Tag Archives: Life

Never be afraid to be who you are

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I’ve gone through so many phases of my life and have continued to develop who I am as a person a little bit more each time. My core values almost always remain the same, but sometimes the way we act on those values change, depending on our life situation, our age, or job, or love life, whatever it may be.

I’ve been in relationships in the past where I’ve felt myself bend too far, where the things I was willing to compromise on took too much out of me and I lost track for a while of what it was I was really looking for, and who I really was.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that you should never be afraid to be who you are. Never try to change what makes you you, otherwise you will end up being unsure of yourself and possibly even resentful of the people around you who “forced” you to change.

Relationships are about compromise, it’s about fitting two completely different people who may view the world in very different ways, into one single relationship. It’s important that each person feels loved and happy with the other person, and that each person can be exactly who and how they are without having to worry if their partner will accept them or not. Of course, we may have to compromise behaviors, or the way we are used to doing things, (i.e. I mix my darks and lights in one load, and my fiancé likes to keep them separate. It also drives him crazy that I leave the laundry in the washing machine long after its done and really don’t mind taking clean clothes straight out of the dryer to put on each day…) so you have to be mindful of what’s going to push your partner’s buttons and at least try not to do them, but not when it comes to questions of your character or moral beliefs. You should always stay true to yourself and to what’s important to you. And the other things, you will find, aren’t such a big deal to compromise on when your “love tank” is full and you feel loved for who you are.

You are the only one who is responsible for leading your life and for being the person you are meant to be. Only you can control your fate and where you go next. So do what I do, check in with yourself from time to time and make sure you are happy. Make sure you are fulfilled and satisfied, if you are with a partner, make sure they make you feel loved each and every day. And if not, maybe it’s time to reconsider the choices you’ve made, and the actions you took to lead you down the “wrong” path. I say “wrong” because I don’t believe anywhere you go in life is without its lessons. We all make mistakes and we can all carve a new future for ourselves at any time, but if you don’t stop to take a look around once in a while and see if that’s where you really want to be, you might just get swept up in a current of frustration!

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What’s Normal, Anyway?

Some people have this idea of a “normal” life. They just want to live a balanced life, loving their job, loving their spouse (or partner or roommate, whoever), maybe even aspire to buying a house in the burbs, filling it with happy golden retrievers and children’s laughter, and having enough time to go to the gym, cook a 3 course dinner for your family, and have passionate sex in the evenings.

But what if “normal” isn’t normal for everyone? Or what if your idea of normal is someone else’s idea of crazy? My fiance and I live our “normal” routine. Normal consists of him catching a flight once a week for 3-4 days at a time to whatever normal1destination his client happens to be in (lately, that’s been Frankfurt, but it changes up from time to time.) Meetings change, appointments change, so those days, inevitably, also change. Normal for me is about half a week of living la vida single – drinks with friends, going to the gym, chatting on gchat til 1 am. The irony is that I also travel for work, usually about 3-4 weeks at a time (depending on the needs of my project and how long I’ve been away from the project site.) So “normal” for me is always needing a cat sitter, always adjusting to new hours and time zones and changes in weather – i.e. never falling into a routine.

I think what most people consider to be comforting, i.e. routinized days filled with breakfast and dinner at home, lunch with colleagues, typical Tuesday, Wednesday, or Friday activities – to me sounds stressful! How can I possibly know on Monday what I will want to do on Friday? How can I tell you that in two weeks time I will be in Berlin for the weekend – what if I want to go to London instead?

I think everyone defines their own sense of normalcy and what makes them feel balanced and stable. As I’ve learned over the years, I feel most balanced and stable when everything is in motion. Monotony scares me and forward motion keeps my batteries charged, always ready for action.

What is your comfort zone like? How do you define normal?

Time to Catch up with Resolutions from Last Year

Remember last year, when you wrote down a list of all the things you planned to accomplish in 2012? Like running a 10k, or finding a new job, or finally going through all those old bills you have which no longer serve a purpose? Do you remember feeling inspired, like you could really get it done? And then, do you remember watching as the clock ticked down on the last day of December thinking, well, there’s always next year!

