11.28.2012

Flow with it.

There are times in our lives... wait, scratch that. I hate entries that start out with that sentence. So I guess I will just start out by talking about my own personal experience and go from there...
Last year, as I'm sure I have discussed in great depth, was rough for me. But I needed it to be rough for me. I needed a push, or perhaps just a reminder, of what the other side of the fence looks like. I needed to learn lessons of patience, and lessons of humility, and more than anything I needed to learn to stop and look at what was really going on in and around me. Experiences like those are almost like a map. Or I guess a journal. We go through these trying situations and we remember (hopefully) what we did to jump the hurdles  where we faltered.
I read an article today about going with the flow, and really paying attention to what has and has not worked for us. Isn't life so often just a matter of really listening to ourselves? I mean REALLY listening- to our past, to our bodies, to our deep-rooted feelings... to turn down the congested noise around us and really pay attention to what we already know. You think of birds, for a strange example. Birds don't have GoogleMaps to tell them where or when to migrate. They just know. they were born with an intuitive knowledge of how to do exactly what they are supposed to do in order to survive. Humans are, at our core, the same way. I think that, more often that not, when we are looking for direction- we already have it. But in order to hone in the ability to listen to ourselves, we need to practice by overcoming obstacles. See: we need practice quieting our minds to hear that inner voice.
photo credit: unknown

That's what a lot of what I write about... stuff people already know. A lot of self-help is that way: it's: one person pointing out what you already know. That's why it's so identifiable and relate-able. That's why it's an "AHA!" Moment. If we can learn to listen to ourselves, and what we already know, then outside self-help would become obsolete and unnecessary.
Back to the article I was reading, I really enjoyed the concept of "going with the flow," because I felt like that has a history of being the time when I've always done my best. When I allow my life to be what it is, rather than trying to control everything around me, I am happier and more fulfilled. It's almost as if life waits for me to stop asking and searching in order to deliver me where I am supposed to be. It's sort of a spiritual thing, in a lot of ways. Almost like "stop telling me what you want and I'll give you what you need." It was when I stopped trying to be in charge of things that my life took charge (and got better), which was also sort of funny because I felt so much more peace being able to relax and take my hands off of everything.
There are a lot of components to what I believe makes a good approach to life. And I guess what I'm getting at is that I think a good portion of that is to just be who you are. You know who to be, and you know what to do. Shut up, once in a while. Lock yourself away from the chatter outside and take the time to listen to what your inner persona tells you to do. Your life is going to hand you a series of gifts, choices, whether you hunt them down or not. Relax and allow that to happen, and as comically "zen" as it sounds: everything will play out as it was always meant to.

11.27.2012

Absentee

My apologies for being absent as of late. There are a few good reasons, I'll have you know! For one, I have been poking around in my blog history and more or less sniping away at entries that are boring or overly personal in hopes that I will be able to use my blog for more professional reasons. The writing bug has been biting pretty hard now that I'm doing some work for NiteGuide and I'm hoping to cater my blog to more resume-type exposure. We'll see how it goes! I'm also crazy busy, as most people are during the holidays. Last week was Thanksgiving and a huge group of us went to Big Bear to rent a cabin and gorge ourselves on some of the best eats I've had, ever ever ever. Now it's time to gear up for Christmas with not only my personal cards, gifts, etc.- but also work mailings to be sent out as well as MORE cards and a party to plan. On top of that I'm planning a trip to Ohio for Christmas.
Lots and lots to do, but hopefully I get a breather in there to update more about my goings-on and make some fun plans for 2013! I miss your guts, and will write again soon!
In the mean time, check this out (I can hardly wait, this looks amazing):

11.21.2012

Growing Day By Day

Loving this post from Daily Om:

We understand that we want to be better but have no clear definition of what better means and that is part of the process.

At some point in our lives, many of us find ourselves overcome with the desire to become better people. While we are all uniquely capable of navigating this world, we may nonetheless feel driven to grow, expand, and change. This innate need for personal expansion can lead us down many paths as we develop within the context of our individual lives. Yet the initial steps that can put us on the road to evolution are not always clear. We understand that we want to be better but have no clear definition of “better.” To ease this often frustrating uncertainty, we can take small steps, keeping our own concept of growth in mind rather than allowing others to direct the course of our journey. And we should accept that change won’t happen overnight—we may not recognize the transformations taking place within us at first.

Becoming a better person in your own eyes is a whole-life project, and thus you should focus your step-by-step efforts on multiple areas of your existence. Since you likely know innately which qualities you consider good, growing as an individual is simply a matter of making an effort to do good whenever possible. Respect should be a key element of your efforts. When you acknowledge that all people are deserving of compassion, consideration, and dignity, you are naturally more apt to treat them in the manner you yourself wish to be treated. You will intuitively become a more active listener, universally helpful, and truthful. Going the extra mile in all you do can also facilitate evolution. Approaching your everyday duties with an upbeat attitude and positive expectations can help you make the world a brighter, more cheerful place. Finally, coming to terms with your values and then abiding by them will enable you to introduce a new degree of integrity and dignity into your life.

As you endeavor to develop yourself further, you can take pride not only in your successes, but also in the fact that you are cultivating consciousness within yourself through your choices, actions, and behaviors. While you may never feel you have reached the pinnacles of awareness you hope to achieve, you can make the most of this creative process of transformation. Becoming a better person is your choice and is a natural progression in your journey of self-awareness.
(Image Courtesy of Pinterest via Awelltraveledwoman)

11.05.2012

You & I.

"I do my thing and you do yours. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine. You are you and I am I, and if by chance we happen to find each other, then it is beautiful. If not, it can't be helped."

Fritz Perls, Gestalt Prayer (via http://awelltraveledwoman.tumblr.com/)

This is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read.

10.25.2012

New Style.

I am borderline obsessed with this website called Thought Catalog. I'm sure I've mentioned it before. Today I read a post that I felt compelled to put on here, mainly because it explains a lot of my absence from writing lately.

http://thoughtcatalog.com/2011/why-its-harder-to-write-when-youre-happy/

It couldn't be more on the money. But it also got me thinking, along with a few other things going on, about being happy and sharing that happiness. I think that people find it easy to bond over the sad things in life. Even the comical things in life are, generally speaking, sad things that we make light of. Look at any stand-up comedian and examine their material: it's usually poking fun at some odd and embarrassing parent, string of bad dates, or complaints about their spouse or boss. Why is it easier for us to talk about our negative life experiences than our positive ones?

I read a lot of blogs every day, and I'm finding- in retrospect- that most of the ones I seek out are inspiring to me on some level. One has pointers on how to navigate through tough times, one girl has my dream closet, another "Tumbls" about outdoorsy adventures that she goes on. I guess it would make sense to say that most of what I seek out is something legitimately uplifting. I'm not sure, then, why I feel so uninspired to write when my life is going well. Shouldn't I have so many positive things to discuss? I feel like all of my posts when I've felt somewhat inspiring have come out of pains that I was working through at the time, so I guess when those pains are passed over I feel like I land in new territory as far as inspirational material. Perhaps this can be a new starting point for my blog... not only finding inspiration from positivism but transcribing that inspiration into words that people want to read. Lets face it- no one wants to read about how much I adore my boyfriend or friends. There's a fine line between sharing and bragging, and I don't want to cross it.

