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Extroversion Is My Shield

Week 107 – April 2, 2022 – Spring Equinox

I’m back to weekly blogging. Yay me. I have also established the “Saturdays off” habit too as well as having a good night’s sleep. I’m still vegetarian and back at the #daily5kchallenge. These are all good things but I continue to struggle with other habits to get my life back on track. I can only tackle one habit at a time. My body speaks to me and my job is to pause, listen, and act. It’s not easy for me. As much as the pandemic dramatically interfered with my life in many ways, it has also challenged me to reconsider aspects of my life and do something different.

I’ve really noticed this now returning back to in person life where I’m not on Zoom and can be camera off. I learned some benefits of being isolated and being left with my thoughts (as an extroverted person). It was uncomfortable at first but the silence brought me to blogging about my #pandemicreflections, such as this one. If anything, I’m growing and learning how to value and take care of myself. I’m not 100% there but there are plenty of indicators for me to notice and act on. I’m working on it.

What I noticed about myself the other day was I hide behind my extroversion. It seems strange on the one hand when I’m in everyone’s face saying hello to those I know and chatting freely with I don’t know. I am genuinely excited to be with people and see people. I’m a pandemic nightmare as I do like to hug and high-five others. That’s said, my extroversion helps me to mask my more gentle and vulnerable self. I can hide behind the facade of being loud and obnoxious (or whatever I do, really).

I might be being hard on myself but this is how I’m feeling at this point in time. My extroversion separates me from others (or pushes others away) and keeps me safe. It’s an odd form of sabotage that helps me from getting too close to others. Jokes, sarcasm, and belittling myself to others are common tactics I take to prevent others from getting to know me better. I never noticed this before about me but now I can see it so clearly now being back in the presence of others. I will never have that Hallmark movie moment because I won’t let myself to be vulnerable or seen.

Why would I blog about this? I have to live in my values. Trust and wholehearted. To overcome this protection of self from other and lack of self trust, I have to name it. Is a publicly accessible blog the best place to name this midlife unravelling. Maybe. What I do know is, I am working towards understanding myself, being true to myself, and showing myself to others. How can I get to those tender moments and appreciate the discomfort of letting others see me? On the contrary, I also have to be open to being hurt, betrayed, and heartbroken. It’s the risk I have to take. I hope I’m ready.

What People Know

Week 106 – Part 2 – March 30, 2022 – Everyone has a story

This blog post is overdue. I had full intentions of writing more frequently but my blog is not the platform to increase my writing practice. I will follow through with Part 2 of this weekly blog post then return back to a weekly reflection. I should always honour myself. I had tried a daily blog and blogging based on inspiration. As funny as I thought contributing to a weekly blog until the pandemic ended, the pandemic is not ending and a weekly blog is a reasonable commitment to my reflective practice.

Admittedly though, today’s blog post is based on an inspiration. It was something I noticed. Actually, I hesitated about contributing to my blog on the weekend because I had nothing to say. I also need time to reflect to think about what’s important and why. This inspiration comes from my trip to the Superstore to renew my prescription from the drop in medical clinic. The doctor pointed at a pin on my jacket that my skip from my curling team gave to me during the Women’s World Curling Championship.

The doctor points at the pin and says “curling.” I affirmed his comment and then he followed up his comment with a joke about “everyone going to the Patch.” I was so impressed. I did not expect him to know anything about curling and the event happening in Prince George. It was a pleasant experience to say the least, then after getting my prescription, I decided to go by some chia seeds. I’m learning how to make overnight oats (don’t ask). I could not find them and asked a person who was stocking shelves if they knew where it would be. He had not idea and never heard of them before. He thought it was a spice then directed me to go look at the bulk section.

Anyway, that shopping experience took a 180 and I did not walk out with chia seeds. What struck me was my expectations of others and what people know or don’t know. I did not expect the medical doctor to know about curling and I expected the person who was stocking shelves to know where the chia seeds were located. What I walked away thinking was, we just don’t know what people know. My expectations either dispelled in both ways and then I started to reflect on myself and what this means.

I have expectation of myself and perceptions of what others think of me. I think this is why I let what I think people think bother me so much. It shouldn’t, but it does. Now I am wondering that it is all just my expectations of self and it works both ways. For example, I get so disappointed in myself because I believe I’m not meeting expectations at work and feel like I have to explain myself all of the time (and I don’t have to). And, when I am doing something awesome, I am unable to accept or receive any complements or positive feedback because I don’t believe that it is true. Huh.

