Half-Empty / Half-Full

I have a worst-cast-scenario mentality.

I’m not sure how this developed, but no matter what the situation my mind always goes to the scariest “what-if” I can imagine.  Can’t find my engagement ring?  Must have been stolen!  Forgot to turn off the oven? The apartment building will burn down!

Don’t even get me started on medical issues.  The smallest lump or ailment sends me running to WebMD which is NEVER a good idea. 

It’s terrible.  I’m stuck in this negative pattern of thinking and I’m not sure where it comes from.  It’s like I don’t want to let myself feel at peace because I don’t want to be disappointed.  

This is becoming especially apparent now that I am completely out of my comfort zone.  Part of me wants to establish a life here and the other part doesn’t think it’s worth it.  I’m so focused on my old life and everything I left behind (a job I liked, close friends, family within walking distance) that I can’t seem to tune into the positives this move could bring.  I’m mired in all of this negativity that is totally self-inflicted and totally not based in reality.  I’ve been through big changes before and even though deep down I know that things will work out because they usually do, I put up all these walls to protect myself on the off chance that they won’t.

I don’t know why I’m predisposed to this thought process, but I’m sick of it.  It’s not doing anyone any good.  I’m trapped in a maze of thought patterns that is keeping me from feeling content and hopeful.

Marianne Williamson (whose lectures I attended frequently in LA and whom I admire greatly) spends much time exploring the power of the mind and how it shapes the human experience.   In going back through her books, I was reminded of this one sentence that runs through her work:

We can always choose to perceive things differently.

I’ve completely lost sight of this: that the way we experience the world isn’t set in stone.  It’s a choice that we make daily.  I have the power to re-work this narrative rather than be a slave to old ways of thinking.  I feel like I need to have this quote tattooed somewhere on my body as a constant reminder.

We wake up every morning and we have an important choice to make. 

From now on, I choose to see things differently.

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Couch Potato

We don’t have a couch.  Or a coffee table, for that matter.  We decided to donate those things to Habitat for Humanity before leaving Los Angeles.  After six years of complaining about our Ikea couch and the hand-me-down coffee table my parents were anxious to pawn off on me, we decided to use this move as an opportunity to start fresh. Good idea in theory, but now our living room is looking a little sparse to say the least.  We’ve been eating our meals on the one chair and ottoman we own, using a cardboard box as a table.

Very glamorous.

In order to remedy said predicament, we ventured to Granville Street to check out the many furniture shops.  I had forgotten how expensive furniture is!  But I have been dreaming of a sectional forever (you know you’re an adult when the word “sectional” makes it onto your must-have list) and both J and I agree that spending a little extra on a couch would totally be worth it considering the amount of time we’ll spend on it.  After checking out Urban Barn and EQ3 (two stores I’d never encountered in the states), I think we’ve found a winner!

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Yay!  We still need to place the order and it will be 4-5 weeks before it’s sitting in our living room, but I’m willing to wait.  I love how mid-century modern it looks without feeling dated.  Seriously, EQ3 is awesome.  Based in Winnipeg, their selection is kind of like what you’d find at CB2 (moden and clean) but their pieces strike me as a bit more functional.  I’m kind of in love with most of their furniture (if we needed a new bed, I’d be all over this).

We may be sharing one chair and eating off of boxes for a bit longer, but I think it will be worth it (though this coffee table could solve one of those problems sooner rather than later).

Making It Work

I was never someone who had an idea of what her future would look like.  It was a given that I would go to college, but beyond that everything was just a hazy blur.  I spent years working so hard to get myself to that point, but ever since then I just feel like I’m squeaking by.  I never really sat down and thought about what I wanted to do with my life.  I always knew I liked to read and write, so publishing seemed like the logical career path.  I got a job before graduating from college at a big fancy publishing house and the decision to move to New York was made for me.  In theory, I was all set.

But then I made it to the big city and realized I wasn’t prepared for adulthood at all.

I remember my first day of my first full-time job.  Walking to the subway in shoes that were too small and too tight, shredding my heels and having to stop at a drug store to buy bandaids.  Being assigned a desk in a corner surrounded by finance bigwigs who didn’t speak to me and didn’t seem to notice I was there.  Realizing for the first time that this new nine-to-five routine was quite possibly going to last forever and ever.  No more carefree student days, just day upon day of responsibility and anxiety.

I went home and dry-heaved into the toilet, my heart racing.  I think it was my first panic attack.

Of course, I adjusted to working life.  That job wasn’t for me, but it led to another (also not a good fit) and then finally I made the decision to move back to California.  It was probably my first life big decision that wasn’t made for me.  I knew I wanted to be home and and realized that I had always probably known that it was where I should be.  I was happier in the last seven years than I had been in a long time.  I had given myself exactly what I needed and everything else fell into place.

But life apparently has other plans and now I find myself in a new country with all of this time to contemplate what I want to be when I grow up.  And yet I’ve been a grown-up for years now.  I have a master’s degree in something that isn’t in high demand at the moment and I’m not sure how/if I even want to use it now.

I could do anything . . . but I’m kind of dragging my heels.  This is the first time in a long time where the future is wide open.  I have the chance to start from scratch if I want to: to build a working life that is meaningful rather than a simple paycheck.  I just need to figure out what I want and, quite frankly, all of this introspection is exhausting.  I would much rather have someone (for some reason I keep picturing Tim Gunn from Project Runway) reveal my future and present me with a detailed list of steps to get there.

Sadly, life isn’t like that.  Ugh, that’s so frustrating.

So for now, I am making my own list of all of the possible things I could become.  It is color-coded and long and messy.  But at least it’s a start.