Something about being a quarter century old seems a little insane (though I recognize the subjectivity of that statement).
As I move into my next year on Earth, I am, again, looking back at the lessons this past year brought. 24, overall, was a good year. It was a challenging year, and I learned a lot, but I’m better off for it all. I felt good about 24 at its outset, and that feeling delivered. I’m downright excited for 25. As I take these lessons from 24 into 25, I have confidence that my time as a quarter centurion will be memorable:
1. Life is too short to spend in toxic situations with people who don’t lift you up.
2. Mindsets don’t change overnight…it takes time and energy and practice.
3. Inner change starts with personal awareness.
4. Not everybody has a growth mindset, and that’s not something you can force on someone.
5. Saying negative things about someone for no better reason than that you don’t like the way they are as a person doesn’t accomplish much of anything. It may feel good in the moment, but moments are fleeting. Your unkind words say more about you.
6. Focusing less on other people’s (often perceived and sometimes totally inaccurate) problems and focusing more on what I can do to lift myself up is all around for the best. Continue reading “24 Things I Learned at 24”
Periods of great change have always been hard for me. After a relatively peaceful summer, which included a much-needed trip to Germany with my family, but was otherwise very quiet–a lot of working and reading and daydreaming about a future when I wouldn’t be a coffee shop barista–I’ve found myself plunged into the very future of my summer daydreams, and am extremely overwhelmed by it all.
Intuitively, I feel very good about the future. Good things are coming. Diving further into teaching feels right, and I’m so excited to grow further as a teacher. Yet, the present in wrought with a lot of anxiety and emotion, as times of change usually are for me. I don’t sleep as well during times of change, and I tire easier–a combination of the lack of sleep and the very fact that the physical symptoms of anxiety are exhausting AF. Yet, I’m impatient. Oh so impatient. I want to rush head first into things. I’m reminding myself again and again of how, if I want to keep my mental and physical health at all in check, I have to take change slower. How that’s not a bad thing. I’ve been spending a lot of time on my yoga mat, and I’ve been doing meditation excercises. I’ve been reading, and I’ve been reaching out to people who impact my life positively. I’ve been trying to bottle up less emotion (something I’m REAL good at). I’ve been talking through feelings with friends and writing, too.
I do feel the need to write more, which feels good. It feels natural. It feels healthy. It feels like me. I also feel the need to be more social, which I’m notoriously bad at (it’s so much easier to sit at home and be an anti-social introvert!), but also desperately need. While I felt rather content to be alone for much of the summer (which was beneficial in many ways in terms of building up more self-awareness and internal understanding) I’m discovering that a healthy, balanced Britta needs positive interactions with others as much as she needs time by herself to recharge.
I feel this incredible need to go out in the world. I love my online teaching job. I love the relationships I’ve developed with my regular students, and it blows my mind that I can positively impact a child’s life from across the world with a computer and internet connection. I’ve learned a lot from them, too. Yet, I find it strangely unsatisfying to work from home. It’s convenient. It’s easy. It’s fun. It’s joyful. Yet, I get antsy when I spend too Continue reading “On Change and Acceptance: Fall 2017”
So as to ensure that this blog doesn’t become defunct, I thought I’d take a moment to write an update about my life.
Back in January, I wrote that I recently discovered my love of teaching. Additionally, I wrote that I was planning to move abroad again before the year’s end.
Today, only one of those statements remains true. I still love teaching. I love it more and more every day. I will not, however, be moving abroad again before this year’s end.
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The last few months have been a whirlwind of growth and change and internal understanding. I’ve come to a lot of understandings about myself. I’ve realized that, during my youth and formative years, I lost sight of myself and my real, true passions. There can be a lot of pain and confusion in navigating the world as a highly sensitive person. As a child, I didn’t have any real understanding for why I cried so easily, why I seemed to be bothered by sounds other peope didn’t notice (I’m acutely sensitive to sound), and why I seemed to get tired so much quicker than my peers. Highly Sensitive wasn’t in my vocabularly and it wasn’t in my parents vocabulary–and because I didn’t know why I was the way I was and also because I wanted to fit in with my peers, I unconsiously managed to lock down that part of me.
