Tag Archives: fuckups

The Summary Post – New Years

Over the last month, eight of Embracing Ambiguity’s authors took the time to reflect on the past year in each of their lives. 2014 seemed to offer hills and valleys for each writer – from transitions and changes in the physical spaces they lived in, to the internal turmoil of life changing decisions. Throughout the month, each author reflected on the question of “Where were you one year prior?”

The resulting blog posts are filled with a variety of emotions, but all take an honest and challenging look at the 365 days that made up 2014. In case you missed any of the posts, we’ve compiled them all here.

Happy reading!

ON MILESTONES | Author: Jon Farmer

“2014 was a year of transition and learning, and looking back, some of the best parts of the year were things that I couldn’t have predicted on January 1st. That realization calms me down and gives me hope. A year ago I didn’t know how many friends I would make, places I would travel, or things I would learn. I had no idea how the projects I was working on would turn out or how much fun graduating would be. I didn’t know my sister would get engaged or that we would spend Thanksgiving together in her home in Alberta. I had no idea that I would work beside a glacial lake in the shadow of Rocky Mountains or that I would find a new sense of calm somewhere in the 3 months of travel that followed. I entered 2014 with things to do but some of my greatest growth appeared in the unplanned spaces.”

Read more here.


ON SAYING YES | Author: Stefan Hostetter

“If anything, what changed was how I saw myself and how I understood the nature of work. In 2014, I began to see employment not only as something you can go out and find, but also as something you can build given the right opportunities. I spent the year saying yes to nearly every request made of me, rarely knowing if it would end with me being paid for anything. Often it results in a bunch of work and not much else, leading to a friend stating that ‘Stefan works for free’. But in the end, it proved to be a surprisingly effective tactic if your goal was to only get by…Saying yes to work showed me that I could create value in this world and gave me the opportunity to prove it to others.”

Read more here.



“From entering 2014, furiously wiping clean of what remained from the year before, I had produced a blank canvas, and I had started putting pencil to paper; sketching and outlining what I wanted to start seeing my life to look like.  The image isn’t totally clear yet, but there are shapes taking form.  It is just a matter of adding colour and seeing if looks right.  Let’s be honest, I’ll probably have to paint over some parts, and redraw lines and maybe even change up the medium.  But it’s a start, and that blank space doesn’t seem as daunting as it once did.”

Read more here.


ON SAYING SO LONG | Author: Maya Fromstein

“2014 was a hard year. It brought many of my demons to the surface, despite my best efforts to have kept them hidden for the past 13 years. I learned, and am still learning, to differentiate between myself and these demons. To call them out when they act up, and to distance the blame, shame, and guilt that they bring with them…The struggle, tears, and relief all tangled together in one terrifying and new and strange and comforting bundle. I learned that vulnerability is distinct from weakness. That self care is different from selfishness. That depression is not only sadness, and anxiety not only stress. I learned that I am worth fighting for.”

Read more here.


ON WAITING | Author: Molly Grove

” I am waiting for some big change that will alter my not only my day to day life but also my future…Not idle waiting, though I do watch more than my fair share of Netflix. Not inaction. It is a lack of control over outcomes. It is doing all that you can and putting that out to the universe and waiting to see what returns to you. You can do the best you can to bring things into your life, but in most cases, we cannot control what is coming for us, and that is scary. So you do everything you can, and then you wait.”

Read more here.



“And so this year, I admit, my frailties often got the best of me. But (and this is a very large and important but) I like to think my heart, somewhere along the way, began to break wide open. Maybe it happened in the unexpected last minute drives from Toronto to my hometown; in dancing without care at a best friend’s wedding; in stuffing ourselves with Indian food on my living room floor; or in getting on a plane to land on an island with open arms. I can’t say if the year was overwhelmingly good or bad, as both certainly existed, but I am sure that somewhere along the way I changed.”

Read more here.


