Day 25: Learning to Redefine

In the last year I’ve been really re-thinking what it means to live. The expectations I once had of a house, a savings, a specific place to call home, a significant other, a potential family… the list goes on… Isn’t what I find myself wanting, at least not in the same way I once did.

My versions of home, and a potential family have changed to say the least. I’ve grown up a lot and I’ve grown a lot. What I want or thought I would have by this point in my life is not even close to what I have. What I want is not even close to what I have either. I do want a house and a place to call home, but even the idea of being “stuck” anywhere drives me insane. The thought of building a life I have to vacate to enjoy is not something I want and I never really looked at it that way until this last leap of faith.

Even the version of love I once had in my head…. not even close. You never love anyone the same way as someone else. You can’t. It doesn’t work that way. You don’t even have the same relationship with yourself now as you did years ago. Things are meant to change. They’re meant to progress however you’re willing to take that, take it as you see fit. What I want from my house now isn’t what I ever wanted from a house previously. I want a place to call my own. I want financial stability and the ability to do what I want when. I used to attach finances to freedom. While they play a large role, they are not the only variable. Why do we become so attached to things and yet not realize that it’s the way we feel in regards to those things that make us attached?

When you make an impulse buy, happiness, thrill. When you fall in love, butterflies, thrills. When you do something you’re afraid of, anxiety, thrill. We’re constantly acting to do things that make us feel alive. That make us feel in a specific way whether we realize it or not. I’ve spent the majority of my life suppressing emotion and not knowing what it means to feel. I’ve done it to the point where people now think I’m too emotional because it’s 20 years of repression bursting out at once. In my reality, it’s me trying to find a life I actually want to live. One that I don’t have to pay off $80,000 in loans from degrees that really wont ever pay off. Or $6,000 in credit card debt because you had to eat and pay bills for 6 months without a job.

The thing about any decision or any emotion, you can and have the right to change your mind. You have the ability to become attached or not. Why don’t we look at it that way?

I was talking to a friend earlier today about the differences between strength and weakness. Emotion is often seen as feminine and weak… but being able to express yourself, cry, let the hurt go, love, etc, is the opposite of weakness. It is strength. Showing empathy is strength. Saying no, quitting a job that is sucking out your soul, seeking help for depression, anxiety or anything else that you need that you can’t solve yourself, is strength. Knowing yourself well enough to realize you need help and can’t get out of this by yourself is not in any way shape or form a weakness. Being pushed too far and not being happy anymore and thus deciding to change, is not a weakness. So why do we treat them as such?

Typically we treat things or people that are different than we are as something they’re not because we don’t understand. But emotions are something we all feel. Emotions are something we all base our lives and decisions on. So why do we set such rigid standards? Emotions aren’t logic. They do not have to make sense. In fact it is in their nature not to. They’re matters of the heart. They’re gut reactions. They’re intuition. Whatever you want to call it.

When you define yourself, and set expectations for yourself and you don’t end up where you want to be or who you want to be, you could call it failure. Or you could re-assess and re-define what those things actually mean to you. What is love to me? What is home? What does family mean? Friendship? Self worth? Happiness? Success? How do you know if you’ve achieved those things if you don’t first know what they feel like or know what you’d like them to feel like?

I thought that California was going to be a new chapter for me. I lost a lot of bad that had come into my life and I’m more than grateful for it. The downside, I haven’t replaced it with anything. I lost the bad, but I didn’t just gain the good because the bad was no longer there. I have emptiness in my life, to the point of clinging to a version of the past I wasn’t okay with but wasn’t at war with either. That’s not okay with me. My status quo is in question because I the things I wanted in the insanity are still things I want whether defined the same or not. And I still don’t have any of them.

I’m starting to realize that the way of life I thought existed no longer does. That the way I thought I would experience doesn’t stand a chance. And those aren’t bad things. They just – are. I need to create the good. I need to create the fun. I need to create the love and the money and anything else I might want. How is always the question. Why is always a question that can be answered with because I want to. And the ones that don’t understand can be thwarted with the fact that they don’t have to.

