Suck it up, buttercup!

It’s only January 7th and I’m already seeing people discouraged about their New Years resolutions. Y’all, it has been a week. One week. One week does not define your whole year. The new year is seen as a fresh start, blank page, clean slate, whatever you want to call it. Most change does not happen in a week. Life altering changes are the ones that happen immediately. Pregnancy, getting fired, getting promoted, death, car accidents, winning the lottery, etc.. Those are the changes that are immediate. If you’re wanting to make changes this year you have to work at it EVERYDAY. Did you know it takes four weeks of doing something, consistently, for it to become a habit? My cardiologist gave me that bit of knowledge after I got my pacemaker and had to alter which ear I used to talk on my cell phone. A whole month for something to become a habit.

Instead of discouraging yourself after a week, why don’t you give yourself a break and continue trying? My new year certainly did not start the way I intended. I made some decisions that were out of character for me and I am trying to navigate my feelings toward that since it is not something that is normal for me. However, that is kind of what I wanted for this year in a really roundabout way. I ended 2018 with the intentions of taking 2019 to expand my horizons. To take chances, try new things, and to continue to better me.

2018 taught me a lot. It was a strange year and the last 8 weeks of it were incredibly difficult. I had multiple life-altering changes occur and I am bringing one of them with me into this clean slate. I have a lot of unknowns ahead of me. I will be dealing with who knows how many new diagnoses and whatever else my heart throws my way. I am going into this year fully aware this is happening and I am not getting discouraged. So why are you getting discouraged after a week?!

Continue to push through. Life gets hard and positive change does not come easy. I constantly have people telling me that I am strong, a badass, or they don’t know how I handle things. Want to know how? I refuse to give up. I continue to push through. I am still terrified to go to sleep and well, do anything for that matter. At any moment I could just flatline again, but I push through. I focus on what I can do and control. When things get tough and I get discouraged, because I do get discouraged, I think about it in the most literal way. There is nothing I can not do about what has already happened. It is what is and you have to accept it, even if you don’t want to. I can only focus on how I handle it and how I can change what I can.

I’m lucky because I got a second chance and most people do not. That is why I am embracing 2019 and growing at my own pace. I’ve set big goals for myself this year as I enter the last year of my twenties. I plan to travel as much as I can, to continue to work on my education, to move out of Destin(finally), to continue to recognize my toxic traits and work on changing them, maybe actually let another person in, and most of all to make something of this writing. I’m pretty sure my blog is awful, but all the support I get really means a lot as I push myself to improve. My biggest goal this year is to self publish my first book. I honestly don’t care if it sells. As long as I can say that I worked my ass off and accomplished it will be enough.

Your goals for this New Year aren’t going to happen with the snap of a finger. Don’t beat yourself up because you’ve already slipped up. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start over. You’ve got 51 more weeks. Take it from someone who constantly is getting knocked on their ass. I get 5 steps ahead only to be knocked back 3. It will be okay. You still have time to accomplish what matters most to you. My point here is DON’T GIVE UP AFTER ONE SET BACK!

The forgotten coast…

There is a special place in my heart for Franklin Country, Florida. It is in my blood, literally. My Grandfather, on my mother’s side, was born and raised in Carra Belle/ East Point. We had our, Hall family, family reunions at the East Point fire station for the majority of my life. For the better part of my life, my dad’s side of the family vacationed every summer in St. George Island. We would rent a beach house for a week. Spend our days in the sand and our nights playing cards. We would go into East point and Apalachicola for dinner out. Steal the salad dressing bottles after a little too much wine. Cough cough Aunt Kathy cough cough. My time spent in Franklin County as a child is among some of my fondest memories.

My dad’s side of the family is still trying to keep the memory alive. We spent Christmas in a beach house on St. George Island 3 years ago and this year we will be spending New Years there. Honestly, there is no place I would rather be for New Years than in Franklin County with my family.

This area is stuck in time, for the most part. Mom and pop businesses, small-town feel and some of the best damn seafood you will ever ingest. I instantly feel relaxed when I’m here. So recently, when I found myself off-kilter I chose to come here. I needed a reset.

It is officially Fall but Florida hasn’t picked up on that yet. By this time of year, I am itching for cold weather and to go camping. Since it has been 90-degree weather for weeks, I was a little hesitant to commit to camping. I am glad I committed. There is just something about waking up in a tent, having breakfast cooked over a campfire, throwing on your bathing suit and going swimming.

