On Letting Go

How do you let go?

I don’t know about you, but I love to hold on to things. Old birthday cards, favorite books, cherished friendships, my stuffed tiger that I’ve had since I was seven years old, old bottles of perfume that still have a couple drops of fragrance left in them, resentment, guilt, self-pity, fear.

Perhaps this is in part due to the fact that I am a Cancer, known for my sensitivity and sentimentality, or maybe it is because I have to experience a lot of pain before I jump into action.

I do my best to keep my side of the street clean and my nose well in my own business but when I am pushed to the limits of my patience and compassion, I let all the icky feelings flood in. The insecurity, the comparison, the jealousy, the wishful thinking, the doubt. All of these feelings are extremely unhelpful and, nine times out of ten, they aren’t even based in truth.

The point is, sometimes people do things and take action that hurt me or threaten me and maybe feel just like being shoved, hard, onto the cold cement. How do I let go of that? How do I forgive someone who threatens my security, balance, or serenity?

I let go.

And letting go is a pain in the butt..

In order to let go, I have to invite faith in. I have to relax into acceptance rather than continuing to struggle in self-will. I write. I pray- over and over again. I also am sure to purge the source of angst from my life to the greatest extent that is within my power.

Letting go is hard. Letting go is annoying.

Letting go is so, so necessary to my survival and growth

Most times I have no say in what people, places and things continue to pop-up in my life that cause me distress, but I do have a say in how I react to them. Do I let it all tank me or do I accept it with dignity? I endeavor to achieve the second option.

The truth is, I simply do not have time to become emotionally crippled by every single slight that comes my way. I am a busy woman living a life that is full to the brim in every single way. A life that I have carefully nurtured and crafted to get to the point that it is at today. I am trying to make moves. I am trying to make a difference. I am trying to grow.

I cannot let distress cause me to falter. I cannot let frustration keep me in place.

My happiness and security and faith comes from inside and nowhere else. No external source can tell me, force me, or convince me to let go. I have to start with me and only me to live my best life possible. I must choose to overcome it. I must do the foot work. I must get over it, no matter how big of a deal or injustice it is. I must believe in myself.

Letting go is choosing faith over fear, trust over doubt, and action over idleness. It’s living in joy rather than in misery. It’s accepting what is. It’s not stewing over the past. It’s not tripping about the future. It’s giving love and understanding and compassion during the times in which I want to be selfish and self-serving. It’s choosing adventure and fresh starts and moving forward.

Whatever you are trying to let go of just remember that, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly, you will do it. Practice. The more you practice the easier letting go is. And above all, don’t give up.

You can do it, I believe in you. 

xoxo

Sarah

 

 

In The Name Of Thanks

Understand the right to choose your own path is a sacred privilege. Use it. Dwell in possibility. –Oprah

In September of 2013, I opened my first ever blog post with the above quote. The notion of choosing my own path was one I was just awakening to and it was something I was just beginning to believe I might be able to do. The words in that quote filled me with hope. They instilled within me a deep need to see where I could go. Was anything really possible?

At the time of my first few posts, I never had any intention of sharing my blog with friends and family. I just wanted to try blogging and see if it was any fun. I was never going to show it to anyone. I could never be that vulnerable. I had no idea what I was doing and I certainly didn’t think it was going to be any good. I just wanted an outlet; a way to share my trials and tribulations while I navigated this thing called life.

At this blog’s inception, I was twenty-six and trying to pull myself out of a deep darkness. I struggled with anxiety and depression, had given up alcohol three months earlier, and was knee-deep in dealing with the repercussions from a variety of poor life decisions. I possessed very little hope for myself and nothing about my life was what I had imagined it would be at that age. The one positive was that I was beginning to dream up new dreams and was working tirelessly, day in and day out, to make them into a reality. Out of that, 26 and Stumbling was born.

I’ve always felt driven to write. Writing lights me up from the inside out. It excites me. It fills me with passion. It infuses me with emotion. After I have written something, I feel more whole than I was to begin with. As I let the words tumble out of me, fingers flying across the keyboard, I feel awake and completely tuned in. It’s like there is nothing else going on in the whole world except for the creation of words, character by character, on the blank screen in front of me. Time seems to pause.

