Choosing to have fun…

Question. When you think of millennials, do you think fun?

Is there anything resembling fun floating in the air as a buzzword around millennials?

As a millennial, I can answer that question and say no. We’re educated. But fun, no.

If you read anything about us, our thing is oversharing, debt and failing to launch. We’re at home with degrees that aren’t paying for themselves. We’re sensitive and self-absorbed, but we wallow in our situation.

Adulting is a huge buzzword for us. Image your parents. They pay their bills, in their owns place and are in a relationship, at or nearing marriage. They have good jobs, assets. They eat right and spend money on the right things. Things we’re too distracted to pay attention to. I hate the word. For one, I feel mocked by it, and two, it makes the mixture of responsibility and discipline, and maybe another word seem like a foreign concept.

Being an adult is all about choices. And having fun is a choice some people forget to do, or don’t think about making. As you get older, having fun of course changes. What you can do to have fun has to fit into your life. Fun with money definitely changes. With bills and rent, spending fun is greatly restricted. Unless you make good money. Hobbies are great and cheap, but having a full time job and maybe kids significantly reduces time. Time and money is what gets away as you get older. And maybe you have to sacrifice for your significant other or kids. But fun is important. Fun is what keeps you going and what makes life enjoyable. Countless studies will tell you fun and activity will keep you going forever. Not really, but close enough.

I feel that finding the balance of having fun, but also taking care of business is what makes an adult. That’s the true mastery of adulthood. A lot of the time people will say the best years are in your youth with no responsibilities. And while that can be true, the ability to be able to make changes to the state of your life without needing someone else is an incredible one. We can have agency at all ages, but independence is something different all together. Life can throw awful things at us, but it can also give you a chance to change things.

Many things in life are choices. Fun is one of them. It can be something small that’ll bring joy to your day. These small things make life that much more bearable. Paying bills sucks, but saving up to retire at 40 is incredible. The half full glass is cliché but very true. Life is what you make. And you can chose to make it fun.

Choosing to take responsibility…

I know I played a part in how my life was. I’d be a liar to say I was depressed and everyone ignored me. That I was surrounded by awful, terrible, toxic people. It’s unfair to them and a disservice to myself as an individual.

I was difficult. I wasn’t the nicest kid, not even close. There were times that I was very unpleasant. No one around me particularly had the time to deal with that. So even though I needed help, there was some digging to be done to get to it.

The past year has taught me that life is incredibly difficult, and things could simply go wrong, and you’d end up somewhere you’d have never thought you’d be.

I never thought I’d be working minimum wage. I was smart and had a degree. But I was unrealistic. I never prepared myself for life after college. Life as an adult. I didn’t get work experience and I never devoted myself to my craft of writing. My minimal resume got me nowhere. And I needed a job, so that was it. I resented my job, and I felt I was too good for it. Everyone; family and even coworkers told me I could do better. I was wasting my time. And I treated the job like a waste of time. I never went anywhere. I never tried to learn what I could from it. A job is a job, and you can learn invaluable things if you’re open to it. And for a long time, I wasn’t.

I never considered learning to spend money. Money was always scarce in my house, so me having my own was me being a kid in a candy store. I never appreciated how the money I made needed to be relative to my spending habits. But I live rent free at home, so I never truly had to consider it. My mom would be upset at how much I spent, and I’d snark back at her. I never looked to truly appreciate what she was giving me by letting me stay home rent free.

I never appreciated truly what I could be capable of myself as a young person. I never bothered to take the chance to learn about myself, and to see what the world had in store for me. I was comfortable and complacent where I was. I never appreciated anything because of how I felt inside. As much of a difference that anyone could’ve made, I could’ve made an even bigger one. I had a responsibility to myself and I still do. I need to make sure that I’m going where I need to be. I can’t blame my parents years later for my hurt feelings. For me, taking responsibility is me taking control of where I’m going, and who I am. So here’s to taking responsibility.

…and getting what is needed.

