Friday, March 21, 2014

One Year Later...

It's been one year since I left the 'comfort' of my 9-5 job at UPEI and hurled myself into the world of unemployment. Well, maybe it wasn't quite that dramatic, but it's never easy to leave something lucrative and secure for something that is neither of those things. Still, once I'd made my mind up about leaving and hammered out my exit plan, I didn't have any second thoughts about whether it was the 'right' decision.  I intuitively knew I had to leave in order to remain aligned with my heart's desires. The 9-5 had afforded me the ability to move back to PEI, build some savings and start developing a network during my off-work hours.

And now, here I am a year later. The world has opened its arms to me and there seem to be a litany of opportunities within my grasp. I've started my own consulting business and have already had clients (blink), I'm working with an awesome start-up, and I'm continuing to expand my social and professional networks and meeting amazing people in the process.  Most importantly, I wake up every day with a sense of purpose and excitement. I always knew I wasn't cut out for regular employment, but I didn't realize that I'd actually be so fond of self employment. Mind you, I do realize it's early days and maybe at some point the appeal will dull a bit (likely when I'm relegated to buying discount Mr. Noodles due to a dry spell of contracts). Until then, however, I'm going to ride this wave and enjoy it.

So, you know, life is hunky dory.

Well, except for one wee, nagging little thing that I have to figure out...

Flashback to October 2011: Shannon enrolls in the Natural Nutrition Program with the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition with the intent of getting her Registered Holistic Nutrition designation within two years.

Flash forward to March 2014: Shannon has paid for the nutrition program in full ($3,500) and paid a small extension fee, which will allow her until Oct. 2014 to complete the program requirements. She's spent countless hours studying and completed 75% of the coursework/assignments.

Seems like a no-brainer right? I'm at the tail end of the program, I'm fully committed money-wise and I've got til October to finish up.

The thing is, I'm just not convinced that I have it in me to do the consulting gig AND finish my program. By stretching out my studies, I think my retention of the topics I've studied thusfar has been minimal and the biggest hurdles of the program are the ones that remain: Bio-Chemistry course, 10 Nutritional Case Studies (these are a helluva a lot of work) and the final exam (gulp).

I know it can  be done, but taking on ALL the things might just burn me out. I've come to the conclusion that there's a threshold for the amount of work I can take on and after I pass that threshold, I'm really no fun to be around and all of my work suffers. Basically. I implode.  Not good.  So, I'm a little uncertain of what to do. I know I'll figure it out and writing this blog post is part of the process of figuring it out. Even as I am writing this, I find myself leaning towards trying to finish the program at an even-keeled pace.  I'm going to see if my intuition gives me any further direction over the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Wearing Food and Other Tales from the Table of Life

A few months back I ran out of my usual drugstore moisturizer and apparently was too lazy to replace the bottle. Also, I think I was having an increasingly difficult time justifying  spending $14 for a little bottle of a product that's main ingredient is water. But, yeah, mostly I was just lazy/forgetful.  I've been going sans moisturizer for awhile now and have seen no ill effects. Shockingly, my face hasn't shriveled up into a prune. Still, there are benefits to hydration of the skin, so a little voice in the back of my head's been telling me I've got to get back on the moisturizing bandwagon.   I knew I didn't want to go back to the bottle o' moisturizer, but didn't know what I 'should' be using. 

Enter Meghan Telpner, Toronto-based nutritionist and authorof  UnDiet, a book that is unlike any other diet/health books I've come across, in terms of both content and accessibility. In a nutshell, she makes healthy eating and living sound so freakin' fun! Thanks to Raeanne for telling me about Meghan.

There are many things I love about Meghan's book, but until this past week I'd mainly focused my attention on the food related chapters and skimmed over the 'natural beauty' chapter. Admittedly, I wasn't too sure about the chocolate avocado mask that she had a recipe for...I 'may' have been concerned I'd just be licking my face off. In any case, while cleaning out the kitchen cupboards this past weekend I came across an unopened jar of coconut oil and it occurred to me that there might be some alternative uses for this oil, besides cooking.  Lo and behold, it turns out that coconut oil is well known (in some circles anyways) as an excellent body/beauty product that can replace everything from hair products to shaving cream guessed it...a moisturizer!

