Journal Day: #6

As someone who always needs more motivation to make time for writing, I’m so thankful that Danielle of Sometimes Sweet, has started the Journal Days project. So what is Journal Days? Well, every Sunday Danielle is sharing a prompt and on Thursday will be publishing her reply. Everyone participating is asked to comment on the post with a few lines from their response and a link to their post. I think one of the coolest things about blogging is the community surrounding it – so this is really a win, win for me! Feel free to join along, too! It’s never too late to start. Anyway, enough rambling. On to this week’s prompt…

Everyone has different things that keep them going. Sometimes it’s the people around us, other times it might be what’s waiting for us on the other side of hard work. Whatever it may be, there’s usually some sort of motivation to get up every day, get things done, or maybe even go the extra mile. With that said, what would you say is your biggest motivation in life? Has it always been this way?

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(Dad and brother on their trip to California last summer.)

Some days my number one motivator for waking up is knowing I get to take a nap later in the day. Other days it’s the sweet relief of the post-wake up bathroom break (does anyone not go first thing in the morning?!). And on a lot of days it’s a yummy meal I know is waiting for me at dinner.

But thinking bigger picture – what is my motivator? What makes me wake up and make the decisions I do every day? What drives me to be the person I am? For some I think it’s their faith, for others music or maybe a significant other. Well, for me, I think it’s been the same thing since I was born and that is… Loving people.

No, I’m not saying I’m perfect at this and there are definitely times where it doesn’t seem like I’m loving anyone and barely even liking anyone.

But the truth is, I’m happiest when I’m helping others. This manifests in different ways. It might mean picking up coffee for friends at work, or working at an organization to help support the North Korean people. Sometimes it means being a real pest and reminding my boyfriend a million times to do something, or setting up a babysitting schedule for a friend whose husband is out of town.

I think this has always been my big thing. Even as a kid, I wanted to do whatever I could to make other people happy and I just wanted to love people a bunch.

My mom and dad are both people who love non-stop and I am so so thankful they passed that on to me. At my mom’s memorial service, the room was PACKED with people, some of whom we would never, ever have expected to see there but ya know what? She impacted people she knew, even if she didn’t realize it, and that is because she loved all the way. I don’t think you could have known my mom and not just felt loved by here. Plus, she gave awesome hugs. My dad? He shows his love with gifts and acts of service hands down. I don’t know anyone who knows my dad who hasn’t felt loved by him. Who hasn’t been overwhelmed with his constant generosity and willingness to do whatever it takes. I’m so lucky to have been raised by such amazing people who taught me what it meant to love unconditionally. And whats so cool is that now I get to see these characteristics shine through in my brother, too, and I sure hope some people see them in me!

Loving people isn’t a chore – it’s an honor. And sometimes loving them is hard. Like really hard. Like so hard you want to give up and crawl under a rock. Sometimes it means bringing up the stuff that would be easier to ignore (sorry friends, I know it’s annoying when I do this one), or being there for someone who is having a hard time when you feel like you can’t handle any more on your plate. But that’s all part of it and I really do think that loving others brings goodness back into your life. I don’t even think I believe in a God or karma or whatever, but ya wanna know how it brings goodness to you? It makes your heart feel good and your smile extra bright.

When my mom died, I think I could have easily changed. I could have let the world harden me, I could have chosen to stop loving because loss sucks. Sometimes loving people backfires. And because I love hard, I often get let down even harder. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned that you can love someone and not expect anything in return. I’ve learned that it’s okay to be picky about who you let in your bubble, but that doesn’t mean you can’t love them anyway. I use the word friend sparingly – it takes a LOT for me to call someone my friend. But it doesn’t take a lot for people to love someone. I love everyone I meet and people I’ve never met. (Now, remember, this does NOT mean I like everyone I meet. I am no freakin’ Mother Theresa.)

Maybe I’m just in a really good, and maybe some of you who know me on more sarcastic, angry days are confused as to where this is coming from.

But this is me and my engine runs on love love love.

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(Me and my mom on a family vacation, not in ’94. That time stamp is wrong.)
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Twenty-four.

I seriously love birthdays and this year’s goes down as one of the best I’ve ever had.

