Allowing Myself

…to feel, to love, to be.

Tag: goals

Friendship Over Tacos

“She took a step and didn’t want to take any more, but she did.”
The Book Thief

Living in a large, transient city like Los Angeles means that people come and go. And as my group of friends approach their 30s, everyone is settling in to the dreams they plan to pursue in adulthood.

Many of these plans involve leaving LA.

Last week, I said goodbye to Stephanie, the 4th of my girlfriends in less than two years to move on. She’s off to grad school in Maryland to become a nurse.

I remember reading her grad school application essay while we sat at my kitchen table. I remember giving her some advice on how to tighten it up, but to be honest, I felt unworthy. The essay was already well written, and it was clear she’d put more work into writing and rewriting it than I had into any project I’d ever done for school.

She not only studied her ass off to go to school while working full-time, she not only got into a prestigious school, but she received a substantial scholarship.

She is going to be fine, I know it.

Stephanie and I met in my last semester of college in a conducting class. I was abysmal at conducting, but I could tell that Stephanie, with her focus in film scoring, knew what she was doing. So I asked if she’d tutor me. I don’t know why. I struggled through 4 years of music school and not once did I ask anyone else for help.

Not only did she tutor me, but we hit it off immediately. We realized we were both from adjacent towns on Long Island and that we shared a love of books.

Fast-forward two years later, and Stephanie is doing a trip to scout out LA before she graduates. We grab tacos for lunch and pick right back up where we left off.

And that’s how it all began – my luck of getting to call her a friend for the past 6 years.

Since then we’ve gone on long hikes, run the beach path in Santa Monica, had a sleepover or two, went out for delicious breakfasts, given each other tiny gifts, gushed over Elizabeth Gilbert, shared books, and rode bikes. I listened to her while she went through really difficult times, and sent her mail when boys sucked. And she listened to me while I was manic with work anxieties and stress.

I watched her travel to countries alone, so in awe that she had the guts. And she flew across the country to attend my wedding.

Besides grad school, this year she also ran the fucking LA marathon *and* fell in love with an awesome guy.

I’ve watched her grow from a driven, lost girl, to a successful, joyous woman.

She is the most generous person I know. And I miss her like hell already.

I couldn’t be more proud of you Steph. xo

PS – We started the LA portion of our friendship over tacos, and we said goodbye over tacos last week, as you do in SoCal. Can’t wait till our next taco date!


Flow: Month Six

Ah, June.

I have to say, this entire year has felt like a whirlwind – at times I feel like I’m cruising along, other times I feel like I’m drowning. Up & down. It’s only in the past few days I’m surfacing again.

June saw me travel for work (again), family visiting (again), work drama (again), and not feeling so hot (again). But there was good too – I hired a life coach, climbed outdoors in gorgeous New Hampshire, renewed my Year of Ocean commitment, napped in the late afternoons, killed it at my annual review, spent quality time with friends and had a week with family in Newport Beach.

So much life is coming at me head on and I don’t have a reference point to deal with it all. And even though it’s all good things, it’s a lot.

I need a break.

I’m realizing that flow, like anything else, is actually a negative thing if taken too far.

I am moving at the whim of everything and there is no time to catch my breath. It’s like I’m a boat taking on water, and what I really need to be asking myself is “Do I have to carry this right now?” Because I take on a lot. Probably too much.

This, of course, is the on-going struggle I have. To prioritize my own life over that of everyone else in it. To say “No”.

While I have the perspective to know that everything is not a crisis, I still feel responsible for it all.

What I’m thinking is that I could use some structure for my flow. Some perspective. Some scheduling and processes. Nothing crazy, since I already know that creating structure and abiding by it are two different skill sets, but I’ve got to figure out something.

Life is steam-rolling me and going with the flow is gonna get me sucked out to sea.

It occurred to me this morning that there is a level of fear and hard work that I’m not willing to face. That doing everyone else’s bidding is exhausting, but I receive immediate positive feedback from it, so it feels like a win. Doing my own thing could result in too many variables: things not working, getting in trouble by someone else, having to say no / disappoint people, not reaching the goal.

But I’m seeing that to live a deeply nourishing existence, I need to not just carve out my own time, but to structure my time around me. There is a difference.

I feel like I’m sinking, when I want to be swimming. Diving deep. That requires energy and focus. And so that is where my heart is after 6 months of flow. Here’s to another 6 more.

You can see all of my OLW ~flow~ posts here.


And just, begin

When it comes to tarot, I have no idea what I’m doing…but I decided to pull a few cards on my birthday to see what little bits of wisdom would shine.

The gist of what I could decipher was a message for me, about me.

As I say goodbye to twenty-nine, I’m moving on and forgiving myself for restlessness and lack of progress. Or I’m restless b/c of a lack of progress. Burnt-out even. That maybe I’ve been too passive which has led to stagnation.

As I say hello to 30, I’m welcoming creative projects, messages in dreams (which are vivid lately), my own trust and intuition. I’m embracing a sense of freedom – living how I want to live. This is about renewal and beginnings.

At the same time, there are warnings of lack of foresight and obstacles to long-term goals. Recommendations of breaking down plans into smaller tasks.

