The Beauty In The Mess

Many years from now, when you look back at the chapter in your story that you are in the middle of writing at this very moment, what do you want it to say?

I used to want my story to be tidy and efficient and easy to read out loud. I wanted to leave the mess behind. I didn’t yet understand that each page in my book didn’t need to be, nor should it be, white and crisp and pristine. I had no idea that the messy in my life- the splashes of discoloration on the pages from errant drops of coffee, salty tears, and words that had too many times been crossed out and re-written- is what actually makes it interesting, thrilling, beautiful, and all mine.

I had a pretty picture in my mind of how things should go and would go if I took the right steps.

In taking those steps, in reaching for my ideal, I began to learn about myself. In taking action towards making the pretty picture and the pretty goals and the pretty life I wanted into a reality, I simultaneously dove head first into a complete demolition of my life. During the demolition and subsequent rebuild I closely examined my past and my present, my strengths and my shortcomings, my insecurities, fears, and most-cherished hopes. I dug and I dug and I dug, relentlessly seeking to uncover every part of myself that needed to be fixed or polished.

The years of soul-searching and practicing and trying my hardest to become this person I have always wanted to become led me to an important moment, a moment in which I found myself waist deep in the excavation of my life and seeing clearly for the first time that there is no end to the digging.

And in that moment I took a deep breath and asked my very deepest, truest and honest self what I want my story to say.

I want it to say that I’m not afraid to make a decision that I’m not quite sure will be the right one and that I see these decisions through until the very end. I want it to say that I’m unable to quit. I want it to say that I am incessantly hopeful. I want it to scream that I am willing to give all of myself to whatever it is I am doing, no matter what the return is. I want it to say that I make an effort to always be kind even when it is not returned or necessarily deserved. I want it to say that I care more about compassion, understanding and empathy than being right or avenging those who wrong or seek to hurt me.

I want my story to say that I own my decisions and that I don’t make any of them out of fear or insecurity. I want it to say that my words and actions reflect intentions that were pure of heart. I want it to say that I am a giver. I want it say that I am willing to do whatever it takes. I want it to paint a picture of someone who is fierce yet steady. I want it to say that I am dependable and loyal. I want it to speak to my ability to forgive and overcome. I want it to say that I use my voice in a way that is at once confident, powerful, and soothing. I want it to say that I am able to find immense value in even the hardest of lessons. I want it to sparkle.

Most of all, I want my story to say that I didn’t quit before the miracles happened.

If I only focus on the digging, there will always be more dirt to throw aside. But if I pause and focus on my breathing and the moment I am in, I am able to take a step back and see myself clearly. My face is dirty and my clothes are black but I wear a satisfied smile and my eyes reflect a joy deeper than any I have ever felt.

Nothing is different yet everything is different, because I am coming into myself in a way that I have never experienced before. I feel how capable I am, how worthy I am, how me I am, and how filled with potential my story is.

In this moment that I am standing in now, I love the mess. I love all of the trials and the tribulations that I have experienced and continue to navigate. I am watching my life bloom in front of my very eyes. Good things are happening and they are happening quickly. What’s more is that I have the ability to notice it and appreciate it and embrace it.

I love the beauty in the mess, I love that nothing has turned out the way that I thought it would or should, and I love that the only certain thing about life is that everything is completely out of my ability to control it. It just keeps getting better.

xoxo

Sarah

A Letter To My 18 Year-Old Self

Dear Sarah,

You will change so much in the next ten years, it will make your head spin.

Mistakes, many many mistakes, will happen. You will, sometimes, hate yourself. You will question the purpose of it all, and wonder if you are doing anything right. You will wonder if you are broken and beyond repair. Be patient. Be kind to yourself. You will discover that you are capable of greatness. You will eventually gain enough perspective to see that your heart is tender, loving, vulnerable, and forgiving. These qualities are so important. You are special, so special. You will only get better at life.

Most people won’t get your sense of humor. That’s okay, because it doesn’t make you any less hilarious. You’re more intimidating than you think you are, so be careful with your words. Make sure they are always kind. Your ability to say how you feel, and your directness, are two of your most enduring traits. You won’t realize this until much later than you should. Do not be ashamed of your positivity and sparkle. Some people will not like you, and that is okay. Some people will not understand or approve of your story, and that is okay too. It is not their story to write.

You will lose yourself, and then you will discover yourself. The world, and your decisions, will almost break you. Then you will build yourself back up again. The people in your life will teach you valuable lessons. They will enter into your orbit and show you love, wisdom, pain, sacrifice, and toughness.

