Personal

Things I’d Like to Do in Theory Only

In my head, I am a wonderful person. I have all these grand ideas on what type of person I’d like to be. This imaginative idea of myself is always cheerful, is put-together, exercises, and never leaves things on her to-do list left undone.

I attempt to live up to these standards but nine out of ten times I fail. I don’t go to sleep early enough at night. I don’t eat healthy enough. Some mornings I don’t even have enough time to brush my hair before walking out the door.

This ideal Liz also stays up-to-date with this blog. She regularly posts new articles. When she thinks of something new to write about, she immediately gets to her laptop and starts typing away. She doesn’t have dozens of unfinished drafts.

Unfortunately, you guys are stuck with the real Liz and I am sorry about that. The real Liz has the best intentions. She just falls short. I always say I want to write in here at least once a week but life seems to get in the way. If I’m not too busy to post, then I’m too tired to post.

I am going to try my hardest to keep up with this blog from now on. There is so much I want to write about. I just need to find the time to write.

I realize now that I will fail. There will be weeks and even months where I push off writing here. Just know that this blog is not the only thing real life Liz puts off and doesn’t follow through with. There’s a long list of things. In my head, I’m a great person. In reality, not so much.

In an ideal world, I’d be the type of person who…

Goes shopping on Sunday and prepares food for the week. Who never lets food go to waste and winds up buying lunch the whole week.

Wakes up early enough every morning to leave the house with my hair done and makeup on.

Keeps up-to-date with current events and always knows about the latest news or scandal.

Makes time to fit at least 30 minutes of exercise in my routine daily.

Doesn’t eat brownies and ice cream for dinner.

Is able to always have time for work, family, friends, my bf, and myself.

Actually donates their time to a worthwhile cause and not just think about it.

Doesn’t just pin a million recipes but actually cooks them.

Always has a tidy apartment. Clothes are always put away, dishes are never left in the sink.

Doesn’t just talk/think about all the things they want to do or the type of person they want to be. I would just do.

I really gotta start working harder to live up to the standards of fictional Liz.

Things I’ve Come to Terms with at 31

I turned 31 a few weeks ago. For the most part I have come to terms with my “old age.” The number is just going to get higher so I should stop fighting it. I did have a very small breakdown about officially being in my thirties but overall I dealt with it. Entering a new decade has definitely had its perks.

Your twenties are all about trying out new things and finding out who you are as a person. Want to move to a different place every year? That’s what your twenties are for.

Your thirties are a lot more mellow. Don’t get me wrong. I still want to try new things. There are plenty of places I still want to visit. Hobbies I still want to pickup. Books I eventually want to write. But my thirties have definitely shown me that there are quite a few things in my life that are set. I plan on spending my thirties embracing the little things that make me who I am and stop trying to change them.

Staying up all night will never happen again. This one makes me a little sad. When I was younger, “breaking night” while having a sleepover was one of my favorite things to do. Now, the idea of staying awake the entire night is torturous. A sunrise is a sunrise. I don’t need to see it. Let me sleep.

I will never dance well. This always used to be something I was embarrassed of: my horrendous dancing skills. Sadly, I was never blessed with rhythm but I am done fighting it. Next dance party I attend, I’m letting my inner-Elaine run free without any fear of judgment.

Being sexy will never come natural to me. This isn’t a self-deprecating comment. I am not saying that I’m never sexy. My boyfriend thinks I’m sexy. However, if I actively try to be sexy, I have the opposite effect. A striptease from me is a ball of awkward and will most likely end with me somehow getting stuck in my lingerie in a fit of laughter.

I will never enjoy exercising or eating healthy. I am still going to do it. Since I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more and more concerned about exercising and eating healthy. I’ll continue to give these things a chance for health reasons and all that nonsense, but I’m not going to like it. My couch will always be more appealing than the gym. I’ll always love cupcakes more than kale.

