Just Me

It’s just me.

Just me sitting here another day, wanting something more.

Just me wondering why I am so scared to chase what I want.

Wishing I could be more than a Just.

Only I have no idea how.

I am nothing but a Just.

 

But its not just you.

Just you is a presence that cannot be shaken.

Just you does more than some people ever dream.

You are more than a Just.  So much more.

Only you have no idea.

There is nothing Just about you.

 

It’s just me, and it’s just you.

It’s just us, and what a wonderful Just that would be.

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Photo Credit: Unknown

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Dear You – You Were Made for More

Dear You,

You were made for more than to just be born and die.  You were made for more than working 8-5 and looking forward to Friday.  You were made for more than paying bills and living paycheck to paycheck.  Dear one, this is never the life that I had planned for you.  When you were breathed into existence, there was far more dreamt up for you than this.

You work so hard to do everything that you are told you are suppose to do that you completely miss the things that you are meant to do.  You are so busy following who those around you tell you to be that you silence the voice in you that says they want to be someone different.  Find that voice again.  Find your voice again.

You were made to struggle, to explore, to rebel, and to thrive.  You were made to live – in every definition that one can live.  You were made to laugh, and to go off on adventures.  You were made to take chances, and yes even to fail sometimes.  Stop trying so hard to survive that you miss every reason that you are alive.  There is so much that this life holds for you if you only stopped to notice, if you only believed you could have it.

I want you to do great things,  I want you to believe in great things, and I want you to fight for great things.  I want you to see the world as a beautiful place, and to see yourself as a beautiful person.  Life is too short to let you insecurities silence you.

There will be tough days.  Days that challenge you.  Days that make you want to hide and cry.  But on those days you will learn what you are truly made of.  You will push back because you are resilient.  You will not let the bad days ruin the good days.

There will also be good days.  Days that you laugh so hard you cry.  Days when you will make memories you cherish forever.  Days when you are brave.  Days when you are kind.  Days when you fall madly in love.  Those are the best days – the days that makes us glad to be alive.  On those days never believe that you are not deserving of this much happiness.  You are every bit deserving.

Life won’t be everything you have dreamt it to be, but if you let it, life will be more than you expected it to be.  Stop molding your life to everyone else’s expectations and go chase your life.

Feet.jpgPhoto Credit: Lori Rensink

Playing It Unsafe

I have done it.  I sent in my law school applications.  I thought I would feel a huge sigh of relief at having it done.  I mean I spent months working on getting everything ready.  Writing, revising, starting from scratch and writing more.   I was finally done with all of it, so the stress should be done too.  It wasn’t.  It seemed to have doubled over night.  Now all of the hard decisions I am not ready to make are quickly approaching their deadline.   I need to have answers that I cannot find.

It is starting to get real, and that is terrifying.  It is no longer a far off thing I hope to do.  It is right up close knocking at my door, and I am hiding under the table pretending not to be home.  You may think that is a metaphor, but no I have actually hide under my table when I didn’t want to answer the door.  I can be a hider when I don’t want to deal with things.  People or decisions.  I burrow my head in the ground and pretend that the world isn’t still moving above me.  I will fly to Africa and rock climb without a second thought, but put me in a confrontation or in charge or making a decision and I am done for.

If you have been reading my blog for any time at all, you will have noticed how adamant I can be about chasing dreams – pulling the life we dream of into our reality.  Now it is time for me to practice what I preach.  I know I cannot get where I want to be in life my staying here comfortable.  I know I need to make the hard decision, take a leap of faith, and not look back.

That isn’t to say that it won’t be hard.  I have gotten very comfortable here.  I like my job,  I like my house, I like my roommates, I like my city, I like being close to my family, and I like my friends.  I finally feel peace about where I am in life, and now I am shaking it all up.  That is hard.  It is hard to walk away from a good thing in hopes of finding a great thing.

Living a full life doesn’t happen by staying where we are comfortable.  It happens when we realize that we want more, that we can do more, and we go chase it.  Dreams are wonderful on paper.  They are wonderful as those thoughts you have right before you drift into sleep.  They are wonderful things that we tell people we hope to do someday.  Living dreams is hard and terrifying and uncertain.  It requires stepping out blind and hoping you don’t get hit by a bus.  What is even more terrifying is being too afraid to ever take a chance on yourself.

