Unemployment: Week 1

Unemployment: Week 1, Day 2

I really had all good intentions to write this post yesterday, but for some strange reason I just couldn’t get my thoughts together long enough to sit and write. Who would have thought that after becoming unemployed the ability to focus would become so difficult? Focusing should be a simple task, I have all this extra time that was once compelled by an 8-10 hour work day to do just that. But no, the ability to just focus is suddenly strenuous.

I used to think that not having to go to work would be great, and then I suddenly did not have to go to work. Yeah that is not so great. Well at least when you don’t know when your next paycheck is coming, not great at all. Unemployment is never easy, and never fun. Especially in the winter in Washington DC, I feel like the winter makes it worse. It is cold, dark, and gloomy outside, and I am trying hard to avoid using the weather as a representation of my life. But, at times it is hard. I am realizing that losing a job is similar to any loss that we experience in life. Loss is never easy, but I do feel myself going through the five stages of grief as described by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. In case you never heard of the five stages of grief that can be attributed to a loss they are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.

I am currently in my state of acceptance, which is why I have enough clarity to actually write about it. Trust me, getting to my current state was no easy process, it really did encompass the last six weeks of my life. But yet I am here. When I was initially told that our program was coming to a close due to lack of funding I hit a state of denial. I knew it really wasn’t going to happen, money would come, another agency would take over the program, of course they would because it was a really good program changing lives of youth in the District of Columbia. Yet, that never happened.

My anger was not about my own personal anger, it was the anger I felt toward the state of my clients and what would happen to them. As a psychotherapist, clients became attached and built relationships with me, then one day when I had to tell them that I am no longer going to be available as a therapist, that can be a devastating process. I did my best to end the client relationships in the best way possible, yet something still seemed unfinished. I wasn’t able to take them to the finish line of meeting their goals. I could just pass them on to someone else with the hope that the next person would have just as much compassion and empathy as I showed to help them get through. It was not easy, but it was done.

Now the bargaining was a quick stage to get through, although I am constantly bargaining with God for something, in this case it was different. There was a small hope that our program would survive or another agency would take it over. Sadly that did not happen. I just knew that maybe there were things that the team could do differently as a whole if given a second chance. Maybe we could be better at engaging clients or work harder for more positive outcomes. However, I soon realized that there was nothing else we could do, nothing we could change, the program was ending.

Depression is a rough stage, because I flip back to it every once in a while despite my best efforts to move away from it. Depression is difficult, depression is the realization that my job is gone, and until I get another I have to plan out every financial decision a lot more carefully. Depression is not having the motivation to look for a job, wanting to sleep the day away, hoping it is just a dream that I will wake up from, and wondering when is this state of constant anxiety going to come to an end. Depression is the inability to focus, and the inability to sleep through the night, the feeling to knots in the stomach, and wanting to avoid people because you know they will ask about the job search. What helps to stay away from depression? Well a whole lot of faith, mixed with positive thoughts, and knowing that this is a temporary situation. I love the saying “When you have a setback, God is already planning your comeback, and your comeback is going to be better than you ever imagined”. God has never failed me before so why would now be any different? I managed to survive 4 years in Hawaii while standing on faith, I can manage a period of unemployment knowing that God has my back.

Which leads me back to my acceptance, automatically the Serenity Prayer comes to mind; “Accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”. I felt a period of relief knowing that my job was ending, something was telling me it was time to move on to another aspect of therapy. I cannot change the final outcome of the program, heck, it already occurred, but I can change where I work next, the salary that I want, and what type of work will make me happy. Life is great, it is unexpected, but it works. Life always works out exactly the way it was supposed to, at the exact time that it was supposed to. So no matter what happens keep living your best life. Stay positive, and stay true to yourself. God may not give us what we want when we want it, but He gives it to us RIGHT ON TIME!

Lucky for me, the US unemployment rate is now under six percent so I should have no problems finding a job, right? Keep the prayers going!

Positive energy, positive thoughts, positive experiences 

My 2015 wish: Please be better than 2014, please

Why hello January 1st 2015! In efforts to stay consistent I tell myself that if I am going to post at least once this year, it will be on the first day of the new year. New year, new day.

