Sunday, June 26, 2011

What Relaxation feels like...I think.

I'm helping my parents out this week while they are out of town on business/vacation. Normally when I'm at my parents house, I'm tensely waiting to go back home for whatever work is waiting for me. But this time, I think I'm doing what most would call "relaxing." Here's how I know: 

*I'm not annoyed whatsoever by the dog waking me up by 7:30am. When he wants to hang out in the yard for awhile, I'm happy to hang out with him. And any time he comes to me, I immediately tend to his needs. All of this sounds normal, but before now I was always in a hurry with him and always made him wait for me to finish whatever I was doing. 

*My girlfriends came over yesterday. We sat outside all afternoon with the dog. I had no concept of what time it was, and I was perfectly happy to just go with the flow. When we were hungry, we ate. I had crab legs for the first time (YUM). We went for a drink last night to one of my favorite college bars and were happy to call it a night by midnight. Again, I didn't even bother worrying what time it was, or what time the dog woke me up this morning.

*I'm taking care of things around my parents house that I typically would roll my eyes at or do only because they wanted me to. Perhaps it's because as an adult, you lose the 'tude with the parents. But I think it also has to do with the fact that I currently don't feel like people are asking the world of me during the week, so doing things around my parents house doesn't phase me. And it gives me breaks between readings and Gilmore Girls episodes. 

*I think I just now realized how much work my parents have done with their yard. By walking the yard with the dog, I see they've done a ton of landscaping, put in a beautiful patio, and have potted plants everywhere that make it feel like an outdoor sanctuary. Mind you, I've been to parents house in the last couple of months when all of this was completed. Obviously my brain was distracted. 

*Lastly, I don't feel bad taking my time to get things done. Cleaning, cooking, visiting, walking the dog, reading outside: no time constraints. I don't feel bad for not checking the time every so often because right now it doesn't matter. It's kind of like vacation, except for me I currently don't have a job to go back home to, which makes me relax for real. Honestly, I'm not so heartbroken about it. 

I was a little afraid that being alone for so many days with the dog would drive me a little crazy. Not that I don't check in with the BF each day, or text with people, but just the idea of being alone in my parents house with no cable was kind of nerve-wracking. Now that I'm here (and have activities planned each day anyway) I'm using my quiet time to listen to what I really want in my next venture. And I think getting away from my Now Home to my Then Home is a great way to check-in with myself and get away from the craziness of the city we live in. I never thought I'd appreciate the quietness, the woods, and the fresh air at Mom & Dad's the way I do right now. Funny how that works...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Leaps of Faith

We were watching an old episode of How I Met Your Mother. At the end, I turned to Mr. L and said, "I think this was really good that I watched this when I did." He just nodded, as he does when he's not really sure what I'm getting at, but wants to proceed with caution given my emotional roller coasters over the last couple of weeks.

This particular episode features the main character's friends telling him that even though he thinks he should be pursuing one career, maybe he's running into roadblocks for a reason. We're taught from a young age that walls are built to break through. What we're not taught is what to do when there's a wall and also a small window of opportunity open right next to it. Do we keep breaking through these walls and ignore the windows? If we're told we're good at something, or 'should' do something, we think that's our option. I have to become the best "insert occupation here" I can no matter what - even if everything and everyone is saying no. I know we all run into bumps in the road. But do we continue down the same path even when there are arrows pointing us in a different direction? A direction we hadn't considered before, maybe out of fear of the unknown? 

The moral of this story is that life isn't planned. As much as I like to plan ahead, there comes a point when you say 'fine. Life, you tell me where to go from here.' We shouldn't stop being proactive in our lives, but we should start listening to the world when it tries to help us along. Instead of fighting it, maybe we should just take the leap and look forward to a new adventure we didn't think we could pursue in the first place. 

Enjoy the clip - for some reason the writing at the end is backwards, but it doesn't take away from anything.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Blast from the Past

 I was poking through another blog I've contributed to in the past - some of you may remember "Just a little thing called life." Me and two of my best ladies started it one day with the idea that maybe we'd turn it into a book one day for other 20-somethings to learn from our thoughts/mistakes/successes/etc. Well, you'll see that the last post was January 2010 - one of us is blogging up a storm on her own, I've been taking my own path through life that left writing on the back-burner, and the other one had a baby last year. But sometimes it's nice to go back and see what your thoughts were years ago - which is how I stumbled upon this entry I posted right before I moved back to the Midwest almost 2 years ago. While some things in my life have changed, my overall thought process has not. And I think this is a great reminder for myself and others that happiness is the ultimate goal and we shouldn't be afraid of it. 

From July 13, 2009:

What happens when you realize you thought you had it figured out, but actually have no clue?