Now we know I wasn’t fine. I was very unhappy and isolated from everyone. There was a wall built up around me, but I finally decided to scale it. So now what? As hard was to be honest, now I had to do something with it. I had to persist past telling the truth, and do something with that honesty.

Of course, the most obvious was to ask. I needed help, and I had to learn to ask for it. I had to maintain a sense of accountability in not giving up, because there was always the chance I’d ask and get turned down. I couldn’t let disappointment slow me down. In the past, family wasn’t always able to give me what I needed. A while that stings sometimes, it wasn’t the end. I had to reach out to whoever would be able to help me. So I looked for professionals that I could talk to. They’d talk to me and understand what exactly I needed. They helped me objectively sort through my feelings. We talked about the part family played in my recovery, and how to move on from my expectations from them.

It was a weight off my shoulders. I felt much better emotionally. I was headed towards the light at the end of the tunnel. And with that light I was able to take a good look at myself and my life. I had given up on anything outside of being a good kid. How I looked, my personal ambitions and goals in life. All took a back seat to my emotions. And I had to be honest about that. I didn’t like how I looked or how my life was going. I was a young woman but I behaved and dressed like a kid.

I had to put myself out there. I needed to put more effort into myself as a woman. How I dressed, did my hair and went out had to change. I had to let go of the ice queen schtick and just relax. Of course this was hard, but I knew I was unhappy. I didn’t want to be alone in life anymore. I wanted to enrich it with friends and family. I knew I would have to reach out to others. My unaffected attitude very much resembled indifference. So I had to check in mentally and be present with people.

I had to be present in situations I didn’t like either. I had to learn to speak up when I was unhappy. Confrontation is never fun, but it is very necessary. I was especially necessary for me, since I had become so complacent and let life happen to me. I had to push for what I wanted, and if that involved a confrontation, so be it. I couldn’t live life the way I did anymore.

Being proactive about changing my life is a choice I have to make everyday. It can be hard to push past insecurity and fear, but with each step, both are left farther behind. I may not be the woman of my dreams in a year, but I can definitely be someone I’m proud of in that time. I’m even proud of myself now. I’ve managed to come out of where I was and continue to heal myself. To me, that means a lot.

Choosing to be honest…

“How are you?”

“Fine, how are you?”

“I’m doing fine too.”

Everyday small talk for probably all of us. I know it is for me. The honesty of this interaction has become the face of the changing times and how little people chose to truly interact. Of course, in a lot of social situations, you never want to get into anything too deep, as most strangers are unprepared for serious life problems. But eventually, being ‘fine’ all the time can get to you.

I was always fine. My mom was overwhelmed with the three of us and both my siblings were going through serious problems. It was too much for me to be depressed or anxious. I was fine when she asked, and I behaved. My homework was done and my grades were good. I also listened to her. All the boxes were checked, so I was in fact fine. But I began to slowly fade. I just wanted to hide and I was numb. Eventually, my parents did notice a difference. But it was too much for my mom to deal with three struggling kids. So I was told to be ‘fine’, and I was.

It bled into every inch of my life. I stopped wanting and needing. I figured if I acted fine I would be fine. Everything that I didn’t like about myself and my life was something I chose, and with a switch I could change it if I wanted to. I wasn’t a depressed and withdrawn young girl, I was contemplative and uninterested in the shallow kids my age. I wanted to be alone and I was nonchalant. No matter how bad things were, it was ok because I didn’t care. And if I did put in the effort and care, my life would be completely different.

I was a ‘cool girl’, but that only worked out in my head. I was really just a sad person who couldn’t have handled being rejected by anyone else, so I rejected them first. If anyone asked if I was ok, I was. I was mean and not interested in anything. I was a tomboy because I was ugly, and finding my own personal style and developing my own look was pointless. Me trying to be and feel normal was pointless. My only hope was out growing this stage. Google told me some people grow out of it. I believe I did, but the way things played out left a giant crater in my heart.

