Times are ‘a Changin’

Times of transition can be hard for everyone. Whether you’re going from primary school to secondary school, or from university to whatever comes next, it can be a time filled with feelings of self-doubt, uncertainty and subsequently fear.

I find myself currently entering another transition period in my life, and these emotions are exactly what I’ve been feeling lately.

Fear of the unknown is just an archetypal theme we experience all throughout life. It’s unavoidable, and I’m sure Darwin would explain it as a way to promote survival, as what we don’t know may in fact kill us. Fortunately (hopefully), outside of that “survival of the fittest” world, our periods of transition don’t always make us fearful of not surviving, but of something much worse: a fear of not succeeding.

*Cue Ronald Weasley telling me I need to sort out my priorities.*

Comfort is just a synonym for security and stability. Prior to times of change and upheaval we have gotten used to the routines that keep everything working in fine order, and whatever chaos that does ensue can usually be fixed by an equally comfortable plan of action. We know exactly what it takes and what to do in the bubble we’ve created around ourselves to ensure the version of success that this realm allows. However, what happens when you want more? When that success isn’t success to you anymore, what’s next? Rather, what if you just can’t stand that job, or major or whatever you have settled for any longer?

Transition.

If you are willing to take that plunge 20,000 leagues into the sea of uncertainty, discomfort and quite possibly instability, then you’ve already won a major battle in the war. If the transition isn’t much of a choice, such as going into high school or university, you still shouldn’t be discouraged as on any scale, the battle is fought the same way.

Let the need for certainty go. The truth is, there is no way of knowing what the outcome of this new chapter will be. Let the need for certainty in the situation go and grasp onto the certainty of who you are. Look back and see how far you’ve already come. Spoiler alert: you didn’t make it to where you are now without going through transitions! Remember that before you were in the place you’re in now, you once felt unsure, nervous, distressed, fearful and yet, here you are. Hold onto those moments because they are already done. You overcoming in the past is certain, and with that certainty and faith within your capabilities the situation no longer matters because if you could do it before, you can do it now—and even better.

God did not plant in us a spirit of fear.

In the midst of imminent struggle, keep going. This time of your life isn’t going to be easy. It’ll be rough, difficult, daunting and a variety of other negative synonyms, but despite all of that you should keep moving forward. If it’s something you truly want, if it’s something that you know you need to get through to make it to where you want to be, then just keep putting one foot in front of the other. We can learn a lot from watching babies develop. A baby learning to walk falls countless times, and every time they get back up and try again until eventually the falling becomes a little less and the walking becomes a little easier. Instead of stopping because of “failure,” fail your way to success as Megan McArdle outlines in her book, The Upside of Down: Why Failing Well is the Key to Success. Learn about yourself and how you work under different situations, and figure out the methods that work best for you. Grow because that’s exactly what periods of transition are meant to nurture: growth. My personal mantra: Growth stems from being uncomfortable. So be uncomfortable and discover parts of yourself and your mind you didn’t realize existed. We often surprise ourselves during these times. God did not plant in us a spirit of fear. Take this transition and embrace it, analyze it, grow from it, learn from it and even when it seems like absolutely nothing is right, step back and look at how you made it there—enjoy that highlight reel of yourself and use it to become inspired and empowered. You will come out on top every time.

Advertisements

Half-Way Through 2015 Already?!

It’s almost half way through 2015. *cue the inevitable exclamation of disbelief that the year is half over when it feels like it just started* Yes, six months is right around the corner with just a week and half left of May.

Though it is never time that moves in pace, but our attention to time that alters with age, I find myself getting back to the days of childhood where all day felt like a year and a year felt like eternity. The idea is that if I pay more attention to my moments and how I fill them, then maybe I can begin to consistently fill my moments with actions that make for days that propel me toward where I want to be weeks, months and years from today. It’s still a struggle of course—creating or trying to create your own path—but life in general is a work in progress.

So, as the year begins to make the turn into its second half, what better way than to take this Super Mario-esque checkpoint and use it as a check-up on the goals you made for this year back in January!

After carefully examining the various goal lists I have made for this year, I recognize that there are a few places that I need to make some alterations—and that’s okay. Goals do not have to be set in stone because we’re a dynamic people that change with the tide of each day. It’s impossible to know the hand that we will be dealt tomorrow or even a couple of hours from now. Sure, we can predict that it’ll be the same routine we’ve become accustomed to, that no colors will drift outside the lines, but that tends to be the point where we need to be shaken up the most.

