Day 16: failing my challenge, but not entirely

This time around, the challenge I set forth for myself has not really been happening. About a month ago I hurt my back and was going through the motions of forcing myself to sit at a job I hated. I decided then was the time to really focus on starting something else for myself. I had already committed to a business coach and someone to help me plan the early stages of what I wanted, but that wasn’t quite going in the way I had expected. So I took it upon myself and decided to do this again.

It was Monday of last week that I literally tripped and fell on my face.

I was working from home because of my back, after fighting with my boss after multiple doctor’s visits and notes saying I need to rest… I was walking to the kitchen to bring back the dish I had eaten breakfast on… I rolled my ankle, threw the dish I was carrying into the air, fell on my face, watched the plate shatter and continued to lay there thinking I had just broken something (I heard multiple and felt multiple pops on the way down).

I was laying on the floor face down in pain trying to take deep breaths to calm myself and I actually did better than I thought. Whether it was the fact that I had just finished watching the Sopranos 6th season the night before and Tony walked away from a car crash and I was feeling tough enough to be all “hey he got up and was fine”… or because I watched the guy online show how to control yourself and pull yourself out of the ice after falling through with breathing techniques… in less than five minutes I managed to pull myself together and crawl back and onto my bed. Ironically enough despite totally beefing it the only thing that was hurt was my right ankle/foot.

I did some substantial damage, but should be fine in the next few weeks. They gave me crutches, pain meds and a foot wrap thing and here I sit finally breathing what feels like the free air for the time being. I have been working from home but the apparent lack of fit that this job has in my world couldn’t be more real. I’ve been using my time to apply for other things. Tried to take control over my business coaching and asking him to set forth a strategy for us both so that I get the best results for the money I’ve paid, as I don’t fit the typical mold and don’t need to be taught how to use a computer.

But ironically, I think the best thing in my life could have been me falling on my face last week. It’s given me perspective. It’s given me a chance to breathe again and really take the time for myself to just be. It’s given me time alone and to be with my thoughts and see what changes I need to make. On top of actually getting paid and not having to worry about finances. Don’t get me wrong I dread the day I have to walk back into that office, but for right now, I am 1,000,000x better than I had become.

Sometimes we fight so hard to be exactly where we want. Sometimes we don’t stop to smell the roses and sometimes we need to realize that we’re taking the pleasure out of our own lives and existence. Sometimes surrendering to the flow of things is exactly what we need to do. And failure has it’s way of helping success that we didn’t expect.

As a kid I thought adults had things figured out, but life couldn’t be more of a personal problem than it is. Forging your own way in a world that tells you that you “have to” be anything is hard. But knowing your truth and your abilities to seek your own happiness and create your own world, is a beautiful thing. Expectations are a bitch. And being so hellbent and driven on a goal only fuels the fires. But sometimes it takes falling on your face, literally or figuratively to figure out you’re not where you want to be yet, but you’re exactly where you need to be and you’re always one choice away from a different life at any moment. Seize whatever opportunity calls you and see if you can make it great for yourself. Because only you can make your world wonderful. No one else can do it for you.

Day 9-16: recovering from a fall. Day 17 getting back in the game.

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Day 60: I’ve been doing this wrong

You know when you have those epiphany moments and you realize how wrong you’ve been about things. Well maybe not wrong, but how off and so far from the mark you’ve been…

I’ve had a few of those in the last week and they’ve been wonderful. Complete awakening moments of holy shit man, this is crazy. And I’ve loved every minute.

This year I told myself I have to read a minimum of 12 books (one a month). Most of the books I’ve been choosing to read have been books that help you try to find yourself, or books that make you rethink your own status quo. They’re not the typical kinds of books I read, so I tried to approach them with openness. I’d say that these books, in combination with a few other practices I’ve welcomed into my world, have allowed me to change in ways I never experienced before.

I’ve been happier than I think I ever have been in my life – in the last month.

