Endless Searching

 

My first expansion from my previous post is mostly inspired by a song that came onto my Pandora station not more than five minutes ago. I was absentmindedly doodling in my journal when I heard the chorus very clearly, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I still haven’t found what I’m looking for. For some reason, perhaps because it’s late, perhaps it’s a lack of sleep, or maybe it’s because I’m just feeling emotional, but this just got me. Searching, looking, waiting, constantly in a cycle of unsatisfied wanting. I feel like I am not the only one living in this trap. I live in a generation where most of the people around me have been taught to always keep looking for what’s next. Never are we taught to simply cherish the day that’s in front of us.

From a very young age, I realize I have been surrounded by this notion that I will always be happier or more fulfilled in the future. I was asked as a child what I wanted to be when I grew up, and not only adults, but other children practically laughed in my face when I told them I wanted to be an actor. I couldn’t POSSIBLY find happiness as an actor because that wouldn’t bring me enough “success.” NO, I needed to look for a more suitable job to look forward to in my future. This was my future we were talking about. Already, my future search was shaping how adults were teaching and interacting with me. Instead of seeing the six year-old who loved to play imaginary games and run barefoot in the middle of winter, I was seen by so many as someone who had a future that needed thinking about. I’m not trying to say that anyone robbed me of my childhood, because I really had quite a rich childhood. And I’m also not trying to say that we shouldn’t encourage children to dream and find a spectacular path in life. What I want to highlight is this insatiable need to search for something better in the future that seems to be the mantra of the people.

I am constantly second guessing myself because what if I find a better plain white shirt than the one I just bought? Or what if I am dating the wrong person so I never meet the person who is supposed to really be my significant other? What if I don’t go to that party? Should I take this job? What if a better job comes along? My mother, and most of my friends I’m sure would easily tell you that I am constantly asking “What do you think? I’m doing the right thing, right? This is the right decision, right?” I am never fully at peace with my decisions, because it has been ingrained into me to always be searching or waiting for the next thing.

Like I mentioned before, I’m a junkie for magazines promising happiness if I just do, use, or eat that one thing. If I eat this thing then I will feel great in a couple of weeks. If I use these cream, my skin will be beautiful in just 20 seconds because it worked for some obscure intern in some office. I know that once I get those shirts/pants/shorts/shoes then I’ll totally love my closet. I totally don’t have anything to wear. And I’ll totally feel happy once I have that thing I really need. WHAT? STOP. PAUSE. HELP. I am a serial future worshipper, and I hereby surrender to my wavering happiness and personal balance.

But what if I tried this radical thing and tried to stay planted in the now? What if I made sure to be aware and conscious of my future, but didn’t let it dictate my happiness in this incredibly precious present moment? I am constantly thinking about the next thing, rarely feeling gratitude for what’s happening right in front of my face. My challenge to myself is be more gratuitous to this gift that is the present. To cherish the relationships I have now. To immerse myself in each and every moment of my day. To find joy. To bloom. To find security in not searching.

You are enough.

unnamed-1You are enough. This is my most recent realization I’ve come to during shavasana in my (almost) daily yoga practice. I found a deal for 30 dollars for 30 days of unlimited yoga, and I cannot say enough that it could not have come at a better time. I didn’t really realize how somewhat off track I’d gotten until I found myself in my first shavasana in a long time on a sunny afternoon last week. I have a lot that I need to let go of, a lot that I need to acknowledge, improvements I can make, and things I can find more joy in. Yoga is helping me with all of these wonderful things. I always forget how much more at peace and grounded I feel when I’m practicing yoga— wether it be two times a week or six. Yoga truly does benefit the soul.

In the past week I have come to four realizations that I would like to build upon and hope to understand further as my summer goes on.

  1. Instead of leaning into bullshit magazine and online propaganda for things that will make me “happy,” instead define my own happiness.
  2. Stop being competitive with those around me.
  3. I am 20. I should enjoy being 20.
  4. Trying not to refer to myself in the negative. I am enough.

The first realization is something that I think I really needed to acknowledge in my life. I’m a sucker for “eat this to look like this” or “do this workout to look like that.” I cannot get enough of it. Instead of these things working out for me every time, I set myself up for failure. My body is different from anyone else’s body. My skin is different from anyone else’s skin. My life is different than anyone else’s life. Instead of focusing on what’s working for my best friend or a celeb, I want to be more mindful of what is going to work for me. Finding health and happiness that fits me and my life.

