Growing Up

Finding Your Voice

I’ve had a blog or journal since I was in elementary school. So, I can say I’ve always had some way to express my own voice, and only recently has it been made more public by things like this blog.

But I haven’t always had the same voice. I doubt I would have even expressed my views on politics and current events a few years ago, but now I’ve started to.

I think part of that is because I’ve realized that the more silent you stay, the more other people take your decisions for you. And that thought terrifies me as someone who values equality between sexes and the liberty to choose who I date, among other things.

So, I have decided of late to use my voice more for expressing what I value, and for those who may not have as much access to express what they value. However, that includes acknowledging the fact that I cannot speak on behalf of groups that have experienced life in another way that I have never been subjected to. Instead, I’m choosing to be an ally to those groups and help support them in the causes that are important to their them.

Not to mention, I think now more than ever the world needs to recognize we are all humans and all deserve to be treated with respect. This is not a time to tear each other down for being different, but a time to embrace those differences to work together for a better future.

So, I hope you all find your voice and use it for the good of humanity.

Peace and love,

Mel.

When Home Just Isn’t Home Anymore

So…you’ve lived apart from your family for a few months, even an entire school year. And now, you’re back to their house or your hometown for a little bit. You’re happy, but coming “home” has somehow become different.

I’ve already experienced this feeling before moving away to university, after having done some traveling without my family. But it wasn’t until I lived in residence in university and visited my home for the holidays that I noticed how out of place I felt at home.

When you first see your family and friends, it seems like everything is the same. Same house, same car, same dog, same city. But they’ve really changed. See, the funny thing is, other people aren’t static. They grow up, get new hobbies or jobs, new friends or partners, and even if you know about all of that before you reunite, you’ll still have to get used to how those things affect your loved one’s daily lives.

But, the hardest part of coming home is being faced with how you’ve changed. After all, you’ve been away and learned some valuable lessons on your own. From friendships to things you learned in university courses, you’re not the same person you left home as. I know I came back from my first semester of university with new friends, a realization of how hard university can be, and with more independence. I’d even become a bit more extroverted, which is no small feat for me.

So, is there anything you can do about coming home and facing change or being changed?

To be honest, you can’t do much but to accept the changes and adapt to your new life. You’ll never be able to change the paths of others in your life, so you’ll either have to accept them as they are or set them loose. Sometimes the best thing you can do is let go of a friend in your life. It might be tough, but you’ll survive.

As for personal change, you’ll have to assess whether it’s good or bad, and then embrace what will allow you to become the best version of yourself. Take some time to have a heart to heart with yourself, and it’ll help you grow as a person. I hope that what you discover allows you to reach your goals and contribute to the world around you.

Just remember, change is a healthy part of life. You won’t be able to avoid it, but you can change how you react to it. So, when you feel out of sorts going home the next school break, go out and embrace the weirdness of change!

-Mel.

The Best Thing About University

In my opinion, the best thing about university is freedom.

Suddenly after high school, you’re most likely living in a new place without the support systems like your parents or high school friends that you’re used to. And it’s really scary, that all of life suddenly looks a lot like a giant question mark.

That’s a good thing, because now you have the freedom to make your life what you want and need it to be.

You have the freedom to learn about anything and everything you want to. You can take whatever courses you want, and take what you need to learn about life out of them. You have the freedom to join whatever activities on campus that look attractive, and make new friends with whoever you want. You have the freedom to live on your own, make your own schedule, and take care of yourself.

All those options might look scary, but they’re all important choices you need to make yourself. In doing just that, you’ll learn a lot of lessons about yourself and the world, and from there you can decide where you want to go in life.

So, the freedom in university, it’s a good thing. It allows you to grow in ways you can’t even imagine yet, and I’m sure you’ll be grateful for the roller coaster of an adventure it’ll be.

What do guys think is the best part of university? Leave a comment below!

-Mel.

 

Day 24-Things That Make You Scared

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a while, and I couldn’t figure out what to write.

