Ready is Relative

“Great people do things before they’re ready”. Simple quote, but yesterday morning, during my daily wake-up ritual of opening up social media (don’t judge me), it was the first one I saw, and it hit me hard. It ended up shaping not only the course of my day, but it also impacted my interactions. Maybe there was something in the air, but a lot of my friends and colleagues seemed to have awakened with a restless motivation. You see, the status quo didn’t, and doesn’t seem to working anymore, and being just to be is no longer good enough. So many people expressed that they were living, but aren’t actually alive. The realization that there is more to life hit them just like that quote did for me. Are you feeling it too? Because here’s the thing: that restlessness is a clear sign that you are ready and in need of a change, and that change is imminent.

Train Tracks

Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

Maybe you work in corporate America, and you spend the majority of your days attending mindless meetings. You know, those meetings that aren’t held out of necessity, but more so because you had an empty spot in your calendar? And you end up spending those meetings daydreaming, unfulfilled, disenchanted, disillusioned, and disengaged. You find yourself starting to wonder what the point is, and whether there is truly more than what you wake up and do, day in and day out. You have ideas, you have dreams, but you don’t feel like it’s the right time to go after them. So instead, you sit in your meetings and push the daydreams out of your mind, because you know, security and responsibility and all of that. But of course, when you’re ready, then you’ll make the right move. However, at which point do you decide you’re ready?

Corporate Cat

Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

That’s the issue many struggle with. Everything has to be done at the “right time”. I’ve realized though, that the right time doesn’t really exist. Tomorrow isn’t promised, yet we constantly push everything to that day. Recently, a friend of mine who was jaded in her corporate role, decided to take a chance and follow her passion. She was afraid, even terrified at times, and she needed somewhat of a push. She definitely wasn’t ready, but she decided that not being ready wasn’t a good enough reason anymore. Don’t get me wrong; she does admit it can be difficult at times, but the most important part is that she’s happy, fulfilled, and feeling as if she’s being true to herself and her heart.

Photo Girl

Photo courtesy of gratisography.com

If it scares you, yet thrills you…if it makes you want to curl up and hide away in a safe comfort zone, but the thought of NOT doing anything is more daunting, then chances are, it’s time for you to explore it. Maybe you can’t take the risk, maybe you’re afraid to jump, but if you take that approach, you’ll fail at it 100% of the time. Sometimes, the fear of trying is trumped by the fear of never knowing. Make today the day you try.

Lowered Expectations

Something has been on my mind for the last couple of weeks. It’s been weighing very heavily…so heavily that I haven’t been able to shape my thoughts enough around the subject to begin writing. And it’s not something super serious, but it’s something super important. I get my inspiration for my posts in the most random moments, and if a word is swirling around in my head for more than a couple of days, I know that it’s something I have to get my thoughts down on. My word over the last few weeks? Disappointment.

Deflated Balloon

The older I get, and the more life experiences I have, the more I realize how much faith we need to STOP putting in people. Well, let me rephrase that: maybe not faith, but expectations. I think we have to stop expecting so much from people and their actions. This isn’t a bitter or contrite post; quite the contrary. It’s more so one of my epiphany moments. I realized that I was expecting so much from imperfect people – imperfect people like myself. Even when I didn’t know what I wanted or how I felt, I was still expecting others to know what they wanted and how they felt. And I understand now that those expectations are a heavy load for anyone to carry around.

Laundry

Just because you would behave a certain way in a given situation, doesn’t necessarily mean that someone else will do the same. We all have that inherent “me me me” complex of assuming that our way is always the right way, and we expect others to do things the way we want them to. We tend to have very limited tolerance of accepting anything less than what we want, especially when we’re emotionally immature. I have a secret though, one that I’ve learned throughout the years: it’s really not about you.

