First Day Back to the #TransitTrial

Ugh…what a crazy day. I was a few minutes later leaving the house today after an incredibly long day and late night yesterday. So off I boogy’d down to my client in 45min walk. Then, as I’m walking to my client, I realized I had to be to Adelaide & Huron by 1pm. Ack!

Finished at client just east of Fanshawe & Highbury and I kick it into high gear. I must have checked my watch at least a million times, tracking my speed and judging my distance remaining. As I approached the point where I could have stopped back at my house, I had a brief thought about possibly stopping for my car. But then I checked the time again and realized I was actually going to make it if I kept up the pace. 

So, I pushed through. I reached the bus stop  at Adelaide and Fanshawe in 40mins. 

Finished my next appointment by 1:20 and  walked downtown hoping to grab lunch and hop on my Oakridge 19 bus. Got downtown after another 30min walk (a bike DEFINITELY would have come in handy here) only to find my lunch place was closed. Ugh. So a quick stop some place else, then onto the 19. 

On the way home we got downtown and I booked it up Richmond to grab the 13. Turns out the bus was empty and just sitting there, no driver in sight. The people lined up waiting seemed to have been there a while. Turns out, that driver was never to be seen again as the next 13 bus picked us up and took us to Masonville. Our new driver explained that sometimes at shift change if new driver isn’t there, the old one will just lock the door and leave. Weird.

Anyway…the good news is, I made it home. And so ends another day of the #transittrial #multimodaltrial. 

#TransitTrial #MultimodalTrial Tuesday…

Usually Tuesday’s are a busier day. I go from north east London to south east, to midwest, and then back to the north east. I easily spend more time traveling than working. Today, however, I opted for taking the car so that I could minimize travel time, give myself a few minutes to prep for a trip, then get to my visit to an ailing friend this evening. I would like to get to bed st a reasonable hour tonight! 

Some days multimodal transportation means using my car. I am on a very tight gas budget, so I don’t use it often but when I do it’s necessary. It’s definitely been an adjustment rearranging my schedule and leaving earlier to allow for the excess travel time, but I’m making it work. And I rather enjoying the process knowing that it’s helping the environment and saving me money! 🙂 

Also…be forewarned…there will be a blogging hiatus for the rest of the week. See you back here on Monday!

#TransitTrial #MultiModalTrial Monday’s

Check the weather, check the bus schedule, dress in summer attire, grab hat, put on sunscreen, lace up the #multimodal shoes – low key hiking shoes meant for lots of walking, with significant tread. 

This morning I realized I can get to my client in Old Oakridge from my place in Stoney Creek in just over an hour. I’ve tried a few different routes in the past couple of months which almost always involved 2-3 buses and walking. I think I used the Google Transit app once and it probably gave me this speedy route, but leave it to me to forget and go back to trying others. Did I mention I have a brain injury? It’s super inconvenient! 

Anyway, I’ve stumbled upon the route again and I’m really glad I did. Two buses in just over an hour means less rushing and more down time between clients and on the actual bus (which means more blogging time!) Who knew?? And lucky me, these routes are almost door-to-door. Many are not so fortunate.

That still means, though, that I won’t get home till at least 6 or 6:30 instead of 5:30 or 6 if I were driving. So, crock pot dinner it is! I’m grateful to have a few extra minutes midday for me to eat AND still get everything in the crock pot before I leave again. 

So, that’s the bus portion of my day. Monday mornings I am currently walking 40mins each way to see the client who lives closest to me in the north east. It’s a great way to get my steps in, but it also makes for a tiring start to the week. This is a part of my week that I could see myself biking. My mom and boyfriend bought a bike for me off a friend a year and a half back. It’s been sitting in a basement for a long time so it’s in dire need of a tune up and perhaps some replacement parts, but it beats buying something brand new. I’m excited to get it over to the London Bicycle Cafe so I can start riding it!

Afternoon Update: 

The great thing about blogging-on-the-go is that I can write in real time as things are happening and then save it and come back to add more as the day progresses! Here I am now sitting on the curb outside my house, waiting for the 13 to take me downtown (where I’ll hop on the 19 and go to Oakridge). The only thing is…my bus isn’t scheduled to be here for another ten minutes and I’ve already been sitting here for ten minutes. 

