Fall into Winter.

It's Halloween and all I can think about is how excited I am for Fall & Winter. For Thanksgiving and Christmas, basically. This year I get to spend Thanksgiving in Utah which means I get to play in some snow, finally! I'm also a huge Christmas fan and I am really excited to start getting things ready! Christmas cards, decorating my new house (which hopefully my roommate will be cool with), and looking around for good presents. Lots of chocolate-peppermint stuff and nights of hot cocoa and big fuzzy warm socks! I'm excited for ribbons and shiny wrapping paper. I have never been a person who cares much about getting gifts for Christmas, but I love the idea of giving your loved ones something fun to open and use. So I can hardly wait for that, too. I am looking forward to a mix of a few choice Christmas songs and a lot of Gangster Rap which, for some reason, really puts me in the Holiday spirit. It's time!!


Knowledge Vs. Bliss.

I've been making an effort to become more educated as of late. I notice that a lot of the time when friends and classmates are discussing political or world events, I have no clue what they are talking about. And that's sort of pathetic, considering I sit at a computer all day long with tons of time to learn about the world. So pretty much every day, I spend some time going over the NY Times website and learning about what's going on around me.
But I feel a mixture of emotion when I'm reading this stuff. For one, I'm glad to know about what is happening. This week I've been reading a lot about the earthquake in Turkey, the protests in New York and around the US, and some of the upset in Greece over their government's financial situation (which, I admit, I'm still trying to understand it all). But at the same time, I feel sad. I feel sad to see how many terrible things are happening in the world at any given point in time. The arrests near Wall Street are nearing 1,000 since the middle of last month. There was a shooting in Sarajevo. I mean... I know this kind of stuff happens, but at what point is it important for my sanity to remain peacefully in the dark about some of it?
That's something I've struggled with my whole life, really. I feel like if I were left to my own devices I would walk around with my rose-colored glasses and when bad things happened I'd just cover my eyes. I hate hearing about bad things happening, especially to good people. And I think I could very blissfully remain ignorant of the world's bigger problems if I really wanted to. But then I realize that in order for anything good to come, there has to be some conflict. There has to be challenge in order to pursue better and brighter futures. I mean that in myself as well as the world. And I certainly don't want to be ignorant of why my world is the way it is, nor do I want to stand by watching other people participate while I cross my fingers or play with butterflies.
I guess it all comes down to balance. I already knew that, of course. But there has to be a balance of good and evil, joy and sorrow, complication and simplicity. We can't and wont win all the battles we fight, but that doesn't mean we should be all or nothing about them. Effort. Knowledge. Awareness of the world's problems. But with a little enjoyment for the GOOD things in life mixed in. I can spend an hour reading the newspaper, and spend the next little bit looking at pictures from National Geographic or listening to something beautiful on iTunes. There is good out there too. It's just about finding that balance between both worlds.


Asking For Help Is Helpful.

So today is going to be a day of seriously opening up to you. Prep yo'selves.

I started seeing a therapist, again, recently. I saw a family therapist when I was a kid because, well, I was not a very good little monster and my parents wanted help. At the time, I think I held a grudge against them for it. But now... now I think it was quite possibly the bravest thing they could have done. Therapy is asking for help. It's admitting that you're not perfect and that you can't fix things by yourself. Rather than being stubborn and arrogant and thinking you have all the answers (ps- you DON'T), you're admitting that you could really use a little assistance. We honestly could all use a little help some days. I wont judge people who think therapy isn't for them. But for me- I live in a world where I need to rely on my own gut and instincts to survive it. And if I feel like my mind isn't doing such a hot job of making good choices, asking for a personal trainer to get my mind to pique performance is a good idea. So I made an appointment. So far, so good.

First of all, I want to say why I'm sharing something so personal on a public forum. It's because I want to admit my flaws to other people, as well as to myself. Because I post a lot of self-help kind of stuff on here and if anyone reads this, I want them to know that asking for help is huge a part of self-help. And that's not only okay, but something to be proud of if you ask me. I like myself, therefore I think it's important to get all the help I can get to make myself better. And if you like yourself, and care about yourself, you know that you're worth doing whatever it takes to get yourself to the best you can be.