I don’t make resolutions, so my personal goal for 2015 is to remember what is important to me in life, and to live life one day at time.

You ever feel like you lost of sense of self? Well I think that happened to me sometime in 2014, well actually in the beginning of 2014. Who knew such small changes in life would be so hard to recover from. I must say I was more than happy to say good-bye to 2014.  Not one of my best years, but defiantly a year that I can learn from. Now my challenge is to take lessons learned, and make 2015 one of my best years.

“Your best days are yet to come”; I need to remember that.

I started out 2014 with a broken leg. With a broken leg came the inability to run, I lost my motivation to make my body, and my mind better. With a broken leg came physical therapy, and recovery. If only I knew how much that process would change my life. Every activity that I found peace in was gone. I made attempts to find new ways to keep my body and mind challenged, yet nothing was the same. Recovery was hard, running hurt, cycling hurt, my motivation to be stronger, run longer, and work harder was diminished.

The year seemed cloudy, somewhat like a dark fog, I was living life, but never really felt like I was in it. Everything that kept me sane, happy, and living life with purpose while I was in Honolulu was gone. And I struggled for 365 days to get it back.

2014 ended, well nearly as bad as it started, oh wait, actually this is worse. The job that I moved to Washington D.C. for is closing. Yup, my program that was started to change the lives of Washington D.C. youth is coming to an end in two weeks, leaving me unemployed. So December of 2014, was not a good month. Yes I feel sorry for myself that my therapeutic program is ending, but I have a strong feeling that God has this. His plan keeps me alive, and keeps me living to make it through the day. However, the feeling of sadness and devastation that I feel for my clients, and other adolescents in Washington D.C. is  what really makes this a hard transition. For the last year, we were doing something good. We were changing lives, and one day someone made a decision that what we were doing did not matter that much so the budget for the program could be cut.

The highlight of 2014: I was able to watch two of my clients walk across the stage at their high school graduation, and receive a high school diploma. With the assistance of a few good friends, I watched another client attend a high school prom.  Wow, I don’t think I could explain the deepness of emotion that goes into those two events. But, to know that these boys may have never had that opportunity without our program is an unbelievable experience. When no one else believed in these kids, I did. Everyday I worked with them was a day that was one step closer to helping them see that life goes far beyond a life of poverty and jail. And that made my job nothing less than amazing.

I work to change lives, I work to inspire. I hope my next job continues to give me that opportunity.

I must  say that I am very happy to finally see 2015. I am looking forward to good news, exciting new opportunities, and happiness! My faith guides me, and I know everything will work out, because God has a plan that works, and my God have never failed me. Live a life that is worth living. That is what I want to remember to tell myself each day.

2015 I’m ready, show me what you got!

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences.

Straight from NY to Paradise Turns 5! -Happy Bloganniversary

Happy 5th Birthday! If my blog was a child I would be getting ready for it to start kindergarten. Awww blog you have grew up so fast (insert mommy tears).

Life happens quick, sometimes too quick for me. I constantly think about writing daily, however everyday I find an excuse not to write. Time goes by and life continues to happen, and still I feel like nothing gets done. I finally sat down and decided to write today, finally I am writing!

After months of procrastinating and sitting in that endless pile of overwhelm, I decided to turn to what I know and write. It comes with great irony that I picked this month to return to writing. Word Press has been so kind as to acknowledge that I have reached my 5 year blogging anniversary! It is really hard to believe that it has been a whole 5 years since I have started blogging.

