balance in 2019


Sometimes, I go into overdrive and am so productive for weeks on end. During January and February, I was so focused on being productive, that I forgot to take care of myself.  March and April I sort of got a little too chill. Then May and June were a whirlwind of car problems and working. Now here were are half way through 2019 already.

Being an introvert means I look forward to time to myself. I spend all day thinking about what I am going to do when I get home. When I have multiple days in a row where I can’t just go home and do what I want, I get cranky.

I’ve read that stress can make it hard to settle down – something about stress hormones and relaxation hormones. Even though I don’t feel particularly stressed, I’ve always had an anxious mind.

At the end of the day, if I haven’t worked on something, I feel unfulfilled. I hate that I can’t come home at 5:15 and work until midnight on house projects and hobbies. Sleeping is such a waste of time. I wish I could stay up until 2 and then sleep until 9.

Alas, I have to have a day job. So I had to really take a look at the quality of sleep I was getting. My sleep schedule is wonky – 11 pm isn’t a rare “settle down” time for me. Then add the tossing and turning and sometimes I won’t fall asleep until 1 or 2 in the morning. 

I started taking Melatonin to help me sleep at night so that I start winding down for bed around 9:30. I stretch and drink a glass of water. I think I feel my best with 9 hours of sleep, so I have that as a target. I have been working on it. I’m afraid I still don’t have great bedtime and morning routines. It mostly consists of me going, “oh shit! Is that really the time?”

Not even joking.

I work two jobs and keep up my house and care for Charlie. I don’t always have to be working on a house project or painting a portrait. First and foremost, I need to make sure the dishes are done and that I go to bed on time, but convincing myself that I don’t always have to be working on something is not easy.  

Still, some weeks I am really productive and then the next week I have to dial it back and focus on the basics. I think that balance is good and natural.

3 things that suck and 3 things I like

money, thoughts

“The Woman Who Thought She Had A Plan”
I think they will write that on my headstone.

I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, and I realized I’ve been trying to do too much at once. Last Tuesday I wrote that I was waffling between paying down my student loans or saving. Well, since I don’t know how much longer I want to stay in my hometown, I decided to start putting money in savings and only pay the minimum on my loan. I figure if July comes around, and I still want to pay off my loan, I can do it with what’s in my savings.

That’s my plan anyway. We all know how plans are.

These three things that have really been bothering me lately.

  1. My best friend moved to Alaska and my other good friends live in the NYC area.
  2. I left a job I really loved, and I’m not sure how to find anything similar to it.
  3. I am always surrounded by people that are older than me.

These three things I highly recommend.

  1. I finally found a purpose for the t-shirt yarn I made and haven’t used. Macrame plant hangers.
  2. I got an Instant Pot for Christmas and so far I really only used it for rice. So I went looking for recipes and found a great pork carnitas recipe that had me using Cumin and Chili Powder – two spices I had in my cupboards but had never opened.
  3. This house is an inspiration in and of itself. The dark paint with the wood trim detail. Drooling over here.

on my mind: feb. 2019

home, literature, money, outdoors, thoughts

financial goals – I’ve reached a student debt balance where the interest accumulated each month is a negligible number, which means, once again, I’m waffling between cutting back my snowball or continuing on with it. On the one hand, I’d like to continue this intensity because I’d like to cut back my hours at my second job in the near future – or, at least, request some time off. On the other hand, I want to build my savings and open an IRA. I probably shouldn’t even bother to worry about this because I joined an investment app recently and have been throwing a little bit at it here and there. So, in reality, I’ve already negotiated a middle-ground with myself. 

screen time – I unintentionally cut back on my Netflix binges. I think I went almost a whole month without it, and I remembered why I don’t have regular cable or even a TV. I wouldn’t use it enough, and I get so much other stuff done when I’m not watching every new release and every new show. You know that conundrum where you sit down and don’t know what to choose out of the plethora of options? Last night, I watched a movie that has been in my list for close to a year. It was nice to put something on that I had been skipping over for a long time. I think the fact that I had cut back on my screen time helped me pick a movie more easily, and I ended up really liking it (Tallulah – if you care to know). 

