Coming to Terms with What Excites You
The journey (#struggle) of finding your passion, prioritizing your goals, and acting on your gut.
Life-defining, decision-making moments can really happen for anyone at any time I suppose. It could be for someone who’s been stuck in a rut for a while and know they need some kind of change. It happens to someone who is about to have a major life change whether he/she wants to or not such as moving, going to college, graduating from college, discovering an illness, losing a loved one, or even winning the jackpot. There are some points in time when we get slapped in the face either by fate, ourselves, or someone else and get asked, “What the hell are you doing?” Though, some people have a hard time even getting to this question, but they know, they feel an imbalance in their lives that they can’t quite define and therefore don’t know how to fix.
I’ve heard so many stats that the majority of people (at least in the US) feel they’re not doing what they want to with their lives, which just sucks! It’s your life man! YOURS! Now I’m screaming as if it’s an obvious solution to an easy problem, and it’s not of course. Because while a lot of people feel dissatisfied with what they’re doing and how they’re living, I’ll bet a lot of those people don’t really know why or what they could do to feel better. It’s not as simple as, “Oh I’m feeling a little down in the dumps. I’ll go for a walk to the happy store and they’ll give me all I need to feel better.” Wouldn’t that be nice? If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 23 year long process of growing up, it’s that no one has it all figured out, except maybe Arianna Huffington or George Clooney and I’m sure they still have their own qualms unimaginable by my little ignorant mind. We develop problems and inner struggles that are so personal and so in our own heads that I really don’t believe anyone, not therapists or podcasts or books, can fix because they don’t know every nook and cranny of our own functionality. Yes, these and other resources can be very helpful in finding our happiness, but they’re only tools.
To tie these thoughts into my own story: I was a graduate with a Masters Degree and had ZERO clue what I was doing or what I wanted to do for about a year now. It’s a terrible feeling to know you’re full of potential and awesomeness and you want to taste the rainbow and fly to the moon but when it comes to turning those metaphors into actual real life ambitions... crickets. So I took a job that seemed reasonable where I would learn some stuff, meet some people, and do some things. This was essentially my cushion while I figured out an actual move to make. I need income, so I’ll just do this until I find something better or get my small business off the ground, or save enough to move to a beach house....wait.... This sounds familiar...this sounds like the plan that say 80% of college graduates take while they’re young and hopeful before they turn 35, have kids, and realize now they can’t move or grow or start something new.
In the fall and winter I’ve been really upset. I’ve been getting frustrated at stupid things like Mario-Kart. I’ve been losing my temper with my perfect amazing boyfriend. I’ve been disinterested in hanging out with people. I’ve had episodes of completely losing my shit during my hour long commutes home. And I knew, very well, that it was because I’ve felt unsatisfied with my job. It’s a very typical job for someone with my degree at my age. I’ve worked with some great people and learned new things, but I know it’s just not right for me. But of course, like several others I’m sure, I felt stuck. “Well I have to stick this out for at least two years or it will look bad and I’ll be a quitter.” Ever felt that? I stared out the window into the endless abyss of the parking lot and told myself all summer, “This is where I am for two years.” And because I forced myself into a mindset in which I was terribly unhappy, guess what... I was seriously unhappy; to the point of it negatively affecting the happy parts of my personal life.
So I had sit and talk to myself. A lot. Like several hours of talking to myself.
Talk it Out
And to my friends - but the good ones. Ya know, the ones I admire and I think are inspiring in their own ways. I would talk to them about themselves and what they were doing. I was sincerely interested in how they were adulting and what they were doing with their time on this planet. I once read on the little paper attached to my tea bag that the best way to receive love is to give love. And baby am I not one for giving love I tell you h’what. I’ve been referred to as a “brick wall”. Nobody gets in and nobody gets out. I have lived that way for 23 years and it’s served me... kind of well I guess, not really. So while I’ve heard phrases like that said in different ways over again, I didn’t really buy into it until I met someone who actually lived that way. He totally buys into that principle and he is absolutely killin it. He’s got good vibes flowing in and out of him that he’s ready to share with the whole population of Cambridge and everyone who meets him might think he’s some sort of hippie at first, but soon realize he is the most sincere human being they’ve ever met. It’s awesome!
