Silence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

When I was younger, I would purposely get in my car and drive around aimlessly for an hour or two just to listen to my favorite songs loud and on full blast. For some reason it calmed me, soothed me, lifted my spirits.

In college, my study habits thrived on the white noise that came from people surrounding me – I constantly found myself at local coffee shops or the noisy, social floor in the campus library.

In those days, the silence was deafening.

But back then I was late teens/early twenties, and I had just discovered my outgoing side – at that point, all I was concerned about was socializing [this may have been around the time that the acronym “FOMO” was born].

These days, I relish the quiet moments. In fact, I thrive on them.

Oh, sure, I still love listening to music in my car. It honestly feels odd just to drive around without tunes on. [Is it just me, or is there something totally creepy about being able to hear all of the sounds your car makes while it’s running?] Listening to music while I drive is still soothing.

But my work life and my home life – those are two places that the quiet is euphoric. Although, if I’m being totally honest, the office isn’t quiet AT ALL. While we don’t often have visitors or clients dropping by, there is always the usual hum of phones ringing, people talking, fingers tapping on keyboards, printers madly spewing papers at hyperspeed. You get the idea.

Okay.. So HOME. Home. Home SWEET home. That is my PLACE. That is where I am able to achieve complete and total silence. [At least for several hours before my boyfriend gets home from work.]

I love my boyfriend. SO much. I really do, but he does not know what quiet is. Sometimes I just sort of wonder if he is kind of afraid of silence.

I know we all like to listen to music while we get ready. I usually don’t when I’m getting ready for work in the morning [because, again, I love the quiet]. But at night when I’m getting glammed up to go out, I’ll throw on some tunes to get me hyped up. My boyfriend will listen to music on FULL BLAST. From the moment he wakes up to the moment he grabs his backpack and walks out the door. Luckily, it’s rare that he’s up when I am in the morning. But even so, I try to enjoy every moment of the solitude I have when I’m awake by myself every morning.

The evenings, when I get home from work, are my FAV. I LOVE evenings. I always have several hours to myself before he gets home. 4-5 hours to do whatever I want at the volume I want [which, obviously, is usually low to zero]. This is the time I like to clean the house, work on crafts, get organized – whatever! And I like to do it without any noise. Even tonight, for example. I’ve been sitting on the couch for FIVE HOURS just relaxing in complete silence. Bella is lying next to me, there’s a fire in the fireplace, and I’ve just been enjoying a glass of wine and surfing the internet [that’s, like, such an old school phrase.. “surfing the ‘net” LOL].

It’s funny how our tastes change throughout life. How in ten years I’ve done almost a complete 180 from the younger girl I used to be.

I guess the point of this post is to remind you to do things for YOU. Remember who you are and don’t lose sight of the simple things in your life that make you happy. I think most days we don’t even realize how much it can affect us if we aren’t able to do things that bring us peace. I know that for myself, having those few hours of quiet downtime at night are NECESSARY to my happiness and my well being. On the nights where my boyfriend isn’t working, I get stressed and snippy if I don’t carve out some alone time for myself.

Figure out what the little things are that bring you joy and make sure you do them!

Solo Girl vs. Taken Girl: Bridging the Gap

You guys know me. You know I’m aaallllll about that independent woman ish. I advocate it, I constantly write about it – I preach it, fo sho.

BUT, now that I’m in a relationship, I kinda sorta forget that I should probably write about how to consolidate the two.

Because, let’s be honest, I am totally guilty of being THAT girl who’s got the perfect life […according to Instagram].

* Here’s my boyfriend and I – smiling and happy.*
* Here I am with my family – we have this amazing house in Tahoe and we hike and play games together.*
* Dobie/Mama selfie!*

GAG. Life is SO not like that on the backside. Like.. Sooooo not.

Let’s face it. Life is HARD. And relationships aren’t perfect. And if I’m really real with myself, I have struggled a bit with getting back to who I was B.R. [before relationship]. And NOT, to be clear, NOT the party girl with the wild heart. Not her. Definitely do not miss her. But the me who enjoyed doing things by myself, who had girls nights, bonded with my dog and crafted things and had a life of my own.