The main alteration I’ll be making to my goal lists is starting smaller with everyday habits I need to develop. These will be the foundation I need in order to return to the “original” plan, or even to create space for new ones. I am not ashamed that I waiver, and I do it a lot—trust me—but I am proud of my resiliency to recognize where I need to make change and to be willing to put forth the effort in order to do so.

The half-way mark is a great place for self-reflection and to really sit and think about where you are in relation to where you want to be, and if where you want to be has changed in the last six months, which is HIGHLY probable, then there’s no better time to start fresh.

Wishing everyone a multitude of peace, courage and abundance in the second half of 2015!

xoxo

Shoot Your Shot in 2015

My feature image pretty much explains how I’m currently feeling: I’m the guy in the front, while the guy in the back “shoots his shot.”

I caught myself wandering away from my goals today. It’s easy to hide behind your goals sometimes without actually implementing the action that will make those goals come into fruition. I know I have faith that what is meant for me will be mine, and if I keep working I’ll get it, but doubt always seeps through the cracks.

I do love traveling, and teaching english has given me the opportunity to do that. However, I also know that I want to make a career out of writing. Whether or not I write for a publication (though I would love to) is not necessary when wanting to write and publish my own work, but I must say it does make a girl feel like she has some real experience under her belt—and that’s all I am after at the moment.

So as I  was reading some “job requirements” and “strongly recommended”  I began to think:

“I’m not qualified for that.”

“They aren’t going to hire me I don’t have enough experience.”

Those thoughts quickly traveled to:

“I’m never going to find an opportunity.”

“No one is going to hire me.”

The reality is, no one said it would be easy and you can’t make the shot if you don’t shoot it. I never let fear hold me back until it comes to my writing, and it’s a real hindrance. The time for fearless action and shameless promoting is now. How can you expect to reach your goals if you don’t hone your craft daily? Force yourself to do whatever it is you want to make a living doing everyday, and shoot.your.shot. Out of sheer statistics you’re bound to make at least one, and that one is all you need.

-Goalful Chels

Ongoing goals: Loving yourself

[Feature image from JennAugust.com]

In Malaysia, Valentine’s Day has begun.

I haven’t seen much V-day propaganda, but I assume it’s because I don’t live in a city, so I actually had forgotten about the “holiday” until it snuck up on me!

A year ago, when I was posting on this blog, I had made a goal for 2014 to continue my focus on having healthy relationships—both platonic and romantic–and goals like this are always a work in progress. 

I’ve never had any issues with my friendships. The amount of people I’m  close with isn’t many, but it’s a good amount, and they accept me for the smart-mouthed, sometimes vain, talkative yet kind soul I am, so I appreciate them for that. As far as romantic relationships go, my views on how to handle them, what they should consist of and how they should make you feel have been in a constant state of change and limbo since probably around 2012 when I first experienced a major change in my viewpoint surrounding them. However, one aspect has remained consistent—the importance of self-assured love.

The bottom line is, you can’t be happy with someone if you aren’t happy with yourself, and all the good aspects of relationships stem from that. If you aren’t sure about what you want, if you don’t know what you need, you shouldn’t expect to find out those things about yourself in someone else. At the same time, when you are enamored with yourself, it is 1000x times easier to recognize when someone isn’t loving you and treating you the way you should be treated. As cliche as it may be, relationships need to be between people who are whole on their own. The danger in looking for happiness or fulfillment outside yourself is that everything extrinsic is fleeting. Happiness and fulfillment shouldn’t be. 

So whether you are enjoying a romantic date with a significant other, spending the day with your friends, or if you are spending it with yourself, who is amazing, remember that on this day meant to celebrate love, not loneliness, that you are the shit. You have to love yourself wholeheartedly to spread that love to others in a healthy, non-dependent, non-abusive way. 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

P.S. Head over to my travel blog blackgirlwander.wordpress.com  to read about my experiences teaching English in Malaysia and traveling throughout Southeast Asia!

Living in the Moment?

How can you “live in the moment,” and still focus so much on your future goals? Is it possible to do both?

I think it is.

Since being in Malaysia, I have found that there are moments where I am fiercely in the moment. When time, I imagine, does not slow, but moves at its regular pace, while I am just more aware. Then, there are times when I find myself focused on and constantly worrying about what I am going to do or what I want to do when my contract here ends.

