Finding Reasons to be Unhappy

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This past week I was having an argument with my boyfriend. One of those arguments that when you are in the middle of it you realize are stupid and you are wasting time of your precious life on it. Once we both realized that it was a stupid argument, I also realized that the reason I enable these stupid arguments is because I have insecurities about the relationship. I told my boyfriend this and after talking about the insecurities, he said something that has made me think a lot about my life. He said; “It’s OK to have insecurities as long as your not just trying to find reasons to be unhappy.”

At the time, when he said that, I was all “Yeah, right.”, “Not me at all.”, but the more time has passed and those words have simmered in my conscience, I’m obliged to say, he may have a point. Let’s be clear, this doesn’t make me happy. However, I think it’s something that I have to explore.

Why is it so easy for me to focus on what makes me unhappy? Why do I give more value to these things than to the positives in my life? It’s not that I don’t see the positive, I’m not a pessimist, but I clearly see the bad things with a bigger lens. Sometimes when things aren’t going as well as I wish they would, I start to focus on all those little things that aren’t going well and forget about the big things that are doing at least moderately well. It’s easy to overlook the things that are going well, because they are things like; being healthy, being able to have time to go on walks with my dog, being in a healthy relationship, being able to support myself. Meanwhile, the things that make me unhappy are things like; not feeling comfortable in a bathing suit, wishing I was in a stage of my life where I could have more pets or children, having more romance in the relationship, and having a job I actually enjoy. The reality is I shouldn’t take for granted things like being healthy or a stable relationship, because I have had health scares and I’ve been in unstable relationships, and its not in a situation any one wants to be in.

For the most part, I try to be grateful for the things that are going in well in my life, but I do find reasons to be unhappy when too many things start to pile up. It’s a bad habit, I know. I think it’s normal to have moments like this, moments when life is getting the best of you, or at least it feels that way, but I can’t let it become normal practice. I have to find productive ways of dealing with these feelings, but I’m not sure what that means yet.

*Recommendations are welcomed.*

The 4 Main Things I Have Been Doing To Embrace My Self-Discovery

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I have been absent from writing here for a while now. It is not because I have forgotten about this space, it’s because I have been out and about doing things. I realized that I had to keep myself busy with things I wanted to do and try in order to embrace the process of self discovery. I thought I would be able to do all the things I wanted to do and write about them. It turns out that something that I still need to work on. I decided that now that I’m on vacation it would be a good time to start the habit of continuing to do all the things I have been doing and adding writing to those things.

Because I have been so bad at keeping this updated, I wanted to start my reentry into blogging with the 4 main things I have been doing to embrace my self discovery, so here it goes:

1-Volunteer at an animal shelter:

Once a week for the last 3 months I have been going to an animal shelter to walk the dogs. They have an orientation day for volunteers interested in dog walking and after you attend that you can go any time you want to walk the dogs. I’m usually there for about 2 hours and walk about 5-6 dogs. It has quickly become time that I cherish for a few reasons; I’m alone with my thoughts and the dogs, I get to exercise while doing something I enjoy, and I get to meet and play with many dogs.

Reason this has helped my journey to self discovery: This has confirmed that I enjoy working with animals and in a cause I believe in. This has been a way to help animals in need without feeling like I have to bring them all home. I have been thinking that I want to transition from teaching to a field that involves animal handling and care, this is helping me get hands on experience and has helped me realize that it’s something I should explore more.

2- Taking dance lessons:

1 to 2 times a week I have been meeting with a dance instructor. I have been learning ball room dancing (specifically rumba and salsa), but I have also started to take pole dancing classes. This has been an eye opening experience for me, because the older I get the more comfortable I get with my body and the less I care about what people may think. I have always had a hard time following dances with steps, I love to dance, I’m just not coordinated enough to think about counting while I dance, and taking private lessons has really helped me understand the dances more. Pole dancing has been a self discovery experience all on it’s own, because I think it comes with so many stigmas about it, that just admitting to people that I’m doing it is an empowering experience, but I would say it is a super fun way to exercise and learn to embrace your body.

