Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Rebuilding, Restructuring, and Recreating

"Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life." ~ J.K. Rowling

In my "first" post of this renewing of my blog, I talked a little bit about possibly having hit "rock bottom," That's a REALLY big term, right? Thinking about it, my "rock bottom" could just be a bump in the road of my life at this time, honestly. It's just that I've never quite felt mentally and emotionally like I do now; this is by far the most stressed and the most lonely and the most lost, so in the scheme of my own life, it has been pretty stinking bad.

But that's not necessarily a bad thing. I've found a great podcast, the Your Kick Ass Life podcast with Andrea Owen. One episode I recently listened to talks about "rock bottom" being the point at which you actually start to feel human again. You can't avoid your stresses and emotions and problems and loneliness anymore - you have to face them head on. And facing those things, breaking down, being forced to actually FEEL all of those things for REAL...that's a good thing. We learn a lot from it. We grow from it. We get stronger because of it, we build stronger and more meaningful relationships because of it. We know ourselves better, we can make better progress toward our goals, we can BE BETTER because of it.

That's where I'm hoping I am now. At the rebuilding point. Where I can cry and open up to my confidants, where I can learn that I'm not the only one who feels this way, and we're all in this together and we can do all of this grown up stuff that we have to do and it will all be okay. Just keep swimming...find your pod or tribe or gaggle, and keep going.

My problem has been that I can hardly even get out of bed in the morning. I flat out don't want to. And find myself without a reason to, until the very last second when I HAVE to or else I'll be late for work. So I'm barely on time for work. That's the ONLY reason I've found lately to actually get out of bed...just to not be late for work. And it feels shitty. There's got to be something more.

One of the things I started with this week was just making the bed in the morning. I have been saying I'm going to implement a whole morning routine, a la The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod, and I even made my list of routine things I want/need to do, and was having a really hard time even getting myself out of bed. So, I needed a reason to actually get up. I'm still struggling with not hitting snooze for 40 minutes, but on Tuesday last week I snoozed and then when I got up, I made the bed. Then yesterday I did it again. Still snoozed, maybe five or ten minutes less...? Not sure. Every day since then, I've still snoozed (albeit less than I used to), but I've made the bed. Every single day since a week ago. Now it's Tuesday again, so this marks the 8th day in a row.

Making the bed is now a thing. It's a daily thing, and when I walk in the door at the end of the day and see the bed made, it is one less thing that used to be stressful for me to look at. The pillows aren't on the floor anymore, they're on the bed, that's made. And I love it.

That's all for now, friends! I'll be continuing this rebuilding theme for a while now, because that's where I'm at in my life, and I'm going to keep doing it. Every day the goal is: better than before. Now, go forth, friends, and be better than before!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Skimming the Surface of Adult Relationships

When we're kids, it's pretty simple:
Toddlers just wanna be all up in all the business. They're little sponges, soaking up interaction with any and all humans and animals and things that can fit in their mouths, and their brains love when they see a face that looks about the same age as them. Easy. Oh, we reached for the same cookie, you must like cookies, and now we're best friends sharing a cookie.
Your favorite color is the same as mine? OMG BFFs.
We're in the same class at school, or the same gymnastics class or on the same baseball team. Now we're friends.
Oh, you've got a skateboard, me too! Let's skateboard together. You like going down the slide? Awesome, we're friends.
You're my next door neighbor? Easiest access to friendship ever.

When it's not your responsibility to vacuum or wash the car or make the money for the household or cook dinner, you've got tons of free time. In fact, parents put us in sports and various neighborhood activities to socialize and make friends and it's EASY. Because it's laid out for us. We don't have to plan it, we just show up and BOOM. Friends. For the making. Which is awesome.

But now we're adults. We have the bills and the commute and the job and ALL OF THE LAUNDRY and cooking and and and...the responsibilities. Why is it that when we're kids, all we want to do is grow up? How could I have NOT become the well-adjusted adult that it seems like most people my age are at this point? I mean, maybe we all put on great acts. Fake it til you make it, right? I don't know. I do know a couple people have admitted to me they don't have it all together either, which is comforting but it's also kind of disturbing...we can't be the only four people our age in the world who appear to have it together but who are literally breaking on the inside...? Right? WHERE ARE ALL OF YOU?! Come forth, let's band together and make it better.

Amidst all of the adulthood happenings, some relationships have faded away or imploded, some have remained steady or gotten stronger, and some new ones have come into the picture. Family relationships, friendships, romantic relationships.

