Sunday, February 16, 2014
An adult by society's standards (and apparently neuroscience), but finally also to myself. All my life I've felt like I was never the age I was supposed to be- until now. My 'self' has caught up to my age and role in society, and it's as if I have switched from passenger to driver. I feel in total control for probably the first time. I guess this is where life really begins for me, for I am undeniably in the 'real' world now. And it is wonderfully terrifying.
To be completely honest, I wasn't ready to turn 25 and I wasn't content to: there is some serious dissonance between where I thought I would be by now and where I am. At some point in my early life I decided (or society told me?) that I would be in a very different place by 25- not so single, or so broke, or so...unstable. (but if I were content, would I feel complacent and dissatisfied with that complacency?)
But I am endlessly grateful for what my life is.
I suspect the palpable change I sense is that up until recently, I was still growing into my own skin and now I am able to just BE. From 0-22 was a chapter of discovery, and from 22-now is a chapter of clarity. The difference is subtle yet unmistakable: the former was a process of understanding and discerning my core values, fundamental beliefs, and finding my 'path'. The latter is about having a solid grasp on why I have those values, beliefs, and my path, and accepting them.
The difference between me at 25 and me as a child/college kid is like night and day. I was floating, soaking up the world, but with little purpose. I had few strong opinions, little conviction and was easily swayed- but it makes sense: how could I be otherwise if I hadn't discovered my anchors? In the past couple of years I have found my anchors and I have this overwhelming sense of clarity. I know my path. I am solid in my opinions, assertive in my goals, and clear on what I want (and don't want) in my world. I am mindful, conscious of my ability to cultivate the life and world I WANT and envision. Discovering my anchors has given me this clarity and clarity is paramount to manifesting where I want to go.
This is not to say I have it all figured out. Far from it, in fact. But I have a notion of how I want my life to feel: fulfilling. I have no idea what this will entail, but I have something to drive me. It's exciting but terrifying- like peering over the edge of the roller coaster drop*.
I am confident, conscious, assertive, and know what I want- out of life, relationships, a partner, work environment, etc. But this can also be frustrating since it means I am setting standards that will often be unmet. I am secure enough to know that "nothing" is better than "anything" and I'm capable of sitting with my discomfort, sticking to my soul's mandate to find "it". This has been tough for me to execute, yet incredibly rewarding.
I guess all I'm saying is...
Find your passion. Find your path. LIVE IT.
On my first day as a 25 year old adult, I truly believe that I am on my path and that I've surrounded myself with remarkable people for this journey. Thank you to everyone that's a part of my life. You are my inspiration, motivation, joy, sanity, support. You are the embodiment of my primary anchor: LOVE**.
* Borrowed this from Nancy ;)
** Seriously, all my favorite people have similar traits: love of life, effusiveness, worldliness, intelligence, kindness. You're all the best. <3
Friday, November 22, 2013
Well it has been quite the adventure and after about 6 weeks of honing my cover letter-writing skills and searching my soul, things are finally starting to feel more...stable, again. Incidentally, when I let go of the anxiety and urgency to complete the mandatory next step in life (i.e. acquiring some high paying job that would be the genesis of an amazing career), life started to make sense again. In other words, I surrendered anew to the idea of groundlessness, impermanence. I stopped trying to impel my will onto the universe, took a deep breath, and just listened.
Maybe it's coincidence, maybe it isn't. All I know is that I'm in a good place again. I feel productive; I am learning more than I could have asked to; I am conscious of my personal and professional growth as it occurs. And I am grateful: Grateful to be in a place where I am surrounded by passionate, intelligent, do-gooders. Grateful that my remarkable family has supported me in figuring it out. And grateful to have friends to keep me from giving up and running away.
Of course, I am more or less back to my energizer-bunny ways, and I no longer have weekends. I am working part time as a tutor for kids taking entrance exams in NYC. They're mostly 4-7 year olds, and they're all AWESOME (mostly). I had forgotten how much I genuinely enjoy working with little kids and how they lift my mood so effortlessly. And then during normal working hours I work at The Relationship Foundation helping to grow it from startup to stable institution. My co-workers are the best and our days are mostly comprised of hilarity; it's truly wonderful to be in a place that is driven primarily by passion.
I find that I am most comfortable when surrounded by people who share my reality; people who want to shape and change the world. I found this at the University for Peace and loved every minute of it. Then I found a similar world at my UNDP internship. And now, because of this job with a nonprofit startup, I have immersed myself in the world of social innovation startups and have been spending my free time going to conferences, networking events, and professional workshops. I found another world to get lost in, and it rocks.
I've become aware from the past few months that everything is a cycle; we won't always be happy, and we won't always be sad. The important thing is understanding, accepting, and allowing ourselves to go through the cycles, otherwise we get stuck in one place and don't move forward. Through my reflection on everything, I've come to gain a greater appreciation for the impermanence that is (my) life and a deeper trust in myself.
