Monday, August 1, 2016

Happiness

I've been listening to Gretchen Rubin's podcast for the better part of the year. There was a little break mostly because my commute to work was cut down from an hour to 10 minutes. I swear I got more done during my waking hours when I was solely dependent on public transit than I do now with a vehicle at my disposal. I wonder why that is. Actually, I know why it is: I'm lazy and my job leaves me utterly drained - emotionally and physically - at the end of the day that the only thing that I want to do when I get home is get my socks and shoes off and not think.

Anyway...

Gretchen has written a book called "The Happiness Project". She took stock of her life and came to the conclusion that while she was happy with her life, she wasn't happy in the sense that she wasn't making conscience choices to do things that brought her happiness. She was simply floating through life making choices just because they were routine or they were kind of already halfway made for her.


I can't remember if she came up with her manifesto before or after she started her Happiness Project, but I liked it so much that I'm going to share it with you. What am I talking about? It's a manifesto; of course she came up with it before her Project. To have a manifesto is to have a specific aim towards a goal; a mission. Anyhow, here's her Happiness Project Manifesto:


  • To be happy, you need to consider feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth. 
  • One of the best ways to make yourself happy, is to make other people happy; one of the best ways to make other people happy, is to be happy yourself. 
  • The days are long, but the years are short.
  • You're not happy unless you think you're happy. 
  • Your body matters
  • Happiness is other people.
  • Think about yourself so you can forget yourself. 
  • "It is to easy to be heavy; hard to be light." G.K. Chesterton
  • What's fun for other people, may not be fun for you, and vice versa. 
  • Best is good, better is best.
  • Outer order contributes to inner calm. *I can completely vouch for this. When my anxiety is high, it helps to have things clean. Something as simple as doing the dishes and smelling the soap eases the chaos.*
  • Happiness comes not from having more, not from having less, but from wanting what you have. 
  • You can choose what you do, but you can't choose what you like to do.
  • "There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy." Robert Louis Stevenson
  • You manage what you measure.
  • Loving actions inspire loving feelings. 
  • The opposite of great truth is also true. 
I'm writing about happiness because I think it's something that I struggle with all the time. I am an obliger; my thinking is “I do what I have to do. I don’t want to let others down, but I may let myself down.” Outer expectations are easy for me meet, but when it comes to making myself happy, the motivation to keep making conscience choices/decisions is hard. I think that putting this on the internet will put a permanent reminder somewhere I look often during the week. 

Anyway, I have something in the works for myself. I'm going back to school next month through BYU-Idaho. It'll be one of the online programs seeing as there is no way in hell that I'd ever move to Rexburg, Idaho. No offence to anyone who has the desire to live there. I am not cut out for 7 months of perpetually windy winters or an all uphill campus. I'm also going to work on my version of a happiness project for myself. 

Stay tuned. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Dear Mom

It has been 17 years since you've been gone. I think about you all the time. Especially when things are still and my mind has time to wander. I wonder what would be different if you were alive. I can't imagine anything really being the same if you were here to influence my decisions. Maybe I'd be a little more extroverted. Maybe I wouldn't crave alone time as much as I do.

I am glad, though, that I like the quiet. I like the quiet because it gives me time to think about you. It gives me time to dream, time to think if I'm capable of achieving those dreams. Those dreams are often influenced by the thoughts I have of you. How much you'd love my happy place nestled in the mountains. How much you'd be happy that I finally know what I want to do with my life. My passion to help people, to help educate them about living a healthier life comes from you. I am me because of you.

Maybe it wouldn't have taken me so long to figure things out if you were here. Maybe I wouldn't have taken so long to decide what to do with my life. Maybe I wouldn't have taken the long way 'round. There are so many different outcomes to life that would have been different if you were here. But if there is anything that I've learned in life it's that we have a choice in how things turn out.

I do know that you were the best mother for me. I firmly believe that. Even though life as I know it would be different if you were still here, I believe that you gave me what you could to either sink or swim. For the the majority of my adult life, I've felt like I've been sinking because you left me at such a crucial time in my life. A point where you would have taught me how to balance a checkbook, how to apply to schools, how to figure out what I want to do with my life, how to be an adult. I've had to figure things out on my own, for the most part, and it has been hard. It's taken me a long time to trust myself to know where to go, what to do.

In the end though, I am me because of you.


