The Final Year

This morning was such a rush. I spent about an hour on hold with various institutes for unnecessary reasons, all because I was stressed about the fast approaching month of September.

This September marks my final “first” day of school! I’ll be entering my fourth and final year of University and I couldn’t be more excited/nervous/worried. I’m always like this during the few months leading to September. There’s just so much to do and think about.

Firstly, you need to choose your classes for the entire year. The date on which you can choose your classes is dependent on how many credits you have. Naturally, since I am a transfer student, not all of my credits for first year went through as smoothly as I would have liked so I’m always a .5 credit behind everyone else from my year. That means I need to wait 4 extra days to choose my classes whilst everyone else in my year gets first dibs on whatever class they want. Is that not a stressful situation?!? Regardless, once I did get a chance to choose, none of my required classes were full. Which is a good thing. To top it all off, I even managed to squeeze in my required Geography classes to apply for a minor in Geography, as well as an Introduction to Spanish class which will act as an elective credit. The French classes that I’ll be taking look quite hefty and intensive, but I’m sure I’ll be fine.

Secondly, you need to secure your funding. I apply for student loans each year, and since I am a low-income, independent student, I usually qualify for some good grants as well as a not so scary loan. In all, my total loan amount should be below 25,000$. So, as I always do around this time of year, I went to apply for student loans this morning. For the life of me, I just couldn’t figure out how to add a study period for 2018-2019. This resulted in my first waiting period on the phone. As I was waiting though, I figured out my problem and continued. Then, just as last year’s application, I was asked to provide information about my 2017 tax return. I should have been more prepared, but obviously I’m not a full fledged adult yet, so clearly I did not have that information handy. After about a dozen password and username resets on various accounts, including the CRA, I was out of luck and couldn’t find the information that is absolutely necessary to fill in the application. Devastated, I wondered why I hadn’t remembered that they needed this info. Cue the second unnecessary waiting period on the phone. How could I have forgotten about that info, they asked for it last time too. Little old me then remembered that I actually saved an e-copy of my tax return file on my laptop! GO ME! Definitely gained some Adulting Exp. for that one. I hung up the phone which was still on hold after 30 minutes, found my info and filled and submitted my application! I was so relieved when it said that everything went through successfully.

It’s just so frustrating, because the whole time I can’t stop thinking that I’m making a mistake, or that maybe I’m on the wrong website, or maybe I’ve missed a due date! It’s just a worry storm that rages on for a couple hours until everything is finalized. That funding is so important to me, because it allows me to actually live without being too dependent on work. My job is great and they give me all the hours I need, it’s just that  I can’t overwork myself. I need to focus on my studies.

Just last year, during my first semester, I was a full-time student working 30 hours a week. I managed to maintain my A average, but holy Hannah that was hard. The next semester I made the executive decision to work a little less at 25 hours a week. I’m hoping to continue that type of schedule for this year too, because I’m always the type of person who bites off way more than they can chew. If I start my semester at a good strong pace, I should be able to finish at the same pace as well.

I’m excited for September to start, since I find that the school year makes time fly by! I’m just so busy with work and school that weeks turn to months and suddenly I’m in the next semester with just weeks to go! This one will be especially special though, since I’m graduating! My mom’s already been on my butt asking about when the graduation is. Meanwhile I’m here and I haven’t even chosen my classes yet.

But here we are with a finished student loan application and enrolled in all required classes. As Shakespeare once wrote : All’s well that ends well.

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I’m homesick.

It’s a feeling you have during different times of your life.

The first times would have probably been during your childhood, going to a sleepover for the first time. A strange bed in a strange house, eating some strange food, it can be a little overwhelming. But usually, you get the hang of it, and the more and more you go on sleepovers, the more and more you love them.

Then you get a little older, teenage years, and your school plans a trip. Some kind of school trip that takes a few hours to get there and you’ll be away from home for a few days. Maybe it’s some kind of camp, or leadership group, doesn’t matter. The fact is, this is a long sleepover, but eventually you’ll just start seeing it as a vacation.

Then you graduate. Maybe you move out, and maybe that new place is near. Or maybe that new place is really far. In my case, my new place was really really far. Like I’m talking ’24 hour drive away’ far. It was great at first, minus the few setbacks that didn’t make it so great. But now I’m feeling homesick.

I think it was the freedom that made it great. The life lessons, the adulting, the mistakes, the memories. And you know, it’s okay to love being away from home. It’s okay to sit there and think ‘I wouldn’t move back home in a million years’. That is definitely NOT the case for me. Don’t get me wrong, if I hadn’t moved here, there are a lot of amazing things in my life that I wouldn’t have.

The truth is, I’m about to start my 4th summer away from home, and I miss home so much. I miss my family, my friends, the beach, the views, the weather, the everything. I never ever thought that I’d be the one who’d be so impatient to move back home.

