I have to talk about this summer. Have to.
I spent the majority of the summer by myself. It was partly by choice, and partly because my fiancé has been off island for work. My roommate and I have been thick as thieves, but now he’s gone, too! My goofball is getting back very soon, and he’s coming home to a different woman because of all the time I spent with myself.
I gotta say, this was the best summer ever. I feel like I finally got my shit together. I did some soul searching. I got to know myself. I did a lot of reading, yoga, exercising. I feel great. I feel centered. I feel really satisfied with my life and significantly happier. I stopped complaining to complain, and doing something about the stuff that was bothering me.
A small thing that was a big thing for this turn around? I figured out what I actually liked. I stopped doing the things that I don’t like. It was so simple. Things that I kept doing that I really didn’t like?
- Going to bars.
I used to go out all the time when I lived in Florida, but I had a huge safety net. I knew all the bouncers, bartenders, and the regulars. Hell, I was a regular. When I go out here, I get overwhelmed so easily. People are yelling, there’s no music or dancing, and the drinks are expensive. I usually spend the entire time freaking out silently in a corner while everyone else has fun. For some reason I kept going even though I was miserable. It’s just not for me. I have a glass of wine or two every now and then, but that’s way less than the rate I was going. An environment gets significantly less fun when everyone else is wasted.
- Being a voice of reason in other people’s business.
I chose to be selfish this summer. I am usually the therapist. My nickname in my old group of friends was Squad Mom or Oprah. People come to me with their issues, I listen, then counsel after dredging up the hard lessons I’ve learned. Then their problem is fixed, and I don’t hear from them again until the next problem arises. Although I like helping, it feels crappy that I’m just the fixer/problem solver. People call me when they need something, not when they want to hang out. It was starting to become a real bummer, so I stopped being a sounding board. The therapist is OUT. Strangely enough, when I stopped that, my phone stopped ringing, too. *insert Kanye shrug here*
- Feeling bad about things I haven’t done yet.
Instead of wondering why I haven’t completed my Masters yet or why I don’t have as much in my savings account as I would like, I made a plan. I planned for the next six months, the next year, the next five years, and what I’d like to accomplish in my life in general. I know life turns rarely turns out how we plan, but having a road map has reduced my stress level so much. I hate not knowing. Problem solved!
- Stopped saying yes. “Yup. Got it. Yessiree Bob. Mmhmm. Okie doke.” All of them. I changed up the game this summer. “Nah. No thanks. Not for me. Nope. That’s okay.” This echoes my first point, but it needs to be reiterated. I watched an episode of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo in May. That cute little question she asks: Does this spark joy? It got me thinking about things that I held onto that weren’t making me happy. This meant objects, yes, but I also stretched that to include people. I simply took my leave from dying friendships that weren’t actually friendly and relationships that were one-sided. Within days, I felt less stressed and worried.
- Put my phone down. I made an effort to stop distracting myself from being in the moment while I’m with others. When I go out to dinner or someone wants to hang out, I do my best to stow my phone in my purse and leave it there the whole time. I love Reddit, cute animals videos, and looking at natural hairstyles on Pinterest is my weakness. But heck, all that stuff will be there. I don’t want to miss out on the life going on around me. The text messages can wait. If it’s an emergency, they’ll call.
Things I found out I liked? Writing. I got my novel finished, which is amazing. It’s been a dream of mine to write a novel, and I did it! I started this little hobby blog, too. I also found out I’m into interior decorating. I spent a lot of the summer furnishing our new home. It’s been fun! I’m ready to surprise Jack when he gets home. I learned how to do box braids and a couple other styles on my own hair. My fingers are uncooperative, so it was a huge deal for me! I also went to the beach alone a few times to read, and really took time to cultivate my garden. I have a little farm in our backyard. Although I’m still not the biggest fan of exercise, I’m seeing results and proud of myself for not giving up on it!
Taking the time to be with myself and get away from the noise of life made me feel so much better. Good things are happening because of my choices and planning. I’m being considered for a dream job, which is beyond exciting. I feel so ready to get back in the saddle and kick ass at a job or in school, whichever comes first. It has been the summer that I became the person I thought I could be. I will always look back to this summer for motivation and direction.