A Clean Slate

How many of you, back in January, set all of these really lofty, ambitious goals for yourself? And now, eight months later, never accomplished those goals?

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It’s okay. We’ve all been there. It’s basically a societal expectation that we will fail at our New Year’s Resolutions. But I am here to deliver good news! The new year is an arbitrary time to set goals for yourself. It’s not any better to set goals on that day than it is during any other day of the year. So, why not now?

Working in higher education, I am constantly reminded that a new year is about to begin. A new academic year. Move-in day, new students, returning students, new classes, new connections. It’s actually surprisingly rejuvenating! But here’s the good news – you don’t have to work in higher education to know what I mean. If you’ve ever been to school, at all, you know what I’m talking about. Even thinking back to elementary school – everything has that new, shiny feel. The crayons, the chalk, the clean white boards, the desks scraped free of gum. It’s a time for a fresh start.

So, I’m translating that into all of us twentysomethings, right now, regardless of whether or not we are in school. But quick side note: PRAISE the fact that I am no longer in school. It feels great! I don’t have to worry about papers or projects or classmates etc. etc. But I digress. Basically, September cues all the first-day-of-school vibes, including a very literal clean slate.

But metaphorically speaking, this is also a great time to start anew. Set new goals for yourself. Start up that project you’ve been thinking about for the past few months. Go out of your comfort zone. Try something new.

These last few days in August symbolize the last few days of summer. And as the sun sets, the summer fades, and the leaves begin to turn, it’s a good reminder that we all need turning, in our own lives. In order to grow and flourish, we need to turn over certain parts of ourselves, just like the leaves, allowing us to turn a new color.

For me, I’m hoping that fall brings some really incredible things. I don’t necessarily feel like I need a “clean slate,” per se, but I’m always open to change for the better. And even if it’s not for the better, I know at least it’s a growth opportunity where I can develop and learn more as a person.

Specifically, in the coming months with my “new year” start, I am hoping to fill my slate with:

  1. Real, genuine, solid friendships
  2. Volunteer opportunities
  3. Outside activities
  4. Love

…in that order.

I’ll elaborate.

  1. Real, genuine, solid friendships
    • I think moving to a new city coincides really well with setting new goals, and following a clean slate. I want to make some new friends! I love all of the friends that I have in the city (they are why I moved here!), but I am also looking to meet new people with general common interests.
  2. Volunteer opportunities
    • Another reason why I moved to NYC. I want to start giving back. I walk around every day, and especially in NYC, my privilege is thrown back in my face. There are so many people here who are living such different lives than me because of the difference in resources. I want to start giving back.
  3. Outside activities
    • Typical advice for a first-year student: “Get involved!” Well, I don’t think that advice changes for twentysomethings. I want to get involved! Maybe join a community chorus, or a gay bowling league (even though I hate bowling). The goal is to find a community outside of work.
  4. Love
    • Don’t we all secretly move to NYC to find love? To find ourselves? Either way, although I’m not actively looking, it would certainly be welcomed.

How are you preparing for your own clean slate?

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Forgetting to Blog, Forgetting Yourself

PEOPLE OF THE TWENTYSOMETHING MONTHS PAGE.

I don’t even know if anyone else noticed this, but when I realized today was Sunday, I realized it at 10:47pm, which is exactly 2 hours and 47 minutes after I traditionally post my Sunday blogs. And to be honest, I was actually really upset with myself. I’ve been posting 8pm Sunday blogs every week, without fail, for over a year and a half. So, maybe I consider this a small “failure” because I forgot until just now. But “failure” seems like a strong word. Either way, with any sort of failure or disappointment, I like to think that I can learn and grow from the experience.