Being honest now is me saying exactly how I feel. Telling people close to me the whole story. Even though it’s not easy, it’s something I’m working hard at doing. I’m being honest with myself. Instead of rebuffing my feelings, I allow them. It’s not easy to accept how what were the most important years of my life were so awful and why they played out the way they did. Sometimes I’m even angry that no one seemed to truly be invested in helping me at the time. I became a self fulfilling prophesy. I said I was fine, and I acted normal, so I was fine. Sometimes I regret being a good kid. Maybe if I was more expressive and honest, maybe someone would’ve seen I wasn’t fine.

As caught up as I can get in the past, I know the most important thing is to be honest. Moving forward, I can no longer hide how I feel. Being honest with myself, how I feel, my likes, dislikes etc. is an essential step to finding the person I was and who I lost so long ago.

Choosing to get uncomfortable…

Per my last post, I tailored my life to be as comfortable as possible. I don’t take risks, I don’t push myself too hard and I’ve let routine dominate. At this point, you could say it’s all habit.

The predictability is safe and keeps me comfortable.

But at this point we know it’s something I can’t continue to live with. So getting uncomfortable is something I’ve taken to embracing. Everything that I do out of habit and routine, I’ve decided to inspect. How I spend my time outside of work, how I break up that time for necessities like eating, hygiene and activities. How much time I use as an investment for future goals and plans. Of course at this point, the break up isn’t the best. And I notice it’s due to habits, which were formed to keep pressure off of me.

Dealing with depression in my formative years put a lot of pressure on me. I was constantly drained, mentally and physically. I went through the motions of life because I couldn’t be bothered to be checked in. It was too much to have to think and function when my mind was constantly racing to keep up appearances. All I wanted to do when I had the time to myself was to rest. I be physically and mentally comfortable. I’d lay down and turn on something that would completely distract me. So all my problems in life wouldn’t exist until they did again the next day.

Everyday, I need to do something that makes me uncomfortable, and disturbs the pattern behavior that I’ve had. Overloading is never a good idea. Doing too much too soon is usually overwhelming. It encourages quitting. But I feel giving myself a small push every day would encourage my progress.

Doing anything outside of relaxing can be a challenge for me. Which is why I’ve decided to add habits to my day. I’ve challenged myself to read a book a week, and be done with 52 by the end of the year. I used to read a lot, but I gave up because it was easier to watch TV, and streaming services made then made that even easier. I loved books, and I know I’ll be right at home being a bookworm again. I’ve decided to workout again. I started maybe two years ago, and it makes a huge difference in how I feel. Plus I want to be strong again. I always wanted to be fit enough to survive a zombie apocalypse. That also involves diet. I tried veganism to boost my energy levels, and I will say I did feel lighter on my feet. It was also easier to exercise. I felt better and my workouts were smoother.

By the end of doing these things, I’ve felt better. In the moment it may not be fun, but in the long term, I have my progress to enjoy. There are so many things I need to push myself to do. This month, I’m hoping to jumpstart my lagged off progress from last year.

So here’s to discomfort.

The Choice of Life

My resolution for this year was to choose life above all else.

In my struggles with depression, I dealt with my difficulties by hiding and running away from them. Any issue I had, I avoided dealing with them by surrendering. It made me a ‘good kid’ by never fighting for what I wanted, and things just went about a lot smoother without me fussing about it. They’d all eventually be over. I couldn’t be forced to do what people wanted me to do forever. So I went to church and I sang in the choir. When I finally graduated from high school, I no longer had to do anything. I was on my own, and I could relish in the fact that I didn’t have to do anything.

So I did nothing. And I did nothing to the point where it was hard to do anything. I had no motivation to do anything at all. Since I was always focused on what I didn’t want to do, I never thought of what I did want to do. To me, my life done my way was framed as what I no longer had to do because I was old enough. But as soon as I stepped out into the world life was me having to do things that I had to do. I had to study, I had to do lots of class work. I would have to take the MCAT and get into medical school. It was all so much for someone who never had to do something for myself. Being alone, my motivation and desire shriveled away.

