I try to read for an hour every day. Easier some days than others — beach days, days at my folks’ house, and rainy winter days. In Vancouver, we get a lot of those. Now that winter has settled in, I’ve accumulated a stack of books to work through over these next cold, dark, damp months. Here’s what’s on my ‘bedside table’ at the moment (note: my apartment is too small for a bedside table. My beside table is a windowsill next to my bed):
I didn’t know when I woke up last Friday that I was going to quit my job.
And then, just after noon, I did. I asked my boss to go for a walk. We sat on a sunny bench in the park near our studio, and I told her:
I don’t want to do this anymore.
I don’t want to spend 80% of my time doing things that I hate doing, that sap my energy, that I’m not particularly good at, and only 20% (if I’m lucky) doing the things I love and am good at.
I didn’t go tens of thousands of dollars into debt getting my master’s degree to be a sad cliché who is miserable at work, who spends Sundays plagued by The Dread.
Don’t get me wrong — there are elements of my job that I love. There are moments, days — weeks even — when I feel great about what I do. And those are the moments that I want to stretch out and build into a career.
I spent (Canadian) Thanksgiving weekend with a roomful of people who have done exactly that: built careers out of what they love doing. They were storytellers — not just people who have bought into the marketing buzz around storytelling, but people who have made a living telling stories. And I could — can — do that too.
So I quit my safe, secure, well-paying job. I’m giving up fortnightly pay cheques to venture into the terrifying, exciting unknown and make a go of it as a freelancer.
Wish me luck.
Stay tuned for more stories about this new adventure.
P.S. A couple of posts/articles that influenced my leap of faith: Here’s Why the Freelance Economy is on the Rise (Fast Company) | Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (Raptitude) | The Mobile Workspace (Micro-Documentaries Blog)
It’s fall, and I’m back.
It was an incredible summer — long, hot, glorious. A bit exhausting, too, if I’m being honest; I was constantly on the go — to the Gulf Islands, the Okanagan, Toronto, Calgary, but most importantly around Vancouver. Down the Indian Arm in a kayak, up to pristine mountain lakes, around the Sea Wall on my bike about a million times.
Somewhere along the way, I realized that I’m finally getting over Melbourne. I was heartbroken when I left Australia. It felt like being dumped: forced to leave against my will, before I was ready. The life I loved — poof! — gone.
They say the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else — that only when you find someone new to focus that energy and attention on do you really move on.
Well, there’s a new city in my life, and I think it might be love.
When I moved back to Canada, it was for All The Right Reasons, but in the day to day of my life, I was unconvinced that I would ever come to love Vancouver the way I love(d) Melbourne. One year after my repatriation, I was still mourning Melbourne hard. I still haven’t found in Vancouver what I had Down Under — my tribe, if I am to use obnoxious marketing speak — but I’m starting to think that I’ll get there. And you really can’t beat that mountain and ocean combo.
That said, if Stephen Harper gets reelected, I’ll be Melbourne-bound by Christmas.
P.S. If you want to see what I got up to in and around Vancouver this summer, check back soon for a photo post, or follow me on Instagram @chelseatellsstories
I turned 32 the other day. I’m not going to lie, I’m struggling with this one. I loved 30, was fine with 31. I’ll probably like 33, because it’s frankly just a great number, but 32? Meh. I had a vague sense of dread and anxiety as the big day approached, and since I believe that gratitude is a really powerful antidote to anxiety I’ve been trying really hard to feel grateful and to think about how much more centred and self-actualized I am than I was five years ago. Wise, even, some days. I mean, I use words like ‘self-actualized.’
So I started thinking about some of the most important things I’ve learned in my 32 years, and I figured I would share them with you, after another long blogging hiatus. It’s a mixture of borrowed wisdom, advice to my younger self, things I’ve learned about myself, things I’ve learned about other people and the world. A lot of it is stuff I’m still working on accepting / understanding / integrating into my daily behaviour. Like I said, I’m only wise on my better days.
Anyway, here’s what came to mind one evening in Crab Park…
And I’m off. I’m up extra painfully early this morning to fly off to the Great White North, where I’ll be spending Christmas with my folks and a few rellies at my Auntie Dini and Uncle Tony’s home on Bouchie Lake. I can’t wait.
I’m going to try to take a bit of a digital detox while I’m away, so I’ll see you in the New Year (or when I fail miserably at my detox, whichever comes first).
Until then…have a cozy, delicious Christmas and New Year. I hope you’re surrounded by your very favourite people…and endless food and wine.
Thanks so much for reading — today, this year, and always.
So anyone who knows me, or who’s been reading CTS regularly, or has visited my Pinterest, knows that I’ve gone a bit Buddy the Elf on Christmas this year. I’m feeling the holiday spirit big time this year, in a way I haven’t in many years. Last Christmas, I was in a pretty dark place, and before that I was in Australia, where I had a tough time feeling very Christmassy.
If you need a little help with getting yourself into the festive spirit – or need help finding last-minute gifts – here’s a roundup of all my Christmas content this year, plus a bit of extra holiday goodness.
Forgive me while I get a bit Vancouver-centric on you. Because I’m a big proponent of supporting local, this next instalment of my gift guide is all gifts that you can buy in my ‘hood – Gastown: the oldest neighbourhood in Vancouver and home to heaps of adorable little boutiques. If you happen to live in Vancouver, spend a (rainy) day in Gastown this weekend. Grab an eggnog latte, take a wander, and pick up gifts for all your people.
Last year, my family started a new holiday tradition: a white elephant book exchange. We’re a family of readers, cooks, and travellers, so it works well for our clan. During our inaugural exchange, I was inclined to throw a bit of a tantrum when I lost The Kinfolk Table to my sister-in-law, but I’m hopeful that this year I’ll walk away happy.
Books (along with beautiful socks) are among my very favourite gifts to give. If I weren’t saving them all for this post, my previous gift guides would have included a great many more books.
So, friends, if the idea of Christmas shopping makes you wary, might I suggest popping into your local bookshop and getting all your shopping done in one go?
Alright! Yesterday I posted the first eight of my sixteen favourite Christmas movies. Here are the rest, including a few that aren’t traditionally considered Christmas movies…