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Friday, July 25, 2014

Becoming the person you want to be.

So I have this app on my iPhone called Transform Your Life. I found it looking for guided meditation apps. Everyday, it gives you some kind of inspirational quote and an assignment. Yesterday, the assignment was: "Be the person you want to be as often as you remember to." Then it gives you a section for journaling. Last night, while I was hanging out with Max in Santa Monica over at his friend's house, I decided I'd give this journaling thing a shot.

Today, I was the person I wanted to be. I went to Santa Monica on a whim to see a beach concert with Max and his friend Joe, but I got lost. What was supposed to be a 30 minute drive turned in an hour and a half of driving in circles trying to find the Santa Monica Pier. I was not a happy camper, and even thought about driving back home, but I did not want to waste two hours of my life getting to Santa Monica only to drive back. So I found a place to park finally over on 5th Street and Arizona, determined to stop somewhere for a beer before heading back home.

I ended up meeting up with Max and Joe over at 4th and Santa Monica before we made our way to Bodega Wine Bar where I was finally able to sit down and relax. I actually wrote about the place recently for having a good late-night happy hour. Anyway, Max almost didn't want to meet up because he said I sounded like I was in a pissy mood, but I didn't want to end the evening with him on a bad note like that regardless if we had met up or not. I chose to have a "that happened" attitude rather than a "ugh" attitude and chose to make the best of my time in Santa Monica. 

We ended up having a nice time at Bodega's. I think Max was kind of proud that I remained calm. I am proud of myself too.

Today, I became the person I want to be by choosing how to react to a negative experience with positivity. I'd say this was one small step in the right direction for me. Go me. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Fun-Filled Weekend

Last week, I was ready to write a blog post about how depressed I was feeling. Maybe I actually did and just forgot about it. But then I remembered something I had heard on Tim Ferris' podcast about blogging without offering any value. Bloggers like me fail miserably when we write about the idiosyncrasies of our lives without offering some kind of value to readers. So for example, blogging about your struggles without also including insight as to how you overcame (or in my case still overcoming) those struggles. So  I decided sharing my depression with a seemingly invisible audience was moot.

But this week, I wanted to share how happy I am despite my manic depression. I guess I choose mania over depression. Really, I just wanted to document how great a weekend I had as a reminder to myself for why I'm so hard on myself and why I push myself to do things I don't always want to do. Also, so I have some kind of memory of a moment in time when I was living the lifestyle I have been working so hard at creating myself. After getting half way there, I took a huge step back. In most people's eyes, it was a huge step forward. But for me, reverting back to a 9 to 5 life after two years of freelancing was a huge step back despite the steady income. It is an amazing opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and insight but it's just not suited for the lifestyle I want for myself. The major lesson I am learning here is how far of track I've gone from the goals I had initially set for myself back in 2009 when I wanted to be a motivational speaker. I still want that, but I am just not there yet. I really hope that attending Matthew Hussey's High Value Women's Retreat will really be as life-changing as he makes it out to be. I have a good feeling about it. 

Anyway, back to my great weekend when I was living the life I wanted. I spent time in Max's world at his parents' home hanging out with a few of his childhood friends and their girlfriends. I got to swim, play basketball, go golfing and play softball all in the span of one weekend. Me and Max also went hiking. It was a very active weekend for us both and I loved it. 

Gotta go. My food just got here and I only have about 15 minutes to eat. Till next time!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Morning Emptiness

I woke up this morning feeling pretty empty inside. Is this what it feels like when you get a decent night of sleep? I thought I was supposed to feel good. Instead, I feel empty. Soulless. Depressed. Where is all of this coming from?

I feel burnt out. Or is it burned out? I don't really have the time to look it up. It's been really hard managing my workload... My personal projects and my client projects on top of full-time work. I love my job, but I hate the hours. I hate writing in such drab lighting. I get the overhead lighting is bad for the eyes when you're staring at a computer screen, but I need more natural sunlight. I need more openness of space. I really miss my usual writing spot in Redondo Beach at Coffee Cartel. 

Maybe I'm homesick. The thing is, I don't really have a home. At least not one I can call my own anyway. I'm still sleeping on my dad's couch in his living room. Sometimes the backseat of my car when I want to fall asleep at 10pm but people are using the living room or kitchen and their shooting the shit late into the evening. I've been spending a lot of nights at my boyfriend's house, but it's only a matter of time before that situation ends, and he too won't have a home to call his own. But he's more of a nomad then I'll ever be. I admire him for that. 

