Life is Mean but then It’s Sorta Nice: Scholarly Thoughts with Laina

Wassup wassup wassup this Love it or Leave it is back after… an entire year of not focusing on a single written thought for more than 30 seconds.  My attention span is like a new born puppy who loves sparkles and hates authority.  Nonetheless, here are my Thoughts on Unicorns.

Continue reading “Life is Mean but then It’s Sorta Nice: Scholarly Thoughts with Laina”

Reintegrating to Normal: THE THINGS NO ONE TELLS YOU

They said to go out and explore the world, they said it will be great.  What they didn’t tell you is how hard you will be slapped in the face by reality upon return.  Thanks for the disclosure, “they”.

As great and beautiful and life changing as blindly packing up and moving to another country was, the reintegration back to “normalcy” is almost as difficult as leaving.  I’ve been out of the country before on a “study” abroad trip before, but it was different then.  When I returned from the Czech Republic, I had a job and the return to school to keep me on track and prevent any major spiral.  While I did still manage to spiral pretty hard, it was different. (One of my great abilities is to spiral when it’s considered impossible to spiral. Im so proud.) I had a plan. I had direction and a general idea of where my life would be in the near future.  This time, all plans and inhibitions flung themselves to the wind and I am now returning from a 2 month out-of-control-no-end-in-sight bout of spiraling reintegration.

While my days have been filled with yoga, family, good food, Noonie, great friends, highly questionable decisions, and entirely too much wine, the rebirth back into this American life is no easy feat.  Life here hasn’t changed.  Life still moves at a rapid pace.  People are still obsessed with superficiality.  No one cares that you are having the hardest internal battle each and everyday of this proposed normality.

While I accept hardship as a chellenge, I can’t help but feel like I’ve had more quarter-life crises than the average twenty-something.  It feels like I have one every single year, in fact.  Which is weird.  I can’t help but wonder if I am being thrown curveballs and difficult situations that uproot my life because I am doing it wrong? But then I remember that you can’t do it wrong.  Ever.  All things happen as they should and we treat situations in such a manner that either teaches us a good leasson and we get it and move on, OR life is like ” LOL.  Try again”.  And we do.  Because there is no other option besides moving forward.

Things no one tells you about reintegrating:

—>  IT IS FCKING HARD. It’s not easy and it’s not not hard.  It’s pretty damn challenging to come back to the life you left many months or years ago.  It’s depressing.  To see that actually nothing has changed and that everyone is still maintaining the same routine is harder than you’d think.  Coming back to a culture based on appearance and social standing after being in a free-flowing environment is a challenge in itself.  You suddenly become hyper-aware of how you look and and how poor you actually are, even if these things have not been in your mind for months.  It’s hard to accept that you are in fact back in “reality” and your days of endless travel have ended.  It’s hard to embrace the herds of white people and vanilla culture.  It’s hard not to hate it.  But you can’t hate it, because it’s your home and it’s part of you.  And as much as you travel and explore, you will eventually return.

backtoreality

—> You can’t do whatever you want when you want.  Wait, what?  What do you mean I can’t go on day long adventures to a far away beach and drink wine at noon?  What do you mean it’s not acceptable to work for 3 hours and then spend the rest of the week dancing in the streets to homeless musicians?  I don’t get it.  No, I do get it.  But only now, 2 months back into “reality” and out of the “dream”  I just experienced. The most magical thing about an adventure is that you are on your own time and you have little to no responsibility.  You don’t have to be anywhere at a certain time.  You don’t have to search for true employment.  You don’t have to be anyone.  You can simply exist and float in and out of events and situations with ease.  That ends instantly when you re-enter your “home”.  You have to be gainfully employed or else you are cast away and burned at the stake for being a gypsy.  You have to uphold plans with friends and relatives.  You have to exercise and eat right and not drink wine at 11 am.  You allegedly can’t lollygag your life away.  For the past 2 months, I’ve been riding on the notion that I can still live my adventure life in Colorado without consequence.  Yeeeeah that cute little dream has come to and end.  Sometimes you have to buckle down and be a server/slave and be places on time and not piss off entire weeks of your life.  It’s rough.

–> Heartbreak from afar with TEAR YOU APART.  Well, I guess my first piece of advice is to NEVER fall in love with a latin man.  Too much?  Ok fine.  But if you’re going to do it, do it with caution.  They will destroy every last fiber of hope in mankind.  They will rip your little heart to smithereens and then shake their rhythmic hips over the pieces with their cool hair and sexual accents.  They will carry on their normal life like nothing happned, while you cry and cry and cry and binge drink wine and consider online dating and set out to DESTROY all male souls you can get your hands on.  You will seek revenge by luring in others and then crushing them to emotional death because you’re convinced an eye for an eye will take away the pain.  It doesn’t.  It won’t.  So don’t.

Heartbreak and reintegration is a deadly combination.  You literally feel like you have nothing left to hold onto.  There is only a faint whisper of the adventure and love that once was.  The rest has turned into a harsh slap in the face by reality.  You feel like you don’t belong anywhere and that you are a citizen of the prison that is your mind.  It hurts.  More than anything I’ve experienced in my life thus far.  Which I guess makes me pretty lucky, but still.  It sucks.  You feel like you don’t know up from down and that the whole world is spinning so fast and you are standing still in the middle of the madness.  Without direction and without love.  I am still not over this latin heartbreak, and I won’t be for awhile.  But I am starting to realize that life will go on and love will show it’s complicated face again.  One day.  When you’re not a boiling hot mess of mental instability and day-long spurts of sobbing.  Things will get better.

heartbreak

—>  Everything feels different and the same. At the same time.  The whole world has not changed just because you have.  It feels like you just woke up from the craziest, wonderful yet horrifying dream.  You walk around wondering if people notice that you are different.  You walk around differently.  A different mindset.  A different gauge on normalcy.  A different perspective on how you want your life to look.  This shift is beautiful and prized, but when paired with the return to the routine you held before you left, shit gets real.  You become uncertain if you should retreat back to what you did before you left, or take steps to pursue the change.  It’s like being a caged animal for years and then escaping.  And then getting caught and returned back to the cage.  I guess the key in this situation is to find the balance between what once was and what will be.  It’s not an easy feat, kids.

samesame

—>  You will have to summarize months and months of adventure stories into “It was great”.  People will ask.  They will seem generally curious on how your adventure went.  But beware, if you expand your answer to more than a few short sentences, you will be met with ceiling glances and phone checks.  While some good friends will be genuinely interested, most people don’t give a fck.  Which is fine.  You didn’t explore the world to sound more cultured in conversation.  You did it for your own personal growth.  But just know, the first time you summarize a magical and life-changing experience into “Yeah, it was wonderful”, it will hurt.  It will hurt because you went through so much and did so many things that seem like they can’t physically boil down to one sentence.  But they can.  And they will.

—>  Binging on booze and other substances does not help.  Surprising, I know.  I thought it was a proven coping method, but allegedly it makes everything worse.  Waking up with a hangover practically every day for numerous weeks is not as fun as it sounds.  While it drowns out the whispers of “what the fuck are you doing with your life?!” and the yells of a heartbreak, the sweet numbness can only last so long.  you can only forget so much, until it all rushes back with vengeance.  Doing yoga, meditating, journaling, applying yourself to something with meaning, and things of the like have proven to be better in coping.  I’ve just now started to realize the great things that come with introspection after such an event.  While it’s idealist to say that I won’t continue to hit the south broadway bars with 1-7 vodka drinks and hops of destroying male souls, I’ve promised myself to cut down significantly.  I’m really growing up in the world, eh?

binge

—>  You will want to speak ________ (insert foreign language of choice) with anyone and everyone.  It’s like tourettes and you won’t be able to stop. You will seem mildly racist while asking non-white (an also white) humans if they want to engage you in conversation in broken and drunken spanish.  You won’t rest until you mumble a few foreign words to an unsuspecting victim.  And while my spanish skills are SEVERELY declining due to lack of practice, I feel a small victory each time I speak it.  My, my, my how cultured I am now.  Look at me go!  I can communicate with all of the kitchen staff at my work!  I can read the smaller instructions so generously displayed for the minority! I am really breaking boundaries here.  In all honesty, I’ve found my hidden love for learning and using language and have promised myself to never stop.  So, yea, I might seem racist by asking any and all hispanic-looking people to humor my spanish skills.  But I can’t stop, won’t stop.

—>  You will try to make irrational plans to escape your home/life.  Was I one click away from buying a ticket back to Peru?  Yes.  Was I searching for legitimate jobs in Chile?  Absolutely. Was I wondering how long I could survive in Antarctica with $50?  For a minute, yes.  Planning another escape into the unknown is somehow more comfortable than remaining in the comfort zone.  It’s sick, but it’s true.  I’ve boiled this down to my strong desire to runaway and never remain stagnant.  My happy place is when I am stuck in a foreign place without any idea of direction.  When I know exactly what my day will look like, where to go, and what to do, I freak out a little.  I can’t handle the mundane for a long period of time.  It hurt my little gypsy soul. Thus, this is something that I will continue to deal with and struggle against.  Because apparently no one can run away from grown-up decisions forever.  Except for like Forest Gump and real-life gypsies.  hashtag-jealous.

escape

—>  You are not heady than thou because you have seen a little bit of the world.  There is not a direct correlation with traveling and intelligence/spiritual growth/good human-ness.  While it’s a bit easier to grow and learn and experience new things while in another land, you are not in fact better than those that have not left their homeland.  You’re not.  So stop.  You can’t simply float on the notion that you automatically gained street credit and karma points because you lived out of a backpack for months.  Like, cool story bro, but get over it.  I’ve learned that being pretentious about your travels gets you nothing more than an asshole title and a boost to your detrimental ego.

NOT YOU.
NOT YOU.

MORAL OF THIS STORY:  I have no idea.  The pleasures and thrill of traveling are unmatched, even by the immense pain and mental instability of return.  No amount of tears and feelings of being lost can surpass the experiences you have while seeing the world.  Just because life is a little more challenging when you reintegrate back to your homeland doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t travel.  It’s like never falling in love because you don’t want the pain of a heartbreak.  We grow and flourish with each experience, whether it’s really shitty or really wonderful.  It’s the unavoidable ebb and flow of life.

My advice:  Travel.  Travel often.  Travel your little face off until you can’t travel anymore.  See it all.  Experience it all.  Surround yourself with good people and things. But be aware that coming home is not a frolic in a field of sound-of-music-esque wildflowers. It will test your very being and will to survive mentally, but it can never compare to the beauty of the outside world.  Fall in love, meet some weirdos, get into sketchy situations and then come home and find yourself again.  You will survive and be a more complete human.

