My New Year’s Resolution is to Keep My New Year’s Resolution

Happy 2013, everyone! Are you ready to kick off the new year with a big bang? Or do you find yourself starting this January sleepily dragging your behind back to work? Let’s wake up and get excited for bigger and better things, people!

So truth be told, I actually haven’t made a New Year’s resolution. I can’t remember the last year that I did. There’s two reasons why I’ve bowed out for 2013. The first is that I feel like I’ve gained enough motivation and momentum from 2012 to continue bettering myself in the new year without any pre-defined goals.

And secondly — as the title implies — I don’t have the greatest track record for keeping the NYRs that I have made. I don’t think most of us do.

Canadians New Years Resolutions 2011 Toronto Star

Of the friends I’ve asked, almost all don’t believe in making New Year’s resolutions. To them, NYRs merely represent “empty promises”. But there are a couple who have set some lofty goals, including the second top NYR of last year: to quit smoking. And I actually believe that they have a good chance of sticking to it.

New Year’s resolutions aren’t typically goals that we can attain with the snap of our fingers. Inspired by the “fresh new start” that apparently comes delivered on January 1st, many of us pump our fists in the air with newfound purpose and declare: “Yes, I can!” At least for the time being it seems like anything is truly possible.

But somewhere along the way — a week later, two, three months into the grind — our resolve wilts like flowers in the harsh, winter snow. The NYR that was becomes no more.

new-years-resolution-list

So how is it that some people are able to achieve what they’ve set out to do for an entire year? Are they a special breed of people? Do they have severe punishments in place that deter any and all notions of failure? Do the ones who make it to the end choose resolutions that were just easier to resolve?

I can’t give you the answers. I’m not one of these people. Doesn’t mean that I’m not inspired or want to improve myself this year. I’m just not ready to set anything in stone right now ;)

Calvin and Hobbes New years resolution comic

What’s your New Year’s Resolution? (I’ll be checking back with anyone who answers this at the end of the year to see how you did!). And what does it take to see one’s NYR through to the end of the year?

- Cafe

Credits: Canadians’ NYRs statsJanuary list comicCalvin and Hobbes comic

Writing From the Heart: Question #15 (Time or Money?)

time or money question_marcandangel blog

Alright, people. I’m back with the Writing From the Heart blog post series! It’s time to put your thinking caps on ;)

You may have noticed that a lot of guest posts have been going up on Your Daily Dose lately. Life’s been hectic, I’ve grown quite un-fond of computer screens, and … well, I’ve had a bit of blogger’s block to top it all off.

But I feel like it’s during these times when life just seems to be passing by in a tired blur that we have to refocus and re-spark our love for life! So as I was scrolling through some inspirational questions for this post, my eye landed on this one: Time or money?

I feel like most people’s gut reaction would be to say: “Time!”

I know that for me, it is. That’s because I have spent much of my life without time — and when I say “time”, I mean time outside of work and school. It was only a few months ago that my life finally consisted of having just one full-time job. That’s it. No school. No second or third part-time job. Free evenings. Free weekends.

I just didn’t know what to do with myself.

Well, I quickly figured it out. After the first Saturday of sitting on the couch staring at the TV and asking myself if there was some work that I should be doing, I smacked myself across the face and yelled: “There is no work to do! Enjoy your free time!” (I think this conversation was happening in my head).

Once it had sunk in, I started going all out. I could pick up some hobbies! Singing! Playing guitar! Writing! I had time for it all! I could visit my friends and family more often! I could sit on the couch on Sunday and watch football all day! I could also just *gasp* do nothing at all! My God, this was what I had been missing out on all these years. This was how other people were living.

Now, that may sound like the conclusion of the story, but alas, it is not. During this time of activity and exuberance, I had still thought about getting a part-time job to be able to pay off my student loan faster and save more for the future. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it after having gotten a taste of the good life. But while I by no means consider myself to be a greedy, materialistic person, I do recognize that there are certain things that could add to the quality of my life right now that do require money over time.

So, I don’t know. Maybe the question isn’t so easy to answer. Maybe now is (still) the time to put in that extra work in order for me to feel more settled and secure a little ways down the road. And to also be able to continue going on trips around the world and drinking fine scotch guilt-free! Those things make me happy too ;)

Take a few minutes to ask yourself: Time or money? Write a post about it, share it in the comment box below, or just keep it to yourself ;)

- Cafe

Photo Credit: Question 15

Getting Past the Stereotypes: The Inside Story on the Jane-Finch Community

Paul Nguyen, my guest blogger and founder of Jane-Finch.com. Here, he has received the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada Award.

The Jane-Finch area has a bad rep for gangs, drugs and gun violence. It’s a community north of Toronto and a place many immigrants call home. Residents have fought hard to change the public’s perception by working together to show the positive reality of the neighbourhood.

