12 Tips To Capture Wedding Day Portraits You’ll Love

Weddings are beyond stressful to plan, with so much build up and pressure for one day of bliss. And when it’s all said and done, all you have left are your photos, video and memories.

It’s tough to choose a wedding photographer, but once you swipe right on an aesthetic style, the work is not done! While we loved our engagement photos, they weren’t a perfect predictor for our wedding day photos. We didn’t know, what we didn’t know so learn from us to get wedding day portraits you want, with zero regrets.

How to Structure Wedding Day Timeline to Get Key Photos

#1. Run DRAFT Timeline By WEDDING Photographer Before It’s final

We hired a same day planner develop since we had two venues, one hour apart. Our invites were already in the mail with ceremony and reception start times before we realized we’d only have enough time for photos if everything went according to plan. Spoiler alert: it never does. And if your photographer sounds hesitantly optimistic, heed the warning bells and make more room. Sometimes they can be too can-do or accommodating.

#2. Add Even More Buffer Time into Your Wedding DAY Schedule

To hammer the above point home, we had plenty of 15 minute buffer windows throughout the day, including food breaks to avoid hanger outbursts but we still ran out of time. Trust me, you will have zero concept of time on your wedding day, especially if you are being present and taking everything in so create more space in the schedule!

#3. Do WEDDING Ceremony & Reception at Same Location if You Can

This wasn’t an option for us since our souls fell in love with a ceremony location that was too small to accommodate our reception. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but commute time can take away from photo time. It’s not a James Bond movie, it’s your wedding. Also ask your photographer in your pre-booking interview how they handle changes to the schedule and stresses on the day. In a time crunch, what is their priority?

Bride and groom get married in front of floral arch at Toronto Hunt Club

The battle to have our ceremony here was long but worth it. Best part of our day hands down!

#4. Do Family Photos After WEDDING Ceremony if You Can

We did immediate family photos after our ceremony and planned to catch aunts, uncles and cousins at our reception venue half an hour before show time. This can be risky since it leaves room for people to be late (cough cough, my parents). This was by far the least enjoyable part of the day. It’s important to have photographers who can take the lead and rally the crowd (or someone else who can). Bonus: Use a Mic to call out people’s names.

How to Communicate With Your Wedding Photographer BEFORE Wedding Day

#5. Specify literally every photo combination for family portraits

While I have some photos with my parents individually during prep (mostly candid), we were sequestered in a room and it wasn’t as scenic as the outdoor spaces. I failed to write “Bride + Mom” and “Bride + Dad” in my portrait list because I thought that was a given! It didn’t come up during the final prep call and none of us realized the miss on the day.

#6. Don’t Be Afraid to Specify Detailed Wedding shots that Seem Obvious

I know you’re paying good money to people who have shot hundreds of weddings. I didn’t want to micromanage either. BUT now I only have two photos of my 1km aisle walk – one from the front and one from the back. I would have asked for 5 to 10 shots from multiple angles had I known the limited end result. This goes for every moment you value!

Bridal Entrance with Father at Toronto Hunt Club

One of only two shots of my epic long aisle walk – a key bridal moment I wish I had more footage of…

#7. Clarify who your Immediate Family is to Avoid Randoms in Candid Guest Shots

I was not asked but wish I had proactively outlined priority tables for candid guest shots at the wedding reception. I also wish I created a page with VIP names and faces for the photo assistant. I literally have 350 guest photos out of 1,000 (this wasn’t a key priority) with none of my aunts and uncles from mom’s side. They are in two family portraits and that’s it. #badniece

#8. What You Tell Wedding Photographers Will be Taken Literally

I said we wanted to capture the natural emotion of the day. As a result, Vito and I only have three photos where you can clearly see both of our faces looking at the camera. These types of photos are good for Thank You Cards and to give loved ones, though they aren’t particularly artsy and are considered a bit passe by most photographers. Specify a ratio/spectrum for your photo preferences instead of leaving it in absolute terms.

Bride and Groom sunset photos at Arlington Estate in Kleinburg

Hey mom, we’re actually looking at the camera (in 3 out of 1,000 photos)!