Namaste bebes.

The Weird Adventure that is My Life

People who claim they will maintain a constant blog flow during a worldly adventure is probably a liar.  Life happens at a more rapid pace than a blog can publish (read: I blew off writing for +/- 5 months. You would too if you were me. Probably.) Whatever.  Here I am months and many life activities later….

sky

SURPRISE:  I’m returning to the good ol’ US of A in 7 short days. And NOT because I really want to, but out of necessity.  I am horrifyingly broke and simply cannot sustain myself on the embarrassingly low wages of an illegal immigrant in Chile.  While I do miss my family and noonie and friends and Kombucha, I am no exactly ready to end this chapter.  White girl problems aside, I will re-integrate back into American culture, whether I like it or not.

I am currently living in downtown Santiago with a Chilean boy (….), floating on the last delicious tastes of this journey before I make my return.  I am so happily content at this point, but I know the lifestyle filled with vices and lacking responsibility is not sustainable for any period of time.

I’ve experienced the entire spectrum of events since leaving Colorado in November, and there is no possible way to summarize this journey into words.  But since I take terrible pictures and do not collect post cards, these hast generalizations will have to suffice for now….. Enjoy my weird adventures I call my life.

I’ve sold art on the streets of Valparaiso for less money than slaves made in the late 1800’s.  I’ve been a journalist (for the first time ever. In another language).  I’ve worked on a farm in a secluded valley of Peru.  I’ve been a journalist in the presence of the Chilean president with questionable morals on many occasions, and found a new despise for politics in the world.  I’ve been in the middle of wild student protests.  I’ve been tear-gased and close to incarceration in the streets.  I’ve started street-wide Christmas caroling among Chileans on New Years Eve.

streets

I became friends with a worldwide street artists, homeless prophets, and street dogs.  I walked my poor mother through the sketchy streets of the city at night with all of her bags (sorry mom).  I’ve drunk more wine than I thought was physically possible.  I’ve gone 7 months without a yoga class.  I’ve attempted to teach yoga in Spanish, then retreated back to english.  I’ve been a drug spirit guide (questionably).  I’ve camped out naked on a private beach for an undisclosed amount of time.  I’ve dabbled in a magical cactuses and chemicals and natural highs and art projects.  I’ve had life revelations.  I’ve had a come to Jesus, but not to Jesus.

work

I’ve learned Spanish.  Then forgot it.  Then learned it again.  I’ve discussed politics and profound ideas in another language with elders and friends alike (and most likely did not make a single deep statement, but simply stayed afloat in the conversation). I know now how grateful people are when you at least try to speak their language and integrate into the culture.  I’ve learned the value in learning the street slang (street slang = street cred.  Always.  No matter your level of speaking). I’ve trekked along the most southern part of the world, surviving on trail mix and high-fives.  I’ve spent multiple days in bed because I wanted/could.

pata

I spent my first Thanksgiving, Christmas, Birthday, Easters, and Mothers Day without my family and away from my home.  I’ve learned that these specific days, while exceedingly hallmark-y and overdone, are important and almost vital to spend with those you love.  I’ve also learned that you can create a family wherever you are and that family is not exclusive to your blood line, and that sometimes you have to visit Starbucks for a little taste of over-roasted coffee-flavored home.

I’ve experienced how hard it is to travel while being a vegetarian and gluten-free.  I’ve also experienced how difficult it is to both explain this situation and gain empathy in a different language (impossible? Mainly this —-> Veg lyfe but in Spanish).

I’ve learned there are assholes everywhere in the world, and there are always a select few that cast a negative perception of a country and a culture.  I learned that no matter how much a person dislikes your culture, you can prove them wrong with kindness and decent dance moves (?).  I’ve experienced the embarrassment of being a Gringa in a country that generally does not like North Americans, and I’ve also learned how to not give a fck.

color

I’ve slipped off the face of the earth, forgotten what my home and old surroundings look like.  I’ve been so out of the loop on world events that my mother has to call me and tell me things three days after they happen.  I’ve pretended my way through interviews with important people in Chile, and succeeded.

UN

I made a comeback to my dubstep years, and am not complaining.  I’ve taken 40 hour bus rides to be with another human.  I’ve met the most amazing friends I could possibly ask for, all by chance.  I’ve come across humans who think their karma is forever in good graces because they are traveling.  I’ve met people with the biggest hearts, and people with no human qualities in their human bodies.

I’ve been so content with my life in South America that I started to make permanent plans. I’ve been so homesick that I almost bought a ticket home for the following day.  I went from despising Chilean culture and everything it stands for to loving it and wanting to be a part of it.  I went from hating Chilean and Latin men to (potentially) falling in love with one and changing all of my plans to be with him. I’ve come to realize that generalizations are both semi-true and definitely dangerous.  Everyone in every culture deserves a chance to start with a clean slate instead of being judged from their cultural background.

kickin

Life is like that, you know.  You can’t always have a plan, and you most certainly can’t predict what the future will hold.  You’ve got to just go with it.  Sometimes you have to make sacrifices to be more free and open to new things.

Is my quarter life crisis over?  Definitely not.  Actually, I hope not.  Crisis is just another word for adventure.  I am still intrigued by figuring my sh*t out.  One day at a time.  Are things more clear now?  Absolutely.  I know how to deal with the most bizarre and confusing situations with a calm head.  I know how to make myself feel happy and at home thousands of miles away from my “home”.  I know I can make friends (good friends) and find moderate employment anywhere in the world with a little work and good energy.  I know I can return home with a wildly different perspective on life and a newfound appreciation for my home.  Will I stay home for long?  Probably not.  But that’s the great thing about making your life a choose-your-own-adventure.  Nothing is certain.  Everything is weird, and lively, and beautiful, and unknown.

quote

Chauuuuu && Namaste bebes.

The Apocalypse Hang-Over

**disclaimer:  this post was intended to be timely for the day-after-the-end-of-the-world, but sometimes vino happens. Enjoy.

 

 

As I sit here in bed, at 2pm on the day after the #EndoftheWorld, my raging Pisco hangover collides with the hang over of the Apocalypse.  As much of a joke it was, everyone was a bit more contemplative yesterday.  Even just the thought of knowingly coming to the end of your life is horrifying and awesome at the same time.

 

my life.
my life.

 

But weren’t you a little scared?  Did you get a little feeling in your tummy that made you start to self reflect on your life thus far?  Good.  Maybe that was the purpose of this alleged event.

All day today, I was wondering around with a huge smile on my face.  Because it suddenly hit me:  if the world were to end tomorrow/tonight/whenever the eff those Mayans got ADHD and stop creating the calendar, I would be ok with it.

myan

Now, if you are taking my last comment as a morbid death wish, stop. It’s not.  I don’t want the world to end tomorrow.  There are so many aspirations and cool sh*t I have yet to accomplish.  It simply a confession of content.  I have lived my life to the best of my ability.  I am on an adventure that is thrilling in every single moment.  I have my friends and family close (in theory. via technology).  I am completely at peace with my existence, and it is a weird feeling.

Thus, I’ve decided that instead of being stoked the world is not necessarily ending and going back to all of our toxic ways of living, we should pretend like it ended and start over.  To do away with all of the toxic things in our lives and create exactly what we want in our existence.  You are allowed to start over whenever your little heart desires, so what better time than now?

Things we can do without in this weird new world:

1. mullets: self explanatory.  Doesn’t your neck get hot?  Don’t you wonder what it looks like from the back?  Just stop.

mullets

 

2.  Self doubt:  If you don’t think you are the coolest fcking thing since sliced bread, who will?  Truth:  in a world full of haterz, you have to be your biggest fan.  Doubting yourself is not cute.  Being the person in the room that complains about how terrible their eyelashes hang or how much they wish they could fly  is not fun.  Not for you.  Not for anyone.  Stop holding yourself back and dive into that STD infested hot tub that is life with some confidence.

3.  Jobs that we hate:  didn’t the rapid approach of the End of the World teach you anything?  Living your life as a 9-5 office slave is worse than death by paper cuts.  If you’re thinking:  I love my office job!  I get post-it’s FOR FREE!  Stop right this second.  Do you really LOVE punching numbers and excel spreadsheets?  Do you really enjoy being crammed into a cubicle with a man you are certain hasn’t showered in a decade?  You like that?  If you do, then by all means keep on keepin on, because you’ve found your calling.  If you are doing a job that you hate purely for the money, this one’s for you.  Quit and get out before you turn into a “lifer”.  You are too young to be this responsible.  Seriously. Stop.

job hate

 

4.  Hate in general:  Why is hate even still a thing?  What good comes from it?  How many people need to die and generations do we need to ruin before we realize this this is toxic?  Hate culminates hate in every situation. There is no possible way that a cycle of hate can miraculously bring love. It takes one head pulled out of one ass to stop the cycle.  You can be that guy!  You can. Be that guy.

hate

 

5.  Judgement:  This is coming from the former queen of judgement.  You best believe I would judge the sh*t out of you if you walked into the room with the wrong outfit or told me something I didn’t agree with.  But through my super long existence of 23 years, I’ve discovered how utterly useless this pastime really is.  All you’re doing is ruining those 5 precious years of girl scouts and breaking the golden rule:  don’t put people down to make yourself feel better.  I actually don’t think that’s the golden rule at all. Nor was I in girl scouts.  But this is the new world and I do what I want.  So stop being a judge judy and get on withcha life.

*are you judging my use of  at the end of my sentences right now?  didn’t think so.

does he look like Craig a bit? (yes)
does he look like Craig a bit? (yes)

 

 

Things that are invited to the new world

1.  Dreadlock mullets:  Duh.  The regular mullet style should definitely go down with the old world, but this new and improved love child of nappy hair-chains IN a mullet is pure magic.

muldread

 

2.  Compassion:  For all things and people.  ALL.  The old world was all about individualism and one-time-use and wastefulness and mean things and violence and not holding doors open for people and saying hello to strangers and getting yours before others.  The new world is all about the tribe of humans and cute lil animals and the earth that makes up the earth.  It’s like why not care for other things?  Why not go out of your way to make someone’s day?  Why not only use what you need?  If you give me 39-24903294034903 good reasons, then you can keep living how you were before this brave new world began.

compassion

 

3.  Yoga:  There is not one single person on this earth that wouldn’t benefit from yoga.  Not a single one.  Before you hate on it and think it’s boring and start getting scared you’ll fart really loud in class and are self conscious about how your butt looks in spandex, STOP it.  Almost everyone looks awkward doing yoga. Serious.  Swallow your pride and stop your judging and try it out.

yoga

4.  Reckless Adventures:  They are definitely invited to this party.  Reckless adventures make the world go ’round.  And by reckless, I don’t mean dying in the process.  Reckless means not focusing on the consequences and future and just doing it.  Pack your bags on a whim and just go for it.  It is the most freeing thing on earth. I say this because I could not be more thrilled with my decision to move to an unknown land by myself.  If that’s too hefty of a step, start small.  Don’t give one or two fcks, give zero, and go.  Am I the most eloquent writer?  Some would say.

