Making the Right Sacrifice

I often struggle with my choices. I know people who are so definite and confident in their ability to make the right decision that they barely think about them. Me, on the other hand, I am a little more cautious with how I choose to spend my time. Today, for example, was my parents last day in Montreal but it was also Residence Festival at McGill.

I’m in a rez here so I thought I would make it to Rez Fest, but I decided to spend the day with my family. We went to a wonderful brunch place, they helped me put up decorations in my apartment, took me to the Atwater market, and ate dinner with me for the last time. When the day came to a close, I hugged them goodbye at the entrance to the metro. It felt sad but I knew I would have felt worse if I had gone to Rez Fest.

Although I am sad that I didn’t get to socialize and make friends at the festival, I don’t regret not going. I knew I had a choice to make and am happy with the one I went with, but that doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to be a little down that I couldn’t also participate in my other choice. There is a world of a difference between regretting what you decide and being upset that you had to make a decision that kept you from doing everything you wanted to do. One implies that you made the wrong decision, the other implies that you made the right decision and you’re a human being. It’s the best of both worlds.

When choosing between two options, I always go with my gut. If something doesn’t feel right, I find that it makes me uncomfortable physically. My body reacts to my decisions just as much as my mind does. Today’s decision was an easier one. I knew I needed whatever time with my parents I could get. I knew it would be hard to say goodbye when the time came. I knew it wouldn’t be as hard if I gave them my time and love while I could.

When you put yourself first, you remind those around you that you’re aware of your time and how you spend it. If you put others first with your time, you’re letting them know that you’re willing to sacrifice your time for your social gain. If you choose the second option, the combination of your inability to say no and the numerous people asking you for favors will exhaust you. If you choose the first option, those who want to spend time with you simply because you’re you will stay and those that only want you for more superficial qualities will eventually fade away.


Final Goodbyes

In less than a week, I am officially moving to Montreal. My month there over the summer was a little dip into the water that is French Canada. Now, it’s time for me commit and dive right into the life of the Quebecious. Although I am eager, I am just as apprehensive. My moving situation isn’t ideal, but, with my family’s help, I’m going to make it work.

My good friend Laryssa and I sat down to have lunch today. We went to her favorite restaurant and talked about how wild our summers had been, how excited we were about the new paths in our lives, and how much we were going to miss each other. Even though we are both confident that this won’t be the last time we are together, there is a bittersweet feeling of final goodbyes.

Final goodbyes come in many different forms. This specific type of goodbye was the one where we said farewell to our beginnings. We met in a dance studio, covered in dirt and sweat after rolling around on the floor for 90 minutes during a modern class. We were giddy with endorphins and excited to be finally talking to each other after two months of taking classes together. Friendship comes in peculiar forms, but the stranger the better. She quickly became a very important person to me.

Today, as we waved to each other in the parking lot, I could feel those memories squeezing my heart. I would give so much to go back to those days of laughter and simplicity. I won’t say the world was a different place, but I will say that my mind has been shaped by it over the years. I will miss her, just not in the way you would think.

Goodbyes can also mean new beginnings. I have no doubt that Laryssa and I will continue to grow alongside each other, developing new memories and passions as we do so. I am unbelievably grateful to have her in my life. I don’t think I would have kept dancing if she hadn’t encouraged me. Her impact on my life continues to be as profound as the day I met her.


Build Up

I had an exciting day, until it was an awful day and everything spiraled out of control. What I mean is, it started off really good, I went to the second day of a professional development, I worked with a mentor/supervisor, and I got some exciting news; then it turned into a really awful day. I got into a few fights and ended up secluding myself to avoid anymore bickering.

Sometimes, there is a build up of emotions between different people. This particular build up was not a good one. Tension between myself and someone I care about exploded today. Our fight has made me question whether or not I want to continue our relationship in the same way.

It’s not healthy to let things build up. I don’t blame myself for this situation, I know that I’m most likely not in the wrong. I wish there was more I could do to salvage it. Maybe when I walk away, they’ll be willing to acknowledge that they may have to adjust their behavior towards me if they want to continue being a part of my life.

That’s just how it goes.


One Star Review

Today, I finished the final stage of an application that I am very excited about. It was a video interview with a member of the program’s admission’s team. I feel fairly confident about it, considering that I had never done a video interview before. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to look into the camera and make eye contact while giving my answers or not, but I hope my inconsistency with that won’t knock me any points.

After the interview was over, I told my dad that I felt like it went well. I reached out to give him a high five and he refused. To give you some context, this program would be an alternative to college, and that idea doesn’t make my parents super happy. They think I’m pursuing it for inappropriate reasons and that I’m being influenced by people around me to think a certain way. I see the situation differently. I’ve been interested in this program’s entrepreneurial opportunities for a while and have a history of running a business (even though it flopped.) The point being, this “sudden” interest in the program isn’t so sudden and shouldn’t be so surprising. Either way, they’re not happy with me.

So, I took a hike. I drove over to my favorite trail, took my dog, and hiked for an hour. I’m not a fan of a ton of crunchy-granola things like camping or rock climbing, but I do like hiking. It’s free high-intensity interval training with all of the hills and valleys, and it hits your muscles just as hard as your lungs. It also gets me out of my mind and into another headspace. The fresh air, my dog jogging beside me, the sticks breaking under my feet, and the challenge of climbing those hills all remind me that I’ve got more important things to do than dwell on something negative.

I was listening to a podcast (#13) that I feel kind of strange hyperlinking because it is associated with the program I applied to (I mean, talk about ass kissing,) but I do find it genuinely interesting and fun to listen to. At one point in the show, one of the hosts said: “sometimes, when you’re doing something meaningful, you’re going to have to deal with getting those one-star reviews.” I’m sure that’s not the exact quote, but it’s something to that effect. That idea hit me really hard. My entire life had been based around making my family happy; getting in shape, becoming a successful dancer, doing well on my ACT’s and AP’s, getting accepted to McGill, becoming valedictorian, etc. had all been my past goals because I wanted my family to be proud of me.

At the end of the day, if the only person who is proud of you is you, that’s ok. Getting a one-star review, even from those who you care about most, is not the end of the world. Let it roll off, like water off of a duck’s back, and focus on making the next review five stars. Otherwise, you’ll just be angry and maybe let their fear and doubt seep into your mind.

My mother always said “Eloragh, you have to trust your gut. Your head and your heart will fight, but your gut will tell you what’s right.” It’s a cute little rhyme, but it holds a deep meaning for me. When something isn’t the right path for me, I feel it in my gut. I’ve learned to trust that feeling and to trust my own intuition. Honestly, you shouldn’t be trying to take anyone else’s advice if you can’t listen to yourself first. You have to filter through what is fear and pick out the useful pieces of wisdom that people offer you. That rhyme that she told me many years ago is one of those pieces.

So, I let it roll off. I went home, I ate dinner, the earth kept turning. I wrote a thank-you email to the woman who interviewed me and felt good knowing that I wasn’t letting my fear block my gut instinct. People may mean well but not realize they’re leaving that dreaded one-star review. Even if it does feel like I’m alone in my ideas, at least I know I have myself, and that’s better than no one.


How to Deal with the Hard Stuff

This is How to Deal with the Hard Stuff: Relationship Edition. I’m a very communicative person, so I tend to gravitate towards people who are as well. There are exceptions in my social circle, and that can lead to some complications. When complications arise, the best thing to do is let both parties air their grievances, make sure both parties apologize regardless of their feelings towards the complaints, and move on.

It’s difficult to both share why you’re frustrated and listen to why others are frustrated with you. It’s not fun to admit that things have fallen on hard times with someone you really care about, but relationships can’t always be fun. People are different, they face different challenges and experiences that can cause shifts in their relationships. Genuine care is shown when you’re willing to have an honest conversation because it means that you really want to salvage the relationship.

Thus begs the question, do you want to salvage the relationship? Some relationships can be toxic, and those are best left in the past. The specific relationship that I’m having trouble with is not toxic, so my struggle with this question is a little more difficult. I think most relationships are worth salvaging. Any connection that hasn’t been a blight on your life is worth keeping, especially if they’ve been around for a while. As I said earlier, relationships are difficult, but they’re an integral part of the human experience. One bump in the road should not be enough to make you cut someone out of your life.

Don’t become defensive during this conversation. Regardless of whether or not you think your counterparts frustrations are relevant or legitimate, it still frustrated them, and you should acknowledge that. Apologizing is a hard part of this process, but if done correctly each party will feel as though their concerns have been addressed appropriately. This also means that both parties should feel slightly uncomfortable and upset, but that’s natural and healthy. If relationships were always comfortable, no one would be lonely or single.

After everything is laid out for all to bear witness to, then it is time to move on. If you’re in a relationship with someone who wants to hold grudges or use past problems against you, that is a sign of something more toxic. If you reach out to someone in an effort of reconciliation and they refuse to respond, that is most likely a toxic person. You should take pride and comfort in knowing that you did the mature, responsible thing by trying to fix the problem. If they refuse to participate in the solution, it will be a much easier fix.

Relationships are not easy, but they are simple. Communicate, support, encourage, and love those that mean a lot to you. Everything is straightforward in theory and more difficult in application. Trust the process, trust your instincts, and try to cultivate a healthy relationship in the process.