I created my blog during a time of intense self-discovery and out of a desperate desire for better things to take shape. Creating this blog lifted me up. The writing began to heal me. Writing allowed me to show parts of myself to the world that I never thought I would be okay with revealing. It helped me to work through shame and to be vulnerable.

Writing makes me braver and stronger. I most often write in the hope of inspiring others and to connect with someone in need. I hope to teach that, through my own experiences, you too can triumph and overcome. I write to foster belief in myself and confidence in my story. You see, writing is one of the most selfish things I can do. I get so much more from it than I could possibly hope to give.

In 2014, as I neared my twenty-seventh birthday, I began trying to think of a new name for my blog. It was time to transition from 26 and Stumbling into something more long term and all-encompassing. I wanted a name that covered my whole life and everything that I wanted to write about. A name that didn’t seem to just focus on the negatives. One day, the idea came to me and Twenty-Everything was created. A blog for twenty-somethings and any-somethings everywhere trying to figure it all out.

Over the past couple of years I’ve written about anything and everything that my heart has desired: tips for twenty-somethings, lists and how-to’s for surviving your twenties, recipes, dating woes, dating tips, dating humor, juice cleanses, travel experiences, goals, what it was like in my first year without alcohol, career change, and all about who I am becoming. I’ve written about new beginnings and frustrating endings, about fear and doubt and perfection and freedom.

Twenty-Everything started as something intensely personal and private. I used it as a tool to begin to glue back together the broken pieces of myself. Over the past 800 and some-odd days since September of 2013, it has transformed into something more. I started this blog when I was at the beginning of finding myself and today I am simply overwhelmed with the gratitude I feel towards it.

This blog helped motivate me to turn my dreams into a reality. It helped me share my decision to make the leap into a new career and to say goodbye to the comfort of restaurant life and being a waitress. It has allowed me share my ideas and experiences on larger blogging forums such as Blog Her and Thought Catalog. This blog helped to land me my columnist role at Ms. Career Girl. Blogging serendipitously crossed my path with a few inspiring women bloggers whom I now call my friends and communicate regularly with. These women, and fellow writers, inspire me and support me and teach me how big and wonderful the world is. This little blog has helped to become a part of a much larger picture and purpose.

This is what I mean when I say I’ve gotten so much more than I’ve given. How could I ever begin to give thanks for all of it?

It’s amazing, and dumbfounding, what change can come about in your life if you just take one tiny step forward. When you hear that little voice inside of you whispering to you to try something, do it. It may be the beginning of a beautiful journey; a beautiful journey full of struggle and experience and lessons and redemption. A little voice inside of me urged me to try creating a blog, just try it. Where would I be if I hadn’t listened?

Today I am twenty-eight and my heart is full. I have come so far. I also know that I still have a great distance to go. I wouldn’t trade anything for an easier or softer way of arriving to where I am at today. Not all days are good. In fact there have been a lot of no good very hard days, but the depth of richness and fulfillment in my life is like nothing I have ever experienced. Today it is easier to share about the hard stuff and to embrace the discomfort that is necessary for growth. The darkness that I once lived in no longer threatens to overtake me. My life is filled with light, positivity, passion, and hope. Today, life is so very incredible.

It all started with a little blog that has helped me to do lots of big things.

And for that, I give thanks.

xoxo

Sarah

Failure, Progress, and Freedom.

Focus. Breathe. Tighten. Relax. Clear your mind. Tune in to your body. Drop your shoulders. Don’t forget to breathe, again.

I hear a seagull outside. Focus, Sarah.

Okay. Don’t drop your belly. Open up your hips. You’re not breathing, again.

That person next to me is really getting into that open-mouthed exhale…

One more breath in. One more breath out. Lean in.

Wait, did the instructor seriously just tell us to picture our internal organs squeezing and flushing out toxins?! That is disgusting. Great, now I can’t get the picture of my insides out of my mind…

This isn’t going so well.


My third yoga class of Self-Care September wasn’t exactly what I had hoped for. I had walked in confidently, my yoga mat tucked securely under my arm. As I set up my little zen spot, unrolling my mat on the floor and positioning my water bottle and towel beside me, I pictured how much better I would be in this class. I was ready. Ready to execute the moves a little more accurately, ready to deepen my extension, and ready to start to get the hang of this whole yoga thing.

