Go away death

I know, I know. We can never get away from death but some weeks just seem harder than others. Not only have women been dying on the private metastatic cancer Facebook pages lately but:

Maryam Mirzakhani, only woman to win math equivalent of Nobel Prize, dies at 40

She died of breast cancer that had metastasized to her bones. I think there are very few women math geniuses out there (I have theories about this but that isn’t what I want to talk about) and even though I knew very little about Maryam Mirzakhani it was nice to know that she was around and getting acclaim for her work and something she was passionate about. I often think that it is women like her who should be the celebrities and the role models that our children look up to – not the fucking Kardashians who are polluting our minds and contributing nothing to society. But now she is gone and has left behind a young daughter.

Today I also found out that Michael Stone passed away suddenly (and tragically) yesterday. Michael was a meditation teacher/Buddhist/yogi and really freaking funny guy. I had the opportunity to attend one of his workshops a couple years ago and have thoroughly enjoyed his writing. Two years after attending the workshop I am still chewing over – and laughing about – the things he talked about that weekend. He leaves behind a young family as well (I believe he and his partner just announced that they were expecting another baby).

Sometimes it seems like the deaths just keep coming. These aforementioned deaths are the ones that make me really sad – not only because these people were young but because they were touching the lives of other people. I know death is happening everywhere, all the time and I honestly try not to focus on my own death too much (which is much easier when I am feeling well than when I am laid up in bed on pain medication) but sometimes it seems hard to get away from.

I have a quote on my phone lock screen by Rachel Carson. It isn’t so much the quote that is important (although it is a beautiful quote) but it is a daily reminder that Carson worked at something she was passionate about up until the moment she died (of breast cancer). She sat in bed writing Silent Spring while the cancer ate away at her.

All these deaths are reminders of the life is short and you need to do all the things now variety that I still can’t seem to wrap my mind around. I try and focus on what is good around me – like new fern shoots coming up out of the ground or a 4-year old who is really excited about learning something new. But sometimes it is hard and all I want to do is hide away and wish I could feel the urgency that is supposed to come with being told that your time is going to be cut short.

So I guess all I can say is hug your people. And celebrate real people who are doing real things, because they are far worthier of our brain space.

Breaking up is hard to do

You wouldn’t think, after all I have been through in the past couple years, that the thought of turning my phone off for a while would terrify me – but it does. I think this goes to show just how addicted to my phone I am. I’ve known for a while that I have social media burn out, that my attention span is at an all time low, and that I scroll and scroll these days and retain nothing – but it is getting worse. I’m tried of people trying to constantly sell things to me, or coach me into living my most authentic life. I’m tried of all the great outfits I covet on a daily basis or all the beautiful spreads of books that I can’t afford to buy.

I’m tired.

In the spirit of full disclosure I will admit to some things I am not proud of: I can’t read a book without checking my phone every couple of minutes. I use an obscene amount of tags on my Instagram photos just so other people will come along and see what I am doing and maybe even “like” them. But while I spend this time “maintaining my feed” or whatever you want to call it I’m getting nothing done.

I mean that – nothing is getting done.

I had already decided a week ago that I was going to bite the bullet and take a break from my phone but then this article came out today: 6 Reasons to Unplug Your Phone This Summer.

The average adult in the UK spends nearly 9 hours on digital devices each day. That’s more time than we spend sleeping! In the US, 84% of cell phone users claim they couldn’t go a day without their device, with some of them checking their devices every 6.5 minutes.

I believe this to be true for myself. And while I have made some amazing friendships through the world of social media I’ve also lost a big part of myself. There used to be a time when we would wake up in the mornings and turn to the person next to us – now we wake up and turn to our phones.

And I am honestly nervous. Like, what if my children do something really cute and adorable or smart and I don’t photograph it and immediately post it online to show the world? How will I get my validation if I make a fantastic meal and only my family knows about it? Yes, I’m joking – but the sad truth is that I am only half joking. Because that is reality these days, our whole lives are played out on social media and it is EXHAUSTING.

I keep thinking of all the things I can do this summer if I’m not checking my phone every 6.5 minutes but then I immediately think about how I am going to want to post about all those amazing things I am going to be doing. Sad fact: no amazing things, or even non-amazing things get done when I am busy hanging out with my phone.

So for the next month I am going to have my husband physically remove my phone from me. Maybe he will take it to his office? Maybe he will hide it somewhere in the house? I don’t know. I don’t need to know. I’m going to have to revisit this when the girls and I travel to Ontario at the end of July and I – hopefully – take a couple days break from them and head to Toronto to visit some friends.

Also, you would be surprised how much work goes into trying to get rid of your phone for a while. Some people only communicate via texting these days and I have had to let them know that I have a home phone and an email (we are old fashioned like that). I’ve had to write down a ton of phone numbers, but I’ve also asked for addresses so I can send some letters. If I didn’t ask for your address feel free to send it to me – I’ve also been heavily medicated this week due to back pain so I’m sure there are a billion things I’m forgetting. Either way, the phone gets turned off at midnight tonight and I don’t want to see it again for a while.

Running for my life

And by running I mostly mean walking with a bit of running thrown in for… fun? And hiking. And getting up at 5:30 am to do workout videos in front of the computer. And trying to keep my step count between 10,000 and 15,000 every day (because, obsessive). And also not eating too much. And fasting for about 12 –… Read more →

I keep coming back to the moss

As I work my way through editing my Iceland photos I keep coming back to this little fact that was thrown out at us on one of our bus tours: Iceland is home to around 600 species of moss.

 

 

It is oddly fascinating to me. I feel as though I am supposed to do something with this information but I don’t really know what. Maybe nothing. Maybe all I was supposed to do was go around taking photos of moss. Although this little nugget of information keeps percolating around my brain.

 

 

Upon my return, and with a minimal amount of research, I have learned that Iceland is also home to around 700 species of lichen and around 2000 species of fungi. It’s a nerdy amateur plant-photographer’s dream.

 

 

Many homes in Rekyjavik had stone walls around them covered in moss and lichen. Perhaps this isn’t as interesting to someone who lives somewhere wet but coming from dry, arid, desert-like Calgary this fascinates me.

 

 

A stone wall covered with moss has almost fairytale-like qualities to it. The fact that moss and lichen is classified as a “species” also intrigues me. As though it is a living, breathing world of its own – which I suppose it is. Perhaps there are secret stories trapped in the moss waiting to be told.

 

When In Doubt

This morning, during a late breakfast* I was attempting to read Flow Magazine and came across this article, “A Little Doubt Is Good For You.” It made me realize that a little doubt isn’t my problem. I think a whole lot of doubt is my problem. Do you ever feel that way? Like nothing you do is good enough? I… Read more →