Thankful Thursday 7: Birthday Week

Welcome to the seventh instalment of my Thankful Thursday! This week’s theme is my birthday week. Sadly, I’m a day late again, but I’m vowing not to make it a trend! Next week’s Thankful Thursday will come out on Thursday.

This week I’m focusing on gratitude for my life in general and what turning 27 has meant to me.

Here’s my Thankful Thursday for the Week of May 25-May 31, 2018!

Things I am thankful for this week:

  • The awesome birthday I had on Wednesday
    • Work was a low-stress day, and I had my prep block (on day 1 I teach all 4 blocks, but on day 2 I teach 3)
    • I got my free Starbucks birthday drink (Triple Venti Caramel Macchiato)
    • Andrew and I went to dinner at Earl’s and watched the hockey and tennis
    • Then we went to see Deadpool 2 which was HILARIOUS

The title of this post, Birthday Week!

  • Every year on my birthday, I naturally get retrospective about the last year. Usually this leads to gratitude. My 20s have been incredibly eventful so far, and I have so much to be thankful for, this year especially!
    • I finished my Diploma in Guidance Studies, the first step to becoming a counsellor.
    • I got a full-time continuing contract with West Vancouver Schools, at the school I’m at this year. For all you NB’ers, this means a B contract. I’m here to stay!
    • I got accepted to my Master’s program of choice at UBC, School Counselling. This will be my fourth (and last!!!) university program. I’m very excited to start in September (and excited to finish May 2021).
    • I coached three rugby teams (girls’ age-grade club, high school girls, and girls’ PRCs).
    • I signed up for two more half marathons and ran one (the next is June 24th, and I’m rehabbing my butt off to be able to run it!).
    • Andrew and I got to spend a rejuvenating weekend in Whistler around our second wedding anniversary.
    • We also got to go to Calgary for Christmas and spend a week with family.
    • I travelled to Cuba with Mom for a week over Spring Break.
    • Both Andrew and I are feeling happier than ever and really excited about our life plans.
  • Life is pretty good, and on my 27th birthday I was and am feeling really grateful for my past 27 years of life. I’m working in a professional field that I love, and I get to write and be creative and read like a fiend in my spare time. I’m active and do community activities, and I hang out with friends virtually and in-person often. Mental health is a struggle as it always has been, but I’m really getting good at appreciating what I have. Here’s to my 28th year!

There you have it!

So, that’s my Thankful Thursday list for this week. I hope it inspires you to make your own, and get on that gratitude train!

Peace and love,


Thankful Thursday 6: Organization

Welcome to the sixth instalment of my Thankful Thursday! This week’s theme is organization, but ironically, this is the week that it went off the rails a little (considering today is actually Friday). I knew it would happen eventually. It also makes a lot of sense to me that the first time it would happen during a holiday week.

This week I’m focusing on gratitude for the organization I’m making happen in my life.

Here’s my Thankful Thursday for the Week of May 18-May 24, 2018!

Things I am thankful for this week:

  • All of the amazing food I’ve eaten this week
    • Drinks and appies at Uva with my best friend, and then pizza and a s’mores calzone at Firecrust!
      Drinks at Uva.
      The arancini we ate at Uva.
      My build-your-own pizza.

      The s’mores calzone!
    • Brunch (and dessert) (and coffee coffee coffee) at Craft Beer Market in False Creek (this is my husband and I’s favourite weekend spot).
      The beautiful view near our favourite brunch place in False Creek.

      It’s called “dessert in a jar.” It’s awesome. Banana, chocolate sauce, toffee, ice cream, brownie, and whipped cream. Two spoons, of course.
    • Free popcorn and pop (and nachos we paid for) at the advanced showing of Solo: A Star Wars Story that we got to see through Andrew’s work. I’m also grateful for getting to go see the movie early!
    • Coffee at Matchstick with another best friend!
    • A delicious Starbucks breakfast with Andrew on the holiday Monday
  •  I had a guest speaker in for most of the week in my Planning 10 classes, which meant that I got a bit of a break at work. Of course I was still in all of my classes, but I didn’t have to plan the lessons, which was really nice for a change.
  • As I mentioned above, we had a long weekend for Victoria Day, and I’m really thankful for that! Andrew now gets his holiday Mondays off, which is really nice because we get to spend time together.
  • In addition to the holiday Monday, Friday was a Professional Development Day (in BC we call them Pro-D), which meant that I got to go to work and get a lot of things done and organized. Speaking of which…

The title of this post, Organization!

