Reality Check

Let me tell you that spending an entire week by yourself is a lot harder than you might think. I legitimately could not have been more wrong with my expectations about what I do during a full week of being alone.

Usually, when I’m alone at home, I feel very motivated, I get a lot of stuff done, and I feel happy doing my me-things. Except this time, I didn’t feel any of that. I felt sad, I felt lonely, I felt drained.

I didn’t really understand everything that I was feeling at first, but it was pretty new to me. I had made all these plans, this huge To Do List that I was so pumped to get started. But then I didn’t want to. I just… didn’t want to.

Ok, it wasn’t like that every single minute of everything single day. The upside was that I currently work 40 hours a week so that kept me pretty busy during the daytime. I would get up at my usual 6:30/7AM, do some meal prep or small chores around the house, eat some cereal and then head to work for the day. We’ve been pretty busy at work too, so time goes by quickly, especially because I love what I do. But then, I get home and I’m tried and I’m hungry, and there’s no one there. I never realized how much I relied on my better half – for everything.

Some people always complain about how their partner isn’t doing this, or isn’t helping with that, and I’m guilty of that too. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and I wish he would help more, or do more than one chore per day. Except I think maybe I was a little blind sighted, because now that he’s not here, I realize how many things he actually does do.

He hugs me, and kisses me, every day.

He comforts me, no matter what.

He makes me smile, and he makes me laugh.

He makes me supper, and he does the dishes.

He does the laundry – even if it’s just the washing part of it.

He loves my kitty, but he hates admitting it.

He watches TV shows I like, but that I know he hates.

He spends time with me every day, because he knows how important that is to me.

And best of all, he is ALWAYS willing to be silly with me!

I can’t believe it took me so long to realize this. But at least now I can be more mindful, and appreciative of all the things I know he does for me. I can’t wait for him to be home – just one more day to go!!

Reflections on life

The sun is going down, but I am going no where.

That is, I will be going no where if I don’t focus on what matters the most, if I don’t put effort and energy into my priorities and my life goals.

The sun is going down. Where am I going?

Up?

I’m not sure. I don’t even know where “up” is. I suppose forward is a better word.

Yes. Forward.

There is no place I would rather be. And perhaps I sometimes wish I was there faster than I should.

Rushing… always rushing. I wonder why that is.

Regardless, I have this feeling. This feeling that won’t go away. This feeling of hope, of anticipation, of elation.

I don’t know what the future holds, but what I do know is that I am on the right path in life, and it will guide me to where I am meant to be.

The more I think about it, the more I realize that I think I believe in fate.

But I also believe in hard work, in patience, and in overcoming life’s obstacles.

Ups and downs. Day in, and day out. Every day of your life.

Isn’t it beautiful?

Everything is as it should be

Yesterday I got upset. Really upset. I made plans to attend a really special event out of town, and I was so excited for Max to come with me and meet some of my friends for the first time -they live in Africa, so it’s not an every day occurrence!

Then, just as I was about to finish work and head home to pack the car, I receive a text.

Turns out I’m working tomorrow.

You wanna know how to hurt my feelings? Make plans with me and then cancel at the last minute. It kills me, every single time. Even when I know it’s going to happen, I can’t avoid the disappointment and heart-sinking feeling. Every. Single. Time.

But as upset as it makes me, I know there is no one to blame. Things happen. Work happens. And the fact is, my significant other works an on-call job, so this is bound to happen anytime of the year. And yet here I am, feeling the exact same way as if it were happening for the first time.

Because there is no one to blame, I can’t help but feel like my emotions are unjustified. Why am I upset? Why can’t I accept that this is our reality, that not everything is going to go according to plan? And worst of all, why do I feel like dumping all of my anger out on the person I love the most?

Apparently, it’s a thing – getting mad at someone you care about because you can’t think rationally about what’s actually bothering you. Or you don’t want to admit it.

It’s called displaced aggression.

For the past little while, I’ve been working on being more conscious about why I feel a certain way, especially when it’s a negative feeling. I try my best to get to the root of the problem, to talk about that, to not assign blame, to listen and understand the other person’s point of view. I am continuously working on becoming the best version of myself that I can be, primarily in regards to my relationships.
I feel like there’s been definitive progress, because just a few years ago, every time I would get upset, I couldn’t figure out how to calm down, how to talk rationally, and most importantly how to fix things. I’m getting to know myself better and becoming aware of what I need/when I need it. Sometimes I need alone time. Sometimes I really need someone’s support. And sometimes the thing that I need most isn’t what my significant other needs, so there’s the whole added aspect of respecting that other people have important needs too, and sometimes those needs to be a priority even when I’m upset.

