Category Archives: personal growth

How to deal with uncertainty

Dealing with uncertainty isn’t my strong suit. In fact, I’m a compulsive worrier so an ambiguous future tends to leave me feeling overwhelmed and anxious. I like stability, or at least knowing the general direction my life is headed in. For the last several months, though, I’ve been operating in complete tandem to that notion. And then yesterday, I finally just realized the chaos isn’t going away. It is what it is…until it isn’t anymore. So for now, I have to learn to deal with uncertainty the best way I know how.

1) Embrace the chaos

I’ve quickly realized my downward spiral of emotions is typically because of my temptation to dwell on my current situation and then to become obsessive about what the future holds. Living in a constant state of uncertainty the last couple of months means I’ve literally imagined every doomsday scenario imaginable. I wonder about the unknown, I set goals for where I want to be in the future, and then when I’m not sure I’ll get there all hell breaks loose. I blame myself. I obsess. I ask, “Why me?” And in the end I feel more helpless and anxious than ever before. When I asked my intuitive reader what I can change about myself to make my life richer, she promptly told me to stop over analyzing and obsessing about everything. Be present and enjoy the moment. Life never goes the way we planned for it to go anyways. Take comfort in the fact that when things get really shitty, it often opens up new doors and opportunities. Hard times – the uncertain times – are humbling experiences that test our willpower and certainly present challenges. BUT with every challenge also comes opportunity. So, embrace the chaos and uncertainty. I promise you something positive will come out of your situation, even if you don’t believe it right now. On that note, though…

2) Make peace with time

…opportunities don’t always present themselves in a nicely wrapped gift box and they don’t always come when we want them to. I realize that anxious feelings are temporary and fleeting, that every moment of panic comes to an end and that I’m still okay in the end – whether it works in my favor or not.  I continue to remind myself to take deep breaths, that everything happens (or doesn’t happen) for a reason, and that my future goals aren’t a matter of “if” but when. It’s really hard not to be disheartened when things don’t go your way but you have to keep moving forward. I remind myself to be thankful for the little steps I’ve made along the way and for the opportunities that continue to present themselves, albeit in their own sweet time. Keep going, keep moving forward, and keep living (my third point!).

3) Don’t let limbo keep you from living your life

For the last two weeks, I’ve thrown a one-woman pity party. I really hadn’t done much of anything until a friend of mine drug me out of the house and took me on my first ever Fear Fest experience. And guess what? I had the greatest time. I decided amongst the zombies and scary creatures chasing me in the Forgotten Forest that instead of fretting about what may be ahead, I need to do something that makes me happy. Screaming bloody murder and nearly peeing my pants made me happy. And it made me laugh uncontrollably. So this week, amidst the uncertainty, I’ll still be living and doing all the things I love: cooking, reading, writing, playing with my dog, shaking my ass at Zumba, and doing downward dogs at hot yoga. Yes – uncertainty remains, but life goes on. And I have a really great life.

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Filed under happiness, lessons learned, personal growth, perspective, self, well-being

Life as I know it

The title may sound poetic but I promise you it’s not. Life has just been busy so I figure the best way to get everyone up to speed is to recap the last month and a half of my life in one full swoop.

Really exciting, I crossed two things off my 30 before 30 list:
1. Set up a retirement account. I feel very grown up having a financial advisor who does everything and anything I need him to. We’ve decided to be “aggressive” in the market and while he warned me I may not like him some months I warned him I would probably never even notice.
2. Be a vegetarian for 30 days. Surprisingly, going vegetarian was really easy. The only difficult aspect was having to plan my meals so far in advance and ensure there were vegetarian options available when I was on the road traveling for work. In fact, now that my 30 days are up I’ve actually decided to stick to the new diet. It’s now been six weeks, which is also the amount of time you need to build – or break – habits.

Going vegetarian has meant spending a lot of time in the kitchen trying out new recipes. I honestly can’t think of a meal I made and didn’t like these past six weeks but here are a few recipes I tried and absolutely loved:
1. Spring rolls – I didn’t follow this recipe at all but it was what I started with. I ended up using a basic cole slaw mix and instead of eating it raw with the rice paper, I sautéed the mixture in various seasonings. A very easy recipe albeit a bit time-consuming but they were oh so yummy!
2. Hummus spinach bake – I actually didn’t use a recipe for this. I happened to be using one of those input the ingredients you have into a computer generator and it lists different dishes you can make. Out of that came a plate of hummus and sautéed spinach topped with shredded cheese. I put it in the oven on 350 for about 15 minutes. It was nice and bubbly and paired well with the pita chips and carrots I already had on hand.
3. Zucchini pizza boats – They don’t make for great leftovers since zucchini contains so much extra water but they were fantastic straight out of the oven. Plus there are a ton of variations for toppings. Variety is nice!
4. Stuffed peppers – I love peppers and anything that goes in them. Quinoa is my new favorite super food and these are perfect for grilling out with friends. I have found that Mexican is the easiest vegetarian go-to dish for me.