Maybe sometimes it’s riskier not to take a risk. Sometimes all you’re guaranteeing is that things will stay the same.” – Danny Wallace

Life moves fast.  The older I get the more I am learning this to be true.  Life moves fast whether or not we play it safe.  One day my life will be over whether or not I chased my dreams.  To me, that is even more terrifying than stepping out of my comfort zone.  Life doesn’t wait for us to silence our fears – it just keeps moving.

Here is to the uncertainty, the unknown, the unsafe – where ever it may take you.

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Photo via Her Paperweight

Let That Be Enough

Happiness is fleeting.  I have been told this my whole life.  Happiness comes into our lives as quickly as it slips through our fingers.  Life gets hard, and bad things happen.  We will have moments on top of the mountain, and we will have moments in the rut.  But I am not convinced it is that simple.  I think it goes deeper than that.

By this standard, everyone should have relatively equal amounts of happiness and misery.  Take a look around you, and you will realize how inaccurate that is.  Some of the most miserable people have everything, and some of the happiest people don’t.  It has nothing to do with their current life situation – it has everything to do with them.  

Maybe happiness isn’t that fleeting, maybe we just don’t know how to appreciate it when its right in front of us. 

We see our happiness, and we want more.  Good things happen to us, but there are better things that we want to happen.  We see our life but our friends lives look better on social media.

We have become a society wrapped in our own greed.  And when we find that our greed for material things cannot be satisfied, we replace it with greed for the perfect life.  We need to have the most elaborate proposal, the most pinterest worthy holiday dinner spread, the mother that can manage all.  We run ourselves into the ground trying to chase this perfect picturesque life that we don’t even want only to wonder why we are left feeling miserable.

Bad things happen and we push through them, and they make us stronger and more resilient.  But then good things happen and we brush them aside.  We don’t take the time to see what is right in front of us.  We have so much, but we push it aside because we don’t think it is enough.   We are try harder than ever to capture happiness, and all we get is this feeling that there should be more to life.  There is, we just can’t see it because it can’t be bought in a box or posed in an Instagram post.

It is right there in the midst of the messy part of our life.  It is right there in the moments gone forgotten.  It is right there waiting for you to stop looking for other’s to approve of your life.

You don’t need the world’s stamp of approval, you just need yours.  Let that be enough. 

We have lost sight of the life that happens in the margins, the life that happens when social media isn’t watching, the life that isn’t perfectly cultivated at our fingers tips.  We have lost sight of what it means to be alive, because the best things in life can’t be planned, they just happen.

It is a hard thing to be human, it is a very hard thing.  It becomes even harder when we refuse to let ourselves be human – messy, unsure, imperfect.  We are human.  We make mistakes.  We have no clue what we are doing most of the time.  We feel things deeply, sometimes too deeply.  And we are forever haunted by this voice that tells us we are not enough,  that we will never be enough.  Silence it. 

Let life your life with its messy imperfections be enough.  Let what you have be enough.  Let the things you do be enough.  Let who you are be enough, even when you believe that you never will be.

Be messy.

Be imperfect.

Be real.

Be you.

If you don’t, you will spend your life chasing someone else’s happiness.  Chase your own happiness.  No one else but you can decide what your own happiness is.  Chase your dreams relentlessly, and always believe that you are capable of more. Be complex, be confused, be chaotic, be content – be human.

Your life is beautifully imperfect, and that is enough. 

So, I’ve been thinking about this whole being happy thing, and I feel like people get lost when they think of happiness as a destination . . .  We’re always thinking that someday we’ll be happy; we’ll get that car or that job or that person in our lives that’ll fix everything.  But happiness is a mood, and it’s a condition, not a destination.  It’s like being tired or hungry, it’s not permanent.  It comes and does and that’s okay.  And I feel like if people thought of it more that way, they’d find happiness more often.” – One Tree Hill

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Photo Credit: Erwin Blumenfeld

The Fear of Falling Failure

“You just need to push off and swing to the other side.”

The Just implied that it was easy.  A piece of cake.  What the experienced rock climbers, safely planted on the ground, were really telling me was that I need to let go. Obviously.  Just let go.

