Category Archives: Thoughts
Ms. Fagan is quickly becoming a favorite of mine on Thought Catalog. This one really hit home for me, especially with all of the exciting (but nerveracking) changes heading my way. It’s a good reminder to appreciate the “now”, and actually live all the things taking place at this very moment. Because one day, we will miss this.
Looking back at moments from our childhood, our adolescence, or even just a few short years ago, it’s hard not to feel a painful twinge of nostalgia. The vague ache that leaves us wanting to send an email or have a phone call about something that you want to confirm someone else remembers is overwhelming, and even though we don’t often know what to say to these old friends about these old memories, we feel we have to say something. And yet, we often trick ourselves into forgetting that, not terribly long from now, we will feel that same ache about the things we’re living today. The mundane moments we’re slogging through, the underpaid jobs, the cramped apartments and the irresponsible but loving friends — these are things that will one day seem joyous, even ideal.
In being so quick to complain and compare what we do and do not have with those around us, we fail to take pleasure in the freedom to make mistakes. Today, a mistake has few repercussions. Our definition of broke is not the same as a family of four who has just lost their main source of income, or a senior living on fixed income. The problems we moan over are problems that, when held up to the scale of life in general, are rather manageable. This time of deciding to stay up late on a Wednesday to drink with a friend who is in town, or dating someone you know is wrong for you but thrills you in a way that is the emotional equivalent of empty calories, is a luxury we will not again be afforded. This is the time, more than perhaps any other, for nostalgia — and we can’t see it.
One day, we will miss every moment of difficulty that taught us something tangible and immediately applicable to the rest of our lives. Often the lessons we’re learning now are those that have to at least once be felt, but leave you with a maturity that will later define you as an adult. Wading through a marsh of mixed messages and friends at every stage of their lives can be, when in the moment, tedious and exhausting — but it is a time to figure out who we are and what we actually want against a backdrop of limitless options. We’re picking a constellation from a near-endless expanse of stars, defining the trajectory of a life that, at least for now, is just waiting to be lived. We should take our time, but appreciate what it means to do so.
Yes, even the occasional feeling of being unappreciated. Yes, even the flakier friends. Yes, even the weeks of eating ramen and whatever else you can dig out of your cabinet. Just as we miss the moments of our childhood that, at the time, may have seemed fraught with self-consciousness and uncertainty, we will miss them. We will miss them the way we miss the people we lost touch with through our own ingratitude or the simple passage of time, the way we miss sitting in someone’s arms and feeling loved, even if we don’t love them anymore. We will miss it all because, as with almost everything, it is so much easier to feel nostalgia than regret. We will see the good parts, no matter how unable we are to focus on them in the moment.
Why is it so impossible to understand how incredible a time it is to be alive, and to be young? Why is easier to complain about the downsides of realizing our dreams and growing into ourselves than to sing the praises of being healthy and loved enough to have it? I don’t want the nostalgia and, possibly, the regret of not living in the moment, to hit me all at once like a ton of bricks when I’m past the point of recreating it. I want to feel the full joy of decorating my first real apartment, of making new friends while out having drinks, of saying “I want to move” and being able to pick up and do it. The aching to return to these days of relative ease and adventure is sure to wave over us at some point, and though forgetting that is too easy, it wouldn’t hurt to appreciate what we have while we have it.
Thought Catalog has too many wonderful articles lately. I have a hard time choosing which ones to share! This one made me laugh.
1. Letting themselves get out of shape. If you’ve ever watched The Biggest Loser and questioned the contestants desire, based on their struggles — you’ve never been out of shape. You’ll find that the rumors are true, and your metabolism moves slower than a snail at the DMV as you get older. If you continue washing down brownies with Mountain Dew and discounting the value of working out, you will pay. I assure you that once you’ve officially gotten out of shape, it’s so much harder to get fit. The mere sight of a treadmill will make you want to run anywhere but on it.
2. Spending substantial amounts of money on farfetched concepts. Buying several lottery tickets, playing the slot machines and joining pyramid schemes are all poor decisions, with slim chances of making profit. (Heads Up: 99% of well-dressed individuals who approach you with a business proposal/job opportunity just want you to help them build an unprofitable pyramid.)
