Twentysomething…For Now

“Maybe you’ll never find your purpose. Lots of people don’t.”
“But then, I don’t even know why I’m alive!”
“Well, who does, really?”

There is so much truth in this. Really though, who does? Especially as a twentysomething. Finding your purpose seems like an insurmountable task, and if you are fortunate enough to think you’ve found yours, hold onto it forever and never let it go.

This past week, I went to go see Avenue Q. And just like every other musical I ever see, I over analyze and try to find the deeper meaning. And sure enough, I found one in this song, “For Now.”

The show follows Princeton, who graduated with an English degree, moves to Avenue Q, and is looking for his purpose. He’s lost himself a bit since graduating college, and makes a few mistakes along the way. Sound familiar? Yeah…this character’s name should really be Michael…

In the end, the cast sings, “For Now,” which is a reminder of just how temporary everything in life truly is. Your stress? Only for now. Feeling discomforted? Only for now. Your hair? It’s only here for now.

This song really resonated with me, especially at this point in my life, where I feel like every single aspect of my life is overwhelming. End of semester things at work, dumb final projects, graduation, moving to a new city, still looking for jobs…it’s just, endless. Or so it seems. But listening to this closing song, I was ready to burst into tears of joy because I was reminded that this phase of my life is really only here for now. All this pressure and stress will be over soon. And hell, I might as well try to enjoy whatever time I have left here.

“Nothing lasts, life goes on, full of surprises. You’ll be faced with problems of all shapes and sizes. You’re going to have to make a few compromises…for now.”

Right now, I am in the realization phase that I may have to make a few compromises. You can’t do it all, people, no matter how hard you try. I had this same revelation when I was 19, a sophomore in college…you think I would’ve learned by now? Also, PS, that was SIX years ago. Ew.

But here’s the thing, I feel like it’s impossible for me to devote 100% of my time to friends, family, relationships, job search, current job, grad school, part-time jobs…oh yeah, and the essentials: eating and sleeping. Neither of which I’ve been doing very much of lately. I have to make some compromises. And I’m done compromising the things that keep me healthy. Aka, eating and sleeping. So maybe it’s getting a B on a paper instead of staying up all night to finish it. Or maybe it’s delegating tasks, or leaving work at a relatively on-time time, and knowing that all those emails will still be there tomorrow.

What are your compromises? Either way, it’s only for now. Grad school and my current job are only for now…very literally speaking. Once those two end, there’ll be more time to focus on the job search. More time to refocus myself. And for now, that’s the compromise.

“Don’t stress, relax, let life roll off your backs. Except for death and paying taxes everything in life is only for now!”

There are some things I just can’t avoid, like the things so clearly stated in this song: death and paying taxes. And considering Tax Day just passed, I am VERY familiar with the twentysomething struggle of paying taxes. It’s kind of like, no matter how much you love your job, you still find yourself saying, “TGIF!” after a long week.

It’s speaking about the present moment. I may not know what my next step is, what I’m going to be doing or where, but that confusion is only for now. And for now, I’m going to try my best to live every day here, in the present, for now.

 

 

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Playing House, IRL.

Do you remember when you were a small child, playing House with your siblings or group of friends or maybe even your stuffed animals? It was my favorite game growing up. I had it all figured out – my little six year old self. I was married (to a woman), I had four kids, two dogs, was a famous chef, and my favorite color was blue. I was set.

But damn, how wrong I was about everything my future would be.

Being a twentysomething is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my entire life. And I know that sounds dramatic, but for all my other twentysomething friends out there, you know that’s the actual truth…right? A very wise professor told me earlier this week, as I was venting/complaining/crying in her office, that the twenties are the shit years. That’s it. The shit years, she said, just like that.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’ve had some really amazing experiences so far in my twenties. I really have discovered a deeper sense of myself, although, I’m coming to realize that that is an everlasting journey. And yet, at least in recent times, there is absolutely no stability in my life. At all. It could also be the fact that I’m graduating. But right now, I feel as if everything in my life is unstable, about to undergo a major transition. I’m graduating, aka losing my job (and have yet to find a new one). Not only that, but I have no idea what I want to do “when I grow up.” I’m trying to emotionally prepare myself for leaving so many amazing friends that I didn’t even realize I had in Buffalo until recently. It’s just…a lot. Everything is changing – relationships, friendships, jobs, location, school, my purpose, my path…and surprise! I have absolutely no control over any of it.

