Going Back to School

Hello!

It’s been quite awhile since I’ve blogged anything, but my job got hectic and I got busy and neglected to post. However, I am not going to let that be an excuse anymore and look forward to get back into posting regularly.

This August I am going back to school. I am really excited to do so, though, the closer it gets to the 20th the more I find my nervousness creeping up. It’s been two years since I’ve been a student in a classroom setting, and though I know these past two years have been full of incredible learning. I know that two years without being in a classroom will be an adjustment.

It took me two years to decide going to college was the right choice for me, and though most of my colleagues are going into their junior years I don’t have any regrets in that decision to wait.

Two years ago I was tired of school. I was tired of the expectation from adults that I had to go to college right away. I was daunted by the applications and FAFSA and all the change and effort that goes into starting a successful college career. In high school I was doing the bare minimum to get by, as I never truly needed to exert myself in order to be doing well. I also had a naive notion that once I graduated high school I could work a crappy job but all my creative endeavors would have an instant pay off. To which I quickly learned was not the case.

Taking two years was a necessary step for me. I have always been one that has their head in the clouds. I can’t help but be day dreaming constantly. And though I love dreaming, it has left me a bit lacking in the reality department. If I’ve learned anything these past two years it’s that success is not instant, and it certainly helps to find opportunities that will water you; allowing you to grow.

However, I realize that without that two year hiatus I never would’ve learned that lesson and I would have not taken college seriously. I would have skipped classes or continued with my high school mantra of bare minimum.

This two years has changed me in positive ways when it comes to education. I am beyond excited to start my classes and I’ll be going into this school year with a strong resolve and determination for learning.

This post is not to sway anyone to take a gap year (or two) before going to college, but rather just to remind everyone that there is no time limit to doing things. Or there is no right or wrong way to achieve education.

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How I’ve Started to Live a Happier Life

When I compare my present day self to where I was last year it’s almost like comparing two totally different people. Here are the five major changes I’ve made in my life to improve my overall sense of self and my motivation.

 

Invest time into your hobbies, but it doesn’t have to be every hobby everyday.

I like to do many things. And I love doing things, but if I try to press myself to practice or participate in every single one of my hobbies every single day I would go crazy. There would be no time to do anything else, not even sleep. There would be too much pressure to perform at the same level everyday. And that would take away the joy I get from things like playing the ukulele. It is something I enjoy, and though I could stand to practice more than I do, it’s okay to not do it every day.  This is especially important if you have many hobbies, allow yourself time.

Go outside everyday/open the blinds.

Before I got a dog I would never go outside when it was cold. Even on some nice days I would stay inside, unless it was to go to my car. The blinds were also always closed. Since getting a dog I have to go outside, and I am so thankful for it. Although I never wake up early enough to see the sunrise, going outside at any time is important. Even on the cold days there is something almost therapeutic about breathing in the fresh air. Having my blinds open during the day and letting in the natural light has boosted my mood exponentially when compared to the days when I leave the blinds closed. The sunlight is such a happier light than having the lights turned on in the apartment, and I always feel more motivated too.

Find your perfect work/life balance.

The perfect work and personal life balance is different for everyone. And of course, changing up hours or jobs isn’t viable for everyone who has to hold onto every hour they get in order to fully pay their bills and survive. And I understand that, so if you are unable to change your current work life; I applaud you for doing what needs to be done.

I am fortunate enough to be in a situation where I do not have to work full time to make ends meet. Though the months are tight and I rarely have extra money I am so much happier. The change in hours also came with a job change, which also helped. At my last job(which was at a call center) I was sad and anxious all the time. There were no windows to look out of and it was sitting in one place for eight hours. There were days where my anxiety was so bad I could not go to work; one time I missed a whole week of work due to my mental state.

Although now I still work in a high stress job(at the Boys and Girls Club) it has been a complete 180. The hours are only after school and I am able to move around, go outside, play games, and watch movies. My new job has also allowed me to invest more time into what my dream job is; writing. I have been able to progress more than ever on personal projects than I had over the past year.

Eliminate the things that don’t serve you.

I purposefully left this as vague as possible, because you can take this mindset into any aspect of your life. And I certainly don’t mean this in the way that if someone or something isn’t benefitting you in a financial or material way you need to cut them out of your life. This is more in the sense of emotional negativity, material clutter, or health. I have found that dairy makes me bloated and tired, it is not positively serving my body so I have mostly eliminated it from my diet.

Look at self-care/working out as a celebration of your body, not a punishment.