That was a hard lesson to learn.

And today, I’m reminded of all the hard work I’ve put into myself.

I just finished doing a video of Yoga with Adriene called Practice Peace. I had a hard time concentrating, and I had no cat to cuddle with as I am not home. But as the video went on, I did my best to focus on my breathe, be aware of my how my body is feeling, and respect my body’s limits. The video was almost over when I finally found myself in a good state of mind. At that precise moment, Adriene repeats the mantra of this practice.

Everything is as it should be.

Yesterday, I got upset. Really upset. But today is a new day, and I will learn and grow from every experience, and for that, I am thankful.

Growth

I did a thing today.

Not only did I go to to the gym, but I did a thing – a good thing.

I often find myself thinking about things I should say or do, but then I don’t, because I know what kind of person I am, and I need to start accepting that even though I wish I were the kind of person who said or did certain things, that that’s not a part of who I am – at least not right now. But today was different.

Today, after my gym class at the YMCA, I thought about the young woman in the back row who was struggling to keep up but who stayed for the entirety of the class anyway. I thought to myself, ‘This must be her first time.’ I also thought about my first time, and how much harder it must be for her because I had had a support system to take me to my first class, to explain how things work, and the class I took was a lot less complicated than the one she just walked into. I wanted to urge myself to go up to her and talk to her, reassure her, compliment her on her efforts. But I know myself, and I’m not like that. Except out of nowhere, I suddenly was.

I went to the storage room when class was done to put all my things away. This class requires a lot of equipment so I had to walk there twice. On my second entry into the storage room, I saw her there putting some things away, and before I could even think, my mouth opened.

“Hey, was it your first time attending this class?” I asked

“Yeah…” she said timidly.

“I know how complicated it can seem the first time. But you did a really great job!”

She smiled and thanked me.

I don’t know why, but that made me feel so good about myself, and proud that I had actually been able to step out of my comfort zone and talk to/give encouragement to someone I didn’t even know.

To some people it might not seem like much, but that is the beginning of – or rather the continuation – of growth.

I think I’ve gone and lost myself

I have a great life, don’t get me wrong. I have a wonderful, loving boyfriend whom I am currently living with. I am surrounded by amazing family and friends who are supportive of all the artsy projects I invest myself in. I have a roof over my head, I have a bed in which I can lay, I have a healthy body, and I have the means to take care of this body. I look at this body every day and I never think about it. And I mean really think about it. Do I feel beautiful? Yes! Do I love the body I was given? Yes! Do I feel like I’m taking good care of my body, that I am treating it right? Hell yes! But today I just realized that I don’t know if I recognize myself inside that body.

I used to be unhappy, and it took me a long time to realize why. Hell, I’m still not actually sure why, although I have a good idea. I was settling. I told myself I would never settle for less than what I deserved. But sometimes it’s hard to recognize that you’re settling, that where you are now isn’t where you should be. It’s hard to look at yourself, to look at your life, and answer the question ‘Am I happy?’ Sometimes the lines are all blurry because life happens, and it’s not always rainbows and sunshine. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it is. And it’s so beautiful when moments like that happen. They should be cherished. But there’s always negativity to compensate for the positivity in life. I’m not saying that pessimistically, but rather I’m saying that realistically. For every action, there is an equal opposite reaction. I believe that to be true of happiness and sadness, positive and negative. It’s like yin and yang, when you get right down to it. Except I guess they aren’t equal; not always. Sometimes life is unbalanced, and that can be scary. But it can also be exhilarating.

One question I’ve been asking myself is whether or not – or rather, to what degree – we control our reaction to life’s ups and downs. We have a great array of choices. For example, we can choose to look at things in a positive light. Some people are like that, always seeing the best of every situation. Others, however, will choose to see the negativity of every circumstance and bring that to the forefront. And then there’s the third option of simply not choosing.

My whole life, I’ve thought of myself as a go-getter, as someone who thrives for greatness and nothing less. I am able and capable of accomplishing great things and my hard work and dedication are what drive me to continuously better myself. But what if all I’m doing is simply occupying my time with meaningless things? What if, deep down, I’m keeping busy so that I don’t have to choose? And that thought scares me.

But today is the day that I’m choosing not to be scared. Today is a day of awakening. Today I see myself for who I am. Today I look at my life with eyes wide open and I am aware of everything around me, of all the possibilities and especially of all the opportunities. Today I choose happiness.