Bear Slippers

Once you really let that statement and mindset resonate with you, you’ll stop putting so much effort into trying to change others into your mini-clone. You’ll begin to learn to respect their thoughts and feelings and views, and you’ll start meeting them where they are, instead of where you think they should be. Most importantly, you won’t get hurt so easily, because you’re not creating unrealistic assumptions surrounding your interactions with them. It is such a freeing experience, to accept others for who they uniquely are. And the moment you begin lowering your expectations, that’s the moment you lower the chances of enduring heartbreak and disappointment.

Turn Pipe Dreams Into Reality

Every once in a while, we find ourselves lost, confused…feeling out of place. We look in the mirror, and all we feel is disdain and displeasure with the image reflected back at us. We feel insecure, unloved, depressed – every negative emotion and feeling available. And some days, it’s seemingly impossible. We’ll never find true love (for the first time or again), we won’t get that promotion, our dreams won’t ever come to fruition – or so it all seems. In short, we feel trapped and despondent, slaves to stagnancy.

Bunny Suit

It’s so easy to stay stuck in that place, believing that happiness and joy is just a pipe dream being sold by some shady dealer. Those feelings of despair lead to quiet discontent and complacency, making us almost immobile to change and progress. The key to moving past this is understanding that nothing is permanent, and realizing that the only thing keeping your situation the same is you.

Hockey Players

Have you ever gone into a restaurant, retail store, government agency – anywhere – and, instead of receiving a smile and good service, you were met with a negative attitude and annoyance? And, if you’re like me, the first thing you thought was, “Well, if you don’t like your job, why don’t you find a new one!”. Like, how could anyone be THAT unhappy, yet still hold on to something they hate? When you give in to the negative side of being at a standstill, you might as well be that disgruntled employee.

Pug

I know it’s not easy to just magically change a situation, and this is definitely not a “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” soliloquy. And maybe you can’t change your current situation immediately, or even the next week. However, what you can control is how you view it and handle it. You can give in to the “woe is me” mentality, or, you can start making a concerted effort to focus on the positive, and making those plans to propel yourself forward. Maybe that means loving yourself more; maybe it means getting more education, or putting yourself in a place outside of your comfort zone. Whatever it is though, you need to start it now. Not tomorrow, not next week, not for the new year, but NOW. Everyone deserves joy and purpose – start claiming yours.

Reflections

Peace

Today, I’ve taken the time to reflect on what has occurred in my life over the past 365 days (and I urge you all to take a few moments between the partying to do the same). This past year has put me through many tests, of my resiliency, my loyalty, and my heart. I’ve learned so much about myself and what I am capable of (physically, emotionally, and mentally), as well as some VERY hard lessons in patience and faith. I’ve never been one to make resolutions (this could have something to do with my resistance to commitment, I suppose); I’ve just always resolved to be a better me. And that is a daily goal for me, not just a yearly one, or one I recite every December 31st.

In retrospect, there are so many things I could have done and handled differently, but you can’t really get back up if you’ve never fallen. As a result, I’m always thankful for the falls that come complete with cuts and bruises, and the scars to prove they actually happened. 2013 has been so much about change for me, and I’ve squashed a lot of fear and stepped out in faith in order to grow. I close this chapter with the hopes of a brighter and even more exciting one in 2014, and I pray for blessings and strength for myself AND the ones I love. Challenge yourself this year, but always strive to make every year your best year ever. Have a wonderful and safe New Year everyone!

Me!

This Mortal Life

I am heartbroken over the passing of Paul Walker. Did I know him? No, not personally, of course. But many of us get to “know” celebrities by the moments we share with them in movies, from photos, from their work in the community. Many of us begin to think of these celebrities as our friends and family, so their untimely deaths have a deep impact on us. For others, though, I think it conveys something deeper, some aspect of ourselves that we have to examine.

