How to make friends as an adult

newfriends

Recently, one of my friends moved to a new city and she was telling me how she’s finding it hard to meet people.  I moved to Nova Scotia almost eight years ago and I’ve made so many great friends here.  I’m lucky though because Nova Scotians tend to be super open and willing to talk to pretty much anyone.  I mean, by the time you are done paying for your groceries, you will pretty much know the life story of the cashier and the person in the line up behind you.  

I feel as you get older, it becomes more difficult to meet people and make friends outside of work.  As a mom, it is especially important to have friends to lean on or to socialize with.  I’ve compiled a list of ways I have been able to make a new circle of friends in a new city.

 

 1.  Get off your phone.

We, as a society have an addiction to our phones.  Have you ever stood in a lineup by yourself or sat in a waiting room and tried not pulling out your phone?  It’s difficult.  You almost feel exposed.  Well, I suggest you try it!  No one is going to approach you or make conversation if you have your face in your phone, so put it away, make some eye contact and smile.  You never know who might smile back and initiate conversation with you.

 

2. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there

If you meet someone in a random situation and you feel like you have something in common or that there is potential for friendship, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.  The first dentist appointment I had when I moved to Nova Scotia ended up leading me to a great friendship.  Somehow, the dental hygienist and I ended up having a great conversation (yes, while her hands in my mouth).  We found out we had everything in common, we were the same age, our husbands were three years younger than us, we got engaged in the same year, we drove the exact same 2007 Silver Yaris, we had the same middle name, our husband’s had the same middle name.  We just couldn’t not be friends.  So I put myself out there and said we should hang out sometime.  Or maybe she did.  It’s been so long now I can’t remember.  In any case, one of us put ourselves out there and she became one of my favourite people in Nova Scotia. 

sarahsteve

3.  Make your Insta-friends real life friends

I’ve been making friends online ever since Myspace. Ha ha.  No, seriously!  If you find a connection online, why not extend it to real life.  Recently, I’ve turned several Insta-friends into real life friends and they have been just as wonderful in real life as they seem online.

 

4. Opportunity 

Take advantage of any opportunity that may come your way.  Recently a friend from Vancouver reached out to me and said someone she knew was moving to Nova Scotia and asked if would be alright for her to give her friend my contact number.  I agreed, and since then I have met for coffee with her friend several times and it’s been a lot of fun.

 

5.  Use your kids (or dogs)

Carlos has made fun of me and when I come home from playground he asks if I picked up another mom again.  Kids are so social and will play with any random kid at the playground, so when they do, use that to your advantage and strike up a conversation.  I have met several other moms because our kids have started to play with each other.  One friend that I see almost weekly I met at a 3-year-old’s birthday party.

 

6. Find something that interests you and pursue it

If you like to workout, join a gym.  Instead of putting your headphones in and spending the whole time on the Stairmaster, go to a class where you have to interact with other people.  If you are interested in photography, join a photo meetup.  If you love to blog, go to a blogging conference.  The options are unlimited.  If you find people who love the same things you do, then you have a common ground on which to build friendships.

 

7.  Create your own community

Start something up yourself.  Organize a block party for your neighbourhood.  Start a wine club, book club, an anything club!  Create a facebook page for people who just moved to your city.  Not only will you meet a bunch of people that way, but you will be the ‘go to’ person!

 

8.  Be the person you wish to meet

If you have ever moved to a new city you know how exciting it can be.  However, it can also be scary and lonely.  If you meet someone who is new to town, reach out.  Extend your number and offer to show them around.  The very first day we moved to Halifax, we were down on the waterfront and started chatting with a girl who worked in a store.  We told her it was our first day there and we had just moved from the other side of the country.  I’ll never forget what she did next.  As we were leaving the store she wrote down her name and number and said: “Since you don’t know anyone here, I’ll give you my number and maybe we can hang out sometime.”  A week later, Carlos left to go up north for work and this girl invited me to a BBQ at her house.  It was such a simple thing that she did, but to me it meant a lot because I barely knew anyone here.  So if you meet someone new to town, be the one to welcome them.  They won’t forget it.

 

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Let’s Talk

My husband said the nicest thing ever to me the other day.  He said, “My first client cancelled tomorrow, if you want, I can get up and watch the kids so you can take a shower.”

It was like music to my ears.  To someone who doesn’t have kids, that may not sound like much, but I think most mothers will agree with me that there’s nothing better than being able to take a shower in the morning all by yourself.