It says in the Thought Catalog entry that people who are happy are more inspired to "do," rather than "react." I totally agree. This is why people become suspicious of the validity of a person's happiness when they over share information to assure people just how "well things are going." There should be a lot of "do" entries in my blog if things are going well. There's a lot of fun things that I have been lucky enough to get to be involved in as of late, and it may be fun to share them as well as give recommendation on how other people can check them out. I guess I should just stop being vague and start writing, no?

It's almost the end of October, which is CRAZY to me. I mean, legitimately crazy. Summer went way too far into the Fall (as expected thanks to living in Southern California), and I'm really excited for it to finally start to cool down. I wrote an article for NiteGuide with a laundry list of activities for Halloween. The best of which, in my opinion, was to hit up Universal Studios Halloween Haunt. If you live in SoCal, this is what you need to do for Halloween. I've gone every year for the past 5 or so years and it is absolutely the most fun thing you can do in the area. Universal Studios is an actual movie studio lot, which means that their make up artists are the ones creating these monsters for the big screen. Needless to say, their costumes are the gnarliest ones out there. They pull out all the stops with their haunt and their mazes and I'd be lying if I said I haven't hidden behind groups of sketched-out tourists in hopes that they would get chased instead of me! The way to do it is to get a VIP Pass, which is about $30 more per ticket but totally worth it. You don't wait in any lines for more than 15 minutes and every year that I've done it I have gotten to go through every maze/on every ride instead of only having time for like 5 things since I'm in each line for 2 hours (please don't check my math on that... I am not there for 10 hour spans of time). Costumes are not allowed, so don't worry about that. And if you need to liquid courage yourself up before the night starts, there's a restaurant in front of the entrance with some awesome drinks (and food, if you're into that sort of thing). Don't miss the Bill and Ted Adventure show because it's hilarious and totally rips on every pop culture thing from the past year... and as positive as I'm trying to be- few things are better than seeing a woman dressed as Britney Spears with a shaved head and carrying her baby by one foot while dancing. I'm just sayin'.

Hopefully you can check this out and if you do, let me know what you thought of it here in a comment! More fun posts to follow. And be patient with me, writing about stuff other than "feelings" is a newbie for me and I'm trying to make it fun without sounding like they're all sponsored posts. In the mean time, check out this video I've had on repeat for like two weeks:


10.09.2012

Wandering.

photo credit: unknown

The past year of my life has been deeply personal for me, as is the matter of what I am choosing to write about today. But I guess that if you consider yourself a writer, it's that deeply personal stuff that really exposes you and therefore becomes the epitome of "raw" material, right?

A little over a year ago, I made some pretty big changes. Changes that I didn't expect to be as huge or to last as long as they did- but that also contributed to making them so impactful in the grand scheme of things. I had been dating someone with whom things, I thought, were headed down a good path. We had talked a lot about "the future" of our relationship, and so I felt comfortable that things would progress in that direction. I was living in the same apartment that I'd lived in for nearly half a decade where I had become the most permanent fixture in a revolving door of roommates. I don't know how to explain that without making it sound like I considered myself some kind of "Queen Bee," but I will just say that when you know you're a permanent fixture in a house where people seem to pass through, you put a great amount of effort into maintaining a consistency in the type of environment that has become a Home to you.

Within a matter of one month, however, both of the things that I had found a lot of my stability in were quickly dismissed. I guess they were both things that I should have seen coming... but I hate change and have a tendency to avoid seeing it's inevitability sometimes. I had been having some issues with the people I lived with, as well as issues in my relationship, that nearly simultaneously came to a head. I wont go into detail because it's not good to dwell on the past, but in both scenarios I had decided that it was time to make my exit. So I packed up and moved to a new house, and I went forward into what would be the longest time I had been single in almost a decade.

As for the living situation, I moved in with a friend and her 4 year-old daughter. The things that had been issues for me in my previous house were no longer problems, and I was sublimely happy for that. Everything about living with them was great, but there is something to be said about living in someone else's home. Going from a place that felt like mine into somewhere that I felt I was more of a renter was surprisingly tough on me. I think it also had a lot to do with the fact that I was nearing 30 and yet living in a room for rent, much like a college kid trying to get by. It's nothing against my friend or her daughter, but it began to make me feel kind of depressed to be as old as I was and not having a space that was at least equally mine the way I had before. The only room that I felt I had really made my own was my bedroom, and that was really hard for me to feel like an adult while living in a space that was someone else's. If that makes any kind of sense. But as with everything else that seems "hard" in life, it became a really good thing for me. I had to learn to let go of some personality traits that I had acquired from living in a house with new people passing through all of the time. Things were no longer on my watch, not that they ever SHOULD have been in a house with other people, and I had to let go of a lot of the control issues that I think I acquired from my previous living situation. You try telling a 4 year-old that she should be cleaning up after herself better! She's a kid, and with that comes the reality that sometimes, you just have to let it go. And so one of the hard parts of the past year of my life became a huge blessing in disguise for me. Now facing my last week in that house, I can't help but feel the pangs of sadness when I think about not being able to see my friend and her daughter whenever I come home. It honestly breaks my heart, looking toward how much I am going to miss that kid, in particular.

A year ago, I went through one of the more dramatic break-ups of my life. As much time as I've spent trying to figure out why it was so tough on me, I honestly can't. It's nothing against the person, it's just that we weren't together for a long enough time to where I should have felt the upset that I did. I also think that as time went on, it became harder because it was a long time before I subconsciously allowed myself to meet someone new. For one thing (the most important thing), I wanted to make sure I was ready to date again. I hadn't had a good solid "single streak" since I was 20, and being alone had become something foreign to me. That wasn't intentional, sometimes that's just what happens. But as time went on, I realized that I'd never allowed myself to fully heal from any of the relationships I'd had. No matter who breaks up with who- it's important to sit with that and absorb it in order to learn from what went wrong. I'd never taken the time to learn who I'd become as my own person and not a part of a relationship. In a lot of ways, it was a revelation. In a lot more ways- it was incredibly lonely. And hard. And confusing. But I learned to try things on my own; going to movies and concerts alone. Going to museums alone. Learning new crafts and skills. I learned to take the time to decide my opinion on things from the latest action movie to spirituality. I learned to trust my gut and to have a firm stand on the things that are important to ME, and not to someone else.

Spending that time alone was- especially in addition to my different living arrangements- really hard for me. I spent a lot of time feeling really sad and feeling pretty lost. I watched Eat, Pray, Love a LOT. I knew that I was trying to become something better than I was, but a lot of that time felt like I was walking through a dark tunnel and only knew the way I had come- and it often crossed my mind to head back that way because I was certain that I had made a wrong turn somewhere. Shouldn't trying to be better... FEEL better? The thing that kept me from turning back was that knowledge that before all great change comes great adversity. I had faith that if I just stuck with it, things would eventually be alright.

