Saturday, May 7, 2011

First Thoughts on the Quarter-Life Crisis

I am on the verge of making several life changing decisions. I am terrified.

It would be so lovely, so cathartic, just to weep heavily, to release tension from the mounting, unanswerable questions of my future. It would be so heavenly to time-travel back to a time - anytime - when I felt entirely safe and confident. Yet, I am here again at this door of Change.

And what is different this time from one year ago, when I packed my bag and set out north, is that Brooklyn has become all I know and want. There is nothing like Fort Greene in metro Atlanta. Piedmont Park does not have the same atmosphere as Prospect Park. There are no Dutch-Indonesian or Senegalese restaurants in such short distances of each other there; no packed crowds filling First Fridays at the Brooklyn Museum; no thriving 5th Ave business districts free from Walmart Supercenters; no similar commitment to farmer's markets, food co-ops and local gardens. Nor could there be any of those things without the crowds, the foot traffic, the support for small business, the posh, eco-concerned progressivism of western Brooklyn, and the straight-forwardness of NYC character. Few southern streets have such unapologetic, "open-source"-like energy. Yet, the cost of living is so high, how can I set plans to make a life here? And I must make plans to care for my family down south some day. What will my next career step, financial step, housing step, dating step be?

My thoughts have become one long, thick cloud. The days have passed without recognition. My work tasks are completed by rote memorization. My home is unkempt and unresolvable. I am dateless and verging on that rare occurrence called loneliness. I feel completely out of control. And I don't know what to do next, except maybe to bury myself in a book or in mindless sitcoms. Something must change. Some decision must be made soon, or else some important youthful momentum will be lost and the window of opportunity may be latched with bitterness. I must press onward. I will.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Emotional Medium #1: Collage

I do collage for fun but most often when I am experiencing a strong emotion. Tonight's creation is a testament to the difficult feelings we experience. Even though life can be difficult at times, there are wonderful means to help us move through pain to places of peace. I pray that you all seek and find your own happy mediums in life. :-)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Escaping the Vortex

Sorry I've been away so long. After several weeks without either computer or internet due to various circumstances, I stayed away from good old 208 Sunrise Court, not writing much of anything. It is amazing how a computer takes on life. A computer has such large presence; it is a lover with great stamina. Maybe these are just feelings connected to addiction. Maybe others have a more balanced relationship with their computers. But for me, having my computer back has been mostly a drowning experience: my days and nights are filled with Netflix movies, Youtube videos and Twitter updates (my recent favorite being The Fly Guys). So now I am trying to get back to blogging.

It has also occurred to me that I've been spending a lot of money recently, much more than I was a couple of months ago. My money management has been off. Today I realized why. I am in the middle of about six different, life-altering projects- everything from changing my wardrobe and hair, to organizing my stuff, to starting work-related projects, to traveling, to attempting to date (which is not so scary but much weirder than I imagined.) The result is chaos. My room looks like Niecy Nash should come in with a professional crew. And what makes me feel better when life is spinning in a vortex seemingly beyond my control? A cozy bed and my computer. See! Everything is full circle.

It would make much more sense to stop trying to do everything at once, right? To take it one or two projects at a time- maybe two per week. Therefore, I think I'll have to step out of the New York mindset that says "if you're on time, you're late," i.e. if you aren't prepared right now you can't take the golden opportunities that are present right now. Instead, I have to go back to my Georgia roots and believe in seasons again. There is a biblical passage, which I believe is a part of the Ecclesiastes, that tells us, "There is a time for everything under the sun." ::sigh:: Who wants to wait for the seasons? I can't wait for winter to end. I'm ready for spring right now! Yet, if the earth were like me, trying to do winter and spring and summer all at once, she might look as out-of-control as my messy, HGTV-worthy room. ::sigh again::

So, to escape the vortex I begin with small steps, the smallest ones first. And then I expand to the larger things. I have to practice slowing my pace without coming to a screeching halt, like parking my tush in front the computer all weekend.

-Adulthood is filled with so many thin lines.-

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mmmm, Freebies!

In honor of Monday, the first day of the work week, I will begin a weekly blog entry labeled "Money Monday." I am very interested in financial literacy. I believe that the more you know about money and the earlier you know it, the better off you'll be in the long run.