First off – the most exciting thing that happened this birthday is that I officially raised the $2500 it costs to rescue a North Korean refugee. This is something I’ve always wanted to do, since ya know, I work at LiNK but had never actually raised enough money to fund a rescue on my own. There are literally not enough words to describe how thankful I am to each and every person who helped make this happen. It’s easy to feel alone in your passions sometimes so it was extra cool to see people from all aspects of my life come together to help me reach my goal. And the best part? I reached $2500 bout a week before my birthday! Talk about starting off on the right foot…

The first of many celebrations was on Monday when my interns planned a birthday dinner for me. Being a boss is tough sometimes, and can be really awkward but I have to say I am lucky to have some of the most amazing interns this semester. I mean seriously – whose interns plan a birthday dinner for them on the beach?! It was so special that they made time for it. It was a great dinner with a beautiful view and awesome people.

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So, my real birthday was Wednesday. I had to work but when you work with amazing people who leave chai on your desk, it’s really not that bad. That night I planned a birthday dinner with some of my favorite ladies who live in Long Beach. We went to La Creperie, which none of us had ever been to and Oh. My. God. The food was amazing. I shared a seafood crepe and a carbonara crepe — both of which I loved! We also shared 3 dessert crepes. Birthdays are for excess right? It was so nice to spend an evening filled with delicious food and even better company. I love having both guy and girl friends, but there seriously is something to said for a night spent with just ladies.

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Keith had to work that night so I didn’t see him til pretty late but he made up for it by baking me a cake and singing to me before midnight! I know birthday cake seems like a weird thing to get caught up on but they have always been really important to me and my family. My mom would always joke that she got cancer because she didn’t have cake on her 40th birthday… I guess that’s not a funny joke, but it became a requirement in our home. Anyone we love has to have cake on their birthday, and it doesn’t count unless there are candles and singing involved! Birthdays weren’t a huge deal in Keith’s family so it meant even more that he did this for me!

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Friday I got to have another birthday celebration night. It started with a quick shopping trip! My best friend Brianna heard I didn’t have a birthday outfit and decided that would not do so she transferred money into my account and demanded I go shop for myself! It worked out well because then I came home, slipped into a new dress, and went out with Keith to celebrate! We got the biggest burritos and saw The Grand Budapest Hotel. I know I’m in the minority when I say this, but I didn’t love the movie. I definitely like Wes Anderson and it was of course a beautiful film, but I just didn’t care about the characters. Also Keith gave me a charm bracelet! I know, charm bracelets are kind of gaudy and a little bit dorky but I’ve been wanting one for years so I was over the moon happy. Usually it’s pretty tough to surprise me, but I didn’t see this coming for a minute. Seriously – how did I get so lucky?!

Saturday was my official birthday party and it was a great way to wrap up an amazing week! I had some friends over for drinking and games before we all walked across the street to a bar called The Pike. DJ Oldboy was spinning, as he does every 4th Saturday, and I was so ready to dance. A few shots of Fireball and a couple whiskey sours later, and I was so ready to dance. It was a really fun night. I mean – how can you go wrong with good music, good friends, good booze, and a good new outfit! Add in some weirdo creeps providing endless entertainment and that makes a perfect night! No seriously, we encountered some of the weirdest weirdos (they always seem to find me) but if I wrote the stories out here I don’t think it would even make sense! Just know I was full of sass and red lipstick – so nothing stood in my way.

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1979537_10201639277119410_536057431_n(When it comes to dancing, confidence > skill.)

2014 was off to a pretty rough start so I decided this year my birthday could kind of serve as another “new year” and I have to say it didn’t disappoint. Even though I obviously miss my friends and family in Florida, this birthday was the first time California really felt like home. I was surrounded by love and people who really know how to celebrate me. Does that make sense? I didn’t feel like I had to pressure people to come to my party or worry that my birthday would go forgotten. 24, you’re already awesome! Here’s to the next 361 days!

PS: I officially got “old people” gifts this birthday and I LOVED IT. I mean, is 24 the year you’re officially old? Because I got stoneware and a massage and ya know what? I couldn’t be happier about it.