What to do on Wedding Day for Optimal Wedding Photos

#9. Be Mindful of your Bridal Hairstyle so your Face iS VISIBLE

After my e-shoot, I was adamant on having my hair pinned back so you could clearly see my face from all angles (this is a non-issue for up-do’s). But I lost a battle with my mom on my wedding day, so half my hair was loose and cascading. My photographer often told me to look at Vito and I was not aware of what side was leading. I didn’t ask my photographer to be mindful of this and my photographer didn’t always reposition me out of her own instinct and so there are some Cousin IT vibes going down (though still pretty).

Bride and groom kiss in front of Lake Ontario waterfront at Toronto Hunt Club

Dude, where’s my face? Wish I spoke up about looking at camera! Or won the morning hair battle. Or was aware of my good side. #cousinIT

#10. Vocalize When You Aren’t Feeling Photo Direction on Wedding Day

Halfway through our portrait session, I finally stated “I don’t like looking down”. This is a common photo direction as it looks “romantic” (and key to our photog’s aesthetic) but it felt very inauthentic to my personality and the joy I felt that day. I believe eyes are the windows to the soul and there are way too many photos without them. Whatever you aren’t feeling on the day, don’t be afraid to use your voice!

Bride and Groom among the trees at Toronto Hunt Club

After this photo was taken I finally said “enough with the looking down!”

#11. Tell Your Family Members to Be Proactive and Vocal

Even if you communicate perfectly, you may miss specifying a VIP non-family member or still not get all requested shots due to how hectic the day is.It’s difficult to keep track of which photos have been taken by what device (cell phones, photographers etc.) To avoid coming up short, empower your key guests to request photos of you and/or photographer that day.

#12. tell SAME DAY Planner to Run Major Schedule Changes By You

Because we got so off course on the wedding day and my planner promised to keep all vendors on schedule, she tried to cut into our portraits to make up time (20 mins vs. one hour). I wasn’t proactively given multiple options to choose from and inserted myself to get photo time back.

We also had sunset photos scheduled and my photographers were given five minutes. In general they were pretty skittish, which ultimately is no bueno. While planners want to handle shit and not bother you, ultimately you are the client that has to be satisfied in all respects including timeline trade-offs.

Bride and Groom Smokebomb photo session at The Arlington Estate

Don’t get me wrong, candids & action shots have their place! #SmokebombsForTheWin (actually got burned though)

In the end, we love ALL the photos we DO have – they are dreamy, whimsical, natural, vibrant, while also being light and airy. While we don’t regret choosing our photographer, you can’t look back on pictures that were never taken. Had our photographer’s gotten a few extra shots we felt were missing, we know they would have been captured beautifully! And we would have had zero photo regrets.

Tell us, do you have any wedding day photo tips to add that we missed?

Photo Credit: Thank you to Samantha Ong Photography for capturing our special day

On Overcoming Limiting Beliefs and Finding Love

Confessions of a Commitment Phobe Nerd Who Got Engaged

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

In elementary school, I only had a couple friends, no inclination for sports, a penchant for Cher Horowtiz skirt suits and straight A’s. But I still thought I was pretty rad.

From grades four to six I may have lusted and obsessed over a secret crush, full of hope and faith that before grade eight graduation we’d be together (like Ross and Rachel). It all came crashing down during one of those fateful dance-a-thons. You know the one: half-empty gym, past-his-prime DJ, colourful strobe lights and Venga Boys on blast.

As I resumed my go-to spot against the wall during the never-ending slow songs, a couple of popular girls figured out the identity of my crush and asked him to dance on my behalf. It was like watching a train wreck slash outer body experience. BUT a tiny part of me was excited that the cat was out of the bag, two years early! Hoping for good news, obviously.

Unfortunately, his face was aghast with horror and he backed away, hands up like he was under arrest. The reality of his reaction slowly sunk in and I ran to the bathroom with a hot face and shaking body, willing the tears to wait until I could take cover in a stall.

And I think that was the moment when I started to feel not quite “good enough”.