This realization just happened over the last couple of days and damn, I’m being hard on myself. Another lesson is, we don’t know people’s story. I’ve been separated for almost 2.5 years and honestly, I have not told too many people except those who are close to me. And now, I am telling by blog followers. Anyway, it’s not here or there but I did mention it to a friend just the other day. I almost cried, but I also realized they had no idea. It was one of the toughest things I had to go through and life goes on.

How can we ever really know someone’s story and what they know or not know? We have impressions of people and much depends on what you are willing to share too. I think about the classroom and all of the stories students carry and we will never really know their story. We can infer and make assumptions (or ask), but really how can you know? I look at myself and I’m not even sure if I know my story. I’m still learning about it and learning more about myself, how I am willing to be vulnerable (not likely), and how I can mask or hide who I really am by being someone else.

Do What You Love

Week 106 – Part 1 – March 22, 2022 – Cleansing and Clarity

After a weekend of escapism and watching competitive curling in my hometown, I missed out on going to the rink today. Monday was a filled with moments of being flooded and overwhelmed that I could not even fathom going to the rink due to meetings and work I had to catch up on. It’s the end of the day and I’m just getting started. I had to take a moment to breathe and purge junk from my life so that I can gain some clarity on life. For the last couple of months, I’ve been working on REST. I had to give myself permission to take a day off and do things for myself. Ironically, what I was doing is for myself, but I needed to create some clear boundaries on what is FOR ME and what is for my career (which is for me) and my mental health and wellness (which is for me as well). You can see why this was confusing… for me.

Getting tickets to the Women’s World Curling Competition was a LUXURY move on my part… and somewhat selfish. How many tournaments like this would come to my town? Not many. I bought tickets for the whole event knowing that I would not be able to invest 9-hours per day to watch people curl… even though I wished I could. I did manage to watch Team Canada play today in Draw 7 on TSN (and enjoyed the commentary) while I was at home… as I worked remotely… and took the time to cleanse and gain clarity on life. Monday equated to mayhem this morning. Technology was on the fritz, my office was a mess, and honestly… that’s how things have been feeling for me. I had to give myself permission last night to FEEL this level of disgust and disappointment in myself and how things were unfolding. I had to just sit in that feeling of self-loathing. I can’t deny these feelings anymore. It’s ok to feel.

Why do I share this? I have nothing to be ashamed about. Life has its ups and downs. I really enjoyed a few weeks ago the feelings of joy and happiness. I will embrace the sadness and low moments as well. It’s ok. I’m not going to pretend, but I am also going to make an effort on how to make things different. I will admit, burning out in the new year and not taking a break over the winter was not a good thing to do. I can see that now. I’ve been taking much of my time since the new year trying to get back to a steady place of being. I am also trying to reconstruct my time and mindset to be a person I would like to be, but I feel like I am catching up and trying to find a balance between getting things done and feeling good about what I am doing. What I am learning is, I need to value myself, trust myself, and be wholehearted with myself.

It’s jarring when someone says that RESEARCH, for example, is ME TIME. It was said to me before last year and I was reminded of this principle again. Gaining clarity on what is ME TIME was key but also learning about writing times and expectations. What I am also learning is about valuing my abilities and priorities. I feel much like the mess that was my office and apartment. I need to get that in order and be clear with the structures that I provide myself to make things easier on myself. This tip is not only for research or work, but for life and mental well being as well. I have no share or guilt about watching curling over the weekend and enjoying the sport I love. I’ve learned so much from the sport of curling (i.e., leadership, communication, teamwork, and trust). As much as it is a team sport, the mental game is key too.

I used to have a saying which was, “do what you need to do.” That saying served me for many years (until it didn’t). Now, I have a new saying… “do what you love.” 🙂

Finding My Joy Again

Week 105 – Part 2 – March 20, 2022 – Who do I want to be

Is this an exercise of growing up? I was so happy to go to the opening weekend of the Women’s World Curling in Prince George with my twin bro. It’s been super fun to have him return to Prince George to check out the curling scene and reconnect. He drove up from the Lower Mainland to catch a couple games of the tournament. I will admit, I don’t have the best seat, but I am super happy to be watching the event live.

Members of my curling team and curling club were also out watching the games or volunteering at the event. I really appreciate the sound of the game on the ice. I don’t think that live coverage on TSN can replace the energy that’s on the ice. I really enjoy the idea that all of these people have come from all over the world to play this game. I was so pleased to see the calibre and competition today and there is more to come.