I also want to share my journey with you because it will most likely be a big part of my life from here on out. I'm not embarrassed to be working on myself, and I think that opening up about it will really help anyone else out there who feels anything like the way I feel.

This week I learned a few things in my appointment. For starters, I learned that I have some problems with co-dependency. That was the main thing we discussed this session. I already knew that, so it wasn't groundbreaking in the sense that I had an "aha" moment. But I did learn some things that I can do to help work on it. My therapist gave me a book to read as well as a group I can go to if I feel like it. Kinda cool that they have a group for co-dependant people. A little ironic, but it seems like sharing your trials and how you've solved them might not be a terrible idea. I'm willing to check it out. There's also a pretty cool website that you can go to called meetup.com where you can make friends who share the same interests as you. Thought that was cool too. I have a lot of people in my life who I am dependant on and who aren't great influences on me, so it will be good to branch out to find new people who might have similar goals to mine, that way I can have more positive influences and work towards doing things that are good for me (my goals usually are) while not isolating myself. My therapist says that it's good that I find the things that I like to do, but it's important not to isolate myself because then I will be lonely and latch onto the wrong people again simply out of loneliness. Makes sense, I suppose.

Anyways, I'm excited to start this journey. There are a lot of things that I have realized about myself even in the past week or two, and it's all been sorta empowering. I'm learning what things I like and more importantly what it means to say "no" to people and activities that I don't need in my life. I've always been a pretty open person, so if anyone has questions or anything about this stuff, please feel free to ask me on here in a comment or send me an email. It's my hope that my being open and honest about this stuff will help anyone who struggles with self-esteem or the like as well. We're all imperfect. But (more importantly) we're all worth fixing.


Ear Holes.

I literally cannot stop listening to this song. It's perfect for one of those hazy lazy day drives.


Life IS Sweet.

I am doing much better this week than the last few weeks (I haven't wanted to post about feeling crummy because it's depressing!).
We all have rough patches. The last time I went through a tough time, I feel like I posted a lot of stuff on here that was more or less crap. Inspirational and actually helpful to me now, but not 100% honest. At the beginning of the year this year, I had a really tough time. My posts here were my attempt to convince myself that I was going to be fine, but deep down I was pretty depressed. And I can admit that now. For a while, more recently, I was feeling that all too familiar feeling of hopelessness. Holly Golightly called it The Mean Reds, "Suddenly you're afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of." It's a crappy feeling. And I have had my mornings of that lately, but it's been encouraging that it hasn't been anything lasting more than a day or so. Earlier this year it was much worse. Which is sort of pathetic since I had so many great things going on, but all I could feel was this hollowness where I just didn't know what to do about it except escape. But not now.
Here's the thing, and I hope this hasn't been too depressing for you so far because it's about to get better, life is HARD. I know, right?? And life will always BE hard. It's never going to get easier or less complex. I read somewhere that life is a journey- a process. And people get so caught up in this goal-oriented style of living (which is usually a good thing) that they begin to frustrate themselves when life doesn't stop getting difficult at the conclusion of a particular task. But it never stops and that's why people need to focus more on healthy living habits as opposed to definitive goals. Don't get me wrong- goals are important too. It's good to work toward something and it's the only way to accomplish the THINGS that you want to achieve in your life. But I think it's much more important to figure out how to live the lifestyle that will bring you the most peace and satisfaction with who you become at the end of each day.
It's with this knowledge that I am much happier through this rough patch of my life. Because while I am making some solid goals to travel, go back to school for my Bachelors Degree, and move into a less toxic environment- I am concentrating more on the day to day lifestyle changes that will ultimately bring me happiness no matter what comes along. I'm not running away or distracting myself with false claims of peace. For the first time in a really, really long time I am meeting my life head on. I'm tackling the things that have brought me sorrow and figuring out ways to battle them in the future. I'm making plans of the lifestyle that I want, as opposed to the events I want to plan for specific dates that will come and go. And of course, I'm not perfect. Every day is a challenge for me and some days I sort of feel like I'm so far off course it's hard to get back... but I've been getting back. I'm getting back on track and every time I do it it's a more rapid approach, which is encouraging. Maybe I'm just getting better at being "me." Or at least becoming more familiar with who "me" is and therefore finding it easier to find myself again. Life is Sweet. Just remember that it gets better the more you practice living it the best way that you can.