It was my first time rock climbing.  I felt a twinge of fear as I looked at what I was about to climb, but I silenced it.   I have always been good at climbing.  My family likes to tell me about how when I could barely even walk I would love to climb up the step stool we kept in the kitchen.  I would climb up, fall down, dust myself off, and climb back up.  I don’t remember this at all, either from being too young or from hitting my head each time I fell.  My point is that  I have always loved climbing things, as a child and yes still as an adult.  So my excitement about rock climbing quickly squashed any nerves or fear I had.

That is until on my first run up.  I managed the first half like a natural, and then I got stuck.

“You just need to push off and swing to the other side.”

Yeah okay, sure, easy peasy, I’ll get right to that.

I tried to use my unnatural long limbs to reach to the other side, so I wouldn’t actually have to let go and swing over.  I had half let go, but I was also half still holding on for dear life.  What sane person wouldn’t when they are that far above ground?  At that height you forget that you are being supported by a rope that will catch you.  At that height all knowledge that you are safe feels like a lie trying to trick you, and suddenly there is no way you are letting go.

Undeterred, I tried a second time on the second rig.  Once again I was climbing quickly and easily.  Look at me go.

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Then I fell.

I don’t remember how it happened.  I just remember one minute I was reaching, the next minute I was falling, the next minute I was caught, and then I was fine.  After that falling didn’t seem so scary anymore.  I took more risks, and yes fell many more times.  But each time I was fine.  The more I fell, the less I was afraid of falling.

My next attempt back on the other rig, I got stuck in the same place.  And you know what I did without even hesitating?  You guessed it, I let go and pushed myself to the other side.  Not only did I survive, but I realized that letting go was ridiculously fun.

Letting go can be scary.  Until it isn’t  Although that is easy to say in rock climbing (relatively) it is a lot harder when you are talking about something more personal and permanent.  Especially since in life it often seems like their isn’t a rope to catch us when we reach too far.  So we convince ourselves that our dreams our merely meant to be pretty pictures put on our shelf of someday.  Thought about and admired but not something we ever dare lived.

I have been a dreamer ever since I can remember.  I use think that when I grew up and finally started living my dreams it would be like running through a field of daisies as I easily glided into happily ever after.  Not even a little bit.  It is more like being stuck 50 feet in the air the first time I decide to rock climb.

Terrifying.

Life is a beautiful story of falling and picking ourselves up again.  Those who do great things are not the ones who never failed, but the ones who refuse to let their failure stop them.  Sometimes the best thing we can do for ourselves is to just let go.  To fall so we can catch ourselves, so we can once again believe in ourselves.  So that the next time we find ourselves having to swing to the other side, we won’t hesitate, we won’t let our fear hold us, we will just swing, and for one split second feel free from our fear.

Dear You – Someday You Will Be Old

Dear You,

You will get old someday.  It’s true, and it’s unavoidable.  You know this is true because you can feel it in your bones.  You are a ticking time bomb for wrinkly skin and bad knees.  It is something you have always known would happen, and yet the older you get the harder it is to accept that it is happening now.

Someday you will be old.  Starring into the mirror at a face that no longer should belong to you.  But it does.  The crinkles from all of the laughs that you have shared.  The wrinkles from all of the times you worried about nothing. You just stare, turning your head from side to side trying to find the person you use to be.  Trying to reverse the damage that time has done.

Some day you will be old, realizing that you have more life behind you than you have in front of you.  You will open up your box of memories, pull one out and examine it.  It use to be a box of dreams.  The places were you kept your hopes and somedays.  Now it is a box of memories holding your yesterdays. It is the most precious thing you own.  It is your friendships, your laughs, your rebellion, your courage, and your struggles.

It is the life you have lived and the person you have become.

You will also die someday. Which is more frightening than simply getting older.  Death doesn’t ask for our permission.  It happens however and whenever it pleases.  Which makes you almost wish for old age, because then you will have lived long enough to see it. Death is something you have also always known would happen, and yet that doesn’t make facing it any easier.

It is strange to think that death is our primary motivation to live.  It pushes us to make the most of every moment, because we don’t know how many moments we have left.

The future can be scary.

The future can be unpredictable.

But for now you are young.  For now you have your whole life ahead of you, and what a terrifyingly beautiful gift that is.  I know you are scarred of what the future may hold.  I know that you think you are too little to do the big things you dream.  You are wrong dear one.

You are exactly the right size, and so are your dreams.

Take a chance.  Chase after what it is that you really want.  Chase after the life you want.  It is right at your finger tips, just waiting for you to have the courage to reach out and grab it.