I’m doing things differently and catching myself when things start to turn. I’ve been shaken and stirred and am still trying to settle into the person I’m choosing to be, but I’m in a completely different headspace than I was less than 6 months ago. There’s a few things that have changed within me and there are a lot of things I just stopped holding against myself. To say that it’s been a progressional year and a long time coming are understatements. To say that it was any one thing, would be a lie.

Honestly it sounds silly but I am so stupid happy right now I really don’t care about anything else. The wrong that once existed is in the past and I’m over it. Things happen and come and go and I go with them. I have moments of not being this way and I don’t react the way I once did. I don’t slump like I once did. Even in the moments of irrational fear I have been catching myself and being able to change the dial back to happiness because of recognition of the irrationality. I can’t attribute this shift to any one thing, but I’m so fucking happy that its happened.

I have no idea what I want to do anymore. I really don’t care at this point in time. I’m focusing on being and that’s enough. For the first time in my entire life I not only feel like I’m more than enough, but I feel myself being irrational and stopping the self hatred. I feel myself letting myself be. And by being I’m able to be more and more.

I’ve tried to explain some of this to people and they don’t typically understand it. Some of the things I’ve done seem really woo woo/ fru fru what ever you want to call it, but I honestly don’t care because they make me feel better or good. Take it where you can get it people… life really does change on a dime and for once I’m not afraid of losing. I never thought I’d find this and the fact that I did is wonderous in itself. I may have missed the mark to get here and it may happen again but I’m incandescently happy and I can’t get this grin off my face yet again and ya know what I’ll take it.

Day 60: on the road to enlightenment, enjoying how stupid happy I am. A dawn has come.

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Day 15: Always Questioning

After finishing yesterday’s post I had a bit of a revelation. I had to rethink my opinions on happiness. I had to ask – Is actively seeking happiness leading to more unhappiness? Is happiness more of a journey than a destination? Is the reason I can’t attain it because I’m constantly looking for it rather than just being in it? That I’m chasing it instead of letting it come to me?

Look, I read a lot of things because I can. I was one of those obnoxiously good at school without trying kinds of people. I don’t know how to study but I seek information on an almost infinite basis. I know I over think things and I’ve been working on letting go in general…But I can’t seem to let this happiness pursuit go. I’ve been learning how to express and control my emotions; something I grew up suppressing because that’s what those around me did. But I’ve made progress and I’m not that girl anymore. I’m trying to learn to be happy and for the most part I’ve definitely made personal progress.

I’ve been happy. I’ve been incandescently happy. I’ve been melancholic-ly happy, weird notion, but think about it. I’ve been so many places on the happiness scale and I feel like anytime I become happy…. it’s something that eventually evades my grasp.

I’ve been chasing dreams for the last two years. Well I’ve made one dream a reality, but not in a way I really want and the second part of the dream has been evolving as I go. I’ve been trying to build a foundation for myself to stand on, in hopes of being able to build a life I want on top of it. I’ve become happier and crazier in completely different ways than I’ve ever known.

Growing up in the place I did, I always felt like I wasn’t enough. That’s not my problem anymore. I am enough. I am more than enough. My problem becomes, everything else. Enough happiness. Enough things to do. Enough money to save to thrive. Enough time spent doing anything or something I like. It’s the outside forces and necessary evils that get to me. It’s that next step that keeps me running. Closer to 30 than 20 and I feel like an in-betweener now more than ever. In between having the life I want. In between being in the position I want to be in career wise. In between having my own place. List goes on.

Let’s say that happiness is something you have to create; like you’d create a life. Maybe it is something you always just are or can just be. But is happiness really a choice? Just thinking happy thoughts everyday doesn’t change the fact that you have depression or anxiety. Making changes to become happy helps. Thinking nicer, happier thoughts helps, but it doesn’t address the hurt, pain and real cause of the unhappiness. So – can you really just create your own fantasy world within your head and play the mindgame of happiness with yourself? Maybe its not “pay your dues or wait your turn,” but rather let yourself feel the happiness now, not if or when.

