End of Challenge(1) Reflections

My first challenge (for myself) actually ended on Saturday, but yesterday was my birthday and I had some celebrating to do. As I hit 29, I realize how different my life is from anything I’ve ever thought it would be as well as anything I’ve once had, I have to reflect in general rather than just on the last 3 months.

I’ve been meaning to go through my photos for ages now and I finally started Sunday night. I fell over some photos that produced a ghost of lives past. To say that it struck a chord is an understatement. But the whole thought of it tweaked a nerve and it made me realize that it wasn’t exactly because of what I had in my life back then, but the expectations attached to that world that bothered me.

I feel like I’ve always had my feet in two worlds. The one that seems more traditional with the marriage, kids, house, car, dog and a random whatever job that pays for it all. And the flip side of breaking all conceived notions of that and achieving a dream job as an animator (childhood dream) or business owner (adulthood dream), marriage possibly, condo on the beach, multiple vacations to various places in the world, a lot less required responsibility and a lot more freedom to play… I find why I always seem to be so torn.

I don’t want to give up either side, but I have no idea how to have both. Well, truth be told I don’t know how to have either. Creating this new world has been my attempt in the last two years, even more so in the last few months, to create a life I actually want.

Initially I keep going back and forth between the two of these, but when I see the first life I see life where I was in NY, and partially here, but not typically here (CA). When I see the other life, there’s no question that it resides in California. And then I get to the thought where I have no idea how I really got to this point and have no idea what to do next and I just confuse myself. Knowing I make progress, and knowing things change, I might be able to calm myself and resist the reel of emotions for a day, but it’s always there.

All of my lives from the last decade seem like a total blur. The life I left was not one I wanted, but I did want it at some point. These photos went back far enough to be the spot that I always typically want to go back to when going back enters my mind. All of that is a fantasy, just as any potential worldwide jetsetting and having a business of my own is right in this moment (except I do actually own my own corporation and I’m working to get it off the ground, it just isn’t exactly anything yet). But I really have no idea where to go from here. Not that I ever really did, but this time is seemingly different. It feels different.

I feel like everything is so in between. I feel like I’ve lived multiple lifetimes in one and still have no idea what I want or what to do next. I feel like the person I see myself as back then looked happy and things were so much easier. But that isn’t entirely the case. I know going back I was a very different person and the life I was living was not meant to last forever. But honestly I don’t think what I have now is better, it just is. I know I’m better than I was. I’m different than I was. But we’re talking about almost 5 years of hurt, pain, and crazy that preempted the last 2 years of change and few months of grabbing onto happiness; because it wasn’t until around Thanksgiving that I really started to feel like I didn’t want to leave here.

About a month into this challenge was when I found some happiness. I kept it until Christmas and then all has been lost. I feel a lot more even and a lot less crazy, but I feel so much more numb to everything and so much more blah. I keep finding more and more cycles within myself. I keep finding that as I reclaim who I want myself to be, things shift. I hid from myself in high school. I just did what I needed and ran for it the first chance I got, I moved to VA. I landed in unknown territory and within a year changed my direction again. I went back to NY but to a completely different city. Finished 2 degrees in 3.5 years, but always had a life to go back to in my hometown. A life that was actually more fun than the one I had in college, but college felt more like me, being me.

After graduating I spent two years trying to make things work and couldn’t. I got into grad school, moved to MA, tried to change my status quo and left a life I liked, but couldn’t handle anymore. I forced my own hand for the better. And as good as it started was as bad as it became. Two worlds clashed again and there I was back in NY. Another 2 years spent trying to regain my footing and off to CA I went. To pursue the original dream and to take life by the balls once again to force myself out of the shit that I no longer wanted to be a part of.

Toying with the idea of going back again, I have no idea if this is a cycle broken and I’m just feeling the backlash or if I’ve just had a handful of weird days emotionally and I’m completely over reacting.

