Worked all day today, came home and ate leftover spaghetti and blonde brownie with milk while hanging out with my brother and his wife and kids who were visiting. Afterward helped my parents order cases for their new phones then had a 24 oz beer and went for a two mile run/mile walk. Took a shower and now am typing from bed, feeling full from food and beer and ready for mint tea that’s sitting beside me on the table. Good night.
Have the day off today and have been practicing mindfulness all morning while cleaning and organizing. Washed the dishes and whenever mind would wander would re-focus by mentally saying the word “dishes”. After washing dishes and eating breakfast cleaned room while listening to Lindsey Stirling Pandora station. Made bed and put away huge mound of laundry that was sitting on bedroom chair. Mentally said the word “laundry” whenever mind would wander. Then sorted and purged useless papers and documents from my cabinet that I had been hoarding because of irrational anxiety. Last night made delightful dinner of Farfalle with fresh Parmesan washed down with three miniature bottles of Merlot. Buon Appetito!
Typing from bed and feeling calm and peaceful tonight and sort of sensitive and vulnerable too. Had a great day at work, rode my bike home and picked up ingredients for “ice cream” on the way. Ice cream is a healthy non frozen dairy mixture Jamie’s boyfriend made this weekend and it contains strawberry yogurt, peanut butter and raisins. Sounds absolutely disgusting but is surprisingly tasty. Another reason to feel good is that I reconciled with a friend today. I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to put details on here and it wasn’t someone I was very close to and wasn’t a huge falling out or anything but it did heal a place in my heart to be back to normal with her again. When I got home today I played the ukulele for a little while. I know almost the entire Hawaian version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow now, but only when the youtube play-a-long video is right in front of me. It’s not my favorite song but it’s a good beginner song. I want to learn more upbeat songs and punk songs. I would actually rather learn the guitar or violin than ukulele but the ukulele is fine for now.
Friday evening when I got out of work I went to Jamie’s in Muskegon and picked up a kite on the way. I have been wanting to fly a kite on the beach again like I did in Chicago on my 30th birthday as a sort of ritual to remember the hope I felt when the kite reached its full length that I would still have a full and happy life even with my losses. Met Jamie at Pere Marquette Beach and she came over and got in my car to warm up as she had been walking on the beach and it was pretty cold. Turns out it was good timing for her because she needed a friend. I won’t put her personal life on here but she had some sadness and cried a little bit and I gave her a hug and then we walked on the beach and I poured my heart out to her about the fight with my parents and how much it sucks to be in newaygo and she listened non-judgementally and with understanding. She told me about the hard things happening in her life. Afterward we went back to her house for warm beverages and relaxed and her boyfriend-friend came over and joined us. It was fun. Saturday morning I worked and ran an adult coloring group that nobody showed up for. When I got home I watched netflix all day and night. Watched Kill Bill for the first time and it was pretty awesome. Today did mostly nothing all day except went for two runs. Ran a mile in the morning and four miles this evening. When I got home after the four mile run my emotional level felt back to baseline finally after four days of pms-related sadness. I also cleaned my room and sat on the floor cross-legged in front of the window with the sun shining on my face while doing mindfulness meditations which are huge right now for treating depression and anxiety. I did the one where you focus on your breath and whenever your mind wanders bring your attention back to your breath.
This morning got into a shouting match with my dad after having one with my mom last night. Stood up for myself and yelled the f word a couple times. Bawled and felt very emotionally unstable and almost called in to work but told myself to be mature and buck up. So I swallowed my tears, got dressed, grabbed my backpack, ran out the door, hopped on my bike and felt gloriously rebellious as I furiously pumped my way downtown to the library where I am currently employed. I was so frustrated because it seems like they don’t see or hear me. My dad said they have to walk on pins and needles around me which hurt because it’s true. The hurt and anger really fueled my bike ride. I made it downtown from the house in ten minutes and normally it takes twice that long. Since I had extra time went across the street to EZ Mart for coffee, which they happened to be giving out for free all day. I took that as a sign that God still loves me. When I got home later there was a rose on my pillow with a note on it from my dad that said I am loved. I cried again. My mom set up the coffee pot for me this morning also so that before I left for work it was ready to go with a note that said to push the button.
The conclusion I am going to draw from this post is that I’m going through a rough time and just lost perspective. I’ve accepted my mistakes and choices that have led me here but when I lose perspective I reach scary lows. So, here’s to a good night of sleep and a refreshed perspective. Music, art, and spirtuality are what help human beings cope with reality so I am going to continue to actively practice those things to make meaning and hope out of my situation. I have to remember to laugh and not get take my life seriously too. Also, I admit the grief I have about my situation is maybe too extreme for my situation so i have to remember to put the situation itself in perspective and remember to be grateful for my many blessings. Finally, i am blessed with peaceful parents who love me. I didn’t know what to expect when I got home from work this evening and was prepared to have a no speaking relationship with my dad or something. I have never shouted at him so vehemently in such a confrontational way Instead apologies were exchanged with both parents and everything was let go.
