Baby, I know places we won’t be found, and they’ll be chasing their tails trying to track us down. Cause I know places we can hide. -Taylor Swift “I Know Places”
I might be over-interpreting here, but I think Taylor Swift wants us to run away from our adult responsibilities. I mean… seems pretty clear to me. Excuse me while I pack up my office and high-tail it out of the world of time sheets and alarm clocks. 🙂
Seriously though, am I the only one that likes their job but in the same respect wants to turn in their grown up card for a good session of binge-watching Law & Order? (SVU, of course. In case you were wondering). It’s like a completely equal mix of “this isn’t that bad! What a fulfilling work day” and “Oh my god, I have to do this EVERY DAY? Until I’m in my 60’s?” It’s a bummer to go back and forth between half glass full on Monday and “half-full, half-empty… who cares, just add vodka” by Wednesday. I know that in a way, this is completely normal. I mean, no one loves the monotony that is adulthood all the time. Have you ever heard someone be like, “well, yes, I would LOVE to do that super annoying task that is not in my job description. In fact- I’ll do it for FREE! Just for kicks!” No. No you haven’t. (If you have- don’t trust that person. If YOU’RE that person… none of your co-workers like you. Sorry, but it’s true). On the flip side, though, it kind of sucks. Is this life post-college? Work is ok, then it sucks, then it’s the weekend (whoo!), then work is ok, then it sucks…
You know that saying, “if you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”? Bullshit. I’m pretty sure even Taylor Swift, the multi-millionaire, award-winning, owns a house in every country, megastar isn’t all “I LOVE THIS!!!” all of the time. Yet, somehow, there’s still this pressure that you have to put on this act that your job/life is just completely blissful 24/7 or it just wasn’t “worth it”. I’ve had many instances where I’ve said something like “man, what a crazy day. I had to insert sucky thing here” and I’ll get some kind of response akin to “well, YOU picked that major” or “told ya not to go into social work”. Well geez, that escalated quickly. I said a portion of my day sucked, not that I wanted to flip my desk and set my degree on fire. I think it’s kind of a grown up rite of passage that we are allotted a certain amount of bitching; like how kids get to complain that they’re “bored” all the time.
Back to obsessively listening to Taylor’s new CD. Some things never change, no matter your age. 😉
Today is an ordinary day. I woke up, tired still and not quite ready to face the rest of the world. I am going into work later than usual today, so I drink my coffee and watch talk shows. I peruse on Pinterest. I read the news. I am content here on my couch. Soon, I will get ready for work like I do every day; albeit, with a bit more enthusiasm as it is no longer dark outside. I will go to my office and stare at the paperwork mountain on my desk, the motivational quotes on the walls. I will work with youth; we will discuss domestic violence prevention today. We will listen to stories of battered women, scared children, families affected by violence. We will talk about what we can do to curb violence. I will come home and wipe off my kitchen counters. I will throw a load of laundry in. Maybe I will paint. Maybe I will stay up late reading because tomorrow is Friday.
No, there is nothing special about today. I’ve lived this day many days before, in fact. Slight changes, of course, maybe I had tea instead of coffee. Maybe I took kids on a college tour, or listened to someones story of their multiple foster homes. But this day is familiar to me. It is comfortable, even, like a favorite sweater on a chilly day. This day is mine, this life is mine. This is what I have created for myself.
I will love it, all of it, for that reason. This life is my sunshine.
When you look at your life, what do you see? Is it the life you had planned for yourself? Is it more? It is less?
How do you evaluate something so multifaceted? Is there a checklist to determine if you’ve done a good job or if you’re still a work in progress? I know that in a way, we are all a “work in progress”; a never-ending project with tweaks to make here and there. There are potential improvements, of course. A friendship that needs a little mending, a job that could be better. There are always things we could “fix”. We are a nation of fixers. We want to take everything, every little thing, and morph into what it “should be”.
Expectations versus reality: how do your plans match up with your actuality? Do you recognize the person you see in the mirror? Are you happy with your list of accomplishments? What would you do different if given the chance?