Now, don’t get that confused with wanting to be by myself. That’s not what I’m saying. I love my guy. LOVE the man. And spending time with him is one of my newest favorite pastimes.

But, finding a balance between my new life and my old life has presented quite a challenge for me.

Exhibit A: family time. I love my parents. They are amazing people. They have this love and this bond that I’ve just always admired and always wanted for myself. And prior to my boyfriend, I spent a LOT of time with them. And now that I’ve got this relationship, we’ve all had a rough time with the fact that my time is more occupied nowadays. Sometimes I just feel like I’m spread so thin, like the last thing I have time for right now is a last minute family dinner. But I feel this horrible guilt for saying no. At what point does the guilt stop? At what point will they accept that I just don’t have time this week? Maybe it’s something that never goes away. I don’t know, and it’s a learning curve for sure.

Exhibit B: Miss Bella. My heart and soul. The furry girl that has gotten me through some of my lowest and hardest times. My rock. I can tell that even she is feeling the growing pains of this new relationship; of this new schedule and this new life. Now that we’ve moved in with my guy, we are dead center of suburbia. There aren’t really any places where she can run off leash and chase wild animals, which is her THING. We’ve done so much of our bonding on nature hikes and walks – being surrounded by concrete has really pushed us off of our normal routine, and she has definitely balked at me trying to get that back at it in our new location. Again, a learning curve – finding what works and what doesn’t [and the diminishing daylight and my full-time schedule doesn’t help this matter].

Exhibit C: ME.

When I first moved in with my boyfriend, I wanted to DID devote everything I had to making his house “ours.” I threw myself into decorating the bedrooms, painting the walls, organizing cabinets and marrying all of our stuff, etc. etc. And then all of a sudden I was done decorating – and it was like, so sudden that I was almost depressed afterwards. What now? I hadn’t brought any of my old routine into my new one. I literally felt lost. Who am I now? I’m not single Sarah – I’m not the wild girl who went out every weekend until 3 or 4 in the morning and got right up in the morning and did it all over again. I’m not single Sarah who could do anything she wanted, hang out with anyone she wanted, whenever she wanted. So who had I become?

And that therein lay the problem. I didn’t know. And when I don’t know, I become self destructive.

“I cleaned the house today, I deserve a glass of wine.” *Drinks three [four] glasses of wine.*
“I’m bored and my boyfriend still isn’t home.. Guess I’ll see what’s happening on Facebook.” *Stalks every ex-boyfriend and their current girlfriends and dredges up memories.*
“I’m done decorating and I have no hobbies anymore. Shopping it is!” *Spends $1000 at the mall.*

It was after several weeks of this type of behavior, AND feeling disconnected from my boyfriend on top of it [because clearly I wasn’t happy with myself], I realized that I was starting to head down an all to familiar [and not at all positive] path. A path that was the reason that I never found a decent man, and was about to the reason I lost the only good one I’ve ever had – unless I drastically changed something.

I knew what my problem was. Whether I wanted to believe it or not, my lifestyle had changed [for the better, yes, but it had changed all the same]. My old friends from my single life were bound to me by one thing: drinking. Okay two things: drinking and being single. And losing my single status meant losing people who, if I’m being honest, weren’t really “friends” in the dictionary definition type of way. They were more fair-weather, if you know what I mean. And there was no reason to be out partying and “man hunting” when I already had a man.

So, the point of this whole thing – how am I bridging the gap? How am I meshing my two worlds?

In the best ways possible.

I finally got back in to working out and running again, and this time I’m in it harder than ever. After packing on some happy relationship weight, I am ready to shed off the fat and pack on the curves in the RIGHT places [I am a woman after all, and curves are our THING]. I’m also looking in to taking some photography classes – I’ve always loved it, I’ve just never had the proper skill set and training to actually be good at it. I’m hoping that once I’ve got a bit of training under my belt, I can capture some photos to display in my new home with my guy. And maybe some crafting that will speak to the masculine vibe we have going in our house.

