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Archive for the tag “motivation”

Motivation Is the By Product of Healthy Jealousy

Many moons ago, before any of you even heard of my blog or started reading it, I did an early post about how high-achieving friends can either make you feel absolutely crappy about yourself, and you can secretly hate them and let that hate and jealousy fester inside you, or you can sail on their tailwinds, watch and learn how they navigate life and get you some of that too.

Now, I don’t mean be a leech. But I do mean really take a look at how they approach life, the things they want and their motivation behind the things that they want. What do they care about? Are they happy? How do they maintain the happy? How do other people respond to them?

The people I know who are doing well at life, are a) just living it.

They are, in my mind fearless. But I’m sure they have their own insecurities and struggles, but they make things happen. They take a deep breath, swallow hard, and just go.

b) they are good people and everyone can feel it.

No one is a stranger. I get baffled at how there are some friends of mine, where I could be in any city with them anywhere and either they know people or the new people they meet fall in love with them, or they know some mutual friend like six degrees of Kevin Bacon.

c) they have a moral compass that guides them and they stick to it.

There are certain things that they just won’t do. Or if something ain’t workin, they let it the hell go and figure out a new plan, but they won’t sell their soul. And if they sold their soul, they are going to admit it. Then when they do, I tell them it’s ok, it was only a lease, you’ll get it back.

d) they are actually playing it by ear. I guess that’s a lot like the first item on my list.

e) they refuse to limit themselves.

The friends who decide they want to leave the country for a while and travel internationally, the friends who go back to school, go back again, start a business, fail start another, decide to join the circus or fix babies in foreign countries with cleft lip. They just say screw it, I’ma follow my heart.

f) they have a past and usually it’s juicy or very weird and totally interesting.

g) they tend to be the least judgemental out of everyone else you know. Hmmm. That makes me think. The most judgemental people I know tend to be the ones who haven’t gone anywhere, haven’t tried anything, don’t have different kinds of friends. I guess that makes sense.

So, in my long-winded intro, the inspiration from this post comes from what I call a tennis match between two friends I know, who I introduced at a concert last night. Both are serious world travelers and are actually a lot a like in terms of just having magnetic personalities. Naturally, they hit it off.

Others would think it was a pissing match of who’s seen what all over France, but oddly, a gal who’s only been to Canada and Mexico, did not see it that way.

I saw people bonding over a shared experience, and fueling my appetite to go, so I can have an awesome time and swap a story or two also. I didn’t feel left out, I didn’t feel like they were elitist. Their excitement wasn’t bragging to me because my spirit didn’t allow it. They were my friends, and it makes me happy that my friends can even do things like that. It was a nudge, saying, “Girl, you better get you some too. We did it, so can you, or better yet, what are you waiting for, let’s go!”

One of the friends, was actually cool with the artist and afterwards, we got to chill and chat!!! I was proud of myself for keeping my cool, even though to even be in the presence of super-talented, super cool people, it makes you wonder if everything you said is corny once it comes out of your mouth. It did make me feel better when he laughed at my jokes while sucking the marrow out of a chicken wing (just like a normal person). I even got a hug at the end of the night. I also love when celebrities introduce themselves and use their first name, like dude, I just paid $40 to see you. I know who you are, but it was still cool, and nice, and polite nonetheless. I guess I’d be pissed if he shook my hand and said, “You paid $40 to see me, you know my name already.”

Even in that moment, I thought I was totally blessed. I know great people who share their gifts and talents and even their celebrity friends. Yes, I walked back to a now 12-year-old car with tape holding up a window that is off track (next on my list to fix), but damn it. It was all good.

You all know I’d been feeling crappy about my lot in life recently.

And hearing my good friends talk about their travels in Paris, and their jobs, and their disillusionment with D.C. and how they do want to make a difference in the lives of others, then flip it back to hip hop and street slang, then talk about how it was such a shame we missed the Vice Presidential debates, I was back in my element. I felt life rushing back into my spirit.

You need at least one super awesome talented friend who leads an amazing life.

And you probably have one.

There’s a fellow blogger who is a friend in my head. She writes a blog called, “The Usual Bliss.”

I kind of lust for her life. It seems the complete opposite of mine and that’s what makes my attraction to her blog so fascinating to me. It’s filled with travel, love, her man and her faithful wonderdog. She’s always either whipping up awesome food, and traipsing through nature’s beauty mostly in Utah and other parts of America, that I really never thought I’d want to visit. (I’m no nature girl. At all. Think the little black girl from Troop Beverly Hills.)