Maybe that’s the reason I’m seeking more travel experiences. The only time I’ve been consistently happy without trying or without fail, I’ve been traveling. Whether through Europe, Africa or the US. Traveling was key.  Maybe it’s the freedom, lack of stress about money and the way I live in general. I don’t need material things. I want a house, but I don’t need a mansion. I want clothes on my back, but I don’t own $80 jeans. Price isn’t a defining factor, but it does play a role. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can solve a lot of crap that goes along with stress and struggle. When I travel none of those things even come close to coming into play. I’m completely in the moment and letting life take me where it does.

So let me ask this: Where does the divide between driving yourself crazy and driving yourself to happiness lie?

I feel like that’s what I’m doing or at least trying to do. Trying to create a life I actually want to live and be a part of. I’d say maybe the solution is to stop trying and let it come to me. Literally foregoing the pursuit and letting it pursue me. That’s definitely something I’ve never tried before. Maybe next week I’ll stop wishing for happiness and actually live it. Whatever that means.

All I know is… The life I have right now, is not the life I want. I was hoping it would be or at least become that, but right now I don’t feel like it is and it hasn’t been in the last two years here. It hasn’t been the last 8 years in general. Right now I want the change. Maybe I did need to do this for myself. Maybe I did need to realize that we create our own happiness. Maybe I need another fresh start whether that’s here or somewhere else. One step at a time I guess.  I’ll get there… eventually.

Day 15: Trying to rush things and learning how to respect the process.

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Los Angeles Chronicles: Struggle is my middle name

I’ve never been a typical anything in life. I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum and I’ve always seemed to be outside the proverbial box. I love with all I have and I have been broken hearted more than once. I fight because that’s how I know how to react. I keep going when I have no idea what I’m doing because I don’t know how to stand still. I’ve been a dreamer most of my life, I’ve been a cynic and a realist, and I’ve been an idealist. We all grow and change, but we get to decide what we want, who we want to be and where we want to go.

I’m from some hick ass little town in the middle of New York State. I currently live in Los Angeles, CA. I went from barely playing the game of life to playing in the major leagues. I wasn’t ready to play, but they put me in anyway. As soon as I was getting the hang of it, I got pulled out and benched and have been reeling ever since.

I’ve grown a lot in the last few months. I’ve dealt with losses I never thought I’d have to deal with and feelings and emotional spectrums I didn’t know existed. I’ve fought depression most of my life and I’ve learned how to cope and how to hide. Tie in anxiety issues every so often and there’s the middle half of my 20s. We’re all fighting our internal struggle, but what do we do when we’re not longer struggling inside, but both inside and out? What do we do when we no longer live in the past, or let the past define us but the future is so uncertain that we’re paralyzed on the spot?

Los Angeles is another city of dreamers. Everyone is trying to make it as someone here. Whether you’re from here or not, you’re still playing the proverbial game. I love LA. I am happy to live here and I’m happy to be able to play, but lately my ass has been kicked so hard I’m questioning everything I know. Down to the major question, why am I still here? What am I doing here? And at the same time I have no where else I really and truly want to go.

I’ve been reading and searching for answers within and without. I’ve been trying to move forward when the only reason I’ve survived is because my parents decided to really and truly help me for the first time. That in itself was something I never thought I’d have and that in itself was worth the hurt and struggle it took me to get here. Unfortunately, the efforts of others is not entirely enough.

We all get one life. We all have our personal struggles. We all need each other at some point to be there to help us when we’re down. I feel like my posts don’t even have a point anymore, but they allow me to let out the crap in my mind and potentially share it for the two people reading this (cheers to you guys).

We all want a voice in our own lives. We all struggle and wonder why. We all endure hurt and pain, love and happiness, boredom and indifference, the list goes on. As I sit here in my most loneliest state, I wonder what the fuck I’m doing constantly. I think I ask myself that daily in various forms. And honestly I have no idea what I’m doing anymore. I feel like I’m struggling just to struggle and I don’t see the point in that. I’m reminded of a Bob Newhart skit that would tell me just to “stop it,” and honestly wish I could.

