. But it never took off, mostly because I didn’t want it to. I would stop myself from posting or creating any new content because I wanted it to be perfect, and I wanted to have all the answers for those who would come to visit my blog seeking those very same answers. But over time, what I have come to learn is that the reason I wasn’t willing to return to posting on my blog is that too much had changed. More specifically, I had experienced a shift in mindset so drastic that the life we dream of lost its very essence for a while.

The other day I was watching Soul on Disney Plus and it was a truly phenomenal movie. It somehow brought me back to a time a year and a half ago where I was in a dark place and my mental health was not great. During that time, I was working at a job I found mundane, unfulfilling, and altogether made me feel useless. But why was I feeling this way? I was finally working an ‘adult job’, I was getting paid a decent salary and I loved my colleagues. Somehow, that wasn’t enough. A year and a half ago, I thought that the dream life that I wanted was one where I would climb the career ladder, live in a beautiful condo or apartment and be able to buy anything I want without hesitation. Although that is a rather simplistic view of life, I had envisioned for myself it is truly what I wanted. There is nothing wrong with that – if anything it’s a very normal life that many people want. But once I was one step closer to that life, I felt more and more unfulfilled and sad.

It wasn’t until I was unemployed during the pandemic and able to take a step back from being overly busy that I realized why I was so unhappy and unfulfilled. Yes, I was working in the job I worked so hard to get, and I was making money, but I had turned this unhappy and unfulfilling job into the center of my life. I poured all my attention into it, and the unhappiness surrounding it all consumed my life.

Why did I do that? Because that is all I ever knew how to do. All society had taught me up until that point is that I need to get a job, but not just any job, a job that I was passionate about and would want to dedicate my entire life to. I genuinely thought that I was going to live my dream life by taking this job. Even though it wasn’t what I wanted and did not in any way make me happy.

 Life is so much more than how productive I am compared to those around me. Life is about the small moments of joy, happiness, and peace. It is not all supposed to be about finding the dream career and climbing the ladder. Is it an important part of our lives? Absolutely – but how productive I am in society is not the be all end all of who I am.

Watching this movie reminded me that if I had just taken a few moments each day to find those small moments of joy or happiness, maybe I would have been a lot happier. Maybe I would enjoy what I was doing more if I had put less focus on it and stopped it from consuming my entire life. The life we dream of should be one where we seek joy and happiness, where we create it within ourselves and with others. The life we dream of is simple and not very demanding at its root core.  All I want from life is to be healthy, happy, financially comfortable and be surrounded by friends and family. At the end of the day that is all I want, and if a career can help me achieve some of those things then that is fantastic, but it will not be the only thing I focus on.

Organization Tools You Need For 2021

Organization Tools You Need For 2021

If you are anything like me, then you probably have a slightly unhealthy addiction to all things stationery, notebooks, and planners. I will say, I did not invest in a planner in 2020, but instead utilized the bullet journal because at least I could customize it to my crazy and unpredictable schedule. However, in 2021 I decided to take the plunge and invest in a planner. The way I see it is that if I’m going to invest in something it will be in myself and a tool, I can use to set myself up for success.  

I know a lot of people are hesitant to buy a planner or even just plan out their goals for 2021, and I spoke about it in my last post, but with that, I still think it’s important to work towards something or structure the work or job we currently have. With that in mind, I have also included a few online resources that you can utilize that are free, so you don’t have to monetarily invest them. But they still do an excellent job at helping you create an organizational system that works for you and your goals. Without further delay, here are a few of my favourite organizational tools!   

  • Monthly calendar

A monthly calendar is the number one organizational tool I would recommend to anyone. Whether you use it on your phone, your laptop, or a paper version, using a monthly calendar can set you up for success in the best way possible. First, it forces you to write down important deadlines, events, meetings, or appointments. This makes it easy for you to remember your busy schedule, and generally frees your brains from having to remember every little detail that is on your calendar. Second, it signals to you what needs to be accomplished, what tasks have to be completed and by when. When you utilize your monthly calendar to its fullest extent, you are doing half the work already. You are pre-planning your tasks and prioritizing them without even making a to-do list.

  • Planner

As I mentioned earlier, I did decide to invest in a paper planner. The one I am using is by STIL Classics, and I will say it is a bit pricier. But there are so many places that sell agendas to suit every budget and price range such as Indigo. One of the reasons why I love this planner is because there’s a section called monthly rituals and routines. After the Holidays I have had a tough time creating my morning and night routines. But this planner helped me make a concrete plan or idea of what I want in my mornings and evenings to look like. Another feature that I love about this agenda is that there is a weekly spread where you can write out your to-do list but then on the following page there’s also a weekly spread where you can schedule it out and I find those two together just help me visualize my week and time-block properly.    

