It Starts and Ends With You

Over the past few years, and more specifically the past few months, I’ve come to learn that no one can stop you from feeling happy or sad except for yourself. Everything you feel and whether or not you allow things to get to you is completely within your control.

This is not to say that we should never feel the feelings that we feel, but instead, realize that we can ultimately choose how we react to the things that life throws our way and what we are going to do about it.

In life, you have two options: Do or do not. 

It seems silly to say, but it really is that simple.

In the past few months, I’ve encountered obstacles that, at first, I wasn’t completely sure I could overcome. From an outsider’s perspective, some would say, “It could have always been worse.” And its true. It could have been worse, but I thank God that it wasn’t.

Everything that happens to you, whether good or bad, affects your life. The challenge is how we’re going to deal with it.

We all have our own problems to deal with. Some may be bigger than others. But when bad things happen, it’s up to you to decide if you’re going to let it take you down or rise above.

It’s hard not to get discouraged or upset when things don’t go the way we expected them to. It may seem impossible to push through whatever happens in your past. But, at the end of the day, it starts and ends with you.

Only you can decide when you’re ready to stop feeling sad or sorry for yourself. Only you can decide when you’re done being miserable. Only you can decide when you’re ready to move on. It starts and ends with you.

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My Comeback (Part 2)

As an extension to my last post, titled the “My Comeback“, I’m giving some insight as to what I’ve been noticing since it was published. Specifically, I wanted to share some of the reactions that I’ve been receiving after publicizing my personal experiences.

I’ve noticed that ever since I’ve began exposing this kind of information about my life – the intimate details of my breakup, the loss of my job, the overall confusion in my life – people have felt the need to reach out and say something to me, whether it be directly or indirectly.

I’ve been receiving feedback, comments, and even having people share their own personal struggles. And of course, it is not my business or place to expand on the details of other people’s lives.

But, I would like to say that I appreciate and even applaud those of you who have felt compelled to share your experiences with me. I’m glad that I am able to motivate people to react, reflect, and relate to what I am going through.

The beauty of writing is that you are connecting with your audience in an extremely personal way. Knowing that I have reached people in a way that makes them feel like they are not alone is exactly what I aim for in my writing. And as a writer, that’s when I have done my job.

And if you are not necessarily able to personally relate to my experiences, then that’s okay too. Because my writing is not out in the open in order for people to feel sympathy for me. It’s to try to get people to think in a different way; For people to understand that everyone is going through something difficult even if it doesn’t appear so.

And with that being said, I think that it makes my comeback a little more worth fighting for.

My Comeback

Have you ever been at rock bottom and gotten to the point where you actually remember the moment when you started to fall?

Well that happened to me today, just a few hours ago, as I was sitting at church at the last evening service of the day.

The central message of the sermon was about making a comeback after you have fallen into one of the lowest points that you have ever been in.

And that moment happened to me about five months ago when I was in the midst of severing all ties between my ex-boyfriend and I. When that happened, I thought that it would be the end of all my sorrows and struggles. Little did I know, that would be the very instant where I would begin to spiral into a deep pit that I had never fallen down before.

By now, I thought that things would clear up and I would be back on an up and onward path.

In November of 2015, I was let go from a job that I eagerly took and only held for approximately two months. I was let go just three days before my 25th birthday.

Throughout this ongoing process of self-discovery and healing since that moment, I thought that, now, I had finally found solace in the beginning of February when a new job opportunity sought me out. I thought that this would be the turn of the tide.

About one week ago, I found out that they had decided not to keep me as an employee.

And just like that, I was right back in that pit.

When you’re in your darkest of moments, it’s quite difficult to find any speck of light. It’s difficult to even try to let any light in. That’s exactly where I am right now. In the dark, searching for light in this dark moment in my life.

The single most important thing that kept me hanging on and holding onto hope was finding my way back to God and having faith that all of these things that were happening are not in vain.

I can only hold my head high and trust that light will finally find its way to me.

I can only hope that soon, I will make my comeback. But for now, I’m still in the pit searching for light to find its way to me again.