We are all meant to thrive in this world. We are all meant to build and grow and change and love. We are meant to learn the differences between love and indifference. Pain and pleasure. Happiness or contentment from boredom. I truly believe we’re all supposed to enjoy this journey that is life. I truly believe life is simply hard because half the time we have to admit to ourselves what it is we actually want. And the struggle comes from having to relearn how to exist in a way you’ve never done so before, until now. Maybe I dream of a life without depression. Maybe I dream of a life filled with love. Maybe I have no idea what it is that will make me happy anymore or make me happy consistently because I’ve been lost in the dark longer than I was ever in the light.

I have no answers for anyone anymore. I seek my truth and my hope and my love. I have no idea what it means, I have no idea what I want anymore and I have no freaking clue how to get it. If you don’t know where you’re going it doesn’t matter which path you take. But unlike Alice, this isn’t a dream I can wake up from, this is a dream I have to create. So what comes next? I still have no freaking clue, but I have to keep going. I have to.

Revisiting Happiness: 5 years later

For those following along: Chapter 9.

Happiness is a weird thing. We as people have dreams and wishes we wish to accomplish throughout our lives in attempt to find happiness. However happiness is a fleeting friend and can also be a mortal enemy. Once it is found you are always in a constant struggle to get it back. And once you get it back you don’t know how long it will stay around. Sometimes you don’t even recognize it until something jolts you and you realize what you have and truly appreciate it all.

You walk through life thinking, knowing that you are one person at this point in time. Until one day when the world as you once knew it comes crashing down around you because of a single word, phrase, sentence, event, moment in time, or realization. Then you wake up the next day to find your life altered in a way you never deemed possible and it’s a long road to acceptance but you eventually get there. You accept that this is now your life and whatever alternate reality you once knew no longer exists. You have to move forward with high hopes and uneasiness because you no longer know who you are nor do you know what you want anymore, nor does it matter. You take each day as it comes and eventually you will figure out that dreams do change, people do change, life happens, life gets in the way. Life goes on and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. For maybe one day you’ll know what you want and achieve beyond your hopes and dreams. You’ll find out all those things you thought were so monumental, made you who you are as much as they didn’t affect you at all. Life is made up of many things. Take what you can get and make the most out of your circumstances. Relish in the good moments. Learn from the bad. Make mistakes. Make friends, gain family. Have adventures. Explore the world. Take chances. Don’t fear. Don’t regret. Just live.

Everyone has their own path to choose and everyone makes their own destiny. It may not seem like it but nothing is set in stone and you are the one in control – for the most part. Happiness seems like the one thing everyone wants, and the one thing no one can hold onto. But happiness is what you make it to be. If you wake up in the morning and decide today is going to be a good day, it probably will be. If you go out for a night on the town or something of the like, and you tell yourself you are going to have fun and be happy and enjoy your night, you most likely (if not definitely) will have a good time. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and you’re the one holding the beauty of your own life. Find what it is that makes you happy and take it. Find someone who makes you happy and make them a part of your life. Find a place that makes you happy and go there. Make a plan or don’t make a plan. Just don’t sit around thinking that destiny and fate are in control and you are a mere pawn in the chess game of reality. At the end of the day you are in control of your own life. There may seem times where your life seems to spiral out of your control, but those are times you can learn and grow and change to find yourself or a new life. Everyone is on a path through their own life and everyone has their own obstacles. At the same time everyone can choose to succumb to their hard times or you can overcome them. Life isn’t fair but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the best of it. For the world is at your fingertips and all you have to do is reach out and grab it.