All The Things

So much has been happening in the world the past two weeks. Especially in the United States. I'm not one for politics. I have my opinions, but everyone around me has these huge, big shout in your face opinions about politics and what's going on in the US that I really don't want to participate. All I really want to say is if you're one of those people that say "F*ck the police/military! They just want to kill innocent people." To you I say, it's because of them that you have the right to say that. Because of them and the laws of this country, you have the right to vote, state your opinions without the fear of being executed. Yes, there are a few individuals that get power hungry and take things too far, but it would unfair and unjust to lump all police/military into the same horrible group that you're putting them into. I could just as well lump you into the same horrible group that needlessly make things harder for them, who throw cement blocks on their heads just because you think it'll help. As for the whole hot button of Black Lives Matter: yes. They matter. It's unfortunate that there are officers of the law that unjustly racially profile black members of our society. It's the same as putting those who contribute to their neighborhoods to make them better, who are upstanding, educated members of society, who want to make sure that our future (children!) don't fall into the same path as those who are creating harm and violence in the same group as those who are breaking laws, who are violating basic human rights of others, who don't have a conscience of what is morally right and wrong.

Okay. I'm glad that's out of my system.


Sunday, June 26, 2016

About Religion


Okay, I'm going to preface this blog with a little warning. I rarely talk about religion. I'll bring God up once in a while, but I don't really write about my faith and religion here. Today is different. Today I am writing about my God, my faith, and my religion.

You've been warned....for lack of a better word.

My dad came home from babysitting my nieces and nephew for a week and a half and needed a break. I was all too happy to oblige. I like sleeping in my bed and waking up when I want to. Anyway, a weekend at home meant that - after being in Ogden for almost three months now - I got to go to my actual ward.

There are few things that I tell people about myself. If you don't ask, I don't tell. People NEVER ask about religion. Most people don't know I'm Mormon. I'm a Mormon. Like Gladys Knight and the Osmonds. If you don't know who those people are, do you live under a rock or were you born in the last 15 years?

Anyway, I've been struggling with my faith for a while or rather having things connect like they used to. I'm pretty convinced that we all go through a drought of sorts when it comes to religious faith where things don't connect as well as they used to. What you know in your brain to be true doesn't connect in your heart and vice versa. I had a Sunday School teacher say it's the longest 12 inches.

I suppose I should give you a little background. I went to church every single week for years. The only times I didn't was when I was sick - which was hardly ever. I graduated from early morning Seminary. I kept all the commandments of the church. Tithing. Word of Wisdom. Law of Chastity. I attended numerous service projects. I did my visiting teaching. I made it easy for my Home Teachers to come to my house. I served in many callings. I wasn't perfect, by any means, but I was faithful in what was required of me. When I moved to Oregon, not going to church became easy. I didn't know anyone. I didn't have a car. My roommate at the time didn't want to take me. There was no bus service anywhere near the chapel I needed to go to. There were so many excuses that I used that made it easy to not go. Things didn't go as planned in Oregon and I moved back to Utah in 2012. Up until last summer, my church attendance has been spotty, at best. I was like a Catholic version of a Mormon - Easter and Christmas church attendance with a few special occasions that warranted church attendance was about the extent of how often I went to Church. I will always watch General Conference, though. I know. Weird.

Anyway, my church attendance has been on the upswing, but I haven't gone to the ward I'm supposed to go in almost a year. Well, until today. Everything that was taught today was exactly what I needed to hear. It was like Heavenly Father was saying, "I've been trying to give you this. I've been trying to get you to feel something for the past 4 years." I firmly believe that Heavenly Father doesn't forget you. He won't turn His back on you. The blessings of the Gospel might stop coming in, but He is ever mindful of you even if you've turned your back on Him.

In my efforts to be receptive to anything today, I read a talk from this last General Conference by Bonnie L. Oscarson titled "Do I Believe?" It was like I was reading about my life. I had learned about the blessings of the temple and that families are forever in Primary and Young Women. I was taught every Sunday that I am a child of God that He loves me. I knew it, but did I believe it? Did I believe everything that I had be taught about the temple, the eternal truths about the family, the blessings of being a full tithe payer, the blessings that come from following the Word of Wisdom and the strength that comes from following the Law of Chastity? Did I believe? As if I was being drenched with spiritual thirst quenching water, the answer was yes, I do believe! This spiritual drought has been the longest I've experienced to date. All I needed to do was seek to have my heart changed and show a willingness to exercise faith.

The hard part for me is consistency and daily effort and repentance. There are years of inactivity and one pesky, hard to overcome on my own sin that I need help with from my Bishop. Asking for help has never been easy for me. Being an intensely private person, asking for support from friends and family isn't easy, but if I learned anything today, it's that no one is ever left to deal with things on their own. There is help and healing to be had if you ask. Things don't need to be so hard.

There is a quote from Elder Jeffrey Holland that gets me in the feels every time I read it. It says, "Don't you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead. Some blessings come soon, some come late, and some don't come until heaven. But for those who embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they come. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come."

