Ten Plans for Summer

I finished my final project for my Intercultural Communications class on Sunday and now I’m ready for summer and lots of “me” time.  Here are my top ten plans for summer:

1. Read One Years of Solitude by Gabriel Gracía Márquez (in Spanish)

2. Learning how to paint with watercolors

3. Art journaling

4.  Weekend trips to the mountains

5.  Sitting by the pool

6.  Eating lots of Pinkberry

7.  Photographing old buildings around Denver

8.  Career planning

9.  Pedicures

10.  Daily self-reflection writing

Why I Hate Mondays

Monday Blues

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Mondays are the worse day of the week for me.  I’m so anxious about them that I begin to feel nervous on Sunday evenings.  I even have a hard time falling asleep on Sunday nights.  I feel irritated about having to leave the sanctuary of my home and to go back out into the real world.  On the weekends, I retreat from work and school (if possible) and I relax.  I’m able to recharge my energy levels and I start to feel normal again.  Then Monday comes and I’m forced to deal with all the stress of life all over again.

Another aspect of Mondays that I dislike is how all of my co-workers try to outdo each other with their stories of what they did over the weekend.  If one person brags about how much they partied and how much they drank, then another person comes along and has to tell an even more exaggerated story about their weekend.  It’s ridiculous and a waste of time and energy to listen to these stories.  I try to avoid getting pulled into these conversations by telling my co-workers that I have a lot to do.

Mondays are probably the days that I do the least amount of work.  I feel low on Mondays and I lack motivation.  It’s as if my body and my mind are at war with the reality that another week has started.  I wish there was a way that I could relax my mind so I wouldn’t feel so poorly on Monday mornings.

My Old Life

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This weekend I revisited my old life.  During my years in college and my early twenties, I was a party girl.  I wasn’t that bad in college because my ultimate focus was my studies, however I did party a lot in my early twenties.  I love to dance and it was a lot of fun to go out to clubs and bars and dance to the music I love, but this also involved a lot of drinking.  I didn’t need the alcohol to have fun but I kept drinking because I enjoyed how bold I became and how it helped me to not focus on my problems.  Soon, I began buying alcohol and keeping it at home.  I would come home and have a glass or two of wine to calm my nerves. I started going out more and more and I began showing up to work with horrible hangovers that prevented me from getting any work done.  Luckily, I had a really relaxed boss at the time and I was never written up or fired.  One day, I started to examine my life and I realized that I was heading down a path that I didn’t like.  At the time, I wasn’t sure why I was acting out so much but I began to go out less and less and I stopped drinking so much.

Looking back, I believe I was acting in this manner because of two reasons: 1) depression and 2) influence.  I was diagnosed a few years ago with a mild form of depression and I now understand why I felt so low at times in my life.  I believe that I was acting out because I didn’t want to deal with the sad feelings and situations that were going on in my life.   I was also hanging out with a group of friends that influenced me.  These are friends that I’ve known since childhood and a lot of them were heavy drinkers.  In my mid-twenties, I began hanging out with these people less and less and focusing more on being the person that I really wanted to be and that has been a positive step for me.

This past weekend, I reunited with a few of my old friends to see a live band that we all really like.  I was happy to dance and listen to the music but then I started drinking with them and before long, I was starting to get drunk.  I stopped drinking immediately and I began noticing how my friends were acting.  They were still doing the same things and acting the same way we acted in our twenties.  None of them had matured and I knew that this wasn’t for me.

I don’t regret going to see live music or even catching up with old friends.  I regret falling back into a pattern that I believed I had moved past.  In the future, I’m going to have to be honest with them about the fact that I’m past getting drunk and acting silly. I also need to be honest with myself and not give in to the pressures of acting like they do. After all, the best times in my life have been experienced sober.

Acceptance

This topic comes from The Daily Post

Where do you find acceptance?  For your ideas? For the secret notions you have for who you really want to be? Or think you  are? Who are the friends, family, or co-workers who are most accepting for your true self? And how do they demonstrate their acceptance? What is different about how they treat you than other people?

