This past decade and this past year has definitely been one of changes. I started out the decade as a junior in college. I was recovering from a major heartbreak with someone who I thought that I had a future with. I was so excited to finally have someone in my life and it ended quite abruptly. I focused on school and had a great senior year that also had some lows with the deaths of several of my classmates. I was so excited to be at the end of my college journey. While it was a great one, I knew that my education had to continue and as I spoke to my family and friends at my graduation dinner I remember telling them that one year later I would be finishing graduate school and it happened. I moved across the country to a place where I did not know a soul. It was just me and my dog. I met some great people and had a lot of my beliefs challenged for the first time. Graduate school finished and the job search started. It was a really rough time. I applied for hundreds of jobs and while I found a few, they weren’t exactly what I was looking for. I decided that I was bored after graduate school so I made the somewhat impulsive decision to start a doctorate while I was stuck in Colorado getting hours for my professional license. So the doctorate started and I kept working. I quit several jobs that just weren’t a good fit for me and I eventually started working a night shift job. While the money was great, I quickly realized that the no sleep life was not the life for me. However, due to a series of unplanned events I found myself resigning rather quickly and relocating back across the country where I found myself in limbo as I tried to find a new job, settle into a new apartment and remain independent. But I persisted and got a cubicle job that paid the bills for a while. I decided that I wanted to make traveling a priority and I wanted to find a job that allowed me to do both while still using my degree. I found the dream job and quit my cubicle job the same day and relocated from Georgia to California within a week. After a few years on the road and moving several places I realized that it was time to settle down. The beginning of this year found me back in my home state with a resolution to stick close to home for a while. After traveling to Italy and Portugal I decided that I wasn’t quite done with being on the road so I decided to spend the summer on the East Coast. I decided during the summer that I wanted to settle outside of my home state and due to a series of fortunate events I moved across the country again and got a great boyfriend along the way. While I don’t know what this next year will bring, I’m excited for the opportunity to focus on personal development and fulfill some of my personal goals in this next decade.
This past week I had the chance to relax but also define some goals for next year. I learned a lot about myself and also managed to have some fun. Cruising remains one of my favorite means of travel.
A friend shared this with me and I found it to be so inspiring as we start this new year.
“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can.
…that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return.
And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.”
– Neil Gaiman
This past year has been interesting. I started it in rural California and then had the opportunity to take time off and visit six countries before I moved to the Bay Area. I learned about myself and spent a lot of time alone. I made some strides in my doctoral journey and finished the bulk of my dissertation. I met some great people and strengthened some friendships. I had one great date and enjoyed several amazing concerts. I moved multiple times and lived like a nomad for a while. I became more intentional about self care and I had the chance to flex my therapy muscles more than I have in years. Overall it’s been a learning experience and I’m looking forward to some changes in 2018.
So today I tried yoga for the first time with my AirBnB host. It’s been something that I’ve wanted to try for a while but never quite got around to. I’m trying to be healthier and I vowed that this year I would try to have some new experiences. So to a yoga class I went. The first thing I noticed was that I really wasn’t flexible. I don’t make stretching a frequent practice and boy did it show as I was trying to breathe and stay in the same position at the same time. The teacher talked about trusting the Universe and just relaxing. For the life of me I couldn’t bring myself to relax. I admire those people who can automatically calm themselves down and focus on the present. I haven’t mastered it yet. I could feel my anxiety rise as the quiet music played and the class was quiet with everyone practicing their breaths. I thought about all the uncertainty that I’m surrounded by and what the week would be like. My mind raced to how hard it is being single sometimes and the trips that I had planned. I tried my hardest to focus on the present but the planner in me needed something to do. While I want to try yoga again, I need to try it on vacation because I’m usually a bit more relaxed and maybe I’ll get through without distractions. The class was good but seemed incredibly long. I really liked the focus on being grateful and eliminating distractions. It’s something I need to do more.
