Overcome

I used to think that you could only really have something meaningful to write if you went through some kind of trial or tragedy. I used to think that the best writing came from pain and struggle. Some of the songs, books, poems that truly impacted me were written in sadness (or so I interpreted it).

It’s been a while since I’ve been genuinely happy. And I can say, now, that I actually am – which is such a relief.

I realize, now, that great creations do not come solely from hardships. Instead, there are products of overcoming and overpowering those hardships.

It’s funny how the things you consume change as you change.

Your mental state affects how you treat your body, the kind of music you listen to, the people you surround yourself with, even the activities you participate in.

It’s funny how we work sometimes – When we’re sad, we sometimes want to expand on that sadness and continue on that path. The act of “self-destruction” or so it’s called.

But on the lateral side of that, we can amplify positive emotions as well – When we’re happy, we want to keep being happy. We couldn’t imagine not feeling good or not feeling alive.

In life, things happen and we have to deal with those things. It may take time, but eventually, we do have to move on so that, eventually, we can be okay again. And when that time comes, you couldn’t be more relieved that you got through it and found that happy place.

Stronger than that

So, we’ve all flipped the page on another year and now it’s 2016. Many of us like to completely dismiss the events of the previous year and start anew in hopes that Day 1 out of 365 of the new year will be a fresh start for us – A new beginning. Yes, it’s a new year, but it’s not a completely fresh start. I used to look at New Year’s as an opportunity to put the past behind me and move forward. And of course, that’s what we should all aspire to do. We should move forward and constantly keep moving forward. But I don’t think  that we should dismiss the events of the past.

I haven’t had the smoothest or easiest of years in 2015 and I know that I’m not the only one. I know that, compared to others, I didn’t even have it all that bad. Compared to others, I still have heaps more to be grateful for. I’m not bitter or resentful about the unfortunate things that have happened to me last year or any of the past years. And maybe I am writing this with hindsight bias because at the time, it was much harder during the actual heat of the moment, but looking back now, I know that I could never get to where I am without those moments of defeat. F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, “Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” Well, I’m so glad that I never stayed down after all of those moments of defeat.

In 2015, I thought that every obstacle was going to be the one that was going to send me over the edge. In 2014, I thought the same thing. And the same goes for 2013 and 2012. Ever since I graduated college, each year seemed to be getting harder than the last. The thing is, I realize more and more with each passing year that life will just never get easier. I’ll only get stronger. I’ll only get better at handling difficult situations. I’ll learn from the past.

We shouldn’t neglect the events from the past because they have made us who we are today. No matter how tragic or difficult our hardships from the previous years have been, they shouldn’t be in vain. They are milestones and they are a part of us. We shouldn’t dwell on the past, but we should use them as a reminder that we are a lot stronger than we think.

Roots

I wouldn’t say that I’m the most experienced person when it comes to traveling, but over the past few years, I’ve definitely broadened my horizons in terms of drifting away from the place I call home (New Jersey) I’m most grateful to my ex-boyfriend for inviting me to be more open-minded about venturing into the unknown. The first plane I ever got on was when I went to San Diego, California for my cousin’s wedding in 2009. I was 18 and a freshmen in college. Leaving for college itself was overwhelming enough and I was only a 45-minute drive away from my parent’s house. Even then, I didn’t make the cut with sticking it out for all 4 years there. I eventually transferred to Rutgers University, which was about a 5-minute drive from my parent’s house. So much for venturing into the unknown.

Now, getting back to the first time that I was on a plane; it was a pretty frightening experience for me to be honest. I was overly excited to even be inside of an airport. Growing up, my parents weren’t extremely wealthy and we didn’t have the luxury to take summer vacations like all of my friends did. As a child, I had never even gone to Disney World. DISNEY WORLD (A sad realization when I think back on it)

Going to California for the first time was one of the most memorable trips of my life. I was blessed enough to have relatives that took it upon themselves to pay for both mine and my sister’s plane tickets. We just had to take care of our own expenses once we were there. That trip opened my eyes to realizing that there was so much more than what I sheltered myself to.

Spring Semester of my Sophomore year of college, I met the man that defined my college love life. I dated him for three years, and loved him with every ounce of love that I had to offer. A majority of it was because I loved his spirit, his personality, his carefree nature. I always wished I could be like that. Throughout our relationship, he would surprise me with mini get-aways. Eventually, the mini get-aways became big get-aways. And they extended further and further. It opened my eyes, and we hadn’t even left the United States.

I’d like to publicly thank him for giving me those opportunities to explore those unfamiliar places. It gave me the courage to move to New York City and embark on one of the greatest adventures I’ve ever been on. But, it won’t stop in New York City. He planted a seed in my mind to be brave enough to travel to where-ever I wanted to go. I learned that traveling exposes you to learning so much about people, places, and more importantly, yourself.

I caught up with another high school friend yesterday and we ran through the typical routine of reflecting on old memories and then moved onto to conversation of updating him on how much has changed in my life and how different I’ve become since high school. I’d like to say that it was mostly just age and maturity that has changed me, but a large part of it also has to do with the fact that I left home to find out who I am.

I have a lot of friends from back home who like to do nothing, but tell me how ridiculous it is to live in New York City for various reasons; too expensive, too dirty, too crowded, the list goes on.