Being a millionaire is not in the cards for me. Why did we think we would be rich when we were younger? I considered having a nice car and my own home by the time I was thirty inevitable. Getting rich seemed like it was an attainable goal back in the days. Boy was I wrong. Now I just want to make enough money so I won’t have to work until I’m 80-years-old. The new American dream!

A day at Bed Bath and Beyond is now my favorite way to splurge. Partying it up all night at the latest club? No thanks, my apartment has $10 bottles of wine and Netflix. Dining out at that hot new restaurant? I’ll take my own cooked meal and sweatpants. Do you want these 20% off coupons at Bed Bath and Beyond? OMG yes! Clear my schedule. I need to spend the next several hours buying gadgets for my apartment. This toilet seat easily removes to make cleaning a breeze! (This toilet seat is a real thing and I absolutely love it.)

A feeling of impending death will always overcome me after a night of heavy drinking. My body can still handle a glass or two or three of wine at night to unwind. I can wake up from this ready to start my day. However, bring in the hard liquor and shots and all hell breaks loose. I can kiss productivity out the door for the next two to three days. That is how much time I’ll need to recover.

I’ll never pick up and move to a new place without a set plan. When I was in my twenties, I always entertained the idea of picking up and moving to another place. I still like this idea but it is a lot more reasonable. I would like to leave New York one day but not before I have a job secured somewhere. I have become a lot more practical in my thirties. That may sound depressing and boring, but do you know what isn’t boring? The ability to buy food and pay rent!

It doesn’t matter what other people think of me. I spent so many years of my twenties in a perpetual state of anxiousness. What others thought of me mattered way too much. This made friendships difficult. Relationships challenging. It made life in general rough. I am so over that nonsense. Here is something that young people really need to remember: The opinions of others truly do not matter. Life becomes a lot more free when you live it exactly how you want and now how other people want you to.

It’s Okay to Not Feel Okay

The past few weeks I have been in a bit of a funk. I haven’t spoken to too many people about it because I really don’t know how to put into words what I’m feeling. There isn’t a specific event or occurrence that I can attribute to my depressed state.  I am not sure why I’ve been feeling the way that I have. I have just been feeling down.

When I get into a funk that has no real explanation, it always makes me feel worse. I have a roof over my head. I am relatively healthy. I don’t go to bed hungry. I have a job I enjoy. There is no real reason to feel the way that I do.

The lack of reasoning results in feelings of guilt. So on top of feeling down, I also feel incredibly guilty. Clearly I am overreacting and being ungrateful. I’ll often invalidate my own feelings. Instead of accepting the things I’m feeling, I fight them. This action has a tendency to simply make me feel worse.

There’s a major flaw in this way of thinking: All feelings are valid. And sometimes feeling shitty is just a part of being alive. In fact, I may question your humanness if you are ALWAYS happy. There is no way that is healthy.

So I’ve been feeling a little down. It could be the long winter. It could be my upcoming birthday which always fills me with doom and existential thoughts. It could be a chemical imbalance. Or, and the likely culprit, it could just be life.

Sometimes life is really awesome and sometimes it’s really shitty. It is okay for your mind to react accordingly. If you ran a mile or worked a 13 hour shift, no one would fault you for being exhausted. The same thing applies to your mind. Life can become exhausting and overwhelming. Allow your mind to take a break without feeling guilty.

If you find yourself going through a funk, don’t fight it. Recognize all the things in your life to be grateful for. Don’t brush them off. However, don’t use them as an excuse to invalidate your feelings. Healthy people can get depressed. People with a roof over their head and a job can feel anxious.

Remember: All feelings are real, even the crappy ones.

Getting in a New Relationship After Being Single Forever

This post has been in the back of mind for awhile now. I’ve wanted to write it several times but then thought against it. I finally realized that this is a blog about my life. It’s my journey through my late twenties and now my thirties. I’ve written so much about my shitty dating experiences that I should also include when things are going well, right?

