Enjoying the Little Things

Hi Friends.

I’ve been feeling pretty down lately. Or rather emotionally all over the place, I suppose is a more accurate description. But if I had to choose one emotion to rule them all, I’d say down, or sad. I can’t pinpoint why exactly. And that, to me, is the worst part.

Of course, feeling sad or angry or nervous or really any emotion not in the content or happy families is not typically a fun time in itself (for obvious reasons). But feeling sad or angry or nervous and not knowing why so you can then work to address whatever it is causing your unpleasant feels–assuming its something within your control–evokes an additional sense of misery. At least for me. Maybe it’s a control thing… Which would explain a lot… But anyway, sadness.

I don’t like feeling sad for long periods of time (does anyone?) and for the last few weeks, this feeling has held a constant presence, and I’m not able to figure out why. I have it in my head, if I knew, I could determine why what’s making me sad is making me sad and then try to alter the causation so it maybe doesn’t make me so sad anymore. But no dice. So instead: coping. Which brings me to today’s central focus…

…enjoying the little things! I know, it sounds cliché, something you see printed on a motivational poster or coffee mug. But the thing is, the saying only really seems cliché because it’s spoken so often. We know the saying, but do we really listen to it? Believe it? Practice it?

I’m not going to outright make the claim acting on this mantra works–I certainly haven’t experienced a 180 turn in emotions–but it definitely helps. A warm blanket on a freezing day. A sincere “good job!” on a project you worked hard to complete and complete well. A laughing fit with a close friend. When you take the time to enjoy those seemingly minute facets of life, to momentarily release stressors and negative feelings, you move that much closer to experiencing a 180 in your emotional state. You feel lighter, happier, because whilst enjoying those “little things,” you aren’t focused on feeling sad or whatever is causing you to feel sad. The process is really pretty simple. Yet so many of us miss it…

I don’t know if any of you are going through something like this right now or have in the past and I’m not going to pretend I know exactly how you feel or that this advice is a cure-all for whatever you’re feeling right now. But I really do recommend trying to implement this, to enjoy the little things, because it really does help. Albeit slowly and not permanently. But happiness and relief–even for a moment–are still happiness and relief. They’re still valid. Still better than none at all.

And if you’re not going to listen to my sad, rambling, blogging self, at least read and believe/practice/ignore this beloved and at this moment incredibly relevant Harry Potter quote:

Harry_Potter

Always

So wise, Dumbledore. So. Wise.

Have a… week. Of the relatively okayish and even happy sort, if you can.

 

 

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It’s Happening

That moment supposedly every college kid endures while in school, in which they question their career ambitions, the meaning of life, whether 2 and 2 really equates to 4, etc. Call it what you will–a breakdown, an identity crisis, a mid-life crisis (a few decades early)–but after remaining confident in the belief I was set to breeze through college knowing exactly what I wanted to do, I have begun to experience my breakdown/identity crisis/mid-life crisis. A few years too late.

I’m going to pause right here to integrate some perspective before continuing. I realize this is going to seem over-dramatic, unimportant in the grand scheme of things–considering all that’s going in the world right now (though when is there not something going on?)–but as made clear in a former post (Connotations of The FUTURE), uncertainty begs discomfort. And I don’t like discomfort. It makes me uncomfortable.

That wasn’t funny.

I have a lot of feelings on this right now and I feel the need to work out my seemingly unimportant crisis so that I may become less uncertain and thus less uncomfortable and if that means writing it out on my public blog for all to see, then so be it. Oh my word I’m rather defensive today, I am so sorry… uh… back to the post!

Feelings

Always.

So. I’m going through a minor crisis of the identity sort (if you hadn’t gathered) right now. Have been for awhile, but it hadn’t really come to head until a couple weeks ago while I was writing an article for work.

My school prides itself on sending students off campus to get “real life” and “outworldly” experiences (which actually is pretty ironic–that’s like saying, “Our academic institution offers students top-notch experiences…By sending them as far away from campus as possible.” Rather, my university connects its students with these opportunities. But anyway.), and the central focus of my story was on a fellow student participating in one of these “real life” experiences. My university is partnered with a non-profit organization and program that integrates students into city-living in the hustle and bustle of Chicago, as this a place known for its diverse communities and need for assistance. The idea is a student aspiring to work with this sort of group lives in the same type of environment as said group. Thus, the student gains perspective, an improved insight into what their “clients” experience on the daily. As a sucker for both non-profits and the observation of daily lives (that aren’t like mine), I became pretty smitten with the idea of taking on an experience like this. What better way to learn to serve people than to live their life? In the non-creepy sort…

I’m going to backtrack for a moment (ah, digression): depending on how familiar you are with my blog, you may or may not know of my English/communication studies double major status and my aspiration to write. I want to be a writer–perhaps in journalism though not so sure about the traditional newspaper sort. And what I’ve been told about aspiring writers in college is to plow forward and study English or communication or journalism (something writing-based), but pair it with a subject about which you’re passionate, about which you’d like to write upon achieving your professional writer status. So, say, if you wanted to write and specialize and in money-related topics you could major in English and finance. Or something.

