29 and counting…Its Over. My 20’s a decade in review

Welcome 30! Today I have officially made it out of my 20’s safely, and kleenex free. Luckily I have avoided the emotional meltdown that I was highly dreading.  Surprisingly I still feel good, actually I feel great.  I hope age 30 will be my best year ever! Let’s check in on that a year from now.

As I say goodbye to my twenties, I must say that I am really not too sad to see them go. I have made mistakes, learned how to get over those mistakes, made more mistakes, and again continued to grow. Life is a journey. One word to describe the last 10 years of my life: Transformation. A year ago I would have never been able to understand this transformation fully, but over time, I have been able to look back on events in my life and learn from them. I have been able to transform into the product of a collection of lessons learned from every phase of life over the past decade, for if I have not been able to learn from it then what was truly the point of living it.

My 20’s a decade in review: A decade that can safely be put to rest

Ages 20-22: I was really dumb. Seriously, I knew absolutely nothing at all about anything. During this phase of my life I graduated college, so I knew enough to get by in higher education.  I started graduate school, so I even knew just enough to get by in continued higher education. OK so maybe I was book smart. However I was still dumb. My weekends were spent partying at the club, and I think I tried about every type of alcohol that was in existence at the time. During the age of 20 I drank so much, that by the time I turned 21 I really didn’t have the desire to drink anymore. But I did. I kept drinking, I was having fun. That’s what you do when your young right you have fun and binge drink. During my early twenties I learned how to express love to another person, I thought was in love for the first time (or at least I really really  liked my boyfriend a whole lot), and I learned there are hundreds of ways to have the most amount of fun in Manhattan on a super cheap budget! Most important lesson learned: Stop being dumb and grow up!

Ages 23-25: Ahhhh my mid twenties! I was still dumb. Maybe not as dumb as my early twenties but still very much dumb. By this time I thought I had found love for the second time. Even had those crazy thoughts of having that nice shiny ring, with that whole wedding thing to match. Yeah I was a serial monogamist. But, I am also a romantic, so if I think it is love then I will run with it. The highlight of my mid twenties; graduating from graduate school. The low point of my mid twenties, actually having to go out and get a job! Adulthood came quick, I wasn’t even looking and it hit me on the head. No more living on grad school budget with two part time jobs, I had a real salary and real responsibilities. As a new psychotherapist I knew nothing, and I imagined all my clients hating me and walking out of my office because they would eventually realize that I knew absolutely nothing. Yeah that was me. Fresh out of school, student loans galore, and I still knew nothing. Lesson learned: Just because someone gives you a job, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you know how to do it.

Age 26: In basketball, during  a seven game playoff series, when both teams each have 2 wins in the series, they refer to game 5 as the pivotal game 5. Age 26 was my pivotal game 5. To be honest, age 26 was probably the darkest year of my life to date, and I never want to go back to that point again. It was my make or break year, and through much of the year I was broken. If I could describe myself at age 26 the word would be, uncertain. I was uncertain about everything, and just surviving to make it to the next day. Life was there, but I was no where near living.  My job was a daily form of torture. I was on a roller coaster ride of a relationship, so that was just more self-inflicted torture, and everything about New York City seemed to increase the daily torture meter. To describe my mood as unhappy would be the ultimate understatement. The age of 26 was pivotal because I knew something needed to change. I needed a big change and I needed it quick. If I had stayed in New York, I saw my life on a downward spiral towards the abyss of depression. If I left, well I figured it couldn’t be any worse than what I was already facing. And on that note, I left. Lessons learned: Stay away from douche bags, and self-inflicted torture is never a good idea. If you are not happy with something in life, It is fully your responsibility to change it.

Ages 27-29: The transformation years: These are the years that I will miss. I am happy and sad to see them go. During this period I was no longer the college drinking weekend alcoholic, or the unhappy, job hating New Yorker. I found a way to just be me, and I found a way to be me on the other side of the pacific. Who knew that would happen? No, everyday was not the best of days, I still very much struggled with days of unhappiness, and even lingering depressive thoughts. Lessons learned: How to take control of my own life. How to make it work for me. I learned how to combat negative thoughts, negative energy, and negative experiences, so I can the avoid the downward spiral. I learned to depend on myself. To not look for love from others, but to look for love within myself. I learned how to work at a job that I love. I have developed into a great therapist, and no longer worry what my clients think of me. I have learned to appreciate the life that was given to me, and over the past few years I have developed a stronger understanding of how I can make it better. I have no regrets. Most importantly, I learned that life involves taking risk, without my risk who knows where I would be today.