The second is something I’ve thought about time and time again. I am extremely competitive with everyone around me. I am even competitive with people in yoga. Which is really the exact opposite of what yoga means. Instead of pushing myself in order to find inner happiness, I was pushing myself to beat the person next to me. Ultimately robbing myself of almost any and all sense of honest personal fulfillment or achievement.  A little competition is healthy, don’t get me wrong, but a LITTLE is the key word here. Perhaps my first step is to only try competing with myself.

The third one is self explanatory. I want to enjoy the freedom that is being in my early twenties.

I refer about things or parts of me in the negative a lot. I see lumps or bumps that I complain about, instead of seeing all the wonderful things I also have. Instead of seeing my bad skin all the time, maybe I notice my tan or my unique moles. I need to keep reminding myself that I am enough.

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I know that this is all hippy-dippy-yoga-centric, but acknowledging these things has made me feel lighter in my day to day life. I want to really explore these four things over the next couple of months or years and try to grow in each of these areas. Finding and practicing gratitude among other things are what I’m finding is making me feel happy and healthy right now. Writing my thoughts down is another big thing that’s been changing in my life. I was never a big journaler, but lately I’ve been feeling the urge to put my pen to paper. So for now, I will leave these thoughts floating in the universe, and I will enjoy my hot cocoa and the latest Orange Is The New Black.

25 Things To Do Before You’re 25. Period.

Okay so I usually never click on gimmicky article titles like “23 Things To Do Instead of Getting Engaged at 23” or “18 Things Women Shouldn’t Have To Justify.” I usually find them whiny and self-centered, and often full of pointless life advice crap. But the latter article was actually very thoughtful and well written. And the former is well, something that caught my attention for an entirely different reason.

I saw the 23 Things article getting shared over and over again in my newsfeed and twitter feed. After a solid week of seeing it I finally decided to click on it. Just as I expected, it was a self-centered piece focused on being the overgrown child of 26 my generation seems to worship. All my life I’ve heard the shunning of getting married young, and I’ve honestly just never understood it. If you’re getting married to just get married well then that’s wrong whether you’re doing it at 21 or 45. And if you’re getting married to prove something or keep someone then you’re not ready for marriage anyways. I mean, the data supporting not getting married young can be pretty convincing. Everywhere there are articles and statistics about the divorce rates being at an all time high. But has anyone ever tied a correlation between divorce rates and this weird obsession with being the self-empowered individual every type of media is trying to shove down our throats? Because I’m guessing the two PROBABLY go together.

My parents got married when my mom was 20 and my dad was 26. My mom’s parents got married at 18, and I’m not exactly sure when my dad’s parents got married, but I know that it was also on the younger side. And guess what? They’re all still together! Yeah, they’re all lucky that they happened to find their significant other so early on in life, but I think there’s more to it than just that. Our society is obsessed with self- empowerment and doing things to make just “you” happy. Well, I don’t know about anyone else, but living in a world of self-obsessed individuals sounds pretty lame to me. Something that the 23 Things article kept questioning was  how could you get into a relationship with someone else when you don’t even know who you are. Okay, well, I mean I totally understand where this is coming from, but if you’re so set on finding yourself and then finding someone else, what happens when you inevitably grow and change? Instead of being so caught up on this idea of “finding ourselves” shouldn’t we be more concerned with being happy with who we want to be now, and furthermore finding someone who we feel like we can grow with?

If you’re concerned with your serious relationship at 22 because you think you’re never going to find your “true self” well then you’re probably in the wrong relationship. Part of being in a relationship is helping your significant other grow, change, experience, and find meaning. If your significant other isn’t doing that or supporting that then say goodbye, it’s just not worth your time. However, I’m also not saying that you have to find this perfect relationship at 22 and get married right away. If you want to get married at 19 because you honestly think you’ve found the person who’s going to help and support your growth and understanding of self then go for it. If you’re 24 and have just gotten out of the millionth sucky relationship don’t get caught up on the fact that you’re not married, and don’t be bitter about someone younger than you finding their perfect match. Everyone has a different path in life, and everyone “finds themselves” and views how they want their marriage to be differently. So how about instead of 23 things to do before you’re married at 23 or the counter article 24 Things To Do Before You’re Engaged at 24, how about just 25 things to do before you’re 25 regardless of if you do them alone, with a best friend, a family member, and significant other, or with your dog.