Daily Purpose.

I got to thinking today about what people can and do accomplish in their lives. Don't ask me to backtrack on it because it would take forever due to a day spent sandwiched somewhere between reading Self-Help books and browsing National Geographic's website. In all fairness I also spent a good portion of my day watching Family Guy on Hulu, so it's not like I was deep in thought ALL day long.
I was wondering to myself... what things are important to me? What things do I want to do, on a daily basis, and if all I ever do is those things- I will feel as if I've lived a full life? And here is what I came up with. If I can do each of these things every day, no matter HOW bad my day is, it will be a success.

1. Make someone feel good.
2. Learn or see something new.
3. Stop and really look at the world around me.
4. See something simple and beautiful.
5. Laugh.

What's your list?

PS here is something pretty for your ear holes!!


Sleep is for the Sheep.

Do you ever have one of those days? Today is, for me, one of those days. I haven't had a proper night's sleep in over 4 days, since I went out to visit my sisters in Colorado this weekend. It was just a mixture of staying up too late and plain old restlessness. So of course last night I finally came home to my familiar bed- expecting to sleep like a baby- and didn't sleep a wink. Okay, maybe a wink but no more than an hour. This happens to me sometimes and without warning. And it reminds me how very, very, VERY important sleep is for me to function. As such, everything seems more hopeless than it really is.
I was talking to a friend of mine who is having some emotional problems and she asked me about some of the self-help books I am reading. I told her that the books help, but the absolute most important thing you can do for yourself if you're feeling emotionally strained or drained is to take extra good care of yourself. Shelter yourself from negative outside forces by ANY MEANS NECESSARY. Eat plenty of good, healthy food. Drink more water than normal. And get lots and lots of sleep. If you're feeling frazzled, it's your body telling you that it needs some extra attention. Take vitamins and stretch. Go for a scenic drive or hike. Sometimes our soul is just pissed off at being ignored for too long. Treat yourself to a spa day or paint something pretty. I like to watch Amelie or any other artsy movie. Be selfish with your time. You wont have much to show for yourself if you don't take time to cater to your own needs and wants.
As such- I am beyond excited to get some sleep tonight. If I have to knock my own lights out, this is happening.


Knowles Knows.

I read an interview with Beyonce this morning that I thought was pretty cool. I honestly don't pay a whole lot of attention to her, usually, but found her views on motherhood and marriage to be really refreshing and thought I'd share them with you.
On the subject of preparing to be a Mom: It was important to me that I take the time to focus on becoming the woman I want to be, building my empire, my relationship, and my self-worth, before I became a mother.
On her famous marriage to Jay-Z: We have been together since I was 20 years old. We took our time and developed an unbreakable friendship before we got married. ...like anything great and successful in your life, marriage takes hard work and sacrifice. It has to be something you and your husband both deeply want. The best thing about marriage is the amount of growth you have because you can no longer hide from your fears and insecurities. There's someone right there calling you out on your flaws and building you up when you need the support. If you are with the right person, it brings out the best version of both of you.
... I don't know. I really, really love her perspective on both of those things. This is not me sitting here saying I want to be a mom right now, or even a wife. My views on both of those roles have changed drastically in the past few years. I used to want to have those things by a certain deadline. I think it was somewhat expected of me and so I was more or less impartial to the details so much as the timing. We, as women, are on a physical deadline for starting a family. And it's a scary thought some times. But I'm always in such a rush. I like the concept of developing an unbreakable sense of self before I try to involve anyone else in the equation. I like the concept of developing an unbreakable friendship with a person before moving forward romantically with them. It's just... cool.


New Girl.