  • There are two main reasons that I chose organization for this week’s gratitude theme. One is that because I had a guest speaker in many of my classes and a Pro-D on Friday, I had a lot of opportunities to get organized at work. The other is that I got a burst of inspiration over the long weekend for how to further organize our home.
  • I’m always grateful for the opportunity to do some organization for work. Teaching 7 different classes with only 1h20 to prep once every two days leads to a lot of organizational backlog sometimes. It’s hard to stay on top of things. The Pro-D day really helped. Most of the time we have organized activities on these days, but this time we just got time to work on new curriculum implementation, and I got a lot of things done. It felt great!
  • Also, now and then I start to go stir crazy in our apartment. So I’m really thankful for the spark of inspiration and motivation I got over the weekend to change things up a bit. We have a kind of useless space between where our kitchen and entryway are, and our living room. We’ve had a small dining table there for the last while, but we never eat at it – we tended to use it for food storage instead. It was really a wasted space. So I decided that it would be a great idea to do away with the table and  get a big shelving unit for that wall area instead. We decided on Sunday, and off we went to IKEA on the holiday Monday. I had the shelf together by Monday evening, and I’ve spent the rest of the week moving things around and organizing. It’s been great! Here’s the process:
    BEFORE: The awkward space in our apartment. At this point, I had already taken apart the dining table, but for reference, that square piece of glass was the top of it, and the table was in the left-hand corner.
    The shelf, put together!

    The shelf, mid organizing! This is about where we’re at right now. More to come later!

There you have it!

So, that’s my Thankful Thursday list for this week. I hope it inspires you to make your own, and get on that gratitude train!

Peace and love,


Marrying Young: The Myths Busted

My first wedding anniversary was Monday, the 25th. My husband and I celebrated a decade together on June 16th. It’s a monumental period in our lives, and recently I’ve been reflecting a lot on marrying young (I was 24, he 26). One really strong sentiment always seems to come up when I reflect on our marriage:
Since we got married, things are different. Better.

That’s not to say that they weren’t great before we got married. They were amazing. Wonderful. Fabulous. But now they’re even better.

Another thing I’ve been reflecting on since we got engaged when I was 21 is the growing trend of hate toward couples that are marrying young. There is no shortage of blog posts and articles out there that explain why it’s a terrible idea (see exhibit Aexhibit B, and exhibit C for examples).

I did find one that echoes a lot of my own thoughts, this article by Ellie Krupnick, but I have more to say.

Before I begin, know that I’m not about to tell you that marrying young is for everyone. People are different. However, there are a lot of flaws in the “logic” and “common sense” I’ve found on the negative side of the topic.

Overall, I found three myths at the core of each marrying young-bashing article or post:

Myth One: If you’re in your early 20s, you’re too young to know what you want in a partner, or to understand what “real” love is.

The idea here is that youth prevents you from understanding what it means to love someone in manner that would be the basis for a successful marriage, and that youth and inexperience in the dating arena prevent you from knowing what you want and need from a partner.

Myth Two: Marriage is an end, and it sucks the fun out of life.

Anti-marrying young voices also suggest that marriage inherently takes away your individuality, and your ability to advance in your career, to hang out with members of the sex(es) and/or gender(s) you are attracted to, to get drunk, to go out without your spouse, to be independent, to experiment sexually, to mature and grow, to travel, to learn about yourself, or, essentially, to ever have fun again. Ever.

This myth also carries with it the similar idea that marriage automatically makes you a boring, stagnant, lonely, sexless, helpless, unsuccessful baby machine.

Myth Three: Marriage takes away your capacity to change, and means that changing is a bad thing.

The marrying young naysayers suggest that once you’re married, you no longer have the capacity to change. And that even if you were to change, that would be terrible, because your spouse would no longer love you.