 

it's real.
it’s real.

 

5.  All of the good and beauty from your past world:  Bring it all.  Your family, lover, dog, passions, favorite things, kindness, laughter, tears, babies, sloths, cats, vino, and magic.  They are all invited to this strange new world.  Leave behind all the toxic aspects of your life and start with the good only.  Allow yourself the freedom to grow on a good foundation, without the baggage you were carrying around previously.  Ask yourself what makes your little heart beat, and expand on it ten-fold.

unicorn-rainbows-kittens

 

 

 

Take a nice big sigh of relief that you have another day to live and grow and exist.  Think of it as a second chance on life.  Like a near death experience, but without the killer adrenaline rush.  Don’t waste a single moment on inauthenticity or judgement or pleasing others or negativity.  Ask yourself what you want and DO IT.  Life is too short to not live fully each and everyday.  Live it like it was your last.  Rawr.

Namaste bebes.

 

 

OH and P.S. If you care, here is a brief synopsis of my life as of late:

– I fell in love

– I fell out of love

– got an internship/slaveship as a sleezy journalist with the Santiago Times

– I’ve become highly fluent in Spanglish

– took a solo trip to Santiago for a week

– came close to death on a solo trip to Santiago for a week

–  fell in love again

–  moved into the best house on earth in Valparaiso

–  got sunburnt

– fell in love again

–  drink/drank a lotta veen

–  I am loving my life more than I thought was possible.

That’s basically the PG version of my life for now.  Sending love to all people!

Things you have to do SOMETIMES when you abruptly move your life to South America.

I MADE IT.  I made it to Chile, just like I said I would.  I am currently attempting to get settled and deal with the abrupt exodus that is/was my life.  For those of you who don’t know, I decided to blindly move from Colorado to Chile to pursue… Adventure/wanderlust/something/anything?  So, here I sit in my “new life”, where my days are filled with running on the beach, trying to learn the language, getting lost in the city, doing yoga in Spanish, drinking vino, writing, reading, and falling in love.  It’s a really tough life, but someone’s gotta do it.  I’ve compiled a list of things you “sometimes” have to do when you uproot your life and move to Chile.  Clearly, this topic reaches a MASSIVE audience of people in a similar boat (sarcasm).  Regardless, feel free to live vicariously though this weird and reckless adventure I call my life….

 

…Sometimes you have to swallow your hipster pride and go to Starbucks

A bit of my hipster soul died yesterday when I resorted to the epitome of corporatism and went to Starbucks. (Which is fine, because no one really wants to classify themselves as the ever-ambigious “hipster….) Also, sorry that I am not that sorry.  Sometimes you need a little bit of home in your foreign life.  Sometimes you have to suck up the outrageous price of a decent (at best) Americano to use the wifi for 4.7 hours (actual time spent there).  Sometimes you just gotta do it.  Here’s the deal:  when you are a world away from home, you need a little safe haven that takes you back to your comfort zone.  You can’t always be in difficult and different situations.  You’ll die.  Okay, you won’t die, but you’ll develop an unhealthy wine habit or start using heroin.  It’s serious.  As terrible as Starbucks is, sometimes it’s not so terrible.  It is on every continent of the world, and no matter where you go, you are probably not too far from one.  Inside this tiny corporate coffee island, you are likely to find at least one obnoxious American and some beverages and items that are not like Russian roulette.  So, sorry hipster dream/soul of mine, I had to do it.  And I’ll do it again and I won’t regret it.

I sat like this with my dog, too.

 

 

Sometimes you have to be away from your family during the holidays.

Yes, I know zero holidays have passed since my departure, but I am already sad I won’t be able to partake in spooning with my dog in a sweater while drinking something peppermint.  I am already craving family and holiday treats and friends and festivities.  I actually really don’t care about the treats or festivities, because I know holidays are all about that fam-clan, and being away is making me see that more clearly.  Thus, when you are away from your people during holidays, you have to just make it work.  You have to take whatever you have and make the best out of it.  I was invited to a “Gringo Thanksgiving” celebration last weekend, where most of the expats gathered and made somewhat traditional Thanksgiving dishes.  We sealed in the Thanksgiving deal by getting absolutely wine hammered and outwardly expressing how thankful we were for life.  Sometimes, you have to take the family you can get. Either that, or drink enough veen to forget what day it is.  Kidding (ish).

Not Craig’s finest moment

 

 

…Sometimes you have to just LISTEN.

My Spanish skills resemble that of an infant at this point in my adventure.  I usually have no idea what anyone is saying until about the 3rd time, after a repeated plea of ” HABLE DESPACIO POR FAVOR”/ “please slow the eff down when you are talking”.  So thus, when I am around a group of friends, my only job is to listen. Listen to the words, watch how people interact, and laugh at appropriate times.  This is a huge switch from my normal mode of operation, in which I am the loudest and usually most offensive participant (unless Claire is present) in any and every conversation within earshot.  It is a humbling experience to only listen and not interject.  It makes me realize how much I depend on asserting my opinion to feel fulfilled.  Like, I am sooooo good at interrupting and always think my point of view is necessary, regardless of topic or scenario.  This experience has already taught me that I am not in fact necessary to every conversation.  You can learn so much by just opening your ears instead of your mouth.  Allegedly, that’s why we have two ears and only one mouth.  Allegedly.

 

 

…Sometimes being foreign does not automatically make you attractive/ HELP.

Like, am I the only one still struggling with this concept?  I am like a giddy school girl on the first day of school here.  My friend(s) think I am chico-crazy I’m sure.  It’s serious though.  Walking down the street, I see many (many, many) potential lovers.  What’s even worse, is the dread/mullet is super in right now and I am still not turned off.  I have to repeat the mantra: “not everyone is attractive as they seem, you are just a new little gringa in the world, it will wear off”, to myself each and every minute.  Regardless, it’s a tough job.  I feel really bad for myself.  There is really no moral to this point, I just want you guys to know how much I am struggling with the exoticism of this world.  100% chance that my children will not be one race.  Sorry?  Not.

It’s real and it happens everyday.

 

 

Sometimes sarcasm is not translatable.

And I am officially the least funny person in this country.  I literally run off of sarcasm and dry humor.  Here, this type of humor is met with crickets and sympathetic pat on the back.  Anything you say will be taken as literal, and thus you better not say you are only 18 and have lived here for 3 years, or you will be sitting by yourself for the rest of the eve.  Ughh you gringa baby.  In all seriousness, I remember this phenomena when I studied abroad a few years ago.  Even my cohorts with almost perfect english and a good sense of humor had a hard time with sarcasm.  I think it’s just a terrible form of humor brought to the world by the Land of the Free.  And by terrible, I mean I will continue to use it each and everyday, even if I get shot down each time.  This entire point is basically me just crying that I am not as funny as I was in the States.  I guess I will have to use my decently-pretty face and animated hand signals to bring some humor.

 

 

….Sometimes unemployment is the best job on earth/ I hate it.

My unemployment has simply transferred from the States to Chile.  Actually, considering oneself “unemployed” would imply that I want and am avidly searching for a job.  I am not. My days consist of sleeping in, going for a jog, doing a personal yoga practice, writing, exploring, taking pictures, attempting to get lost in the city, drinking veen (vino), and sleeping.  It’s so tough.  But seriously, it doesn’t feel right.  The ritual of spending money that you know is finite without making ANY money is a hard pill to swallow.  At least in the States, I made like $125 a week doing the best job on earth (i.e. teaching yoga) and basically did whatever I wanted to for the rest of the time.  I made a bit and felt like I was contributing to the world.  Here, I am just receiving/taking.  In my defense, I snagged a job at the little bagel shop close to Jenn’s house BUT found out I have to be a legal worker and get an expensive Visa in order to get paid pebbles for work, so…. Whatever.  All I want to do is get paid for sleeping-in, being awesome, and writing stupid sh*t on this blog. Shoot for the stars with this new college degree!!

What I do best…

 

 

…Sometimes kind gesture goes a LONG way.

Kind gestures, unlike sarcasm, are recognized worldwide.  It never ceases to amaze me how a smile or a door-hold can change a strangers demeanor.  The smallest things can brighten someone’s day, and really, nothing negative can come from it.  In the U.S., we are in our own world even if we are among hundreds of others on the street.  We knock into one another, refuse to give up our seats for the elderly or people in need, we don’t hold doors, we look down instead of making eye contact, and basically just survive in a bubble.  But, when your communication is at the level of an infant and all you have are gestures, kindness goes a long way.  Try offering your seat up to an old(er) person.  Try holding the door for the person behind you.  Try making eye contact and smiling at others.  It brightens both of your worlds.  Promise.  Gawwwd this blog is getting emotional.  Stop.

LOLOLOLOLZZZ

 

 

Sometimes you can’t underestimate the power of booze

I have to redeem the crude quality of this piece somehow.  In my highly calculated and scientific endeavors, I’ve found the best way to get to know a culture is to go out drinking in it.  You get to see the true inter-workings of the youth in the society in which you are living.  You will also find that you’ve been raised in a culture that binge drinks unnecessarily and does not know the true meaning of casual alcohol consumption.  Like, it’s really not okay to take shots before you go out.  It’s not super classy to try to be the top 3 drunkest people at the establishment.  It’s just not right.  For reasons unknown, this is how we were “taught” to drink.  Other cultures somehow do not feel the need to be the most intoxicated person in 3 districts on a Tuesday evening.  But back to the point:  a bar setting is the absolute best place to practice your language skills and meet the people. Everyone is more friendly and willing to communicate in this environment, rather than the crowded bus stop during the day. Do it.

 

 

…Sometimes you have to do things you do not want to do/Bikram yoga

…And not because it’s your favorite, but because it’s accessible and you need it in your weird life.  I’ve been taking Bikram classes in 100% Spanish lately.  And by 100% Spanish, I mean except for when I get called out for sticking my tongue out when I concentrate and for having a sunburn.  I’ve learned to laugh off these terrifying events, as most of the people write me off as the “stupid gringa” anyways AND I need the yoga time.  It’s not that Bikram is like pulling teeth, it’s just not my steeze, if you will.  Sometimes you have to do things you don’t exactly want to do because you know it will make you feel better. It’s like attempting to exercise with a raging hang over:  you want to cry/curl up in the fetal position almost the entire time, but afterwards you can be a real person in your life.  So, although I miss the sentimental music and lavender-lemon wash cloths of my old yoga practice, sometimes you have to take what you can get.