Feeling like I always have one foot in the past and one in the future, the present moment needs my attention; because I’m pretty much stunned. And like the book I was reading last week that I’ve since finished, the power of now is the point. However, I’ve yet to figure out how to be in this moment, when I don’t want to be in this moment. It isn’t that I want to be there, whatever the fuck that means. I just don’t want to be here. Sitting here at work doing nothing trying to pass time, and make the best of my situation. Here with roommates I can’t stand. Here with half a social life and a guilt shelf of spending money and trying to fake it, saying I’m just done caring about holding myself back from life and feeling fucking crazy because I can’t deal with the monotony, but I have no idea what I really want to do next.

I mean that isn’t really entirely true. What I really want to do is play. I want to have fun. Whether alone or with someone. I want to play on the beach. I want to dance everyday. I want to take photos and meditate. I want to create a space I love to be in. I want to feel the freedom I felt last week when everything clicked, but nothing changed. I want to keep building on the progress and I want to keep feeling better not blah-er. I know it’s time to leave this job but I have to hold on until I get another one. I want to plan a real vacation and let loose. I want to not be so fucking stressed out about money.

So bogged down by “have to” and not by “want to” that I achieved one dream only to end up in a worse cycle somewhere else. My life is clearly a work in progress as it always will be, but shit man. I’m asking for the same shit I was last year and that is for something to give. I need a job I like and I need to make enough to thrive. I want to go have fun and eat at restaurants, and sit at the beach. I don’t want to worry that I paid $10 for parking and I know I don’t have it. I keep taking steps to progress and I never feel like I quite make it there. Having been trying to progress for what seems like eternity, I am going to just say fuck it and try to enjoy it.

If this challenge and the last few weeks taught me anything, it’s that what you think in your mind and what you actually have as different as they can be, are very closely related. What you can achieve and sometimes the bright light happens when you least expect it and it is both a blessing and a curse. Sometimes I feel like I have to surrender to what may come but that is so not in my nature, it’s almost a lost art.

After everything I’ve dealt with in the last couple years, last couple months and last few days, I’m ready to just relax, breathe and succumb to what happens next. I’m so sick of worrying about anything and everything, I need to find a way to not have to.

Still trying to figure out the next steps to this, waiting isn’t the same game anymore. I already took some action and now its time to see what comes from it.

Until next time.

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Day 79: taking a mental health day

It isn’t until you let yourself really just be for a little bit, that you realize how much you don’t want what your life has become again.

And here we are full circle with about 11 days left to go. Here’s that self-fulfilling prophecy I mentioned yesterday. That need for some chaos, to really shake things up. Maybe it was dreaming of my ex. Maybe it was the pounding tension headache I woke up with or the fact that I took something with hallucinations listed as a possible side effect. Not actually hallucinating but damn, I guess it’s just one of those days that I really just want to reinvent the wheel. Except this is what I always do, so is it really reinvention?

I called in sick. Spent the morning sleeping in. Slept almost 14 hours, so I’m definitely fighting off something, whether it’s depression or the flu that everyone seems to have in this city, I’m not sure yet. But I already feel better than I did when I woke up this morning and I mean mentally and physically. A little extra self care was needed today and I’m happier for it; it was like a little taste of freedom.

I watched a webinar, applied for jobs that I’ve been meaning to do for weeks, I plan on doing some more applications just because and I’m going to look through some photos when I finish this. I’ve gone back to square one, but it makes me feel like I’m trying to make change. All of this makes me feel like I’m trying. Not doing but trying….

I’ve been studying the power of now, and the laws of attraction and most of the time it comes down to being open enough to receive. Receive whatever it may be that you want. Receive help. Receive love. There aren’t really limits here except the ones you impose on yourself (myself included). However, it typically takes time to manifest. So here goes the waiting and trying but not sure what is coming into being. That’s kind of been the reason for this challenge, figuring out what comes next and I’d definitely say progress is happened but I’m not there yet.

The not being sure part is what I have to learn to ditch…. especially when I feel like the status quo, the day to day blah, cripples me. I am afraid to break all connections with it because despite wanting something more, or something else, it is where I know how to exist. That doesn’t make it a good thing.

I’ve spent my life feeling like I don’t belong in most of the shit I’ve gone through. I’ve finally gotten to a point where I don’t feel that way in the world I’ve created right now. At least not in a conventional sense. I still feel I don’t belong, but that’s because I feel like I don’t belong in a situation where I have to be a mother to two adult men who are older than I am but can’t take care of themselves. But I digress… life is tricky, it never fully works out how you think it will. We go in search of what we want, finding it is a feat we don’t always achieve.

