Where have you been?

This is a question we always ask someone when we haven’t seen them in awhile, or when we haven’t seen any social media activity from them. The answer to the question sometimes is exciting filled with adventure and laughter, other times its filled with illness and sadness. But we still ask.

Recently someone asked me, “Where have you been? i haven’t seen any blog posts in awhile”, honestly i didn’t know how to answer. I responded with the “oh you know i have just been busy with work”… Was that the truth? to a certain degree yes, but internally no.

The last month i haven’t had much energy to write, not because i didn’t want to but i didn’t feel inspired to do so. I didn’t really feel much of anything, i have had some great adventures but i didn’t write about them. Why? because my brain wouldn’t shut off about the things i can’t change, because i was worrying and over working my mind until i felt overwhelmed just waking up in the morning… Did i talk to anyone about this? of course not…  The words depression and anxiety have been swirling inside my head now for a few months, when i don’t have the energy to do anything, i don’t have the motivation to clean up, just feeling worn out and hopeless. I found myself focusing on what i was missing in my life, my family, friends that i don’t seem to have time to see, fulfillment at my jobs. It was like a deep abyss that i found myself diving headfirst into its center.

But today is a new day, a friend posted a quote today from a travel book i am sure we have all read “Eat, Pray, Love”… (if you have not read it, i highly recommend it).

“There’s a wonderful old Italian joke about a poor man who goes to church every day and prays before the statue of a great saint, begging, “Dear saint-please, please, please…give me the grace to win the lottery.” This lament goes on for months. Finally the exasperated staue comes to life, looks down at the begging man and says in weary disgust, “My son-please, please, please…buy a ticket.”

This sparked the fire inside me that over the last few months had been burning down to embers, I got out of bed, looked in the mirror and thought “Buy a ticket….” now of course i am wishing it was an actual ticket to go on some miraculous adventure globe hopping and seeing every single wonder of the world… and then finding the ones that may not be so wonderful. But in todays case… i mean buying a ticket to participate in my life again, writing again. Why do we pray and pray for something to be handed to us, is that really what we believe life is? The easy street handed to some but not to others? i think about it like baking a pie, the dough should be made the day before and left to rest, then rolled out, you can’t just throw everything together and expect the perfect pie. you have to take time and  put effort into it.

The last month my eating habits have been terrible (i blame the pies), i have not been taking care of myself, i haven’t been giving my all at work, i haven’t really given my all in building/maintaining friendships. I really settled for just existing but still dreaming. Maybe thats one of the keys to life, dreaming gets you through the dark, but to create your own path out… you have to participate in its creation.

Now September did hold some amazing memories. We finally made it out to Clearwater Marine Aquarium, we managed to see their celebrity dolphin’s, Hope and Winter from Dolphin-tale and Dolphin-tale 2. They were incredible and watching them up close really made my day.

We also assisted someone in need when they had an accident and no one else was willing to take any quick action to help them. Word to the wise, when a car is in a pond, don’t just take photos and don’t try and open the car door, the water pressure will hold it closed. Open the trunk or the windows if you can. Luckily the driver was just in shock.

My advice to all of you, no matter what you are going through… buy the ticket, you have no idea where it could take you.

 

Have courage and be kind.

Courage and kindness. We hear those words all the time when we are kids. We are raised to be nice, kind, compassionate and treat others how we would like to be treated… at least that’s how I was raised.

Even now at 30 years old kindness is something i strive to keep in my life. As simple as opening the door for someone. Compassion doesn’t cost, relating to someone on the most basic level doesn’t cost you anything. We are only on this earth for a short time, wouldn’t life be better if we had compassion for others, we have the courage to pursue our dreams and we treat everyone with kindness. The downside is in most companies having those personality traits is seen as somewhat of a weakness, we are seen as those people who are not strong enough to stand up and speak because we “are too nice”.

We are all humans, when it comes down to it, we are all going to die (morbid I know). Would you like people to say about you? “He was a kind hearted person, he treated others so well and he cared”… or “he was a great business man, he always seemed stressed but he had the money”.

Words can hurt or heal, so why use them to hurt people… be kind… be sincere and believe in yourself. If you are speaking the truth with kindness you can do anything.

Remember we are all human, remember being a kid and being told to be kind, remember how kindness feels to receive it. That feeling is what you are gifting to someone else.

I’ll get off my soap box now.

When life gives you lemons… you get a new fuse.

Somedays when you wake up, you already know today is going to be a battle. But you still push through, other days you are woken by those fantastic words of “The dryer won’t start”. I think its a natural reaction for us all to just groan, walk to the (insert item thats not working here), we unplug it, plug it back in… check the breaker box, unplug/plug it again, and press the power button….Because you know, we are  all repair wizards and unplugging and replugging it back in fixes every issue… then we settle for the fact that today, our wizard skills have taken the day off so instead we try using a virtual wizard (Google). I advise against googling most kinds of medical issues because it is sure to be something super serious that will cost you millions of dollars to fix. But for most things a bit of light investigating on google and youtube, you can (hopefully) figure out if this is something you are capable of fixing.