Reason this has helped my journey to self discovery: This has taught me that I can learn and be good at things that weren’t previously my strong suite. It has also helped me feel more confident about my body and be thankful for the body I do have. I think we get so caught up on if we are fat or skinny that we forget we have capable bodies regardless of what they look like, bodies that can move, that can take you places, and that is something we shouldn’t take for granted.

3- Reading and finding a community of readers:

I have been reading a lot. My Goodreads reading challenge for this year is 75 books and I have already read about 43 books this year. I have been embracing my reading, finding little times to read in between task, but also letting go of books that are not catching my attention. Which means I get to read things I really want to read. Not only have I been reading, but I made it a point to find a community of people that also like to read. I joined a reading circle at a local bookstore, we meet once a month and go over what we are reading. I joined Litsy, an online community of readers, I have heard it marketed as if Goodreads and Instagram had a baby. Litsy is great, I joined an online book club and have done a few book exchanges with people through it. It’s a great way to meet people reading the same book as you, but also people that have similar interest in books. I will also be attending BookCon in NYC, which is a huge book convention with panels, lots of book sellers and just people that love books.

Reason this has helped my journey to self discovery: For a long time now I have found it difficult to find other people that enjoy reading and just talking about books, partly because we are mostly introverts and aren’t crazy about meeting new people to begin with, but also because we are hard to find. This has helped me in my journey because I have had to push myself to go to events alone and interact with the people there. It has also helped me meet new friends with similar interest.

4- Baking:

Baking for me is an exercise in mindfulness. I’m focused on the steps and what I’m doing in the moment and everything else fades away. For this reason I have wanted to start challenging myself to try different bakes, different recipes that involve practicing new skills. It has become a way of getting stronger at a skill I enjoy and also embrace the meditative properties of it. I have baked many breads, macaroons, sweet breads and tiramisu. There is so many other pastries and skills I want to practice, it’s something to look forward to.

Reason this has helped me in my journey to self discovery: Baking has helped me stay centered and provides a treat to look forward to. I can plan what I want to bake and when I want to bake it. By dedicating a specific time and centering myself to follow the steps and embrace the wait, I create a practice where I’m forgetting about any trivial issues I may have and only exist in the moment. I also end with a product that regardless of it meets my expectations can be shared and provides an excuse to interact with neighbors, family and friends.

Overall, I want to keep adding things to my journey of self discovery, but I think these 4 are great simple examples that other people can also follow. This summer I want to continue to embrace doing things to learn more about myself and I want to make a real effort in recording my progress. Hopefully I will be able to at least update this once a week with all the things I’m doing.

Sorry for the break.

Birthday

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I have a birthday coming up and I don’t necessarily feel happy about it. I can’t pin point it exactly, but it doesn’t move me to celebrate. It’s not an age thing, I’ll be turning 29 and for the past three years I have already been thinking that I’m in my 30’s, so that’s not it. I know some of it has to do with my current life situation, being stuck in that transition where you have a job you want to quit and applying for other jobs, because you can’t quit. It is a weird situation due to the fact that I’m not in a crappy job, but the isolation of it and the commute get to me. Emotionally speaking, there are days when I just don’t have my shit together. That same emotional standing might be making me not care about my birthday.

However, I think it goes a little deeper than that. I have never been overly excited about birthdays. That is I’m super excited about my birthday from afar, but the closer it gets the more sense of dread that is present. This has to do with something so different, but probably still connected to my emotional shit. This comes from my birthday expectations. See, birthdays are a day to celebrate you as a person and if nobody remembers or makes a big deal about it, it means something (usually that you are too old for that, or unpopular), but if people remember and want to make a big deal about it, it also means something. It means you get to see what they really think of you, what they think you would like, what they know or think they know about you. Which I guess means I should shift that mindset and just be grateful for the friendships and the moments. How do you remove that self awareness? How do you stop over judging everything that is related to you and your person? That is the big question of my 29th year.

Sleep

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Sometimes I want to sleep even when I’m not tired.

Sometimes this sleep comes up and catches me unaware.

I spend days not being productive, because this sleep traps me in its arms.

I don’t notice it at first, but it is overwhelm-ness.

It is fear of the unknown, fear of the known.