I’ve always been family oriented, and I thought this distance wouldn’t really bother me, but it does. I miss my mom and my dad. And I miss having family suppers with my aunts, uncles, and grandparents. I miss my sister, and my cousin. I miss all of them. This is just another summer away from home and this homesickness grows stronger with it.

It’s not like I’m able to just take the summer off and go join all of them, eating lobster at the cottage. I need to pay my bills, which means I need to work, which means I don’t really get time off. But that’s okay. I start my 4th year of university this September, which means the end is near. I might not move back right away, I might stay a little while and work, to get some money in the bank. But from now until two years from now I’ll probably move back home, or be in the process.

And who can blame me? I’m from Prince Edward Island, CA. Look it up, it’s gorgeous.

I’m a tough cookie though, so I’ll be okay. Besides, I’m a happy human living a happy life. I just sometimes wish I was a little closer to my family.

What a slump…

Does anyone else ever feel like this?

It’s hard to talk about sometimes, because someone will ask: “What’s wrong?”. I don’t really know how to answer that question. Nothing is actually wrong right now, except for a sore throat that’s been brewing for a few days, but that’s beyond the point.

A mere few years ago, my life was in a dark place and I had to take drastic measures to cut out the bad in order to make room for the good. I did what I had to do and it has made the world of a difference.

There have been a lot of positive changes that I very grateful for. My home life has improved immensely, my financial situation isn’t as dire, and my love of life has come back in full swing.

However, there are still some days that I feel in a slump. There is no amount of time that I could dedicate to try and come up with a reason as to why. Maybe I haven’t been as productive in certain aspects of my life as I would like to be, such as writing (and this blog). But life happens, and I’m starting to think that I’m being too hard on myself.

My significant other is constantly reminding me that to achieve my goals, I need to struggle. The struggle means you’re working on it, you’re getting somewhere even if it is at snail speed. Maybe my slump is my struggle, however I sometimes feel unmotivated. Which doesn’t feel like a struggle at all, it just feels like I’m throwing in the towel and hoping that tomorrow will be a better day.

Is it because I’m getting older? I just turned 23, which yes I know is still very young. But I think back to when I was 17-18 and I felt so full of confidence. I never hesitated or told myself that I couldn’t do something. That confidence seems to have faded to the background.

Or is there some other hidden reason behind this feeling. I’m still working hard to try and find out why, and I’m not afraid to take the steps needed to find some extra help. I feel that if I could understand this feeling, or get down to the root of it, then I could take the steps needed to alleviate how drastically it affects me.

I’ve got to keep my head high and remember that I’m only being me. If that’s what it means to struggle, then so be it. The world is full of opportunities, and I sometimes forget that I need to carve my own path to get from A to B, since no one else has lived my life, and no one else can tell me how to do it.

This would be the perfect opportunity to say something cliché like “Just you wait, I’m just getting started”. But we all know that I started this journey quite a while back, I think it’s just time to refocus, zero in on those life goals of mine and continue chipping away at them. The struggle is as on as it’s ever been, and I’m not giving up, no matter the slump.

 

A Big Responsibility

When you grow up, you get thrust different types of responsibilities. And these responsibilities, in my opinion, have different levels of difficulty.

You’ve got a responsibility to be a decent human being, which somehow some people find this difficult. Trust me, it isn’t.

You’ve also got the responsibility of going to work and doing a good job, like finishing your tasks in an acceptable manner. Depending on said job, the difficulty here can vary.

Yet, later in life there are bigger responsibilities that you need to be able to accomplish every day to the best of your ability. These responsibilities are running a household, or having children. Those, I classify a little higher on the difficulty scale. It doesn’t come easy, you usually have a huge learning curve to be able to manage those types of responsibilities.

Now you might be thinking, where is she going with this? Is… Is she going to have a child?!? No, no goodness no. Not yet at least, I’d like to believe I have a few more years before that happens. No, what I’m trying to get at is that my significant other and I have recently brought on a new responsibility in our lives that surprised us, in a good way.

At first, I knew it would be a difficult responsibility and I was right, it was actually really hard to get used to it the first few days, but we’ve gotten pretty good at our schedule change. Our priorities have shifted immensely.

We got a dog. We adopted a rescue dog from Louisiana, who had a rough start at life. But he’s the sweetest thing so we decided now was the time to bring this family of 2, to a family of 3.

His name was Huey, but he never listened to that name so we’ve renamed him to Winston! He’s 2 years old, and he’s the sweetest thing. Full of energy, needs to learn a bit of discipline, but all around good dog that is fitting in really well with us. We’ve had him for 1 month as of today. I mean just look at him!