We try to stand still and let things be. We have to take some kind of action and as I’ve said to many people and written a handful of times, life is a risk whether you’re willing to take it or not. Not taking the risk, is still a risk. Not letting yourself be happy is still a thing. And not letting yourself live this way because of x, y, or z is just as bad. I’m not saying go out and buy a $5 million mansion and do drugs till you die, everything has some kind of constraint but I think the point is the same.

I’ve taken some action, now I have to wait for things to pay off. I’ve done some work. I need to be open to receive. I took time for myself because I needed to and I feel better because of it. I may be trying to break the habit of being myself one day at a time, yet the person I am right now is a lot more accepting and a lot more willing to just be with not only myself but my thoughts and that is huge. Old patterns die hard and things do take time to change, but they do change.

I’ve tried four times to finish this article but I keep getting interrupted. Now I feel like you can see my cycle of crazy go through the day, but that’s me sometimes and ya know what… I still feel better so I’m taking it. Today I’m gonna leave it at that and hope tomorrow leads to something just as good if not better.

Day 79: it’s time to go dance in the rain

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Day 78: shaking off the self loathing

We all make mistakes in life and we all hold ourselves accountable in different ways. I had similar conversations with two different friends of mine last week and it wasn’t until last night/this morning that I realized I really need to listen to myself.

I’m so used to playing both the victim and the perpetrator in my own life that when things seem to be going well I basically do everything I can to fuck it up. Subconsciously that is. I feel like if I don’t have some chaos in my world then something isn’t right. Which clearly isn’t the case. I’ve been happier than I think I ever have in the last couple months and the chaos was very, very minimal. In the last couple weeks I’ve been trying to hold onto that happiness, but also inadvertently fucking it up at the same time.

I get antsy when things are business as usual. That’s how this whole challenge came about in the first place. That and not being where I want to be in general. I’m still not where I want to be, but things have changed in substantial ways in the last couple months and for that I am thankful. I’ve made some big discoveries and I’ve made some big mental and emotional gains as well. It doesn’t always feel that way, but it is. I keep reading books and trying to nourish myself and my soul so that I can move forward and get what I want out of life (and I’ve been doing so). I keep moving forward and letting myself be and become who I feel is right. I’ve let go a lot of hurt and pain and I not only agree that I’m not where or who I used to be, but I think that it’s a good thing.

I talk to people and they keep saying, “you seem like you have this all figured out.” Yeah well in theory not necessarily in practice. Idk, I feel like having the answers means knowing you’ll never really have the answers. The more you know the more you know you don’t know shit. Is what it is. Life is a very individual thing and in today’s society the ability to live up to the expectations we once had for life is not really do-able.

In the last few hours I’ve been able to talk to a couple people in general and I already feel better than I did when I woke up. Not being as isolated makes a huge difference in my life. But sometimes I seriously want to hide from the world and never peak my head out of the hole again. Typically this comes about after one too many days of stagnation or one too many days of bad decisions.

This time it was too much alcohol and a little too much hot mess of crazy. I know it isn’t the end of the world, but it always feels like it is. Idk if that’s just my inner voice taking over and proving my crazy is actually crazy or if I think I’m crazy so I prove it to myself. I feel like I have way too many self-fulfilling prophecies going on in life this week and its only Monday. It’s like things are going just a little too well… what can we do to break them? Ah yes, here we go.

I’m trying to be kinder to myself, but some days it works and others it just doesn’t. I’m learning to be in this moment a lot more in general, but it’s still a process. I said it the other day… I need a new beginning. This new year felt like one until I fucked it up this weekend. Now I need to let the weekend go and say hey it’s a new week, one day at a time. The decisions you made didn’t ruin your life. They didn’t even cost you anything, not really. The self loathing for the sake of self loathing needs to go. Shit happens. Timing is weird and one day this will all be a blip in time.

Some days are better than others, but I feel like overall I’m doing well. I know what some of my goals are, but they’re going to take time to achieve. Every day and every decision is not the end of the world and I need to remember that. I need to let myself enjoy what I enjoy and realize that old habits don’t fit in the new world, but making new ones takes time. I am human. I make mistakes. No one is perfect. — Repeating myself because I need to tell myself these things.