In the last 5 years my life has taken more twists and turns than I could ever imagine, emotionally I feel that I have been through it all. But yes you are correct Word Press, I have reached my 5 year blogging milestone. 5 years ago Straight from NY to Paradise in a Day was given life, and my own personal life was given a voice. I had a story to tell, I wanted to tell it. I wanted to inspire others not to be afraid of change, not to be afraid of living, just live. Life happens and life changes so go with it.0171.jpg

I really want to laugh and cry as I write this. I think back on the girl I was 5 years ago, I was single and fierce! Fresh out of a roller coaster of a relationship, still in love with the man who was my past, but ready to start a new phase of life as a free spirit and face the future.  I was ready to take on the world, unstoppable in a sense, but I quickly learned that I could be stopped. The world does not exist for you to live in it alone, it is out there for you to share, to embrace with others, to help others, and sometimes even get help from others. In August of 2009 I had been living in Honolulu for 6 months. And to tell you the truth, I was very much alone. I was still confused about my impulsive decision to move to the other side of the world, and even though I had met a few people, I had a very real fear that if I died no one would notice. The feeling that I would go unnoticed was scary, adding that to a sense of uncertainty about my job, my life, and what to do next, I was really mess of emotions, with anxiety and self-doubt leading the pack.

Yes I was single and fierce, but really I was alone.  Lucky for me I quickly discovered that I was not the only mainland escapee that have flown themselves over to an island in the middle of the pacific to get away from….well everything. I found a love of activity and a love of new friendships. Over the last 5 years, my biggest accomplishment was basically proving to myself that I can live. No matter how depressed I am, how lonely I am, and how much I just want to disappear, I know that I can live, and life always gets better. I think I may have forgotten that lately with the chaos of everyday life back on the mainland. I experienced life in Hawaii for a reason. I experienced being completely on my own for a reason. My next lesson to myself is always to remember those reasons, life is meant to live on purpose, and everyday is a new opportunity to fulfill that purpose.

 

In 2009 I was 27, single, impulsive, and extremely naive. In 2014, I am 31, in a relationship (no not married, sorry), less impulsive, more aware, and slightly more responsible. At 27 I just wanted to run away. At 31, I’ll admit I still want to run sometimes, but I will try a bit harder to stay, to work through it, and always keep in mind that with each day life will keep getting better.

So 5 years later, what did I really learn? In Honolulu I found a love of nature. A hike, a run, or  the view of the mountains as the sun wakes you up is the epitome of everything calm, and the most powerful way to ensure that you will have a good day. I learned to love to push myself. No matter if it was at work, in the gym, or running a race, I knew I could always go harder, do better, and motivate myself to never give up. I learned to appreciate yoga, I really miss the easy access to the yoga studios that are located on every corner. I learned that I am a survivor, life is lived with challenges, now I know that I can overcome every one that comes my way. I learned that I hate dating. I would never want to date in Honolulu again! I learned that I really do miss people when they leave, goodbyes are hard, I hate them almost as much as dating.

Finally, I learned to appreciate the kindness of strangers. When I moved to Honolulu, I knew only myself, and had three suitcases. Strangers helped to me find a home, helped me to find food, and ensured that I was able to keep my job. Those strangers became my friends, who eventually became my family. Never take the kindness of others for granted, that lesson made the difference between me having a home in paradise and just being homeless in paradise.

5 years later, I am living in Virginia, working in D.C. and I am no longer a girl on a rock in the middle of the pacific. I am a 31 year old woman in the DMV!  I am surrounded by friends, family, and strangers. Life continues to be full of twists and turns, so keep reading to see where I end up over the the next 5 years. I can’t wait to see what happens, all I know is I just have to be ready for the changes.

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences!

 

maui 2

Starting over: life’s trials and tribulations

Ever have one of those days where you just feel lost and uncertain? Not sure where to go, what to do, or what happens next?  So many possibilities and not sure what direction to turn to.  I am falling in on life’s uncertainty and I am not sure what makes absolute complete sense anymore. Let me back up a bit.

After about two years of living in Honolulu, I thought that I needed to move off the island, more specifically I felt I was ready to move back to the mainland. East coast, west coast, where was not important, but I felt the essence of the mainland calling me back. That was in 2011. It wasn’t for another two years that I would actually take advantage of the opportunity to move back. That was scary. I had a plan, executed that plan, now what?

Whenever I tell anyone I meet in the D.C. area that I spent the last 4 years of my life living in Honolulu, I always get asked why I moved back. Well, my move to Honolulu was never meant to be a permanent home, I never really thought that it would be a home, but for a brief period in my life Honolulu was my home. In some weird way I felt apart of local culture. Everyday I woke up the sun was shining, it was 80 degrees, and from my apartment I had a breathtaking view of the mountains that one could only dream about. I lived that life. For the most part life had minimal stress, I was in optimal health, and I was learning more about myself each day. I was living my best life.

Although it was my best life, it was my best life only for that time. In life things begin, but they also end. The end finally came. Why did I come back? Well although I had created a new life, I very much missed the old one at times. Your past will always be a part of you, and no matter how far you travel, you will never leave the past behind. I never left to run from my past, I left really to understand my present self. I needed to go to a space where I could learn about me. Away from distractions, away from expectations, away from what I once was. I found a me that I loved. I found life. I learned to slow down. To appreciate the simple pleasures of life. I never knew how peaceful life could be at the top of mountain, until I actually climbed to the top of that mountain and just sat. I never knew how much I could enjoy my own company, until my only choice was to enjoy my own company, and I never knew that I could survive so far away from everything and everyone I knew, until I had no other option than to survive. Looking back I did a pretty good job. But I knew it had to end. I miss it. But why do I miss it so much, when I knew it would be over?

I grew up along the way. I built attachments. For the first time in my life I was attached to my job. It was the first time I had ever had the feeling of wanting to cry as I submitted my letter of resignation, and every day after second guessed if I was really ready to go. I met friends who cared for me, friends who were sad to see me go, friends who showed me  Aloha from the day they first met me. I miss it.

Now I am on the mainland. Working in D.C. This is what I wanted. I am surrounded by friends who love me, my family is now only 4 hours away in New York, yet at times I still find myself dreaming and reminiscing of my time on the island.  A time of my life that is never to be forgotten.

Now it is time to start a new chapter. Which leads to that feeling of uncertainty. Where do I start? How do I start this chapter? Life is happening. Am I doing it right? I am on the mainland. The mainland is filled with opportunity. How do I take advantage of that opportunity? How do I continue to live my best life? That is a question I frequently ask. Adjustments take time, and transitions are not easy. I am adjusting. Winter doesn’t help. Its 9 degrees over here and 79 degrees in Honolulu. Those are the times when I want to return to Honolulu. But life goes on, I continue to grow, to learn, and to live. My uncertainty will eventually go away, and I will be back in tune with my purpose. But for now, I will continue to learn, focus, and stay motivated to conquer what is next. To Honolulu: I came, I saw, I conquered, To DC: Ok I’m here, let’s get it!

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences.

2014: The year of focus and personal accomplishments

Today is the first day of 2014. Happy New Year! Wow now what happened to 2013 again? I feel like a lot has happened in the year the last. It was another year of transition. A year of memories. A year of saying goodbye to old friends, and once again saying hello to lifetime friends. It was year of meeting new friends, it was a year that is worth remembering.

Exactly one year ago I would have never imagined that I would be once again living on the east coast. I would have never imagined that I would be permanently living in the an area with freezing cold winter nights, cleaning snow off my car, and wearing layers of winter clothes. Life again has worked out in an unexpected way. In 2013 I learned more about myself. I learned that I am in control of my life, no matter how chaotic it may seem, ultimately I have control. 2013 was a year of personal accomplishments, I ran my first half marathon! I learned to accept my love-hate relationship with running. I laughed a lot in 2013. Life was good. I smiled even in those times when there was little to nothing to smile about. I learned to appreciate me. I took risks, and I fell back in love with me.

I feel like 2013 was the year of me. When I look back over the year I feel like I spent a lot of time alone, yet I hardly ever had times of feeling lonely. I was able to enjoy the things I loved, not do the things I didn’t, and somewhere along the line I feel like I grew into a better version of myself. I hope that growth continues in 2014.

Life changed over the last few months. Adjusting back to the mainland after living on a rock in the middle of the pacific is not easy. I feel like I was thrown a curveball even though I know what is expected from life on the mainland. Yet it still remains slightly difficult some days to get used to. A challenge yes, but a necessary challenge indeed. 2013 you were a year with unexpected surprises, new friends, new home, and new job. Life is always changing, here is another change to overcome.

