The New Golden Rule

In a world of chaos and crazy I think it’s time we readjusted the golden rule. You know the one that you had drilled into your head since Kindergarten?

Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you/treat others as you’d like to be treated.

I think it’s time we changed it to treat yourself as you would like to be treated.

I’ve known a lot of people in this world so far. I’ve lived in 4 states, traveled through 8 countries, 3 continents and I’m a child of the internet age. I’m the kind of person that others tell their life stories to just because I happen to be sitting there. Sometimes it’s really cool and other times you want to tell the person okay it’s time to leave the bathroom now. And seemingly enough there’s the answer to why women go to the bathroom in pairs. Escape plan among other things haha. Anyway, the point is I can name more people that have suffered from depression and anxiety than I can name that haven’t.

We have but one life on this planet and we need to treat it as such. By all means have as much fun as you see fit. Seek adventure, money, success, fame, love take your pick. But treat yourself with kindness not just those around you.

You know that inner monologue that we’ve groomed since infancy, the one that says you can’t do this why would you even try? The one that says you’re failed or fucked up. The one that says I should have done better than that or gets cocky when they knew they were right. The same one that says fuck yeah this is a good idea when you’re drunk and 9/10 times it’s not, but we do it anyway. Yeah yeah, learning experiences are great, but  let’s keep everyone away from the emergency room. We need to hone the relationship we have with ourselves before we’re ever really going to know what we want and how to achieve it. Because if we don’t believe in our own abilities then what can we believe?

Everyone has to start from the beginning when learning or trying for something. Everyone is a novice before they become an expert. Everyone learns and falls and learns more and succeeds and learns more and succeeds more with a failure or two thrown in for kicks because hey, life is what it is and again, we’re human. But we don’t need to become the pain we’ve felt. We don’t need to harness the anger or resentment or hurt or displacement if we don’t want to. I’m not going to get all “being positive is a choice” because some shit just sucks and it’s that simple. But we go through things and if you’re anything like I am or like most of the people I know are, you’re your own worst enemy and that doesn’t have to be the case.

You want to have successful relationships? Stop having a dysfunctional one with yourself. You want friends you can count on and people that care and are loyal to you? Stop creating a monster and toxic environment within. Misery loves company and most of the time the things you think have a way of coming to fruition. Like if you’re afraid you’re going to run into someone when you walk into a restaurant and yeah you were right you did… self fulfilling there. I’ve done it so many inexplicable times myself. It just happens. But learn how to be kind to yourself. Learn how to experience joy in the hurt. Learn to look at your past and say “so what.” You don’t live there anymore.

We all have a past. We all have a relationship with ourselves. If we all learned to treat ourselves the way we wanted to be treated I think we’d all be a little happier and we’d all treat each other with a little more dignity and respect. Food for thought.

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Los Angeles Chronicles: Being Lost is Relative & so is Being Found

Here I am a year and a half into the “life I always dreamt about”… I’m without direction and fairly sick of looking to the past. Needless to say this experience hasn’t been what I’ve expected it to be – then again nothing ever is. In some ways it’s been a million times better than I could imagine and in other ways it’s one of the most life shattering situations to be in.

I am in love with Los Angeles. I love California in more ways than I can describe. The feelings of contentment and fullness. The clarity and the head space have both completely improved within. Yet, I’m so lost. I never expected to start a new life and end up with the job of my dreams, the love of my life, and a big fat bank account in a year. Honestly I’d barely expect that in the next five years (mostly because I’m realistic). But this entire experience has left me with one major thought — what do you do when you’re feeling completely lost, yet you’re finally feeling okay with who you are again?

Okay, wait a minute – hold that thought. Rewind…. I lost my job back at the end of May. I’ve been attempting to find my way since then, but I’ve been coming up short. I’ve gotten multiple interviews and have had call backs on second rounds, yet this time I can’t seem to seal the deal. After three months of agonizing over my next step and whether or not I get to stay here because of monetary responsibilities, I realized I’m just as lost as I was when I left, but now I’m a person I want to be.

