Horizons A Changin’

A new year, a new semester and new horizons ahead!

I might’ve sort of hurried this week’s lesson planning because I’d planned to go meet friends in Paris (one of whom I hadn’t seen in 12 years!) and go to this awesome art exhibition, but it was definitely worth it.

I’m sort of on a high from submitting my grad school application (finally!) but now re-familiarizing myself with this virtue called patience. It’s sort of ironic, really, as it seems I’ve lost it for myself. Do you ever feel like somehow you fell back into old habits, and you know you’re there, running in a circle, but you just can’t seem to stop? That’s where I am, still running, and apparently with increasing intensity. Why? My first response would be “fear,” but I’m not even sure of what.

The unknown? Extremely ironic, especially when I hear a colleague call me “adventurous” and “doing a lot” for someone my age. I mean, maybe? But I don’t really feel it. I mostly feel like a dog chasing his tail, or a cat pawing at the laser dot. What could possibly happen if I stopped running, fall flat on my face from metaphorical exhaustion? Be standing in this room with multiple doors and not knowing which one to go towards? One thing’s for sure, any one of these things would be doing something, and that would be different. Different is good, different keeps you alive (in small doses I suppose, like with everything).

So why can’t I stop running? The legs and the feet are doing it on their own, stuck on autopilot, like fingers on a keyboard typing a password or playing a song you thought you forgot. And it’s so easy to run with it, because really, autopilot is good, right? But it’s numbing my brain, and I feel it eating me, and yet… I’m still running.

Can I even stop? Probably, most people can if they “simply” take the time to realize they’re doing it! Except that “simple” act is definitely hard, but it’s a sure first step. And you know what? I also know “it’s never too late!” At least, I like to tell my friends and coworkers that – sounds like I could heed my own advice. No better time than the present, am I right? (A Japanese commercial turned meme comes to mind: いつやるの?今でしょう!Basically, “do the thing now.”)

So while I’m elated to have a plan (sort of) for July, I still have a full five months to live until then, and I have things to do (oh my gosh, way too many), people to see, and places to visit! Starting with falling back into my daily writing habit, even if only for five minutes because everything helps or even just writing my diary, or my crazy yet awesome dreams! The next step is followed by a 30 day yoga challenge (#30daysofyoga)… Let’s do this!

Fasten your seat-belts, keep all hands and feet inside the vehicle(s) at all time and enjoy the ride!

Dive in!
Ali J.

2015: Step up to yourself

A belated yet happy new year to you! May 2015 bring joy and happiness daily.

I hope you all had a wonderful time, enjoyed some tasty food, spent time with friends and family and hopefully, gave yourself some time off. I know I did, and it was wonderful.

2014 ended on a nostalgic yet grateful note as I returned to my “homeland,” if you will. My roots, the region where I grew up. I attended my first wedding ever (I’m not counting the one I believe I attended as a child but have no memory of), and it was bilingual! I met up with another friend for a brief two hours, and that was just the beginning.

Before I met up with my childhood best friend, whom I hadn’t seen or talked to in about 9 years, she sent me a message once she found out we’d meet in a few days (it was supposed to be a surprise). Her words of reassurance erased all the doubts I had accumulated, and replaced pretty negative thoughts into ones of love. You might be familiar with the practice of justifying other people’s (usually negative) behaviors as due to a fault of your own. I have that habit, and her message highlighted just how wrong I could be.

On so many levels, I feel relieved. It was a review of a lesson I thought I’d already learned: “Don’t assume, it makes an ass out of you and me.” My assumptions were negative not just for me (“It’s my fault, I probably should write more often…”) but towards her as well (“She probably found another best friend…”). Like I can possibly know what goes on in someone else’s life! Spoiler alert: I can’t, not by a long shot.

The result became gratitude for her heartfelt message, her undying love for me and the strength of our bond after all these years. We spent New Year’s together, and after the initial shock of seeing her grown up, and attempting to breathe in her crushing bear hug, we rediscovered each other. Funnily enough, we “evolved” in the same direction. “You want to write a book? I wanna write a book!” “Wait, you think this too? So do I!!” It was a meeting filled with surprises, including her biggest surprise: not her husband, but her daughter. Her daughter! I’m an aunt and didn’t even know?? Wowzah!

The evening progressed too quickly. All of us were so enthralled in catching up on our ‘lost’ decade we missed the countdown and hurriedly clinked glasses as 00:00 came over us.

Thus, 2015 found me renewed, if you will. If I can have such negative thoughts towards myself for things outside of my control, let’s take a look at how I feel about my own life, and my writing in particular.

So I don’t update my blog every week, so what? At least I’ve started working on my book a little bit every day, even just 10 minutes before I go to bed, and I feel much better already. Who knew my prologue would get longer! I tackle small problems every day (“what should I call this, is that even a word?”) and highlight the rest for another day. Every baby step counts.

You won’t find me taking New Year’s Resolution, because I don’t believe in taking a bunch of resolutions at once. Apparently it takes 4 weeks to anchor a new habit, so the logical solution for me would be to take a new “resolution” (baby step) once a month. It’s a slower pace, but hopefully it gives you time to steady yourself in between. After that, to each their own, and do whatever fits you best.

Only you can do what’s best for you, so let’s all step forward and be the best version of ourselves we can be today.

Step up,
Ali J.