Incorrigible Youth

image Age. The saying goes that it’s just a number, and in truth it really doesn’t matter how many times you’ve made a full revolution around the sun, it matters what you take from it.

As with every year, the days preceding and following my birthday (26 April) tend to be a time of reflection for me. It’s a time that I’m grateful for all that has happened in my life – good and bad – because I see how it continues to make me develop and reevaluate my perspectives. I equally think about all the adjectives that represent the multiple facets of my character, and how those grow as I do.

Despite the sand that continues to accumulate in the bottom of my life’s hourglass, I realize that I will forever identify with having incorrigible youth.

Now what on earth do I mean? Incorrigible usually has a negative connotation implied when it’s defined. To me, it’s life’s greatest blessing.

Though we may mature, grow, age, get stretch marks and wrinkles, and have our hair fade to a soft grey or become a dry desert, we must always nourish what’s inside – our heart. It’s within your heart that you should raise the anchor and let your passions set sail. I’m incorrigibly in love with life, and giddy with the happiness of youth. Youth is the burning fire that continues to be rekindled within my heart, and it has no age. The moment we forget how it feels to muddy a pair of shoes running through a grassy field, the joy of standing in the rain, the true sweetness that comes from observing the smallest things in life – in that moment we forget that life’s treasure box exists.

One of life’s treasures is sharing a true laugh with someone. Laughter is one of the most sincere emotions I know. Share it. It’s catchy. Laughter is the song of the child that still wishes she could wear a tiara outside while riding a bike. It has no hidden agenda.

Though my exterior may look studious at times, hardworking at others, and on some days even glamourous (or at least, I do try) my inside is graced with an incurable youthfulness. In anticipation of my birthday, I celebrate the child that I was, am, and will forever be, even when I’m 100. Embrace your quirkiness and love your child within – they’ll be glad you’re not neglecting them anymore. 🙂

Claire-Marie Brisson

Taking the First Step

makeithappenAmbition. Honesty. Dedication. Three words I try to live by. 

To be honest, I haven’t been ambitious, honest, nor dedicated in one area of my life, and that is taking care of myself. Yes, I love doing my makeup and trying on different clothes, but in reality, that doesn’t translate to total wellness. I exert myself outwardly to the point of neglect, and today I’m taking the first real step to change that.

I’ve gone on and off trying to monitor my weight and my nutrition. If you’ve known me for a while, you know how I’ve tried to go to the gym, have continually tried to work on maintaining a healthy weight, and always strive to eat well. I avoid all kinds of foods that are bad for me for the most part, however, I realize that eating things labeled ‘organic’ doesn’t always mean that I’m nutritionally on the right track.

Furthermore, I put myself under a lot of stress. I had at one point dedicated myself to spending several minutes every day meditating, but somewhere along the line that disappeared. I want to regroup and reclaim the Claire-Marie I want to be.

I don’t have unrealistic expectations. I don’t think I can drop 20 pounds in a week. To be honest, that’s pretty unhealthy and can shock the body. When I see the photoshopped models in magazines, I realize that marketing is intended to make every body type feel self-conscious. However, I recognize that there are some simple steps I can take to advance myself both physically while at the same time mentally working towards my academic goals.

Writing this isn’t easy, but here’s my first step. I’m not writing about it to glorify it, or to make others feel like they should follow suit. I’m writing to hold myself accountable, so that one year from today I’ll be able to see how I’ve progressed, if at all. I do hope for the best.

What exactly, then, am I going to push myself to do?

The Plan

  1. Drink more water
    This sounds fairly simple, but I just don’t get enough water every day. This has an immense impact not only on weight, but also on other basic needs my body has, including skin issues.
  2. Reevaluate my food intake
    I’ve reactivated a program to help me count my calories. But beyond recording that the yogurt I eat has 120 calories, I am equally going to monitor the amount of total fat, carbs, and protein to see what’s going on. Furthermore, my work schedule makes my eating times rather weird. I’m going to try to normalize my food schedule.
  3. Schedule exercise
    If you could see my Google Calendar, you’d be fairly shocked at how much work goes into my week. This doesn’t mean that I’m sitting the whole time, however it definitely means I’m not scheduling in exercise as I would like. I like the motto of ‘no excuses.’ I’m going to reincorporate morning yoga, quick dance breaks, and other exercises that will make me more active. (Or just scheduling the simple walk I enjoy across campus for starters).
  4. Less stress
    This one is going to be hard for me, however it needs to be done. I tend to lead a fairly stressful life given my duties. Good ways to de-stress such as disconnecting from all technology for spans of 10 minutes, going for walks, meditating, and reading are great ways to take some ‘me’ time and are very doable. I used to enjoy going to a meditation group, too. I might schedule that in at least once a month.
  5. More sleep
    Another one that will be hard to do, given how many different things are whizzing around in my life. I’m dedicated to at least getting 7 hours per night, which is my preferred sleep duration.
  6. The brighter the food, the better
    A fast-paced lifestyle sometimes translates into eating things that are convenient instead of better for you. I don’t eat fast food, however, I do eat quick meals from the organic section that are just as bad as their ‘standard’ counterparts. I’ve heard that colourful foods are better – and that translates into way more fruits and veggies.
  7. Less beer, more wine
    I love both, but beer really takes a toll on my waistline. I’m going to try to limit myself to one or two beers a week. Wine will never get nixed from my diet.
  8. Coffee choices
    I tend to drink café au lait, which can be fairly high in calories, despite the fact that I never use sweetener. I’m going to switch to black coffee as often as possible.
  9. Stay on the go as much as possible
    Some days I sit all day grading, writing, reading, and watching videos online. I can change at least one of these hours into taking time to care for myself.

Here’s to the first step,

Claire-Marie Brisson