  • Notebooks and Notepads

Having a notebook or notepad on your desk is one of the best ways to free your mind from distractions. Sometimes you get a random thought or idea not related to the work you are doing at that moment, but you still want to remember it. Having a notebook or notepad nearby can help with that. I also find that when I am feeling overwhelmed, just taking a few minutes to jot down my thoughts in this notebook helps me clear my mind and refocus on the task at hand. Another way I use my notebooks is just for to-do lists. In the middle of 2020, I was solely relying on to-do lists in my notebooks to get me through the day and the work that I need to do. It is endlessly customizable and allows you to structure your organizational system however you want.

  • Stationery

I am a big stationery lover and have far too many pens and highlighters for one person. Although I do not colour code everything in my life, I find that using colours in my notebooks or bullet journal helps add a bit of life to the page and encourage my creativity to flow more smoothly. Fancy stationery is not essential to your organization system but testing out how you plan with a bit of colour might be more incentivizing for you, or help you plan and organize yourself better.

  • Online Resources

Here are two online tools that I have used and find extremely useful and are free for those of us who do not want to use any paper or are on a budget. Trello is an amazing online tool that lets you customize the board you are using to organize your work. I used it heavily throughout university and mainly used it because it was easy to reshuffle my to-do lists and tasks, without having to physically change or create a whole new to-do list. Monday.Com I have just recently started using this platform, but it was created in such a way where it keeps you accountable on your deadlines and is amazing if you are working with other people on projects.

I hope these tools will help you create an organizational system that works for you and will help you accomplish whatever you need to do. Soon, I will talk about the organization system I have created and hopefully that can help one of you.

The beauty of organization is that it is truly customizable and at the base of it all you just need a pen and paper (or phone), and the motivation and courage to outline what needs to get done, and the discipline to accomplish it. But that system that you create is entirely yours and can be shaped and formed however you need It to be.  

*Please note that none of the links above are sponsored or affiliate links these are just things that I have truly come to love and I’m linking just for people who are interested*

Planning For 2021

2020 was a tough year, collectively and personally. It was a year that upended many aspects of our lives and a year that showed no mercy. The goals that I had set at the beginning of the year were completely thrown out the window by March. I honestly just floated through the rest of the year without a single goal in mind.

In a way, it was refreshing. I did my day-to-day things; I tried my best in school and blogged a bit, but I didn’t put any pressure on myself to adapt my goals or start from scratch. Which is exactly the mentality I am taking with me into 2021. But this time, I have decided that instead of setting yearly goals, I would just take it month by month. If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that you can’t plan life. You can’t plan or predict what will happen tomorrow, and although that scares me, it has also been a sort of comfort to know that I just need to get my shit together one month at a time.

Everything in my life as of this point is beyond uncertain. I guess you could say I am in a unique position in my life, but I think it’s a rather common one that a lot of us have faced. It’s that point where one chapter has closed, and another one hasn’t yet open so here we are just standing in the in-between of life. At least, that is how it feels to me.

But with this in-between phase, I still have things I want to do and goals to reach but I am taking a much more relaxed approach to them. So, for January 2021, here are a few of my goals and what I am focusing on.

  • Career – I am at that point in my life where I am ready, and need, a proper adult job, if you will, so one of my goals is not necessary to get a job but it is to apply to quite a lot of jobs.
    • Apply to 5 jobs a week
    • Create a job application tracker
    • Update and translate my Resume
  • The Life We Dream Of Blog
    • Grow my followers (no amount specified, because again I am trying not to put pressure on myself)
    • Post once a week
    • Update and organize website layout and content
  • Personal
    • Read 4 books (my goal is to read 50 books this year, if you have any recommendations please leave them in the comments!)
    • Re-establish a morning routine
    • Work on my relationship with money and finances

Just remember, last year was extremely challenging and the fact of the matter is, 2021 will be equally as challenging. Keep that in mind when you are creating your goals, do not put pressure on yourself to reach these impossible standards. Take a deep breath, it has been a long year but remember everything can change in a year. Just take it one month at a time. 

2021 & The New Normal

Things don’t have to go back to what it was before the pandemic if you don’t want it to. It doesn’t have to go back to what it was before 2020. Too much has happened that I think falling back into old patterns won’t do anyone good.