I’ve come a long way from the person I had become when I left my hometown for the third time. I took a giant risk because I owed it to myself. I have given a lot and I have done what I have to do. Yet here I am worse off than I was when I got here. Feeling like a failure because I have nothing to show for this last year, but what lies within, I realize again…. being lost is relative. I may have found myself in a lot of ways, but when you’re lacking direction what do you do? I chased a dream to get here. I took a leap of faith and it initially paid off. I’m in a position to have to do whatever I absolutely must to stay, but I also have to admit to myself I absolutely do not want to leave.

All of these things come back to our own ideals and expectations of where we thought we’d be at this age. I have nothing I’ve ever wanted, yet in the last week I’ve been happier than I ever have in this country. Yes – this country. Some of it is letting yourself be. Some of it is realizing set backs happen, things don’t always fit, and it’s okay to feel what you feel. The difference is admitting the shit exists, but realizing that you don’t have to let it consume you.

I’ve dealt with depression for most of my life. I fight my own demons daily just to get out of bed. Sometimes I look in the mirror and realize hey the demon is me. Sometimes I look in the mirror and I scream internally “you fucken got this stop doubting yourself.” And sometimes I fly without a net hoping for the best because uncharted territory and the unknown have taken over my life. But I digress…

It’s been a pretty great week for me so far. The month of August is turning my world around and all of it is happening for the better. The culmination of the last two months doesn’t define me. Nothing is set in stone and this is NOT the end. I need to remember to let myself have what I want and let myself be happy when shit hits the fan. I need to remember that school’s over and the “right path” in terms of life really doesn’t exist. Never having an answer to the question “what do you want to be when you grow up” I’m still searching for a career but maybe the issue is I haven’t invented it yet.

We are the creators of our own worlds. We have to take the good and the bad. When we feel we have nothing to show, we need to find small ways to prove it to ourselves. When we feel lost, we need to do something that makes us found in the space in which we exist. When we doubt our abilities sometimes we just need a friend. And sometimes we just have to play the game and play in general. Thus realizing that life doesn’t need to be so serious and that everything in life is temporary. And sometimes – I need to take my own advice and realize that life is good. Sometimes we all need reminders that we deserve to be happy and just let ourselves accept them.

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?

 

Los Angeles Chronicles: It’s time for an Evolution Revolution

Too long have I sat back in my own life waiting for a chance to make things change. I finally made things happen for myself after years of doubt. I tried more than once and things didn’t always work, but this time, this time is different. I’m not the person that I was then. I’m barely the person I was five minutes ago.

Since moving to LA, I’ve made leaps and bounds in my life, for myself.  My eyes haven’t been more open and I haven’t felt this alive in I’d venture a guess at ever. The election is going on and the world is starting to pay attention to how lost we actually are, in more ways than one. I’ve regained the person I’ve always known was in me and it’s time for me to stand up for it.

We live in a world where people are so conditioned by technology and the workings of their everyday lives that we don’t pay attention. We compete with each other over petty bullshit. We fight for what we think we want when we honestly have no idea. We don’t care how we get ahead as long as we do and if that means crushing someone in our way, so be it we don’t give a damn. I can attest to this because I’ve been part of the rat race that is this world, this country, this lifestyle. I’m a product of it, but I’m someone who seeks information when many don’t. I’m the one who empathizes with people to see all sides because who the hell am I to judge you. I’m a millennial. I am barely considered part of society by the proverbial man’s position. I am part of the generation that is bigger than any other, the most educated, the most in debt, the most disloyal, the most commitment-phobic, the biggest competitors, the most creative, the most conditioned, and the most lost. We are a great group of people when we pay attention to each other. When we stop competing with each other and believe in each other we are the newest force to be reckoned with. We have the power but we need to unite it. We’ve already lost in many ways, but it’s time for us to take a stand, wake up and make some change.

Even in the few minutes I’ve been sitting here writing, I’ve had replies to posts I’ve written in other forms of social media that basically tell me what I should do, tell me who I am and reply to me like I’m the idiot, uh hello… not helping. Anyone with an opinion can post something. Anyone. That doesn’t make it a good thing but it makes it what it is. We have the greatest form of banning together in the history of the world and we use it to tear each other apart.