That’s not how it went.

My body wasn’t responding to my instruction, my mind wasn’t clearing, and all I could think about was how terrible I am at this whole yoga thing. Crap.

The instructor came over to adjust my form. She lightly pressed her hands on my hips and shoulders, gently repositioning me. As soon as her hands dropped away, so did my confidence. I was trying, but it wasn’t working. As I transitioned from one pose to the next, trying my best to breathe and flow through the movements, I couldn’t arrest the thoughts. Anxiety about work, how my day had gone, and what was still left on my to-do list clouded my focus. I pressed on anyway.

Why wasn’t this working? This was my third class of the week! I should be seeing improvement by now!

As my frustration mounted, I took a look around. I realized I wasn’t the only one needing to drop down to my knees, and I wasn’t the only one who wasn’t entirely, 100% focused. I breathed a little easier. I inhaled, then exhaled. Deeply and completely.

That’s when the acceptance set in.

Suddenly, I accepted that my body wasn’t doing miraculous things on my third class of yoga. I acknowledged the tightness in my muscles that I could not fight, the disquiet in my mind I could not rest. I realized that I was holding on to a resentment towards myself for not being where I wanted to be, yet, and I let it go.

Holy crap was that freeing.

I let go of the feelings of inadequacy. I let go of hating the fact that I wasn’t as strong or as sure as some of the other class participants. I let go of these expectations I had for myself, and I settled in. I focused on doing each movement as best as I could, forgetting about the fact that the best I could do wasn’t very good at all, at the moment.

Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Letting acceptance flow freely in, frustration and self-doubt flow freely out.

Before I knew it, the class was coming to an end. In a seated position, I pressed my hands together in front of my heart and I took the deepest bow I could manage; giving thanks to the class, to my body, and to the experience. I wiped off the sweat, rolled up my mat, and tucked it back up under my arm as I walked out.

I had finished the rest of the class. I didn’t finish it perfectly, not one little bit, but I finished.

So many times I have left a workout feeling defeated. Mad, frustrated, disappointed. This time was different. No, I didn’t love the class and I didn’t love the instructor and I didn’t love my performance. What I did love, even though it felt like I fumbled my way through the entire 60 minutes, was leaving that class feeling like an accomplishment. Somehow, in failing, I had still made progress.

And you know how I felt? I felt light. I felt open. I felt rejuvenated. I felt free.

I was calm and grateful; grateful for the emotions I had experienced, for the respect I had given my body by showing up, and for the opportunity to learn something more about myself.  I felt ready to do it all again.

4cfed69eb2b5cfb0a24dce7ea182d5a2

I can’t wait to get back on my mat.

What is your favorite type of yoga to practice? Do you have a favorite class that you take, or have you ever had any difficulties similar to mine? 

xoxo

Sarah

*All photos pictured are via Pinterest.

Since When

Since when did asking for help become a sign of weakness, rather than an opportunity to develop a relationship? Since when did asking a question come to represent a lack of knowledge, rather than seizing an opportunity to foster better communication? Since when did reaching out become something you stop and question, rather than embracing the opportunity to learn something new and see another’s perspective?

Everyone has shortcomings. No-one knows everything. Yet, somehow, we are living in a world where we’re embarrassed when we do not have the answers. We are afraid we will look stupid for asking certain questions. We fear we will be judged for lacking the knowledge. We know we will be questioned for not being one hundred percent sure of the answer.

This sounds backwards right? No-one has all the answers and nobody is perfect- not me, not Obama, not even Oprah. We all have flaws. We all make mistakes. The problem is that we don’t want to admit it. We don’t want to appear weak or unprepared. I think the biggest mistake we are making in always worrying about messing up, or trying to go it alone, is that we are not letting ourselves be vulnerable. We try to be the problem-solvers, the fixers, and the I-can-do-it-on-my-own-ers, which creates distance from everyone we come into contact with throughout the day.

This past weekend, I did some damage at Home Goods. This is the part where I must confess that I prefer to outsource certain projects. Like hanging things. So, I asked my neighbor to come over and help me. Could I have done everything on my own? Sure. I know how to operate a drill and a hammer (I am woman, hear me roar!). Easily and in under two hours? Heck no. Instead, I chose to ask for a favor and doing so does not make me weak or dependent. In reaching out and asking for help I was inviting friendship in. I was embracing the opportunity to let someone in to my life rather than declaring that I can do everything alone.