Coming into college, I learned about this study-writing-and-subject-of-interest rule early on. But I didn’t know what the subject of interest was for me. I have a lot of opinions on various things in life, but not enough passion to dedicate my writing career to a particular field. So instead I paired English with communication. Essentially two writing majors. So I guess I’m the most bestest all-knowing writer of all time! (You caught that, right?) And simply don’t have an area of focus.

Which brings me back to the city-living partnership with my university. Up until that point, I’ve noted my passion for helping others and likeness for non-profits, but didn’t know how to merge that with journalism-esque writing. This experience seemed like a good place to start and gave a name to the subject with which I’d like to pair my writing skills: sociology. I’d like to write about people and they way they work, they way they live. Actually, I’d love to do it… I think. So where’s the crisis?

Remember near the beginning of this post I talked about experiencing my crisis a few years too late. Yeah… timing is not my friend here. I’m a year away from graduating (and on time, I might add, so maybe timing can be a friend), and switching up my area of focus now would, essentially, “throw a wrench” in that plan. I’m not such a tightly-wound ISFJ that I’m opposed to altering my college/career plans (I have too many P’s in my life anymore to be such a big planner), but I am a year away from finishing a degree for which I’ve worked really hard. I mean that. Full semesters. Multiple internships. Volunteer/leadership/”outworldly” experiences (though not in Chicago). It would seem so… undermining to the work I’ve put in for the past few years. Like it didn’t really matter, that these experiences that I have undergone (even if not Chicago–sorry, like I said: smitten with the idea), that have shaped the person I am today, both good and bad, don’t matter. And they do. I am certainly not unhappy with where I am headed career-wise. I’m not displeased with my decisions. Yet I still wish I had uncovered my interests sooner. I know I have had plenty sociology-esque, groundbreaking experiences (though on a smaller scale) without active pursuance of a sociology degree, but I’m going to wonder what could have been had I traveled down that path.

Alright, so maybe I’m not really having a crisis. Maybe this writing process really did help me sort out my “lot of feelings.” I am, however, a little disgruntled now. I know, grand scheme of things, don’t linger on what ifs–I got it. Just let me have my feelings.

How Do You Define Busy?

Apparently my idea of busy does not align with that of others… Depending on who you ask.

I mean, a full course-load (16-18 hours), two jobs, volunteering, a few extra curricular activities/committees, among regular student/sister/daughter/roommate/friend duties–that’s not that much, right?

Yeah… Like I said  (wrote)… Depends on who you ask.

If you were to ask my pre-college self what I thought about my current schedule, I would have been astounded–at my gumption to do so much in the first place and my ability to pleasantly function despite my lifestyle. Three years later, however, and I’ve just found this to simply be my life. I don’t really consider it busy even when others tell me so.

Don’t get me wrong, I recognize that my life is rather hectic (as a side effect of college), but my busyness has become such a constant facet over the years, I’m just used to it and thus unbothered. But do you know what’s really sad? I seem really busy (I’ve been told), but I can think of dozens of fellow students at my school who are significantly more busy than I. Enough that they forego sleep or eating decent meals or other basic life necessities to get all they need done. Granted, they have different priorities and ambitions than I which alters time management and layout of the day, but still… Clearly something is not right in our college system. Or maybe entering your 20’s sparks some sort of hidden ambition gene all humans share… I don’t know, I just find it suspicious.

Even so, I like being busy. To an extent. Not so busy that I feel like I’m about to cry from commitment overload, but enough that I don’t feel like I’m wasting my life away doing nothing (relatively speaking). As a professor of mine says, “I don’t want to feel overwhelmed or underwhelmed–just whelmed.” Whelmed is not an official word (in this context), but I like it and completely identify with the sentiment so I’ll allow it. My whelmed just seems to be everybody’s overwhelmed… Or underwhelmed in some cases. Like most things in life, it’s subjective… Sigh.

What do YOU consider busy or too busy? Do you like being busy or more underwhelmed? Why or why not? Maybe everyone can get some nifty life advice here…

Have a perfectly whelming week! 🙂