8/30: Goodbye 20s.

The schedule is shot to hell but here we are; the night before the whole reason for all of this to begin with. I am roughly two hours away from my third decade and I have to say I’m not feeling as overwhelmed as I thought I would have. Being bathed in the love of my fiancee, family, friends and coworkers makes sliding into my 30th trip around the sun not so bad after all.

In the spirit of prompts, I’ve decided to write a recap of my 20s. I want to sum it all up, be thankful for what I learned and take the lessons learned into the next 10 years and beyond.

Previously on this episode of my life… my 20s,

I survived, it’s hard to believe it. It felt impossible but I am looking into the 3rd decade of my life and it feels pretty goddamn good but it’s hard not to reflect. The last few years have been about trying to be thankful for every moment and this is no different. Despite, it all I came out with wisdom, lots of hindsight, and general life hacks that have kept me alive.

The early years of my 20s were a goddamn mess. I didn’t know much about financial stability, what made a good job, how to act in an office setting, or even in life as a whole. I was slowly falling in love all the while trying to navigate who the hell I was at the same time. It was like trying to tap my head and rub my stomach, it took awhile to teach my brain to multi task but somehow I did that.

By 25, I managed to start to entertain the idea of multitasking. I found a stable job that would carry me into the next phase of my life and I was in love. She was a wild tornado that sweeped me off of my feet; made my question my every thought, made me want to find answers that made sense to me and not just what was told me, and made me want to better. By 25 she became an anchor to me around the wild seas that would be not just my life but what would become ours together.

26 brought me the shock of my life. No matter how many times I was told it was going to happen, nothing would ever prepare me for my parent’s retirement. It would be my first time on my own. It felt like a second puberty and I was shook as hell. My helicopter parents meant well but never in my life had I wished for precursed indepdence. I was a fish out of water trying to navigate my life and what it would be like for me without the watchful eye of my parents. My parents left in September, I spent maybe eight months on my own before she moved in. My girlfriend decided to take the step to be with me every single day and every night. She wasn’t thrilled with the neighborhood, still isn’t but she took a chance. For that, I’ll always be thankful. I became we, which brought us to the biggest step yet.

27 years old, I was standing in front of a frosted Cinderella’s Castle with a small crowd looking on as she asked me to be her wife. Never in my life did I imagine we’d get to that point. Our beginnings were rocky but all of the drama and immaturity came with a pay off. She wanted me to be her wife and I wanted her to be mine. We came home from Disney World that Christmas week engaged. It was now our time.

28-29 years were all about preparation, building and rebuilding. I came into a world of crippling anxiety. Self-discovery, a not kind job position were the recipe to finally bring what had always been there front and center. I became physically and mentally exhausted. October 2019, I was fired again; right in the middle of wedding planning, maintaining a home, and trying to provide for my family. I was a spiraling mess but like always I somehow managed to pull myself together. January of 2019 gave me a job and a perspective. I finally found a place where I could make money and learn about the possibility of a career. The beginning of 2019 finished my 20s with a big high. I feel settled, I feel ready, and I feel excited.

I was terrified to turn 30. It feels so final to my life as a young person but 30 also feels like a new beginning to what’s to come. Dreams don’t feel so far away anymore, I’m getting married, we’re planning for kids, and we figuring it all out together. While aging sucks, it’s a privilege denied to many and I think I’m going to lean into the wisdom and the new outlook and run with it.

Thank you 2nd decade. For the laughs, for the tears, and for the lessons; I promise I’ll use it all wisely into the next 10 years to come.

7/30: Stay the course!

30 days feels completely unattainable but I will not be stopped. This whole process began in vain to celebrate my three decades and essentially feel better about getting older. However, it turned into an actual challenge for me. An exercise to teach, prepare and hopefully further my writing. For those who read these prompts, I thank you. I know random topics aren’t always the easiest to follow so if you do even read a paragraph of what’s written, I’m grateful.

I’ve decided to head back to the prompt website the NYT provided me. I think it’s very apropos to my current situation of trying to find the motivation and time to write on a consistent basis. But, I’ve decided to take a step further and speak on the subject of my life’s motivation. Everyone has a motivation even if it doesn’t feel very obvious, it’s there. It’s something that is very personal and vulnerable and I am happy to share mine.

“What motivates you?”

