Thoughts & Feels

The year of perspective

Here we are, three weeks into 2017 and I’ve already learned a pretty major lesson. Or, perhaps had a change in perspective is more accurate.

This isn’t particularly mind blowing and it’s certainly not a new concept, but it’s one that I have always struggled with.

Finish what you start. Who cares how long it takes? 

It’s that ending question that finally unlocked something in my mind. How many things have I decided not to attempt because I thought it would take too long? How many half-finished projects are cluttering my life?

So what if it takes years to build a business? What does it matter that it’ll take months to save enough money for that trip? This is my one and only life and if I want it bad enough I just have to get after it.

I do believe that not everything we choose to start deserves to be finished, but it’s no longer acceptable for that to be my default. It’s a matter of defining priorities, something I admittedly struggle with.

This concept can be applied to so many areas of my life. Whether it be committing to finishing 3 sets @ 30 reps while exercising, completing a new craft project, or getting my proofreading business off the ground. Who cares how long it takes?

This is my life after all. No one can live it for me and I damn well want to get the most out of life that I can. I will not be another person that just accepts the status quo of “this is as good as it gets.”

No. I’m just getting started.

 

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

I read something recently, that claimed that we primarily make decisions out of fear. It’s interesting to think about and I believe it’s true more often than not.

I went to college to continue my education and for fear of being stuck in a minimum wage job forever.

I continued on to grad school largely out of fear of not getting a good job or being a competitive employee.

I accepted my current job out of fear that no one else would hire me.

I’m still here because I got comfortable and fear moving somewhere new and not being compensated as well.

I just terminated my relationship with the guy I’m deeply in love with, out of fear of failure and an unwillingness to compromise from both of us—and the hope that with time, things may work out in the future.

How funny that fear should have such a massive role in my life. Of course it’s not the only thing at work in these scenarios, but it’s a little embarrassing to admit how large a role it plays. But, fear can be useful and I think it’s often coupled by the hope of something better. I’m going to work on shifting the lens of my fear to be a more positive force.

Instead of fearing change, I can fear a sheltered life. Instead of fearing failure, I can fear missing out on success and growth opportunities.

There was a year in my life, my freshman year of college, where I felt truly alive, unstoppable—fearless. It was the first time where everyday brought something new, fresh, exciting, challenging and my soul was on fire in the best way possible. I was obnoxiously happy. Everything was thrilling. I was so goddamn alive I could feel the energy vibrating off of me everyday. I couldn’t contain my excitement. The “Everything is Awesome” song could have been the soundtrack to my life that year.

That’s what I want to recapture in 2017. I want each day to be an active choice. I want to start living on purpose again. Take more risks. Commit more fully to each moment. The last few years have somehow managed to be both turbulent and stagnant simultaneously. It’s time to shake things up and stop living in the kind of fear that is holding me back. It’s time to get reacquainted with the better version of myself that embraces the new and unknown and see where that takes me.

…In with the new

25…an unsettled age in many ways. Who knew that as you get older the more you realize how little you know? Lots of people, probably, but not me. I’m slowly becoming more comfortable with the fact that I’ll never really feel like I have my life figured out. There are moments of clarity, sure, and I try to absorb them into my being, but the peace they bring is fleeting. I only hope that as I get older I continue to grow in kindness, patience, and understanding. With that, here are my goals for the year:

  • Create more. I’d like to get into weaving and maybe try embroidery. I have a few sewing projects that have been on my mind and I’m always down to play with paint.
  • Feed the travel fever. It started with Iceland last year. I’d like to continue to go to at least one new place each year. I’m not sure where I’ll go this year, but Ireland, Banff, Montreal, Colorado, and Utah are all on the short list.
  • Get 110 Proof off the ground. I’ve set up a proofreading company as a side hustle. I’m hoping to nail at least a few regular clients.
  • Bake the perfect macarons. My first two attempts were disappointing in different ways. I want to nail this tricky cookie! I just have to psych myself up to try again.