I’ve loved seeing all the typical resolutions that have been flying around social media around this time of year. Everyone wants to be better, nicer, kinder, and thinner. It’s almost 10 days into the new year and I don’t have a nice organized list of all the things I want to accomplish. I am very aware that my lack of planning might end in a disaster and I don’t believe in planning as I go so something has to change. I’m still getting my bearings in the new location and making decisions regarding what I feel is the best use of my time. One thing that has been nice is the downtime I’ve had–which really hasn’t occurred at any point in my professional career. However, it’s time to evaluate again and make some decisions and put it on paper (or rather on my iPhone) so I can actually land among the stars while shooting for the moon.
I must say that 2015 has been to date the most pivotal year of my life. It started out on a sunny beach in Mexico with a new job lined up and went on from there. I started and got oriented to the schedule of the new job. This year I didn’t make as many smaller trips as I would have liked but my trips to France and Greece made up the difference. I had a great time at both places and would love to visit more countries. This year I finally bought some furniture after living like an indoor camper for 3 years. A couch, tv, dining room table, and bookshelves were added to my apartment and definitely made it more visitor friendly. Several friends and family flew in to hang out and spend the weekend with me and we had a lot of fun. I took a step back from some of the obligations I had in 2014 and went on a quest of sorts to live life to the fullest with as few regrets as possible. I loved and subsequently catastrophically lost but learned through the experience as always. I finally attended a college and NFL football game. I moved across the country and did another major life overhaul. It was a good year with a surprise towards the end that I didn’t expect. Looking forward to bigger and better in 2016.
As I’ve said in a previous post, it’s so hard to believe that the end of the year is once again upon us. This year has brought an abundance of life lessons that I didn’t quite plan on learning. I’ve included below the top 5.
- Everything isn’t always as it seems-sometimes you have to take the time to dig beneath the surface and find out what’s really going on instead of blindly accepting someone’s explanation.
- Comfort zones are great for people who don’t have a sense of adventure and don’t want to go anywhere in life.
- There are some opportunities that only come once so carefully (and I mean carefully) think about the ones you turn down for whatever reason.
- There are times in life that you have make uncomfortable decisions in the present that your future self will thank you for making in the future.
- There are some things and experiences that you’ll never experience until you travel outside the country and go off the beaten tourist path.
This year has been by far one of the most active years of my life. As I’ve mentioned before, one of my goals this year was to travel a lot and I was so incredibly blessed to be able to accomplish that. Doing five weekend trip in six weekends and then going on several other trip that included an overseas trip to Spain and France was a wonderful experience. I’m on my last trip of the year right now and I’m happy for the chance to end the year and start the year with trips. As a result, I once again didn’t buy furniture this year. And I’m ok with that. I’ve learned the importance of rolling with the punches. Life doesn’t always turn out how we expect it to and we are sometimes forced to make readjustments. I’ve had to become more independent and to make more decisions that affected my life in a huge way. The great thing is that it forced me to be more deliberate in my choices and mindful of long term consequences. I had some “I love my life” moments along with “I hate my life” moments. I remember someone telling me that when we add up our highs and our lows they end up balancing out. This was the case this year. It’s funny how we don’t really recognize ourselves changing on a daily basis but we see it when we look back over a period of time. I’ve had some good moments this year and I’m looking forward to 2015.
It’s interesting how the start of a new year can have you re-evaluating your life. As I’ve seen the hundreds of posts people have done about doing something different, I’m struck with the realization that planning and implementing are two different things. One thing that I’ve had a chance to do this week is touch base with some of my homies. These are all people who have ambition and plans for the future. Whenever I talk to them we always end up trading ideas and discussing life goals. Conversations like this are motivating to me. I’m realizing that while I need consistency, I also need to have access to people I can brainstorm with. But I also have to make some decisions regarding who I spend my time with and what I do with my time. I heard a story this week about a man who created a watch with a countdown to when you will be expected to die. The whole premise is that people will be more motivated if they know their time is limited. I know that in order to be successful I have to make hard decisions and prioritize. I’m not chasing happiness because I know that it’s fleeting. But I do want to make a difference and be useful. I’ve been blessed to have opportunities that others have never had and I feel that it’s my responsibility to make the best of them. No, success doesn’t come easy but then again, most things that are worthwhile don’t. And my goal this year is to simply be consistent and grow my professional career. Because I just wanna be, I just wanna be, I just wanna be successful…