Be Good to Yourself

It has definitely been awhile since I’ve last wrote something. I chalk it up to being “too busy” with finishing the end of the semester with grad school (damn lit review) and my job always being incredibly busy at the end of the semester. Usually a something I want to write about comes to me in the shower, while I’m driving or daydreaming. I haven’t felt all that inspired to write anything lately, but with it being the last day in 2014, I figure that I should probably write <em>something</em>.

What’s that? You want another cliche post about end of the year reflections and hopes and dreams for the upcoming year? Cool, I’m here to please.

I’ve already done a lot of reflecting this year as the year was progressing. I will say 2014 was an interesting one. I accomplished many things I’m quite proud about. I lost 30 lbs this year. I became a runner (but really slacked the last three months). I fell in love with my job and my students. It’s weird that I’ve gone two weeks without them so far and I miss them terribly (don’t tell them that). I’m really glad to have let some ideas and people go, but happier that I’ve let some new people into my life and developed new thoughts and ideas for the future.

The greatest thing 2014 has given is books. Lot of books. Specifically, young adult novels. For my graduate program, it required me to read a lot of YA novels and it made me wish I read when I was younger. It would have helped me process being an awkward teenager and maybe I would have made different decisions. I’m glad to being YA now though and I plan to use these books all throughout my career in some way. Reading makes me a feel a way that no one has (or can).

As I look to 2015, all I really want to do is continue to make improvements on what I’ve done in 2014. I would to lose another 30, I would love to read more books and I want to stay dedicated to my happiness. It’s too easy for me get angry, jump to conclusions and get down on myself. It pulls me down to this dark and twisty place (bonus points for knowing that reference) and it’s so hard to get out. The only way out is to be good to myself and the only way to avoid going there is to be good to myself. So, 2015 will the be year of being good to myself.

I’ve made a list that I’ll make copies of and leave places like my office and apartment as daily reminders of how to be good to myself:

  1. Eat & sleep well. Indulge a little.
  2. Enjoy the little things.
  3. Celebrate the little victories even if I’m my own cheering section.
  4. Stop comparing – what other people think of me or do is none of my business.
  5. Exercise regularly for a whole year.
  6. Stop texting so much and call more often.
  7. Let the little things go. If it doesn’t matter in five years then it doesn’t matter.
  8. Never lower my standards for anything. I have standards for a reason.
  9. Never wait for others to encourage me to do something – just do it.
  10. Take a risk. I may live to regret it, but at least I lived.

What’s your list?

Being Alone vs. Being Lonely

It’s such a fine line. There are moments when I come home from work and it’s quiet in my apartment and I assume I’m lonely because I’m alone. Then there are weekends when I have absolutely no plans and I stay in PJs for two days in a row. While sometimes that’s something we all need, other times, I desperately want someone else there.

The truth is, since I am alone, I am never sure when I am just alone or I’m lonely. I definitely know the feeling of being around people and still feeling lonely. It’s so hard to tell when you live alone and you’re single. Most days, I enjoy the time I have to myself. I like not being accountable to anyone’s time or having family obligations (pros of living six hours away from family). Don’t get me wrong, there are definitely days when I enjoy having plans and the company of others. There are just days where time goes by slowly and I can’t help but think about how lonely I am. I don’t believe today was one of those days, but weekends leave me with being alone with my thoughts for two days. It’s always struggle to be social at work Mondays after so much alone time.

I don’t necessarily believe one is worse or better than the other. I just keep hearing there’s a difference between being lonely and alone. I know it’s a fine line, but I don’t know where that line is.

Relationships Make Me Nervous

A year and a half of being single and I would like to think I’ve got a handle on this being single thing. I went through all the ranges of emotion following my relationship. I was ecstatic at first because of I felt like a Mack truck was lifted off of me. I was a little sad because I really did lose my person – she is the only one to this day who can probably tell you what I think about something before I’m given a chance to think. I was angry because why didn’t she fight to keep the relationship going (in retrospect, she did this with full effort for months). I was disappointed with myself because once I realized what my mistakes were (oh, there were many) I wanted to rewind and have another go. Finally, I’m in a place where I am content with it all. I feel that we needed to end things. It would be so much easier if I was angry with her – I’m not. I always hope that she finds better and finds someone that can give her all the things I couldn’t because no one deserves it more. So, now, that means it is ultimately my turn to finally move on past it all.

