Finding the balance


I’m the kind of person who likes to throw myself into things, as evidenced by my long history of doing just that.

In little school I was devoted to figure skating, then in high school it was acting. Both had varying degrees of success (many medals and a strange, embarrassing YTV show where I talk to a lava lamp). During the rest of high school (after the acting business) I threw myself into raving, with all its trappings, and excelled at it; dancing for days on end, getting high and staying out late enough to constantly worry my mom (sorry mom!). When I left high school I committed myself to being a crazy, world travelling hippie and focussed on my commitment to visiting ‘power points’ that had something to do with Ley lines and energy or some such bullshit. Then came a dark time where I committed myself completely to two people in such a fervent manner that it led me to a pretty bad place. In the midst of that I also threw myself into a potential event planning career path which wasn’t ultimately my bag.

So I’m a pretty dedicated person when I put my mind to it.

After the dark times I threw myself into writing completely. I wrote four novels and over 50 short stories in the span of two years and loved every minute of it, then I decided I wanted to pursue science and now here I am.

But because I tend to be very focussed I have this feeling that if I’m not focussed completely and entirely on the thing I’m passionate about, then I don’t care enough about it and therefore I actually hate it and will ultimately fail at it.

Shit, that spiralled out of control pretty quickly.

With a mindset like that you could see how this would lead to complications with finding a balance between writing and school.

When I first started school for science I was pretty focussed on it. I had to get into the rhythm of the classes and realize it was something I could actually do. But while I worked away at school I had a nagging sense of guilt about ‘abandoning’ writing. The fact is I didn’t abandon it at all, but I thought I had just because I wasn’t giving it every last bit of my attention, which is a pretty flawed way of thinking.

Ultimately my brain is balancing things out for me naturally as I grow accustomed to school and need to give it less full-time attention. Sometimes I think about writing stuff, sometimes I think about science stuff, and sometimes I just think about sitting around in my underwear, eating chips and playing Zelda with Ben.

I think the main point of this story is not to stress about it if your focus shifts a bit here and there as time goes on. Just because you have a variety of interests and passions doesn’t mean your goals are any less achievable or focussed. In fact I know from experience it’s detrimental to focus all of your energy on just one thing. Life is about balance and finding it might not be easy, but it’s definitely necessary.



Butterfly emerges from stellar demise in planetary nebula NGC 63

It started with a book.

I had an idea for a story I wanted to write but I needed a little information on astrophysics to really get into the theme I wanted to explore—the cosmos and its absurd, fabulous majesty.  So Ben and I decided to audit Astronomy 201 at U of T (taught by the fantastic Dr. Michael Reid).  If you’ve never audited a class before I highly recommend it.  It’s a great way to learn about a subject without all the pressure that comes with attending university and it’s also an amazing way to decide if a subject is something you want to pursue.

In my case it turned out I wanted to do more than audit the astronomy class, I wanted to join it.

After each class I would bounce off the walls, thrilled with everything we were learning about the universe.  I wanted the class to go on forever and I was so sad that it was only an hour long.  So one day Ben looked at me and said: ‘If you like it so much why don’t you just be an astrophysicist?’

And so Cosmorphosis was born.

In a few short weeks I’ve signed up for high school (back to grade 8 math and grade 9 science for me!), created a blog, planned out a vlog/documentary with Ben and booted up a brand new twitter account with the goal of sharing my love of science and the universe with the world.

I still plan to keep writing of course and I’ve decided on a study plan that includes translating scientific principals into poetry and fiction and I plan to write my new book, the one that started it all, during the summer break.

So I hope to see you all over at Cosmorphosis and I will of course continue to post here as well about all things writing!

(The image for this post was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and shows the Butterfly Nebula-a dying star ejecting massive amounts of insanely hot gas into space. How amazing is that?)