I call bullshit on all of those.

Myth One, busted: The absence of a positive does not equal a negative, and love is ageless.

Not having been with many (or any) other people before marrying young does not automatically mean that there is an absence of knowledge about what you want and need in a partner. I know myself well. I know that I need someone who can handle my anxiety. Someone logical, affectionate, and funny. Someone loyal, hardworking, and dedicated. I didn’t need to figure that out by dating more than one person – I did it by learning about myself, which has nothing to do with other people the number of people that you date, or the length of time you spend dating before marrying. Learning about yourself comes from introspection and socialization, both of which a person has done ample amounts of by their mid-20s. Self-knowledge shouldn’t be a barrier to marrying young, or a determining factor as to whether or not a marriage will succeed.

Marriage will always inherently carry this weight, the definiteness of choosing not to worry about the what if.

When I was younger, my friends would ask, “How do you know he’s the one if he’s the only person you’ve ever dated? How do you know there isn’t something better out there?” (He’s not the only person, but that’s another story.) I’d always respond, “And what if I’d left him and never found anything as awesome?” Marriage will always inherently carry this weight, the definiteness of choosing not to worry about the what if. Besides, if I had dated more people, I could still have been asked those questions. How do you know he’s right for you? How do you know the next one won’t be better?

The fear that you might be missing out on something better is just an unwillingness to commit to the awesomeness that you have now. And if what you have now isn’t awesome, then it’s not right.

To “not know what love really is” due to youth is backwards. From the moment a child is born it knows love. Humans have an innate ability to love and be loved. Age is irrelevant. I have always voiced the conviction that my husband and I were forever. Even as young as fifteen. I always knew. There is a timelessness to our love that I have always felt. I am not religious, but I believe that reincarnation exists simply because I know that my soul has loved him for longer than this life alone. No matter who we have been and who we will become, our love is the constant. To invalidate that because I am young is nonsense.

Myth Two, busted: Marriage is a beginning, and it can’t take your fun away from you.

Let’s look at bust this list of 23 things Vanessa suggests you do instead of getting engaged before you’re 23:

  1. Get a passport. I’ve had one since I was 6 months old.
  2. Find your “thing.” I did. Before I even met my husband. And then I found more things. On my own and with him.
  3. Make out with a stranger. No thank-you. This would never be appealing to me at any point in my life, long-term relationship or not.
  4. Adopt a pet. We want to. And I would argue that it’s easier to adopt a pet with a partner. Financially, training-wise, and for the pet. They get more attention and have to stay at home alone less.
  5. Start a band. I’ve been in several, does that count?
  6. Make a cake. 1010460_10202503894712228_902725540_n
    Make a second cake. Have your cake and eat it too. And check and check. I make this chocolate cake weekly, no joke.
  7. Get a tattoo. It’s more permanent than a marriage. Working on it.
  8. Explore a new religion. I’m agnostic. And I came to that realization through exploration with my husband.
  9. Start a small business. That’s not my thing. Didn’t you tell me to find it earlier?
  10. Cut your hair. I did, a few months after getting married, for the first time in 11 years!
  11. Date two people at once and see how long it takes to blow up in your face. Hells no. The idea of this makes my anxiety explode into full-on panic.
  12. Build something with your hands. I do this often. I did before, and I still do.
  13. Accomplish a Pinterest project. This too.
  14. Join the Peace Corps. Again, not my thing.
  15. Disappoint your parents. Been there, done that.
  16. Watch Girls, over and over again. I watch a ton of TV. Both alone and with my hubby. I actually watched way less TV before we were together.
  17. Eat a jar of Nutella in one sitting.  Done. While engaged. More than once. University is hard.
  18. Make strangers feel uncomfortable in public places. Done.
  19. Sign up for CrossFit. No thanks. That’s dangerous. You keep your dangerous peer pressure (that’s another story). I’ll stick to biking, hiking, running, and (safe) solo weight training.
  20. Hangout naked in front of a window. I can’t do that anymore? Shucks. Tell that to my neighbours, that will disappoint them. It’s a regular occurrence. My apartment is North-East-facing and all windows. Which also not so conveniently makes it a sauna.
  21. Write your feelings down in a blog. Um… hi.
  22. Be selfish. I’m the most selfish person I know. Ask my husband.
  23. Come with me to the Philippines for Chinese New Year. I think this (again) implies that with marriages comes the absence of travel. I got married in July 2015. Since then, I’ve been to Mexico, Calgary (twice with my husband, and three times alone), New Brunswick, and Shawnigan Lake, and will be hitting up Victoria, New Brunswick again, and Kelowna in the next few weeks.

