2017 is almost over…

life currently (2)

… and I haven’t written in awhile. I almost asked myself why even bother sharing my thoughts with the ether, but I know how much it positively affects my mental state. So I am back here.

I think the thing I miss most about logging on and putting my thoughts down in words is reflecting on my goals and weaknesses. I use a daily planner for every day To Do lists, but I don’t take the time to think about myself as much as I used to.

Part of that is because I’m not as worried about “making the right decisions” anymore. I know that life is not about making the right decisions but rather about finding your way day by day.

I had knee surgery. I had an accident with Charlie. I gained some weight. I went back to work and picked up another part-time shift.¬† I currently work 40 hours plus an additional 3 shifts at the Knights. I got a raise at my day job – the one I asked for a year ago. I’m going to close on a house soon.

Life is happening to me.

My most important goal was paying down my student loan debt, but then I started to like my job and started to hate my living situation. I recognize that I’m so lucky to have to home I have now with my sister. We just can’t live together and be happy. It never worked when we were little. It hasn’t been working now.

So, I got excited about the idea of having my own place, and my mom Рwith her newly earned real estate license Рstarting looking. My budget was small, and I know that means a lot of paint and a lot of patience until I have a home that is modern and mine. I found the house that I was looking for. I have plans for an office and a shop room and a guest bedroom with a screen projector for movie nights. I will have room for an additional freezer for the game I harvest. I will have a garage to put a canoe. I will have little view of the river. I will have my own bathroom!

I’m grateful. I’m grateful for my jobs. I’m grateful for my family. I know I’m single and 25 all alone in a house, but I have my doggo. I have my parents and grandparents within ten miles.¬†I’m scared and worried and a little disappointed that I’m taking out more loans rather than paying them off, but mostly, I’m excited.

Advertisements

2016 in review

1.What one event, big or small, are you going to tell your grandchildren about?
When I shot my first deer.

2.If you had to describe your 2016 in 3 words, what would they be?
Sisterhood, Charlie, and Affinity.

3.What new things did you discover about yourself?
I’m a decent bartender because I know a little bit about a lot of subjects.

4.What single achievement are you most proud of?
I put almost $2000 into repairs for my car plus paid off my car loan.

5.What was the best news you received?
I got a raise.

6.What was your favorite place that you visited in 2016?
Allegany State Park.

7.Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year?

My observation skills and common sense.

8.Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on?
Rachael.

9.Which new skills did you learn?
Tending bar, PagePlus (software), new chords on the guitar, cutting shoots off a plant, training a stubborn dog, treating a sprained knee, laying laminate flooring, and more.

10.What, or who, are you most thankful for?
Charlie Horse. A walk with him transforms my mindset.

11.If someone wrote a book about your life in 2016, what kind of genre would it be? A comedy, love story, drama, film noir or something else?
Rural underdog flick.

12.What was the most important lesson you learned in 2016?
A little raise goes a long way.

13.Which mental block(s) did you overcome?
At the beginning of 2016 I lost 15 lbs. I thought I¬†was on my way to my goal weight. I lost the motivation though and became stressed again. I didn’t let it completely tear me down.¬†I stayed confident in myself.

14.What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with?
Rachael, Emily, Mia, Dad, and Nora.

15.What was your biggest break-through moment career-wise?
I started taking on more marketing projects. I designed literature and photographed products.

16.How did your relationship to your family evolve?
I had to remind myself to stop into the house on Thacher St. I met¬†my parents for drinks once or twice a week. Also, Mike graduated and joined the Navy… three out of six of us are out of the house! Having¬†Nora around has made it a little more fun to get together and hang out. She turns 1 on January 4th!

17.What book or movie affected your life in a profound way?
I read two books that reinforced what I have come to believe¬†about life. One¬†was Maybe in Another Life¬†and the other was¬†Back When We Were Grownups.¬†Both stories show¬†how a person’s life can go in a variety of directions. One choice can change the trajectory forever, but thinking about how things could-have-been is not helpful. Happiness is the outcome of¬†so many different story-lines. Hindsight can’t truly prove that you’re decisions were wrong.

18.What was your favorite compliment that you received this year?
I will reiterate what I wrote last year: “I should start writing down the compliments people give me.”