That’s what everything is. It’s toughness training. When you get to be twenty-eight, your skin will be thicker. Your heart will be bigger. Your self-awareness will be better than it’s ever been. You will have gained back the confidence you lost during your dark years, and more will come with it. You will get more than you bargained for in every aspect of your life.

When it comes to the dark years, remember it is all essential in shaping who you will become. They will be extremely uncomfortable, painful, and full of tears. You will doubt your ability to make it through. You will feel alone and devoid of faith and hope. Remember, dear one, that these years are inevitable for you, and so important to your journey. When you are closer to thirty than you are to twenty, you will be on the other side of them. You will feel truer and more authentic than you ever have. You will have learned so much about yourself. The darkness is imperative to discovering your inner light. Feel it. Go through it. Don’t fight it. Look forward to the person you will someday be.

When it comes to college, pay attention. Especially in statistics and economics, or else you’ll regret not doing so once you graduate. Major in something that you are passionate about, regardless of what job opportunities it may present after graduation. College is a bubble, a wonderfully encased and protected version of life, so soak it up. Join the sorority that resonates with you and your ideals and your principles, and it will give you lifelong connections. Do not disappear into the partying. For heaven’s sake, make it to that 8 am ochem class regularly. Take a quarter abroad and travel. Your twenty-eight year-old self never did, and she really wishes you would. At graduation you will have no idea what you want to do or who you are meant to become, and that is okay. You will figure it out along the way. Be weary of how much you spend on your credit card.

When it comes to your career, don’t be afraid to assert yourself and live out loud. Do not shy away from expressing your opinions. Do not let other people make you feel small. If you work for a company that does not value you or recognize your accomplishments, move on. Chase your dreams. Don’t be scared to make a change or to use your voice. Don’t settle for a job that is boring, but be sure that you can always pay your bills. Financial security is necessary but living lavishly is not. Try your best to let temporary setbacks and negative energy flow in and out, like the gills of a fish. Work is the water and your gills are the filter; keep only the good.  Be fluid and proud and kind, always kind. Treat people how you would like to be treated and do not reciprocate less than graceful behavior.

When it comes to your love life, maintain the faith that the right one will come along. There will be years that are meant just for you in which you learn about yourself, all alone. There will be years in which you have no interest in a relationship, and years where you yearn for companionship and love. Who you think is good for you, or a good idea, usually won’t be. Consider advice but make your own decisions. There will be men who lie to you, take advantage of you, disrespect you, and don’t appreciate the wonderful woman you are. There will also be men who restore your faith and teach you that what you are looking for will come in its own time. There will be men who take care of you and honor your friendship. There will be men who are honest, kind-hearted and want the absolute best for you. Keep fighting for yourself. Keep dating. Pray. Do not become bitter or closed-off to something amazing, for it could be just around the corner. Assert your needs but don’t be afraid to compromise. Remember to find the good in every experience and that time heals all. There are good ones out there, I promise. It only takes one to change everything.

Do not play the comparison game. It is the quickest way to suck the happiness out of your life. Follow whatever it is that makes you happy. Write. It will be your therapy and your contribution to the universe.

The earlier you learn to accept what is, rather than what you wish would be, the better. Quit blaming yourself for everything. Throw out that life plan you’re writing out in your journal. It’s all a process. It’s all impossible to control and predict. The point is to enjoy the ride and to run head-first into your life, with arms spread wide.

Don’t be scared. I know that’s easier said than done, but it will all be okay in the end. You are fierce, brave, independent, driven and full of promise.

And last but not least, trust me when I tell you that the only thing standing in your way is you.

What do you want to say to your 18 year-old self?

xoxo

Sarah

 

 

Give Me Struggle

Nothing truly comes easy to anyone. We each have our own challenges that we must overcome. Your journey is your journey and my journey is mine. That is what makes each of them so interesting and beautiful; they are uniquely ours.

I used to think that one day life would become easier, softer and more forgiving. I thought that if I worked hard enough, it would all eventually even out. I believed that once I was past this or that it would all become clear. I figured that one day the messier pieces would just fall into place and I would be able to level up, reaching a space in my life where things consistently made sense. A space where I could breathe and rest comfortably, if only for a short while.

As I have historically been about how many parts of my story would turn out- I was wrong.