So, what do you do when you feel like your life is spiraling out of control?

  1. Just breathe
    • I’m not kidding. This really helps. Take a deep breath for 4 counts, hold for 2, and then release the breath.  Now repeat. Repeat again. I’ve been doing this a lot lately, because to be honest, I’ve needed it. Taking deep breaths centers you, and brings you back to your core. Everything else might be up in the air, but I still have breath, and having that reminder brings me back.
  2. Do what you need to do, so you can do what you want to do
    • You know what? I hate transcribing interviews. But if I want to graduate, I have to do it. And you want to know what else? The job search is incredibly stressful, but I need to apply to jobs so I can actually do something with my life after graduation. It sucks, and that’s okay, but some things, you just can’t avoid.
  3. Take time for yourself today, so you can be your best self tomorrow 
    • AKA, instead of going out with friends, buy yourself $50 worth of wine on a Friday night, stay in, drink, clean your room, and sleep. Hypothetically speaking, of course. And I can’t take credit for this one. A good friend of mine gave me this little nugget of advice. In other words, do what you need to do to take care of yourself today, right now, when you need it, so that way, you can be your best self for others, later.
  4. Trust the universe. 
    • This is my new favorite saying lately. I apologize, I feel like it’s been in the past twenty blog posts I’ve written, and I say it at least five times a day. But really, trust in the universe, and the universe will give back. Others choose to pray. I choose to trust in the universe. It’s the idea of karma. Send good vibes out, and good vibes will be returned.

And although it was much easier as a six year old playing House, it is (kind of) exciting to be actually living a real life now, no matter how stressful it may be.

 

Finding Home: Selma, 2016

This week, I was serving on an alternative spring break trip in Selma, Alabama. I know, it may seem random. But there is actually an extreme amount of history in Selma, especially in relation to the Civil Rights Movement. On this trip, I met some of the best people in my entire life. The group of students I was with, my co-advisor, the people and students in Selma…literally every. single. person. Y’all are just incredible people.

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Usually, I process through writing. I’m the guy that’ll say, “Okay, I’ll be over here in the corner,” while I pull out my journal or laptop to sit and process my thoughts for the day. But on this trip, I didn’t do that once. In lieu of that, our group had four hour debriefing conversations that went until two in the morning. And I loved every minute of it. But because of that, I’ve been having a difficult time putting my thoughts into written words. But, Sunday means a new blog post, so here we go.

This week, I have learned so much about myself. I have grown more than I have this week than in entire years of my life. I was given a new perspective. I began to release my own freedom from within. I connected with like-minded individuals. But most importantly, I found a home. I found a community of people who felt mutually supported, cared for, and loved. And although it is so incredibly difficult to condense all my lessons from this week into one post, I’m going to try my best. Because even the smallest snippet of what I learned might be useful for all of us here, no matter your age.

  1. Deconstruct Walls
    • We all have walls built up around us. From previous experiences, people we’ve met, etc. But in Selma, I felt as if all of our walls were gone. There was no reason to have walls in such a loving, caring community. And by the end of the week, with walls gone, we were all able to say that we loved each other, and we all genuinely meant it.
  2. Free Yourself
    • In many social justice trainings, we talk about eliminating stereotypes of other people. But what about the stereotypes that have been placed on us by society? This is a silly example, but this week, I learned that I love to dance. But before, I was always so reserved about it. Maybe it’s because I was trying to be “a professional” or maybe I was “too uptight” to let loose and have a good time through dance. But we have the power to free ourselves of those stereotypes. Liberate yourself from society’s expectations.
  3. Plant Seeds
    • Some of you may know, I tend to get frustrated with some folks who believe certain things. I get especially frustrated with people when I think that their eyes will never open, because I feel like there’s nothing I can do to help them see the truth in this world. But here’s the thing: you never know when you are planting a seed. You might say something that doesn’t make sense to them in the moment, but days, months, or even years later, they might call you in tears in a moment of finally understanding what you were trying to say. Or maybe they won’t. Either way, you never know when you are planting those seeds.
  4. Love All
    • A man I met this week said, “I love Donald Trump. I don’t love his ideas, but I love Donald Trump.” I was confused. I thought Donald Trump’s ideas were Donald Trump. But that’s not necessarily the case. Trump comes from an environment that leads him to believe what he does. Principle three of nonviolence states, “Attack forces of evil, not persons doing evil.” In other words, hate the sin, not the sinner. We are all deserving of love, and because of that, we have the ability to love all.
  5. Have Courage
    • Everything I’m saying here is terrifying. It’s not easy. As written in Hamilton, “Dying is easy, young man; living is harder.” Living is harder. It takes courage. The first principle of nonviolence, “Nonviolence is the way of life for courageous people.” This blog post is not a check, check off my list. It’s a process that I will be working on for a long time. But finding that courage and inner strength will help in that process.