19.What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life?
Walking Charlie Horse // kissing Nora // music

20.What cool things did you create this year?
I finally worked on the painting of Mia swimming that I started almost two years ago. Also  I used up some cotton yarn to make a little blanket.

21.What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)?
The first half of the year, I was optimistic and really creative; the middle was stressful; the last part of 2016 was a combination of being tired, proud, and motivated for a new year.

22.Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year?
Shot a deer.

23.What was your favorite moment spent with your friends?
Camping with Rachael and Charlie and Jude at Allegany State Park. We just laid on the beach and played with the dogs and hiked 12 miles – no biggie.

24.What major goal did you lay the foundations for?
I helped out a lot with the modified high school volleyball team and it reminded me how much I miss the sport. I think I would like to continue coaching that level. Also, I realized how much I want to get back in shape.

25.Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary?
Automobile repairs. Although, “unnecessary” is a strong word. It is what it is.

26.What experience would you love to do all over again?
Dancing in the rain at the bar during the Strawberry Moon.
 

27.What was the best gift you received?
Dad got me a travel backpack for Charlie which I’m very excited about.

28.How did your overall outlook on life evolve?
I realized that I love living in my hometown. It’s such a beautiful¬†town. I love that I can walk my dog down the street and let him run around off leash along the river. ¬†I ¬†like to think that my 12-year-old self would be interested in the life I live now but also kind of confused. My overall outlook is that I don’t need to impress other people, but I have to remind myself that almost daily.

29.What was the biggest problem you solved?
Check engine light.

30.What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you think about it?
Oh my gosh I laughed so hard at Rachael for something just a few weeks ago. She just said something without meaning to be funny but I found it gut-bustingly funny.

31.What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever?
I don’t have an answer for this, but on December 27th I had my nose pierced. So far it’s been a good decision. No issues yet.

32.What one thing would you do differently and why?
I probably spent too much money at the bars. Which isn’t really that much, but over the summer I had stopped drinking for a few weeks and it really improved my state of mind.

33.What do you deserve a pat on the back for?
Remaining confident in Charlie’s training capabilities.

34.What activities made you lose track of time?
Walking, training, or snuggling with Charlie.

35.What did you think about more than anything else?
The Blue Tuscon.

36.What topics did you most enjoy learning about?
I’m still learning a lot at the tile factory, but I most enjoyed practicing the guitar.

37.What new habits did you cultivate?
Walking almost every day.

38.What advice would you give your early 2016 self if you could?
Don’t stop dieting. Don’t settle.

39.Did any parts of your self or your life do a complete 180 this year?
I think a 180 is building up but nothing happened in 2016.

40.What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year?
The other girl I work with at the factory is constantly telling me how good at my job I am. She is so supportive that I sometimes feel like I don’t deserve it.


What do you want the overarching theme for your 2017 to be?
I think perseverance worked well for 2016. Persistence was critical to some of the struggles I faced. For 2017, I’d like my theme to be ADVENTURE.

What do you want to see, discover, explore?
Maine.

Who do you want to spend more time with in 2016?
My grandparents.

What skills do you want to learn, improve or master?
Painting, photography, music.

Which personal quality do you want to develop or strengthen?
Still applicable: “I have a hard time giving people orders while at work. I feel self-conscious about needing things from people.”

What do you want your everyday life to be like?
I would like to awaken refreshed. I would like to exercise often. I would like to share more with other people.

Which habits do you want to change, cultivate or get rid of?
I have some nervous habits I’m really trying to get rid of altogether. So hard to do.

What do you want to achieve career-wise?
I still want to do as much good as I can in my current position. However, I have been considering asking a  few people for their input and advice in regards to careers. I also really want to explore ways to make money online. I do love my hometown and small town life. I should take advantage of the possibilities of online work.

How do you want to remember the year 2017 when you look back on it 10/20/50 years from now?
I want to remember 2017 as the year I lost 40 lbs.

What is your number one goal for 2017?
To act out of love.

learn to trust yourself

trusting myself.png

While putting your¬†laundry away, you were thinking about choices. Life is full of them. The choice you¬†make every day is to live in this town. You like it here,¬†but¬†you¬†don’t know if somewhere¬†else could be¬†better. You know that you’d¬†miss your family, but you¬†don’t know if things would go right for you¬†just because you¬†changed the scenery.