*Read a continuation of this post in “My Comeback (Part 2)

I gave up alcohol AND coffee for a month and this is what happened

Similar to many others who have proclaimed an alcohol-free month this January, I too, have participated in the tradition of going an entire month without alcohol. To take it even further, I actually added coffee to that list as well. 

For many people, the month of January is symbolic towards building how the rest of their year is going to be. Many people want to start off the new year on a good foot, which would include refraining from a specific type of behavior – In this case, it would be alcohol and coffee for me. 

After having experience an already difficult month and a half throughout November and December, I decided that this was the right thing to do.

Having dealt with my very first hands-on experience of being unemployed, I felt that January would signify a turning point for me, so I wanted to eliminate the two biggest distractions in my life. I wanted to devote this alcohol/coffee-free month towards focusing on myself. I wanted to figure out how to be with myself, and be happy with myself. I wanted to get a better idea of what I wanted out of my life. And surprisingly, that’s exactly what happened.

At first, I thought I was going to lose my mind and become a hermit, but instead, it worked out in my favor. And this is exactly what happened. 

1. I wrote more. It’s amazing how much more I wanted to write. It’s because I had clearer thoughts that weren’t drowned out or interrupted by alcohol or caffeine. I honestly thought that the lack of alcohol or caffeine would actually cause a significant dip in the amount of writing I produced, but ironically, it made me more productive.

2. I read more. Aside from the fact that I had way more time on my hands due to unemployment, I actually did read more. Naturally, since I went out a less than usual, I spent those weeknights where I wasn’t meeting up with friends for drinks towards reading and learning more than I normally would.

3. I exercised consistently. The one thing I didn’t miss about alcohol was the hangovers and the general feeling of exhaustion after a night of drinking. I had my weekends to wake up early and go to the gym. I put myself on a consistent workout schedule and stuck with it because I didn’t have nighttime drinking distractions.

 4. I lost weight. The combination of regular exercise and elimination of extra calories from alcohol and even coffee (if it’s a fattier coffee drink) significantly affected my weight loss and how I looked overall. My jeans actually fit better and my stomach really did get flatter when I cut the calories from drinking.

5. I got so much better at cooking. When you change one part of your daily routine, it usually affects other parts as well. When I cut out alcohol, I avoided the drunk food-ordering and had more time to go grocery shopping and actually learn to cook properly.

6. I ate healthier. Going back to #5, I ate healthier because I wasn’t going out to eat as often (because food + drinks is usually an automatic combination) and I was staying in and making my own meals. 

7. I saved A TON of money. After seeing the actual numbers in my bank account, I was shocked by how much of my income went towards buying coffee every day or going out for drinks. The numbers don’t lie. Cutting back on alcohol and coffee saves major bills.

8. I was more focused on my goals. Instead of wanting to avoid my problems by drinking, I was more attentive towards what I wanted to accomplish while I wasn’t drinking. I was able to actually sit and think about the things that I wanted to  in my life, both in the short run and the long run.

9. I made better decisions. From personal experience, I can say that my worst decisions usually happen while I’m under the influence of alcohol. When you’re buzzed, tipsy, or drunk, you’re not in the right state of mind to be able to handle situations properly or make appropriate decisions. Thankfully, I had this entire month to make good decisions that led me to where I am now. 

10. I spent more time with people that actually mattered. You’d be surprised by how many people feel uncomfortable being around you if you’re not drinking, which says a lot about the company that you choose. The people that I spent time with while I was alcohol-free were the ones that still wanted to hang out even though I wasn’t drinking with them. And those are the people the really matter.

11. I got better quality sleep. To be completely honest, I still wasn’t able to sleep properly at first, but that was due to my own anxiety of what would happen after the month was over. Regardless, the quality of sleep that I did get was phenomenal. This in turn, led to me feeling better during the day and being more proactive throughout the week.

 12. I restored my faith in God. Despite what other people’s religious beliefs may be, mine were re-established during this month. Growing up, I’ve always been a Christian I’ve always believed in God and I’ve always had faith in God, knowing that things would work out. But there were times in the last few years where I really wasn’t sure that my luck was ever going to change. But after this month, and what has happened within the past few days, my faith is stronger than ever  in knowing that things really do work out.