But she’s really got this black chick from Long Island itching to get a ticket to Park City. I’m so serious. I told one of my adventurous homegirls that we got to go.

She usually takes a bunch of snapshots from her life and she just shares them. She’ll write about some of her adventures or recipes, and her pending nuptials (so awesome happy for her). Whether it’s a glass of wine sitting on a table, or her dog chasing something across a calm stream, or a photo of her hanging with her very best people, her words and photos really make you feel like you’re spending time with a friend. She’s made me think of  going to places like West Virgina to see the leaves change one weekend. I totally dig and get her point. You’ve got to stop and find the bliss in the little things.

I don’t even know her personally, but I can bet she lives by the list of things I mentioned the friends I’m jealous of in a healthy way live by.

I just thank God, I didn’t have a spirit of, “wow, my life sucks compared to yours, “but instead, “wow, I need to figure out a way to travel internationally, like now,” or, “maybe instead of killing myself to find a job in this area, maybe I should widen my net.” I’ve moved before, and it’s opened me up to so much.

Instead of comparing and sulking and assuming their lives are better, I used that moment to be opened up to more possibilities.

That’s a huge gift my über awesome, successful, smart, connected, caring friends gave and continue to me. I’ll always love them for that.

I smiled all the way home, listening to the C.D. of the wing-sucking, light-hearted, nerd at heart (we discussed number 2 pencils, mechanical pencils and how they suck and made up periodic elements and whether or not he makes fun of people in the audience in his head while performing) musician I’d just met, who thought my “black nerds unite” shirt was awesome.

Then I thought, “Shit. I should have worn a shirt I DESIGNED!”

P.S. Aside from the Sister Act 2 Fundraiser featuring Whoopi singing “Get Up Off That Thang.” “Cookie Time” from Troop Beverly Hills (featuring the sassy little girl I mentioned earlier) is one of the best fundraising scenes in a motion picture film.

It’s Friday. I’m feeling generous! I’ma give yall a bonus. “Get Up Offa That Thang/Dancin In the Street.”

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Trouble Sleeping

I can’t sleep. I’m writing this post all riled up. I guess my bout of insomnia is a mixture of things. I was off today for Columbus Day and I basically stayed in my house since Friday evening.

I’ve managed to at least feel like I did something constructive, by getting some car repairs done and applying to two more awesome jobs. One of the jobs is with an organization I’ve applied to about four times now. Geez.

The anxiety of job-hunting is maddening. As the days go by, I find myself getting more and more antsy. More and more dissatisfied. My faith is wavering. I’m trying to pray more. My heart beats faster as I try to sleep. I’ve been sleeping with low classical music in the background to calm my psyche.

Something has to give soon.

Anyway, with so much time to myself, it’s horribly easy to get into a funk, ask yourself questions about what you’ve done wrong in life and watch “Dirty Dancing” then almost killing an entire regular can of Pringles over the course of two days.

I’ve been thinking over a bunch of things.

My career/path.

My romantic life. Ironically, one dude who I turned down last year has popped up to ask me how I’m doing. Another sweetheart of a guy, but I just didn’t feel that chemistry on my end.

Was it a reminder that I’m shallow and ridiculous and destined to be alone I am because I keep relying on that feeling I get (the same feeling I knew I felt but still wound up hurt in the end).

It made me revisit and text the guy who makes my blood boil, yet toes curl. He was still up for a little fun and the exchange of dirty messages.

But as I edge closer to a year of no physical lovin, I want it to be right. I don’t want it to suck. I don’t want to get emotionally reckless with the handsome, intelligent, toe-curler, who sends me mixed messages.

One of my good male friends sat in my living room last night, determined to help me at least get out of the house and see a movie and told me, my expectations for awesome sex after my hiatus is a horrible idea.

He’s probably right. I’m also glad that he brought a bottle of champagne. His champagne and conversation did help make me feel better. I returned the favor by making ribs and chicken.

I also thought to myself, I have a couple of close male friends I love dearly and I’m super comfortable with them. I can say anything and they are accepting, they see me as a lady still (I can be raunchy) and they always laugh at my jokes. They get me.

If only the men I’m attracted to were like my close male friends.

Back to the other stuff.

I feel like everything is changing around me so quickly, but the optimism I had as a young 20-something who can take on the world, has certainly subsided.