The topic of self-acceptance is important to me because it took me a long time to accept myself for who I really am.  I spent a lot of years trying to mold myself into the person that I thought would be more acceptable to others and to society in general.  In my journey to find acceptance, I began to realize that the only way I could find true acceptance was to accept myself for who I was. I do not fit the mold of mainstream society by the way that I look, my personality, or my values.  I’m a fiercely individualistic, independent woman and I make my own decisions about the journey that I’ve chosen to take in this life.  I don’t consult anyone and I live my life the way I want to.   For many people, my independence can make me seem selfish or self-centered but all I have is myself.  However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t consider how my actions will affect others.  I am a quiet, observant, introverted person and I love my solitude.  This goes against society’s love of extroverts and constantly being the life of the party.  I am also a creative person that values all things beautiful and expressive.  I don’t always think or act in a linear, defined way and that can seem strange to many.

I accept myself for the person I am and I no longer care whether others are accepting of me or not.  I don’t want to live my life as someone who followed after others but as the person who had the courage to follow my own unique path.  I don’t want to be the person that looks on their life and wonders how life would have been if they had tried something different or stepped outside the box.  The only two people who I can honestly say are accepting of my true self are my parents.  They know me and they encourage me even when they don’t understand my motives for some of the things I do.  I think this is because they are also very independent people and they see many of their characteristics in my personality.  They are not critical of who I am and they do not try to force me to be someone who I’m not.

Die Slowly by Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda (1904–1973)

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Die slowly

by Pablo Neruda

 He who becomes the slave of habit, who follows the same routes every day, who never changes pace, who does not risk and change the color of his clothes, who does not speak and does not experience, dies slowly.

He or she who shuns passion, who prefers black on white, dotting ones “i’s” rather than a bundle of emotions, the kind that make your eyes glimmer, that turn a yawn into a smile, that make the heart pound in the face of mistakes and feelings, dies slowly.

He or she who does not turn things topsy-turvy, who is unhappy at work, who does not risk certainty for uncertainty, to thus follow a dream, those who do not forego sound advice at least once in their lives, die slowly.

He who does not travel, who does not read, who does not listen to music, who does not find grace in himself, she who does not find grace in herself, dies slowly.

He who slowly destroys his own self-esteem, who does not allow himself to be helped, who spends days on end complaining about his own bad luck, about the rain that never stops, dies slowly.

He or she who abandon a project before starting it, who fail to ask questions on subjects he doesn’t know, he or she who don’t reply when they are asked something they do know, die slowly.

Let’s try and avoid death in small doses, reminding oneself that being alive requires an effort far greater than the simple fact of breathing. Only a burning patience will lead to the attainment of a splendid happiness.

The reason why I love this poem is because it serves as a reminder to me to step out of my shell and to be more adventurous with life and with the choices I make.  It’s easy to get trapped in the routine of getting up and going to work and then coming home and watching tv.  You keep doing the same thing day after day and pretty soon time flies by and you don’t know what has become of your life. 

Last year I was at a crossroads in my life.  I could continue to do the same things I was doing or I could change and chart a different path for myself and this poem has become my mantra on change.  Little by little I’m setting a new course for my life and trying new things.

I understand why the author would mention travel, reading, and music as being aspects that a person should experience and I believe that myself.  These activities open you mind to new ways of thought and perspective.  I’d also add viewing art to this list as well because seeing the creativity of someone else can inspire you in your own work.  It can also inspire you to think on a higher level and to be innovative.

I Wish My Hobbies Would Keep Me Fit

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I wish all of my hobbies – writing, penpalling, reading, watching documentaries, surfing the internet – would keep me fit.  Sadly, they don’t and none of them involve physical activity so I’m sitting while I’m doing them.

Fortunately, I like to exercise.   One of my favorite forms of exercise is walking.  I usually walk for 30 minutes on my lunch hour if the weather is nice and 30 minutes after work when I come home.  I also try to walk to the grocery store that’s near me if I know that I won’t be buying a lot of items.  Using public transportation adds to my walking routine since I have to walk to and from the train/bus stations.

Walking helps to relieve a lot of stress.  I can let my mind wander and I’m inspired by being outside.  This is how I became interested in my newest hobby which is photography.  I wanted to capture the beauty I was able to notice by not driving.

I’ve been wanting to take an exercise class for a while and I signed up to take spinning, Pilates, and Zumba.  Of all these classes, spinning is the one that intimidates me but I’m sure I’ll be fine.