Looking even more forward, there is a tone of wishes fulfilled, bliss, happiness, personal integrity and completion. Balancing ideas with action. And again a note of lack of progress or planning, short-term focus, must create plans to pursue goals. A possible recommittal, focusing on the long-term more, moving beyond material satisfaction. And hey – a note to relax, lighten up and give myself space around frustrations.

To me, this little path speaks volumes – I have not been giving myself priority, and that if I want to really achieve anything for myself, outside of my day job, I’m going to have to have goals + actions, and then follow through. I see all of this in relation to my own drive to be creative, to grow my own community, to expand my reach in this world.

And then today – less than a week into being thirty – I pull The Fool. A card of potential, beginnings, and free spirits “…represents the beginning of all creativity and a desire to accomplish new goals (or to, at least, start the process of working towards those goals). The Fool indicates that anything can happen and the opportunities are just waiting to be taken advantage of.”

Which feels about right as I just want to sit with a cup of tea and a notebook and jot down all of the ideas swirling in my head. To really have goals but also a road map. To get the ball rolling, as they say. To acknowledge I am just starting out, but to actually, also, begin.

Welcome 2014

Sending out a big welcome to 2014, though I’m not as good with the whole “fresh start” as everyone else on the interwebs seem to be.

I’ve realized there is a transitional phase to the years for me. It takes so much for me to process what happened in a year and writing long lists of goals whilst high on a double latte just set me up for disappointment before MLK’s birthday.

December brings an upswing in my career ambitions, the holidays take a lot of energy (I mean, boatloads, people). Not to mention, every January I have to run the largest (aka most stressful) event of my paid job, which makes the whole month pretty much a rubber-band ball of anxiety. No wonder I usually feel a bit behind as the new year starts off.

Our holiday travels were full of family, and I’m so grateful for the time with them. However the trip also involved no sleep, very little in healthy foods, and a head cold for both of us (his hit while we were still at my parents’, mine is just settling in today). Also grateful for the extra week off since we’re on school schedules, but it’s zipping by.

I’m left feeling like I can’t get enough downtime, even though I just had two weeks off from work.

With that said, I’m taking solace in the new year’s moon that just graced our world. In fact, it’s a goal of mine this year to pay attention to the lunar cycles. And as Ezzie says: If you’re having a tricky time of planning your intentions for 2014, or if you feel that the year ahead seems overwhelming in its magnitude: rest assured, it’s not just you.

Well, thank goodness. Because 2014 could be summed up as “overwhelming” even before it started. Our calendar is booked through Christmas, H is adding another professional leadership item to his schedule, and I have more events and hopes for launching things than the past two years combined.

So for the rest of the weekend, I’m working on Unraveling 2014, my INFJ business class, and digging into the first installment of Ali Edwards’ One Little Word class.

Happy new year to your and yours. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to figure it all out this week. You have the next 365 days to reach whatever goals you’ve set. And you’re probably right where you need to be.

2013 Summer Manifesto

At first I thought, “No way. Not another list with more pressure added to having the perfect experience, trying to live my days like the unachievable images on the interwebs.” Ahem, Pinterest.

But then I got to thinking. We’re young, married, renters, child-free with good incomes — we could have the best.summer.ever. Minus the pressure. We could set some seriously fun intentions for the next 2 months.

So I wrote up a sort of wish list. It ended up being exactly 30 items, though some things (like “revamp the apartment”) will have multiple steps. Even if I do 10 of these things, it’ll make for some awesome memories.

Kind of already got a head start when my parents were in town. Mom took me out for a mani/pedi and we spent a good chunk of time Newport Beach, welcoming in summer. So we’ll see how the rest goes. Thinking it’s gonna make for a pretty sweet collage come September.

See the sunrise
See the sun (set at the ocean)
Eat at Malibu Seafood
Read 4 books, 1 LA noir
(Currently reading 3… World War Z, The Untethered Soul & Made To Stick)
Take a weekend trip (Visit L&T 8.16.13)
Do a LONG hike (8/2/13 Probably only 3m, but it was TOUGH)
Eat a perfect peach (8.8.13 delicious sliced peach in a fruit salad during a work mtg)
Dive into Ali Edward’s Hello Story (7/24/13)
Hang some plants
Participate in August Break (Started 8/1/13)
Play Cards Against Humanity (7/27/13)
Take a silhouette photo
Get a mani/pedi (6/20/13)
AZ River Trip (7/27/13)
Swim in a pool (6/30/13)
Spend the entire day on the beach (6/15/13)
Bike to Playa Del Rey (walked this path on 7/7/13 but still want to bike)
Run – a trail, the beach path, a 5 miler
Create a feather wall
Finish up my digital scrapbooking class
Write a song and record it (with H)
Eat a tomato from our plant (7/22/13)
DTLA art walk
Make and eat s’mores (7/6/13)
See fireworks (7/4/13)
Celebrate our one year (Weekend of 7/5/13)
Take a day off just for me
See an action movie (We binge-watched 70+ episodes of Battlestar Galactic – this so counts)
Grill a perfect steak (8.11.13)
Revamp the apartment

*Inspired by Ali Edwards and Kelly Purkey
*If you’ve written up a summer manifesto, please share it with me. I love reading them. xo

Since this summer has been so awesome, I wanted to add a few items that weren’t on the list. Most are from our trip to Philly – and I plan on a better recap post – but adding these things here for now: kayaked for the first time, climbed a rock wall for the first time, swam and jumped at Dutch Springs, saw a Phillies game, ate a cheesesteak, visited Love Park, ran the Philly Art Museum stairs (like Rocky), saw a concert with friends, had my sister babysit Carter, clean our apartment and buy us flowers, started organizing the wedding planning scrapbook, H had our wedding photos printed up, and ate at Wawa (3x – ugh).

