On Owning It

Life is like riding a bike.

Sometimes you have to pedal with all of the might you can muster, making your way inch by terrible inch up that long hill. And other times you can coast down with no resistance beneath your tires and the wind whipping gloriously through your hair.

If I picture life as a person, I see it as a jokester. You know the type; one of those people who thinks that super inappropriate things are really funny and who laughs at funerals. Life never takes itself too seriously. It likes to present a wide variety of situations in many unexpected forms just to make sure you really are on your toes at all times. It has an affinity for showing up in ways you could have never anticipated, will pound its fists on your front door at three in the morning just for a laugh, and it loves to pitch you curve balls to test your willingness and ability to knock them out of the park. Life has a grand ole time making sure that the only thing you can expect for certain is that things will turn out differently than you planned.

Recently, I was asked a pointed question that has kept me thinking.

How do think you react to adversity?

Great question.

I like to think that I take adversity in stride. I’d like to say that I handle all things with as much grace as I can possibly mobilize on short notice. I like to think that I do the best that I can while I keep a smile on my face and my heart full of compassion. I like to think that my experiences have taught me to be a strong and resilient person, capable of triumphing over anything that comes my way. I have overcome a lot, just like each and every one of you, and I intend to keep on doing just that.

But let me tell you that when life throws everything its got at me, one curve ball after another pummeling straight at me without pause, my reaction to adversity isn’t as pretty as I would like it to be. I’ve found that I move into silence rather than speaking my truth and that I falter in my faith rather than being able to turn it all over and trust in His plan for me. My positivitiy tanks.

I doubt myself. I wonder what I am doing wrong. I struggle with feeling wrong-sized and get angry when none of it seems to be working. Am I too sensitive? Am I unapproachable?

I switch tactics. Read more books. Reach out to others for help. I milk my support system for all its worth. Believe me, keeping me strong and centered and sane takes a village.

I am consistently revamping my strategy to figure out what the best fit is. I am constantly re-energizing in order to gain momentum for the next movement, looking to level-up and press forward. This doesn’t work, so let’s change it. That didn’t work, again, so let’s try this instead. Fail. Fail. Try again.

Do you know what all of the negative, uncomfortable and challenging feelings and experiences mean?

They mean that I am human. In progress. Developing. Learning. Achieving. Reaching. Trying.

I’m dealing with people, places and things that are not on my terms and that do not conform to my comfort zone. I’m like Silly Putty in the softening process; the part where you throw it around in your hands to make it pliable enough to mold into something entirely new.

I don’t like to think that I need molding. I don’t like to admit that I have areas I should work on. Who loves to pick themselves apart and acknowledge their faults? No person I know. But the sooner I get over with the pummeling, the faster I become ready to change my form. When I am warmed up and ready for a new shape, it means I am completely willing. It means both my mind and my heart are open to new ideas and new opportunities.

Let’s face it. Sometimes life beats the crap out of us.

We can either let it shatter us, or take it as a not-so-subtle hint from the universe that things are changing. Discomfort and pain are two of the greatest motivators for change, and change is always good.

I repeat. Change is always good.

Change forces us into action. Change improves us. Change intimidates us, seems impossible and then it teaches us that everything will be okay in the end. Always. Change shows us that the unexpected can lead to glorious results. Change terrifies us and then it chides us, whispering that we should have trusted the process the entire time.

So however you react to adversity, own it. Own it in its glorious imperfection and simultaneous badassery. You’re getting your tail licked and still asking for more. You’re waking up each day and focusing on the good. You’re giving it your best shot. Embrace everything and don’t get too caught up in the details. After all, it will work out just as it’s meant to in whatever amount of time it takes.

Own your abilities, inabilities, sensitivities, strengths, shortcomings, and greatness. Own your life.

Here’s to writing your legacy. 

xoxo

Sarah

Ambition, Hustling, and Finding Purpose

Success

One of the most powerful things we can do is to decide what we want. To do this, we must get to know ourselves. What makes us tick? What fulfills us? What do we want our lives to look like in five, ten, or twenty years?

We must take a stand in our beliefs, choose our path, own our choices, and then pray that it all works out as beautifully as we hope it will. Find our purpose and follow it- without fear, regret, or hesitation.

Here is what I know about my purpose: the peak moment of my life will not be the day that I walk down the aisle. My marriage will not define me, and it will not be the bar by which I measure my happiness. Do not get me wrong- that day, when it comes, will be one of earth-shattering happiness. But the most significant moment of my life will not be captured in my wedding photos.