Marriage is the beginning (usually continuation) of exploring and learning and adventuring with a person of your choosing. Choosing to be with them for the rest of your lives doesn’t immediately suck the fun out of everything. Nor does it take away your ability to learn about yourself, be spontaneous, have great friendships, try new things, or be wild. People believe that marrying young also implies a mortgage, kids, and a minivan. First, those things are not negative, and second, they’re not a necessity that comes along with the signing of the statement of marriage. Marriage is saying, “Let’s build a life, however we want to, together.”

Marrying young doesn’t mean you have to settle down. It means you’ll always have an adventure partner. It means you’ll always have someone to pick you up when you fail, and cheering you on when you succeed.

Myth Three, busted: Change is so, so important, and marriage instigates change.

Change is what makes a young couple like my husband and I so powerful. We’ve been together through some of the most volatile and fluctuating times in our lives (thus far). We were angsty, over-involved teenagers. We’ve gone to university, chosen career paths, moved across the country, chosen our home base, done long-distance (twice), and traveled. Together and apart. Through these things has been the never-ending subtext of love. We’ve already changed so much. The only constant has been our love. And even that has changed shape, grown and developed.  People inevitably change, but our core characteristics are determined well before we start dating. Likes and dislikes change. Mood changes. Physique changes. The things that a person enjoys doing change.

Changes don’t matter. They just make your partner more interesting.

I think that the reason marriages so often fail is that we fall in love with the wrong parts of our partners. We love them because they love the same things as us, because they’re always positive or happy, because they give us awesome gifts. We don’t love them for who they are at their core. If your character jives with your partner’s, that won’t change. Any other changes don’t matter. They just make your partner more interesting, and they can often be for the better – I don’t eat Nutella by the jarful anymore because, although delicious, it helped me gain 30 pounds (no joke). I also enjoy different physical activities than I did as a teen. Neither of these things makes me less neurotic or more extroverted.

Love is a choice. A choice to always love the core of a person and to enjoy watching them grow, develop, and change. It’s exciting.

When we got married, our best became better.

There’s something tangibly different in the way we are together now that we’re married. We deal with everything about our partnership and life differently. This could be for any number of reasons, but it feels like it’s because we’re married.

We’ve been together for a decade: That’s ten years to learn about each other. Ten years to develop our strategies for handling difficult situations and disagreements. We’ve changed with each other, adapted with each other, learned from each other. We’ve always done the best we could with everything we have to make our relationship a happy, loving, and productive one. But when we got married, our best became better.

It’s time like these when I wish I’d studied psychology, because it would be so interesting to know if things like societal labels (which is essentially all that marriage is) have tangible effects on people and their relationships. It’s not like we hadn’t already vowed to love each other for eternity before making it official and putting rings on each other’s fingers.

It’s ridiculous to assume that a young person is incapable of knowing who they are, what they want, and what love is.

I’ve always worried about what other people think. It comes with the territory of having anxiety. But never my relationship, and now, never my marriage. It doesn’t worry me that other people think 24 is too young to get married, 21 too young to get engaged. I’m addressing flawed reasoning, not hurt feelings.
It’s ridiculous to assume that a young person is incapable of knowing who they are, what they want, and what love is.

I’m proud of my partnership with my husband, and I’m so incredibly thankful for it. Thankful to have found so early something it takes some people their whole lives to find, or who never find it.

As a person with anxiety, I know I’m making the right choice when my mind is still, and every day, when I wake up and choose him, my mind is quiet. My body’s only sound is the steady beating of my heart, whispering over and over, “love, love, love.”