He’s a heeler mix. Basically the perfect herding or hunting dog and we’ve already fallen in love with the guy. We knew it would be a lot of work, but we were ready for the challenge and I think its safe to say we’ve succeeded so far as dog parents.

Since he’s a rescue dog, he has a few health problems. The first being heartworms, very common thing found in dogs rescued from the states, especially southern ones. He also had a nasty cough when we first had him, but that’s cleared up now.

You see, a dog is a big responsibility because this is a living breathing creature that lives for your attention and love. It can’t care for itself. It can’t let itself out to go do its business, it also can’t tell you when its feeling ill or wanting something.

I’m not saying having a dog is the same as having a child, but mildly. Also, having a dog isn’t cheap. You can’t just neglect visits to the vet, and those visits are extremely pricey. So don’t go into it thinking your dog will be the healthiest thing ever and he doesn’t need to go to the vet, because you’re wrong. Things happen, dogs get sick and you need to be prepared to deal with those situations as they come to you. (cats too!)

But a dog was a great idea, he brightens up the mood when we’re home alone and makes us laugh because he is just so goofy. If you feel like your life could use a pick me up, and you feel you could handle all the responsibilities that come with having a dog, then you should do it! It’s very rewarding.

 

Building a habit

So lately, I’ve done a lot of growing up.

I’ve forced myself to build certain habits to live a more efficient life which would in hopes make me live a happier life and so far, it’s working!

Being an adult is hard and I thought it would take me a long time to get the hang of it, but really it’s all about time management. I’m proud to say that even though I have been living on my own for a few years now, I’m starting to get the hang of this whole adulting thing. A lot of these habits are very recent changes that I’ve incorporated into my life. My boyfriend has been a great help in helping me stay true to these habits, to be quite honest we do most of these things together.

1. Grocery Shopping is done every single Sunday

-We have a list of all the items we need, they usually are always the same with very little variations. We buy just enough to last us the week, no more no less.

-Old Natalie would have waited to buy groceries randomly when she was out of something, so there wasn’t much consistency in having a stocked fridge in case of emergencies like company or work lunches                                                                            

2. Laundry is done every single weekend.

-We do one or two loads, depending on how many towels need to be washed, obviously, this isn’t a lot of laundry, but we’re just a household of two people, so we can’t really produce that much laundry. Our hedgehog has blankets that need to be washed, those get thrown in with the towels when we do a load of them. I even threw out or donated a lot of my old clothes that I didn’t need.

Old Natalie would have waited until she was either out of one of two things; socks or underwear. I had a LOT of clothes so that would sometimes last a long time. (You don’t even want to know how long.)

3. Meal prepping is done once a week usually on Saturday or Sunday

– Meal prepping has been a great help! We just make one big  meal and that lasts us almost all week. Occasionally we need to cook a slightly bigger supper in order to have leftovers for Thursday and Friday but we’re usually pretty on top of it. Plus, meal prepping means you can make healthy things. So even on the go, you don’t have to sacrifice quality for quick.

Old Natalie would have cooked very little and stayed with easy choices like KD and instant noodles. Not very healthy… Sometimes it was just easier not to eat at all, which is never a good idea.

4. Dishes are done frequently.

– It probably helps that we have a dishwasher and a double sink, but dishes don’t pile up nearly as much as they used to. Meal prepping has caused more dishes to be made, but at least now I do them. haha.

Old Natalie would have not done dishes. They were only done in case of emergencies. But sometimes a dish would get so bad, it was easier to throw it out than to clean it. I’m ashamed to admit that that’s happened more than once in the past. But it won’t happen again.

 

So yeah, those are basically the big habits that have been in effect for a while now. It’s safe to say I still have a lot to learn, like cleaning everyday household items, I need to get better at remembering to wash the floors, bathtub and other items more frequently. I’m not saying I’m disgusting, in any means, I still do those things, but I just wish I had a better cleaning schedule, in time I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it and I won’t forget those simple things, because let’s be honest, those chores don’t take long to do at all. Sometimes I’m just busy and it slips my mind or I’m lazy.

The road to adulthood is a long one, but I’m getting there, slowly but surely.

Good luck to all of the other young adults out there trying to figure out how to get their sh*t together. And also to the seasoned adults who have been at it for a while, but are still struggling with the same simple tasks. You give me hope that perfection will probably never be achieved, and I’m okay with that.

Never give up, always try to improve yourself!

Nat

I’m overwhelmed.

A lot has happened in the last few months. *chuckles* It feels like I lead with that line a lot, but honestly I’m a little overwhelmed with all of this.

In my latest update post, I made a confession that was hard to do. I thought, how do I bring something like that up? And to be truthful, it’s been difficult to admit it out loud.