My story is messy and confusing and often courageous. It is punctuated by challenge, pain and moments of incredible strength. It is full to the brim with accomplishments and doing the things I thought I could not do. It tells a life of dreaming, action, hesitation, determination, false starts, harsh realizations and times of heart-breaking happiness.

My story is a lesson in nothing coming easy and learning the true meaning of appreciation and gratitude. My story is about doing my best with what I have. It’s about breaking away the unnecessary parts and wastes of time to get closer to my true meaning and purpose. My story is continuously teaching me that it’s not about what I think, what I want, what I need, or what I feel I deserve.

Give me struggle. Give me the lessons that will build my character. Give me hard work paying off over something handed to me that I have not earned. Give me confusion and give me hope. Give me trials and give me breakthroughs. Give me yet another disappointment, always followed by a fresh start and a new opportunity to see where it all may go. Give me good enough to make it through another day.

Give me the tools I need to do better in this world. Give me the challenges that will make me more useful, more capable, more creative and more tolerant. Give me whatever it is I need to teach me how to be a better advice-giver, shoulder to lean-on, and source of comfort.

Give me struggle so that I may learn to contribute. Give me pain so that I may become accustomed to sacrifice. Burden me, again and again, so that I may show that I can overcome anything that comes my way.

And keep it coming.

What does your story say?

xoxo

Sarah

Something To Be Dealt With

When life speeds up, little things start to fall by the wayside.

And slowly but surely, the smaller things being left behind turn into the bigger things being left behind.

Like writing and exercise. Two things as essential to me as breathing, if I am paying any mind to my well-being, yet my focus on them has been smaller than is truly healthy for me.

Lots has been happening over the past few months. In fact, so much has been happening that I can barely keep up with it all, but I have had a difficult time writing about any of it. Sometimes writing about the difficult things makes me feel like I am only complaining. I can’t stand to be a complainer.

The truth is, life comes at you in full force. The wonderful and the not-so-wonderful come all tangled up in one giant heap of something to be dealt with.

For the past few months, I feel like all of my energy has gone into maintaining the something to be dealt with and trying to hold it all together.

Maintain. Don’t fall apart. Stay positive. Trust the process. Sleep. Repeat.

Life has been hard. I was struggling at home with a less-than-desirable roommate situation (which completely depleted my physical and emotional energy), working out the logistics of getting my new roommate moved in, going through my first annual review process at work, doing my absolute best to try and show up as a friend for an ex-boyfriend during a time where he really needed one (as mentioned in Scratch That), facing the sudden and unexpected resurfacing of my father (who has been absent from my life for over 20 years), and it all culminated in a very major promotion. All at once, life got real.

Maintain. Don’t fall apart. Stay positive. Trust the process. Sleep. Repeat.

Through it all, I’m not really talking about it. I’m not writing about it. I am holding it all in and just…waiting. Waiting for it to be less raw, less powerful, less emotional. I shelved it, shelved it all, without any idea of when I would be able to come back to it. Of how to even get started on sharing about it.

I haven’t written about my promotion at work, which is something I would normally jump at doing, because it’s wonderful yet simultaneously rip-my-hair-out frustrating. I don’t quite know how to write about it with any sort of perspective because I am caught right in the middle of it. I am not always happy. I am elated and proud of myself and excited and I am also exasperated and exhausted and at my wit’s end. Simply put: it’s a lot. Every single day there’s things to do that I don’t know how to do, questions to answer that I have no idea how to answer, and decision after decision to be made. I do it all to the best of my ability, and that has to be enough.

For all the other stuff, I have not found the words yet.

These difficult and emotional things, while important, are things that I call into question when deciding on the content for this blog. Like I’ve said many times, Twenty-Everything is my platform to be open, honest and unashamed about my feelings and experiences. But still, I couldn’t write it.

Life kept coming. It was asking me, over and over again, to be more adult than I was ready to be.

As I continued with my semi-regular posting schedule, but made no mention of the incredibly personal things going on in my life, slowly my blog began to feel less and less authentic. I felt that my readers were getting less of an idea of who I really am, at this moment, and only seeing the parts of me that are polished and perfect and ready to be presented to the world.

We all know polished and perfect is only an illusion, and I have no desire to be inauthentic. I want this blog to be everything I set out for it to be: inspiring and motivating and thought-provoking and, above all, a safe space for honest sharing.

So, this is it. This is the gritty and the incredibly personal and the difficult and the everything I have been going through.

Most of of it is unresolved. Everything is in process. There aren’t many answers at this point, only questions and more to be revealed.