And although there is a sense of heaviness with me today while I process leaving a place I grew to love so much, I am high-key excited to begin this journey, and learn to live out these lessons.

 

25 Years in 25 Lessons

Hello, all! And welcome to my weekly blog post. As some of you may have known, I turned 25 a few weeks ago, and it’s been pretty great so far. My mom made this collage to share with the Facebook world on my birthday that I wanted to share with all of you…wasn’t I cute? Look at my little red overalls!

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Anyway…

I do feel “older.” The last day of 24 and the first day of 25 felt like a ginormous age shift. I’m not longer a “young twentysomething.” I’m one year closer to a “thirtysomething!” I need to slow down.

Birthdays are often a time of reflection for me. From one year to the next, how far have I grown? What have I accomplished? While New Year’s feels like too much of a cliche to reflect in that way, my birthday feels uniquely special to me. And this year, with the whole having-a-blog thing, I wanted to reflect here. Twenty-five lessons I’ve learned in my 25 years.

  1. It’s okay to love yourself. In fact, I would strongly encourage it.
  2. Ramen is not a proper substitute for a meal.
  3. Other people’s opinions of you really don’t matter. Really. Your own opinion of yourself is more important.
  4. Growth only occurs under constant and consistent supports. Know your support systems.
  5. Heartbreak is temporary, but the lessons you take away are lifelong.
  6. Love does win.
  7. Jumping on the bed won’t hurt anybody (unless you fall off or twist your ankle).
  8. Your body will thank you for eating your yucky green vegetables.
  9. Karma can be a jerk or a blessing. It all depends on what you put into the Universe and how you treat others.
  10. All feelings are valid, but you need logical examples to support your claims.
  11. Parents can be equal parts annoying and loving, but in the end, they will always be there to love and support you.
  12. Friends are just as important as family.
  13. Be intentional in your work, your relationships, and your purpose.
  14. The biggest sign of positive growth is resistance. Don’t give up.
  15. It’s okay to give up.
  16. Failure isn’t the experience to fear.
  17. Every experience is either a positive experience, or a personal growth opportunity.
  18. There is no “right” way to live your life.
  19. Your life is defined by you.
  20. “Hold your friends close, and enemies closer” is garbage. Hold your friends as tight as possible, and let go of any negative energy in your life.
  21. Grown-up birthdays aren’t always celebrated on your day of birth. It doesn’t mean people love you any less.
  22. Look for opportunities, and take them.
  23. Take a risk in taking risks.
  24. Move forward, while also looking back (yes, it’s possible).
  25. It’s all going to be okay. I promise.

 

 

RE: For When You’re Spinning Out of Orbit

This has been such an interesting week. You know those weeks where you just feel like everything has been turned upside down, tossed around, shaken up…and then just when you think you’re starting to settle back down, you get thrown across the room? Yeah, that’s how this entire semester has felt so far. “The planets are misaligned” has been my excuse. Which, I must acknowledge, is a very passive stance, just sitting still and hoping they would hurry their ass up and realign so I can continue about my “normal” life.

But so many things have happened recently, good things. The snow in the snow globe is finally drifting back to a resting point. Maybe the planets are realigning themselves as we speak. But I must admit, for a while, it was a little turbulent. And three quotes in particular have stuck out to me during all this:

“It’s always darkest before the dawn.” –Shake It Out, Florence and the Machine
“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” -Albus Dumbledore
“But still, like air, I’ll rise.” –Still I Rise, Maya Angelou

What do all of these quotes have in common? Well, basically, life will be dark at times, but there is always a light. There will always be an upswing. If you contribute positively to the universe, the universe will contribute positively to you.