Sometimes you just have to turn the page on what you once believed in and move forward with no regrets. You don’t start where you left off but at a new beginning with new people and adventures and with anyone who is willing to go along for the ride. You leave your once jaded self behind you in the ashes and the memories and embark on a new path to be explored. Awaken the sleeping giant. Do what you love and love what you do. What is the point of life if not happiness? Or at least the pursuit thereof. People are going to judge you and try to hold you back regardless of what they truly know about you. There will always be turmoil for it is so much easier to end the day in despair. Seek what it is that makes you happy. Enjoy the time you have and make the life you see for yourself or at least try. No plan ever works as expected but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a go.

Los Angeles Chronicles: I can while away the hours

It’s that moment in life when you’ve finally made significant progress and the same moment that screams at you – You’re not there yet!

I can say that most of us spend the majority of our week working at a job. Whether we like that job or not is the issue. Call me an idealist… but… wouldn’t it be nice to actually do something we’re passionate about rather than just taking whatever we have to, to get by and actually pay the bills?

I moved to Los Angeles in pursuit of a dream. I love my apartment, but it still hasn’t been made into “home” yet. I love LA/California, yet rush hour traffic on the 405 definitely leaves room for improvement. I like that everything is new, I like that I have a few friends but still have a lot of personal time comparatively speaking. I’m making more money than I have so far in life, yet I still stress because barely making it by is an understatement. My job isn’t terrible, but it is. I spend almost 4 hours a day in rush hour Los Angeles traffic. I beg for work at work and consistently have nothing to do (writing this at work now). My skills aren’t being utilized and my pay while may be the highest I’ve received, isn’t enough to actually live.

The progress I feel I’ve made in the last year has been great. The personal triumphs and the personal breakthroughs have been amazing. I’ve been taking more and more control over what I want and actively seeking my happiness. I’ve been putting the time, effort and energy into myself and it is paying off, but very slowly and that’s okay (progress is progress). Knowing that life is hard and I’m willing to work my ass off for it, I will always risk what I have if I don’t have what I want – in hopes of something better. So what now?

I’ve redone, updated, and sent out countless resumes. I’ve gone on multiple interviews. I end up either intimidating the interviewer or making them feel stupid (not intentionally). What do I have to do to finally land the position in which I may actually have room to grow and gain responsibility? What do I have to do to actually make enough money to live? What do I have to do to actually enjoy my life? And don’t even get me started on romantic relationships – that monster is a horse of a different color…

Why does everyone think that “hard work pays off” when the majority of people who work hard are the ones being screwed? Why is it that those willing to bust their ass aren’t the ones who are given a chance? What the hell am I missing here, because clearly it’s something big.

I get it, I’m a kid, but I still have more than adult sized bills. I get it, there’s a lot of competition. I get it, (again) life’s hard. But why is it so damn hard to the point where you have to kiss a company you aren’t sure you want to work for’s ass in hopes that you can eat that night? Why is this the world we live in? Is it terrible? Of course not. Am I sitting here asking myself if this post is even worth it, of course I am. Do I recognize that these are first world problems, absolutely. They are my problems nonetheless.

I’ve noticed something about movies and tv shows, they always wrap up life so nicely. Even when there are problems they only last so long or the viewers get bored… There’s always a little drama but the major things people tend to want, a house, a car, a relationship, a marriage, a family, a career, you name it – always seem attainable. Yes some of those things are materialistic but I’m talking about living, ya know paying for food to eat and actually having the money to do so as well as pay your rent. Yes, I know they’re made up stories. Yes, I know it’s a show/movie. Yes, I know time is a different animal in real life.  But why is it that happiness seems to be the hardest thing to hold onto in a world where you don’t have it that terribly hard, yet you still don’t have the money to live? Why is staying happy one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do?

When does my life become something I live with pure enjoyment despite the bad? As much as I’m a dreamer, I’m still a realist. Life has bad parts, we get hurt,  and sometimes shit sucks, it is inevitable, but when does progress actually reach fruition? When can you finally reach a point in life where you can say you’ve become successful?  What about becoming happy? Does it or can it ever truly happen? Or are we all just reaching for a dream only found on screens in hopes reality isn’t that bad?

