“You’re not really an adult at all. You’re just a tall child holding a beer, having a conversation you don’t understand.” — Dylan Moran
Hello 2013. I am ready to meet this year with a new attitude and a new re-awakened passion for living. The last two years of my life were a struggle, to say the least. I found myself in places I never thought I’d go, to the darkest depths within myself and my mind and I found myself making choices and compromises that I never thought I would. As each day goes by I am attempting to be a student of my life. In this way I want to be able to view my choices, analyze my feelings and emotions and be able to understand all sides of a situation with a more rational and wiser perspective. Within the last year I came to understand that I must be concerned with myself, my needs and I need to be my own person, figure out who I am and who it is I want to become.
I spent a great deal of time in the past two years completely immersed in someone else’s life. I put so many of my own needs aside in order to try to fix a situation I wasn’t equipped to fix. I realized I can’t cater to someone else’s needs and feelings without first focusing on my own. You can’t help someone else if you haven’t helped yourself, otherwise it becomes a downward spiral for everyone involved and that is exactly what happened. I programmed myself to cope in unhealthy ways in order to live the life I was living, in a situation where I felt completely helpless and trapped. I woke up one day realizing I had control. I was making a choice to stay in an environment and be around people who only brought negativity and destruction into my life and theirs.
When I moved across the country, I know I had high expectations for the possibilities I was hoping to have. In so many ways the move helped me become more motivated and positive but I still felt myself slipping back into the negative thoughts. You try to leave certain aspects of yourself behind without realizing they are still a part of you and maybe you are just hiding them for a time until they reach out one day and grab you again. When this first began happening I was disappointed and felt that I would never be able to feel certain feelings again, or have the outlook that I wanted to have, but instead of worrying, lately I have forced myself to rationalize and to also put boundaries up to protect myself in situations I know will only bring strain.
As cliche as it sounds, the difficulties in life do bring extremely valuable lessons, even though looking back there are many things that I wish had turned out differently. Mistakes made and focus lost, but now I am choosing to do what is best for me and my happiness and peace of mind.
My New Year’s Eve was one of the best New Year’s I have ever had. I felt passion that I hadn’t felt in a long time. I couldn’t be more thankful. 2013 will be a better year because I am choosing to make it better, by becoming more positive, making better decisions and becoming more focused and motivated. We should all resolve to take control over our lives and drive ourselves into genuine happiness this year.
Well, we made it through 12/12/12 and as I can see, the world didn’t end. Sorry to everyone who had their canned goods and extra water stored in their basement, ready for Armageddon and the end of the world. When we sit and think about the future, what we are afraid of, and then look at our past, we can’t help but blame ourselves for poor choices we made.
It is difficult for me to look back on the past two years of my life. They definitely weren’t a cake walk. Yes, there were some wonderful memories made, for instance seeing James Taylor with the people I love most in this world this 4th of July, but for the most part the past two years were extremely challenging and taxing on me. They made me question who I am, who I was and made me question my judgment. For an entire year beginning in February 2011 and ending in March 2012 I completely lost myself. I had no idea who I was, I lost sight of my goals and I spent the entire time focusing on someone else, trying to save them. Around December 2011 I realized that I cannot save someone else, nor can anyone save me, we all have to make the decision to take responsibility and save ourselves. I learned extremely valuable lessons during that time, however there are so many things that I wish had turned out differently, so many mistakes made that clouded my judgment, threw me off my path and I ended up burying myself amongst the ruins of another person.
As I look back I think, who was I? Why did I make such terrible decisions? Why did I hold on to something so toxic for so long? Then I think about control, how much control do we really have over our own lives? For me, that time was full of pressure. Pressure to support and monitor someone else when I was only 22 years old. I felt pressure from my family to make a certain decision I wasn’t necessarily comfortable making because I was terrified of what might follow once I made that decision. Even now, people tell me that I have control over what I am doing and the choices that I’m making and yes, to a certain extent I know that at the end of the day I have ultimate control over the choices that I make, but at the same time aren’t we all factoring in external pressures when it comes to making decisions? When I try to take control of a situation I feel that if I disagree with what the majority feels then I am making the wrong choice, but my intuition is telling me to trust my instincts and follow my gut, or my heart. I realized recently that I am a people pleaser. I tend to go with the flow even if I don’t want to necessarily do something, because I would rather put up with my own unhappiness than disappoint someone I love.
When it comes down to it, how much control does one really have over their own life? We want to achieve certain goals, but we are forced to follow certain rules that society has laid out for us, whether we like it or not. When we attempt to make a decision, how much of that decision is truly our own? We always factor in someone else, or family members’ opinions or we worry about how people will perceive us if we go left instead of right. In the end, do we really control our own fate or do our surroundings and the people in our lives tend to guide us to make certain choices?