To share some of my own “blah” from the past few weeks (and I’ll keep it short), things haven’t been great. Not THE WORST, but not the best either, you know? Spiritually, I’ve felt completed blocked. But I signed up for a tarot class this past week and as soon as I walked into the room, I felt so much lighter. Friend situations have been rough, but this week in particular, it seems like I’ve received a flood of love and support, which has been incredible. Much needed chats and catch ups, and friends just being good friends. And on an academic note, I have my comprehensive exams this weekend (aka, hello here’s a 20-page paper to write over the weekend: GO!). But even with that, I’ve been the most productive this weekend, having written most of it by Friday night, and still having time to go to the gym, watch Parenthood, and write for fun. It rocks.

The thing that strikes me as peculiar about all this is that the things that made me feel better during this misalignment were things that I didn’t really want to do in the first place. I was hesitant to take a tarot class because it costs money and it’s “weird.” And I love my friends, but sometimes we all get wrapped up in our separate lives. And then of course, no one “wants” to take the comp exams.

And yet, it’s these things that made me feel the light again. The dawn. The happiness. The rise. And maybe the message is this: sometimes, it’s the things that we don’t want to do the most that we get the most joy from. Does that even make sense? Like going to the gym, for example, or eating healthy. It’s not my favorite thing in the entire universe, but I definitely feel good afterwards. Or grad school. It’s hard AF sometimes, but I know I’m going to walk away a better person with a great education.

I guess I don’t really have any “steps” this week…no helpful “tips and tricks.” Maybe it’s more a tiny source of inspiration. If you are ever feeling like the planets aren’t aligning for you, maybe it’s just the darkness before the dawn. Maybe someone just needs to turn on the light. And like air, you too will rise.

A Shoutout to the 4 AM Friends

You know those days where you wish you could just hit the reset button? Well, this entire week has been like that. It was the first full week back to work with students, the first week of classes, and there was some personal drama. But the one positive thing that remained constant this week was the support: the friends that I know I can count on no matter what. So for that, I say thank you.

The challenging part about being a twentysomething (or honestly, just being an adult in general) is that all your friends are in faraway lands. Your biggest supports are hundreds of miles away. I’ve written about this before in my blogs, so again, no need to go into full complain mode, but Buffalo is just not the place for me socially. Most friends here just don’t click (or stick). And yet, because this week was such a doozy, that’s really what I needed the most.

I needed 4 AM friends. You know what I’m talking about, right? Those friends that no matter what time of the night it is, you can call them up on the phone and know that they will answer because they care about you, and vice versa. This week, I have reached out to a handful of my 4 AM friends, whether it was barging into their office at work, sending an email check in, writing a letter, texting long paragraphs, or picking up the phone and actually dialing.

Because of this, I wanted to send a massive thank you to all my 4 AM friends who were so especially awesome this week. Appreciation is something that is so necessary but oftentimes forgotten. So here are five (small, inexpensive) ways that you can reach out to show appreciation to your 4 AM friends, even if you didn’t necessarily need it this week:

  1. A spoken thank you
    • I was in staff meeting the other day, and during our meeting, someone turned to someone else and said, “I appreciate you.” The phrase stuck with me. Later in the week, when I was talking to someone, I wanted the other person to feel recognized and appreciated. “Thank you for listening, I appreciate you.” A small handful of words can be so meaningful.
  2. A thank you letter
    • As a writer, this option appeals to me. And I don’t mean a text message. I mean a real, genuine, hand-written thank you letter. Maybe that friend doesn’t even know how much they mean to you, and you expressing that could be the thing to brighten their day and bring your friendship closer together.
  3. A small gift 
    • I know all of our budgets are tight. Side note, my credit card company sent me my first ever notice the other day that I had almost reached my credit line. Yikes, talk about a mini heart attack. ANYWAY, a small gift. If you know they start their day every morning with a grande vanilla latte, send them a five dollar Starbucks gift card. Or maybe you find your favorite photo of the two of you, frame it, and send it to them as a reminder of how much their friendship means to you.
  4. Spend time together 
    • I know this is counter-intuitive to the part about your friends potentially being hundreds of miles away, but follow me for a minute. If your friends are physically around, get coffee. Grab lunch. Spend time together. If not, carve a chunk out of your day to make a phone call, to actually catch up with a person, as opposed to just saying it.
  5. Reciprocate
    • I always say that friendships are a give and take. Ideally, it’s 50-50. But sometimes, it needs to be 70-30. And that’s okay. As long as you make sure that when the other person needs to be at 70, you reciprocate and are also there to be their 4 AM friend. And don’t forget to ask “How are you?” when you are done…it shows you care about them as a friend and as a person, not just as a sounding board.

