Quarantine: Day 59

Coronavirus is still all anyone is talking about these days, and because of it, I'm still working remotely.

Don't get me wrong. I really enjoy working remotely. I used to work remotely one day a week, but working full-time from home since March 16 has forced me to really shift the way I work. But at the same time, the monotony of my day in and day out is starting to take a toll on my mental state.

One word: Overwhelmed.

I have this constant flutter of anxiety in the center of my chest that sometimes makes it way up to my throat. A constant reminder that things are not secure right now and the projection is only getting worse.

When my Dad was sick in 2016, he would have these agitated moments that resulted in us bickering for a few minutes. Or me listening to him rant and yell at me, while I sat there and absorbed.

I had to constantly remind myself that the anger he was exuding was not towards me. It was an emotion he was experiencing towards something he couldn't control - his cancer.

The same thing is happening now, as we navigate a "new normal." A life of living and working in the same space day in and day out. A life of seeing the same people every day, with no variety. A life of restrictions and limitations on the freedom we used to have.

Being annoyed at the current situation is easy. It's frustrating to not be able to do what we want. I'm so looking forward to ordering a fancy cocktail and freshly fried calamari at a restaurant when this whole thing is over. And likely standing in the entryway with three other groups of people to wait for a table.

As we work through these trying times its important to remember - we're all in this together. We're all facing the same storm, some with different resources than others but all in the same situation.

The only thing you can control is how you react when the steam seems to be pushing the lid off. Will you let the lid go flying, spilling all over your stove and leaving a mess to clean up? Or are you going to slam your hands on the lid and turn the temperature down a bit, saving yourself more aggravation and time?

It's not easy to do, but I'm trying to focus more on slamming down the lid.

Quarantine: Day 36

Starting a new job right when a global pandemic hits was definitely not something I had on my bucket list. But alas, here we are.

I was in my new office a total of 6 days before moving to a fully remote position. And although it sounded like it'd be a great time at first, I really miss the option of working from somewhere outside of my home.

Unless you've been living on a remote island with no connection to the rest of the world you've heard of COVID-19. It's taking people left and right and has completely shut down life as we know it. On my end, three people I know have passed in the last 7 days from the disease. It's heartbreaking.

I have a background in journalism, so I take the media hype with a grain of salt these days. I'll be completely honest and share that when I first started hearing about COVID-19, my gut reaction was that the media is making this into a frenzy. I recall being at a happy hour with my new colleagues and the topic came up; my response was, "One of the Kardashians will get pregnant again and all of this will go away."

Open mouth, insert foot.

I really didn't think things would turn into what they have over the last couple of weeks. But this time in quarantine has really forced me to reflect on how life was and how it will be moving forward, what's important to me and my long-term plans and what I can do without.

It feels selfish of me to list all of the things I miss from "Life Pre-COVID," such as happy hours with the girls or going to church with my Nana when there are so many people fighting for their lives completely alone in a hospital.

Instead, I want to express my gratitude.
  • I'm grateful to be able to continue to work and to give back I tip my bill when I order takeout. 
  • I'm grateful to those who continue to consciously stay home, as you all are helping to flatten the curve.
  • I'm grateful to front-line workers - in healthcare, in food industries, in transportation, and so much more. I wish you all could get a two-month, all-expensive paid vacation once this is all over. 
  • I'm grateful for sweatpants and am not confident my pre-COVID pants will fit again.
  • I'm grateful for each of you, for continuing to read this blog, follow my Instagram stories, and converse with me on social media. You all are the reason I keep coming back to share my thoughts. 

Now go on and continue to be the rock stars you all are by staying home. Seriously. Just stay home.

Throw me a roll of toilet paper

I wasn't going to share all of this information but I feel like there is a message in here somewhere that someone will need to hear and I'd be remorse if I miss the opportunity to help in some way.

There's no denying that 2016 was the worst year of my life. But I'm telling ya, 2019 and 2020 are competing pretty intensely for taking over that title. And frankly, I'm sick of it.

Let me give you a quick update on life since November.
  • I started and ended another round of an unfortunately toxic relationship - but I think I finally learned and accepted that regardless of how much love I have for him, it's just never going to work
  • I experienced one of the most tumultuous holiday seasons I've ever known, resulting in an estranged relationship with two of my family members
  • My step-dad, my grandmother, and one of my best friends experienced life-changing health scares that are manageable, but incredibly scary
  • My mom had her own health "hiccup" that caused excruciating pain but thankfully has resolved
  • Elphie partially tore her CCL, causing her to be immobile since January
And now, the icing on the cake, is that Elphie developed a bacterial infection called leptospirosis that could have taken her from me but thankfully - with big prayers following her along the way - has left her with partial paralysis that could be temporary or could be indefinite.

ALL of this happening while interviewing, accepting, and transitioning to a new job in a higher, more demanding role and industry. And with the development of Coronavirus and a toilet paper shortage.

I think it's safe to say that I've officially started developing gray hairs.

