Archive for never let your fear decide your fate

Life Lessons: The bottom line

It’s been almost 2 months since things got a little turned upside down. Some days are better than others and I find that I’m more in tune with everything; I feel everything. That couple walking down the street, songs on my iPod, words in a book, inspirational quotes on Pinterest – it’s all real and things easily get stuck in my mind – good or bad. I’m learning to lean into these feelings and to not run and hide.

I still struggle. A lot. And some days I feel absolutely pathetic and useless. Other days I’m surprised by my own laughter. Today, I was comfortably and/or awkwardly floating on that fine line when I stumbled across an article. I don’t know why I clicked, but I did and read about 5 Tell-Tale Signs You Need to Break Up. I quickly scanned and thought I’d wasted my time until I read #5 and as much I would never want to admit it, I do realize I wasn’t getting the love I deserved. I was definitely giving more than I was getting. So here’s their bottom line, for love and for life I think:

Work hard to be the best partner you can be, even if this particular relationship isn’t the right one for you. That way you can always walk away knowing you put in all you could and have no, or as few, regrets as possible.

So this is me slowly walking away (because I’m still learning to let go). No regrets.

2013 Goals: Check in

Well, it’s October and I’m officially 30 days away from my big Asia adventure. I can’t believe how fast September passed, let alone the last 9 months so I thought I’d check in on my 2013 goals. I’ve been tipping away at them quite steadily and making plans to complete the others, but of course I did fall down a little in September.

As the old adage goes, Life happens when you’re busy making plans. So while I was lining things up to experience, life happened…in a big way. The best any of us can do is to find our feet again and to keep on walking, because life doesn’t end when you’re 29 and heart broken.

So while I’m accepting failure of my September goal/adventure, I’m not accepting defeat. I still did lots of great things in September. There was my visit to the MLK Memorial and Roosevelt Island. I got to see Bastille and Imagine Dragons live. And I’ve put my will power and heart to the test of finding my own path again.

Enough of that, onto more adventures! If you’ve been keeping track, I didn’t originally have anything planned for October. I figured something would pop up and as I suspected, it did. I created a NEW DC bucket list and it’s my October adventure to cross off as many things on that list this month. I’ve added a few more items and I’m setting the bar high; but isn’t that the fun of an adventure, you never know quite which direction you’ll take in the end. So here we are, the NEW bucket list:

  • MLK Jr. Memorial
  • Botanical Gardens
  • Theodore Roosevelt Island
  • American History Museum
  • National Arboretum
  • Pick fruit from a local orchard (planned for 10/20)
  • Oktoberfest (any!)

Stay tuned for adventure updates, I’m fairly sure some of these will be crossed off this weekend!

Weekend review: Camping

It seems the last few weeks have been all about making myself busy, crossing things off the list, and preparing for Asia. So when a friend asked if I wanted to go camping this past weekend, I thought it would be something fun and different. Plus, the outdoor toilet situation would certainly prepare me for Asia. 🙂

On Friday, I met my friend Carman in Old Town and we drove out after work to Winchester, VA. It’s not the most breathtaking drive as you do hit the Beltway and part of Dulles toll road, but it was a fun little road trip that mysteriously led us to a winery about an hour from our campsite. Since we were both peckish and love a good wine, we stopped in to Bogati Bodega Winery in Round Hill, VA and of course opted for the tasting and the charcuterie/cheese plate. It was definitely one of those little road trip surprises that I’ll always remember as we sat on their patio listening to a live tenor sax player as we chatted and sipped our wine.

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A little later that night, we finally made it to our campsite and definitely pulled out the s’mores first thing. We couldn’t see much of the view that night, but here’s what we woke up to the next day:

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Fall is definitely on it’s way. After breakfast and organizing ourselves a bit, we went for a small hike around the area and attempted to find the “overlook” which was more on the side of disappointing than breathtaking. In any case, it was exercise for the day! After our hike, I found myself anxious and a bit flustered and it took me about an hour to realize that I was having a hard time relaxing and doing nothing. I guess that’s the thing about always wanting to do more, sometimes it’s hard to allow yourself to do nothing. But finally, I let go and was able to sit still in a chair for more than 5 minutes. The night/weekend was rounded off with some bison burgers, chicken apple sausages, more s’mores, and a few pumpkin flavored beers.

While I can say I love a good shower and a comfy bed, I do also love putting myself in a different environment and being able to find a sense of relaxation.

 

Life: Moments of Happiness

Earlier this year, I read Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project and fell in love with a lot of her great concepts. Not that I was unhappy at the time, but I think you have to be self-aware to really be the best version of yourself. When I picked up her book in January, I also snagged her journal which I’ve been dutifully writing in every day for almost 9 months. It has made all the difference in truly remembering what this year has been about.

I also subscribed to her daily Moment of Happiness newsletter and today I received this:

Perhaps this sounds very simple, but simple things are always the most difficult. In actual life it requires the greatest discipline to be simple, and the acceptance of oneself is the essence of the moral problem and the epitome of a whole outlook upon life.
– C. G. Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul

This past weekend, I’ve really been trying to un-complicate things. To simplify my feelings so I can allow myself to heal. I loved that this quote assured me that just because it’s simplified, doesn’t mean it’s any easier.

But in an effort to take a step back and to find those true moments of happiness, I thought I’d share this photo from Sunday’s walk with Sophie and her human. She was chasing rocks in Sligo Creek (I tried to embed a short video from Instagram, but failed. You can watch it here.)