Kinda….

 

 

…Sometimes you have to growup a littlebut not a lot.

Life is finding the delicate balance of “maturity” and “youthfulness”.  It seems our entire childhood/adolescence is a race to adulthood, and once we are considered “adults” it’s the desire to be a child again.  The grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side.  The ambigious label of “growing up” is troubling because it assumes you have to give up everything youthful in order to live.  When is this turning point of youth to adult?  When you decide to buy a throw pillow instead of drugs and a bottle of vino with your extra money?  When you start watching the news instead of a trashy reality show?  When you find one grey hair?  I think not. We are ever evolving and growing and changing and are not considered one single identity.  Thus, sometimes we have to make grown-up decisions and life choices, but not in trade of our youthful minds.  You have to find the balance between responsibility and recklessness.  Between seriousness and chaos.  Appropriate and borderline offensive.  It’s a delicate balance; one that I deal with everyday when deciding to go out on a Monday night or stay in and read a book.  I’ve learned to choose reading a book at a bar.  Success? Questionable.

 

 

…Sometimes you have to just pick up your life and move.  Sometimes you have to stay put and find contentment.  Sometimes life is hard and you hate it.  Sometimes it’s beautiful and you would not change a single thing.  It’s the ebb and the flow. Life goes on. I hope all people enjoy their day of gorging and giving thanks (also known as Thanksgiving).  Miss and love all peepzzzzzz.

Namaste loverz.

How to Leave.

Leaving is easier than it sounds. We all love to fantasize about getting out of our current situation and starting anew somewhere completely different.  But in reality, the action of actually leaving is complicated and hard and most often ends in just staying in the status quo.  I’ve made more plans to flee than I care to count.  I essentially come up with a new life plan on the daily, and those who are close to me have learned to take my exodus ideas with a grain of salt (or however that saying goes….)

Well. I AM LEAVING THIS TIME.  In 20 days from this moment, I will be on a plane en route to Valparaiso, Chile, where I will commence life for at least a year.  It’s real and it’s happening.  This is both horrifying and thrilling in equal parts.  I am going without a job prospect, little knowledge of the language, and really no plan at all.  Reckless? perhaps. Ballsy? absolutely.  This is happening (in real life), and there is no turning back now.  Thus, this post will serve as a guide to anyone a

nd everyone who wants to make a clean break from the mundane (relationship, job, location, sexual identity (?), etc.) and drift into an adventure of the unknown.

How to leave:

1.  Don’t run away

Here is the issue:  my life is absolutely GREAT right now.  I basically practice and teach yoga all day long, and make questionable decisions by night.  I have great friends and family, and no stalker ex-boyfriend (that I know of…).  Why would I want to leave now?  I thought about waiting until some sort of sh*t hit the fan, just to make myself feel better about fleeing.  This idea was slapped down quicker than soda in a Mormon church.  While discussing this matter with my heady friend Claire, she told me, “if you leave when things are bad, you’re only running away. LOLZZZ!!!” She didn’t actually lolzzz after stating this very true statement, BUT you get the point.  If you leave with a bad taste in your metaphorical mouth, you will never truly feel at peace with your decision.  You will always be emotionally tied to your past life and won’t be able to integrate into your new one. So, if your life is seemingly terrible and you want to run away, DON’T.  Stay.  Fix things.  Mend relationships. Tie up those loose little ends.  And if you still want to flee after things are smoothed over and going well, then absolutely go for it.  Stop running and start facing your sh*t.  And then get outta dodge. lolzzz.

2.  Make a plan as far as possible, and allow the rest to fall into place

Planning is great, until it’s not.  It’s great to have an idea of where you will stay and what you will do once you get there.  But when your pursuing the unknown, plans can often complicate and weigh you down rather than help.  I am the planner-ist of all planners.  Like, I get pretty aroused when I have a solid plan for my day or week.  It’s a little sick actually.  I tried to make a plan for this upcoming adventure by applying for jobs online, etc.  It failed miserably. I cried for a sec and then discovered this situation does not need rhyme or reason.  I have a place to live for a bit (thanks Yenn!), until she kicks me out for my wine habit.  I know that I want to teach yoga.  And that’s it.  That is all I can plan remotely.  You have to trust that everything else will fall into place.  Having a blank page and open mind will most likely turn out better than an organized idea.  You will have more freedom to go with the flow and spontaneously agree to anything and everything.  So satisfy your type-A tendencies to sleep better at night, but leave the rest open ended.

3.  Embrace any and all emotions.

I’ve essentially felt like a schizophrenic psycho for the past month and a half.  One minute I am so fcking excited to go I could scream it to the world.  The next 60 seconds I am crying in the fetal position and attempting to call Delta airlines and plead my case to never leave.  You probably will not be emotionally or mentally stable for a good while before and after you leave.  It is quite alright.  Allow yourself to feel anything and everything that comes up.  You are completely allowed to be a psycho during this time.  And anytime really, as long as you don’t murder anyone or start listening to Ke$ha unironically.

4. Bring a piece of home with you.

It would be impossible to assume you will not miss home.  YOU WILL. You will miss your creature comforts.  You’ll miss your friends and family and dog.  You will maybe miss it all.  But instead of wishing you were back home, bring a little piece of home with you.  Appropriate items include:  pictures, blankies, snuggies, scarves to gully with, favorite snacks, hobbies that you love/travel well, journal, etc.  Inappropriate items include:  your dog, your mother, that man/boy you just fell in lust with, a lit candle, explicit/implicit drugs, and anything that has to do with Lana Del Rey.  Bring something with you that will make you feel comfortable and less homesick.

5. Sell most/all of your belongings of your current life.

We all have too much.  Entirely too much.  We justify buying all things because we live in America, and we can. Fck yea! No.  When you move to another part of the world, you will probably need around 3.67% of your sh*t (I’m no mathematician, but it’s serious). Thus, this is the perfect time to deal with your hoarding issue.  Sell of all your hip clothing and such to some hip vintage store, and donate the rest.  Take only what you need, and learn how to survive on less.It is a freeing feeling to have less items.  Things clutter our lives and keep us in the past.  Like, look at your closet right meow.  I bet you still have items from when you were in high school.  Eh?  You are definitely NOT the same person, and your belongings are basically stumping your growth. Get rid of some stuff and open yourself up to the new you.  Own less, take less, and live on less. It will be bizarre and weird, but you will get used to it.  And if you don’t, maybe your dadddeeeh will buy you a new iphoneeee!

6.  Stick with your decision.

There is nothing worse than torturing yourself with the wishy-washy bullsh*t of decisions.  If your heart is telling you to go, the buy your ticket/put something in place so you can’t retreat.  Once it’s a sure fire plan, you can focus your energy on the actual act of leaving and inevitable adventure.  I am the queen of all things indecisive and I love to bail out of plans.  So the second I bought my outrageously expensive ticket, I felt so relieved that it was happening and I couldn’t back out.  Sometimes you just have to DO IT.  So, make the decision and go with it.  Everything will fall into place if it’s the right choice for you.  Stop questioning and start focusing on the journey.

7.  Enjoy all remaining moments in your soon to be past-life.

I’ve made a small by efficient bucket list for my remaining time in Colorado. Since I’ve lived here for 392032 years, I’ve been around the block (not THAT block, you freak, I mean the socially acceptable Colorado block).  Basically, get somewhat reckless and don’t turn down opportunities to be with those you love (or lust, or loathe).  Say yes to going out on the town on a Sunday night. Say yes to climbing mountains.  Say yes to going home with strangers… (kidding(?))  Say yes to taking your little brother to the park (mine is 21, so this would be a weird option for me.  Unless it was to drink booze from a paper bag or check out “babes”.  You know what I’m sayin’ though….) Do exactly what you want to do. Enjoy every single moment.  You will probably miss the littlest things when you are away, so create the stories and memories now before you leave. Soak up as much as you can and enjoy every single minute of it.

8.  Go with a purpose.

Don’t just go to go.  Or maybe do.  But, in my personal/highly professional opinion, travel is more fulfilling and beneficial when you have an intention.  While it’s super neat to sightsee and hot as many different worldly locations as possible, this type of traveling will become meaningless and bland regardless of the destination.  Think of something you want to achieve as you experience the world.  My plan/hope/dream is to teach yoga in every place I live.  I would love to experience the yoga scene everywhere in the world to take a little piece of that place with me always.  Find something that will teach you something and benefit others.  Volunteer at a farm, work in a hostel, help build something, do art, create things, teach English, work in a restaurant.  Be something and do something, but don’t put pressure on yourself.  Find a purpose and spread it around town/the world.

9. Remember that nothing is permanent.

Except for death and tattoos, everything is open to change.  We are ever evolving creatures and are empowered to change anything and everything.  Thus, if you are deciding to leave your life and start anew, remember it will not be forever (unless you want it to be…).  If you are not content, you can move.  If you want to stay, you can stay.  We tend to think in black and white when making decisions, but in reality there is a ton of grey area.  Stick with it for long enough to see the bigger picture, and if it’s not right for you then move on.  Drift from place to place until it feels right.  And always know that home is just a plane flight away.

10. ENJOY THE JOURNEY

You are about to embark on perhaps the most magical journey/flee of your young adult life.  You have to enjoy and embrace each moment, good or bad.  You will probably look back on this time when you are old and boring and responsible and wish you would’ve realized how great it is. The journey and process is much more important than the destination.  While the sight of getting to that other “place” motivates you to leave, it’s the journey that will hold the most life.  Acknowledge each step along the way like it is the destination.  Allow yourself to go with the flow.  I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.  If you get violently thrown off your path, there is an underlying purpose and you probably aren’t supposed to go down that way.

If you are thinking of leaving, I hope this guide will serve you well in your journey.  If you are not leaving, I hope this motivates you to leave.  Or at least consider it.  Life is too short to not adventure.  Get reckless and do something spontaneous.  It could just be the best decision of yer life.  LOLZ.

P.S.  Listen to both of these motivational hit singles to start that metaphorical adventure fire under your mundane life:

—-> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggWyUEuGcWY (Please also keep in mind that she is only 13 in this video….)

—–> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3HemKGDavw (Classic for all things fleeing)

KLOVEYOUBAI

Namaste.

How to be Successfully Somewhat-Unemployed.

