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Growing Up

In my last post I alluded to the fact that I would be turning 30 in a few months.  This feels huge to me, whether or not it should.  In fact, I remember being gripped with fear over turning 30 when I was 25.  Clearly, I have dramatic tendencies.  Anyway, over the past couple of years I have often found myself shocked to find that people that I knew that seemed so grown up and mature were actually younger than me.  It wasn’t the way they looked, but the way they carried themselves and crafted their lives that gave them this adult-like presence.  Meanwhile, I’ve been in this weird not-quite-a-college-student-but-not-really-an-adult phase. 

So, I’ve been thinking about the characteristics that these “role models” of mine have that make them seem so grown up.  It seems to me that grown ups tend to:

  1. Decorate and make their homes nice-looking
  2. Cook real meals
  3. Have wide-spread networks of friends, colleagues, and acquaintances
  4. Exercise
  5. Be well-groomed and nicely dressed (I really don’t think it would hurt me to pluck my eyebrows before they reached caveman status)
  6. Whine less so that they can spend more time getting things done
  7. Be friendly

I wonder if adopting these traits would make me carry myself differently.

Now, I realize that these “models of adulthood” aren’t perfect.  And I don’t expect perfection from myself.  But I do expect myself to try a little harder because I’m not a college student anymore.  I haven’t been for a really, really long time.  And it’s time for me to finally step up.

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Hello, There

Hello, there, little blog.  I’ve missed you. 

After a weekend away to visit one of my best friends I’m feeling inspired.  I’d like to spend more time cooking, baking, reading, and crafting.  And I think I’d like to write about my attempts at these things. 

Plus, I’m feeling excited about a big birthday I’ll be celebrating in a few months.  I’d like to pull myself together a little bit more before this milestone.  I think I’d like to write about my attempt at this, as well.

So, I think I’m back again.  I’m excited to write more soon.  Keep in touch?

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Welcome, February!

There are so many reasons that I find January to be a depressing month.  It’s cold.  It’s dark.  It’s post-holiday.  You get the idea.  But I have felt so happy the past couple of days to finally be out of the January blahs.  In February I start to get my motivation back and generally have a much sunnier outlook on everything.

The past few days or so I’ve been thinking about the resolutions I set for myself at the beginning of the year.  I haven’t done a lot with them.  Yet.  I’m not disappointed.  I knew this would happen, given the sluggishness I feel at the beginning of the year.  Going into the new year, I knew February would be a much better month to start putting my resolutions into practice. 

However, I know that I have to take things one step at a time.  I am one of those people who is constantly plagued by grand plans.  And I have so many things that I’d like to work on that if I try to do it all now, I’ll become so overwhelmed that I’ll throw in the towel on everything.  This year, much like last year, I’m choosing to focus on one thing at a time to hopefully create long lasting habits.

In addition to creating some healthier habits, I’ve also been thinking about ways that I can change my general attitude.  This began with deciding to read Learned Optimism, by Martin Seligman, which helped me a lot in challenging my pessimistic thought processes.  (Although, I have to admit, that I’m still really, really, really working on that one.)  In addition, to being more optimistic, I’m choosing to say “yes” more, lighten up A LOT, and put more effort into being a better conversationalist. 

I’m hoping that focusing on these things over the next several months will make me feel happier and healthier, and that starting in February, with the increasing sunshine and warmer temperatures, will help me stay motivated.

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Finding a Focus

It’s weird.  I’ve been really excited about getting back into writing on here.  I’ve written quite a few posts in my head and even logged on a few times.  But every time I sit down to write something, I’m overcome with nervousness and choose to browse Facebook or Pinterest instead.  Even now, I’m feeling extremely anxious and seriously considering calling off the whole thing.  Is there such a thing as “blog fright?”

Anyway, tonight I told myself that I was just going to sit down and write.  And here I am.

A few weeks ago one of my friends told me that my blog didn’t really have a focus, which is true.  I think that’s part of why I’ve been having a hard time writing.  I know what I wanted this blog to be when I started but things have changed, and I’m not sure that’s what I want it to be anymore. 

Personally, I’ve been really focusing on putting myself back together.  Stemming from that, I think I want this blog to be a place where I can talk about how I’m cultivating happiness in my life.  Instead of spending a lot of time talking about recipes and whatnot, I plan to write more about how I’m trying to re-kick start my habit forming resolution and retraining my brain toward optimism, in addition to other things that make me feel a little more light.  Aside from those things, I want to have the freedom to write about whatever–even if that means breaking my “focus” every once in awhile. 

Hopefully redefining what I’m doing on here will make writing less scary and help keep my outlook more positive.

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Learning Optimism

It’s really been no secret to people who know me that I’ve had a rough couple of years and I wasn’t coping with it in a very healthy way.  A few months ago I could feel myself start to come out of the fog I had been in and decided that it was time to really work on turning things around.  I started to focus my energy on things that made me feel happier and to stop worrying about things that caused stressed.  This helped, but I was still sad more than I probably needed to be.

In the middle of August I started to read Learned Optimism, by Martin Seligman, which, admittedly, I haven’t finished.  Work has been pretty busy and I haven’t had time to read for fun.  Anyway, as I read the first few chapters of this book back in August, I discovered that I’m a pessimist!  Okay, that’s not exactly a revelation.  However, what was interesting to me were the ideas about thought processes that drive pessimism.  For instance, pessimists often attribute successes to external factors and failures to internal factors.  While reading this I kept thinking, “Holy crap!  This is totally me!”