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This was probably one of our last walks as they prepare to move to Boston on Friday and it was reaffirmed for me that change is exciting. It’s thrilling and invigorating. And this is a simple moment in my own life that brought happiness, having a true friend to confide in and to hold me accountable. And of course, the puppy cuddles from Sophie didn’t hurt either.

So, am I there yet? Not by a long shot, but at least I’m not teetering at the top of the roller coaster anymore. I’ve made progress in acceptance and have a conviction that each day I’ll choose joy and look for those moments of happiness.

DC: MLK Jr. Memorial

I’m a list maker. Lists are what I do, so as part of my trip prep (and prep for whatever comes after) I’ve made a list of all the DC things I keep saying I’ll do but haven’t done yet. I had a small list in my 2013 goals, but I’ve beefed it up a bit because in all honesty, I don’t know plans post-Asia. Here’s where we’re at:

  • MLK Jr. Memorial
  • Botanical Gardens
  • American History Museum
  • Pick fruit from a local orchard

Not that I’ve seen every Smithsonian or visited every landmark, but these are the things I know I’d regret not seeing/doing before I left. So last night, I crossed off the MLK Jr. Memorial. I walked from Metro Center with Sophie and her human to get in a little bit of exercise. We went after rush hour and so we could enjoy the memorial at night (fact: a lot of DC memorials are prettier at night). It was a really beautiful night with just a bit of chill in the air – Fall is definitely almost here!

There were still a few tourists lingering about, but not packed which was really nice too. No one to block your photog skillz, see:

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And no one to stop you from trying to be all artsy with your iPhone…

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And while the memorial was really beautiful and a must-see in DC, the view across the Tidal Basin was just as ‘worth it’.

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DC, you are a charmer.

Life: Muchness

When you’re not sure how you’re going to feel when you wake up, I think the weekends are the hardest. What used to be the best time of the week is now a giant void and you’re left wondering how you’re going to fill the day, not just with activities, but with happiness.

This past weekend, I did manage to fill that giant void and I made it to Monday, but not without the help of friends. Saturday and Sunday were mostly spent creating a blank slate. Not a metaphorical slate, but rather a physical one…in my room, as I painted my once cozy walls back to white (part of the move-out prep). One of my friends offered to help and while I would normally not ask for help, I knew I couldn’t bear to stare at white walls by myself. Not this weekend, anyways. And what was once a daunting task, quickly turned into a bit of refreshing fun with a friend.

It’s not really important that I tell you about painting the walls, but rather that the friend who came over to help is the same friend that told me ‘Not to worry, you’ll find your muchness again.’ I didn’t really know what she meant until she said it was from the 2010 version of Alice in Wonderland. This scene, particularly:

It wasn’t that I’d been without my muchness for the past 3 years, but rather I lost it last week. I have changed inside and there is something missing, but I know I’ll find it again. Hopefully sooner, rather than later.

On Sunday, I asked my friend how she found her muchness again and she simply said, ‘By surrounding myself with friends and family and doing all the things that were really important to me.’

It made sense, but I struggled because I had been doing all the things that were really important. If anything, this was one of my first relationships where I felt like I was truly myself. But maybe my version of finding my muchness isn’t about doing the important things, but rather going back and doing all the things I compromised along the way in my last chapter.

So I’m making a list, of where I might want to take myself. Crossing off all those to-dos I keep on my DC list and starting to think about my next chapter because I’m really proud that I can finally tell you I’m not scared in the sense that I’m sad. I’m the right amount of scared that goes along with a sense of adventure and excitement. Not knowing where I’ll end up, but very aware that I have a lot of dreams to explore and friends to back me up along the way.

So on this particular Monday, I’m going to remember 2 things:

1. Never let my fear decide my fate

2. I will find my muchness again, even if I have to travel around the world.

Life: Speechless

Sometimes change happens so fast, it leaves you speechless…and there are no real words for heartbreak. So I’ll just have to quote The Newsroom right now, because it’s the only thing that makes sense.

The greater fool is someone with the perfect blend of self-delusion and ego to think that he can succeed where others have failed.

I know all the routine words and phrases you say when couples break up. I’ve seen it happen enough times that I’m a pro too. You’ll get through this. You’ll be stronger. Now you can heal. Now you can move on. Focus on you. Work through each day, make a list. And of course something about  finding your real Prince Charming.

But the only words I want to hear are from him to say, I love you, which isn’t an option.

I find that I keep saying, ‘I’m scared’ which is ironic since this year has been about not letting fear define me. Maybe I’ve been a fraud all this time, only strong and fearless because I had a safety net, someone to talk to every day, someone that loved me no matter what. Except now I find that I’m incredibly alone and terrified of every day when I wake up.

But I have no other option than to keep trying. Breathing and waking up every day. Distracting myself with work. Trying to eat more than just cereal or crackers for every meal. Moving forward and focusing on Asia, which in truth, was impeccably timed (without me knowing any better).

An old friend said to me yesterday, “For some reason, the chapters in your life have hard stops. They don’t easily flow and it’s the starting over that makes this hard. Harder than it should be. You’ve had to do it so many times, it’s just not fair.”

And she’s right, it’s like pulling the emergency hand brake and being thrown off your life path. Or maybe back onto your life path. Maybe this is fate’s way of saying, ‘You haven’t done all you’re meant to do. Go back and do what you always promised yourself.’

But right now, I have to focus on today. And tomorrow, I will focus on that day. And maybe I’ll make it to the end of the week and have truly convinced myself that I will be OK. Because I have to believe it to get to a point where smiling doesn’t feel like a job and being happy is something real and not just a lost fantasy.

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