It upsets me to hear them say these things though because although many of their claims have proven themselves to be true, I appreciate all of it. I’ve been able to find myself in a place other than my home in New Jersey. I stepped outside of my boundaries, outside of my comfort zone. And for that, Brandon, I’m forever grateful. You’ve helped me become the person I am, and you’ll continue to help me become the person that I will be.

For all of my upcoming trips to where ever the destination may be, I know that I will continue to learn more about myself. The seed that was planted has strong roots and no matter how far I go, they will always lead me back home.

The Future

If there’s one thing that I can never stop worrying about, it’s the future. I think it’s safe to assume that I’m not alone in that.

I envy those people who have mastered the art of “rolling with the punches”. I haven’t quite gotten there yet.

I guess it’s fitting that I was promoted to a job in which the main responsibility revolved around planning. And it’s no surprise that I’m pretty damn good at what I do.

My entire life, I’ve chosen every path, made every decision, committed to every action in order to reach a certain goal; yield a particular outcome. The buildings blocks to the foundation of my entire life were created specifically so that I could get to where I wanted to be.

Unfortunately, your 20’s take that foundation, flip it around, and place you on a roller coaster ride that makes you question everything.

People are considered adults once we’ve hit our 20’s (Young adults, that is). Well, it’s a scary thought once you’ve reached that point. We start to question if we’ve made the best of our youth thus far and begin to examine all of the things that we haven’t done yet. Those who are brave enough, tend to act on it.

As I’m continuously going through these new experiences, I’m finding out that life doesn’t adhere to your plans, nor does it care to follow your rules. Things just happen. I’d like to say that some things happen for no reason, but I’d have to disagree with myself and admit that things really do happen for a reason. That reason is to simply gain experience and knowledge and show yourself that things don’t always work out the way you had hoped. And that’s not a bad thing.

I connected with an old friend from back home who happened to be in New York City the other day. She had just gotten out of an interview for a company that she really wanted to work for, but they’re only offering her an Intern position. She expressed her emotions to me and I could feel her frustration of not understanding why her big break wasn’t happening yet. I told her that I’ve been there; that it’s hard and it’s a struggle, but in time her big break will come.

I may be repeating myself frequently when I write about time and patience, but it’s only because this is the core of my confusion and hardship at this period of my life.

I continued to comfort my friend and explain to her that life tests us with these trials when we’re most vulnerable and scared and lonely. Eventually, it will get better. I told her what I constantly tell myself; that finding the right job is just like finding anything else in life. It’s all about the right fit, and timing of course. Whether you may be looking for an apartment, boyfriend/girlfriend, job, pet, city, hairstyle, pair of shoes, or what have you, it’s all about finding the right fit and have the timing be right.

Even if we’ve been thrown into a situation where we feel like we’re not ready, trust me when I say this: You are ready.

From what I’ve learned thus far, at this young age of 23, it’s that things happen when you are ready.

I don’t know why I continue to stress over the future. I don’t know why I haven’t learned yet, even after documenting all various major life moments in this blog. I don’t know why I still have a hard time trusting that things will come together and things will work out and will get better.

We have no way of ever knowing what life has in store for us. We can’t predict the future. We can only deal with the present. We may have an idea of where we are going, but we’ll never know for sure. That’s the beauty of life.

The future…

Same mistakes

I was in Princeton, New Jersey on Friday night with my sister and her boyfriend when we passed a large, wooden caricature of Albert Einstein with a hole cut out big enough for people to put their face through. I had my sister’s boyfriend take a picture of me with my face in it and posted it on Instagram for a laugh.

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I kept checking the photo for “likes” that night and later on at dinner, Albert Einstein became a topic of conversation.

Over the span of the weekend, my thoughts condensed to more serious matters about my life when I kept thinking about Albert Einstein.

Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”

If this is true, then we must all be insane; or at least I am.

As I was running through the campus of my Alma Matar the other day, Rutgers University, I was observing all of the changes being made on College Avenue. The great landmark food trucks known as the “Greasetrucks” have been moved, new buildings were being built, and old buildings were being constructed. Everything looked so different in the short amount of time since I’ve left.

I, then, reflected on the times that I spent walking down that street, rushing to class, going out with friends, and started thinking about how much I’ve grown since college. I’ve already accomplished so much and have made it so far, yet there are still parts of me that remain the same.

I’d like to think that I’ve grown and matured a great deal since I’ve graduated, but I know I still have many years of change left. Even though I’ve managed to accomplish many things that I set out to, some of my behaviorisms haven’t changed at all.

I wonder, if mistakes are made in life in order to learn from, then what does it mean if we keep making the same mistake multiple times? Does it mean we’re not learning?

Why do I insist on making the same mistakes when I already know the outcome? I must be insane.

However, I’m fully aware of the mistakes I’m making when I’m making them. I already know what the results will be. Yet, deep down, I’m hoping that something different will happen the next time around.

Maybe a part of me hopes that things will magically change; that people will magically change. But change never happens by using the same methodology over and over again.

Some people believe that things are different the second time around. As I’ve grown older, I’m not so confident in that mindset.

Looking back on my experiences, I’ve learned that life yields the same consequences when we make the same mistakes.

The thing that baffles me is this: If I already know, then why do I continue to do the same things?

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