I came across the term “highly sensitive person” for the first time in college and instantly recognized many of the traits in myself. However, because I had so severely repressed so much of what it truly means to be HSP, I didn’t understand what that meant for me as a person. It is only within the last few months that I’m starting to Continue reading “What am I Doing With My Life?”
It’s been an anxiety-ridden month filled with uncertainty and confusion.
On a national scale, I was rocked by the outcome of the U.S. election. I walked around on election day convinced, like much of the rest of America, that we would wake up the next morning to the first female president-elect ever. It was going to be historic and beautiful and I would be joyful.
On a personal level, I’ve been experiencing a massive amount of change as well. I’ve had an exhausting few weeks where I’ve been processing not only the change happening around me–in the wake of the election results and the way people have been reacting to them–but also in accepting that there is a great change happening within me.
I see a lot of parallels between the two that I’m going to attempt to articulate here.
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In the aftermath of the election, I simultaneously realized that not only was the projected outcome of this election grounded so much in expectation, but that I live so much of my life grounded in expectation–and how unhappy that makes me.
Lately, I’ve been frequently reminded of a conversation I had with a friend of mine back when I was in Thailand: “You think too much, and that keeps you from actually doing all the things you want to do,” she told me. It’s a truth I’ve been working on changing this entire year–and one that became increasingly apparent to me throughout the course of this month.
It’s a fine balance for me, thinking and doing. As an intuitive introvert, thinking and processing is how I understand the world around me. I love going out into the world and experiencing it. Too many experiences overwhelm and exhaust me, Continue reading “Where I’m at, Now”
If we were having coffee, we might meet at one of the plethora of little cafes within twenty minutes walking distance of my house in both directions. Perhaps, if we felt a little extravagant, we might be settled in for a nice, long brunch complete with not just coffee, but maybe a mimosa or two. Brunch is huge on the East Coast, at least compared to the Midwest, and DCers mean business when they do brunch. In addition to multiple brunch spots nearby, there are so many things to do see and do in my neighborhood and the surrounding neighborhoods. I can’t wait to explore more and find the best places for eating, drinking, and entertainment. Today is my day off, so I’m taking it slow but also want to give myself some time to explore more. When I was walking to the grocery store today, I stumbled upon two farmers markets within a few blocks of each other. I was super psyched about that and bought some local peaches from the one nearest to my house!
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my third housemate moved in earlier this week and she’s been great so far. Last night, we hit happy hour together at a nearby restaurant and it was great to talk to her and get to know her more. Overall, the dynamic of our house is shaping up to be really awesome and I think it will only improve when fourth Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare–In Which I Settle In”
These last few weeks have been…strange. Strange in a way that I haven’t really been able to put into words. I was very aware of feeling off, but I didn’t really know how to describe it to anyone–let alone, myself–so I didn’t. I wasn’t ignoring the feeling, per se. I was more confused than anything. Being in a new town, in a new job, in a completely different country–it is all so much, and processing everything has been really hard. Unable to describe my own feelings but yearning to write, I turned to fiction to soothe my nerves…yet, I was still on edge…because although nothing was seriously wrong, I still didn’t know how to describe all these feelings going on inside of me.
But…I think I can now. After a much needed weekend to myself (seriously, I’ve done next to nothing, and it’s been amazing), I feel like I have the space to distance myself from these emotions and really consider them.
Let me explain:
Being in Chiang Mai during my October TESOL course was easily one of the highest emotional periods of my life. The amount of joy and happiness I experienced during October 2015–for such a consecutive period of time–was simply unheard of for me before that. It’s not that I was unhappy before my TESOL course. It’s not that life was terrible before TESOL. In fact, it was the exact opposite. My last year of college was an amazing period of personal growth. My last semester of college, specifically, was easily my best semester of college. A period of my life that I will always cherish. This past summer, working as an espresso bar barista at a gas station, of all places, was also an incredible experience for me. I pushed myself in new ways by working in the food service industry, and I can safely say that some of my coworkers fundamentally shaped me into the person I am today (and that is looking back to three months ago). I loved my job as a barista and will always cherish the, albeit temporary, home I Continue reading “This is a Post Where I Make Important Realizations About Myself. That is All.”
If you were to ask me to write up a tourist pamphlet for Pai, Thailand, I’d most likely write something akin to the above.
Yeah, it’s corny. But it’s kind of a little bit 100% accurate.
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When my TESOL class found out we had a three day weekend in the third week of the course, we immediately started making plans (ha, well some of us started making plans and the rest tagged along. I must admit, I am NOT a planner…something I want to get better at while living abroad).
We wanted to get out of Chiang Mai for a little bit and the obvious choice for many of us was to head to Pai–a small resort town in the Northern mountains of Thailand.
Pai is this expats haven in the middle of Thailand. I saw more Farangs (the Thai word for “Westerner”) during my one and a half day stay in Pai than I have since leaving the United States. It was a little weird, to be quite honest. It didn’t feel quite like Thailand. But that’s absolutely okay…because Pai is it’s own little world. It’s own little oasis to get away to…and everyone needs to get away at some point.
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Honestly, I didn’t realize how stressed out I was from my TESOL course until I got to Pai.
If we were having coffee, I’d apologize for my tardy arrival to the table. It’s been a busy and tiring weekend, folks!
If we were having coffee, I’d first point out the new theme on my blog. I realized the other day how unbelievably bored I was of my old theme. So, a new theme was in order. It’s still a work in progress. To be honest, I’m not sure how much I like it at the moment, though I do like that it’s different. The header still needs to be adjusted, as it doesn’t show up completely in mobile form…and, overall, I just feel kind of “ehh” about it right now. I really do like The Plane Theme and I love the colors…this damn header is just not quite right yet, though If you have any comments or suggestions for me regarding this dilemma, I’d love to hear them!
Speaking of blogging…if we were having coffee, I’d talk about how dismal I’ve been at keeping up with blogging lately. I have absolutely no idea what’s going on the blogosphere. I haven’t gotten back to comments on my blog in three days and I haven’t really scrolled through my reader at all since like Wednesday? I don’t even remember, honestly. It’s not that I don’t care…I do miss all of you. Life gets busy, though…and when I’m not working, I’d rather spend my time outside enjoying the summer weather than sitting indoors staring at a screen. So, yes I’ve been Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare — Blog Changes and Life Updates (a.k.a Where the Hell Have I Been Lately???)”
Today’s Friday Fifty-Six is brought to you by the Penguin Drop Caps Edition of Jane Eyre, a.k.a. my second and very prized copy of this beautiful piece of classic literature.
Jane Eyre happens to be my favorite book and, for that reason, I thought it was only fitting to include it in an early edition of my contribution to the Friday Fifty-Six.
I cannot even begin to describe how important this book is to me, why I love Jane, the character, oh so much; how, since I read it for the first time at twelve years of age, this book continues to speak to me more and more with every read.
I cannot begin to describe any of that in one short post, so I leave you with this short excerpt instead, from page fifty-six of the Penguin Drop Caps Edition of Jane Eyre:
As yet I had spoken to no one, nor did anybody seem to take notice of me; I stood lonely enough, but that feeling of isolation I was accustomed; it did not oppress me much. I leant against a pillar of the veranda, drew my gray mantle close about me, and, trying to forget the cold which nipped me without, and the unsatisfied hunger which gnawed me within, delivered myself up to the employment of watching and thinking.
And, sometimes, the employment of watching and thinking is simply the very best there is.
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that oh, hey, I had a head lice scare earlier this week! What? Head lice, which is much more common among children and here I am at 22 being told I had lice…AND I NEVER SPEND TIME WITH CHILDREN! A dermatologist told me this lovely news on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, before heading to work, my mom and I stopped at this lice specialist (they highly recommended Mom come too because we live together. Dad shaves his head, so no worries there) only for them to tell me there that the dermatologist was sorely confused. I actually don’t have lice. Of course, this is after I paid a good sum of money for a lice treatment product and had to endure my mother freaking out the whole of Tuesday night because of my supposed lice infestation. Well, I made it through childhood without head lice and now, it seems, I’ve made it one step further in adulthood. I don’t have lice. Huzzah! Makes for a good story, though, right?
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that work is fabulous. My body is adjusting to the long hours on my feet so I don’t hurt as much as I used to when I get home. My coworkers are all great, which is an added plus. Basically, I get to make coffee and other delicious drinks all day. I also bake cookies (another task on my work list) when needed. This is my job, people, and I love it! Well, there’s the cleaning up and around the espresso bar, too, which I don’t mind, because I’ve always found Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare–So About that Head Lice and Other Stories”