Here is what I’m going to take away from forgetting to blog by today at 8pm:

  1. There will always be excuses.
    • And believe me…this week, there are plenty excuses. The first day of RA training was yesterday, and I’ve been totally swept up in trainings, emails, getting to know the staff, etc. And having to work both Saturday and Sunday, I really did forget today was Sunday – it just felt like another weekday! But, there are no excuses. I still feel disappointed that I forgot to post by the specified time.
  2. Better late than never.
    • I could’ve just said, “Oh, it’s too late. I might as well just wait until next Sunday to write again.” But that’s not fair to myself. I made a weekly goal, a commitment, and I want to stick with it. It’s something I truly care about. In my opinion, posting late is better than never posting at all.
  3. Don’t lose yourself.
    • I think you all probably know that this blog means more to me than just words on a screen. It really helped me through a tough time when I was struggling through some adulting things. It validated my experiences the more people read and related to what I was saying.
    • I’ve realized that in moving to NYC, I’ve kind of been forgetting myself a bit. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love it here. But pro-tip: it’s so easy to get lost in the chaos of New York City life. I’ve been meeting up with friends almost every night, trying new restaurants every week, walking around different parks, exploring random parts of the city…etc, etc. The downside of that? I kind of lost some of the things about myself that I love the most – writing for fun, reading in a coffee shop, reflection/journaling. I haven’t really done any of that since I’ve been here, and I’m starting to miss those pieces.

Forgetting to write this post by a certain time, for me, was more than just being a few hours late. I don’t think I have a strong enough following to have any people be disappointed that I didn’t post by a certain time (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong). But in forgetting, I realized that there is a bigger lesson to be learned – I was starting to lose myself, and I’m hearing the message loud and clear.

If I had been taking the time for myself, continued in writing and reflection, I would not have forgotten about posting. At first, I was having the time of my life with everyone around me (and to some extent, I still very much am having the time of my life). But as I continue my New York City journey, I think it’s important to remember who I am and what I’m doing here. I can already tell it’s easy to get lost in the 8.4 million people who inhabit this city. And I’m just one.

And if I’m not keeping myself accountable for maintaining my own self, who is?

Living Your Fullest Life

 

New York City has a special way about it – maybe some people feel this way about other cities, other places, but this was an experience I had never felt until moving here. New York City makes me want to be my best self – it makes me want to live my best life.

For me, it’s a lot of things I’m not doing. Like, the biggest one probably right now is going to the gym, working out, etc. And I know this isn’t the case, but I feel like everyone in NYC is ripped. Swimmer’s bodies, muscles all over – and although comparison is the thief of joy and I completely agree with that – it’s also something that I want.

Also, I think I have seen more friends these past two weeks than I have in the past two years combined! It’s so amazing. There are all these people around, always, and I thought the introvert in me would hate that, but actually, I think I’m starting to become more of an extrovert…

Anyway, there’s something about the competitive nature of the city (which I can imagine some people absolutely hate), but for me, I absolutely love it. It’s what keeps me motivated. To grow. To challenge myself.

With that, it’s starting to become very clear which areas of my life that I’m excelling in, and which areas I still need to work on. I’m going to refer to my old friend here, the wellness wheel, to help me out.

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I read this as seven areas of life that contribute to my own individual wellness, and a guide of sorts. So, in wanting to live my fullest life, to be my best self, I find myself looking back to this diagram and seeing which areas I’m okay in right now, and which ones I still need to work on. [Disclaimer: this is not finite. Please feel free to add your own sections to the wheel].

For me, I’m going to do a self-check:

  • Emotional
    • Self-care. How are you taking care of yourself? For me, I’m learning the balance of work in NYC, social time, and alone time. It seems to be working out okay so far, so I’ll give this one a thumbs up.
  • Spiritual
    • I don’t necessarily see this as “religious,” although, it could be. I think this refers more to beliefs, values, morals, etc, and how you are living those out. 6/10 for me right now.
  • Financial
    • I just checked my bank statements this morning, and surprisingly, I’m doing okay!! I thought I would have gone bankrupt by now…
  • Environmental
    • I absolutely feel like I am meant to be in New York City right now. It could be my forever place, I feel that strongly about it. So, yes, I am loving the environment here. 10/10.
  • Social
    • Please see above – so many people to see, so many new friends to meet – I love it here, especially for this reason!
  • Physical
    • Yup, still working on this.
  • Intellectual
    • I am leaning a whole lot in my job – but I want to start expanding that! Taking classes, learning new hobbies, etc.

