Day 20: forging a new beginning but being haunted by the past

Well it took me a few days, but I did it. I got back in the game and I’ve made progress I didn’t know was there to make. And for that – I am grateful. And of course there’s a but in here.. because I’ve been having thoughts and dreams over the last week that keep bringing up my past world…

I’ve always been a vivid dreamer to the point where if I don’t let a dream finish, then I end up feeling the emotions I was playing out in my head throughout the entire day. It’s kinda weird but it is what it is. I have been able to manipulate dreams and I’ve even had dreams come true in the past. I typically remember my dreams, but unless it involves something strange or someone out of the ordinary I don’t give it much thought. That being said.. lately I’ve been dreaming of the life I had about 6 years ago.

My biggest issue is and always has been, how do you move forward when you seemingly have one foot in the past?

Last week marked 2 years of me being in Los Angeles and I do love it here but I consistently get to “what’s the point” more often than I’d like. I’m making more money than I’ve ever made and I’ve had jobs in the field that I’ve wanted to be in since college. I’ve accomplished things I’ve always wanted to do, and I’ve stopped being someone I never wanted to become…yet for some reason it’s not enough. The funny things about dreams when you’re awake are the facts that once you get the things you want you’re on to the next one. The dreams you have when you’re asleep usually mark things in a different way (at least for me).

In an ideal world I’d buy a house here, travel to a handful of places and use this as a home base. I’d eventually get married and raise children and not worry about seasonal depression with 6+ months of snow and gloom because hell this is Southern California. But the median cost of a house is $600,000, rent is $1000 per month and ever increasing in an apartment I share. And my boss is making me take on the person he let go of’s job because he doesn’t want to pay him anymore. So I get more things to do but no pay. A lot of this is how I came to the conclusion that I want my own company. The issue becomes how do I stop the past from shaping my new chapter? How I do I keep the past behind me when there are so many ridiculous “knowns” in my head right now.

How do I continue “business as usual” when I know it isn’t really working?

I’ve talked about reinventing the wheel. And it made me think back to my first challenge of wanting to travel the world and actually feel like I’m living. Which I still want to do. I want to do it a million times over. Yet, I’m  not quite ready to leave LA because I’m still holding on to the dream I took when I decided to leave NY. I had to deal with potentially leaving this behind all summer last year and I got to keep it. So letting it go now seems stupid to say the least. It’s times like these where I look at myself and seriously look at myself and say what the fuck are you doing?! Why are you doing this again? Why are you doing this to yourself again?! What is it that you really want?!

And there it is. The kicker… I changed my life for the better, yes. I’ve changed myself for the better, yes. I’m better off financially than I ever have been, yes. BUT and this is a huge BUT…. I still have nothing I want. I’m not at the weight I want to be or the level of fitness. I’m not in a career I want to have I just keep getting jobs. I’m not at a place where I can spend money without guilting myself about it later. I’m not in a place to have a home. I’m not in a relationship in which the person I am with is who I’ll marry. I’ve not been on a vacation in 2 years that didn’t involve going back to visit my parents — aka not a vacation. So maybe that’s my problem again.

Too many things in your life today are the same things that have been ruling your past. Inadequacy. Being stuck. Not feeling alive. Being over emotional. Not being where you want in any facet of your life.

Maybe this new beginning is exactly what you need. Maybe it’s time to focus on one goal and one thing that will change you and your world exponentially. I have a second interview for a new job Tuesday. I’m working with a business coach to gain extra money. I’m not able to walk at the moment because of my ankle but when I can I want to start really taking care of my body. I want to start my day as if on purpose rather than hitting the snooze button.

I guess in reality despite telling myself I want to start over… what I really want is to start over. An admission I never realized until right now. I want to say this time is going to be different and mean it. Because it has to be. I owe it to me for this time to be different. My new dream is accomplishing one of the four things in my life that I say I want, but still have yet to get.

1: business
2: body /fitness
3: money to burn
4: one trip per year that doesn’t involve going to my parents’ house.