I am my father’s daughter. I watched my father make the decision to stay sober when I was 16 years old. Without going into detail because it’s not my story to tell, I know this was a hard feat for him. His time was running out when it came to his options and it was either be sober or lose his entire world. When I say world, I don’t mean money, home or anything monetary; my Dad never found himself in a debt where he couldn’t rebuild himself. Maybe that’s my skewed vision of it but I think the greater risk for him was the idea of losing his family. My mother was at her wits end and rightfully so, so it was go time. My father thankfully made the decision to choose his family and has stayed sober for 14+ years. For me, success becomes very empty without someone to share it with. My father could have advanced as far as he wanted in career, life, riches but he chose to center all of the above on his family. It was his example that set the pace for how I would live my life, how I would motive myself from that point on. Do I want to be successful? Of course, I do. I’d love to further my day job, I’d love to be published before I die but I don’t want any part of that without the people I love and using my success to further their world in some way.

As I age, the family dynamic changes. Everything I do is on a grander scale. I find myself looking at the bigger picture most days instead of the present in front of me. The present is beautiful but the future is bright. I do everything with love for myself and my present circle but there’s a bright light that guides my path. If I didn’t have this light, my world would be a much different picture. I actively choose this future, I pray for this future every single day. Above all else, much like my father before me, my children will motivate me. I will be the best version of myself for these future beings, I will make every day a learning experience, I will strive for greatness and do everything I can not only just to grow as a human but as a Mom someday.

Maybe, I’m gambling a lot on a currently futuristic situation. There are going to be a lot of roadblocks ahead. But, I can’t help but find myself wishing and praying and using even the slightest bit of hope that all this work will leave their worlds better for it when I’m gone. That I will be able to leave them with the same unconditional love my family has given me and provide for them even better than I was brought up.

What motivates you, futuristic or now? I would love to know.

6/30: Sometimes life can be just like the movies.

This consecutive day thing is next to impossible. It doesn’t mean I won’t stop trying, it just means I’m exhausted from the thought of constantly letting this scheduling slip through my fingers. However, I’m back! I’m still surfing through the 300 Writing Prompt book in awe of the thought provoking questions it presents. Today’s prompt reads:

“Write about a memorable experience you have had staying at a hotel.”

Hotels and I have a great relationship, especially during my relationship with my fiancée. We’ve had several spontaneous staycations in the last decade but one sticks out for me in particular; our night at the Waldorf Astoria. There are handful of places in New York City that I was first introduced to through the lens of a movie and never imagined being able to actually see in person. As I age, I’ve been able to cross a few of those places off my New York bucket list and I’m damn proud to say that I have. The Waldorf Astoria has been in so many movies. It was one of those places I passed and always thought I’d never go inside.

The evening began a regular evening in Manhattan for us. We ate Dallas BBQ and just spent the night walking around. Neither of us truly wanted to go home to our respective houses so she presented the idea of my picking a hotel out so we can spend a night together. We stood on the street and scrolled through a travel site on her phone. The Waldorf came up and I was drawn to the name. The price was a little steep so it turned me off but after some convincing, we stopped at a drug store for toiletries since we had nothing but the clothes on her backs and off we went. The cab ride to the other side of town felt different than the one I would have taken home. It felt thrilling to ride in a cab for once. I was going to an unknown destination and experiencing something in my own city for the very first time. The excitement was much different than a regular day in the neighborhood. It was the first place that I would get to cross off my New York bucket list and get sucked into the magic that is New York City.

I remember walking into the lobby and feeling like I was in another world. I had never seen anything that beautiful in New York. Of course, there are many beautiful places but when you pass through daily they tend to lose their wonder. This felt new and exciting and it was even better because it was an adventure with someone I truly love. We checked in and headed toward our room but wandered around the lobby a little bit. A grand piano, a polished bar, and nothing but dreams came forth. We both began to imagine our lives going to the bar together in expensive dresses and having a night out. The whole building was a dream world and most of the night was spent that way. We finally reached our room and spent the remainder of the evening dreaming. A romantic time loop of 24 hours where she and I did nothing but love in the biggest way.

The next morning was a little bit of a dose of reality as we woke up in our clothes from the night prior but the evening was far too worth it to care. It was incredible to be able to share in an experience on our city together and revel in the romantic world that was the Waldorf Astoria. Since then, the Waldorf was remodeled into expensive New York City condos taking away the hotel aspect of the building. It was heartbreaking to find out but I am incredibly grateful that we got to spend that night there and have that experience to remember forever.

5/30: Never give up, never surrender!

I know I missed yesterday, boo on me but I’m back! The consecutive days is something I’d love to shoot for but I also know it may not always happen. With Fridays being my least busy day at work I’m likely going to queue up a few posts to last me into the weekend.