Daily shootings, suicides, murders, the news showing you what they want you to see, political agendas, vote flipping. When did we evolve down? Why are we all acting like apes? And I’m almost thinking of rewording that because I don’t need to insult the apes. The political correctness is appalling. Stop giving into the man. He hasn’t done anything for you but condition you to be a pawn in his game.

We have become the biggest bunch of pansy ass, self righteous, ignorant assholes ever. And I mean everyone not just the millennials and younger. The greatest thing we have is that we’re people. And that’s the one thing that’s tearing us apart. Why does it matter what someone else does in their life when it has no effect on yours? I mean in terms of gay/straight/transgendered, life preferences, religion, stance on abortion, political views, why are things that shouldn’t be issues the biggest things we tear each other apart over? Oh yeah, so those in power can make us fight over petty shit to keep us occupied while they take over the rest of the world.

We need to stop spreading hate and banning against each other. There’s no reason for any of it. We need to spread a bit more peace and love because we owe it to ourselves and our future children or actual children to not grow up in a world where they have to worry about being shot in school or at work or have to run for their lives because someone without tolerance thinks they’re better than everyone else. It’s time to evolve. It’s time to start a revolution of change.

Stop trying to control each other. Stop hating people for who or what you think they are because you have no idea. For lack of a better way to say it, get your heads out of your asses people. Wake up. We’re in for a fight ahead of us and we don’t have to do it alone. We have to do it together. It’s time for an evolution revolution. We need to be more evolved than we have become. Change needs to be sparked and people are the only ones who can do it. Stop the pointless violence.

We all want a chance at life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – stop taking it from others when it’s something we can all get if we work together. Stop telling people who they are and what their opinions are, stop the conditioning. Learn some empathy, learn to share, learn to love, learn to commit to something even if it’s yourself because if you commit to yourself, things will surely change. It’s time to wake up. Change is upon us but we have to seek it. Stop proving to the man that they can use and abuse us, unplug from the lies, plug into the love, plug into those willing to stand up and say and do what needs to be said and done.

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.

 

Los Angeles Chronicles: Is this really happening?

I did it. I secured a job and I was offered more money than I’ve ever made doing something I’ve been trying to do since I was in college. It’s happening. I’m about five seconds from pinching myself just to see if this really isn’t all a dream.

Apartment: check. All my stuff from NY: check. Opportunity: check. Job in the field I want and a decent salary: check. Holy crap. I’m disgustingly happy and yet I’m still missing something. I’m starting to change for the better again and it’s a great thing. I’ve been trusting my gut as much as I can since I’ve gotten here and despite the crap that there most obviously is, it’s amazing. You can’t have the good without the bad but I have to keep reminding myself, this was a long time in the making.

Keep believing you can do this. Keep believing that this is your life and when things get tough remember you did something about it. Yes there were nights that you wanted to give up and you doubted everything. Yes there were  moments I was spiraling out of control and no I did not cease to be that person, but I’m starting to stop holding it against myself.

We’ve all had out shit in life that we didn’t want to do or couldn’t handle or maybe wish we didn’t do or go through. I don’t regret what I can’t change and I tend to push the envelope. I tend to get to a point where I have to say what I feel or I’ll explode but it takes a lot for me to get there. I’m not great when it comes to emotions and I tend to stifle them. We are all works in progress and we all have our own journeys.

I’ve spent a lot of the last year agonizing over many of the wrong things because I needed to do what I needed to do to get through. It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t fun, but it was a part of my life. I still have a long way to go and I’m definitely still a bit of a mess but it is what it is. Here’s to things finally working out and me learning I can believe in myself. Learning to have some faith and maybe learn to be a little less angry. We all have a lot to give if we’re put in the correct environment. It’s crazy how much environment changes someone but it does. I still have a long way to go and will probably always deal with depression and anxiety but it’s amazing how much more like “myself” I feel like I can be here. I feel like me again and it’s amazing.