Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Clicking the Refresh

I need a refresh button for my life, and I'm going to be brave enough to click it.

That's a fucking turrible metaphor but whatever. It's been a very long few weeks. I have known for a long time now that Texas is wonderful. But it is not for me right now. I hate being so far away from my family, and not having the money to get home whenever I want. It's not that I can't stand being away from them, it's more that I can't get back to them if need/want be.

FINALLY, fourteen months after I moved to Austin, I got the chance to go home for a late Christmas. It was the most stressful vacation I've ever taken in my life. It was so hard to try to see everyone I needed to see, and then get to spend the time with people I wanted to see. (You know what I'm talking about: duty vs. the self.)

On top of it all, I met someone who has changed my perspective on a lot of things. Naturally, I wanted to spend time with him, which resulted in lack of sleep, and some interesting situations - (oh hey, I want to spend time with you, but I have this family obligation . . . sooo, wanna go to brunch with EIGHTEEN family members?? Oh shit.)


I came back to Austin completely unsettled and unhappy. My plane landed, and my wheels were turning already. Plotting and planning. All of my Zen places are back home, and I decided concretely that it is just not worth it to stay so far away when it's painful to come home, and painful to be so far away. I'm not a masochist, really. Besides that, there are a lot of cool opportunities waiting for me. So, fuck it. I'm going home. (That sounds a little like Steve Urkel: I don't have to take this. I'm going home! Ha!)

Delve a Little Deeper

All right, those are superficial reasons. Here are some more in depth thoughts that I've put in my pipe to smoke. The past 18 months have fucking sucked. For 8 of those months, I waited tables to make enough money to eat and occasionally make a payment. I've NEVER had that problem, and I know what it's like to fall on hard times. Painful. Embarrassing. A major sense of failure. Now, I'm working 2 jobs (thankfully), and have nothing to show for it, except bags under my eyes and a generally bad attitude. Oh, and brain farts from lack of sleep. Always exciting. Pfft.

I don't read anymore, I don't do the things that I'm passionate about. My dog probably thinks I've abandoned him because even when I am home, I'm asleep. I swear, he's plotting how to kill me in his furry brain. He's so cute when he plots. ;)

I'm neglecting my mind, my spirit, my body. I have a gym membership, but when you work as much as I do, the last thing you want to do is exert more energy. Bad idea. Jessie needs to sweat. It gives me think time, and an outlet, and I miss that.

In short, I need to stop. I need to re-focus, re-center. Get grounded, and stop spinning my wheels when I'm so solidly in neutral. Figure out my next moves when I'm not drowning in frustration.

I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm not even funny anymore when I write. That bothers me to no end. I'm working on it. This is a good move, and crazy Jess is just beneath the surface. Nah, she's here. She's just tying up some loose ends.

Monday, January 17, 2011

If a Jessie Falls in Ohio, Do You Hear it in Austin?

Well, I've never completed a 180 so quickly in my life.

Friday, December 31, 2010

I'm Just Unsettled

If you know me, you know that I have an uncanny ability to shake things up. I don't ever let things just settle - especially myself. I think that settling for something, instead of reaching and attempting, can be equated to failure. I hear people say, "well I settled for this . . . " or "I guess I'll just settle for that . . ."

I don't understand. I don't want to settle for anything. I don't care if it's settling for a Pop Tart when you want a Streudel! Go get your damn streudel and be happy that you hunted, tried, and won! Bite into that baby! I want to fly, to excel, to be challenged, and to succeed at everything. Everything is an adventure, and nothing is static.

A prime example of my frustration is looking at people I went to high school with. Holy crap! Some have taken the same type of mentality that I have, and done some extraordinary things, but many others have just stopped progressing, evolving, or changing. What is the value in that?

Last night, I had a lengthy conversation with a customer at Chili's. He is a police officer/paramedic/ICU/flight nurse, who works in a hospital and teaches. He just turned 40, and is constantly learning and challenging the status quo. That, I can appreciate and I'm happy to meet people with similar afflictions.

I say affliction because sometimes I get so frustrated with myself, and my inability to just stop and appreciate where I am right now. My body is on my sofa, but my head is at work tonight, at how I'm going to raise the money I need to enroll in grad school. I can't imagine putting in my 40 hours, going home, and saying 'well, that's my life'. My head is always elsewhere. It's in how I'm going to build my business in the upcoming year, and where the hell I'm going to put the kayak I just bought.

Have I ever kayaked? Nope. But I want to. And so I went out and got what I needed to do so. I didn't just sit around and wonder how I could ever possibly do it, only to never have it come to fruition. I became a kayak-hunting cheetah, unafraid to reach out and grab my kill. Er, my kayak. It's a prime example of what I'm talking about.

I guess I'll never stop reaching, and I think the frustration is that there's a war inside of me, wondering if I'll ever find my settling place. And I also wonder on which plane or level I'll find it.


This time last year, I was trying in vain to hide two black eyes which I received courtesy of a rabid American soldier. It had been a crappy ending to a really weird year. It started off in Indiana, moved to Charlotte, ended up in Austin.