It’s interesting to hang out with my brother. He can say things to me that no one can. Strangely, he knows me well and it was interesting to realize that he is going though his midlife unravelling as we speak. It’s kind of pleasant and unfortunately familiar. The pandemic has put us all in a place (for those with this kind a privilege) to realize there is more to life than what is. My brother has also been reflecting this pandemic.

Anyway, during one of the games today, he turned to me to say that he thought that the game brought me a lot of joy. He watch my team play the night before when he arrived to Prince George. I did not know what to say to him. It caught me off guard. I returned to the sport after many years of not playing due to my job and my kid. I used to be competitive as a junior player and young adult. I play Friday nights now.

My brother said that I am very animated on the ice. I will admit that I look forward to Fridays to end the week and get on the ice. My body does not like it so much. It’s been so long since I’ve played and I am not in the best physical condition. That said, I love the game, being with my team, and the technical aspects of sport. After watching the teams play tonight, I am inspired to be a better self and prepare for next season.

Sound kind of silly, but I am starting to realize what I need to do, where I am now, and make a commitment to the person I want to be. I had a conversation with a friend on Friday afternoon and I appreciated the dialogue, honesty, and experience. I don’t know what I am getting into and I have a long way to go. I have moments wondering why anyone invests time in me, but I have to start to invest time in me.

I am always left wondering after talking to my friend. I need the help, guidance, and friendship. I also need the mirror to look back at me. I need that person to reflect my values, wants, and needs. It’s sometimes hard to find that person or community. I feel lucky to know people who I can see my reflection in and want to be more like them, much like the women on the ice today at the Women’s World Curling Championship.

Making Small Steps

Week 105 – Part 1 – March 16, 2022 – Atomic Habits, Small Steps

What I have to realize is to pair down my expectations of self and not bombard myself with lofty goals that are unable to attain. I wanted to blog everyday and got overwhelmed by the idea and just didn’t do anything. Then I get disappointed. Sounds like my dieting regime, exercise expectations, and writing fantasies. It’s ridiculous and self sabotaging. Why would anyone engage in that kind of mayhem. Sadly, I think that I’ve been doing that my whole life and got so discouraged that my sense of self efficacy and self worth eroded into something that needs an immediate overhaul.

As you can see, I’m doing it again. I am unable to just change my life and my habits overnight (even though time and time again, I truly believe I can). This is a sick habit. What I need to do is follow the recommendations by James Clear in Atomic Habits. I was listening to him on a podcast with Brene Brown and much of what was said during the two episodes resonated with me. I need to start with small steps and get into the habit of the person who I would like to be. Although I am projecting for “Associate Professor”… it’s not a goal per se, but I need to adopt the habits of an academic. What would that look like? Writing everyday is part of it… and reading.

I also think about the kind of person I would like to be. I have people in my life who I admire and respect. I want to be like that too. Ironically, these people are academics… full or associate professors… and they are really nice, wholehearted people. I want to be like them. I want to be them. I want to learn from them. I am… but I have to overcome some of my fears and self-doubt. That’s the crazy part. On the one hand, I am an extroverted, overly excited, confident individual. On the other hand, I am insecure, unsure, and self-doubting. I don’t feel like I have imposter syndrome, but I do feel like I am underperforming and not meeting the potential I am meant to be.

Life has presented many challenges on the way and my job is to overcome them and rise from what is and get to the person I would like to be. I know that I have a crew of people who believe in me, and many of them are the same people I admire and want to be. I have other people who I love and connect with too. I am so grateful to have people in my life who will tell me the truth and be honest with me. That is a true sign of respect and trust. I have such a huge regard for people who can be wholehearted with me, and I can do the same with them. I need to trust myself and trust others.

So, back to atomic habits, I am committing to writing on Wednesdays and Saturdays in my blog. I will start there as one step towards the habits of a writer, but also I am going to drink a glass of water per day and go out for a walk around the block. I know that it is not dramatic (like giving up meat… and 98% vegetarian), but it’s small and doable steps. I love blogging when I do. I can manage a glass of water per day and getting outside. Nothing to big, but it’s something that is doable and rewarding. I am starting a new life and new direction. Post 2-years in the pandemic… it’s time.