The memory haunted me for years and could bring me to tears, as silly and minor as it sounds now. I never wanted to experience that kind of public humiliation or rejection again. So I focused on achievements and working hard because I could control it and feel good about myself (Lord knows I couldn’t trade on my looks).

Vanessa in all her 90s pre-teen glory

Q: “But why don’t boys like me?” Answer: (shrug)

Vito as a “baseball stud”











After a couple more puppy love heartbreaks in my teens, I put my fragile heart on lockdown and threw away the key.  I didn’t know how to receive love and I didn’t know how to give it (to my self or to anyone else). I made romantic decisions with my head or out of pure infatuation, both mild recipes for disaster. I went along with almost any boy who would have me, grateful for the opportunity. Some men were even kind enough to point out why I was doomed to die alone (often after I rejected THEM).

Until “unlucky-in-love” became part of my identity, a twisted badge of honour. I was the token single friend with the crazy, entertaining and sometimes sad stories (I do love making people laugh). I became addicted to self-help everythang, convinced that if I could fix the broken parts of me, I’d be in a position to attract the kind of person I wanted to be.

When I first met Vito, at the tender age of 25, I was adamantly against dating him. He must have frightened my ego, fighting to cling to the familiar. I judged him before I knew him, sticking him in the boring Italian pile with the others. He didn’t have charismatic swagger. He wasn’t artsy or a world traveller. But after Match.com brought us back together two years ago (I still dreaded online dating), he wore me down and we started dating.

For a couple of weeks I felt sheer TERROR when I realized I was HAPPY. I promptly focused on all the small things that weren’t perfect and criticized him to death until we were done like dinner. Self sabotage reigned supreme, even after the psychic told me we were twin flames.

But Vito came back because he’s resilient like that. And always felt sure. He saw my light and focused on it. He tried to understand my point of view. He gave me space to be neurotic and put up defenses. He held me without judgment when I cried because they threw out all the chicken at the Portuguese takeout place one minute before I got there (#thestruggleisreal). He treated me with respect and looked at me with love in his eyes. Vito was the first boy I didn’t want to change (the second time around), though nothing and no one is perfect.

So after an emotional roller coaster and epic pondering last summer in Greece, I finally gave up on the old stories and familiar emotions like loneliness, despair, self-loathing and self-pity. Choosing love was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. Have any of you experienced the same?

I brought Vito to Greece this summer, despite my family’s protests of unbetrothed village scandal. I wanted him to meet my grandmother and that desire trumped the risk of bringing a third boy to Greece who may not be forever. I started crying out of nowhere just after midnight on the 2nd night of our trip, in a beautiful resort outside of Athens. I told Vito that he was going to break up with me by the end of the trip, once he saw all the ways I could sabotage fun and relaxation, completely disoriented outside my Toronto bubble. The flaws my Exes saw would surely be impossible to hide and impossible for him to ignore.

He told me that was the craziest thing I’ve ever said.

Celebrating our engagement with yia yia and papou in a village in Greece

Third time’s the charm!

Two days later Vito proposed on the beach just after sunset, during a mini-getaway. It was the last night of Mercury Retrograde (yay) and the (almost) full moon had popped out from behind the mountain, catching us both by surprise. He picked that day for a few reasons, but mainly so we could tell my grandparents in person before leaving for Malta. It was a private, simple and heartfelt proposal, again not quite what I pictured (I was also very much in my head).

Upon hearing the news, Papou beamed from ear to ear and set out on foot to spread the word. Yia yia was pretty happy too, having pressured me every day for the past 5 years to get hitched. EVEN IF she has no recollection of our visit (her mind is going), she was present in that moment and we’ll always remember…

And the funny thing is, I would have had the biggest crush on Vito in elementary school.

Advice to Anyone who may be Struggling with Love:

Not that I’m a qualified expert, but no matter! Here are some well-intentioned words of wisdom…

Timing is everything and you are on your own journey so try as hard as you can NOT to compare yourself to others or let fear run your choices (been there big time sista).