I’m not sure what my future holds, but I do know that I’m finally on the right path. I’m finally on a healthy and happy path. And while I’m still figuring out that proper balance in my life, I am enjoying every minute of the journey.

Positive Vibes Only

Most days when I get home from work my brain is buzzing full of blog ideas. I look forward to my evening runs with Bella because it helps me sort out my thoughts – I actually start writing posts in my head while I run.

Nine times out of ten, though, I start writing these posts and then never end up publishing them. Either I run out of steam, or a better idea pops into my head and I get that one out the door first.

Today, however, I knew exactly what I wanted to post about. All day long I was just itching to get home so I could get my fingers on my keyboard and start typing out this post.

I wanted to focus my topic today on the mindset of staying positive, and how important it is.

I would consider myself a pretty positive person. I have very little patience for negativity and Debbie Downers – I find myself trying to turn other people’s negativity into something positive. The silver lining, if you will.

Let me just preface this by saying, I do not keep people in my life unless they bring something positive to it. But what brought this to mind was some conversations recently with a couple of girl friends of mine. They are close friends – one of them a best friend – I communicate with them both on a daily basis [and if not daily then every other day]. Per usual with females, we can generally discuss just about everything. At length. For hours and hours.

Both of these friends also tend to dwell on negative points or incidents in their lives. Not necessarily in your typical “Debbie Downer” way, but more so in a way that brings far too much attention to something that is really just mundane in the grand scheme of things.

For example: having a horrendous day at work and continuing to fume about it for several days after the fact. I get it. Rough day. We’ve ALL been there. But the world keeps spinning. Life goes on. And all of that brain space you’re wasting on this one single day, or maybe one single incident is keeping you from enjoying all of life’s GOOD moments.

I understand that it’s harder for some people to let shit go than it is for others. I, myself, have definitely had my fair share of things that just sit stewing in my mind for days, weeks, months. But as I get older I am actively trying and implementing more ways to stay positive and see the beauty that life has to offer.

Here are some of the things I like to do to keep that positivity going:

GET OUTSIDE. It’s the way humankind started. We are hardwired to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether you’re faithful or believe in evolution, the beginning of human life began with outdoor habitats. We gardened, we wandered the earth, we hunted, we were forced to endure all sorts of animals and elements. We were one with nature. It makes nothing but sense that being outside would have a natural, calming effect. Breathe in the fresh air, enjoy the peace and the eclectic sounds that only nature can provide.

Exercise. Well, duh. We all know how I feel about this. Exercise produces endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. And even if that means you just get on a treadmill and walk for a mile – it’s something to get you up and moving and it gets that blood flowing!

Read something! Read a book. Read a magazine. Read a newspaper or blog. READ! It stimulates your brain in a good way. Not to mention it’s distracting if you find something that completely engulfs your attention. And you can do it anywhere. Your closest Starbucks, the park, a restaurant – I am constantly going out to eat by myself and enjoying a good book while I do it.

EAT GOOD FOOD. I’m serious. Ever think about why we eat when we’re upset? Or where the term “comfort food” comes from? Or “food coma?” It’s because the process of eating and digesting is simultaneously relaxing us and giving us energy. And I’m not talking about wandering over to McDonalds and ordering a McDouble with a chocolate shake [while I’ll agree that does sound good, that is NOT good food]. Treat yo’self, people! Go out to a fancy shmancy dinner and order the Surf ‘N Turf. Get some pals to go with you if you don’t want to go alone. Even if it costs an arm and a leg – you’re worth it!

Find and follow positive Instagram profiles and bloggers. I am always on the hunt for positive and motivating quotes and people. Positive energy is infectious. Contagious! I get addicted to finding uplifting quotes and profiles and screenshotting things that I like. And every once in a while I’ll come across one in my photo library and it’s like an instant gratifying ping to my heart.