Good day to you.  My life as a somewhat-unemployed post-graduate has been really stressful lately.  I’ve teetered between spending 4930 hours at the yoga studio, and reading every single book in my house.  Most people think being unemployed is a walk in the park. It’s not.  It’s pretty effing hard actually. No, the lifestyle itself is not hard, but the daily mental anguish is enough to send someone to the mad house. I’ve learned over the past few weeks (months) that this time will pass and could very well be the only time in your life without real responsibilities.  And thus, you must enjoy it!  But not so much that you never get a job again.  Here is a little list of great things you can do to embrace the present state of your lack of employment.  But not so great that you never leave your parent’s basement!!!! Enjoy, betches.

10. Stop being lazy

Sleeping until 1 pm, not showering for days (weeks), remaining in your pajamas both privately and publicly, and watching re-runs of Arrested Development is not acceptable in any scenario  (By “any scenario” I mean except for a weekend day when you are hung-over).  This type of behavior day-after-day and week-after-week will be the downfall of your successful unemployment.  Get out of bed at a reasonable time, go outside, clean yourself up, and do something.  Pretend like your lack of responsibility is a full time job.  Be productive in your unproductiveness.  Essentially, make something out of nothing.  Next time the clock reads 2pm, take a look at yourself.  If you are in your Hello Kitty pj’s waivering between a Lifetime Original Movie and a gallon of mint chocolate chip ice cream, stop, slap yourself in the face (lightly), get in the shower, and get real.

This is a real thing.

9.  Get a plan.

If you are intentionally avoiding getting a job (like me), you best have a good reason.  Good reasons for unemployment include:

– you just had a baby/child

– you are pursuing your passion and having a real job would hinder all progress/effort

– you are moving to another country/universe within the next few months*

–  your dog is too cute to leave at home all day

–  you are in a coma

–  having employment would disrupt your yoga practice

–  you are in school (or still act like you are…)

–  you are addicted to whip-its and can’t hold a steady job (seek rehab in this situation)

The (*) indicate my grand reasons for not having employment at this time.  Or so I like to think they are good reasons…. Whatever.  If you do not have a decent reason to be unemployed, it’s time to make a plan and get your act together.  Write out your intentions and goals, and then figure out the steps you will need to take to accomplish them.  Having some sort of plan will put your little mind at ease and give you easy talking points for when “judgers” ask.  It gives you a goal to work towards and makes your unemployment seem like a transition (which it is….).

8. Find a hobby/activity you ENJOY

If you are like me, you’ve been in school almost non-stop for the past 4930248320 years and have had no time to figure out what makes you happy.  This is the time to do it, my friend!  You literally have all the time in the world to discover what it is that makes your little heart beat.  And don’t be shameful if your favorite hobby is highly embarrassing… No one cares! Do you love kitting tiny slippers for your cat?  Do it.  Are you super into rock collecting?  Collect those rocks!  Does making shrines of Ryan Gosling tickle your fancy?  Creepy, but go for it! As long as you find something that fulfills you, don’t worry ’bout them haterz.  Allow this hobby to distract you from your self-loathing thoughts of unemployment.  And hey!  If your hobby is relative to others, you might be able to make it into your employment.  Wooohooo kitten slippers for all!

This is also a real thing.

7.  Travel

No.  I haven’t forgot you’re broke.  But here is the issue:  you have A LOT of time on your hands and (hopefully) many travel goals to accomplish.  You can either slowly spend all of the money you have saved in your bank account, OR you can buy a plane ticket somewhere and live as cheaply as possible for awhile.  The best thing about this plan, is that everyone you meet while traveling abroad is probably unemployed as well.  Join the club and at least get a few good stories out of it.  I’m just saying that when you look back on your 20’s, you will most definitely remember that spontaneous trip you took to ______ over slowly burning your money away on vodka sodas at LoDo’s bar.  Sell some of you stuff.  Find some odd jobs.  Sell your eggs/sperm. Watch tiny devil children (a.k.a babysitting, not pedophiling) Make a little money and get outta herrrre.

Front packs are all the rage

6. Teach yourself something

Learn some new tricks while in your bout of less-than-employed.  I am currently teaching myself Spanish to aid my November adventure plans.  I sit down (almost) everyday and attempt to relearn all of the lessons I cheated my way through in High School.  It’s super fun.  Try teaching yourself that language you’ve always wanted to speak.  Take this time to learn a significant (or not) skill that may or may not benefit you in the future.  Knitting, knot tying, singing, playing the synthesizer, trance dancing, and wood whittling are just a few ideas for you.  Bad skills to teach yourself include:  murdering, cat collecting, social inadequacy, Pig Latin, falling down, binge eating and drinking, beer pong, having sex for money, Pokemon card trading, and crafts that solely use cat hair.  If your interests lie in one of these options, maybe just get a job?  I don’t know.  Whatever you choose, dedicate yourself to it for a few minutes everyday.  Soon, young grasshopper, you will be some sort of master at something.

I can only assume this ginger/man is teaching others about his culture?

5.  Stop self-loathing for your unemployment

Unemployment is not death.  It’s not cancer.  It’s not even a bad break up with a lover.   It’s literally being without a “real” job.  Stop blaming yourself/your parents/your college degree/your student loans/your social awkwardness for not being employed.  Sometimes it just happens.  There is nothing worse than being home alone with your self-defeating mind ALL DAY EVERYDAY.  You will absolutely go crazy if you give into all the negative thoughts swarming around in your mind.  In order to cultivate a postive lifestyle, you have to be positive.  Weird concept.  Think of your glass as half-full always.  I mean, you could be fully employed in Cambodia and have a fraction of the glamourous lifestyle you have now.  You could be in a labor camp in North Korea.  You could be Lana Del Rey…. There are always worse scenarios.  Unemployment is not a choose your own adventure novel with depression and death as an option.  It’s not an option.  Self-loathing is awkward and unnecessary for all involved.  Seriously, no one wants to be around that guy/girl who is a big time downer and life suck from the rest of the group.  So stop it.  Put on your positive panties and slap a smile on that face!

I’m scared.
Being a downer affects everyone around you. Like herpes.

4. Take the time to slow down

Our natural setting is crackhead speed.  We rush around all day long in an attempt to check off the little boxes on our to-do list.  We literally get anxiety when we have “nothing to do”.  It’s ridiculous.  Well, guess what my gorgeous unemployed friend?!?  You don’t really have a to do list!  FREEDOM!  While this is hard to accept at first, you have to change your mindset and slow the eff down for a bit.  Take time to smell the flowers.  Take a casual stroll without an end goal.  Take a mid-day nap.  Start writing.  Start journaling (which I’ve learned is the adult form of socially acceptable diary-ing).  Volunteer somewhere.  Help out friends/people in need.  Read for pleasure.  Cook something from scratch.  Dance around your house/outside world.  Stop hurrying and start living.  Move a little slower and think a little deeper.  Life is telling you to slow down by presenting you with unemployment.  Embrace it now, so that when you return to “real life”, you will have a different perspective.  The happiest people in the world live in the cultures that do not rush or hurry through things.  They take their time and are present with every moment.  Try slowing down, even if it’s for an minute/hour/day.  Your future self will thank you.  She might even buy you a drink.

3.  Get crafty with your broke-ness

Odds are, you are pretty broke if you do not have steady employment.  Accept this fact and stop pretending you can carry on your groovy lifestyle like you once did in college.  You will probably not be able to shop for sport, go to expensive destination vacations, or go out on the town as often as you did. This does not mean you can’t keep up with your employed counterparts!  You just have to get creative.  If your homies are going out to dinner at a chic restaurant, eat at home then order apres or just a drink.  They might call you out for an eating disorder, but it’s worth saving a few bucks.  If “everyone” is going “out” (read: 3 friends binge drinking at bars), drink before and bring a flask/ziplock bag.  OR bring your A-game and have drinks bought for you. Yes, this also works for men if you have the right attitude and can swallow your pride.  lolz! Start making things at home, reusing, and getting thrifty with what you have.  Ride your bike everywhere.  Make your own moonshine.  Do things cheaper!  A lot of the time we spend money so frivolously when we have income, we don’t realize how much we are wasting and how unnecessary it actually is. Whatever you do, don’t sulk in your broke blues and stay home all day everyday.  We have so many free amenities on hand, it’s ridiculous to not utilize them.  Parks, museums, bike rides, hiking, libraries, outdoor running, pet store browsing, and window shopping are all things you can enjoy being broke as a joke. Swallow your ego and get over it. But also don’t assume you can continue to keep up with the Kardashians.  Whatever that means.

I don’t know what exactly she is doing, but it looks crafty.
A win win situation would be to have the children you are babysitting craft makeshift flasks or other useful items. You get paid and they have a killer craft sesh!

2. Don’t sell out. Or maybe do.

I wanted to tell you not to take a job just to have a job, but I feel like that is misleading.  You should be open to (most) opportunities when they are presented.  Who knows?  A job that seems terrible at first could turn out to be your niche and most gratifying experience ever. It could also give you the networking you’ve been dreaming of, and lead you to something great.  It could also lead you into a major depression spiral that plummets you into a shameful hole of no return. If you have a college degree, you should not take the open position of “creating smiles” at McDonalds.  They lie when they tell you they’re looking talented individuals.  Don’t sell yourself short.  Know your skills and know your limits for employment.  Apply to jobs that suit you, but be open to what comes your way. If you take a job that is less than ideal, don’t loose sight of your main goals and aspirations.  I am personally petrified of becoming an 8-5 office job “lifer” because I see how easy it is to loose sight of your passion.  Once you get used to an income, it is hard to leave.  So choose your path wisely and don’t loose yourself in the grind.

Always a good idea.

1. ENJOY this bliss of unemployment

Bask in the beautiful privledge of not giving a fck.  Stop taking everything so seriously. Stop getting depressed every morning when you wake up.  When people ask you what you what you will do with your shiny new college degree, yell “I’m gonna be a space cowboy!” and whisper “or a professional barista”.  When people ask how your job is going, over-enthusiasticlly answer “Brilliant!” while making large eye-brow movements and pouring yourself another glass of wine from the bottle you scored off the discount shelf and uncorked yourself.  Blame it on the economy.  Everyone else does.  Everyone is suffering in their own special way.  Don’t think you are a special case.  You are young.  You lack serious responsibility (hopefully).  Turn your misery into joy.  Make it a joke.  Because NOTHING in your life lasts forever.  You know you will not always be unemployed.  This is a phase that is bound to end.  So let it go, and learn how to go with the unemployment flow rather than thrashing in the metaphorical waves.

Peace and Love and Namaste to you.

Life Lessons that will Embarrass my Future Children.

HA!  You thought I forgot about this blog, eh?! I actually did.  For a long time.  Life is happening at a rapid pace, and revisiting this blog is like seeing an ex-boyfriend again for the first time since you had passionate hate-sex. It’s both glorious and horrifying.

