Seeking Silver Linings

 

As a post grad, there aren’t many things that come easy. However, there are moments of most days that can be seen as small wins. Someone brings in lunch for the office, you won $5 on a scratch off, you got over 100 likes on an Instagram, etc.

Some of these things could be perceived as shallow and meaningless, but I see them as silver linings.

Waking up early at the crack of dawn five days a week is not my idea of fun in any way. I unfortunately look like I’m still rolling out of bed to get to class most days I go to work just because I value those 10 extra minutes of sleep I should be using towards fixing my hair. But at the end of the day, 90% of my day is spent staring at two computer screens, and I don’t think they mind what I look like. I’m not saying I look like a total slob, but I could definitely look better. But those extra ten minutes of Z’s? Small silver lining.

I commute to Jersey for work, which has it’s pros and cons, but the most obvious con is traffic. Going to work, traffic isn’t terrible, but going home is a nightmare. For anyone that drives to work, I know you understand. However, there are those days that maybe you leave a few minutes earlier than usual, or even a few minutes later, and you overpass all of the rush hour traffic. Bliss. Or, another silver lining of the day.

Among these other silver linings could include things like the people at Dunkin perfecting your iced coffee with the right amount of cream and the right amount of sugar, gas going down 2 cents, avocados being on sale, your parents not questioning your every move on occasional days, realizing you have enough money left over after bills and factoring in weekend expenses to get your nails done, etc.

Even when you’re having a bad day, it’s always nice to take into perspective the good things that happened too, no matter how small they are.

With each new season comes new opportunity, potential, and excitement. Today is the first day of Spring, and unfortunately a Monday, but that doesn’t mean it has to be dreadful. Grab a coffee, do some online shopping, get your nails done, watch a feel good movie, treat yourself to a dinner out- whatever! Then, reflect on your day to appreciate the silver linings that happened, and then just maybe, you can say you had an okay day. Happy Spring, post-grads!

Note: NOT thinking of what you were doing a year ago at college (slumming it, drinking, easier life) every continuous day, WILL make it easier to realize your days aren’t so bad.

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All Groan Up by Paul Angone

Over the summer, I had read this book I found on my older sister’s bookshelf, in search of some answers. I was in a really big slump; I had just returned from an endless month of binge drinking, an unemployed lifestyle, and living with my friends at the beach. For the first time in a  long time, I didn’t know what was next, since I wouldn’t be returning to school in the fall.

At first, I was in no rush to seek a full-time job. I felt I had earned this time off somehow, but slowly realized that a life of doing nothing can be endless, mundane, and cause a lot of anxiety.

Once I got a new car, I began babysitting again, which made things better, but as summer came to an end, I felt this internal pressure that just kept screaming “What now?”

A question that many of us face, and unfortunately, never have an answer to.

This book entails a time line of a guy who struggled a for a long time with post-grad life. Unfortunate endeavors, dead ends, highs and lows, and small victories. His story and his writing is inspiring and made me feel okay about the current state I was in. He makes his readers know that it’s acceptable not to have a concrete plan or a road map to success, and sympathizes with the struggles faced by recent graduates who live in a world full of unknown. Paul Angone outlines what it’s like to be in the real world with absolutely no answers, through his personal experiences and endeavors, and how he finally got to where he wanted to be through hard work and a lot of trial and errors.

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And he was right, things do work out, even if takes some time to and even if they end up in ways you didn’t expect.

I’m working in an industry I never would have imagined myself in, and maybe I won’t work in this industry forever, but it’s a starting spot and has put me in a really good place personally, financially, and professionally.

Do I know what’s coming next? Probably not, but at least I know I’m stable and excited to continue on this journey.

For anyone who feels the way I felt over the summer and the months following, I highly advise reading this book. At a job you don’t love? Read this book. Contemplating grad school? Read this book. Feeling like the world after colleg is out to personally victimize you? Read this book. Get the point?

In addition to this read being emotionally fundamental, it’s also super funny and witty so super entertaining!

