Saturday, January 12, 2013

Another January Post

As usual, it's a new year and I feel the need to make resolutions and try to plan out my life. Looking back on previous efforts, I realize my life has turned out completely differently than I anticipated. I have learned that as much as I try, I simply cannot plan out my life. I cannot escape my life. I cannot be perfect. I cannot please everyone. I haven't traveled or volunteered or visited half the people I wanted to or applied to graduate school. I suppose I failed at a lot of things I had planned to do.

But while I may not be perfectly happy about everything that's happened (or hasn't happened), I can honestly say that I'm much more content with my state of being. I'm in a far better place, literally and figuratively. Life is still incredibly confusing and the future is daunting, but I'm much happier than I was before. It's amazing.

Ideas and aspirations are all I can manage right now. Serious plans and goals will come later...

The Little Things
- Cook more often
- Eat less meat
- Buy more produce in season
- Go to yoga at least twice a week
- Start running again
- Take ballet classes
- Be on time for work
- Keep my home in better order
- Buy fewer things
- Drink less
- Take more pictures
- Read more
- Write more
- Blog more

The Fun Things
- Visit friends in FL, NC, Chicago, Boston, and DC
- Write more letters and postcards to friends and family
- Call my parents, sister, and grandmothers more often
- Go to museums, concerts, ballets, plays, and art exhibits more often
- Keep up my journal since writing by hand is beautiful and soothing
- Keep a list of the books I read and consistently write reviews of them
- Figure out how to finally get myself to France, England, Italy, and/or Spain

The Big Things
- Be the best I can possibly be at my job. With the confusion of 2012 behind me, I think this will be much easier and I'm off to a good start.
- Save as much money as possible... I set up two new savings accounts already!
- Attend lots of free and low-cost events for nonprofits, marketing, writing, policy, child welfare, networking, graduate school, etc. Again, off to a good start.
- Apply to graduate school for public policy...and get in. This will be a bit more of a challenge and is probably the most serious, set-in-stone goal I have.

The Hard Things
- Be kind to people, even when I don't want to be
- Stop myself from judging others, even when it's easy to
- Be completely honest with myself and those I care about
- Accept my flaws and failures gracefully
- Don't worry about the past unless it can help me grow
- Stop trying to be everything to everyone
- Learn how to love again and let others love me

I never said it would be easy...

Friday, August 10, 2012

Six Months Later

It has been exactly six months since I last posted on this blog. Half a year of my life has gone by without me recording a thing about it. But the evidence exists. I am in a completely different place than I was six months ago, yet I'm the same person with the same job, the same friends, the same interests, the same musical tastes, many of the same life goals... And yet everything is completely and utterly different.

I look back on my last few posts and reading my words, I can finally detect the sadness that I didn't know existed at the time. Or perhaps that I could feel, but was afraid to admit to. The purpose of this blog initially was to have a place to write, to think, to discuss, to wonder, to rant, to remember, to predict, to hope... Mostly, it was a place to get my head on straight through words. I chose the phrase "conquer my mind" for a reason. The purpose was to finally have a place where I could be totally honest. And yet, I've never been honest in my writing and I doubt I ever will be, at least not in a public forum like this. I certainly wasn't honest with myself. How could I be with anyone else?

The last piece of truthful writing I did was five months ago, when I wrote a very long and painful letter to my boyfriend of seven years explaining why we needed to take a break and live apart. It quickly became apparent that the break would be permanent and in May, I moved into a new home in a different neighborhood with a roommate I didn't know. I will not delve into the breakup process but I can honestly say that it was pure hell. I remember telling someone that I finally understood what all those sad love songs were about. I truly wish I didn't.

So here I am, six months down the road, faring far better than I ever anticipated. I am now a single twenty-something who has lived in New York City for nearly a decade. I am fortunate enough to have a lovely home, a job I enjoy, friends I love, an amazingly supportive family, and a snuggly little cat. I have a few blogs that I don't post on enough, far too many shoes, a pitiful excuse for a savings account, too many social engagements to keep track of, a hundred projects to finish, a thousand new interests every minute, and a million aspirations that I cannot hope to attain, yet I persist. And I'm happy. Not the blissful, smiling, jumping up and down kind of happy. But I am satisfied that I made an extraordinarily difficult decision and am now all the better for it.

I am still extremely frustrated with life, but no more so than I should be at my age. To be completely content at this point would be ludicrous. There would be no room for ambition! So I'll resurrect this blog for its initial purpose--to get inside my own head as well as outside of it. To write and rant and remember. To plan, to hope, to dream... To express! Hopefully in another six months, I can look back once again and say I succeeded at something, that progress was made, and that I can declare (honestly) that some degree of happiness came of it.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Makes Me Happy

I'm actually accomplishing the February Photo Challenge, though sometimes that means posting a bunch of photos at once that meet the criteria, rather than one per day. And sometimes that means posting a picture of the moon instead of the sun... Making myself follow through on something is the whole point though, so I guess I'm succeeding.

All three of the kind souls who read this blog have most likely already seen all my photos on Facebook, so I'm not going to post them again here. Some of them are kind of ugly anyway. But today is different. I took this photo of my desk after reading that today's topic was "Makes Me Happy." I immediately looked up an thought to myself, "Why, this Tibetan butter tea makes me happy, I think I'll take a picture of that!" And as I prepared to do so I realized that it was sitting amidst a bunch of other things that also make me sublimely happy...

