Time to think

Number One Highland Park

Treating myself to a celebratory almond milk iced latte and grain-free muffin the other day, I stumbled across a thought-provoking article in Darling Magazine. Bre Scullark writes,

“Masking the motive behind our actions subconsciously gives us permission to live an inauthentic life.”

Leading an inauthentic life is the last thing I want, but I’ve found lately that it’s an easy place to get to. I’ve had a ton to process in the past half year: engagement, a new job and leaving a company that felt like home, ongoing health flare-ups, my grandmother’s passing, marriage, moving into a place with a guy (my husband, but still), my first and hopefully only lay off, another new job… That’s some hard work, ya’ll. That I haven’t been doing.

The article goes on to say that “when we numb our emotions we deny ourselves the opportunity to find acceptance and peace uninterrupted.” Compulsive behavior like eating, shopping and entertainment are all ways we continue this pattern of avoidance. Interestingly or perhaps fittingly enough, these are also all ways to consume rather than create. Producing creative work requires things like processing and feeling.

Since I got married a little over 2 months ago I’ve become fast friends with the consumption and distraction part of this equation. I’ve read 6 books and started 3 others, watched all 5 seasons of Brothers & Sisters, caught up on the full seasons of 4 other shows, spent two weekends out of town, added several blogs to my regular reading roster, pinned countless pins and obsessed about apartment decor with the receipts and return slips (and then receipts again) to prove it.

But when all these fun things aren’t balanced with any time to reflect or engage in creative outlets of my own, they become stifling. I have been learning firsthand that laziness and self-indulgence are not the same as rest.

This quote from Louis C.K. also hit me hard, talking about people’s need to constantly preoccupy themselves:

“And that’s why we text and drive. People are willing to risk taking a life and ruining their own because they don’t want to be alone for a second because it’s so hard.”

It is hard. I’m slowly trying to take stock of my reactionary habits, to be more mindful about how I’m spending my time and why. After all,

tom ford quote - time and silence

 

52 weeks and counting

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At the beginning of the year my roommate breezed by me in the living room, talking about how she already “failed” at one of her New Year’s resolutions.

Then she smiled and said, “Well, at least I have 52 weeks to get better at it!”

For some reason this really struck me. Suddenly, 52 weeks felt like no time at all. It’s so easy to let an entire week fly by after busy work days, and hearing the year condensed into such a comprehensible, easily squandered timeframe confronted me again with just how important living intentionally is to make the most of every moment.

Technically, tomorrow marks the end of week 2. What are you going to do with your 50?

Keeping up with the times

time time is now quoteWhile some blogging days I like to just sit down and see what comes out, I can’t deny the fact that ultimately, I’m a planner at heart. So all week long I’ve planned to rant reflect about how absurdly fast this past month disappeared and look ahead to the current one. It’s a testament to just how fast last month really did go by in that I didn’t even realize until just now that my to do list has read all week: “Saturday: July Beginning blog post.”

…Yeah.

Given my apparent obliviousness to the entire month of July, I decided to explore this phenomenon a little further, which a Brain Pickings article deems ‘mind time.’ Titled Why time slows down when we’re afraid, speeds up as we age, and gets warped on vacation, the article presents some interesting theories for our perception and memory of time.

When I was eight, for example, I remember long summer and weekend days spent building houses in the woods behind my best friend’s house, scavenging for cool sticks and empty bottles to ‘decorate’ our houses, being quite sure we were the very first to discover a creek there, feeling so dangerous for secretly swimming in it…and yes, this PG definition of ‘dangerous’ did persist throughout much of my life to probably my parents’ relief, but that’s a different blog post.

The article points out that the reason days seemed so long when I was eight is because at that point, that year was a whopping 1/8 of my entire life. Now my years make up comparatively less and less of my entire life, making them feel shorter and faster with every passing day, month and year.

For me, all this does is emphasize how important it really is to be making the most of every moment I can…and it’s probably a little hard to be practicing living in the present if I don’t even know when that is. August is bringing plenty of notable things my way, too:

My first pizza in four months. My homemade (ish) attempt at a gluten-free, vegan pizza to be exact.

A housewarming party! I love hosting all my favorite people under one roof, so in addition to being a great incentive to finish all our DIY projects and stock our bar cart, enjoying the place with friends and family will be the final touch to really making our house a home.

