Sunday, November 13, 2011

Perpetual Countdown

I haven't posted in quite a while, but I have had some things on my mind and this seemed like a good outlet.

I was posting on twitter today counting down the days until I am able to see my boyfriend again, and I realized that I spend a lot of my time and effort counting things down. I've had this recurring feeling lately that I am always waiting for the next thing; I'm living for the next weekend, the next time I get to see my boyfriend, family, or friends. It is difficult to just live in the moment without constantly thinking of my next countdown "goal". As much as I try to ignore these feelings, I cannot seem to simply be 100% content with my current situation. I don't want to live just weekend to weekend, waiting for when I get to see the important people in my life. How does one relax and enjoy the status quo?

My mom once told me about a friend of hers that had moved around quite a bit in her life. She asked her how she did it - how she was able to adapt to moving around after just a year or two living in one place. The answer was that she just made friends and invested effort in those friendships, even though she knew she would not be there for a long duration. I have tried to remind myself of her outlook on life when I get in a rut where I'm at. I need to be able to be happy with the way things are before I can move on to the future. This isn't easy in any way, but I am working on concentrating on the here and now. If I don't, I will miss out on this entire period of my life without even realizing it, and I know I will regret it later in life.

So, even though today I am counting down 10 days until Thanksgiving break....I will try to concern myself more with focusing on doing well at work this week, spending time with my local friends, and keeping up with my training regimen. These are the day-to-day things that I could miss out on if I don't take the time to stop and think.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Lifting a Weight off my Shoulders

A little over five years ago someone told me that I was never going to suceed at achieving my dream. She told me that I was not cut out for hospitality, the industry that I had longed to be a part of since I was in the sixth grade. She said that I didn't have any people skills or organizational skills, and that perhaps I should consider another path in life. She told me in no uncertain terms that I had failed. This came from an adult that I should have been able to trust; someone from within what I then considered my church community. A church community that was nurturing during some of my life - and then failed me for many other times. She was someone whose job was specifically to work with children and teens. Her hurtful words will probably haunt me forever. I was devastated.

I had just completed arranging a service event for our youth group, and event that I had also arranged for the previous years. My most favorite reverend had left the church the year before, and I was hurting. Attendance was down, for one reason or another, and on top of that, I didn't have the support of this particular reverend behind me. I never quite connected with the kids in my youth group, and yet I found myself driven to take a leadership role for this event, because world hunger was such an important issue to me. Even with these difficulties, I saw the event as a success when I had reached at least a few teens and shown them the severity of the cause. This was something that did not seem to matter to the individual that [at the time] crushed my dreams.

As a fragile high school senior, already housing many major insecurities about friends and self-worth, her words hit me like a ton of bricks. I remember my hands beginning to physically shake as I realized what she was saying. Being the poised young woman that I was, I waited to hear her out and left as politely as I could. I walked unsteadily to my car in the church parking lot and sat for about an hour, feeling that I was unable to drive. I was imobilized, and this wouldn't be the first time I experienced the feeling of not being able to move. I remember calling my mom, who has always been my best friend, and trying to relay to her what happened - probably not making much sense. It was such a bizarre situation, that couldn't possibly have been expected by anyone. I felt betrayed by this person, by the church, and by God. How can someone associated with what is supposed to be an encouraging entity be so discouraging?

It is no secret that following this instance I began distancing myself from the church - some unconsiously, but some very consiously. I began to question my life's plan. Even though deep down I knew in my heart that I shouldn't let her words affect me, they did. My dad thought about writing a letter to her or to the church to discuss what happened. He never wrote the letter. Sometimes I wish he did. In a way I want her to realize how much of an effect she had on me. As I have matured over the years, I have tried to realize that she probably did not even recognize that what she was saying was hurtful. I truly hope that she has not had this great of a negative impact on any other child or teenager's life. However, writing the letter would have probably stirred up more church political drama than I was up for, and the church has enough of that on its own. I still have not found my way back to the church community.

The purpose of writing this post is not to whine or complain about my past, or to excuse any of my insecurities over the years. Instead, I want to show this as a true example of the strength words can have - either good or bad. To some reading this, it may seem that I have amplified the entire occurance, or that it shouldn't have been that big of a deal. I know how my 17-year-old self felt as she began speaking, and that reaction was very real. It is telling to me that almost every time I had begun falling into depression during college, this instance came to mind. It haunts me still sometimes to this day. I have gone back and forth between wondering if she was right and trying to prove her wrong. In reality, though, neither of those options will help me to overcome this. Both options give her the power to affect my life - power that I should harness for myself. The best way to overcome is simply for me to live my life the way I want to live it. I can't help but feel some slight vindication with all of my success in this industry that "I would never succeed in", even this early in my life, but I cannot take the same attitude that she did by trying to put her down. I have to be happy on my own; and I am.

I will always wonder why she said the things she said.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Settled In & Feeling At Home

I haven't written a blog post in a while. I honestly started this blog as an outlet for thoughts, and to give me something to do when I still hadn't filled up my new life in this new place. So, I truly see the fact that I haven't needed to post in a while a good thing - it means that I have really started to settle into my new home. I am finding that I have reached a great accomplishment over the past year. I've moved to a new city, got my own apartment, started a new job (twice), made new friends, joined a new gym, continued a long distance relationship, and kept up many great friendships from high school and college. I've watched myself change significantly since graduating college. Four years ago, I never would have thought it would be possible for me to essentially start all over again in a new place. Making friends has never been my strongest skill. It has taken me most of my first year here to establish new friendships, but the ones I have formed are proving to be wonderful. Although I love my friends from college, my sorority sisters, and my close friends from high school, it was so important for me to find friends here that I can share my day-to-day life with. As I move forward in life, I want to just continue building on my base of friendships. Who knows how long I will stay here, but I now feel confident that no matter how long (or short) I am here, I will be able to be happy.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Time!!!