Take a chance.  Failing is better than the constant regret of what if.  You will always find a reason to not chase your dreams, but I want you to find a reason to chase them.

Take a chance.  Life doesn’t wait for us to silence our fears.  It just keeps moving.

Some day you will grow old.  Someday you will die.  Someday all too soon you will look back at your life and see how all of the puzzle pieces fell into place.  Some day you will look back on your life and know that you lived it well.  Someday all of your dreams will be replaced with memories.

It’s the oldest story in the world. One day you’re seventeen and planning for someday.  And then quietly and without you ever really noticing, someday is today.  And that someday is yesterday.  And this is your life.” – One Tree Hill

PC - Svetlana Chekhlataya

Photo Credit: Svetlana Chekhlataya

A Nice Box of Dreams

I am the type of person who is guided by my intuition.  I trust it.  I listen to it.   I snuggle up close to it and let it make my decisions for me.  I see a fact and needs something more.  I need a sign – a feeling.  A need my gut to jump up and say, “Yes, that is it.  That one right there.  That is right.”

I have been bouncing back and forth on law school for so many months now that even I find it annoying.  I am going to go, I am not going to go, I am going to throw my arms up in the air and admit I have no idea what I want.  My intuition hasn’t been that helpful on this one.  I have been too scared to really listen what my intuition was telling me.

Dreams are elusive.  By that I mean that our dreams are hard to define.  It is hard to take your dream and put it in a nice little box.  That would make things easier wouldn’t it?  Just open your nice little box and look through your dreams like old photographs.

Instead we are left chasing the elusive. We chase the feeling that there is something better out there, in we could only touch it. The driving whisper that tells us we can be more tomorrow if we just have the courage to try. If we could only define it.  If we could only put it in a nice little box.

Some days I want to buy horses and an apple orchard, other days I want to storm congress.  Most days I am left feeling like I have no idea what I want.

So I tried a different approach.  I didn’t ask myself if I wanted to go to law school.  I asked myself if I would feel like I gave up my dream if I didn’t go to school. In 10 or 20 years when I looked back on my life, would I regret never going to law school?

My answer shocked me.  I didn’t think that I might regret it, or that there was maybe a chance I would regret it.  My intuition was screaming at me that I would absolutely regret it.  I think it has been screaming at me for a while now, I just didn’t have the courage to listen.  The signs have been there for a while, I just have been fighting them because I am stubborn.

It will not always be easy, in fact I expect it will be very hard.  It will not always be everything I dreamed, in fact it will rarely be close.  But I have been telling people I wanted to be a lawyer since I was 13.  I at least owe it to myself to give it my best shot, come hell or high water.

Sometimes the beauty is in the attempt.

The bravery we had when we took that first step, the grace we had the first time we failed, and the guts we had to pick ourselves back up and try again. There is so much to be lived in the messiness of life, because those are the moments that define who we are. That is why it is important to enjoy the moments that take our breath away; the moments that make our heart beat a little faster.

Can you feel it? The beating of your heart, the thrumming of your veins? Can feel the way your heart aches after it has been broken? What about the fear you feel when you finally find something worth fighting for?

Embrace that life and this moment are incredible gifts, no matter what you may be going through. Embrace that this moment is shaping the rest of your life.

Embrace that you will fail and that life won’t be what you expected it to, but don’t let that stop you from trying.

Embrace the uncertainty, embrace the fear, and embrace the restless stirring of your heart that pulls you to your feet to chase your dreams. Sometimes the beauty is in the attempt.

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for – and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool – for love – for your dreams – for the adventure of being alive.  -Oriah Mountain Dreame

Glitter

Photo Credit: Christina Re

**** Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  Please feel free to leave you comment in the comment section.  Tell me about your dreams, I would love to hear them!

What it Means to be a Writer

I have been writing ever since I can remember.  I have many flower printed journals filled with the childhood adventures I had with my cat.  Journals about absolutely nothing.  I can’t really say why I even started a journal other than I just wanted to, and my mother bless her heart kept buying me flower printed notebooks to fill.

I also have bits and pages of the times I attempted to write books from my overactive imagination.  I never got very far; I wasn’t patient enough for that.   I still tried though because writing has always been a part of who I am.  It is just as much inherently who I am as my stubbornness.

