A month of moving forward

This past weekend, I took part in an intensive three-day social media “boot camp” at Ryerson University. The workshop was the last of four work/writing-related events I attended over the past month, as part of my post-downsizing journey.

Exactly a month ago, September 22, I began with Toronto’s Word on the Street festival, where I attended half a dozen back-to-back workshops offered by the Humber School for Writers. Next was a Canadian Media Guild panel discussion for freelance journalists, then a JVS job fair.

I didn’t seek out any of these events. I saw a newspaper ad for Word on the Street, and happened to notice the writing workshops being offered there. The panel discussion was announced on LinkedIn, and a Ryerson workshop – not the one I ended up going to – was also announced on LinkedIn, leading me in a roundabout way to the one I attended. I learned about the job fair from an email.

I like that serendipity played a role in my finding these events, and I like that they  all took place within a month. It was significant for me to get out of my dining room/home office and away from my computer screen.

I left my job four months ago not knowing what was next, but doing my best to be open to opportunities, and pursuing the ones that present themselves and also “feel right.”

Now that my calendar has cleared for at least the next few weeks, I think it’s time to consolidate and implement what I’ve learned over the past month.

Chocolate Sunday – Do you believe in chocolate?

Last weekend, I ran into cookbook author and Canadian Jewish News contributor Norene Gilletz at a wedding. I’ve joined her Facebook group and have been posting links on it to my food-related blog entries. We’d only met a few times, but when I re-introduced myself, she knew right away who I was. “Chocolate Sunday!” she said.

chocolate

Double fudge euro tarts are one of the decadent chocolate treats for sale at Loblaws on Carlton St., in Toronto’s former Maple Leaf Gardens.

Of all the blog posts I’ve written, the “Chocolate Sunday” entries seem to be the most popular.

I’ve spent the last couple of days at a social media workshop at Ryerson University, where the instructor, Kris Alexander, told us, among other things, that “everyone has something they believe in.”

He urged us to think about our ideas – whether it’s a business or product we want to promote, or in my case a subject I’m blogging about – before focusing on which social media platforms would best serve our needs.

So I’ve been thinking about chocolate, and about blogging on the subject of chocolate. I have new ideas now about how to develop that theme.

And I found myself wondering in the middle of class, do I “believe” in chocolate? I hadn’t actually thought of it in those terms, but I found it to be an interesting question. Here are some reasons why I’m enthused about chocolate:

1. A decadent chocolate truffle is an affordable indulgence, compared to – say – a new outfit.

2. Dark chocolate has antioxidant effects.

3. Chocolate contains contains phenylethylamine, a “mild mood elevator,” according to Psychology Today online.

4. Chocolate has all kinds of positive associations, from the comfort implicit in a snack of milk and chocolate chip cookies, to the chocolate factory scene in one of the top episodes of the 1950s sitcom I Love Lucy.

Enjoy!