How else do you show appreciation to your 4 AM friends? Share your thoughts below!

Lessons Learned: On Love, Travels, and Food Poisoning

For those that don’t know, this past week I was gallivanting around Chicago for a conference and loving every minute of it. The conference, Creating Change, was absolutely amazing. It focused on LGBTQ advocacy and social justice, and I learned so much.

Among other tales from this past week, I saw the Bean, tried authentic deep dish pizza, fell in love for the weekend, and suffered a major bout of food poisoning. And as much as I would like to go on and on about any or all of those stories, that isn’t necessarily the point of this blog.

Out of all the sessions I went to, out of all the people I met, there is one lesson in particular that is still sticking with me, even after the love, the poisoning, and the flights back home. I was in a workshop, How to Create Non-Oppressive Spaces for Queer Students of Color. And in the workshop, the facilitator said this: “We can’t let our need to learn keep us from action.”

We can’t let our need to learn keep us from action.

This resonated with me in all types of ways. Mostly because, as a 24-year-old graduate student, I sometimes still doubt my knowledge and my ability to create change. I went into this conference thinking I had a whole lot to learn. I’m still in the beginning stages of advocacy work, social justice movements, and really understanding the bigger picture. But, I was surprised to walk into that conference and be able to share some knowledge that maybe other people didn’t necessarily have.

We can’t let our need to learn keep us from action.

We are all learning. We are life-long learners. At least, I hope we are. Regardless of whether or not we are in school, whatever level of formal education you have, there is always something to be learned in the world. This past week, I learned multiple things about LGBTQ advocacy, social justice issues, etc. So I’m here to report back. Now, granted, I know that not all of us work in Diversity Centers or in Higher Education, so I’m mindful of that, but these are some lessons that I learned or was reminded of during my time in Chicago.

  1. Embrace new adventures
    • I was PUMPED to go to Chicago! New foods, new people, and an amazing conference that I heard nothing but good things about. Take risks and embrace the adventures in your life – from the every day adventures in the coffee line to traveling to new cities.
  2. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction
    • “Eat whatever you want!” they say. “It’ll be good!” they say. Yes, until you are hugging the toilet bowl at 3am, 5am, and 6am after eating something that was clearly poisoned. Now, here’s the thing. What was the alternative? I couldn’t not eat. The new lesson here? Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, whether or not you know what that reaction will be. Oftentimes, the reaction is hard to predict.
  3. Expect the unexpected
    • Never in my life did I expect to meet anyone of substance at this conference. Hooking up, sure, maybe. Professional connections, definitely. But someone who can hold a conversation and is super cute and is nice to spend time with? Well, I didn’t expect that. And I feel like it’s only when you don’t expect it, that it happens.
  4. There is always something to learn
    • If people want to talk about diversity programming with university students, I’m your guy. Student development theory? Hit me up. But I also have so much to learn. At this conference, it was evident that while everyone had their own special and unique interest areas, we were all able to learn and grow from each other.
  5. Make coming home a positive experience
    • I was sitting in the airport, sleep-deprived, drained of all fluids, thinking of nothing but work and school starting back up tomorrow. But as soon as I saw my friend pulling up at the airport to pick me up, I knew that I was back home, and that was a good feeling. It was so good to see her, and I know it’ll be great to see work friends tomorrow, and to be in the classroom again. By viewing it as a positive, it’s making me feel less sad about leaving Chicago, and happier to be back in Buffalo.

The Ghosts of Twentysomething Past, Present, and Future

I feel like every single blog post for the past month has been about the new year. Well, why break the streak now? I hope you’re not tired of it, yet. Maybe by February I’ll think of a new topic…

But for this week, I have one final thought on 2016. At least, for right now. As the new year is well underway, I’ve been surprised by the number of times this year I’ve been visited by ghosts of my past. Skeletons in the closet, if you will. And most of these skeletons, surprisingly, have been from relationship-type situations. The worst. This week alone I responded to a four-month-old Facebook message from an ex, was laughed at by someone when I told him I only wanted to be friends,  and gave out my number to this cute guy at Starbucks.

Well, damn. That is a lot to happen in one week! Especially for me, someone who is chronically single, someone who uses the answer “nonexistent” when someone asks me about my love life. And yet, from these three experiences this week, I’ve learned something from each one. They’ve all signified something important about my relationships…the past, the present, and the future.

