Change doesn’t scare me- complacency does.

Today marks one week in Boston.

Last week I packed my luggage, got on a plane and headed to yet another city I had to learn. Challenged accepted.

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Unlike other moves in the past, I had this one laid out to a tee. I listed my objectives, dates and goals leading up to the move, reviewed them daily and most important of all- took action.

Since graduating college in 2007 I’ve lived in Metro Detroit, San Francisco, Austin, New York, and even did a stint in Charlotte. Smaller towns were never on my radar, and living in a rut was never an option.

If you don’t like something, change it.

Easier said than done, right? Perhaps. Since arriving last Thursday I spent the weekend in Amesbury, explored the coast, tried beach pizza, went on several interviews, learned how to manuever the T and bus lines (every city is essentially the same, except Boston subway tracks are CLEAN), decorated my little Airbnb for Christmas, and even purchased some Red Sox gear (sorry to my Giants- I’m still loyal to you).

It’s been wonderful.

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I’m not sure what feels different about this move. There are the obvious reasons- I have a clear head, a plan, support, experience and above all, fearlessness. When I first moved to San Francisco at age 23 I lived on blind optimism and nativity. I suppose the same holds true for every other life-changing event… all except this one.

I’ve grown up and I’ve learned to take action. I’ve worked many types of jobs in several industries, experienced a variety of living situations, weathered different climates and began to learn the importance of staying in the moment. It has always been easy for me to get ahead of myself in life, but staying mindful is imperative in this journey.

Life isn’t always glamourous and the grind is never easy, but this time I intend to live one day at a time, keep a positive attitude and find beauty in each day.

I am starting to love you, Boston. Without getting ahead of myself, I hope we stay together for a very long time.

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It’s okay to be alone

“If misery loves company, misery has company enough.” -Henry David Thoreau

I grew up an only child, spending my days reading, writing, and using my own imagination to entertain myself. As I grew up, I quickly began to understand that what seemed so normal to me was quite unordinary.

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One of my favorite pastimes- swinging in my grandparent’s backyard.

I never surrounded myself with groups of people, joined teams or relied on siblings or neighbor friends- I relied on myself. I was happy in my own company, my own solitude. As a shy little girl I was quickly misunderstood, which only got worse as I became a teenager. Kids are mean… especially girls.

Sadly, this doesn’t change as an adult. I spent the better part of this fall taking a break from reality, working on myself and learning new skills, all while being surrounded by dozens of different people and personalities. This was one of the most rewarding yet challenging experiences of my life. I was in an environment where feelings were prevalent and people verbally worked through their problems, yet also tried to fix mine. I’ve never been a “touchy-feely” type of person, nor have I been codependent on others- this includes helping and being helped. I take the bull by the horns and try to do things alone.

I finally learned that it’s okay to ask for help- the right help.

Once again, I found myself being misunderstood. After a rollercoaster of a year, I began journaling daily, speaking to therapists and even asked a select few for advice. My month of introspection lead me to question myself, whether I was a good person or if I was doomed to be selfish my entire life. Only child syndrome, anxiety and a touch of OCD didn’t help matters, but upon researching personality types and environmental factors, I gained a piece of mind (and even a little bit of sanity).

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Makes sense.

Apparently INTJs are rare, so it makes sense that so many people have been confused by me my whole life. However, there is relief in knowing you don’t have to explain yourself or make excuses for who you are. I may never be that warm, open person giving out hugs, but I do know I have a good heart. I’m the most comfortable behind a book, the camera lens or a computer, but I do have my affectionate moments.

I’m still misunderstood and have been called every name in the book- but these days I don’t listen to the noise. Those who critique others are simply deflecting and avoiding their own shortcomings- and today I can accept that.

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Instead of trying to surround myself with groups of people and masking my anxiety with alcohol and a seemingly “together” facade, I’m growing comfortable with being brutally honest, putting my thoughts on paper and spending time with the person I am most at home with- me.

