"Once we have completely eradicated our delusions it will be utterly impossible for us to experience unpeaceful states of mind." Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Goodbye life, hello law school.

As my inner mind scolded me about prioritizing going for a morning jog instead of reading the last two cases in Constitutional Law, I thought to myself "I am simply partaking in a different method of studying... oral recitation... to myself... summarizing what I have learned in past two weeks..." And when I sat down to write this blog post, instead of getting started on Torts, I reassured myself that I was simply practicing my writing skills for the upcoming Legal Writing and Research quiz on Tuesday. Yep, nailed it... I'm already thinking like a lawyer, right?... or am I actually just getting back into the groove of homework procrastination?

It wasn't until I started looking for places to live, that I realized I was actually going to take the plunge and go to law school. Up until then, it was more of just an experiment; could I get in? Was I smart enough to "pass" the LSAT (although technically, there is no such thing as a pass/fail). It was the month prior to moving, when excitement and interest began to overtake my feelings of uncertainty and confusion, and part of the reason was my keen interest in research -- I ended up reading several books and blogs on what other first year law school experiences were like, which certainly gave me an insight for what to expect. Although of course like anything, reading about an experience can never substitute for living it and upon arriving, my expectations quickly subsided as I realized that my best move, was to live in the present and ditch the expectations for the facing the real thing head on!

With the less than flattering stereotypes placed on practising lawyers, I was extremely curious to find out for myself what kind of individuals applied to law school; whether the stereotypes are true of law students from the moment they set foot in the law school doors or whether the key personality traits of stereotypical lawyers were actually born in law school. As someone who cannot relate to the description of A-type personality, to say I was feeling slightly apprehensive is an understatement, as fitting in was not so much my goal as was simply getting by.

After the first week...

So who have I met? Well, there are definitely pretentious folks who are sometimes annoying, but ultimately just entertaining. They repeatedly use phrases like "in regards to" and "if you will" and "I ascertain that". The people I have come to adore though, are those who ask a million questions, and turn the whole class into a Q & A, so the professor ends up running out of time to actually go over the assigned readings - awesome! This is actually quite brilliant and appreciated though, because it's usually these people, and these random one-off questioning sessions which also end up answering the very same questions I have in my head.

The overwhelming majority of the people I have met, are, in a word, legit. They're interesting and opinionated and for the most part, an original bunch of characters who I am certainly looking forward to getting to know a lot better. Thus far, my favourite part about this whole experience has been being  surrounded by intelligent people who actually enjoy the learning process and delight in riveting conversation. The Dean of our law school introduced himself and the coming years with a piece of advice: stay humble. With the tremendous amount of intellect and capabilities I'm encountering on a daily basis, I feel like this will not be a problem; the only arrogance I will portray is the importance I have, by association to these incredible people who I will hopefully one day call my friends (two weeks in may be a little premature... although for the record, I've definitely already referred to a few as "friend" and it feels quite right!)

As for the course content, all I can say is that my program has six courses for the first 12 weeks, and it's a lot. Mostly it's foundational, and with a degree in business, I definitely feel the pressure of trying to catch up to those of my peers with backgrounds in pre-law and poli-sci. I'm constantly being tripped up on words that I may have an 80% hunch as to what they mean, but still resort to looking them up. Words like: unilaterally, viz, tortfeasor, obiter dicta, sentinel, adduce...

That's right, not only am I expected to learn the law, I'm also simultaneously going to be learning another language. Great. If you knew what these words mean without looking them up, congratulations you're smarter than me and should think about going to law school.. or perhaps becoming a speechwriter would be a good choice too.

I am really enjoying the professors and as with undergrad, I thoroughly believe that the instructor can either make or break a class. I appreciate the individuality of each teaching style from one to the other, and even though the Socratic method is slightly unnerving, I can now see the benefit of it -- when called upon in class, it forces me to come out of my shell and ultimately get more from the interactional experience. Also, it motivates me to do my readings and briefs, to avoid looking like a dork (too late?!) The professors at my school use a "mild" version of the Socratic, and unlike some institutions where apparently the instructors grill one specific student for the entirety of the class, our profs generally move on his/her next subject after a single question has been exhausted! It's a great gauge of how well you actually know the material, espeically when you think you've got it figured out, only to get called upon and completely mix up your facts... anyways...

Two weeks in and I have to admit, I've had my share of ups and downs. Like with any new life chapter, a fresh start can be exhausting. I am certainly looking forward to the day when the novelty has worn off, a new routine is in place and friends know my best stories, although as these two weeks have flown by, I can't help but predict that three years will pass and I'll be wishing I could come back to today and do it all over again.

Soundtrack of the day --

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Do you think about these things too?

There are some topics that have been looming on my mind, and I'm sure I could write lengthy op-eds for each one, however for now, I'm just going to pose them as questions for you to ponder, and if you feel so inclined, I'd love for you can follow-up with a comment:

1. Is there anything I can do to address the homelessness issue in my city/country/the world? I was at the grocery store today, about to put away my cart when a man came up to me and asked if I wanted some help. At first, I was very pleased and was thinking to myself that humanity is sometimes so beautifully surprising, when I got over my split-second of naivety, to realize that the man was just wanting my cart so he could score my dollar from the link chain. I was totally disappointed but further, thoroughly confused; should I give the man my dollar? It probably mean't way more to him than it did to me. But at the same time, I thought to myself, I had worked all day when I would have way rather sat out in the sun lounging which is surely what this man did... so why should I give it to him? Am I being insensitive to that fact that I have probably had more opportunities come my way in the past year than this man will have in his whole life, so just give him the friggen dollar?

Okay, so that was more explanation than question, but, once I get on a roll….

2. Do people seriously think that we have successfully achieved gender equality? I was very shocked when I recently had a conversation with someone I respect and consider very knowledgeable, to hear him say that men and women are treated equally. I'm reading a great book (Lean In for Graduates by Sheryl Sandberg - seriously: men, women - get your hands on a copy!) which states that for the 195 independent countries, only 19 are lead by women, and only 23 of the CEO's of the Fortune 500 companies, are women. Shocking?? Seriously, are you shocked, or thinking "yeah, that sounds about right?" I'm not entirely sure how to pinpoint my emotions when I hear that. On one hand, I'm shocked and totally disappointed, but on the other, I know full-heartedly, despite certain individuals stating that I'm loony, that I definitely experience inequality in the workplace - all women do! And it may not be external inequalities, but as Sheryl Sandberg states, it's internal inequalities; women thinking to themselves that they are not worthy of sitting at "the table" with the men, even though it's not necessarily the men pointing that out. Do you think it's true that men are judged on their potential, whereas women are judged based on their achievements? Sandberg states that the solution is simply stated, perhaps not so simply achieved: more women in power.

3. I was just reviewing the Sunshine list for my city from March, 2014 - check it out!! What do you think about these salaries, which are all upwards of $100K? I almost feel weird about discussing salaries like this; income is such a taboo topic, but really, it's out in the open for the public to see, so let's discuss! After all, every single one of these salaries is paid for by OUR tax dollars - how does this make you feel? In efforts to remove the personal, because let's face it, this list is of NAMES, in our small city… that's personal! Let's just think about the people as job positions… do you agree that those positions are compensated fairly? Should a police officer make over $120K per year? Should a principal of an elementary school make $120K per year? Should a manager of a health program make 120K per year? Should a judge make over 200K per year? Do you think there should be a wage cap, to address the wage gap, regardless of how educated or stressful your chosen profession might be?

4. I've been caught up on defining the meaning of life lately, well okay, probably not just lately, but for the last say, 20 years of my life actually! And.. well, I haven't really come up with much of an answer. I read, then watched the movie "The Fault in Our Stars" (and half-way through it yelled out to my mother "why did I ever stop reading teen-fiction?!" Seriously, I know why I did - thought there were so many non-fiction works to fill my brain with instead, and also thought I was developing an unrealistic concept of reality! Ha - still think that's true!) Anyway, one of the main character has a fear of oblivion, which I can kind of relate to… how about you? It's strange though because since reading "Lean In for Graduates", I've become aware of the negative connotation associated with ambitiousness for women. It's not explicitly negative, but if you were to call a women any of the synonyms for ambitious, such as determined (which I was referred to as in the last month and was completely torn up over - so offended!) it could certainly be considered an insult, opposed to a definite compliment if the recipient were male. Comments?? The reason I consider this is because in order to leave a significant mark on society, one must be determined enough, with enough resolve and perseverance to complete whatever it is that they're eventually going to get credit for. What impact do you wish to leave on the world?

5. Is there a fine line between self-improvement and self-acceptance? How do you know when you've reached it?

6. What does success mean to you? Again, is it about touching society? Making it onto the sunshine list? Or simply being content?

7. I think I'm having a power/career path/success/future complex… how about you?

8. Do people pay more attention to the prospect of wealth and money, than they do to quality of life? I've been loosely following the pipeline developments in Canada and am a bit miffed that people are weighing the economic benefits with the risk potential… shouldn't it be a no-brainer that our natural environment must be protected, no matter what? We have been experiencing the effects of global warming for the past 15-20 years? And yet people are still considering the economy and prospective monetary gains ahead of the environment?

9. Where and when did the concept of "pets" become introduced? Even though several people have described me as "not really an animal person", I've come to the understanding that I'm quite the opposite - I'm definitely an animal person - I adore and respect animals and therefore, I am not a pet person; why should we as humans be the masters and owners of another animal? What right do we have to own the dogs and cats we call our pets? After watching several documentaries including Food Inc. and Fork over Knives, and reading several books including Skinny Bitch and The Kind Diet, I have flirted with a vegetarian/vegan diet for the past six years. How do people continue living in an ignorant state of mind with regards to where their food is coming from? Are people not curious? Our food is literally what you are - you become your food… this is fascinating, no?… yet judging by the Standard American Diet, it would seem as though the majority of people have no clue about where their food comes from. Do most people just choose to not become educated on the matter? Or is there truly a lack of exposure and information about the farming and factory practises? This is and will probably forever be mind-boggling to me: how did our society get to the place it is right now?? Where were the policy makers when fast and processed food became the norm?? I'm most certainly addicted to sugar, which is apparently more addictive than heroin - who can I blame?!!

10. Would life be better if we didn't keep track of time? Obviously there are so good uses for time, like bus schedules and appointments, but ultimately, would life be better without it? I feel like there would be a lot less pressures and stressors in the world. Also, the concept of age would be completely thrown out the window, which might be nice… because then you could live the age you feel, not the age you are! There are so many factors when determining your entire existence including your maturity, cognition, biology, spirituality, and yet we turn a subjective completeness into something objective, like a number… what for? What purpose does age serve?

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Stuff + Things

The concept of decision-making is something that I have written about before, and think about often. Some people live their whole lives working in the same industry, living in the same city, with the same partner and this works for them. Personally, I don't see that working very well for me because I like change too much - I crave it actually, and because I make a point of researching all of my options, I know that there are so many out there; it sort of seems like a waste not to exhaust them.

I'm currently facing a major decision in my life, which is forcing me to evaluate what my priorities are. Subsequently, this has me analyzing what other people value in their life and what is making them happy. Lately I've been obsessed with the notion of building a life, and not just living one. What this means to me, is consciously considering how I want to spend my time. I can't help but notice that the majority of people I'm surrounded with go through the "normal" life stages of having full time, 9-5/40 hour/week jobs, buying lots of materialistic shit like cars, TV's, gadgets, furniture, decorations and houses.. usually on credit because they can't actually afford the items at the time they desire them, and then becoming slaves to their jobs which they are not truly passionate about, so that they can pay off the items, which really haven't made them all that happy in the end anyway. Their autonomy is lost and they spend their life waiting to have the time and money to really do the things they want to do. The thing is though, that this behaviour is common and therefore individuals do not really consider that they are simply conforming to the societal norms, instead of figuring out a way to live without debt and therefore without the added stress and responsibility of paying for their life; living outside of their means and always trying to play catch-up.

(From Hyperbole and a Half blog - so funny!) 

I recently took a trip to Seattle and ended up wandering into Nordstrom Rack - the discount version of the department store. In a past life, I feel like I would have been in retail heaven with amazing bargains left and right. Only this weekend, I was actually quite disgusted. There were racks and racks of clothes and products and so many women riffling through them on a mission! I actually felt sad for them - all of these women were being fuelled by the idea that these clothes were gong to make them look and feel good, but at what expense? I'm sure some of them could actually afford the items they were loading into their shopping carts, but what about the majority of the women who couldn't? And for the ones that could afford the items, is that really what they wanted to spend their hard earned money on? I used to love shopping because it was a fun experience - very stimulating, a good little workout walking from store to store, a fun outing with some girlfriends… but all I can think of now is that it is a complete waste of time and money! I prefer a discount because I know how many hours I have to work to earn the money I make, and to me that time is valuable. But the stores that offer discounted clothes are certainly not manufacturing their clothes in an ethical way - I know this! And to contrast, the boutique stores offering clothing made in the USA and Canada are usually priced way above what I'm willing to pay for a piece of clothing, unless I know that the quality will last for years, making the items worth it after all.

This mindset of mine is relatively new, as even though I've always valued my time and therefore my money enough to enjoy a discount, I've also enjoyed assessing fashion choices and considering the way  people present themselves through clothes. From the TLC show "What Not to Wear", I remember host Clinton Kelly stating that he taught the guests on the show about aligning their inside with their outside; presenting to the world the person you are.  It seems simple enough, but this could be taken so many different directions, from where the clothes are made, to colours, textures, style, fit etc. When you see someone wearing a designer label, how do you judge them? Similarly, when you see someone wearing a brand from a discount store like Walmart, what do you think about them? Maybe what you assume about them is a reflection about how you think about yourself? Since I enjoy fashion, I am aware of various brands and labels, therefore they jump out at me probably a lot more than someone who has no knowledge of fashion brands, because they simply couldn't care less.

The other thing to consider about going into debt to purchase "stuff" is that the large corporations are gaining power at your expense! You end up working harder and stressing more, while the multimillion dollar companies sit back and collect their profits - widening the wealth gap. There are so many starving and poor people that are actually suffering, while you're contemplating the purchase of yet another handbag or new watch. This really upsets me, but I'm not really sure what to do about it. I don't think working, only to give your money away to those less educated or less fortunate than you is the answer, but certainly trying to level the playing field is a step in the right direction?

The technological advancements this world has experienced are undeniably remarkable, but the more I really consider how the world works, the more I wish I was living in a simpler era - less stuff with less pollution and more harmony with the earth. But of course, time travelling is not possible, so what is there to do? All of the possessions that people are accustomed to wanting and convincing themselves that they need, is draining the world of its precious resources. This is a fact, and yet why are we still living the same way we have been for years? Is this something that other people even consider, or am I all alone in my thought process? Sure, people are doing what they can to recycle and reuse, but what about really focusing on reducing??

If you identify with the person I describe, how do you feel about this? Are you happy with your life the way it is? If not, are you living that way simply because it feels natural and it's the way "everyone" lives, so it must be the "right" way? I ask these questions not to point fingers or to criticize, but as a cathartic process of figuring out how I personally am going to design my life. Of course, not everyone has the luxury of designing their life exactly the way the want, without abandoning their responsibilities, but the less dependents you have, the more freedom you can exercise - so how does that play out for you? 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Here We Go: Oscars!

Guess. What. Next. Sunday. Is??

Why, it's only the 86th Annual Academy Awards, AKA, the Oscars! For some of you, this may not mean much, however for you fellow film buffs and fashion crazed out there, it's kiiiind of a big deal. In fact, even for you who do not think that you necessarily care about the Oscars, perhaps after reading this, you just might…