Camping is usually relaxing and a fairly smooth experience, but I wasn’t camping with the most prepared of company. In the words of my sister, ”Madelyn, I am a survivalist. I’m bringing my tent, stuff for smores and my pillow.” I called to ask her what I needed to bring 🙄🤦🏻‍♀️. I had to get all the small details in order, apparently. You know like food, bug spray, toilet paper, flashlights, etc.. which can be a little stressful last minute. Setting up my tent in the dark was also a challenge. My little sister isn’t the best flashlight holder. Once everything was said and done and we went to bed Friday night, it hit me. As I laid in my tent, listening to fires crack and crickets chirp, I felt relaxation wash over me. My shoulders released, my jaw unclenched, and stress lifted away. This was exactly what I needed.

We stayed at T.H. Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula state park. While it is in Cape San Blas and technically bay county, it was still close enough for us to bounce back and forth between Franklin and Bay county all day. We started our day out with me making breakfast burritos over a fire. They were damn good by the way. We ate and freshened ourselves up to set out on a hunt for coffee and to explore.

We hung out bayside while drinking our coffee and then decided to go all the way to the tip of the peninsula, to beach it on the gulf side. The path to the beach was gorgeous. White sand with big dunes. Seagrass and driftwood all about. Once you stepped off the path there was no one around. Just the gulf and the beach stretched out as far as you could see. The seclusion made it a million times better. I got in the water, reluctantly because I know the red tide is creeping its way up the coast. I’m not trying to add another medical ailment to my list. The water wasn’t emerald like I’m used to but it didn’t matter. I was still in the Gulf of Mexico and that is one of my happy places. On our way to the beach, we found where the nature trail started. We headed back to the campsite and switched out our flip flops for our tennis shoes then set off. We got 3/4 of the way through the nature trail and found it flooded out from recent rain. I certainly was not treading through a mosquito haven. So, we turned our butts around and walked back to the car to get ready to head to Apalachicola. Please keep in mind I don’t usually take this many damn photos, but I brought along my friend who dabbles in photography, when she’s not going to school, working full time and momming. I also had my little sister who said and I quote, ”Do it for the gram”, right before she used a bike rack as a ladder to climb a tree 😂. Needless to say, there are tons of pictures and we laughed a lot. I guess if I continue with this blogging thing I am going to have to get used to taking photos for documentation.

Driving into Apalachicola my second wave of relaxation of the weekend hit. We approached historic downtown and I got a little giddy. The trees with moss all around, the historic buildings mixed with old Florida bungalow style homes, and the view of the water. It’s gorgeous. I was grinning from ear to ear. This place makes me incredibly happy. Maybe it’s because time slows down here, people are nicer, and I experience a sense of calm. We spent the afternoon at Oyster City Brewery, eating at a cafe and in and out of shops.

It was early evening when we headed back to Cape San Blas. The sun was still shining but you could feel it shifting. I had the windows down and sunroof open. My friend Madison was asleep in the front seat, mouth open 😂, must’ve been a good nap. Since she was asleep I knew I could play the music I like that bores her(not everyone can have good taste in music😂). So my tunes were shuffling from Mumford & Sons, The Revivalists, Lord Huron and etc.. All was right in my world. With the Gulf on my left and St Joesph bay on my right, Hello my old heart by the Oh Hellos came on. As far as favorite songs go, this one definitely makes my top ten. Something about this song gives me all the feels. A good song will make you feel something and this one always hits me deep. At that moment as I sang along there it was. My moment of clarity. I came here this weekend to center myself, to regain personal balance, to relax and enjoy nature. Salt air circulating through my car and me singing along with conviction, I found my balance.

Have you ever felt like you’re on the cusp of something? You just know that things are changing and something is about to happen to or for you? Well, I have and I feel it now. I don’t know what it is or when it will happen, but something is brewing.

I do realize I need to slow down. I will not be taking as many classes next semester. I need to relish life’s little moments more. Continue to do more of what makes me happy and less of what makes others happy. I need to keep being vulnerable because it is humbling and a truly beautiful thing. Keep putting myself first. My nurturing nature is a great quality but I have to stop letting it harm my well being. I need to welcome the judgments of others but let them roll right off my back. I also realized with a real reflection, not personal reflection, that I need to get my eyebrows done. What kind of friends do I have? How could y’all not tell me they were looking such a mess?!

When you find yourself feeling off it is important you take the time to step back and reanalyze things. Removing yourself helps you look at things from a different perspective. I am so thankful that I had my little sister who is always down for an adventure, ready to pack up her tent and join me. As well as my best friend of 14 years able and willing to try something new and out of the ordinary for her. They were more than willing to help me and be a part of whatever it was I needed to do for myself. I have the best friends and family. The support I receive daily from you all means so much. Especially all the support when it comes to my writing. I’ve finally found my groove, my flow, with this blog. Please be prepared for much more to come as we enter my favorite month and time of year.

