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

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Evolution: The dating edition

One of the greatest things about life is that it is always changing. Change is constant, and because of this we always know its coming.  We evolve. As a species we are always evolving. Evolution signifies growth, without change there can be no growth.  The mind cannot stay stagnant, it grows, and by growing we know we are living.

In the midst of changing (or growing older I guess), I have come to realize that my whole entire dating life has made its very own evolution. I must admit that it is an evolution that is a long time coming, and one that was much needed. As I look back on my dating past, I do so with the hope that I have taken in the lessons learned, and my dating future will be better and wiser. The past is a reflection of a point where we once were, I quickly realized that I want to be somewhere else, not there.

Recently I have noticed a common theme when I go out on dates, I am bored out of my mind! I find myself waiting for that moment of climax that will add meaning to any date, but it never comes. Let me explain more: My mind travels a million miles a minute, I have tried to slow down my thoughts…it doesn’t work.  I have an endless array of thoughts that are constantly occupying my brain space. The thoughts are never ending and always changing (hence why I suck so bad at yoga, and why I struggle with sleeping through the night). Therefore, due to this  fact it is pretty difficult to hold my attention. When one thought enters I am already about 10 more thoughts ahead.  I end up purposely looking for an attention grabbing something, just so I can focus. The focus is much needed, and when I am focused, I am finally at peace.  When a person is able to hold my attention I am in delight. I am yet to find a man who can hold my attention so I can enjoy a date with him.

With my evolution in dating I have discovered what I am genuinely interested in…A good conversation! With excessive dating,  I commonly get asked the question, “what are you looking for?” Finally I have discovered the heart of what I am looking for. Intellectual stimulation! A mental orgasm that will lead me yearning for a second and third date as soon as possible. In my world of thinking, if a man can easily bring my mind to a state of climax with his words, the sexual climax must be a million times better. Right?

But seriously, I usually would not think that it would be this difficult to find a date with conversation that is motivating and inspiring, a conversation that you want to never end. Am I asking for too much? Probably. But I don’t care. I like a man who can make me think. A man who is not afraid to challenge me. I know I may seem brilliant, but I do have my moments when I am wrong.  Does anyone read books anymore? I will even enjoy a great conversation about why our whole political system is so messed up. Wow am I boring or just old? Not sure.  A few years ago I would have thought these were boring topics, now they are topics that I chase after.

A friend told me that I have evolved myself out of the dating pool, that doesn’t sound so good to me. I don’t ask for too much. I just ask to date a grown man. I’m not a total prude, I love talking about sports, music, movies, but I want more. I want depth. I guess I want to finally be an adult, in an adult relationship. Can we say scary?

Now that I have embraced my evolution, I just have to find my male counterpart who has embraced his.  In my 20’s I was only attracted to the physical appearance of a guy, that was enough for me and all that I needed to make him my boyfriend. Now don’t get me wrong, I still am a sucker for a physically attractive man, I actually need that too, but maybe not as much. In hindsight, it’s never going to be all I need, and I truly need more to make a lasting relationship.  So where do I start? My new place to pick up men who read books…the bookstore! Wait, do any bookstores still exist?

 

Positive thought, positive energy, positive experiences

 

Once Again Its Valentine’s Day (Don’t worry it only lasts 24 hours)

It’s that time of year again. The day of Love. Valentine’s Day. Again, I will never understand the concept of the day because when I love someone, I hope that I do love them everyday and not just because society tells me to love them specifically on February 14th. Yet, since I am a sucker for romance and a sappy chick flick, I must admit that I do love the feelings and atmosphere that surround February 14th. It is always nice to see an overabundance of diamonds, flowers, and chocolate in lovely heart shaped boxes.