If you do end up reading this book based off my suggestion, I would love to hear feedback! Enjoy!

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Love Yourself

Valentine’s Day is, in my opinion, an overrated holiday filled with unnecessary expenses like flowers and chocolates that are overly priced this time of year due to the high demand. Oh, and don’t forget the $5 card from Hallmark that your significant other will most likely toss in the trash a week from now. However, the holiday holds a respectable meaning behind it, which is obviously love. A day to celebrate love, appreciation and gratefulness… kind of sounds like a similar holiday we already celebrate in November, but it’s fine.  Here ends my negativity towards the holiday, and why I now view it as more than just a day for people in relationships, which is what society has come to depict it as.

First off, Valentine’s Day was a lot cooler when the whole class was your Valentine. Everyone got a cute little card and a bag of candy, and your teacher would throw you a party with enough junk food to make you sick. February 14th used to be a lot easier and fun as a kid, then it got weird and hyped up in high school and college, but now it’s becoming pretty cool again.

As someone who has a lot of friends in relationships, it makes my heart so happy to see them in love not just today, but everyday.  And to see my guy friends step up to the plate for the day? Refreshing.

This year, according to other blogs and social media accounts I follow, the trend of “Galentine’s Day” is becoming progressively popular, which I think is awesome. Your girlfriends are the ones who let you bitch to them about the same things over and over again, talk you off the ledge when you have drinker’s remorse, drink a bottle of wine with you in the middle of the week just because, shop with you, kill the dance floor with you, and probably hold your hair back while throwing up after a long night out. WHY NOT appreciate these lovely ladies in your life on Valentine’s Day, they’re basically holding you together like glue! And to all of my girlfriends out there, and you know who you are, I love you to the moon & back.

I’m also feeling a lot of love for myself today as I recently started a new job in a  full-time position, finding my daily routine, planning exciting things for later in the year, and above all else, finding the happiness I deserve. Sometimes we don’t appreciate ourselves enough, so today can also be a day to reflect on the person you are and think about all the things you love about yourself. Be as conceited and self-absorbed as you want today, we deserve it.

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So, whoever you are, go out and treat yourself tonight! Whether it’s a bottle of wine, a pizza, dessert, a scratch off (guilty pleasure), or whatever it is you love, go get it! Because you are loved, appreciated and beautiful, and you definitely don’t need a life size teddy bear or flowers to tell you that. Love yourself, today and everyday.

Happy V-Day everyone, cheers!

Take A Breath and Hold It In

Trapped, alone, tired, breathless, stressed, confused, etc. All the adjectives describing my life at points when I feel like so much is happening at one time. Anxiety about day to day things on top of this doesn’t help either. Sometimes I just need a break from everything and everyone.

Anxiety is something that doesn’t seem to exist for people who have never experienced it. But I promise, it is very real and very frustrating. You’re scared of things that are irrational, you have changing thoughts at the speed of light, your heart races uncontrollably even if you’re sitting still, you think of a million other things you would rather do than what’s causing your anxiety. It’s frustrating because once it’s there and in your head, it’s hard to change how you feel about it. It’s also frustrating when people think you’re being irrational and dramatic about something you’re afraid of, but those people, have never experienced the full fledged wave of anxiety that can come and go at any given second. Usually it happens at very inconvenient times.

Anxiety is something I’ve struggled with for a while now and until recently, I never sought any help. That was foolish. I want nothing more than to be rid of anxiety and not have to be afraid of the silver coffin aka an elevator, or stop praying every time I’m on the Subway that it won’t break down in between stops, or not be afraid to be in a huge open space, and to stop talking about all the traveling I want to do and finally just do it and not let boarding a plane stop me. Overcoming my anxiety about all sorts of things is something I’m working on day by day but it isn’t easy. It comes in waves and sometimes they swallow me up.

I also worry about regular, rational things like any sane person- money, relationships, health, etc. But these things don’t consume me and control my thoughts and actions like my irrational fears do. Still, sometimes I just feel so stressed on so many different levels that I just need to step back and breathe.