Back in April, I wrote about my struggle with vulnerability. The Vulnerability Project was a declaration of my insecurities, my fears, and my desire to change. I made a promise that I would make a wholehearted effort to open myself up to new experiences and to engage fully in life, come hell or high water. I made a promise to dare greatly.

That is since when I started trying to assume less and to listen more. That is since when I started asking for help rather than sitting alone in my struggles. That is since when I started letting people see the softer sides of me, the pieces that are nowhere near polished or perfect but are completely authentic. Engaging in vulnerability is challenging.- asking questions, initiating conversation and getting outside of what is comfortable. Sometimes I seem less knowledgeable that I am. Sometimes people think I am weak. Sometimes people hurt me. What then? Then I feel the feelings, all of them, and that is the gift that I receive. Each experience teaches me a little bit more about myself and I get a little bit better at being vulnerable. And that, my friends, is progress.

How are you at reaching out, letting others in, and being vulnerable?

xoxo

Sarah     

ps. Check out my beautiful new pallet art, a custom piece that was designed just for me and is now hanging proudly in the entrance to my bedroom. My dear friend Nick is the artist, and if you love it he is more than happy to create something special just for you :). He accepts orders via email at ncarlsongolf@yahoo.com.

IMG_4252

 

*Top photo via Pinterest

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

 

Somewhere In-between

“If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans.” -Woody Allen

As a twenty-something, I often feel that I am trying to find a comfortable middle ground between making things happen and letting go. I firmly believe that the universe is working with me to help me achieve my biggest dreams, but sometimes I can’t help but wonder, exasperated, why the universe has to be so slow about it.

I am not a patient person. I want everything done on my schedule, in just the way I envision it, and I want it to happen nowI like things to be done quickly, efficiently, and I like the results to be sparkly, polished, and tied up with a pretty ribbon.

The hard and beautiful truth is that whatever I have planned is most likely not going to pan out the way I think it should. Life does not unfold on my terms, in my time, or in the way I dictate. Life happens on life’s terms, and I am working on accepting that that is exactly as it is supposed to be.

The truth is…sometimes my heart aches. It aches with longing for desired results, the sting of past mistakes, and the desire to know where my life will end up. My heart aches for the things I have not yet accomplished, the milestones I have not yet hit, and for the dreams I have not yet realized.

I watch as some of my closest friends are beginning to get married, with many more in long-term relationships, and I am still single. Please don’t confuse this comparison with some pitiful whining about how I’ll probably die alone- I don’t believe that to be true and I am incredibly happy at this point in my life. I love being single, appreciate my alone time, and it’s nice having only my own feelings to worry about. Most of the time. But, but, a very large part of me is not-so-patiently awaiting the moment I meet the man I will someday marry. Right now, however, I am content with the in-between.

I watch as friends advance in their careers; receiving promotions, celebrating significant work anniversaries, and earning their graduate degrees. I, conversely, am just entering mine. I have my foot in the door, and am focused on working my rear off to see progress and advancement in the coming years. However, my entry-level position rubs my own ego the wrong way. That is the honest truth. I am working diligently to get over this, and to get over myself. I love my job and the company I am working for, regardless of my position on the totem pole. I also would love, more than anything, to be able to go back to school to get my graduate degree. Unfortunately, I cannot fathom putting myself in that much debt from student loans when I am almost, almost, just above water. I am this close, and I am not willing to give that up right now. I have to remind myself that, in the end, the only person I have to prove I am better than is the person I was yesterday. It is not an easy task. That control freak in me wants to go faster. To be bigger. To be better.

This impatient characteristic of mine, it isn’t a positive one. It isn’t helpful, it isn’t encouraging, and it certainly isn’t helping me grow. This is where the letting go comes in. Letting go means turning it over to the universe, to faith in a God of my understanding, and relinquishing control with the belief that everything is going to turn out as it should. 

