Hi friend! I hope you’ve had a stellar week! I got up to Big White for my first day of the season and it was epic. I managed to have my first super solid wipeout of the year, so I’m feeling the burn a bit today (you should see the epic bruise on my knee. Yikes!). Anyhoo, with the New Year fast approaching I thought it would be a good idea to reflect on everything that’s happened in the past year. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in the minutiae of your life that you forget all the big & exciting (or small & meaningful) moments that help you become the person you want to see in the mirror.
My friend Hanah told me about a great exercise whereby you go through each month and write down the events, interactions, or experiences that had an impact on you. I thought that was a stellar way to keep things organized and try to discover whether there were any themes to my year, which, as you’ll see at the bottom, I totally found!
I highly suggest you whip out a piece of paper and a pen and write down the important events, positive or negative, that helped shape your year, what you learned from them, and what you hope to change (or keep constant) moving forward!
- Spent New Years in New Brunswick with my friends and family.
- Officially started Nourished by Caitlin Iles
- Participated in my first 40 Day Yoga Challenge—it kicked my ass physically and mentally in the best possible way.
- Started an online Marketing and Business program.
- Taught my first cooking class in Saskatoon and began working with my friend Regan, with whom I’m hosting an epic retreat this summer in BC.
- Went to visit an old friend in Kelowna, spent a couple days reconnecting with my ski bum self in the peacefulness of the mountains.
- Took a road trip to Calgary with one of my oldest friends to see Neil Gaiman read at U of C. We stayed in a super grimy, crack-shack of a hotel (seriously… sorry mom), but luckily my perseverance got us upgraded to roadside motel status.
- Mostly spent working away, finishing up my online marketing course, and creating content for my website.
- Went to Florida with my entire fam and their partners (yay for 7th wheeling!).
- Created and marketed my first online program (which is now called Reset Yourself Nutrition Challenge)
- Did my first talk at the Saskatoon Public Library.
- Went to Toronto to take part in Meghan Telpner’s Urban Culinary Nutrition Retreat where I learned some sweet new tricks and got totally reinspired to create in the kitchen.
- Got to spend a soul-nourishing day with one of my most specialist of friends.
- Launched and ran my very first online program to some pretty sweet success from my participants!
- Went to Edmonton to reconnect with some dear friends and watch the Game of Thrones finale.
- Saw my very first football game (not really for me, but now I know).
- Went to the sweet Edmonton Farmer’s Market.
- Went to Fort Mac to connect with another one of my oldest friends. We had all kinds of fun!
- Went to a beautiful lake and spent the afternoon swimming and chatting in the sunshine.
- Spent the day playing on some waterslides and swimming laps.
- Saw literally the BEST fireworks display I’ve every seen for Canada day.
- Celebrated and had adventures.
- Went home to New Brunswick to visit my family and friends.
- We went boating and spent tons of time on the water.
- Made tons of family dinners with my brother and sister.
- Swam and practiced yoga with some of my favourite people in the world.
- Got totally addicted to fresh squeezed juice after hot yoga.
- Spent a sweet Cuzzie Weekend in Hubbards, Nova Scotia with my huge, wild, fun & crazy extended family.
- Spent a week on Lake Huron with a few amazing friends at a beautiful cottage on the lake. Lots of boating, tubing, jumping off giant rocks, bonfires, reading, and wilderness walks were had by all!
- Catered and presented at the Yoga at the Ridge Retreat in Big River, Saskatchewan.
- Saw the Northern Lights for the first time ON MY BIRTHDAY!
- Packed my life up into a U-haul, drove through the mountains, and moved to Kelowna, BC.
- Finally achieved my dream of living within walking distance of a beach and spent many afternoons reading and swimming in the sunshine.
- Was flown to Vancouver to interview for a job (that they had already offered to someone else before even flying me out).
- Got to explore a brand new city and stick my toes in the Pacific Ocean for the first time.
- Got to reconnect with my old friend who took me to a crazy metal show in the downtown East Side where I learned that the difference between metal dancing and hipster dancing is the direction in which they sway.
- Metal—front to back
- Hipster—side to side
- Walked across a crazy suspension bridge and played in the old growth forest.
- Took a water bus! Which I discovered is just a fancy name for a ferry boat.
- Drove through the mountains and took a ferry to Victoria where I took part in an absolutely life-changing yoga teacher training (read more about it here!). I met some of the most amazingly wonderful souls at this training and I am so excited to see where our newfound friendships take us.
- Drove through the mountains back to Saskatoon for a Vinyasa Yoga for Youth Teacher training that tore me open and taught me so much about what I want to do with my life. I can’t wait to get back to Saskatoon and get involved with the VYFY program and other cooperatives and charities in the city.
- Speaking of which, I was offered a job as a Program and Marketing manager at Inside Out Bakery in Saskatoon and it is literally my dream job.
- Made the decision to move back to Saskatoon as soon as I can.
- Spent the night in the Rockies.
- Had a wonderful soul sister come to visit me in Kelowna. We explored, hit the slopes for a couple days of epic skiing, and practiced some gentle yoga.
- Reflected on all the adventures I’ve had over the last year and where they’ve taken me.
When I started writing up this list I didn’t really know what kind of theme would appear, but as I continued thinking back on the last 12 months I’ve realized that they have been rather nomadic, which has led to a lot of self-discovery.
Unconsciously it seems that I’ve been exploring all these different cities and provinces to figure out who I am, where I belong, and what my higher purpose is, beyond just wanting to live near water and mountains.
I’ve discovered that I am, above all things, a teacher and that the place where I belong most fully and completely is in Saskatoon at this point in time. Now maybe it would have been a little more financially excellent if I could have figured that out from the comfort of my office space, but I guess that’s not really how things work.
I’ve made some incredible memories over the last year that I wouldn’t trade for the fullest bank account in the world, I’ve managed to stay connected to the people who are most important to me and connect with new people who I know are going to continue to shape my life in the most incredible ways.
I’ve figured out how to use my gifts and talents to best be of service to my friends, my community, and the planet. I’ve been offered a job that allows me to help create a safe and delicious space for people who suffer from food allergies or are just trying to live a healthier lifestyle and I’ve discovered that I LOVE teaching yoga to youth and have plans to mentor with one of my dear friends in Saskatoon.
Finally, I’ve realized that when you find something that lights you up from the inside, working all day doesn’t feel like a chore, but something that gives your day purpose and meaning and lights up your soul. I have to say that I’ve been incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to create all these experiences over the past year, but I also want to say you don’t necessarily need to become a nomad to discover these same things about yourself.
We all have different paths and purposes, but I encourage you to really look at your life and find out where you feel unfulfilled, stagnant, stuck, or just unhappy, then do one small thing every day to figure out how to make your life just a little bit more awesome.
You don’t need to quit your job and travel the world, but maybe you start writing in your spare time as an outlet of your creativity or you pick up the phone and call a friend with whom you’ve fallen out of touch, just to say hi.
As much as the big moments in our lives define us, it’s the small choices we make every day that create a life of meaning and fulfillment, so make 2015 your year. Whatever that may look like. I know you can do it!