Also it’s impossible to ruin the right thing – you will get a second or fifth chance. So don’t worry but also, try not to be an asshole.

Forgive yourself for all your bad decisions, indiscretions, perceived and real shortcomings. Do the shadow work. Give the gift of closure to yourself for any unhealed endings. Write the letters, burn the sage, tune in and host the make-believe dialogues. Hold space for the inevitable EX dreams (and delete your search history trying to decode them, LOL but actually).

Deconstruct limiting beliefs around love. Not all the good people are taken. Commitment doesn’t need to represent stagnation or loss of freedom or changing who you are. It doesn’t have to be the ending…it CAN be the beginning.

When you are ready, make that clear to the universe/your soul, as things can change very quickly from there. Be open to being wrong. Be open to meeting someone in an unexpected way and having him or her look a little different too.

Above all, know that you are perfectly lovable just the way you are. In your ugliest physical state, in your ugliest emotional state, when you play small. There is someone who still finds you pretty cute in those moments and will stand by you through it all (including your success).

Promise to be open to feeling joy and excitement for where you are right now and for where you’ll go. Because joy can be the hardest part…even after you’ve met “the one”.

Here’s to continuing on the journey of life, imperfectly as we are.


Vanessa xo

Engagement Champagne toast

Pretending to drink champagne at Elite Resort in Kalamata – Cheers to free room upgrades! #itsasign

An Ode to Lena Dunham and Girls

I have a confession to make. I’ve been obsessively googling “Lena Dunham interview” videos on YouTube for the past few days – sneaking them in the background at work, while I cook, while I tooth brush. Not to mention the frantic episode review searches every Monday, since no one in my circle is a devoted Girls Season 6 follower (that, or they don’t have cable).

Part of it is nostalgia for sure, since the series finale is tonight (how?). Part of it is because Lena Dunham and I are the same age, with similar neurosis and evidently, similar dreams. Perhaps it’s based on identifying with three of the main characters (35% Marnie, 40% Shosh and 25% Hannah), going through similar painful life lessons at roughly the same time.

The younger, poorer and more vulnerable Sex and the City knock offs circa 2012

The younger, poorer and more vulnerable Sex and the City knock offs circa 2012

The Courage To Create From The Heart

I first heard about Girls shortly after accepting a content and programming role at a telecom (“TV Everywhere”, they call it). Reps from HBO were very excited to share the premiere news, like all networks that pitch and pimp their fresh meat in order to get more marketing and merchandising love.

When I watched Season 1, I loved to hate it. And then I tried to watch Tiny Furniture and fell asleep. I thought Lena Dunham was overrated and a little weird but mostly I was just jealous that she had hustled and created her way to producing, writing, directing and acting in a fearless series that was based on her most shameful, raw, vulnerable moments and observations.

Lena Dunham’s commitment to portraying the truth, from awkward sexual experiences to UTI’s, Facebook stalking to brawls with best friends, masturbation to silicone penises is a sharp contrast to the veneers we share on social media and the benign pleasantries we exchange at work.

It requires facing the judgmental voices in our heads and the fear of being found out. Because once our most shameful traits and memories are out in the open, we for sure won’t be lovable. At least that’s what’s kept me cocooned in writer’s block half of the time.

What will my current and future employers think? What will my Ex’s think? What will my parents and grandparents think? What will my unborn children think if I published the moments that mattered most? Surely I would never get married, get hired or live a normal life again.

But maybe the relationships we’d outgrow are the ones that would fade out or temporarily hold anyway. Maybe we’d attract a tribe like Judd Apatow and Jenni Konner who celebrate and support the real us. On that note, the oral history of Girls in The Hollywood Reporter is a fascinating, must read about the universe conspiring.

The Courage To Keep Going When Critics Say No

Lena has faced an inordinate amount of scrutiny and criticism since the debut of her show from valid journalists and critics to random trolls on twitter. They’ve criticized and applauded her appearance, torn down and built up her work, questioned her morals and values. There were even lawsuits from stories in her book. I had my own experiences with critics (outside of myself) and it didn’t end well.