3. Staying involved in destructive relationships. In middle school and high school, everyone dated everyone — but your 20s should see stricter standards and principles enforced. There’s no sense in being with someone whom you can’t picture yourself happily with in the foreseeable future. Don’t get me wrong, fixing damaged relationships is great; but trying to glue back a thousand broken pieces while getting cut in the process is unhealthy.
4. Cohabitating with a lover whom you’re not married to. Often couples convince themselves that moving in together is a splendid idea, when that’s not always the case. Sure, some live happily together, but it’s not for everyone. Be certain that you’re not rushing into things. It’s not as simple as sharing a shower, owning his and hers robes, and having sex frequently. Many characteristics are revealed, and obnoxious habits are exposed. Living with a significant other too early can be detrimental to the entire relationship.
5. Accepting and embracing drama. When you graduate high school, the cattiness and immaturity proceed to follow some. We have to refuse to be a part of any high school level shenanigans. Hearsay, gossip, he-said-she-said — all those bastards got a diploma and followed some miserable souls well into their 20s. It’s a matter of rejecting the slightest hint of drama, and wisely refusing to speak, act, or feel anything based off of it.
6. Settling for a subpar job that makes you miserable. Hard work and dedication, no matter who the employer, are admirable traits. If you find yourself performing unhappily at a place, be certain that you’re just doing so as a means to get by until you can pursue your personal goals. Every opportunity to take a shot at your dream career should be greeted passionately by you. Too often people forget that the 20s are an ideal decade for trial and error. Test things out, then fail or succeed.
7. Putting excessive amounts of value in attention received on social networks. Gauging your popularity and significance by the amount of likes your Facebook statuses got. Feeling physically unappealing because your Instagram photo — which you spent an absurd amount of time selecting an effect for — didn’t get a satisfying amount of compliments and responses.
8. Being a pushover. Little things like accepting the wrong drink at Starbucks, or pretending not to notice someone cutting you in line aren’t crucial. The issue is the snowball effect that follows. People see that you’ll give an inch, so they’ll greedily take a mile. In today’s world, it’s hard to be nice without somebody trying to take advantage of your kindness. Establish firm limitations that people know better than to cross. It might take temporary sternness, but in the long run it’ll pay off.
9. Taking pride in being widely considered a b-tch or a d-ck. Why being loathed (for good reason) has become a fad is beyond me, but it’s definitely a thing. It’s fantastic to be who you are, but to consciously treat people sh-tty and then brag about having “haters” is just dumb. Nobody is invincible — so continuously pouring gasoline, lighting matches and burning bridges will come back to haunt anyone eventually.
10. Being self-destructive. Continuing personally damaging conduct, with no intentions of stopping can have a lasting effect on your 20s. Getting arrested, pissing off friends, being irresponsible with finances — these are just a few of the seemingly infinite ways to ruin one’s self.
11. Passing on spontaneous adventures and the opportunity to experience new things. If friends are taking an impromptu trip to a nearby city, pack a small bag and roll with. These little things are what make the decade. Beyond the inside jokes and perspective on classic stories that you’ll miss out on, you’ll lack good times. If serious responsibility isn’t withholding your presence, then nothing else should be. Attend gatherings, give unfamiliarity a chance and build a résumé of awesome memories.
12. Remaining bitter. If you’re still angry with the ex from over five years ago, or badmouthing the company that didn’t hire you — do yourself and those around you a favor by stopping. The anger is unhealthy to hold on to, plus it makes you a misery to be around. Bitter passes are typically handed out to the freshly dumped, or recently rejected — but in time you must forgive or forget. Whichever you choose; be firm on it.
13. Making yourself difficult to love. By being shutdown and over-complicated, you create a seemingly impenetrable shirt, doused in cupid repellant. We all struggle in our own unique, disastrous ways — the key is to fix them. Making yourself available, approachable and open/honest will work wonders for your love life.
