Life is Busting out ALL Over!

Breakfast

Posted on: January 8, 2009

One of the mental switches I’ve made in this new year is how I think about my life. Upon reflection, I view my life as pre-life and post life. This really doesn’t make much sense because I’m actively living what I reference as “post-life” but I like balance so I guess the terminology works.

My pre-life refers to basically my twenties, after college up until grad school. (Grad school I really struggled personally, although I was empowered in so many ways, because it truly felt like my life was on pause while I got my degree and awaited the changes it would bring – for someone that needs to know what’s going to happen next, it was almost torture). Much of my pre-life was very fast paced. I was young but never felt  like I was aging, even as I got on in my twenties. I lived with roommates in Chicago, I worked in account management at an ad-ish agency, which the nature of that job moves you at a fast and furious pace all the time, not to mention that most of your day (12 hours at least) is spent at the job so it’s just move, move, move for the majority of your day. My down time moved similarly only it’s pace was drink, drink, drink. It was great fun and I enjoyed every second of it except when I didn’t and then quickly moved on to the drinking portion of my day.

The only problem with it was that because I was so career driven, and the agency world forces you to make it your life because the hours can be very long, I never really paid attention to myself. Those years felt like college, in the respect that I never felt accountable as I should have at ages 23 – 27, only that I had a paycheck. After I moved to a different company and got out of that rat race, I had more hours outside of work, but I also was in a serious relationship so you can see what I replaced with what.

Needless to say, during my year long + “pause” I had a lot of time to reflect on what had led me to my “do over”, the career change. I battled a ton of regrets, like what if I only had the self-awareness when I was younger… then I would have gone to grad school earlier and I wouldn’t be starting my career out at 30 and would be well on my way already. Then the relationship fell apart and there were even more regrets.

What I realized is that everything else in my life took priority over me. I never took the time to really mature if I’m going to be honest, I never took the time to find out my likes and dislikes, I never took the time to be quiet with my soul, to listen to my own heart’s desires.

So, the “pause” I took, if for nothing else, helped me realize that I needed to put myself first. That I needed to truly learn to live with myself, to accept myself for what I can bring to the table and to forgive myself for what I can’t and also for any missteps along the way.

I don’t make New Year’s Resolutions because Jan 1 is my birthday and well, it feels depressing to make some sort of deadline on my birthday that I won’t end up keeping and honestly I’m just thinking of other things. However, given that my move to Texas was the week of my birthday and that I spent New Year’s Eve alone (well, with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin but they couldn’t talk back) and was so overwhelmed with all that I had wanted to happen actually did, it made me really reflective. Soon after midnight, when a new year was ushered in as well as another year in my life started, I promised myself that I would put myself first and with not having friends (yet) or family (at least the ones who I feel an obligation to) here, I knew there wasn’t room for any excuses.

In my pre-life I always ate breakfast at the office. This was due to either rising early to hit the gym before work (it was near my office so it was just like going to work but way too early) or I snoozed to the last possible minute that it left no time. I’d bring a packet of oatmeal and heat it up in some communal mug and eat it at my desk as I started my work day. I thought it worked well. No time was wasted and I still got a meal in.

Now, in my post-life (or current one, I suppose), I eat my breakfast before I shower and dress in the morning. I didn’t do this with intention other than on Monday, which was my first day of work, I didn’t think I’d have time to eat breakfast with all the hoopla (and man, was there hoopla!) and getting settled with the new gig. The other issue is that since I’m following a gluten-free diet to make my tummy feel better, I’ve started eating eggs (the kind of oatmeal I used has gluten in it and the non-kind would require me to boil water, which I wasn’t going to do in the break room). While I have these special Ziploc bags I can throw all the eggs and fixins in and heat up in the microwave so it turns into an omelet, that just seemed too much to do on that first day, and at work in general but I thought it would be an option. After my first day, I learned my hours are much earlier than what I worked in my pre-life (and also this Austin isn’t Chicago but the traffic sure is. Jeesh!) but also that since I meet one-on-one with students, I wasn’t going to have much time to check my email, let alone try to eat breakfast before I’d have an appointment.

The rest of the week I followed suit and fixed my omelet before I showered and ate at home. And you know what? It’s kind of amazing, how one little thing can really improve my attitude. I don’t eat for very long, maybe 10 minutes tops, but sitting down and catching the news and just to fricking think for that time makes me happier. I feel purposeful, and as silly as it might sound coming from a 31 year old, I actually feel like an adult. Maybe it’s that protein that nourishes me better than breakfasts of the past, but it’s something. I feel like maybe it’s really just about the small things we do for ourselves that make a difference.

So I’ve altered my New Year’s promise to myself: I’m taking time to do the small things.

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Synopsis

musings and panic attacks of a Chicago girl embarking on a new life in Texas. Only it's not always June and it's not in song.

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