As I reflect on my twenties, I start to smile. Through the laughing, the crying, the love, the heartbreak, the pain, the isolation, and the starting over, I have really had an emotional, purpose driven last ten years of life. I am grateful for the lessons learned in life through each year of my twenties. I am also very happy that I am no longer dumb. I still do not know a lot, but at least now I recognize what is unknown, and as always I am ready to learn so much more.

So today at 30, bring it on. What do I want to do? Well to start expanding my career options, move back to the other side of the Pacific, possibly closer to the Atlantic, and if that love thing happens to come around again, I’ll be even more ready for it this time. I can’t help it, I will always be a hopeless romantic. 🙂

 

Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

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From Wall Street to Honolulu, pick a city, any city and occupy it

APEC is coming to Honolulu next week. Let the protests begin! (If you don’t know what APEC is don’t worry, I didn’t know either until I went to the website)

The occupy movement which started on wall street, eventually has made its way to Honolulu. It is interesting to hear that there is an actual  occupy Honolulu movement. Protests in paradise, just doesn’t have the same feel as a New York protest. If I was in New York I may head down to wall street to witness this aspect of American History. In Honolulu, I am headed past the protest, straight to the beach. Honolulu is known for its tourism, it is a vacation destination. People usually don’t go on vacation to join a protest (at least I don’t think so). If you happen to live in Honolulu, you live with Aloha, and you still are unlikely to join a protest.

Needless to say, the Occupy Honolulu,  Hilo, or Maui movements, will never get as much coverage as occupying Wall Street, or DC.  Because Honolulu is so far away from the mainland, it can be difficult at times to connect to the issues of the nation. With a large amount of ocean water, and a 6 hour time difference from the east coast, the mainland can feel like another country some days.

If anyone truly sees all of Hawaii, you will see that much of Hawaii is filled with the 99%. It would be surprising if anyone in the 1% actually lives on one of the Hawaiian islands, my feeling is that they just come here as a lavish vacation destination.

Wall Street New York
Image by Mathew Knott via Flickr

The occupy Wall Street movement was started on a good basis. To bad the basis hasn’t yet reached a  consensus. With everyone having a different reason to occupy any city, the 99% actually looks like a joke to the top 1%.  The top 1% should earn money, you work hard earn money. But don’t expect bailouts and government handouts. The inequality in taxes is disturbing. There are truly reasons to protest.  But are the protest being heard? Is anything really going to change from these protest or will the movement become yesterday’s news? New York winters are harsh so I don’t expect the Wall Street protesters to be out there much longer. Sleeping in tents in the winter will never sound like much fun. Maybe some of them can come to Honolulu for the winter, and occupy the streets of paradise. With more people, the occupy Honolulu movement may get some positive attention. Without the people, it is a sad picture of a movement.

Honolulu International Airport
Image via Wikipedia

With APEC starting, I’m sure more people will be out for the protest. I still am not sure what they are protesting, but I will let you know when I find out. Let’s start making signs, and put Honolulu on the map. We are more than just a vacation destination. Honolulu is also a city that is down to fight for the cause.

Is this what it was like in the 1970’s?

Positive energy, positive thoughts, positive experiences

29 and counting…part 3 Getting over the defeat

5 months, 3 days away from turning 30

A few weeks ago I was feeling really defeated. I just wanted to quit. I wanted to quit everything. I was done. I felt tired of trying and not getting any results. What was I trying to do? Well now that I’m over my feeling of defeat, I am re-examining exactly what it is that I want to do. I start to ask myself, What am I really looking for?

At the end of my twenties, I feel like I followed the path of life that I supposed to go on. At least the plan that my parents may have had for me. I graduated from high school, went to college, graduated from college, even graduated from grad school at NYU! I started working for employers in my field, made a career for myself, moved to the other side of the world, survived in Hawaii, and now I wonder: What’s supposed to come next!

Cover of
Cover via Amazon

What is my next move, and how do I start to make it. I feel like the person in the Robert Frost poem, The Road not taken. I am at a crossroads of two diverging roads, so obviously I should take the road less traveled by. The problem is I don’t even have a sense of which road has been less traveled.