In the past, praying wasn’t something that I did. The only time I turned to prayer was to save my own skin; during moments when I was drowning in fear, hopelessness, and desperation. In making an effort to let go, and have faith in the universe during my difficulties, I began practicing prayer more often. Today, I am trying to let go rather than to control. Today, prayer is something I do throughout the day, but especially before I fall asleep at night. At the end of every day I stop and think about my life. I think about what I have been praying for, and how each step I take reveals more to me about the meaning, and significance, of my journey.

What do I pray for? Today, I pray for healing. I pray for past hurt to be removed from my heart so that I can be willing, and able, to receive love when it does come into my life. I pray for forgiveness, towards those who have wronged me, towards those that nearly destroyed me, and also towards towards myself. I pray that I continue to learn to love myself, because I am just beginning to believe how awesome I truly am. I need to be able to fully embrace this belief, that I am freaking awesome, in order to accept that kind of love from another. I give thanks, a million thanks, for the amazing friendships that life has blessed me with; and for my family that I would not be able to live without. I pray for patience, for guidance, and for grace.

I used to have a life plan. I used to have it all figured out. But then, in a million tiny ways and a few huge ones, the rug was ripped out from under me. I had to learn to change direction, to improvise, and to rebuild. In the most difficult of times, I had to hang on for dear life while the world spun around me. I had to learn to believe that I can become the woman I want to be. I had to learn that life won’t happen on any time, or on any terms, but life’s own. I learned that I have to work, work tirelessly, and in return the universe will work with me. 

I still make plans. I still get lost in daydreams. I still envision my life turning out a certain way. I also know that whatever I have planned usually won’t happen the way I think it should. I know that in the end, it will turn out better than I ever could have hoped for. I have complete faith in this. The key is to keep going, to embrace each day as it comes, and to laugh when things get turned upside down.

I hope that you enjoyed my thoughts on my faith, prayer, and letting go. I would love for you to share about how you navigate this thing we call life! 

xoxo

Sarah

Getting Unstuck

What is getting stuck? Getting stuck, for me, is a feeling of discontentment. I feel unremarkable, uninspired, and downright grumpy.

To get unstuck, I need to be inspired. I need to get outside of myself. I need to be reminded of all the possibilities this universe holds. I need to read. 

Reading has always been a source of joy for me. I remember when, as a little girl, I would travel with my mother to Sweden every other summer in order to visit my great-grandmother. Every trip, I would go armed with a multitude of novels to sustain me the duration of the vacation. I remember for one trip we brought 14, yes FOURTEEN, books with us, and I was still done with the whole lot before the vacation was even over. My poor mother. I’m sure I was a very poor travel companion for her, with my nose always stuck within the chapters of my latest obsession.

To me, reading is magical. Between the pages of a book is one of my favorite places to be. Forget clothes, purses, and shoes (okay, I really like those things too), literature shopping sprees are usually where my extra money is spent. Because reading is therapy for me.

This week, I’ve been feeling stuck. Here are the books I have just added to my summer reading list for getting unstuck…

Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead lean-in

What it’s about: “Thirty years after women became 50 percent of the college graduates in the United States, men still hold the vast majority of leadership positions in government and industry. This means that women’s voices are still not heard equally in the decisions that most affect our lives. In Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg examines why women’s progress in achieving leadership roles has stalled, explains the root causes, and offers compelling, commonsense solutions that can empower women to achieve their full potential.”

 

The Night CircusNight Circus

Authored by Erin Morgenstern, I don’t know much about this novel, except that is has been seen on more recommended reading lists than I can count.

Described by the publisher as: “Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.”

 

What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love. What Remains

What it’s about: “A stunning, tragic memoir about John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife Carolyn Bissett, and his cousin Anthony Radziwill, by Radziwill’s widow. What Remains is a vivid and haunting memoir about a girl from a working-class town who becomes an award-winning television producer and marries a prince, Anthony Radziwill. Carole grew up in a small suburb with a large, eccentric cast of characters. At nineteen, she struck out for New York City to find a different life. Her career at ABC News led her to the refugee camps of Cambodia, to a bunker in Tel Aviv, and to the scene of the Menendez murders. Her marriage led her into the old world of European nobility and the newer world of American aristocracy.”

