They sent me to Binghamton

I've always wanted to be on the east coast, and the universe responded…by sending me to Binghamton, NY. Oh you've never heard of it? Neither had I, but I do so love adventures and that's how I choose to view this. Let the adventures begin!


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I was never ready

I wasn’t ready to go to sleep yet so I decided to go through my journal and coincidentally came across my last entry before they sent me to Binghamton. In that entry I wrote about how sad I am to leave. Mind you, this was when I thought I was only going to be in Binghamton temporarily for 6 months.

Anyway, I wrote specifically about a text message I received from a friend who told me she was sad I was leaving for 6 months. I quickly closed my journal after reading that sentence. I’m not even sure why. I just suddenly felt sad because in my present state of happiness and just in general how happy I’ve been since being here, I had forgotten how hard it actually was for me to leave. Both times.

The first time I left I was sad because it seemed I had just gotten into the groove of things with my new apartment, best guy friend as my roommate, and new gym. I had just gotten into routine, just started to hang out with new friends, basically just started settling in. And then I got the news of the “opportunity on the east coast,” which I had asked for the previous year. I know it was what I wanted but it didn’t make it any easier. I wasn’t ready, but I had to go.

Then, when they pulled me out of the assignment in Binghamton, I also felt really torn because it seemed sudden, even though I ended up being in Binghamton for a year when it was only supposed to be 6 months. I found a new group of friends, started traveling to different cities on the east coast, and learned to enjoy the slower pace of life. Just in time for me to leave. I wasn’t ready, but I had to go.

Then 4 months after living in L.A. I finally decided to take a job back in Binghamton because I just couldn’t see myself being happy in L.A. anymore. At that point I had rekindled my friendships and got back into the groove with my old gym and gym friends, and of course as the universe would have it, just started talking to a guy who really interested me in a way I haven’t felt in a very long time. Again, I wasn’t ready, but I had to go.

I had forgotten all that. I had forgotten how hard it was to leave people and certain routines behind and how sad I was. But one thing I wrote still resonates with me:

“I’m not ready, but the thing is, when opportunity comes, you take it then or not. I can’t wait, expecting it to come again.”

Wow. Go 27 year old me!

I just wonder when I will stop chasing opportunities and…settle. Not saying I’m ready for that because the thought still frightens me but maybe I’m closer to that than I used to be?

Not sure but the walk down memory lane has gotten me feeling a little sad. Oh nostalgia…

 

 

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A Rollercoaster of Emotions

Anger. Happiness. Guilt. Nervousness. Stressed. Excited. Joyful. Pride. Peace.

I went through all of these emotions the past couple of months in an almost cyclical pattern. You see, I had this idea to sell my condo in California, which was tenant-occupied at the time, and also buy a house in New York at the same time. I had this notion that because this was my second time around with the home buying process, I would be much calmer about the whole situation…I was wrong. By nature, the whole transaction involves people and things that are out of my control so when things went wrong, it got very stressful. It doesn’t matter how mature I’ve gotten or that I had been through this before. Oh well, it all worked out in any case and that’s really what matters.

And now?

I’m mostly happy. Life has been good. A few hiccups here and there but overall, I am very happy.

Especially, especially because lately it has become very clear to me how precious and good the people in my life are. Those who offered an ear when I was stressing out. Those who offered to help without me even asking. Those who send me cards and small gifts just because. Those who are genuinely excited for me with the things happening in my life right now, even though they also have exciting things going on in their own lives. Those who go on adventures with me. Those who make me laugh, even when I’m extremely upset. Those who listen, truly listen. And you. I am especially grateful for you, whatever role you may end up playing in my life. You make me want to be a better person. You’re showing me what I actually want…or more accurately, what I didn’t know I wanted…And more importantly, you’re serving as a spotlight, shining light on the shit that I was letting into my life simply by being you. You might just be the kindest person I have ever met and thank you for showing me that I’m worth someone like you. I wasn’t sure what it was going to take for me to really, truly let go of that one, but I guess it just took getting to know you. Screw that guy, and the other who is suddenly interested in me again now that I’m very clearly moving on.

bye


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Star-Crossed Lovers

One weekend I finally got to hang out with my brother’s fiancee, now wife, for a girls’ weekend. What this means is I finally got the details of how she met my brother. I had asked my brother a couple years back but in typical guy fashion, he did not give me much. The conversation basically went like this:

“So, how did you ask her out?” I asked my brother after a few drinks in.