Relationships change over time. Some things feel familiar and awesome, like being BFFs since high school or even before. Or like my relationship with my brother, which has actually changed for the better over the years. But learning how to be an adult in the presence of your parents, to whom you'll always be their child, is really hard. Knowing and being honest about what YOU really want, in light of the fact you've never actually made any important decisions for yourself your entire life (see previous post)...that's hard y'all.

Making new friendships and trying to fit them into the way your life has drifted together thus far is also really hard. We always seem to find friendships based on our life's categories, like where we work, whose parents are in our kids' playgroup or school class, etc. Which makes sense, right? But what if I'm the owner and leader of my business, therefore kind of a lone wolf, and crossing a certain line of friendship with employees is unprofessional? What if I don't want kids, so I'm never going to go to the playground or drop them off at preschool? Making new friends who fit into how our life is, is hard. I enjoy meeting new people, but man...it's really hard to sufficiently maintain different relationships. Am I seriously the only one having these life troubles?

I'm having a hard time expanding my network and making new friends while also maintaining my "tribe." I'm at this place where I'm actively becoming a person who is very different than I was a few years ago, and the transition is really difficult. I fully realize and admit that this is happening to me WAY LATER IN LIFE than it probably happened to you (either that, or you'll all come to this realization when you're like 50). I discussed this in the previous post - I was in school for 22 out of my 31 years of life. So maybe that has played a role, I assume it probably does, because like the first season of Grey's Anatomy pointed out: when you're in school for the majority of your life, you're socially and romantically awkward. You've aged to the point of being an adult, but you haven't had the social interactions that adults outside of school have had. It's like childhood extended because you're with the exact same small group of people who happen to be in the same place as you doing the same activity...so the friendship or whatever relationship is sort of the default. You don't have to actively seek out and carve out special time for those who are important to you, because they're already right there. And in my case, keeping in touch with those people I had in my life before professional school wasn't all that hard - I lived 1700 miles away from where I had lived my entire life, so phone calls and Skype were what I had. I did learn about who back home still felt I was important in their lives, that's for sure. And I was super busy with school...with all of the people who were becoming my new, additional friends. The relationships with whom are actually really hard to maintain after we've all scattered across the country. So there's that, too. I miss them and it's hard.

Rather than rambling on and on about all of the above for longer than you care to continue reading, I'll cut to what I think I could do better, and some things that are on my personal development/goals list.

I have been using this planner called the Spark Notebook by Kate Matsudaira, At the end of last year, there were some emails she sent out to those of us who ordered the Kickstarter version of her 2016 planner, and the emails were basically four weeks of wrapping up 2015 and how to make 2016 a kick-ass year. Among various brainstorm/idea pages with life values and goals and assessment of "why," one of the pages wanted me to list the people who were the most important to me in my life. Those with whom I have a relationship that I truly value, with whom the relationship truly supports my life goals for the long term. This might not seem like a big deal to some of you, but my list was pretty enlightening. And I realized that some of those people were floating in the breeze, I haven't been in touch with them for entirely too long. I miss them. I value our relationship, but I haven't maintained contact with some of these people, and I NEED to.

So, one of my goals for this year is to practice good correspondence. Who's addicted to super cute stationary packs in the dollar zone at Target? Who picks up cute notecards in the clearance bins at the craft store? Who loves papercrafting (another one of my goals is to make time and space for more crafting) and making cards for birthdays and holidays? THIS GIRL. I have a ridiculous amount of stationary and card making/papercrafting supplies. I think I mentioned in one of my posts from a few years ago that I could probably open my own Hobby Lobby with all my own craft supplies, and a lot of that is for papercrafting. So, let's put it to good use! Keep in touch with the people who matter! They need to be told they're important to me just as much as I want to know how they're doing and what's going on in their lives.

That's one thing I can do to try to maintain adult friendships, is keep in touch with those who matter, no matter how far away we are geographically. In 2016, it really doesn't matter how far away we are anymore, given all the ways we can keep in touch now.

That's all for now, friends. Hope you found the little bit of optimism in this post, I'm trying to end this on a positive note rather than just keep ranting :P Enjoy the beautiful weather this week (I'm in the PNW, and it's just gorgeous right now)!

Next time I'll delve into more grown-up ish, and keep digging out from under the avalanche. Until next time, friends, thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

How Did I Get Here?

