What is rest?

I took a week off. This week off happened to be planned ahead of time and focused on plenty of sunshine. It may or may not have included an all you can eat buffet, but that’s beside the point.

This particular vacation was much needed. I have been sitting on the edge of a cliff (metaphorically) for about a year now. Between leaving a place I had just begun to settle in to to starting a new long-distance relationship and a university education all in the same 3 month period, I was understandably exhausted all the time.

I don’t think exhausted always has to equal unhappy though. Being able to meet people who were studying what I was studying and having insightful conversations with them would tire me out while bringing so much light and excitement to my life at the same time. Making an effort to see my partner every single day was difficult for both of us at times, but it made it possible for us to spend an entire year as a long distance couple. Exhaustion and difficult tasks don’t always have to be things that correlate to a lack of fulfillment or joy.

However, prolonged exhaustion, no matter where it comes from, will drain a person. I’ve spent the last year balancing my family, friends, education, and future in the palms of my two very tired hands. I deserved a rest and I acknowledged that.

You were not born to run yourself into the ground. Find a way to enjoy your life, otherwise you’re willfully wasting it.

Eloragh

How to Create a 501c3 Non-Profit Corporation.

Hire a lawyer.

Ok, jokes aside, hiring a lawyer may be a good option. Filing for a 501c3 is difficult and comes with a lot of variation depending on the state you are filing in. You don’t only have to deal with the IRS, you have to deal with the Department of Revenue Services in your own state as well as the members of your new board.

If you don’t want to hire a lawyer, there are a lot of resources out there that can help you create a checklist for your state. The issue that I’ve run into is A) it’s not my corporation, so I tend to have to ask my supervisor a lot of questions because she is the director and the only person who can give me the ok signal when needed and B) filling out tax forms can really really suck. They require a lot of information and will time out constantly while you’re searching for stuff.

The bottom line is that either option, hiring a lawyer or doing it yourself, will have pros and cons. The decision will most likely rest on what aspect of your life is currently most valuable: money or time.

Best,

Eloragh

“I’m So Spoiled”

I went out with a friend yesterday. Instead of a sit down restaurant, she suggested that we pick up something to go and then find somewhere to sit down outside. It was a beautiful day, which Montrealers cannot afford to waste, so I thought the idea was perfect.

We walked down to an outdoor art installation and sat down for our “urban picnic.” As we were talking about our lives and what we’ve been up to, she suddenly said “You know, I’m so spoiled. I don’t know how I got so lucky to live in a city where I can sit anywhere, see beautiful art, walk another few blocks and do something completely different.”

My thoughts paused for a moment. I had been having trouble talking to her because all I wanted to do was complain. I have been feeling stuck in an in-between phase of leaving and arriving. I’m moving on Saturday, but a lot of my friends have already left Montreal for the summer. When she exclaimed about how spoiled she was, it really shifted my perspective.

I am incredibly spoiled, just like her. I’m fortunate to live anywhere I want, receive a fantastic education, work at with amazing people, spend time with my loving partner, and see my family whenever I want. I truly am spoiled. Montreal has been the most wonderful city, even during the peak of it’s harsh winter.

More importantly, I’m spoiled by my friends. Having people like her around remind me that positivity and love exist in every form, even in simple things. Walking around in the Montreal spring, looking at the street art and stopping in every little shop that caught our attention was such a treat. Her contagious love and passion for her city was a reminder that I am happy. It reminded me that the person I was a year ago would be so proud of who I am now. In that moment, I couldn’t believe I had ever uttered a negative thing about my life.

It’s good to have friends that you can complain with, but mutual grumbling can’t be the only form of friendship in your life. Find people that always have good things to say and spend as much time with them as possible. You never know what simple thing they may say that pulls your mind out of a rut.

Eloragh

Not a College Student

When I started this year at McGill, I knew there would be bumps in the road. I had a complicated personal life and huge unruly ambitions that I was unwilling to tame. I wanted to do more than be a college student, so I knew that defining myself as such would mean that my life would revolve around school, instead of the opposite.

I’m not a college student. I have chosen to enroll at a university with the intention of making it fit into what I want my life to look like for the next three years. I wanted to move somewhere else and experience different climates. I wanted to have a part-time job in alternative education. I wanted to continue my side projects. I wanted to exercise and keep my mind and body healthy. School had to fit into all of that.

I worked tirelessly this semester, making university fit into my life. I asked for a lot of exceptions and did the work to make sure I got them. McGill has been great, but only because I showed that I was on top of my game and willing to do anything to get some flexibility for my program.

I realized that it would be impossible for me to be a defined as a college student, because adapting the lifestyle of a typical student would mean that all of my other dreams would fade away.

To people that do define themselves as college students, it’s an accurate description. University is a big part of their life for three to five years. I don’t think I could say the same. I work on school just about as much as I work on other things in my life. I do not have a 4.0 GPA like I did in high school, but I don’t need one anymore. Keeping my GPA above average is more than enough for me to feel successful, especially with everything else I have on my plate.

So labeling myself as a college student wouldn’t have ever really worked for me. It would have been a strategy that got in the way of my ambitions and goals. I knew that to be taken seriously inside and out of the academic world, I would have to show that I was on par with my professors and the entrepreneurs I wanted to work with. I don’t know if I have quite reached that level, but I have made every effort to show the strides I’m making to get there.

University fit in with my life because I made it so. I’m more proud of myself now with a 3.25 GPA and an amazing life outside of school than I ever was as the valedictorian in high school. Having priorities outside of academia have helped me to appreciate my classes more, but they’ve also forced me to drill down on my time management and define what is really important to me.