At one point, it seemed as if I was counting down until I return back home to the states. Being here and traveling has been a life goal of mine, so why am I rushing? Why am I not breathing in any and every moment of my time here?

It’s important to not necessarily have a plan, but to know or have some idea of the things you would like to accomplish or do. In other words, to be constantly searching for or living in a way that will carry out what you believe is your purpose in life. That type of thinking often leads one to focus on the future, but it is possible to simultaneously live in the present fully aware. I myself have been working on this:

One way I keep myself in the present is through my writing. To write, to be inspired to write, I need to always be hyperaware and cognizant of what is going on around me and how it effects how I feel and what I think. When I pay attention to what is happening to me and around me right now I am automatically shaping and being shaped for what lies ahead. Example:

In the moment–> write about my thoughts and experiences–> Future goal: eventually have my writing published

Instead of putting all your thoughts in what may come to pass, place all your energy in the now. In doing so, you are already preparing yourself for the goals you wish to reach later. Don’t let the experiences you are going through now be grazed over because at one point where you are now is where you were hoping to be. The future is a result of the present, so you might as well sow all you can because the reap is inevitable. Living in the moment is what sets you up for what’s to come.

She’s still GOAL-ful!

Feature image: I’m just trying to be zen like this Buddha. Completely and utterly unbothered.

It has been a year since I last wrote on this blog. Time sure does fly.

It would be obscene to try to write about everything that has happened over the course of 365 days, however, for the important highlight reel…

1. I graduated college, with my goal GPA

2. I now work teaching English abroad in Malaysia fulfilling my goal of traveling abroad again before the year 2014 ended

And after beginning that list, I believe that is all the important factors that are worth mentioning!

Though I have not been documenting the process I have gone through in the last year to reach these goals, I still remain engrossed in my driven attitude to reach all the goals I set for myself, no matter how small (I’m taking guitar lessons here in Malaysia!) or how seemingly big. 

I currently have begun a new blog blackgirlwander.wordpress.com where I document my travels and experiences while being a temporary ex-pat, black, and a girl in Southeast Asia. Sidenote: An important goal I’m really working on is my ability to keep up with these blogs on a schedule for more than a few weeks!

Either way, now that I am a post-grad and not a senior, I have made an unspoken (until now) promise to myself to only do what makes me happy, and to only go after the things that I am interested in.

I know some of us are brought up and told to pick a profession, pick a passion and prepare yourself to do one thing in life until you are able to retire, however, at the tender age of almost 23 I cannot bring myself to that mentality. Traveling is something that I have dreamt of doing my whole life, and almost two years ago I wrote some about my first time abroad in England. Now that I have been living in SE Asia for almost 6 months, traveling around when I am not working, I have only become more encouraged in my belief that I don’t need to know exactly what I want to do right now. What I need to do is to continue to explore my interests. Continue to dip my toe in the waters of different fields to see how it feels and to see how I feel. Continue to not feel overwhelmed and burdened at the fact that I don’t have it all figured out. Continue to do my best at honing the things I am passionate about and being proactive when I see opportunities coming my way.

I believe that if I keep on the path I am now that what’s for me will present itself and be mine. This mindset is not one that says you don’t have to work hard. It doesn’t believe that it won’t be frustrating at times, discouraging, quick, or even close to easy. It simply says that nothing is worth settling, and if you want it, go after it and show ‘them’ how much you want it. 

Happiness is intrinsic and cannot be placed on ephemeral things outside oneself. I can’t place my happiness in my ability to get a “secure” job, but I can place my happiness on my ability to be true to myself and to make sure I never settle for anything less than what I set out to do. 

Hopefully this can be encouragement to another 20-something with nothing figured out and the world at their feet.

Keep reaching those goals!

Chelsea

How I Feel

Jittery.

Restless.

Calm.

Free.

Comforted.

I am both the calm and the storm.

Both anchored and free.

Passion.

Confusion.

Love.

Complete.

Genuine.

I want both space and to be closer to you.

To reject your touch and crave it in its absence.

Inexplicable.

Freedom wrapped in tender, loving chains that bind

You to me. Me to you.

Never-ending yet it ends.

Cyclical yet it begins.

Continuity on the path from my heart

To yours.

In your eyes,

Your caress,

Your words,

There is love.

There is me.

In your love,

In my love,

In our love,

There is you.

Breaking down my walls,

And building those walls

In the same breath.

In love.