I grew up there and, as a kid, I was unaware of the media stereotypes. For me, the community was an exciting mix of diversity, culture, and occasional mayhem. It was normal to shoot firecrackers at each other during Victoria Day, shop for brand names inside someone’s apartment, and witness the 6 o’ clock news reporting a murder on your street. I’ve seen SWAT guys, police, and gangsters walking around with sawed-off shotguns. It’s not your typical suburban upbringing, but those unordinary moments help give you a different perspective on life. Continue reading

Writing From the Heart: Questions #13-14 (I Don’t Wanna Talk About It)

Today, I thought I would challenge myself and choose two questions that I originally did not want to answer for my “Writing From the Heart” series. I’m moody enough to do it. So here we go :)

This question, for me, is just asking to get into a debate about religion, which people have warned me to steer clear of on my blog. That’s why I didn’t want to go there. Well, the floor is now open.

I don’t remember when I started feeling the clock ticking, but it did happen at some point. I started thinking about other people’s mortality and then my own. Thought about how those who believe there is something else beyond this life have comfort in that. And those who don’t will feel the pressure that this is their only chance.

Is it a good thing to have that motivation? Does it compel a person to achieve more before time runs out? Or is life just more stressful and meaningless that way?

Discuss. But play nice.

* * *

I think the question itself explains why I wouldn’t want to think or write about it.

But that’s exactly why I should think and write about it. Right?

I’ve told you about my recurring nightmares before. I’ve been having them for well over 15 years now consistently. It’s not that I don’t want to confront it. It’s not that I haven’t tried figuring out what the heck is going on in my brain. But I think sometimes we let things that have been so long-standing and a part of our lives just run its course. It becomes so tiring to analyze it, solve it, change it. And it also becomes such a normal feature in our every day that we kind of even forget how unhealthy it might be to us.

So now that I’ve publicly said it, I will make myself accountable to being more confrontational towards those damn monsters chasing me. They’re going down, I say!

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My apologies for the somber mood, but it’s been one of those weeks. I wanted to thank everyone again for helping me get my blog glitches under control. It’s really made me happy to know that people are reading and enjoying the blog! Look forward to hearing your thoughts today :)

- Cafe

Take a few minutes to ask yourself: When did you first realize that life is short? (Do you even think that life is short?) AND What issues do you continually refuse to confront? Write a post about it, share it in the comment box below, or just keep it to yourself ;)

Photo Credit: Questions 13 & 14

Why Do You Blog?

When I first started out as a new blogger on WordPress a couple or so months ago, I was trying to get used to the new landscape, the new community. How could I search for other like-minded bloggers? How did you work these Widgets? And what did “Freshly Pressed” mean?

As I became more and more familiar with the WordPress neighbourhood, I kept thinking back to a post that I previously wrote – Why Do We Blog? Although I still stood by everything I said in that post, I started realizing that it didn’t truly capture the myriad of reasons, motivations, and inspirations that drive Bloggers to, at times obsessively, update their readers with the newest thing that’s gotten their wheels turning. I started realizing that blogging was truly a passion for many — a way to fulfill something that they might not be able to fulfill elsewhere.

Walking down a block in the WordPress community. (Sorry to those I couldn’t fit into the drawing, I just included bloggers as they accepted my invitation to participate! Karen — there definitely needs to be a Starbucks in WordPressville!)

I’ve taken quite a few strolls through the WordPress ‘hood and come across many different types of blogs and Bloggers, but I know that I’ve only caught a small glimpse of what’s out there. There is just no shortage of what people can and do write about. We blog about our best recipes, music we love, beauty tips, fashion ideas, places we’ve traveled to, marathons we’ve run, our eating disorders, our depression, addictions, stories we’re writing, our goals and dreams, things we find hilarious, things that inspire and challenge us, things that piss us off, and so on. We write about our opinions on things that matter to us, or maybe things that don’t really matter but that we’re gonna give our two cents on regardless. Some of us want the world to know exactly who we are and what we look like, and others find freedom in anonymity.

But what’s really interesting to me is that, in the end, despite the differences we may have, we all share one thing in common: we choose to speak out in this public space, to share our stories with potentially hundreds or thousands of other people whom we will likely never know or meet. We know that out of the thousands of readers who walk through our community (and we are a community) every day, at least one, at some point, will hear us. Some people might think blogging is silly — just a bunch of people ranting about nothing — but I’m always amazed to see how much people can affect others simply with their words and images. Many of us seek to touch or inspire others with our experiences, ideas and creations — and from having read your blogs, I know that there are so many who end up doing just that.