Boundaries

There is a woman at my job that I’ll call Marie.  She is an extreme talker and the majority of what comes out of her mouth is absolute non-sense.  If given the chance, she would talk to you for hours and you wouldn’t be able to get any work done.  Since I’m aware of Marie’s personality, I’ve set boundaries with her on how we interact.  I did this for two reasons: 1) I have daily, weekly, and monthly deadlines that I have to meet therefore I don’t have time to sit around and randomly chit-chat with people.  2) I don’t want to waste any time listening to someone speak a bunch of incoherent non-sense.   I exchange the normal pleasantries with Marie such a good morning or have a good day.  I also answer work related questions and I help her out in any way that I can.  However, I will not engage her in personal conversation.  Whenever she starts going on and on with her gibberish, I politely tell her that I’m busy with a deadline and that I don’t have time to talk. 

Recently, another co-worker came to me and started complaining about Marie and how she was always interrupting this co-worker when she was busy and would talk for long periods of time.  I told her about how I only interact with Marie on work related issues and that I politely tell her I have a deadline whenever she starts trying to talk my ear off.  I suggested that maybe she could use the same strategy whenever Marie was bothering her when she was busy.  My co-worker immediately dismissed my suggestion and told me that “she didn’t want to mean to Marie”. 

I was surprised that my co-worker thought my suggestion was mean and it made me think about boundaries.  I feel that people think of setting boundaries with another person as something negative or mean but I feel it a positive part of any relationship.  Maybe it’s because I’m more introverted and I need to manage my energy levels, but I’ve always had boundaries when it comes to dealing with my family, friends, and the people I work with.  I need a lot of alone time and I’m very clear with people about that. They know that I’m not the type of person that you can just randomly show up to my apartment and that I don’t always answer my phone.  In this situation, I needed to establish a way for Marie and I to be able to communicate effectively as co-workers but it needed to be in a way in which I wasn’t constantly being interrupted with her needless chatter. 

In the end, I feel like I’m handling the situation the best way I can.  Marie knows that she can approach me for work matters but she also knows that I don’t have time for personal chit-chat.  I’m able to maintain a positive relationship with her and I’m able to get my work done and meet my deadlines.  As for my co-worker that complained…she’s still being constantly interrupted by Marie.

My Sense of Humor

202/365 – Laugh

My sense of humor is very silly. I love to laugh and I can always find humor in most situations. This comes as a surprise to people who don’t know me very well. To them, I seem like a person who wouldn’t think anything was funny and that I’m serious all the time. Like most aspects of myself, I only share them with the people I’m really close to. There are times when my sense of humor will spill out even around people I don’t know. In those moments, it’s a small window for those people into my personality and it lets them know I’m not the solemn person they think I am.

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A thought

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Recently, I’ve been feeling more inspired to write while I’m at work.  This is strange because my job is the least creative or inspiring place.  I spend most days looking at spreadsheets and concentrating on numbers to make sure everything balances.  There is a complexity to the processes I have to follow and attention to detail is key.  I’ve become disciplined in not letting my mind wander.  Since I’m so focused on my tasks, there isn’t time for creative thought.

Yet, my mind is rebelling.  Every morning I seem to be full of  ideas and I find myself quickly writing them down.  These ideas inspire me and I have a strong desire to write.  Sadly, it isn’t possible for me to do this and there are many times when I feel that I miss opportunities to write something beautiful.

I wonder if these moments are happening more often at work as a way to refresh me and to help me to feel positive.  I must admit that these ideas are welcomed and they seem to help relieve the stress that I feel during the day.  I’m also wondering if in a strange way my job is my muse. It’s an interesting thought  and my job seems to be the place where I’m suddenly the most creative.  I’ve never thought of my muse as being the place where I work but I’ve decided to accept this and to enjoy the moments of creativity it brings.

 

If I Could Read Minds

 

  • lost thoughts

    If I could read minds for a day, I would take advantage and try to read as many minds as possible. There are interesting people that I see every day and I’ve always wondered what they were thinking about because of the inquisitive looks on their faces. I’ve also wondered about people who always appear to be lost in their own thoughts since I’m always lost in my own thoughts. I wonder if their thoughts are focused on one particular idea or if they are like me and have a lot of ideas and dialogue floating through their brain at once. Being able to read others minds would be a powerful experience. I believe it would reveal shocking and stirring truths.

    On the other hand, I would never want anyone to have the ability to read my mind. I wouldn’t want anyone to know what I was thinking because I’m an extremely private person. I would feel violated to know that someone had the ability to enter my head and was privy to my rich innie life. I realize that it’s hypocritical of me to admit that I would want to have that ability for at least a day and yet not want anyone else to read my thoughts. I’m sure someone else would feel just as violated as I would knowing that someone could read their mind.