1. Laugh everyday

2. Try and smile at a minimum of five strangers when walking down the street (This is one I personally find really challenging)

3. Do something selfish and don’t feel guilty about it

4. Do something selfless and don’t seek praise for it

5. Thank the people in your life more often (When was the last time you actually just said thank you to your mom?)

6. If you don’t have something nice to say don’t say it at all (Another one I struggle with)

7.  Go on a volunteer trip whether it be to the next town over or across the world

8. Spend time with kids (They’re really therapeutic)

9. Throw a real dinner party complete with a home cooked meal and a tablecloth

10. Spend a weekend without your cellphone

11. If you’ve complained about a friend more than 5 times then it’s probably time to say goodbye– even though they’re fun to go out with

12. Keep a notebook by your bed and write a sentence first thing every morning for at least 6 months

13. Tell someone you think is really rad that you think they’re really rad

14. Give yourself a 30 day challenge whether it be yoga, changing your diet, or quitting  smoking

15. Stop beating yourself up if you don’t stick to your challenge, diet, new years resolution, etc. Acknowledge it and then move on

16. Take yourself and a book out to lunch– Don’t just sit there on your phone!

17. Actually commit to giving money to ASPCA, Unicef, or whatever other charity catches your eye

18. Buy a meal for someone who needs it

19. Quit a job if you’re not happy at it

20. Remind the people in your life how much they mean to you and/or how much you love them

21. Actually clean out your closet/desk drawer/under your bed. Donate/recycle/throw out the things you don’t want and make room for the things that are actually important.

22. Sincerely congratulate others on what they see as their own achievements

23. Take pride in your own achievements

24. Stop using youth as an excuse. Either own up to it or don’t do it.

25. Know that you’re an evolving, changing being and be okay with it

Presence

I have a feeling of utter elation.
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I know this feeling isn’t going to last forever, but I’m going to try and hold into it for as long as I possibly can. So many things are contributing to this wonderful feeling, but the main one is presence. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about growing up, and a recurring thought has been the idea of presence. I’ve read all the books and blogs and inspirational quotes about living in the moment whatever, but I never stopped to actually really consider presence.

As I’m growing up and figure out where/who I am in life, I’ve become conscious of certain changes I want to make. I want to worry less. I want to be less hard on myself. I want to enjoy what I eat. I want to smile more. I want to be more giving. I want to remind those around me how much I value them and appreciate them. And I want to be more present. This last one seemed like such a daunting task to me, but I’ve been taking it day by day, and can actually feel myself reaping the benefits. I think back to a couple of weeks ago, and I can’t believe I ever let myself be that stressed or just angry at the world. Each day I’ve let myself indulge in something purely creative like doodling or water coloring or writing, and I can feel myself growing stronger in these areas. It’s a little something I look forward to everyday, and sometimes I’ll find a doodle a couple days later, and it just makes me happy.
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I’ve also tried to be more present in my food. I know that sounds kinda weird but having presence with food makes ALL the difference (at least I’ve found!). I’m trying to be more conscious of what my body tells me it wants or when it’s full/hungry. I’m trying trying to eat only as much as I need, and I’m trying to eat things I know will taste good and make me feel good. Yeah, the pizza place down the street is delicious, but I know I won’t feel as delicious in a couple hours, the next day, or even the next week if I eat there. Yeah, of course there’s always the need for a little naughty indulgence here and there, but I’ve actually found that eating cleaner has made me just want healthier foods naturally. But most importantly, I’ve tried to become more present when actually just eating. I almost always eat at my desk or in my bed watching Netflix, on Buzzfeez, or doing school work. What ends up happening is that I completely miss the experience of eating so I finish unsatisfied and wanting more. This morning I actuality sat at my kitchen table and just ate breakfast. I didn’t do my usual grab-a-bite-between-another-coat-of-mascara routine. No, no, I actually sat down at the table and ate. And you know what? I was so satisfied and felt so nourished after breakfast that my whole day has just been better. I made healthier choices throughout the day, and I feel on too of the world. I had time to enjoy flavors, chew, and just in general think, and it was lovely.

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I know it can be hard to slow down and enjoy each day, but it really is worth it. I want to continue this awareness, and hopefully I’ll uncover more benefits as I go on. Practice presence.

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The Things I’ll Never Say

It’s funny how I now have an outpouring of things I want to say to you now, when just a week ago I couldn’t think of one. These are all the things I would say to you if you didn’t come in a minute after class started and left the second class ended. Listen I don’t get caught up on people very easily, but for some reason you seem to be stuck in my mind. You’re invading my dreams, and I can’t help but sneaking peeks of you in class, or hoping that we’ll bump into each other on campus. I think it’s because I never got the closure I needed, and I have so many things I want to say to you. I go over them, and hear them repeating in my thoughts over and over again. So I’m going to write this post that I’m going to release into the world, and you’re never going to read it, but I hope just by releasing it I will find closure.

