Saturday, September 14, 2013

My Change

I ended my last post with these two sentences: Don't just make a resolution. Make a positive change.

It's hard to make changes in behavior. We are so easily set in our ways, but it's no where near easy to set new ways. We might easily recognize where the changes should be made, but it takes patience, persistence, and a great deal of courage to make those changes come to pass. And sometimes, it might not be easy at all to see where the changes should take place. We might only know that we're unhappy, or unhealthy, or unfulfilled, but have no idea how to begin to make a change.

When I first moved to Colorado, I made a change. A very big change. I changed the entire course of my life. I changed what people I would meet, what churches I would go to, what activities I would be involved in. If I had stayed in Kansas City, my options would have remained the same as they had been for the past 14 years. Not that they were necessarily bad options, just the same ones. At some point I figured out that I needed more options, different options, a different life, in order to truly be myself. My friends and family knew that, although I was moving, it was still ME that was moving. And all my problems in KC would follow me to CO because these problems were inside me. The fear, the inactivity, the insecurity. They were a part of me, not a part of my location. I said in my journal "They think I'm trying to run away from my problems and they know that won't work. But, I'm not running away from my problems. I'm running into them! I'm facing them on my own."

My sister recently did the same thing. She moved out. She moved on. It really is one of the hardest things to do. It makes you question everything. Everything about yourself. Your thoughts, your fears, your actions and inactions. And it's hard in other ways, too. You have to figure out how to support yourself, where you're going to live, where you're going to work, who your new friends will be. You suddenly have so many choices to make, right down to which grocery store you will use. And these choices, even the small ones, help show you who you are. When you go through life with no drastic changes, staying near family and the friends you know, who you really are becomes rather vague. You just are who you've been and if you ever start to wonder, you just lean on the friends and family you've known and never learn to lean on yourself. I think it's very important to "break the cord" at some point. It doesn't have to be for long, but it has to happen. If not, you'll end up with a mid-life crisis wondering who you are and buying sports cars and boats to subdue your questions. It's hard on the parents to let their child go and not be involved in every bit of their life anymore. But the parents have to let go and let their child be themselves. Let them make mistakes and let them be distant so that they can figure out life on their own. Parents give their child a foundation, but they have to let the child build their own home.

My sister moved out six months ago and I'm so proud of her. My first six months in Colorado were hell, and her first six months have been worse than mine. Actually, it didn't really start getting better for me for over a year. In the first year I had made one friend, lived in a terrible apartment complex, and had a job I hated. I was still dealing with my fear, inactivity, and insecurity. I was still trying to figure out why I was alive and what life I was supposed to lead. My journal entries kept saying things like "I still feel like something's missing" or, "I'm so lost and confused." At eight months I had the most depressing birthday ever, and went home for Thanksgiving two weeks later. I had the most amazing time with all my friends and family, went back to my favorite haunts, and had some good barbeque and home cooking. I had such a hard time coming back to Colorado after that trip. I felt like I was on autopilot. I suddenly found myself in my car and 9 hours later I was back at my crappy apartment.

I really don't know why I stayed in Colorado. There are so many times I almost went home and I have no idea why I never did. I mean, it's a pain to move and expensive, too. But I don't remember ever making the decision to stay. I kept wanting to go back and just never did. For some reason, I just knew that my time here was not yet up.

And now, it's been three and half years. I still don't know where life is taking me, but I know that I am where I'm supposed to be. I don't know if I'll ever compose film scores. Heck, I don't know if I'll ever even work in the industry. But that's not what matters. What matters is that I continue to be true to myself. What matters is that I continue to live life the way God planned. What matters is that I continue to make positive changes in my life. That I continue to face my fears and look to the future. I don't know if I'll be in Colorado for the rest of my life. In fact, I don't expect to. But that one big change set off a chain reaction. These dominos that have been slowly falling into place. It takes a long time to figure it out, and I don't know if anyone ever completely figures out their life. But I needed to break free in order to find myself. And so did my sister.

I'm so proud of you, sissy. Continue to make these positive changes in your life. Don't let anyone control you, but take control of yourself. I don't know how long you'll be living by the ocean, but just follow your heart. Fight the fear, the insecurity. Don't let it overcome you. You are the most amazing person I know. You have been through more hardships than most people and yet you keep going. You are not running from your problems. You are running into them. You are deserving of the most incredible and beautiful life. Believe that. Believe in yourself. I know you feel like you've failed in many past endeavors. But I don't see them as failures. No one does. Only you. You are not a failure in any way. You are a fighter. You are a lover. You are caring and helpful and strong. And you are my family, my sister, my best friend.