I had a few other health related goals for the month. One goal was to complete all of my outstanding health exams and another was to beef up the exercise routine. A few things worth mentioning:
1. $500 later it turns out I am, in fact, still healthy. Go me!
2. I tried two new fitness classes: a hip hop dance class and Krav Maga. Not only can I booty bump with the best of em’ but I also found a socially acceptable way of releasing my inner rage. If Krav Maga didn’t cost $150/month I would definitely get a membership.

So you don’t think I’m two-dimensional talking about health and fitness, I did have a few fun things going on this past month and a half. At the top of my list:
1. A few friends and I spent a weekend in the Old Cabin at Blue Jay Farms, which we all know is my favorite Missouri get-away spot! Of course Miley dog joined us. I love make your stomach hurt bouts of laughing and I have plenty of those moments with my home girl Lizard. See below. We made an oriental themed dinner, played a new card game, swam, read, hiked to a waterfall, and picked blueberries. I love that place!

liz

2. I hadn’t seen my Mom since Christmas so I’ve been missing some quality mother-daughter time. Over the 4th of July weekend my parents decided to come down and visit for about a week. We spent time boating at the lake, visiting family and friends, watching movies, snuggling, and dancing/drinking our butts off at the winery. It was a fabulous time and I’m missing them already!

photo

3. Oh yeah, Dad finally sent me the pictures of our trip to El Salvador. I’ll aim to get those up at some point once I sift through the 2,000+ photos but here are a few teasers.

elsalv

elsalv2

And of course I wouldn’t be me if there wasn’t a little bit of self-introspection thrown in the mix. A few self-revelations:
1. Attitude up! I wish I could coin this phrase but I actually learned it at a sexual harassment training I went to for work. I say it all the time now. It serves as a good reminder that we all have the power to change our dispositions. When you’re stressed, feeling overwhelmed, and just consumed or surrounded by negativity it helps to keep things in perspective and to remember that you have the power to keep a positive attitude and mind. It’s sort of like Gretchen Rubin’s think happy, be happy motto.
2. How to live a life of well-being. Martin Seligman proposed a scientific model of happiness and well-being called PERMA. Essentially it states that in order for one to live a flourishing life, there are five basic motivations behind any decision or action made: positive emotion, engagement, relationship building, meaning, and achievement. People do their best work and are happiest when these five elements are being met. I could dedicate an entire blog post to this particular concept as I’ve become enthralled with the scientific model so much that I’ve begun incorporating it into my work culture and everyday life. My poor colleagues have been subjected to team building exercises this past week but I actually think they enjoyed them. If anything I can tell it brought us all closer together (R and M – meaningful relationships). Anyways, I’ll save you the rambling – go check it out!

While this post certainly doesn’t capture everything that went on the past month and a half, I feel a little less overwhelmed jumping back into the blogging world. I keep waiting for my time to free up and devote to writing again but the truth is I just need to make it a priority again (more on that later).

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Filed under 30 before 30, blogging, cooking, family, goals, happiness, health, personal growth, self-introspection, vegetarianism, well-being

February highlights

To be honest, I accomplished about a third of the goals I set in February but surprisingly I feel like I went through more personal growth than I did in January. It’s been a tough month for me but there were definitely some great highs. Like last month though, I don’t want to bore you with the details. So, here are some of the highlights of my month of singlehood:

  • When I began looking at my schedule for the month of February, I knew I’d need some time to recharge so I ended up booking a trip to visit a friend of mine in Saint Petersburg, Florida for an extra long weekend. While I didn’t get a chance to write about the trip, it was a relaxing and invigorating time. Some of the highlights were spending the day at a farmer’s market and listening to local bands, exploring, playing giant jenga at the bar, skinny dipping, doing a little life planning (I talked TJ into moving to Belize in May!), and making new friends. Perhaps my favorite part of traveling is always the people I end up meeting – I even got a pen pal out of the trip!
  • One of the ways I wanted to challenge myself this month was to praise singlehood rather than reject it. So, I decided to make a list of all the things I love about being single. While I put this particular goal off for the end of the month (mainly because I thought it would be hard) it actually turned out to be relatively easy. I found I rather love being single and that the idea of being alone doesn’t really scare me. If anything, I’ve learned I’m more comfortable in my own skin than I thought and I find that kind of confidence sexy.
  • My effort to reach out, forgive, purge, and let go brought more heartbreak than I bargained for this month but overall I felt like I made a lot of progress in moving forward with my life. I will admit I was not 100% successful in this venture (old habits die-hard). What was particularly hard for me to accept at a time where I was trying SO hard to overcome one of my weaknesses was realizing there are instances where it’s okay to put up some walls for a bit and focus on yourself. If anything, this particular venture brought more self-awareness and personal growth than anything else and I am grateful for that.