Socializing

Isn’t it funny how nobody teaches classes like “How to Socialize?” If we were never taught to socialize, then how did we happen upon it? And why are some people better at it then others?

Ok, well first of all, I am very much aware of the fact that some people are extroverts while others are introverts. But I’ve come to notice that some people, regardless of being extroverted or introverted, are better than others at socializing. Part of me wonders if this comes from experience. For example, some people might be more adept at socializing because they’ve done so more often then other people. But sometimes, that’s not enough.

Being around people is so complex when you really think about it. Every single human being is a very unique individual, with its own personality, emotions, humour, morals, values, opinions and thoughts. Of course, we do without a doubt have similarities and agree upon certain things, and that’s one of the reasons we are inclined to want to socialize with certain people. But that still doesn’t touch the subject of the quality of social skills that a person can obtain.

I think the most important factor that influences the quality of one’s social skills is that person’s confidence. If you don’t doubt yourself, you are more likely to be comfortable not only around other people, but also comfortable interacting with them. These interactions that are so common for most of us can be quite difficult for others who can’t stop thinking about their discomfort, their anxiety, and the stress that comes with not knowing the outcome of any human interaction.

A few days ago, I met a man who’s wife suffers from social anxiety. She was supposed to attend the get together with him, but at the last minute, she didn’t feel comfortable anymore when thinking about putting herself in the set environment of our social gathering. It made me wonder about the process of learning to socialize and how it must be done in very precise steps so as to gain a certain comfort level before moving on to a bigger challenge.
And here I was thinking “Why aren’t I good at socializing?” In that moment, it slipped my mind that there are others who are facing much bigger issues concerning the subject of socializing than just “not being good at it.” I empathized at the thought of what it might be like to struggle every day. I realized that I’m lucky to be at least where I’m at, and that if I think I have trouble socializing with others, then maybe I can work at it too and improve on that to become a better version of myself.

Being alone

Note: By “being alone,” I’m not talking directly about being single, but more so about being with and by yourself.
For the longest time, I was perfectly fine with being alone, just spending time by myself and enjoying doing my alone-hobbies, as I call them. But at that point in my life, I had never been in a long-term relationship, and I didn’t fully understand what it was to share your time and your experiences with one person. That being said, I never felt as though I was unable to have “me time,” at any point in my life, but it definitely hit me hard this past month when I realized I was no longer comfortable just being by myself.

It’s different for everyone, and it can change from day to day. I know that some days, I want to be alone. And then some days, I desperately want to be comforted by the presence of others. I suppose being unemployed is definitely not helping my case, but I started to wonder why I felt this way and how I could look at it differently, change my perspective of being alone.

The first cause that comes to mind when someone mentions not wanting to be alone is loneliness. A lot of people might think that it’s the main reason certain people don’t want to be alone, and in some cases that is true, but I think sometimes it can also be because you’re scared to see who you’ve become. Do you like who you are? Are you able to spend time alone and not criticize yourself? Those are questions I asked myself, and I’m glad that I did because it allowed me to take a step back and think about how I perceive myself.

I have been so fortunate to have grown up in the environment that I did, surrounded by wonderful caring friends and family who have done nothing but support me in being myself. Everybody has shitty days where you don’t feel like you like yourself very much, but generally speaking, I love the person I’ve become. I’m proud of who I am, where I come from. I am comfortable in my own skin, and I accept that I have good qualities and bad qualities.

That being said, I realize that in fact neither of the causes mentioned above apply to me. During a long conversation with a good friend, who is also unemployed, it came to me that the discomfort of being alone might be due to restlessness and feeling unaccomplished. Despite the fact that I do try to make to-do lists and give myself goals every day, it’s not quite as satisfying as having specific tasks and responsibilities like you do when working full time.

On the positive side of things, I think this is making me become more aware of what it’s like to be self-employed. Given the fact that I do want to pursue music as a career, this is probably a really big learning curve for me. I’ve always been good at self-discipline, time management, stress management, etc, however, I’ve only had to do so in a structured environment. Now that I’m “working” completely independently, without specific guidelines and timeframes, it’s more difficult to stay motived and focused on your tasks and goals. Even writing blog posts seems more demanding, and all I do is talk about myself!

And speaking of myself, here is a list of the benefits that I feel I have drawn from being alone/being with myself:

  • Self-reflection
  • Self-awareness
  • Self-care
  • Self-acceptance
  • Learning the value of yourself and of your opinions
  • Appreciation of relationships and interactions

“It’s better to be alone than lonely with someone else.”