educated(ish) guessing

As you get older, you realize more and more that nobody actually knows what they’re doing. Despite appearances, turning 18 or 21 or even 35 unfortunately does not automatically give you the knowledge that you need to succeed in life at that particular time. In fact, adulting is more often than not just a guessing game of sorts. You utilize your own knowledge of life (however limited it may be), your knowledge of other people’s lives, and what you know about outcomes of past decisions, and simply do what you think will turn out the best.

Multiple times throughout this past school year, I have felt great frustration with the fact that I will never actually be able to know if I am making the best or most correct decision. There is no surety or complete confidence that accompanies the major decisions that I make. If a decision really seemed to feel right, I would often go seek out my friends’ opinions, hoping for them to agree with me and thoroughly support whatever it was that I had chosen. Instead, they would frequently offer me important insight from a different perspective that would push me into reconsideration of my original decision, even if I was so sure seconds prior.

The more that this would happen, the more I began to accept that my decisions in life are only ever my most educated guesses, and not completely informed and calculated or sure to work out. However, once I had come to terms with this reality, it began to actually comfort me.

Life is fun and rich and although I most definitely could have made better decisions in the past, I am infinitely grateful for where I am in life. Every failure of the past has turned to a lesson of the present, and a guide for the future. Some of the things that I am the most grateful for in life are also some of the worst and hardest things that I have had to go through. My somewhat educated guesses have sometimes backfired tremendously, leaving me at a loss and full of regret. However, I have often learned so much from them that the pain and sorrow has been greatly outweighed by the feeling of comfort and preparedness for what is to come.

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no, I did not fall off the face of the planet

Hello world! It has been forever since I have posted a blog post and I miss it so so much. This year has changed my life in so many drastic and amazing ways, and I cannot wait to share all of my lessons and learnings with you as we catch up over the summer.

I finished my first year of university at MacEwan University about a week ago, and I have just been recovering and preparing for summer since then. I am working at an outdoor adventure summer camp for the next four months, so there has been a lot to gather, pack, and prepare.

After experiencing the best year of my life thus far, moving away from my comfort, my favourite people, and my happy routine will be difficult. However, I am incredibly excited to challenge myself with an all new environment, and all new people for the next third of the year. I cannot wait to be in the mountains and have time to refresh and rejuvenate before my next year of school.

This past semester has brought me close to the best friends that I have ever had, and I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to have met and become so connected with such amazing people. I have learned from them and grown beside them in genuinely life changing ways, and I will miss them so much between now and when we can be reunited.

First semester was a lot of adjusting and learning the ropes, but second semester gave me the opportunity to extend myself to my full potential in both school related and non-school related ways. I was able to finish this semester with straight A’s after a lot of hard work and lots of dedicated time! I can’t wait to challenge myself further in the upcoming years, and have been so inspired by my education this year that I have decided to pursue a Master’s degree in communications and technology once I am finished this degree.

Although I obviously learned so much from each of my classes, this semester also taught me many priceless life lessons that I will forever hold near and dear to me. I apologize for the lack of blog posts, but I strongly believe that the hard work that I put into school and the rich life experiences that I was able to have were exactly what I needed at this point in my life.

I am so excited to start this next chapter, and so look forward to working extra hard on this blog during the summer. Writing in the mountains is one of my favourite pastimes, and I can’t wait to get back into posting on this platform.

Thank you all for being patient with me, and although I’ve said this billions of times already, I can’t wait to share everything that I have learned this year with all of you while I reflect on the best year of my life thus far.

Thanks for reading,

xo,

Emma

time: a burden or a tool?

Time is a concept created by humankind. Seconds are determined by words and hours are created by mechanical arms. Rather than letting this made up concept control us, let’s control it. Life is short, and time is moving faster and faster, hurdling us into an unsure future at a faster pace than ever before. It could be argued that time controls our lives, appointments, classes, meetings, and so on, all determined by the numbers on the wall. However, the urgent stress of wanting to make something with your life before it is too late can be cured. We have control over our use of time and so let’s do something great with it. It is easy to procrastinate and moan your way through life, complaining about the lack of time to accomplish the tasks at hand. However, it is much more fulfilling to take control over our seconds, minutes, and hours. Think about the time that you spend in a day doing nothing. Think of things that you could do with those minutes.