Onto the prompt! Still sticking with the 300 Writing Prompts book. It’s got some great ones that have stirred up some brain cells into actual thoughts.

“What is the best compliment you have ever received?”

I’m not sure if it was the compliment that was the best or the setting and feeling of which the compliment was said to me in. I spent four years in a firm where I wasn’t the happiest. It was a lot of conflict and I spent a large majority of time my time frazzled and anxious. It was a particularly hard day for me at the office. People were demanding things and I couldn’t do it fast enough. That was always the words thrown around, “You’ve got to go faster.” Which ultimately made no sense because my department was four people in total maintaining a 400+ staff and 9 kitchens. I was hiding out in one of the kitchens I managed and the woman who trained me to stop to see what was wrong. I was clearly out of it. I wear my emotions on my face which is a very clear disadvantage in a professional setting. She sat with me for a bit to ask what was going on, I told her and she replied with something that has stuck with me ever since. “Don’t let your circumstance change who you are, you’re one of the most versatile, hardworking people I know.” Coming from her, this meant the world. She was the person who trained me and someone I looked up to professionally so it was a big deal for me to hear that.

On a personal level it opened my eyes to the fact that it wasn’t entirely my fault that everything work wise was going wrong. I was giving it 100% effort and despite the management team not noticing, there were others that were. It was a good lesson for me not to put so much of my value in my superiors because people see things different than others. The compliment not only made me feel proud and better in the moment but it’s stuck with me ever since. It took a long time to really navigate my worth but I credit my co-worker for giving it a jump start into exploration.

What was the best compliment you’ve ever received? How did it change your life?

Pause Button: Finding Balance

I think this weekend proved to me that I have a little bit of re-adjusting my schedule to do. I was hoping to promise a 30 prompts for 30 days series, but I fell short. However, this won’t stop me, even if I need to carry over into the month of June I am determined to see this through. Time management has never been my strongest point in life so I suppose writing is no exception to this personality flaw. My weekends I try to reserve for time with my fiancée, time to catch up on errands or clean my house, and sometimes work at a second job; leaving little room or much hope for any writing time.

Or so it feels.

This weekend left me feeling a little more than blue about the whole thing. The intention of this series was to celebrate my upcoming birthday but also beta test committing to a schedule. I have a few ideas for new books in the next year and one of them required a schedule so the whole thing just felt like a giant let down. I am a perfectionist at heart but after having a chat with my fiancée, I’ve decided to get back on the “horse” and dedicate myself to the task once again.

I’m speaking this plan into the universe of dedicating 30 minutes of my day or night to stop and remove myself for writing. After a long chat, she passed this suggestion along and reminded me that taking time for myself is more than okay for something I’m passionate about. Sometimes I get too far inside of my head so to have a partner who thrives on logic and reason is a blessing. She’s the reset button I needed to finish this series and see it through the entire 30 days. So, with one minor breakdown out of the way, I am keep on keeping on. Thank you all for being patient. I am very lucky to have any kind of traffic on this blog and I’m grateful for every view, like, and comment.

Day 3 resumes tomorrow with a fresh pair of eyes and an open heart. Wish me luck!

2/30 – I am woman, hear me ROAR!

Over the course of my relationship with my fiance, she has gotten me countless tools for the betterment of my writing. She’s given me journals, fancy pens, not so fancy pens, and most recently a book of 300 writing prompts.  Today’s selection comes from that book. Thank you, babe! The book comes with lines below each prompt to write on but I know that I would likely go beyond the lines so I’m using some of these wonderful prompts here for this series.

“In what way are you are strong?”

Most of the time I have trouble identifying my positive qualities. I am self-deprecating by nature and it’s a habit that I’m working hard on breaking. To be humble is one thing, to self-loathing is another. I have found that my thoughts of myself have been shaped by the people around me cementing sometimes incorrect things into my brain that just are not true! As I age, I’m starting to realize my strengths while accepting my weaknesses. Not everyone will excel in everything and people can only hurt my feelings if I let them; best advice my Father has ever given me. Strength comes in many forms. For me, I see strength in my physical, emotional, mental and spiritual self. Each of these differs in journey for the winding road that’s my life.

Physical strength, I excel at in brute force and ability to shift weight in many ways that most women couldn’t. I really don’t know how that worked out. I am bigger in stature so I could only assume that it’s a result of being that body type. I am able to lift heavy boxes in my office, I am able to break a part the cardboard when its called for. It’s a minimal example but it’s a valid one. My family jokes that I have “Monica strength” like Monica Gellar from the TV show friends.