Red Rising Red Rising

Written by Pierce Brown, this is the first book in the Red Rising Trilogy. According to the person who recommended this to me, if you liked Hunger Games and Ender’s Game (for me, obsessed is a more fitting description than liked), you will love this book. Sold.

 

 

Do you have any recommendations for my reading obsession? I would love to hear your feedback and suggestions!

xoxo

Sarah

On Taking the Bus

Source: SD MTS Website

In October of last year, I sold my car and began the adventure of taking public transportation. It was an experience that humbled me, challenged me, taught me patience, and at other times completely broke me down. Some days, I did not think I could stomach commuting two hours each way, to and from work, one minute longer.

I fought back tears, foul moods, and a complete lack of personal space on a daily basis. I learned to accept that it would take me an inordinate amount of time to get just about anywhere. And finally, I embraced getting lost; in an array of books, Pandora radio, and the inspiration to write.

I experienced an awful lot, about the crazy thing that is human behavior and being immersed into a new world. While devoid of the means of my own personal vehicle, I started collecting tidbits and memories of my travels. Here is what I learned:

Some people don’t bathe as often as they should.

It is absolutely baffling how a person’s own staggering body odor doesn’t offend them. The rest of the bus is certainly affected. Like really, how do you deal with your own stench all day?

Everybody, regardless of age/social status/gender/race, will give up their seat for someone in need; such as an elderly or handicapped person.

This, for a brief period of time, makes you forget all of the other horrors of riding the bus. Enjoy the moment, but don’t let your guard down.

People are oblivious to social cues.

Never forget your headphones. 9 times out of 10, people will ignore your headphones and talk your ear off anyway.

It is a game of strategy.

You have to know, through the course of the route you are taking, who will be sitting where. Forget just taking a seat, you have to strategize. Sit too near the front, you may have to stand for the aforementioned elderly or disabled person. Then you are standing the rest of the way with people’s armpits in your face. Sit too close to the back, and it’s like you’ve been transported to the Wild Wild West. Since the back is furthest from the bus driver’s watching eye, it is a breeding ground for mischief. Complete anarchy. Winning move: sit close to the middle of the bus with your purse or bag on the seat by the window. This way no-one can grab or sit on your purse, and you can slide over to make room for a suitable bus mate (should you spot one). Suitable bus mates are like unicorns; rare, magical, and their existence has yet to be proven.

Do not, under any circumstance, make eye contact.

Eye contact is a sign that you want to communicate. Trust me, you DO NOT want to communicate.

On the bus schedule:

Buses run every 15-30 minutes, give or take 10 minutes. Except on the day you are running 2 minutes late, on that day the bus WILL leave on time.

Assume no-one is of sound mind.

This is for your own good. Safety first. Trust only yourself.

In order of riding comfort, the San Diego Transit System is ranked as follows:

Coaster or Amtrak > Trolley > Bus

In all seriousness, being dependent on public transportation taught me many valuable lessons that I will not soon forget. I encourage anyone to embrace a challenge of this size any time it is presented, because it will help shape you into a better person.

xoxo

Sarah

*Photo courtesy of Bus Ride.

Travel Bug

I want to travel. I want to see the world. I want to learn more about other cultures, and learn more about myself. I want to be humbled. I want to be educated. I want to experience new places and new people. I want to see everything that there is to see, and I want to be young enough and just poor enough to have to save every single extra penny I earn to do it. And lastly, I want to do it now.

My best friend is amazing. One of the most amazing things about her is that she is fearless, especially when it comes to traveling. She has the moxy to get up and visit the places she wants to, when most people are still day dreaming about doing it. Italy, Switzerland, Paris, Ireland and London are already on her list of places traveled, and she intends to add many more. She also has an awesome blog where she writes about her faith, her life, letting go, and choosing joy. You can view her blog, Letting Go here.

Obviously, we had to join forces.

We are taking an adventure. A wonderful, life-changing, soul-enriching journey to someplace we have never been. The details are still being worked out, but the decision has been made. We are going for it, and I couldn’t be more excited. A trip across the globe, and another item I look forward to checking off of my bucket list. It’s a remarkable feeling, and I can’t think of a better person to share in this experience with than my best friend.

So, for now, it’s planning, penny pinching, and goal setting.

If you have any recommendations on places to visit, travel tips, or money saving ideas, I would love to hear 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