Cheers to Choices

I had an epiphany last night, one that may seem so obvious but was something I had never really seen quite so clearly.

I was brushing my teeth thinking about how I was choosing to go to bed instead of watching TV because I knew I wanted to get up this morning and go for a run instead of sleeping in. In that moment it struck me just how many choices we all have each and every day.

We are faced with choices and make decisions all day long every single day. Most of the decisions we make so automatically we don’t even realize we have a choice in the matter, or at least that’s the case for me. I automatically turn off the alarm on my phone in the morning and start scrolling through my emails, texts and Instagram or Facebook without even pausing to decide if that’s how I want to spend the next 15-20 minutes of my morning. But in that moment I choose to do that even though it often means I feel rushed the rest of the morning. Here’s the catch though, when I feel rushed the rest of the morning I take no responsibility for it I just feel flustered without realizing I actually chose to have a rushed and stressful morning when I used those 15-20 minutes to scroll through things on my phone instead of getting up.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this, right? These things we do automatically are choices. And the choices that we make, big or small, shape our days which shape our lives.

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It might be obvious to some, but I had never thought of brushing my teeth or the other tiny moments of my day as choices, but truly they are and choices always have an effect, be it positive, neutral or negative.

I want to practice being more aware of my automatic habits and the choice I have in them. I’m going to work on being more conscious of the choices I make so that I can be more intentional with them, I’d like my choices to reflect my beliefs, values and goals.

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Your Future isn’t Tied to Anything or Anyone that Leaves

I remember going through the hardest most painful break up of my life a little over a year ago. After the break up I was so afraid that I had lost my future husband and my future.

In the late nights following our break up I replayed the conversations we had about the life we would build together; everything from where we would buy a home to how much we would work and what we would do for child care.

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I would cry myself to sleep because I had lost so much but also because I was so afraid of the future now that I had no idea what it held. I thought I would never meet a man who I would love as much as I loved him. I would never have the life I wanted without him to build it with.

And to be honest, I haven’t had another relationship yet, and I may not get the future we had planned. But that’s okay now.

Slowly but surely I’m learning to have faith.

Everything in my life will work out. It may not be what I pictured and it probably won’t happen exactly how or when I want it to. But I have faith now that it will all work itself out. I believe that I don’t need to hold on to anyone or anything so tightly, that who and what will be mine will be mine regardless of my attempts to control things.

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Now I realize that my life and my future aren’t tied to anyone or anything that leaves.

If he left than I guess he isn’t my future husband and that life we planned wasn’t my future life. That’s ok, it just means that someone else is going to be my future husband and my future life will still unfold, just not the way I had it planned. God or a higher power or The Universe has a better plan for my life and me, and I can trust in that.

Now on days when I feel afraid because things aren’t going the way I had planned I remind myself that I can let go of my idea of how things should be and relax into how things are, knowing that they are happening exactly as they’re meant to.

Twenty-Seven

Last week I turned 27.

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This year went by fast; I remember turning 26 as if it was a month ago.

I can remember the exact feeling of turning 26, I remember the hopes I had for the year and the space I was in mentally. I felt better than I thought I would. I felt like I was in control. Like I had gotten to this place with myself and my life where I could maintain a higher level of gratitude, self-compassion, willpower and joy than I had previously. I felt like I knew myself better than I had before, like it would take more to knock me off balance. I felt GOOD.

But the universe or god or a higher power had other plans for me.

Twenty-six was a doozy. Do people even still say that word? Anyways, it was a doozy of a year. It knocked me on my ass and it felt like I spent the majority of the year pulling myself off the ground, standing back up and brushing myself off just to be knocked down again. It was a tough one guys, truly.

I found my freshly healed broken heart being ripped back open and this time it didn’t heal so quickly or neatly. My job situation was complicated and inconsistent and I struggled more financially than I ever have in my adult life. A million small and big things went wrong.