In grade 12, my friends and I entered the “Sears Drama Festival” with an ensemble play about a group of friends and I was to play Martha, the one they could barely tolerate. The plot line cut a little too close to home, as I often felt like an outsider in our group of friends. Her character had the greatest emotional arc, with a breakdown at the end as her carefully crafted façade came tumbling down.

I remember crying backstage during our dress rehearsal because the Director wasn’t feeling it and I felt blocked internally and like I would fail. True to form, the festival judge praised a couple of my classmates but told the room that, “Martha just wasn’t believable.”

I was devastated…and he was probably right. I really wanted to deliver a flawless and inspiring performance that would validate my childhood actress dreams and help win us a prize. I wanted OUTCOMES. But I’ve come to learn that perfectionism kills presence and vulnerability, two key attributes for creating inspiring work.

That same year I tried halfheartedly to get an agent but was told very kindly by one to take acting classes and come back (spoiler alert: I didn’t). Another female agent told me the bags under my eyes were so deep that “not even stage makeup could cover them up”, among other harsh opinions. I cried during the car ride home with my dad, feeling like an idiot. Who did I think I was?

I decided that I didn’t have the thick skin required to endure endless rejection in that industry and so I focused on business school, a place where I could rely on my intellect and relentless work ethic to thrive and feel good about myself. It was 100% a fear-based + ego saving move. I didn’t realize then that the corporate world could be full of critics too.

SO, even if you manage to silence your inner critic enough to produce a work from your heart and soul, you have to continue to stand by your conviction, believing that you belong in the arena, while being open to perspectives that can truly help you grow. In Lena’s case, learning about diversity inclusion and racial sensitivity.

Slightly less entitled more aware versions of Hannah, Marnie, Jessa & Shoshanna

Slightly less entitled more aware versions of Hannah, Marnie, Jessa & Shoshanna in the final season

The Courage To Live Your Values AND Use Your Voice

Finally, Lena is a woman of cause and conviction. She is a huge advocate for mental health, sharing her own struggles with OCD and anxiety, so we can all feel less alone. She’s passionate about feminism and Planned Parenthood and sisterhood. YES, she’s in a position of power and influence where she’d naturally be more “role-model” conscious. AND these activities benefit her personal brand and therefore wallet. BUT her actions still feel authentic to me.

When the Women’s March happened around the world shortly after the US election, I realized I’ve never protested for anything. Been more of a blah, sit on the sidelines, “what’s the point?” kind of girl. But I want to give a sh*t and put my money where my mouth is now.

I want to be the 12-year old girl who auditioned for a drama program with very little experience, put her heart into it and got to jump up and down on her modest porch, smiling from ear-to-ear after receiving her thin acceptance letter in the mail. It felt like magic. And I think that’s the last time I took any major action from the heart.

So thank you Lena Dunham, I’ll be watching for an untidy and realistic ending to the confusing cluster f*ck that is our 20’s, reflecting back on how far (or not) we’ve come.

PS this very emotional interview with Jemima Kirke ( the character “Jessa”) is worth a watch.

PPS Who inspires you lately? Tell me in the comments. Remember what you see in them, you have in yourself. xo

The Village in Greece

I was dreading going to Dorio, a tiny village in Messinia Greece where my grandparents live and my mom was born. I’ve been roughly 10 times in 30 years and every single time I swear it’s haunted and I become an anxiety-driven monster.

Dorio sits in a valley (of the shadow of death) surrounded by mountains on all sides, with a storied history involving the intermingling of Romanians, Albanians and of course, Greeks! Two roads lead in and a tired banner welcomes visitors. Every house is within walking distance from the main street, which has two of everything.

Half the houses are abandoned and dilapidated with tattered shutters either because the former inhabitants have passed on or because anyone with promise gets the hell out of town. The other half are in good shape, a mix of old stone work and plaster, either in original white or vibrant yellow.

Typical houses in Dorio, Messinia - old and dilapidated or new and yellow.

Exhibit A. Exhibit B.