14. Being a pessimistic, opinionated hater. Yeah, that’s something we all want to be around in our spare time. Every movie out isn’t terrible, every song isn’t garbage. This personality type is in for a reality check when eventually nobody wants anything to do with ‘em.
15. Spending large chunks of time dreaming about a utopic, perfect world in which everything is just peachy. Having high hopes and aspirations for the future is a great thing, it’s just important to draw the line of frequency somewhere. Picturing a fantasy land in which you own nice things, are surrounded by beautiful people and have Uncle Scrooge sized piles of money isn’t going to bring those things to fruition. The dreaming is the easy part, it’s the living that requires some heavy lifting and effort.
This speaks volumes. Thank you, Ms. Fagan, for this lovely reminder. What a great way to start off Monday.
You deserve to look in the mirror every morning and see someone that, though not perfect, isn’t trying to be. You deserve to walk past the billboards and commercials that show staged-and-Photoshopped images of what and who you are supposed to be and laugh at them, secure in the knowledge that you are wonderful because you are real. You could imagine that the models themselves must be so much greater in person when not reduced to a pose and a cheesy tagline — maybe they are at their most beautiful when just stepping out of the shower, hair still wet, and excited to go eat a good breakfast — but you don’t compare yourself to them. You deserve to love your body simply because it is yours, and it is capable of so much.
You deserve to look past whatever is displayed on the outside, whatever code lingers on your skin to be read by society and neatly organized into some compartment about who you “are” — fat, thin, ugly, tall, awkward — and be even more in love with what exists within you. Of course you may have moments in which you regret past mistakes, or dislike a character flaw that you know you need to work on, or feel the rope of maturity tugging at your ankle saying “Come on, catch up,” but it doesn’t define you. You deserve to appreciate all of the wonderful qualities you bring to the table, instead of relentlessly harping on yourself for the categories in which you fall just a tiny bit short.
You deserve to look for love, if that’s what you want, and be ready to accept it when it comes your way. You might find yourself overwhelmed and even briefly in disbelief when you realize that someone actually loves you for who you are and wants nothing more than to be with you, but you should be able to embrace that unconditional caring with your own. You should wrap your arms around them and cover them with your whole body — flesh, bone, the ugly little cracks and scars that they can’t stop kissing — and know that you are a good person, who is worthy of such joy. You deserve not to question every person who gives you a compliment or tells you that you’re wonderful, not to wonder if they have some ulterior motive, or if you are somehow the victim of an elaborate prank. You should realize that you are worth loving because you are ready to love back.
You deserve to go through your day and take in the good parts, breathe in the good air and appreciate the little things that too often go unignored. You should know that a strong flower growing in a city sidewalk, a child laughing and blowing bubbles, or strangers that smile at one another and mean it are all things worth loving, and which make your day a net positive. You deserve to live your life for the joys and not the frustrating slights that are out of your control — to be able to say that, because you held the door open for an older man with too many bags on his arms, your afternoon was good. Though the profound effect these tiny moments of happiness can have on all of us are often lost in the shuffle of life and its myriad injustices, you deserve to look at them and see them for the victories of compassion and simplicity that they are.
You deserve to try, and give it your all, but be okay if you fail. You deserve not to spend so much of your life berating yourself for not having been “good enough,” especially when you’re not even sure what “good enough” might entail. Your job might be strenuous, your classes impossible, but you deserve to be able to do your best work and, at the end of the day, put your pen down and sleep well. You deserve to have a personal best that is good enough for you, to not constantly feel as though you’re outrunning yourself with expectations, to the point of sapping the joy out of a hard day’s work.
You deserve to be truly happy for others. You deserve a life that is filled with its own successes and triumphs, that is carved out in the image you desire, and that is not effected by the perceived victories of others. Sometimes others may get things that we wanted for ourselves, but you deserve to be confident enough with your own life and journey that someone else’s achievement is not directly detrimental to your own desires. You deserve to see success not as some finite pie from which we must all take exactly one slice, but rather a constantly evolving and growing garden in which we can all flower and reach the sunlight.
Perhaps most of all, though, you deserve to be okay. You deserve to know that a day in which you can just barely get out of bed because you are sad, or sick, or simply not ready to see the outside is not the end of the world. You deserve to know that moments of weakness do not make you fundamentally weak, only fundamentally human, and that sometimes we’re not going to be effusively happy, and that is okay. You deserve to be happy just existing and not constantly holding yourself up to a standard of fake smiles and forced cheerfulness. You deserve to not beat yourself up when you do not reach perfect acceptance of your body, your personality, the love you receive, or anything else that may come your way. Though you should know that you are worthy of these things, learning to be happy just in a kind of stasis with yourself is a long process, and you should know that we are all working on it. You deserve to live through all of your emotions, all of your states of motivation, and know that as long as you are treating everyone with kindness (including yourself), you have nothing to be ashamed of.
We’ve often heard the phrase, “Timing is everything.” Whether it’s the timing of a new relationship blooming, an old friendship drowning, a new opportunity on the horizon, or an attempt to succeed gone wrong, timing always plays a critical role. Yet how true does this statement hold?
Many people believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe most things happen for a reason. The other 10% occur because of sheer, dumb luck or sometimes, by miserable coincidence. But timing… it really is everything. Say you have an incredible job opportunity arise, but don’t have the means to accept it because the risks outweigh the benefits at that current point in time. The opportunity is great, but the timing is all wrong. However, declining that opportunity could lead to a bigger, better opportunity down the road. Say you make a huge investment in something or someone, when suddenly, another aspect of your life comes crashing down. If you had held off on the first investment, perhaps the timing of this second incident wouldn’t seem so severe. Finally, let’s say you have a wonderful relationship with someone, but stomped all over people to obtain an ideal state of happiness that doesn’t actually exist. It’s only a matter of time until the longevity and strength of that relationship runs out. All in all, you’ll wish you had been more careful with the timing in every choice you’ve made.
This isn’t to say you should live your life cautiously. It also isn’t to say that you should live your life dangerously. There needs to be a balance. There are times when you take a risk, only to find it was the wrong choice. But there are other times where you realize how much you’ve gained by taking a certain risk. When making decisions such as these, it’s important to consider not only yourself, but also those around you. You could be affecting others in a much larger way than you ever imagined. Trust me.
So the next time you have a decision to make, don’t jump at your gut reaction. Consider your gut, listen to your heart, and think logically with your head. While all these can lead to conflicting emotions, it’s better to consider each and every possible scenario than none at all. Consider yourself lucky if timing has always been on your side and continues to be that way. If you have timing, then essentially, you have everything.
My closest friend found this article on Thought Catalog. Needless to say, it describes both of us perfectly. Samantha Willner definitely has a talent for making my heart smile.
Six Things 20-Somethings Want
1. To own books. To have an apartment that houses an overstuffed bookcase overflowing with fiction, non-fiction, autobiographies, cookbooks, self-help, and cheesy romance novels. Underneath the windowsill overlooking the city, there will sit a leather lounge chair that you picked up at an antique store or yard sale. Here, you will sit and read all your wonderful books.
2. To be loved. By friends, family, men and women. To never be alone on a Friday night. You’ll host book club meetings in your apartment and show off your overflowing bookcase. You’ll do yoga on Tuesdays. You’ll take art history classes for fun. You’ll go on dates. When your world falls apart, you’ll always have someone to call for support. A loving soul will always be there to congratulate you on your accomplishments, give you a massage after a long day, hook that difficult bracelet latch around your wrist that you can never get on your own, and of course, tell you you’re beautiful.
3. To own a unique pet, like a cockatiel or miniature pig. To have a doorman who knows your name. On rainy days, you’ll attempt to watch all the classic movies you never watched when you were younger. You’ll call your mom every Sunday. You’ll write poetry for fun. You’ll read the New York Times at your local coffee joint and attempt to do the Sunday crossword puzzles. The barista will know your order without having to ask. One day, you’ll give up coffee for green tea, but what’s the rush?