Mental strength has been a journey for me. I like to consider myself a work in progress because it has taken me quite some time to reach the mental space that I’m currently in. I have been seeking validation from all the wrong places. Whether it’s in education or dealing with life, I have always downplayed my abilities because I found my self-esteem in what others thought of me. It became a downward spiral to live through because anytime someone spoke ill of me, I found myself in a tail spin. The acceptance that not everyone will always approve of everything I do was hard to come by. I’ve always had a need to be liked so it was a mountain to climb inside of my brain. Knocking on the door of 30 years old, I find myself less enthused by the opinions and approval of others. I’ve learned that it’s my job to decide what I need and what I don’t.

Emotional strength is one of my strongest points. As a self-proclaimed empath, I feel for me, I feel for the room I’m in, the world around me. I am forever feeling in the biggest of ways and sometimes it’s absolutely exhausting. I’ve done a lot of trying to push away my feelings to fit the needs of others. Being the sap in the room isn’t the easy of tasks but it’s not an impossible task. I am forever going to be the one with the most emotions in any room and you know what? That’s okay. The acceptance of myself has been the final hurdle that has solidified my pride in my emotional strength.

Last but not least touches on my spiritual strength. This has been an arduous journey for me. I was born into a home that casually taught the teachings of Christianity. We went to Sunday school at the local Lutheran church and for some reason I took to the teachings. Religion has always been a foundation for me. It has been the space where I have my found my moral compass and values. I eventually became Catholic in the fifth grade and completed my sacraments making me an adult in the eyes of my church. However, all of that was tested when I came out at 17 years old as a bi-sexual female. Catholicism doesn’t recognize my relationship as natural. “It goes against God’s wishes and teachings”. With my pending marriage coming up, I find myself gutted. I would love to be able to complete the sacrament of marriage with my own, I would love to find a way to make my union “valid” in the eyes of my church but the closed minds of others doesn’t allow this. But, I can’t be stopped. My faith in God is unshakable, I live by my mother’s example and pray without a church, and believe with a whole heart that God’s got me and despite how much it hurts he’s there with me and will be the day I marry my fiancee.

I’m stronger than I give myself credit for most days. While I may not always feel it one hundred percent, I know that it’s there. What are your strengths? Are they inner or physical? Are they hard to attain or does it come naturally? I’d love to know more.

1/30: Fight Fear

26. Fear: What scares you a little? What do you feel when scared? How do you react?

Credit: https://thinkwritten.com/365-creative-writing-prompts/

May starts Mental Health Awareness month. Approximately 1 in 5 people in the US suffer from some sort of mental illness. It’s a stigma that needs to be erased by talking about it and fighting out in the open to show those who suffer in silence that they are not alone. I figured I’d kick off this series with a dose of honesty. I deal with my own share of anxiety and fear. Every single day is a new vow for me to fight fear and do my best to not allow my anxiety to get the better of me. Some days I kick fear’s ass, others not so much.

The door opens and I step inside of the well lit tight space, it’s filled with other commuters getting around New York City. Sometimes they’re sleeping and weary from the early morning, others they’re wired with their to-do-lists trying to race home to their home lives with the small amounts of daylight that they have left in their days. I stand with music blaring in my ears and as far away as possible. Truthfully, riding the train back and forth to work scares me more than it should. I take the bus to get to the train and it rarely triggers any kind of anxiety but the train pushes it to happen. The crowds of people squeezing into a tight space just feels suffocating and life in the Big Apple of New York City could present tragedy at a moment’s notice so knowing I would have to combat those crowds who are usually self-serving 9 times out of 10 is unnerving. Add the below the ground factor away from any kind of resources but the scatter of subway rats and garbage and I’m in a tailspin of fear.

My best combatance of this fear is my phone and listening to music. While a lot of people discourage people to be glued to their devices (they’re probably right, but…), I find myself using mine as a life jacket of sorts. The music keeps me tuned into the rhythm and lyrics of the song versus allowing my mind to wander into the land of “what ifs” creating unneeded scenarios that may or may not ever happen. My phone has games or a book I’m reading to further tune out the mind wandering and keep me occupied instead of counting the train stops only.

Despite, my distraction of myself I do my best to stay tuned into my environment just on a less intense scale so that my brain doesn’t freak out my body. The physical symptoms of my anxiety can be very debilitating which feels a lot more dangerous than my multi-tasking with my phone. Extreme anxiety has been known to induce dizzy spells so I’d much rather find a happier, calmer mind set and have a safe commute versus working myself up and risking not getting to my destination in one piece.

What scares you? How does it affect you? Better yet, how do you handle this fear? Let me know!