The biggest night in film certainly does boast some amazing fashion moments, however what sometimes gets lost on people is the meaning and significance of the awards banquet. The Oscars are certainly known for bringing in the A-List stars, but they also acknowledge the contributors of the world of film who are overlooked or forgotten by the general public; the documentarians, cinematographers, composers, songwriters, editors, animators, costume designers and visual effects gurus. Ultimately, it comes down to recognition. Do you ever consider the concept of recognition - complimenting, praising, applauding people for their efforts or a job well done? Do you think that if there was more recognition, there would be more good deeds in society? Thinking about the amount of attention suicide bombers and mass murderers receive, especially compared to positive acts of courage and bravery - kind of twisted no? There was an awards ceremony for young leaders in my area last month, which got me thinking about being recognized for contributions to my community. Even though I feel that the majority of the time I spend volunteering is purely due to intrinsic motivation, I will admit that it is nice for other people to acknowledge my efforts. Aside from "acting" (pun intended) as an evening of recognition, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences uses the proceeds to fund their educational opportunities for budding filmmakers. 

Revenue from Oscar night provides worldwide education outreach and grant funding to institutions and non-profit organizations for filmmaking programs, fostering a future generation of filmmakers. The Academy has recently funded programs in Sarajevo, Cuba, East Africa and Iran.
Therefore, by watching the Academy Awards on Sunday, you are supporting the advancement of technology, the pursuit of education and, most importantly, encouraging new voices in cinema!

I always try to watch the majority of the best picture nominations before the big night - how about you? The host(s) of the evening tend to make little puns and references to the various movies and so I reckon that knowing what they're talking about generally enhances the viewing experience. This year, I made note of the fact that there was an underlying theme with regards to the Best Picture nominees. It seemed that the films dealt with a heavy obstacle of survival. Did you notice? There was also an underwhelming lack of plots points focused around romantic love, as the on-screen relationships were mostly based on partnerships dependent on completing the task at hand. Kind of interesting.

Now for the fun part; here are my selections. As a disclaimer, I didn't see Philomena, Gravity or Captain Phillips. I started watching Nebraska (about 1/3 finished) but found it rather slow moving, so I shut it off. I know, cut-throat, aren't I? 


Best Picture
Best Actor in a Leading Role
Best Actress in a Leading Role
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Best Actress in a Supporting Role

BPicture: This is a challenging decision for me, torn between Wolf of Wall Street and Dallas Buyers ClubI'm going with Wolf of Wall Street because I felt like I was engaged throughout the whole film, which is ultimately what it is all about. Also, I was pleasantly surprised with "Her" because even though it has elements of everything that I enjoy (a sassy female lead, a complex and soulful man, a romantic entanglement etc.) there wasn't a lot to it. But, the soundtrack was fantastic and I guess I really empathized with Joaquin Phoenix's character. Plus, I think he was phenomenal and Scarlett Johansson really made the O.S. character really come to life, with her rather distinguished tone of voice. I think that this was partly because I could picture her whole entity playing the character (i.e. her body too) and therefore that is why it was easily envision-able. 

BLeadActor: Again, between WofW or DBC. Leo will forever be one of my favourites… does he ever make a bad movie?? I also really enjoy Matthew McConaughey and think it's rather cool that he was also in WofW. Of course he's notable for his RomCom's like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Failure to Launch, but my favourite film of his to date is probably the crime thriller, The Lincoln Lawyer. In DBC, he reported losing roughly 38 pounds but it seemed like a lot more. He was unrecognizable onscreen and was very convincing as a redneck homophobe dying of AIDS. Christian Bale tipped the scale of opposite way for his rendition of a con artist in American Hustle, but I was quite disappointed with the film in its entirety. I think because I really wanted to enjoy it - I loved Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook so was hoping for another great deliverable. I'm going with Matthew for the win. 

BLeadActress: Tricky. I think this was one of Meryl Streep's best roles yet - I can't recall ever seeing her so raw and stripped down! It's hard to choose her though, because she's been around forever and you just KNOW she's good, that it's not a very exciting choice. I kind of despised Cate Blanchett's character in Blue Jasmine, but I guess that means she evoked emotion out of me, so maybe it should go to her? I thought Amy Adams was quite forgettable in American Hustle and I have yet to catch Gravity or Philomena, so I guess I'm going with Cate Blanchett. 

BSupportActor: Definitely Jared Leto in DBC. He was superb and I'm so glad he's back on the big screen after touring with his band 30 Seconds to Mars. I can't wait to see what role he takes on next! I'm a huge fan of Jonah Hill, and loved his pearly grill in WofW, but think he's best when his comedic genius is showcased more. 

