I’ve always considered myself a pretty healthy person. I try to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. I do my best to stay away from processed foods. I don’t eat meat. I have fish about once a week, but no more. I drink alcohol, but not to excess (partly due to being an incredible light weight). I do yoga daily–doing my best to fit in at least 10 minutes on my busiest days. I meditate. I walk often.
Truthfully, I signed up for the Ayurveda Detox Retreat, because I was interested in the Ayurveda aspect. A few articles in recent Yoga Journal issues peaked my interest in the ancient Indian school of medicine, and I wanted to learn more. I thought that the detox would be an extra tidbit–and did I even need it? I was perfectly healthy!
Boy, did this retreat school me on this thought!
I wound up at an Ashram in the Catskills in Upstate New York after a 7 hour drive from the DC area. After stopping at numerous toll booths (despite telling Google Maps to take me the non-toll route–that scheming Map App!), stopping at a rest stop in New Jersey for lunch, another stop at a Dollar General in New York (when I realized I had forgotten my hair brush), a wrong turn, and a missed turn, I finally made it. And wow, was it beautiful. I was overcome by the beauty and the peaceful landscape. The Ashram itself was waking up to the world–the week I had my program was the first time it had been opened since COVID shut everything down in early 2020. However, the staff were working hard to bring it back into working order. It was perched on top of a hill with the perfect view of the Catskills. Plenty of in bloom flowers graced the land. There was a pond slightly further down the hill. A large garden at the front of the ashram provided many of the greens for our meals. Away from the main buildings, paths and trails through woods and fields dotted the land, some leading to nearby temples. It was such a peaceful place to be present in.
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”
For the last few months, I’ve been attending this MeetUp on and off that centers around concepts of mindfulness and meditation. I was drawn to this MeetUp because the concepts of mindfulness and meditation are extremely interesting to me, concepts that I’ve been trying to integrate into my life more as I’ve been actively working through personal and emotional baggage.
The last time I attended this MeetUp, the group leader–a middle aged man who I suppose is between forty and fifty–asked me if I’d be interested in meeting up for some coffee at some point in the future to discuss some aspects of meditation and mindfulness more in depth. He mentioned he found some of the points I brought up in our discussion that night interesting, and would like to talk more.
I didn’t see any harm in meeting up for one coffee chat. These are topics I genuinely enjoy talking about, after all, and this man is a wealth of knowledge regarding the topics of meditation and mindfulness. I thought I could learn a thing or two from. I saw him as a teacher figure, and I was eager to learn more.
That is, until he started sending me conversational text messages, and seemed way too eager to see me again when we parted from our coffee chat (“if you want to meet next weekend, let me know”).
Wait, I thought, is this guy looking for a friendship…or something more?
I’m delighted to make an appearance on Amelia’s blog for her 2016 installment of “Tis the Season.” Hop on over to her little corner of the internet to read about how my Thailand Christmas last year has affected how I view the holidays this year and in the coming years, and maybe stay for a bit to check out some of her book reviews, travel stories, and librarian adventures.
If we were having coffee, we’d be hanging at my house and I’d be sitting in my pajamas. I have deemed this morning to be a chill morning and am going about it as quietly as possible.
It’s been a few weeks since I’ve joined the coffee share, if you haven’t noticed. If you have noticed, there’s a bit of a two-fold reason behind this. First of all, life has been really busy and I haven’t necessarily had the time to sit down and write a coffee share. I’ve also been going through a bit of a writing slump lately. I’m dutifully writing out my Hump Day Haikus (usually at the last minute on Tuesday night) to keep up with my one weekly blog installment, but other than that, I just don’t want to write I always want to write but am struggling to find my words. A lot of thoughts are happening internally and I don’t quite know what to make of them/don’t quite know how to put those thoughts into words. I’m sure time will put things into perspective but for the time being, I’m left feeling confused and lacking the inspiration to write much of anything.
If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’m starting a new job tomorrow! It’s a temp position that will only last for a few months. I’ll be doing administrative work and other tasks assigned as they come in at the financial department of one DC’s neighboring city’s City Hall. Certainly not the dream job for me (I’d much rather be doing editorial work, preferably in a historical or cultural institution) but I am taking this as a new and exciting Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare–In Which Things Have Been Happening”
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”
Goodbyes are small moments in the grand scheme of a relationship.
Some goodbyes are forever goodbyes and some are temporary.
I’ve said goodbye to a lot of people in the last year. I’ve been on three continents in the last year (North America, Asia, Europe). I’ve lived on two (North America and Asia). In the last twelve months, I’ve called five different cities and towns home (Chiang Mai, Thailand; Nakhon Chaisi, Thailand; Bloomington, Minnesota; Arlington, Virginia; Washington, DC).
With this constant moving, I’ve met so many people. I’ve lived with some of them; I’ve begun to love some of them; I’ve learned so much from most of them. With this constant moving, I’ve said goodbye to nearly all of them.
Some of those goodbyes I surely thought would be temporary. There was the kiss on the cheek at a 7/11 in Bangkok–someone I thought I’d certainly see within the next couple months, if not weeks, but whom I left Thailand without seeing again. There was the slightly awkward, rushed goodbye the day before New Year’s Eve, also in Bangkok. A goodbye I also Continue reading “The Nature of Goodbye”
If we were having coffee,I’d start off by saying hi! It’s been a couple very hectic weeks since I’ve joined the coffee share. I moved twice, lived in three different places, and was without wifi for a week. I’ve been preoccupied with getting into my own place, figuring out housemates, and continuing my job search. I’ve been learning a lot at the coffee shop and I’ve been feeling more comfortable (in some respects) with my position there.
If we were having coffee, I’d be delighted to let you know that I’m now officially a resident of the District of Columbia. I was so flustered and nervous when I didn’t have a place by August 1, but my college friend was so accommodating by letting me move in with her to her new place. I spent one week there until my current roommate and I had our DC place secured and ready to move in to. Last Sunday, we moved into a gorgeous, fully furnished house in a great neighborhood. We’ve signed a lease to live here until December, with the intention that we’ll be more settled into DC life then and have a bit more money on our hands to spend on furniture and such for an unfurnished house. For the time being, we are happy in our house for now. I met my roommate on Facebook, in a group for those looking for housing in the DC area, and she’s been great so far. We will have two more roommates joining us in the next month, including my good friend Phoebe, whom I interned with at the National Postal Museum in 2014! I love the way life can throw surprises at you if you allow it. Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare–In Which I Moved…Again”
Being able to obtain an education is one of the greatest gifts the world can offer and I’m grateful for all that I learned in my four years of college–both inside and outside the classroom. That said, I firmly believe that it is possible to learn just as much outside an academic setting, if not more. Going out into the world is a different type of learning than what is offered inside a university setting–rather than developing my critical thinking skills and pushing the boundaries of my mind as I did in college, I’ve learned a lot from personal experiences in the last year. Here I present some little nuggets of wisdom that I took away from my first year out of college. It’s only the beginning and I’m positive there is much more to come from my ventures in learning out in the quote-on-quote “real world.” So, without further ado:
Loneliness is sometimes self-inflicted. You and only you have the power to build relationships with the people around you. No one else will do that for you. If you’re nice to people and show an interest in them, they’ll probably like you. For most of my life, I’ve struggled with building meaningful relationships with people and had no idea what to do–turns out it’s way easier than I ever thought and I just over analyze the hell out of everything.
An unknown future is only terrifying if you allow it to be terrifying. Too many people are afraid to follow their dreams because they’re afraid of the unknown, but life is too short not to embrace the opportunities you want to embrace. In fact, if it scares you, you’re probably doing something right.