You couldn’t tell me no. I saved rejection letters from publications I dreamed of writing for.

Because I knew I’d show them all.

And there are some accomplishments I’ve had that totally certified and validated me and I’m so thankful for them. What a ride.

But what’s in me right now? What is inside of me?

I keep trying to push, but it’s been tough. I feel worn out. I don’t know if it is me getting older and jaded, or if that thing in me that motivated people to say yes, is gone.

How did I get people to say yes?

Do I have to start lowering my salary requirements?

I shouldn’t have to. I’ve worked so hard for years. I deserve what I’m asking for.

Can I find a balance between money, career, the business I want to nurture and grow?

Who are my allies? How do I build new ones?

Who and what inspires me? How do I ramp up the inspiration?

I was a little girl who told people I’d be president and I’d be in the White House one day. I did it as a reporter while an intern in college and then later on with another news organization.

I’ve got to find that person again. No is never an option. I say I’m going to do something I will.

In my high school yearbook, my footnote for my senior photo said, the world was going to read my words. They have.

Something has to happen. While I’m disillusioned with mainstream journalism, I have to believe my job that blends writing and health advocacy is just around the corner and that one of these several jobs in that area will choose me. It has to happen.

That’s been the pattern of my life.

About six years ago, shortly after wanting to step into four lanes of traffic because I wanted a few days in the hospital and not wanting to go into a job I hated, an opportunity presented itself. I didn’t want to die, I just wanted a break. I watched the cars whiz by, and I was so tempted to just step in. Folks think I’m so strong.

And when I tell that story, they are shocked.

But that’s just it. We all get tired. We all feel like our problems, our inadequacies, they are all too much. And even though fighting through it is the “right” thing to do, and what we’re supposed to do, sometimes the effort it takes to just stand, keep our eyes open and even ball our fists takes everything you have.

Sometimes the most absurd thing like stepping into the street and getting a few days in the hospital sounds like peace.

We all think these thoughts in some kind of way. It may not be as far as self harm or suicide. It may be staying in bed with the covers over your head and not going to work. It could be ignoring your crying kids, or eating fast food in your car alone. Sometimes, we just get tired. We don’t want to be responsible, we want to be selfish, because fighting through is too tiring. It’s too tiring.

When another job seemed to be too much but paid too little, and I paid for my gas with couch change and I went to sleep hungry because I had to use my entire paycheck for rent, an opportunity presented itself.

I’m not in as dire a situation as the ones I’ve mentioned, and I certainly don’t want things to get that bad, but each and every time, just before I was at the very end of my mental and emotional rope, a window was cracked and I got out to the other side.

I’m hoping that the way I feel right now. This weariness, this tiredness means I’m toward the end of the battle and that the change I’m looking for, the bright side I’m aching for is just within reach.

Inspiration: Look no further than your highly motivated friends…

I just finished having an online chat with one of my dear friends who is living the life teaching English to adolescent South Korean boys. (I’ve decided, next year I’m using my entire tax refund to kick it with her in the Spring.) It was beyond ballsy for ol girl to up and leave the U.S. to live in a totally different culture where people are speaking a totally different language. She’s doing it and she’s loving it. And yes, I’m jealous. In a good way, though.  

While my own personal life has been in a kind of rut, I’m excited and impressed with my friends (most of whom are almost 30 and 30+) who are just going for theirs right now.

A number of friends and aquaintances have just secured advanced degrees, started small businesses i.e. making tasty treats or have picked up freelance work for major magazines. I’m proud of them all and admittedly jealous… in a good way.

But why should they have all the fun? It’s high time I get off my behind and think about the things I’m good at, the things I enjoy or the things I want to learn and just go do them.

Here’s my motivation: I’ve noticed a certain glow of satisfaction in all of these people because they set out to do something and they did it and did it well. They didn’t have to, but they dug deeper, and did something extra to give their lives a little more umph. And now, they are reaping the rewards.

There’s a book I love, called “Repositioning Yourself” by T.D. Jakes. In his book, he talked about the kinds of people you surround yourself with and how they can make or break who you are and who you are going to be. If you have friends with no goals, dreams, or aspirations then it’s going to be even harder for you to strive for what you want, or get the support you need from those friends to even accomplish it.

I’m glad I have friends in my corner who challenge me to be better not only in their words, but their actions. Instead of shaming me into success because of a vain need to “keep up” or “one up” them, they nurture me into it by example.  

Now that’s grown.

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