National Geographic - If you know me at all, you know I love animals and nature and words and pretty pictures, and also that I am a nerd and obsessed with my own idyllic childhood. Therefore National Geographic is one of my favorite things in the entire world. I've subscribed to it since I was perhaps 10, thanks to my encouraging parents, and I look forward to it every month. Even though I can now read it on my iPad as well, there's some sort of magic about that yellow rectangle promising hundreds of beautiful pages within that just can't be replaced.

Butter tea - Have you ever had Tibetan food? Unless you are my neighbor and have tried Cafe Tibet, I'm guessing the answer is no. If you ever have the chance to, however, I recommend the momo and/or sha baklap dumplings, and lots and lots of butter tea. Mmm... There is nothing like this hot, salty, savory drink to get rid of your chills. Apparently in Tibet it's actually made with yak butter, but due to the limited population of yaks in Brooklyn, this is less than authentic... But delicious nonetheless.

Black pen - My mother got me addicted to the Pilot Precise V5 rolling ball pens when I was just a kid. They bleed easily, though, so I've stained many shirts, sheets, purses, and carpets by leaving them uncapped thoughout my life. It's worth the risk though. One day I made the switch from Fine to Extra Fine and never went back. They are the only pens I will ever use, as they facilitate my cursive handwriting rather gracefully...

Postcards - I was trying really hard for the first week of February to mail postcards to friends and family as another kind of challenge, and I did okay for a little while. I've fallen behind, even after I bought some weird Wild West-themed cards, but luckily I just unearthed some beautiful ones I bought in Ireland, so I'm motivated all over again. I also finally decided who is going to receive the postcard of "The Peaceable Kingdom," so that makes me sublimely happy. I had to save it for someone who was a serious animal lover. She will be quite pleased, I think...

My Computer - I got this MacBook for my 21st birthday. It needs some serious work and I worry that its days are numbered. Is it possible to feel affection for a piece of technology? Apparently so. That's all for now, I don't want to jinx it...

Sir Reginald le Crocodile - I found good old Reggie in high school after he was discarded by some uncaring child, took him home with me, and promptly scared the hell out of my cat with his ridiculous squeaking. He has traveled across the country with me on the dashboard of my car and lived with me in many apartments throughout my college years. He's been in Brooklyn ever since and spent the last few years keeping watch from atop my TV, until we cancelled cable and packed it away. Now he hangs out with me every day and helps me write. He's a rather dedicated little reptile...

Photo of Baby - I guess because I grew up an only child, my little dog Baby features more heavily in my memories of childhood than any other creature in the world. I will most likely never get over her loss and I'm certain that no dog will ever come close to replacing her. This photo was taken by my dad just a few days before we had to put her down and in it, you can see my shadow as I stand just outside of the frame. I was never too far from her in her last days. I think she looks rather noble and accepting of her fate, even though it came too soon. I'm glad I could be with her when she left this world.

Photo of Mema's house - Another photo taken by my dad is of my great-grandmother's house. The view from the back was the one we all knew the best, and he must have been standing right near where there used to be a few wooden swings hanging from the limb of a maple tree. It's a view I remember well. Pearl was 99 when she passed away and she left a long legacy of kindness and goodness and beauty and warmth that continues to inspire her family and anyone who knew her. I can never eat an apple pie without comparing it to Mema's... They're just never as good.

Much like all the trinkets on my desk at work, I guess it's the little things in life that make me happy...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Hands - Day 3

So I cheated. These are not hands, it is just A hand. But it's MY hand! Isn't it pretty? While taking this photo, however, I realized that when I look at my hands as they type away every day at work, I see more than just fingers flying over keys. I see wonderful people, too.

That silver watch? That's from my lovely grandmother. My ring is from a hippie store I used to work in with a sweet girl named Lisa. The pink flowered box was bought in Mexico by Julia. The elephant traveled with April from India. The Buddha made its way through my old workplace and was finally handed down to me by Amanda. The painted fairy was a craft from my little sister Leah's birthday party, which my friend Christina also attended. The miniature filing cabinet always reminds me of Angela (so organized!). Even the dark purple nail polish I have on today makes me think of Heather. Just beyond the frame of this picture are memories of other friends and experiences that are now manifested in little tiny objects. And all of these are just within reach every day. My hands are happy.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Words - Day 2

The topic of Day 2 in the February Photo Challenge... WORDS. Conveniently, this is a subject with which I am rather familiar and deal with nearly every moment of every day.

Words that comprised my experience today: Coffee, development, website, gala, Twitter, cookies, pro bono, teen parents, design, peppermint patties, strategic plan, jurisprudence, policy, toys, deadlines.

Cannot wait for Friday.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February Photography - Day 1

I'm going to take up this challenge and try to post a photo every day in February, preferably both on here and Facebook. So here is Day 1 - Your View Today.

Although this is not technically accurate, because my view generally consists of my computer screen and files in rainbow colors and lots of tiny desk ornaments and wall calendars full of deadlines. But this is the view from my office window... Although it's not even really that, because if I look straight out my window I just see another building directly across the street. Lame. This is my view if I stand at the window all the way to the left side and sort of lean and press my face against the glass. It's a long way from my previous view of the ships of South Street Seaport... But I suppose having no good view keeps my mind on my work, right? Right...

How long can I keep this up? Only time will tell... Though I must say, February resolutions are way more fun than New Year's resolutions! Mailing postcards and posting pretty pictures every day is so much easier than exercising...