QUIT DRINKING!!! [If you are a drinker, that is. Whatever your vice is, cut back or stop completely.] I’m telling you, this may, quite honestly, change your life. Alcohol [and drugs] is equally a mask and an amplifier. I have been a victim to both drinking to forget something, and drinking because I’m pissed off or upset about something. Neither boasts a positive outcome. Because, GUESS WHAT – the problems are still there when you sober up. And no amount of drinking can make them go away. And the bonus here is, when you no longer abuse substances, your problems don’t seem all that difficult anymore.

Cut drama and dramatic people out of your life. This one may be tied with first place for cutting back on your vices. I know it’s a bit daunting because we all have this fear that we are going to end up bored with serious FOMO. Let me tell you something about purging the bad people from your life – it is CLEANSING. It’s like wiping the slate clean. It’s like suddenly every reason you ever had for being unhappy and unsatisfied just dissipated into thin air. No joke. It just becomes a bad memory.

I could honestly go on and on and create a list miles long, but those are for sure my top favs. Just remember to stay positive, people!

Live is too, TOO short to let things fester and bring you down. Don’t let the unimportant become so big that it distracts you from the things that are important.

Every day our lives get shorter [I know, I know, a bit negative there], so don’t waste a SINGLE, PRECIOUS MOMENT.

Look at it this way: if it’s not going to end up on your gravestone, is it really that big of a deal?


Opposites Attract

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything.

I’ve been busy with moving and making life changes and doing a major cleanse.

First things first – MOVING. I’m done! What. A. Relief.

I’m so happy to be out of my old place and into my new one. The feeling of weight being lifted from my shoulders almost felt literal once I was finally out of my previous apartment. It’s amazing how negative connotations can bring such a bad vibe to certain places, people, or situations. My previous home held a lot of bad memories – things that I don’t want to remember, but have definitely shaped me and made me appreciate how lucky I am to have a supportive family and a true, solid network of friends. My last place taught me a lot about life struggles, and that life is always going to throw you curves and try and knock you down. Nobody has it easy, and living in such a negative environment really made me wake up and realize that there are people out there that have it a whole lot worse than I do. To those of you: I applaud you and I look up to you. It takes such courage and strength to overcome some of the obstacles that we come across in this journey called life.

But, with negativity ALWAYS comes positivity. Our world is constantly trying to balance itself in one way or another. With war eventually comes peace (if only temporary, it is for a spell). With great sacrifice comes leaps and bounds. With weakness we find strength. And even in darkness, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

With this move I felt a sense of calm and a sense of hope. A literal moving in the sense of packing up my life and changing locations, but also a move from bad to good. From past to present to future. A year in the dark is finally bringing me light. A year surrounded by people who made the phrase “The Blind Leading the Blind” the truest statement I’ve ever heard. I’m finally in a place where I don’t wake up every day being afraid of what said day will bring. In my old place I used to push “snooze” until the last possible second. My room was decorated in dark purple and red and black – it was literally a cave that I holed up in every single day. My only escape was work and going out on the weekends and drowning my sorrows in a never ending bottle of something.

That is NOT a life. That is, in a sense, death.

My new place is LITERALLY the polar opposite of my last. It embraces the sun all day long, bringing light and warmth and a feeling of hope; whereas my last spot faced away – it was dark, cold, small, and lifeless. The complete 180 this move has made of my life is truly incredible and I am awestruck every single day at the signs I’m seeing and the positive changes that are happening in every single way.

I just hope that all of you take this to heart and are inspired by this. It is impossible for life to bring you down forever. It is always an ongoing challenge and there will always be struggles, but we must always remember that opposites attract. The bad will ALWAYS bring good. The hate will eventually bring love. Humans are one of the only emotional beings on planet Earth – that is unique in and of itself, but it is also our biggest downfall. We have to learn to let things go, and we have to remember that we don’t always have the power to control things. But when we DO, we should use that power to turn our lives into something spectacular. We should try and influence and radiate positivity wherever we go.

It is, truly, the most addictive thing in the entire world. And it is the one addiction I don’t ever want to give up.