Fear of the Unknown

Anxiety of The Unknown
Do you remember that annoying kid in school that was always raising their hand and knew all the answers? That was me.

I never wanted to be caught off guard, surprised, not know the answers, or not know what was going to happen next. I always did my research. I always discovered the answers. I always had a plan.

Otherwise I was a mess. The more that remained unknown the more I worried. I’d become overridden with anxiety and not enjoy life. 

I’m still this way. Even though the word “adventure” is in my blog title, a word that to many evokes spontaneous and hazardous activity, the unknown paralyzes me with anxiety. I like my adventures to be very well thought out.

Before I go on trip I do hardcore research on restaurants, sites, and hotels. When I go to the doctor I need them to calmly tell me each and every step of the procedure they are about to do. Dates are planned with a specific agenda. Lists, spreadsheets, calendars, and maps are all friends of mine. 

I’m not stupid. I know that life laughs in your face when you try to make plans. I’ve faced enough obstacles in my 31 years to know that life cannot be planned and the only thing you can expect is the unexpected.

Yet, I still find myself yearning to plan for the future. I want to do my best to ensure I’m as prepared as I can be. I want to know all the answers to all the things.

The small things: What will we have for dinner? What will I wear tomorrow? Where should we go on a weekend trip?

And the big things: Where will we be living in 5 years? Where will Ryan be working? When will we have a family? When will we have a house? How long will I be at this job? 

In just one year Ryan graduates from law school. It will be a great celebration after four years of hard work. He is currently on summer break. For months I’ve been looking forward to this summer so that we’d have more time together and the stress of school wouldn’t be weighing heavy on him (and me). We’d be a normal couple, waking up and going to work and coming home to have dinner together (even if it is at 8 p.m.) and full weekends free! 

Yet, here we are, getting paralyzed by the unknown.

This whole week my heart has been beating too fast for me to catch my breath. I have no idea where we will be in one year. Most likely we will be moving. I have moved 8 times since I graduated from college. The idea of moving out of our current house makes me want to vomit.

This past week I’ve been creating multiple budgets and looking up homes. I have no idea what state we will even be living in. We could be moving in six months. All dependent on where Ryan can secure a good job. I know that we are in this together and that is part of the fun, the adventure. But it doesn’t change the fact that this part of our future is out of our control.

Will he find a job? Will he find a job he’ll be happy in? Will I have to leave my job? Will I find another job? Will we find housing as nice as our current home? Will I have to say goodbye to my family? Will I have to leave this town, this countryside that I’ve grown to love? No matter how many houses or jobs or neighborhoods I look at, there is no way of knowing what will be.

 There is no way to plan for this. For once in my life, I do not know all the answers and it terrifies me. 

xoxo Katie

What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

what do you want to be when you grow up, what is your passion

How often do you question and wonder about what role you want to be playing in the future? The thought about who I will be and what I will be doing in 5, 10, 15, even 30 years down the roads passes through my mind nearly every day. It’s the beauty of being human; we are constantly changing, growing, and propelling forward.

When we were little, the question of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” was thrown to us from everyone we met.  My answer was always changing but the answer was always defined by the same constant – as a child, I chose my career choice based on what made me happy:

When I was 6 my answer was an elementary school  teacher. I wanted to follow in my mom’s foot steps and I liked to boss people around. But in hind sight I also liked sharing my newly learned tools with people. I’d spend hours setting up a fake school room and teaching my imaginary students that week’s spelling words or mathematical time tables.

When I was 11 I wanted to be an actress. I loved the way movies and plays made me feel, the power that actresses had to tell stories, to evoke emotions, and how they seemed to ignite with life.

At 13 I wanted to be child psychologist because I wanted to help children that couldn’t vocalize their pain or confusion. I wanted to help kids overcome unhealthy or dangerous environments and understand their thought processes.

At 15 I wanted to be an anthropologist/historian – I loved learning and researching about history – especially the history of society and domestic life. I wanted to learn more about trends and why certain aspects of history happened and continue to repeat themselves. I wanted to compare past narratives to current narratives, to learn more about the human race and our connections to the past.

At 18 I wanted to be a fictional write. Poetry, novels, short stories, screenplays, a playwrite. Anything. I wanted to examine people, analyze life, and write stories. I wanted to find common truths, common loves, common understandings of the meaning of life and communicate them  and connect with readers through words.

All of these fields were based on activities that I was deeply interested in and that made me happy. Yet, I never got paid to do any of those things. None of these jobs ever became my career. I don’t consider my current job my career. My job does not define who I am.  I believe my career is the life long pursuit of happiness.

So, when your career isn’t serving the purpose of fulfilling your passions you may feel a little disjointed. As you get older, your peers, elders, and family stop asking you what you want to do with your life. As an adult you are overcome with too many other daily questions and worries. Yet, the responsibility to ask “what do you want to be when you grow up?” now lies solely in your hands.