Now, to brave the winter once again (needless to say, I am dreading the glacial months ahead). Good thing I am going home for Christmas! (#road triiiiip). And good thing I've learned to deal with holiday stress so my vacation will be nothing less than AWESOME.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
“Don’t worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?
Doubt is uncomfortable, certainty is ridiculous” - Voltaire
I personally would have liked to have been exposed to the infinite possibilities of INTERCONNECTEDNESS among fields of study, rather than pigeonholed into isolated disciplines.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Wednesday, August 7, 2013
|Rooftop Fireworks, how New York.|
|I am sorry for leaving you, Pacific Ocean!|
|My BRILLIANT business students|
Camp was incredible. I never went to camps as a kid so being on the other side of it was pretty amazing. We had the best time EVER (for an idea of how ridiculously silly our team of 6 staff was, watch this video we made). The kids were brilliant and some of the sweetest, most awesome 16 and 17 year olds I have met. The Staff was an also an awesome group of people, I made some good memories with them outside of camp itself. Can I just say… TAKI MEOW! SILLY STRING BEDCHECKS. SHARK ATTACKS. What an awesome three weeks.
|Hollywood Hike field trip|
|Last night with my Takis :(|
|SURPRISE. Happy 21st! <3|
Saturday, June 15, 2013
In sunny San Diego, 'mild' is an understatement for most of our winters; I've definitely had multiple March beach days. Not New York! All of April could be accurately described as FRIGID. There were a couple of teaser sunny days but it was mostly still far too cold for my tropical blood. The winter was bearable because of heaters, but it turns out that after April 1st, landlords are no longer required to provide heat to apartments, so our heat was off. It was colder than 50 degrees outside, and probably 10 degrees less in my room. I felt like I was living in an icebox! I finally understood why some people are so grumpy: everyday I woke up dreading crawling out of my warm cocoon of a bed, getting out of my many layers of pajamas, and then showering in my seriously schizophrenic shower that illogically turns hot then cold then hot then cold again without warning. By the time I was ready to walk to the subway, I was GRUMPY and wanted nothing to do with anyone, yet I was obligated to be surrounded by too many people.
I also learned how seriously I am affected by the weather. A glimpse of warmth and my energy levels shot up, but the minute it dropped, again I was unhappy. I felt like I would go crazy if the sun didn't come out- and stay out for good. Maybe it was that I was severely deficient in Vitamin D, maybe I was just homesick, but either way it was wearing down on me and I started to feel gloomy more often than not. It was a combination of working two jobs, lack of adequate sleep, homesickness, compounded by the chilly weather...but then my parents came to visit! They came for a week to see me as well as celebrate their 25th anniversary. Luckily, the weather was mostly beautiful for them- they seemed to have gloriously brought a semblance of San Diego sunshine with them (in addition to the suitcase full of margarita makings, avocados, chips, and salsa so that I "wouldn't forget San Diego")! Of course, the day after they left it started pouring. Their trip was great, we spent time together, went to many dinners (a break from all the cooking I've been doing!), walked the city, saw some sights- it was a much needed rejuvenating week (I worked half-days at the UN for that week).
When I was moving to New York, I kept getting told "the greatest city in the world", now that warmer days are ahead, the iteration is "spring and summer in the City is AMAZING- you're going to love it". I've learned that these are never just understatements. SO much more goes on in the city when people can enjoy being outdoors- concerts, plays, parties, art shows, music and movies in the parks, etc. etc. By this point my internship is a little past the halfway mark and I am feeling exhausted and a little overwhelmed by the craziness of the city- I seriously need a vacation, some beach time, and a little peace and quiet. Luckily, Brit and Sophia invited me to join them and a group of friends to a relaxing weekend in Virginia Beach. I could hardly contain my excitement- I started the countdown to Friday on Sunday night! I took Thursday-Monday off and left early Thursday morning for DC where I spent the day and night, and off we went Friday morning. A four-hour drive later, we arrived at a beautiful 3-story house right on the beach where the ten of us would be staying. ALL we did was lay on the beach reading, played volleyball, cooked massive amounts of food while drinking wine and dancing to mellow tunes (think Buenavista Social Club, Jack Johnson, Waxie) and decompressed. It was really an incredible weekend with some amazing people. But lo and behold I had to make my way back to my crazy NYC life and I was thrust back into the stress abruptly- traffic, packed buses, and missing work Monday night. I was even more overwhelmed having just been in an opposite state of mind- the contrast was almost too much.
After living in the city for a few months and leaving for a weekend, I realized some things that I miss, and some things that I love about my experience in NYC.
