Give Thanks

I began the morning of Thanksgiving with an awesome champagne hangover, (they should put a warning on the bottle), and, to be completely honest, a feeling of self-pity.

Why? Because I am spending Thanksgiving away from my family for the fifth year in a row, with no turkey and no pumpkin pie with Cool Whip- that’s why.

So, as I spoke with my mom on the phone and told her my sob story (consisting of my self-inflicted drunken shenanigans of last night which led to my current feeling of sickness and altogether aloneness on Thanksgiving), I realized something.

I realized that I have a phone to call my family on. I realized that the reason I’m not spending Thanksgiving with my family is because they support me at an out-of-state college and have for the past five years (sorry about the victory lap). I realized that I did have friends invite me to their Thanksgivings, but I had too much pride and I am too “strong and independent” (am I, though?) to say yes. I realized that the feeling of self-pity was ultimately pathetic, ungrateful, and not what I choose to feel today.

I then decided to try something.

I started to spend what felt like the majority of my morning attempting to text all those that have made an impact on my life or that I am grateful for.

After about an hour and a half-battery life, I realized something else- something more.

I have an insane amount of people and things to be grateful for.

And we all do.

We are all living in an incredible world where we can truly do whatever we want. We are all alive. We all have passions, we all have goals. We all have things that make us feel alive.

So today, I am grateful for life, for this planet, for my passions, for my homework (yeah, education is kind of cool), for my mistakes, for my flaws, for my lessons learned along the way. For everything, really- because being overwhelmed with how truly awesome life is, is the best feeling in the world, and I am grateful it is possible.

Not only am I grateful, but I want to give some overdue “thanks.”

I want to thank each person that has walked in and out of my life, I want to thank each person that has stayed. I want to thank each person that has supported me in my endeavors, and I want to thank each person that has shot me down. I want to thank the friends I’ve had since I was in preschool, and I want to thank the friends I have met within the past year (also maybe the friends I met last night, not sure). I want to thank each person in my life that loves me for me, that accepts my crazy flaws and that puts up with my “my life is a disclaimer and I worry a lot” self.

I want to thank everyone in my life, for simply being in my life.

And I wish it didn’t take until today for me to do this.

But you see, the cool thing about life is that you can start something new at any moment, with no apologies- so everyone- THANKS.

 

 

 

One. Big. Excuse.

859e4aaf34d4718d89edc79183326ec1I often reflect on my life.

I reflect on my choices, decisions, my experiences. I reflect on my conversations and my readings. I reflect through writing, which you then see posted to my social mediums because I figure why not share it, right?

I’ve learned a lot about myself and life through these reflections. I’ve realized how far I’ve come, yet I’ve also realized how far I have to go. And what I love about it most, really, is that no matter how much I reflect, no matter how much I write, I know that I will always have more to learn, more to reflect on, and in turn more reasons to continue to write.

So today as I reflected on some of my choices that have been apparent in the past couple of months as I drove around blasting “Blank Space” (yeah, I know), I realized something.

What started as a realization that I had started to take Reno for granted (previous blog post), turned into something a little bit bigger than that.

Just as Taylor Swift said, “I can read you like a magazine” (again, I know), it hit me. My life as of late has been one big excuse to not live the life that I truly want to live.

One… big… excuse.

That’s a bold statement (or I guess thought, I haven’t started talking to myself…yet).

I don’t want to start a workout plan because I only have 4 weeks until I go home for winter break and I don’t like the gym I have a pass to now. I don’t want to start teaching dance in Reno because I might move in 6 months. I don’t want to join another organization because who knows if I’ll be moving and why would I get more involved. I don’t want to start actually blogging as a job because I have school and other stuff to work on. I don’t want to start choreographing and dancing more because I want to get in shape first (wait, what?).

I don’t want to do all of these things that I clearly actually do want to do. Why? Well, because.

Because excuses are easy. Because excuses don’t let you down. Because excuses are more simple than actually living in the moment.

So what if you might move soon? So what if it isn’t the right time? So what if you’re scared? So what?

I’m tired of waiting for things that I’ve made up in my own head as reasons to wait to live the life I want. I’m tired of not doing things I love because I’m scared of failing. I’m tired of waiting for the weekend, for the summer, for things to be “better.” I’m tired of saying “because.”