Day 20: crafting my new beginning is in play. Day 21: doing something about it.

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I’m Back… Challenge Two: Creating a Company

Hey everyone, I’m back. Here goes another challenge I’m putting forth to myself. Before I was trying to break the habits and barriers of my status quo. I made some changes and I’ve done some things to become more of the person I want to be. I know this will always be a work in progress, but I want to focus my writing this time on really changing my situation and creating a company for myself and others.

I was recently going through some ridiculousness and really wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do. I was caught in this bored, but exhausted cycle and I had to realize as much as I want to push forward I still need to almost force myself to relax. In the last few months I’ve started my own company. I’ve been working on things in multiple ways and I’m trying to break free of my 9-5 grind. I’ve been making it a priority to read 1 book per month that will help me move forward and if nothing at the very least they keep my mind occupied in the boredom that is my day job. I’ve since asked to work remotely twice a week and it has been granted on a temporary basis – woohoo! I’m getting to know the person who shook my world for the better. And I’m learning how easy things can really be if you don’t stand in your own way.

At the beginning of this year, I was going crazy with my living situation, job, business, reeling from going to NY and flailing about making somewhat wrong decisions to escape the shit I’m in… Since then I’ve realized I try to escape a lot more than I thought and sometimes it works to my advantage, but sometimes it kicks me in the ass. We all have our tendencies and abilities to fuck ourselves up but this is one I’m going to start paying more attention to. That’s how I ended up here: challenge #2.

I took some time to figure out where I really want to go in all of this. I’ve realized that as much as I can’t stand the boredom that is my job and the clash that has become my business plus my day job in an emotional state as one, that day job needs to remain my stability. Stability is something I’ve attained for the first time in my life. I fell over it sometime during the first challenge I wrote and it is something I intend on keeping.

I’m going to challenge myself to another 90 days of being accountable for myself, my business, my wants, thoughts, goals etc. It may seem like a huge undertaking, but honestly I find that I actually pay more attention to myself and my wants when I have to write about them. I find that I am actually more apt to do what it is that I say or put the things I want to accomplish into practice if I share them with “the world.” I don’t mean, I want the status update of “shower, work, dinner with bestie, sleep, hmu” type of remark… but rather the overall pieces that go into a life, the philosophies and thoughts that go through my head as well as any advice I might seek, and progression on goals I wish I accomplish. If you’ve shared this journey with me so far, I thank you. If you’re just tuning in, great to have you here. As always everything I write is up for conversation.

That being said, this was day 1: restarting accountability to myself.

Onto day two: Ideas for a new world one business at a time. 

 

 

Introduction/Day 1

Okay, so yesterday I challenged myself to a “90 day challenge” of making up my mind/making a decision on what comes next.

I’m going to write 1 post a day for the next 90 days and document some of my thoughts, findings and see where I end up. I’ve never done anything like this before and I think it’s time I stop driving myself crazy and start doing something about it. Here goes.

Instead of making an entirely rash decision I’m going to see what I dwell on and what I flourish with and where the in between lies. I have dealt with depression and mental health issues in the past so apologies if some of these get kinda strange. This is really more for me than anything else. It’s a way to be accountable to myself. But that was your warning haha.

So far I started my day thinking, “ugh another boring nothing to do at work day.” Then I cranked the punk rock in the car and I almost instantly felt alive. The effect music has is usually astronomical; already knew this but it’s still good to know. I started a job about 3 weeks ago and I still don’t have a day’s worth of work to do. Some days I’m making up things for myself to do all day, others I’m only making things up half the day.  But I digress…I knew going in this wasn’t my dream job and it wasn’t going to be something I do for the next 10-20 years. I just didn’t expect to have to be chained to a desk with my own thoughts wreaking havoc in my brain all day.

Today has been good so far but behold: It’s after lunch and nothing to do again! Woo. Don’t get me wrong I don’t hate down time, I hate the daily downtime when I’m left with too many of my own thoughts because I already live in my head the minute I leave work. It only works well in here if I have some distractions throughout the day.

