Transitions.

So I did it: I picked up my life and moved to the Bay Area, got a new job within 2 months, bought a car, and am on my way to finding an apartment.  Why don’t I feel as great as I thought I would?  I didn’t expect it to be this hard, but I suppose if I knew, I would have never made such a drastic change.  My memory is lost on whether I had such a hard time adjusting to Hawaii – I’m trying to find a frame of reference for how I’m feeling.  DC…definitely even worse since I knew almost no one and it was COLD.

I miss Hawaii horribly: often, when I close my eyes, I see the gorgeous blue water, clean waves, sunshine and see me laughing with my people.  My people.  It’s something I don’t quite have yet here and can’t expect to yet.  I have childhood and college friends here, along with other Hawaii transplants, but they don’t feel like “my people”.  I question if I ever will have the friendships I did in Hawaii.  I recognize the luxury of time, access to recreation and the culture of Ohana (family/friends) coming before work, is not the norm here on the mainland – or at least for the East Bay. I knew this moving here.  I knew all of this was true. Yet the sadness of letting go is no less of a shock to my core.

What I may find is a good group of friends and colleagues who are close but our time together is penciled into our planners (more like iPhones).  We will go to dinner or a bar instead of hanging out at the beach.  I do know I can find friends who surf and enjoy a similar lifestyle that I’m used to.  This I do believe, despite feeling discouraged and cynical right now.  Though instead of this being the norm it will be an exception to the rule.  But I’ve never been one to follow the societal rules to begin with.

What I do hold on to is the understanding that my experience in Hawaii and the memories I created are still mine to keep.  They have not gone away but live within me and always will.  I can carry those memories and experiences with me every day and let them shape who I am today and forever.

I question why I’m here almost every day, sometimes several times a day.  Is the lifestyle change, traffic, fast-paced life and high cost of living worth it?  I can’t answer this question yet, though I wish I could.  I want to say, “yes”, but I fear my answer will be “no”.  I strongly feel I am meant to be here – I feel it in my soul – but for how long, I am not sure.  So I need to take each day, each moment, as it comes and remember this to shall pass, I’ll find a home wherever I go (and within myself) and the answer to my question will eventually reveal itself.

 

 

Overworked in Paradise

Looking at the date of my last post I realize just how much my life has changed.  I didn’t realize how much working full-time again would change me and how I experience the world.  My job has proven to be challenging and exciting, but not without it’s drawbacks.  For several months now, I feel like I’ve lost sight of why I moved to Hawaii.  Too many hours in the office to the point where I’m starting to learn the cleaning staff that come in at 6:30PM on a first-name basis: it’s not healthy.  I didn’t expect to get consumed by work, not here in Hawaii.  Somehow I thought now that I was in Hawaii, where people value quality of life over work, I’d be immune to pushing myself to the point of exhaustion.  Once again, I’ve learned that wherever you go, you bring yourself with you.  Interestingly, my amount of responsibility is higher than any position I had in Washington, DC so I’m working even harder then ever.

I almost hit my tipping point last week: that point where you are burnt out and there’s no turning back.  I’m trying not to beat myself up for letting it get to that. I know I need to be gentle toward myself. I’m passionate and committed to my work to a fault.

I took Friday off and took off in a boat and went fishing.  It was one of the better decisions I’ve made in months.  I can almost say it saved me, at least for this week.  Something about being out in the middle of nowhere deep blue ocean fishing with whales gracefully gliding by you, spinner dolphins racing your boat and no one in sight.  This is why I moved here and this is what I need to continue to live for.

So I’ve taken a look at where I’m at and what needs to change.  I have always prided myself in working hard and having a high level of productivity.  I can accomplish a lot in a short amount of time.  But it’s dawned on me it’s not always a good thing: operating at full speed 100% of the time can only lead to burnout.  So I need to become less productive.  Not lazy or unmotivated but learn to pace myself.  If I don’t get something done today, it will get done tomorrow.  And the world will not end if I don’t check off everything on my daily planner list. I need to let go, surrender to my limitations and trust everything will work out just fine.  I don’t want to be that person who is a control freak and consumed by work.  And that is exactly the way I’ve been operating.  When I look in the mirror I want to like what looks back at me.