It’s a little bit messy and it’s definitely imperfect. But it’s authentically me.

xoxo

Sarah

The Power of Possibility

Driving is my me time. I blast the music and let my mind roam, turning over each and every thought that flutters into it. Rather than trying to quiet the incessant chatter that goes on in the back of my brain throughout the day, my commute to and from work is where I let it all go. I indulge in the inner monologue of my random thoughts, see where they go, and let them play themselves out.

On one such drive home a couple of days ago, I found myself getting caught up in a tornado of chaotic thinking. While there had been calm and peace of mind when leaving the office a few minutes earlier, suddenly I was worried about everything. I was thinking in extremes, blowing things way out of proportion, and I suddenly felt like life was completely out of my control.

Have you ever experienced something like that? A veritable freak-out on as simple a thing as a drive home from work?

At that very moment, when it felt as though things were just so entirely unmanageable, a light bulb went on. It was like a thousand tiny jigsaw puzzle pieces fell into place, forming a complete picture, and I realized that what I was experiencing was completely my own doing.

If I made it, I can stop it.

In that moment, I realized I was giving up all of my power to fear. I was turning my energy over to this fear that I am running out of time- that I am too late in beginning what I’ve started becoming. But, how can I be too late when I only just realized what I want?

Ambition is a tricky thing. It is absolutely necessary in order to achieve success, but it breeds discontent. The cost that I pay for my own ambition is that I am never quite happy with what I have. I work really hard to get to where I want to be, and then instead of celebrating once I get there, I immediately focus on the next step. In the same moment that I accomplish something, I move on from it. To the next goal. To the next big thing.

I am content to be discontent, because in the past that is how I’ve functioned best. Knowing there is something more out there for me to achieve, something resting just outside of my current reach, is how I’ve motivated myself. This is how I’ve challenged myself, how I’ve picked myself up after I’ve fallen, and how I’ve focused my drive.

This strategy presents two major problems. First- in not celebrating my successes I marginalize my achievements. In doing so, I feed into this idea that who I am, all of me at this very moment, is somehow not enough.

Second- I create an overwhelming fear that no matter how hard I work, no matter how much effort I put into creating the changes I want to see in my life, I will never achieve the things I dream of.

Our twenties are an incredibly important phase in our lives. These are the years for us to invest in ourselves, discover our passions, and make major life decisions. The choices that we are making as twenty-somethings will directly affect our future. The options of where we may go are unlimited, the world really is our oyster, but ultimately we must choose what we want and where we want to go.

To summarize: life at this moment consists of an unlimited number of choices that, once made, will shape me into who I am destined to become.

Could there be anything more intimidating?

All that possibility excites me, and it also terrifies me. It makes me want to be better and to do better. I want to make all the right choices, and I want to make them all right now. I have never felt so full of potential, and simultaneously so afraid that I will not live up to it.

That fear will be my undoing. That fear is what will, single-handedly, keep me from achieving all that I am capable of. It will tell me that I am not smart enough, not skilled enough, not creative enough, simply not enough, to do what I want to do. That fear is what will keep me from promotions, from taking necessary risks, and from achieving greatness. It will keep me firmly rooted in my comfort zone.

At its core, my fear is that I will be discovered for what I truly am or called out as a fake. I am scared that I think I am capable of more than I truly am- that I should be more realistic about my limitations. I am terrified of failing, or even worse, never being given the chance to fail at something great because no one deems me worthy of being given the chance to try.

This fear comes from an old story. It is rooted in a past me, a me that no longer exists, a me that I have worked hard to say goodbye to. At twenty-something, at thirty-something, at any-something, we all are capable of overcoming our limitations. We can challenge our fears, change our stories, and become our best selves.

We only need one yes out of a million no’s, only one door to open after running face first into a thousand closed ones, or only one little stroke of luck to fall our way to transform everything.

I need to do less worrying about the small things, and more celebrating. I need to make an effort to recognize my accomplishments, rather than minimalizing them. It minimalizing the achievements, I minimalize myself. I am striving to accept myself, all of me at this very moment, as being enough. I am making an active effort to stop feeding the chaos tornado in my head, and embracing the power of choice. Everything is a choice- it is up to us as to which direction we want to go with it.

It won’t be easy. It won’t be neat and tidy. It certainly won’t be perfect. But, there isn’t time for doubt. There isn’t time to waste our emotions, our potential, our lives on worrying about failing and making the wrong choices. You have to follow your passions, chase your happiness, and embrace the life you are creating.