Maybe it takes¬†participating in a talent show at your high school to realize that¬†something is missing. You’ve¬†been preoccupied with making the right¬†decisions without recognizing how you arrived¬†where you are today. You¬†have been having trouble believing¬†in yourself¬†because you’ve been disappointed by yourself¬†in the past. You¬†have been doubting your¬†decisions. You just don’t trust yourself¬†to make the right ones.

You¬†hadn’t really yet put into words why you¬†get so uncomfortable when you¬†think about high school (and now college). Now you understand¬†that the high school campus reminds you¬†of the potential you¬†had, and college reminds you¬†of the anxiety and doubt that worstened while you¬†were¬†there.¬†You¬†don’t know why you didn’t acknowledge it before this, but your¬†misconceptions¬†have destroyed the pride you once had in your accomplishments. Now you constantly¬†worry whether you¬†should be changing the status quo or staying with¬†this path. You¬†can’t decide what your¬†passion is and whether or not that even matters for a career.

There are a couple people in your¬†life who truly believe that you¬†can do anything you¬†want. They want you¬†to do what you¬†love and be successful emotionally and financially. There are also those who want you¬†to be rational and traditional about your¬†career. A couple of them¬†have given up on themselves a little bit.¬†Show them all that it’s about hard work and a good attitude. Rebuild your¬†self-confidence and learn to trust yourself¬†again. Today is a new day.

Write down your goals.

Put your goals first.

Make this day better than the last.

Most importantly, understand this, in¬†order for you¬†to find happiness where you¬†are, no matter where that is, you¬†have to be happy with yourself. Stop letting your attitude beat down your goals. Even if they don’t appear to be amazing, life-changing¬†plans, they are¬†your jumping off point. Make sure that¬†you keep moving forward, and only look back to glean something helpful. Don’t look back for too long. Remember, tomorrow is when it gets even more interesting.

book review: maybe in another life

Maybe in Another LifeMaybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Okay Taylor Jenkins Reid, I hear you. Did you have to drive it in so adamantly? Here I am, a lost and confused millennial with student loans to pay and life decisions to make, and you waltz in and tell me that it’s all going to be alright. How dare you?

This book was crafted perfectly for someone like me. The side by side comparison of two parallel lives both freaked me out and inspired me. I think that every decision I make alters my life forever and that worries me because I get stuck trying to make the right decision. Then I end up 29, like Hannah Martin, hopping from place to place thinking I have made all the wrong decisions.

I don’t have all the answers from reading this novel, but that is kind of the point. No one knows whether their choices are the right choices. The idea is to make a choice and stick to it and surround yourself with people that love you.

It seems so damn easy! Hannah’s story shows us that it isn’t.

The thing about these two universes is that the characters learn similar lessons but in different ways. I found the character development fascinating. Both Hannah and Gabbi discovered things about themselves and their lives through different means and at different paces. It was wild.

I listened to the audible version of this book. I have to say the narrator did quite well but I thought her male characters came across as weak. I had to reimagine their voices to give them more personality.

View all my reviews

the pressure to succeed

I was sitting here ready to pour out my heart about being in a rut. I was going to say that my mission to be positive worked on my coworker, but I feel more down than ever.Then I realized that I wasn’t thinking about money. That mad me happy, like ‘Hey look at you!” Then¬†I thought about money which made me feel bad again.

Then I stumbled upon this article from Inc.com: Why Millennials Feel More Pressure to Succeed Than Any Other Generation.

It reminded me about the times I have caught myself thinking about celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, and Jennifer Lawrence.¬†I can’t be¬†worldwide¬†like¬†Taylor Swift. I can’t make as much money as her, and for some wild reason, that makes me feel inadequate.

“Why haven’t I made a life changing app or website?”

“Why haven’t I become an amazing doctor?”

“Why haven’t I made a million dollars?”

“Why haven’t I traveled the world?”

“Why isn’t my body thin and youthful and tabloid worthy?”

“Why don’t I have an Oscar?”

“Why don’t I have a platinum record?”

Comparing myself to celebrities seems downright unbalanced.