The books I have been reading about career and purpose all mention going back to what our childhood self wanted.  I had a list of things I wanted to do when I grew up including:  Lawyer, Detective, Vet, and Wedding Planner.

Despite how much of my childhood was spent writing, it never made that list.  I am not sure why other than I suppose I never thought of writing as something I could do when I got older, (Other than buying more adult leather-bound journals to fill).  This whole time I have been exploring the things I dreamed of doing as a child, that not once did I explore the thing I had actually been doing since I was a child.

Writing PC - Carolina Mila

Photo Credit: Carolina Mila

A writer in my mind has always been this grand term.  The type of person who is magic with words and strikes that magic into our hearts.   As if the type of people who write things that others want to read are somehow just better than the rest of us.

I had this idea in my head that you had to be someone special in order to write.  At least to write anything that you wanted to bother others to read.  I am neither magical or special.  I am just a girl with too many thoughts in her head and too big of an imagination.  I started sharing my writing anyways, because I thought that maybe someone, anyone would want to read it.  The weird thing was that people did want to read it.  I am still trying to figure out why, but at least I know that I don’t have to be special to write.

In fact, the only magic writers have is the courage to be honest.

What it means to be a writer, what it really means is quite simple.  You just have to be honest with your thoughts, and have the courage to let others read them.

So you want to be a writer?  Good, start by sharing your deepest thoughts with complete strangers.

Okay you don’t have to start with your deepest thoughts.  We can work up to that, because it is hard and scary.  You might as well be saying,  “Here have a look into my brain, but please don’t think that I am crazy, egotistical, or mentally unstable.”  Or worse maybe you will think that my ideas are stupid and my grammar is terrible.  (I will admit my grammar really is terrible.  I don’t like following rules, especially grammar rules.)   

I have been telling people for a while that I am thinking about law school.  But only recently have I started telling people that I am also considering writing school.  Saying it out loud makes it seem more real.  I like that way it feels as it rolls off my tongue – glistening and sweet.  More importantly, I like that it feels right.

Writing is a door that I have never explored in my life, and I am oh so curious as to what lies behind it.

Maybe you are like me, and think that you aren’t magical enough to be a writer.  Maybe you are right, or maybe you are wrong.  There is really only one way to find out.  Try.  

Oh you might fail.  In fact you might fail a lot.  But then one day, one seemingly normal day when you are about to give up, you just might make it.

Just Words and Just Music

I remember the first time that I listened to Ed Sheeran’s new album.  I didn’t really know who he was before that, but I stumbled upon it on spotify.  A sign of a good song is when it causes you to stop everything you are doing and just sit there and listen to it.  I did this with the entire album.  I just sat curled up in my favorite chair and let Ed sing to me about love, life, and loss.

His songs still get me a little bit emotional when I listen to them.  They are just words and just music, only they aren’t.  They are so much more because music is so much more.  The arts are so much more, because they touches a part of us that nothing else can.  They drive our human existence. They drive humanity together, because in that moment your realize that someone else gets it and we are not truly as alone as we feel.

Science may create the medicines that keep us alive, but with the arts we struggle and thrive. With the arts our broken hearts heal.

Poetry

I grew up listening to my father sing.  Sometimes it was playing hymns on the piano and other times it was singing along to Simon and Garfunkel in his office.  It didn’t matter where he was, his voice loud and strong filled the whole house.   And I suppose I just got use to always having music be there in the background of my life.

I have been doing a lot of self-exploration into what I want to do with the rest of my life.  And every time I come full circle back to the arts.  I can’t escape them.  Just like listening to my father sing, the arts have always been in the background of my life.  I tell myself that they aren’t practical, then I remember that is exactly why I need them. Because practicality will silently lull us to our grave.  Practicality will cause me to wake up one more when I am 50 with realization that I never chased any of my dreams.

It has been about three months since I have started writing everyday and posting a new blog at least once a week.  I didn’t originally plan on writing that much.  I find that forcing myself to write steals my creativity, and I am left looking at a blank sheet.  I just started doing it more often.  Then I started wanting to do it all the time.

The more I write the more I love it, and the more I realize I have to write.  I have to write because it is my oxygen, and it feels as natural as breathing.  I write because it keeps me sane.  I write to heal.  I write to forgive.  

I write because there is so much in this beautiful life that inspires me, and I am desperate to not let it slip through my fingers.