2015: The Year of Adulting

I had great expectations of myself. I wanted to post more often… Alas, life and being an adult (i.e. adulting) got in the way: weddings, work, family trips, friend trips, concerts, graduate school, etc. I often found myself asking:

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Basically 2015 felt a lot like this:
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Despite my lack of blog posts, 2015 has been a year of growth for me. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what I’m doing, where I’m going, who I want to be around, etc…  Ultimately 2015 was a year full of questions for me. So, I thought I could answer some questions that I found on Buzzfeed. I found the questions reflective, but I decided to not answer all of them. So… Here we go!

  1. What did you do this year that you’re proud of?
    I was a lot more vulnerable and honest with myself and those I’m close with. I somehow mustered up a lot of courage to tell  a couple of guys that I had feelings for them despite me knowing that I would ultimately be friend-zoned. The “in-the-moment” feeling was overwhelming, embarrassing, and filled with jumbled words, but I’m glad I spoke my truth. I also opened up to friends and family members more frequently when I was upset, happy, or confused.
    20 seconds
     
  2.  Who did you meet this year that inspired you?
    I met a man on my connecting flight from DFW to SLC over the summer. While I’m not typically a fan of conversing with my seat neighbor, I am so glad that we ended up talking. He ended up sharing his beautiful story of being in the Navy and being on-board the USS Enterprise (No… Not Star Trek!) when it exploded. I could try to re-tell his story, but, ultimately it’s his story, his narrative, and I’m just so grateful that he let me listen.
    Also, Liz Ferro… She’s basically a modern-day super woman. She came over and had dinner with me and my housemates and we laughed a lot.  She wrote a book and runs an awesome non-profit called Girls with Sole. She  also just RUNS a lot. She is running a marathon in every state to raise awareness and money for Girls with Sole.  She seriously has the best attitude and I’m honored to know her.
     
  3. What did you read that you think bettered you? 
    Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg. This book seriously made me think about why I’m single, how I’m not alone in this struggle, and how single-dom is viewed by the rest of our country/the world. Plus, it’s hilarious.
    Finish Line Feeling by Liz Ferro. There are no words to describe how impactful Liz’s story is. Let’s just say that after reading this and  I’m in a tough situation (emotionally or physically – like in  an exercise class), I always tell myself, “This ain’t shit.”  Read it.
     
  4. What were some times that you laughed so hard you could barely breathe?
    There are quite a few! I don’t know if I can list a specific one, because honestly, my life is filled with awkward and hilarious moments. But here are a couple of my favorite youtube videos that ALWAYS make me laugh: Family Feud Gerbil, Antoine Dodson, Trainwreck (Cleveland), Gay Men Will Marry Your Girlfriends, Milk Milk Lemonade, Squatty Potty, etc. Also… THIS. 
  5.  What are some fears that you had at the beginning of the year that you overcame?
    My New Year’s goal for 2015 was to be stronger (stronger emotionally and physically). I think I accomplished both of those things by living a more honest, courageous, and vulnerable life, and by pushing myself in various exercise classes. Vulnerability is scary. And exercising can be scary too. 
  6. What were quotes that you loved this year?
    THERE ARE SO MANY! I’m a quote addict.
    Anything said by Cheryl Strayed.

    “With the freedom of success, comes the freedom of failure.” – Noah Sutter

    no flat stomachtoday will berelaxb9cbda6fbea6f90e40e39e6c40cb265bnot perfect not fake

  7. What are ways that you exercised self care? 
    Yoga! Lots and lots of yoga! And pilates, zumba, barre classes, etc. I also tried to carve in not-so-elegant “me” time in between travels. I quickly learned that sometimes I just need an afternoon, a day or even a weekend of doing nothing. Lazy? Maybe. But sometimes I just need to take a stay-cation and just catch up with myself.
  8. What are things you want to see more of next year? 
    More vulnerability. More courage.  More focus. More fun.
    believetoachieve
     
  9. What were your favorite things this year?


  10.  What are the most important things you learned this year?

    • Meet new people.
    • It’s OK to not do anything some days.
    • Stop apologizing. Say thank you instead.
    • You can never make someone fall in love with you.
    • It’s ok not know what you want to do.
    •  A small bit of hope can go a long way.
    •  Laughter is the best medicine.
    •  It’s ok to ask for help.
    •  Always choose to be bold: bold lipstick, bold hair, bold moves, bold everything. 
    • Life is simultaneously painful and hilarious.
    • Getting a text from someone I care about, makes me smile.
    • Naps solve most problems. 
    • First dates will always be awkward and nerve-racking, but so worth the butterflies.
    • Ask questions with reckless abandon.
    • Matters of the heart should never be treated like a game. Never lead someone on. 

