2019: The Summer of All The Things

Me and Radar even tried paddleboarding. It went better than expected.

It's been a very busy summer, as evidenced by my extended absence, from both my own blog and from my guest posting at Empathy Cafe. I haven't posted here since June 10th.

This summer has been many things, and there's been plenty of difficult dives and cautious climbs and brief moments of utter euphoria. I've learned more this summer and tried more new things this summer than any other.

I'm not sure where to start, so I'll just dig in wherever I find myself in the next paragraph, I guess.

The two main things keeping me busy this summer have been anxiety and work. Literally, my anxiety has been consuming more of my energy than my work even does. I'm not really sure what to say about anxiety.

Externally, it likely appears that I've had a very excellent summer with tons of fun experiences. That's not an incorrect assumption. But anxiety has been holding clouds over my head through 90% of those adventures. I don't have much else to say about it. I think I'm heading towards more of an understanding of my anxiety, I feel like my relationship with it is changing. I'm hoping I'm on a positive trajectory with coping. I also totally accept and forgive some of the anxiety. It's pretty normal to get anxious about new things, and there's been a TON of that this summer, starting with work.

The beginning of July was the beginning of being 100% self employed and self-reliant for income. I'm optimistic. I'm not quite where I want to be yet, but I'm doing much better than I ever would have guessed for my first few months. That alone has induced a helluva lot of anxiety. I also took advantage of my digital nomad status for the first time and on a whim spent 3 weeks in Northern, BC, with my brother and sister(in-law) and nephew. I've found some great clients, I've had some really fun projects this summer, and I've gotten to know some amazing new people through my work, which brings us to another point: relationships.

No, I'm not dating anyone.

But in terms of platonic relationships, I've definitely stepped outside of my comfort zone a few times this summer.

First, in May, I spent a week away from my dog and family with my Sister-in-Law and her family. That was a big deal for me, mentally, a really big deal. It went well, although I seriously missed my dog and swore I'd never go anywhere without her again.

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Second, in July, I (and Radar) spent 13 hours driving alone in a car with a friend to Hazelton, BC, where I spent the night at her parent's house. Somewhere I'd never been before. It went well. It was a lovely drive, and her family was so welcoming. Then I spent the next 3 weeks in Terrace, BC. That's 3 weeks in a town I've only previously visited once, without my car. I worked a lot for the first two weeks. But I had a brilliant time with my brother and sister(in-law). I've not spent that much time with just them before, and it was fun to get to know them a little better as a family and connect differently with them.

The 3rd week was another huge deal for me. A friend I've known for a couple of years now drove up to Terrace to see the area. We traipsed around the country together exploring things, and then at the end of that week, we did the 16-hour drive back to Lacombe together. The trip back was also great. We listened to a ton of podcasts that make you question your life and had some great discussions and made some cool pitstops. We also stayed overnight in a hotel at the halfway point.

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Why were these trips a big deal? Well, I've legit never travelled with friends before. I've travelled with family, and with an ex-boyfriend. I've never done long road trips with friends or stayed in hotels with friends. I've never done these things before. I've never gone on exploring and doing touristy stuff with friends.

Third, I realized while I was gone for 3 weeks, just how much I missed my group of friends here, in Lacombe. I've also tried this summer to be more open to social events and meeting new people. I think I have allowed new people into my sphere, which is a big deal. I've tried to be more vulnerable, I've tried to embrace situations that I'd previously have skipped out on due to anxiety and fear of rejection and abandonment.

I had an incredibly intense few hours of confronting my fear of abandonment this summer due to a perfect storm situation. I feel like it was a turning point. I don't know that my fear is necessarily any less now than it was before or during those hours, but I think it has become more real. And one thing I've found consistent in life is that once I can name a thing, once I find a way to make it tangible, then I can start to understand it and find better ways to cope. So, crossing my fingers, I'm trudging towards some self-understanding there.

I also had a pretty intense personal revelation this summer. Not one I'm ready to share yet, but I'm sure I will eventually.

So it's been an intense summer. Super busy, super interesting, and super fun as well.

I've been writing like mad. Not here, obviously, but for work. Which has been equal parts amazing and terrifying, but I'm here for it.

I'm scared of a lot of things about running my own business, like admin things and doing taxes, but I absolutely LOVE the flexibility. I love that the only drama I have to deal with is my own. I love that I don't have to wake up to an alarm. I do use an alarm, to structure my morning habits, but it's not the same. I don't dread the alarm. And If I sleep through the alarm, I don't feel any guilt. I'm still struggling to find my patterns of productivity, identifying triggers, building habits, etc. But, I'm optimistic about the future.

I learned that I'll never leave for 3 weeks in the middle of the gardening season again. That was a mistake, I missed so much development in the garden, and I felt guilty that my mum had all the garden work by herself for those weeks.

I've had to say goodbye to a few friends that have or are moving away. That's been sad.

It's been equal parts emotionally uplifting and utterly exhausting. I'm immensely grateful for all the support I've received from friends and family. Thank you a million times over to everyone who has, knowingly or unknowingly, held a safe space for me while I've explored something new and scary.

I'm equally terrified and excited about the future.

Cheers to 2019's Summer of All the Things. It's been exhausting and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't hoping for a bit less rollercoaster and a bit more calm for the last half of this year.

Cheers,

Bri