What is your passion? Don’t let it get lost in the mundane day-to-day responsibilities of life.  I recently received some great advice to examine your tears. Think about it. What makes you cry?

Reflect back on the past couple of years. What has never failed to make you cry tears of joy? (perhaps you’re not a crier like me, then think about what has made you laugh uncontrollably or get angry or mad?) Once you discover what that is, find a way to incorporate that into your every day life. Do a little piece of that each and every day.

Perhaps it will be a simple hobby or something you only think about a few minutes a day. Nurture it, believe in it. Perhaps it will grow into something greater. Pinpoint your passions and find a way to live them. You’re never too old.

So tell me, what do you want to be when you grow up?

xoxo Katie

Someday I Will…

thoreau dreams

Today I’m linking up with the fun and hilarious Taylor over at The Daily Tay. Her link up discussing all the things that you hope to do “one day” is the perfect follow-up to my A Daily Intent post yesterday. (By the way, today’s daily intent is to stay focused at the task at hand, you can join in on the fun over at twitter!)

The Daily Tay

I’m a big dreamer. I believe that having my heads in the clouds helps my feet continue walking forward on the ground. I’m still turning into the woman I want to be – there are some many things I wish to do and see and accomplish. Some are silly, some are big.  Here’s a little list of what I hope to someday do:

Someday I will wake up on a weekday earlier than 15 minutes before I have to leave. I would like to NOT feel like I’m a refugee rushing around her house collecting all her belongings while a gunman is waiting outside. Perhaps you know, brush my hair and check to make sure I got the drool washed off my face. (some days are that bad, I work alone most of the time, so don’t worry).

Someday I will not care so much about what others think of me.

Someday I will fill up my gas tank before it is on empty. Every damn time.

Someday I will learn how to properly meal plan and make an accurate grocery list, and not end up at the grocery store every other day.  Also to stick to the list so I don’t end up with mostly random things in my cart.

Someday I will live in a house on the beach.

Someday I will learn how to properly apply make up other than eye make up. I never wear foundation or concealer and never learned how to.

Someday I will write my book. My character is getting tired of waiting.

Someday I will travel to Greece. To France. To Africa, To Spain.

Someday I will learn to control my anxiety and not feel like I’m about to have a heart attack in certain situations.

Someday I will print out all my photos on my computer. Years of photos.

Someday I will be that super healthy woman – not this 50/50 one that eats pretty healthy but then stuffs herself with ice cream sundaes and Chex Mix.

Someday I’ll have a beautiful wrap around porch perfect for wine sipping, reading, and gossip.

Someday I will have my dream job and be amazing at it.

I would love to hear some of your “Someday I will…” items. Share below or link up with The Daily Tay!

xoxo katie

The Daily Tay

Can we just skip ahead to the good part?

don't count the days. make the days count. I have a confession. I am obsessed with countdowns and wanting the future to arrive now. It’s unhealthy and silly. I’ve brought up being married to a law student before and the struggles we endure as a couple. I try to stay positive. When Ryan is feeling down I often tell him to slow down and to enjoy the moment. I also tell him that one day we will look back fondly on these long days, weeks, and months as the best days of our lives. However, I regularly do not following my own advice. A lot of the time I desperately yearn for the time when Ryan will be done with law school. When he won’t have 18 hour days. When money and time won’t be as tight. When he won’t be overcome with anxiety and the grumpiness that comes with lack of sleep. When we can start having a family, a house, and the ability to move forward with our lives. I look at this ideal future as the pot of gold at the end the rainbow and sometimes it is all I can think about. Yes, I’m a hypocrite. I’m a live life on the bright side, always be positive, don’t waste your life away hoping for better days, hypocrite.

One of my favorite apps on my iphone is the Countdown+ app. You can plug in how many different dates you want and it keeps a handy countdown for you. Do you know how many more days until Ryan graduates? 610 long days. How often do I check this number? It used to be about twice a week, now it’s daily. As if looking at this number will make it go by faster.

countdown app

I know it’s ridiculous, I know that once these 610 days pass a stress free life isn’t going to land on my door step wrapped up in a bow. I know that there will always be stress that after graduation there is studying for the bar exam, taking the bar exam, finding a job and all the stress that goes along with those things. I also know that we have a great life. A life that is full of fun activities with friends and family. A life that is full of good health and love. But yet, I countdown the days like some crazy person.