Today is laundry day, i am working an awkward shift and have no clean and comfortable clothes for the shift, but luckily i don’t start work for another… 15 hours (I should be sleeping…). But i ran to my local Walmart, on their website they “might” have the correct thermal fuse… but of course they don’t, so i placed my replacement order for the part that i am hoping will fix the dryer, a $5 part ordered via Amazon for same day delivery…. and now we wait… if it shows up at the very end of the delivery window it will give me about 20 minutes to through some clothes in the dryer. But my 8am trip to Walmart, in school traffic did get me thinking.

How do you react when $#!t happens… i find that for the most part we react the same way, our blood pressure spikes, we get hot under the collar, our stomachs start churning and instantly jump to the “end of the world” out look. It seems to just be part of our nature that we are naturally pessimistic when something bad happens, i am not saying everyone is that way… we all know that person who is one thousand percent an optimist where they could lose the winning lottery ticket for 12 million dollars and they would say “Well I’m sure that who ever finds the ticket needs it more than i do”. But maybe the optimist is on to something, maybe its how we react to those moments that can change our lives. Maybe just breaking the problem down into small manageable pieces where we can look at each part and say “Ok, this i CAN do”. I felt it this morning… sitting in my car at Walmart after battling traffic, my brain starting over reacting…. but i told myself to just stop and relax. Surprisingly taking that moment to slow my racing heart… helped me break down the issue into smaller tasks that i could handle.

1.Order correct part ASAP

2.wash a small load of laundry, hang laundry outside to bake

3.when part arrives switch it out and hope for the best

That was easy right? So why cant we break down all other issues to bulletin points that we can manage? why do we have to over react and over think every aspect of life?

Those days when you know today is going to be a battle, strap on your armor and be prepared to take it one step at a time.

Life is not a competition

Life is not a competition, there is no comparison between two people at the same age. Because at 25 years you own a mansion, new car, are married with 5 children and a dog… that doesn’t mean that every person should have those by that age… and who am I kidding in this economy, at 65 that’s not gunna be likely either. But that’s not the point.

I created this blog as a free space where there is no judgement based on age, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender… I don’t care about how much you make per hour, how big your House is, if you drive a new car or if your available balance is longer than your phone number. I care about what’s inside you, your heart, what gets you excited, what lights your spark.

If life is a race then what is the finish line…? I don’t want to run through my life trying to compete against those around me in regards to what counts as a success. Success is different for everyone, happiness is different for everyone and life, believe it or not, is different for everyone. The struggles and climbs we have at any age can be relatable but they are not a comparison by any means. We all have dreams of what we want to accomplish in life and that is great but those dreams and aspirations should be your own and not to keep up with those around you. Surround yourself with people who support you for being you and love you for being you… not how much you make or what you own.

The successes can be something like you paid all your bills on time this month… depending on the person, that might be a HUGE deal. Please don’t ever live your life comparing it to others around you… I beg you… if you find yourself looking at your life and saying “it’s not good enough”, remember that you are the one in control and you don’t have to answer to anyone about what classes as a successful day in your world. Even the people at the top of the financial pyramid have their worries and bad days.

When you have those days that you feel down because of someone else’s opinions of you, put your hand on your heart and feel it beating, that means you are still here, your life is still going and the chapters ahead are still being written…(did that sound too cliché?)

I always get to where I’m going by walking away from where I’ve been

After watching Christopher Robin on Tuesday I have done nothing but think about the movie.

There are so many different and wonderful ways that Pooh describes life… my favorite being the title of this post.

When you think about your life, how often do you feel that you are living the same day over and over again, no matter how much you are trying to change something. Sometimes you really have to examine the monotonous routines we generate for ourselves… wake up every morning, with barley enough time to get ready, run out the door, drive to work, run in, clock in. Check emails, work the sales floor, coffee (because at this point it’s the only way to get through the day), clock out, drive home, dinner, tv, bed… to get up and do the same thing the next day.

Isn’t that the reason I started this blog? I wanted to feel alive… explore different things. Thankfully I have. I started a 30 day yoga challenge… I did really well for a few days then fell off the bandwagon… but from those few days I learnt a lot… I have little balance, lack of control over my thoughts and a generally terrible level of fitness. But I learnt some wonderful things… patience, just living in the breathe, sitting quietly and exploring every sensation.

Also since starting this blog I have gone and explored outside of the “normal” area of my existence (Work and Home). Exploring saint Augustine, watching the sunrise from the beach. Yesterday was a somewhat relaxing day driving out to the gulf coast with my significant other and spending the day just being us…. there’s so much good in those moments… when you manage to get away together, leaving technology behind, you get to just be yourselves and laugh and joke.

We were lucky enough to spend 5 hours at the beach with my adorable dog… and for the last 2 hours we were basically alone. I sat quietly on the wet sand letting the waves wash over my legs… and I just let the tide drag away all my frustrations, all my worries and sadness…. for that moment nothing else existed. I have always had major self esteem issues and refused to swim with out a shirt on… yesterday I changed that, I took my shirt off and jumped in to the warm waters… and it felt AMAZING. The waves washed away my insecurities and I was able to just enjoy.