In the mean time, I worked on me. I worked hard to come to peace with the idea that my life was never, ever going to be perfect. I learned to keep the small things small, and to stop letting them snowball in my mind and become mountains they never needed to become. I learned to use self-control to see my world, and that my happiness comes more from the WAY I see things- and less from WHAT I see. It took this year of feeling pretty defeated to finally break down in front of my Mother and allow her, for the first time since I was probably in diapers, to comfort me and tell me that "everything was going to be alright." And you know what? Everything is. I wont talk much about my upcoming endeavors, because I know there's a chance that they may be fleeting. But life is good. Great, really. And I think that the emotional struggle I've had for the past year contributes to my gratitude. More importantly than any of that, I think, is the comfort I take in knowing that no matter what- I've totally got this. The emotional tools I've developed over the past 12 months have helped me realize that even if it all fell apart tomorrow (although I hope it wont!), everything is going to be fine. I know how to look at my life in such a way, now, that I can readjust my attitudes about the less-than-perfect parts. And it was well worth wandering in the dark for a little while in order to discover that.

9.17.2012

Missing.

I miss you, blog. I know I'm trying to make a conscious effort to stop thinking in terms of "what to blog about" and to be out there living my life... but I miss you just the same. I miss unloading my thoughts in this space and jotting down some goals in a manner that pushes me to pursue them. It's tough to weasel out of self-commitments when they're in writing.
Summer is officially over (although someone should really tell that to the heat) and life is finally starting to slow down. After months of rushing from one thing to another, it's finally Fall. I always loved the in-between seasons because they're a break from the extremes. I know, I know, I should shut up about extreme weather seeing as how I live in a pretty tropical location... but we have semi-seasons here too! Or perhaps not, but I'm a big wimp. And yes, here I am talking about the weather. How completely boring of me.
I'm excited to have some breathing space. I'm excited to not be running from event to event the way I feel like the past month or two has been. I think that it's an easy steam engine to jump on where you can over schedule yourself and then become so frazzled that you are either goinggoinggoing or at a dead stop trying to catch your breath. I can't help but feel like my seams have started to show the past few weeks after not giving myself enough "me" time, and it's time to reclaim that part of my life. Me time is important, and so often overlooked. And maybe that's what this blog has morphed into for me, at least right now. This is my "Me Time/Space." A place to collect my sanity and gather my wits about me in order to present something more of a calm and collected person. If you've seen me in the past two or three months (aside from in Costa Rica), I apologize for whoever that was you must have met. She seemed stressed.
And without further adieu- here is an actual topic of conversation so that you don't have to read my random ramblings about nothing:
I was talking to a good friend of mine and expressing some emotions I had regarding things going on in my life. I wont get specific, because it's irrelevant. But I have had a particular problem for as long as I can remember and it seemed to me that my emotions were unable to compromise with certain attitudes I had held onto for years and years. I called my friend and asked her opinion on it, and she dropped a truth bomb on me that (as they often are) was so simple that it was borderline absurd. She told me that what I had been doing wasn't working (duh) and so I should try doing something different (double duh). I told her that I wasn't sure if I could deal with the feelings that I was having about it and she finally just said, "Megan... why don't you just control those feelings? Have a little self-control because otherwise... what's the point?" Wow. Truth bomb, officially dropped.
I think that I've spent a good portion of my life playing the victim to my own emotions. I'm a very emotion-driven person (with hints of logic peppered in), and those emotions have a tendency to run my life for me from time to time. That's not the issue, however, so much as the fact that I will play the emotion card to legitimize a bevy of behaviors and attitudes. "But I don't FEEL right about it," or "I can't help the way I feel!!" True, to be sure, but also complete copouts. If a certain emotion hasn't been serving you, at some point you need to have the self control to tuck it away. Don't use it as an excuse, because some emotions and attitudes really are completely pointless. "I'm just a jealous person, I can't help it!" or "I have a short temper" really ARE just excuses to avoid facing the fact that you have little to no self-control. "This is just the way I am..." is like the Lazy Ass' Battle Cry.
At the end of the day, you are the only one who is the boss of you. And if you can't take negative and non-self-serving behaviors and attitudes and wrangle them into submission- you're never going to improve on yourself as a person. There's a big difference between being true to yourself and being lazy. Don't be lazy. Be evolutionary.

8.09.2012

29.

So I realize this is me posting (again!) after I said that I was done for a while... but I'm a writer and quite frankly I feel so full of gratitude right now that I feel like if I don't get it out somehow I will explode. I don't know where to start... so I suppose I will start at a logical point: the beginning.

I have always been a fortunate person, I'm well aware of that. Even my surgery seems so minor in the grand scheme of things and the possibilities of what's out there. I've had bad days, weeks, and months. For someone who really can't quite complain, I admit that compared to other points of my life, 28 wasn't exactly superb for me. I wont get into detail but it was sort of a crappy year... likely my least favorite since I can remember. It got to feel like things were never going to get better, but I have been blessed with a sort of moronic optimism and so no matter how crappy things got or how disappointed I became, I always knew that the scales would eventually tip. I knew that it was a phase of my life that I was meant to learn from and so I begrudgingly took each obstacle as an opportunity to learn. Sometimes life's lessons are pretty impossible to see until you get through the crappiest part of them, after which you're like "Oh! I totally GET why that was there!"

When I hit 29, it was literally almost like the floodgates opened. I woke up, on my birthday, in Costa Rica. My sister surprised me by taking me to get a full body massage and then we spent the day eating and laying on the beach. And maybe it was CR that changed me- but I came home a different person. I have been more relaxed, for the most part, and accepting and trusting of what my life was going to put in front of me. Literally since the day I turned 29, life has become dramatically better. And even though I feel sort of dizzy by it all, I feel so much more fulfilled than I ever did when I spent all my time looking for life... now that I'm sitting patiently and letting it find me. I've been hiking a few times a week and I feel stronger than ever, physically as well as spiritually. Finding a physical activity that I love while getting some sunshine has turned hiking into my new passion. I've also been spending more time with some very supportive and fun friends, which has been totally rewarding for me- emotionally. There was a span of time there where I think I put a lot of effort into maintaining friendships with people who weren't reciprocating... and while I still love those people and want to include them in my life- I am now allowing our lives to move in the directions they naturally flow to (whether that's apart or together). I think that's a healthy reaction to change that has really allowed me to spend more time enjoying people who make me feel appreciated and loved. I also got a second job working for a magazine called NiteGuide, and it's afforded me some incredible opportunities. Somehow I have been lucky enough to not only go to shows to see some amazing bands play- but I'm getting paid to do it. And I don't mean to brag about it but in all honesty I have zero idea how I got so lucky. I am quite literally at a loss. Now they're having me do photography for them as well as crediting me as Junior Copy Editor. The irony in it is that I initially signed up to do this as a fun little side project, and it never occurred to me that it would actually go anywhere. My editor has been incredibly supportive of the things I've done so far and the entire experience is just so humbling to me, particularly after understanding what it's like to feel a bit ignored for hard work in more areas than I'll get into. I just feel... so... lucky.

The thing about situations like this, including my life for the past year, is that I know it's quite possibly only temporary. Life is undeniably short, and it's easy to get so caught up in the "what's next" that sidelines of now start to blur as you run past. So perhaps that's why 28 happened, so that I could appreciate 29 as much as I really DO. Every time I get an assignment to write something- big or small- I get beyond excited. Every time my editor says something supportive it makes me way more happy than a normal person would be. Spending hours laughing with my best friends makes me feel like the luckiest person on Earth, and when I hike my trails it makes me feel strong and capable. I want to savor it, I want to appreciate it. And if it all ended tomorrow, I want to bow out gracefully and as filled with the experience as possible.

Right now is a great time to live in the Now.

...And for anyone having a rough 28, or 22, or 35... it gets better. I promise.

7.24.2012

Things I Learned in Costa Rica.

A sporadic blog entry, mainly for my own personal use.
I was lucky enough to take a trip to Costa Rica last week. My sister's family and I went to Puerto Viejo, where we stayed in a beach bungalow for 9 days. The whole experience was something to revel in. It was my second trip out of the country and of hopefully many more to come. While last years trip to Europe was something I will never forget- this year was different (as expected). One thing I noticed the most was how many people there were imports. I would say most of the people we met were from Canada, Nicaragua, and France. And everyone had the same story: I got tired of living that lifestyle, so I sold everything I had and moved down here to Costa Rica instead. It was such a simple solution (albeit I'm sure well planned and not inexpensive) and it really inspired me to feel like life doesn't have to be such a rat race. I think that it's easy to feel like we have limited options for where our lives will head and it's somehow shocking to discover that our own possibilities are limitless. It was also refreshing to realize that a simple life in a shack on the beach can far surpass one in an L.A. apartment complicated with bills and smog.
I'd like to eventually go into detail about the experience that I had, complete with descriptions of the people I met in the mere week that I was there. But today I want to talk about my lessons I took from my trip. I had a lot of time for self-reflection while I was in Central America, and I spent a portion of it reading Don't Sweat The Small Stuff (And It's All Small Stuff). Between those two contributors- I took more from this trip than any experience that I have had in a long time. Funny how a week can outweigh years of mixed emotions and cloudy thoughts. As in everything else in Costa Rica- time really was NOT of the essence. Here is a portion of what I took from my experience...
 1. Slow Down. When you go out to eat at any restaurant or "Fast Food" locale in Costa Rica, expect to be there a while. At first- it was annoying. You wait a long time for your waiter to take your order and even longer for your food and then your check. And you can probably complain, or become flustered that you're not at your next affair as quickly as you'd like to have teleported (LA/OC natives can relate)... but what's the rush? Things are going to happen when they happen, and most of the time- you're just going to have to accept that. Punctuality is overrated when it's not of the utmost importance.
2. Look Up. It's good to watch your step, but looking down at the ground makes it hard to see the things in the trees. When you least expect it, you might see a wild Three Toed Sloth, or a family of Monkeys. I mean it metaphorically as well as literally when I say: Look up. You don't want to miss the beauty in the trees.
3. Listen. Go to Costa Rica. Drive the 4-5 hour trek through the rainforest from San Jose to Puerto Viejo. As you drive down the main road, you'll pass a building on your left called the Zion Cafe. The owners there are an amazing couple who drove in a Jeep for 21 days from Canada so they could bring their Great Dane. The husband has kind eyes and the wife will talk to you for hours if you let her. Listen to her talk. She will not only be the friendliest woman you've ever met but she will tell you some stories that will make you want to be a better person. Stories about trips to India and building schools in third world countries and catching her husband eating the last of the imported ice cream that was meant to be sold to customers. She will get closer to you than you're used to when she talks, and she'll put her hand on your arm when she leans in and laughs- and you will love her for it. Listen to her because she will make you believe that you belong there, in the peace and in the sunshine of her rooftop cafe in Costa Rica.
4. Prioritize. There are so many times in my life when I've been known to make mountains out of molehills. But it's important to prioritize what you need to react to, and what things in your life are inconsequential for you to worry about. Choose your battles because the more time you spend worrying and stressing out about the things you can't control (or things that don't matter in the grand scheme of it all)- the less time you have to just sit back and enjoy the simple pleasure of a relaxed state of mind.
5.  No one is looking at you. When you don't have access to a mirror for 9 days, you've got two choices. Rock the bikini/short shorts, or don't. Don't worry too much about it or you'll miss the sunshine.
6. REALLY listen. Stop interrupting people when they speak. We all do it. When you interrupt or finish people's sentences what you're really saying is, "What I have to say is more important than what you have to say so I'm going to speed it along back to me." Thinking and speaking for two people is a lot of work, and doesn't negotiate much time for really listening to what the other person is saying in the first place. Take it easy, life isn't such a big rush.
7. Sometimes, there are bugs. Sometimes, there are 32 bug bites. Sometimes all the the mosquito netting, bug spray, bug band bracelets, and calamine lotion in the world can't help you. Sometimes there are just going to be bugs. And you just have to do everything in your power to not scratch and make them worse. Make peace with the bug bites in your life... because life is full of unavoidable annoyances.
8. Learn to sleep. It seems like a given, but sometimes it's not. When you're on a red eye from Denver and your book light is out. When you're cramped in a Hyundai and the only place for your legs is the ceiling of the car. When Howler Monkeys are yelling to you that it's 5am. When your legs itch and your bedsheets have sand in them and you've been awake since who-knows-how long... learn to sleep. Get the earplugs or the wine or the Melatonin. Just figure it out, you've got adventures tomorrow.
9. Indulge. Sometimes you just need a body treatment where they buff your entire body and then rub chocolate and natural oils into your skin. Sometimes you need to take an outdoor shower in the rainforest. You'll smell your arms for the rest of the day because they smell like cocoa and Jasmine, and the next time you're in your office in the stale air conditioning, you'll close your eyes and go back to this place. And no amount of shoes or Eat Chow or new edition iCrap in the world will ever come close to matching this memory. Although I encourage buying the Cold Pressed Coco Oil... it will help bring you back here.
10. THIS is what it's about. It isn't about what happened yesterday- or what you've got coming next week. Stop stressing about deadlines and worry lines and DMV lines. Stop wasting your money on clothes to flatter your waistline and make up to cover your under-eye circles. Who cares what you've done in your past or who you've been until now. Cut mental ties with the junk weighing you down... just sell it all and start fresh somewhere new. Don't have impossible expectations and Do make peace with the imperfections that are a part of life. Forget about wearing shirts and shoes and salon-quality hair products. Just. Be. Here. Now.

4.19.2012

Final Thoughts.

A decision has been looming over me lately, one that I go back and forth on. I've been keeping this blogspot for 4 years now. I'm closing in on 10,000 hits; and for that I am beyond flattered. Who would have ever thought that anyone would care what some silly little girl from Orange County had to say about life in general.
But I find my words getting stale. The funny thing about keeping a blog is that no matter how many people are reading, you always sort of feel like what you're saying is falling on deaf ears. There's no real interaction outside of your monologues, aside from the occasional comment you get from someone who's got an extra ten minutes to respond to you. At the same time, you don't really get that release that you'd want from writing because you never know who is reading it. All I know is the numbers, not the people. I've had people that I don't even know tell me that they read my blog... and while that's a pretty cool thing, it's also sort of scary. I'm pouring out my inner most thoughts here, and I have no idea who I am revealing myself to so openly. It's a really strange feeling in general.
To top that off, I have this constant battle where I feel like I should be speaking more generically so that people will feel involved, and sometimes I actually feel guilty for talking about what my weekend plans were and the like. Some days I just don't have much to say, but I still post because I feel an obligation to not fall off the grid. Which, of course, is crazy speak.
On top of that whole aspect, I miss people. I miss actual people, not this cyber space social circle where we know about eachother's lives because of the Internet. I miss getting froyo and catching up with old friends from high school. I miss phone calls that begin with "what have you been up to?" rather than ones peppered with "Oh, I read about that online!" The only person I want to be telling people about my life is myself, because I miss physical companionship of having real life friends. Does that mean I will log off Facebook or any other networking sites? Probably not. I'm not quite ready for that yet. But I suspect it's time will come as well... someday.
I don't want to talk about my life, I want to be about my life. And that means that rather than talking about it on here, I want to be talking to you about it in person. Or having adventures with you. I talk about who I've been a lot on here, I know. But who I have been until the past year or two has been a dreamer. I've been a planner, and a wisher, and a lazy imagination. But the past few years have been some of the biggest in my life so far, filled with devastation and extreme reality but also some of the best friends I've ever made and adventures I never thought I'd experience. And if I've learned one thing more than anything else it's been that living the life I've been dreaming of is, in fact, possible. I just need to stop waiting around for it to happen and make my life unfold the way I want it to. Choosing my path is no one's job but my own.
photo credit: unknown