- Sunshine and sunsets and the beach
- My car
- The ability to find peace and QUIET
- Fewer crowds
- Low-stress environments
Things I love about NY:
- Fun and lively; always something to do, somewhere to go
- Convenient, 24-hour transportation (no DUI checkpoints!)
- The ability to walk almost anywhere
- Greenest city per capita- you appreciate nature more just by the sheer contrast of the city: the birds sing sweeter, the flowers bloom lovelier, the sunshine warms you warmer...
- I read much more (a book every couple of weeks!)
- Lots of interesting people (especially UN interns!)- I have met some truly spectacular people and made some close friends
May continued to be crazy busy as I started going to dance classes at Piel Canela Dance Studios. I took a few weeks of Rueda, Tango, and Belly dance, which was so fun and challenging. At the end of May, Chris made a last-minute trip to New York and Baltimore! My second visitor- it was interesting seeing the City through new eyes, and seeing my life here from a fresh perspective. I realized that I've settled in, and while I may have a love/hate relationship with this place, I know it better than I thought and have grown to love it. It was a great two weeks of good food, good talks, plays, and photography. And then it was June and we had to say goodbye...
How Did That Happen So Fast?
June- the last month of my internship. Time really flew by, but at the same time I feel like I have been living in NYC for far longer than five months. It makes me think back to a 'theory' about time that I read in a book (Moonwalking with Einstein): if we do more memorable things in our days, weeks, months, it stretches our perception of TIME, making it feel like we have lived longer, fuller lives. The idea is that when we just go through the motions, the daily grind of routine, everything blurs together and suddenly a month or year has gone by and we hardly remember what we did or how we lived. I sometimes allow that to happen, especially when you've been in the same place for a while, but being in a new city, surrounded by new people has made every single one of my days extremely long but also awesome, making my five months feel twice as long. I'm okay with that. But I am on the verge of getting burnt out from trying to do everything all the time- I don't want to live to work, I want to work to live, so I sacrifice sleep (and maybe some productivity) to ensure my days are not consumed by only work. With two jobs, this is a hard balance to achieve but I'm working it out. I wonder if this is a prominent mentality here, making everyone always crazy and stressed workaholics but also making it a sleepless city- the need to work hard but also play hard. Of course, there is the other argument from another book (No Impact Man) that says our consumer culture makes us work so hard only so we can afford more and more material things, in a vicious cycle of working endlessly. While this is also very true, especially in a metropolitan city, I am working hard to shape my trajectory and my future career path, not buy shiny new things. And my idea of 'playing hard' is experience-based, as long as I'm surrounded by good people I don't mind what we do. But I digress.
My sisters came to visit- third visitors!- last week for a 'sister trip'. It was great timing (although it was rainy about half the time) and it was a lot of fun. I did and saw so many tourist things that I hadn't gotten around to and we had a great time. Again, it helped to reaffirm that I really do like it here and could stay for just a little longer. It was also good timing, seeing as how I've been feeling overwhelmed, because my family has a way of restoring my sanity- especially my sisters :)
Well, I now have ONE week left at my internship, 2 weeks left at my teaching job, and about a million loose ends to tie together- basically I have an extraordinary amount of work and very little time. But I will get it done somehow... and once I emerge from the whirlwind of finalizing NYC responsibilities, off to DC I go for a few weeks! I'll be teaching a Politics in Action course to high school students at a pre-college summer camp at George Washington University. My internship experience was great, I met so many awesome people, gained new knowledge, and learned more about myself. I would say it was a successful experience, and it has reaffirmed my passion for an international, diverse, LIFE. I also decided that i don't want to try and change the world; I would rather SHAPE it.
So in one month, I will be full-time looking for jobs and my life will once again be totally up in the air. But I am okay with that. I recently came across the Buddhist principle of 'groundlessness' (mentioned in the book No Impact Man) and it really resonated with me. It essentially says that we are constantly scrambling and attempting to grab hold of something, set parameters, to have a solid foundation of knowing and certainty- to ground ourselves- but it is futile because none of it matters.The necessity we feel to know everything and have a sense of certainty oftentimes creates a lot of stress, anxiety, and unhappiness. The key to remove this kind of negativity from our lives is to become accepting of groundlessness- of openness, uncertainty, of floating and being in a constant state of flux. I combined this with the idea in The Alchemist that we all have a path and we are guided by the Universe. In order to allow ourselves to be guided, to truly discover where we are supposed to be going, we need to step into a state of groundlessness. I feel that I have lived like this, to an extent, which has led to the serendipitous events that brought me to where I am now. I am content floating (as long as it is floating with the goal of evolving, learning and growing as opposed to remaining static), and now am making a concerted effort to be fully groundless in all I do because all I know is that I really don't know anything (especially not what the future holds).