The last few months have been truly trying, and when sharing with people I continue to say "He is truly testing me but I wish he'd just throw me a freakin' bone already!"

Well, I've caught that bone. In fact, I caught two of them.

First and foremost, this promotion brought with it a significant pay increase and a pay-out of unused vacation time from my previous job - both of which have allowed me to pay this hospital bill of Elphie's (but seriously, if anyone wants to help with that....). It's also allowed me to purchase the supplies she will need for recovery.

In addition, the fact that we are all essentially on house arrest right now is a blessing. I can truly focus on my work with no distractions AND be home for Elphie (who came home on Monday) while we settle into a new normal.

This epidemic is bananas to me. And although the first week, well two weeks, I just kept saying "It's just a bad cold. Wash your hands and stop canoodling with people," I realize the severity now and just wish people would follow guidelines and play by the temporary rules so we can get back to life as we knew it.

If I've learned anything from this situation, it's that I'm being forced to reshift my focus. Being forced to work remotely in solidarity has truly opened my eyes to the routine I was following and allowed me to rework the speed I was moving at. 

Life isn't always going to play fair and the only thing you can really manipulate is how you react to it. So, will you be one of those toilet paper hoarders who is clearing out the canned and frozen food shelves? Or are you going to be the one who reassures everyone that it's just a bad season and not a bad life?

But seriously, what's with the toilet paper hoarding? Deep breaths people, deep breaths.


What if you only had 3 years left?

I had a pretty significant situation happen in January of this year. One of my very good friends who is in their early 30s had a health scare that had the potential to significantly change their life, but thankfully it did not.

But, that situation got me to really think about life as it is lately and what I'm doing with mine. It can change for anyone in the blink of an eye.

I'm notorious for bookmarking personal development classes or articles to read them later. You should see how long that folder is on my Bookmarks bar.

I know I'm not alone by saying, "Diet starts on Monday!" I've been putting off getting my health and weight in check since my Dad died in 2016. I can't use his passing as an excuse anymore.

When it comes to work, I've been in a funk for a while now and always comparing my success to others while thinking I'm just not good enough.

And don't get me started on my dating life...

Think about this for a second. If you went to the doctor's today and he or she told you that, for whatever reason, you only have three years left in your life, how would you feel?

Would you feel proud of the progress that you've made up to this point? Or would you be disappointed that you had so many goals on your list but didn't accomplish any of them and now you're not sure you'll have time?

What would you change immediately? What is the first thing you would do?

2020 is the year of brave. My year of focus, getting out of my comfort zone and pushing myself to make serious efforts towards the goals I have for myself.

I'll never forget one of the last things my Dad said to me before he coded in the doctor's office. He had a follow-up appointment at the Oncologist's office but was really not doing well. So he was set up in the infusion center to get fluids and avoid another hospital stay.

I popped onto my phone to let my job know that something I had planned on getting to them within the hour was going to be a little late, as I had not brought my laptop with me to the appointment.

My Dad looked at me point blank and said, "All you do is work. You're always on that phone. Why can't you just put it away and watch the TV with me? Live a little; it can't always be about work."

Life isn't all about work. About making money. And you never know when your time is coming to a close.

Live a little. Live a lot. Take chances. Push boundaries. Tell people how you feel about them. Life is so incredible, but only if you're living it to its fullest.

How I know 2020 will be MY year!

Happy New Year! I know that sounds silly, being that it's already FEBRUARY, but hear me out.

If you’re still following along with this little blog of mine I want to first and foremost thank you for your loyalty as I’ve been experiencing some growing pains and a lack of creative motivation lately. If this is your first time stumbling upon my little space on the interwebs I want to welcome you and promise that this year will be a year of excitement and growth.

With that said, I am stoked that it’s the year 2020. I’m a big numbers person and my favorite number is 2. I also prefer even numbers over odd, so naturally, this year is my favorite combo yet.

2019 was one of those years that no matter what you do, every step forward you take results in a giant leap backward. It was a year of toxicity, personal failures, frustration, and jealousy. But, it wasn’t all bad and for that I’m thankful. I mean, nothing can be worse than 2016 in my book.

The end of 2019 really opened my eyes though. Two relationships that I so desperately wanted to work ended up completely dismantling in December – one family relationship and one romantic relationship.

I really stopped doing a lot of the things that I truly love (for example, blogging) in the last year. I struggled to find happiness in myself and instead relied heavily on outside people, experiences, and material objects to bring me joy. But those fixes are all temporary.

Real joy, pride, happiness, love, and acceptance starts within. And if you’re not completely in love with yourself you can’t fully love someone else.

This year, I’ll be making some great strides towards big life goals that have been on my vision board for a while now, such as:
  • Become a published author
  • Start a podcast
  • Grow my Instagram following
  • Consistently blog 2-3 times each week
  • Get healthy and find joy in exercising
  • Spend less and save more
  • Launch a freelance consulting side hustle
  • Volunteer more with and outside of church
This year's word for me is brave. 2016 really threw me a curveball, and ever since then I feel like I've been faking it. I've been hiding from what I wanted out of life in fear of what people thought of me. This year, I'm putting on those high heels and red lipstick and really taking the world by storm.