Unraveling The Year Ahead

Each year, Susannah Conway puts together an “unraveling the year” beautiful workbook that helps you review the year and dream for the coming months. Printed it up in color today – one copy for me, one for my sister – and we spent a few hours this evening journaling, thinking and writing. It’s helped me grasp the enormity of 2012 (wedding, marriage, family, siblings moving to LA, honeymoon, other travel, so many work events, changes at work, my own ups and downs). I didn’t realize until tonight that by choosing “Trust” as my 2012 One Little Word, I also brought “Doubt” into my life. (Hopefully more on this soon).

I’m toying with a word for 2013 – I feel I’m on the brink of it being secured. In the workbook I chose a word, but I’m also feeling it’s not quite there yet. Still, it’s exciting and fun to dream about the year ahead. I ended up writing way more than my sister and tired out before I finished – so I’ll work on it again. Hoping to complete it this weekend, but maybe it needs to simmer some. We’ll see.

Get yours here: Let’s Make 2013 The Best Year Ever

Surprise: I like to run

The weekend flew by. We did a lot – went out to see Gustavo Galindo play, saw Super8, went to a wedding and a birthday party. Considering I’ll be traveling soon, it was sad that my days off went so quickly, but I’m hoping to find some quiet space this week.

Skipping Saturday’s prompt. Again, I understand Emerson focuses on trusting yourself and I love the quotes, but the prompts are getting a big redundant. Maybe I’m just not feeling creative with them…

June 12th’s prompt: Surprise 

When I think about being surprised, impressed and proud of myself, I think about the 10K I ran in 2007. At the time, I was working with an awesome woman who trains for half-marathons. She and her husband race 2-4x per year. This was crazy to me. I’d never been around someone who runs daily, especially someone who was specific and focused on her training schedule. I was inspired.

Being very much like her in personality, and needing something to fill my time after work, I began running. Never in a million years did I think of myself as a “runner”. In fact, it was only a few years prior that I even allowed myself to use the words “enjoy” and “working out” in the same sentence. Remember when we had to run 1 mile in gym class for the “physical fitness test”? I distinctly remember being told to run it again Junior year because I didn’t finish the first round in under 10 minutes. Pretty sure I’d rebelliously walked it, but still, it didn’t make me feel physically fit at all.

My co-worker helped me find a good schedule – this one worked for me – and another friend caught the bug with me. We started running together a few times a week and did our long runs Saturday mornings.

At first, I couldn’t trudge through 3 miles without stopping. My only rule was to “cover the mileage”. It didn’t matter if I walked, ran, sprinted, or crawled, each day I laced my sneakers and went for it. Cup of yogurt, slug of water, sneakers on, out the door.

I ran pretty much the same street, out and back, every day. I ran in Nike’s that someone had given me for free. No music. I ran to silence, the noise in my head, and the afternoon traffic.

I signed up for an easy 10K and gave myself 3 months to train for it. Pretty sure I didn’t miss a day. The routine became an anchor for me as I was in a new city, with a new job, and lived alone. I had something to fill my time, no thinking required.

The long run before the race went terribly. I was 3 miles from home when my whole abdomen cramped up. I limped back. Anticipation for race day grew. Total bundle of nerves. I made the mistake of eating way too much pasta the night before the run, and that glass of red wine was a poor choice too. Sleep was spotty and poor.

The morning of the race I felt dehydrated, heavy and way too nervous for what I was embarking on. My stomach was doing flips, my head pounding. It felt silly – All I’m doing is running a 3 mile loop 2x in Brentwood! – but it was real.

The race went fine. Thank goodness for my friend who lagged back to run with me. In an effort to take my mind off the anxiety, pain and competitiveness, I asked him to tell me about his home town, so a lot of the race is a blur of information about Rhode Island. It was a weird experience, but I’m so glad I did it.

I haven’t trained for a race since, but I do play with the idea. It’s so amazing to have a goal, a plan, and commit. It taught me a lot about practicing, giving yourself room to grown, and long-term commitment. And as someone who never thought they were a runner at all, it taught me that I can work to become more of who I want to be.

Running is now part of my workout culture – it’s something I do when I want and I really enjoy it. The next goal would be to run a half-marathon, and I’m seriously considering the one in Vegas in December, but we’ll see.

To respond to the prompt – this week I will surprise myself by taking time for me in the busyness leading up to my traveling.