Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Miscellaneous thoughts (Part 2)

~ I know life is busy, and sometimes you get caught up in everything you need to do for yourself. But if you're too busy for your loved ones and you never think about what you can be doing for others, you're way too busy. At the end of your life, you're going to regret not staying in touch with certain people. You're going to regret being too distracted by your own problems to listen to someone else's. You're going to regret turning down invitations to certain social events or avoiding certain opportunities that will never come again. I saw a quote on Pinterest the other day that said, "Stop the glorification of busy." I think it's my new favorite quote ever.

~ Asking for help doesn't make you weak.

~ I think it's good to have personal goals, professional goals and bucket list goals. For example, one of your personal goals could be to call a certain relative more often. One of your professional goals could be to write and publish a book. One of your bucket list goals could be to go skydiving. You don't have to make a super long list that you know you won't stick to, but try making mini lists and taking on your goals a few at a time.

~ In life, you're going to feel stuck over and over and over again. Just when you think you've reached the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or the light at the end of the tunnel, you're going to run into another rainbow or another tunnel. Life is a ridiculously long series of rainbows and tunnels---pots of gold to be discovered and lights to be reached. You're never quite "there." Once you learn to be okay with that, navigating your life won't seem as scary or tragic when you hit the newest roadblock.

~ It's okay to cry simply because you need to release pressure build-up in your soul.

~ Don't confuse familiarity with boredom. Just find a way to make the familiar new again. You don't have to pack up all your things and move to Thailand or quit your job and hitch hike across the country to experience a little newness. Don't abandon the things that matter most to you just because they start to feel too "familiar." The familiar things are the things you give the most attention to, so there must be an element of importance there.

~ Staying committed to something that matters to you is hard work. But quitting is even harder.  

~ Know when to hold on and when to let go.

<3 Madison  

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thoughts on following your dreams

As you all know, I am a huge advocate of following your dreams. I always hope to encourage and motivate people to go after what they want because I know how it feels to think you're not good enough. 

If you've been struggling with fear, doubt or confusion over your dreams, maybe these words of encouragement will help. I'm writing this just as much for myself as I am for all of you.

~ I think everyone deserves to have something to work for and look forward to in life---something that makes them feel passionate and excited. If you don't currently have anything to work for or look forward to, I encourage you to sit down and make a list of things that are important to you or new things you want to try. Do a little soul searching. Life is so much brighter when you have something exciting to wake up to every morning. You deserve a sense of meaning and purpose.  

~ A lot of people talk about getting rid of fear and doubt when it comes to following your dreams. I somewhat disagree. Fear and doubt are completely normal and inevitable emotions. So be fearful. Be doubtful. But follow your dreams anyway. 

~ If things aren't happening when and how you want them to happen, be patient. You have to let go of the when and how and just focus on continuing to move forward no matter what. Things will unfold the way they are meant to. Just wait and see. 

~ Comparing yourself to others whilst trying to follow your dreams is one of the absolute worst things you can do. You're not them. You're unique and have your own gifts. No one else can do what you do the way that you do it. Just because someone is already doing what you want to be doing doesn't mean that it can never be done again. If it's been done once, it can be done again---in your own authentic way. 

~ Keep an open mind, and don't put yourself in a box. There are infinite possibilities before you.  

~ Please don't let people discourage you or try to lead you down a path that feels wrong. These people may be well-meaning. These people may be very important to you. These people may even seem to know what they're talking about. You may find yourself thinking they're right and that you should try another path after all. Don't. It's so tempting to take the easy way out or follow the crowd. But if you do, there will always be something missing. You will always wonder "what if." So stay on your path no matter what anybody says. In the end, you won't regret it.  

~ Having happiness is way better than having money. I'd rather have a job I love and make less money than have a job I hate and make more money. Be smart about your money and save as much of it as you can, but don't attach happiness to it.  

~ Don't give up. 

<3 Madison   

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

There are no rules.

My second post ever was about my epiphany that life doesn't come with a rulebook. (Wow, it's so painfully awkward to read back over old posts.) But I just want to expand on that a little bit today.

I constantly read about people who do (or don't do) things because they think they should (or shouldn't). It bugs me. I don't know if anyone (myself included at times) ever fully grasps the fact that we don't have to do things a certain way or in a certain order. There will always be pressure to comply with something.

It is not uncommon for me to hear or read statements like the following on a near weekly basis...

"I don't really want to go to college, but I have to if I want to get a good job and make my parents proud."

"Welp, would you look at that? I'm almost sixteen. It's about time to get my license and start job hunting."