I could write a list of things that did not go right, by my definition of it, but what’s the point of focusing on the negative now? The gist of it is that 26 was a year that made me feel powerless, no matter how hard I tried, I felt really unable to make anything happen. I felt completely defeated.

It took me nearly the whole damn year to accept the powerlessness. I wrestled with myself, with my beliefs, with depression, with my eating disorder and with my heart. I struggled and resisted. I caused myself so much suffering.And then finally I started to see I was learning and growing. That maybe there was something valuable in all that suffering.

And now here I am at 27.

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I didn’t usher in this birthday with quite the same hope, positivity and confidence as I did for 26. I’m still struggling with some of the debris left behind by the storm that was this past year. Things aren’t as easy right now as I’d hoped they’d be. But I do feel hopeful, this time the hope is more modest thats all. I think 26 is still too fresh for me to accurately grasp how much it’s helped me to learn and grow yet. But there are already so many lessons from last year that I hope to share here.

Here’s to 27, my golden birthday, may it be a year filled with acceptance instead of resistance!

Listening to that Nagging Feeling

“I want to move to NYC after high school and write” I told my parents and friends at 17.

“You just watch too much Sex and the City” they told me.

This was the first time I voiced my true interest in writing after having dabbled in writing poetry, having a secret Xanga (really aging myself here…) and falling in love with blog reading.

I left my NYC plans behind when I got accepted to my first choice college, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where they uniquely make you declare your major as a first quarter freshman. I wanted to write, but I didn’t want to write fiction, I also didn’t want to write news….but somehow I chose Journalism as my major. It’s a long and unrelated story but I left Cal Poly after half a quarter and also seemingly left my love for writing there.

Years passed, I started going to therapy and it changed my whole life. I fell in love with the idea of being a therapist. All of my formal studies now focused on Psychology, including the Masters I’m close to finishing now. But as I focused my career in Psychology I still continued to love reading blogs, memoirs, self-help books and essays. And I still wrote; letters that would never be sent, essays that have never been read, poetry that I didn’t even realize was poetry when I wrote it. I wrote as my outlet, for my eyes only.

But off and on over the last decade I’ve felt my gut quietly pushing me to write; to start a blog, to submit something to Thought Catalog or Huffington Post, to put my writing out there. But as usual I didn’t listen to or pay much attention to that nagging in my gut, something I’m notoriously good at ignoring. I wrote things that were intended to be seen, I continued to dabble with the idea of sharing my writing, but something always held me back from actually putting it out there for all of you to read.

 Fear

 

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It took me a whole decade but I finally realized that Fear was the thing holding me back. The word is so small and simple and yet it carries with it so much power.

I’m afraid of a lot of things.

I’m afraid of people not reading my writing. I’m afraid that if people do read my writing they won’t like it. I’m afraid that people will judge me for writing publicly; that they’ll think I’m trying to be something or someone I’m not. I’m afraid of succeeding as much as I’m afraid of failing. I’m afraid of taking a chance and being vulnerable. I’m afraid of admitting to you or to myself that this is something I want, because once I admit it and start trying that is when failure becomes a possibility.

But after sorting through all of these fears I’ve realized that my biggest fear of all is admitting to you the things I shy away from even admitting to myself. Because if I do this, if I write, I know what kind of writing I want to do and what kind of writer I want to be; an honest one. I want to be authentic, raw and vulnerable. I want to write from my heart and tell you truths that I may be afraid to share or face. I want to say the things that people don’t often say in ordinary conversations.

I want to go deep. And that is really scary.

But I’ve been striving to live more from a place of faith and love and less from a place of fear this past year. And this is just one more chance to do that.

So here I go.

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My intentions for myself as I embark on this journey are that I can be kind to myself. I hope I can give myself some grace as I navigate this newness. I hope that I can let this be something that brings joy into my life instead of stress. I hope I don’t take any of it too seriously.

My hope for you is that this is a place where you can feel like you’re less alone, have a laugh sometimes and an “AHA!” moment occasionally.A place that gets you thinking.

Stay tuned friends; I have a feeling this is going to be quite the ride!