health – Being at a desk all day has really messed with my health goals. I went from being active most of the day to being inactive until 5pm. I have had to cut my calories so much just to maintain weight. I have been making sure Charlie and I are walking regularly because after my knee surgery last year, Charlie gained a lot of weight too. The vet recommended he lose 10 pounds by his next yearly vaccination.  Basically, we are both pretty hangry most days, but he’s lost 6.8 lbs and looks so much better.  At least the creature I am in charge of is healthier even if I’m not. Unplugging from Netflix has helped me get more active in the evenings though. I realized I needed to make the most of our walks because I don’t have the time for each of us to get a long workout. I added walking lunges and sumo squats into our walks. Then I do a quick workout with either body weight or dumbbells and barbells. I recently bought a set of kettle-bells too and they have been a good addition to my at-home gym. 

creative juices -In addition to getting more exercise, cutting down my screen time has given me more time for personal projects like my blog, house projects, or painting.  I think I’m finally getting used to my perspective being read by people on the internet. For a long time, I didn’t want anyone to know about my blog. It wasn’t anonymous, I just didn’t share it. I’m finally growing into my voice – if that makes sense. When people give me feedback, I’m no longer embarrassed by it. Writing has become a big part of my life as of late and being able to unleash my worries and fears into words – plus share the other things I work on or make- has multiplied the motivation I have to do more. The act of summarizing the books I read or the projects I do inspires me to keep going. All of this, makes a creative like me happier in the grand scheme of things. The act of creating is the reward for me, not the comments or the amount of likes I get. 

it’s his game but I have the advantage


I knew he was trouble. I knew his reputation. He always bought the drinks. He always drank too much. I’d see him with one girl or another. Then he came to my bar during my shift. He asked me who I was and what I did for a living. His voice was soft and intimate. He stayed all night and asked if I was going anywhere after I closed up. I was, and he was there when I walked through the door. He asked me to sit with him and tried to give me his double vodka.

When I said it was time to leave, he followed me to my car, but I left him standing in the parking lot. I had a Facebook message from him before I got into bed.  I knew he was trouble. So I had the advantage. I added him on Snapchat and waited for the fun to begin. I knew he sent dozens of girls the same cute pic of him laying in bed with his dogs. I could tease him and call him out on his bullshit. I could act like I needed him and then walk right out on him.

This went on for months. If he messaged me, I responded. If he bought me a drink when I ran into him, I drank it. If he wanted to come to see me during my bar shift, I flirted as best as I could. I knew he was trouble, but I was bored. Plus, he was good for business. I never met up with him when he asked. Until one Friday when I was feeling lonely and self-conscious, I decided to see how it would go.

When I got to the bar, he was, for a lack of a more appropriate word, cocked. He was drunk and obsessed with my body. He slapped my ass twice and spilled a drink down my shirt. Even drunk, he was seductive somehow. He stood so close. We were side by side at the bar, his arm pressed tightly against mine and his voice in my ear. He sang Kenny Chesney. He told me he wanted to have kids. He talked about how much he loved his grandpa. He asked if I would go see a movie with him. He bought drink after drink trying to get me drunk, but there was no way I could, or would, catch up to him.

Then this guy, who had been drunk messaging me for weeks and wouldn’t even ask me out to dinner, said he wanted to marry me. I just about walked out of the bar right then. I was both entertained and somewhat baffled. Here he was, in the flesh, Mr. F*ckboy. You can’t want a wife and want to sleep with strangers. You have to choose.  He either really didn’t know what he wanted out of life or he knew exactly what he wanted and he was that manipulative.

You can’t want a wife and want to sleep with strangers. You have to choose.

Still, it made me feel powerful to tease him. Knowing what I did gave me a clear vantage point. I stayed until they kicked us out. Before that night, I wavered on what I would choose when he, inevitably, presented the opportunity to me. I had told myself I was in control, but when it came down to staying the night or going home, I wasn’t sure what I would do.

That night it appeared I was going to find out. He couldn’t drive home, and as I pulled into his driveway, he asked if I was coming inside. As I drove away, he yelled at me, “You’re beautiful! I hate you!”

Driving home I thought about how I could have been in his bed at that exact moment. I was proud of myself. If I had wanted a meaningless hookup, he’d be the guy to call, but I would be lying to myself if I said that’s what I wanted. I would get hurt because what I truly wanted was a best friend.

A lot of people have settled for less than they deserve because they can’t deal with the alternative: being alone. It’s so much easier to let an asshole tell you that you’re sexy than to think straight and realize he says that to every girl. I did it though. I made it through his trap.