BSupportActress: Hm, I guess Lupita Nyong'o?! She's been nominated for upwards of 20 awards for her role of Patsey in 12 Years a Slave. From the scenes of torture, rape and a gut-wrenching plea of euthanasia, she definitely deserves it. As a whole however, 12 Years a Slave was just okay for me... I wanted there to be more of a substantial climax and there just wasn't. The best part was when you realize that the likeable white man is Brad Pitt (who's company Plan B, produced the film.. kidding… kind of. 

Do you agree with my selections, or are you leaning in another direction?? I love discussing films so feel free to let me know what you loved/despised!

Besides checking my wins like I'm playing the lottery, another thing I'm excited to do, is enjoy the caliber of entertainment; it was just announced that PINK will be gracing the stage for a performance which I'm sure will be like no other! I'm still kicking myself that I didn't score tickets to see her in concert from her last tour. Also, of course, Ellen DeGeneres will be hosting - so good! Not to mention, the list of presenters is quite extensive:

Amy AdamsKristen BellJessica BielJim CarreyGlenn CloseBradley CooperPenélope CruzBenedict CumberbatchViola DavisRobert De NiroZac EfronSally FieldHarrison FordJamie FoxxAndrew GarfieldJennifer GarnerWhoopi GoldbergJoseph Gordon-LevittGoldie HawnChris HemsworthKate HudsonSamuel L. JacksonAngelina JolieMichael B. JordanAnna KendrickMatthew McConaugheyEwan McGregorBill MurrayKim NovakTyler PerryBrad PittSidney PoitierGabourey SidibeWill SmithKevin SpaceyJason SudeikisChanning TatumCharlize TheronJohn TravoltaKerry WashingtonEmma Watson, and Naomi Watts.

I almost always tune in to the pre-show red carpet coverage, to check out the usually beautiful and often hideous gowns. As the fanciest night in film, this is the night for the designers to really showcase what they're made of. It's fun to try and guess the designer that each star is wearing and make note of any trends that come up; whether it's the colour, cut or fabric, there are almost always some noticeable similarities between looks. I also really enjoy paying attention to how a look is styled; whether they have heavy makeup a high collar and simple hair, or bold jewelry but barely-there makeup and a low cut neckline etc. There are so many awesome and just as many awkward styling decisions that are made for each attendee, that it's fun to take note of each effort.

Here are a few of my favourite Oscar looks:

Also, the Golden Globes which are hosted in January, are a great precursor to the Oscars. Here are some of my favourite looks from the 2014 Golden Globes:

Enjoy the night!!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

V-Day + Gratitude


Yesterday I read something, written by a girl who I met approximately twice in high school, that really affected me. It was beautifully written, but what really did it for me was the absolute vulnerability and complete transparent nature of her writing style in which she reflected on defining life moments and the feelings she had when she experienced them. To this person: I have been meaning to write you personally and express my gratitude. I will get around to it soon, but if by some coincidence you read this before that time and realize it's you - thank-you for being inspirational and lovely. 

I ended up reading a few more of the poems/short-stories on her blog loosely based on self-awareness and reflections, but the initial piece I read had to do with aligning what you mean with what you say. Obviously, this is an extremely basic concept, read: don't lie, however I think almost everyone underestimates the importance of honesty and often we hover in the grey zone of not being exactly honest, but not completely lying either. It's one thing to tell these "white lies" to other people, but I think we also end up telling them to ourselves, usually not on purpose, but rather because we have a difficult time being vulnerable, regardless of the audience. 

Case in point: I had intended on writing this post with a Valentine's Day theme, or as I have been referring to it as "Single's Awareness Day". My opinion of the hallmark holiday tends to fluctuate from despise to indifference which makes plenty of sense when you consider the term awareness… people who are single end up being more aware of their marital status on Valentine’s Day opposed to the other days of the year, simply because it is a day to celebrate your loved ones… and when you don't have a significant other, you end up thinking about the lack thereof...