My grandparents’ house is modest with two bedrooms, one bathroom, one kitchen and a family room with several sleeping options in the form of couches and a bed (with a 100-year-old, slanted mattress). The furniture is a mix of old country hand me downs and whatever they took back home from Canada. It has a large garden that my 84-year-old grandfather is almost too old to tend to and a couple porches. The shiny white floors get dirty every 30 seconds and flies are always getting in through the half open doors. Zap!

Papou and Yiayia left Greece for Canada when they were 40 and 50 years old respectively (SHE’S 10 years older), a bit old to “live the American dream” with their three teenagers. They did typical cheap labour jobs like dishwashing, office cleaning and factory working and they were eventually able to buy a main floor condo in a sketchy part of Scarborough. They were both pretty much retired and super old in my earliest memories. Papou’s daily highlight was walking to Coffee Time or taking the bus and going somewhere. Yia yia was a homebody and watched me during that crucial period after mom’s extended mat leave ended but before daycare.

I was a devil child who wouldn’t eat and yia yia was a pushover, so I really liked spending time with her. I would con her into giving me lollipops and junk food rather than real food and beg to be taken to the park every day. I’d also tear her couches apart to create forts or slides and emptied her drawer of handkerchiefs to keep amused with my baby cousin Joanna. Yia yia never got mad and was always full of love tinged with extreme worry and warm, cushiony hugs.

For a long while, they took care of Papou’s mom who only had one eye due to an unfortunate run-in with a donkey (true story). She was very strict (bordering on unkind) when my mom was a rebellious teenager, which I could sense as a toddler….SO we were ARCHenemies. As a pre-teen, however, I was just plain terrified and grossed out by her and she eventually died at the age of 91.

I never imagined Yia Yia would grow that old but here she is at the ripe age of 94 and counting. Well sort of. Her and Papou moved back to Greece on a semi-permanent basis 15 years ago but decided to live there full-time two years ago to die on their own terms, in their own home. We made the trek to Dorio this summer because we don’t know how much time she has left. Yiayia is the last hold out of her siblings and she’s watched many of her friends and neighbors pass on. Her appetite is full force and her mind is sharp but these are both blessings and curses.

Yia Yia has difficulty walking even with two canes at Kalo Nero Beach.

Double cane action on a forced beach outing.

She’s gained 10 lbs every year and her weak legs struggle to support her weight. She walks around like a hunchback with two canes and complains constantly of arthritis pain in her shoulder, arm and hands. She’s pretty hard of hearing now and takes a special tea to go the bathroom. She doesn’t always make it in time if she wakes up in the middle of the night but otherwise her vitals are good.

Mentally she is super aware of her pain and preoccupied to the point where she hardly enjoyed our visit this summer. She feels completely useless that she can’t help around the house and everyone yells at her whenever she tries to get up because she’s fallen so many times. Yia yia is convinced every birthday she reaches will be her last and I don’t think she wants to hit 95 on Feb 13. She told us she prays for her mom to take her to heaven and she dreams of her every night. I think all of us get our mental health issues from her.

Papou buying pizza for yia yia in Dorio.

Papou, taking care of biz

And then there’s Papou, 10 years her junior and a doting, albeit short-fused caregiver. He does whatever she asks, makes sure she takes all her pills on time, covers her with a blanket because she’s always cold, brings her to the bathroom in the middle of the night and everything in between. She resents his relative freedom and so he stays by her side 24/7, partially out of guilt. Personally, I think she is the wind beneath his wings and the reason he lives though he’s in rough shape himself. Papou walks with a limp, has really low iron and a mouth full of rotting teeth. He’s stubborn like her and refuses to brush them or get dentures.

They celebrated 62 years of marriage on August 29 in spite of Yia Yia being a whopping 31 years old on her special day (#geriatricbride). Their love was a practical arrangement with zero courtship – they saw each other on the street one day and decided to marry. Having faced the “old maid” paradigm herself, Yia Yia asks me when I’ll marry just about every five minutes.

Yet the decision to commit a life to someone keeps me up at night. I’m terrified of making a mistake and getting a divorce or staying in an unhappy marriage. I’m always looking for signs and that gut feeling that HE is the one. And suddenly I realize with a sinking feeling that Yia Yia most certainly won’t be at my wedding unless I get married in the village STAT. And she probably won’t even meet or speak to or be aware of the ONE while she’s still with us.