I’ve already figured out on days that I talk to someone on the way home I’m in a better mood. On days I go for a walk and jam out or talk to someone my body isn’t as sore from sitting at a desk all day. Mood, body… time for the mind. I’ve been working on the mental control thing and it’s helping, but my issue is I don’t have “fun” in my life at a constant rate or at a consistent rate. I don’t have that one friend I can call and do things with no matter what it is. I do and don’t want that friend, but it would be nice to have the option exist.

I keep going back to “leaving” because I’ve gotten a lot out of being here so far, but I still have nothing I want and it’s more than discouraging. Well that isn’t totally true I’m in the location I wanted, but if I left here tomorrow and never came back – so what. I don’t like so what. I keep toying with the idea of trying to get a remote job and travel the world. A different kind of untethered living but one I have done a little of before for short periods and felt more alive than I could imagine. That’s what I’m looking for – the feeling and the freedom and the adventure/excitement. I don’t have those things here because I’m too stuck going through the motions, but I really don’t know what else to do.

You’re indifferent to staying despite not wanting to “go back.” The difference this time is wanting to go forward, but not with the idea of permanence. You are in a different place in life and in a different mindset. You do need to be social and you do need friends. You have goals you want and things to accomplish in the future. Overall you’re the best you’ve been in a very long time, so do you actually want to stay? Right now if you left tomorrow and never came back you wouldn’t care. – So what – but is that what you’re telling yourself or is it actually how you feel? No idea.

Day 1 and I have no idea what I’m doing – as usual.

 

 

Los Angeles Chronicles: Ever Finding Myself

I think I’ve been at war with myself since I was 14. I’ve finally learned and come to the realization that I don’t have to be. What a concept right?

Leaving my hometown this last time and taking the ultimate risk of pursuing a dream I wanted since I was 10, was a big deal for me. I’ve spent the summer attempting to hold on to it so tight for fear of losing it, I almost forgot why I wanted it in the first place. It was a dream, a fantasy, something as an adult I never thought I’d have and now I do – because I actually took the chance. Not only did I make it here, I get to stay. Not only do I get to stay but I get to work in the industry I was hoping to become a part of as an eager 10 year old. While it may not be my dream job, I’m a lot farther ahead than I ever thought I would actually be. And yet still so far behind – but semantics.

Over the last year and a half or so I’ve become an entirely different person. One I also never thought I’d be (in a lot of both good and bad ways). I’ve let a lot of the hurt and pain from the past go – to the point where it no longer has anything to do with defining me. I’ve learned to be okay in the present, mentally and emotionally; while at the same time accepting that I am a certain way when it comes to things and ya know what  – that’s okay. Hell it’s more than okay.

I let myself be myself. I let myself figure out who – me – is. I get to define and figure out all the details based on anything I want because I can. It may not be as simple as just letting go or just doing it, surely for me it’s been a process and one that still inherently kicks my ass every so often, but I think that’s part of being a human. And if none of that makes sense to you, then honestly – good for you. But my life and my head and my world have been a mess for far longer than I ever realized they could be and in a lot of ways I did it to myself.

We as people are the worst to ourselves. Our own inner monologue ruins half of the things we could do with life because we don’t believe we’re capable. Or on the other side we’re so flattened with fears of letting go of what we have, we don’t seek that which we say we want. Or on even another side we’re so hellbent that we’re the best, we bring out that self deprecating hero flaw – ego. Either way, we’re cheating ourselves. Personally I’ve elected to try to stop.

I have goals and dreams and other things I’d like to take on in my life in the present and the future, but when you recognize that everything is temporary and everything is a flux of in progress living… you realize that things like anxiety and depression aren’t necessarily a way to live and that you won’t have to do it forever. You just have to do something else. And keep trying something else until something works.