 

The Motivation of Love

Nothing motivates a person more than love.

When I look at the great men and women in literature, art, music, etc., I notice one defining commonality between all of them – And that is the inspiration of a lost or found love. When I think back to my personal experiences, I recall all of the profound moments in my life; the milestones; the life-changing moves that I have made to become who I am today. And similarly, these moments happened in the midst of the beginning or the end of a romantic relationship.

Although it may work in different ways for some people, love significantly changes you. It leaves a mark on your soul to the point where you will be forever different from that moment on. Something happens inside; something that can make or break you.

When I look at my friends’ relationships and how it has changed them, I’m taken back by how much of an impact one person can make on your entire life.

Then, when I look at myself and I realize how much of an impression the relationships from my past have made on me.

As I am experiencing yet another failed relationship, I am able to see the things that I have done in reaction to this heartbreak. Though there were many times of weakness, I also notice the strength I have found to take that pain and turn it into something else, something great like writing, running, friendships, work, etc.

It’s amazing how much one person can influence your life. In the same light, it’s terrifying how strong of a hold that love can have on you; to make you do things that you never thought you were capable of.

I feel the changes happening once again in my life and I look forward to seeing how this shapes my future self.

Seeing how far I have come now, I can only hope that I become a better version of myself. Maybe (hopefully) one day, I’ll end up with the person that completes me after I have already completed myself. Maybe that’s what all this heart break is for; to prepare us for the big one – that big love.

And so, I’d like to thank my lost loves for shaping the person I am today. Without them, I wouldn’t have accomplished the things I have accomplished. I wouldn’t have been able to grow.

Return from the Philippines

I arrived home from my trip to the Philippines late Thursday night. To say that this trip was amazing is the understatement of the year. This trip was necessary. It was emotional, joyous, and difficult. It was worth every penny spent. I couldn’t even say that you could truly put a price on experiences like these. I want to begin my recap, but I honestly don’t even know where to start. I haven’t even fully re-adjusted to my life back home to be able to discuss how much this trip meant to me. But, since I’ve caught a bit of the writing bug on this late Sunday night, I can’t let it pass, so here I go:

On the first day of our arrival in the Philippines, my parents, sister and I were greeted by a mass of our relatives. I had never met my Dad’s side of the family in-person before, but it felt like I’ve known them my entire life. We had lunch together that day and there was no denying that this family was my blood. Everyone was happy, with large smiles on their face to be able to share this first meal with us. That day, I still couldn’t believe that I was physically there.

Throughout the duration of our trip, we traveled to several places; Tagaytay, Batangas, Taytay Rizal, Zambales. We saw many different parts of the Philippines, ate an extraordinary amount of food, did a lot of shopping, and bonded as a family. I find it impossible to fully explain every detail of my trip in this short blog post, but I can say that in the mere two weeks that I was there, I was able to discover a whole new part of my family and myself.

The thing that I love the most about travel is being able to see a side of yourself in a place that you’ve never been before; being faced with unfamiliar situations is a significant part of life. It helps you realize things you never knew before. It helps you learn. It helps you grow.

Now that I’m back home, I’m honestly heartbroken, sad, and missing the time spent with my family. I’m the opposite of homesick. I want to be there instead of here. I’ve realized many things upon returning back from my trip and the main thing is that my family is the most important thing in my life.

Now that I’m back home, I’m realizing that I’m not okay with my life here. I’m not fulfilled, not even content. The only thing that has seemed to bring me true happiness recently is being with my family and enjoying their company. To feel love that powerful scares me. It makes me wonder if I can ever find that kind of love anywhere else in life.

I went home by myself because I have to go back to work on Monday. My parents and sister stayed in the Philippines for an extra week. Being apart from my family while they are still there makes me feel like a piece of me is missing. I don’t even want to dare think of how my life would be without them, but I do and just being separated from them hurts.

I think that throughout my entire life, I’d been looking for a kind of love like this; unconditional love. Aside from family and God, I’m scared that I will never find someone else to love me the way my family does. I don’t think I could even love myself the way my family does. Being back home just reminds me of that.