Journal Day: #5

As someone who always needs more motivation to make time for writing, I’m so thankful that Danielle of Sometimes Sweet, has started the Journal Days project. So what is Journal Days? Well, every Sunday Danielle is sharing a prompt and on Thursday will be publishing her reply. Everyone participating is asked to comment on the post with a few lines from their response and a link to their post. I think one of the coolest things about blogging is the community surrounding it – so this is really a win, win for me! Feel free to join along, too! It’s never too late to start. Anyway, enough rambling. On to this week’s prompt…

We all encounter challenges on a daily basis. You may consider yours something small, like having enough time in the day to accomplish everything you set out to do, or it may be a bit bigger- perhaps something you have to overcome mentally or emotionally, or even a struggle when dealing with a difficult person. Whatever the case, take a look at your daily life- what would you say is your biggest challenge? Or if you have a past struggle you were able to overcome, how did you do it? This week, write about a challenge you currently deal with on a day to day basis, or discuss one you managed to get past.

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(Christmas break made it easier to make time for free yoga on the bluff.)

As I thought about this prompt I kept listing out small challenges: Going to the gym regularly, making time to write, spending time reading, being better about calling home, delving into baking, committing to volunteering, etc. And what did all of these things have in common? They are all things that make me happy. And they are also all things that I can’t seem to make time to do on a regular basis.

I know. There’s an easy way to fix this. Stop being lazy and make time for this. But, as I’m sure many of you can relate to, that is easier said than done.

Let me tell you the list of daily priorities: being good at my job, being available for the nomads and staff I manage at all times, keeping my house semi-clean, doing real life grown up stuff, hanging out with Keith, and sleeping. And while that might not seem like anything too crazy, it’s plenty to keep your days full and make those “just for fun” things slide off the radar.

Most people work a 9-5, I do too. I’m not complaining about that at all. I love my job more than I think most people will ever love their job and for that I consider myself so so lucky. But the fact is, no matter how much you love your job, it’s still just one part of your life and there are a lot of other things you’re interested in and passionate about. Yet, those things fall by the wayside because work is the most important. And when I get home I. Am. Tired.

Don’t worry about playing the tiny violin for me yet, though. I know that I could make more time for myself and for the things that make me happy – but the fact is, I just don’t. Why is that?! How can I have a list of things that make me happy and them completely ignore them on a regular basis? I feel crazy for knowing what brings me joy but continuing to ignore it. I can’t be alone in this. Please say I’m not alone in this.

When I tried to figure out what I do this I came up with a few reasons:

First thing that came to mind – this girl is tired. Having a job you’re so passionate about it amazing but it also means you are invested more than you might be in a typical job. I don’t leave work at the office and I don’t ignore emails or calls that happen to come in after 5pm. Also, I don’t have the kind of job where I go in, do my work, and leave. It takes a lot of problem solving, thinking quick, interpersonal communication, and wearing a ton of different hats. So the truth is when I get home I want to relax. I want to sit on my couch, snuggle with my pup, and watch TV.

The next big reason is that I don’t really consider making time for this stuff a priority. I manage to make time for all of my big girl responsibilities. I always pay bills on time, I clean my apartment, I make any necessary appointments, you get the idea. But I don’t consider doing stuff that is good for my soul a priority. I don’t know why. Logically I know I need to do this just as much as I need to do any of those other grown up tasks. For some reason, though, I just don’t put it to practice in my life. If we’re being honest, guys, a lot of times I need other people in my life to remind me to have fun. Thank goodness I’m dating one of the most laid back people I’ve ever met because he forces me to chill out sometimes.

And probably the #1 reason I don’t do any of those things regularly: I just get lazy. It’s easier to watch TV or go to bed or surf the web than it is to do literally any of those things I mentioned. But guess what?! Those things are also not as fulfilling. Those things don’t make you fall asleep knowing you made the most of your day. Those things are fine sometimes, but they have to be the exception, not the rule. You have to be intentional in your life and you have to fight for your time. You have to do it with relationships, at work, and for yourself. Time is a limited resource so you gotta be smart how ya use it!

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(One weekend I finally made time to bake homemade bread and cook up some pumpkin butter.)

I’ve already started to make my blog a priority (and thank you guys for reading and commenting, it really does keep me motivated) and I surely plan on making other changes in my life to find time for joy. To slow down, ignore the laundry that needs to get done, and go to the gym or Skype with my dad, or play around in the kitchen, or who knows – maybe discover a new hobby! Someone once told me that if you don’t protect your time, someone else will come in a take it. So guess what I have to do? Guard my mothafuckin’ time.