We all want to believe that this life, the one we have created for ourselves, this is it. This is what we wanted. We took so much time to construct it, after all. We took pieces and placed them side by side, one at a time, until we completed a puzzle that is supposed to be our masterpiece. The time, the doubt, the sacrifices; they were all worth it. Now we have it. We have succeeded.
But what if we haven’t?
Working with older youth, it’s common to discuss goals. Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten? What kind of education will you seek? What kind of career do you want? What is important to you?
Five years? They’ll say. I don’t know where I’ll live next month, let alone 5 years.
Ten years? They laugh.
Education? I don’t know. I want to make something of myself.
Career? I want to make good money. I want to provide for myself.
What’s important? Family. Happiness.
The answers are so vague, yet so clear. These kids want what we all want, I think. When it comes down to it, we all want to be loved. We all want to feel like we have succeeded in our accomplishments. Whatever path we take with school and work, we all just want to look back and say “I am happy”. Sure, we want the nice paycheck and a lavish home to go to after a long day at work, but that’s not what really matters. What matters is that when we lay down to bed at night, we can say that we are healthy, we are happy, we are grateful.
Sometimes life can seem overwhelming. Sometimes it’s hard to decide what path to take. Sometimes it’s easier to take no path at all; to succumb to the “I can’t” attitude. Sometimes, though, all it takes is a gentle reminder that the every day subtleties; your morning cup of coffee, your favorite song on the radio, a night in with your family… those are enough.
This life is enough, even if you haven’t got it all figured out just yet.
Do you ever think about just how big the world is? The endless possibilities, wonder, risk; the beauty and terror of it all? We spend our entire lives preparing ourselves to enter adulthood; what kind of personality do we have, what interests do we possess? All of the pieces of the puzzle are slowly but surely collected so that we can be “successful”. So we can “be adults”. What is success, exactly? What determines when a person has become the epitome of what that they have been preparing for?
What is the purpose of this life? Do we really spend the majority of our lives worrying about what school we’re going to only to subsequently worry about what job we’re going to get? Then we move on to worrying about if we’re doing well at our job. If we’re going to get promoted. We compare fringe benefits with our friends and discuss whom received the better interest rate on their mortgage. We get burnt out. We count down the days until retirement.
Is this it? A string of responsibilities followed by more commitments, more stress, more man-made obligations?
What is the alternative? Money makes the world go ’round. Money affords us the pleasures that we enjoy in between the obligations. We are dependent upon it. To live. To let loose.
Work and responsibility equal self-worth. You work; good. You work more; better. You’re stressed? You’re busy? You don’t have time for the things you enjoy? Good. You’re doing something right. You’re motivated. You have work ethic.
Why are these things intertwined? Can one not be mature, responsible and driven without succumbing to the traditional American dream/lifestyle? Why can’t we be passionate, spontaneous, artistic, free-spirited? We can; after 5pm. After cooking dinner. After errands. After the laundry. After something.
We are the land of the free and the land of the confined in the same breathe. We are confined to these pre-determined paths that are neatly laid out for us before we can ever really choose for ourselves.
School. More school. Work. Work. Work.
We work 50-51 weeks a year with one week that we can enjoy (mostly) uninterrupted by obligation. We offer up 40+ hours a week of our lives to these obligations that forced themselves upon us only to have seven days to ourselves?
I call bullshit.
You want the things you’re saying, doing, planning, dreaming about, to matter. You want to believe that there is all some bigger purpose to life than the day to day monotony. Surely life isn’t all 8-5’s, health insurance premiums and pension plans, right? Everything that you do all year; the stress, the extra hours at the office, the anxiety over raises and promotions… is it all for one week of vacation? Is your life a waiting game for that one little slice of time where you allow yourself to “let loose”, to do the things you really want to do, to be truly happy? Not “oh I found this really inspiring quote on Pinterest that I’ll post on my Facebook and subsequently my Instagram (with a selfie)” happy, but legitimately happy. That logic is really hard for me to wrap my head around.