After I graduated I didn’t want to do anything. I applied to jobs, and the longer I went without responses, the less I wanted to do anything.

Then one day, I had an epiphany.

There were a lot of difficult things that happened in my life. I had depression and I had to deal with it alone. But eventually I took the steps to seek help. It was hard, but eventually I got to a point where I could look back at the progress I made. I began to push myself and I felt uncomfortable. Doing new things would always make me uncomfortable. But I was never a failure at anything. I was a quitter. Discomfort scared me. I never wanted to leave the safe positions that I was in. But upon reflection, I had safe and comfortable for years. I feel so far behind my peers due to trying to stay comfortable. I love stories and I love writing. Yet to be a writer is risky. Outside of the few who ‘make it’, we end up in draining jobs with little money. Starving artists are usually only respected after their deaths. So I dragged my feet. I was scared. Rather than be a failure I was a quitter.

Failure is only permanent if you surrender. Failing gives you the experience to change how you do things until you succeed. All the little fails in life, bad hair and makeup, weird style, all these things were to much for me. But I realize they would’ve only reinforced me as a person. I would’ve grown.

While it would’ve been great to have gone through all this when I was younger, I know the experiences will still be valuable to me at my age now. Which is why I’ve chosen life. I chose to push myself to learn and grow everyday. Be it physical appearances, skills or even things I need to do , I want to do something everyday that pushes me to live. Everyday, I want to make a conscious effort to live and do something everyday that’ll help me grow.

The past few months

This year, I decided to start a mental health journey. I was tired of being unhappy and feeling trapped there. I knew life could be better. So I decided to do all I could to get there. I used tools such as books, videos and eventually a therapist to finally be something other than miserable. I knew it would be a hard journey, but it would eventually be more than worth it.

              The progress I did make woke me up. I felt like I was waking up from a coma after years. I was a part of the world around me. At the same time, I felt like I was so far behind everyone who had those years to learn, grow and change. But I was still working on myself. I even added goals to my financial, spiritual, and social life. All of it was upended by the spread COVID-19.

              Suddenly I was home, and away from my job and the stresses it brought. I was paid for four more weeks after it shut down, but then I would just apply for unemployment. I had debt, but no expenses after that, so I was lucky enough to not have my life turned upside down by shutdowns.

              I figured since I had all this time, I could fast track my journey and come out of quarantine a new person. I’d get in shape, blog my way to a better job and thigs would only get better from there. I was proud that I did start the blog, but I let my optimism get the best of me. I set lofty goals that quickly overwhelmed me. I was supposed to come out a new person, and eventually that felt impossible. For one I had to build up the habit of writing. I wasn’t so sure of how often I’d post, but I knew I needed a consistent schedule. And most writing jobs needed multiple posts a day.

              It was hard. I was planning out my posts, but what I wrote was never long enough. And it didn’t sound as great on paper as it did in my head. I took breaks and came back to posts, but I layered them to make sure I was at least getting something out. What wasn’t published started to pile up. I was overwhelmed by the progress I had to make by the end of quarantine. And eventually I just stopped.

              The world outside my mental health pretty much disappeared. At first, I wasn’t getting much from unemployment. So saving was no longer an option. While I did have money each week to pay things off, it was just the minimum payment. And savings weren’t really possible either. I never really saw anyone besides family and my boyfriend. I wasn’t working out as often as I should have to get the results I wanted. My momentum plummeted from all the goals I set for myself.

              Fortunately, my family and I were safe from the damage of the virus. We all kept our health and income. And when my place of work opened back up, I still had a job. I was very lucky.

              I was able to resume my life in a way a lot of people could not. And yet I still felt like I lost. All that time I had I did nothing with. I came back to life the same as I was. I didn’t think that was something to be grateful for. But it was.

              The work I was able to do taught me a lot about myself. My thinking habits were toxic, and I needed to reevaluate. I’m definitely a catastrophic thinker, and not so good would become awful. I was picking good things apart until they became bad. And on my journey to become a better me, I was trying to become someone else. My basis was that there was something wrong with me as a person, and not that I needed healing. That was one thing I needed to put a priority on remembering.