Tomorrow is a new day and I’m going to practice slowing down. I’m going to practice being less productive so I can continue to be productive in the future.  And I’m not going to feel guilty about it.

 

I miss…something. Not sure what.

It’s been over a month since I’ve graduated and I don’t feel like I’ve moved much.  Physically, yes, but mentally I’m not so sure.  Not working has been great but the nagging feeling that I should be looking for a job weighs on me.  And I have been looking, though not all that different from graduate school, it never ends and it’s completely self-motivated.  Motivation is the key word here.

Part of my hesitation of investing more time into a job search is: a)  I am ambivalent about being a professional again (think: game face all the time); b)  I know once I start working full-time I’ll wish I had more time off; and c) I am not quite certain there are a lot of available jobs in my field in Hawaii and I’m scared to find out.

Strange being in what feels like the no-mans-land of life.  No job, no school, just sort of floating around.  Yet it’s very freeing to be in this place and still be okay with it all.  A few years ago I would have been ridden with anxiety.  I do wonder what will come my way, wondering if anything will come my way, but trusting in the journey is all I can really do.

Off to Seattle, Vancouver and San Francisco this week.  I’m looking at it as my last hurrah before my paid vacations will be 2-weeks… if I’m lucky.

 

 

Be a better human

I have a difficult time recognizing if someone has been a jerk if it’s fairly clear it wasn’t intentional.  I’m good at making excuses for other people’s bad behavior.  But at what point is someone just a jerk?

A couple of weeks ago I had an encounter with an academic superior where I was spoken to disrespectfully and shocked by what was spewing out of his mouth.  A few years ago I would have left with tears, but what I thought as I sat there and listened to him was, “I don’t care.  I don’t want to be like you nor do what you do”.  It was wonderfully liberating to walk away laughing instead of crying, with my head held high.  Though, with a slightly deflated ego.

Finding my inner-genius

I like this quote and it really speaks to me right now.  I’ve felt less-than-genius for the past year, trying to figure out my research project and somehow finish graduate school.  There were a couple of unexpected curve balls that derailed me over the year and I’m not so sure I’ve recovered, at least not in the way I had hoped.  So the next step is figuring out how to rally and finish what I started.   Judging myself has not proved helpful.  Perhaps accepting where I am at and moving forward is all I can do in this moment.

My intention for this week is to remember to be thankful for having the opportunity to be in grad school and that I’m not working 9-5.  At times it sounds appealing but I remember the not so distant past where I wanted to poke my eyes out at 4 pm every day, staring at the clock.  Well, not exactly, but I most definitely did not enjoy spending the majority of my day in an office, chained to a computer.

When I first moved to Hawaii and started grad school I couldn’t believe how great life was and all I could think was: why didn’t I do this earlier?  Now I just want to to finish and make some money.

Maybe the grass is always greener on the other side?

New Year, still me. Thank goodness.

How do I express that everything has changed, yet nothing at all?  Accepting that life will never be what it was.  With the New Year, I wanted to leave the sadness and grief of my mothers’ death behind, embarking on a new year with new expectations on myself and the future.  But that doesn’t change me.  All the intentions and determination in the world cannot change who I am in the moment.  You cannot command the grieving process or feelings to act in a certain way.  If only it were that easy.

I wanted to push the past behind me, move forward.  And in many ways I have.  I have accepted the past several months were difficult and painful: that some areas in my life were put on hold.

In a world where progress is measured in success and “moving on”, it’s difficult to honor the grieving process as work in itself.  I may not have been as productive in certain areas as I could have been, but I was (and am) working my ass off in other ways: grieving (action word).  If only you could put that on your resume.

In some ways I’m surprised that I Continue reading

well, that was a bad idea

Chemistry and biology at the same time during a 6-week summer session was most definitely not the greatest idea I’ve had. Therefore, I dropped biology yesterday.  What a great decision it was!  I appreciate my ambitious nature but I was beginning to question my sanity.  It has been a long and exhausting summer.  Or more like a long and busy spring that bled into summer and hasn’t stopped since.

A bit sad right now that the wonderful elation I was feeling from my time in Mozambique has significantly waned, mostly due to overwhelming myself with school and work.  Only back a little over 3 weeks and it feels like it never happened. But I trust it will come back.  Amazing experiences always Continue reading