 

We live in the age of forgetfulness, do something worthy of remembrance

I am a lot of things. Some good, some bad. I have my demons and I have my wings. I have a memory that doesn’t allow me to forget and a heart that doesn’t allow me to really and truly stop loving. With that said, I’ve known hundreds of people through my life thus far. I’ve kept in touch with friends. Lost touch with friends. Gotten back in touch to lose them again…but for the most part I still stay connected in some way. Mostly because of my memory, but also because things like Facebook exist and remind me the person I don’t want to see is out there -still. I digress.

I am the kind of person that uses social media, but doesn’t put my life out into the world on my pages. I’ve lived in 4 states, been to 8 countries and have friends from every place I’ve been. We may not talk daily. We may not check in constantly. But because of things like Facebook we can stay connected. We may not have been too close or great friends, but if I can wish someone well or cheer someone on I will most certainly do it. It doesn’t matter if I saw them ten minutes ago or ten years ago.  I’m the kind of person that likes pictures or status updates or wishes you happy birthday whether we talk or not, just because I can. Props to you for doing something worth celebrating. Props to you for accomplishing someone you want or making the best of what life sends your way. Hell your status could be “got through a Tuesday at work, yaya” and I’d still wish you well because sometimes Tuesdays are fucken hard.

I’ve spent most of my life dealing with depression. I’ve had some good friends here and there and I’ve had crappy friends. I’ve had hundreds if not thousands of acquaintances. I might have only met you in passing, as a college freshman, at the dining hall one night and never talked to you again, but I’m the kind of person that remembers that night in detail if it comes into play. Over the years, I’ve had to deal with a lot of crap I honestly wish I hadn’t. I wish people well where I can because I know I like when someone does that for me. I haven’t had a lot of people stick by me through the years or the hard times in life and I remember almost everyone I’ve ever met. And you’d be surprised how little it takes to make someone feel good.

There are a lot of things I wish this world would pay attention to, but for the most part it really is about the little things. However,  we live in an age of forgetfulness. No one seems to pay attention to the little things anymore. Smiling at someone when you walk past them on the street. Acknowledging someone’s presence with a “hey, how’s it going.” Seeing someone going through something tough and acknowledging their struggle or just relating to them in the moment. We forgot how to talk to each other and as creative as we are we have no idea how to create relationships that last. You better believe that someone may not remember your name, but they remember the way you made them feel.

It doesn’t matter who you are to them, you could be some random dude on the subway, their mother, or their dentist. If you joke and smile or laugh and cry, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t even have to be a deep connection. It could be “omg look at this crazy cat vine.” (yeah, sorry I went there). The little moments are the ones in which you choose who you are going to be for the big moments. You remember the things you didn’t do well or the things you excelled at the best. But think of the people who meant something in your life and what is it you remember about them? It’s probably not that they were at that game one time with you or went to get food at that place. It’s how you felt when you were with them. It was the time you shared together.

How hard is it to wish people luck? How hard is it to unplug the headphones and step back from the smart phone and share a moment with someone? Learn how to be a friend. Remember how to be a friend. I’m going to say it again, a few nice words go a lot further than you’d think.

I’m finally starting to like the life I’m living because I’m living the life I like. The one I chose. And it’s working out in a million ways. I have moments of freaking out and depression rears its head. But then someone says something silly or acknowledges me in some way and my whole  mood shifts. People yearn for the closeness that almost doesn’t exist anymore. People connect more with strangers on the street than those in their inner circle because they’ve forgotten how or maybe they never knew. Despite never being famous, you can easily be remembered.

Don’t forget who you’ve walked through life with thus far. We may be individuals, but life isn’t a one man show. Be nice to people. Share a smile. Find the little things that people do that make you happy and spread the vibes. We can all use a little help sometimes.

You may not be contributing to their major life goals or their everyday existence, but where is the harm in remembering to wish someone well or congratulate them or even just acknowledge them? Life is hard enough, why not spread a little joy.