Continue Onward

I’m sitting here in my office on Monday morning, making a mental list of all of the random things I have to do.

  1. Call the Gynecologist for an annual awful visit.
  2. Call my Dermatologist.
  3. Since I opened my giant tub of yogurt today, I need to write down my calendar five days from now when I need to throw it out, per instructions.
  4. Write down when I’m going to babysit my nephew.
  5. Ask my grandma to borrow her pressure cooker.
  6. Dice up the chicken I will be using in said pressure cooker.
  7. Watch my nephew.
  8. Meditate.

Silently, and without any facial expression, I laugh at myself. I’m not going to write down on my calendar when to throw out my yogurt. I know for a fact I will not finish the whole tub in five days. The last tub of yogurt expired December 28th 2018. I realized this after I was eating it, on February 8th 2019. I was fine though.

I know I am not making any doctor appointments today, especially ones that I entirely loathe going to. I also know that I’m not going to make any actual lists, because I know I’m not going to do anything besides what I most definitely have to do.

  1. Work
  2. Polite small talk
  3. Babysit nephew

This isn’t a super happy post. I have no remedy today on how to make your life better or how to do the thing you’ve been putting off that you know you really need to do.

This is just a post. It’s a Monday-and-my-life-is-changing-rapidly post. It’s a I-can’t-keep-up kind of post. It’s just a I’m-trying kind of post.

Life goes on and we continue with it, forever onward.

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How To Wake Up Early

"Life is too short," she panicked. "I want more." 

"Wake up earlier," he said.

You’re soaring through the air, the wind on your face. You see the ocean below you, and decide to jump down for a little break. Then you’re off again, above the mountains, where all of a sudden your crush appears who is calling out to you. You start to dive down into the green mountaintops when beep, beep, beep. You’re rudely awakened by your worst enemy, the alarm clock.


I used to hate when my alarm clock would go off. I was one of those people who would be ecstatic when I woke up and realized I had more time to sleep. I would lay my head back down on my soft pillow and hike up my warm comforter. Life was good.

This morning I was awake by 4 am. I was up out of bed and brushing my teeth at 5 am. I was writing and contemplating life at 5:30. Now don’t get me wrong, sleep is important. For me, it has always been a gentle type of guidance. My dreams often interpret my life and give me all new kinds of perspectives to look at. But recently, I realize how being awake and enjoying the day is important for my self-growth too.

My favorite thing about waking up early? Being able to take my time. When my brain starts to wake up, I don’t have to start moving my body. When my body starts waking up, I don’t have to really work my brain too hard. I can pace myself and utilize the morning as a time to reconnect with myself.

Although I love this routine now, I want to make this clear; this giant switch in my life did not happen over-night. It took me months of changing my old habits to these new ones. Maybe you’re like me, and you want more time to experience life. You want to get to know yourself better and the best time to do that is the morning. Then here are some simple steps I recommend to start initiating right now.

  1. Try and go to sleep one hour earlier: Like I said, it doesn’t happen over-night. Maybe you’re used to going to sleep at 11:00 right now, try to go to sleep at 10:00 and see what a difference it makes.
  2. Try to wake up one hour earlier: Similar to above, start small and take it one step at a time.
  3. Lay out your outfit in the morning: This takes the pressure off immediately. You already have one step down, all you have to do is get dressed.
  4. Make a plan: When that alarm goes off, try to figure out what it is you are going to do right away. For me, I reach over, press okay, and immediately go to my meditation app for a quick 10 minute meditation. After that, I stretch and maybe journal. Then I choose one of my favorite podcasts to listen to while I start getting ready.
  5. Key point – Don’t stay on your phone for too long in the morning: This used to be my greatest issue. I would wake up at a decent time, but then just lay there for hours scrolling through Instagram and Facebook. If you must go on your phone in the morning, be sure to limit yourself.
  6. Drink water: Water has a way of just waking you up. It gets everything moving, and can really help you if you’re feeling groggy.

Well, those are my six tips to start waking up earlier. It takes time, but ultimately, gives you more time during your day to be the best you.

Keep moving onward.

January Is Cold

This month has been long. I also want to point out that, at first, I accidentally typed love instead of long, of course leading me to believe that my subconscious mind is trying to tell me something.

I often think of the world and all of the love existing in it. Then I just think of the word “love” and try to describe it as best I can. The closest I have come to giving love a definition is this: a verb, that when acted out leaves people feeling brilliant and whole. There, that is my definition of love.