I’ve dealt with depression, anxiety, PTSD and chemical imbalances. Yet I’ve had moments of life where I’ve felt so alive and so happy. I know those things exist for me. Whether I get down because I can’t be insanely incandescently happy all the time or I just have a bad day or I feel like the world is crashing around me, I know I have a choice to do something new or different tomorrow or even later today. Sometimes I make the attempt to change but no matter what I do I’m stuck on repeat. Maybe I need more practice or maybe I’m too much of a theatre kid and I’m just being dramatic. The things is my reality is my own as is yours.

I’m not asking those that are in pain to just think happy thoughts. It’s not that simple and believe me I get it. But you get but one life and you only get to live it one direction when it comes to time. Time moves forward whether you’re ready or not. It can hold you back or propel you forward. Being kind to yourself and allowing yourself at even a chance at a dream is worth it. Taking a risk in hopes of flying is worth it. If you hate the decision you made then after two weeks go back home. But I assure you “back” does not exist.

All you can do is keep going. If you’re stuck.. keep pushing back. If you’re flailing keep flapping maybe you’ll fly. Honestly, this is more advice to myself when I’ve had enough but this is not the end. You might as well take the risk and spend your life and your time in the way you absolutely want. And just because you want it today, doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind. Collect the experiences and hope that most of them are good ones. You’re never going to fully define who you are because you are constantly growing. Instead of trying to box yourself in, learn to build a house. Add more boxes to the pile and see where life takes you.

 

 

 

Stop wishing and make change

In a world where everyone is waiting for 5pm on Friday… be the one who revels in 9am Monday morning. Learn to live your life and value the worth you have. Learn to think outside the box. Learn to pursue your passions. Please pursue your joys and arts and passion and loves. You can have more than one. You can learn from so many things. You can learn to be yourself.

The world is full of heart wrenching, hurtful bullshit. It can always get worse. It will get worse if you believe it won’t or if you believe it will. When you dwell on the “worse” it comes to you. When you stay open to what could be, despite doubt you will find what it is you’re looking for.

Life and society today thrives on conformity and people going through the motions. It thrives on depression, suppression, oppression, anxiety and fear. Break the mould.

Do and seek what it is that you love. Be the forger of your own life. Be the one who gives up the norm for the things that are worth so much more. Live outside the box and learn that things will and can get better if you actually let and allow yourself to be your true self. Not the self that it has become and been told that it is. Not the self that everyone else sees, but the one that you desire to be. The one you seek. The person you want to be.

It may not be the easiest road because it is unknown and it seems to be the road less taken. But let me ask you, if we lived in a world where we all pursued our greatest loves and greatest passions, what do you think the world might look like? What do you think it would hold for you? What about the rest of us? If the world was driven by love rather than anger or hatred or fear, where would we be?

Better yet, where would you be? Wouldn’t you like to find out?

Revisiting Expectations: 5 years later

For those following along this is the 10th and final chapter of what would be a book of sorts.

Expectations are a tricky thing. Whether you think something will go poorly or stunningly you are usually right. If you put time and effort into something and hope it goes well there’s a chance it will but you never know. We all had a vision of what we thought our lives would be when we were in our teens. We all found out that what we thought would happen.. probably didn’t. We all got kicked by the so called real world and realized that things are always harder than they seem. No strings attached is hardly ever something that actually exists in reality.

We all go through life in an attempt to achieve happiness. We all live in our own ways. We are all versions of our own experiences and perspectives. Due to our outlooks we change and adapt to things and those around us. We grow and change because of the relationships and events in our lives. We find happiness and lose it. We hope to find what we’re passionate about and make it more than just a small piece of us. Our memories are the stories that make a life personal. Our family are those that have surrounded us on the way. They are our history our origin. I may have repeated myself quite a bit, but if that is the case it is because I believe the repetition to be of importance.

I am who I choose to be, but I still believe that there is somewhat of a fate at hand. The energies of the world conspire to bring you who and what you need and also seem to shift your perspective. When you seem to lose your way it is because you were meant to. Struggle happens. Joy happens. We do things in life that we’ve never expected. We’ve become people in life we’ve never expected. We’ve endured things in life that we never expected. Expectations are a cruel trick that bring our hopes up or tear us down amidst the journey.