  1. The Ghost of Twentysomething Past
    • This is my favorite ghost. The Ghost of Twentysomething Past is the ghost that I have learned the most from. It’s also the ghost that can be the most painful, which is hard. And surprise, it never goes away. Ghosts of your past will always be a part of your life tapestry, no matter how many times you wash, rinse, and repeat. It’s up to you how you view it: a tarnished stain, or a beautiful new set of stitches. It reminds you of who you are and why you are here today. Maybe you aren’t with that person anymore, or you didn’t end on the best of terms, but there’s a reason for that. Looking in the past, it gives you the opportunity to reflect, learn, and grow. Hindsight really can be 20/20.
  2. The Ghost of Twentysomething Present
    • I find this ghost to be the most unexpected (yes, even more unexpected than the future). Here’s why: sometimes, the future is so far away that it’s not even worth making plans. The typical case of this is saying something like “I really want to wear a white bow tie on my wedding day!” when you’re still single AF. It’s hard to plan for the future if your present isn’t lined up first. So you go on a few dates, think it’s going really well, and then BAM. You meet someone else, something comes up, it’s not a good time. Whatever the reason. Which is why, in the Ghost of Twentysomething Present, it’s important to be as adaptable as possible. Things will always be happening. In the present, anything could happen at any moment, the script is still being written. Whereas the past is archived and the future is still blank. Life is a constant state of change, and you won’t feel it more than in any other moment but the present.
  3. The Ghost of Twentysomething Future
    • The ghost of excitement. New beginnings. Also, the ghost of anxiety, nervousness. Uncharted territory. The Ghost of Twentysomething Future leads to thirtysomethings, fortysomethings, and beyond. It leads to milestones. There are a whole bunch of stories from older thirtysomethings and fortysomethings saying that if they could give one piece of advice to current twentysomethings, it would be to prepare more for the future. That’s all fine and dandy, and I don’t necessarily disagree. But I also think it’s important to keep an open mind and not try to plan detail by detail. Be ready to embrace your future with open arms.

What’s most important in all of this, though, is that the past, present, and future are all a part of who we are, and help to tell our own individual story. It’s what makes us unique. It’s what makes us who we are. And for that, it is beautiful.

Why Not Meeting Your Goals Is (Sometimes) Okay

This has been A WEEK. So much has happened. In regards to Twentysomething Months, I have officially launched our new Facebook page! I was so incredibly honored (and pleasantly surprised) by the immense support that immediately followed. Dream big, people!

Life, though, isn’t always full of dreams. Maybe it is, for the idealists. But I like to be a little more real. And with that said, we are now ten days into the New Year, and my goals are going strong. Early last week, I made Goal Tracking sheets to help me see my progress throughout the year. For each goal, there is a chart that marks out each day of every week. For example, one of my goals is to work out four times a week. Every time I get back from the gym, I can check that day off the sheet. This is also known as the “Gold Star Method.” Maybe it’s the Millennial in me, but I like the instant gratification of being able to check off that little box, or get a Gold Star, every time I accomplish something.

But here’s the realist in me. I have four main goals that I am trying to accomplish this year. These four goals can be tracked consistently throughout the year. I do have some other goals (like managing my money better, finding a job after graduation, etc) but those other goals can’t necessarily be tracked on regular basis. So, for 2016, these are my four trackable goals:

  • Go to the gym 4x/week
  • Write 3,000-5,000 words/week
  • Post on the NEW TWENTYSOMETHING MONTHS FACEBOOK PAGE (sorry, shameless plug) at least 2x/week
  • Meditate 1x/week

Now, if I’m being honest, I only achieved half of my goals for this week. Can you guess which two? I’ll give you a hint…both goals are the ones that relate to writing.

Anyway, the other two goals didn’t really work out for me this week. Sure, I did work out three times this week, regardless of the fact that I felt like death and could barely breath out of my nose. But I didn’t meet my goal. And meditation? Ha! “I didn’t have time this week.” I mean, technically, I did. But I didn’t use it for meditation. And the writing goal? Even THAT I barely scraped the surface of 3,000 words. Bare minimum, Michael. Come on, pick it up.

But then I thought of something.

Progress matters.

Michael, you went to the gym three times this week! Who cares about the fourth time? You still went three times, and that matters. And who cares if you didn’t reach 5,000 words? You still wrote 3,182 words this week, which is more than you would’ve written if you never set any goal. So, be proud!