You see, I’m scared of a lot of normal things, like heights, random noises in the dark, and death. But that seems so trivial, compared to the biggest thing I’ve ever feared.

I fear change.

And I’m not talking small change, like taking a different bus to work, but the big changes in life that accumulate from little moments.

Like being best friends with someone from high school, just to drift apart slowly over the years, never to speak again. Like the fact that in a few years, after my degree, I’ll have to face the change of going into the normal adult world instead of being at school. Like the fact that one day, I might not recognize the person I am now.

I know there’s nothing I can do in the face of change, that it’ll happen no matter what. But sometimes, I’d love to slow down my days so that it’s not too soon that I face a completely different outcome than what I put in my life. Who knows, that extra Friday afternoon in a park with a friend might change my future, and I want to remember that moment the rest of my life.

What do you guys fear? Leave it down below, and it doesn’t have to be as deep as mine!

-Mel.

Day 23-What Area of Life I’d Like To Improve

To be honest, I’d like to improve in all the areas of my life.

In relationships, I want to be a better friend, one who is more up to date and connected to them. I’m bad at messaging someone constantly for a while then not doing so again for months, so I’d definitely like to improve on that. Plus, if it gets me a date or something, bonus points!

In general, I’d like to become better at managing being an adult, from being able to manage my money better, to doing my taxes and stuff like that. Plus, I’m hoping the adulting skills I learn now will help me prepare for after graduating school. However, I know those will come in time, since I can’t learn everything adult at once.

At school, I’d like to keep getting good marks, and become more involved on campus next year with societies and clubs. I’m thinking as well that I’d like to go on exchange, which might require a bit of extra work and maybe getting a few scholarships.

What do you guys want to improve in your life? Tell me down below!

-Mel.

Day 22-A Lesson You Learnt The Hard Way

I’ve learned a few lessons the hard way over the years, but the hardest lesson I’ve had to learn is to be myself.

There were many years while I was growing up when I didn’t stand up for my beliefs, and just agreed with people to be accepted. At the time, I thought that was me, that I had to believe X opinion because of the friends I had or the people I was with. Looking back now, I think that was part of the reason I felt so lost at the end of high school, since I really didn’t know who I was and what I believed.

These last few years and trips have solidified my beliefs in life and what I enjoy doing. More importantly, I realize that being me, and holding the opinions I do is not a bad thing. I think being on the trip to Nicaragua and living in Banff showed me that being open with people is better than hiding what you believe. In any case, it’ll all come out eventually.

I’ve also realized that the way people perceive me no longer defines who I am. It has a role, but I don’t have to impress people as much anymore. Now, if people have a problem with my lifestyle or my opinions, they can move on or stick around. If someone is going to criticize me endlessly, they probably don’t deserve me in their life. Besides, I can’t make everyone happy, so I might as well make myself happy first.

I can say this is one of the hardest lessons to learn, and I’m still on the journey to figuring out who I truly am. But that’s okay, because every lesson I teach myself is a step further in life.

What is the hardest lesson you’ve learned? Leave it down below!

-Mel.

 

Day 19-How I’ve Changed In The Last 2 Years

Almost two years ago, I was writing my last diploma exams for high school, so I feel like it’s a good time to be writing this.

I don’t think I can say only part of me has changed, but me as a whole. If you had met the Melissa graduating high school, I think you wouldn’t recognize the woman I am today.

In terms of relationships, I was in a long-term relationship two years ago. Now, I’ve been single for almost a year, and I’ve honestly been loving it, especially the freedom to do whatever I want. I’ve learnt over the last two years that I need to rely on myself before anyone else, and that I am the source of my happiness, not the guy I date. In terms of both relationships, and in particular friendships, I’ve learnt more about what being a good friend means, and when I need to leave some friendships. My friends now are some of the best I’ve ever had, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

In terms of work, in the last two years I’ve changed jobs once, and I decided to come back to a job I thought I would never have. When I moved out to Banff last year for my job, I took a huge leap of faith in my abilities and the job in general. I survived that summer, and this summer I’m working at the same place. It’s definitely a change from working in food service to sales, but I’ve become more outgoing because of it.