The first thing I really want to say is I’m sorry. I really am. I’m sorry things didn’t work out like we both thought that they would. I’m sorry that I seemed to lead you on. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there for you. Sometimes I wonder if maybe it’s just the Pisces in me. I know that I have a hard time to committing to things, but maybe this should be the one I try at. Maybe I gave up too easily. But somehow, somewhere really deep down I know that we’re not meant to be together. I liked you because you like me for something other than my body (which is really hard to find these days). I know that right now I like you because I like the idea of being with someone.

I want to tell you to take yourself seriously. I want to tell you that I believe in you, and that I think your mind is a beautiful thing. I want to tell you that there is no embarrassment in failure and no shame for doing well (especially in school). I would tell you to speak up. You have things to say. You made me think, and you reintroduced me to things. UnknownWhen we parted I told you that maybe later in life we’d meet back up again and our values might align. I mean that. I really, really do. I backed out because I got scared. I got nervous. I have some work I need to do too, and believe me I know it.

I usually never let people influence my life. I put up walls, and I shut people out. There have been people I’ve spent years being friends with that I’ve let go easier than I’ve let you go. I wish I could tell you all of this instead of the last 10 second conversation that we had where all I blurted out was, “Look I’m sorry but I don’t think I can do this,” and you stood there are smiled and told me it was okay. I hope I find you later in life, and I hope I can say to you some of these things then. Look, I know this isn’t going to get very far, but I can at least hope that it’ll find it’s way to you.  tumblr_mnkhal5p0K1r7eftto1_500-3343

Feels

There are many different things fighting for a spot in my mind right now. I’m not sure what to focus on. Lots of things happening. Here’s a beautiful song:

 

Things That Make Me Happy

Song of the Day:

I had my first afternoon off in what feels like literally years. I didn’t have homework to do, I didn’t have a class to go to, and I didn’t have any pressing errands to run. I just got to be at home and relax, and, of course, do tons of baking. The first thing that makes me happy is this big sweater I found at Goodwill a couple of years ago 

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                                                         Because how blissfully comfy does that look? Real comfy. 

 

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Another thing that made me happy today was finally being able to oven roast my own tomatoes 🙂 I’ve been wanting to do this for a pretty long time, but I never had enough time or the energy or resources or whatever. Anyways, I finally found some time to just get it done, and I am so happy I did! This is what they looked like fresh out of the oven, and not only did they look delicious, they also smelled and tasted amazing. You could literally smell sweet, yummy tomatoes throughout my entire apartment. I finally took the nap I’ve been desperately craving, and when I woke up all I could smell were these babies. 

 

When I woke up from my little nap I decided to check BuzzFeed, because I mean, what else would you have me do? I would say big mistake, but I actually ended up making some of the most delicious cupcakes I’ve ever made. I found an old recipe for Wacky Cake which is really just a vegan cake made with white vinegar. I know how weird it sounds to make a sweet cake with vinegar, but for some reason, it makes the cake so moist and absolutely delicious. I was also in a pinch because I realized I didn’t have confectioner’s sugar on hand, which is what you make frosting out of. So I found a little job for Google, and ended up with a recipe for probably the most delicious, creamy, fluffy vanilla frosting in the universe. It also happens to be my friend Charlotte’s birthday today so I just made that my excuse for whipping these up. Of course, I had to test one (or maybe two) to make sure they were good 😉

ImageImageSo while these were baking away, and while my tomatoes were cooling (I hope you didn’t forget about the tomatoes because they are going to make a comeback appearance… wait for it!), I did something else that made me happy. I drank tea out of a mug with cats on it. I had some wonderful healing time where I just sat and drank tea, listened to music, and reflected back on the last couple of days. I made sure I was aware and open to what was going on in my life, and I checked in to make sure I was feeling balanced and happy. I was definitely happy.

 

So back to those tomatoes from earlier, some of them went into a bag to be stored in the fridge, and some of them were chopped up and became part of some of the most delicious popovers known to man. Popovers are so easy to make, and you can change how they taste based on what you put in them. If you don’t know what a popover is, it’s basically a really fluffy pancakemuffin. I don’t really know of a more accurate way to describe them so I hope that helps! Anyways, in these popovers I put all of my favorite things 🙂 Cheddar cheese, basil, and of course those tomatoes!! I would be modest about how good they are, but let’s be real, I’m not a very modest person. They are literally AMAZING. Mmmm I’m trying to keep myself from eating all of them but it’s proving to be a struggle.

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Anyways, I had an absolutely wonderfully relaxing day, and I found I am definitely going to make someone a very lucky husband (hello domestic house wife skills!) Tomorrow I’m going to be posting about crescent moons and what they symbolize in life, so look out for that! I hope everyone is having a beautiful week so far 🙂