Why do we constantly make excuses to stop ourselves from doing what we want to do?

I don’t have that answer, but I do have the solution: don’t.

 

Thanks, Reno

1397545_10201350403621154_293253365_oIt has recently come to my attention that I had become ungrateful for the place that I lived.

Having moved from the beautiful mountains of Montana (we just got electricity, didn’t you hear?), Reno surprisingly stole my heart over the first four years of my time here. The community, the school and the area have worked their way into my soul. Reno is home.

The extensive growth and feeling of community that has come to me throughout my short time here is unbelievable. These four years have allowed me to grow into a new and confident person, but also into my true self. The community feeling has been embedded in my soul, it has allowed me to plant myself here and watch my roots grow.

Moving here from Montana was a big step. Joining different organizations and getting involved in the Reno community were big steps. Along with those big steps, though, came little doubt. The Biggest Little City has a sense of belonging, of purpose that continuously drives me to push through my doubt, to silence my fear.

Reno has turned into a place that I call home. A place that has allowed me to grow. A place that has given me the confidence to go out and conquer my dreams. A place that has given me the opportunity needed to flourish. A place where I have met best friends, mentors and inspirational people. A place that I will come back to, always.

A place that I have no doubts, will do big things.

Yet when anyone asks me what I want to do when I graduate (I DON’T KNOW), I always say I can’t wait to get out.

Why is that?

Why is it that I feel the need to flea this place. This place that has taught me who I do and don’t want to be. This place that I have immersed myself in and grown to love. This place that I love for a reason- because it’s pretty f***ing awesome.

I don’t.

I don’t feel the need to leave. I don’t feel that if I do leave, it would be because I need to, but because moving to Reno has taught me so much about myself that I want to do it all over again- I want to grow in a new place again, and then I want to come back to Reno and say thanks.

I want to say thanks.

Thanks for teaching me what I am capable of. Thanks for believing in me. Thanks for allowing me to stay and loving me, even when I forgot how lucky I was to have you.

And so, I might be here for just 6 more months, I might be here for six more years, I might be here the rest of my life. What I know is that it will always have a place in my heart, I will always come back and I will never take it for granted again (or at least I’ll try).

Thanks, Reno.

One Thing

Often, I think we look over just how much our words matter.

It’s amazing how one thing that one person says can just stick with you.

You mull it over in your brain, whether it’s inspiring, thought-provoking, or just a nice thought (and in some unfortunate cases, not so nice).

The comment made may not have been meant for anything other than simple conversation, and the person that said it probably doesn’t understand how much it resonated with you.

Yet as you sit there thinking about it, it has a power over you. It causes you to look at certain things differently, potentially causes you to be inspired to make a change.

And there’s a chance that that person will never know.

And so, it is important to realize the impact you could have.

Think about the many people you have had conversations with in your life. Some of those people, people you might not even remember, may have mulled over in their head one little thing that you said to them.

That’s pretty amazing.

So, next time you have an interaction with someone, remember that what you say matters. Remember that that person might need some inspiration, some positive energy. Remember that that person might take what you say to heart. Remember to be authentic to yourself, yet mindful of others.

And maybe, you should tell that person how much something that they said meant to you. Maybe it’s exactly what that person needs to hear (I won’t be doing that in this case, because, well, I’m working on it and right now I would rather write an ambiguous blog about it instead).

Even if you don’t realize it, your potential for impact on others is insanely vast.

You leave something of yourself with everyone you meet, make sure it matters.

Idling vs. Gratitude

10670112_10203798729987783_8819617012459070084_nIdling: (verb) to move aimlessly or lazily.

Lately when people ask me how I’m doing, I answer, “good you know, just kind of ‘bla.'”

“What do you mean ‘bla?'”

“You know, I feel as though I’m sort of idling through life, ready for the next thing, just trying to get through my obligations now.”

For the past couple of weeks, I had accepted this.

I wake up, go to work, go to school, come home, watch TV, do it over again.

My sense of excitement for life, my need for new challenges, and my obsession with the potential of each day was gone, and what was there was someone just existing, doing what had to be done and nothing more.

And that isn’t a bad thing, I’ve still been doing generally well, but for me, it’s not enough.

It happens, people do it all time. Students get over school, employees get over their job, residents get over their town.

It happens, yes. Do I choose to accept it? Absolutely not.

“Idling” through life, should not be an option.

You wake up, upset about the obligations in front of you for the day, because, well, does anyone really love Mondays? When what you should be thinking of is how lucky you are to be alive, to have obligations to go to.

I think in my quest to attain so many goals and improve in all aspects of my life, I had forgotten to practice gratitude, to appreciate just how blessed I am and appreciate the fact that I can set goals, that I can work toward them, that I am where I already am today.

Maybe the reason I let myself slip into this mindset of “idling” is because of the unknown coming up (for real, what I am I going to write on my graduation cap?) Maybe it’s because I’m human and it happens. But maybe, it’s because I forgot to remember how lucky I am to even be here, doing what I do every day.

Whatever the reason, gratitude, appreciation and realizing the vast potential life offers are the answers.

Will I wake up every day absolutely thrilled to get ready and go? Probably not. Will I be overly excited for each meeting I need to attend? I mean, I doubt it.

Will I often remind myself of how incredible life is and how much I have? Absolutely.

Because once you remember that, you’ll remember your values, you’ll appreciate the little things, you’ll remember that it’s a gift to be able to read that book, a blessing to be able to workout.

You’ll remember that you are not idling through life, because life is too (effing) awesome for that. There is too much greatness in each day to idle, too many things to learn and people to meet. Too many goals to be reached, too many people to tell that you love.

Idling (verb): to move aimlessly or lazily.

Versus…

Gratitude: a feeling of appreciation or thanks.

You choose.

 

One Niche

Find your niche. Follow your passion.

Okay.

Know what you want, and go after it.

Okay.

For awhile there I did, and I was… I do, and I am- I don’t know.

I have recently become one of the most driven people I know, sure of exactly what I want to do and where I want to go. I have been practicing proactivity and setting myself up for that picture perfect future. And some days, that’s still exactly what I want.

Other days (like last Friday when I realized that I actually have no idea what I’m doing in six months, and, if I set myself up for it right, I can potentially do whatever the hell I want), that’s not what I want, or at least I don’t know if it is.

I don’t believe that we all have just one “niche.”

One day I want to be a corporate PR pro in a city, and the next I want to be a writer for a small magazine in Montana. One day I want to move to North Carolina and waitress while I work on my novel (I’m the next Nicholas Sparks, didn’t you know), and the next I want to be a dance choreographer in LA. One day I want to follow my passion for theatre in New York, and the next I want to go get my graduate degree and become a professor.

Literally (I can’t) all of the above thoughts have ran through my head in the past week or so, and I guess I’m writing this to tell myself that that’s okay.

One day I am certain, the next unsure.

I don’t believe that this is an odd feeling for individuals to experience at different points in their lives. Although it probably resonates well with many graduating seniors- I think, and I hope, that other people often feel it too.

Because feeling uncertain and unsure is not a bad thing.

I am not complacent.

I won’t satisfy for a life that I don’t love. I won’t satisfy for a life lacking purpose. I won’t satisfy for a life less than what it has the potential to be.

This is an exhausting, scary and absolutely rewarding mindset to have.

We all have many passions, many loves. We all have many dreams. It’s okay to not know exactly what path you are going to take, it’s okay to be a little bit unsure if you’re on the right one.

It’s okay to be content and happy in your path and yet often take a step back and reflect on where you are.

What’s not okay, is wondering “what if,” or wondering if the fact that you don’t know exactly where you are headed somehow puts you at a disadvantage.

If you want to do something, try it. If you aren’t willing to make the sacrifices to obtain that goal, you will soon find out. If you want to move somewhere, go. If you don’t, you probably didn’t want to in the first place. If you want to write something, write it. If you don’t, maybe it wasn’t meant to be.

If you’ve found your niche, if you’re sure of your path, continue to work hard, and realize that if you change your mind tomorrow, that’s okay. If you see others that appear to know exactly where they’re headed, realize that maybe they don’t so much (#holla).

If you don’t know exactly what you want, realize that’s okay and do some searching- fail a few times, go with the flow, work hard in each endeavor- the answer isn’t always limited to one fill in the blank, one niche.