Stick around, it's going to be a fun one.

Is your glass half full or half empty?

Are you a glass half full or a glass half empty kind of person? A person who focuses on the positive or focuses on the negative?

In my full-time job, I focus heavily on employee engagement. And at times, I have to deliver news to the staff that I may not agree with or may not be highly positive. Over time I’ve come to realize it’s not the message that’s negative, it’s the outlook on it that will change how you feel.

I recently ended things pretty final with a man I’ve been dating on and off for about 2 years. My feelings for him are very strong, and same on his end (or so they were, unsure now). But, our glasses were very different.

I’m a cup half full kind of girl. And if your cup is half empty, I’ll do everything in my power to pour into you and fill you up. Literally. But if your cup has a hole, a roadblock that will allow you to be motivated in any way, then there is no way we’ll ever get to the same levels.

Ok, stick with me here. I’ve got a point. 

Since 2016, I’ve been on a journey of self-development and growth. And although I’ve taken some steps back at times, I feel as though I’ve changed a lot in the last two years.

I am constantly looking for new ways to motivate myself and to learn. I listen to podcasts on my way to/from work. I read those girl power, self-development books. I do my best to eat healthy and get my body moving. When I walk the dog (which I do daily), I typically don’t bring my phone.

It’s uncomfortable, it’s hard work, and it takes focus. But, I know that if I don’t push myself out of my comfort zone then nothing will change.

No one will ever love you as much as you love yourself. You can’t give your love to someone else and show them appreciation unless you can do that for yourself first.

So with that, I’m using the next 8 weeks to focus on a mentality shift in myself. On Wednesday I’ll be sharing more about what that means in the literal sense, in case anyone wants to join me on the journey, but also to hold myself accountable.

Until then, a word to the wise.

  • Take a look at your glass – whether you’re a wine glass, a mason jar, or a vase. Where is your water level? Ask yourself if it could be higher. 
  • Take a look at whose glass you’re helping to fill when they are need of a top off. Do they do the same for you? And if not, should you still be focusing on their glass?
  • What’s draining your glass? How could you focus on plugging that hole that’s slowly stealing your water (or wine)? 

Remember, self-care is important. 


Release the Negativity

Forgiveness is freaking hard. Although it sometimes feels easier to dwell on who has done you wrong, or the negative things that have happened in your life, the result can cause much more wrong than right.

It’s been close to three years since I lost my Dad from cancer (in September) and ended a long-term relationship (in July) – both of which I feel like I have not completely dealt with.

And frankly, the mind works in mysterious ways. I’ve been having nightmares lately. Every night. In fact, a few times I’ve woken myself up crying because of them. And I truly believe that my subconscious mind trying to release toxic emotions that have been sitting there stale for too long.

In order to overcome the negative, you have to focus on the positive. So, how can you do that?

Learn & Grow
Whether it’s a new book or a Podcast, continuing to learn about yourself and life is such a gift. I have a number of books on my Kindle and following a number of Podcasts that teach me something every time I turn to them.

If you’re curious where to start, Brene Brown is one of my favorite authors, and I’ve recently started to love Oprah’s podcast “Super Soul Conversations” and Brooke Castillo’s “The Life Coach School Podcast.”

Clean Up
Yes, it’s important that your space be clear of chaos so that you can have a clear mind. Clear out your closet, storage unit, kitchen cabinets, toiletry drawer, etc. Get rid of anything that you haven’t touched in the last 60 days and anything that has dust on it because it hasn’t moved since you put there in the first place.

But, the cleaning doesn’t have to stop there. Go to your Facebook, Instagram, and cell phone. Clear out photos that don’t serve you any longer, accounts you follow that you haven’t seen in your feed or contacts that are just taking up valuable memory space. If the account is not bringing anything valuable to your life, it’s taking up valuable space for something better.

You only get one life. Some people go to sleep at night and don’t wake up again the next morning. But you did, otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. Remember how special life is and how lucky you are to get the chance to have it.

Take yourself for a pedicure. Eat something that helps your belly dance. Press play on that work out that makes you feel alive. Turn your favorite song up on the radio and dance it out. Whatever it is, enjoy yourself.

Man. That’s hard. I listened to a Podcast the other day – “Elizabeth Gilbert: The Whole Human Experience” on Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations that really changed how I feel about this.

In short, her comment was that when serving as a caregiver, you can’t give your all without someone caring for you as well. The animosity that I have in my heart is towards the one who I feel left me when I needed someone the most. But rather than focusing on the negative, I’m forgiving the fact that he was not designed for that type of task and instead focusing on those in my life who stepped up to the plate when he dropped out of the game.

You never have to lower your expectations and what you want out of life and a relationship because your current situation is not serving you in that way. Instead, forgive and focus on something greater.