That being said, one of the most important things to me as a newcomer to financial literacy is saving money and finding relevant and helpful ways to curb my spending. Now that I have become open to the idea of saving, it has become easier. More and more ways to save money appear all the time. The library has always been a great resource when looking to save money but did you know that here in New York City, you can check out magazines from the library for up to 7 days? What an asset! I am a person that will "splurge" on a good magazine while in the check out line in a store. If you're like me, I encourage you to save that $5 and get your periodicals from the library instead of the newsstand. Think of where else that $5 could be spent in the future -- like on that margarita you plan you drink during your next vacation! Your money is a tool that works in your favor to help you obtain what you want out of life's big picture. So pay attention to the little dollars you spend and if you can supplement your habits with free resources (like magazines from the library), find ways to make that a normal practice in your life. Even the smallest amount of discipline with spending goes a long way!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

By and By

"Keep on living."

That's what my mother says my great-grandmother would often offer as advice. These words could be understood in modern terms as words of encouragement, emphasizing that life must be lived to the fullest. But these words from my great-grandmother had a hint of admonition in their encouragement. In our family these strict words mean, "You've still got some growing to do. Be patient and life will teach you many more lessons."

I remind myself of this life lesson often. I don't know about you, but sometimes I realize, "Hey, what do I know? I'm still pretty young...." Some of the things I feel most confident one month about are subject to change years, months or even weeks later. My opinions, thoughts and ideals are subject to change. Furthermore, what's good today might be bad tomorrow; what's easy today might be hard tomorrow and so on. How are we, the young adults of the world, to know about life except that we continue to live in the present moment - to keep being open, present and aware and to keep learning from life?

Sometimes in life our friends and relatives will hold a mirror to our faces and teach us something difficult about ourselves. This happened to me today. I told a friend of mine my wishes for his happiness and luck in love and he questioned why I was more concerned with his happiness and well-being than my own. I admitted that I struggle with love and intimacy and that I can be pessimistic about whether or not love will appear in my life. After the discussion I felt down and started to cry. But then it occurred to me, "Hey, I'm young. Who knows?" There isn't a need to feel too down about anything. Tomorrow is another day. Maybe that day will bring us laughter and joy, or maybe it'll bring difficulty. All we can do is slow down and be patient, observe our environment and ourselves, and use our moral and principled judgment to understand the world. And what better advice to teach us to relax and let life unfold than the easy, breezy words, "Keep on living"?

So, I say be cheery, my friends. As they say in the old hymn, "We'll understand it better by and by."

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Every Life Needs Play

Around my 26th birthday in 2010 I happened to read a book that changed my life. It was a cookbook. The author was Maya Angelou. In between her southern recipes, she told stories of her life. From her life stories I realized two things. The first thing I realized was every life needs play. When I say play I don't mean running outside, though that's healthy. I mean taking up activities that are joyous, fun, challenging and rejuvenating. Ms. Angelou tells a story of how cooking helped her get through writer's block and overcome self-doubt, long after she was a successful author. No matter how old or young, it is important to have hobbies and diversions to balance out work life. At no stage in life should it be acceptable to work and sleep only. We are not machines. So, it is important to develop a range of skills that promote our well-being in a variety of ways.

The second thing I realized is that many successful people are multi-talented. In my earlier adulthood, I felt very confused about my life's direction because there were so many things I wanted to do all at once. I couldn't choose one career, so I created a million different narratives for my life to pretend I had some solitary direction. I wish that I could tell my younger self that it is normal to need numerous forms of self-expression. But I learned the lesson after a while. Ms. Angelou helped. To read that a renown poet was also a talented cook, a dancer, and a singer (and so many other things too, I'm guessing) helped me acknowledge a pattern about people: people who are good at one thing are often good at other things too. Jack Johnson was not only heavyweight champion of the "world" in 1910, he was also a bass guitarist who earned money by performing across the country between fights.

So, we are led back to point number one: Play. Play is good, both in the short-term and in the long-run. When we play, we honor our brains and our capacity for continuous growth. We expand our skill sets. We become clever, sharp, and experienced. And we are happier. So I encourage everyone to find time to play in 2011. Pick up a hobby you always dreamed about. Practice a skill you stopped years ago. Be well-rounded and go forth in life with an adventurous and curious spirit.

Many blessings to you in 2011. Happy New Year.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hello. again.

It's been so many months since I've been here on my blog. Who knows why I return. I always hope to connect with other people through my writing because it is my most intimate form of expression. Otherwise, intimacy is not my speciality. That may account for my return.

I hope to find you, reader. I hope you find me. In my writings, I share light thoughts, reflections, healing processes, and occasionally (but with reserve) pure silliness. I'm no authority on any subject, just a regular human being with aspiration. My heart is open to you.