New ‘neighbors’. The aforementioned best friend and I have maintained a long distance friendship since I was nine years old. She just accepted a job in the DFW area, though, so we will finally get to see what spending time together is like minus the plane ticket or multiple hour car ride.

What are you looking forward to this month?

UPDATE: I just read Lydia’s post about August’s surprising arrival…after publishing my own. Somebody needs to tell this time to slow down! Who’s with me?

Planning for now

sunshinewe are alive print

After months of feeling ‘eh’ and a week and a half where I literally didn’t leave my apartment, I finally feel like I’m getting back to myself and to my life. My planner had become accustomed to such neglect that it’s not sure what to do with all this one-on-one attention now. It truly is like the post-pill popping portion of those allergy commercials…I’m basically pushing back the curtains to let in blinding light and running through a flower-filled meadow as we speak.

This past weekend was filled with three of my closest friends, an art party aka my new favorite Dallas event – the DADA Art Walk, reaching new poses at Super Yoga Palace and reminiscing on high school days at The Rocket Summer concert / dance party. Instead of being completely wiped out from the weekend, like I would have when submerged in allergy-related sickness, I woke up this morning energized for the week and summer ahead. This year’s new bathing suit, check. New Home Pinterest board, check. Plane ticket bought and time off approved, check and check!

All this planning has got me quite excited for the fun ahead, but my favorite part is that for once I’ve managed to keep my balance between the doing and planning so far. It’s easy for me to get lost in the plans and possible scenarios instead of making the most of the time that’s going on right now. New changes are just one month away, making being present in this time even sweeter.

This week my only goal is to continue this momentum, which will require even more of my previously mentioned mindfulness and thankfulness. After all, sometimes goals take more than just one week to master!

And of course, since no life moment would be complete without a corresponding movie quote, I’ll leave you with this little nugget from the always fantastic Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the always fantastic 10 Things I Hate About You…”And I’m back in the game!”

Appreciating the here and now

rita schiano thankfulness quote

I lost it in my car the other day.

Let’s back up. It had been a rough day at work, it was very late and for some reason there was traffic backing up my exit at 10 p.m. forcing me to take the back way through South Dallas to my apartment. Now, this is always tricky. I miss my unmarked turn home every time, ending up lost in the kind of area you don’t want to get lost in. I was determined that this would not be the case this time. No, this time I would see that turn coming. This time I would make it home in the same amount of time my phone tells me the trip should actually take.

This did not happen.

So I yelled and screamed in my car as I made the seemingly giant loop to get back around town to my apartment…and then I looked up to find the most beautiful bridge and view I think I can safely say in all of Dallas. It was like magic, driving into the darkness along the empty stone bridge lined with glowing, old-fashioned street lamps and a perfect view of the Dallas skyline peeking over the far edge. SO worth the detour.

Why am I telling you this? Ironically, less than 20 minutes earlier I had been telling my friends how I want to work on thankfulness. I realized I had somehow become immune to the blessings around me…life, other people, random little things and even personal gifts and talents. I committed to more actively appreciating situations and people throughout my day…and promptly resorted back to frustration the second something wasn’t going my way. Seeing that bridge put me in my place, reminding me of my commitment and calling out just how quick I was to forget it.

So now I’m telling you, too: I’m working on my thankfulness. There are so many things to appreciate about life, especially right now! Working on my appreciation is also a great way to keep me rooted in the present, to dream about the future without getting stuck in it. It never fails – whenever I look back on a time of my life, even one that frankly didn’t seem so great at the time, I think about how happy / meaningful / edifying it actually was. Wouldn’t it be awfully sad to later look back on this time so fondly and realize we didn’t appreciate it to the fullest when it was actually here?

Here’s some things I’m thankful for right now:

  • airline miles.
  • parents who have those miles to generously donate.
  • straws.
  • sunshine.
  • friends who wait for you despite 25 minutes of traffic.
  • pay day yesterday.
  • patios.
  • co-workers who genuinely like each other.
  • blogging.
  • free film screening tickets.
  • community.
  • my perfect apartment.
  • tv time with the roommates.
  • friends that tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.
  • sweet potatoes.
  • excited new home decor planning
  • carpooling.
  • dinner plans.
  • podcasts.

Oh, and if you ever have the chance to drive on the Corinth Street Bridge at night DO IT.