With that, I bid you adieu. And who knows- maybe I will be back to check in once in a while. Or maybe I will change my mind completely. But it's my hope that I wont be back, and you'll know if I'm not that it means I'm busy living my life instead.

4.13.2012

Mountains.

I very much needed to hear this today, and I'm glad my DailyOm sent it to me.
(How do they always KNOW??)

"From the top of a mountain, we are able to witness life from a different perspective bringing us a new awareness.
Mountains have always captured our imaginations, calling us to scale their heights, to circle and worship at their feet, and to pay homage to their greatness. Mountains can be seen from thousands of miles away, and if we are lucky enough to be on top of one, we can see great stretches of the surrounding earth. As a result, mountains symbolize vision, the ability to rise above the adjacent lowlands and see beyond our immediate vicinity. From the top of the mountain, we are able to witness life from a new perspective—cities and towns that seem so large when we are in them look tiny. We can take the whole thing in with a single glance, regaining our composure and our sense of proportion as we realize how much bigger this world is than we sometimes remember it to be.
Mountains are almost always considered holy and spiritual places, and the energy at the top of a mountain is undeniably unique. When we are on top of a mountain, it is as if we have ascended to an alternate realm, one in which the air is purer and the energy lighter. Many a human being has climbed to the top of a mountain in order to connect with a higher source of understanding, and many have come back down feeling stronger and wiser. Whenever we are feeling trapped or limited in our vision, a trip to our nearest mountain may be just the cure we need.
There’s a reason that mountain views are so highly prized in this world, and it is because, even from a distance, mountains remind us of how small we are, which often comes as a wonderful relief. In addition, they illustrate our ability to connect with higher energy. As they rise up from the earth, sometimes disappearing in the clouds that gather around them, they are a visual symbol of earth reaching up into the heavens. Whether we have a mountain view out of our window or just a photograph of a mountain where we see it every day, we can rely on these earthly giants to provide inspiration, vision, and a daily reminder of our humble place in the grand scheme of life."

photo credit: unknown

Isn't it funny how much we struggle with what we don't have? I've been known to do this on more than one occasion. I see the people around me, especially in Orange County, and think "why don't I have these things?" And, honestly, I think that there is a level of validity to that. I think that we ought to always strive to better our lives. But sometimes I think I look to the wrong things to provide that sense of betterment. Or look so far past the blessings I've been given that I ignore them entirely. It's so important to realize that where you stand now isn't the top of your own personal mountain. And that once you do reach that place, you will probably giggle at all of the insecurities and pettiness that you held so closely. I can completely identify with the part of this quote that talks about a "limited vision," and I hope to be better at recognizing that I need to chill the eff out and let life take me on whatever ride it will. I will get to where I'm meant to, and the view of the valleys below will be breathtaking.

4.04.2012

Advice Column.

So if any of you are like me, you've had great relationships and you've had crummy ones. A friend of mine is having a crummy one right now, and asked my advice. I don't want to get overly personal with it for privacy reasons, but I really feel like the advice I gave her is pretty good (is that arrogant to say?), and might be beneficial to anyone who reads this old thing. So I'm posting it here with some adlibs for her responses, in case anyone is interested.
Back Story: Her boyfriend told her that he needed more space, even though they only see eachother about once a week as it is. They have now gone over 4 weeks without seeing eachother, but are still texting and talking on the phone. She is starting to get antsy about it and wondering if this kind of relationship has a future or not.
You want my honest opinion?

You need to change your perspective on this WHOLE equation. I realize that you spent a good deal of time picturing your life with this guy, and when you invest that energy in someone, and have those expectations, it's hard to erase it and be happy with a blank slate of your future. It's downright terrifying, really. But you know what my immediate thought was when I read your email about you guys taking space? I saw you writing how he needed space (and seriously, a MONTH is a helluva lot of space if you ask me) and how he is doing so great now that he has that space. You also said that you're doing a lot of stuff, staying busy and enjoying your time. You're both doing BETTER without the relationship. So I guess my question is- why are you maintaining it? Shouldn't you both do what makes your lives easier and better? I know it sucks to think about a big change like that, but don't you want to be with someone who doesn't need to take a 4 week hiatus from your relationship whenever it gets tough? You obviously deserve better, and you know that. No matter how great he is, or what high points you two have had as a couple- where you got to together has now come full circle and in order to fulfill a really great life for yourselves- you need to let it go and move forward. We all have an expiration date, or at least a "Best By" date, and I really don't think you should waste your pretty on a guy who ultimately doesn't seem to be compatible with you.
There is a saying that goes something like, "If you can't take me at my worst, you certainly don't deserve me at my best." And if he has to take a month of space from you because things aren't "perfect" for whatever reason, he does NOT deserve you when you're the easy breezy girlfriend who serves him cupcakes and cleans up his house. Those are rewards, not automatics!!
She responded by agreeing and then saying that she has an urge to call him and tell him all of this stuff today, then asking if I thought that was wise. She also said that she was worried about how she would move forward because she had let most of her friendships fall by the wayside in order for this relationship to be her main focus...
I think that you should wait at least 24 hours to say ANYTHING to him. Let it sit with you a while, because you're going to go back and forth on what you want to say and you should make sure that what ends up coming out of your mouth has been carefully considered and logical rather than emotional.
All girls pull away from their friends when they get in relationships, it's totally normal. And being in your early-mid twenties is a crappy time for friendships anyways because we are all evolving SO much during that time. You can credit it to your relationship if you want- but the truth is that YOU have been the one doing the growing up. It's your natural evolution and it's pretty standard protocol for your twenties. Of course there are influences, the same way your friendships in high school influenced you. But you are the only one ultimately responsible for who you become throughout your life, so be proud of yourself for becoming who you are on your own- because _____ didn't grow you up, you grew up yourself. And hey, good job because you're great!!
You're going to make new friendships in the next few years and let go of others, it just depends on where you go with your life. I have friends who I've known for 15 years that I realized are no longer people who have a positive influence on me and therefore recently let go of them. And it sucked, and I miss "the way things were" a lot. But I'm also freeing myself up to afford new friendships to form. And with people who are more similar to who I am today- rather than who I was at 16, 19, or even 24. Don't beat yourself up about not having a ton of girlfriends right now. And realistically this is a good learning lesson to you to be more careful of clinging to some friendships the next time you are in a relationship- I know I learned that lesson recently.
I think you should wait to talk to _____, DEFINETLY. Sit with the whole equation, write it down, make a pros and cons list. Do whatever you have to do to put ALL of your thoughts out there. Write out the sane ones, write out the crazy ones, don't hold back because you think it makes you sound silly. Keep in mind that this "crazy" side of you is a direct result of him making you feel insecure and forcing you to grasp at straws. You're not crazy at all, I can promise you that. Don't try to manipulate him into who you think he is or why you think he might be doing things. Take them at face value and moreover see how they make YOU feel, regardless of his reasoning behind them. A man who loves you is going to put you 100% first (at least the kind of guy YOU want to end up with, right??) so even if it makes him "bummed," he should do things that he knows will ultimately make you happier. So figure out how to be calm and collected when you talk to him, and go into it knowing what you want and not willing to settle for anything less. The conversation should go something like this (on your end):
I have a problem with the way things are going.
Here is what I want our relationship to look like. Can you at least meet me halfway?
Circle yes or no.