We can’t go back to what used to be, I think this pandemic revealed so many flaws in our systems that why would we want to go back to it? If we are at a point where we can start again why not choose that? Why not rethink things? Why not see what the new normal can be?
Because here’s the thing, we can make it better. We can care about one another, help each other succeed, believe in ourselves and just be better than we were before or during this shit show of 2020. We don’t have to go back to what was, because it’s not who we are anymore.
I know that everything that has happened to everyone has been a lot to process. Some would even say it was too much to bear – regardless of where you live, you probably know someone who got the virus, lost their job, faced financial difficulties, had trouble with their mental health, missed loved ones, or couldn’t do what makes them happy. This year has been too much for most of us, but I hope you all take away this one thing.

We don’t need to go back to what was, it quite literally will never be possible since too much has changed, and we have experienced far too many profound things in our lives. So, take that with you and look at the year ahead and decide your new normal. Not what the world thinks should be normal, but the normal you want to live. Think about the normal you crave, the actual normal. Not the habits we want to fall back on but explore what could be. This year has shown that for better or for worse anything can happen. As much as the bad has happened this year, the good can also come. You just need to be open to the idea that our version of normal needs to adapt to the changing times.

My wish and hope for you are that you have an easy transition into the new year, that you take a few deep breaths and remember that the life you want to live is up to you and that if you choose to, you can live it. But perhaps it all starts with accepting the fact that there is no going back and that we all need to collectively go forward and embrace what’s to come.

4 Books That Helped Me Get Through 2020

In my opinion, 2020 has been an amazing year in terms of just how many thought-provoking, forward-thinking books were published. At least we can say one good thing came out of 2020 – books. Recently, I was through my bullet journal and found a book tracker that I had started in July but for some reason never continued to fill out. After digging through receipts and comparing them with my bookshelf to see how many I had read, I came to realize that I had read 17 books (not including books I had to read for school). Which to me is a lot, but I have also never kept track of it in the previous years.

This got me thinking, which books had the biggest impact on me in 2020? Which books made me cry, tear at my heartstrings, brought about those moments of clarity or realization? Well, I present to you four books that changed my life in 2020 and got me through this pandemic.

1)      Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly

Stepsister is a spin-off tale from the classic Cinderella story, told through the perspective of Cinderella’s stepsister, Isabelle. It will teach you life lessons that you wish someone had told you earlier, it will have you shedding a few tears, but most importantly it will remind you how beautiful and true it is to be yourself and live a life you want to live. It has fundamentally changed how I understand my past and present actions and has taught me more than some of my own life experiences. If I were to summarize the impact it had on me, all I could say was that it made me realize so many things about my own life that I had yet to fully unpack. It also brought so much depth, character, and background to one of my favourite childhood classics. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is not into self-help but needs some perspective or inspiration in their life.

2)      City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert

City of Girls follows the life story of character Vivian Morris from 19 until the end of her life. This book explores all the seasons and moments she experiences, the lessons learnt, the mistakes, the mishaps, name it and it’s in this book. I read the book at a point in the year where I felt helpless, stuck and quite frankly like there was nothing beyond what I was living. This book gave me a sort of reality check and taught me that our lives are so complex, full of ups and downs and each period has its season. And as we all know, seasons come and go, and they change and that too will happen to your life. It taught me that there was so much waiting for me in the years to come, so many more experiences, good and bad, that I had to go through. I truly do not know what I would have done, or how I would have gotten out of that funk without this book.

3)      The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstein

The Starless Sea is one of those books that can captivate you from the very first page. Although it starts a bit slow, the build-up to the story is filled with so many small yet important details, it is quite astonishing just how much effort was put into creating the world you will read about. The story starts with a character named Ezra Rawlins who discovers an unusual book in his library that oddly enough is about him. The rest of the story? That is for you to discover and trust me it will be an adventure. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who feels as if 2020 is a bit too much to handle (rightly so) and needs a temporary escape. But honestly, it is such a beautiful crafter world that escape is not even the right word to use, you will almost be transported to another world.

4)      The Library of Legends by Janie Chang

This book was definitely an impulse buy, but I am so glad I bought it. It was an amazing book that was so far out of my comfort zone, that it made me love it that much more. The book is set during the Second Sino-Japanese War happening from 1937-1945. Being that I live in Canada, we rarely learn about what was happening in this time outside of Europe, which is truly a shame because so much was happening around the world. For the first time in a long time, I was reading a book based on a true story, set in a context I didn’t even know existed. The book follows the story of students evacuating Minghua University, after their city was going to be invaded, all the while they must carry the library of legends to safety and make it to safety and find their loved ones. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone who wants to expand their horizons and learn about something new.

Those are 4 books that have renewed my love of reading once again and have gotten me through 2020. Next year, I plan on reading 50 books. Please leave me your book suggestions in the comments! I would love to add some new books to the list for 2021.

Happy Reading!