As this year comes to a close, I’ve been reflecting on the things I’ve been up to over the course of 2014. To echo Meagan’s sentiment, there are a number of events, activities, and personal milestones that I have experienced because of this nutty blog project of ours. We also had the privilege of meeting new people and partnering with local non-profit organizations during our monthly challenges. Here is my highlight reel of the year:
- Partnering with 5 local organizations – Wellspring Calgary, Green Calgary, Inn From the Cold, The Calgary Interfaith Food Bank, City of Calgary Waste Removal Services, respectively. As part of our ‘Vanity Insanity’ challenge we raised money to support the important work they do at Wellspring Calgary. I completed the ‘Healthy Homes’ program through Green Calgary and organized our very own spring community clean up. We organized a diaper drive for Inn From The Cold during our ‘Find the Kind’ challenge, collaborated with the Calgary Food Bank to highlight the realities of food insecurity in our city, and Meagan toured/spoke to the waste removal service (landfill and recycling) in our city. Whew!
- Our ‘Green Please’ challenge. Not surprisingly, I love, love, loved this month! Having the venue to write about my passion for the environment was such a treat. Not only that, but stepping up my own environmentalism was even more meaningful. I re-established my home compost, installed a rain barrel, and moved forward from previously using environmentally-friendly household products to now also using environmentally-friendly self care products – homemade deodorant anyone??
- Shaving my head. This
wasis the challenge that keeps on challenging, let me tell you! There have been many awkward stages/phases, with ample comments from others along the way 😉 This challenge was particularly poignant for me in two important aspects – 1. I appreciated the opportunity to raise awareness and support the many people in our society faced with cancer (I also learned how absolutely lovely the people, the programming and the physical space are at Wellspring Calgary), and 2. I embraced the opportunity to confront my own vanity and internalized messages of beauty.
- Interacting with the local media. The coverage of our project through Global Calgary, 660 Radio, and CTV Calgary was exciting and such a privilege, yet incredibly challenging as well. To attempt to describe this project of ours in 2 minutes or less on television and/or radio is a tricky feat! I’m the person who would arrive on the first day of university classes, peruse the syllabus, and if there was an expectation for an oral presentation, promptly drop the class. Needless to say, public speaking within the milieu of media has been a big step this year.
- Hearing comments and from friends, colleagues and acquaintances about how ‘Deconstruct the Yuck’ has impacted them. Many of the comments were posted on the blog and/or Facebook, but just as many (maybe even more) were not. It is humbling to think about how our little project grew into a community of readers and helped others alongside us to look at some things in a new way 🙂
- Getting out of my comfort zone and trying new things – wall climbing, 5km Colour Me Rad race, new recipes (gone wrong!), going to church, personifying my inner critic, writing publicly about spirituality… did I mention shaving my head?
- Our Find the Kind Challenge – I still have this fond memory of walking around in the sun, hiding care packages around downtown Calgary. I felt so sneaky while leaving the little surprises in nooks and crannies for people to discover 🙂
- Less is More – although this was the title of our first challenge, it has become somewhat of an internal mantra for me. This simple message ‘Less is More’ has popped up again and again, demonstrating its continued relevance throughout subsequent challenges. Surely, ‘Less is More’ rings true for me in terms of physical space and material belongings, but it also speaks to me on mental, emotional and spiritual levels as well. Case in point: since January, I now routinely drive in my car in complete silence for what I affectionately call ‘thinking time.‘ Less distraction, more clarity… ahhh…
Although I am glad to be inviting more free time into my daily life again (Less is More – haha), I am going to miss ‘Deconstruct the Yuck.‘ I’ve become fond of the concept Meagan and I created, and of the ensuing evolution of our project over the course of 2014.