The trip has enlightened me a great deal. I know they say you can’t find someone to love you until you truly love yourself and I think that was the problem all along for me.

I’m thankful for this trip. I hope to go back to the Philippines soon. But until then, I’m going to keep working on myself.

New Beginnings

In the wise words of Semisonic, “Every beginning comes from some other beginning’s end”

It took me a while to truly understand the meaning behind this. Even now, it’s still difficult to comprehend in many scenarios.

A part of me has always been a big fan of tradition and keeping things the way they are. However, the other part of me thrives off of change. The main reason behind this tear in beliefs comes from the way that I was raised; coming from immigrant parents and being a first generation American. On top of that, I was born in this particular generation of rapid technological development where I have seen the fine break between the old and the new. I think that’s why it’s so much harder for me to let go of things. Although, in the end, I know it’s always for the better.

I’ve undergone many changes this past year. I’ve dealt with many periods of adjustment and uncomfortableness. It was never easy in the end stages, nor was it easy in the beginning. But, there was always that sweet spot where everything was working really well.

I started a new job at a new company today. I left behind the first job I had out of college, where I was an employee for about two and a half years. To emphasize my earlier point, it was not easy. It’s just like going to a new school, moving to a new town, or dating a new person. There is a lot to get used to, but eventually it becomes normal.

It’s terrifying to take a leap of faith and take a risk for something potentially greater. Sometimes, it works out in your favor and sometimes, it doesn’t. But if you never try, then you’ll never know. It’s terrifying to leave the familiar behind. We just get too comfortable.

We mustn’t get too comfortable until we reach that ongoing sweet spot in our lives. Even then, we must continue to grow. I’m not a life expert, nor am I psychologist or psychic. However, in my experience, I can speak to this:

Don’t settle where you cannot grow.

Don’t be afraid to take risks.

Don’t be afraid to get hurt.

Don’t be afraid to fail.

Don’t give up.

Life gets hard. We go through difficult times. But we must move forward. This is how we’ve come so far in the past. This is how we will continue to grow.

Something’s Missing

My whole life, I’ve always felt like a part of me was missing – Like there was a piece that I had to find to make me feel whole inside. I’ve searched for this piece through various hobbies, friends, relationships, jobs, and so on.

To this day, I haven’t found one thing that brought continuous fulfillment to sustain my happiness. It was always temporary. A fleeting moment.

I always make lists for myself just so I can cross things off and say I’ve done them. In my eyes, that was my definition of accomplishment. And I figured that accomplishment would bring me happiness. Creating goals and then meeting them was always the idea I had of finding happiness. Of course I always felt that instant moment of satisfaction, but I can’t apply that same moment of satisfaction to my current state of mind.

I made my list – I graduated high school, graduated college, got an internship, had a long-term boyfriend, got a job after college, moved to New York City. I did all of the things that I set my mind on and now where did that leave me?

I’ve gone through countless boyfriends, jobs, apartments, etc. and none of them brought me enough happiness to carry me through my bad days.

Some people may say that happiness is a series of happenings, but I beg to differ.

I’m fully aware and confident in the fact that true happiness comes from within; that you must feel happy with yourself whether you have the things you have or you don’t.

I recently went through a breakup (or ten) with someone that I had been dating for several months. The breakup itself lasted almost 2 entire months. The reason being is that I couldn’t stand the fact of not having him around. I couldn’t imagine the possibility of being happy if we weren’t together. This is never the type of person that I wanted to become.

How could I, or anyone else, define their happiness through another person? If we do, then we clearly don’t have any control over our lives.

Over and over again, I ask myself, “Why can’t I just be happy with myself? Alone.”

To this day, I still can’t answer the question.

I don’t think it can be taught or explained. I don’t think that anyone else can show you. You simply have to experience it for yourself. I just wonder how many more shitty mistakes I’ll have to make before reaching some sort of epiphany.

Countdown to Melbourne

Whenever you make plans much in advance, you never really feel the weight of the reality until it comes down to the last final days before the big event.