I started writing this piece about four years ago. I haven’t finished and I’ve started a few other projects. When thinking back to beginning this book I should have put more effort into finishing it. I expected to have this done before 2012. Well it’s now 2014 – yeah now it’s 2017- and its still not what I expected but it is what it is. My journey has shifted, my “self” has changed. My path deterred and my life is still not what I wanted it to be at this point. I never expected to be where I am and I’ve never expected to live out what I did. But sitting here and rereading what I’ve written gives me solace that at the point of my life that I was much more critical I was still that dreamer that saw the potential of what life can become.

Things never go as expected but they definitely continue onward. We have one chance at life and we all make mistakes along the way. The chapters of this pick at pieces of things that I have found that not only shape someone as a person but shape a life as I know it. The life I have lead is far from the course I thought I would take. Right now it is not more nor less; it just is. I am still seeking my happiness and I am still finding my passions. Life is a journey in progress and I intend on savoring my moments, stories, adventures and happiness. We all seem to lose our way at some point, but the point is to endure and move forward. Take what you can from what you’ve lived. Love who and what you can at any moment and find a way to be truly happy with the life you’ve made for yourself and the person you’ve become and have the potential to be. For nothing ever happens as expected and nothing ever will.

Revisiting From Tomatoes to Friendship: 5 years later

Chapter 6. Representing the title I’ve chosen the book to have.

My dad once told me a story about his father and grandfather. He said that they used to have this gardening competition every year. A way to keep in touch and include each other in life. They argued and fought but that wasn’t the point. The point was the togetherness. They grew all sorts of things but it was the tomatoes that counted to them. Who’s looked the best, tasted the best, who had more of them. Silly things that probably didn’t matter to anyone else but it mattered to them. It’s things like that that make up a family and a life. Little traditions that seem silly but you enjoy despite anyone else.

It wasn’t about who won the tomato competition – that was a game just because they could. It didn’t matter that they argued. They were still family and they were a part of each other’s lives and again that was the point. We are all driven nuts by our families at times, sometimes more than others but they’re still part of us and our lives. Everyone’s family is dysfunctional in it’s own way. We all have our faults and arguments and we are who we are. Dynamics change and shift as we age and families fall apart as some leave this plane. But each and every family has it’s lessons, traditions and memories. Everything about them can teach you something.

Relationships with friends, family, lovers, acquaintances etc, are what you put into them. If you put enough time and effort into friendships those people can become family. Some people you just click with and others you just want to run away from. Family like friends are similar in a sense that you’re closer to some than others and you can avoid them if you want to or you can spend as much time with them as you please. But family has a different connotation when it comes to bonds. You share blood. You share experiences. You share knowledge. History, an ancestry. Traditions. Friends can become family after a certain point and though it can be better it still isn’t the same.

Relationships in our lives have a way of shaping us as well as experiences. Those we have by our side teaching us, guiding us, living it with us have a special place in our hearts and in our memories. Those that sat there and listened while we poured our hearts out over something we thought was a major ordeal at the time. Those that spent some of our happiest moments sharing in the experiences. Those that we were there for that we know we can count on no matter what. Relationships matter. Yes we all have a way of fucking things up but eh it is what it is. Friendships, relationships of any kind grow and change. Some people play a guest star and some people play a recurring role in your life. They can teach you about anything and everything. They are the ones you live up to, can live vicariously though, can resent or relish in the moment with. They are the people we choose to surround ourselves with and those we never forget.

These people don’t always have to be there for the betterment of anything. They could make things worse. They could just be there in general. Who knows. Family and family ties tend to be a little stronger but they also function a little differently. They function with an assumption that you’ll be there on holidays. They come with a clause. It’s not always a bad thing but it’s a little different than some friendships. But when you get to a certain point with a friend – the familial clause also exists. You’re now expected to be a part of that person’s life and hopefully you think that’s a good thing.