              I wasn’t sailing where I hoped I would be before COVID 19. But practicing gratitude showed me how many things I had to be grateful for. Even if I wasn’t where I wanted to be, I still had the desire to make progress, and with life starting up again, I had the chance to really get back on track. I have my health, my job and my family. In these times, I am grateful to say I’m blessed, and always have been.

Hello again…..

Hello again. Its been a while since I’ve written anything on my blog. A lot of it was being in my head about my posts and losing momentum. I do apologize to anyone waiting for me to post again.

              These past few months have been immensely difficult for a lot of us. Besides the virus itself harming physical health, a lot of us were put into difficult financial situations. It has been hard to recover after such loses. I wish everyone the best in these times and urge everyone to persist always.

Letting go…

This is the one thing you must do in order to be successful in any self-improvement journey. Letting go is literally releasing the baggage weighing you down and holding you back. You hear it everywhere, even in songs at this point. That’s because its so important to do.  But it’s also not easy. There are so many things people hold onto for many reasons. Take me for example.

              Letting go of the past is one of the hardest things for me to deal with. I had turbulent relationships with family members, and I dealt with depression in my teen years. At the time, I couldn’t deal with everyday life, so I hid. I isolated myself and cut myself off from any deep connection with everyone. I lost interest in everything. Eventually, I entombed myself in my room, going through each day trying to disappear, and I did.

              This lasted for a long time, and for all of it I was unhappy. For years.

              At the end of high school, I thought once I went to college, I’d be away from everyone and everything. I would have a fresh start and I could be a new person. It was my chance to lay my claims in the world and define myself. I would do what I wanted to do. I did get away from everything, but not from my depression. The rush of my new home invigorated me for a short while, but once things became normal, I eventually became just as paralyzed as before. Insecurities and worries started popping up. And all I wanted to do was get away from them. It ended up draining the happiness out of what should’ve been the best years of my life. I was unable to find a job after graduation, and I became hopeless . My unhappiness lasted for a couple more years.

              Looking back on my experiences, I know that it all could’ve been so much more. From all the things people around me would say. How much they learned in school, the connections they made and all the right choices that put them on track to having great jobs and lives. People were graduating with great jobs lined up. And they all talked about all the fun they had. In high school and college. My depression hit me hard in high school, so I lost that time. College was supposed to be my redemption and I thoroughly missed that chance. I kept going back in my mind to where it all went wrong, who to blame and blaming myself. It haunted me, and when my mind went back to that time, it would send me running through my head again. Time after time.

              Letting go of that past time was so difficult because I had to accept that I could never change it. There was nothing I could do to get that lost time back. I had to accept myself as someone who didn’t have those experiences. I had to accept how I really felt for all those years. Without letting my mind run, sitting with all that happened hurt, and I had to deal with that too I had to feel those feelings that I wasn’t like everyone else. Holding on was like a defense mechanism. It was like if I held onto it, it was close enough for me to keep reaching out to. I could affect it by being so close. I could also look through it and blame others for how things happened. How they let me hide away because they weren’t paying enough attention. I could vindicate myself by blaming someone else and could avenge that pain.

              But the fact is it is just something that happened. Whatever event or person you’re holding onto is gone. The past itself is impossible to change and putting energy in hopes to resolve it is pointless. You’re also wasting the time that you have now. Past mistakes, be it yours or someone else’s are the greatest teachers. Once you process your emotions, you can look back and learn from everything that happened.

              I was checked out in high school. My depression had begun to peak and all I wanted to do was hide. I had good grades and that’s all that anyone really cared about. As long as my grades were good, I was left alone. That’s what I wanted. To just be at peace.

