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?

4/30: I want to break free!

This seems to be a reoccurring topic of conversation for my fiancée and I. She’s mostly fearless and I’m fearful of a lot. We’re an odd pairing when it comes to how we live out our lives but we somehow make it work. While she genuinely means well, her blunt opinions of me always stir up a ton of feelings for me. “You never leave your comfort zone.” My instant reaction was to be defensive. How could she say that? I do a lot of things outside of my comfort zone, especially with her. But, after collecting myself out of “my feelings” I decided to really take a look my inner scope and workings. This happens a lot when she talks. I like to think, it’s a mix of her opinions mattering to me more than anyone and she’s someone I admire and trust. When she’s on, the girl lives and dies by logical thinking; a trait I wish I could capture.

Today’s prompt questions my preference on safety net or taking risks. See below for the full question asked in the 300 Writing Prompts book by Piccadilly.

“Do you prefer taking risks or having a safety net?”

My heart pounds when I’m about to do anything that I have a fear of. My body tightens up, my face drops and I’m ready to curl into a ball and shut down. My knee-jerk reaction is to always go to what’s safe or what feels safe in my eyes. However, a safety net hasn’t always been kind to me. While it protects me from these fears, it’s also robbed me of experiences. I skipped out on amusement park rides, going places with friends, going away to school and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve been afraid of so many things. I don’t like the dark, I don’t like going out of control fast, or being at a height any bigger than myself. I don’t like to shy away from routine or what I know to be normal and safe. As a child and teenager, the world is your oyster for adventures of all kinds. However, I spent a lot of time terrified of what could happen; would I get hurt? Would I fall? Faint? Be alone? You name it and I’ve probably ran the scenario. This is paralyzing to feel and the more I age, the more I want to turn away from fear and into adventure and love. We’re given one life and I want to make it count.

I’m not totally denouncing my comfort zone. It’s a great place that isn’t just built on fear but my moral compass of right and wrong. It has kept me out of trouble and for the most part on a clean and safe path away from harm. It’s not all bad but for the most part, I want to break free like Freddie Mercury in front of a packed crowd. Life waits for no one and I’m ready to at least /try/ and step away from the same old thing and find some new places, new ways, and live with an open mind.

What do you prefer? Are you a risk taker or do you like to play it safe in your safety net? How do you carry out these lifestyles? Let me know!  

3/30: Always be grateful!

It has been a WEEK and it’s only Tuesday. Life is very busy, so my anxiety is a little bit peaked by that. I feel like I’m getting pulled all over the place and the balancing act isn’t my thing. However, I am still very lucky to have what have and be where I’m at. A couple of months ago, I was in a big fat limbo after losing my job of four years and now a few months before my wedding I finally got that on track. I have a fiancée and a family who loves me, my health is good. I couldn’t ask for more. One of the practices I do to keep me centered when in an anxious state is practicing gratitude. In my experience when my anxiety is at its peak, this practice can sometimes feel pointless or cheesy but when I actually put focus on the positive, the negative tends to fade away.

I did a search for prompts online for today. I wanted to give the book a break and also plug some sites that could potentially help out other bloggers like myself. Check out the Link for this prompt and others.  I’ve always done this exercise in a list, so check out the 10 reasons below:

  1. I am grateful for a family who loves me regardless of the distance or time we spend away from each other.
  2. I am grateful for technology. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to maintain relationships with the people most important to me. I always try and visit people and spend real-life time with them but when schedules don’t permit that, it’s nice to have the technology at your fingertips to see friends and family far and wide.
  3. I am grateful for the ability to learn on a constant basis. Age and maturity has given me a thirst for knowledge on a daily basis. There is always room for growth and betterment.
  4. I am grateful for a job that doesn’t make me feel like the other shoe is going to drop out from under me. I have always been fearful of the “firing boogeyman” on a constant basis but this new firm has not given me anything to fear.
  5. I am grateful for a steady paycheck and being able to afford to live in a big city. Not a lot of people have that luxury.
  6. As much as I complain, I am grateful for the gift of aging. It’s a privilege denied to many and I hope to God, I get to see even more years ahead.
  7. I am grateful for my fiancée for a multitude of reasons. The one that sticks out the most right now is her ability to soothe my overactive mind. I drown sometimes in a sea of scenarios and what ifs and oh my gods, and when she’s feeling 100% she’s an anchor of logic. I need that and I love that I have it in her.
  8. I am grateful for Twitter. I recently started one for this blog. Follow me @JMWeberWrites on there. Twitter has given me access to the #WritingCommunity where I can get to wander around so many talented people and dwell in the same space as them; learning, networking, and chatting away. It’s been such a help!
  9. I am grateful for my anxiety. It sounds weird but it is a measuring point for my stress levels and having it peak allows me to know when to slow down and re-evaluate.
  10. I am grateful for all of my streaming services because without it I’d be watching the same 10 seasons of Friends permanently on loop! I do that anyway, but at least not 24/7 much to the delight of my fiancée :p

What are some of the things you’re grateful for? I’d love to hear them!

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!