I used to think that Valentine’s Day was a girl holiday (a large part of me still does). Seriously I thought men hated the whole concept of the day. My take was that men who had a significant other would go through the motions and slowly wait in misery for the day to be over. I have never known a man who was genuinely excited about Valentine’s Day. Then I met my ex. He told me that men celebrated Valentine’s Day too, and men should be given gifts just like gifts are given to women. I was perplexed. Huh? All this time I was thinking that Valentine’s Day was a girl holiday. Girls get roses, teddy bears and diamond rings. The Kay jewelers and Hallmark commercials taught me that men present women with gifts on Valentines day, so obviously that was the way the day went down. I always had expected a small gift from the man I was dating at the time, and as for them, umm lets just say I didn’t know what to get them because Valentine’s Day is a girl holiday!

The first Valentines day I celebrated with my ex was simple, well we weren’t actually in an exclusive relationship at the time, so I didn’t expect a gift. He did take me out so that was a nice dating celebration for the day. The next year that damn Valentine’s Day rolled around again, and since we were far and long into an exclusive relationship I guess I had to give him a gift. Although, in my head Valentine’s Day was still a girl day, and I felt like I was being bamboozled. For the sake of genuine happiness in the relationship I caved. Honestly I can’t remember what it was that I got him, I know it wasn’t expensive though, it was small something to say I love you. I could have done that on any given day of any month, however Hallmark told me it was Valentine’s Day so celebrate.

For people in a relationship who are low on a budget, Valentines Day can be an added expense. We just celebrated Christmas less than two months ago. With the blink of an eye, six short weeks into the new year then bam! Another gift giving day. Because of that I feel Valentine’s Day gifts should be small, simple gestures just to say I love you. A large, expensive, materialistic, gift is not always needed. Everyday words and actions that say “I love you” mean so much more than a gift on Valentine’s Day. And that both men and women can reciprocate.

So that ex boyfriend of mine that somehow convinced me that Valentine’s Day was not only a girl day, but a guy day too, well obviously he is an ex for a reason. No it is not just because he expected gifts on Valentine’s Day (even though that would be a funny reason for a woman to break it off with a man). But, we were able to come to a mutual agreement when it came to Valentine’s Day. We were able to do things to make each other feel special, to celebrate love not only February 14, but every day before and after it. It wasn’t about the dollar amount that went into the gift, but the love that would last when the flowers died, after I ate all the chocolate, and after I lost whatever piece of jewelry he would eventually give me. My favorite gift was the one that probably cost him the least amount of money. A CD of original songs that he recorded just for me. The price: the amount of one blank CD.

Valentine’s Day is a  lovely over publicized day. However, since romance is in the air go with it. If that cupid guy shoots you and you feel overjoyed with emotions of love, spread that love. No one should be overly stressed, sad, or increasingly depressed on Valentine’s Day, after all it is just another day. Show love every day, be creative with love, go against the norms and come straight from your heart. By showing the simplest amount of love, in the simplest way, you will defiantly earn the greatest results.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Now can someone tell me the truth, Do men really expect gifts on Valentine’s Day or is it a girl holiday?

GelGems (I love them) on train.
Image via Wikipedia

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

The independent woman: A positive concept with a negative vibe

The concept of Miss Independent is one that is quickly becoming a misconstrued notion to many men. It seems to have transformed from the idea that women can be liberated to get the most out of life with or without a man, to one of  men feeling that an independent woman does not want a man, and would rather be alone at night. How did that happen?

Well a few weeks ago Tyrese was ever so kind, and gave his input in a message for independent women. Check it out here:

Tyrese’s Message to independent women

Thank you Tyrese, I’m sure we all really needed to hear that (yeah not really). However, you did inspire me to clear a few things up for men who may like yourself, not truly understand the wants and needs of an independent woman.

I previously wrote the blog Miss Independent: Gift or Cruse, which questions if men are intimated by an independent woman. A man may   feel inferior if  he thinks that a woman does not need him. He will question himself, by asking “what can I do for her?” However that should not be the issue. Let me clear up a few misconceptions, and maybe men who think similar to Tyrese will have a new perspective of what it means to be  miss independent.