              At the time I was insecure like most teens. I didn’t think I was pretty; I wasn’t among the smartest kids anymore and I was nerdy. The added weight of depression just piled on top of all that. I felt that everyone looked at me and saw how I wasn’t up to par. It made me insecure about what I would even say, so I spoke less. That isolated me further. I didn’t really want to be away from people, because I did want to reach out deep down. I wanted to be away from my depression. The anxiety and sadness it caused. It was a cloud over my head that I wanted gone. The experience has now made me realize how important self-care is. I could’ve reached out and received help or support from the many people around me. I could’ve even reached out to direct sources myself.

              I was still dwelling on high school when I went to college. That self-care could’ve helped me level my head before school, so I could’ve thought clearly. I could’ve also developed a career game plan that I liked. But its in the past. And I can still apply it to my life today. Its impossible to change things in the past. It’s painful to accept, but something I can appreciate. Its over now, and I can accept the best from it. I still have a full life ahead of me that I could maximize my joy in.

              College is like a mini world where you get the opportunity to learn socially, politically and academically. I’m pretty sure your brain grows at this point. I’m not there anymore, but I’m in the big real world. I can still grow and learn as much as I want to. I could even go back to college if I wanted to. The point is there are still so much out there to embrace. Life goes on, and you’re still around to go on with it. The present and future still exist, and both can be better if you embrace positivity and move forward.

              Nothing anyone says can make the past easier to deal with. Its much easier said than done. Your emotions and the feeling they bring can make it feel impossible to accept a situation as is. You’ll probably have to face and feel everything which can be very uncomfortable. But eventually, you’ll be able to let go, forgive and move forward. Reconcile the past by learning from it. And once you can accept it, you’ll be free of the weight. The thought of having happiness motivated me enough. Let one of your goals motivate you. Life will be so much better then.

This Year

In 2020, I’ve decided to grow up.

              For a while, I’d always been uncomfortable with the idea of ‘adulting’, but in 2020 I’m embracing it. In other words, I want to do better. Mentally, and spiritually.

              I have to say that if I had a life report card, I’d be failing. I could check of a list and say almost everything about my life sucks. My job, my money, my habits. I’m no where near where I should be career wise. A college degree paired with a minimum wage job. And I’m in debt. For most of my life, especially after graduating, I felt like I played a support role in my own life. All things just happened to me, good or bad. And I just let them. But I’ve come to realize that’s not how life works, not anymore at least.

              The thing about adults is that they do things. They do what they have to, like work so they can pay bills and take care of themselves. But they also have the freedom to do whatever they want. They can choose the job they want, and they can choose where they live, where they go and what they do. They can. It sounds simple, something everyone should eventually be able to do. And I pay the bills I have. Yet something was still off. I wasn’t choosing my everyday life. I still do things I don’t like, tolerate things I don’t like, and just live with it.

              I saw myself as a lost ‘adult’. I didn’t want to. I felt the lost millennial thing shouldn’t occur to someone life me. My parents are poor immigrants, so I should understand sacrifice and hard work. This was nothing I couldn’t work out. I had to just get over it. There were plenty of kids of immigrants who were passing right by me. What was it with me? When I couldn’t find a job after college, these thoughts kept me down for a while. I checked out, just going through the everyday motions for a while. I was unmotivated because it just seemed that nothing was going right.

              It wasn’t until I paid attention to what my life was that I started to thing of a solution. I saw how things were for me and my parents. And I also saw people who did ok, and their kids who also did ok, and how things could be good for every generation. Why couldn’t we have that? Why can’t you?

              I decided to grow up. I decided to choose to do better. There are a lot of things I was unhappy with, but most importantly I wasn’t happy, and hadn’t been for too long.  Mental health was always an issue in my family. It was taboo, even though it was the big pink elephant in the room. The hardest thing about being an adult for me was my mind. I knew everything I did was affected by how I feel and my emotional baggage.

So, for 2020, I’m focusing on my mental glow up. Breaking bad habits, bad thoughts and cycles formed in my family. Most notable the cycle of ignoring mental health and hiding it. It’s never easy to talk about these things, but I want things to be different. I plan to use all the resources I can, including professionals, to guide me through.