“I didn’t. She asked ME out,” my brother replied, followed by a smirk.

Aaaand that was the end of the conversation. Typical guy. No juicy details whatsoever lol. However, as I suspected, it was not quite so simple. For starters, my brother’s wife was his apartment manager. In addition, my brother was never the type to pay much attention to the ladies, even back when he was in high school when all the girls would come up to me and say, “omg! You’re his little sister?? Your brother is SO cute!” and I would tell him. His reaction back then was to laugh and smirk, much like when I asked how he had met his wife. Then to make things even more interesting, his wife at the time barely spoke any English. So how then? How did this even start, let alone work out?

It all started with a knock on his door. When he opened the door, there she was, looking nervous but beautiful and asking him in broken English if he wanted to take a walk around the block. And then…magic.

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My brother must have seen something in her that made him just know. I normally tend to roll my eyes at the cliche cheesy love stuff especially because I thought I knew twice before and I was wrong both times, but given this is my brother, who I had never seen this way with anyone before, it made me pay attention. It especially made me pay attention when they decided to continue seeing each other even after my brother moved to New York while she stayed in southern California.

“He’s moving to New York, right?” I asked my mom.

“Right,” my mom said.

“So…are they still staying together?” I asked.

“Of course!” my mom said.

My bad…there was nothing ‘of course’ about it to me…

I thought that was hard enough, but apparently, it was even more complicated than that. Timing really did a number on them. For one thing, she was planning to move back home to Mexico, which was what had given her the courage to knock on his door to begin with. Not to mention she had a work engagement the whole week immediately after their first walk together. And then, four months into dating, my brother got a job in New York and had to move. More and then, her student visa was expiring soon so she had to move back to Mexico.

So there she was, still living in southern California while my brother was across the country in New York and her friends and family were back in Mexico, with a soon expiring student visa. She had a good job lined up for her in Mexico that she had been planning to take before she met my brother. But she decided to stay.

I don’t understand. I really don’t, not going to lie.

Here was this young, independent woman, who had dreams of her own that did not involve anyone else…and yet she stayed. She is not that different from me. She’s very career-driven. There were SO many factors against them and logically it just did not make any sense. When I asked her about it she told me that her mind was telling her the same thing. The way they met wasn’t the best given the property manager/client relationship, my brother moved shortly after, she had to move to a different country not long after that, and yet it just somehow felt right to be with him, she told me.

Wow. I mean, that really amazes me. What does it feel like to meet someone that makes you realize life makes more sense with them than without them? What is it like to feel that being with someone is more important and will make you happier than following your own dreams that you’ve worked so hard for?

And then I went home (California) for their wedding and reconnected with someone at the last minute, as in literally an hour before I had to go to the airport to fly back to New York. Ah. So that’s what it’s like…and now moving back home doesn’t seem like such a bad thing after all… 😛

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Hiking is my therapy

“Hey, it’s supposed to be beautiful out this weekend. Care to join us for a hike?”

“I’m in town today! Free for dinner?”

“I have dinner plans in the evening so I can’t go hiking with you guys during the day…because, you know, timing…” …That doesn’t even sound convincing to ME…

“Errr…I would go but…I already made plans with my cats.” No, that’s not an acceptable answer.

“I’ll have to pass, but next time for sure!” There! Vague, but polite. Just make sure not to post pictures from my solo hike on the same day they went hiking and no ‘solo dinner, finally!’ type of posts either…

It’s still a struggle for me sometimes to say no to people I usually love spending time with without feeling guilty. I know it’s a cliche but really…

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The things is, I’m known for my need for alone time, my preference for doing things alone, and my love of staying at home in my lion onesie while hanging out with my cats. And yet…I still feel bad for saying no, especially when I intend to do the same activity I’m being invited to. Perhaps with time I will learn not to feel guilty for doing what I need to in order to recharge but for now…vague responses and setting a separate time to hang out it is!

Guilty or not I did end up pretty much not talking to anyone I know that weekend and it was exactly what I needed. First of all, it was an incredibly beautiful weekend due to the unusual occurrence of gorgeous autumn colors coupled with summer weather. Think fall foliage with 70 to 80 degrees F temperature. YES.