It seems as if February has flown by and while I wish I would have had more time, I’m kind of looking forward to a new month. As you know, a new month means new goals. Stay tuned!

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Filed under give more love, goals, personal growth, self-awareness, singlehood

5 reasons why I love being single

In general, what I love about singlehood are the opportunities for personal growth. Unusually attune to this aspect of my life over the past month, I’ve been jotting down daily notes and writing journal entries about my experiences. Sifting through it all, I find it fitting to end my month of singlehood by sharing the five reasons why I love being single. Here they are!

1. Freedom to choose. At this point in my life, the only consideration and well-being of others that I have to take into account are my animals. In general, I have the space and luxury to make decisions and act on those decisions relative to my own wants and likes. I can follow my heart wherever it may lead me – from moving half-way across the world to wearing yoga pants and sweatshirts 5/7 days of the week. The freedom to choose is liberating (and comfy).

2. Copious amounts of space. We all know I like solitude and alone time; that I find it comforting more so than lonely. For me, the hardest part of dating is having to give up my space – both literally and figuratively. My personal bubble remains in tact almost 100% of the time. I also really love not having to share a bed.

3. I’m getting stronger. Being alone forces you to face your past, present, and future. Over the past year, I’ve been able to pin point my weaknesses and while I know I can’t overcome them 100% of the time, I have learned how to change my disposition. I’ve grown and it’s been painful and heartbreaking at times, but I am a stronger woman because of it. I was happy to know that those I’m closest to have seen the changes as well. An old college friend of mine just told me last week he was proud of how strong a person I’ve become which inspired me add it to my list of reasons why I love being single.

4. Deeper relationships. I always feel like a horrible friend when I’m dating someone. Not because I don’t want to hang out with my friends, but because I’m so caught up in living in that moment with that one person that I usually end up neglecting my friendships along the way. What I love about singlehood is not only am I a better friend in terms of spending quality time together, but the time and energy I put forth in maintaining those friendships ultimately deepens them.

5. Sense of adventure. When people think Lindsay they usually pin point me as a free-spirit. I will always have a sense of adventure, up-for-anything attitude but in singlehood I’m doubly so. I’m more likely to step outside my comfort zone and try new activities from traveling to cooking and everything in between. And while relationships are exciting and adventurous too, it’s a different kind of adventure. I can be crazy and care-free and do things now that wouldn’t fly if I were in a committed relationship – like going out to the bars and skinny dipping at 4am with people I just met (I did do that this month).

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Filed under goals, personal growth, self-awareness, singlehood

An instrument of my own heartache

As part of my overall intention to live a balanced life, I made it a goal this month to reach out, forgive, purge and let go of past grievances, mementos, and memories I’ve hung on to from my previous relationships. After all, it’s hard to keep moving forward when you’re still hanging on to pieces of the past. I initially decided to take on this project because I felt that to truly love my singlehood and embrace my independence, I needed to take the time to nurture my health, especially in mind and spirit, and address the angst, stress, and unhappiness I sometimes feel about the fact that I am single (dating is kind of scary).

I was perhaps a little naïve in how I thought I would react to the process of sifting through old letters and photos I’ve hung onto for years. I had hoped the process would be cathartic and in fact, I actually thought I would feel indifferent to the inanimate objects I clung to. I figured enough time had passed that I would almost feel a sense of nostalgia going through everything, but I was wrong. I actually feel like I opened up old wounds and I ended up making myself cry – a lot. For a moment, I truly felt the unhappiness of my happiness project and that by deciding to dig deep I was the very instrument of my own heart ache.

It’s very easy to stick something on a shelf or in a file cabinet and forget about its existence. I should know. I’ve operated on an out of sight, out of mind mindset for years now. All I can say is it only delays the inevitable. At some point, you need to sit with whatever it is you feel and truly feel it. In this instance, I felt the anger and the hurt but I also felt the love. And by letting myself feel the love I had for them, I also began to accept it. There is an exact moment in my emotional break down where I admitted that if I were honest with myself, I would say I sometimes miss these people and that sometimes I still want them. Each of these people have shaped me in remarkably positive ways and while I appreciate their existence in my life I am ultimately grateful to them for their exit from it. Because, as Liz told me, “Sometimes you have to think beyond what you want and start considering what you deserve.”

