Kayaking and Aerial and a New Stove, oh my!

Let the challenges begin! If you recall, I made myself some terms of unemployment, which include having to try something new (or something I haven’t done in a long time) every week. I’ve received a lot of great ideas for challenges from friends and family, and I started my funemployment with a bang. (Note: my last day of work is actually October 1, but I decided to start the challenges last week anyway.)

Week 1: Kayak and Aerial class

At the beginning of the summer I thought it would be cool to go kayaking. So my boyfriend got a kayak lesson and guided tour on Groupon (with Toronto Adventures). And then we never used it. Until now! We went tandem kayaking on the Humber River – which was an absolute blast. We had both been canoeing (independently) before, but never kayaked. Apparently the skills are not 100% transferrable. I was in the back of the tandem kayak as the more experienced boater – and not pleased how surprised the instructor/guide was to find out I was the more experienced! We hit a few tree branches and reeds, and somehow managed to run ourselves aground in the middle of a river even though everyone else magically avoided this. But by the end we had the rhythm down and picked up a bit of speed.

It was amazing to see how much nature there is inside the city. We started on the Humber by Old Mill subway station and went all the way down to Lake Ontario (although not onto the lake). We saw lily pads, ducks, swans, and a couple of egret (which we had originally thought were herons… oh city folk). It was relaxing and freeing to be out on the water and seemingly away from the city (until we reached the Gardiner Expressway), and a nice reminder that there’s a lot of fun stuff to do in Toronto.

Right after my kayak adventure I headed down to Liberty Village for my very first aerial class. I did this on the advice (wait, what’s the word for when someone nicely forces you to do something?) of my friend, Natalie, who has been doing these classes for a couple of years. We met up and headed to the class, which was held in what looked like a converted factory building with really high ceilings. Inside was a trapeze and two huge silks hanging from the ceiling, as well as a very fit instructor named Joanne.

We started with a warm up, which was really a quick bootcamp class and did some trapeze specific exercises including pull ups (thank goodness I’d been training for those!) and this thing where you hang from the trapeze, lift your straight legs up until your toes touch (or almost touch) the bar and then slowly lower down. I hurt from that one for a couple of days. Then Natalie and John (the other participant) practiced their upside down hangs, which is when they hang upside down from the trapeze.

Then it was my turn. I’m afraid of heights, but the trapeze was really only 7 feet off the floor, and there was a big cushy mat underneath, and Joanne would be spotting me. Still, it was a bit scary. I grabbed onto the trapeze, took a deep breath, lifted my feet up to the bar and hooked my knees over. The trick, as it turns out, is squeezing your bum together (if you don’t squeeze enough, you get a poke from Joanne). So I squeezed and let go with my hands and did my first hang! It was really cool.

Natalie and John went through their routines that they had been working on for the past few weeks (which was awesome to watch) and then it was my turn again. “You’re going to do a layback,” says Joanne. I’m going to do a what? One of those things that Natalie and John just did? But they’re so much more experienced than I am! Thank goodness aerial class is not a democracy.

I sat on top of the trapeze, let go with my left hand, and twisted around to look back while my legs lay on top of the trapeze (get the name?). It was really cool, and once I tried it a couple of times I actually got pretty good. Apparently going to an aerial class with a background in fitness is a plus.

Towards the end of the class it was time for silks. I learned to wrap my feet around the silks and climb up and then slide back down (and I have the bruises to prove it). It was a test of my grip strength and endurance, and it was so much fun. I will definitely be trying this again, and hopefully never testing the thickness of the fall mat.

Without the motivation of the challenge per week challenge (I’ve got to find a better name for this), I would never have tried an aerial class, and that kayak Groupon would have expired. I’m so glad that I’m trying new things, finding new passions, and exploring the city!

Oh, and then this morning our stove top cracked. I’m still glad I’m leaving this job, but jeez universe, not cool timing.

My very first hang. (Not really the first because I forgot to ask Natalie to take a picture. So really my second hang.)