HAPPEN TO YOUR LIFE, INSTEAD OF LETTING IT HAPPEN TO YOU.

I try to wake up every day and mentally take control of my life. Whilst upholding the ‘I can only do my best mentality’, I try to do all I can to better myself, and help others. If, by the end of the day, I feel as though I have successfully used my time to do that, I feel full. Even busy days that seem long and impossible, with far too little time and far too many tasks, can be taken control of and genuinely enjoyed.

We are all so blessed to even have hours in a day to make use of in the first place. Life is such a beautiful blessing. Let’s love the time we have. Let’s fill as much of it as we can doing things we love and being with people that we love: fill it with sunshine. And let’s also love the time that is taken up with unenjoyable, mundanities of life. Let’s smile at the painting on the hospital wall while we sit in the all too stuffy waiting room. Let’s laugh at the bratty coworker and the car that won’t start and the bad roads and choose to enjoy the unenjoyable simply because it is beyond our control.

My favorite movie of all time (that I’ve probably already written about) is called About Time. Tim, a quirky 21 year old just taking on the world, discovers that he can travel back in time to events in his life and change the outcome of them. He begins by using his abilities to fall in love, and then the movie proceeds to follow him through the hardships and excitements of new love, marriage, and eventually a family. During the main character’s concluding monologue, he comments:

And in the end, I think I’ve learned my final lesson from my travels in time. And I’ve even gone one step further than my father did. The truth is, I now don’t travel back at all. Not even for the day. I just try to live every day as if I’ve deliberately come back to this one day to enjoy it as if it was the full final day of my extraordinary, ordinary life. We’re all travelling through time together every day of our lives. All we can do is do our best to relish this remarkable ride.

I would thoroughly encourage each of you to watch this movie. It is inspirational beyond compare (and a cute love story, if that happens to spark your interest as well).

Let’s all do our best to relish this remarkable ride, and take control of our time, rather than allowing it to conduct our life and decide our happiness for us.

Thanks for reading.

xoxo,

Emma

above all, courage

Risks are scary. Throughout each of our lives, we are faced with constant decisions to take risks or to avoid them. To avoid risks means comfort, but to avoid them also means complacence. To take risks means discomfort, but to take them also means higher reward.

This year, I have decided to make courage my goal. Generally speaking, I am a fairly courageous person, however, there is lots of room for improvement. I’m sure that I have missed out on of the opportunities in life due to a lack of courage, and that frustrates me. I never want to look back on life and regret not taking a leap of faith and wonder ‘what if?’ Instead, I want to look back on life and see incredible moments and people and experiences that resulted from taking risks.

I want to take jobs that are out of my comfort zone, attend events that are out of my comfort zone, tell people exactly how I feel about them, make memories from taking risks, and so much more. I want to make the most of this short life that I have been gifted with, and sitting at home in fear of risk or regret or disappointment is exactly how not to do that.

As I have worked towards applying this goal to my life, I have had an amazing feeling of satisfaction. I am doing things that scare me every day, and that is how I will make the most of this life. I got my dream summer job, I met so many great people, I strengthened and built relationships, I have done better in school, I have laughed more, sang more, smiled more.

However, I have also taken a few hard blows. I have probably cried more, overthought more, been disappointed more… Taking risks is not always easy. It is not always sunshine and rainbows.

But it is worth it.

The happiness and satisfaction that risk taking has rewarded me far outweighs any disappointment or regret.

In 2019, I encourage all of you to take the same challenge that I have: try to be more courageous in your life. Step out of your comfort zone every day. Don’t let the fear of ‘what if’ keep you from taking exciting opportunities.

Talk to that person in your class. Apply for that job. Go to that party. Send that text. Tell that person how you feel. Wear that shirt. Get that haircut. Run that race.

Stop making excuses; instead, make changes.

I’m excited to take on this year with every ounce of courage that I can muster. I hope that you will join me. If you have any courageous moments, I would love to hear your stories.