It is my way of avoiding what I have to do.

Sneaky brain of mine.

 

Centered

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Whenever I take fitness into my own hands, I have a lot of struggles. Mostly because I find my self wanting to maintain a balance between how I should feel about myself and what I want to look like. I want to be fit and healthy for the right reasons. Because it is not only good for your physical health, but also good mentally, and emotionally. I want to be fit and healthy, because I want to be the best version of myself. I want to be fit and healthy, because it helps with my anxiety. I don’t want it to become a comparison to fitter people. I don’t want to be fit and healthy, because society wants us to believe being overweight is awful. I want to exercise because it makes me feel good.

However, I’m not immune to insecurities, and do have episodes of feeling bad about my body, nitpicking tiny imperfections, and letting it get me down for no good reason. This is what I struggle with. I wish I was beyond all this crap. So what do I do?

I try to accept the doubts and remind myself of the real reason for me exercising. I accept that their will be low times, I’m not always going to look great, but the reason for me exercising and trying to eat healthy is not to fit into society standards. At the end of the day I have my motivations clear and this always helps keep me centered. The fact that I’m not trying to achieve perfection, but trying to be my best keeps me grounded. Reminding myself of all the other things I have going for myself, things I enjoy, and of course the people in my life, helps me stay balanced.

Walking

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I feel so tiny walking among the trees. Tiny in a good way, when I think of my life, my problems, surrounded by the vast space and tall trees, everything feels trivial. There is just me and the nature surrounding me, cleaning my lungs, and cleaning my spirit. It is my version of church.

I grew up catholic, and in a lot of ways I guess I still am, but overtime I have found a spirituality that works for me. I guess I would be considered a Pantheist. I remember reading a book a while back were the author identified as Pantheist. Pantheism being the view that you can find divinity in nature or that natural universe is divine. I haven’t research that much about Pantheism, I’m sure you will find all extremes of people. I guess for me it means that I see and communicate with God (whatever that may mean) through nature.

Whenever I feel lost or need to clear my head, I find a trail, take my dog, and go on a hike. Just listening to the wind, the leaves falling, and looking at the path before me, helps me feel better about whatever my circumstance may be.  Even if the problem is too big, I still get some clearness after my encounter with nature. I think it’s important to have something in your life that gives you positive energy and makes you have a positive outcome in life. For some people that is belonging to a church community, family, exercise, or just meditation. For me, the important thing is wherever you are getting it from, you are giving some of that positivism back to the universe.

Fall Productivity

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I have been trying to lead a balance life. Whenever I see myself falling into my bad habits, I have been good about getting back up before even going down. It’s silly but it always helps me to have one productive day. One day in which I feel I have accomplished many things. I had such a day recently, and it made me feel great. I woke up, didn’t go workout, but instead stayed in, cleaned, made 2 batches of pizza dough to freeze, made muscle blueberry muffins, graded all my paperwork and finished writing a course outline for a new class I’m developing. PRODUCTIVE!!! I had time to go to the porch as it rained and just sip my tea. In fact not only just sip my tea, but also take some pictures.

I even got to experiment with the different settings. This was great, because it made me feel like I was not only productive with the stuff I had to do, but I was also able to do the stuff that I wanted to do.

Another thing that always gets me in a good mood is when I feel I have been productive at reading. This may sound silly, but I love, LOVE, that feeling of reading and being so in to it that you finish and you feel so accomplished with everything you have learned about life, yourself and the unknown just from that one book. In the past few days, I read And The Mountains Echoed by Kahled Hosseini, Lab Girl by Hope Jahren, A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler, Bitch Planet by Deconic and Delandro, and I even finished a book for work What the Best College Teachers Do by  Ken Bain. I even found the Read Harder 2016 Challenge and decided to fill it with the books I have read so far in the year and try to finish it up. Just Today I requested all the books I needed to finish the challenge from my local library. EXCITED!!!!!

Anyways, it’s always hard to do everything I want to do. I have to many interest and there’s not always time for all of them. I try to stay true to myself, I’m a geeky girl, who loves to read, loves feeling creative and learning, the rest is just how I pay the bills.