My very first hang. (Not really the first because I forgot to ask Natalie to take a picture. So really my second hang.)

No photos from the kayak - we were not sure how wet we would get.

No photos from the kayak – we were not sure how wet we would get.

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Getting stuck

How many people feel like they’re stuck in dead end jobs, or jobs they don’t want to be in for the rest of their lives, or jobs that they just don’t feel passionate about? With all of the people offering me support for my decision, I’ve also had a lot of people tell me how much they want to do the same, but haven’t for whatever reason.

I think many people get stuck in a job because they’re comfortable there. They know what the job consists of, they know what’s expected of them, they know what’s next, and they know there’s a guaranteed paycheque at the end of the day. Whereas finding something new is scary. What if I can’t find anything I like? What if I’m really bad at the thing that I like? What if I can’t make money and then I can’t even get a bad job and then I go broke and have to sell all of my earthly possessions just to eat? What if I fail?

Every time I’ve thought about leaving this job (for the past few months) there’s always been something that stopped me. But, looking back on it, that thing stopping me has always been a fear of change or failure.

I’ve never liked change. I’m not sure anyone loves change. It’s a scary thing. There’s so much to get used to with a new job – new routines, new people, new things to learn, and new expectations, both internal and external. Those changes could turn out to be great, but they could also turn out horribly. Thus the fear of failure.

Since quitting my steady income job, there are so many more things I can fail at! But right alongside, there are now so many more things I can succeed at!

Starting over is super scary. But it’s also 100% necessary for me right now. If I don’t try, I won’t fail. But if I don’t try, I also won’t succeed. I’ll just sit in a stew of sameness, wallowing in a sense of safety and comfort, until I slowly die. And that just doesn’t sound like fun.

So much support!

Holy cow, the support I’ve received from my friends, my family, and my colleagues has been absolutely amazing. I feel good leaving my job on such good terms. Although when I told my co-workers I was leaving (during a meeting) it did feel like I was breaking up with a room of 15 people.

Many of the people who have shown support tell me their own story of restarting in life. I’m surprised and happy to hear of successful second (or third, or fourth) starts. It’s comforting to know that others have gone before me and have come out happy on the other side.

I have been thinking a lot about what I want to do after October 1 (my last day) – and I’m still not 100% sure. What I do know is that I want to try new things. For example, yesterday, I had ice cream for dinner for the first time in my memory. Just ice cream – no salad on the side. And it felt good.

So here is my first initiative. I will try something new each week. It doesn’t have to be big, it just has to be something new. So if you’ve got anything in mind, please let me know! So far on my list I have things like:

  • go to High Park
  • shop at a thrift store (I hate shopping, so this is actually a big adventure for me)
  • try stand up
  • post a selfie

I need more ideas! So get going!

My boyfriend bought me

My boyfriend bought me “congrats on quitting your job” flowers.

I quit my job today?

Today, I am going to quit my job. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a great job. It’s just not the one that’s going to make me happy in 5, 10, 40 years. So while I’m young and have limited financial responsibilities, I might as well take advantage of my situation and find what will actually make me happy in the long run. Right?

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but now that I’ve actually made the final decision, it’s a bit scary. What if I can’t find other work? What if I miss this job? What if I’m really happy but so poor that I can’t afford to eat? These are all real world possibilities. But I’ve got to try it anyway.

My boyfriend (who supports my decision) asked me if I had made a pros and cons list. Which would be a great idea, but would not change my decision – remember that time I decided to quit my other job and ride a bike across Canada? No pros and cons list for that either. I just know that if I don’t do it now, I will waste more of my time in a great job that would be perfect for someone else.

I started this job part-time to make some money while I tried to find a career I was passionate about. All of a sudden it’s 21 months later, I’ve stopped looking for my passion, and I work full time in a job that I don’t hate, but I certainly don’t love.

So this is it. This is my official 2 weeks notice. Today, I will go in to work and I will quit. I’m not looking forward to it, but at the same time I really am. I can’t wait to have the freedom and time to find my bliss, corny as that sounds.