Friends – I could use your help. How do you find time to do the stuff that makes you happy when life is always just a big crazy mess and it seems like there is never a chance?

Sometimes You Can’t Plan It

Friday marked exactly two years since Keith and I met. Most of you probably don’t know, but the first time we met was in his best friend’s car. Why was I in that car? Well, I was on a date with his bestie and we were all driving up to Rancho Cucamonga for a comedy show they were both on. At the time, Keith had another girlfriend. We actually picked him up from their apartment. I remember sitting in the passenger seat so intimated by the fact that it was not only my second date with this guy, but I also had to meet his friends. That means multiple people passing judgement on whether or not your cool. The car ride up the guys did a lot of the talking and I timidly chimed in when I had something to say. Then, at the show, I sat and watched. Keith sat next to me and asked if I was a comic. I said nope. That was our only interaction. On the drive back he got a call from his then girlfriend about their cat dying. Yeah, I don’t know. It was weird. (The cat is totally still alive, by the way.)

Shortly after, Keith’s friend and I stopped seeing each other and I went on with my life. Then July came around and I was contemplating deleting my OKCupid profile. After a year of dating, I was done. But before I got around to deleting it, I received a message from a familiar face. It was Keith. He hadn’t recognized me (we’ll pretend that didn’t sting a little) but I immediately knew who he was. We messaged back and forth, Keith refused to back down, and well… you guys know what happened from there.

-3(Not the best shot of Keith but it makes my heart happy, regardless.)

That whole story was really only to provide more context for the main point of this post. Friday, I was on my way to work when Keith sent me the screen shot of his photo from two years ago. (Thanks Timehop. Not using Timehop? Fix that.) And on my ride to work it all just hit me really hard.

Life. Is. So. Weird.

But not the bad kind of weird. The awesome kind of weird.

Ever since I can remember I’ve been a planner. Like, a pretty crazy planner. Want to know how crazy? I cried every birthday from 5-16, not during my birthday party, but in the hours before because I got so stressed about everything being perfect. Want to know how crazy? I really, really related to Marnie on this episode of Girls. But meeting Keith and the last year and a half of our lives makes me question all of that. Had you asked me the night I first met him what our future interactions would have been like, I would have told you none. I didn’t think I’d ever see him again. But here he is, the love of my life and I can’t imagine my days without him.

This is applicable to so many other things in life, too. We often get caught up in what we have planned for our lives: what job we’re going to have, where we’re going to live, when we’re going to get married, how we’re going to live our lives, when we’re going to have kids, what our house is going to look like, etc. etc. etc. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with dreaming and looking ahead and wanting to create certain realities in your life. But we have to realize that sometimes life is not going to go according to plan. Sometimes, you study journalism in college and end up a Tour Manager at a non-profit working to support the North Korean people. Sometimes, you think you’re going to live with your best friends for years but then you end up living 3,000 miles away from all of them. And sometimes, you meet a funny fella you never think you’re going to see again and end up wanting to spend the rest of your life with him.

I think what I’m learning is that it’s okay to ditch your plans sometimes because that’s when life really happens. I think for a lot of people this is where faith comes in, but I don’t necessarily believe in God or in any sort of higher power. So for me I always describe this as the universe having my back, though I’m not even really sure what I mean by that. But what I do know is that even this crazy, control-freak is starting to realize that sometimes you have to let go and let life happen. Because Keith and I meeting only happened because so many other little things fell into place and I could never have planned all of those events and if I had tried to it would never have ended up as great as it did. So hey, universe, thanks for having my back!

What have you guys given up planning? Has it worked out in your favor?

Currently: 3/12/14

For the last three weeks I’ve written in my blog at least once a week. This has been a huge problem for me in the past so I’m really proud of myself for doing it. What changed? I’ve joined Dani of Sometimes Sweet with her Journal Day posts. This week, for some reason, the prompt isn’t speaking to me, though. I have a feeling I will write about the prompt one day in the future, because it’s actually a very me topic but for some reason when I sat down today, it just wasn’t happening.

So instead of forcing it or just bailing on blogging altogether, I decided to borrow another idea from Dani and do a “Currently” post. Hope you enjoy

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(sometimes we have to find our own rainbows.)

