Thoughts On Aging

A macro photograph of a colourful cake with a number three candle.

Yesterday was my birthday. It was a relatively nice day—don’t have huge complaints or worries about it.

But it was an obvious reminder of 1) my mortality; and 2) aging.

The concept of time is very obtuse to me. I don’t quite understand it. This is how I feel about birthdays.

Age is a nebulous thing to me. I often forget how old I am not because I think I’m older or younger than I am—it’s just difficult for me to believe my age is some way to explain my growth or experience.

Because your age doesn’t define the experiences you have.

Where I live, it’s illegal to buy alcohol under the age of 19; it is illegal to drive under the age of 16; and yet these are not definitive of people’s experiences. Kids under 19 drink, and kids under 16 have had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a car.

I guess it’s just really hard for me to understand how so many actions can be defined or justified by our orbit around a giant ball of blazing gas. That’s the real gist of this post. I don’t get it. I don’t understand how age denotes maturity, experience, or qualification.

Like, yeah, of course I’m not going to say that 10-year-olds are mature, experience, and qualified enough to drive a car. When it’s in the younger years, the pre-pubescent years, the years where you need to buy new shoes because your feet keep growing—that’s different.

But now, post-pubescent and reaching a point of—dare I say it—stasis and decay… My age really shouldn’t matter too much. How old someone is doesn’t say how smart they are, how much they know about something, how experienced they are with it. Hell, I started working with HTML and CSS when I was 13, but I’m not going to tout 7+ years of experience—because no employer would look at my age and believe me. They wouldn’t believe I would’ve been self-teaching in different skills throughout my teenage years. Because, for some reason, your teenage years get discredited. What you do in your teens somehow doesn’t have the same impact as what you did after you turned 18 or after you started post-secondary school.

I hate liminal stages in life. Between infancy and childhood. Between childhood and teen. Between teen and young adult. Between young adult and adult. Between adult and elder.

I’m between young adult and adult, and I don’t like it, and there isn’t much I can do about the people who judge me based on 1) how old I am; or 2) how old I look.

Anyway, happy birthday to me. Another package of seasons in my life have passed by.

Writing Wednesday: Writing Prompts

A close-up of a notebook and fountain pen with faded writing.

I absolutely love writing prompts when I’m trying to go through a writing exercise. Often, freewriting—just starting from nothing and going at the words—leaves me blank. I like to have a jumping point for my writing.

Now, I’m a poet and a prose writer, but I remembered an event I went to where the mediating author gave us prompts based on our own experiences. So I figured I’d include some journaling prompts for any of you personal writers! You can, of course, adapt any of the prompts for any form of writing you see fit. And don’t feel confined to the guidelines. Writing prompts exist to inspire you, so take what works and leave what doesn’t.

Prose
  1. Write a short story from beyond the grave.
  2. Challenge yourself to a flash fiction under 500 words.
  3. Get three sentences from three different books, and use them to create a story with the theme of “exile.”
  4. Write a flash fiction without using one of the following letters: S, R, N, or T. Your optional theme is “distance.”

Poetry
  1. Using sonnet rhyme scheme (English or Petrarchan—your choice), write a poem about a blind date.
  2. How many synonyms can you think of for one of the following words? Use them in a poem addressing the notion of “paradox.”
    • Path
    • Write
    • Turn as a verb
    • Turn as a noun
  3. Write two connected poems: one celebrates something and the other inquires about it.
  4. Write a concrete/image poem (one that has a shape) that contradicts the content.

Journalling and Personal Creative Non-fiction
  1. Think of your earliest memory—and then add a butterfly to it.
  2. Create an onomatopoeia for something a family member or friend does. Write about that activity or action.
  3. Think of something that stands out in your memory that is red, yellow, or blue. Describe it, only naming it once.
  4. Write about the first time you saw something sublime in nature—the ocean, a mountain, a canyon, a waterfall… What was it like?

Feel free to leave any prompts, or your feedback, in the comments!

Bullet Journal Monthly Spreads: October 2016

It’s October already! I’m very excited. If you read my post reviewing September, you’d know I’m looking forward to this month. I didn’t get to a very good start, but those days are done and new days are coming.

When I showed off my spreads from September, I used it as a bit of a review for what I wanted to change come October and the monthly spreads. I spent the first two days of October in a depressed pit, so creating these spreads took way longer than I anticipated. But I’m so excited for them!

The first spread is a cover page for October. I love having a refreshing new page to welcome the month. September’s was very different to this pixelated one, and I absolutely adore the confines of the boxes. It reminds me of the good old days of some webdesign trends in the *ahem* younger generations.

The word "October" styled in boxy or pixelated font outlined in warm colours.

I found September’s calendar didn’t work well for me, so I adopted a table with dates on the left side, and various categories and deadlines/schedules/activities for those days. This gives me more room, but also lets me see everything at a glance and make it easy for me to know what’s coming up in a few weeks. It also feels more chronological than the 7-column structure of a calendar, y’know? I kind of regret the numerical calendar on the bottom of the right page—it’s much more spaced out than I’d like. But, c’est la vie. I can always cover it up if I really, truly hate it.

Chart with days of the month and activities in various categories.

My habit and health tracker got the least changes. I eliminated a few things I neglected to track during September, and refurbished them onto a daily spread to test out this first week of October. I also decided to bring in colour. I’m using FriXion markers in a set colour palette (the blues and greens) in a pattern. Last month, I used different symbols for when the habit was present or when it wasn’t. At the end, it looked very cluttered. I reasoned, If I don’t do the habit or healthy thing, then I shouldn’t get to mark anything down. Let it be nothing.

Chart with the days of the month and various habits and coloured boxes next to the habits.

I’m also very much in love with the weekly spread I did. It’s a variation on the last week (which I have yet to show, heh) with some differences in how I structure the daily logs. I promise I’ll show some pictures soon!

The monthly spreads in the bullet journal always take up the most of my time. They are more long-standing than the weekly or daily logs, so I find I consider the look and content much more. But I’m very happy with this month’s! We’ll see how well I keep up with some habits and where I fall off the wagon.