He messaged me to tell me he was sorry. I kept it friendly. “Don’t be sorry… actually, you did try to kidnap me. Be sorry for that,” I responded, laughing. I wasn’t looking for an enemy. I just wasn’t going to sleep with him.

To my surprise, he came walking in on my afternoon shift the next day. Drinking double Rum and Cokes all day will get you pretty messed up by 7 pm, and he never slowed down. Again, after my shift, we went for more drinks. Then he got a call asking him where he was. “I’m not with anyone,” he responded.

I got up to leave. He asked for a hug, and I walked out. I deleted him on Snapchat. I ended that temptation. I’m not one of his Snapchat girls, and I decided I should stop pretending to be. In retaliation, he deleted me on Facebook and Instagram.

“We aren’t friends anymore?" I messaged him. 
“No you deleted me on Snap.”

That was the end of that. A few weeks went by without hearing from him. I expected it. He was bruised from me taking away his favorite line of communication. I saw him around and was pleasant. He always looked like a puppy in solitary confinement. I did miss the thrill. I missed the game. I can go days without getting a call or a message from someone. That stings a little. It’s where I am in my life. I work a lot and rarely see friends. One day, while walking through the park in the dark with my dog, I messaged him.

“are you being good?" I asked.
"trying to be. y?”
“no reason.”
“are u okay?” he said. I was caught off guard.
"yeah. just wondered how you were. will you be at the club tomorrow?”
“you working?”
“I’ll be there.”

Just like that, there he was again. This time he wasn’t drinking doubles, he was slowly sipping on a cheap draft beer. He brought up the movie he still hadn’t seen yet. We talked about taking vacations and traveling. He spoke quietly and laughed and smiled. He was the second to last guy to leave when I closed. I debated going out after because I knew he would be there. I decided against it, but, sure enough, he messaged me, “You coming out?”

I explained that I had to get up for work the next day. He responded that it was all good, and we said good night. I thought the conversation was over, but another message appeared. He said he still wanted to see that movie and that if I was interested, we should go. I knew he was trouble, but I’m not one to turn down a movie so I agreed, picked a date, and said I’d meet him there.

"do you want me to like pick you up and open the door and be all cute and shit?"
"is that how you want to do it?" I asked.

I mentally gave him an “A+” for acting the part of a gentleman. My friends seemed genuinely shocked that he had made a move beyond drinks. They figured he didn’t ask a lot of girls out to anything other than the bar. I told them that my expectations were lower than low.

Two days later, the day we planned to go out, I hadn’t heard from him. I wondered if I should let him forget about it – and then call him out for flaking – or if I should remind him, and listen to the inevitable excuse. I opted for the latter.

"are we still on for tonight?" 
"oh I'm out-of-town helping my sister. what time is the movie again?"

I didn’t respond.

"Hello?" He demanded.
"what time is the movie?"

I repeated the time, and he asked why I had an attitude. I told him if he was out-of-town he probably should have thought about telling the girl he asked to a movie. He apologized, but the apology was back-handed. Instead of owning up to the fact that he forgot, he made it seem like I was out of line.

I was actually kind of relieved. I had gone back and forth between thinking it was a social experiment and thinking I didn’t want to cross this line. I knew he was trouble. Out of sheer boredom, I continued this odd relationship. I’m not sure if he just always gets what he wants or is there is something seriously wrong with his mental state. Maybe he is an alcoholic.

Knowing what I know, and being treated the way I have, makes it hard for me to imagine developing feelings for him, but sometimes, I can’t play this game because my heart is tired of hiding. I need to let it be sad and protect it from misguided attention. Most of the time, I still find this game fun. This might be a dangerous game to play, but as far as I’m concerned, I’m still ahead.

I didn’t manage to write something new for the blog this week, but my post did go live on Thought Catalog. The first draft wasn’t accepted, but I was thrilled to see the second iteration go live. The subject of this post is a little off topic then my usual blog posts, but being single has been really hard lately.

I’ve never submitted something to an online blog. This has had over 400 views already which is crazy in my world. I can cross something off my bucket list though. Now, if I could just get paid to write… I’d be set.

They want to know when you’re going to meet someone – like you can answer that question.

via 7 Things That Can Make Your Single Heart Ache — Thought Catalog

i did a thing