For the past three months, I have been on what I call N.B.N.B. or N.B. Squared (no boys, no booze).  On January 2nd, I decided I would take a break from those two things in order to get through four months of 3 weeknights & 1 weekend at university, plus working full-time.  I am now 27 days away from the end of this mission – and boy, oh boy, my mind has been going in a thousand different directions.

At the end of 2009, I was in a place I didn’t want to be.  I was frustrated with university, overwhelmed at work, and confused as to what men messes I may have gotten myself into.  I started 2010 with a long list of things I wanted to accomplish and I honestly didn’t feel I could stay on point and focus a large amount of my time to university & work, with boys and booze (specifically wine…) in my life.  I knew that I didn’t need the drama of dating, nor the wasted day from a hangover.  Reflecting on the last few months, I am thankful that I gave myself this time to focus on my studies and truly learn a lot about myself.

When something isn’t working, it’s only smart to stop, take a break, and reflect.  By no means have I reached clarity… but I’ve definitely made progress.  Considering how busy life has actually been, it’s surprising that I’ve had a chance to think about life, let alone reflect on it – but at the end of the day, I’ve had a lot of time to myself over the past three months.

Since January 2nd, I have been absolutely 100% in control of my life.  I have chosen to skip class or rock an assignment, all has been up to me.  I’ve had no one or nothing to blame for a job done poorly, and for the most part I’ve had to make all decisions without consult.  I haven’t had the opportunity to bounce ideas off of anyone – and wow, that in itself teaches you a lot.  As scary as it may seem, I am likely more independent than I have ever been.  I learned to function without support and also had some of the most emotional times of my life.

What has this taught me?  An absolute ton.

Friends: I have a lot of great people in my life for a reason.  They are my support system and as much as they depend on me, I depend on them as well.  In my 2009 social life, I would be out-and-about all the time, bouncing from event to event and the life of the party.  Going out as rarely as I’ve been makes you really consider who you associate with and appreciate the friends that you have.  I have had the opportunity to meet (and reconnect with) a lot of fantastic people in the last few months.  Smart, dedicated, thoughtful, and just awesome people that I look forward to getting to know better.  No names need to be mentioned – but you know who you are. :)

Boys: I think (and hope) that I am much more objective now.  Last year I let men wear me down… I let them put me down for being independent, ambitious, and determined.  I let myself be treated in ways that I would never dream acceptable, and I walked out of these situations saying I would never let them happen again.  To some degree, I was left completely jaded (drama, drama, drama).  These past few months have taught me that if I want to be… I’m a hot commodity haha ;)  Like the saying “just because you’re good at a job, doesn’t mean you have to do that job for the rest of your life”…. dating is no different… just because someone is interested in you or thinks that you should date, by no means should you have to.  I have made a commitment to myself to do things differently. I have learned that I will not settle, I deserve more than to settle.  Why waste my time going day-in-day-out with someone who trashes me for being independent?  I was recently asked what I want in a relationship (I’m totally not a must-have list type of person)… and although it took me awhile to respond, I ended up saying: compassion, respect, support, honesty, and a belief that the two of us can achieve anything we set our minds to.  To me, it doesn’t seem like a lot to ask for, and in fact, it is likely a bare minimum.  Dating and relationships should be full of life, laughter, and love; they shouldn’t be drama.  When the time is right, I’ll be back on the dating bandwagon.

Booze: I have never been one to say I need alcohol to have a good time or whatever… In the past I generally drank for no good reason at all.  I have 100% craved wine over the past few months, why? Because I needed something to calm me down.  Why did I need to be calmed down? Because I was in an emotional state and had no support group. So likely if I had support, I wouldn’t have needed wine. :) Yes, I think so.  Everyone has their fun nights out, but my perspective on bar nights has completely changed.

Myself: I need to give myself more credit and become more aware of what I am capable of.  By all means, Focus 2040 taught me a ton, and I have a feeling the love from the competition is going to keep on giving in the months to come.  I’ve learned more than I could ever imagine about myself, but for once, I’m choosing to keep a few of these details to myself. :)

I am quite aware that I am going to get to May 2nd not having accomplished everything I wanted to over these past 4 months, but I am ok with that.  My primary agenda had been to make it through my 4 classes, work, and maintain my volunteer commitments – and yes, I’ve achieved those things. Of course, I wanted to get myself to the gym more, get to work earlier, and appreciate the need for sleep – but I can continue to work on those goals over the summer months.

I found this quote and liked it… I am taking a break from life…

“… to reevaluate what matters most to me. I will emerge from this period with clear intentions, renewed energy, and an ability to make myself vulnerable without fear.”

Let me tell you now, I likely won’t have renewed energy on May 2nd, as I will have just finished exams, completed my HR designation, and will be en route to New York City – but I will definitely have clearer intentions.  I have a lot to look forward to in May… a trip to NYC with Haley, potentially a HR conference in Chicago, my sister’s stagette, and getting back into the groove of university for the spring semester.  I am grateful to have had these past few months to learn, blessed to have such fabulous people in my life, and glad that I had an opportunity to be honest with myself and what I need in life.

To my dearest friends, I look forward to having my social life back and enjoying a glass of wine.

I am truly excited to see where the rest of 2010 will lead and I hope that you will continue with me on this journey.

[PS – Save the Date: June 5th – I’m planning quite the birthday party!]

bump in the road

so today i did not much of anything i was supposed to… yes i did finish my leadership essay for uni tonight, and yep worked on some jci stuff, but really all in all – did i have a productive day? that would be a definite no. in january i was so excited to set goals and make progress. now mid-january, i’m tired and de-motivated. i definitely need a pick me upper – and that pick me up needs to come before hawaii (2.5 weeks and counting!).  i need a productive next few weeks, especially if i am going to compete in the u of lethbridge management case competition, and potentially the other two in the works. thank gosh, i love my job. i do look forward to the structure of my day and the calmness it brings me.