Since it's Christmas time and all, I've been listening to Christmas carols basically nonstop (at work on the radio online, in the car, at home with my 4-ft Christmas tree lit up). I've realized something very interesting when I listen to Christmas carols. From playing viola in orchestras, viola groups, and string trios (shoutout to the Lylac String Trio!) I've always played Christmas songs. Playing viola means almost definitively playing the harmony in a song.

I noticed that in listening to Christmas carols, I am unusually aware of the harmony that plays in what others might just think of as the "background". I can recognize the parts that I used to play in each song, and I almost find myself paying more attention to those parts rather than the melody itself. The layers are much more apparent for me, having experienced them first hand. I feel that I am able to appreciate the complexity of the songs more so than someone just listening on the surface. This is something that I am thankful for. My years playing music are certainly a blessing in my life, and I like to see that I am still seeing the benefits of that hard work.

I hope that the next time you listen to a Christmas carol you will take the time to appreciate the many layers that make up these songs that we know and love. I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Last Tenth of a Mile

I ran my first 5k in a long time last Saturday. I had been wanting to run a race for a while - the last 5k I ran, I injured my foot 2 weeks before, so I was really only able to run the first 2 miles at any sort of good pace. I've been trying to run at least a couple of times a week, in addition to my regular workouts. Sometimes if I'm in the zone I'll run three miles straight; sometimes I'll run some, walk some, jog some. It just depends on the day. Needless to say, I was still a little nervous Saturday morning - so much so that I woke up at 2am and started to get ready for the race, only to realize that it was 2am...

I got to the race site at about 7:30am. It was a fairly small crowd: probably only a couple hundred people there, and only some of those were actually running. (The event also had a 5k walk and a couple of other "just for fun" events.) Being a pretty small event, the chips only counted your time crossing the finish line, so to get an accurate count you had to have started right at the start line (written in chalk). You could tell who the serious runners were - the guy with his high tech gear and gps timer, stretching on the side, and the ladies jogging around the parking lot to warm up. I did my stretches and walked a couple of laps by the start of the race, and started to get pumped up.

When the race started and I heard the gunshot, I suddenly started to get really nervous, but all of a sudden I was running! For the first minute or so I had this anxious feeling in my stomach that I was going to wimp out and quit running. After what seemed like the longest mile ever, I saw the sign that said "1 mile". Without a watch or timer, I had no idea what my time was like, so I just kept going. The terrain kept changing - road, dirt, gravel, through the woods - and it took a lot more concentration than my usual one mile loops around the pond on the bike path. I started to get a little tired, but I knew I would be mad at myself if I stopped halfway through. Seeing the families stationed around the course for motivation really did help! The other thing keeping me going was watching the two sets of dads and kids a little bit ahead of me. If they could do it, I certainly could!

Finally nearing the end, I saw the 3 mile sign. I was already planning to sprint the last 0.1 mile, and it felt awesome. When I saw the finish, I honestly felt like I was floating across the path. Although initially I wasn't thrilled with my time, I realized that I still hit a personal best - and the biggest accomplishment for me was knowing that I didn't give up. There were a lot of excuses I could have given for not even showing up: I hadn't preregistered, I was going by myself, I had just finished a long week at work, etc. But I am SO glad that I took the leap to go. It has given me the motivation to continue running, and has set the bar for me for future races. There is no feeling like the accomplishment of completing a race. The most surprising thing about this race was that I actually placed first in my age division, which I didn't find out until looking at the results online today! Even though it was a small race, that is a huge accomplishment for me. I would have been happy regardless, but that just goes to show you what can happen if you just go out and do something! You never know what might happen!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Good Old Friends

It is really nice to know that some friendships really are deep enough to endure one person moving away. Having been that person that moved away myself, it was always a concern of mine that I would inevitably lose some of those friends and acquaintances that I had worked so hard to nurture during college. These past few weeks have reminded me that there are those fantastic friendships where you can be apart for a long time, and when you are together again it is as if nothing has changed. You still have that strong connection that allows you to talk and laugh the same as you would before. The great thing about these friendships is also that you can keep that connection while also being able to adapt to the changes in either person's life. It is not as though you revert back to the person you were maybe a year or two ago, but you are able to keep up that friendship with your own growing life and personality.

This post has the potential to sound really sappy, but I obviously don't really care. Friendships have been so incredibly important for me, and I enjoy knowing that I really don't have to start completely over every time I move to a new place. I would like to think of it as adding to my friend base and life experiences instead of starting back at square one and wiping away everything from the past. Life builds upon itself, and that is what makes us all unique and wonderful.

Make it a great week!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Forget About Stress

It's amazing what can happen when you decide not to be stressed! For the past six months, ever since I moved to a new city, I've had this lingering feeling of stress. I recently read something that suggested forgetting about the word "stress". Instead of saying that something is "stressful", label it as "challenging" or another fitting adjective. I think our generation, and our contemporary world, is so involved in stress and stress management that it may be almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. Once I stopped thinking about my life as stressful, I started to feel more confident and happy. Go figure! I still have some long challenging days and difficult situations, but I don't like to think about it as stress anymore. I know that I can handle whatever comes my way, and that makes me so extremely confident about the future. (Example: The difficult client mentioned in the post "Things don't always go the way you plan..." has created even more issues this week. My solution? Deal with the issues I can handle, and make sure that the situation is communicated to everyone that is involved, so that him dragging his feet in providing information for us won't completely screw up the natural operations of each resort.)

As a side note, eliminating stress from our lives can have some serious health benefits. I feel healthier now than I have in weeks! Have a great evening, everyone!