It's been forever since my last post. I no longer have a Birchbox subscription, nor do I get Stitch Fix anymore. After Birchbox, I switched to Ipsy, and I don't even get that anymore. Those were sort of my go-to post topics, and I didn't even keep up on those regularly. So I figure it's probably time to start anew here, and I think what I'm going to do is write about my life and the things that have been going on. Deeper topics, not fashion or cosmetics samples. LIFE. The important stuff.

I'm not sure how exactly to get started with that, but basically this is just a post declaring that it's going to happen. Life is changing A LOT right now, in fact it's been changing for a couple of years now. Some good things, some bad things, and some things that are down right rock bottom thus far in my life.

I will say, however, that I think things are finally on the uptick...I mean, there's only one way to go once you've hit bottom, right? That's what I've heard anyway, when people have referenced addiction or abuse or anything like that. Now, to clarify (upcoming posts will be more revealing with details), I am not an addict and I am physically fine - this is not an emergency, I do not need an intervention or a hospital or anything else. I just have hit two recent periods of absolute extreme stress that I was not equipped to handle as an adult.

Let's back up for a minute - how is one "not equipped" to handle the stresses of adulthood? A lot of reasons, I'm sure I'm going to miss a bunch, but these are some possibilities for my own life and my own struggles with being an adult:

1.  I was super sheltered and relatively privileged as a kid. No struggles. Safe. Never took risks. I DO NOT DENY that that was my childhood. I don't know a lot about all the struggles and adversity that a lot of people have experienced. Super sheltered. Lots of taboo topics, issues, activities, events, etc. I never had to be uncomfortable. I'm really compassionate, but I'm probably one of the most sheltered people you'll meet.

2.  I'm REALLY indecisive. Most of that is probably because that's my personality, but there are definitely some environmental influences on personality (no matter how big or small). If you don't believe that...well, I'll respectfully but strongly disagree with you. The other part is probably just that I never had to be decisive, per se. Just went down the path that was set forth, asking no questions. If I did ask a question, the answer was "that's just what you do."

3.  I quite literally just learned (and I'm still learning and trying to figure this out) how to make a budget. Yes, you read that correctly. They don't teach it in school (I didn't learn it at home), and I've been in school pretty much my entire life until three years ago. And by then I was married. He was doing all of that for us. Now I have a business to run and I'm just starting to get the basics down. I never had to do it until I owned a business. This is a BASIC LIFE SKILL that I basically didn't even hardly know about at all. Had no clue how complicated it could be, or how many different ways to do it that exist, or anything. Great.

4.  Sh*t is complicated, y'all. Have you tried shopping for an individual health plan (most of you probably have an employer or spouse's employer who handles the majority of this for you...)?! Are you actually kidding me right now? There is absolutely NO WAY you can POSSIBLY compare various plans to each other. It's literally comparing apples to bananas to spaghetti squash. And the truth is, it's actually designed that way, which makes it even more frustrating. It's a confuse-opoloy. As a consumer, it's literally not even fair. What about taxes? Maybe you use TurboTax for your individual or joint return if you can do a simple 1040. Own a small local business with hundreds of thousands in cash flow per year and a few employees (and you're not actually an accountant)? GOOD LUCK. There's tens of thousands of pages of tax code, most of which should just be sent up in flames anyway, to be honest. Sure, some stuff is easy like just making sure the electric bill for your apartment is in your name. Great. Done. But there are a lot of things that are just complicated in life that I just wish I could ignore or do without, but because of adulting, must actually be dealt with. Those were just a couple examples. You catch my drift.

So those are a few of the reasons I feel I'm finding myself in my current position. Feeling really lonely. Feeling really inadequate. Flat out not good enough. Not smart enough. Not productive or efficient enough. I feel totally naive and uninformed and confused. Like I'm literally not equipped to be an adult. Like, who allowed me to be an adult? Clearly I wasn't ready, but now it's too late, right? This is where I am right now.

This is the jumping off point of my new life. The snowball started forming a couple years ago. It started rolling down the hill when I bought the business about a year ago. It became an avalanche about six months ago. And here we are. Here I am.

Thanks for reading, y'all. All three of you...haha. I know that was pretty depressing and sounded a whole lot like a pity party...but if you, too, feel like you're alone in this whole adulting thing, be assured I'm right here with you. Read along, friend, and we can get through this avalanche aftermath together.