Whether I’m by the water, nestled in my room or enjoying a coffee with friends, I choose to live my life in the moment, love who I am and enjoy the simple things, one day at a time.

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Packing Light

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2016 began in a small apartment outside of Manhattan in Astoria, Queens. Although I had a large room, it came without one important thing- a closet. I improvised and managed to find a standing wardrobe that successfully stored everything I immediately needed- or so I thought.

Initially it was fun having everything I owned in sight; kind of like a store! Each morning I got to shop my own closet! The fun, however, wore off when that dreaded day came.

Moving day.

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Dresses and skirts and shoes, oh my. This doesn’t even appropriately depict the unmanageably of my “stuff;” the other half of my wardrobe was hidden in a hall closet and under the bed.

I moved to a smaller, more expensive apartment in June… I purged, I donated, I left behind. At that point I had packed everything I owned and headed down the street (three trips in an SUV, to be exact) to a space conveniently located two blocks from the NQ line. Proximity to the subway is crucial when living in NYC; however,”space” took a backseat in my priorities and I was hit hard with reality once my move was complete.

My stuff didn’t fit.

Life really does throw you curveballs. Just when I managed to find a place for everything and was finally feeling settled, I received some bad news. July wasn’t even half way over and I found out I lost my marketing gig on Fifth Avenue… just a couple of days before I was told I needed to find a new apartment.

Back to the drawing board.  

So, what does a girl do after riding a New York rollercoaster for over two years? One might tell her to “pick yourself up and keep going!” My wise mind told me to leave… that there had to be something better, more fitting for me just around the corner.

Unfortunately, leaving meant packing. Packing everything I had collected, everything I brought with me, everything my family sent me from home. Sigh.

So, here’s what I did.

  • I carried three pieces of luggage home to Michigan with me- only with the summer clothes and things I would immediately need.
  • I shipped several- and I mean SEVERAL- boxes home to my mom’s house. I’d worry about those later.
  • About those boxes… each had a method behind the madness. Winter coats in one, miscellaneous shoes I never wear in another, work clothes, random clothes, house crap… but mainly clothes.
  • I gave a lot of things away. I had purses that were great, kitchenware I had never used, and bulky things I just couldn’t take with me. I left my brand new leather chair with my roommate as a token of appreciation for dealing with me. More on that later.
  • I threw a lot of things away. Towels, sheets, socks, toiletries. Goodbye.
  • Someone on the sidewalk must have had fun, too- I left a variety of odds and ends, storage compartments, books and jewelry organizers on the curb. Come and get it.

I did a lot of organizing and additional purging when I returned to Michigan, and did even more of it this past month before heading to Boston.

Once again, I got on a flight with three pieces of luggage. I had searched high and low for a temporary apartment outside the city, and in the end found a cute Airbnb while I interviewed for jobs.

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An organized, manageable amount of clothes.

For the time being I’m content in my temporary Medford home. It’s organized, cozy, and has space for everything I need- not everything I own. In a week I’ll have a better idea of where I want to live and what my rent budget is, but I’ll tell you one thing:

Even if I had all the space in the world, I wouldn’t want to fill it.

There is something serene about knowing exactly what you own, where it is and how it fits in your life. My old habits of being a packrat have diminished with each move, and now I value organization, piece of mind and decluttering more than the American dream of consumerism and “stuff.” Ugh, stuff.

This is what brings me to the “mindful” theme of my blog- in being present and content with where you are in life, what you have and what you want, you can also live minimally, stylishly, happy and content. These things are on your terms- no one else’s. I came to a crossroads where I had to decide what I valued- it wasn’t “keeping up with the Joneses” or buying the latest pair of heels- it’s about quality over quantity. Quality in people, places and things- not living a life of excess.

Although I have made some mistakes along the way, I’ve gotten the chance to learn about myself, declutter my room, and ultimately, declutter my life.

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While I used to own dozens of purses, now I only keep what I use- and love.

Posted in boston, home, lifestyle, mindfulness, minimalism | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments