Category Archives: perspective

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

List and destroy

A brief encounter with an old friend last week ended with an off-handed remark that it seemed to her I was behind in life. I guess in her mind the fact that I’m not dating anyone or married or engaged or popping out babies like it’s my full-time job is a little weird. While I tend to not let myself get bogged down by comments like that (I can think of a million other awesome things to be doing besides getting married), I can’t deny that a lot of non-useful thoughts have been stuck in my head. Not only are these thoughts distracting but they seem to be soaking up my time, energy, and general happy disposition so when I read this article about a three-step approach to simplifying your life and getting past the trivial things that seem to bother us, I decided to give it a try.  

I wasn’t in a particularly philosophical mindset at the time I read the article so I took the route that gave me some semblance of control. I started by writing out a list of all the things that were bothering me. I even included the petty, stupid stuff so that my list included not just the things I needed or wanted to get done but also things people said or people I don’t like (I’m sure we can all guess who made the list). Once my list was complete, I went through each item and pinpointed some immediate, tangible step I could take to address the issue. Even if I knew I couldn’t resolve the issue right then and there I could at least pinpoint an immediate step I could take to make progress towards the end goal. Just like larger school or work projects, breaking down overwhelming feelings into smaller tidbits has been helpful in alleviating stress. Plus, I’ve found that this process has been a good way of recognizing that while some things are petty and not so important in the larger realm of life, my feelings are still valid and little things do matter (as much as we try not to let them).

Since writing my list of things bothering me, I’ve destroyed more than half of the action steps listed (and all in one night at that). The list ranges from menial stuff like “the fact I have a food baby –> do 15 situps” to more serious things like “Forbes says I should have 3 professional mentoring relationships and I have none –> email Eric already!” and “Not being present in the moment –> buy a new gratitude journal and write down all the things you’re loving today.” Overall, I’ve found the process to be really helpful in changing my disposition. And call me anal, but I love that it makes me feel more in control about the trivial (and not-so trivial) aspects of life.

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As an aside, for all those people out there who are engaged or getting married or dating someone or popping out babies … I am genuinely happy for you because your life is fuller and richer in so many different ways than mine. Someday that will be me but right now I’m perfectly okay with being right where I am. ❤

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Filed under happiness, lists, perspective

Bittersweet days

This weekend has been a bittersweet one. It’s been filled with an abundance of love and joy but also a bit of sadness too.

Friday night I threw a small surprise going away party for my Mom who moved to Wisconsin this weekend to start a new job and chapter of her life. Additionally, my Dad will officially retire on September 30. He’ll be moving up to join my Mom after that. For those who are well familiar with the trials and health issues our family has faced over the last three years, it finally feels like it has come to an official end. Dad is once again healthy and enjoying life. Mom is back on her feet and diving into work. It’s a fresh new start for everyone and while I’ll definitely miss having them just around the corner, I am so excited for them. It’s even got me thinking about where I’ll end up a few years from now once I finish grad school. You never know!

I also got to watch my sweet nephew, Knox, overnight Friday night. I was somewhat worried how Miley would do since she’s never been around a baby before but I was so proud of her. She acted like such a big sister and sat by him the whole time. They played together in the morning and the cutest thing ever to watch is Knox grabbing Miley’s face and rubbing his in her fur – it made my heart melt.

I did have a revelation watching him overnight though. While Knox is probably the easiest going baby I’ve ever been around, I realized how un-ready I am to have a baby at this point in my life. At times, when I see people my age married and with kids, I will look at them and think, “I wish I had that too.” I guess the good thing about borrowing kids is you see how even though you may want that someday, maybe now isn’t the right time for it. I suppose I’m still at that stage in my life where I’m selfish with my free time and things I want to do that having a dog is strapping enough. My big revelation: I’m really not jealous of my married friends with kids. I’m happy for them but I enjoy being the aunt. I don’t want to be the Mom – yet.

Saturday evening Liz and her sister came over for dinner. I botched a turkey burger/pineapple recipe which taught me that I should actually look up recipes instead of throwing stuff together. I was probably missing a binder ingredient of some sort because the burgers fell apart and in fact, they just tasted really gross. Nobody ate it. On the bright side, though, I did fill up on home-made salsa and pasta salad. Both were delicious and lucky for me Liz left the containers here so it also serves as my Sunday snack.

After my rendezvous with Liz and Andrea, I met up with another friend. My night turned sour fast and I was reminded just how brutally mean girls can be. I am forgiving and loving, sometimes to a fault. For the first time in a really long time I cried myself to sleep. Normally I take my Dad’s advice and allow a pity party for one day but I woke up this morning really not wanting to let myself dwell on something I can’t change or have control over. Instead, I’m going to use today and make the time to treat myself. I went on a long hike with Miley this morning on the MKT trail, I have a spa day booked this afternoon, and I’ll be spending my evening with family at a BBQ.

I have always loved the zen saying the journey is the reward and today I’m having to remind myself to keep that in perspective. Everything happens for a reason even if you may not understand why right now.

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I’m an ENFJ. What are you?

Last Friday, during dinner with some friends, one of the topics of discussion was a personality quiz that two of them had taken and how spot on the analysis was of their personality traits. At the end of the conversation I had already resolved to take the quiz myself but when I started reading another book on my summer reading list today, A Girls Guide to Being a  Boss Without Being a Bitch, I read a chapter on working in environments that have different personality traits among colleagues and how you interact with each person will vary based on “who” they are. Although I’m not in a management position, I still believe a lot of what’s in this book can influence how I perform in my current role. I feel like there are always going to be areas of improvement in my professional life so I found the book to be enlightening as I set out on my path of career development. I would highly recommend reading it.

So, all that being said, my friend sent me the link to the personality test and I took it this afternoon. I’m an ENFJ, meaning extrovert(33%), intuitive(38%), intuitive feeling(38%), and judging(67%). Interestingly enough, I’m only moderately ENF but very distinctly J. Taken from the book, I’ve listed out exactly what each of these personality traits mean. I’m not sure if I’m a firm believer or that I think ENFJ is an accurate portrayal of my personality. Or, maybe I just perceive myself differently? I guess my biggest point of contention is listed on the most distinct quality – Judging. I have always envisioned myself as more spontaneous, open, and flexible in life – even my friends describe me that way. But truth be told, even when I’m being spontaneous, I have a clear, concise plan in mind. So maybe this damn personality test is right.

Extroversion
“E”s are energized by having interactions with others and may often speak without thinking something through. They are people of action and present their best abilities to the world.

Intuition
“N”s gather information through relationships and concepts – picking things up by watching, grasping ideas before getting to grips with details.

Feeling
“F”s make decisions subjectively and personally based on what they feel is right. Decisions are based more on their emotions and the feelings of others rather than logic. -As a side note, I know my parents will read this and say bullshit partly because I analyze situations to the max, but at the end of the day, I always go with what my heart wants. Prime example: all those times I broke up with old boyfriends and went right back to them.

Judging
“J”s prefer to live planned and structured lives, having things settled and decided (boo).

What I found most interesting is the section related to what career paths best suit your personality. At the top of my list is counseling and social work. Numerous times I’ve been told I should be a life coach, and well, currently the work I do and am qualified in doing is in the social service arena. I feel proud that despite reason and all logic, I chose a major in undergrad that had no clear direction but whose content made me feel enlightened and whole inside – like I could really make a difference and impact the world in some way, some day. The more I think about it, maybe ENFJ does suit me. I had a blast with this this afternoon and now I feel like I need a long life-chat with someone  just to muse it all over.

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