I wrote once about a new man in my life and that ended shitty. I think that was part of the reluctance I had when it came to writing about a new relationship. But me and my man have been together for a little over 6 months now. He’s a big part of my life and this is a lifestyle blog. It makes sense that he’s going to come into conversation one of these days. He just met my parents for the first time two weeks ago so now it’s time my lovely readers meet him.

I may love broadcasting my entire life on a public blog but I recognize that not everyone may feel this way. That’s why I’m going to refer to the lovely man I’m dating as JR. (It’s part of his initials so it works.)

When people ask how we met, I usually say, “We went to High School together and recently reconnected.” All of this is true. But I am just leaving out certain aspects. By recently reconnected, what I really mean is found each other on a dating site. That’s right! Sometimes OK Cupid can work.

I was on OK Cupid for a very short time when JR messaged me. I immediately recognized him from High School. Before he even messaged me, I was on the brink of deleting my account. I had had enough of online dating. So after only exchanging a couple of messages with JR, I told him I was deleting my account and asked if he’d like to exchange numbers. I normally don’t do this. I like to talk for a little before exchanging numbers. I also usually just wait until the guy asks for the number. But in this case I knew that I would be deleting my account and I knew I didn’t want this to be the end of my interaction with JR.

So we exchanged numbers and I waited for him to contact me. He did; the next day. We spoke for a few weeks, met up on May 12th, and have been dating ever since.

It’s been really nice. And a lot of fun. But it’s also been a lot of adjusting. These past few years, even when I had someone, I still wouldn’t call myself taken. I was always single-ish. This is the first time in forever that I’m 100% not single. It’s been a little weird. Mostly awesome, but a little weird.

When you’ve been the single girl for so long, being in a relationship definitely takes some getting used to.

I’ve been lying to myself in the past. When I was dating, I would give myself a 2-date rule. I figured that it would take more than one date to determine if I actually liked someone. Two dates should let me know for sure. Well, after my first date with JR, I knew 100% that I liked him and wanted to go on another date. I also lied to myself with some past dudes and made excuses for them. I convinced myself numerous times that the guy really did like me. He just needs time. He’s really busy. And so many more excuses. I was lying to myself. If a guy likes you, you’ll know it. If a guy wants to be with you, he’ll make time. It’s really very simple. I just made it way more complicated than it needed to be.

The word boyfriend feels weird. It took me 6+ months to share JR with you guys. When I’m dating someone, I tend to keep them to myself for the most part. It takes a lot for me to share the guy with other people and talk about him. If he does come up in conversation, he is usually referred to as “this guy I’m dating.” The first time I spoke about JR and called him my boyfriend, it sounded weird. It still feels a little weird. It’s just a much easier term to use than “guy I’m dating.”

But girlfriend is a nice one to hear. Not gonna lie, it’s nice being introduced as “my girlfriend.”

Holy Batman! There is not enough time. Work and friends and family and alone time was already a lot to juggle. Adding a relationship has made maintaining everything overwhelming. It’s something I am still working on. There is never enough time to do everything I want.

Alone time is so much more satisfying. I love alone time. I loved my alone time when I was single. However, when you’re single, alone time isn’t always a choice. Alone time comes cause you have nothing else to do. Since being in a relationship, my alone time has become significantly more satisfying. I adore the nights spent in my apartment alone laying on the couch and watching TV for hours.

Doubt doesn’t magically go away. After so many dating mishaps, it’s easy to be skeptical. Too many times I have grown tired of the person I was dating or slowly realized that they were growing tired of me. I am pretty secure in my relationship with JR and don’t usually question where I stand. But this does not mean that doubt hasn’t gone away completely.

Sometimes clichés are right. When you’ve been single for awhile, you’re going to hear a lot of the same things. “It’ll happen when you least expect it” is one of those sayings I heard the most. I always thought it was ridiculous. I am single but would like to find someone. In some way, I’m always looking. But now I kind of know what they mean. The first time I met up with JR, I did not want to go. I had just had a huge dinner for my nephew’s birthday. All I wanted to do was go home and sleep. I remember throwing some mascara on in my car right before I walked into the bar. Before the date even started, I was already thinking about how and when I could leave. I did not expect anything to come of it.

Fear is one of the biggest enemies. Being single is easy. Being single is safe. You only have yourself to worry about yourself. You’re not giving someone else the capability to seriously hurt you or let you down.

Relationships involve a lot of talking and compromise. As a 30-year-old single person, I was very set in my ways. I was used to being on my own and not having to rely on anyone. I never had to think about anyone else, ever. Those views don’t always make for the healthiest of relationships. I had to become reacquainted with having a new person in my life.

All those disasters, make this relationship a lot sweeter. Man was I fed up with dating. You guys read all about it. I wasn’t kidding when I said that dating shouldn’t be so exhausting. I was tired of it! I was done with dating sites, first dates, unanswered texts, etc. Knowing how horrible things could be out there in the dating world and knowing how difficult it is to find someone you really connect with makes my relationship with JR that much sweeter.

Things I Cannot Do Smoothly Because of Anxiety

Most of the times my anxiety is not funny. When I am in the middle of a full blown panic attack, the last thing on my mind is laughing. But there are times when I am able to recognize just how ridiculous I am being.

There’s a constant struggle between two parts of my brain. One part won’t calm the fuck down cause it’s convinced that the world is about to end. The other part wishes it’s neighbor would stop freaking out because it just wants to go to sleep.

There are times when I worry about the most ridiculous shit. Shit that really does not need to be worried about. At times it prevents me from doing basic every day things. I still manage to do these things but it would go a whole lot smoother if I could just shut my brain off.

Here are just a few things that I am unable to do smoothly because of my anxiety.

Small talk with a stranger. Am I being annoying? I’m asking too many questions. Stop asking questions. Wait, what if I’m not asking enough questions. Find something to talk about. Except for the weather. Anything but the weather. “So, can you believe how cold it’s been?”

Have a go-with-the-flow relationship. There’s no “let’s just see how things go” with me. Either we’re doing this or not. I can’t spend time questioning where I stand. Even if you make it obvious, I need to hear you say the words, “We’re together.”

Have any kind of relationship for that matter. Haha, I was totally faking it before. If you do say we’re together, I’m still going to spend hours questioning where I stand.

Straighten my hair. Anytime I straighten my hair, I have this overwhelming fear that I will burn down my apartment. Numerous times I had to call my dad to go to my apartment and check my straightener. Then I started texting myself a photo of my unplugged straightener right before I left so I could reassure myself throughout the day. All of these tactics just weren’t enough. Now whenever I straighten my hair, I bring my straightener with me so I know for sure I didn’t leave it on and potentially burn down everything I own.

Go to sleep at a reasonable hour. You know what happens when I’m trying to go to sleep? I think of every little thing that has ever worried me in my entire life.

Watch any TV show that takes place in a hospital. Since I was little, I’ve had to avoid any TV show that takes place in a hospital. ER, House, Grey’s Anatomy. Can’t watch any of them. I’m a paranoid person on a regular day. If I watch a hospital show, I’ll spend the next 72 hours convinced that I have the Plague.

Read or watch the news. I know keeping up with current events is important. And I do it from time to time so I’m aware of what’s going on and so I don’t look like a complete idiot. But I do not enjoy it at all! The news has always been scary and depressing but right now, it’s almost unbearable.

All the Things I’ve Wanted to Tell You These Past Three Years

Everyday at least one thing occurs that I would have wanted to tell you about. It could be something that happened with me or something that I saw. More often than not it’s something funny Daniel or Lucas did that I know you’d love.

Speaking of Daniel and Lucas, you would love them so much. You’d get a kick out of all the boys. I feel bad for them because they’re going to grow up without you. I always tell Christopher how lucky he is that he got to spend the first six years of his life with you.

He misses you a lot. We all do.

A lot has happened the three years since you’ve been gone. I hope you’re proud of me. I always think about that letter you left me where you encouraged me to always follow my dreams. I haven’t followed all those dreams yet but I’m working on it.