Two Years Ago

Week 104 – March 12, 2022 – Living with the Pandemic

EDITED – MARCH 14, 2022 – RETURNING TO THIS BLOG WITH A KEYBOARD AND SHIFT IN MINDSET. Friday, March 11, 2022, marked the 2-year anniversary of the WHO declaring COVID-19 as a pandemic. It’s hard to believe that it has been two-years… in two ways… it’s already 2-years and omg, it really felt like a lifetime. So much has changed over the last two years and it’s difficult to take the time to reflect on the last 104 weeks of the pandemic. That’s when I started to blog weekly about my #pandemicreflections thinking that this would be a short-termed, yet entertaining way to pass the time. The pandemic persists, but the mask mandates in BC ended on Friday, March 11th.

Humanity was eroding. It was difficult to watch the news even though I wanted to stay informed. I could not believe what I was witnessing in the news and could not believe that this was happening right outside my door. This was not an outside thing, it was a here thing. Actually, it was both. Our systems and habits are so tied to what life was before the pandemic began. Pivoting and making adaptions on a daily basis grew tiring and something had to give. Humanity could not sustain this way of being much longer despite all those who died due to COVID related reasons. Feedom rallies, resisters, and rule breakers did not change anything except provide evidence of mental health and sustainability.

I remember when the announcement was made with not knowing what would happen next. I just came back from Vancouver. I presented at WestCAST 2020 at UBC at at Sq’ep at UFV. I returned back to Prince George and many of the Teacher Candidates were in practicum for EDUC 391 and EDUC 491. Friday, March 13, 2020, the day before spring break, the university announced that we would be teaching remotely and K-12 schools were closing down until further notice. That was the end of practicum, the end of in person classes, and my freedom. I watched the news religiously, watching the numbers and listening for next steps. What was this COVID-19 virus? It was strangely a topic that one of my students wanted to explore before the winter break. Well, we pivoted to learning online and I could not cope at the time. My classes went asynchronous and we looked at numeracy and the pandemic.

I remember not handling the pandemic well. I just isolated myself in my apartment. I was fearful and uncertain. I had to deliver my course asynchronously. Thank goodness that I had already established a relationship with the students. The work they produced in my course was phenomenal. I was very grateful. I eventually started the #daily5k to get outside and do something for my mental and physical health. I was separated from my kid for months. It was agonizing. Not having toilet paper on the shelves or ingredients to bake were the least of my problems. Blogging weekly was a way to entertain myself, but the blogs turned into weekly reflections on life and what was important to me.

On May 8, 2020, I made the decision to leave that day (aka. Mother’s Day) to go back to the Sunshine Coast to be with my kid. Although I was estranged from my husband at that time, it was still my house and I wanted to be with my kid. As it turned out, her grade 11 year ended abruptly and she opted to do grade 12 online. She did not want to leave the Sunshine Coast because she wanted to graduate with her friends, whatever that meant during the pandemic. The pandemic persisted and teaching remotely did as well. I continued to work at the university from the comforts of my living room floor Zooming here and there.

I will admit, that was a long year and a bit. I remained separated from my husband while living under the same roof. In hindsight, the experience was extraordinary with respect to stress and strain. My kid graduated from high school and we both moved in the summer of 2021 back to Prince George. I drove a UHaul truck (one way and slowly), loaded my stuff (and my kid’s stuff), and moved to Prince George. This move was one way and I said goodbye to my home of 25-years. It was a big deal to say the least but looking back it was something I had to do.

The remainder of 2021 and start of 2022 was a time to get my life back together. I had to learn to live on my own as an independent. I hit a buck (who lived) that summer and had to buy a new car, find a lawyer to make the separation official and move towards divorce proceedings, and figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. This turn of events seemed more present and in my face with the pandemic. I had to address these issues to do what’s best for me and wholeheartedly answer the question of “Who do I want to be when I grow up? I am so grateful to be working and do many things that I love to do. I am so happy to be back teaching and I love living with my kid. It’s good.

The big learning is also being true to myself, honouring myself, and trusting myself. This understanding of self entails self-compassion, kindness to self and others, and not betraying myself. I can’t give myself away anymore or devalue my worth or contributions. I’m still working on this but I feel that I’m in a good path. I never felt more like myself and I know that I am the agent of my life’s path. I create what I see and because of this, I will commit to taking risks, be open to consequences, and find the joy in everything I do. I have so much gratitude for the last 2-years. The pandemic forced me to stop, reflect, and do what’s best for me. I never put myself first, but I will now.