I say something similar to a client every day: Don't quit. Keep going. Keep trying. Why is that so hard for people to believe for themselves? We all have the potential. We all have the divine nature in our souls to be like our Heavenly Father. Whether you believe in the God I do or not, we have such HUGE divine potential. Forgetting that - for myself - makes me a little sad that I've wasted years on unimportant things. Forgetting my divine potential makes me sad. But! I am so happy that I'm starting to remember what it's like to sit in the Light of my Heavenly Father. I'm starting to remember what it's like to have a relationship with my Savior. My Brother. The man who sacrificed His Life so I could live.

Do you believe? What's stopping you?


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Realized

My dad and I went on a drive tonight on our way home from dinner. We literally live at the mouth of Ogden Canyon. In the combined time that I've lived in Ogden, I have never been up the canyon. It proved to be a good experience. A small storm made its way up the narrow canyon and it smelled deliciously of rain and pavement. I love that combination.

The whole drive made me miss Oregon and then I had this immediate love and appreciation for Utah mountains. Of all the places I've lived, Utah's mountain are unrivaled. They are my favorite. We drove through Huntsville and Eden. They're situated around Pineview Reservoir.

 Maybe it's the INFJ in me that is attracted to podunk-y places like Huntsville and Eden (Go to the link. It'll seriously give you insight on my personality.). Maybe it's because both towns are right on the water. Either way, I love the tranquility that is literally right up the street from me. Part of me wants to move up there to get away from my loud neighbors and life in general. The part of me that dislikes the snow would probably not like it for the 5 months of the year that is freezing cold. 

I used to think myself a city girl. Nope. I rescind that evaluation of myself. I am totally 100% all for wide open spaces and neighbors that are at least an acre or two away. This t-shirt perfect describes how I see myself;  

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE Portland, Oregon. I love that it's weird and eclectic and people generally don't care that you're different from them because they're probably equally as strange. But I think my soul craves the mountains and a body of water that is surrounded by green fields and trees. As an introvert, my soul craves peace, quiet, and tranquility. I'd rather sit in the corner at a party and watch people with another introvert that gets me.

Even as I write this post, all I can hear is what is playing on my iTunes and chirping birds. I can smell a camp fire getting started. All that bothers me is the fact that my upstairs neighbors thinks they weigh 500 pounds and stomp around on their hardwood floored hallway and the occasional pimped out ride that belongs to someone in my building. I yearn for neighbors that are quiet and closer to my age. I yearn for the day that my apartment floor doesn't smell like marijuana.

Some day...

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

I'll Be Okay

I'm listening to a sad, melancholy song right now. The past month has been hard. I moved to Ogden with a few goals in mind: 1. Find a job because traveling 45 minutes by car and 1.5 HOURS by train is ridiculous and expensive. 2. Get out of debt. 3. Go back to school. In the past month, I've gone to at least 1 interview a week; usually more, and nothing has come to fruition. Looking for jobs and applying for them is one thing, but getting a call for an interview, and doing a really good job at being a good interviewee only to not get a phone call back with a job offer is totally soul crushing. I've applied to jobs that I am way overqualified for. I've applied for jobs that I have all the right qualifications for and am competing with several other applicants for 1 or 2 positions. I've applied for jobs that I'm only slightly under-qualified for and I still haven't heard from 2 of the 3 positions.

I hate not having a job. I really do. The first day or two, after my last day at my most recent job, I cleaned the apartment, and generally got everything in my room settled. That was the first thing I could do for myself to not feel so untethered. The next few days after that are kind of blur. I literally don't remember what I did with myself. I know I applied for jobs, but come on, who applies for jobs for 8 hours straight? I don't know what I did between applying for jobs and looking at programs at Weber State and OWATC. What I do know is: I'm bugged by stupid little things. I'm lonely. I feel useless.

I'm stressed out about my finances. As in, if I don't find a job in the next week or two, I'm not going to have enough money to pay for bills that are set as automatic payments. When I get stressed out, all I want to do is either sleep in way too late or eat; neither of which are conducive to finding employment.

I'm really good at meeting outer expectations, but when it comes to making myself happy, I fall short. Not having a job makes me feel like I'm failing at life. I'm so used to taking care of myself without a lot of help from other people. When I broke my ankle almost three years ago - has it really been that long ago?? - it literally was the hardest 8 weeks of my life having to depend on other people for my livelihood. I was also very humbled at the same time because I had depend on my family. Letting other people take care of me is hard because I'm so used to putting as little stress on others as possible if I am capable of doing something myself. The white personality in me is hating that I'm in such emotional upheaval.