The achievements which will define me, those that will mark the most significant moments of my lifetime, will not be contingent upon my relationship status.

Secure my dream job. Publish my first book. Work with other women; empower them and inspire them. Walk with a self-knowledge, a confidence, and a grace learned through life experiences that have challenged me and strengthened me. Help to make the world a better place. These are what I imagine, and dearly hope, some of my most significant achievements will be.

There will be other moments too. Miracles which I haven’t even begun to consider, dream of, or factor into my schedule. These moments will take my breath away with surprise, and happiness. Some of the most monumental and special things in life are those that you never spot coming.

I am not the woman whose future revolves around planning a family or worrying about her ticking biological clock. It is true that I am in my late twenties, unattached, and want children someday, but today those are merely considerations. They do not give me pause. I am a woman who places greater importance on professional ambition than husband hunting. You see, I want to be truly and wildly authentic in anything and everything that I do, and I want to give all of myself to my work and to my daydreams.

To be honest, I am way too busy hustling. I am too preoccupied with making my dreams into a reality to worry about those things that I, confidently, believe will come into my life at the exact moment they are supposed to. And not a second before.

I spend the majority of any free time I have obsessing over work or writing. Any extra head space immediately gravitates towards pushing myself to achieve my goals- and then when I meet them I am spinning up new ones. I can never sit idly, it must be a constant progression. A new day, a new idea, a new dream, and a new to-do list to help get me to where I am going.

Try. Fail. Try again. Fail again. Try some more. Succeed. Repeat the process.

Do I experience doubt about my choices? Absolutely. I worry that I perhaps I should be more concerned about the lack of a husband or a boyfriend or my aging eggs. I hold immense respect for those women who are my age and already have established a family. Stay at home moms are incredible, and I think they have one of the toughest jobs imaginable. I applaud them and all that they do for their families. I know, without a doubt, that I could not do what they do.

However…engagement rings, wedding bells and babies? They don’t get my blood pumping. Career advancement, networking and writing? Now you have my attention. I am not saying I don’t sometimes fantasize about the ring, the dress, and the children. I do. But these things don’t ignite a fire within me, and they are not my passion. I am not chasing them fervently like I am chasing my career ambitions.

Should I have a daughter someday, I want her to be capable of putting herself first, fiercely and unapologetically. I want her to find her happiness in whatever capacity she chooses, with the freedom to chase her purpose in life without doubt. I want her to understand that choosing career over family, or vice versa, does not make her cold, power hungry, or self-seeking. Her dreams will be her own, to be realized without judgement. 

If I cannot show her this behavior through my own actions, how could I ever hope that she would be able to carry it out for herself?

I am twenty-seven and just getting started. I am just beginning to develop and realize my own purpose. I have a lot of life to live, a lot of lessons to learn, and much to discover in the process. I am making the best choices I can for myself and embracing these decisions wholeheartedly, and I cannot wait to see where it all takes me.

If you would like to learn a little bit more about me, my choice in career, and what makes me tick, you can read my guest post on 20Somethings Blog here.

 xoxo

Sarah

When You Need a Moment

Life is busy. As twenty-somethings, we are part of a generation that is constantly connected; to our smart phones, to social media, and to each other. We thrive on communication and are constantly on the go. We are the generation that hustles.

What does busy look like? For me, it’s working full time for a biotech company, serving at a restaurant on Friday and Saturday nights, and holding a seasonal position with the San Diego Chargers. I just began taking a leadership class with 4-6 hours of coursework per week and am also making an effort to dedicate more time to my writing, with a goal of increasing my posting to twice weekly. Sprinkle in social time on top of all this, because quality time with friends brings me back to my happy place, and I’m left wondering when on earth my laundry and chores are going to get done. I worry about making time for everyone that I want to see, the things that I want to do, the exercise I’ve been slacking on, and then I worry about how little time I have in the day to get all of this done.

Sometimes, I need a moment.

What is surprising, and more than a little inspiring, is that I am not alone in this. Many of the twenty-somethings I know are also juggling multiple jobs and have shared in feeling depleted and over-exerted. I know a multitude of women who are also pushing themselves to the limit on a daily basis- working, leading, and creating. I acknowledge that this is our own doing and that we have made a choice to become involved in so many different capacities, regardless of what is motivating us to do so. But just because we are choosing to do it doesn’t make it easy.

Sometimes, I need a moment.

I need a moment to pause, a moment to remember why I am doing all of the things that I am doing, and to remind myself that everything will someday pay off. I need a moment to remind myself of what drives me, what empowers me, and what inspires me. I need a moment to remember what I am working towards, to give thanks, and to find my center. I need a moment to remember how all of the things that I am doing contribute in their own way to my core happiness, and to remember that I have never felt this fulfilled before.