In terms of school, I’ve learned so much. I learnt how to study, how to write better, how to manage my time, etc. I loved my first year, and I can’t wait to get back to X, even if that means having to do midterms and exams again. However, two years ago I don’t think I would have decided moving to a small university across the country would be perfection, but it is now.

In terms of everything else, I think I’ve gained a lot of independence and have become a lot more of a responsible adult. After dealing with taxes, doctor’s appointments, and living on my own basically in Banff and Nova Scotia, I’ve learnt a lot of small life lessons. Whether it’s cooking a new meal or figuring out where to get a letter for a scholarship on campus, I’ve become better at managing my own things. I also appreciate my parents and all they do, because I struggle sometimes with getting everything done on time.

In any case, I’m thankful for the lessons life has taught me over the last two years, and I’m optimistic for the next few. Hopefully, I can read this post then and be proud of where I’ve gotten. Until then,  I’ll keep going in this journey called life.

-Mel.

 

Day 7-What if…

I had gone straight to university after high school instead of taking a gap year?

This has got to be my biggest what if question.

If I hadn’t taken a gap year, I wouldn’t have worked in Banff and taken the plunge on living on my own. I wouldn’t have gone to Nicaragua and had my eyes opened. I might not have broken up with my first boyfriend. I might not have chosen my university because I wouldn’t have known I like the small school atmosphere.

I always think what if about this time in my life, but I don’t think I would go back and change my mind if I knew the future. I’ve come so far, learned so much about myself, and changed so much for the better that I think the year was worth it.

And, without the gap year, I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this blog post today. So thank goodness I did!

-Mel.

Day 4-Where you want to be in 10 years

Oh boy…I’ll be almost 30 years old in 10 years.

Well, I hope that I’ve gotten through at least my undergrad at school, and maybe if I went back to school I’d have a Masters degree as well. I hope my X-ring looks as pretty as I can picture it in my mind.

I hope I’m getting settled into my career. Hopefully, I’ve made it through the testing to become a diplomat and then gotten through training. And if I’m lucky, I’ll be stationed somewhere cool and be working on projects that I’m passionate about.

I also hope that I’ve kept most of my friends from now close and that I’m still close with all my family, no matter where in the world I am. I hope I’ve found someone to date that is worth every effort, possibly married them, and possibly have a little one or two on the way.

I want to be an aware citizen, and I hope I’ve kept giving back to the communities that have supported me every step of the way. I hope humanity has figured out more of its problems, and that I’ve contributed to that positively.

I hope that in 10 years, I am in a place that I am happy in and that I am proud of getting through with all the ups and downs of life.

Do you guys have any goals for your next 10 years? Leave them down below!

-Mel.

Day 17-What you want to become when you’re older

Well, nothing like a cold splash of reality about my future. Or as I call it, just normal weekly things that I’m reminded of…

Anyways, I do have two ideas of what I want to become in the future.

The first, and my top choice, is to become a diplomat, or Foreign Service Officer (FSO). I want to become a diplomat because I believe that the way to help and do good in this rather politically complex world is to experience it first hand, and interact with it on a smaller level first, before trying to change anything on a bigger scale. Not to mention, I love learning languages, travelling, and talking to all sorts of people across the world, so I think I’ll make a good diplomat. (Fingers crossed)

Second, if I don’t become an FSO, I’d love to teach. And as weird as that may seem contrasted to a cool life of a diplomat, in teaching future generations, I hope I can teach them how to be better citizens. Having also been a TA at one point, I’d definitely like to consider the possibility of becoming an elementary school teacher. However, that is still my plan B to being a diplomat.

What do you want to become/are becoming? Let me know in the comments!

-Mel.

P.S. Happy St. Patrick’s Day! ☘