     

     

  11. What is your favorite photo from this year?
    I cannot decide on just ONE photo… So here are a couple:

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  12. What are five things you want to say to people you love? 
    1) You are a beautiful and wonderful human being.
    2)We’re only human. I promise to still love you despite our flaws.
    3) Sometimes I don’t need a solution. Sometimes I need to be hugged and listened to. I promise to always hug and listen to you. Cuddles, blankets, coffee, and a joke are always appreciated.
    4) Remember: you’ve survived 100% of your bad days.
    5) You are very much loved.
     
  13.  Where do you feel most yourself?
    Wherever my tribe is. 
  14.  What were your favorite meals? 
    Butter fish from Trader Vic’s in Hawaii. 
  15.  How did you calm yourself in times of stress?
    Deep breaths, laughter, lists, naps, and talking out my feelings.
    who you are and who you want to be
     
  16. What are some compliments that you received that deeply affected you? 
    My friend/BUTI Yoga instructor told me that she hired a lady one day mostly because the woman reminded her of me. I melted when she told me that. 
  17. Who are people that you believe are bringing out the best in you? 
    My tribe. I can confidently say that I have a tribe compiled with individuals from various parts of my life.
  18. What are you excited about leaving behind in 2015? 
    Shame and anxiety. 
  19. What are the best pieces of advice you heard this year? 
    1) Always try to live with grace and compassion.
    2) Why be moody when you can shake your booty?!
     
  20. What things have you been putting off doing because you didn’t have time? 
    Cleaning/organizing my room. 
  21.  What are some things you’d like to focus and work on in the next year?
    Figuring out my next steps. 
  22. What are the best parts of you that you feel really showed through this year?
    My loyalty to those I care about, self-discipline, not taking everything so personally, setting boundaries, taking courage, and self care. 
  23. What are your biggest hopes for 2016? 
    I have a feeling that 2016 has a lot of potential. I hope I can embrace everything the year presents with as much grace and  compassion as possible.

 

SO, here’s to 2016: more blog posts, more adventures, more friends, more laughter, more crying, more love, more bravery, more courage, more kindness.

champagne lucy

 

Sick and Single

This past weekend was a-freaking-mazing. Saturday was jammed packed with lots of fun things: I got to spend some quality time with some family friends who were visiting Cleve-land-that-I-love and then I got to celebrate a good friend’s birthday. I showed my family friends some of the highlights around Cleveland (Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, West 25th, and the Cleveland Museum of Art), then immediately went over to my friend Gwen’s place for her birthday. Gwen had this great idea that instead of presents she just wanted all her friends to help her pick up some trash at the local park near where she lives and often goes to for her runs (AWESOME idea, right?!!). The day was great. I had quality conversations, got to see people that I love and care about, got to meet new people, and then got to help improve the city that I live in.
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Sunday came along and [SURPRISE!], I was exhausted. I helped out at church, promptly took a nap, ran some errands, cleaned my bathroom, ate dinner, and basically vegged. While vegging, I turned on my new favorite show, White Collar. (I’ve been binge watching this show for the past few months.) In the episode I was watching, Peter Burke, the FBI agent, gets sick. He never gets sick. So as I’m watching him seemingly deny and exasperate his illness, I thought to myself, “Wow! I haven’t gotten sick in a while… I haven’t used any sick days!”
I guess I jinxed myself.

A couple of hours later, I found myself sitting on my bathroom floor with my head hanging over my toilet.
I crawled back to bed, but found myself back in that same position many more times over the next 10 hours or so.
While in this humbling position, I couldn’t help but think the following:

  • “THROWING UP IS THE WORST THING EVER! How on earth do people do this to stay skinny? I could never do this on a daily basis.”
  • “I’m so glad I cleaned this bathroom… This would be extremely gross otherwise.”
  • “I need a significant other.”