Thanks for reading!

xoxo,

Emma

how to know who you are 101

Today in class, our professor chose what many people may consider one of the world’s hardest questions as an icebreaker. He requested that after he called our name, we would tell the class our answer to the question “Who are you?” Although my last name puts me fairly high on the attendance list, there were many people who spoke before me that answered this with confusion and lack of surety. “I have no idea who I am”, “I don’t know the answer to that question”, “I’m here to find out”, and so on. This truly shocked me. Surely, not every person on the planet can have complete self awareness and understanding, but at least a little bit? Apparently not.

I feel as though many people do not understand what it means to know who they are and that is why they feel unfit to answer that question.

So today, I have decided to teach my own condensed class on how to know who you are. Enjoy!

Step 1: Remind yourself of what you do know: the concrete things about yourself.

Each person on this earth should have a few things about them that they are sure of. Whether that be where you live, what you do on a day to day basis, your gender, your age, your goals, your name, and so on, it is usually something. Although we all may not know all of those, we should all know at least a few.

Step 2: Accept that a large part of who you are is pretty much as far from concrete as it gets.

Who we all are is incredibly fluid and constantly changing. From year to year, month to month, day to day, and even second to second, who we are is evolving and developing. As we learn and experience, different ideas and events that we are exposed to can change our perspectives and even sometimes our core values. The more we know, the more likely ‘who we are’ is going to change. Often, the illusion that we have to be able to describe who we are in a few short minutes and in an organized and simple matter is what holds us back from realizing that we do actually know who we are. Who we are is one of the most complicated concepts, despite its simplicity (see step 5). It is not something that we can summarize quickly or efficiently. It would take decades for one to truly comprehend who someone else really was… even then, difference in perspective can inhibit full understanding. We change constantly, and accepting that will put us one step closer to knowing who we are. The answer to that question is something that changes second by second, but if we are aware of ourselves second by second, we will still be able to grasp that answer. Our nature, our nurture, our past experience, our family life, our intelligence, our aspirations, our successes, our failures, our habits, our quirks, and so much more all play into our answer to ‘who we are’.

Step 3: Realize that who you want to become plays a huge role in who you are.

A friend of mine told me that she struggled with the difference between who she was now and who she wanted to become. She asked “If I want to be a kind person, does that mean that I am a kind person?” Who you want to become is a huge part of who you are. Look at it this way: if I want to become a more courageous person, I am someone who wants to be more courageous. I am someone who wants to become better, therefore I am someone who wants to become better. It is as simple as that. Goals and aspirations make up a large part of who a person is. Without thought for the future, and things to work towards, it is hard to find yourself, let alone be able to describe that to others. I want to be a professional writer one day. I am a writer now, but I am also currently an aspiring professional writer. This, of course, plays into the fluidity of each individual’s answer to ‘who are you’. But it is important to accept that who you were in your past and who you aspire to be in your future both play roles in who you are right now.

Step 4: Take time alone, free of distractions, to reflect on yourself. (sorta cringe but highly essential)

If you don’t think that you know who you are, find out: get to know yourself. In past times, before I discovered who I am, I would constantly fill my head with outside stimulus to escape the scary thought of having to spend time inside my own head. However, once I started to allow myself time with no music, no TV, no people, no book, no action, I began to get to really know who I am. Spending time with no outside distractions and engaging in self reflection can be essential to discovering who you are. Be alone in your head, evaluate and reflect on your ideas and experiences and opinions and traumas and happy places and everything else. It seems a daunting task to begin with, but having a strong idea of who you are can be one of the most empowering and comforting feelings. This doesn’t have to be done in a meadow high up on a mountain or in the clear blue waters of the Maldives. Even just in a chair in your living room, or on a bench in the park. Just do some self reflection; I promise there is a lot to learn and it really isn’t as scary as it seems.

Step 5: Do not complicate this. Be honest. Listen, observe, and accept. This is about here and now.

