Mad could not be more honoured to feature her mentor as a guest writer on bronze&gold! Leah was her manager at the P&CC, but sparked so much more than just a passion for printing and copying. Nowhere will you find a more bubbly personality or contagious smile. Leah spends her days inspiring others: living an active life in Calgary, Alberta with her husband Justin and their puppies, Dex and Dash.
Ever since watching Meg Jay’s 15min TED Talk “Why 30 is not the new 20” (see below) in 2013, I’ve lived with the mentality that your 20’s are the defining decade of your life. This philosophy has been at the forefront of almost all major and minor life decision I’ve made thus far - from everyday nutritional habits, to family planning, to career development. It has challenged me on several occasions to think long and hard about my future and the steps necessary to get me towards where I want to be.
Within the last year alone, I’ve changed cities, bought a house, leased a car, was hired at a new job (only to quit that job 8 months later in order to follow a career path that brought me more personal satisfaction and happiness), got married, had a honeymoon AND welcomed two new puppies into my family – phewf! If that isn’t a defining year in my life, I don’t know what is!
By no means have I figured out the secret to thriving in your twenties, though. In fact, if you sat in on any one of the hundreds of life chats I have with my two best girlfriends, you would probably think that we have no hope for the future, our lives are disasters, and we are all going to end up jobless and alone #classicgirltalk. Despite those conversations (most of which we are realistically waaayy too hard on ourselves and… maybe a tad over dramatic), I do have a good understanding of the three pillars that outline my own definition of happiness and success. Focussing on family, health and personal development has always fuelled me and made me my happiest self. These three pillars have helped me develop a series of goals to focus on when setting a course for the adventures of life.
Family Amongst all the changes that 2015 brought, at the core of every decision was also a discussion with my best friend and now-husband. I count my lucky stars everyday that I was able to meet him so early on in life and to have already shared so many defining moments with him by my side. He has always been my biggest cheerleader and confidant and brings so much humour and compassion to my life. Of all the adventures from the past year, marrying my husband was the ultimate highlight (planning the wedding before we said our “I Do’s” was a whole other undertaking that would likely require a blog post of it’s own)! To me, this meant that we were able to start a new chapter of our life together and that we were no longer just planning for the two of us, but also now needed to start thinking more seriously of plans that involve two other humans that would join our family in the years to come. Budgets, lifestyle changes (to ensure we stay on budget) and values are now part of our everyday conversation so that we can better plan for a future we want to build together. This may cause some people anxiety and seem a little bit daunting, but growing our family is truly one of the most exciting things that I look forward to – so why wouldn’t we start planning now? I can’t think of anything that fills my bucket more than sharing life’s moments with the people you love most and that love you just as much!
Health Being immersed in the health & sport industry for 4 years of my undergraduate degree and 3 years post degree has given me HUGE appreciation for my health and the wonders of the human body. I believe a lot of people take their health for granted, and may not understand what their own body’s fullest potential looks like. As I began a new path of personal training/nutritional consulting this year, it has urged me to take a long hard look at my current lifestyle and practice what I preach. I’ve developed a new appreciation for the phrase “listen to your body” and over the year have really tried to hone in on the foods that, when paired or unpaired with exercise, makes me feel most energized, or leaves me feeling tired and bloated. Every body is different and requires different fuel to keep it functioning at it’s best. It has been pretty fun and empowering going through the process of understanding my body’s favourite foods (not just my taste buds) and is something that I think others should try as well! Placing emphasis on my health has not only allowed me to live with more endorphins each and every day, but has also brought benefit to my clients, as I am able to relate to them on a different level and speak realistically about goal setting and achievement. We don’t get a practice body, be sure to fuel yours to it’s potential!
“When was the last time you tried something for the first time?”
This quote was shared by the Tough Mudder announcer right before my team left the start line this past September, 2015. It has stuck with me ever since because I think it’s an awesome outlook to have in life - always be pushing yourself to try new things or learn something new. It could be anything from a new recipe, book, or career. In some of my past jobs, I have had a hard time feeling “fulfilled.” It was (and still is) hard to figure out what that extra something would be to make it a dream job or something worth sticking with for the long haul. In most cases, it came down to challenge. If it wasn’t challenging me, it wasn’t changing me. Or if it was challenging me, was it changing me for the better, or in the direction I wanted to go? This year, I made some hard decisions and left some amazing coworkers, but what I am most proud of is that even when things were still a little bit unclear, I stayed true to myself and made decisions for me instead of pleasing others (which is something I need to continue to get better at). Now I find myself in a new job, which I am over the moon excited about, in a field that I am passionate about and with mentors who see my potential and want to invest time into teaching me how to grow in the health industry!
These are the three pillars that, when I take care of and find success in, end up fuelling my life for the better and keeps me focussed during times of change. Bringing intention to what fuels you and not comparing your path to anyone else’s will (hopefully) make an impact on how you choose to define your 20’s, and as a result, the future you! If you aren’t already taking steps towards what really matters to you, why wait?! ;)