It’s a catch-22…I have high anxiety when it comes to timing in the day. So I start my day by planning my every move in blocks of 15min increments. Then I rush through the “to do’s” for that block of time and still end up at my destination early (which is then a blessing because I can sit and calm my energy for a few minutes before moving on to the next time block). Today the bus is early so I even had a few extra minutes to get myself situated with my donut cushion as I settle in for the 30min trip downtown. 

Watched the clock “like a hawk” and made sure to leave client’s on time at 5pm. It’s awesome how catching the bus on time gets me to my connection on time so that I get home in an hour instead of 2 like it took me on Friday. Also I think today’s particular driver of the 19 is one of my absolute favourites! ❤️ He’s suuuuuper friendly, says hello and goodbye to every rider, always cheery, is a safe driver, and today he recognized me from my multiple trips in a short time span. 

My last driver of the night, on the other hand…he leaves much to be desired – swerving in and out of traffic erratically, starting and stopping abruptly. 😖 I guess they can’t all be good ones!

But I made it home in one piece and that’s what’s important, right? Even made it back a few minutes sooner than expected as I made a sooner connection downtown. Every 15min block counts! That’s 15mins more with the family and 15mins sooner finishing my dishes and posting this blog. 😉

And thus begins my #multimodaltrial #transittrial week, friends. Stay tuned for the next installment tomorrow! 

#TransitTrial

This year has been a tough year financially. As such, I’ve been cutting back in every area possible. Last year I had already cut cable, found a cheaper internet provider, started shopping at the budget-friendly grocery stores, and was eating out less often. I got a Scene Points debit card, and found an app that rewards me with Scene Points for my FitBit steps then use my points to see movies. 

I thought I was doing everything I could to spend less, but upon reviewing my monthly expenses one more time I realized that there was only one more area in which I could possibly spend less – transportation. It also just so happened that the big transit debate was currently happening in the realm of social media. I started typing a post for Twitter to the effect that I sadly couldn’t possibly use transit for my work as I visit people in their homes from one end of the city to the other. But then I stopped. I was pretty sure there was no way, but had I ever even tried? The answer was No.

And so began the self-investigation of my #TransitTrial. 😊 It sort-of held a two-fold purpose – first, to save money, and secondly to test out the possibilities using the city’s current public transit system. Since then I have been tweeting using that above hashtag and have had lots of great local response. 

Most recently I was approached about blogging my experiences, instead of simply tweeting. I had had at least one other prior suggestion of the same, but given my challenge with brain injury and the overwhelming nature of life tasks I was convinced this wasn’t possible. However, over the past weeks (and, really, the past year), I have become more and more interested in the concept of simplifying life (aka: minimalism). Once again, then, I found myself pondering concepts that easily fit together. Convinced that I didn’t have time, but knowing that something like social media was becoming just a distraction more than a support in my life at the moment, I knew what I had to do.

Leading into my last way of saving money, I decided I will take data off my phone at the end of this billing cycle. By not using Facebook and Twitter while riding the bus, I will not only have more time for blogging (which I will post at the end of the day), but I will save more money by only using my phone as a phone. The simplicity is culpable – I can just feel the stress melting from my brain.

So, here I go…diving into the blogging experience which will now replace my sometimes stressful and ultimately time-sucking connection to Facebook. Yes, I said it. I love the social media platform dearly, but when I look at the priorities in my life right now having Facebook on my phone is not one of them. And so, I’ve discovered a third benefit of this #transittrial (among many others, of course) which is that it’s encouraging me to simplify even further. 

One final note before I get this thing started: In addition to the #transittrial, it was brought to my attention that I might also benefit from a #multimodaltrial by incorporating the use of my bicycle. Given that I just got a bike last year, I thought this was an AWESOME idea! I am already envisioning ways that it will make my commute faster and my schedule more manageable. Now I will be fully #multimodal by walking, biking, busing, AND using my car on occasion. Look out world, here I come!

And there you have it, folks. I hope you will enjoy my thoughts and insights over these next days and weeks of blogging. I think it’s about time I dusted off this platform and used it more regularly again. 

Talk with you again soon!