I mean, what is it exactly that we are all trying to do here? I understand the materialistic side of things, I really do. I want the clothes, the car, the house, the level of comfort that having money provides. I also understand hard work, dedication and a sense of responsibility. I subscribe to all of those beliefs and find them to be important qualities for the general population to pride themselves on. BUT… is that what life is? It’s really sad for me to think that my life up until this point has been geared 100% towards obtaining some kind of skill/education that allowed me to begin a career. Now that I have that, the rest of my life is just planning for retirement? I know that we’re supposed to be thankful for the little things. I should be grateful that I’m lying in bed on Sunday night typing away in bed. I have a candle lit (a lovely soy candle called “sunshine” that I bought in Sarasota, Fl. this year on vacation), my tummy is full from dinner and I have a job to go to in the morning. I’m grateful for all of those things; but, can’t I be both grateful and still want for more? Maybe I don’t want for “more” but for “different”. I want spontaneity. I want crafts. I want travel. I want love- the ache in your stomach when they walk in the room kind of love. I want French-pressed coffee with whip cream and I want possibilities. I feel like I can have all of those things if I let go of this traditional way of living that everyone is so convinced they MUST live by.
You can be a cliche and note that you only live once; but I prefer the add-on to that saying. “But if you do it right, once is enough.”
So the question you have to ask yourself is, are you doing it right?
Hello, loves! It is a gorgeous Saturday here in Southwestern PA. Feet up, drinking coffee, blogging… this is the ideal life, huh? 🙂 The only thing that could make it better (besides a bottomless bank account to go shopping) is if I was on the beach.
Luckily for me… I will be in TWO WEEKS! That needed to be in all caps so you could understand just how much I need this vacation. I’m so excited to see a new part of the world (Florida!) and get away from life and responsibilities for awhile. I think everyone needs to take a vacation each year. I know, easier said than done; but even if it was a “staycation” (I used to do that when I was making 7.60/hr at Joanns- you weren’t gonna find me at the beach!) it’s good to just have time to decompress. I saw this post on Facebook the other day…
Are you really living life, or are you paying bills until you die?
How many of you just go to work to get that paycheck, only to pay it all out to bills? It’s a really repetitive lifestyle to make a student loan payment (that got you the job), make a car payment (to physically get to the job) to put gas in the car (to drive to the job) etc, etc. I understand that that’s life, I really do; however, there is SO MUCH MORE to it than that! I really think it’s about finding a balance. If you’re happiness is completely dependent on having enough money, spoiler alert: you will never be happy! Unless you strike it rich (and sometimes, even then) you won’t ever have “enough money”. Things always come up and throw our financial goals/plans off track; but don’t let it control your happiness.
Before I graduated college, I was driving a beat up Dodge Neon. I would sit around and look up cars for hours, trying to figure out what kind I would buy once I got my “real job”. It didn’t take me long to figure out that I wouldn’t be able to comfortably afford a new car right after graduation. So, I *planned* to drive my Neon until it couldn’t drive anymore. Other than some cosmetic issues, it ran fine. That is, until a week after graduation when it broke down and needed a new engine. I had already begun my new job, but I hadn’t even gotten a paycheck yet! I had no money saved because I had just finished up my internship and wasn’t really working at my serving job. No job history, no down payment… I was freaking out. Luckily, I have good credit (I might say to live life to the fullest but if I have any financial advice for anyone it is this: MAINTAIN YOUR CREDIT!!! Seriously.) and I was able to finance a new car. I am soo in love with my car. I am not, however, in love with the payment, or the full coverage insurance payment. Prior to that whole fiasco, I had *planned* to double my student loan payment and pay it off in 5-6 years instead of 10 and THEN buy a shiny new car. Instead, when I got my first student loan payment, I crunched the numbers and immediately called and had my payment reduced.
My point is, things don’t always go according to plan. In fact, I think it’s safe to say they rarely do. You have to learn to roll with the punches, have a back-up plan and find that balance. Unfortunately, money is one of the most important things in our society. Don’t go run out and max out your credit cards and drain your savings because “life is short!” or “YOLO”. (For the love of all things holy don’t ever use YOLO as an explanation for something). Be smart, build a small little savings and breathe.