I think the way I spent New Year's Eve last year was indicative of how I spent this year. I spent most of my time hunting for a job, worrying about how I was going to make ends meet, worried and stressed, stressed and worried. I wasted so much time worrying that it feels like I forgot to experience my life.

Everyone talks about how 'this year is going to be different', and how they're going to become a completely different person in the year to come. I wish them luck, and I absolutely see the value in having renewed hopes for the future. I love the cyclical nature of new beginnings; they just keep coming around and newness or rebirth can happen at any moment you choose.

My hopes are pretty simple, and my plan is even more simple. My hopes are simply that this year is better than last year, and that a renewed sense of peace and wholeness will pervade my life. I hope that I continue to take positive steps toward a better life and a secure future by remembering that I can't solve everything at once, and problems are more easily solved when I realize that most problems are small. I hope that I keep in mind that it is best to take everything one moment, and one step at a time.

I plan to usher in the new year with a sense of peace, awareness, and knowledge of my own internal awakening. Maybe if I invite a little more Zen into my life now, perhaps it will linger and grow in the next year. It's all about hope and renewal.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

#9, 10, 11

#9 Jump off of a really high bridge, into a body of water below. (I'm a little terrified of heights)

#10 Submit a few stories to get published. Send them everywhere, and not be afraid to put myself out there.

#11 Be in New York for Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. #9, 10, 11

The Last 365 of 20-Something

Today is my birthday. I am 29. Not in the "Hey, I'm 40, but it's cute to say that I'm 29' kind of way - I'm actually 29. The first day of the final year of my twenties.

THIS is a sexy age to be. I've come to a few major decisions regarding this year. I'm going to LIVE, and live well, and live like the seat of my pants are on fire.

I'm still working on the details.

I have come up with a short list of things I want to do. My aunt Kathy remarked on my Facebook page that I have really lived whereas others have just dreamed. I agree, to a point, but I still don't feel like I've taken the huge bite out of life that I would like. I still feel like, if I were sitting in a room with my friends and we shared life experiences, I would still be behind in the game.

For example, SEVERAL of my friends have spent extended amounts of time overseas. I don't even have a passport.

That's #1. Get a passport.

Now here's a short list of a brain dump of things that I will check off my bucket list before the big 3-0.

#2 Use the passport. Go anywhere. I don't care, anywhere.

#3 Skydive. Fuck it. Fall and hope the chute opens. (Maybe I'll do this toward the end of this upcoming year, just in case.)

#4 Learn to climb.

#4 Turn off the t.v. Actually, sell the t.v., and listen to music, books, silence. Whatever. (This isn't a financial hardship because I paid $25 for it at Goodwill).

#5 Have a threesome. Yeah, I said it. :)

#6 Go to Mardi Gras. And do it up. Beads, beads, everywhere beads! Pee in the streets! Get dirrrty, and totally lose myself in the fantasy of it all.

#7 Get a motorcycle.

#8 Walk a meditation path at night, by candle light.

What else? What's on your bucket list that I can steal in the last year of my twenties?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Grass is Greener, The Snow is Whiter . . .

I'm prepping for Christmas. By that, I mean I'm making candles for clients, and for my family as gifts, wrapping the gifts I've bought, and getting them ready to ship back home.

I'll be home for Christmas, only in my dreams. But before you feel too completely terrible for me, know that I'll be going home to the Arctic in January.

Everyone says I'm crazy, but I can't wait for some snow! I love the crunch of it on my boots, and the feel of a warm scarf and hat, and gloves. But lately, I've been really mulling over what it means to go home for a visit.

I'm one of the rare few who doesn't despise where I'm from. But I've more been thinking about what it's going to be like to wake up on Christmas morning, with not much to do. I suppose I'll put on a pot of coffee, and snuggle with Foster for a while. Probably take him to the dog park.

But then what? It's weird to think of spending Christmas alone, when I grew up in a family that is so steeped in tradition that it seems inconceivable that I won't be there for it, two years in a row. Not that I'm particularly torn up about it - it's just food for thought. There was a time when I couldn't imagine not being home.

But, the times, they are a'changin'.

I guess I might be jealous. All my friends are paired off, some spending their first Christmas with their boyfriends, fiances, lovers, etc. This is the time of year (especially) to have someone special in your life. This past year there have been a couple of strong candidates (I'm sure you all remember Bob . . . and the gym rat. Ugh.), but nothing that has stuck to the wall just yet. But at the same time, I don't just want any ole guy in my life just to have someone. I guess I'm looking for someone with a future full of possibilities.

Though there is a new strong possibility lurking around, I'm also learning from recent history and taking things slowly. Part of me wants to leap into the water; the part that is still licking its wounds is clinging tightly to the shore. This is not a bad thing, for sure!

Maybe it's all right to spend Christmas alone; I'm not alone truly, after all. But if you want to swing by my place and have some Christmas coffee and baked goods, Foster's and my door is always open.