Now for the deep stuff:

  • Ask for what I want. For someone who prides herself on being a good communicator, I am embarrassed by how often I let things go that bother me. I hate to feel like I’m a burden, but I want to remember that my feelings deserve to be acknowledged and if something upsets me it’s probably worth a conversation.
  • Find some stability and keep an open mind. 24 ( 22 and 23, too if I’m being honest) was a year of emotional turmoil in a lot of ways. It could also be categorized as a high growth period. At 25, I’d like the roller coaster to stabilize a bit. I know I hold the keys, but I’m not quite sure which door I want to open.
  • Be kind. The world needs kindness more than ever. I want to contribute as much positivity as I can and remember that we’re all in this together. Kind words and gestures don’t cost a thing.

With that I say, cheers to a new year! There is so much potential in this quarter century mark. It’s 70 degrees and sunny in mid-November. The gods are clearly smiling down on me. Time to crack open a bottle of champagne, wolf down some pizza, kiss my dog and my boyfriend, hug my parents, and maybe head to the beach tonight. It’s going to be a good year.

Out with the old…

In the past few years I’ve gotten in the habit of creating a list of goals for the year around my birthday. As I approach 25, it’s time to reflect on the past year. Overall, 24 was good to me.

Fly somewhere. I got on a plane for the first time and traveled to Iceland.
Learn to make French Macarons. I’ve tried twice so far. The first batch looked great, but the texture wasn’t quite right. The second batch tasted good, but looked terrible. Maybe the third time will be the charm?
Learn another language. I’m certainly not fluent, but I did improve my French skills and I started to learn HTML.
Start a business. I don’t have any customers yet, but the foundation is there. Maybe 25 will bring me success.
Get a tattoo. I decided I’m not in a rush for this one. I’m a little squeamish about permanently altering my body. I need to make sure it’s something I really want. If someone invents ink that only lasts five years or so, hit a sister up!
Pay off my student loans. I’ve still got a ways to go, but I made a hell of a lot of progress this year.

I can’t believe that quarter century mark is so close—just a few more weeks. I’m definitely still in that awkward “I’m an adult, but I feel like a kid” phase. There’s more uncertainty than certainty in my life and it’s wonderfully stressful, full of possibilities and terror. I’m excited and nervous and energized and exhausted and generally all the feelings as 25 looms nearer. I can’t wait to see what’s in store!

Wake me up when it’s September

September

Where summer begins to flirt with fall
and we all buy new school supplies.
I always feel like a student in September
even though I’ve been out of school awhile.
September is a time for beginnings.
We’re all brimming with potential in September.
Fresh haircuts, new outfits, a blank page.
I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils
in honor of Kathleen Kelly, if only I knew your name and address.
September should always be a time of hopeful change.
I like those in between times of the year,
but September, you are my favorite.

Reflections after a Break

Am I looking for fulfillment in the wrong places?

I’ve always prioritized my career goals over my relationships. It’s just how I’m wired. It’s hard for me to see beyond my responsibilities. I have to work and I want to do good, important work. But, I don’t know if I’ll ever reach a point of true contentment. Which is good for growth, but that just sounds exhausting. I don’t always want to be working toward what’s next. I want to be content to exist in the moment.

We live in a society where it’s expected that we grow up, become a working citizen, get married, reproduce, raise kids, retire, and die.

Obviously there’s a lot of living that happens between those stages, but that’s the gist. And I don’t know if I want to live that kind of life.

I struggle to envision myself being married. I have trouble trusting that a relationship will stand the test of time. Do I even want it to? I crave time alone. I am selfish with what I’m willing to give of myself. I can’t imagine ever having children, in bringing them into the madness of the world, of raising them, loving them, putting their needs ahead of my own.

Love is a gamble, and I’m not a gambler. The stakes are too high.

I had a fortune cookie once that told me something along the lines of playing it safe is the most dangerous thing in the world. I don’t know if I’m playing it safe, or if I’m just meant to follow a different path.

I need to know that I can become all that I can be and I don’t know if I can do that if I have to compromise my existence to include another. Part of me wants to, maybe someday I’ll reach that point of maturity. But, right now I have to bet on myself or I think I’ll regret it the rest of my life.