I wish I’d been ready sooner.

Papou & Yia Yia celebrate 62 years of marriage

62 years of marriage & multiple generations (pyjama party)! 

I can’t tell you how heartbreaking it is to watch someone who took care of you revert back to an infant-like state, requiring the same assistance she used to give. We had a couple heart to hearts on the couch before I left, regaling stories from her past and wishing me well for the future. She was tender and warm and focused on hugging and kissing my hands, cheeks, forehead and I started to cry. It felt like a permanent goodbye, unlike other years and I’ve been a mess ever since on this “Dream Greek vacation.” #yolo #instaenvy

I want to make a salient point around mortality, aging, love, commitment and genealogy but a tidy bow ending feels elusive. Yia yia made me realize how draining and sad it is to be around someone who is negative, gripped with fear and self-consumed (I take after her sometimes). But also how the biggest pains in the asses can grip the heart most.

I hope I never have to set foot in the village again and yet that would mean…losing a shining star.

Let’s see how things go.

Yia Yia selfie Kalo Nero Beach

Borrowed shades, cool as a cuke in this beach sunset selfie (crazy eyes on right).

On Turning 29 and the Paradox of Time

To Youth

To Youth…

...And everything in between (three generations to be exact)

And aging…and everything in between…










I used to be in a hurry to grow up. I thought I would be happier “over there”.

PG-13 movies and playing in the “big kid” schoolyard were important milestones. I beamed during our ceremonial grad “walk out” of elementary school, with teachers and kindergartners lining the halls in cheers. I had outgrown the chains of my bullied, outcast identity. I wanted to reinvent, to feel free. And by the way, when would my boobs grow already?!

I lusted over first dances and fantasized about sloppy first kisses. I got my G1 right away so I could drive my friends around, instead of relying on our lame-o parents. But borrowing the car became a drag; I couldn’t wait to buy my own. By grade 12 I was caught between a fear of the unknown and a desire to keep running forward. I desperately needed the years ahead to be better than the years behind, but I was trading drama school for business school, so the jury was out.

I wasted a lot of my youth trying to impress the world, but mostly myself. Chasing the next A, the next internship, completely consumed by my personal mission (to be successful). Those four years of university years could not pass fast enough. If only I had nights and weekends to myself!

I began to race away from…

Throughout my early 20’s, I was simultaneously 55 and 15 years old. Time moved in fast slow motion. I lived and worked in the suburbs, starved my creative passions for cubicle glory that never came and participated in relationships where the conversations ran dry and sex was a chore to get over with. All I was missing was a hockey mom badge and the kids to go with it.

The trouble was, there was a screaming kid inside me, leaking out optimism-laced angst. By my mid 20’s, real life started to sink in and I floundered through the muck. I entertained going back to school and changing careers. I fantasized about travelling for six months. I shuddered at the thought of marriage. I started to make choices that made me feel half alive instead of half dead.

The dawn of 29 feels bittersweet.

The other day I plucked out a white hair from my thick, dark eyebrows. Yikes. On the upside, I no longer personally identify with what I do for a living. Most of the time, I require a motivational pep talk to visit a nightclub. I don’t even know where to go this Saturday to celebrate, that’s how out of touch I am with the cool kids. I no longer have a car to feel feelings about. People tell me “I’m still young” when they find out I am single (thank you?). Things are starting to feel better or at least I’m having fewer emotional breakdowns per quarter.

But for the first time ever, I feel the urge to pause time in its tracks. Or at least slow it down. Heck, let’s stay 28 forever! Or…

What if we decide to savour the next 365 days instead? And consciously slow ourselves down whenever we let the pace grow manic. What if we set intentions while remaining open to possibilities we never could have dreamed up? Approached the world with child-like wonder…Tweaked and iterated over vaulting…

What if we let go of where we thought we’d be by now and choose to trust that we’ll get where we’re going. All in good time.