 

One. Complicated. Question.

What do you want to do when you graduate?

Believe me, you don’t want to know.

This question comes up more often than not. Whether it’s from your peers that are scouting out what everyone around them is doing (what’s up), or from that one distant relative at Thanksgiving- this question will be asked within the last months of your collegiate career, and probably more than once.

The problem, is that neither party involved is ever really ready for the answer.

Our answers are always catered to the person asking the question, and the responses are never what we want to hear.

I usually go into a long, confusing, and seemingly ambitious storyline of my life and each job I plan on holding to get to where I ultimately want to be.

This response is usually given a glazed look of boredom (understandably so), a “wow that’s very ambitious” comment, a “you’re an adorable little dreamer, aren’t you?” smile and nod, or a look of puzzlement as they try to figure out what in the world a public relations professional with an emphasis in digital strategy and writing in fact does (and in all fairness- I’m not entirely sure either).

The other option I tend to go with, is simply stating my major, and explaining that I just want a job and I’m open to anything in my field at this point, any place at this point, as long as I’m employed and generally happy.

This response of mine, which appears more logical I suppose, will get the “that’s a great outlook, so you can really figure out what you want to do” reaction, or the “so you’re pretty unsure about what you want and where you’re going” hug (no, actually I’m pretty sure, I just didn’t want to get into it and risk previous reactions).

Both of my responses are true, and all of these reactions are valid.

However, as you can imagine, these short conversations aren’t always the most fun or stimulating- and that’s no one’s fault. They usually leave us with a mild sense of disappointment, neither person leaving feeling completely fulfilled or having gotten what they wanted out of the conversation. We think, well wait, let me tell you more, I swear I’m on the right path- but the moment is gone, and energy is now lacking.

What’s sad, is that this conversation topic is actually one of my favorites- ranting about goals, dreams and the different possibilities in life is the funnest thing since wine and Netflix. However, it’s not always easy to discuss this subject with everyone- especially in small talk (we’re talking about our lives here, not the weather).

And that’s okay.

Because after looking at these different reactions, these different responses I get from different people in my life, I realized something. I realized that maybe no one else can ever fully understand what is going on in our brains, especially regarding our futures.

Because maybe, we can’t either.

And in all honesty, this topic shouldn’t be brushed over in one question. One complicated question.

Some of us avoid the question completely, refusing to think about what lies ahead. Some of us know exactly what we want to do, and we do everything we need to do each day to get there. Some of us don’t know exactly what we want to do, and we’re okay with that, because we know it will work out. Some of us put on the career-driven and confident front, whilst ending each week a little more confused than the one before (hey, indecisiveness).

Some of us are unsure of where we’re headed. Some of us put up a fronts that says “I know it all,” when really we’re unsure as hell. Some of us know exactly where we’re going.

All we can really know for sure, though, is that we’re seniors in college, and we’re about to embark on the rest of our lives.

We’re scared, we’re confused, we’re excited. We’re everything all at once.

So, what do you want to do when you graduate?

Pull up a chair and let’s talk about that, if you’re up for it.

 

Others

Do you think people will think that was dumb?

Do you think they’ll think I’m too career-obsessed? That I’m trying too hard? What if they think I’m pretentious? That I’m being serious? What if they think I’m wrong?

Um, well, so what if they do?

The amount of time spent simply worrying about what others think and how others are perceiving my words and actions would probably amount to more than a year of my life.

Wait, I’m sorry… what?

I am in constant agony that people are thinking of me a certain way. I take comments from friends and others to heart, nearly every time (except when they’re kidding of course- I am cursed as the easiest person to make fun of). I mull over things that people forget about within 10 seconds of it happening. And, I’m guessing that I think about others thoughts more than they even think about them themselves.

Being well-liked is important to me and it always has been. Pleasing others is something I take seriously in my professional and personal life. I generally attempt to not anger anyone, and if I do, I apologize until they are even more angry with me than before- because that’s what I do (#sorryIamsorry).

Amid the worry and the attempts to be everything for everyone, to be the right person and to cater myself to meet everyone’s individuals needs and expectations, I lost the ability to say f*** it and actually be myself.