This isn’t anything new. I remember starting countdowns back in college. During a required yet insufferable biology class I  would make elaborate calendars in my notes. I would cross off each day as they passed with a satisfying thick X. I wanted to be anywhere else – any of my other english or writing classes, not memorizing useless facts. I was only focusing on the day that this awful class would be over. I would add in special parties and events as milestones to get me through it, hoping to ease the pain of that far away future. Do I need to mention that this was one of the few classes that I did poorly in? (Hmmm wonder why)

Things haven’t changed much since my baby bio days. I have other events in my countdown app, to make the 610 seem more attainable, like concerts, parties, weekend trips, holidays and other fun things. Yes, it’s nice to have things to look forward to, but intently studying how many days you have left will not make that desired day come any faster. Why am I only focussed on that far away date when I do have fun things happening in the present? Why do I put so much pressure on the future? Why do I think I can plan the future? Why do I torment myself so?

I need to stop. I know obsessing over the future is pointless as the future is merely an illusion, it doesn’t exist. Tomorrow is only a concept. All the things I long for for our future are not even guaranteed. At all. Life happens while you’re making other plans and all that jazz.

I need to learn to follow my own advice and live more fully in the present moment rather than in illusion. I need my awareness to be completely centered on the here and now, to simply accept life as the way it is. I’m using this blog as my own therapy today.

Steps I’m going to take to learn to live more in the moment:

1. Be mindful of the present. Realize that with every breath I take, I’m living my life. Decide how to make the most of each of these moments instead of fast forwarding to the next stage. I need to learn to stay more focussed on the task at hand. Whether I’m completing a work project, writing a blog post, running, organizing the house my mind should stay focussed on whatever I’m doing rather than think of the 20 billion other things that need to get done. The only thing keeping me doing the best I can do with my current life is my obsession with skipping ahead to the future and learn to live in the moment.

2. Realize that the future is out of my hands. Of course I know this, I’ve been through enough hiccups in life to know that you can’t control your destiny. Unfortunately, I’m a planner. When I plan, I can prepare myself for what is to come. We all just want to reach the finish line expecting a gold medal. However, preparing and planning are two very different things. I need to learn to mentally prepare myself for a few obstacles that may arrive in the next few years rather than creating a such a detailed plan at how I’d prefer things to go. That is only setting myself up for failure.

3. Live one day at a time. As mentioned above, taking on one challenge at a time should be enough. There is no need to worry about future challenges. I should focus on getting through week by week even rather than look at the calendar and think, “my god, how will we ever make it through the next 610 days?”. I don’t want to feel like I’m always rushing to escape reality. I know how fast time can fly. I can confidently say that in 610 days from now I’ll say “wow, it felt like just yesterday that I was writing the depressed blog post about wanting time to fly by.”

4. Look at this “transition time” as beneficial. Today is where the action is! Today is when I’m living! I need to take these hard times and use them to my advantage as a way to gain clarity and awareness of my life and marriage. Like any other struggle, this will make me stronger and will give me insight into my own spirit.

Truth is, Ryan’s graduation will come and pass like any other day with its own unfolding events. I only hope that by the time that day comes I’m not obsessed with another life stage to fast forward too and another date to countdown to. I want to live my life and I want to live that life in the sunshine.

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xoxo katie

How Do You Define “Us”?

snowcouple

The equally beautiful and challenging aspect about a marriage is the fact that you are bringing two different individuals together and creating a unified unit. Of course each individual brings their own family, friends, past experiences, and traumas with them. Within this partnership, all of your baggage and all of your significant other’s baggage are blended together. This in turn delivers new surprises, both pleasant and shocking, nearly every day.

You spend a large part of your young adult life figuring out who you are as a person.  (Some of us are still trying to figure that out.) You are constantly trying to figure out how you fit into this big world and what role you want to play. Remember being in grade school and having to answer questions like “what makes YOU special?” and the age-old, “what do you want to BE when you grow up”. We were forced to write those acrostic poems –as in, K A T I E, K – kind, A – awesome, T – Talented, I – Interesting, E – Energetic. We were always taught to establish ourselves as our own unique brand.

Now that you are a couple, you are bringing two unique brands together and merging into an incorporated company. Along with both of our pasts, Ryan and I are also merging all of our dreams for the future. To ensure we are building a strong foundation to live our most fulfilled and purpose driven life, I want to be sure to take the time to talk about what our life as a team looks like. We now must once again ask ourselves those familiar questions in respect to the couple we are now part of:

How do you define “us”? What do “we” look like?

The beautiful thing about being in a life long partnership like marriage is that you have a clean slate. With the help of our shared experiences we now can create a new definition of what we want our combined future to look like. Life is certainly full of ups and downs and I still expect to go through many more changes independently and as a couple. I understand that the true definition of who we are as a couple will evolve over time. However, a lot of who you become is up to you and your partner.

This is our chance to invent something that is truly unique to us.  The important questions for me are: What do we want to accomplish before starting a family? What type of parents do we want to be? What type of family will we be? What type of couple do we want to be in our sixties?  If you don’t make the time to define your identity as a couple, life will simply make choices for you by getting in the way. This is our opportunity to start a new chapter. Don’t forget that you are in charge of choosing your own beautiful little adventure.  Who do you want to be?