For a woman to say she is  independent,  it no way also means “I don’t want a man”, or “I don’t need a man to do anything for me”, or “I would rather stay at home with my dog”.  Of course independent women want and need a man. To be an independent woman, is to be a woman who is not defined by a man. A man is in her life to make her better, she will only allow men to enter her life who will make her better. An independent woman wants a man who will respect her and truly understand her worth. She is independent because she is not going to date just any type of man. She will not allow a man to disrespect her, or treat her any kind of way because he thinks that she needs him.

When a man is with an independent woman, he knows that she does not need him so she can be his dependent, however, she wants him to be apart of her life. She wants to be able to depend on him, and makes that choice knowing that she can also be just fine without him.  She wants him to be a man, do the things that real men do. Protect her, love her, take care of her and the family,  because sometimes even independent women get tired of depending on only themselves.

When black men feel that the independent black woman is synonymous for “sistas with an attitude”, it sends the message out that black men aren’t listening, or recognizing the needs of black women. Sure we have our own job, pay our own bills, and can take care of ourselves without a man in our life, but yes we do want a man in our lives. We want that emotional connection to a man who is understanding of the hardships of the independent woman.  The attitude that you may see is not purposely there to scare you away, it is there to protect us from men who are not capable of handling the challenge of being with an independent woman.

So to Tyrese, or other man who feels they have a message for independent women, listen closely. An independent woman wants to be loved by a man, an independent woman wants a partner, an independent woman has needs and expectations for a relationship. If you as a man are not able to fulfill those needs, those expectations, and cannot step up and be a real man, then yes, you will feel that this woman wants to be alone.  In actuality she does not want to be alone, she is just more than you can handle. In that case you have to be man enough to admit that you just are not ready to be in a relationship with Miss Independent.

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

Soul Mates: Is that for real?

After nearly two weeks, I finally returned to Bikram yoga today. Painful is an understatement for the appropriate word to describe that experience. By the start of the floor series I was ready to go back home and crawl myself back in my bed. A missed week of Bikram, is like starting your first hot yoga class over again. On my travels east, I did go with my friend to a Bikram Yoga class in Virgina, however the experience was nothing like the Honolulu Bikram experience. Ahhh, another reason to love Honolulu 🙂

As I attempted my 90 minute moving meditation in the very hot room, my mind started to wander. Well my mind always wanders, nothing new.

But today my wandering brought me to thoughts about soul mates. Do they really exist, or is the idea of a soul mate a piece of fiction that can be comparable to Walt Disney fairy tale?

If this blog by some random chance of fate gone wild ever turned into a book, turned movie, my movie would not be your typical love story, or romantic comedy like so many other single girl goes on a random adventure to find a new life kind of movie.  My movie would be more like a cynical comedy. Somewhat like Juno. Dry humor, with an unpredictable ending that is still unwritten.

If my life were fit for true Hollywood fashion it would go something like this: I leave New York, fly across the world, end up in Hawaii, learn the island, then randomly meet a gorgeous, charming man in a way that involves some form of irony, he falls in love with my quirks, flaws, and amazing personality. We spend an endless amount of time together, we have the all too predictable conflict over a meaningless topic, eventually get back together because we realize this is what the universe wants. The ending:  we drive pass the ocean into the sunset. In movie world, I would have met my soul mate by now, or at least someone who I thought was my soul mate for the time being.

However, in reality, my life works something like this: I leave New York, fly across the world, end up in Hawaii, learn the island, make a ton of crazy friends, engage in life threatening adventures just to see if I survive, go to work everyday but love my job, and sit around thinking about what my next life challenge will be. Hmm that may not be interesting enough for the big screen. In my movie world, I will not stumble upon Mr. Perfect one day, who I eventually realize is the one I have been looking for all my life ( how cheesy does that sound anyway?)

But I am starting to wonder, do soul mates actually exist. Some married  people have said, I knew I had met “the one” the moment I laid eyes them, is that real? Or, do people just say things like that because it sounds like love? Personally, I don’t think I would know  my soul mate if he actually did come and save my life because I was about to get by a bus (just saying). I am not sure if ever in my life have I just laid eyes on someone, and knew he was “the one”. I think I have actually fallen in love by accident, it just happens over time. Obviously I haven’t yet met my soul mate.