ON THE ROAD TO EL DORADO | Author: Tyler Blacquiere

“For the last few years I’ve raced along the Road to El Dorado and after this mythical concept ofadulthood; something I naively assumed I’d see glimmering in the distance, a golden city on the horizon line, once I had figured it out, once I knew what I was doing. But I think the most adult thing I’ve been able to do these last few years, specifically, in the darkness of these last few months, is admit and accept that I have no fucking clue. Accept that my El Dorado is filled with fool’s gold.”

Read more here.



“But that newfound solitude lead to more introspection than I had ever experienced. I feel like I know myself much better than I did last year and I am more confident in my independence now. In that sense, the Year of Michelle successfully reached its initial objective. My personal growth curve has been getting steeper and steeper every year and I hope that trend keeps up for a long time.”

Read more here.


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On failures, fuckups and missteps

If you’ve been following my posts on this blog (all two of them), you’ll (hopefully) know that I’ve been telling the story of my journey from graduation to where I am at now – I thought this would be a good way to kick things off before delving into more specific topics.

Last time, I ended off with a hint about something that I stumbled into in late January of this year, and have been pursuing since – The Storytelling Project.

I was all set to crack that can of beans wide open this week; to let you waft in the sweet smell of preservatives, when I came across this image:


Immediately, I knew that I had to take a bit of a detour. See, that image has essentially been my life the last few months. Despite the excitement that has come with pursuing The Storytelling Project, I’ve also spent much of the time feeling like shit.

It’s the result of a number of things: the shot confidence that comes from multiple job rejections. The financial stress of only having part time work that barely (if even) covers expenses. The emotional ups and downs that come with still working through the after effects of a breakup.

It has been a constant struggle to stay motivated and upbeat; to get out of bed some mornings. I routinely have days where I don’t. Well, except to eat copious amounts of cereal.

Side note: Cereal is the greatest fucking thing on the planet

Within this maelstrom of emotion, I’ve spent a lot of time dwelling on my failures, fuck-ups and missteps. Those three things characterize much of my last few years.

Example: when I applied to the University of Toronto’s Philosophy program, and then switched out of it after two weeks, and into English…which lasted another few months. English to history, history to…Middle Eastern Studies? How’d that even get in there? To, eventually, settling on a major in Peace and Conflict Studies. What a mistake that was. At U of T, the PCS program starts in second year. At the end of that first year in the program, I wrote a paper and gave a presentation called “Why Peace and Conflict Studies Sucks” (I think my professor really enjoyed it).

I wanted to drop out.

But…I didn’t. I didn’t have the courage to face the black hole that life would have become. The uncertainty, the second guessing and the limitless (read: overwhelming) choice.

Besides, I was already two years and $15,000+ in, might as well finish what I started, right?

Besides, I was “supposed” to get a degree, right?

Besides, despite my dislike of the experience, my marks were excellent, so I should just be happy; grin and bear it, right?

But the fuck ups are not limited to school.

From bad financial decisions…spending money I didn’t have on shit I didn’t need.

To career decisions…failing to move quickly enough, or with enough motivation and drive to secure jobs; failing to suck it up and work jobs I didn’t want when the need for money was greater than the need for job satisfaction.

To relationships…failing to see beyond my own somewhat abnormal obsession with work; failing to balance my priorities and fucking up one of the few things that had been consistently positive over the last couple years of this journey into adulthood.

Our failures, fuckups and missteps litter the road from adolescence to “real people life”. As I stumble down that path, tripping over all that is strewn about before me, I’m realizing that the hardest part of that transition is not letting the fuckups drown you. The hardest part is realizing that everyone has them, and that they don’t make you any less than you are. Realizing that, in the grand scheme of this thing we call life, they really aren’t all that big a deal.

I can’t pretend that I’ve gotten any good at any of those things (I also can’t pretend that I am not currently sitting on my bed as I type this, drowning my feelings in a box of Ritz Bits sandwiches). I just know that they need to happen.

Hopefully, through this blog, we can try and get to that understanding together.

Until next time.

Ambiguously yours,


Bonus! This song made me feel really crummy today. It’s great, though…



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