Friendship is something everyone needs in life. Your friends help shape your life and they can also help change your life for better or worse. We all start out at some point with friends that we “grew up with.” Those are friends that came in and out of our lives since we have been young children. These are people you can, not talk to for years and then out of nowhere say, “hey remember me?” and then end up talking for hours about “old times.” These are people that as a kid you remember random things from birthday parties or just playing tag in the back yard. If you can keep yourself surrounded by these people, the people you know and trust without question, the people you can count on to have your back, life is good.

Then there are those you gain later in life that you build memories with. These people can slowly become what you call close friends. Now, because you have realized that playtime no longer consists of boys vs. girls tag on the playground or that never ending game of hide and seek, friendship builds to new levels. You are always going to have that one person known as your partner in crime, who has gone through everything with you and you know each other so well that you can just look at each other and know what they’re thinking. Over the years your partner in crime may change but that doesn’t mean you lose the original, it means you’ve gained another. Then there’s the friend that blows you off over and over again, but you keep them around for reasons unbeknownst to you and because you wouldn’t have them be anyone else, but themselves. You have that friend that comes in and out of your life, but is always there if you just need someone to rant and rave to about your latest problem or crisis. That friend that if you wanna go grab a drink and put the day’s events out of your mind they will be happy to go along for the ride. We all think about that friend that we cared about more than as just friends but they’re one that got away. We may not always think of them but deep down somewhere inside you, there’s that last “what if you had done something different” thought that says you could have changed things, but in reality most likely wouldn’t have done so. There are a million types of friends in this world, where do you fit in?

Friends make you who you are as much as events in your life make and shape you. If you don’t have any friends, events that pull you down can be so much worse because there’s no one there to catch you and help pick up the pieces. Friends are people who you come to know and respect but those you can still “break ‘em” on until the end of time because of, “that one thing that happened ten years ago that you still won’t let them forget or live down” still is part of your friendship.

On the other hand people have ways of driving each other insane. Friends come and go in your life and they always will, but those who have your back today might not always be there tomorrow. Your friends are your support system just as much, if not more, than your family is or should be. Friends are the people you surround yourself with. People you tell your deepest darkest secrets to and share your best and worst memories with. They are the people who should know you just as much as you know yourself – for the most part. However, friends only know as much about you as you are willing to tell them. They can only understand as much about you, as you are willing to let them or as much as you understand about yourself at the time. People need each other; there is no doubt about that. We depend on each other to get through the day whether it’s by helping us do our job, helping with everyday chores, helping with kids or pets, being there for us in our best and worst moments, or just relaxing at the end of a long week.

Friendship is hard to come by. Especially true friendship. By true friendship I mean, the people that you know have your back at a second’s notice even if it may cost them something. And I don’t mean heavily cost them, but people you know you can count on. Time has a cost of its own. I’m talking about the friends you can call your family, those you can stand to be around every minute of everyday and still miss them when they’re gone for five minutes. Those you can be parted from for months or years and then the first time you reconvene, your friendship has never changed and it’s as if nothing ever happened. It’s as though even though you may have updated them on random points of your life and the drama and happenings that you deemed most important at the time, these chosen few or many if you’re obscenely lucky, will always be there. They won’t ever seem to let you down. These are the people that are there when you yourself, have little faith in you –yourself.

Friends are necessary for life. It’s the reason why TV shows like Friends, Sex and the City, Seinfeld, the list goes on are such successes. They’re shows that are built around friends living with and around each other. It shows their ups, downs, ins, outs, and needs for one another. People relate to these shows because they are things that may seem outrageous and funny to someone but could in fact be someone else’s life. We all have those moments in life that we can connect with some movie or television show somewhere. Whether it’s because of a break up or a friendship. A family member or an in-law. These shows sell because they’re life at it’s finest and lowest. They prove that people need people. They give you a false sense of making best friends and keeping them but they still prove that we need each other to survive whatever the world throws at us because without them we’re goners.