3.20.2012

Let It Fade.

Lately I have been finding myself, on occasion, behaving in a manner that I never thought I would. I've always been a person who let things roll off my back. As I may have mentioned on this blog, I've actually always found it quite difficult to remain angry or resentful... to the point where I've literally had to remind myself that I'm upset with somebody rather than calling them to see what they're up to that day.
I've had mixed reactions to this. Some people have been fully supportive. Others- not so much. Plenty of people in my life have encouraged me to embrace a general upset at the situations or beings in my life who "wrong" me. These people are generally the ones who adopt that kind of attitude in their own lives. Unforgiving, un-sympathetic people who have always just kind of lived their lives that way. You'll recognise the type when you bring up something that might not "be their favorite thing," and they respond with an attitude that you can literally feel draining the life force from your day. I don't think that people like this are necessarily to blame for this kind of attitude, because it's generally a learned thing. Maybe a parent, or a group of friends or even a romantic partner can be influential over someone's outlook. I should know... I've been on both sides of that fence.
photo credit: unknown

I've always tried to be optimistic, mainly because there's literally no point in pessimism. You consistently expect the worst, and so at no point during your life do you experience hope or faith in goodness. And for the past few months, I've felt that hand of resentment creeping into my life. Resentment toward old friends who haven't been quality people to me, resentment toward pretty much every guy I've ever dated, and resentment toward a particular group of people who I've taken pains to avoid over petty stupid crap that doesn't even matter in the grand scheme of things. The funny thing is that it doesn't even feel good to be mad at these people. Sometimes, I think people get this high from the drama of being angry at somebody. There's always that sense of importance when you have something (anything!) to discuss with friends, especially the drama of how you've been wronged. It's not pretty, but it's true and I honestly think anyone who denies that is a bunch of poppycock. But whenever I've vented about the people in my life who have been jerks, I don't ever-ever-ever feel better afterwards. As a matter of fact, I usually feel worse! And I think that to some extent, I have continued to vent about it to people in search of some kind of peace that just never comes. It's so ridiculous!
And I came to a kind of epiphany this morning. It was one of those ones where you've removed yourself from your own life and look at it with fresh new eyes and your jaw drops as you *guffaw* and say, "What the hell am I doing?" (By the way: I'm bringing the word *Guffaw* back. It's entirely too underused.)
Resentment is so wasted, and anger is literally a life-suck on every possible level. I once dated someone who insisted that I get angry more often (no joke) and discuss things in the heat of the moment rather than when I've mellowed. But that's never been my way. I want resolution, not a temporary relief. I want to be in charge of my emotions, and occasionally that means allowing them to wash over me until they've subsided and my rationale floods into their place. And it's okay to be angry, some times. But rather than painting over who you are in thick opaque red, let it be a wash of color that fades in the sun. There's not much point in spending your life wasted on that kind of negativity. When life is great- savor it. When life is bad- discard the pieces of it that make you unhappy. Don't dwell or stew or fume about it... just let it go and move on. You're better than that.

3.14.2012

Allowing.

"Loneliness is a feeling, so I let the feeling be and let it do what it does. Sometimes it hangs around for a while and sometimes not. Trying to push it away or figure it out feeds it."
-Henri Junttila (Via A Well Traveled Woman)

photo credit: unknown

Kind of obsessed with this quote just now. Not even specifically about the loneliness aspect, but the whole idea of allowing your feelings about something to just "be" and sit with you awhile. It's quite a beautiful concept.

3.07.2012

Go Figure.

photo credit: unknown

I found myself completely stressing out today- borderline panic attack. I get this feeling sometimes, like there's an assembly line of thoughts in my head and they're all going around and around, meanwhile exploding like little firecrackers that pepper everything with ash. I know that makes me sound crazy, but that's the best way I can explain it. I stress about what I'm doing today, what I'm doing in 3 hours, what I'm doing tomorrow and this weekend. How will I ever fit it all in in the time I have? I get anxious about how exhausted I will be afterwards and wonder if I should cancel out on anything in order to salvage what little sanity I have left.
But then I remember to breathe, deep slow breaths. At first the thoughts still linger in there, but after a few inhales and exhales, my mind becomes clearer and my shoulders less tense. "It will all get done. You don't have to have it all figured out right now."
I think back to when I was a kid, or even a teenager. Days spent listening to my sister's radio and running around barefoot wearing cutoff denim shorts. Man, I didn't have anything figured out... and I wasn't trying to. And I wonder how much of that peace and contentment that I had as a kid were the fact that I wasn't trying to figure stuff out. I wasn't worrying how to sneak more vegetables into my diet. I wasn't worried about acing the test I had in school nearly a week away. I didn't even care about making sure that I was drinking clean enough water... tap water was just fine. Things would figure themselves out in time.
Life has a way of working itself out. I honestly think the cure for most things is just time, and time alone. Clearly not in every case, but at least in the case of the day-to-day stressors. Most of my worries are me being overwhelmed and worried that I wont be able to do everything that I want to do on a day to day basis, let alone with my life. And oh, I know, I ought to have a plan. And I do have one, of course. But a big part of that plan is to not have everything figured out. Not yet.
There's a level of peace that comes with admitting that you have no clue what you're doing. Suddenly, you have room for error- and error and mistake lead to innovation. "I've got to get this perfectly right," turns into a giggle and an exhale of "I have no idea what I'm doing! Guess I'll try this and see if it works." The pressure to be perfect melts away from you and you find yourself suddenly enjoying tasks that once seemed daunting.
Relax, it will all work out.

3.01.2012

Dr. Jones

I've got a hot date with nostalgia tonight...