I hear people say all the time, “oh but I love him and I know he loves me” about someone who is treating them like they do not matter. Well, to me, actions are what showcase love. Moreover, another example might be how sometimes I know I love my sister, but sometimes she also makes me so angry that I do not feel love for her in that moment. Hence, I do not believe love to be a feeling, but an action.

So anyway, here I am in the end of January: cold, dry, and very, very pale. Winter is not a good time for me, but I’m sure it is hard for many others. There’s seasonal depressive disorder and can I just say that I would like to be able to walk into my office without diving for the space heater every morning?

I’ve also found myself to be incredibly sensitive. If I call someone and I think they have a weird tone of voice, I instantly believe them to hate me. However, I think I am normally sensitive and winter just enunciates that for me. Also, no matter how much you believe yourself to be over your ex-boyfriend, doesn’t it just cut really deep anyway when you find out they are dating someone after they said they couldn’t be serious with you? Isn’t it hard not to take things like that personal?

Sometimes I just have to take a deep breath, realize that January is long but January is also love. Pain leads to love and love sometimes leads to pain. Pain is inevitable and taking things as a personal vendetta against your soul sometimes just happens without us realizing it. Time to take a step back, realize I have a massage scheduled for later today, and move forward.

Always forward, my friends, always forward.

Body + Soul + Mind

This topic is something I hold dearly to my heart and soul, because I’m not sure where the body separates itself from either. When I was thirteen, there was nothing I wanted more than to shrink myself. I wanted to shrink my body, my mind, and my spirit. I did not want to be anything except to be nothing.

That was ten years ago, and things have changed, but it was not easy to change how I felt about food. In fact, one of the hardest things I’ve ever done was to just accept myself. Looking back on it, I think I was always incredibly sensitive to the human condition, which is being trapped inside of a body. I remember being a child and thinking how I had to swallow my spit millions of times a day or that I had to continuously blink. I thought of all the human things that tied me down. I had to eat, drink water, get enough sleep, shower, moisturize, floss. My body required a lot of effort that I was not willing to give.

I’m not sure if many people can relate to the hyperawareness of our physicality, but I’m sure many people can relate to wanting to control our physical appearance. We look past what our body is capable of and how it is a vessel for us to live and experience this world. I remember the only thing I wanted was to make up for everything I faulted myself on, by abusing my body and refusing it the necessary nutrients it needed to survive. Body image issues and eating disorders are much deeper than the just external circumstances. It comes from an innate place within all of us to want to be perfect, which is just fear. Fear of not being good enough or fitting in somewhere in this world.

I want to tell you that it was a simple process being able to eat and not feel mass amounts of guilt. It’s amazing how much guilt we can feel for eating a chocolate bar. It’s like we just purposely murdered a cat or something when we really only ate something, and there is nothing shameful about that.

When I finally decided I wanted to make amends with my body though, my body was worn out and tired. If it could speak, it probably would have said, “oh now you want to be friends with me?”

So my body and I constructed a contract together. I could no longer call a food “bad” or say anything like “I regret eating that.” I also had to eat what I wanted to eat; no following random diets or restrictive eating. As long as I followed through on my half, then my body was going to take care of the rest. It would process the food and make sure I stayed strong and healthy. It is this very contract that quite literally saved my life. Whenever old thoughts and habits seem to be trickling into my life, I remind myself of this contract. There’s no going back now.

Journeying through Life

During your journey through life, you might find out some things about yourself you don’t really like. You must embrace them. They will be what guides you to who you truly are. -HJ

Life has been hard lately, but then again, hasn’t it always been hard? The second we are born into this world, life just seems to happen. There is no rule book, nothing set in stone that tells us exactly what we are supposed to be doing and when that is. (Unless that book does just so happen to exist, in which case I need it.) Life just comes at us and it comes at us hard.

I’m at a strange time in life right now; I just graduated college with my bachelor’s degree, I’m working a 9-5 job, and yet, I feel like I am exactly where I started. I’m living at home with my mom and pets, sleeping in my childhood bed. It feels really weird, but then again, what am I really supposed to be doing right now?

A lot of my friends are doing the same, unless you count those who simply went to graduate school and are prolonging the inevitable of joining the workforce. One of my really good friends recently moved across the country to Colorado with her boyfriend, something I don’t think I would ever do.

Life comes at you, and it doesn’t stop, it doesn’t quit. And right now, I feel like I’m exactly where I need to be, even though sometimes the pressure of what I’m supposed to be doing is overwhelming to me. Learning about myself, and actually loving myself, is something I never planned would take so much time and effort. Yet, here we are. I am living at home, working my job, and taking time for myself.