Maybe Tay-Tay has been on a world tour, but have she ever caught a trout along the river or had a black bear walk by her in the woods?

Probably not.

The author of the article¬†I mentioned wrote¬†that, “it was the shame of feeling like I haven’t done enough with my life … and that time is running out.”¬†The funny part is that the author was talking about this feeling upon turning 30. I feel like this, and I’m only 23.

However, there is something to look at in the¬†successes of the “rich and famous” which is that they have dedicated their lives to their work in a way that I will probably never understand. My one true complaint¬†is that I wish I could have found my passion and the path to making money from it when I was 13. That would have been real nice.

 

10 months

Work is overwhelming me a little bit, and even though I told myself I was not going to stress about money and “career” and instead focus on my health and wellness, I’ve been slowly building up my stress levels again.

At the end of this month, I will have worked ten months at my current job. My previous job only lasted ten months-after having started to die inside after only about four months. Now here I am starting to fight the “death inside” feeling again.

A week ago, I told my coworker that the atmosphere at work was feeling negative and that I was fighting it. There’s no way I’m letting their energy consume me too. For me, staying positive at work means thinking about all the places I could end up in a couple of years-all the things I could do or see. Last Tuesday went along much the same. I was living in the present while enjoying the little flicker of hope that change can happen at any minute. I was really productive after work and felt really good about a trip I’m planning for May.

THEN, Wednesday hit me like a freight train. Between customers, suppliers, dealers, marketing reps, personnel drama, etc., an introvert like me can get eaten alive in a factory work setting. I decided that I need to actually start looking for my prime location. I have been saying that I’m going to research states and cities and find where I’m meant to be, but I haven’t done much.

After work, I took Charlie to the dam to try to make things better, but he wasn’t having a great day. We had to walk a bit before we got over that. We came home. I made a fire and stared at it waiting for God to tell me if I’m on the right track (I didn’t hear an answer). I ate dinner, and then I started researching and looking at maps. I started this post in a bad emotional state, feeling upset and tired. Then after scrolling through cities and maps, I just felt better.

I have a one year from now plan. I’m going to stick to it. I think it’s good, and honestly, for the most part, I’m happy. I am happy except for when other people make me feel like I shouldn’t be happy- like when my brother or sister says something rude about my degree or my grandma insists on handing me information on the jobs available in the school system, or a friend talks about her school counseling program like college is the end all be all of life decisions. All those people make me so frustrated. They make me feel inadequate. They make me feel like I messed up. They make me want to get a job I hate just so I can put on airs about my success and happiness. So to everyone saying I can’t or I won’t or  I shouldn’t, please don’t, just go home and spend some time considering that other people find happiness in walking a dog and fishing the river and hanging driftwood on their bedroom wall.

book review: she’s come undone

She's Come UndoneShe’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I started this novel, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. I thought I might have to drag myself through it. The character, Dolores Price, was rough around the edges and unlikable. Then I realized I was half way through, and surprisingly, I still wanted to keep reading.

When I say a lot of shit happens to this girl, I mean it. Many of the comments I read before I flipped open the first page said that this story isn’t realistic… too many bad things happen. I agree, but that doesn’t mean this story isn’t good or relate-able or relevant. I think that the story is primarily an analysis of choices, both personal choices – conscious and subconscious – and choices made by others and how that effects the protagonist.

An aspect of this book I loved was the circularity of the symbols and other characters. At one point, I thought to myself, “There’s no way out of all the people in the country, she’d run into them.” But it happens in this book… a couple of times. Soon after thinking that it was impossible though, I decided that I liked the recurrences. They reminded me how far Dolores had come. She moved through so many stages in her life to get to the last page of the novel. Those little reminders of her past lives drove home the purpose of telling her story.

The motive behind the book, I think, is to propose that everyone deserves happiness and love. Wally Lamb does this without being romantic or cutesy. This doesn’t seem like a story your grandma would like, or for that matter, one that Dolores’ grandmother would like. There’s a lot of nasty business going on in this book.

I’m going through this phase where I want to purge my bookshelves and only leave the books that are truly meaningful to me. I think I’ve decided that this is a novel that will stay on my shelves.

View all my reviews