When good things happen to me I tend to feel like a fraud.  Like I tricked someone into thinking I did more or am more than I am.  And when I don’t feel this way, I’m constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop, which doesn’t really let me enjoy things.

As I continue to read this book (which I hope to start tonight!), I hope to learn how to change my thought patterns to really learn to be optimistic.  I hope I can learn to really enjoy the good and feel deserving of it.  I also hope that I can start reflecting much more optimism on this blog. 

After all, it’s time to have a little more sunshine over here, don’tcha think?

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Agreed

This post about turning 30 from a blog I read really resonated with me.  I’m not quite 30 yet, but I totally get and love the writer’s message.  I’ve decided to link to it here because I found it inspiring and want to be able to refer back to it as needed.

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My 10 year high school reunion is taking place next weekend.  This creates many different types of emotions for me:  excitement (Who will be there?!  What will it be like?!), disbelief (There is no way it has been 10 years!  Lies!), and stress (What if I don’t know how to act?  What if I’m having a breakout or bad hair day?!  AH!), among other emotions. 

Yet, thinking about where I was 10 years ago and where I am now, I find myself reflecting on the things I’ve learned over the past decade.  And since I love list-style blog entries so much, I thought this would be great opportunity to the kind of writing I like best. 

Here is my list of things I didn’t know 10 years ago when I graduated high school:

  • Laundry is not that complicated.
  • I really don’t like ice cream very much.
  • Everybody struggles with something (this was a major epiphany), some people are just better at coping with their struggles than others.
  • I am much better suited for teaching than I ever would have been for taking care of sick people.
  • “Bad boys” are lame.
  • Perfume should be worn everyday.  Saving it for special occasions is absurd.  (Side note:  This is not true for all people but is definitely true for me.)
  • Coffee is amazing for its powers to be both stimulating and soothing…oh, and delicious, too.
  • Washington is my favorite place to be.  I’m not sure if I will ever have the opportunity to live there again, but it’s nice to know that I will always have friends there who will take me in whenever I need to visit.
  • You are never too young to fall in love–BUT sometimes dependence, intense attraction, trying to live up to certain standards, and other things can disguise themselves as love.  It’s important to know the difference.
  • Cooking is the best way that I know to clear my mind and truly be in the moment.
  • You never regret a workout.
  • Finally, things get hard and then they get good again and then they get wonderful and then they plummet back to hard.  This is normal.  But you have to talk about it to people you trust (something I have to relearn EVERY time I deal with the hard) and you have to turn the lessons you learn into a strength.  It will always get good again if you give it time.

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Life’s Too Short…

I really love listening to this song lately.

It’s one of those songs to which I have a visceral reaction.  It speaks to my moody, broody side and I find myself thinking, “So true, so true” as I bop my head to the radio.

As I listened to it today, however, I found that I had a disagreement with it.  As the music blared over the radio —Life’s too short to even care at all— I found myself thinking, “But that’s exactly why we do care.  Because it is so short.”

In order to feel better I try to tell myself that all of the things I want don’t matter.  I find projects to work on and ways to stay busy to take my mind off those things.  But they do, in fact, really matter.  They mean everything.

This is why it hurts like hell to realize that the things that matter are moving in reverse or that you don’t register on anyone’s radar or that you might be in this alone.

It would be easier to not care, but the fact that I do is always bubbling under the surface.  I don’t know how to stop.

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Blue

What is it with January?

It seems like every January I find myself either wanting to go back to school or change my career or move to a new state.  Often it’s a combination of these things and I think that they might be a coping mechanism to help me deal with the blues.

Every year I really struggle to get through January and I’ve compiled a short list of theories for this over the past few years.  One reason is that it’s kind of hard to get back to reality after the joy of the holiday season.  Another reason could be fewer hours of daylight triggering some sort of seasonal depression.  Or it could just be that the cold weather starts to get to me and leaves me hopelessly longing for spring and summer.

This January I’ve already spent a fair amount of time with the blues.  But it isn’t because of any of the things I usually blame. This year I’m just scared.

Over the past couple of years I’ve had to deal with heartache and adjust to a lot of changes, but I haven’t done a very good job with either of these things.  I know that everyone goes through hard times and that most of us come out of them eventually, but I’m still really nervous about the possibility of having another year like the ones I’ve been having.

At least February will be here in a few weeks.  February usually does wonders at getting me out of my January slump.

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Tipping Over

We are all cups, constantly and quietly being filled.
The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.
–Ray Bradbury

When I first began blogging a few years back, I did so with the intention of creating a space where I could openly share those things that were on my mind.  I remember writing about how, although I wasn’t the greatest writer, I was an honest one.

Since then, I’ve noticed myself shying away from that kind of expression.  I was afraid of hurting people and creating problems by sharing my thoughts with others.  I closed myself off from others in a lot of ways to protect myself from situations that caused me pain.  I didn’t want to think about them, much less talk about them.

But this action of closing myself off did more harm than good.  I could feel myself becoming quieter and unsure of myself.  I wasn’t just holding back the negatives;  I was holding back everything, even the good and inspiring things I felt and experienced.

It’s not easy, but I want to start writing authentically again.  Maybe in doing this I can relearn how to share my stories with others and get back to being me.

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