You can go to school and work on your career while doing so. It’s been difficult, but it’s been a good time for growth and self-improvement. I love school now that it is not the sun that I orbit. I’ve realized that I cannot exist with one priority, but that I thrive off of a diverse set of projects. It’s an unorthodox strategy, but I am learning that those tend to be the most successful.

Eloragh

PC

Take Every Achievement

I haven’t been sick since early February. I am not surprised that I caught a cold the weekend before my last week of term. Whether it’s karma for pushing myself so hard in March, or my own fault for refusing to wait to ask my sick professor a question, it’s here.

Yesterday, I ordered takeout. I like UberEats, but I’ve found that there are only a few restaurants that I really enjoy. The one I ordered from yesterday was just ok, but definitely not worth the $30 it cost me. I refused to order again today and forced myself to the grocery store.

Just the effort of balancing my body on the metro exhausted me. The grocery store I go to is small and always busy, so I felt a little claustrophobic and guilty for going to such a public place while sick. I did my best to keep my mouth covered and not cough. I got out as fast as possible.

There have been days during this term that have been downright miserable, but there have also been days where I felt like I could take on the world. I have pushed myself far, but it’s been worth it. I’m stronger mentally and physically and my performance in classes has gone up. I knew that my hard work would pay off, but stressing my mind and body always comes with consequences.

I take the big achievements with the small ones. My acceptance to UNC as an exchange student was a big achievement. Going to the grocery story today was a small one. Both made me happy and added something to my life, like not having to order expensive, crappy take out again.

We should take what we can get. There will always be opportunities for bigger and better things on the horizon. If you body or mind is telling you to slow down for a moment, acknowledge it. You don’t have to rest forever, but you do have to rest eventually.

Eloragh

The Decline of Nihilism

I remember about a year ago when I was on Spring Break, I joined a Socratic session online. In response to a question, I proudly pronounced myself as a nihilist and a narcissist. I was truly ignorant to what those two ideas meant, so I forgive my younger self for using them incorrectly, even though I still cringe at it.

The truth was, I did believe I was a nihilist. It was very easy to hide behind the idea of “we are all going to die, so nothing we do matters anyway” but my actions were very much contradictory. I was a 4.0 AP student who studied for the ACT every night, ran a food pantry for my peers, and graduated as valedictorian. It was quite clear that I held myself to a high standard and wanted others to do the same. I did care. I cared a lot.

During that Socratic, my current-but-then-future boyfriend struck down my claim that I was both a narcissist and a nihilist. “You cannot love yourself like a narcissist and think about your own death so casually at the same time. One has to give or your life is a paradox.” He was right. I couldn’t claim to be someone so incredibly self-centered yet uninterested and unconcerned about my own death. Those were two parallel lines of thought that couldn’t meet.

Ever since then, I’ve always been careful to label myself philosophically. I would rather take the risk of existing without labels than make a complete ass of myself and associate with the wrong people.

Today, a few friends and I went to a coffee shop to get some work done. One of them commented on a young singer that she disliked because she was “using the fact that she is so unconcerned and doesn’t care about anything to seem cool.” I agreed with her. I remembered a time when I thought it was mysterious and cool to be disengaged with the world around me. I though the fact that everyone was so “connected” and emotionally attached to events meant that I had to be the opposite to be cool. To be interesting, I had to be numb. Two more parallel lines that will never meet.

Although it’s clear by now that my 17 year old self was not the smartest at truly decoding what my own beliefs meant, I don’t blame myself for wanting to distance myself. It’s hard to have ideas and opinions when you are young, it’s even harder to watch them get crushed in seminars and discussions. “Nihilism” was a way for me to avoid the embarrassment that came with being proven wrong.

I believe this generation is different. I don’t participate in protests, but there are many people my age and younger who do. I see a new passion in younger generations that wasn’t there for me when I was growing up. I’m grateful that nihilism is on the decline, because it’s not a fun way to live. After spending so much time disengaged, I found it hard to integrate myself back into reality. I was mean spirited, negative, and not a great person to be around. Nihilism can do that to people.

I think it’s important to value your own life above all us. If you can’t do that, it will be hard to value anything else that may come your way. I’m glad that my boyfriend knocked some sense into me when he had the chance. I’m glad I listened and reconsidered my stance on life and how to interact with reality. I’m glad that students and young people are passionate about things they believe in and that they show it. I’m glad that we are all present in our lives.

Best,

Eloragh

Have a Good Week

Good days are like March sun in Montreal. They are admired, coveted, something to bask in while they last. Both daylight savings and the events of the past seven days have reignited my desire to work hard. It’s a good feeling, especially when you’ve been working hard with no motivation for so long.

Daylight savings marks a big shift for me. Montreal winters are cold and dark, with the sun setting around 4:00 (sometimes 3:45) in the peak of the season. When I went to Charleston for Spring Break in early March, I knew I would return to a different city.

Wearing sneakers outside and ditching the leggings I had to wear under my jeans to keep warm have made my mornings easier. I started waking up early to go to morning classes at my local gym. I’m enjoying the renewed sense of passion and determination.

School has taken a turn for the best. The first half of this semester was difficult. The only good thing about a bad grade is the fire it lights under you. I studied for three weeks for one midterm. I got an 83.

I don’t like to say that I am affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder, because I’m really not. I’m just as productive during the winter as I am during the other months. I think the difference is that I find it hard to push through rough times in the winter, and I’m sure some of you can relate. You don’t have to label yourself with a scary mental health issue to acknowledge that sometimes cold, uninviting weather can make things seem a little worse.

That being said, whether or not the winter months bring you down, enjoy the new Spring. Jump on new opportunities, take your passions seriously, and use those extra hours of sunlight to do something amazing. Daylight savings has been the best reminder that we really do have more time than we think.

Have a good week.

Eloragh