Addressing Racism

Week 103 – March 5, 2022 – Stoking My Fire

I was so grateful to be invited to a media release event by a member of the District Student Advisory Council (DSAC) in School District No. 57 (Prince George) as a faculty member from the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) in the School of Education. This invitation was my first EVER as an academic. Honoured. I loved that I was invited to the event by a student. The student follows me on social media (and I know her personally). And, this event was timely, personally and professionally.

The event was the media release of “Raising the BAR (Bystanders Against Racism).” The initiative came from the students during the pandemic with a deep desire to address racism in this community of Prince George, and beyond, during the pandemic. They were unable to go to classrooms during the pandemic due to restrictions, and this video series was an excellent response take a close look at racism in day-to-day life and to the recent SD57 Report on Indigenous Education.

“Raising the BAR” is a four part series. See links below. The event entailed the first three videos followed by a Q&A for the mayor, superintendent, and school trustee. The questions leaned into (1) how did it make you feel? (2) what can you do in your role to address racism? (3) how can we support in student voice and agency? (I will apologize and hope I have the questions correct, but this is how I remembered it.)

#1 Raising the B.A.R. (Bystanders Against Racism) – STORIES AND EXPERIENCES
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyX81hRIVgA&t=15s
 

#2 Raising the B.A.R. (Bystanders Against Racism) – IMPACT
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Q00FZfoqjM

#3 Raising the B.A.R. (Bystanders Against Racism) – HOPE AND ALLYSHIP
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1T7P3tRDrLM

#4 Raising the B.A.R. (Bystanders Against Racism) – FOR EDUCATORS
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOKUlkcPNMY
 

I was so struck by the event in so many ways. First, being a formal school trustee and working with a “district student leadership team” from where I was on the board, brought back for me many good feelings of student agency and voice. I believe in student agency and voice as an educational leader, educator, and parent. The wisdom of their current experience and points of view are valuable and insightful. I was so pleased to see this work being produced and motivated by students.

Second, addressing racism keeps tapping my shoulder ever since George Floyd’s death. When that event happened, I was shocked, disturbed, and frightened… as a second generation Chinese Canadian. The stories that were shared in the video series ring true for me. I feel like they were telling my story in many ways. I spent most of my life trying to BELONG and FIT IN. What that entails is denying your culture, your language, and how you look. Ignoring racial remarks was an accepted norm.

Third, my fire was stoked. I have been facing this question (particularly during the pandemic) of my ethnic heritage, ethnic identity, and ethnic pride. I stand beside Indigenous Peoples because I can understand cultural genocide and ethnic erasure. The difference is, I can go back to Hong Kong to find out who I am as a Chinese person, learn the language my parents spoke (Cantonese), and engage in traditions and culture that are unique to Hong Kong people. Indigenous Peoples cannot.

I spent most of my life being someone I am not. I have been learning in the past few years since George Floyd’s death and during the pandemic learning how to be true to who I am as a second generation Chinese Canadian. I am a product of Canadian policy and my parents brought me up so that I can have privilege and advantages in life so that they could give me A GOOD LIFE. As much as I appreciate that, I am also driven to bring to light the voices of students and those of marginalized populations.

Serendipity. I am a wholehearted believer in the idea that things happen for a reason. Racism is real. Racism is hurtful. Racism is not always overt. Systemic racism, lateral violence, and preservation of the status quo are persistent and prevalent. At this event, I felt validated, angry, and motivated to continue the work that I am doing. I am not hiding anymore, curbing my voice to accommodate others, or pretending that my work or voice do not matter. I have agency too. Together, change will happen.

Saturdays are Sacred

Week 102 – February 27, 2022 – Paving the Path

What is happening in the world today and everyday. The pandemic has been a test for humanity and honestly, I think we are failing. We are witnessing Russia attacking Ukraine with the world paralyzed. No one wants a world war when mental health is fragile at best. People are wanting their sense of power and control back; their sense of agency. Sadly, this feeling (and need) is escalating. I thought that the freedom convoy was one exemplar of extreme activism (with spitting hand hateful words). But invading another country, threatening others, and many lives lost I begin to wonder what this is all about. Why are we here and what is the purpose of being here?

This could be an existential moment. I have been having many during the pandemic and my #pandemicreflections on my professional website makes me realize that there is no separation of personal and the professional from self. The work (or war) is not with others, but with our own being and our egos. We are in Week 102 of this joyful blog series that I thought would end 75 weeks ago. Well, I stand corrected. And the 2-year anniversary of this blog series is almost here (the week when the pandemic was declared in British Columbia and my work shifted to remote learning).