Stressful Life Stuff

Going through some stressful life stuff lately. Keeping my head above water, but just barely. One day at a time is another 24hrs of struggle without much reprieve or an end in sight.

This might sound melodramatic, but the life  of an adult with a brain injury is tough. At this stage, especially if your injury is decades behind you, everyone expects that there’s really no reason to use it as an  “excuse” any longer. Neither do they realize, however, that the damage is permanent and with age the brain becomes more and more tired as it has compensated for so long. Sure, the best-case scenario sees an individual surrounded by routine and some type of support system, but unless that support system is ideal and the routine ongoing, there really is no way to guarantee a life that isn’t consumed by exhaustion. 

Throw into this mix an above average intelligence but quite a few “bad breaks” over the years, and the frustration and sense of constant drowning becomes the new norm. Good jobs are not easy to come by, survival requires timing and attention that often seems an impossibility. In a constant state of stress, your bio-chemistry actually changes and your body begins fighting itself. 

Life is cruel to some of us. 

Self-Empowerment

Sometimes I write stuff and then I read it a year (or sometimes yearS) later and it says exactly what I needed to hear. 😉 Funny how that works.

Original Facebook Post (Feb 25, 2016)

Day 56 of #365DaysofHappiness – Today I am grateful for my body and the lessons it teaches me. I am grateful for the perspective that, no matter how much I weigh, that doesn’t change the quality and value of the person I am inside. I am also grateful for the reminder that health is within my reach and it is me who is in control of my life. No matter what influences are around me, I can choose what I put in my body and the lifestyle I follow. 

As with anything, it is always good to remind ourselves that it’s only natural to go through stages. Some of us (especially those with life challenges) need lots of reminders. We need to surround ourselves with people who support us and contribute to our betterment. We need to set ourselves up for success.

Be strong in your convictions and loyal to yourself. If there’s anything I’ve learned in this life, it’s that we need to be our own advocates. No one – not even those closest to us – know us better than ourselves (even though they might like to claim they do). 

A practice of self-reflection and self-love is what will see us through even the darkest of days. If you are not where you want to be, remember: you are not a tree, you have the power to “move”. 

Self-empowerment makes me happy.

It’s Noisy In Here

The past few days I’ve realized that my mind is noisy. Without a daily venting space like Facebook, I find I am left to the echoing of caverns in my mind – and that’s not necessarily a good thing. 

I want to be able to share my message of love with those who most need to hear it – my friends who are disenfranchised because of their heritage and religious affiliation, and my friends who struggle to see their fellow humans as humans. It makes me very sad. What makes it worse is that even when I share my thoughts and feelings, there are still those who don’t “get it”. 

My mind turns in circles trying to rephrase things or use a different analogy, hoping to somehow create an “aha!” moment that finally breaks through the mental and emotional barrier that this hatred has created. And these thoughts take up a lot of emotional energy in my brain…emotional energy that could be used for helping me focus on a more important task such as cleaning the dishes or finishing my work notes, or planning the structure of my day.

My poor brain is exhausted from thinking and feeling. It’s why I had to step away from Facebook for a while. I have more important things to accomplish in my day than sitting and reading through articles and status posts, processing the emotions, then attempting to respond in an appropriate way. It often involves me spending multiple hours invested in this process.

So, I completed my first Facebook-free week rather successfully. I did sign on for some time on the weekend, responding to relevant interactions and checking out the latest social reports. But, for the most part, I realized that the notifications were just another distraction and the posts I missed sharing could just as easily be shared here on my blog. And here I preserve my sanity by not having any back and forth interactions with people who feel the need to prove their point. I am just as bad as the next person at letting myself get worked up about something in wanting to prove a point. (It’s something I am actively working on and why I step away). 

I do hope, though, that some day we can all recognize that we are being fed a line. A good portion of the North American nation is being duped by the manipulator in the hot seat.  The fear mongering is feeding a hatred that has welled up from the underbelly of society. The only way to stop this is to practice radical love and acceptance. To my fellow Christians especially, I speak a word of caution. Jesus came and lived a life of quiet love. His radical acceptance of those who were different is what set Him apart and drew people toward him. This is not the practice of a good portion of today’s so-called Christians. Let’s change that.

Peace be with you.