All the things I’ve accomplished the past year were a little bittersweet. Things aren’t the same if I can’t share them with you.

You were my person. The one I always wanted to tell everything.

I’m sorry I don’t talk to you as much I want to. I want to believe that someway you can hear me but it’s not easy. But I hope with all my heart that you can. I hope that you’re still out there somewhere and that you’re happy.

I hope you look down on the family you had to leave with pride. Sorry that we’re not quite as close as we were when you were alive. But we’re trying.

I’m sorry that sometimes an entire day goes by that I don’t think about you. But you’re always in my heart.

And sorry that I’m apologizing so much. I know you’d hate that and tell me to stop being ridiculous.

I just have so many things that I’d love to say to you if I were given one more chance to see you. But the most important thing I want to tell you is that I miss you. All the time. I miss your face. I miss your laugh. I miss your smile. I miss your cooking. I miss watching TV with you. I miss playing cards. I miss our trips to the supermarket. I miss venting to you. I miss your advice.

I miss you.

It’s the Little Things in Life

Last year, 2015, was one of the most difficult and stressful years of my life.

I had to move in with my dad and share a room with my younger sister. I was working a part-time job that required about 3 hours of travel a day to get to and from. This job barely paid me enough to afford the dollar menu at McDonald’s. And I was also finishing up grad school which included writing a 60-page thesis.

It was really hard for me to focus on anything other than the bad times. I felt like I had hit rock bottom. I felt like I was unhappy and stressed out all the time. If someone had asked me about some of the good times from 2015, it would be really hard for me to think of a single instance.

But there were good times. There were a lot of good times.

New Year’s Day of 2015, the first day of my incredibly shitty year, my sisters and I created a happiness jar. We decorated a mason jar. The mason jar would hold all my happiest memories for the year. Any moment or event of 2015 that made us exceptionally happy would be written about on a piece of paper and then placed in the jar. The idea was to read all the happy memories on New Year’s Day of 2016 to remind ourselves of all the good times throughout the year.

Before opening that jar on January 1st, 2016, if anyone had asked me how my 2015 was, I would have responded quickly with, “It was really stressful and not so great.”

However, all those memories I placed in my happiness jar throughout the year told a different story. They didn’t focus on the late nights spent writing papers or the depressed early mornings spent riding on a train to a job that paid next to nothing.

The jar was a nice reminder that 2015 wasn’t nearly as bad as I imagined. I had a lot of great moments in 2015. From my trip to California to random lunches with my sister to celebrating my nephew’s birthday, numerous things brought me incredible joy during the year. I was so busy between jobs and schoolwork that I didn’t have time to think about all the little moments that made life great.

And that’s how life always is. It’s the big moments, whether good or bad, that get all the credit. Getting married, births, deaths, graduations, lay offs, new jobs, etc. These BIG moments are the ones that get all the focus.

However, it’s all the little moments in between that make the big moments so significant.

People often describe their wedding day as one of the greatest days of their lives. And while that might be true, there were so many wonderful random days or moments that let up to that one big day. The first date. First kiss. First time you realized you were in love. The day he came over with soup and your favorite movie cause you were sick.

All those little moments that you don’t give much thought to are what really make life worthwhile. The moments that are easily forgotten when life becomes too busy (AKA when life is life).

When the majority of life is spent waking up, getting ready for work, going to work, coming home, and then getting ready to do it all over again the next day, it’s only natural that the big moments are the ones that stand out. The nights you spent staying up much later than you should have with your favorite people can easily be forgotten. But those moments are the real ones to cherish.

With New Year’s Eve just around the corner (Don’t make a face. It’s already the end of September. 2017 is going to be here before we know it), I challenge you to start your own happiness jar. Or shoebox. Or kitchen drawer. Wherever you want to store those memories. Just do it!

It’ll be a nice reminder of the moments that truly matter. And also remind you that life is a lot more amazing than we give it credit.