Yesterday I stayed at home for most of the day. I read a chapter of American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I went for a run, did two loads of laundry. After dinner I went to my grandma’s and we had tea and brownies. I told her about how my priority for the next 2-3 years is to travel and be young. I am going by hobbit years, after all, which says that your youth is over at 33. Really, though, youth never ends when you make it a point to keep having fun and learning and trying new things. Seriously though, I am still in my young adulthood and that is what I am focused on right now. I want to do the things now that would be harder to do later. I want to focus on reclaiming my youth so that my youth is not a complete loss. I still have time.
When I talk about the losses of my youth I’m talking about everything I missed out on because of being afraid to really live. When I look at my twenties they seem barren and sad. Not barren, but the things they are full of are all the wrong things: toxic obsession, doubt, insecurities, confusing and aimless wandering, laziness, failures, needing outside validation. It’s been hard to move forward because of the fear of being 80, looking back at my twenties and thinking, “yeah, not a fun time.” It used to break my heart when I’d hear people say how crazy awesome and wild their twenties were, but it doesn’t anymore because I’ve reached a state of acceptance. Something that helps me is a story I read on the Humans of New York Facebook page a long time ago. There was a picture of a happy old lady who said that she didn’t really start to live until she was about 32. I liked her. That’s the kind of story I can live with. I will tell people, when they ask about my past, that I didn’t really start to live until I was 30, and that yeah, I took some risks, like living in Spain for a summer and moving to Chicago for a couple of years, but in both places I was agoraphobic, obsessive, guarded, bitter. But I’m going to be a new person now, like a phoenix rising from the ashes.
The show Master of None has been helping me look at my story as more positive and normal, too. Especially helpful was a scene where Aziz Ansari’s character takes his girlfriend’s grandma out for dinner. His girlfriend’s grandma has amazing stories and Aziz tells her he has basically no amazing stories yet but he remains hopeful that there is still time. Also, his girlfriend is 30 and in the final episode announces that she’s moving to another country because there is only a small frame of time left to do something crazy like that. As for Aziz he decides to move to Italy to take a cooking class and the final scene is of him on a plane.
I’ve also found comfort in looking at the stories of a few of my celebrity heroes. JK Rowling is one of them. In an interview she said she wasn’t good at being young and that middle age is “[her] time”. Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love, talks over and over about how her twenties was a shitstorm and look what she did: she made her pain and destruction into something beautiful. She wrote a beautiful memoir and now she is a role model for millions of women for how to fight for your happiness and take agency over your life.
Also helpful to me has been Mary Oliver. Mary Oliver is a lesbian poet who dealt with loss by finding solace and healing in nature. She is also very whimsical and even though she is about 80 she has a child’s spirit. It wouldn’t be a shock to find out she still climbs trees. A theme of her poetry is that life is a mystery and full of unanswered questions. Last spring in Chicago I would walk a half mile to the beach to read her poetry. I’d sit on the rocks with my knees pulled up against my chest and listen to the waves crash on them while reflecting on the idea that maybe it’s okay to not have all of the answers. Also, life is a disaster but also filled with magic. You can rise above the disaster with whimsy and love and noticing the miracles that are all around you no matter where you are. This is a quote of hers I copied to help set my intentions for the rest of my life:
“When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it is over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.”
I haven’t checked in for awhile, so I am going to review what I have been up to.
I have been working full time on my happiness. A couple of weeks ago I felt so great that I wondered if I was going crazy. I felt more connected to everything, less worried about the future, like I was tapping into the invisible energies and my consciousness had shifted and reality was different. Then PMS hit a few days ago and I sort of fell back to Earth, but I do believe that the changes I’m making will create lasting peace and that I can fall in love with life again. I’ve been focused on accepting the past, ignoring society, having faith that things will work out and not worrying about the future, being creative even if it’s just ten minutes of ukulele strumming or mindless coloring, making small changes in routine to excite dormant neuropathways. Also living in the present and practicing gratitude.
Also, CREATING happiness instead of passively drifting along waiting for it to come to me, which is what I’ve spent most of my life doing.
I’ve given up relying on my own methods for happiness which included ineffective things like making lists of things that will make me happy and then failing to do those things and getting deeply disappointed with myself. Instead I’m taking a different route by focusing on things science says to do. One study said that happiness is 48% genetic and that the rest is like 5% what happens to us and 45% the choices we make. So, I think I will always struggle with melancholia because of genes but I am going to do as best I can by making different choices. It was either the same study or a different study that said the biggest factor of happiness is the quality of our relationships. So, I’ve been taking small steps toward improving my life in that area too. I’ve also been mindful of my thought processes. When an extreme emotion like despair or panic rolls through me I observe my thoughts and look for distortions.