2.29.2012

Above Average.

photo credit: unknown

"We are the average of the five people we spend most of our time with." -Unknown
There have been several periods of time in my life when I feel like this has come into play pretty heavily and I've had to essentially "check" my relationships. Who are the people I surround myself with? And more importantly: Why? If you have any level of self-esteem, you will probably feel like your time is valuable. If your time is valuable, you want to invest it where it will bring you the most fruition. Now I'm not saying that all of your time surrounded by scholars and saints, but perhaps it's important to evaluate what you are getting from your investments into these relationships? Maybe you have a friend who constantly asks the hard questions, thereby encouraging your brain to work harder. Maybe your best friend brings invaluable joy to your life with her laughter and easy-going spirit. Perhaps a friend is going through a tough time and you feel that your advice is needed, so you stick by their side to be a more helpful person. Although one could interpret this equation as selfish, I think that it's important to give meaning and therefore value to your relationships. You may give and you may receive from them- but either side of that coin is going to change your life in either a better or a worse way.
Are the things you're getting out of those relationships positive or negative(?), and that's the keystone to this equation. If the people you surround yourself with are selfish, cruel, impatient, or judgemental- you too will acquire some of those attitudes. And you will notice them wafting into your persona because (initially, at least) they will feel alien to you. Some new attitudes are good; understanding, love, acceptance and patience. And if they're new to you you will sense those coming into play too. But I challenge you to check the new emotions at your doorstep and decide if they are good or not. Once that is determined, decide what has influenced their arrival, and whether that influence is a necessary part of your life.
Keep in mind that people become what they surround themselves with. Not only should you surround yourself with good- but be the good surrounding others as well. You want to be one of the five people who brings some one's average up, not down.

2.27.2012

Rain Down On Me.

I was having another discussion with my sister today; talking about blogging and journal-keeping. I laughed and told her that you could always tell whether my life was good or bad by how often I blog. When things are really great, I tend to have less to talk about because I am not spending as much time trying to figure out how to "fix things." When my life is trickier, I will blog more introspectively and overanalyze in an effort to understand my world better. I told her that when my life gets downright crappy- I'm hardly thrilled about it, but I am always at least grateful for the motivation that it gives me as a writer along with the inspiration it delivers for me to move forward. I'm not exactly doing a happy dance about it, but I still honor the drive that my challenges give me.
And it's so true. I know I talk about this in length throughout my blog but it's only because it's such an important perspective that I think people ought to embrace if possible.
Throughout my adult life, i have had several periods of time when I have felt my most "whole" as a person. It's been my goal to live a life with vibrance, peace, and balance. And I have really felt like I've been there about it on a few occasions that I can remember. Every single one of those times have been after a major trial in my life. They've been after a period of sadness, after feeling so lost that I essentially had to start over from square one. And the period of time when I've been in the midst of rebuilding has always been a little hazy in my rearview mirror- but what happens afterwards in inevitable. At some point or another, and it's never a moment I saw coming, I wake up. It's like I suddenly shake my groggy head and look around at my life and realize that after days, weeks, months of climbing out of whatever sadness has enveloped my life... suddenly and without realizing it I've become happy again. I've crawled out and made it back to daylight. I blink my eyes once or twice and allow them to adjust while I laugh at the fact that I've got sunlight in them again.
photo credit: unknown

Life is full of ups and downs. But I can't reiterate enough just how important my downs have been. And perhaps I speak for myself alone when I say that I appreciate the shoddy parts of my life. If it weren't for them, not only would I not realize how good the supremely good feels... but I also might not have the drive to have gotten to them in the first place.
When things are easy and good, it's nice to lay back and stare at the sky. It's when life rains down some not-so-good moments that you stand tall and build a shelter you can be proud of. Without the effort of building and rebuilding, you'll never be able to feel the pride of looking down at your splintered hands and realizing how amazing and powerful you really are.

2.20.2012

About Today.

photo credit: unknown

I had a nice conversation with my sister today on the importance of being imperfect. As far back as I can remember, I have been all or nothing about almost everything in my life. I only play games that I know I will do well in, I only ask for what I am certain to receive... if I don't think I can do it really well, I just don't even try. Even as I write this, I have spent the better part of the past week obsessing over my Mass Communications textbook to study for a test that my professor specifically told us would be "An Easy A." I wish I were joking, but I'm not.
I tend to maniacally dwell over things I did wrong, things I wish had gone differently (especially if they were out of my hands), and how I could control my life better and therefore guide it toward some sort of perfection which I am certain no human could never really be capable of.
Not everyone is like this, I have to remind myself. Some people leave the house without making their beds. Some people don't take a multivitamin. Some people *gasp!* eat McDonald's Big Macs.
And it isn't that I claim to be perfect, because I am far from it. In fact, it's in this constant quest for perfection that I am probably the most flawed. I become stressed and fumbling, frazzled, reclusive, and critical of myself and others. Especially that last part. I have a history of trying so hard to be funny that I tell wildly inappropriate and awkward jokes. All I want, literally, in my whole entire life- is to be at peace. I want that serenity of being comfortable with who I am and where I am in my life. I don't want to care if my hair isn't done. I don't want to avoid spontaneity because I'm worried that I might mess something up.
It is important that we allow ourselves to be imperfect. It's important that we loosen our grip on who we want to be, and just enjoy who we already are. There are a million things that we can push ourselves to become, and that list will never get any shorter. We can always be smarter, funnier, have better skin, etc. And of course, it's good to improve ourselves. But there is a fine line in the sand that we need to stop at, one that is crookedly drawn with broken driftwood. We need to be okay with how far we've already come, even if we think no one else sees it. Just to sit back serenely and smile at the person we are and enjoy today instead of worrying about past mistakes or future endeavors. Today is the most important day of your life, take some time to savor it.

2.16.2012

Photo Session.

 I recently did a photo session of some friends of mine for their engagement announcements. Here are a few of my favorites from the day!


This one was actually a candid shot- but I absolutely LOVE her facial expression in it.

2.09.2012

Cruise Control.

Hi. My name is Megan, and I'm a control freak.
...I guess "freak" is a harsh word, let's just say that I like to be in control. I feel comfortable when I am in control of a situation for a number of reasons. One, I suppose, is a lack of trust in other people. Another is something like an overconfidence in myself and my capabilities in the majority of situations. A third, I suspect, might be that if/when things do fall apart- at least I can trace back to the where and why. I dislike not knowing why a situation went sour and in this way, I can understand it all to a micromanaging "T."
It's not pretty, I'll admit that. No one likes to be overbearing and micromanaging. But we all have our flaws, and among many more... this is one of mine.

I wont lie: this flaw of mine has gotten me into several pickles. Not literally, because that would be delicious, but figuratively of course. My neck and shoulders constantly ache, I spend more sleepless nights than I'd like to admit, and I'm getting wrinkles on my face from making that "you're kidding me, right?" face. Nobody, and I mean nobody, likes that face. Obviously this is something that I need to work on.

Which brings me to my daily commute thought this morning: Where does it start? And where does it end?
I think that a lot of the equation of "control" stems into our psyche of "taking care of things." Obviously we, as adults, need to be responsible individuals. However there are plenty of times when we (see: I) allow ourselves to overstep our boundaries of responsible and into the territory of controlling. It's far too easy to do, if you ask me. I am a master legitimizer, and I often tell myself the old "well if I want it done correctly/at all, then I had better do it myself." Or worse yet, "They need me to do it, it would be irresponsible not to step up to the plate."

I once had a roommate, years ago and she may still read this blog, who said that I was a "Mother." She claimed that I manipulated situations to a point where I could control them, and that I likely didn't even realize I was doing it. I can honestly say that I spent years annoyed at her evaluation of my personality. It's only far after the fact that I can see how right she really was. I hate not being in control of things, and to some extent I most certainly push them towards a place where I am back in charge. I guess it's true that the things and people you find yourself most angry at are often from a place of truth that you didn't want to see.