Balance…

Stability, steady, fairness, etc.. I could list the many definitions of balance for you, but i’m sure you all know what balance means. Are you aware of how important it is? Not in the sense of being able to stand yourself up straight. While that is important that is not the balance I am talking about. I’m talking about balance in your life. The balance with ourselves. Lately, I have found myself off balance. My actions contradicting my feelings, my wants and my needs.

I may have bit off more than I can chew. 15 credit hours, 2 jobs, sleep and any form of a social life…it’s a lot. I am constantly on the go. I like being busy, but I’m beginning to feel like I can’t breath. When I stop to breath, let my hair down and relax, I instantly regret it. I don’t have time to relax. I’m now a constant ball of stress. I haven’t been able to find a healthy balance. I enjoy the chaos that comes with my schedule, I can thrive in chaos, but it isn’t healthy. I am trying to find a balance for studying and sleeping. Sleeping is a lost art for me. It has been ever since I had my pacemaker implanted. However, as of late I am barely getting any sleep. I am watching video lectures and reading until 2-3am and dozing off. Only to wake up at 5:30 to get my day started. The amount of coffee I have been consuming is definitely going to make my cardiologist lecture me at my appointment next month. I need to prioritize my time better. I need to find the balance of getting this degree done quickly without sleep deprivation. Without wearing myself out. I suppose I could be writing my research paper instead of this blog, but I have to have a little fun. Right?

When it comes to being off balance it is not just my chaotic schedule and my need to be an overachiever. I am feeling VERY off kilter when it comes to my emotional needs. I have been thoroughly enjoying being single. Finding myself after a failed relationship. Having no one to answer to and being able to do what I want, when I want. There is something invigorating about being alone, but loneliness has started creeping in. That loneliness has pushed me to want to go out more, be constantly busy, to avoid being home alone. That is kind of hard to accomplish when you’re exhausted and have tons of homework. Yet, I keep finding myself out on the weekends attempting to be approachable and not awkward. All this putting myself out there and actually giving someone the time of day has made me realize a lot about myself. When I am actually interested in someone and want things to progress, I become a completely different person. I overthink EVERYTHING. I am quiet and become tactical. I plan out what I am going to say or how I am going to act. I become closed off and hesitant. I am terrified of rejection so I try to avoid any opportunity for it. I am not that person. I am talkative, fly by the seat of my pants, compassionate and typically carefree. So, why can’t I find a balance of being cautious and being myself? Why can’t I stop myself from putting up walls, being silent and unreadable? It makes it worse for myself, I know. Especially because if I don’t hear from them, I am too afraid to reach out. I know it was likely my fault because I wasn’t acting like myself. I beat myself up over it. Now, some guys just suck and your feelings are going to get hurt. Learning to recognize the difference in self sabotage and an asshole is important. I have to find the balance of letting someone in and still remaining cautious. I need to learn to not self sabotage. I need to learn how to keep my feelings and my self worth separate. That way I stop letting myself and others change how I view myself when my feelings get hurt.

Finding balance in every aspect of your life is tough. I strive to be the best version of myself daily. I have days where I’m judgmental more than I am accepting. I try to be the healthiest version of myself while being a sickly person. I try to eat healthier, but get swayed by my sweet tooth. All this Halloween candy does not help. I try to workout regularly, but I already don’t have enough time in the day. I also try to physically be balanced. I have bruises all over my body from my lack of coordination. If I can go one day without falling over, walking into something or not tripping over my own feet…it’ll be a damn miracle.

Is this what life is? Finding balance? Being serious but still trying to be fun. Does one ever accomplish a balanced life? Is there a way for me to balance making money, traveling, taking photos, having all the dogs I want, getting enough sleep, and having someone to share it all with? Is that unattainable? Feeling like what I want is unattainable is a huge reason I am taking a break from social media, this blogging doesn’t count. I found myself constantly comparing myself to my peers and looking at their picture perfect lives. Realizing how much time I spent comparing myself, getting myself feeling down, and making myself so readily available to anyone…it gets you out of balance.

It’s time to reset. I’m getting out of town this weekend. Clearing my head and coming back collected. Spending some quality time with nature and my other favorite Mads, besides myself. Finding my balance again, hopefully. Fingers crossed. Can’t wait to be in Apalachicola for the weekend.