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?

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The Best Gift

Every Tuesday night I have a staff meeting with my RA staff. This week, one of my RAs wanted to have a team builder and she asked us all to bring something of significance to explain. I realize that whenever I have this activity, I always pull out the same item because it means so much to me. It’s a gift that was given to me at my 18th birthday party. Here’s the thing about the gift. It is not necessarily flashy or expensive, but it is thoughtful. It is by far one of the (if not the) most thoughtful gifts ever given to me.

Tonight, I felt weird showing this gift. When I normally show this gift, I tell a story about how I met my best friend Danielle. We met while on a debate club in high school and were introduced by mutual friend because we both like Cher. The mutual friend figured Danielle and I would be friends because we like Cher. I automatically was turned off by the friendship just because of how we met. As it turned out, Danielle was pretty persistent with wanting to talk and I thought she was pretty (teenage hormones). What started out as a “eh” friendship, turned out to be out to be one of the best friendships I ever had. Danielle truly became my person. From sophomore year in high school and all through college, we talked constantly. In high school, it was over AIM and having conversations until way after midnight (big deal in high school). In college, it was not as often because we were off doing our own thing, but we were always able to fall back into things without effort.

For my 18th birthday, Danielle made me poster with a letter attached. It as a Cher collage of some of my favorite pictures. Danielle made it as something I can take with my to college and to remember her by. Ever since that day, this collage has lived wherever I have lived. Even when I had to temporarily relocate this summer while the hot water was being worked on in my residence hall for a few weeks, I took this with me. It is something that makes me feel at ease and gives me a taste a home. It reminds me what it was like to have such a great friend with that person never needing to ask for anything in return. After we graduated college and spent time transitioning into real world jobs, Danielle still did her best to keep in touch over text. There was never a detail we kept from each other (most of the time) and she is truly one of the most patient people I have ever met.

I felt weird about showing this gift tonight because for the first time, I couldn’t tell that story. I could not tell about how Danielle and I are so close and talk all the time. This summer, Danielle and I had a fight. Truthfully, I had a fight with myself texting Danielle and Danielle decided she had enough. In retrospect, it is amazing that Danielle didn’t drop me as a friend sooner. At some point, it became the friendship where I asked for everything in return and somehow it was never enough. I took for granted that no matter how mean I could be there, Danielle would still be there. I had to learn a lesson the hard way this summer about what it means to lose a friend as an adult. While I like to think that most days I’ve proven that I can function without Danielle, there are days when I just miss it. It has been instinct for long to have her be the first person I talk to in the morning. Danielle got me through some of the darkest times in my life all while being hundreds of miles away most of the time. I needed to be more patient and I needed to be more understanding about what her needs were. I don’t blame her for deciding to take a step back and not talk to me – there’s no way I can. I showed Danielle a pattern of behavior that said that I wasn’t willing to change and Danielle showed me that a person never deserves to be treated that way.

As sad as it is to lose Danielle, I still smile when I think about her. Danielle taught me something major about what it means to be an adult. I have to learn how to let the little things go, love a little bit more, forgive more often and understand that truly isn’t about me all the time. These past few months showed me that I can’t depend on her and I needed to learn how to survive on my own. It’s not fair to take out my bad days on someone I love. It was never fair to manipulate situations that made her feel like the worst human being. I’m glad I had a chance to realize those things and I am glad I had a chance to realize it with her. Whether or not she knows it, her last act in our friendship was the biggest act of love a person could show me – she forced me to grow up.

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The best gift ever. Thank you, Danielle.

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.