If your life doesn’t make sense the way it is, if it doesn’t make you happy, if you don’t have what you want, reassess; redefine. What does being alive mean to you? What does feeling alive mean to you? If today was your last day to live, what would you want to do? How would you spent your time?

Day 25: time is like money, but it can only be spent and not earned. Are you spending it wisely?

ShadowOfLove

 

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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.

 

 

 

Time comes and goes so quickly here

I’ve been out of work for a few months now. To say that I have unlimited freedom and majorly limited funds is an understatement. It’s a concept I’ve never experienced in life this way until now. As this summer has progressed I’ve learned a lot of things, mostly about myself but about people too. I’ve changed a lot in the last few months alone. I’ve run in circles, I’ve made mistakes, I’ve hid from the world, I’ve screamed for attention – yes almost literally. But I keep coming to the same point – everything is temporary and is only so for the time being. Time.

Life is made up of time and time only goes one way. Memories, feelings, reactions, who we are, who we might want to be, are all things that seem to come from the past (if you ask me). So to know where you’re going you have to know where you’ve been, but you don’t have to be defined by where you’ve been. Time is a fickle friend, once spent cannot be earned back. Once held cannot stand still. That being said, I can assume that the majority of people in the world all want similar things; well similar concepts. Let’s call those things: love, happiness, and success. That is what they hope to achieve with their time. If you’re a dreamer you may want whimsy. If you’re an idealist maybe you’re more in search for peace or equality. But I’d say despite differing personalities people need people to achieve love, happiness, and success (right?).

So why do we live in a world where we’re all fighting against each other, when we are in fact all working towards a similar goal? Well perception of these concepts comes into play, but somehow I doubt one can define happiness as armageddon or the end of the world. Then again I’m not going to assume that at all because I don’t need anyone to prove me wrong in this case. But you get the point.

Why spend your entire life competing with someone who may intimidate you, or may be better than you, or may be different than you, or may be an equal to you, when you most likely have something to learn from that person and that person probably has something to learn from you. That is kind of how society works in a nutshell is it not? We’re given a moral compass and a set of rules so to speak and we construct society within those realms. We grow and learn and adapt as society changes and grows and succeeds or fails.

At risk of sounding like a crazy hippy where’s the love man? I’ve been in love a few times. I have moments I still miss those I had such love for, not because I miss them as a person necessarily but I miss the role they held in my world. Who they were to me at that point in time. Every person you ever meet shapes you. People are inherently negative and we have to work daily to overcome that. We let others dictate our feelings whether they’re a complete stranger or not. Yet we don’t pay enough attention to the feel good, loving, happy go lucky mentality long enough for it to work for us as a whole; as a society. If we did I’d spend a lot less time writing about anxiety and depression. I’d also spend a lot less time feeling that way, but I digress.

We so easily lose track of time in our own heads, in our own world of feelings and thus do the opposite of what we need. Almost to the point of having to force ourselves back into the world of the living.

The reason I started this post was because earlier today I was missing the life I had 5 years ago. I had fun. I lived. I did what I wanted. I loved. I had someone in my life that I loved with all I had. I had friends and those around me that I could have fun with and enjoy their company. I wasn’t happy back there, due to a handful of things that have since changed, but I was happy in ways I never understood until now. Now time has been kind to me in the ways I lacked, but cruel in the ways that I once had.

I’ve competed with hundreds of thousands of people in my life without even knowing it. I’ve been competing with people for jobs through interviews this entire summer. I’ve been gaining and losing love in more ways than I knew existed. I’m actually learning how to really and truly love myself. But everything in a few short months has changed. My world 5 years ago only exists in my memory, as does my world 5 months ago, and my world 5 minutes ago.

Time changes everything. Sometimes it’s for the better. Sometimes you don’t realize how much you need others in your life to help you, have fun, hold your hand, hug you, talk to you, interact with you, smack you awake, change your perspective or teach you something. Sometimes you have to go back and visit those memories to realize the lessons you actually have to teach yourself. Sometimes you have to leave those things behind you and keep moving forward with time holding your hand and leading the way.