So many things have happened in the past few months, it would take a novel to describe in detail the beautiful disaster that is my life.  So naturally, I’ve devised a general list of life lessons that have hit me smack in the mouth since February…. And the title of this post is misleading.  My future children will be syked their mom was so intelligent and insightful at such a ripe age. Enjoy betches.

1.  Everyone has a light and shadow.

The ying-yang is the real deal. Sometimes you come across people that you definitely consider to be satan’s spawn.  They are dark, negative, rude, and down-right soul sucks.  Then you see a little sign of light and beauty and realize they cannot possibly be the dark lord’s child.  The reverse is also true.  You can be the most optimistic, love-filled, kind and gentle person who enjoys coddling kittens and saving handicapped hedgehogs by day but is an axe murder by night.  This is obviously an extreme case, but you get what I mean.  Every single person has a dark and a light side to them.  One cannot exist without the other.  I am a prime example of  this not-so-new phenomenon. When I teach my yoga classes I am somewhat serious and knowledgeable, and seemingly on my path to living a pure and enlightened life.  Outside of the yoga studio, I am often outlandishly outspoken and can usually be found wine binging and smoking shameful cigarettes in a dark corner of a dive bar.  Am I necessarily one persona or the other?  Not really.  I like to think of myself as a balance between both worlds.  Moral of the story-  you cannot completely categorize someone by their most outward expression.  Consider the yin and yang.

2.  Juice cleanses should/should not conclude with wine binges.

I know this is a shocking statement.  I know you, like me, thought that fermented grapes are considered fruit and thus wine is fruit juice.  Unfortunately, this is a recipe for disaster and havoc on both your body and moral compass.  I’ve decided to undergo a number of juice-only detox cleanses since the beginning of the year.  They are great for cleaning out all of the digestive junk and allow for a little inward exploration.  If done correctly.  I’ve never been one to follow rules, though. My revolt against the proper juice cleanse was to consume copious amounts of wine the moment directly following the detox.  My entire life is a vicious cycle of detox and re-tox.  I’m too young and reckless to give a single f*ck. Long story short, I end up making highly questionable choices while wildly hammered and spend the next week feeling like death warmed over.  Worth it?  Questionable.  Does it make for a good story/good excuse to behave like a newly de-flowered teenage girl?  Absolutely.  I would highly recommend this life choice. Maybe I should become a nutrition counselor?  SYKE. We all know how that would turn out.

3.  Life is the most fun when you are the most reckless.

I know I’ve said this time and time again, but it is the MOST true thing I know.  You always have a better time/experience when you let go of your resistance and just give in.  It is the most freeing feeling to no longer care what you look like or what others think of you.  Here is the deal:  you will probably not see most people you are around again in your life, nor will your real-life friends not be your friend anymore because you got reckless.  Everyone loves a slow moving train wreck, especially if it’s done right.  If you have  a flight at 6 am the next morning and are weighing your options of getting a good nights rest for a fresh day of travel or raging face until the sun rises and being miserable the next 48 hours, ALWAYS choose the latter.  You will never remember the nights you got adequate sleep.  Ever.  I know this from one full year of being a hermit.  Trust me.  Get reckless.

When “reckless” is Googled.

4.  Exhale only love and have compassion for all people at all times.

I am balls deep into Rumi (not literally, of course). And this is deep, but oh so true. The recent violent events have, as always, allowed me/all people to take a step back and realize how short life is.  It is too short to spend your time being hateful and rude.  It is too short to not have compassion for EVERY single human being you come across.  It’s too short to not tell the people you hold close to your heart that you love them.  You lose nothing by having compassion and love for everyone.  One act of kindness and compassion can usually motivate another act of love, and thus a little chain reaction is created.  Naturally, the incidents in Aurora have sparked a lot of thinking on why someone would be so heartlessly violent.  People (usually) don’t become hateful and violent without reason.  There is (usually) a past event that took away the faith in humanity and goodness, and thus violence ensues.  If you stop and take the time to be kind and breathe out compassion, you could just brighten someone’s day enough for them to no commit a hate act.  Far reaching? maybe.  Plausible?  Totally.  Try it.

5.  Parents are allowed to not be parents sometimes.

We are getting to the age where our parents have been *semi* responsible and organized role-models for over 20 years.  That is entirely too long to act this over cautious part.  I came to this realization after hearing myself parent my parents the other night. Whaaaat?  I know.  It’s time that we accept our parents desire to be free of the burden of raising children and start letting them do whatever they want, without judgement.  We are old enough to make grown-up decisions in the grown-up world.  We are no longer their responsibility, and they are not yours.  At this point, it is possible to simultaneously exist as human beings Your dad wants to relive his mullet days and wear jorts?  Great!  Your mom is getting super into lower back tattoos and wants to habitually consume LSD?  Stupendous.  Let em’ do it.  They deserve to have a full blown (moderate) binge on whatever they desire after raising tiny devil-children for so long. Stop judging and start enjoying this time with your roommates. Err. Parents.

6.  Just because he/she is foreign and has an incredibly intriguing accent does not mean he/she is attractive.

What?  You already knew this?  I’ve clearly had my blinders-of-exoticism on full time as of late.  I literally can hear an attractive accent from 1.4 miles away and track it down like a drug dog.  It’s like a 7th sense (I was born with 6).  So naturally when I travel internationally, I fall in love like 1840932 a day with people of all ethnicities and origins.  And naturally, this gets me in trouble. Maybe it was my partial sobriety or sign that I am growing up (slowly)… but it dawned on me that some incredible sexy accent men are not in fact sexy at all.  Some are rude, boring, shallow, and condescending.  People are people, not matter where you are or where you are from.  So if you are like me, and are blinded by a double kiss on the cheek and the pronunciation of “February”, take a step back before you dive into that mess.  Realize that there are A-holes are everywhere in the world.  You just have to weed through the a-holes to get to the good stuff. Gross (imagery).  Additionally, if you think everyone you meet is an a-hole, you are probably the a-hole.  Think about it.  I just used “a-hole” so many times in 3 seconds. woohoo?

Hawt

7.  I am in a full on hearth-throbbing, gut-wrenching, love affair with yoga and all things of the like.

It’s almost nauseating how much I love everything surrounding yoga.  It is like a spiritual orgasm everytime I step on to my mat or attend an inspiring workshop or teach a class or even think about yoga.  It’s dangerous.  I am like a giddy little school girl with a crush on my math teacher on the first day of school.  It’s stupidly amazing. I recently volunteered at the Wanderlust yoga festival in Copper where I practiced and mingled with some of the most renowned teachers on this side of the world.  I shimmied with Shive Rae while dancing to “Teach me how to Dougie”…. Long story…. But whatever, I did it and it was magical. I literally feel like a unicorn after that incident. Anyways, I have never been so inspired to learn everything there is to know about the practice and theory.  EVERYTHING.  I am one click away from submitting my application to an ashram so I can forget real life and fully engulf myself in yoga.  I’ll seriously do it, too.  This is heady business.  Now that I’ve found my passion/obsession in the world, I wish something similar upon every single person.  You have to find something to be fully head-over-heels passionately in love with in order to give your life meaning.  It doesn’t matter what it is (besides murdering, killing kittens/other cute animals, and heroin), as long as you have something in your life that makes you excited to wake up in the morning.  Don’t have one yet?  No worries.  It will hit you smack in the head when the time is right.  Until then, go out and do everything you can get your grimy little hands on.  It’s worth it.

8.  Everyone has the ability to live life more simply

When we are in the swing of our busy Western lives, we think we cannot survive without our “things”.  Cars, iphones, eye cream, teeth whitening, 90 pairs of shoes, 45 tops that look the same, 7 unique looking kittens, 17 different kinds of bottled kombucha, etc. are seen as normal and necessary.  Once you step out of this lifestyle, even for a day, you realize how unnecessary most things are in life.  You don’t need 6 pairs of the same skanky black undies to live a fulfilled life.  Bottled water from the depths of the Arctic ocean is not vital to your survival.  After my tiny Costa Rican adventure, I vowed to live a more simple life.  It is eye opening to see people completely happy and content with so little.  Each day I am trying to eliminate one thing that I truly do not need.  It is freeing to lighten up your possessions, it gives you more space to grow as a person.  So try it.  See if you can go a few days without using your car.  Don’t purchase anything for a week.  Get rid of everything you do not wear/use, and donate it.  Turn all of your electronics off for at least 24 hours.  See how you feel after this, and then keep going!

9.  When life is going in the right direction, everything falls into place.

I was talking to a wonderful yoga teacher in Costa Rica about the process of moving and starting a life there.  “When people are supposed to be here, opportunities come out of nowhere everything around them falls into place”, she said.  I can’t get this idea out of my mind now.  When you make a decision and begin a journey in a certain direction, there are blatant signs that either point you toward your general goal or violently away from it.  All you have to do is be receptive to the signs, and you will have a pretty good idea if you are heading the right way.  When I came back from my time in Prague, I forced myself to go back to school, even though my gut instinct was telling me to find a new plan.  During this, I became super sick, lost important people in my life, and was generally miserable.  The universe was trying to tell me to open up my eyes and mind to something new.  When I finally listened, I took time off of school and yoga fell into my lap and the rest is seemingly history.  In my desire to find adventure around the world, Costa Rica presented itself and things are beginning to fall into place in support of that journey.  Signs present themselves each and every day to let us know if we are heading the right direction or not.  All you have to do is be open to them and LISTEN.

10.  Not having a short/long-term plan is both exciting and horrifying.

Everyone’s favorite question after graduation is the inevitable “what’s your plan for the future?”.  I took great joy in making up elaborate stories and lies of meeting a Middle-Eastern husband and joining the army in Saudi Arabia or becoming one with the dolphins and living mostly underwater.  Either that, or I would simply reply with, “your guess is as good as mine….” (which aroused looks both confusion and dissatisfaction).  Here’s the issue (s):  (1) I have no idea what I want to do/where I want to be.  (2) I’m not getting a big girl job that requires me to work with “lifers” and become creative with office supplies. (3) I’m not super into making money or climbing the corporate ladder. So, no, I do not have a solid future plan.  My only real ambition at this point is to go out and explore the world and meet everyone I can and do all that I can do. Thus, I am moving to Costa Rica in November in active pursuit of the unknown.  I will teach yoga, teach English, and teach myself how to slow down and live life.  I suppose this is a short-term adventure that will hopefully lead to a lifelong journey.  So, HA!  Take that all people who judged me for not having a life plan.  Put my little reckless and messy ambition in to your little pipe and take a little smoke.