In actuality I always have taken the road less traveled. My life is a representation of taking that chance to make the difference. However, today as I move closer to 30 it appears that life has hit me with uncertainty. Uncertainty about if  that road that few go down is really the right road. I wonder about my career. I love my job, but do I want to do this forever. Should I get a Ph.D. to excel in my career, or do I just want a Ph. D. so people can call me Doctor. I can’t let my ego make life decisions for me, in the end I will just end up in a never-ending battle with my own self.  When I have accomplished everything that was on my “to do” list, what am I really supposed to do next.  Make a new list possibly? Okay, what do I put on it.  The plan that I had at 19 once seemed that it would last  for the rest of my life. At 29 I wonder how long my next plan will last. I really don’t want this feeling again at 39.

There are days when I want to hide, I want to disappear, so I don’t have to make decisions for my own life. I tell myself “WAKE UP!” this is adulthood, accept responsibility for your own life. I wonder if I should try a new career, but what would I do? Would I even like it? I guess I won’t know until I make an attempt. I wonder if I should move to a new city, but will I be happy there?  I need to stop wondering and just do something, anything.  So here it goes, I will set out again on that road less traveled by. I’m going to enter 30 with at new plan, a new outlook, complete bigger and better accomplishments. To fight the feeling of uncertainty I will remember: My best days are ahead of me, and I just have to live for today.

 Positive thoughts, positive energy, positive experiences

Where were you on 9/11/01?

Today marks the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Do you remember where you were that day?

9/11/01 is a day no American will ever forget. A day that changed the lives of many, and changed the face of a nation. For a super power such as the United States, who would have thought that one moment in time would suddenly change our country. From our individual selves to how we operate as a people, we were never the same after that tragic day.

9/11 World Trade Center Flag 4
Image by NVinacco via Flickr

I will never forget where I was on 9/11/01. For a day that happened 10 years ago I still remember it as it were yesterday. I was junior at the University of Connecticut. Actually about 3 weeks into my junior year to be exact.  That morning I had an 8:00 am class. I had four back to back classes from morning to afternoon. As usual I didn’t want to wake up, and I felt that class started too early. But I woke up.

At 7:00 AM I woke up. Turned on the TV to the today show as usual while I got ready for class. I still remember the news from that day, well some of it. Michael Jordan was ready to return to basketball, and The Blueprint album by Jay-z was going to be released. It was a Tuesday. Another normal Tuesday, or so I thought.

It was hot that day. Not like a normal September east coast day. It still felt like summer. I arrived to my 8:00 am class on time, it was Sociology. At 8:46 am the first plan hit the north tower of the World Trade Center. I was still in class. At 9:03 am the second plane hits the south tower of the World Trade Center. I was still in class. My home city was under attack, I had no idea. No one knew the destruction and devastation that was taking place outside of the safety net of our classroom on a college campus.

At 9:59 am the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed. By this time I was in my second class of the day Women’s Studies. I still had no idea what was going on in New York. How could I? There was no TV or radio on my walk from one class to the next. Surprisingly the class was full. No one mentioned a word of a terrorist attack on New York. Maybe they were unaware too of what was going on two and a half hours away from the safety of our college campus. At 10:28 am the north tower collapses. Thousands of people are dead, and New Yorker’s are in a true state of shock.

By the time I got to my third class which started at 11:00 am I still haven’t heard the news about what was going on in New York. On my stop to grab a cup of coffee I did overhear two students talking about a plane flying into the Pentagon. Since I only heard a slight bit of their conversation, I naturally assumed they were talking about a movie. Why would a plane be flying into the Pentagon in real life? Little did I know.

During my 11:00 am class of Animal Behavior the Professor did mention that coverage of this morning’s events would be on at the Student Union. I had no idea what he was talking about. He didn’t elaborate, just taught a normal lecture. I wished he had stopped to talk about how our country was under attack.

On my walk to my fourth and final class of the day, I noticed students crying all over campus. Students on the phone crying, lying on the grass crying, I was surrounded by tears. During my final class of Psychology, the Professor explained what had happened. He took a moment to talk about the terror attacks of the morning, the class reflected. It was hard. Unexpected. Not something I was ready for. But I finally knew what was happening in my city, I was living through terror.

New York, NY, September 28, 2001 -- Debris on ...
Image via Wikipedia

A few years later during my time as a graduate student at NYU, I lived a few blocks away from the World Trade Center Site. Lower Manhattan is naturally noisy, but living there after what had happened made the noise even louder. I would sometimes wake up in panic during the middle of the night while hearing fire trucks and police sirens. I would jump as if we were under attack. I was going through my own PTSD, one of memories.