Direction

It doesn’t just mean we won’t see our favorite star on the big screen again, in something new. It’s so much bigger than that. It sharply reminds us of our own mortality, and that can be scary. It causes us to take a step back and examine our lot in life, our paths, to see if we’re really where we want to be. It makes us hold on to that loved one just a little bit longer, makes our kisses last a second more than usual, makes us bite our tongues instead of harshly rebuking our partner with venomous, hurtful words. Essentially, it reminds us that we only have this one life, this one chance to live fully, to give our all in a positive way.

Live with Purpose

Today, you have to ask yourself: what can I do to live life fully? If tomorrow wasn’t a guarantee (which it is undoubtedly not), what would you do differently? How would that change your outlook and game plan for the day? I challenge you all to love yourselves enough to be the best you possible, to live in the present and enjoy every moment of it. That isn’t to say that you should live recklessly, but you should live with intention. Leave the fluff behind and focus on what is important, what helps you grown and learn and love…what helps you BE. May all of those who didn’t have the opportunity to wake up today rest in peace, and may you all take that as your cue to live a life of peace and purpose.

Paul Walker

When in Rome…

As many of you know (or previously read, hopefully!), I recently moved out of the state that I was born in, raised in, and pretty much where I thought I would retire in. I haven’t had time to post, because of my type-A personality to make sure everything in our new home was situated in, I don’t know, a week. Needless to say, it’s been a pretty stressful time. I woke up yesterday morning, trying to determine if it’s all been worth it. I’m kind of a results-now type of person, you know? So far, the negatives have far outweighed the positives, but I always try to turn every negative into a learning opportunity, regardless of how much I seem to complain about it. Verbalizing how I feel is just my way of trying to figure out how to deal with whatever issue I’m stressing over. Of course, I love to share all of my learning with you, and I’ve narrowed my teaching moment to just five things I’ve experienced and am learning about myself and life.

1. Every DMV sucks, no matter what state it’s in.

Atilla the DMV Employee

No like, seriously. When you get there, and take a number, and they call in in about ten minutes, you think you’re all set. You get excited. You can’t wait to brag to people how quickly you got in and out of the DMV. That is, until you get to the counter, and they tell you they just called you up to tell you that you have to wait. Or you need something additional. Or they just hate you.

2. Basements are actually more useful than you realize. 

Basement

In the northeast, everyone has a basement. Even apartment buildings have basements. You move down south, into a house or apartment that’s bigger than your current home, and you’re like, yeah, I got it made. Look at all this space, and all this money I’m saving! And then you get there, and realize that your basement back home, which was the size of your entire living space back home, had stuff in it. And now you have nowhere to put said stuff.

3. If you need it, it’s probably still packed away in a mis-marked box. Under several other boxes. In storage. 

Moving Boxes

I’ve only been here about a month, and I’m already sick of not being able to find stuff I need. We had the privilege of having our things packed by “professional” movers. They packed stuff, labeled it, and then sealed it up. Problem was, they labeled everything in my house as “kitchen/pots and pans”. Guess what 85% of the stuff in those boxes AREN’T? Yeah.

4. Don’t depend on your phone’s GPS feature. 

Droid GPS

It’s a new place, you’ve never driven in it before, and you probably don’t have a mount for your GPS. If you’re like me, you’re holding the wheel with one hand while you’re holding your phone with the other (because someone is too cheap to get a dashboard mount). Hey, did you know that was dangerous? And did you know that your phone can frequently lose the GPS signal, and send you turning into something that’s not even an exit? Go get a Tom-Tom. 

5. You’re not the only non-native out here. 

The New Kid

I’m your typical New Englander that doesn’t like to make small talk with strangers, for the most part. However, since I’ve moved here, I’ve become a regular old Chatty Cathy. I talk to the man at the small bakery, the cashier at the Publix, and the barista at the local cafe about how new I am here (hopefully all of this over sharing won’t cause someone to follow me home). What I’ve learned though is that practically no one that lives here is actually from here, so don’t be so nervous. Kind of gives it that “we’re all in this together” feeling. Until you cut me off on the highway.