So I decided to whole-heartedly believe in this and listen to others’ stories and problems and ambitions and give them advice and comfort and empathy. And somehow, I ended up feeling better by doing this. I think it’s because I felt connected to other peoples’ energies, and it’s always nice not to feel alone.
2) Learn Something and Do It
I think one reason why youngsters are so ambitious and full of dreams is because their constantly shoving their heads full of stories about what’s possible. Between school and browsing the internet, we learn so much about what other people have done and are doing with their lives and we say, “Damn I want to be that awesome!” And at this point in our lives we still think we can be. That luster gets lost somewhere; I’m not sure where because I’m still a youngster myself, but I have noticed a correlation between how much I learn and how inspired I feel. There is so much information readily available to us it’s a little disgusting how much we don’t take in or use. And it’s even more amazing how quickly we can learn and apply information. Example:
Me in June 2017: Rockclimbing? But like.. Why though?
Me in October 2017: Casually watching climbing tuturials on youtube during my lunch break for two weeks straight.
Me two days ago: If I could just get my elbow to twist one more degree I could flag out and get that pocket hold... where’s my chalkbag?
It’s ridiculous. It’s something that never occured to me as something that would make me happy; now, my week revolves around the days I get to go climbing with my man. I invented a new highlight to my life that literally did not exist 6 months ago.
So literally just go outside, into the city, online, to a park, anywhere and observe all the wondrous things happening around you and learn something new damnit! I don’t care if it’s Gordon Ramsey teaching you how to make bomb salsa. Go learn something and do it!
3) Find Your Inner Yogi
I mentioned that I talked to myself a lot. Yes, I do audibly converse with myself in the car rides sometimes, but in this case I am referring to the all mighty trend of 2018 - meditation. I started practicing meditation when I was a senior and was super-duper stressed out and exhausted and exhausted from being exhausted and was ready to try anything to just stop my mind from racing. So I downloaded a book called Modern Yoga by Duncan Peak (no this is not a sponsor plug - I wish it was). He’s what you might call a hippie or stereotypical surfer dude, but his voice is oh so soothing and was perfect for learning meditation. His deep Australian accent takes you away to another world of waves, sand, and calm. I sporadically meditated throughout the rest of college and actually came up with my thesis while doing so.
I took it up as a regular practice along with really honing in on my yoga practice (I’ve been amateurly doing yoga for several years) at the beginning of the year. I do at least one or the other once or twice a day. A good day is two yoga sessions and one good meditation session. I take these minutes to really just hang out with myself and get to know myself a little better. It takes time to get into the flow and routine of using your breath meaningfully, but I will always advise people to try it and really dedicate their time and focus to the practices, on or the other or both. We spend nearly all our time on or with other people. This is of course great in moderation but it is oh so important to spend time with ourselves because if we don’t give ourselves the opportunity to tell us what we want, how will we ever know?
I truly believe that I came to realization of and acceptance of what I passionately want through meditation and I encourage anyone who might be uncertain of themselves and their position to give it a go.
The human mind is crazy complex; it’s no wonder it feels jumbled and confused a lot of the time. Then we get frustrated and worried about how jumbled it is that it just gets more filled with buzzing thoughts that aren’t actually getting us anywhere. It’s a horrible cycle that is so easy to get into, especially if we never check in with ourselves to see what kind of housekeeping needs to be done to clear out all the psyche-clutter. It’s vital to get out of our own heads sometimes. Maybe that means getting in someone else’s head and helping them with their issues. Maybe it means removing all the current thoughts, assumptions, worries, expectations and replacing them with brand new information. Maybe it means sitting yourself down and just looking at your thoughts, not doing anything with them, just watching them as they float around in your head. These methods give you a little pocket of clarity in which your subconscious mind can jump in and say, “Hey, remember me? What’s up? Let’s talk.”
My three inspiring resources for you lovely readers are as follows:
Modern Yoga by Duncan Peak - an ebook that’s great for beginners in the journey of getting in touch with yourself.
You are a Badass by Jennifer Sincero - a book that the title sums up really well. I read the whole book in a weekend and recommend it to anyone frustrated with how they can’t get past themselves.
The Tim Ferriss Show - a podcast by an entrepreneur who invented the so called “Four Hour Work Week”. He interviews all the most amazing people in this world so they can share their struggles and love of life with all us peasants.
Enjoy and go find the beauty in your day!