Even though I wasn’t in New York on 9/11/01, I will never forget. I will always remember what the World Trade Center was before 9/11/01, and I will always remember how the city of New York came to together as one to stand up against evil after 9/11/01.

The World Trade Center in New York.
Image via Wikipedia

NY memories: A permanent mark in time

Still in New York: Day 4

Statue of Liberty National Monument, Ellis Isl...
Image via Wikipedia

I’m feeling a little bit reminiscent today. At my core I am a sentimental girl (even when I don’t act like it). I am that girl who keeps everything ever given to me by a past love. I keep old pictures, and random items for years, Deep down I can’t bring myself to just throw them away. What am I holding on to? If only I can figure it out, I might actually dispose of these items. But if I throw away pictures it would be as if those memories never happened. As if a once happy moment in my life was never there. Although, the end result was the personal torment of ending a relationship, the story of a time when things were good in that relationship are in those objects.

Why do I bring this up? Well when I come back home, I stay in my old room. My room that is filled with pictures, objects, and a plethora of memories of a time period when I was with an ex boyfriend. Twice I have loved, and twice it hasn’t worked out. Life changes and self reflection has brought me to a point where I do realize that it just wasn’t meant to be. Everything really does happen for a reason, and those relationships are not what I needed for my life.  However, the memories are still there. Trapped in my room. In my dressers are pictures, on the desk and in the closet are stuffed animals. I left my memories trapped in that room. Better than taking them with me to Hawaii. I needed a fresh start, for my own mental sake I needed the past to stay in the past. A past that always seems to come back into the present each time I enter the state of New York.

The memories are not only trapped in my room, they are actually in small areas all over the city. With each of my past relationships, I have a memory that virtually takes over Manhattan, Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn. Wow, it’s a good thing I never dated anyone who lived in Staten Island. The city has memories of romantic dates at wonderful restaurants, times of relaxation in central park, long subway rides to our next destination, and since I love to walk;  times of just strolling up and down the blocks of Manhattan. The Village is a New York favorite area of mine since I attended NYU. But with the thought of stepping foot into the village comes the memories of waiting for an ex by NYU, eating pizza after class, or just wanting to use a building to go inside of to escape the winter cold. Yup New York, my city of memories. Memories that I can’t just throw away. Buildings, landmarks, and food, all come with a separate memory that will always be there.

Greenwich Village Photo NYC

It’s funny because when I get a new boyfriend, I try not to do the same things or go to the same places that I did with my old boyfriend. Crazy, yeah maybe a little. But, each place for me has a special memory, so I feel it is more fair to create a new special memory, than to attempt to recreate a new memory in the same place. Is that always possible? No of course not! The city is big, but not that big. There are things that I will always love. For anyone I am dating, if we happen to be in New York, we will probably repeat an event that I shared with someone else. Hopefully I can stay in the moment, feel that it is special, and not think about the last time I was in that same place.

I wish I could say that Hawaii is completely free from any tainted memories of an ex boyfriend. Unfortunately that is not exactly true since shortly after I moved there one of my ex boyfriends did come to visit. I guess it was just that type of love that I couldn’t get away from, even though I knew that I really needed to be away from it. So some parts of Honolulu do have memories of him. That I can handle a lot better than New York. Since there is so much more of Hawaii that I can see with other dates, the memories of my ex in Hawaii are close to non-existent. I don’t feel as if they are written in permanent marker like my infamous New York memories. They are written in pencil and will eventually fade.

New York and I will always have a love-hate relationship. At one time I was in love with the city, now I feel I love it for a brief period and will tolerate it the rest of the time. This is also what the relationship with each of the past men in my life has become. Once we were in love so deeply, now, well I don’t even know what it would be considered now. Toleration? Friendship? Love-hate? Sure why not all of the above.  As they say, I guess one day the memories will fade. Through it all my city will always be the same. I will be open to falling in love with it over and over again during every visit. Soon I will have new experiences, and even better memories.

'Downtown is where it's at' United States, New...
Image by WanderingtheWorld (www.LostManProject.com) via Flickr

Now if only I knew what to do with my collection of old cards, pictures, and gifts???

As always: Positive energy, Positive thoughts, Positive experiences!