So, here’s to all the twenty-somethings who are out there working their buns off in the name of personal progress; to all of my fellow women working relentlessly to achieve their dreams no matter how challenging each day is. To those with too long a work week, too few hours of rest, and not enough recognition. To all the women who carry the world on their shoulders, and never lose the smile on their face as they do. I see you. I relate to you. I understand you. What you are doing- it’s hard. Really hard. You inspire me to work harder, to be better, and to keep going when I want to give up.

Sometimes, I need a moment. Just one. 

xoxo

Sarah

*Photo via shopbando

 

26 Things I Learned at Twenty-Six

1. Cultivating a better sense of self-not everybody’s doing it. Not everybody gets more mature,  driven, or self-aware as they grow older. Don’t waste your time on these people, there’s too many awesome ones to surround yourself with.

2. Sometimes you’ll hate your day job. Don’t give up.

3. Follow your passions. They are the surest source of true joy, and will never lead you astray. Unless your passions are boozing and drugging- find something that doesn’t involve numbing yourself to the world around you.

4. Accept your past. You can’t change it, you can’t will it away, and you certainly can’t continue apologizing for it. Love your past, it helps shape you into the amazing person you are becoming.

5. It’s not bad to have lots of acquaintances, as long as you’re okay with those acquaintances not showing up for you. Acquaintances are for networking, best friends are for showing up. Just be sure to keep the two straight.

6. Married by thirty? Maybe. If not-it’s not the end of the world.

7. Kids by thirty? Forget it. I won’t be done with being selfish by then.

8. And that reminds me…the idea of having children is no longer automatic. Becoming a mother has always been an assumed part of my life plan, but I’ve come to realize it’s not a necessity at this point. I would love to have them, but I am not planning my life around a ticking biological clock.

9. Your words don’t determine who you are, your actions do. However, be sure to keep your words kind.

10. If you don’t want to eat the whole tub of ice cream, just don’t buy it. Quit deluding yourself that you’ll have any amount of self-control once you have that sucker home alone.

11. Sunday funday is no longer defined by bottomless mimosas. It’s beach days, quality time with loved ones, and Netflix marathons.

12. Your bed is an investment. Forget old pillows and crappy mattresses, ain’t nobody got time for that when you’re working a 50+ hour work week. Take a note from me and double up on that mattress topper!

13. You constantly question your purpose. My therapist tells me that’s normal. We’ll go with that.

14. Meditating is healing. It’s also freaking hard. Trying to sit still for ten minutes or more with a clear head is next to impossible. On the list of “things to work on” for twenty-seven.

15. Superficial attraction vs. actual attraction to a person- it’s different and it matters.

16. You’ll start to care less about what others think of you. Which means you’ve learned to accept yourself. Appreciate this.

17. You have to date a lot of the wrong people to know when you’ve found the right one. Still haven’t found the right one, but I must be getting close with all the wrong ones I’ve gone through!

18. Living with two girls or more is hell. Living with only one is a much better dynamic.

19. A good roommate situation is vital to happy living. Sometimes, you may end up in living situations that suck the life out of you. Eliminate this as soon as possible. Having a respectful, kind roommate makes your life infinitely better.

20. Juice. It’s no longer cute, or acceptable, to ignore your body’s need for nutrients and balance. An unhealthy diet is also detrimental to the aging process. Juicing is a great way to give your system the boost it needs- any gal on the go can appreciate this.

21. Your parents really are the coolest and best people in your life. Well, maybe not always the coolest. But they are always there for you, giving unconditional love and support when you need it the most. I love you, Mom.

22. Failing teaches you your strength. There’s nothing like letting yourself down in a spectacular way to truly learn the hardest lessons. Keep it up, it’s the best way to grow.

23. Live minimally, splurge occasionally. Occasionally does not equal daily. This applies to shopping, manicures/pedicures, food, vacations, and dessert. Go ahead and have seconds, or thirds, of the birthday cake.

24. The importance of love, kindness, and understanding. Learning to give rather than take these things will make you a better everything, and lead to a happier you.

25. Act like a fly on the wall. I’m an emotional person, and this doesn’t always lead to me reacting in the best way. I’ve found that if I’m in a stressful situation, and I imagine myself as a fly on the wall, I can get some distance from it and act in a much more logical (and dignified) manner.

26. Most of the time you have no flipping idea what you are doing. Just roll with it. You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. That’s what your twenties are meant for, figuring it all out.