Please excuse that last paragraph. It was really more of me trying to convince myself. But really, progress it important and shouldn’t be forgotten. So, if you are like me, and you’ve set some really amazing New Years Goals but have fallen a little bit shorter than you would’ve liked this week, here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. If your goals are realistic and manageable, don’t change them.
    • My goal of meditating once a week is totally doable. I was just lazy this week. Unless something life-changing came up, or you realize your goals are totally unrealistic, the first instinct shouldn’t be to lessen your goal. Shoot for the stars!
  2. Move forward and alter your actions, if necessary
    • If you didn’t meet your goal this week, think back. Why not? I know for me, I only went to the gym three nights this week because three other nights I was working my part-time job, and the seventh night out of the week I was getting my haircut. That makes sense. But for the mediation goal, that’s an example of when I need to alter my plan. So now, I have a set scheduled meditation time for this coming week…which is not ideal, but I know it will help me reach that goal.
  3. Remember progress counts towards your goals
    • Even if you don’t reach your goal, progress shows that you’ve still worked towards it. Compromise with yourself. Some progress is better than nothing at all.

What are some other ways you are tracking your own progress and success? Share your goals in the comments below!

 

In which I relate to the Leaning Tower of Pisa

I can say, with an estimated guess, that most people who read this blog are loyal Facebook friends. With that said, most of you reading this probably know that I spent the past ten days in Europe. And for those of you that didn’t know or aren’t friends with me on Facebook, I spent the last ten days in Europe!!

And as much as I want to blog all about my trip, I have to stay true to the twentysomething theme of this particular blog. However, there was one day in particular that really stuck out to me. Docking in Livorno, Italy, I knew we had a full day ahead. We were scheduled for a driving tour through Pisa and Florence, seeing some of Italy’s biggest and most famous monuments. Two in particular were the Statue of David and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Since some of you might have clicked this link just to see some beautiful pictures of the trip, here you go!

But in my journal that night (yes, I kept a travel journal), I found an interesting comparison between these two monuments. I wrote: “The Tower of Pisa is not famous because it’s the most beautiful, most adored, or even biggest monument in Italy. It’s famous because it leans—because it’s unique. Because it does something that no other building is known for. It makes me wonder…shouldn’t it be like that for all people? For me? …especially in comparison to the Statue of David, which is known for being the best, most beautiful sculpture from the very best artist, Michelangelo.”

I continued: “Are you more of a Statue of David? Or the Leaning Tower of Pisa? Not everyone can be the Statue of David, and to be honest, as great as that would be, it’s a lot of pressure to uphold such a high standard all the time! The Tower of Pisa is much more relatable, anyway. Everyone leans a bit off course, sometimes. Goes a bit off track from the original plan.”

And in this journal entry/blog post, I confess that on my trip to Europe, I found myself relating with an inanimate leaning building. Awesome.

It makes sense though, doesn’t it? Think about it. If I think about all the people that I know, there is only a very small handful of people that can equate to the Statue of David, metaphorically. This one guy in particular, we met during college. He is absolutely gorgeous now—and was then, too. Perfect amount of scruff, tousled hair, built, literally a model traveling all over the world. We shared one kiss in the rain and I will never again forget that one moment with my own Statue of David.

The reality is, though, I idolized him more than anything else. The Statue of David is a perfect representation of man, literally known for being the most proportional marble statue in the history of the world, epitomizing this perfection. I wouldn’t want the pressure of that reputation, and I definitely wouldn’t want to be with someone who I saw in that way, because I would always feel inferior.

So, if we’re speaking in metaphorical Italian monuments, are you the Statue of David? Or are you the Tower of Pisa? The Tower may be leaning a bit, off the course from its original path, but still standing tall and proud. What’s interesting about the Tower of Pisa is that without its “past” of going off course and leaning to the side, it wouldn’t even be famous at all…just another building gracing the ground of Italy.

And fun fact about the Tower of Pisa: Italian architects, once they realized how much the Tower was leaning, decided to dig underneath the Tower a bit and pour in concrete underneath and all around. That way, it won’t lean over anymore, to the point of falling down and hitting the ground.

I have to say, I’m inspired by that building a bit. In addition to being famous for its complete uniqueness (as opposed to its perfection), it also has the ability to concrete itself and keep itself from falling over.

So, question of the day: Are you the Statue of David? Or the Leaning Tower of Pisa?