So much has happened since for me and it’s hard to believe that I have witnessed war, floods, fire, and hateful acts against Black and Indigenous Peoples. I have experienced hateful acts of lateral violence, systemic racism, and marginalization. I am a second generation Chinese Canadian with no language, little ethnic identity, and privilege as a teacher educator working in a higher education institution. My parents created that for me. A life of privilege so that I could have a “better life.” Complicated. Given all of these events, I am woke to this privilege, the marginalized, and the radicalized. I am one of them and live in both worlds. I am thankful to see this.

This blog post has taken a different slant since I first started it yesterday. I wanted to write about SATURDAYS ARE SACRED… and they are. It took some time to creat a routine that honours who I am and my time I need to self care, rest, and mindfulness. I sleep in. I get weekly chores done. I hang out with my friend in the afternoon and evening (having a glass of wine, snacks, and dinner to unpack the week). I love taking the time to take care of my kid, my home, and myself. I am hoping to get outside more to go for walks, I might take up yoga, and use Saturdays as my writing day. #METIME

Can you see how good my life is? I will not take it for granted. I have freedom. I am safe. I have food and shelter. I have my kid with me. I am employed. I love the work that I do. I interact with wonderful people. I am learning. I live in a war-free zone. I can only have gratitude. Life offers us so many lessons and what the pandemic has done for me was to get quiet with myself and understand what is really important to me. I love my kid. I love to teach. I love to learn. That’s it. I get to do that and I am so lucky. I am creating my own path and make my own decisions. This is freedom.

My heart aches for the Ukraine, for George Floyd, and for humanity. We have to see ourselves out of this mess. The pandemic cannot get the best of us. We have to be more resilient. I’m not pointing my finger at the pandemic. It will be something that we will be living with for a very long time (until we can learn the lessons that we have to learn). The pandemic is a test for humanity and it will continue to iterate itself until we can see each other as equals and as peoples. Until then, we will continue in this struggle. Look inwards. I’m done fighting. Listen. We can do this.

Feeling Rested

Week 101 – February 20, 2022 – Feeling more grounded

I am surprised how long it has taken for me to feel rested, to feel grounded. I did not take the winter break to take a break. I was writing. I was not giving myself a break and kept forging forward like there would be an endpoint. The truth is, this is a “forever thing” at least for now as I am building a new career in academia. Yes, I acknowledge there will be up and down times, but I have to find a way to make this new way of being sustainable. I needed to prioritize sleep and rest as my first step.

It’s taken about 3-weeks of deliberate rest to get to this new place of being. In my first week, I may have slept 1-2 nights that week where one of them was most likely the Friday night, which is the end of the week and I had to learn that Saturday was a guilt free day. That was something to grapple with in my quest for rest. I mentioned earlier that a colleague and mentor said to me, “take Saturday to rest.” At the time I thought, how was that possible? How do you take a day off? I really did not get it. Now, my body demands that I take Saturday off and honestly, it’s been a blessing. So grateful.

By the second week of intentional rest, I had about 3-4 days of sleep where I went to bed and said to self, “work can wait.” That was hard to do. By this week, I think I had 6-7 nights of a good night’s sleep. Thursday night was always tricky because I taught all day on Friday and I have to plan and prep for that day. It takes time as I am juggling meetings during the day, so often I would stay up late. I slept guilt free this Friday and Saturday nights. Sleeping in. I have no problems with sleep. I had more problems with finding the intentional time to sleep. Now taking it, I feel great.

Ok. There is a consequence to rest and sleep. I’m not as productive. After listening to my colleague present in my class about time management, what I am realizing is, I have to use my time more wisely. I can see that. When I’m tired and working on a 24-hour clock, there are no boundaries. If I’m blocking out time to sleep and rest, I need to do the same for work and writing. The non-cognitive time or non-productive time need to be reassessed. I hope to adopt the first step of THE BIG THREE, the ideal week, and my daily routines. I am stoked to take the time to use my time more productively.

It’s amazing how good I feel and how receptive I am to doing some things and I need to re-evaluate about what I am not willing to do. I get a little overwhelmed sometimes about what people think and not trusting my intuition and expertise. I am practicing how to park some of those ideas and delve into the work of James Clear and Atomic Habits. What kind of person do I want to be? That’s the million dollar question. I look around and I do see qualities in others of whom I would like to be. These are #goals. In the meantime, part of who I would like to be is a well-rested person. I’m here.