Certain people will always find the need to belittle others, to share why they think what you’re doing is wrong or let you know how they feel about the way you’re living your life. However no one really knows what you’re doing, but you.

People will always talk. People will always judge. People will always find something that they dislike.

But people will also support.

They will support you in your endeavors, they will think they best of you. They will feel truly happy for you in your successes, and to be completely honest, some of them won’t care one way or the other- because they’re so wrapped up in worrying about their life that they won’t even notice something you may be worried they think less of you for.

Living with consideration for and in harmony with others is important, in fact it is crucial. However, living with liberation and a sense of self, regardless of how you will fit into the mold and minds of others, is bliss.

I pride myself in my image, my personal brand. I always will, and that’s not a bad thing (I am an “aspiring PR pro” after all). But at what point do you say enough is enough? When the question of how you are being perceived by others takes over your decisions, takes over your mind, stops you from doing certain things, and ultimately consumes your thoughts- that’s when. Because at that point, it has not only taken over your life, it essentially is your life.

And that’s not exactly the life I would like to live.

And so, as long as you’re happy, as long as you’re coming into your own and as long as you’re figuring out who you want to be- that’s good enough. That’s good enough, and if that’s not good enough for someone else, than maybe they aren’t good enough for you.

 

*I thought about titling this one “Haters Gon’ Hate, but I thought people would think that was too mainstream… oh wait I’m doing it again.

These Things

We are hard on ourselves.

We have things we want to work on. Things we don’t think we handle as well as we should, things we want to change. Things we see others doing well, things that we don’t see in ourselves.

We all have these things.

These things that make us feel as though we’re less- that we’re not good enough, that we’re not up to par with the vision of what we could be.

It’s not easy to be so hard on yourself.

Some of these things, we need to accept. Things about ourselves that are just going to be that way. Things that separate us from others for the better. Things that make us, us.

But some of these things, we can change- and for that, we are lucky.

I am a worrier. I worry about being at the professional level I need to be at when I graduate. I worry about getting into a grad school that I won’t even be applying to for many years to come. I worry about what my professors will say each day about different projects.

I even worry about how much I worry (seriously?).

These things I worry about, these different characteristics, goals and accomplishments that I stress over obtaining and achieving are all things that I can work on, things that I can change.

By turning your anxieties about yourself, your insecurities, and the things you need to work on into goals, you are one step closer to being who you really want to be.

The fact that you have the knowledge of these things, is a blessing in itself.

By identifying what you want to improve on, you have already recognized your shortcomings and you can begin to put a plan in motion to improve on them- and that is something to be proud of.

We should never stop growing, never stop improving.

Next time you think about something you don’t like about yourself, you can either sulk and beat yourself up, or you can figure out how to change it-whether that’s through acceptance or through a new goal. Ultimately, see your perceived shortcomings, as opportunities for growth.

Recognition is the first step, what’s next is up to you.

 

Continuously Amazed

This has been a topic I have wanted to write about for a while now.

I recently started a blog, and I have an ever-expanding list of topics and thoughts that I want to write about. Some of them I am ready to write about, others not so much—I still need to learn the lesson that is involved.

I am continuously amazed at all of the incredible things in life. I am continuously getting ideas of things to write about because there are so many amazing things in front of me.

The other day my mom called me and said, “don’t you want to save some of your blogs in case you run out of things to write about?”

No, that’s why I love to write. I will never run out of thoughts. There will always be a lesson to be learned. Everyday? No. But there is no end to the beauty life holds.

There is always something to be inspired about.

I am continuously amazed at well, how incredibly awesome the world is. How awesome people are. How inspiring, motivating and captivating life is.

I want to know it all, I want to see it all. However, this is impossible and at times overwhelming. But that is what makes life so interesting and humbling.

I will always have a reason to write. I will always be inspired. Life’s potential is never-ending. It’s vast, it’s scary and it’s beautiful all at the same time.

When I touch someone with my writing, I feel as though I’m walking on air. A feeling I have never felt before. I feel like I have found it, what I’m here to do. It’s insane, in the best way possible—just like the world.

I want everyone to see the world this way. To see the possibilities it holds and to see their own potential and where they fit in.

We will never be bored in a world so continuously amazing, and once we find what we love, the world really is “at our feet.”