Thank you, Google Photos for this awesome stylized photo! (original wasn’t this cool)

Second, with the election going on and people commenting on the election on social media in ways that I feel are not conducive to intellectual and meaningful discussions, my social capacity bucket has been near empty pretty much everyday. Did someone poke a hole in it when I wasn’t looking? Because lately my inner grumpy cat has come out and I’m annoyed with everyone. Well, not everyone per se. Just certain types of people.

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This is not like me. I do enjoy being alone and I particularly love going on hikes by myself but spending time with those I consider my good friends usually makes me happy. But, unlike me or not it was clear to me that I needed to clear my head and so I pushed the guilt aside and went hiking. The day before I went to Sugar Hill State Park  in Watkins Glen, NY and this time I decided to check out Salt Springs State Park in Montrose, PA. I didn’t realize the food connection until just now lol! I guess I decided to go somewhere sweet since I was feeling salty. Pa dum ching! 😄

Salt Springs State Park is not actually maintained by the state contrary to what the name implies. It is, however maintained. What that means is there are marked trails and maps and everything!

Ooooh…

Aaaaahhh…

Even though the trails were marked, the path itself wasn’t as well maintained as state maintained parks, which means it looks really pretty with all the leaves on the ground!

It also means you have no idea what you’re possibly stepping on, as I came to find out when something jumped out from under my feet.

I’m very glad I stayed true to myself and went in anti-social mode this weekend because at the end of the weekend I felt more like myself again. Nature tends to have that effect on me. How could it not?

I was happy, my mind was quiet, and I felt excited about life again, even though Monday was fast approaching.

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Hiking is my therapy and I am very grateful to live in an area full of beautiful trails.


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Embrace the Shitty Day

One day I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, upside down, and in the wrong room, possibly even in the wrong house and in the wrong neighborhood. Nevertheless, I told myself everything was fine. I got up, got ready for the gym, and when I got there my mood was foul. It was as if my mood stepped on a pile of dog shit and the smell kept following me everywhere. Yes, it was very early in the morning and I’m not naturally a morning person. Yes, I’m currently injured and am limited with certain movements, which makes me very sad. And yes, I was going through a bit of boy drama at the time, which I normally overcome by lifting heavy weights, but that was not an option given my injury. Hence, the shit attitude.

However, my brain insisted that I was fine. After all, logically speaking, nothing was wrong. My brain gave a small salute to my emotions in  acknowledgement of these issues but then carried on per usual. I mean really, I’ve been through worse so this is child’s play, right? Wrong. 

I got through half of the class when I started feeling tears forming in my eyes, which for me is a very rare thing. Clearly something was wrong. Normally, I’m more like:

That day, I was more like Leslie Mann, barely able to speak without wanting to burst into tears. Fortunately for me one of the ladies at the gym immediately caught on to my mood so she suggested we go for a walk. I told her what was going on with my life and how I’m more frustrated with how I’m dealing with it more than I was about what was actually happening. And then she told me something that I will never forget. She said,

“Sometimes, people have too high of an expectation on how one should act, including themselves. It’s true that you’re normally very chipper and up, but everyone is allowed to have a bad day. You actually do have a lot going on, especially all at the same time. It’s OK not to be OK. Let yourself have a shitty day.”

While I’ve gotten better over the years in terms of acknowledging my feelings and letting myself feel like shit sometimes, it appears that I still need to learn how to embrace the shitty day even if logically it doesn’t make sense for me to feel that way. After all, since when did emotions run on logic? As I left to go home, she called out to me,

“I hope you have a good shitty day.”

And so I did. I fully embraced the shitty day and ended up having the best shitty day of my life!

Slowly but surely I’m getting closer to getting my shit together…


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When Crazy Comes Knocking On Your Door

I like to think of myself as centered. Logical. A woman who makes smart decisions. Someone who has a big heart but doesn’t let it get in the way. Able to see things from other people’s perspectives. Compassionate but still able to give out tough love when needed. But then, crazy comes knocking on my door and suddenly all of that goes out the window.