Oh, and take a vacation. Or a staycation. You deserve it.
I haven’t written in awhile and I’m creepin’ up on my self-set bed time (gotta get those 8 hrs of Zzz’s!) but here are a few of my recent goals I’ve set for myself. I’ve been feeling rather creative/inspired lately but I haven’t been able to find an outlet for it. I know that I want/need to make changes, but I’m not sure where to start. Here are some vague ideas of where to start…
Yoga Every Damn Day! (I’ve been slacking lately).
Disconnect more from social media- I have a slightly addiction to Instagram & Pinterest. I need to stop scrolling through pictures of other people’s lives and start living mine!
QUIT SMOKING. While being social. While driving. Just quit, sheesh. (36 hours into attempt # who freaking knows.)
Go back to the gym. I was going 4-5 days a week and while I have been doing work outs at home instead… I’m wasting the $32/month. Locked in for a year, so, may as well use it! Orrr suck it up & spend the $70 to cancel.
Be more frugal. Between paying for student loans & a car payment on a social worker’s salary… I am strapped for cash! I need to really sit down & look at my bank account to tally up all those random “small” expenses to see how much they add up! At least if I can ditch the cigs I’ll be saving $6-7 every time I DON’T run out and buy a pack. So far I’ve saved $4.89 according to my quitting app. 🙂
And the famous last words of every blogger, blog more. Seriously. Blogging is one of my favorite things to do; it only makes sense that I dedicate some time for it.
I’ll write a full post soon (promise) but now it’s time for some yoga & an organic sugar face scrub before bed. I’ve got quite the to-do list to tackle tomorrow!
“Each day, you have a decision: make progress, or make excuses.”
Change what you cannot accept.
I used to hate my job- so I finished college and began working in a field I love.
I used to hate my car- so I worked hard and bought a new one. (Yeah, yeah so the old one died but that’s not really the point.)
I used to hate being so thin- so I started working out and lifting weights to build muscle.
I used to hate being consumed by negative thoughts- so I read various articles & books on happiness (Check out The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin) and changed my entire outlook on life!
I still hate being broke two days after getting paid- so I’m applying for second jobs.
I still don’t like that I use social media as a crutch when I’m bored- so I’m trying to find other hobbies.
I still don’t like a lot of things; some little, some big… I am a work in progress.
We are all just works in progress. There will always be something you aren’t 100% happy with; that doesn’t mean you lead an unhappy life. It just means that you don’t settle for mediocrity. If there’s something you don’t like it… change it! Set goals and crush them one a time.
Remember the cheesy yearbook saying that everyone would write? “You’re the best, never change!” You might want to reconsider. 😉 You can still be my BFF and I still LYLAS*, though.
*If you don’t get this reference, you are too young to be reading this blog.
Your life is more than just a string of Friday nights. Who decided that the only worthwhile memories have to be made on a time frame? Your life is right now. Your life is happening at the grocery store, at work, while you’re cleaning the bathroom, while you’re drinking paying bills, running errands or cutting the grass. Your life is more than just the good moments, the exciting ones, the breathtaking ones. Your life is mundane, it is repetitive, it is sometimes exhausting but it is all yours- every single moment of it. You hold all the power and you have the freedom of something so beautiful… choice. You make concrete choices every day; whether they seem big or small in the moment, they are all connected and pieced together, they form a portrait of your life. It may not seem like much when the alarm is blaring in your ear at 7:00 AM or when your bank account is low, but this life is yours and you only get one shot at it. Are you unhappy? Figure out why. Develop a plan to make changes. Set goals for yourself. Find a hobby. Talk to a friend. Spend quality time with yourself. Journal. Do yoga. Do anything. DO SOMETHING. Stop looking forward to your next day off work, your next vacation, your next whatever. Those days will come regardless whether you wish the present away or not, so why rush the minutes away? Stop treating life as if it is simply the tick of a clock, or days on a calendar. Life is happening right now, my friends. Enjoy it.
Your life is more than just a string of Friday nights. Your life is more than…