Day 78: I’m definitely a work in progress.

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Day 75: the difference a day makes

Starting to feel like I did before I left. Maybe it’s the people I’m currently letting in my life. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m managing somehow to be more productive than I have in a long time. Maybe a combination of everything, but things feel like they’re working again. The air feels different. I feel different. I feel more like the me I want to be again. It’s a wonderful thing.

Feeling like my irons are finally heating a little bit. Feeling like my efforts are starting to solidify. Maybe it was the flux of the holidays or the location I left, but I think it’s funny how things can change so much from day to day. There’s always a back and forth on these things but I’m trying to improve on my consistency and I think I’m getting better.

Since being back in California I’ve made a to-do list. Crossed everything off it. Made a goal list for 2018 and broke it into more detail. I have a couple things I’ve put on my to-do list for the weekend and I actually plan on finishing them rather than putting them off again. I’ve put in effort with friends and my love interest. And overall other than losing a little sleep, I feel alive. Life is good. 2018 has so far been good to me.

This is the time in my life I feel like I finally broke the expectations of what I really held for myself. I feel like the people I have in my life right now are proving to me that I am not only allowed to be who I am and then some, but when I let some crazy show, it isn’t the end of the world and they aren’t judging me for it. That wasn’t something I had with pretty much anyone until now.

I certainly have more room to grow within my career. And I certainly have more room to grow in general, but for the first time in my life I feel like I got this. I feel like I’m on the path that I’m supposed to be. While at times I feel totally lost and confused, it no longer feels overwhelmingly like the end of the world. It doesn’t feel like my world is always crashing around me at any moment. The urgency is gone. The expectations of what is and what could be are gone. The harshness of hurt and pain that constantly bombarded my mind is gone when I’m here. NY is a slightly different monster but that is also making progress.

I’m not one to make resolutions or buy into the New Year New Me, but allow yourself the grow and progress… allow yourself to feel, heal and move forward. A new anything is a reason in itself to become a new you. A more open you, a happier you, whatever it is that you want.

I’ve decided I want to stay in California. I want to take 1 major trip this year that lasts about a month. I want to have a substantial savings and not live paycheck to paycheck. And I’m going to continue to realize things are never going to be how I once imagined them because they aren’t meant to be that way. I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be right now. I’m with exactly who I’m supposed to be with right now. And I’m not afraid of falling or failing anymore. I’m not afraid because I never stop trying and if I fail, I’ll try again it’s that simple. Even when I win I keep trying, so there’s that.

Day 75: I’m letting myself be myself and I’m letting myself be happy.

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Day 37: I’m all shook up, riding the waves of life

Blindsided by a twist of fate, my world has been shaken hard and in the best possible way. I wrote multiple posts about gratitude last week that I didn’t publish. With the events of one quick but everlasting night, I can honestly say grateful is a word I never expected to say, feel or mean in this way. But – I’m there. I’m grateful for this one singular night of my life. Yeah one night – because it changed everything. Yes, I’m being dramatic, but that’s how it feels.

With the entering of one person >stage right< my scene has been altered. You really never know the effect one person, one night, one moment in time can change everything you ever thought about yourself and then some. Whether this be a fantasy or not, I’m taking it as something that has made me feel alive in a way I’ve never felt before. I’m taking this as the new beginning of a dawn I’d never thought would be that beautiful or powerful. Or even on a long shot come into view in my world.

I’m still thinking of what comes next. But I’m so much more at ease with myself. With my life. With the way that things are going. Calmed down is an understatement of the utmost variety. I showed myself to someone in almost every way possible and they not only accepted me, they treated me like a queen. All the experiences and thoughts I once had about my own worth and value – gone. All the doubt I felt, all the self hatred I was harboring – gone. Blindsided is seriously an understatement and I almost can’t express enough of my love for this moment, but it’s there. I’m sitting at my desk at work trying not to jump out of my skin in happiness and excitement for the sheer existence of this day. I’ve been like this for the last week because honestly this just keeps getting better. Whether the fantasy is all in my head or the shift has begun I’m honestly stupidly incandescently happy and I can’t wipe this shit eating grin off my face.