You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.
-Jim Rohn

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.
-Andy Warhol

Sunday, January 27, 2013

My 2012

2012 was an interesting year for me...

--It started off by having to put my dog, Frodo, to rest on January 2. He was an amazing, loyal, and loving pug. He just couldn't breathe anymore. I had to make that hard decision to keep him alive for my own selfish reasons, or release him from his misery. I made the decision on new year's eve, and spent new year's day as our last.
--In March, I started running. With weak ankles, weak knees, and shin splints, it was not easy going. Many times I would twist my ankle and fall flat on my face when I was a mile away from home. My ankles would even give out as I was walking to my car after work. I tried four different knee braces until I found one for each knee. I bought compression sleeves for my calves to help alleviate the shin splints and couldn't even walk without pain if I didn't have them on.
--In August I moved to a new apartment. This was the worst move I have ever even heard of, let alone lived through. I found bed bugs in my old apartment just two days before I moved, and, of course, they moved with me. I spent six weeks sleeping on the floor while everything I owned stayed in the detached garage to be washed, dried, sprayed, and bug bombed. By the end, I had completely maxed out my credit card from all the supplies and regular moving expenses.
--In September I started RCIA - the Rite of Catholic Initiation for Adults. I was really excited to learn about my faith, but as the classes went on I realized I wasn't really learning all that much. The information was so basic that I either already knew it, or it just left me wanting to know more.
--For Thanksgiving, I went to visit my Grandma and her husband, Dab. I was very happy to see them, and I also got to see my Grandad who I haven't seen in 8 years. But my Grandma can be rather controlling and the trip ended with me telling them my flight was leaving 3 hours earlier than it was, just so I could have some peace.
--I woke up Christmas morning with a bad head cold and, after Skyping with my family, stayed in bed and watched Bones the rest of the day. My Christmas dinner was a Stouffer's Frozen Entree.
--On December 30, my Grandfather was diagnosed with lung cancer.

Was there anything positive that happened in 2012? Yes.

--Although I miss Frodo, I still have my cat and I am thankful for her.
--After finding the right braces and accessories, I was able to run/walk three 5k's last year and I inspired my family and friends to start running as well. I was able to visit my family in September and we all ran a 5k together. That was such a wonderful experience and I loved having my family running with me that day. My mom has run two 5k's now and my sister has run four.
--Even though the move was horrible, I now live in a wonderful, clean, and happy environment. I have a new roommate who I get along with really well, and my complex has a free gym, hot tub, sauna, continental breakfast on Sundays, movie theater, ping pong, billiards, beach, lake, tennis courts, and four swimming pools.
--I was paired with a wonderful sponsor in RCIA who agreed that the classes were lacking. Not only have we become friends outside of class, but she got permission to teach her own private class to me and my friend so that we can learn and ask questions and continue to grow in our faith.
--Even though my Grandma can be difficult, I am very glad I went to see them. Family is important and I am glad I took the time to visit.
--Although I was sick on Christmas, it was really great to Skype with my family and they gave me wonderful gifts. My parents paid for a plane ticket so that my sister could come visit earlier in December. We had a FANTASTIC time while we ate at Carrabba's every day she was here, played games, watched movies, painted pottery, and just enjoyed being together. My parents also came to visit in early December and we had a wonderful time as well.

We're already 27 days into 2013. My Grandma's husband, Dab, passed away on the 14th. My Grandfather with cancer went into the E.R. on the 14th and had major surgery on the 24th. Because of big events at work and classes starting up, I've already earned three days of comp time this month. But, I got to see Dab less than two months before he passed and I got to tell him I loved him over the phone just hours before he died. My Grandfather is very strong and is doing extremely well after surgery, and my mom is able to spend a month out there with him. My sister will be moving in a few weeks to where my Grandfather is and although work is crazy, my boss wouldn't hesitate to give me time off to help her move and to visit my grandparents.

For every negative thing I just mentioned there was a positive side as well. You may not see the positive for a while, but it will show up eventually. I have many goals for 2013 and I don't want to let one step back eliminate all future steps forward. By focusing on the negative things, it makes it very easy to quit. 2013 is not going to be easy. LIFE isn't easy. But don't let that get in your way. Take the bad, find the good, and just keep going.

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.
-Albert Camus

Don't just make a resolution. Make a positive change.