Time moves fast. We lose track of it constantly. Time can only be spent. It cannot be earned. So why waste another minute doing something that doesn’t set your soul on fire? Why waste your time doing something you hate? Being with someone you don’t love? Not being with someone you do love? If you’re stuck because it is a means to an end, great, keep on keepin’ on. If it is something you believe you have to do, to get to the next step, then hey we all need to eat and pay rent. But if it is something that doesn’t bring you joy, doesn’t make you happy, doesn’t involve love or the pursuit of success, then why do it? Learn to be kind to yourself. Learn to be kind to those around you. Spend your time wisely, it’s all that you’ve got to lose.

Revisiting Memories: 5 years later

For those following along this is chapter 5 in my book. To read from the beginning go back to “Revisiting Perspective.”

Memories: The driving force behind everything you do, how you look at things, how you react, how or why you avoid anything, why you put yourself through the pain or the emotional wreckage you believe is real. Memories are considerably like personalities. For in fact they can make your personality what it is. Because of your conscious and subconscious mind remembering past experiences becomes almost like a bitter game. After a while I’m beginning to sound like a broken record with all of this talk of personality, experience, dreams, etc. But everything is interconnected and everything holds its own purpose.

We all sit back and reflect on our lives. We all sit back and think of the good and bad times that seemingly make up our lives. We hold on to things in so many ways because despite sometimes needing change or even wanting it, things that are comfortable or familiar feel better in this moment, even if the moment is already in the past.

I’ve been through a lot and nothing all at the same time, but my memories make me who I am. They are a part within me that can either be building me up or be used against me. Sometimes memories of the familiar make us sink into things we should be avoiding because right now it’s easy. Sometimes they push us forward because we need it. Memories can affect us. Make us sink into old habits, make us better and worse emotionally, make us make change, make us thrive, give us purpose.

I have a saying, “to know where you’re going you have to know where you’ve been.” In a lot of ways it works and in a lot of ways it doesn’t. When it comes down to it, living in the past and the past alone does not a future make. It allows you to let life pass you by. It allows you go through the motions rather than dream or really live a life. We must move forward as time only goes in one direction. We can however look back and see how far we’ve come and the progress we’ve made.

Most of the time have to learn from our mistakes by remembering what we’ve previously done that did not yield the results that we wanted. But a memory is a very harsh thing to use against yourself. I read once, that when you remember an event or something that happened in your life you aren’t remembering the actual event. You’re remembering the last time you remembered the event. For example, the first time a significant other says I love you. Something memorable in your life – I’d hope for good reasons. You remember this a day later, a week later, a month later. On that day you remember the event. A week later you remember your first instance of that event. A month later you remember the event from the perspective of a month later. And so on. This may not be 100% true, but it does make a lot of sense. As our feelings change about those around us or even ourselves and the decisions we’ve made become memories of the events that shape us everything changes.

I’ve been blessed and cursed with a memory that allows me to remember my first day of Kindergarten. Some people think wow seriously?! I wish I had your memory. But honestly sometimes remembering everything makes it really hard to move forward. I think it was Dumbledore who said, “it does not due to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” In the same sense it does not do to dwell in the past and forget to live. We must learn from our mistakes and we must allow ourselves to feel and move forward based on knowing where we’ve come from, where we’ve been recently and where we might be now. For the over thinkers and the dreamers out there remember that the fairytale came out of someone’s memory. It may not happen in reality but creating your own version of a fairytale exists in your mind. Everyone goes through some kind of suffering but dwelling on the hurt doesn’t fix the problem. Everyone learns in general but not everyone does so easily. Sometimes we need to remember we’re all human and we don’t need to use our memories against ourselves or anyone else.

So the next time you’re thinking back on an event that you believe is innocent or you believe changed your life, maybe the answers in which you seek lie within the perspective of the occurrence of the memory itself. Or maybe it was just a really good moment.

Wandering Through Time Spent

I’ve been doing a lot of collecting lately. Mostly in forms of information. I recently re-read all of my blog posts as well as all of the journals that I’ve ever written and have been trying to reflect on how I’ve gotten to this point in life. Constantly seeking answers and seemingly coming up short…time moves along.

I’ve been unemployed for about two months now and I’ve read 5 books, gone through multiple webinars, fallen into the void of the internet more times than I can count, watched more than 3 shows in their entirety on Netflix and at least a dozen movies, and as much as I’ve made progress, I still feel just as lost.

In the meantime I feel like I’m no longer even part of the world of the living. Perpetually stuck in limbo grasping at my next step. When I lost my job my world in LA shattered. And of course losing your job never comes at a good time, but it had to be when my parents set foot on the west coast for the first time in 20 years. I hadn’t seen them in at least 6 months. Shocked at the circumstances I knew the job I had wasn’t working. Having already made a job switch in February I was uprooting my “life” again. And now faced with a choice of staying or going back.  My parents were in the middle of it.

At the end of the week, my parents left and for the first time I didn’t actually want them to go. That for me is a feat in itself. Then, I went back to New York because I couldn’t handle being alone or standing where I was. I discovered that I hate everything about “there” when I’m actually there, including myself. It gets romanticized from the outside, but from the inside it tears me to shreds. This now seems like my cycle, like a cat I have 9 nine lives and I’ve already used at least 4 so far. Not ever holding onto the me I was at different facets of my life, I go full circle yet never connect because there really isn’t ever a literal going back. Time moves along.

At war with constant change and what never seems to be the right change, the emotional turmoil turned inward. Going through interview after interview feeling stupid every time someone asks me what I’m good at… I think if you only knew the slightest thing about me. This is stupid. All of the hiring games so impersonal. Here take an IQ test. Here take this assessment. I play the games I get the interviews, I get ignored, I twist and turn mentally. I swear I ask myself daily, “what the fuck am I doing?!” Still making progress, committing to the relationship I have with myself, running out of money, another crappy interview with a company I don’t want to work for, time moves along.

I always search the past to fix the future and it never fully works, but I always progress. I try to exist without it and there’s nothing there. I fake the motions. I change the mental channel. I try to take in that which is actually helpful. Ever learning and searching. Creating and seeking the answers that I so desperately want to find. All I can ask is – what do I want? Well – I have no fucking clue what the answer to that is anymore.

One of the books I read talked about time. It said time is something you can’t hold onto. It’s only something you can spend. What does it mean that I don’t know where I want to spend my time anymore? Is it lost/lack of love? Lack of attachment? Or do I need to really just give myself time? Like a gift to figure it all out?

I’ve done so many things in life and I have so many more to do. Having been told I “have so much more power than I know,” by someone who’s opinion I highly value, I have to admit we all do. I get intense. I get heavy. I reel all day everyday. Happy. Depressed. Crazy. Passionate. Silly. Quiet. Loud. >insert Disney song< All of Life’s a game. The last two months have royally kicked my ass. I’m at a point I never thought I’d be. Attempting to be happy with any choice that presents itself whether in California or New York or anywhere in the world at this point I really don’t know anymore. I’m open to trying something I’ve never done because I want to achieve things I’ve never had before. And the one thing I know is time moves along.

So do I take another risk? Do I hold onto this one? Do I risk going back? What does life #5 hold for me? Where will that time be spent? Stay tuned.

Turn of the tide

How quickly it turns -the time.

Changes ways.

Airs.

Everything.

How quickly friends become strangers.

Lovers are lost.

Prior selves become stories and memories of someone that we used to know.

Well at least until that moment where it all seems to culminate…

You know that moment.

The one where you’re standing on the edge of a cliff about to swan dive into a lake you don’t know the depth of…

Where is choice if not within?

To take a leap of faith or stand and watch.

Well, sometimes all you have is reaction and after thoughts.

Logic and reason are thrown aside.

So how did we get here?

I don’t know – you tell me.