I wrote last week that I wasn’t grateful for things like having a job, or just being able to get by. I fell into the void of the internet in search of articles and direction and I realized that forcing it makes me freak out even more. Faking it makes me angry and annoyed. I wrote a post about it but did not yet have a conclusion. After annoying myself to no end I tried the opposite. I wrote a post on trying to do things differently in general.

I wrote of being more real with myself and letting things happen as they may. Taking one step at a time and seeing where I get. I didn’t publish either because neither of them felt entirely right. Sick of complaining because I didn’t have it that bad but I was not grateful nor thankful for where my life had ended up in any way shape or form. I’ve been in a hating on everything mode because I’ve been pushing so hard to just keep afloat I drowned in the ocean because I was thrashing against the waves. The same day I failed to publish those posts. The same day I just said screw it – paradigm shift.

Either the stars aligned or the universe is fucking with me, but I can honestly say I’m exactly where I need to be right now. I’m happier than I’ve ever been in life. I’m more alive than I’ve ever felt. I haven’t felt like myself in so long, but this is it. I look in the mirror and I see me. I see a happy me. A lighter me. One who isn’t carrying the weight of the world. One who has no idea what comes next but is excited to find out. One who isn’t so hellbent on having, being and doing right now, because I finally got something I’ve needed my entire life. I found value. Someone had to point it out to me and reinforce it for the last week but within the first day, the shift occurred. Whether this person stays in my life or not doesn’t matter. They woke me up. They gave me something I never had and I never knew existed. They showed me what a man actually is and we connected on a level so real I’m not afraid of letting myself be anything anymore and it’s wonderful. I haven’t had this mental freedom or stability when it comes to good, ever. I’ve never felt like that with another human ever, but this was it.

For those thinking I’m allowing someone else to dictate my feelings, think again. When you show someone yourself in their rawest most crazy and ridiculous form (in your own opinion) and they show love in a way you never could for yourself, it proves to you that everything really is possible. Everything is doable. Only you stand in your own way and the world either conspires with you or against you based on your position in it. It makes you re-evaluate yourself and your own tendencies. When someone shows you love when you don’t believe yourself to be lovable – world shaken.

It makes me think back to the beginning of this challenge trying to figure out another way to run. Another way to exist because the hatred and the struggle had reigned. The struggle is still happening but the weight of it isn’t as hard to bear anymore. The strength within is not only there, but it’s ignited. I’m ignited. The things I’ve been looking for for as long as I can remember are now present in my world. I’m not letting them go. This time is different because I’m different. This time is going to continue to be different because it has no other choice. There’s no going back and for once I really have no desire to. This is the progress I’ve been talking about this whole time. Except now I actually feel like I’ve made progress. Now is the time I actually feel like I’ve gotten somewhere. I had to catch up to myself, but I needed a little help. I got it in spades. It hit me like a macktruck and I’m absolutely glad it did. Bring on the next wave I’m not going anywhere.

Day 32-37: I can legitimately say I’m grateful for being exactly where I am right now and it feels amazing.

 

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Day 29: I can while away the hours

I swear I need to put my brain on a leash. If thoughts and brainwaves burned calories or got you in shape I’d be a marathon runner…that being said, I’m still reeling in excitement about my latest idea. Sitting at work waiting for the time to pass; I find Google to be my best friend and my worst enemy. The answers are out there in every capacity. Every side has proof. These are things I’ve said far too many times, yet it doesn’t stop me from diving into the void.

I’m trying to not freak out about any of this and clearly that isn’t possible. But to say I’m afraid of making any kind of major move is an understatement. I do however think something has to be done. I keep thinking about timing and was thinking about leaving when my lease is up in April… but I’m not going to be able to last that long in this position. Not with the daily boredom and crazy that is my inner conscious mind. I need something to change and I need it do so quickly. I almost want to see if I can make something happen by Christmas, when I’m supposed to be in NY anyway. Hustle I guess? Idk. 6 months of making the money I’m making now and not paying $1000 in rent, gives me $12,000 saved. Halfway to a down payment on a house. That’s a huge deal. To me at least.