Take away points from the beautiful disaster that is my life:  stop judging, preserving, conserving, and consuming.  Start enjoying, pursuing, trying, and adventuring. Everything will fall in to place if you let it.  So let it in, and let go.  Enjoy the ride and get reckless. Always.

Namaste.

La Vie En Rose

I’ve recently become aware that Valentines Day is approaching us. Like calling “happy baby” pose “dead baby” in your yoga class , it’s inevitable. It’s going to happen. It did happen. We can’t run from it.  Nor can we pretend it’s not there. Because it is. And I did. So lets hit it head on and deal with these issues. K baibe?

Now, before you start to sob or wish death upon me/the world, lets work through this V-day struggle together.  Every other year I’ve labeled this day in February as “singles awareness day” and cursed all of the happy couples around me.  I would then proceed to get wine (hammered) drunk,eat my body weight in chocolate (from the bulk bins in Whole Foods, not the store bought kind. obv.), and watch The Notebook in a snuggie, cry, and wonder why I wasn’t in love. I’m kidding. Kinda….Ew.

We all know that Valentines Day is a Hallmark holiday that serves no purpose but to a) reconfirm that your love is only shown through materiel things for your significant other, b) confirm your single status, c) drain your bank account, d) provide a reason to get wine wasted and watch romantic comedies, or e) all of the above?  It’s quite a joke to be quite honest.  But this year I’ve decided to look at February 14th as a day of love with the entire world.  Almost like a little day of gratitude that you can tell every one and everything how much you love it/them, without a retraining order, etc.  We have such a complex against uttering “I love you” because it makes us vulnerable and super cheesy. But in reality, we don’t say it enough.  And who knows, it could be the last words you utter to a person.  Every one that has had someone die in their life regrets not being able to tell them how much they love them.

So this year, make it a day of love with the world.  If you’re in a relationship, don’t just buy each other stupid gifts and bang all night.  Like, do something meaningful. OR don’t do anything and just pretend it’s another day.  If you’re single: DO NOT THROW YOURSELF A PITY PARTY.  Don’t you dare. Pity parties are so 90’s.  Stop it. You’re not the only single person in the world.  Far from it actually.  There are 2320644660 single people on earth.  whaaaaaat?! Rage.  Look how many fish are in that sea!  So many.

Singleton is really not the worst place to be in your life right now.  In fact, it’s probably the best time to be single.  We are young, adventurous, and do not need to be tied down unnecessarily right now.  This is a time to figure your sh*t out so that you can love someone fully without the emotional baggage.  Being the crazy girl or boy in the relationship is so 2006.  This is a time to soul search and world search.  It’s a time to do all of the things you want to do without holding back.  It’s a time to get craay craaay and not care who knows it.

It’s also a known fact that you will meet your soul’s counterpart doing what you love to do.  You like to collect toasters? Do it.  That like minded toaster-collecting stud of your dreams will be there.  Do you enjoy going to petting zoo’s dressed as a panda?  Go there!  You’ll find the panda-loving person of your dreams.  Hold the phone though… This idea only works with innocent and non-creepy passions. If you are a serial killer, please don’t continue to do it until you find a lover with the same mind.  If you enjoy pedophile-ing on small children via selling drugs and offering candy, well, first of all stop it, and second don’t think that finding another person with similar pedophilic taste is going to satisfy you.  Quite simply, if you are looking for love, stop it. Stop looking and it will appear out of nowhere.  And then many lovers will appear, and then you will have too much love and will have to choose. It’s a rough life.  Trust me.  More importantly, enjoy singleton while it lasts.  You have your whole life ahead of you to nest and make babies or whatever it is that birds and people do.

Obviously, there are those people in our lives that found their “soulmate” and are happily married.  While I was skeptical to accept pre-30 marriage, there is really no set time that is too young or too old to tie the knot.  If you find “them”, keep ’em. I guess… BUT that doesn’t mean get married to the first person you fall in love with. I think you need a few practice runs before you make that leap.  You have to know the lack and abundance of love before you can decide if it’s the real thing.  But this blog is obviously not about relationship advice. Clearly, I would be the least respected scholar in that area.  I am cynical because I am not in the love boat and don’t plan to be for quite some time.  Wait. I mean I love too many people to pick just one. Wait. What? I love you. Those that know me, know I am not a monogamous person by any stretch of the imagination.  I am aiming to change that. One day….. Definitely not today though. Or tomorrow.

At this point, I am more an observer to love.  On a daily basis I witness people loving each other (No. I’m not peering into people’s windows to witness this. pull your mind outta that gutter.) I mean I witness all types of love from disastrous unhealthy bonds to head-over-heels lust to pure undiluted love.  I feel that I can point out a good relationship from a bad one. And trust me, there are some bad ones.  People feel the need to stay in detrimental relationships because they’re afraid to be alone. Being alone is not the same as being single, might I add.  (Alone is like isolated in Antarctica with no one to talk to but a wolf mother.  Single is like being the panda bear that escaped the zoo and is now roaming the world, flinging poo and making pandemonium.  Huge difference, obv.)

I’ve played the role of a meditator and counselor to many friends, and have seen the ugly side of love.  I’ve also seen the beautiful side of it in my own experiences, and know that actual true love is out there.  Now, obviously I am only a spectator in this game, but it has taught me more about love than I could’ve witnessed being in a relationship. I’ve kind of lived vicariously through other relationships and gained the knowledge without the emotional attachment.  It’s fun. Until it’s not. My point is that live your single life to the fullest.  Stop being jealous of other’s relationships (or lack there of).  The grass is always greener, so accept it and move on.

And before you throw yourself a single party in your room by yourself, stop it. Just stop it.  Go out and do something for yourself.  Don’t hate on the day.  If anything, hate on what our society has created the day to be. Don’t send death thoughts to the couples you will inevitably notice all day. It’s not nice, nor productive. Be in love with whatever’s around you and put on your positive panties. Fall in love with yourself and move on.

Oh, and when you get bored of being super positive, here is an list of alternative things to do (besides hating the world and watching The Notebook 789 times) on February 14th:

–  Buy a monkey and perch it on your shoulder

–  Go to a petting zoo dressed as a Panda (Consider this one done….)

–  Lose your virginity

–  Fly a kite with a dwarf (Thanks for this magical idea, Kersten)

–  Drink copious amounts of wine in public (while STILL being socially accepted)

–  Eat chocolate until your die of an overdose. Kidding.  Don’t die.

–  Flee the country to a faraway place where they don’t celebrate the holiday

– Plant a tiny sandwich in the middle of a side walk, then host a social experiment to witness people’s reaction (Spoiler alert:  they will think it came from a dwarf or tiny child)

–  Get childish Valentines cards like we got when we were adolescents, and give them to your friends (but instead of candy, attach pictures of cats or random babies

–  Volunteer. somewhere. anywhere.

–  Go salsa dancing with an international student

–  Walk around town in a poncho playing the ukelele

–  Plant a tree

–  Spread marijuana seeds around the town.

–  Make a baby. J/k. Don’t do that.

–  Hand out free hugs on the street (careful, only to people without shanks/knives and that are clean-ish)

–  Start a revolution

–  Listen to all of the sad songs you know, throw up, then listen to really happy songs

–  Hang out with a child (Not if you have a past of pedophiling though. Stay away from children in that case.)

– Hang out with an elderly person and learn life lessons

–  Buy a harmonium and then play it (BTW, I am starting a fund to buy a harmonium.  You are more than welcome to contribute. K thanksss)

I would obv. look like this, too.

–  Dress like a pirate and blast Skrillex outside of a church. Not near me though, please.

–  Hand out slutty homemade coupons to strangers and pretend you will follow through (but obviously don’t. I’m not advocating slutty behavior)

–  Citizen arrest someone that is committing hate crimes

–  Go out and RAGE

–  Crochet/knit your own snuggie for next year

–  Give away your worldly possessions and go on an adventure

–  Do yoga (errrrday)

–  Call your someone you haven’t talked to in a long time

–  Start a conversation with a stranger

– Delete your facebook

–  Become a better person

–  Make a painting

–  Get a tattoo

–  Buy a meal then give it to someone who needs it more

–  Bueno Vista

–  Muff cabbage your neighbor (No one knows what this means. Not even me. But if you find out, do it, and lemme know how it goes)

SEE?!?! Valentines Day can be sooooo fun!  But in seriousity (made that word up), it can be a wonderful day. This Tuesday, tell everyone in your life that you love them, and do something nice.  Be kind to the entire world.  Live through a love lens. It’s la vie en rose.  Life in pink. Life in love.  Not with a person, but the entire world.

I literally, figuartively, and physically love you.

Namaste.

How to deal with your Quarter Life Crisis.

The metaphorical Quarter Life Crisis (QLC) is becoming chic and the in-thing-to-do, if you haven’t noticed.

The other day I was commencing my very last first day of school and feeling positive about my life . I am teaching a solid number of (somewhat decent) yoga classes, barista-mastering/slaving, and getting my intellect on x10 (actually I’m slowing becoming the smartest girl in class. Which is fun.)  I truly have no complaints in life right now.  But this made me think of where I was a year ago…. I was at my rock bottom.   I was miserable, stressed, not in school, living at home, unemployed, and the future was looking grim.  I starved myself mentally and physically, and overall became a hot mess of instability.  I had no direction or purpose. I was lost.  I’m not saying this will be my last or worst rock bottom, but so far, it is my rock-est of bottoms yet.   I like to think of it as my quarter-life-crisis.  It’s real, and it happens to real people.  In fact, the more people I start deep intellectual conversations with (usually at really convenient times like while they’re ordering coffee or while were inebriated…), the more I realize that almost everyone is going through a little bit of a rock bottom/quarter-life-crisis right now.  Being a twentysomething is hard and not as glamourous as we thought it would be. Post-graduation life is rough (from what I hear…).  We’re all either trying to figure out who we are or what the hell we are “supposed” to do with the rest of our lives.  We have debt, high expectations, and are stuck between youth and adulthood.

While looking back on where I was a year ago, I realized how thankful I am for my low points.  They are an absolutely necessary part of our existence.  It’s a known fact that you can’t have the good unless you have the bad.  The bad makes the good look sooooo good. And really, unless you die or contract an incurable STD or something, the bad is not so bad in the scheme of things.  It just appears to be terrible because it’s happening in the moment and sometimes there is no end in sight.  When I was at my lowest, I literally thought it would be this miserable for the rest of my life.  Situations and phases always seem permanent, but in reality it’s the opposite.  Things like not having a job, being financially unstable, going through a divorce or a bad break-up, the death of a family member (or pet. I hope my dog stays alive forever…. cryogenically frozen? perhaps.), or an overall sense of direction are all temporary and transient.  While it may sting and be uber-painful during the crisis, life is ever-changing and nothing truly remains the same. There is serious light at the end of the tunnel (not just a metaphor).