Since moving across the country I came to realize very quickly that I didn’t know much about anything. Yes I went to college and received a Bachelor’s degree in writing, literature and publishing so that should count for something right? Not necessarily. While searching for jobs I soon found out what I didn’t want to do but I still can’t quite figure out what it is I want to do with my life. We graduate high school at 18, go to college and in our freshman or sophomore year we are forced to choose a certain path for our lives, but at 19 years old how do you know what you want to do with your life? What have you experienced thus far that has made you understand the complexities, the disappointments, the ecstasy, the fascination and the sometimes disillusionment that you will inevitably face as you mature.
I did various internships for two years straight in my last years of college, all in some form within the communications field, thinking that is a “successful and safe” career path to follow. When it comes right down to it I just don’t want to do that. For some people it is creative and it is their passion and that is wonderful, but it’s not for me. So where does that leave me? I went to Berklee College of Music for two years before eventually transferring to Emerson College exploring different passions in my life, music, writing and literature. It’s quite funny looking at that now and saying, wow those are risky endeavors. You pursue your true passions and they aren’t necessarily stable or “safe” and they may not buy you a mansion or even offer health insurance but at what point do we decide in our lives to play it safe or take some risks?
At 23 years old I don’t have a high-paying job with benefits but is that what I even want? And who or what is forcing us to play it safe? Isn’t life about taking chances or making wrong decisions and learning from those experiences? It doesn’t matter if you take a risk and fail, at least you know you failed, so you can never look back and ask yourself “what if?”. Maybe you aren’t where you thought you’d be at your specific age but who is telling you that you should be there? Who is telling us that around age 30 we should be married with a child or expecting and why are “they” the ones to decide this? I am attempting to reclaim my individuality within society to be able to choose my own unique path, not one that society has bullied me into thinking I need or else I will be desolate and unfulfilled.
Everyone needs to find their meaning in life, what makes them wake up every day and get out of bed because without that what do we have? Some people’s lives may be filled with detours and obstacles that the average person may not face and you are allowed to ask “why me?” but isn’t it the challenge that makes life most exciting? Without challenge we would never feel accomplishment. Without loss we would never appreciate love. Sometimes you have to take a step back and become an observer of your life and ask yourself what it is you really want and then figure out how you are going to make it work, because you can. It probably won’t be easy, but if that’s what you want you should be willing to work hard enough to hold on to it.
Success is defined in many different ways. Some people find power and money to define their success, others creating a family, but however you define success is all that matters, not any one else’s definition.
Viktor Frankl once wrote, “Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation. You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you will feel and do about what happens to you.”
You never will lose your freedom to choose.
I have spent the past week in sunny northern California with my best friend from college who lives in Aptos. What a great week it has been already. I have spent the week in the sun, watching my best friend vault (an amazing sport) and do what she loves, and getting to see all the hard work she puts into the sport and has done in the past to become a world champion. I also read a very inspiring story at Huffington Post online (click here for the story). One of the quotes I loved from this story was when Rocky Clark said:
“There’s always someone who’s got it worse than you,” he says. And yet, he adds: “There are people who are not in my situation and they take life for granted. They have no determination. They don’t know things can take a turn for the worse in the blink of an eye.” (Rocky Clark, Huffington Post)
I have found an array of inspiring quotes (some cheesy, some actually inspirational) but I felt that this one has made my top five now. Rocky is completely paralyzed from the neck down and yet he is still insisting that someone has it worse off than him, which is an incredible notion. He has learned the important lesson of not taking anything for granted, trying to live each day as if it is your last, cliché notions but perhaps cliché for a reason?
A wise Russian masseuse told me and my sister that the only person that matters is you. Outside forces will come into your life (people, jobs, etc) that are going to cause negativity and stress but you have the power to control how you will allow those forces to affect you. Yes we all get down and stressed out but I believe that if you can re-channel your energy and attempt to be a positive and optimistic person as best you can you will ultimately be happy. No one can control your happiness but you. People can help add to your happiness but if you are a truly positive person on the inside, without any help, that is all that matters. We only have one life and one chance so you might as well make the most of it.
Rosey, Devon, and I had an interesting conversation over dinner at this little Greek restaurant the other night and Rosey said that she would rather die young, but feel that she was living her life and having amazing experiences, than play it safe and live to be an old woman. (I am horribly misquoting her but you get the idea.) I think we all need to take a step back to realize what is important in our lives. What do we want? What and who ultimately makes us the most happy? Why do we allow negative influences in our life if we have the control to get rid of them? Start living for YOU and no one else.
Crazy. I had to come to California for all of this to begin to really set in, and for me to begin to take it seriously, but I believe that if you live for YOU that is what matters. Surround yourself with people you love, take the job you love, do the activities that you love, and forget the rest because it doesn’t matter. Be around people who love you, inspire you, and support you so that you can achieve what you want in life no matter what that is.
Here’s a link to Rosey’s USA Team because I am sure that many of you don’t know what vaulting is (I didn’t until I met her). The video’s commentary is in German… but they are World Champions! Rosey is the one in the middle of the video around the 2:30-3:00 minute mark with Devon Maitozo alone on the horse
To see more videos of Rosey check out her website you won’t regret it!
Adios from sunny California!