I’ve never been big into working out. When I would have those few moments where I told myself I needed to work out it was out of hatred for my body. I would eat way too much junk food and was sad and unhappy with how I looked constantly. Now I have gotten into yoga as a celebration of where my body is, and how it will improve. Though I do still eat junk food it is much less than in the past and I now enjoy a much better diet. These two physical changes have improved my overall state of health. Like with the work/personal life balance this, of course, is dependent on how much you can do for yourself. I can’t always eat the way that would be ideal for me, but you just have to work with what you can do.

Finding Culture Where I Am

If you’ve ever lived in Colorado no doubt you’ve heard of Greeley. And I’m sure the things you have heard about how badly it smells or how terrible it is.

Yet that is a disservice to the small city. It is also at a disadvantage in location; it is an hour north of Denver, 40 minutes south of Fort Collins and a short drive to Loveland. All three are much higher income areas than Greeley and thus Greeley is stuck with the piteous reputation.

Even when I had first moved here in May of 2016 I was not happy about it. Everything I had heard about Greeley was sad and dismal, and I’ll admit for awhile I believed it. It wasn’t until I moved closer to the university last year that I allowed myself the gift of opening my eyes to the reality of Greeley. No it is no New York City or Memphis, but it is not without its own culture and surprises.

Downtown Greeley is full of small shops and restaurants, and one of my favorite ways to spend a warm morning or afternoon is to walk around and find new places to frequent.

This morning I went to Cranford’s Tea Place and ate a sandwich that I really believe was as large as my head, and of course I had a cup of chai to accompany it.

Self Improvement

Slowly it’s getting further and further into 2018 and on social media I have already seen some people give up on their resolutions, and others who are showing real improvement and following through on those resolutions.

Unfortunately, I was in the first group of people who had given up. I wanted to do yoga everyday and really focus on my body and eating healthier, and all of those cliche health related goals that everyone has at one point or another.

That lasted for a little bit, however one morning of skipping yoga turned into two, then three, then a week. The water turned back into soda and I found I was participating in those same old self destructive habits.

While I was slipping back into this “old me” status, I saw those people who were improving, people who are my friends. And instead of feeling joy and happiness for them, I felt anger. Why were they improving while I was going in the opposite direction.

It took me awhile to really think through and process my thoughts. Why was I so angry at my own friends for doing something awesome and improving themselves?

It was because of my hatred for myself. Even those good intentioned resolutions I had made, were made out of self hatred for my body. When those goals didn’t yield immediate results I really couldn’t think of the point of continuing and slipped into those negative behaviors.

That’s when I realized that self improvement should come from a place of self love, not from self hatred or being angry that others are achieving their goals. Rather than make goals of working out and being healthy I should have put more focus on loving my body as it is, and loving myself so much that the healthier options would not become a punishment for my body.

With this, I know I can still make those promises to eat healthier and do yoga everyday, however I am now bringing those changes into my life out of a love and appreciation for my body and the incredible things it is capable of, rather than hating it.

If you are in the same boat, it’s a hard transition to make, especially if you have spent years in the hole of self deprecation, but it is so worth it. This is a recent change for me, but I am so much more content now that I have made the change.

I am allowing myself to indulge in things that make me feel good, outside of health, like wearing makeup and taking selfies, and I urge you to do the same.

car selfie

Promises to Myself

 

Forming long lasting habits has never been something that has come easily to me. Yet I love giving myself self improvement goals. I’ll spend time on Pinterest poring over all these how-to guides for being your best self, or losing weight, eating healthier. And with all of those articles and guides I’ll find myself making goals- most of them are much to difficult to attain.

So here I am a month into February and all of my new years goals have all since ended. Obviously the way I had been doing things had not been working. Yet, I’m not sure how else I’m supposed to go about change. I feel like every month it’s a new “New Me” deal, and it only lasts until I burn out and lose motivation, only for me to find motivation the next month and repeat the cycle.

I’ve read about people making contracts with themselves, and if it isn’t followed through they have do something they hate, or donate to a cause they don’t stand behind as the motivation to stick to it.

I don’t think I’m that ready to go quite that far, but rather than make arbitrary goals for myself I am going to make promises to myself. Promises hold more weight than goals. Some of my promises will include dietary changes and overall health and lifestyle changes. I’m not expecting it to be a totally linear process, but to start seeing positive improvement is really the most important thing, along with persistence.

Here’s to the last, and hopefully, best month of my being nineteen.