The magic of a sunset (taken by yours truly August 2018, California US)
The magic of a sunset (taken by yours truly August 2018, California US)
As much as I hate to admit it, I started this Monday off on the wrong foot. I woke up later than I wanted to (and needed to for that matter), I was lagging and felt mentally unprepared for the day ahead. I even contemplated calling in sick to work (total quitter move). But then that awesome little voice in my head (that has become increasingly persistent) told me to turn the “Manic Monday” mentality I was rocking, into a “Magic Monday” instead. I focused on making the best use of the now dwindling time I had left to get out the door and off to work, and instead of listening to music while I sat in bumper to bumper traffic….I chose a podcast that I knew would put my mindset where it needed to be. And guess what? It worked. I got to work early, inspired, and ready to have a productive day, that would hopefully turn into a productive week. The purpose of this post being….it only takes a few minutes, and a few positive thoughts and intentions to change the course of your day (week, month, life). I hope everyone reading has a great start to their week. What are some things you do to start your week off right?
I’ve linked one of my current favorite podcasts’ below in case you’re a self development “junkie” like myself and want to take a listen. I love that some of the episodes are only 15-25 minutes (great for those of us with busy lives).
As simplistic as it is, I felt this particular reminder was needed, given the extended (and unintended) writing break I have been on the majority of the year. I’ve encountered so many changes of direction, most of them positive, yet consuming. Nevertheless, my heart always goes back to writing; reflection through words that provides an unparalleled outlet. I think the balance between the business aspect of life and the creative one will always be a fight for me. And that’s ok. Because at the end of the day, I realize it’s better to have too many passions, then none at all….
A determined return is on the horizon for me. Of that, I have all the confidence in the world.
It’s a Thursday afternoon, and the start of spring. I am sitting alone at a café on the water, along the Embarcadero in San Francisco; a city that has become a sort of oasis to me over the past four years. Somewhere I know awaits me anytime I need to just roll my windows down, drown out thoughts into the sound of music, and be far enough away to feel gone, if only for a day.
The sun is blazing against my back; an unusually hot day in this city. But I can’t complain. It is, after all, the best seat in the house for watching the incoming boats. I ask the waiter to bring me something fruity and refreshing (with alcohol of course! I mean, it’s rare these days to have a day off during the week where I’m left to my own devices). He winks at me and disappears. I think about my hike earlier in the day and how I never tire of that view on a sunny day and the fresh ocean air tucked behind the hustle of the inner city.
(Lands End ~ San Francisco, CA)
As I sit there, alone and content, the waiter swiftly appears with a cucumber concoction that doesn’t disappoint. My next request…..a piece of scratch paper. I thought I had planned well for this day out by bringing my portable phone charger, that I then (ever so responsibly) left behind in the parking garage that housed my car. Not that I’m hating that mishap. After all, my lack of connectivity led me to scribbling this post (while simultaneously devouring the plate of fresh oysters that lay in front of me).
Rewind a few weeks back to the moment that led me here, retreating to the city for the day and to taking a bit of a life break (albeit only a week). This sudden, yet welcome crossroad I’ve arrived at….
I have become a firm believer that in life, if you are not growing and changing, you are not living. Complacency has become somewhat of a curse word in my book. As has settling. That said, I made the decision to leave my company of four years, where I was comfortable and had developed some great friendships. But comfortable doesn’t get you where you need to be. Not to mention, the person I was when walking in that door four years ago, damaged and dragged down by life, was not the person walking out. I created a new opportunity that is not the end goal by far, but is a stepping stone in the right direction. An opportunity for learning and growth…something I can be proud of, simply because I believed in my worth and did not falter from that.
As always, I’m eager for what lies ahead. Ready to learn, ready to build, to make mistakes and rise from them, to celebrate the little victories along with the not so little ones…..because that’s life. Ups and downs, crossroads and dead ends, clear sunny views and gloom and fog. You take it all or nothing at all.
On this day, in this vivacious, curious city…..I am present. And I am celebrating that presence and the failures that have brought me here. The failures that were in fact, not failures at all.
(Coit Tower ~ San Francisco, CA)
It’s been a challenging week for sure. I came down with a bad cold that sort of knocked me off my feet. Except, when you’re an adult and have children, you don’t have the option to be down very long. But after as much rest as I could possibly manage, I’m beginning to feel like my normal spunky self again…so I thought I’d jump on here quickly before the NyQuil kicks in (lol).
One thing that has increasingly been on my mind lately is CONTENTMENT.
Contentment is a mental or emotional state of satisfaction maybe drawn from being at ease in one’s situation, body and mind.
I used to primarily associate the idea of being content with material things. If a person is content, they’re less inclined to fill their lives with endless material things. That statement certainly carries some weight. However, I’ve come to realize contentment in more than a few areas of my life and it has brought me a great deal of peace. I no longer feel the need to be surrounded by people to fill any sort of void or uncomfortableness with being “alone”. I’m content with what I have to offer myself in the way of self love and encouragement; no longer yearning for affirmation in one way or another from others. I’m content with just trying my best each day and having faith in what my life has in store without constantly living for the next moment.
Our society thrives off of flaunting their accomplishments, and with the help of social media, provides many outlets on which to do so. While that may serve as motivation to some, I’m learning the beauty in doing things a little quieter in life and how much satisfaction comes from recognizing areas of personal growth (even if those thoughts never leave my mind or heart).
And on that note, here’s a picture of me and my two biggest sources of contentment (and happiness) in life:
I usually post a quote on Thoughtful Thursday. Today, however, I feel compelled to write about a story I found on Long Reads. It was not only thought provoking, but heart wrenching and although terribly sad, inspiring to read such stories of courage from young ones. I have children of my own, as you may know, so this hit me especially hard and sparked a range of emotions. It was an interview the New York Times did of 18 young girl’s who were captured by Boko Haram in Nigeria and forced to be suicide bombers. I won’t begin to try and summarize the article, but will link it below:
It is easy at times (at least for myself, as I lead a very busy life and rarely have time to even watch the news) to “forget” that there are other’s in the world whose worries far exceed our own. Those who on a regular basis are afraid for their lives, their children’s lives, and have endured things so horrific that just our reading about them is enough to make our stomach churn. Although I try for the most part to write about positive, uplifting things, I believe it is good at times to receive a healthy dose of “reality”. This article served as just that to me. A reminder to count my blessings on a daily basis, and practice gratitude for my current circumstances and those of my children.
Just last night I had a phone conversation with my friend about perspective (which tends to be a theme in my writing). She was telling me about a friend of hers who has battled cancer for 13 years and how watching her struggle from afar and observing her positive attitude serves as her own sort of attitude readjustment at times. Granted, much of life is “relative”. We gauge a “bad” day off of a “normal” day to us. Well, our normal is certainly not everyone’s normal. Taking a step back, however, can help us see the bigger picture and allow us, if only minimally, to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. To practice, along with gratitude, empathy.
I hope you get time to read the article, and if not, then I hope at least this post has made you think about something in your life that can incite a thankful heart. If you have read any articles recently that you’ve found especially moving, please share in the comments below.
Happy (almost) Friday, all!