Reading: Do you ever get in that weird rut where you aren’t reading anything because there are too many books you want to read and you don’t know where to start? I’m debating between The Interestings, This is Where I Leave You, Tell the Wolves I’m Home, and (guilty pleasure) Divergent. Have you guys read anything good lately? Or have you read any of the ones on my list? I need someone to tell me which book to dive into or I’ll probably be in this weird place for another month.

Watching: Doctor Who! Keith has begged me to get into Doctor Who forever, so when the last season started I watched with him and kind of fell in love. I know, so not my style. Guys, I didn’t think I’d like it but I do! So lately whenever Keith and I have a night at home together (which is RARE) we try and watch some Doctor Who. Beyond that I’ve been keeping up with some of my favorite comedies. Parks and Rec, Modern Family, New Girl, and How I Met Your Mother. Speaking of HIMYM – can you believe it’s almost over?! The last episode airs March 31st. I recently read a theory about the mom that I kind of hate but the last episode made it seem like that was what would happen. Ugh, I don’t want to say any more because I hate spoilers and don’t want to be a part of the problem but I really hope that’s not what happens. Oh, also watching Greys Anatomy. Judge if you want – I love it. Don’t worry, I don’t make anyone else watch it. It’s my solo-show always.

Eating: I’ve been all over the place with eating lately. I think I got so sick of my routine, I’ve been trying to find some new go-to’s. The most recent success has been frozen multi-grain waffles for breakfast with almond butter, sliced bananas, and a little bit of blackberry jam. But instead of spreading the jam, I’ve been melting it and pouring it on top. Not only is it tastier, but it is so much prettier! And sometimes you need a pretty breakfast to get your day started on the right foot. I also recently fell in love with Lentil Snaps. I’ve only tried the onion thyme flavor (which is amazing!) but I think I need to go back and get all the varieties. As I get older, I’m starting to worry about fiber so it’s nice to have a yummy snack, that totally satiates a chip craving, and also provides much needed fiber. Beyond that, I’ve been loving chocolate. Like, I mean, of course. Who doesn’t love chocolate? But even more than usual. Dark chocolate specifically!

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Excited For: The next three weekends! Wanna know what I’m doing? No? Too bad. I’m telling you. This weekend my friend Susie and I are heading down to San Diego for a couple reasons. The first is that my friend Chelsea, who lives in Oregon, is in town for her 25th birthday! There’s no way we can be in the same state and I not see her, so we’re going to head down and meet her at some bars Saturday night. Do you guys have friends you’ve gotten closer to after they moved away? That’s how I feel about Chelsea. The other reason is that my friend Colby lives down there and always wants to show me around San Diego, so we’re going to stay at her place and hang out on Sunday! Something about leaving your city with a friend is always exciting! The next weekend comes just a couple days after my birthday, so we will be celebrating! Usually I plan a big birthday party, but this year life got in the way and I’m excited to be laid back about it. Luckily my favorite DJ (he plays Destiny’s Child – what could be better?) is spinning at the bar across the street, so me and some friends are going to drink at home then walk across the street to drink and dance even more. I’m sure drunk tacos will also be involved. Living in Long Beach is great because we can walk everywhere and never worry about having a DD. And then the third weekend I’m excited about is probably the best… Keith and I are going to Seattle! We’ve never traveled together on a plane, I’ve never been to Seattle, and I’ve never met his dad’s side of the family. So it’s a ton of firsts. Seriously so so so excited about this trip. We are really thankful his dad bought us tickets! Also hoping I can sneak in a couple short visits with friends who live up there. Any recommendations of what to see/do/eat? Ooooof, that’s a lot of excitement.

Stressed About: Work and money. As always. And probably as many of you. Sadly, one of our staffers had to leave work to go home because of a family emergency. Of course, we totally understand that and are going to miss him like crazy! It also means we have to shuffle around some responsibilities, and take on more than normal. But it’s okay – we always make it work. I swear, if working at LiNK has taught me one thing, it’s that you just have to go with the flow because most stuff is out of your control. Money is actually kind of okay, I just would always like to be saving more or spending smarter. The first few months of 2014 have brought big expenses – 4 new tires, registering my car, flight to FL, paying taxes. But thankfully it looks like after April 1st, I’ll be caught up and ready to start a saving plan.