I am, and will always be, a work in progress. Which is pretty perfect, because I like a challenge.

xoxo

Sarah

Scratch That

When deciding on the content I share within this blog, sometimes it is difficult for me to make the judgment call as to what I disclose regarding my relationships. It’s a double-edged sword. On the one hand I created Twenty-Everything as a platform to share my journey and experiences as twenty-something figuring it all out, and for me at this point in my life that also involves dating. However, on the other hand, when things don’t go well in a current relationship, do I leave it alone or share it with my readers? How much do I expose?

The thing is…I promised myself that Twenty-Everything would be my safe place. I designed it to be a space in which I can be open and honest about who I am and what I am going through. It is my place to chronicle the triumphs, the tribulations, the breakthroughs, and the lessons learned. A place where I can be authentically and unapologetically me.

If I didn’t share about the breakups as well, I wouldn’t be staying true to the promise I made.

So, scratch that.

The story goes like this: after over two and half years of being single, I met somebody. I’ve dated since my last serious relationship, but nothing significant. During that time I hadn’t been emotionally ready, able to fully commit, and hadn’t even wanted to call any guy my boyfriend- but this was different. There were butterflies, and excitement, and hope, and feelings. So many feelings. The feelings were scary and amazing at the same time. He and I were open and honest in our communication, which felt wonderful and healthy. We discussed that a relationship was something we both wanted to pursue. I thought- wow, so this is what people mean when they say that when you meet the right person, you will just know.

So, we put a title on it. I was happy. I felt confident in the decision. I put faith in my feelings, my relationship, and in trying something new.

Too soon, my relationship was deteriorating in front of my very eyes. He wasn’t calling. He wasn’t texting. He was cancelling dates. Most importantly, he was breaking promises that he had made to me.  All of a sudden, where so much fulfillment had been before, I was left wanting. My needs weren’t being met. My boundaries weren’t being respected. My feelings weren’t being taken care of. And I was no longer happy.

So, scratch that.

The disbelief then follows. And anger. And sadness. And shame. Did I do something wrong? How did this happen?

I say it to myself all of the time: even the best laid plans, set with the best intentions, will go awry.

The truth is, I didn’t do anything wrong. I didn’t rush it. I was careful in my consideration of each step. I was open about my feelings. He and I made these decisions together, as partners and equals. I am not responsible for the fact that he wasn’t able to give what he originally thought he could to our relationship, and I respect him for admitting that. The truth of it is, simply, that we had to call it quits. And that feels a lot like failure.

Faced with this, I have two options. I can wallow in self-pity, or I can grow from it.

I choose growth. I choose to learn. I choose to let this empower me, not to drown me. I refuse to let this feed into my insecurities. I embrace it for what it was, an adventure. I was brave. So, so brave. I said yes to a new experience. I said yes to taking a leap of faith. I said yes to daring greatly.

I am incredibly proud that I let myself be vulnerable. I showed up emotionally. I was open, and honest, and did my best to set my fears aside. I embraced the possibility of something new with an unknown ending. I didn’t let the hurt from past relationships contaminate my new one. I trusted. I practiced patience. Most significantly, I allowed my heart to open up again. That is monumental for me.

This is progress. This is me living life to fullest. This is me taking chances, embracing the vulnerability, and sharing it all along the way. This is me developing into the woman I am meant to become.

For that, I am grateful beyond measure.

A heartfelt thank you to all of my friends and family that support me, day in and day out, and to my readers for allowing me to be just a little more fearless with every post I create. I couldn’t do it without you.

xoxo

Sarah

*Top photo via Pinterest

Week 4 of Self-Care September, That’s a Wrap!

It is officially the last day of September, and thus the end of Self-Care September! Wow, this month has flown by in a heartbeat! There really needs to be more days in the week…my vote is that we insert one in-between Saturday and Sunday, and we shall call it Saunday. Done.

Sorry for the ridiculousness, my coffee hasn’t kicked in yet.

Self-Care September has been a wonderful experience. I feel like have I accomplished the goals I set of focusing on myself, my wellness, and re-discovering my personal zen. Self-Care September really motivated me to be intentional about making time in my schedule for exercise, more conscious of how I spend my free time, and also reminded me to be kinder to myself.

Sometimes, we just need a reminder to slow down and take it easy. Or, when we find it impossible to slow down, we need a reminder to take a moment and allow ourselves room to be imperfect.