Then he said something even better!  He said on Wednesday he didn’t have to start work until a bit later so if I wanted he could get up with the kids and I could go grab some coffee and spend some time to myself.  So this is what I’m currently doing as I write this blog.  I am sitting at my favourite coffee shop, Apartment 3, with my laptop, an Americano, and a vegan muffin.  I can breathe and I can hear myself think.  It means more to me then he could ever realize.  I love my kids, but to have a healthy state of mind, I need time to myself.  I need to be more than a mother.  I need to still be able to be myself.

On my way to Apartment 3, I wondered what I should write about when I worked on my blog.  As I opened up my Instagram feed I realized that today is Bell Let’s Talk Day.  So it seems fitting to open up a bit and talk about mental health.

I went to Podcamp Halifax on the weekend and I was so inspired by the last talk I went to see with Ruth McMullen who has recently started Optimistically Depressed.  I had actually sat down in another room to listen to another talk and my gut told me I needed to go listen to what Ruth had to say.  So I did something I should do more often.  I followed my gut.  I left the room and went over to see the talk Optimistically Depressed.

Ruth was incredibly brave to be so candid with her struggles with depression and before I knew it the room full of people opened up and revealed that they all too, struggle with different mental health issues.  I think there is so much shame felt around mental health and that needs to change.  I think sometimes opening up about things takes the power away from the shame.

Something that Ruth said her grandmother always told her really stuck with me.  She used to tell Ruth “Everyone has a story.”  Her grandma was right.  Everyone has their own story.  Most of the time, we don’t know what that story is.  We don’t see the struggles that people have, we only see what they want us to see.  We only see the pretty pictures they post on Instagram.

I feel like often the people who are struggling the most are the people who appear the happiest.  There was a man who worked at the airport who I was friends with.  He was friends with everyone at the airport and he always seemed SO happy and was always cracking jokes.  I remember when I told him I was pregnant for the first time.  He was so happy for me and opened up to me that he and his wife had tried for a long time to have kids and when they finally did, he said it was the biggest blessing in his life.  He congratulated me and gave me a big hug.  I would have hugged him even harder if I knew that was the last time I would ever see him.  A few days later he hung himself.

It showed me you never really know how people are feeling. I too, went through a really dark time when one of my family members was struggling with their own mental illness.  I cried every day for almost 6 months straight.  I stopped working out and stopped taking care of myself.  I was consumed by guilt and shame, but every day I went to work and plastered a smile on my face and pretended like everything was okay.  Thankfully my husband stood by me and supported me and helped get me through the hardest time in my life.  One day, I would like to be able to open up about this a little bit more, but I’m not ready yet.

fated

I don’t believe that people look at my Instagram and feel like I have it all together, but if you do, I want to let you know that’s not true.  Actually, I recently went on medication for Postpartum Anxiety, which, to be honest, I didn’t even know was a thing.  I had been feeling really anxious and I remember telling Carlos that I just didn’t feel ‘right.’  There were a few times where I had been grocery shopping and had to leave the store because of the anxiety I felt and was worried I was going to have a panic attack for no reason at all.

I didn’t think I had postpartum because I wasn’t feeling depressed, but when I went to my doctor for the flu shot, she asked me how things were going and I just opened up and told her I had been feeling anxious, overwhelmed, irritable and angry.  When she told me it sounded like postpartum anxiety I actually felt relieved.  It gave me a reason why I had been feeling so off.  After pregnancy, your hormones can be so out of wack, that sometimes you just need a little help balancing them out.  And that is okay.

I encourage you to talk to someone if you are not feeling right.  You are not alone and there is help out there.  Maybe if we all start talking about it we will help others in knowing it is okay not to be okay.  I would personally like to thank Ruth and Arthur and some of the other people I met the other day.  Your openness was very much appreciated.

 

 

 

 

Why I Stopped doing Photography

I never really knew what I wanted to do with my life.  It weighed heavily on me through the last part of high school and all through University.  I graduated with a degree in Geography and a minor in English from UBC and had no idea what to do next.  So I decided to travel.  Through travelling, I discovered I really enjoyed photography.  I bought my first camera, a Canon Rebel and took it with me on a three-month backpacking trip across Australia and New Zealand.

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Photo by Amish Solanki 2007

Finally, I felt like I had found something I was truly passionate about.  I wanted to do photography.  I signed up for a bunch of courses and learned as much as I could.  People from my classes would meet up after class and go on photo adventures.  I loved spending hours going through the photos afterwards and perfecting the images in Lightroom and Photoshop.  It sparked something in me and made me feel alive.