Loving: The people I’m surrounded by. Living over 3,000 miles from home has never been easy. I love my family and we’ve always been super close, and I also have a group of really amazing friends, so when I moved to CA I didn’t ever think I could find people who I would love as much. While of course, my CA family in no way replaces people back home, it’s been really amazing to feel so loved and supported by my friends out here. Monday was the 8 year anniversary of my mom passing away, and so many people really went out of their way to make sure the day was just a little easier. From FB messages, to texts, to surprises left on my desk, or rainbow treats waiting at my apartment – I really felt the love. There are not enough words to explain how thankful I am for the love that was shown to me on such a hard day. But it wasn’t just Monday, in general lately I have felt so loved by so many people. Gah. I could gush about this forever but I’ll leave you with this – I don’t know what I did to get so lucky, but the universe has really sent me some of the best people. Period.

What are you up to currently?

Journal Day: #3

As someone who always needs more motivation to make time for writing, I’m so thankful that Danielle of Sometimes Sweet, has started the Journal Days project. So what is Journal Days? Well, every Sunday Danielle is sharing a prompt and on Thursday will be publishing her reply. Everyone participating is asked to comment on the post with a few lines from their response and a link to their post. I think one of the coolest things about blogging is the community surrounding it – so this is really a win, win for me! Feel free to join along, too! It’s never too late to start. Anyway, enough rambling. On to this week’s prompt…

They say hindsight is 20/20, and with good reason- looking back at something always gives us a better view. We’re often able to really see how our choices and decisions then shaped our today, and examine what we would have done differently given the chance. When looking back though, we often look way back, but for this exercise stay a little closer to present time and look back just 12 months. If you could go back just one year, what would you tell yourself? What advice would you offer about everything you’ve experienced?

 ImageImage(These are the closest I have to pictures from exactly 1 year ago. They were taken on March 3rd.)

Hey One-Year-Ago Chelsea,

First off, good news! You make it to a year from now. That’s pretty awesome, isn’t it? Lets get a few things out of the way: John Mayer’s next album is going to be your favorite. Don’t risk it when it comes to parking – you will always get the ticket. You are going to be the mommy to a 3-legged dog.

Okay, now that that’s out of the way I can move on to the real reason I’ve sent you this letter. Since you’re me and I’m you, I know that you’re not great at taking advice or hearing what other people tell you to do but just listen to me. START. THERAPY. TODAY. I know, our first experience going sucked. Mom forced us when we were in 8th grade and it felt weird and forced, but guess what? You’re a grown up now. And it’s time to take control of your life.

I know the excuses you’re going to use. It’s too expensive? Yeah, well, the universe is gonna have your back on that one. Trust me when I say that you’re going to meet the most perfect therapist who for some reason is willing to work with how little you can pay. Yeah, I know, how crazy is that?!

Next you’re gonna say that you don’t have time, but uhhh you find time to watch every episode of How I Met Your Mother and Orange is the New Black (it’s new, Netflix is gonna start releasing shows and they’re good!) so you definitely have time to make for therapy.

Oh, now I bet you’re moving on to the weird, awkward excuses that don’t even make sense. Well, I’ll tell you what your real reason for not going is and that is that you’re scared. Vulnerability is not easy for you and the last 6 months of dating Keith has made you even more scared because you can feel your guard coming down and yeah, that is terrifying. But just breathe and let yourself be in the moment, because he’s a good one. It’s been a year since this day and he’s still just as loving and just as patient. It’s not a facade. You found a good one.

Back to the subject at hand – therapy. The reason I’m telling you to start now is because I finally started 4 weeks ago and I so wish we had started a year ago. You know how you’re having a really hard time dealing with this time of year? The anniversary of mom dying is only a few days away and everything feels like just too much to handle? I know it feels like your insides are drowning and your heart can literally not take one more second of this hurt. You feel tears in your eyes any time someone talks about their mom or when you see a little girl walking down the street. Some days you wake up and for a second think she might still be there, only to remember she’s gone. Madonna might seem like silly grieving music to some but it’s all you need to let go of the sad and celebrate the awesomeness of mom. I bet you’re scouring the sky for rainbows, just needing a glimpse of something telling you she’s still around (even though you don’t really believe in that stuff). Well, apparently, all that hurt is totally normal. Yeah, I know, who would have thought?