I’m not sure what exactly you are “supposed” to be doing at 23 years old, but this is what I’m doing.

Never stop growing. Only onward. 20141017_171658

 

Why Our Self-Love Comes Before Everything Else

The idea of “self-love” is iffy. Not only is the term “love” hard to understand, but the term “self” is, too. Sometimes people do not know who they even are, let alone how to love whatever that may be. Did anybody ever ask you how to define “love”? Probably. What did you say? Now think back to a time when somebody asked you something, anything about yourself, how did you answer that? Did you simply explain your hobbies, your likes, your dislikes, or did you go more in-depth to talk about yourself? However, we are more than quick to give somebody information on how someone else loves or what someone else is like. But when it comes to ourselves… that is a little bit trickier.

All of this by itself is rather difficult to fully understand and grasp it. It becomes even more complicated when you find yourself loving somebody else. Relationships are great experiences. They help shape us into people who we might not have been and they allow us to feel close to another person. However, your parents had a reason why they didn’t want you to date until you were at least sixteen years old. Being in a relationship is challenging. I’m not sure anything else is more challenging, and I have experienced many things thus far in my life. When you are in a relationship, you want to have something to bring to the table and make a positive impact, at least, I would hope you do. But as you begin trying to work on this relationship and spending all your time and energy on this person, sometimes yourself gets put on the backburner. Most people learn how to manage their time between their partner, school, work, friends, family, etc., but a small amount remember that they need to make time for themselves.

Not only to make time for themselves, but to know that while they are spending so much time thinking about their significant other, that their self is waiting for some attention as well. Were you ever in a relationship with somebody who left you feeling drained and tired? I have; and it is the worst feeling in the world. But you don’t realize you are beginning to feel yourself less and less because you are so caught up with this other person. Then one day you might realize that you aren’t happy in this relationship, but you are so disconnected from yourself that you’re not sure why or even trust your judgement.

I have been in many relationships and each one has made me feel light and happy in the beginning. Every time I say to myself, “This is it. This is the one.” So far, all of that has been an allusion. What isn’t an allusion is how lost I feel at the end of the relationship. I am lost because I did not care for myself in the relationship.

I decided to finally take some time for myself and break it off with my current boyfriend. It was scary and I cried and cried. But each day I realized that I was beginning to care for myself and have a little bit more insight on what it is that I want. If somebody wanted me to tell them about myself right now, I could probably come up with some pretty good details and not just, “I go to college, my favorite TV show is, my major is…” blah, blah, blah. I know that as long as I put myself first, I will find someone who I will enjoy and will enjoy me. But until that time comes, I am at peace trying to get to know me because, at the end of the day, you’re always going to be going to bed with yourself.

 

Winter Blunderland

There is nothing like having a sinus infection, going through a breakup, your mother being severely ill in the hospital, and about to start another busy semester of school in three days.

Also, let’s not forget Donald Trump is president of the United States of America as of today. I bring this up because it is all over my social media feed, both bad and good things. I can’t help but get a little bit annoyed since these past few weeks have been eye opening for me. In the broader scheme of things, this is rather minuscule since we can as human beings, simply do the best with the cards we have been given. Right?

I digress.

As I briefly mentioned above, everything I am currently going through makes me truly put things into perspective.  Right now, my mother is at the mayo clinic in Minnesota and I am in Pennsylvania. It is excruciating being a part from her.

My mother and I have had a rocky relationship for years. We fight a lot and never quite see eye to eye with one another. However, thinking to myself for one second that I might not even have a mother sometime in the near future is truly disheartening and intolerable. She is only 58 years old. How could this be the end of her life?

I did not decide to write about this because I want to feel sorry for myself, or others to pity me. With writing, I can express my true feelings that I didn’t even know I had. Also, if what I am going through can help anyone else, then my experience is not going to waste. This is why I write – to create something bigger and larger than life.

So this post is to reach out to anyone who is going through a hard time right now. Whether it be family issues, friend problems, financial troubles, or just worldly problems that we only get a small taste of through social media. Whatever it is, my advice is to try and put things into perspective. Prioritize. What is most important to you at this moment? If you are dealing with more than one thing at the moment, decide what one you need to focus on first. In my experience, this is the best way to not get burnt out.

This winter has been a difficult one, hopefully others can relate and it isn’t just me.

But try and see past the trivial things in life to the deeper, more profound meanings. Work on building close, intimate relationships with people, not just significant others. Because you never know when bigger, significant things are going to happen while you are too busy being hung up on the frivolous aspects of life.