Well, I’m officially less than one week away from my long-anticipated trip to Melbourne, Australia.

This is my first trip overseas and I couldn’t be more excited, A week ago, however, I was whistling a different tune.

2014 has been a very significant year of transformation for me. In fact, many of the major life events that have happened to me this year have revolved around my trip to Australia. I moved out of my apartment, moved back home, broke up with the guy I was dating, didn’t get to run the San Francisco Marathon, (which I spent $150 on) and cut way back on going out with my friends. On top of that, there were also hardships that occurred at the most inconvenient timing.

A week ago, I still had not received my passport (which I applied for in May). Trying to stay calm, I tried to reassure myself that it was in-transit and everything was going to be okay. Naturally, I began to panic the following day. The weight of the realities that have happened in the past few months all started catching up to me like a wave approaching the shore.

Fortunately, in these last final days as I’m getting closer to my trip, things started falling into place and my panic turned back into excitement once again. I received my passport, finished up last minute plans, and began to breathe again.

It never ceases to amaze me at how worried I get when things aren’t going as planned.

It’s been a rough year, but I’m banking on this trip to salvage all the hopes that I had lost for 2014. I needed something to look forward to, and now that it’s finally happening, I’m just crossing my fingers that everything will be okay.

After all, everything has always worked itself out in the past.

To follow my journey through Melbourne, follow me on Twitter or Instagram (Lindseyruns)

#australia2014 #lindseyinaustralia #lindseyrunsinaustralia

The Travel Bug

Recently, I’ve been noticing an abundance of articles being written about the growing trend of leisurely travel within Millenials. I, myself, can see this trend occurring throughout my own close friends and friends of friends. The more people that I talk to, the more that I see a pattern of people my age having an overwhelming desire to escape from wherever they may be at the moment. Even more so, a lot of people that I know have actually taken the initiative to pack up and leave.

They say that birds of a feather flock together. Well, it’s no surprise that some of the closest friends that I have made in New York have all escaped from wherever they were to be in New York City. It’s also no coincidence that a lot of the people that I’ve encountered in New York City are from the other side of the country, California in particular. I mean if you’re going to make a move, it better be a big one, right?

A few days ago, I mentioned to my sister that I wanted to try to see what it was like on the other side, over in California. I’m not exactly sure what I’m looking for or why I think I would find it over there, but I’ve been curious to find out.

In around two weeks, I’ll be leaving for my first big international trip. Back in March, I earned a bonus check from my job and had no idea what to do with the money. Sure, a wise thing that I should have done was to put it away in my savings account or use it to pay off bills. Instead, I wanted to reward myself and splurge. And what better way to splurge than to book a flight somewhere and enjoy a nice trip?

Well, that trip ended up being a flight to Melbourne, Australia with one of my closest childhood friends. We just sat down one day, went on the computer, bought the ticket and that was it.

Only recently has it finally dawned on me that it’s actually happening, and the more that I think about it, the more excited and anxious I become. At the same time, I’m also scared. Scared about loving it there and not wanting to snap back into reality and never coming back.

It’s easy to run away from your problems; to leave everything behind when things are getting tough. I do that a lot with running (and I mean literally running) Whenever I’m frustrated, upset, or angry, I go for a run with the mindset that it will magically solve my problems. It does, but only temporarily. Of course, it’s never a permanent solution. No matter how far or fast I run, my problems are always back at home waiting for me, silently sitting in my mind.

So this makes me wonder about my generation, the Millenials. Where is the sudden boom of travel desires coming from? I hate to make assumptions or say that everyone is like me when they get the itch to go somewhere, but I also refuse to deny that it’s not a part of the reason. We have to be running from something. Maybe it’s growing up, or maybe it’s the fear of missing out, but it has to be something.

Are we all just running away from our problems whenever we catch the travel bug? I like to think that I’m not the only one with these feelings. I like to think that I’m not alone in this and that there is really something lurking in the waters of my generation. There has been a shift in the mindset of Millenials. We’re making moves. And it could be a good thing or a bad thing, but I hope that we all find whatever it is we’re looking for.