Well here is next year! A chance to do it all again, or more likely, for the first time! So as I start the new year, telling people that “I don’t do resolutions” and feeling like I am above it all and don’t need a new year to force me to do the things that I already wanted to do anyway, I am finally taking action on all my “not resolutions”…from last year!

For starters, I have always wanted a personal trainer. I don’t need to write another post about getting one, since you all already know I am struggling my way through intensely painful leg and arm movements today, (why did I ever think I was in reasonably good shape?!). Check! I also wanted to become fluent in German. Okay, I can’t exactly check that off my list, but at least I am re-committing myself to the language classes I’ve already been taking for over a year now. I show up! That counts for something, right?

Let’s add a sprinkle of blogging regularly to the mix. Guilty! I have not been so good at this lately. But I think I deserve at least a B+ for effort! I promise (not resolve) to be better about it. Just need to write when the inspiration comes. Like on a freezing cold Sunday afternoon when I’ve just discovered a hole in my woolen sock.

There's a hole in my...sock...dear Lila dear Lila!

There’s a hole in my…sock…dear Lila dear Lila!

I’ve also got an eclectic mix of running a half marathon, traveling, being better at gift-giving, and, naturally, learning Serbian tossed in. While the running and traveling are (seemingly) coming more naturally to me these days, my Serbian remains at a steadfast zero. But I’m pretty sure you can’t just marry into a Serbian family and not speak the language.

Last thing on my list, well for today at least, is certainly this whole photoshop/photography thing that I’ve been wanting to explore for years now. I can’t blame this on 2012, or 2011, or even the year before, but either on my fear of failure, or lack of expendable funds to sign up for a class. That’s not to say I’m suddenly rolling in dough, but I did finally decide to shell out to explore a passion of mine.

You most certainly cannot call me unambitious! So we’ll see how this whole Not Resolutions thing works out for 2013.

A Happy Ending in 2012

To say 2012 has been a crazy year would be an understatement. The amount of eye-opening and life-changing experiences I’ve had over the year have been nothing short of a blessing, both the good and the bad, and a true example of character development and personal growth.

From start to finish – from ending a relationship to rekindling a great love, from working my butt off to lobby for a big project and actually succeeding, from flying home to be with family in difficult times, to traveling throughout Europe, Asia, and South America, it has been a whirlwind I wouldn’t trade for anything.

Now that the year is quickly coming to a close, I can actually stop to appreciate all the difficulties and stresses I’ve faced, and be grateful for the love and support I’ve never ceased to feel from my wonderful family and friends. I can also say how proud I am of myself for sticking it out, whatever “it” may have been for the given time, to stand where I do today – feeling stronger and braver than before.

And I am grateful for all the happy moments and all of the new friendships I’ve made along the way. And for the friends that stayed close no matter where in the world I was – for the greatest friends I could ever ask for spanning the globe from Paraguay to the US to the Bahamas to Germany to Singapore.

And to top it off, I am grateful to realize that that great love is the forever kind and I will get to spend the rest of my life next to a man who is as kind as he is intelligent and as loving as he is fearless, and who’s passion for exploring is as fierce as my own.

2012 may have had its challenges, and though it may have felt like I lived a lifetime in just 12 months, it has a very happy ending after all.

Me and My Fiancé!

Me and My Fiancé!

Another Year Over

Well, almost over anyway! I can’t believe how fast this year went, though I’m sure that while it was happening it felt painfully slow! I have certainly been through a lot of changes; my boyfriend moved to Europe, I moved out of my first apartment, I quit my first job, I moved to South America to follow a dream, and now we are inching towards December and then soon after 2011.

It is definitely bittersweet. While in some ways this was one of the most difficult years for me, I think my overarching feeling is that it has been by far the best year I’ve had in a long time, if ever. I’ve opened new opportunities for myself which would never have been opened if I hadn’t dealt with the difficulties of the earlier part of the year – and so I feel lucky to have been forced to overcome some major life changes and some challenging decisions to bring me to where I am now.

It’s easy for me to sit back and reflect now as I am edging towards the close of my time here in Paraguay, with only two weeks remaining, and heading home to see my family and friends for the holidays and celebrate the beginning of yet another New Year.  I can’t believe how fast the time passes, but I don’t think it will ever slow down so I might as well embrace it and do my part to enjoy every minute of the remaining 2010, in Paraguay and the U.S.