My goal after graduation was to work for a non-profit because you learn how to do everything. You have to work really hard to get results and typically others in the non-profit world also work really hard.

I've found all of these things to be true. But it's not enough. So, where do I go from here?

As 20-somethings, we are goal-oriented from the day we are born. All we are told is that we should finish school and work toward a great career that will provide security and insurance. Hopefully, you love what you do, but the biggest thing is to make sure you're taken care of. I have all these things, and my job is fine, but I'm getting to the point where my job is simply paying my bills. As a non-profit employee, I think it's important to want to give 110% every day to ensure the success of your programs. Not even a year in and I'm already tired of giving my 110%. To be honest, I care a little less every day about my job. I still work hard, but it's because I'm supposed to, not because I want to. Is this what I spent my whole life working toward?

And what happens now that I realize this? Do I just simply quit? Do I look for another job, even though I haven't even been there a year? Or, do I pursue what really makes me happy at the expense of losing some of my current security? Would that really be a bad thing?

My fellow 20-somethings, I hope we are all brave enough to take a chance on our lives and strive for happiness, even if it goes against the status quo.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Untying the Knots

Yesterday was my massage day. I haven't had a massage in years, but Mr. L treated me for my birthday and I couldn't think of a better time to use it.

My job was pretty stressful most of the time - always number-crunching, always finding new leads, always have to be on top of your game. I basically didn't sleep on Sunday nights in anticipation of the upcoming week (and probably dreading 7am meetings every Monday). So when the massage therapist asked if there was anything in particular I wanted her to work on, I told her that I was sure I was carrying a lot of stress in my back. And boy was I right.

Did you know that in between your shoulder blades you can acquire the biggest knots ever? I didn't. It was painful, but the kind of pain you have to get through to get some relief.

As I walked home, feeling noodle-like and completely relaxed, I couldn't help but think that the tension she worked out of my back has probably been building for months. I know I haven't been taking care of my body like I should, especially in the last 8-9 weeks. Mr. L and I were good about workouts after the first of the year, but once March hit, things shifted and I became more focused on my stressful job. That means no yoga, no jogging, basically nothing except the occasional walk in the last couple of months.

I'm not here to blame my job for my knotted back. But I think I've realized that if a job, relationship, commute, overall schedule is a constant stressful situation, is it really worth it? Obviously you have to make time for yourself, whether it's a quiet moment in the morning while you drink your coffee, or hitting the gym for a yoga class a few days a week. But when other factors in your life don't let up for months at a time and end up distracting you from taking care of yourself, sometimes those other factors have to change so you can lead the life you want. My newly-acquired time off is the reminder I needed to realize that I'm in charge of the amount of stress I have in my life. And taking time for myself isn't a crime - in fact, doing things I enjoy should be a daily requirement.

Monday, June 13, 2011

awake is the new sleep, so Wake Up.

I'm newly unemployed. 6 days in. 

I won't go into details here, mostly because it's not a great feeling to talk about and I don't like to air my dirty laundry on the internet (unless someone REALLY deserves it...well, no, I still wouldn't put it on the internet). 

I will tell you that I've been on a search for the next thing - whether it's a new job or education I've yet to determine. Now that I don't have a job tying up my days, when I'm not feeling sorry for myself (usually the morning, when everyone else is getting ready to serve a purpose for society that day) I'm allowing myself to take some time to figure out what's important to me. 

After college, we hear a lot about a "5 year plan". Some go as far to create a 10-year plan, but for most the 5-year looks a little something like: get job - maybe get married - stay with company to get promoted - buy house with new promotion money - have kids (if applicable). You get the picture. Everyone's is different, but very similar in the career department. 

So what happens when you bounce around careers and nothing happens? Maybe not nothing, but you feel like you're not making any headway? I'm 3 years in to my 5 year plan and I've yet to come close to any type of promotion, let alone save enough to get a house in the next couple of years. What happens when you realize that the path you've been on (or paths) has you led you to....nowhere?

I have some things in the works, but nothing definite. In fact, this is the first time since college I feel like I don't have a plan. And I'm relieved. Is it stressful being unemployed? The short answer is Yes. But here is my to-do list for the next couple of weeks: 
Get a massage. 
Get hair done. 
A couple of meetings for potential job leads. 
Write when I want. 
Indiana for a few days. 
Walk the city to learn the neighborhoods. 
And of course, apply for jobs. 

I have rent money in the bank for next month, and I'm working on some babysitting gigs to hold me over for a little while. But I think focusing on the things that make me happy is also important. Don't get me wrong, my confidence is at an all-time low any given day. The recovery process will take some time, but sometimes we just need to allow ourselves to dive in and rediscover who we really are. I'm seizing this wake-up call as the opportunity I needed to find me again. 

This post's title is a Ben Lee song called "Whatever it Is."