Everyone has a happy place. A haven for when they’re seeking clarity, calmness, and serenity. Whether it’s their bed, a beach, running on a treadmill, sitting on a baseball field, in the arms of someone else, a lake house, a church, whatever. We all have that place where we can go and feel absolute safety. A place to catch our breath. A place to feel okay, even if just for a few minutes.

My happy place is a bench in Sea Isle. Nothing special to the outside eye, but to me it’s a different world. The bench overlooks the bay near the Inlet. I found this place when I was probably 9 or 10 on one of my many stays in Sea Isle. It’s quiet, beautiful, and unknown. It’s like it’s mine. I come here whenever I go to Sea Isle to watch the sunset, think, relax and unwind, listen to music, and breathe. I breathe in the sight and the air and I feel okay and feel comfort in my life that sometimes is harder to find everyday as you get older. That bench is my saving grace.

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(I don’t know who George Hutchinson Jr. is, but God Bless Him for having this bench dedicated to him).

So, as I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels like they’re at their breaking point, or trapped, or scared and confused, go catch your breath. Go visit your happy place, take a step back, breathe it all in, and hold it for a little and then let go. We don’t deserve to constantly feel stressed, we all need some comfort and relief sometimes, so go get it.

 

Keep Turning the Pages

Reading is quite possibly one of my favorite things to do. For pleasure, that is. I absolutely despise reading textbooks or academic articles, on the contrary that they aren’t boring. Or deal with problem solving, which I never understood how math teachers expect you to learn algebraic equations and impossible calculus problems from reading a $300 USED textbook in college. But, whatever.

Anyway, reading for me has always been relaxing and consuming, somewhat of an escape to my own world. It’s certainly a distraction, if the book is that good, from everything I need to be taken away from. I love the feeling of reading a book so good that you physically can’t put it down because all you’ll be thinking about until you pick it up again is what happens next. A book I read this summer, which most of you reading this can probably relate to, was The Girl on the Train. Oh My God. I was reading pages literally any chance I got. I can’t wait for it to come out in theaters in a few shirt weeks!

It upsets me that reading isn’t as big a hobby and leisure activity as it was a few decades ago. With the advancements in technology and cinema and TV, it has been a slowly decreasing fad. But with that, the physical design and structure of a book has also changed and been transformed into digital form available for downloads on an array of different tablets and kindles. But for me, I’ll always prefer the physical copy of a book over the digital alternative.

Remember ‘Campbell’s Soup, It’s Good for the Soul‘? Well  I think reading is good for the soul. It exercises the mind, it relaxes you, it’s a good way to put you to sleep at night, and even in fictional books, there’s always something to learn within the text of a book. Whether it’s a fact about history, geography, health, sex, religion, culture- there’s always a good chance there’s something within the lines of a book that you didn’t know before opening it. And sure, you can say the same about movies and TV, but with the amount of time a day we’re all spending staring at computer and phone screens, don’t you think it’s a good idea to take a break from the white screen?

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I’m in the middle of reading a book called ‘The Little Paris Bookshop‘ by Nina George which tells the story of man in France who owns his own bookshop, but he isn’t just selling books. Physically, yes he is, but every book he sells, he sells it with purpose. He believes that books can heal people and they’re a form of medication to those who need it. Whether someone is struggling with a break up, a loss, trouble at work or school, etc, he always has the perfect remedy for those seeking it. Check it out!

So, if you find yourself having some free time and need a break from reality, pick up a book, or read some blogs or articles of your interest, and learn something new! Fall in love with characters and indulge yourself in a story line, relate, sympathize, and laugh with the characters! Escape to a world that doesn’t exist, because half the time that’s all half of us are really wishing for. A place to just take a break from the reality of everything happening around us. Keep turning the pages and refer the book to a friend once you’re done and keep the cycle going.

Also, for any boys reading this that think reading is lame, then I guess you’re lame too, because you reading this qualifies as reading!