*Just a side note, if you want to find out more about yourself, go here and take the quiz. Seriously. take it! Like, right now!*

I hate that I feel like I can't let other people help me. These damn walls...I'm really good at keeping people at arms length. I've never thrown major tantrums. I've never gotten so mad that I've punched holes in walls. When I'm sad, or stressed out, I rarely talk it out with people I trust. I don't trust easily. Growing up in my family, I didn't need a lot. I feel like I was painfully aware of how much money we didn't have, so I didn't really ask for anything. My mom was so careful with the finances that I didn't feel like we had any less than the neighbors. I think that's where my need for independence comes in. I don't ask for much, but at the same time, my self-deprecation comes out and tells me I need even less. I have a hard time asking for things for Christmas or even for my birthday that I actually want. I often times will ask for the things that are on my wish list, things I could easily buy myself, for Christmas or my birthday because I usually undervalue myself on a daily basis.

I have this quote on one of my Pinterest boards that says, "I hope you know you're capable and brave and significant. Even when it feels like you're not." I don't know who said it, but it's exactly what I need right now. I have been feeling so insignificant and so incapable about life. And I haven't done brave thing in a long time. There comes a time in life that things have to change. Being stagnant or falling backwards into bad habits isn't okay to me. They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for. I haven't found someone to love, outside of my immediate family and their offspring. I want to find someone that I can be so incandescently happy with that my heart just skips a beat when they walk in to the room. I crave something to do. Like literally. I understand why stay at home mom's feel like something is lacking when their kids are a little less dependent on them. I have yet to find something to truly hope for. I mean, I hope that I can find a job. I hope to continue my education so I can find employment that doesn't feel like work. I hope for more opportunities to make my life better. I think that is the one true hope I have: opportunities to make my life better than it is. It sounds so generic, though. And I find that if you hope - or even pray - for those opportunities, God (or whoever you believe in) will absolutely give you those opportunities and they are rarely ever comfortable. I believe that God never loses sight of  my eternal potential even when I do. And I often lose sight of my potential when I feel like I'm failing as a contributing-to-society adult and feeling altogether useless.

Growth is never ever comfortable for me and sometimes I just have to let go and see what happens. John Porter said, "People underestimate their capacity for change. There is never a right time to do a difficult thing." Wise words. There is never a right time for growth and change. Especially when it's been a long time coming. My entire life can be described in one sentence: It didn't go as planned, and that's okay. Picking yourself up from the boot straps is something that I find difficult to do. Admitting that I need help from outside sources is even harder for to ask for. I have a saying written on one of my notebooks that says, "If you don't like where you are, then change it. You are not a tree." Change is possible. Change is not without its difficulties or growing pains. But it's worth it.

"Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it." Bill Cosby said that. I like the quote even though Bill is a bit controversial right now. Anyway, I'm feeling a little less gloomy now. Writing out my feelings has always helped me not feel so (insert emotion) and more like myself.

Now to go and do...





Tuesday, March 22, 2016

You Can't Handle The Poop!

Friday was an epically hard day. It involved a client getting poop all over the bathroom wall. I guess I should preface that statement with: I work with adults with disabilities. Anyway, that whole episode includes explosive diarrhea. Ugh...just reliving that afternoon makes me mad. There was a string of expletives mumbled under my breathe. There was a 5 minute time out in my boss' office, for myself, of course. There was a very upset custodian who had to clean up the mess that said client left behind. Then there was food at a Mongolian grill that night (which really wasn't worth the $14). Overall, the whole day was kind of a dozy. Although, the donut gelato creations that my roommate and I got that night after dinner were pretty fantastic.

Work has been getting emotionally harder as the weeks go by. I don't know if it's because the clients are getting more demanding or I just don't care anymore; either way, I generally don't look forward to going to work anymore. 

In other news, I'm moving to Ogden. To live with my dad. Again. Packing is a pain the butt and I have no motivation to do any of it. In the past year, I have moved T H R E E times. I hate moving. I really do. The last time I moved, I swore to myself that I would not move for at least another year. I'm about 5 months short of that goal. I think the thing that bums me out the most is that I'm leaving at least one genuine friend. I have my co-workers who will miss me a little bit - mostly because I'm one of maybe a handful of people that actually shows up to work and actually works. Ugh...that's another thing that makes me a little frustrated at work and makes me mad to even really think about it. I digress.

Moving has always been pretty easy for me to do in my 20s. I was pretty good at putting up these walls and pushing people away. And lets be honest here for a minute: I was always better at leaving first - to avoid any hurt, of course - than I was at staying and working through things. I'd let people get close enough to get to know me a little bit, but not enough so they could hurt me. Throw in the fact that I'm an excellent listener, there isn't much of a chance to get to know me especially when most people I know are better at talking about themselves than anything else. 

I am getting too deep here. I'll do a little emotional digging another time and maybe show a vulnerable side. Maybe.