Then, friends started asking me if I could do headshots for them, or engagement shoots and even some weddings.  So I did.  I started making the transition from a hobby to a small business, but when people enquired how much it would be for a photoshoot, I would freeze.  I would become overwhelmed with anxiety.  I would get inside my head and wonder if I was good enough.  I had finally felt like I had found something I was good at, but when I felt the pressure of being good enough for other people, I lost my confidence.

As far as the feedback I received from the people I did photoshoots for, they were all really happy.  However, the stress I felt surrounding these shoots, and the pressure I put on myself had robbed the joy from something I had loved so deeply.

Then I moved to Nova Scotia.  Before I got hired on with WestJet, I considered several times to start up my own business here as a photographer.  Every time I started to sit down and work on a business plan, that little voice would come back in my head and remind me of the possibility of failure.  It would always take me back to one question: “what if you’re not good enough?”

My insecurities got the best of me and I told myself that if I didn’t try, then I couldn’t fail.  So I didn’t try.  How horrible is that?  I didn’t even try.  It’s been a conclusion I have come to many times in my life in different situations.  Looking back I know I could have been successful if I had believed in myself.  I wonder, where could I be now if I had just taken the chance?

Since moving to Nova Scotia almost 8 years ago, I have only pulled out my camera a handful of times.  I miss it.  I took it out last week to take some photos of the kids and I started going through the memory card.  It still had photos on it from 2013.  That’s how little I use it.  The revelation made me really sad and I have made the decision to try to find my passion for photography again.  It’s part of the reason why I wanted to start this blog too.  It’s part of the reason why my word of 2019 is DOER, because I no longer want to hold myself back.   I no longer want to be afraid of failure, because even if I fail, I will have tried, and from now on, in my books that will be considered a win.

 

Zoodles with Creamy Alfredo Sauce (Vegan)

I may be a little addicted to carbs… so I’ve recently been trying to use healthier alternatives. Carlos really liked this one (and he was a chef!) so I feel like it’s share-worthy! It is a delicious alternative to Fettuccine Alfredo!  Serves 2.

INGREDIENTS:

4 medium zucchini

2 avocado

1/2 lemon

Handful of basil

Handful of cilantro (optional)

Pink Himalayan Salt to taste

2 tsp Nutritional Yeast

2 tbsp Olive oil

2 cloves of garlic

1-2 medium tomatoes

1/2 cup olives

chilli flakes (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

With all 4 zucchinis use a spiralizer to create the ‘zoodles’ (zucchini noodles). I have a spiralizer similar to this one:

Set aside.

In your food processor blend the avocado, juice from 1/2 lemon, basil, cilantro, garlic, salt and olive oil until it forms a creamy texture. You may need to add a bit of water or vegetable broth to create the consistancy you want.

Chop up tomatoes and olives into fine pieces like a salsa.

Heat frying pan on medium heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil is warm, add zoodles and stir for about 2 minutes until it they begin to become slightly translucent. Don’t over cook.

Add sauce and stir, covering the noodles, just enough to heat it all up.

Transfer onto a plate, add tomatoes and olives, sprinkle nutritional yeast, chilli flakes and serve!

If you give it a try, please tell me what you think!

My “Word” for 2019

DOER

I’ve been hearing a lot about people picking a “word of the year” for 2019, something for them to focus on, to aspire to. Some of the people I follow have picked the words ‘fun,’ ‘believe,’ and ‘selfcare.’ All great words. It got me thinking, what would be my word?

I thought about it for a few days and I thought about a lot of ways I want my year to look, but I just couldn’t find a word that felt right.

Then it came to me when I wasn’t even looking for it. It was 4 a.m. and I had just finished nursing my 10 month old back to sleep. I don’t even remember what I was thinking about, but it came to me. DOER. DOER is going to be my word for 2019.

DOER. Is that even a word? I had to look it up. Yes! It is! Dictionary.com defines the word doer as “a person or thing that does something, especially a person who gets things done with vigor and efficiency. A person characterized by action, as distinguished from one given to contemplation.”

I thought about other words that could be a synonym for DOER and came up with FEARLESS. Fearless is a great word. Then I realized, I am not going to be fearless. But I do want to feel the fear and do it anyway. So I am going to stick with the word DOER as my word of the year.

I am a procrastinator. I put things off and then it stresses me out. I dream of things I want to do, and then I talk myself out of them, tell myself I am not good enough. That’s why it took me over two years to start this blog.