Since I have decided that I would not make a good career military wife, I doubt my soul mate is on the island of Oahu. Maybe he is on Maui? Or,  maybe not. Since there are so many people in the world, maybe we all get a pick of three or four soul mates. Fate would have us only meet one anyway there would be no conflict later in life. Perhaps my soul mate is in another state,  he  could actually be in New York and I just missed him. I could do some more traveling in case my soul mate is in another country. However, if fate brings us together than I really don’t have to look for him right? He will just pop out of the sky one day by some random coincidence. That sounds about right. I am not searching for “the one”. I will just stay still and let life happen.

To anyone who has found their soul mate, how did you know it was that person? And more importantly are they everything you expected they would be?

August book selection: Everything Happens For A Reason by Mira Kirshenbaum

Cover of
Cover via Amazon

On my journey to “living my best life now”, as said by Oprah, I am attempting to incorporate a monthly book selection into this blog. Please note that I said ATTEMPT. I will do my best, but not sure how long I can keep it going. My life changes quick, so please watch me for the changes.

Lately, I have had the feeling that God has been telling me to go right,  and I keep making that sharp left. Somehow going to left seems so much more exciting than going right, so I pick my way. Of course it never works out, it’s not the right way, it is a dead-end. As always God  brings back to the start of the path, I don’t get lost , I don’t get in trouble. He allows me another chance to follow him, infinite chances to go right. I listened to God, and when he spoke, he brought me to a book, a book that will forever change the way I look at life.

This month’s book selection is,  Everything Happens for a Reason: Finding the true meaning of events in our lives, by Mira Kirshenbaum. While reflecting on past events in my life, changes that have been made, I once struggled to find meaning in them. I had a bad habit of feeling sorry for myself, hating the world that I was in, just hoping for something better that never came. I would wonder, why do certain things happen the way they do? Why do some events turn out bad, and why can’t things just go the way I want them to. I wanted perfection from life. Who am I kidding? Life doesn’t work that way.  The odds are not always in my favor, and every event is not going to always have a happy ending. In life bad things happen. Bad things happen to everyone, the good that comes out of those bad events are the reason why they had to happen.

Through her writing, Kirshenbaum points out  that there are ten main reasons why these bad events take place in our lives. Through each chapter she thoroughly explains each of these ten reasons, she conveys real life examples from people to make sense of  the true meaning as to why certain events may occur in life. Kirshenbaum is able to help  the reader reflect on his or her own life events, and find a way to make that event fit into one of these reasons. This book opens the reader up to deep self-reflection,  possibly gaining closure and moving forward from events that appear damaging to our lives. Kirshenbaum writes in a way that enhances a positive overtone for negative events. This book portrays the message that life does get better! People are resilient and if we are just able to bounce back, bounce back quick,  and look for true meaning, our lives will be better than we have ever imagined. Kirshenbaum does an excellent job of making the reader feel at home within the book, and brings the message that life does not just happen to happen. Life really does happen for a reason.

The Ten Meanings of the Events in Our Lives, by Mira Kirshenbaum

1. To help you feel at home in the world

2. To help you totally accept yourself

3. To show you that you can let go of fear

4. To bring you to the place where you can feel forgiveness

5. To help you uncover your true hidden talent

6. To give you want you need to find true love

7. To help you become stronger

8. To help you discover the play in life

9. To show you how to live with a sense of mission

10. To help you become a truly good person.

My challenge to you is to sit and reflect on the negative events of your life, if you feel you know the reason why they happened, great! You are one step ahead. If not, if you continue to feel sad, wonder “what if”, or have trouble moving on think of the meaning behind this event. How has it changed you? Can anything positive come from this negative event? Look within your inner self for the reason, trust me it is there.

If you have time read, Everything Happens For A Reason by, Mira Kirshenbaum.

*Positive energy, Positive thoughts, Positive experiences!