So I've been smearing coconut oil on my face for the past few days and that's been kind of fun.  Yes, that's the end of my coconut oil story....for now. Stay tuned for the sequel when I shave my legs.

In other news, the crazy-busyness of February has passed, but it's been replaced with an equally cray-busy March. I think I'm just going to have to face the fact that my life is probably going to be fairly busy from hereon out. I have a knack for taking on too many things at once, but I guess I must like it or I would stop doing that right?

In any case, amongst the several things that will keep me busy this month is my co-coordinating (volunteer) gig with A Heritage MEAL.  Yes, we're at it again, planning another celebration of local food and food producers in the hopes that we can raise awareness/educate the public while having a fun, delicious time!

This time there are new faces on the team and some from the past MEALs are missing (and missed), but the enthusiasm and awesomeness of the group remains invigorating.  Currently we are working to get food donations and, as with the last two MEALs, I've been blown away by the generosity of the food producers we've approached - everyone wants to donate!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

I'm also getting excited by the line-up of speakers we're going to have at the MEAL. We've got four speakers confirmed already, including an organic farmer (Matt Dykerman), a junior high school student (Cameron Ralph), a professor and expert in seaplants (Dr. Irene Novaczek), and a high-energy Chef (Sarah Bennetto O'Brien) with a vision to bring fresh, local takeout to Borden (you should totally check out her Kickstarter campaign).

Hells yeah, it's going to be a time!!

Warning: the rest of this post is even more rambly than the portion above. Just sayin'

This past weekend, after working crazy 10 to 12 hour days for most of the two weeks that preceded, I promised myself I'd take a day off and do nothing. Well, nothing except go to the gym and market.  My plan to do nothing else lasted for approximately 1 hour, after which I called up a friend and asked if she wanted to meet at Timothy's to do work. Then the next day I spent 10 hours cleaning my apartment from top to bottom. It was exhausting, but I really needed to make this space feel like mine and a good clean was in order.  Wow, yeah, I can't seem to stop doing things. Even now, instead of just vegging, I'm writing a blog post.  This is what happens when you do a marathon of House of Cards, then your ex-boyfriend takes the Playstation when he moves out and you can't watch Netflix on the TV anymore.

Also, it appears I'm down several lbs and it's true what they say, you will lose it in places you wish you didn't have to lose it. Sigh, goodbye chest, it's been a slice.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014


It seems like blogging is the first thing to get tossed from my to-do list when life gets super busy, as it has been for the past month.  So, tonight with a few minutes left before bedtime, I'll attempt to share in extreme conciseness what the last month has brought about in my life.

In a nutshell, it has brought me freedom (as per the title post).  Career-wise, I've never felt more in control of my future and more excited to greet every day. I launched my own consulting business in early February and whilst not even advertising this fact, I've  been inundated with opportunities to put my skills to great use. Communications and research are the main skills on offer,  with a focus on food/agricultural projects (surprise, surprise). I've been working like a madwoman on a research study that I hope will lead to some amazing, tangible opportunities for PEI food producers. I've also been working for GetGifted, a start-up marketing company here in PEI that has seen phenomenal growth over the past year, and have a few other 'jobs' on the ledger. I'm not going to lie, I've worked more in the past month than I probably did over several months at my last job, but I am loving it!!! I guess I need more than the promise of a paycheque to enjoy a day's work.

Freedom has also found its way to my personal life. After several months co-habitating with my ex we finally parted ways this past weekend. To say it was a relief would be an understatement. Don't get me wrong, I still think he's a great guy and I do think we'll be friends after we've had some space from each other for a wee bit, but I am SO glad to have a space to myself again. It is liberating and, finally, it feels like I'm ready for the next chapter of my life to be written.

I'm still on my sugar detox and that represents another avenue to freedom that I'd not even considered for most of my life. I didn't realize what a grip sugar had on my daily existence until I decided to let it go. Every other time I've given up sugar it's been a real struggle and I've had a hard time saying no to candy, chocolate and desserts. This time is different somehow. I don't know why, but I don't even find myself tempted to eat sugar and there have been plenty of opportunities to do so over the past couple of months, trust me. I'm so very grateful I've been able to reach a point where sugar doesn't have a grip on me and I've no inclination to go back to my candy-aholic ways.

And now it's time for bed. Or maybe a little more folk music, because it seems like a good night to listen to some Leonhard Cohen.