Unexpected Obstacles and the CA DMV

Clerk: “That will be four forty.”

Long pause. Me:”As in, four dollars and forty cents?”

Clerk: “No, Miss, four hundred and forty dollars.”

Me: Gulp.

And THAT is how my trip to the DMV went yesterday.

After some grumbling and a few exasperated looks thrown at the clerk, I reached into my wallet and took out my credit card. At the moment, I didn’t have enough in my bank account to cover that amount.

“No, Miss, we do not accept credit cards.”

Crap.

I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. I wanted to vent my frustration directly at her-complete with harsh words and numerous expletives. My eyes welled up with a few tears, but I held back. I could not cry to the DMV woman. I couldn’t throw a temper tantrum like a two year-old. After all, it wasn’t her fault that I wasn’t aware an 8% use tax fee would come with the title transfer. I should have done my homework better.

It wasn’t about the money, really. It was about the embarrassment. I had been caught totally unaware; unaware and unprepared. It felt like having the wind knocked out of me, and the feeling made my face warm with shame.

I try to be smart about my money. I plan ahead each month, allocating my income to necessary bills and expenses, and whatever little I have left over goes into savings.  Each month I creep closer and closer to paying off the amount I still owe on my credit cards, and I do it with pride. This month, in particular, I had applied a larger than normal payment towards a credit card. Which, you better bet, was the first thing I thought about when the DMV woman told me she needed $440.

If I had known, I wouldn’t have paid off so much on the credit card. If I had known, I would have been able to pay the fee on the spot. If I had known, I wouldn’t look like a twenty-something mess who can’t pay what she owes.

Now I have to go right back to the DMV next month, to do the exact same thing I was just there yesterday to do. More of my time taken up, more rearranging of my work schedule to accomodate this, more little stressors added to the day.  I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir about resenting the DMV here.

That night, getting over the shock of the large amount of money I will have to pay was easier than soothing the sting of embarrassment I still felt. It wasn’t about the money, entirely, even though the amount of money was a big deal. It was about not being able to fulfill my adult role regarding financial responsibilities. It was about not being prepared for the unexpected. I felt defenseless and foolish.

After drowning my feelings in the form of pizza, and putting my big girl panties on, I accepted that my trip to the DMV didn’t go as smoothly as I had expected. I also learned that I can still throw a pretty good temper tantrum, even if it is after the fact and in the privacy of my own bedroom.

In a few weeks, I will get to march right back into that DMV, smile brightly, and hand them the money that I don’t want to give up and that I don’t want them to have. I get to woman up, and act like an adult. I will get to walk away a little bit poorer, a little bit smarter, and a lot less embarrassed.

Feel free to share your own experiences with obstacles, embarrassment, or the DMV. 🙂

xoxo

Sarah

 

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