The Obligatory New Year’s Post

Well, this is it folks. 2012 has come to a close, and thankfully, we’re all still here. For those of you who claimed 2012 as your year and have no clear progress to back that up, well, sucks for you. Please don’t claim 2013 until you get to the end of it, ‘k? Right now, most of you have made a list of goals for the year that you’ll either be too lazy to commit to, or you’ll start them for about a week and bow out with no results. Either you’ll be too vague when you make the goals, or too lofty with them. Your best bet if you want to feel somewhat accomplished by year-end? BE SPECIFIC.

But I’m going to make it easy for you. Maybe you don’t know what you want to do; you just want to do something. To help you out, I’ve compiled this short list of five things you can do this year, that you can look back on and feel proud that they’ve been checked off your list.

1) Give back.

This is an easy one. There are so many different ways you can do this, whether it’s by actually getting involved in your community, or writing a check. Not sure where to start? Check out Do Something, a site completely devoted to helping you figure out what to do. If writing a check is more your speed, the United Way is another site that makes it simple for you to click a button and have a tax write-off for the year.

Gandhi

2) Learn something. 

Something, anything. Remember back in the day, when you used to actually keep information in your brain, and not your smartphone? You can still relive a little bit of the past by learning something completely new, by picking up a book, or delving a little deeper into a topic you’ve had some interest in. Imagine how envious your friends will be when you offer up information you didn’t have to consult Google for.

Books

3) Get physical. 

Every year, you all swear that you’ll be more fit, get that beach body by March, and go to the gym in droves for two weeks. And then it gets too cold. And then you don’t want to get up early or be out too late. And then you get sick and decide to never exercise again. Excuses, excuses, excuses. You have no problem setting aside time for happy hour or Love and Hip-Hop, but exercise? Who has time for that? This year, why don’t you actually set aside 20 minutes at a minimum, 3x a week, to get more fit? Sure, it’s not much, but it’s a start. And everyone knows that the only way to do something is to start it. One of my favorite sites for workouts is BodyRock. It’s got a ton of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts that take about 20 minutes. So no excuses!

Weights

4) Get connected.

No, really connected. I love social media as much as the next person (obviously, since I’m a blogger), but it’s no substitute for real-life human contact. Instead of relying on Facebook and Twitter to find out how your friends and family are doing, why don’t you just (gasp!) pick up the phone? Most of us have become so averse to talking on the phone, but it’s one way to feel like you still know someone. Social media isn’t real connecting, especially since most people only post the good stuff. For a week, disable your social media apps, or ignore them. Spend that time visiting friends, or phoning them. It’ll be weird at first, and if it doesn’t work, at least you tried!

Pick up the damn phone.

Pick up the damn phone.

5) Do something new. 

There’s a great video I watched the other day, where the narrator poses the question, “What would you do if money were no object?”. It kind of made me stop and evaluate the things that I do all day, and whether or not they were fulfilling. Most of us talk about the things we would do if we were rich, but most of those things don’t require millions. Some just require time, and ingenuity. You want to travel? Start saving! You want to be an artist? Take a class at a community college. As cliché as this is, life really is too short to be doing things you hate. Find a way to start something you’ve always wanted to do. It’s not too hard to use Google to find things like free or inexpensive courses, or using Living Social and Groupon for those getaway deals. You’ve got an entire year to make it happen.

It's that easy.

Making changes in your life is really not as hard as we make it seem. And if this post didn’t make you want to get your arse up and do something, maybe this great piece by David Wong will inspire you. Maybe you don’t need a jolt, maybe you have this life thing all figured out. If that’s you, please share you words of wisdom, or just let me know what specific things you’re resolving to do for the coming year. A friend of mine re-posted a good idea on Instagram: Start the year with an empty jar and fill it with notes about good things that happen, so you can read them at the end of the year. I say, fill it with those things you’ve accomplished, so you’ll feel compelled to outdo them in the next year.  As always, thanks for reading, and have a happy and safe New Year!

Multi-Racial Misfit

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.