So, how do you know if you are having a QLC? You show signs of one or more symptoms below:

–  You feel like your life choices are suffocating you like a Stage 5 clinger.

 

–  You have a low paying internship in an marketing firm when your major was in Tambourine Beat Making (it’s a real major) and you literally hate all advertisements.

–  You have the strong urge to give away all of your material things and start a new life in Thailand.

–  You have no common ground with your “friends” but refuse to search for a new crew.

–  You binge drink more than what is socially acceptable (my standard is 2-3 times per week, any more is approaching a real issue….).

–  Happy hour has turned into an unhappy hour of complaining about your life and sighing deeply while staring out of the window.

–  You continuously compare yourself to your Facebook friends who are married with children on the way, and wonder what’s so wrong with your anti-monogamous lifestyle.

–  You cry to most Adele songs (could be a sign of pregnancy, also.)

 

–  You have completely lost touch with what your passions are and what truly makes you happy.

–  You  comfortably/casually call your parents your “roommates” to others in conversation.

I don't know who's parents these are. They look nice though.

I know that you shook your head to at least one of those.  If not, then I’m super syked that your life is perfect, but you would potentially be a really boring reality show. And your QLC time will come sooner or later.   The first step is admitting that you are, excuse my French, “balls deep” in a Quarter Life Crisis.  Don’t worry.  Everyone goes through it.  It’s like puberty for older people.

Here are some self-comprised steps to help with this quarter-life-crisis.  (I’m obviously not guru-ing in this topic, as I am still learning all of these lessons everyday.  These are some of the things that have worked/will work for me, and hopefully will work for you too. If not, we can maybe just sit at home and cry to Adele together maybe?)

1.  Make a bold move.  Quit your job that you loathe.  Get out of that detrimental relationship.  Pick up and move somewhere.  Invest in something.  Take a step forward in something. ANYTHING.  Just do it.  Staying in the status quo because it’s safe and you don’t know what else to do is a terrible idea and only perpetuates your QLC.  Move out of your parents house and become a circus performer.  Apply for an internship/job in another country.  Make a list of all of your contacts in other cities/state/countries/continents, contact them, and then move there.  Worry about the repercussions later.  You can seriously find a minimum wage job anywhere and can figure out how to simply “make it”.  This is such a scary concept, but I believe that it’s absolutely necessary.  The worst thing that could happen is that it doesn’t work out, you move back in with the parents, and your back to where you are now.  Grow some balls/a vagina and DO IT.

2.  Get in touch with yourself.  No, I didn’t say “touch yourself”. I said get in tun with who you really are.  I think a lot of us think we are too young to start soul searching and finding out who we truly are is not a priority.  But in reality, it’s probably the most important thing we can do.  Finding out what makes us happy at a young age reduces the risk of being that weird 35 year-old chick/bro still doing drugs at STS9 concerts at Red Rocks and binge drinking on the reg (you know those people….).  Having our rock bottom/QLC now sets us up for a happier and more fulfilling life and kind of lets us escape the path some of our parents went down.

3.  Stop basing your future off of money and “shoulds”.  We were raised in a culture that equates money with success.  It’s a fact.  The harder you work, the more money you get, the happier you are?  So wrong.  While it’s nice to not be dead broke or homeless, we have lost touch with everything human when thinking about the future. When I talk to people on campus about their plans after graduation, almost everyone brings up how much money they think they will make in their chosen _______ (enter corporate schmuck job here) field. Most are miserable in even studying their supposed path, not to mention the decades of working ahead.  It’s confusing and sad at the same time.  What are you going to do with that money once you’ve earned enough?  And will it ever be enough, or will you keep wanting more?  It’s a vicious cycle that we weave ourselves into.  I am a strong believer that once you find your passion, everything (including money) will fall into place.

AND the dreaded “shoulds” of life.  We should go to college, graduate with decent grades, get a real job, and disappear into the 9-5 workforce until it’s time to retire (or not…).  We should get married and have 2.5 children before you hit 30, move to the suburbs, buy a volvo station wagon (i seriously actually want one.), and spend our days numb to our emotions.  The “shoulds” are unicorns in this sense.  They’re unattainable and we let them control our lives (So actually they’re not really like unicorns at all….But you get my point).  There is no right or wrong way of doing things.  Do what you want and don’t get “should” on.

4.  Ditch your unhealthy relationships and measure friends by quality rather than quantity.  Being friends with someone for a long time doesn’t mean they need to be a permanent part of your life.  We change, and the people in our lives change too.  I’ve found I have lost the common ground with my friends in high school because I have changed so much through the years.  If someone drags you down or isn’t conducive to your non-rock-bottom life, don’t be afraid to cut them out of your life.  Find people that you have common ground with NOW rather than in the past.  If you are in a relationship and are afraid to leave it because you’re scared and don’t want to be alone, LEAVE. You’re not going to die alone, I promise.  Actually only 1.7% of people in the world die without having love in their life. I didn’t make that up. Google it. OK but I’m not saying to ditch all of your friends and cut ties with your lover just to say you did it.  I’m simply saying take a step back from your friends and lovers and asses who is helping you grow, and who is hindering your journey.  It’s absolutely okay to only have a few close friends rather than like 5849 acquaintances.   OH and I also just learned the thrill of deleting Facebook friends that are bogging down your internet life. Do a little house cleaning.  It’s seriously refreshing.  Actually, I’m deleting my faebook. Stat.

5.  Stop thinking you are old. You are not old. Hitting 24 and having a pity-party because your life is almost over is not cute.  Thinking that you have nothing to show for your age is completely irrational.  If you are a twentysomething, you have so much life ahead of you (unless, of course, the apocolypse hits as predicted. Then yes, you can consider yourself 100 years old if you want).  But seriously, no one really has anything phenominal to show by their 20’s, unless you are a child star/genius.  Get over the age number factor and always know that there is no set timeline for your successes.  And seriously, as I mentioned in my last post, use your age to get you out of compromising situations while you still can!  We’re supposed to be reckless and naive at this age.

6.  Let go of the things that do not matter.  We carry around so many unnecessary obligations that we think are important.  Putting all of your effort into your physical appearance is the biggest one that pops into my head. I’ve noticed in the past year that no one really cares what you look like, except for you. No one cares that you have the hottest Marc Jacobs purse and are the hippest thing since your dad in the 70’s.  When I was going through my rock-bottom/mental breakdown last year, my mother would always tell me that other people have their own shit going on and could essentially care less what you look like.  I know that there are a ton of judgmental people out there, but there are also a ton of people who can see past it.  And really, so what?  So what if someone judges you on your appearance?  They will probably forget in like 3.56 seconds.  This is also an excellent way to weed out the people in your life that are not conducive to the non-rock-bottom you.

7.  Get yourself into a life or death situation, and then get out of it.  This could be sketchy advice, so maybe don’t take it literally (or do…).  I sometimes get into dangerous life-threatening dilemmas (every time I drive.  I really shouldn’t have a license.) and can almost see my life flash in front of my eyes.  Obviously, I get myself out of the situation and keep on living. Being really close to kind of death makes your syked to be still alive and revives your heart a little.  A good dose of adrenaline is also really helpful in pulling you out of a QLC. Go skydiving.  Go base jumping.  Do something that REALLY scares you.  At the very least, you can check these somewhat dangerous things off your bucket list.  At the most, compromising your life will act like a mouth-to-mouth CPR revival from Ryan Gosling.

8.  Stop comparing yourself to others.  Facebook is so detrimental to our lives.  We constantly scroll/stalk everyone we know and base our successes (or lack there of) off of their alleged happiness.  This is such a mask.  I bet if you went through your profile with a third-person perspective, you probably look pretty damn happy too.  Having 580323 smiling pictures in an exotic location/with a significant other/riding a unicorn/with a newborn baby does not mean someone is happy.  They probably just always remember to take pictures, or whatever. If we took other people’s lives as an indicator for ourselves, we would all be knocked up and married by now. Ew. Everyone grows at different rates and there is truly no gauge as to where you should be at 23.  I think the only reliable gauge is to compare yourself to yourself a year ago.  Look back and see where you were and how happy you were with your life.  If it’s better now, you’re probably on the right path.  If not, you might be on the decline. But whatever, we already know that every hits a rock bottom at some point.  You might as well get yours out of the way now.  But seriously, stop judging yourself in relation to others.  It’s useless. We should have a mass suicide, but instead of suicide, we delete our facebooks and instead of kool-aid we drink wine.  Are you in?

9.  Get out and meet people.  Life doesn’t happen sitting at home watching 30 Rock in a snuggie every night.  We know this. So put on some real clothes, brush your hair, and get out there.  Do things that interest you and be open to new people.  We often think that we don’t need/want to meet people because we already have good/enough friends. Meeting people is what makes our experiences so great.  I was looking through my pictures from my semester abroad, and I noticed that I took entirely too many pictures of the national monuments and not enough of the wonderful people I met along the way.  So stop being an awkward turtle and meet some humans with awesome stories to share.  And who knows, they could change your life….

10.  Do one thing each day that makes you happy.  I’m reading a book called the Happiness Project by Gretchen Ruben about her quest to appreciate all of the good in her life.  She sets different goals each month to clear her life, and tries to do one thing a day that makes her happy.  I love the idea of this.  Even if you do something that makes you smile for 2.5 seconds, it’s better than nothing.  Have a raging dance party in your room to Lady Gaga.  Watch stupid kitten and sloth videos on Youtube.  Do a craft.  Go and chat with your super senille and super wise next door neighbor.  People watch.  Drink really good coffee. Host your own social experiment.  Call an old friend. Write a letter. Do yoga (obv).  Play with little kids (that you know, not just random children at the park.  Their parents won’t like that.) DO SOMETHING for yourself.  Errrrday.

So the take-home message is this: embrace the and welcome the ever-flowing movement of your life.  Enjoy the bad times, as hard as they seem, because chances are they are temporary and will only make everything else feel/look wonderful.  Learn everything you can during your rock-bottom, and then take it with you as you come out of your misery cave.  Everyday is a fresh start, make it what you want.  If your quarter-life-crisising, sitting in your room feeling bad for yourself is the worst thing to do. The hardest step to take is the first one. But do it.  You won’t regret it. Think of it as a fresh start.  Re-invent the life you want.   And, dear reader, if this post finds you in the fetal position on your rock bottom, I urge you to get up and explore.  Stop crying and start learning.

How do you like that for a metaphor???

Peace and so much Love.

P.S. this guide can also apparently be used for drinking problems and hoarders (animal and otherwise). FYI.