I probably make enough now to get my own place, but I'm too afraid to commit to anything long term, out of fear of having the rug slipped out from right underneath me. It always happens. It's inevitable.

But I heard a quote last night that really moved me.

"It's in the valley of failure that we sow our seeds of success."

I can't wait to go to the Matthew Hussey retreat. Which reminds me, I need to make another lump sum payment now that I got paid from one of my clients. 

Here's to another day of learning how to manage my life with a routine. Whether it lasts or not, that is the biggest lesson life needed to teach me if I am ever to have a shot at reaching my personal goals. It's good to set a standard for myself. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Goodbye Old Credit Card Debt!

With everything that happened surrounding KF's death in 2007, I made a lot of mistakes that ended up costing me literally thousands of dollars because I didn't know how to effectively manage my emotions. I must have gone through every coping mechanism method in the book.... drugs, sex, alcohol, food, netflix binges -- you name it, I did it.

But the one coping mechanism that really screwed me over was the couple of years I spent being addicted to retail therapy and trying to "keep up with Jones'" from my sorority life days, while I was secretly dying inside everyday, over and over again. For the most part, I think I hid it well by being the naturally reclusive person that I am.

But as of today, after almost eight years of diligence, perseverance and learning how to effectively manage emotions I kept locked away for so long (and have only released in small bits here and there over the years-- if you know me, you know the progress I've made), I have finally paid off all the bad credit card debt I accrued during my "retail therapy" days.

If you noticed I said "bad" credit card debt, it's because I haven't really done away with credit card debt completely. I have what I call "good" credit now, which means I mostly pay off the revolving credit cards I have now almost every month. I have successfully taught myself not to use money I don't have, and only to use credit when I know I will be able to pay it off at the end of the month, or within the next three months. I am officially a responsible credit card user.

I will admit, there was a lot of self-deprecation involved in the process, and times I thought I would never get myself out of credit card debt. But now that I am here, I can't tell you how proud I am of myself. Now, I can proceed with my get out of debt plan by refocusing the extra $200 I now have "free" every month on my student loan debt.

It feels great to know that the only bad debt I have hanging over my head is student loan debt. Don't even get me started on the whole student loan debt issue and how private lenders are a nightmare to deal with. I'm really hoping that policy Obama instituted back in 2010 really does extend to people like me who borrowed before 2007 since currently that policy (forgot the name, but read about it yesterday in the news) only applies to students who borrowed after 2007.

Oh man, what a relief. I can't believe I did it.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

First week working for the man

Got a full-time gig temporarily finally getting paid what I feel I'm worth. Started doubling my rates for all new clients so I can afford to start delegating tasks to elancers. Still need to learn how to more effectively manage people. It's not like I can replace myself exactly, but so far, it's costing me more time and more money outsourcing than it is for me to just do the work myself since the quality being produced isn't up the same standards of quality I hold myself accountable. What those standards are exactly, I can't quite put into words but I do know this much: I don't get the repeat business when I don't produce the content myself or have a hand in content development.

As far as the new gig, I actually like it so far. My first project was writing website content for dating app, which took me the whole week. I'm really nervous that I won't be able to live up to their expectations in producing more than what I did this week because that was about all I could handle really. Of course, I'd like to work myself up to taking on more of a writing load, but I'm thinking that will come gradually now that I'll be working up a consistent habit of writing everyday. I also feel like blogging more for myself and on a more personal level will help me become a better writer when I'm writing content for other people.

I love writing. It's a form of expression and art. And I have a profound need for expression. I want to feel heard whether someone is listening/reading or not.

To be a good writer, you've also got to be an avid reader. I used to think that reading was a luxury only afforded to the wealthy and affluent, but I'm starting to learning how much of a necessity it really is so I've been trying to build reading into my daily habits. I read a chapter in Seth Godin's book Linchpin this morning, and I also read chapter in another book about Ultra Mind Solutions. I'm trying to get healthy, but all this surface knowledge regarding health isn't really working for me so I'm hoping this book will give me the intellectual insight I need to really make the changes I want to be making for myself.