So now I ask, again: where does it end? To begin a search for the answer, I came up with this: Responsibility is taking charge of the things that you're supposed to do. Control is taking charge of the things other people are supposed to do.  
photo credit: unknown

It's my aim to make this a new credo. In a situation where I start to feel anxiety over what is and isn't being done, I need to ask myself: is this something that is my job to do, or is it someone elses? And there's a certain level of peace in releasing that need for control. Suddenly you wont feel so overwhelmed by the number of things that could go wrong. You wont feel that pressure to get things right, because they're not your things. Sure, things might not go the way you would have arranged them to- but isn't that sort of beautiful? Who wants to live the expected life, the one you see coming? I know I don't. I want surprise... I want amazement. It's not a matter of abandoning responsibility, but discerning what things in life were never yours to begin with. Then just take a deep breath and let those things go.

This is going to take a lot of work, at least for me. But I'm looking forward to it.

2.02.2012

No More Mr. Nice Guy?

photo credit: unknown

There's an old adage that says "Nice Guys Finish Last," and we've held on to it for generations. For a lot of reasons, it couldn't be more true. You don't see many people who got to the head of their corporations by being voted "most considerate" by their colleagues. And how many times have we seen that sweetheart of a guy get stuck in the friend zone by some girl who is, instead, dating a guy who hardly gives her the time of day? Nice guys get screwed. Over and over again. Except the guy who is in the friend zone, ifyouknowwhatImean.
It's a dog eat dog world, and with the billions of people on this planet you've got to fight for what you want. Sometimes you've got to fight real dirty-like. I have a (beautiful, wonderful, bright, amazing...) friend who resides in New York. She gets up every morning at the crack of dawn and stays at work until sometimes as late as 10 o'clock at night. When I asked her what kind of crazy pills she was taking, her response was this: This is New York City. This is where the best of the best of the best live. If I don't do my job to the maximum capacity, there are 15 other people lined up behind me to take it from me. And here I am, complaining about not having a full-hour lunch break. Speaking of which, did you know that you legally only supposed to have a thirty-minute break for lunch? I looked it up.
Back to the subject at hand- nice guys get the raw end of the deal. We do other people's work. We give you a ride when your car is broken down- only to have you talk about us behind our back a month later. We give our boyfriends back massages even if rarely reciprocated. We let you over on the freeway when we've been waiting in a ten-minute line of cars, because you probably didn't realize this was your exit.
We.
Are.
Nice.
But I want to trump the horn of nice people everywhere and encourage them to continue. Don't cave to being the jerk hole who cuts people off in traffic and has some bizarre superiority complex about who knows what. Think, for a moment, about what you gain by being a jerk... I mean seriously. I'm a firm believer in a certain level of peace at the end of my life. I really, really look forward to at least that portion of being old (wrinkles, memory loss, etc.- notsomuch). When I am old as dirt, sitting in my rocking chair and whittling or whatever randomness I will get myself into- I anticipate and desire a feeling of calm about who I've been and the life I've lived. Now I'm no scientist, but I think that the most important thing you can achieve in this life is a series of positive relationships with the people around you. Even if you are in that whole zone of "I want to provide for my family," you're hoping to enforce a positive relationship with those people. You can't take your yacht with you, so to speak. So when you notice the things that you can take with you to the end of your story (and beyond, if you're a believer of such things)... it's not the job. It's not the relationship you sabotaged and wherein treated someone like crap. It's not the people you used or put down and the ego boost that maybe happened as a result. No one looks back euphorically on that. "Yeah! I was an asshole! Winning!!!"
It's the time you spent scratching someones back, so to speak. It's the smile on the face of someone you gave free babysitting to because they hadn't been on a legitimate date with their spouse in 3 months. You may be thrilled with your new promotion at work, but you can't take it with you. The only thing- the only thing- that you take with you throughout your life, is yourself. So in my humble opinion you should add value to that... add value to who you are. And I think that if you can accomplish that, it's impossible to finish last. Nice guys may finish last in laps 2-3 and 4; but they finish first in the big race. And that's all that really matters.

2.01.2012

Photo Babble.

So I got my new camera yesterday and got to fiddle around with it for a few minutes (literally) before I went to bed last night. These are some pictures that I toyed with on Picnik.com.
I know it's semi-pathetic that they are of my cat and my mirror-mantra but in all fairness I had a friend over for dinner last night, and I didn't get around to trying out the camera until afterwards. I already have the photo bug, though, and will most likely wind up getting way too into it for my own good!! I promise to try and write something more inspiring today or tomorrow, but so far I've been too busy to even think.
Hope everyone is having an awesome February so far!

1.27.2012

Camera!

I try not to post too many things pertaining to myself only, but I'm way too excited today. I just ordered this little number online and it should arrive next week. Expect to see a lot more photos on here soon!

1.25.2012

Ingrid Michaelson.

 
I might even like this better than the original.

1.24.2012

Why.

photo credit: unknown

I have this tendency to not think before I speak.
It gets me in a lot of trouble.
...But to keep in line with my January goals (as well as my general efforts to not be a jackass) I try to think about what I am saying and why I am saying it. The why is what I am emphasizing today.
There are two ways to live a life: proactively and reactively. A proactive life is one where you do and say things pre-emptively in order to guide yourself where you want to be. A proactive life is an intentional one. To live a reactive life is to base yourself on other people. What they think you should be, say, and do. You follow the leader, and you play a defensive-reactive position to the world around you. We are all guilty of it, sometimes.
Those times of living reactively have a tendency to spiral beyond our control. We are living by emotion rather than logic. And more often than not- we are basing our lives around a release of that emotion. It's like an itch that we scratch for relief, only to find that it now pains us more. This is because we are reacting, and therefore not focusing on the why of what we are doing or saying (aha, the point emerges!)
How often do you do or say something for yourself, rather than for somebody else? And I don't necessarily even mean that in an altruistic way. For example: a friend comes to you for advice. You give your take on it without hesitation. Think about that advice: was it for you or for them? I frequently find myself giving advice that is more for me to emphasize my character than it is to guide my friend in a time of need. It's like the age-old expression: Who are you trying to convince? I think this lines up with the times when we advise when we ought to just listen. Sometimes (and I'd venture to guess more often than not) the people we so graciously advise are simply seeking out a friendly ear to listen. I had a boyfriend once who would ask me whether I wanted him to advise or simply to listen- and that's something I at least try to emulate. I'm not very good at it, but I'm working towards getting better.
The same conscious action applies to what we do; our actions. Why are we doing the things we do? As I've gotten older, I have begun to question my attitudes and behaviors more and more. Why do I have the goals that I have? Why do I treat people the way that I do? So many things about us are instilled in us by a sort of social conditioning. This is normal. This is not. The older I get, the more I am seeing this truth. The old nurture vs. nature of it all. And there are definitely things that have been programmed into my psyche that I will never be able to change. But I'm trying to at least question the majority of my attitudes and beliefs to be certain that they are stemming from what I believe, rather than what I've been told to believe. And for the record: this applies to everything, not only religious beliefs as it may be coming across. Political standpoints, racial opinions... even the idea of what kind of employment is acceptable- these are all things that we have been programmed to feel a particular way about. Not necessarily bad or good, just particular. I have plenty of beliefs that I spent years battling, only to find in my late twenties I know to be accurate deep down in my soul. But I challenge you to question them just the same- to be sure that they are a part of you and not just a reaction to the norms you were raised with.
Live a why life.