A lot has happened to me these past few months. I graduated college, I moved to New York City, I signed a lease on an apartment, and I started my first job. In all the whirlwind of activity, it’s hard to focus on what really matters. Lately, I have been feeling like my heart isn’t in anything that I am doing.
I don’t write as much as should. I get bored easily. I read WAYYY too much (yes, even for me). And, I don’t take the time to venture out, explore or have new and exciting experiences. Furthermore, I constantly find myself wanting to go on some new adventure, some other country and experience life. Yet, I live in New York City, the U.S. mecca of adventure and life.
At first I blamed the weather, it’s freezing cold ALL the time, even now in April I wake up to 39 degrees and rain. I also blame work. It leaves me tired by 5:00 p.m., and all I want to do is lay down and rest. I also blame transportation. I mean, who wants to go on an adventure when it takes 30 minutes to get anywhere, and you have to take a subway… Last, but not least, I blame money. A lot of things in this city cost a lot of money, and just starting a new job I have to be frugal.
In my blame game, or excuses as I now call them, I never turned the finger toward myself, until now.
This morning I read a quote, granted it was on Thought Catalogue, but it was still valid, I swear. The quote read, “You know who’s bored? BORING PEOPLE!” And I realized that’s me!
I live in a city where things are happening all over. Movies, books, websites and even SnapChat validate this claim. New York City is full of life, adventure and excitement. All you have to do is step outside your door.So I started digging deeper. What is holding me back? Why am I not really pushing myself to experience this city?
At first I thought of all my initial excuses. I mean, money IS a valid excuse, and I AM really tired…. But, those excuses aren’t good enough anymore. Everyone is worried about money in some way. Everyone works hard. Everyone has to take the subway. Even those who DON’T live in New York City find time to experience their cities or towns.
When I really think about it, it boils down to two things: laziness and fear.
First, laziness. I have NEVER been one to be lazy. I always thrive in working environments. But, somewhere between my last semester of college and now I caught this “lazy bug” that I just can’t kick. I think it was one too many days of sleeping in combined with Gilmore Girls on Netflix, which I finished in about three weeks. Overcoming laziness is all about pushing yourself (myself) to be better than I was yesterday. That includes working harder, writing more, and NOT going to bed at 9:00 just because, “there’s nothing better to do.” Now, it may seem like I have been productive and have been doing a lot. And while this is true, I know myself, and I know I could be doing more. I know I could be pushing myself to write more, to go out more, to spend more time with my friends, and even (gasp) try to make new friends.
This leads me into my second issue: fear. If I am being honest, NEW YORK IS FREAKING TERRIFYING. Everywhere I turn I am either, (A) afraid of looking like an idiot, or (B) afraid of failure to succeed in this big city. So, I stay home, I save money, and I keep myself from taking a step outside my comfort zone.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard of someone who succeeded without trying first… And, that’s the whole reason I WANTED to come to New York in the first place. I wanted to be scared, I wanted to fail (in the most glamorous way possible, of course), and I WANTED to have experiences that challenged me. But, none of that will come if I first don’t challenge myself.
All of this reflection caused me to come up with some goals with myself, and I thought, “What better way to stick to my goals than by putting them online?” So, without further adieu, here are my new goals.
- Write every day and post it online.– Because what writer has ever said, “Nah, just write when you feel like it.”? This idea came to me from my favorite author, Ernest Hemingway. He was literally a slave to his trade. He woke up and wrote every single day, whether he felt like it or not. Granted, half the time he was drinking, but he still wrote. If I don’t challenge my craft then how will I grow? (Answer: I won’t)
- Wake up early and go to bed later than 10:00.– Because I am still young, so I need to stop acting like I’m a grandma.
- Stop watching the news for an hour every morning.– Because IT’S DEPRESSING and starts my day on a depressing note. Instead of watching the news I could be, I don’t know, WRITING.
- Say YES to every invite to anyone who asks me to hang out.– Because whether it’s a friend or a stranger, spending time with people is better than alone. Plus, it will probably give me some great content to write about. I mean, back to Hemingway, but he went on adventures. He traveled, he saw BULLFIGHTS. But, he also hung out with average people in café’s and wrote about that, too. There is a story in everything, we just have to go out and find it. (p.s. in case you couldn’t tell Hemingway is my favorite author, not only because he started his career in Kansas City, but because he also wrote about the REALNESS of life; real people, real events, and real endings. He didn’t sugar-coat and he didn’t embellish, yet his stories still captivate millions. Oh, and he was a journalist first, which I also love about him).
- Eat out more.– Because I live in freaking New York City.. WHY do I still make my salads at home and eat by myself? (I have no good answer to this question).
- Take more pictures, and ACTUALLY POST THEM.– Because I spent money on a camera… I need to use it.
- Worry less about money.– Because what a waste of time that is… If I took all the time I worried about money and channeled it into something more productive.. Then I would probably HAVE a lot more money…
- Be kind to others.– Because I need to learn to forgive others for not being perfect, and learn to accept everyone and everything. Stressing out when others don’t act the way I want them to is also a waste of time. And, if other people got mad at ME for not acting the way THEY wanted me to, then I probably would have zero friends.
- Go with the flow.
– Because nobody likes someone who constantly has to have their way, including me. So, why should I think someone else would like me if I’m like that?
- Accept myself for who I am.– Because I don’t look like everyone else, I don’t have the same talents as everyone else, I don’t have the same personality as everyone else, and THAT’S OKAY! Trying to change my looks, personality, or God-given talents is exhausting. And frankly, it’s a waste of time. That means still working out, but not slaving away. Still eating healthy, but not giving up an offer to eat insomnia cookies at 2 a.m. or bottomless brunch on Saturdays, and still reading, but not using a book as an excuse to not go out. I can accept that I am shy and still challenge myself to make new friends. I can accept that I am insecure, but still push myself to be confident. I know there are a lot of people who have insecurities, but we can’t let our insecurities hold us back. Accept that we have them, and move on. Because in the end, what are we going to remember more? The time we hung back in the shadows? Or, the time we were BRAVE and took a chance?
I realize my goals may seem a bit different or odd, and thats okay. Like I said, everyone is different. It’s hard to be honest with myself and admit, especially online, that I still have a lot of work I need to do. I still have dreams I need to accomplish, and my life isn’t as glamorous as it seems. I guess that’s part of what happens to us in the “Digital Age” we can create almost a false reality of ourselves online, and we almost start to believe it, until one day we wake up and realize we aren’t who we portray ourselves to be.
Honesty is a difficult, but necessary, step toward growth, and it’s about time I took it. I encourage everyone to take time today, or this weekend, to be honest with themselves, re-evaluate their life and focus less on their excuses and more on their dreams.