 

 

How to Get Motivated

As I sit here watching the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, I can’t help but think in less than a week I am going to be starting an entire new semester. I am going to have to motivate myself all over again and get used to chronic stress and pressure.

Instead of plaguing this semester with bad thoughts and setting myself up for failure, I think it would be better to try being productive. Try to make this semester a good one. Because after all, after college comes real life and that isn’t going to be peaches and cream either.

So here are some things I truly think would help lighten the stress on the semester.

  1. Sleep. I know, I know, I feel like this simple step is overused and oversimplified. We get it, we need to sleep. But after getting your sleep schedule all messed up and either getting too much or too little sleep, or going to bed too late and waking up too late, it is hard to get your body back on track. That’s why my advice is to just try to go to bed a little bit earlier every night so by the time the semester comes around, your sleep schedule won’t be that messed up.
  2. Plan. Look at your classes, see what your schedule is like or if the professor uploaded the syllabus or not. All of these things will prepare you more for the start of a busy semester. If you absolutely have to get that book, get it now so you aren’t weeks behind everyone else as you’re waiting for Amazon to ship your textbook. Prepare yourself mentally for what the semester is going to bring and what your average days will be like. I’m telling you, being prepared mentally is the most important thing you can do to get off on a good foot for the semester.
  3. Contact your school friends. Knowing you are not going to go back to the pits of hell alone makes it that much better. You haven’t seen your college friends all break! Now you get to reconnect and get excited for all the fun things you’re going to be doing this semester.
  4. Laundry. Trust me. Starting to get things ready prior to the day before you are leaving, is going to make you that much less stressed. Use your time wisely.
  5. Excite yourself. And if there is nothing to get excited over, make a mental list of new things you are going to try this semester. Maybe you will go to those Zumba classes, or start rock climbing, or maybe join new clubs. Maybe you will try to meet new people this semester or plan on going to your favorite coffee shop that is in your university neighborhood. Whatever it is, be sure to make some time for yourself. If you are happy, the stress of the semester is not going to make such a huge impact like it would if you were miserable. Remember, you come first.

It doesn’t have to be a struggle to get motivated all over again. Make the most of the time you have, because soon you’re going to be a real adult.

Forget the “Should’s” and Remember the “Want’s.”

“Carpe, carpe. Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” -Robin Williams, The Dead Poet’s Society

I no longer trust people who use the word “should.” That word is destructive. That word is like a disease that will never leave you, never let you grow up and find a voice. Never let you find the life that you want. It will hinder you. It will keep you from something amazing.

As a 20 year old college student,there are many pressures that are felt almost all the time.

If it is Friday night and you aren’t going out, there must be something wrong with you. You must not have any friends. You must not have a life. You must not have any hopes, aspirations, or dreams.

If you aren’t too sure what you want to do with the rest of your entire life, odds are you might not end up anywhere. You won’t even be making minimum wage. You won’t be able to support yourself. You are irresponsible and should be scared, terrified, in fact.

If you and your significant other recently just broke up, there might not be another soul out there for you. You might as well just give up your dream wedding. Nobody wants you, there is nobody else there for you. You’re just too difficult to be with.

All of these are detrimental to our mental health. Whether people have said similar things to you or you are saying them to yourself, they are harmful. However, what really is destructive, is the obsessive amount of “should’s” we either say to ourselves or other people say to us.

Oh you should go out and drink. You should go make more friends. You shouldn’t stay home, you’re young! You should go do something with your life.

You should really rethink your major. You should go to the career center and find the best paying job. You should really think about your future.

You should date someone who doesn’t talk like that. You should be with someone who doesn’t look like that. You should be with that person, not them.

I’m incredibly sick of the should’s. How does anyone else know what you want to do with your life?

How does anybody else know what you need or what you want?

Only you know that.

And it’s about time we started ignoring the should’s and remembering all of our wants.

Remember when you were that little kid having all of these hopes and dreams for what you’re going to be like when you grow up? Well now is the time to act on those hopes and dreams. Now is your chance. You aren’t going to get another one. So what if your college experience isn’t what other people think it should be? So what if your major isn’t what anybody else approves? So what if you’re with someone who nobody approves of or if you just ended a relationship? You have the rest of your life to figure everything out. But we move forward. We move on. We grow. We make a life for ourselves and it doesn’t happen staying on the safe side of things in life.

We don’t make something of ourselves using the word should.

We make something of ourselves using the word want.

What do you want?