That last thought, was the worst.  I often times joke that my significant other is my cat, Smudge. Smudge is great. When I’m stressed (even sometimes when I don’t realize I’m stressed), he sleeps all night right next to my head or on my belly (Did you know that a cat’s purr has scientifically been proven to lower a human’s stress levels?!). And when I’m sick, he typically snuggles right up next to me. This time though, when he assumed his position on my belly, he brought more pain than comfort. He knew I was sick though because when I was dry heaving over the toilet he sat right behind me and howled (I now get that he was just very concerned about me). It was during one of his mid-meows that I thought to myself, “Shit. I need a significant other.”  And I thought that same thing multiple more times throughout the day, when I was trying to figure out how I would drive myself to the Urgent Care, how I was going to go pick up my anti-nausea prescription, how I was going to make myself some soup, etc. I even admitted it to my mother: “Mom, I need a significant other! I hate being so far away from you… Being an adult is hard… I don’t want to be an adult!” My mom thoughtfully responded, “Just think of this as a way that you’re learning how to take care of yourself and be more independent.”
Independent. That word rang loud and clear through my weak and dehydrated body. I pride myself on being a strong, independent, and single female… But I’m not… At least not in this sense. I’m strong and independent in the sense that I’ve had the courage to do many things, but I would not have achieved those things without the help and support of others. Shit. I live in an intentional community where we value helping and being present to each other above everything else. (Side note: all of my housemates were asleep/ at work/ away on vacation when I got sick, or else I know that they would have helped me out). It’s ok to ask for help. It’s ok. 

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When I finally got myself home from the doctor’s and the pharmacy, I settled on the couch. And then, Smudge, who is not known to spend extended amounts of time in public areas, dutifully came down and slept on my feet for the entire afternoon.

That evening, when my housemates came home, I timidly, but unashamedly asked them for help and they gladly acquiesced.

Moral of the story? Asking for help doesn’t make you any less strong or independent. Sometimes it’ll take a little virus to remind you that you are still strong and independent. And sometimes, just being present to someone will make them feel a whole hell of a lot better.

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Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Not too long ago, I found myself sitting on my childhood bed browsing through a pile of old books that I keep under my night stand. Most of the books were baking and cooking books, but then, almost smack-dab in the middle of my assortment of my previous life, I found my copy of “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss that my parents had given to me upon graduating from high school. I opened it up and read the loving note they wrote inside and instinctively flipped the pages and began to read. I have read this book countless times, but for some reason this time was different. I started to cry. Actually, I bawled. Those simple rhyming words that Dr. Seuss strung together finally made sense to me…

Life can only be good for a certain amount of time before you reach a “low”. Like the stock market, there are highs and there are lows… Peaks and valleys. For what seems like the first time in a while, I’ve been on a slowly rising plateau: I have a full-time job that I enjoy, I live with my some of my best friends, I have a stable support system of friends all around the globe, and I’m confident that I’m where I’m supposed to be right now. But I feel like I am constantly being asked, “What’s next?” “What is your five-year plan?” “Do you have a boyfriend?” “Don’t you want to go to grad school?” I know that these questions are asked out of love and curiosity, but they are becoming a bit repetitive.  I typically respond to them with a big smile and a light-hearted answer: “Oh, I don’t know… I’ll have to see if my contract gets extended.” “I’m just trying to live in the present, so I don’t have a five-year plan.” “Nope. And I’m OK with being single and independent.” “Yeah, I think I would eventually like to go to grad school, but I don’t know exactly what I want to do.” I’ve tried to let these questions roll off of my back, but while sitting cross-legged on my bed with “Oh, The Places You’ll Go”  on my lap, I lost it. I felt lonely, confused, and a bit terrified about my future.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you’ll be quite a lot.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance
you’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul.
On you will go
though your enemies prowl.
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl.
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike,
And I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You’ll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life’s
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never foget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed.)

KID, YOU’LL MOVE MOUNTAINS!

Like most 20-something-year-olds, I am a mess. I’ve been fairly productive over these past few years at figuring out who I am, and I’ve managed to surround myself with incredible and supportive people, but I often find myself feeling lonely and lost about what my hobbies, goals, and motivations are. I haven’t found my mountains to move. I want to move mountains.

It is my hope that this blog will help me on my journey toward self-discovery and happiness, and perhaps it will help others to not feel so alone on this meandering journey of life. Although I am not the greatest writer (I have never won any writing awards, nor have I ever taken any honors English courses), I promise to be as genuine and as eloquent as I possibly can. I believe that vulnerability is the most underrated part of  the human experience, so I pledge to be as open and exposed as humanly possible… Because, Kid, WE will move mountains.

oh the places youll go