The point of me sharing all of that was not to go on and on about myself. The point is for you to also check yourself – how are you living your best life? How are you fulfilling all of the categories in the wellness wheel? And what ones are missing/not relevant?

In the meantime, here’s a tip about living out the wellness wheel:

  • It’s fluctuating
    • There may be some days where the wheel is out of balance. And that’s okay. You may need to focus your energies on a different section to get it up to par with the rest. It’s exhausting to work on all seven areas at once. For me, I feel good about environment, social, financial, and emotional. And I know the others are still areas of improvement – but, piece by piece, one at a time. Choose your focus area, and go with it!

 

Building a Life – One Piece of Furniture at a Time

So, it’s been one whole week since I’ve moved to New York City!! …and I still can’t believe it. Every time I step outside I’m like, “I live here?!” Yes, I live here.

And although there have been so many exciting moments (which you can read more about here), the one thing I wanted to share in particular on this blog was the STRUGGLE (the struggle was real) with building all my furniture. In total – a bed frame, a book case, a nightstand, a dresser, AND a couch. That is five total pieces of furniture I had to build – mostly by myself because I’m stubborn and don’t like to ask for help – all within the week. And to be honest, I never want to do anything like that ever again. Most everything was fine, with three exceptions:

  1. I threw out my back trying to move my bed frame from the package delivery room on the first floor to my apartment…on the seventeenth floor.
  2. I spent over four hours on said bed frame, trying to assemble it, but ended up being so frustrated that I am essentially now sleeping on a cracked slate of wood.
  3. Oh, and also, the smell of all these wood pieces is like sawdust, which reminds me of those wood shavings that you put inside of a gerbil’s cage. So, now my apartment smells like a gerbil.

But, on the plus side of all of this, I now have 95% of my apartment furnished.

And as I was sweating profusely over one very stubborn drawer hinge, it hit me, building furniture is like building your life. Without taking the time to build it, it’s just going to be an empty room. It may be long, dull, and tedious at times…but let me tell you, it feels so nice to actually sit on a couch and not on the floor. For me, there are different approaches to this.

  1. The Night Stand
    • This was the first piece I put together – it was tiny, and the directions were easy to follow. It took some work, but I didn’t have to exert myself all that much. And then at the end of it, I had a nifty little night stand! These are the things I see as the day-to-day operations. How are you building your life up every day? i.e. How are you interacting with the people you see on a regular basis? What are you doing to practice self-care? etc. The building blocks. IMG_0728
  2. The Bed Frame
    • Literal shambles. The box was too heavy and I threw out my back. Pieces were broken. There were 18,000 steps involved. It took over four hours. I was tired. And by the end of it, I ended up with some janky version of a “bed frame.” But basically, it was turning hundreds of little pieces of wood into one big piece of wood for me to sleep on. The moral of the story is sometimes, it’s not actually worth it. And that’s okay. Because honestly, that is four hours of my life I will never get back, and I would’ve been perfectly happy sleeping on my mattress on the floor. IMG_0737.JPG
  3. The Sofa
    • By this time, I had almost given up on my furniture. I was like, “I’ll just sit on the floor, thanks.” But then I had a gentle nudge from a friend, and we ended up putting the sofa together. Surprisingly, this was the easiest one! It was like an accordion sofa, folded up in a giant box. And when we took it out of the box, we just unfolded it and threw the legs on. Piece of cake. I see this as the reward. After building that pain-in-the-ass bed frame, it was God’s way of saying, “Here you go! Enjoy!” And of course, everything is always better with a friend.  13892045_10153750270502555_6665383943139599097_n.jpg

I’ve learned it’s not about what you’re building, but how you build it. The outlook you have about what you’re doing. That’s what really matters.