But AHA, yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending a keynote speech, focusing on leadership. There were two specific take-away messages that I got from Drew Dudley last night and the first one was regarding abundance. Drew encouraged the audience to think less about scarcity and competition, especially concerning money and jobs, and to revert that notion into one of abundance – realizing that there is enough for everyone and to strive to add value to each individual’s life that you come in contact with. (This reminded me of the meditation retreat I attended in Australia which was based off of the book Eight Steps to Happiness, where they teach you that only by cherishing others will you ever have a chance at ultimate happiness. Needless to say, it was also very inspiring to me and I highly recommend it.) So that was a great take-away for sure, but the other take-away, which is in the same realm of adding value to others, is that of gratitude. Hallelujah! Whenever I remind myself to pause and acknowledge everything that I am feeling grateful for in that moment, I am immediately overcome with a calm serenity.

Coming full circle, when you think about the underlying point of Valentine’s Day, as I mentioned previously, it’s about celebrating your loved ones – this does NOT mean you have to celebrate a romantic partner, although that is encouraged if the option is there, but you can and should celebrate all of your loved ones, from your family to your friends! Recognizing my gratitude for all of the relationships in my life has made me focus less on my marital status of “single” and more on my life status of “fulfilled”.  Keeping with the message of being honest with myself however, means that I should also acknowledge the part of me that would prefer to also have a romantic partner to celebrate with too. The cliché of “not settling” has rendered me single on the day before the day, that being single, kind of sucks.

In efforts to shift my self-centered focus, I'd like to complete some of these 52 random acts of kindness instead. Also, because it IS a day focused on love, here is a picture I posted on Instagram once, that really resonated with me. 

Even though prospects in my little town are looking quite bleak, perhaps I’m a hopeless romantic after all… what about you?


Kiss Me, Ed Sheeran
Your Song, Elton John
She Keeps Me Warm, Mary Lambert
Head Over Feet, Alanis Morissette
Slide, Goo Goo Dolls
10,000 Miles, Mary Chapin Carpenter
Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon and Garfunkel
Do you Realize, Flaming Lips
Such Great Heights, Postal Service
I Know, I Know, I Know, Tegan and Sara
Give Me Love, Ed Sheeran
I Wanna Dance With Somebody, Whitney Houston
Because You Loved Me, Celine Dion
Love They Say, Tegan and Sara
Someone To Watch Over Me, Frank Sinatra

Wonderful Tonight, Eric Clapton

A quaint little list of DATE IDEAS:

1 - Bike Ride     19 - Bowling     37 - Go to the Zoo     
2 - Cook Together     20 - Split a Milkshake     38 - Pick Out Each Others Outfits     
3 - Go to the Gym     21 - Aquarium     39 - Go Tanning     
4 - Match Socks Together     22 - Take a Nap     40 - Have a Harry Potter Marathon     
5 - Plant a Garden     23 - Kiss in the Rain     41 - Kiss Underwater     
6 - See a Play at a Local Theater     24 - Ride on a Ferris Wheel     42 - Watch Fireworks     
7 - Paint a Room in Your House     25 - Buy Matching Bracelets     43 - Fall asleep on the phone together
8 - Shopping     26 - Go on a Road Trip     44 - Get Ready Together     
9 - Scrabble     27 - Make Breakfast     45 - Go on a Classy Ass Date     
10 - Go to a Vineyard     28 - Write Each Other Letters     46 - Eat Ice Cream     
11 - Walk     29 - Go Mini Golfing     47 - Take a Bubble Bath Together     
12 - Picnic on the Beach     30 - Kiss at Midnight     48 - Go Running     
13 - Play the Wii     31 - Go to the Beach     49 - Have a Paint War     
14 - Play Tennis     32 - Make a Couple's Video     50 - Take a Picture Kissing     
15 - Put Together a Puzzle     33 - Sing a Song Really Loud     51 - Go on a Startbucks Date     
16 - Read a Book Together     34 - Order Chinese Food     52 - Slow Dance     
17 - Watch a Sunset     35 - Build a Blanket Fort     53 - Share Popcorn at the Movies     
18 - YOGA     36 - Stargaze     54 - Get a side by side pedicure