I wont lie to you and say this year has been way easier dealing with the anniversary. I know it feels like after 8 years you should be over it, but you’re not. Want to know what’s made it a little easier though? Going to therapy. Having a safe space to talk about this and a person who can give you real, solid, outsider advice is amazing. I know it’s only been 4 weeks, so check back with me in another year and I’ll tell you even more but I swear I already notice a difference in myself.

Let me tell you about one realization I’ve had since going to therapy… Maybe this will help.

Okay, so losing your mom at 15 totally sucks. And at the time you think about the proms she will miss, the first kisses she wont be around for, but what you don’t think about is the fact that she still wont be around when you’re 23 and scared to move in with your boyfriend or unsure of what job to take and she still wont be around when you’re 32, and 41, and 53. She’s gone forever and that’s a tough pill to swallow. It means that you will miss your mom every single day for (hopefully) over 60 years and that totally blows. Most people don’t lose their parents til they’re older and ya know, that means they have less years of pain to endure. I know right now you’re saying “it could be worse.” Stop saying that. Just let yourself feel the hurt, I promise it’s better that way. This sucks and it’s okay to recognize that. Another thing you’re learning in therapy is that you’re really good at recognizing pain for other people and why it’s hard for your brother or dad, but I promise it’s okay to recognize why this sucks for you. It’s okay to feel that hurt and not run away from it.

Chelsea, I know you don’t want to go. I know you’re scared of what it can bring up. I know you’ve rolled your eyes this whole time. But seriously. The stuff you’re gonna deal with in the next year – being scared to let your guard down with Keith, not being sure you’re good enough at your job, struggling with how to take care of yourself, realizing you’re never going to live at home again, coming to terms with your family growing, and so much more – all of that would be easier if you would just go to therapy now.

Sometimes doing a thing that scares you is the best thing you can do.

Love,
Future Chelsea

PS: Get some coconut milk ice cream bars ASAP. You’re gonna love them!

25 before 25

Lists & birthdays are two of my all time favorite things. No, seriously. If you’ve ever been in my office or flipped through one of my journals or looked at the Notes on my phone, you would know I have a serious list addiction. Oh and birthdays? Well, if you don’t know I love birthdays, well, then, you don’t really know me at all. So when I saw my cousin Mary Kate combining the two, I knew I had to join! And what better year? 25 is such a good number (I’ve always preferred odd numbers). So here is a list of 25 things I want to do before I turn 25. I sort of feel like I’m cheating because I’m not even 24 yet but my birthday is in 19 days, so whatever. I’m excited about this now and I don’t want to wait any longer to get started. Some of the things on this list are going to be much easier than others. I think I’ll be able to knock out the one time tasks well before I take on the long-term habits but I think each and every one will make me a better person. Want to know which one I’m most scared of? #20… Keith actually came up with that one because he knew it would be a real challenge. For some reason the idea of NOT planning a trip to Vegas gives me serious anxiety. That means I have to do it, though. Do you guys have anything you want to do before your next birthday? If you want to join me in anything I’m doing (or be my pen pal), just let me know! I’ll obviously blog about each of these along the way. Please hold me accountable, imaginary people reading this. Sometimes blogging really does feel like talking to myself. Anyway, without further adeiu…

25 before 25

  1. Host a dinner party.
  2. Volunteer somewhere not related to North Korea.
  3. Have a pen pal.
  4. Watch 5 of Keith’s favorite movies I’ve never seen before (and stay awake through them all).
  5. Read 12 books.
  6. Go on a real hike.
  7. Travel out of the state, somewhere other than FL.
  8. Have 5 go-to dinner recipes that are healthy and yummy (bonus if I can make them without looking at the recipe.)
  9. Go wine tasting.
  10. Teach Hopkins 3 tricks.
  11. Dance more!
  12. Get a massage.
  13. Go to 5 museums.
  14. Take the Angel’s Flight.
  15. Start a recurring series on my blog reviewing breakfast places in Long Beach.
  16. Find a way to drink more water and eat more veggies without even having to think about it.
  17. Go to a drag show.
  18. Create a consistent bedtime routine.
  19. Write letters to 12 people who make my life better.
  20. One spontaneous trip to Vegas.
  21. Submit writing to XOJane.
  22. Learn to make a signature cocktail.
  23. See 5 live musical or theater performances (comedy doesn’t count).
  24. See snow.
  25. Make homemade jam.