4. To be successful. To receive invitations to fashion shows and art gallery openings, but only attend them selectively. To write beautiful things to fall upon the eyes of beautiful people. Your feet will be your main form of transportation. You’ll be the most fashionable person at the office. During lunch breaks, you’ll get lost in Barnes & Noble. You’ll call your boss by his or her first name and sometimes, when a deadline is approaching, you’ll shoot each other a text. You’ll have health insurance and a retirement plan.
5. To do something crazy — like move to China — and then blame it on a fleeting youth. To eat pizza in Rome. To accumulate frequent flyer miles. To, every once in awhile, fly first class.
6. To, one day, reread these hopes and desires, smiling at the things that came to fruition, and wondering what happened to those that didn’t.
My mind seems to be spinning off into 17 different directions. Multitasking has always been my strong suit, but my focus lately has been interrupted by random distractions. When I manage to finally sit down and give my full attention to something, I find it almost impossible to finish and immediately start contemplating another subject. I’ve always known I’ve had a restless mind, but when does restless become ruthless?
Prioritization lists are now key in my daily routine. Whereas I used to write everything in my planner, day by day, I now have to write full-blown, small-and-large-scale prioritization lists. It’s not that I am afraid I’ll forget to do something; I’m afraid that time won’t allow me to do it all.
I remember one of my friends having said, “Ugh. You are so lucky. I wish my mind worked that way.”
Do you? Do you really?
While this restless state of mind allows me to be overly productive and worthwhile, in the end, it leaves me feeling exhausted and crabby. I get to the point where I don’t even want to watch TV because my mind still has to process and function. I end up just wanting to sleep.
I know I talk about balance a lot, and this is exactly why. No balance = no time (or what feels like no time), which ultimately leads to stupid selfish behaviors.
So if you go-go-go like me, take a second to truly think about what you’re doing to yourself. Hopefully you’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel like I did today. If not, I’ll pray that one day soon you will.
I hate being absent. Whether it’s absence from work, from my thoughts & productivity, or even from this blog, I don’t enjoy it. Not one bit. I am a person who strives to be present in everything that I do. To live life mindlessly by only going through the motions and nothing more is truly depressing.
This is exactly why I find time to focus on the things that truly matter. If you need a day to yourself, take it. If you’re upset and need comfort, seek it. If you feel like relaxing, do so and thoroughly enjoy it. If you know you need a vacation, take one.
In the meantime, keep these lessons in mind.
- Realize your dreams. Have a vision of your goals. Write them down and create a list of actions to help you stick to your plan. If you can’t measure it, how can you expect to manage it?
- Overcome your fears. The best way to learn or face something is to dive right into it. When you overcome your fear of failure, you learn that only those who are asleep make no mistakes. Fear is the only thing keeping you from experiencing a life of love and fulfillment. Make a commitment to an uncompromisable quest for truth and you’ll realize that as you grow more into truth, your fears will diminish.
- Know your intentions and desires. Your thoughts determine your reality. When you stop thinking about what you don’t want and being thinking about what you do want, your life will begin to transform. Instead of working against your desires and intentions, help yourself align with them.
- Find Happiness. Happiness comes from an inner peace, an understanding and acceptance of life. It is a perspective of truth that opens your eyes to the beauty of life all around you. Happiness cannot be achieved by external status; it must be an internal state that you realize when you see your innate imperfections.
- Seek Self Acceptance. When you stop trying to be what you are not, you’ll realize your authenticity. It’s easy to create an image of perfection in your mind of what you should be, but you are not. Never go against yourself. Practice non-judgment and realize that the same part of your mind that condemns you is the same voice that caused you to take the action in the first place.
- Embrace Appreciation and Gratitude. How many times do you count your misfortunes rather than your blessings? Take the time to open your eyes to the miracle of life and see how many gifts have been given to you. Remember all of the beautiful aspects of life and all the reasons you are blessed. Focusing on these things can immediately shift your mood from sorrow and despair to appreciation and hope.
- The Art of Simplicity. Perfection is a state when there is not nothing to add, but when there is nothing more to take away. Remove distractions and eliminate clutter. True mastery of our lives is realizing the simple joys of life and all it has to offer.