I didn’t really notice or understand how badly the situation had affected me and it’s still very hard to talk about. It still feels very real. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to see certain things the same way. Sometimes I’ll think of things or I’ll see things that just remind me of things I wish I could just forget about. It’s like a bruise that’ll hurt forever but for different reasons and at random times.

I hurt for others. I hurt for all of those who live through what I went through every day of their lives. I see things now in public or online and it hurts a lot. I hurt because I’m more nervous and anxious than usual. I still flinch in certain situations. I’m sensitive to certain topics or subjects. I don’t want to be, but I am. It’s all still very traumatic. And most of it is irrational.

I find myself reminding myself that I’m not living that kind of life anymore. Reassuring myself that whatever happened will never happen again. That I’m safe now. 🙂 And I know all of this to be true, but it just hasn’t settled my anxiety yet.

But that’s not what’s overwhelming me the most. It’s not the sadness and anxiety, it’s the amount of happiness and joy that I’ve felt that’s what’s most overwhelming.

I learned to love again. Like really LOVE!

I’m seeing someone new. And he’s absolutely amazing. This guy encourages me to listen to music. Encourages me to just sit down and write. He’ll sing songs with me on the radio. He’s been the one to help me learn how to love again. He’s taught me how to love myself and everything that makes me, me. The amount of support and love he’s shown me has been overwhelming. I don’t even think he knows how much of a dream these last few weeks have been. He has not the slightest idea how much he’s helped me. There just aren’t enough words to describe how thankful I am to have him around.

I regained my love of music. I listen to music in the car now. I also put on music while I’m by myself at home. I didn’t realise how much I missed it. Like, I could honestly burst into tears. Joyful tears. Because, as I type this I’m sitting by myself listening to music. Something I had long forgotten how, or wasn’t allowed, to do. I had forgotten how to love music. How crazy is that? I’m shaking my head while re-reading it.

I’ve regained my love of writing. The ideas flow so smoothly out of my mind now. It was like I had a writer’s block that was so dense I never thought I’d write again. A blank page was so daunting. Now a blank page is a challenge, it’s so much just waiting to written out. All these ideas that I’ve had on the back burners in my mind are bursting through and my brain wants to write it all out. Get these stories out there fast!

And all of this freaks me out. I went from a point so low in my life to this! Within just a couple months. I feel better than I’ve ever felt before. My friends and family have been such a great support group. I don’t know what I’d do without them. I am just so, so grateful.

I’d like to thank my mom who came over for my birthday. It was a short visit but it was so perfect. My mother is one of my biggest inspirations and having her around helped me survive this huge event in my life. Also, a giant shout out to Heather. She’s been by my side through so much. I don’t know what I’d do without her. Girl, if you’re reading this, THANK YOU! .

To all my friends and family, you’ve all saved me. I am so thankful for having all of you in my life.

Gah, I know, I know. So serious, so deep. I’ll stop now. I’m making myself cry from being so darn happy. Sheesh. ❤

A lot has happened.

I’ve been trying to write this post for a long time now. How do I start it. I have so much on my mind. So much to say.

At first I thought well I should just say everything. In one long post. Explain exactly what has happened to me. Explain exactly how I feel. I realise now that it’s too much. It’s too much to write it all down in one sitting. It’s physically and mentally too exhausting.

I was abused.

I didn’t even realise what was happening at first. I didn’t see all the red flags. Almost a full year I stayed with that guy… He poisoned my mind. Told me I wasn’t good enough, told me I was bringing all of this upon myself. The insults, the cruelty, the hitting. It was all my fault. I won’t go into details because they truly are horrifying.

So it’s done. I got out of the toxic relationship that almost ruined me. Almost.

You see, I’m not this horrible person that he made me believe that I was. I’m not useless, stupid, dumb or pathetic.

I’m so much more than that. I’m nice, smart, lovable, talented, honest, etc. I’m a good person. And I almost forgot how great I was… I can’t believe I almost let this man control my life and change the way I think about myself.

Leaving him has changed my life around. I listen to music again, I have the itch to write again. I sing songs again. I smile now. I’ve become so strong and confident.

My advice to you:

If you’re in a relationship and you’re having doubts. Leave. Relationships are hard sometimes, but loving someone shouldn’t be hard. Love is supposed to come easily. If whoever you’re with puts you down and doesn’t support you and what you believe in. Leave him or her. It isn’t worth your time to be with someone who doesn’t make you happy. And if ever you are touched or hurt physically, you leave that person immediately. No ifs ands or buts. No matter how much he or she tells you they love you. You should never ever have to be hurt. (unless you’re into some weird sex stuff). Don’t let anyone lay a hand on you. If you’re having a hard time leaving a relationship, find someone you can trust. Get the help you need and leave that person. You’re worth it. Trust me, you are worth so much more than that.