Carlos once said to me that I’m a dreamer and he is a doer and that’s why we work well together and push each other to be better. And it’s true. He’s pushed me so many times to do the things I dreamed of doing but was scared to follow through. That is one of the reasons why I started this blog. I wanted something to hold myself accountable for following through with my dreams, to be true to myself and to create the life I want to live.

What is your word for 2019?

Tumeric Tofu Scramble

The other day I was starving and whipped up a vegan scramble using tofu instead of eggs, and I posted a photo on my Instagram stories. I had quite a few people message me and ask for the recipe, so here it is!

Ingredients:

1/2 block firm tofu

1 tsp tumeric

1/4 cup each of finely clopped red onion, red pepper, mushroom, & spinach (or vegetable of your choice)

1 -2 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

himalayan salt & pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Finely chop up your veggies. Set aside.

Heat frying pan on medium heat, add olive oil. (I recommend a cast iron pan).

Crumble up tofu with fork or hands into bowl until it resembles scrambled egg. Add tumeric and mix in.

Once pan is hot, throw the veggies in and stir for 2 minutes, add in tofu mixture. Cook on medium heat for a few minutes.

Add nutritional yeast, salt and pepper to taste, mix and serve. Voila! Serves 1-2 people.

I did make this for my mom once, and she finished the whole thing and did not realize she was not eating eggs. Mind you, my mom is 76 and I don’t think her taste buds are what they used to be! However, I do feel like this is an awesome way to replace a normal meal with a vegan option, give it a try and let me know what you think!

 

Perspective

I spent New Year’s Eve at home puking my guts up.  And I was pretty thankful for that.

nye2019

One of my biggest downfalls is living in regret.  I say “I wish I would have <done this or done that>” or “I should have…” more times than I care to admit.  It drives my husband crazy.   I don’t blame him.  It drives me crazy too.

So the second I booked our flight back from Ontario a couple days early, I had instant regret.  I should have stayed longer so I could have seen my friends who were in town.  I wish I booked the Sunday flight because the one I booked was almost sold out and we were flying standby.  As usual, I was filled with worry and anxiety over a simple decision I made.  My sister in law gave me a big hug and reassured me that everything was going to work out.

Turns out that just enough people missed their flight that we got on, we all had seats together, the flight left on time, and we were home with the kids in bed by 8pm.  The day could not have gone more smoothly.

The next day, (the day I had regretted not booking the flight for) Linden and Lucia got sick at the exact same time and kept throwing up throughout the night.  Then it was my turn.  I haven’t been that sick in a long time.  I spent New Year’s Eve in bed all day long and was back asleep at 7:30pm, the same time as the kids.

Instead of being upset that my New Year’s was ruined, I was truly so grateful!  Why was I grateful that I was in bed with the flu on NYE?  Because I was in my bed.  I didn’t get hit with the flu while I was vacationing in Ontario, or even worse, while I was on the plane.  I was so thankful my husband wasn’t sick (yet) and had been so good to me all day, letting me get my rest while he looked after two sick kids, and didn’t once complain about it.  In the end, I was grateful I trusted my gut and booked the flight home early.

One of my goals for the new year is to trust my gut, stick with my decisions and not to live with regret.  I will try to focus on the positive, instead of being consumed by the negative or things I cannot control.  The very last day of 2018 taught me an important lesson – “If you can’t change your circumstances, change your perspective”

2019 – The year we settle for nothing less than great

One of my friends posted a meme that said “almost time for that ‘new year, new me bullshit.'”  It’s funny and it’s true, but I am one of those people who likes to take the opportunity to set new goals in the new year.  It is a chance for a fresh start.

I’ll let you in on a little secret of mine.  I’ve wanted to start a blog for over two years now.  I went to a blogger’s conference a couple years ago and was inspired by the people I met.  I’ve had blogs in the past, back before blogging could be considered a career.  My favourite one was a travel blog documenting our four month trip across South East Asia and Europe.  But life has changed a lot since then, and it’s time to start documenting my life as a mom of two.

I decided today would be the day to launch my new blog!  What better day to start something new than New Year’s Day.  This will be a lifestyle blog focused on up-levelling family life.  Topics will include local adventures, family travel, striving towards minimalism and a healthy family lifestyle.

If you’re a mom and you’re feeling like you’re in a rut, I hope to inspire you to create a life you love, as this is my goal for myself this year.  This blog will be what holds me accountable.

I would love for you to follow along on my journey.  2019 – It’s the year we settle for nothing less than great!

 

family

Happy New Year’s from our family to yours!  This is a picture from one of our favorite days of 2018!  “Oh, and when the kids are old enough we’re gonna teach them to fly.” – DMB