2014 will be my year of adjustment, always working on me, continuing to grow, learn, and accomplish something that is truly amazing. My personal theme for 2014 will be focus. To focus on all aspects of life a little more. Take in each moment and remember that life moments are always changing so enjoy them while I can. 2014 will be my year! My year to stop saying what I want to do and just do. Go for it. I feel the need for increased motivation, internal fulfillment, and to remember to live a life worth living. Personally I think 2014 will be a big year, and as always the best is yet to come! And finally I am ready.

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

Self torture continued, my road to running in a half marathon

inspration

I despise running so I signed up to run a half marathon. I know what your thinking, yes I am a walking oxymoron. Me and running have a hate-hate relationship. There is no room for love in that equation, and I seriously doubt that running has any love for me, so the mutual hate between myself and running is the perfect complement to this relationship.

So why run 13.1 miles for no good reason if you hate running so much?

Ahhh, good question. Why run 13.1 miles. To be honest some days 13. 1 miles seems like an incredibly far distance to drive, let alone run. Why run then? I wish I had one of those overly inspirational stories for you, like an example of how my life will forever be changed, or that I am running to raise money for a good cause, or I almost died and this is my chance to prove that I am alive and better than ever. Well, lucky for me I have not had a near death experience, my life will most likely be exactly the same the first minute after I reach the finish line, and I probably could be raising money for a really good cause, but I’m not. Maybe I should look into that one.

In reality, I am running just to say that I can complete a 13 mile run, and to win this competition that I am having solely with myself to prove that I can finish a half marathon in 2 hours or, at least 2 hours and 5 minutes.

I have never run 13 miles before. I don’t know if I will ever run it again. All I know is that in 25 days, I will be running. And I will finish. Whenever I run I constantly repeat to myself the saying: “finish stronger than you started”. I hope that kicks in around mile 11, because by that time I will just want to finish.

I have no intention of ever running a full marathon. 26.2 miles, now that is wayyyyy too many miles. For all who have completed one or multiple full marathons, much congrats! Today I drove 26 miles. I felt like that was too long. To run that distance, well not in my foreseeable future.

13.1. The magic number. I will take all wishes of luck starting now.

My life is full of surprises. Who knew that at 31 I would be running my first half marathon. At age 15, I hated to run 1 mile. At 15 if someone had told me that I would be running a half marathon in 16 years I would have laughed. At 15 I was the fat kid. I hated exercise because it hurt. I was 15 and nearly 200 pounds, wearing a size 16-18. Yeah I hated shopping, and health was at the bottom of my priority list.  At 15 I thought that I would never be attractive, I thought I would never have a boyfriend, and I had never imagined what life would be like at less than 200 pounds. Plus size was my life.

At age 31, well lets just say that I have lost about 40 pounds along the way, no more plus size clothing, and without running, or yoga, or crossfit,  my day feels incomplete.

Wait! I think I found it. The inspiration!

For that sad 15-year-old girl who is living inside of me, I am going to kick the ass of these 13.1 miles. To prove to her that she can do anything. To prove to her that she has always been pretty no matter what size she is, that she can have any life she so chooses, and  just because she can’t do something now, well it doesn’t mean she won’t be able to demolish it 16 years from now.

I hate running, but I love life’s accomplishments. My 13.1 is about so much more than running. That good cause that I was looking for earlier, well call me selfish but the cause is all about me. It’s about everything that defines living, and taking back my life. To prove that I can do what I thought was severely impossible just a few years ago is truly an accomplishment. Although I will probably never (actually maybe I shouldn’t  say never), but probably never run a 26.2, that 13.1 will still make all the difference. Life is worth living, live it!

Also, as I run, I will remember closely the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. Those individuals who set out to accomplish a goal, and the family members who came out to watch. Sadly tragedy has overtaken their personal accomplishments. Lets always remember Boston, and spread a message of peace on a daily basis.

 

 

positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences.