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. 

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!

My Relationship With Risk

I was always scared of taking risks. I couldn’t understand why people would choose uncertainty over predictability. However, my relationship with risk has changed dramatically – but it took a lot of work to unlearn and reverse a lot of what I was thinking.

Recently, I have been put in a situation much like everyone else in 2020, where I need to make some big decisions. The problem is, I was making those decisions based on fear, uncertainty and what could happen if I failed. I began making decisions that would force me to settle for something I knew deep down I never wanted.

I often found myself questioning is this what you want? Is it what you want right now? Are you heading in a direction to fulfills you and make you happy? Suffice it to say all those came back as a big no.

Being as I was less busy, I had a lot of time to reflect on where I was at in life, decisions I had made in the past, and what I wanted from the future. After about eight months of constant reflection, I realized that I wasn’t scared of failing; I didn’t believe in myself.

For some reason that I still do not fully understand, I didn’t believe in myself. I did not think that I could take a risk and turn it into some sort of success. Or that I could take the risk, fail, and come back swinging if you will. I did not think I was good enough to live a life that would bring me joy. I did not think I was worth enough in this life to be a part of it. What was happening was that I was tying my self-worth to how big, showy and amazing my life could appear to others. I believed that if others couldn’t see me living this great and amazing life then what was the point?

 Here is the point: life is not meant to be lived for other people. The risks you take in life are for you, or maybe for the ones you love. But they should never rest on what the rest of the world thinks of you. You deserve to take risks and live a life that makes you happy just by the sheer fact that you exist. You are here to live for yourself and yourself only. You exist to be happy, to spread joy and love. But to also live a life aligned with your values, your truth and whatever sets your soul on fire.

And one of the only ways you can do that is if you believe in yourself and you take that risk, knowing that you will be there to celebrate the success or catch yourself if you fall. You are worth the risk; you are worth it more than you know.