Some big changes are happening in my life, and I couldn't be more excited about them. I think that the funny thing is that I am always so scared to make changes but when I do I always- every single time- end up coming out the other side so much happier. So I'm not sure why I get so freaked out to embrace change when it happens. I guess that'll be something I need to work on.
For starters: I no longer have Nora. I know. I'm a terrible pet owner. I always said I would never be one of those people who gives away an animal, but I felt that it was the right thing to do. I am hardly home and even when I am home, I'd rather not be. I've thought for years that I was such a homebody but as it turns out I'm really not. I like to go out and go camping, hiking, hang out with my friends, see movies, all that stuff. And it was becoming increasingly unfair to Nora to have her sit in the yard all day with no one to play with. So I gave to to a friend of mine a few weeks ago. I have seen her since, however, and I can tell that she is SO much happier there. Which makes me confident that I made the right decision.
Change number two is the biggest change of all. I am moving. Not far, just to the next town over. But it's far enough that I'm hoping to cut some drama out of my life and move forward into the next phase. I've lived in a condo with 3 other girls for the past nearly 6 years, and it's time to move on. The girls have rotated in and out through the house and I'm the only person left from the original group that lived there. Which, I think has given me some sense of longevity but at the same time has put a lot of pressure on me. I've become kind of the one "in charge" of a lot of stuff that I've gladly taken on as my responsibilities since I've been there the longest. But it's a lot of pressure on me that I don't need. My new house has way less people and will be a great environment since it's someone else's house and I don't have to shoulder all the responsibility of everything. It will be good for me to take my hands off most things. Between my house, my work, and my pet-owning responsibilities... I have just been feeling a lot of pressure to be someone I never signed up to be, simply because I'm the type of person willing to step in when something is needed.
November will be the turning over of a new leaf, and I'm thrilled at the prospect of all these changes. Changes are really just opportunities to grow, and I have every intention of doing just that. Growing and evolving, yet simplifying. I want to hold onto ONLY the things and people in my life that I positively need, and let go of the rest. The next few months are going to be a whirlwind but I'm embracing it. I'll probably even start making goals again once I have time to catch my breath! I'll be sure to keep you posted.


It's Been a Pleasure.

I'll share a little story with you. A few years ago, I used to work for a company where my employer also asked me to babysit his kids a few times a week. It was totally no big deal and I enjoyed the change of scenery very much. I think I was their sitter for somewhere around 4 or 5 years.
When I first started watching the kids, it wasn't my cup of tea. Not that I minded children. I mean, I've been an aunt for 17 years. But it was boring. And while I looooove my nieces and nephews, other people's kids can be pretty annoying. Especially bratty ones who's parents give them whatever they want. So what started out as a refreshing detour from the daily grind became an annoyance that I didn't much look forward to. I'd give the kids stuff to do to keep them busy, I'd plop them down in front of the TV... pretty much whatever would get them out of my hair.
One day, and I don't remember what caused it, I just stopped. I decided that I was going to start enjoying my job. I thought of activities that would be fun for the kids. I took them places in their parents (SWEET) car. We played games and watched cartoons. And suddenly, it wasn't work anymore. I wasn't going to their house to babysit, I was going to their house to hang out. And it changed everything. I started to enjoy my time with these kids, and they started to really gain an affinity for me as well. We were just a bunch of kids, having fun and playing. And I loved it, and miss those times to this day.
But isn't that SO how  life is? We go to our jobs, sit in our relationships, deal with our parents or roommates... and just look at it like work. Ugh, I HAAAAVE to do this thing. And it's like... that's not a life, man. You're going to live a long time (hopefully) and there are going to be a lot of things that can be seen as "work." So the way I see it, you can either bum out on it and take it seriously and wait for the fun to start. OR you can make the work fun. Relax. Don't take it all so seriously. Play games, eat chocolate for breakfast (not all the time, of course!), go play in the rain. You can always hop in a warm shower and eat whole grains later. Life isn't so serious, after all. It's just a matter of how you look at it.
I think that, for me, I spend a lot of my time looking through these "self-help" blogs and trying to perfect myself. I want to hone in on who and what I should be, and that's really great. It is. But it's important that I also take the time to enjoy who I am. My failures are, on most occasions, sort of amusing. My flaws make me unique. I keep asking people how to help me FIX me, rather than just developing myself into a person that I can enjoy and love. Flaws and all. And maybe that's been my biggest problem all along: I'm a fixer. I'm a doer. I'm an evolutionist. Evolve, grow, develop- yes. But most importantly: Enjoy. Enjoy my life, my friends, my cat... just enjoy it all. When it's all put in perspective, enjoyment may well be life's biggest lesson.
(Ps I know you've seen this picture already. I just love it that much.)