When you realize things about you, accept them. While self reflecting, if you come to the conclusion that you are a very lighthearted person, accept that as part of yourself, and then continue with some more self reflection. If you realize something negative, do not pass by it or try to deny it in your head. Be honest with yourself in order to attain true understanding. Acceptance of the good will help you to hold onto and continue it and acceptance of the bad will help you to work towards abolishing it. Do not overcomplicate things that are clear to you. If you see a trait or a goal or an idea or an opinion, feel the power that it gives you to accept that it is part of you, and then do with it as you please.

I hope that this has been helpful in even the smallest of ways. Thanks for reading!

xo, Professor Emma

is ignorance bliss?

“The art of knowing is knowing what to ignore.”

Rumi
This picture speaks much louder than any words could. From a realist’s point of view, the prisoner on the left will probably find more satisfaction in life due to his blatant honesty with himself. On the other hand, the prisoner on the right has acquired the ability to take himself beyond the four walls and the big metal bars and gain happiness, even if only momentarily. So, which will actually be happier?

The world is a scary place

There is beauty and good and positivity and I try to focus on it

But the more I learn, the more I am disappointed and the more I am scared

I want to spend life entranced and interested and curious

But the more I learn, the more I am disappointed and frightened

Is this it? Will I ever be able to kick this feeling?

Will I ever be able to wake up one day and be content, despite all of the knowledge that I have of the world?

Or will I only be able to find contentedness by ignoring my knowledge? 

Will I have to ignore what I know to be happy?

Is that what I am doing now to be happy?

Is there ever true, genuine, lasting happiness with everything that is going on in this messy, messy world?

Or will we have to fake ignorance to find fleeting moments of satisfaction? 

Some interesting food for thought:

thanks for reading. xo,

Emma

lover’s balm or hater’s bombs?

In North America, self disclosure is both very common and a direct sign of trust and friendship. Self disclosure is measured in terms of 1. how common knowledge of the information is, and 2. how personal the information is. Although self disclosure can bring us closer to people and allow us to connect with them on a deeper level, it also has its downsides. 

On a test that I recently took in my Human Communication and Interaction class, there was a quote that read: “. . . when you permit yourself to be known, you expose yourself not only to a lover’s balm, but also to a hater’s bombs. When he knows you, he knows just where to plant them for maximum effect.” 

Let that sink in. 

Opening up to someone that you trust can either be a significantly rewarding and comforting feeling, or one of absolute regret and embarrassment. I’m sure that we have all been in both situations, hopefully the positive one more than the other. 

I, myself, am a very open person, and find that sharing my personal experience can often help people in some way, whether that be inspiring them to do something amazing, discouraging them from doing something stupid, or simply letting them know that I completely understand where they are coming from. However, this has definitely come back to bite me in the butt on more occasions than I would like to admit. The idea of being raw and real with people genuinely entrances me, as I have talked about in my previous blog post, be real, unique is chic.https://emmakdietze.com/2018/08/08/be-real-unique-is-chic/

In my human communication textbook, 5-10 questions were discussed that people should ask themselves before engaging in a high level of self disclosure. 

Here are a few that I considered very important

  1. is the self disclosure reciprocated?
  2. does the person that you are self disclosing to care?
  3. is the timing appropriate?
  4. is the environment appropriate? 

Due to my less than fortunate past experience with engaging in self disclosure, I am often overly cautious about sharing things that I consider very personal to me. Even on the somewhat rare occasions when I do share, I often play things off as a joke and refuse to let emotion accompany my personal information. The two have often been an awful pair on one too many occasions: emotion and personal information. 

My purpose in writing this is not for sympathy. Instead, it is to encourage all of my readers to care and listen. When people tell you things that are clearly meaningful to them, listen. Show them that you care about them and about what they are saying. Put down your phone, your laptop, your book, your pen, and be in the moment. Make eye contact to portray your level of care. Nod, smile, shake your head, frown. Respond, but don’t interrupt. Simply keep in mind how much trust they are placing in you when they begin to self disclose. Put yourself in their shoes and consider how you would feel if they were treating you the way that you were treating them. 

This has hurt me, and I don’t want others to have to experience the same pain that I have. Next time that someone begins to speak to you about personal things, listen, look, and care. 

Just think: are you going to be the lover’s balm, or the hater’s bombs? 

Thanks for reading, 

Emma