"I really like this guy, but I'm going to wait for him to make the first move. Girls aren't supposed to make the first move. It doesn't work that way."

"I lost my job, and now I have no choice but to move back in with my parents. I'm supposed to have my shit together by now. They'll think I'm such a failure when I show up at their door with all my stuff."

"All my friends are (married, living on their own, working full time, having children, etc.). I guess I should get on the bandwagon before I get left behind."

Any of this sound familiar? Look at all those "shoulds" and "supposed to's."

These would be my responses to each of the above quotations:

To the first one: The only person who will have to live with the choices you make is YOU. If you really don't want to go to college, you don't have to go. I'm sure you're a very bright and ambitious person, and you will find a way to make your parents proud anyway. But you have to make yourself proud first. (And contrary to highly popular belief, you do NOT need a college degree to get a good job. Ask any number of successful people.)

To the second one: Cool story bro. Is there a special mark on your life calendar that says that, or do you just want to do those things because that's what everyone else is doing?

To the third one: Says who?? Don't wait for a train that might never come. That dude could be the love of your life, but you'll never know unless you talk to him. Just go for it.

To the fourth one: Experiencing a minor setback does not make you a failure. Your parents love you and will be happy to help you out until you figure out your next move. Take this time to spend quality time with them and do some soul searching. Sometimes being unemployed is a blessing in disguise. You might not realize that now, but maybe someday you will.

To the fifth one: Progress at your own rate. Just because someone else is doing or accomplishing something that you haven't done or accomplished yet doesn't mean you're getting left behind. You are exactly where you need to be. Don't force yourself to be somewhere else before you're ready.

Let's ditch the invisible rulebook, you guys. The only thing you should be listening to is your gut. It will take you where you need to go, but you have to trust it. Even if it defies the "rules." You may question it sometimes. You may ignore it sometimes. You may run into seemingly insurmountable obstacles because of it sometimes.

But at the end of the day, it knows what it's doing. And it's working hard to pave the path that only you can walk.  

<3 Madison    

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Help wanted: In dire need of motivation

Sometimes I get so overwhelmingly discouraged that I want to just lie face down on my keyboard for the rest of my life.

Sometimes I get so overwhelmingly discouraged that I want to eat junk food and watch TV until I can't feel anything anymore.

Sometimes I get so overwhelmingly discouraged that I fear I'll start getting all depressed and bored with life again.

Sometimes I get so overwhelmingly discouraged that the slightest little thing will bring me to tears---my mom calling to check up on me, freezing rain on my window, a slow Internet connection, running out of pumpkin spice cookies...

Sometimes I get so overwhelmingly discouraged that all I can do is stare at an inanimate object for 20 minutes.

I have really high highs and really low lows. On good days, I'm overjoyed, passionate and excited. On bad days, I'm convinced that life can't go on.

I try not to mentally harass myself when I get like this because it only makes me feel worse. I try not to tell myself that I'm lazy, stupid, unstable or pathetic. (Actually, I think I am a bit unstable, but I'd like to think I'm not lazy, stupid or pathetic.)

Sometimes things just suck. Sometimes I go against every piece of advice I give you guys, which makes me add "hypocritical" to my list of self-insults.

Sometimes I just feel really confused, stuck, melancholy and frustrated. Sometimes I feel like I'm back at square one of not knowing which path to take in life.

So today, I want to tell myself some things that I know to be true despite my crappy feelings.

1) You will not feel this way forever. In fact, your mood could very well be turned around by tomorrow.
2) It's okay to feel this way. You're human.
3) Life is a constant journey. You have a lot of growing up left to do. Don't panic.
4) Be patient with yourself, but don't sit on your bum all day and expect everything you want to just magically fall into your lap. Put your thinking cap on and get to work. THEN be patient with yourself.
5) Give yourself permission to eat junk food and watch TV all day every now and then. It might be exactly what you need.
6) If you're not feeling inspired, don't force it. Just step away for awhile, and come back later with a clearer head.
7) Don't give up. I promise you're not delusional.
8) Read this.
9) Look through this gallery of photos.
10) You are not your chosen career. If things aren't going so well, it doesn't mean you suck as a person.
11) Don't forget about that goal sheet you currently have taped to your mirror.
12) If opportunity doesn't knock on your door, try knocking on its door.
13) You're not entitled to anything. You have to earn what you hope to receive.
14) Give yourself a break.  

If you would like to add to this list, please feel free. I'm in dire need of a little motivation this rainy, cold Thursday.

<3 Madison