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Filed under goals, letting go, love, personal growth, singlehood, unhappiness

Friendship success

Overall, it’s been a successful month for friendship. Oftentimes, the trap of setting monthly goals is that they become another item on an ever-growing to-do list rather than an opportunity to relish in personal growth and self-awareness. I myself have fallen into this trap many times. Knowing this, though, I went into the new year with the mindset of using my monthly goals as a means to furthering my three intentions for the year: find joy/fulfillment in creativity, live a balanced life, and give more love. By doing this, I’ve found that my focus is not so much on getting a gold star or putting an X in an excel document (yep, I have an intentions tracking log broken down by monthly goals – call me crazy) but on learning more about myself. There are days I didn’t accomplish each of the goals I set, but overall I made a lot of strides. As a result, I’ve found things I rather enjoy and also things I don’t particularly enjoy. I’m learning more about me and focusing less on the affirmation of a filled excel document (the equivalent of an “atta boy!”). I think that’s something to be celebrated and so rather than bore you with the details I decided to just share some of the highlights of my month of friendship:

  • One of my goals for the year is to read one new book a month. Perhaps it’s because I had more free time in my month and a half off school (which is why I will stick to the one new book a month rule) I actually ended up reading four additional books. Full disclosure is that two of them were audio books so maybe they don’t technically qualify, but I’m counting them anyways. I also discovered a website called Good Reads which lets you create your own list of books to read and rate the books you’ve read. AND, the website even gives you recommendations for books to read based on your ratings of others. I am enthralled with it, which probably speaks volumes about my nerdy-ness.
  • Each month I hope to add one new element to my daily health regimen. This month it was flossing and I am proud to say I went from absolutely never flossing to flossing at least once a day. Well, almost. I missed a few in there, but overall I was quite successful in the venture. I can’t wait to wow my dentist at my next cleaning.
  • As a not so crafty person I took on two challenges this month to find the joy and fulfillment in creativity: take one photo a week (I really dislike taking photos, but I love having them) and craft a photo album to put those photos in. I’ve accomplished both although I don’t know what it says about me that the majority of my photo-ops are of food.
  • My effort to spend more time with my friends has ultimately made me appreciate the presence and value they add to my life. I’ve always known friendships influence who you are and what you do but I think because I was so focused on the concept this month that I was more attune to the ways in which they actually do influence me. From my new-found appreciation for left overs to new cooking ventures or workout routines to embracing being set up on blind dates. I’ve realized just how much my friends inspire me – I am one lucky gal.

Like Liz, I’m ready for January to be over so I can set out on some new ventures and monthly goals. January was fun, but let’s bring on February!

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Filed under books, creativity, friends, goals, intentions, personal growth, self-awareness

My quarter life crisis

People laugh at me when I tell them I’m approaching my quarter-life crisis but I am dead serious. Even though I’m six months early in the freak out department, I can’t help but have these feelings of anxiety and uncertainty about what my future holds. My life feels pretty routine and monotonous, something I never thought it would be at this age. Not that my life is horrible – I love coming home to my cute little bungalow and happy-go-lucky dog but naturally its sparked a lot of self introspection. Luckily, I have the good fortune to be able to mull it over with a few like-minded and inspirational people.

I had brunch on Sunday with a friend and when I was talking about my relentless fear of being “stuck” way before I’m ready to be, he mentioned something that really struck a chord with me. That your 20s are about exploration and that exploration doesn’t always mean jumping on a plane and jet-setting across the world. You have this constant hunger and thirst for more – more knowledge, more love, more self-awareness and understanding. You just want more. The more you do (not just think about doing), the more you’re going to grow as a person. And I really took that to heart.

One of the things I want to do to celebrate hitting the milestone 25 is to do something meaningful and which gives me the opportunity to grow. Recently I’ve become interested in organic and sustainable farming but I know absolutely nothing about it. The friend I had brunch with told me about an organization called WWOOF – World Wide Opportunities for Organic Farming – where you get the opportunity to mix travel with volunteer experience. Essentially, you exchange a little bit of hard work for some local knowledge and free room and board. After researching it, it’s definitely something I’ve added to my bucket list.

While I’m still trying to pinpoint details, my official plans for the 25th birthday is a two-week backpacking trip to where else but Central America! One week will be spent volunteering on an organic farm and the other will be spent immersed in the culture, exploring the sites. My cousin Jenna is actually WWOOFing it up in Guatemala as I’m writing this so I’m dying to hear back from her once she is stateside.

I’m so excited not only because this trip gives me something to look forward to, but it also inspires me to continue finding ways to grow and expand here in Columbia. I actually blogged at the beginning of 2012 that my word for the year was “stuck”. Well, for 2013 my new word is expand. Time’s a wasting people!

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Filed under new adventures, personal growth, quarter-life crisis, self-awareness, self-introspection