I’m starting to see the things I want from a different perspective and see how I can potentially get them all. Trade offs. Vacations instead of living somewhere like LA. Having a house vs renting an apartment forever. Not spending time in traffic or driving myself up the wall with boredom at work vs, snow, seasons and busy-ness in any job because NY. I never thought I belonged in my hometown but using it as a hub is completely different than just being there forever. I’ve moved to other places, but this is the longest I’ve stayed away. I never get a vacation because I only ever get to go back there. I never have enough money either. I had that issue before, but I’ve made progress in my career that will give me substantially more money in NY than it would here. Remote work is entirely possible as well. It just blows my mind the cost and lack of hope here. Everyone is a dreamer chasing something and everyone is alone and stuck. I just can’t play this game anymore.

I want to have fun. I want distractions. I want a stable place I can call mine that doesn’t involve sharing. I think the next step is to leave LA regardless of traveling the world or not. I think that the next few years need to be spent with me traveling the world and seeing what happens. Building a business. Buying a building and a house for less than the cost of a house here. Trying to grants and fundraising to open my company. Not worrying about being the skinny, pretty, girl to get noticed. Just being me and knowing that’s enough. Wanting another dreamer to share life and time with but in a different way than I’ve thought.

I still need to slow down. I need a different pace in life, one I can actually enjoy. One I can even attempt to pull off. I know people say believing is half the battle, but I’ve never really wanted millions until I got here because that’s what it takes to succeed here. I have a similar heading but one quite different than I once thought it would be.

I’m thinking of switching my world vacation for another cross country road trip, but one I do on purpose with time at my will. To end up back in NY with a few months free of rent and monetary struggle and an exit strategy for getting out within a year.

This makes the most sense to me right now. It really does. I’m going to take the next few days and plan it all out. One step at a time and see where things go. Timeline and all. Plan of attack and strategy to move forward.

Day 29: hitting the part where I do what I do best, reel, plan and organize. Bring it on. BrainOnLeash.jpg

 

 

 

Day 26 & 27: 3 weeks in

Three weeks already? I think I’m gonna give myself a few days to breathe. I feel like I’m making progress but I still feel like I’m too in my head. I actually forgot yesterday and as I went to sleep last night I remembered I never posted anything. Whoops.

I’m trying to figure out ways to launch and grow a company. I think that is my best bet to buy back my freedom. I’m talking to people and making contacts, getting ideas and exploring options. When I apply for jobs I feel like I’m not qualified to do anything, yet when I think of running my own company those thoughts don’t even enter my head. Maybe because I’m not trying to prove it to anyone but myself in that situation. Maybe it’s just me falling into old habits. Idk.

I had the best night sleep I’ve had in a long time last night, yet here we are at 3:15pm… I’m exhausted and want a nap. I really wonder what being able to live in the outside world would be like in this city. I know I’ve only recently started working again so I had the time, but I didn’t have the money. Can’t play without funds; not when it costs $10 to park anywhere. I want to know what it’s like to live here with the opportunity to live like a tourist here. If that doesn’t make sense, think about how you are and how you spend on vacation, i.e. usually without restraints. It makes an experience completely different than it would otherwise. Food for thought.

I keep coming back to I’m not sure I want to do this when it comes to traveling. Yet, I know I do. I’m not sure if I’m just scared and am trying to talk myself out of it. Or if it’s literally because money. I’d say money causes 99% of my stress. I need to become an active part of my own life here. But it isn’t always that simple. Creating a new normal and redefining what it is you actually want in life are very different things from going along for the ride.

I need to find my heart and my happy in all of this. I need to find the love I once had when I wandered this city. I need to let myself. Maybe I’m left with my thoughts too much. Maybe I need to just tune out, but I’m an over achieving work horse what can I say. I need to learn to slow down, but the only time I do that is outside this country or on Sundays when I don’t get out of bed and bingewatch any series I can find. I’m sure you can relate.

I really don’t know anymore. I feel more lost than ever, yet I have moments of feeling like I’m going in the right direction and I’m exactly where I should be. It doesn’t make any sense but it doesn’t have to – it’s feelings.

Day 27: relearning dolce far niente (the sweetness of doing nothing).