Twenty-six was good to me. I think twenty-seven is going to be even better.

Do you have any lessons you’ve learned in your twenties or beyond? I would love to hear about them!

xoxo

Sarah

10 Things I’ve Learned from a Year Without Alcohol

Next month marks one full year since I last had a drink. It’s astounding, really, what can change in a year. Everything has changed: who I am, the way I look at life, and who I am becoming. Choosing to live a life without alcohol has been eye opening, challenging, at times soul-wrenching, full of emotional peaks and valleys, and quite possibly the best thing I have ever done for myself.

Here are ten of what I consider to be the most valuable lessons I have learned over the past 341 days:

1.    You accomplish the goals you set.

Over the past year I have been able to achieve and exceed every goal I set for myself. I have embarked on a new career. I completed my first ever juice cleanse. I started this blog and have developed my writing. I have been able to meet my financial goals, and I did this by making some incredibly hard decisions. The most difficult of which was selling my car. This allowed me to get significantly ahead in the long run, but it has been one of the hardest things I have ever done.  Public transportation is no joke, and neither is having to rely on other people for rides. Learning to depend on others has taught me humility and filled me with gratitude. Luckily, in a few months I will have a brand new car all my own! And damn does that feel great.

2. People’s perception of you will change.

This is OK. I became more quiet. More settled. More calm. More sure of myself. Less willing to compete for attention. I found that on the inside I was thinking much more, and much more in-depth, about anything and everything but I often found myself wanting to keep my thoughts and opinions private. I’ve also learned that new people I meet might think I’m a goody two-shoes, which is just fine with me.

3. It’s not boring.

Just because I have stopped drinking doesn’t mean I have stopped having fun. I still love to go out, socialize, and try new things. It has been refreshing to discover just how much fun I can have without alcohol pushing me along. I laugh more, and genuinely enjoy myself more, than I did when I was guzzling down the booze. Appreciating the moment has become easier and more authentic.

4. You learn not to take the easy way out.

Sobriety isn’t easy. It’s not a walk in the park, and it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. Your problems just don’t disappear because you no longer have alcohol in your life. You feel different from your peers, and many times I have struggled with the feeling that I do not fit in anywhere anymore. This makes you stronger. It makes you wiser. It will change things. In the end, it’s worth it.

5. You learn to trust.

You learn to trust yourself, your decisions, your journey and your story. Being able to trust yourself is invaluable.

6. It will affect your dating life.

It will do this in both a good and a difficult way. Dating without liquid lubricant has been something I have had to make an effort at. I’ve had to confront, and try to heal, the trauma I have experienced in past relationships. Removing alcohol from my life has allowed me to deal with my romantic past head-on, when I used to run from it with every atom of my being. This has been incredibly healing and restorative. However, it has made casual dating practically impossible for me and I have simultaneously discovered I am not quite ready for all that comes with a serious relationship. I have learned that temporary situations no longer give me any thrill, and I would rather hold out for the one that is worth my time and heart than fill the in-between with a superficial relationship. I value my independence and alone time.

7. Your friendships will flourish.

The appreciation I have for the friends in my life is indescribable. I have met a few key people over this past year that I know will be my friends for the rest of my life. I have been able to build on my existing friendships. This is one of the greatest gifts I could ever receive. I have learned how to be a better friend by becoming less selfish and less self-seeking, and this has invited wondrous change into my world.

8. You’ll have more energy.

Much of the time, I feel like the Energizer Bunny. I’m more alert, more aware, and more open to what the Universe throws at me. Every day feels like a fresh start. I start my day at 5am, maintain two jobs in a six day work week, try to incorporate an active lifestyle, do my best to weave a healthy amount of self-care into my schedule, and somehow balance this all without my own vehicle to get me places. Lord knows I wouldn’t have been able to do that while drinking. God bless sobriety.

9. It will cultivate your sense of self.

I have learned an incredible amount about myself during this time, and continue to discover new things every day. I am more sure of myself, less critical, more embracing of the present, and full of confidence and hope. In short, I have learned to like me again.

10. You HAVE to embrace the whimsy.

Sometimes I miss the old me. Sometimes I miss the partying, the craziness, and the reckless abandon. I have found it’s important to cultivate my whimsy side fairly regularly to maintain my sanity. I do this by losing myself in music, dancing like nobody is watching in the middle of the dance floor, having deep and heartfelt conversations with complete strangers, and nursing my sweet tooth.

If you would like to know more about my journey or this past year, please email me or post a comment below! I would love to hear you share about your own personal journey and experiences!

xoxo

Sarah