The Sleep Dilemma

Week 100 – February 12, 2022 – A Second Post

I will admit, I am in a dilemma. Of course, inspired to write a second blog post this week because I find writing as an exceptional way for me to make sense of what is. What I find about writing is, answers emerge from the flow of text (or making text). Also, I have created another extension of my make-work contraption to access my blog via app, Bluetooth keyboard, and iPad. I put this all together so that I can continue to blog, think, and contribute to the digital community.

Blogging has ironically been my safe line to extroverting my thinking during the pandemic. The pandemic has be strangely isolating and there is always something within me that believe that I can just adapt. There are limitations to how one can adapt, but I also believe that learning takes patience and time (one of the First Peoples Principles of Learning) and learning involves exploring one’s identity (another First Peoples Principles of Learning). Learning is experiential and holistic and lots of what we learn and understand are from the land and people.

Living and introverted life as an extrovert has been challenging and my pure excitement to connect with people is evident and sometimes over the top. That said, I am learning more about being introspective and spending time doing the tough work from within, I believe that the pandemic and my #pandemicreflections has made me a better person and I hope I will continue my work on this pedagogical journey.

Now onto my dilemma… SLEEP. I have been juggling life, research, and teaching. I don’t think that my lived experience is unique, but what I am realizing is REST and PLAY are integral to my success as a researcher, writer, and educator. It has definitely served me in the past to work all hours to get things done. I would lose sleep and sacrifice my physical and mental health to achieve goals and what I think is expected of me. As a result, my spiritual health suffers and lose sight of what’s important.

This week and last… I’ve been focused on sleep. I did not do that well a couple of weeks ago. I may have went to bed at a reasonable time for 2 out of 7 nights. Last week, I went to bed at a reasonable time most nights with a couple of early mornings to get things done…. but not all things got done (like marking papers and providing feedback in a timely manner). As a result, I wondered is sleep was worth it.

I woke up this morning, as a pushed the snooze button, I CHOOSE SLEEP. And so I did. I know that sounds like an unusual request to self, but I have to take deliberate action to sleep. Although I had a pretty descent record of sleep this week (admittedly, not 8-hours per night), I still wanted (and needed) sleep. My body is tired and is asking me to do something else to make this lifestyle of academia sustainable.

What I am learning from my mentors is, follow my passion, my joy, my love. I call this MY JAM. I spoke about this many times in previous blog posts about thinking or believing that my jam was listening to other people’s jam. I love going to Circle Craft in Vancouver to listen to the artists and entrepreneurs about their product and passion. If I was honest with myself, now looking back, I think I just wanted what they had, but never knew what my jam was or would be. I had no idea.

I am beginning to understand what my jam is. I think other people can see my jam but I have to realize what my jam is. It’s becoming more evident as I am embedded in the pandemic and defining what’s important to me. It’s not about achieving and doing what others expect from me (even though that’s part of the paradigm of academia), but I am driven about to trying new things and part of my work is not only to serve students and the student learning experience, but also tell these stories as well.

Knowing this will help guide me in my dilemma. I want to sleep. There is no question. I miss it. I love it. I can’t live without it. I just read in my Google search that people of my age should be getting 7-9 hours a night of sleep to lead a healthy lifestyle. OK. I have a goal. And I do feel way better cognitively, physically, and spiritually. I’m not 100% but I will get there. I want to return back to daily walking habits. That routine has been on and off due to the weather and the demands of work. I have recently given up eating meat and I feel really good. That was a step in the right direction.

As I listen to and read more about Atomic Habits by James Clear, I am reduced to the quality of my habits and routines. Writing on a daily basis and reading regularly are other aspects I want to do and bring into my way of being. I am also delving more into my interests and shift thoughts of intentions and plans into ACTION. I just listened to a beautiful presentation by Dr. Shawn Wilson who said that Indigenous knowledge is about relationships with everything and practice LOVE IN ACTION.

I love feeling inspired and as one of my mentors and friends said to me… research is ME TIME. I really get that. What nourishes me on the inside is in service of others. I am learning and will continue to learn on how to make this happen for myself and find a balance within my dilemma between sleep and work. I feel that I am getting closer to a solution to the problem and that each step I take is in the right direction.