Two inspiring bloggers, Nadia and Den, who have never met each other but created a blog together that spreads optimism far and wide! (Photos from: Writing a blog & Dear Optimists)

It’s taken me a very long time to write this post, because I have found it difficult to convey to you, my dear readers, why blogging is such a staple in so many people’s lives. I didn’t think that it could be complete without a few words from just a handful of great Bloggers who have one way or another inspired me, gotten me to think, or simply made me laugh so hard that it hurt. So I asked them the question: “Why do you blog?” and here’s what they had to say …

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“There many forms of expression, whether by music or art. In writing we take inspiration from within ourselves and place it in words, sharing with everyone our most sincere thoughts.”

– Andy from My story to you.. (Life)

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“I blog as a way to connect. I blog to entertain, to provoke, to question, to confront. Blogging is my unapologetic way of sharing myself with the world. And it can be said that life’s greatest insights come at such moments of vulnerability.”

– Fraser McGuire at Unsolicited Advice (General Interest)

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“Why did I start blogging? Because I felt like I had something to say and needed someone to say it to. There sometimes feels like there are things in my head that are trying to escape. It’s like my brain has a cage around it and there are thoughts and ideas trying to get out. Blogging allows me to reach an audience. It cleans out my brain and keeps me creating. It’s an easy schedule to maintain, since I make the schedule. I also want people to like me and tell me I’m handsome. That’s why I do everything I do.”

– Tim at Mooselicker (Humor)

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“I created a blog to show my ability in Graphic arts and media communication.”

– Jake at Time After Time (Graphic Arts & Photography)

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“Writing makes me happy. I`ve always wanted to write but I think I was always afraid of how it would be recieved or what people think. It`s hard when people critique something that you love doing. This blog was my way of breaking away from that and creating a happy place that I can always come to. Also, someone needs to document ridiculous things that happen in everyday life ;)”

- Karen at The Skinny Jeans and Starbucks Chronicles (Humor)

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“I blog mainly because I love writing and telling stories and disseminating knowledge — it’s an extension of my everyday life as a teacher. I also blog because there’s nothing like making someone laugh, or smile, or think about things a little differently, and blogging gives you the most immediately available means to reach others and touch them in some way with your words and experiences. I blog to share what I know, to question what I don’t know, and to examine what I think I know or what I could know. I blog to share my newest works in progress and my experiences writing and revising with my readers, and to hold myself accountable for completing those projects — there’s nothing like those emails demanding the monthly sneak peek! For me, in the end, it’s all about individual and collective understanding and communication. I blog because it is one immediately tangible way to be in relationship with the rest of the world.”

– Melissa Ridley Elmes at Cerridwen’s Cauldron (Lifestyle & Eclectic)

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“I blog for a lot of reasons, but mostly, I like the process of figuring out how to say something in the most direct and resonant way. How can I make this funnier? How can I make this more emotional? How can I make it more true? And because blogging is so hurried, I have to make those decisions in a compressed timeframe. It’s an academic exercise, but in the best way.”

- Yoona at Yoonanimous (Fashion, Food & Other Ephemera)

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“One of the greatest inspirations for this blog is my desire to help people find the beauty in life, and therefore find their own Wonderland.”

– CT at insearchofwonderland (Self Improvement & Enlightenment)

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“We blog because we want to make people smile, we want them to read our post of the day and realize that sometimes, the little things in life are all we have, and to cherish the short moments of bliss, the smiles, the laughs and the hugs that people have on a daily basis but are so small that sometimes they forget about them when the bigger, tougher parts of life overwhelm. We blog because we like to make others feel good, which in turn makes us feel good and want to continue making others feel good, and thus keep a circular motion of positivity that continues on and on and on and on…do you think we are the ones making people smile? Well the reality is that those very same people that we make smile are just as equally making us smile as well.

That, my friend, is why we blog.”

- Den and Nadia at Dear Optimists (Humor & Optimism :)

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And as for me? “I always had a hard time expressing my opinions and feelings through talking about things when I was growing up. Sometimes I still do. Writing allows me to get all of it out in a way that makes sense. But this blog isn’t just about me. There is so much that I want to say and share with others, but I also love hearing about others’ perspectives and own experiences and getting a good discussion going. This blog is my creative space that let’s me explore, discover, and share.”

- Cafe at Your Daily Dose (A Mixed Bag ‘O Goodies ;)

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Thanks so much to the Bloggers who took the time to participate in this post and send me your answers. I would love to hear from more bloggers about your own motivations and inspirations for blogging! So answer me this, my dear readers:

For the Bloggers: Why do YOU blog?  (Don’t forget to leave a link to your blog!)

For the Non-Bloggers (or the Not-Yet-Bloggers): Why don’t you blog? (Just never thought about it before? Don’t think you can write? Don’t have the time?). And if you were to create your own blog, what do you think you’d blog about?

- Cafe <3