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I’m old enough to know better than to be in denial about my feelings. I’ve already experienced what happens when I pretend I don’t feel a certain way. It’s better to acknowledge it so that I can actually do something about it. Otherwise I may as well try holding back the waves with my hands. I’m better off admitting that the water isn’t smooth any longer, go get a surfboard, and learn how to ride the waves out. Or better yet, don’t go to a place that has waves. Do like TLC and don’t go chasing waterfalls. Stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to.

Well. Best laid plans and all…

So nothing dramatic happened or anything, but I did have a few days of emotional surges. My heart started feeling things it had no business feeling. I could feel myself being drawn into the crazy pit again but I couldn’t seem to stop myself. Worst yet was the fact that I knew this is what would happen if I let him in again. And yet…and yet…

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Ok, so not quite as dramatic but there were definitely feelings. I don’t really know how to explain the feelings because they weren’t quite the same feelings as before but I do know they’re feelings that are not appropriate to have towards someone who is already taken. It doesn’t matter that I’m not the one initiating conversation…as my friends have so kindly told me, I shouldn’t have replied the moment I felt uncomfortable or better yet, I shouldn’t have replied at all. Sometimes I wish I had never cracked the door open again on this and stayed in the safe zone, but it is what it is.

Then at the same time I had a new dude in my life who seemed to be following the modern rules of dating engagement. The whole, one foot in, one foot out, don’t commit to any plans, “go with the flow,” and then pretend there’s something wrong with your phone when called out on it. Aziz Ansari wonderfully explains this phenomenon known as modern dating in his book that is aptly named, Modern Romance. I highly recommend reading it. For now, allow me to share a pie graph that accurately depicts my feelings on the matter.

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So yeah…I’m going to stick to my solo adventures and hanging out with my kitties until I can get my shit together. Because really, I’d rather be alone, reading books, traveling, and doing what I do best, than to feel alone, constantly looking at my phone, responding to someone I shouldn’t be while waiting for someone else to get back to me. This is not the kind of life I want. These are not the people I should let in. It’s time for me to re-center myself and allow the universe to work its magic so I can be at peace again. Boys, bye.

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Turning Thir-thir-thirty

Around ten years ago my younger cousin was teasing me about entering my twenties and how I was “getting old.” I responded that I wasn’t old until I turned thirty, jokingly saying that it was so old I couldn’t even bring myself to say it.

“I’m not old until I turn thir…thir…thir…”

Well, on my thirtieth birthday said cousin sent me a text message that simply read,

30.

Touché, little cousin. 😂

It’s funny how ten years ago I truly did think 30 was old, even though I was joking about it. On the other hand, now I get it when people older than me would tell me back then that you don’t really start knowing who you are until you’re thirty. I was also told that it’s all downhill from there, at least physically. Do I agree? Absolutely.

For the first time I feel comfortable in my own skin. I know who I am and I’m unapologetic about it. Oh you think it’s weird that I’d rather be by myself than hang out and party? Don’t care. You think it’s strange that I’d rather meet people somewhere rather than carpool even if it means driving alone for 3 hours? I don’t feel the need to explain. I only invited certain people to celebrate my birthday with me and you weren’t one of them, so now you feel hurt? Well…I do feel bad about that but I’m also no longer giving priority to other people’s feelings when it means sacrificing my own happiness.

Physically, I’m probably in better shape now than I was in my twenties BUT I’m noticing aches and pains that I didn’t have to deal with in my younger years, even though I was also active then. I also noticed that I have to try a lot harder with my diet to maintain my size and fitness level, something that had never been an issue in the past. Would I trade my thirty year old self for my younger twenty-some year old self? Well… only if I get to keep my thirty year old mind. Otherwise, nope.

Above all how I feel about entering my thirties is captured perfectly in this photo:


I feel an immense joy and excitement at where I am in my life, physically, emotionally, professionally, and just everything-ally. I never could’ve imagined life would turn out this way for me and I am truly grateful for being this blessed. Throughout the drastic changes in my life that occurred in my twenties I’ve had tremendous support from my family and friends (both new and old). I’ve reconnected with people in my past I had previously let go of, I’ve let go of people who were toxic or detrimental to my growth, and I’ve met various people in my travels that though our acquaintance was brief, still left a meaningful impression on me.

I cannot wait to see where life takes me next!