Truthfully, I really have tried. I started to find peace within myself and be happy with who I am. I spent a lot of time seeking happiness from other people and things that I ultimately would end up sad in the end. Now, happiness isn’t limited to that one awesome day or that one awesome text. I’ve gotten so much better with finding joy in each day and with doing little things just for me. Sometimes that means a big spending spree at Target or treating myself to coffee instead of making it myself. Everyone always said that I needed to work on myself before I truly moved on and it is definitely still a work in progress.

After a summer filled of first dates (some second dates) and awkward text message, I feel pretty confident in stating that I’m ready to actually be in a committed relationship. The issue is – I’ve gotten way too comfortable with being alone. With relationships, I work on full blast or nothing. There are days where I think there’s no way I can be with someone again because I love my alone time too much. Other days, I’m naming our future kids. The truth is, I really just met this person and I am terrified of the unexpected. In my last relationship, we were friends before we were dating and it was a seamless transition for the most part. I really don’t know how to do that take-it-slow-and-it-will-build-into-something approach. I’m not saying that we need to get married next weekend, but I am never sure how slow is too slow. I suppose it is not an exact science and whatever is meant to be will be. In the meantime, relationships are weird and make me nervous.

Here’s the thing. I dive in head first. Each and every single time. I can’t help it – it’s who I am. I’m so guarded that when I see a good opportunity to just go for it, I do. I know that this has a high chance of me getting hurt in the end. It’s just that I can’t navigate the waters with someone who is taking it slow after I’ve already made the dive. It’s neither one of our faults – just that we have different expectations and different ways of getting involved. I keep telling myself that I will stop putting too much other there too soon, but I am reminded that there are no rules to dating. I know as the guy I am supposed to act not interested, but I can’t help it. When I really like you, I want you to know it. In my world, there’s no reason to keep that a secret and take it slow.

The Perks of Being Wallflower

I really could not decide why I decided to create a blog. I had a friend telling me that I should just do it and I have another friend who writes all the time. I am still having the internal struggle of whether or not this will be more journal-esque and less actual writing. I need to see how it will go first. I want to write about my life – the good, the bad, the ugly and the really ugly. I want to be honest, more so than I have ever been.

I made the blog a week ago and what has finally gotten me here to write is one of my courses for grad school. I’ve been so fortunate to love my grad work even though I was unsure if I wanted to do it at first. I am currently starting a great career as a higher education professional in student affairs, but the allure of being a classroom teacher is still ever so present. I decided to do the literacy education program for my grad work.  I am not sure what I will ultimately decide, but that’s not important at the moment. What is important is that for one of my grad classes, I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I have never read the book before or have I seen the movie. Do you know of those moments when you feel like something makes too much sense to be a coincidence? I feel like that is what happened with this book. I’ve had this assignment for two weeks now – developing a unit plan using critical literacy. The class had the option of using books read in class or being risky and using a book not discussed in the course. After harping on how only one other student has used a book outside of the course, most of the class decided to use an outside book. I decided not to originally, but something led me to my professor’s office telling her I needed a challenge to do the project on an outside book. My professor tried to talk me out of it, but say my determination of wanting the challenge. She threw multiple books at me and I went home with two. I spent most of today reading a few pages of both and I did not want to go with The Perks of Being a Wallflower,  but I could not put the damn novel down.

Needless to say, the book ended up doing wonders for my project and I can’t wait to piece it all together tomorrow. What I am digesting now is how that book spoke volumes to me. I feel like the main character, Charlie, is who I am. I try to make others happen, I try to respect my friends and the space of women. At the end of the book, Charlie learns to be more aggressive and not to be afraid to say what he wants because opportunities will go by. Charlie was having this conversation with his best friend of the book who was also his crush (although so much more). Charlie’s crush acknowledged the attraction, but told Charlie that even though he was told to not like her and to just be a friend, Charlie shouldn’t ignore what he feels and needs to be present in each moment. Sitting on the sidelines only gets you so far. I know that. I definitely have heard it before. It never resonated so deeply before today. In terms of Charlie and women, I realize that when I have a crush on someone, I sit on the sidelines. I claim I am waiting for the right moment and that I’ll act on my attraction when I’m ready. False – I am scared and I am never present in the moment which is why girls never notice me. I think back to my first serious relationship and it all happened because I made myself present in the moment (a good story for another day).

So, in my first rambling of a post, I’ll leave you with this. Today, I have never learned so much about myself at one time. It goes beyond what I explained about Charlie, but about what type of person I want to be and how I need to go about being that person.  felt this post was appropriate considering the title of this blog because in the past two years, I have felt nothing but that I’ve been consistently evolving as a person. Charlie just pointed me in the right direction.