I've been trying this thing I learned about from James Clear which he refers to as identity-based habits. Instead of focusing on the big picture goals like wanting to lose 10 pounds in one month, he recommends focusing on building the habits that will lead you to your goal and telling yourself that you're the kind of person who [insert habit here].

I want to be the kind of person who reads educational, thought-provoking content everyday.
I want to be the kind of person who eats healthy and doesn't include a lot of sugar in her diet.
I want to be the kind of person that exercises everyday, even if its only a 20 minute walk.
I want to be the kind of person who always has something to say and blogs about it in case other people want to talk about it too.

That's what I'm working toward. What are you working towards?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

3 cardinal rules for guitar shopping

I recently decided I want to learn how to play the guitar. Everyone tells me I should meditate for whatever reasons, but I just can't get into it. It's just not my thing. But music is and I realized that singing is my form of meditation and prayers. It's my release through song, even if there are no words to the song, or the lyrics don't even make sense. It's still a sense of release for me, a moment in time where all is seemingly calm.

Since I'm just starting out, I'm trying to find a cheap guitar for less than $100. So far the best deal I found was a set with everything you needed to learn the guitar for $150 at Guitar Center. I also saw two for $80 bucks but they were super high and I was too timid to ask about it being new to guitar shopping.

Today I went to Sam Ash and a kind gentleman offered me some tips for my guitar search. He recommended a classical guitar with nylon strings so my fingers would get used to it. Then the sales associate gave me three cardinal rules for guitar shopping.

First, he said that 85% of the rules was the rule #1-it has to feel right. "When it feels right, you'll know," he said. I didn't realize shopping for a guitar was like shopping for a boyfriend....

Rule #2 was that it had to sound good. He said sounds can be changed but if it doesn't feel right, then it won't matter how good it sounds. Feel is the most important factor to consider when looking for the right guitar, especially because you want to find a guitar that you'll actually play and not get discouraged when first learning. 

Rule #3 was if it looks good too, then you got lucky, but the first two rules are more important. 

I'm glad I encountered these gentleman. They've been more than helpful on this little guitar journey off mine. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Matthew Hussey: A Model Public Speaker

This weekend, I went to see Matthew Hussey for his Get the Guy tour event. I haven't read his book yet, but I didn invest in his Man Mtyh program and really got a lot of value out of it. Even though his Ready for Love debut was short-lived and turned out to be a very public failure for him, it still got him exposure to a potential new audience, and I was among the new audience who tuned into Ready for Love, mainly for insight since I do blog for a matchmaking company. It's not often you hear about male matchmakers, so I was really curious to learn more about this guy and after watching a few videos, I decided I was a fan and started following him ever since.

This was probably the second time I've seen Matt Hussey speak. A lot of the stuff he talks about it stuff I was already exposed to in his Man Myth program, which was nothing more than a compilation of videos very similar to the event I was attending this past Saturday. Ironically, attendees had to sign a video release form since they were filimg the event.

While I probably should have been taking notes on the principles he was teaching, I opted not to since I had notes from watching the Man Myth and everything he was saying was just reinforcing  information I had already been exposed to previously. If anything, attending his events is like a constant reminder in case you slip up. I was glad I went because I ended up taking a few notes on his speaking.

He is among the many professionals doing some variation of what I would like to be doing with my life. Public speaking is something I've always aspired to do, but it's only something I'm not 100% confident doing in front of people I don't know anything about. I joined Toastmasters and that has certainly helped a little bit, but whenever I come across great speakers who inspire me, I try to make a note of things they're doing that work or reinforce things I've already learned about public speaking.

He started the event with an intro video which I noticed is a trend among speakers who use the video as a way to set the tone for the entire event. Then he had one of his staff members introduce him. This staff member is usually someone who used to sit in the audience at one point in time before they began working together in some capacity. Then Matt came out and instantly connected with the audience by overcoming objectives from the get-go and establishing his credibility through storytelling, which he used to position himself amid the competition for general dating advice that's out there on the market. He set the scene and tone for the rest of the day and set goals. What he did was manage expectations from the very beginning and made sure to stick to those expectations and then more throughout his entire speech.

The guy is a very charismatic speaker with a lot of high-energy. I wonder who his speaking coach or mentor is.