We had a romantic dinner watching the sunset at a local restaurant before driving the two hours back home…. back to the routine and back to the worries and concerns of life. But even now I am trying to focus on the sound of the waves breaking gently on the sand, when I feel my heart starting to race or like I want to think negatively about myself… and I count 5,4,3,2,1 then focus on something positive and I remember that i am not perfect but the way to move forward is to move away from where you have been, move away from the negative thoughts and move towards the happiness you can find within yourself.

What will they think?

This is a question that is always on our minds… no matter who you are…. I know you say “I don’t care what people will think” but on some level you do… it’s natural to seek approval from others, it makes us not feel so alone.

This starts at a young age where we pick our pretend jobs with our friends and they judge us and tell us to do something different… it’s just playground banter that’s all, it doesn’t affect us long term…..right? Or does it? Do we become so preoccupied with pleasing others/competing with others that we forget that the only person we have to answer to is ourself? YOU are the only person who can make YOU feel invalid, you shouldn’t let what other people think or say make any difference on what you choice to do in your life… that’s the key phase there “this is YOUR life…” it’s not your best friends life, it’s not your co workers life or your bosses, your girl friend or fiancée. YOU. Answer to yourself when you look in the mirror, are you doing what’s right for you?

If you have a Dream, you need to figure out if you can do it and follow that dream. Let other people’s negativity push you towards your goal. Don’t sit back and say “oh well John says I can’t do it so I guess I give up” how about you say “I’m gunna do it no matter what John says because this is my passion and this is my life” feel the strength that comes with those words “THIS IS MY LIFE” own it and control it. Whether it is taking classes to get towards the career you want, taking that trip you dream of or eating that piece of cake (again if it’s something that is feasible for you).

Too many times we put things off or hide talents away because we are scared of what people think. I have kept this blog hidden from 95% of my friends because I am terrified of what they will think. That’s absolutely insane… but it’s a barrier I am trying to break down. When you truly stop caring about what every other joe and Karen will think, you will get to live your life freely. I remember hearing growing up that the kids on the playground who hide and made fun of others were just jealous of the kid they are picking on… it’s the same way no matter your age. People find “flaws” in their opinion of you and try and knock you down. Don’t let them.

Be you, the great, wonderful, strong and powerful YOU.

Adventure awaits?

I have spent years day dreaming about the different adventures that are out in the world. The cultures, the religions, the architecture and life styles that every country has to offer… How much this could open someones mind and change their life.

I dream of walking dirt roads, climbing mountains, sleeping under the stars, trying flavors that dance on your tongue and explode your tastebuds. Seeing the aurora borealis and riding a boat through the floating markets in Thailand.

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time spend working in the office or mowing the lawn. Climb that goddam mountain”-Jack Kerouac.

This April i turned 30. I am not sad about this but i have found myself reflecting on that last 10 years of my life. Have I really used those years the best way? They say that your “20’s” are your years to be care-free and travel the world, try new things and make mistakes… but i am starting to wonder whether that is true any more.

Living in the USA has taught me that there are many people who don’t travel… mostly because of financial reasons. You finish high school, you go to off to university to earn a degree in a subject that you pick at 18 years old… that will lead you into a career that you (At that age) think will be the dream job. A few years later you step out of university with an absurd amount of debt,(The average USA student loan debt is around $40,000). So now you are 24-25 years old with $40,000 dollars in debt and you are expecting to get a job in the field you have just spent the last 7 years studying for. Well you have to pay the debt back somehow, so you take a job doing what ever you can so you can start paying back the loans… which could take at least 10 years depending on living expenses (Rent, Car loans, Credit Cards-LIFE). So now you are 35 years old….with no student debt woohoo! But you met your person, and now you want to finally buy that house that you have been trying to save for, you sign on for a 30 year mortgage, putting you at 65 years old by the time your house is paid for… Where did your 20’s, 30’s,40’s, 50’s and even your 60’s go…

I know i am being dramatic, of course there are people who take gap years and travel, or make enough money to vacation when ever they want…but is this really the adventure we all dreamt of when we were kids?

Growing up in the UK until i was 18, it was common for my friends to plan to travel, go to Rome, Paris, back packing through asia, I mean it makes sense… once you get into Europe you an get pretty much anywhere. I don’t blame my lack of passport stamps on moving to the US, not at all.  life just happens…

There are 195 countries in the world, and each one of those breaks down into bustling cities of hundreds of thousands of people to tiny villages of barely 100 residents. Every where you will find people who are experiencing the same feelings of wanderlust, the urge to be anywhere but where you “are”. Some people say that its just the urge to run away… i disagree… Wanderlust is the urge to explore, run free and roam! experience new things and jump head first into the world around you. There is so much more to life than waiting for the next milestone, your 40th birthday, 50th birthday, 60th birthday and so on. What if the next milestone you were heading towards was a physical milestone, a physical sign telling you “Welcome to India”. But alas for now, this is all a dream. Something i keep in my back pocket, that i can mentally unfold and look at and say “One day”