On the yoga front this week, I returned to my favorite Saturday morning spot at Trilogy Sanctuary, where the rooftop setting and ocean breeze always bring me to my happy place. I seriously cannot get enough of this venue- simply walking through the door makes me feel centered and serene.

Yoga

This class ended up being one of my absolute favorites that I have taken at the sanctuary so far. It was Vinyasa-style and led by Josiah, an instructor who’s technique is inspired by athleticism. He focuses on alignment and conscious adjustment to promote physical and spiritual awareness. The session ended up being an awesome combination of core strength training and breath-to-movement, focusing on flexibility and intentional positioning of your body through the poses.

After the class, everything felt lighter, tighter, and more focused.This class had a Zen Factor of 10/10, because I felt it accomplished everything a great yoga class should. I was completely connected throughout the entire session- mentally, physically, and spiritually. Mind, body, and spirit were one and it all just clicked. It was a breakthrough feeling.

In Week 4 of Self-Care September, the good definitely outweighed the bad. My biggest problem was, simply, not having enough time in the day. Shocker.  However, these problems aren’t even really problems. Self-Care September has taught me to focus on what is important, and allowed me to be okay with letting go of what isn’t.

These past 30 days have been all about intentionality, choosing what is healthy to focus on, and putting myself first.

This Week’s Triumphs…

  • 1 awesome yoga class. Come join me at Trilogy Sanctuary on Saturday mornings so you can experience the awesomeness too!
  • My blog turned 1! September 25th marked one whole year of blogging, and I couldn’t be happier at all the progress I have made on it.
  • Oil Change/Brake Replacement.Cause proper car maintenance is important, ya’ll!
  • Friend time. I took full advantage of the few hours of free time I have had lately, and let me tell you, some quality social interaction can be much more replenishing than any old nap. I’m so grateful for my friends and family, because they remind me of what’s important when I feel like I am about to lose it. 🙂

This Week’s Tribulations…

  • No days off. I am smack-dab in the middle of a 20 day work marathon. Lord, give me strength.
  • Inspiring Leadership Class. What’s that? Sorry Coursera, the class content hasn’t been interesting or stimulating enough to hold my dedication. I just don’t have the time.

What did 30 days of self-care teach me? That living with intention is crucial in all areas of life. That whether it is in regards to your exercise regimen, your career, or your relationships, you have to make time for what is important. That the areas you choose to focus on are the ones that will thrive. That yoga really is beneficial, in so many ways. That your dedication will pay off. That some progress, even in the tiniest increments, is better than none at all. And finally, it taught me that…

YouGetBetter

What do you do in order to challenge, to change, and to treat yourself? 

xoxo

Sarah

 

*Top image is also via Pinterest

One Year Later

Laugh&Love

It’s a pretty well known fact that I love to get inspired. The mug on my desk at work reads cherish the journey, the wallpaper on my phone says believe you can, and you will, and I try my best to spread positivity like confetti. I’m a glass-half-full kind of girl.

There’s enough ugliness in this world, my attitude doesn’t need to contribute to it.

A year ago yesterday, I created this blog, after many moments of collective inspiration. It used to go by a different name, 26 and Stumbling, and was created at a point in my life where I was trying desperately to figure it all out. I don’t think the fact that my blog has now turned 1 is a particularly big deal, but I do think the changes that I have undergone as a person during this past year are.

I remember when I wrote my first post, I had no clue what I was doing. I didn’t have a plan, or even an outline for a plan; all I knew was that I wanted to write. I had an intense desire, and need, to get my voice out there to something that wasn’t my journal. I was nervous, intimidated, and incredibly excited. I knew, deep down, that somehow blogging would help me. And I hoped that it would also help others.

One year later, if I could sum up blogging in one word, that word would be therapeutic.

Through blogging, I have been able to use writing as an outlet for my emotions, as a means to replenish my spirit, and in order to nurture my creative side. In the process I have had some lovely readers reach out to me to connect, had the opportunity to guest post on other blogs, and have become a featured writer on BlogHer- a large community of women bloggers. I have found the writing process to be incredibly healing and freeing, and I have gotten to know myself better along the way.

So, here we are, 366 days older and wiser. Still inspiration-obsessed. Still choosing joy daily. Still aiming for the stars, and still working on finding my truest, authentic self.

Thank you all for your support, your feedback, your kind words, and for your continued reading. You have helped me to embrace my vulnerabilities, to channel my voice, and to create something I am very proud to call my own.

“Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it.” – Buddha

xoxo

Sarah

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

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