Tough Choices: Saying ‘Until Tomorrow’ to International Travel

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one travel, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair, 
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted
wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

                          -Robert Frost “The Road Not Taken”

Having the ability to travel should never be taken for granted, but yet, I feel like sometimes it is. Take me for example. Whenever I daydream about traveling, I picture myself in a foreign country where I can’t speak the language, getting somewhat lost in the city center. I loved my experience traveling to Spain and Ireland, so I always want to relive those moments over and over again. Over the winter break, I dedicated my time to apply for summer internships across the US and various countries. All of the internship locations sounded appealing, but the international positions always connected to exotic imagery in my head. I wanted the internship location and position to bring me adventure, so when I got two offers from two different areas of the world, both jammed pack with adventure, I was stuck. Upstate New York and Bulgaria were fighting head to head in my mind in a travel sense, but I needed to be an adult and make a thoughtful decision. I knew Bulgaria would be an intense adventure that I could only imagine, but costly. I also knew that my excitement for the work I would be doing in New York state and a half-country road trip to get there brought the adventure I needed as well. Through my moment of indecisiveness and a little help from my best friends, I needed to make a decision.

Once I had made my decision, I thought declining Bulgaria would be easy. Just another box to check off my to-do list, but when I finished typing my email, I kept re-reading and double checking my words. I wanted this declining email to be perfect and wanted to somehow express how sorry I was that I couldn’t partake in an adventure to a country I’ve never visited. When I finally hit send, I felt a pinch in my stomach. It was almost like my inner wanderlust was inside of me, kicking and screaming in anger that I denied it of its thirst. I literally could feel myself trying to reassure it. Letting it know that my time in New York would include travel and new adventures.

I know I don’t have to be overseas to feed my cravings to travel. Taking a road trip to get to know my country sounds almost more nerve-racking than any new country I have ever visited. But that same nerve-racking energy that is bouncing in my mind is also the same energy that makes me more excited and happy with my decision.

Decisions don’t always come with the outcome you desired. Knowing this, and the path I chose, I can only wait for another decision to be made, another path to walk on…

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July: The Month of Frustrations and Gratitude

I know what you are thinking, how can I be frustrated and still feel grateful? In the past four days alone I have felt anxiety, stress, and happiness for my life. It all starts and ends with my car, “The Hatch”.

I have had the worst luck with my car this week. This past Friday, I blew out my rear tire, and had to take money out of my savings to buy a new (and expensive) tire. Originally, I was livid. I couldn’t stop thinking about all of the negatives that were happening because of it. The fact I was taking money out of my savings three weeks from me moving out of the state. This thought was just enough to push me to tears. I was heading to a fundraising event my best friend’s job was hosting, and didn’t even have the energy or motivation to go once my tire blowout. A part of me thought it was a bad idea for me not to attend the event, that maybe being with my friends would make me feel better. Unfortunately, the negatives flooded my mind and got to me, so I went back home pouting.

I wasn’t happy with my reaction to the events with “The Hatch”. I completely ignored my commandments and rushed to the feeling of “why me”. I vowed that I would not do that to myself again, and of course, the higher beings in the world have a way of holding me to my promises..

Today, on my way home from work, “The Hatch” had an encounter with a rushed truck in bumper to bumper traffic. The truck swerved into my lane and knocked out my front light. Shaking from the fear of damage to my new car, I pulled over and prayed that the damage wasn’t that bad. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and stepped out of the car to see the results. Luckily, the only damage was my light cover, which won’t cost too much to repair. I walked away from the situation without stress, or self-pity, and because of that I feel even better.
If the Happiness Project has taught me anything at this point in time, is that life is never pre-planned. Sometimes just going with the flow and being grateful for what you have, is a huge benefactor to one’s happiness.. I am thankful to have enough money in savings to avoid stress of repair, and I am thankful the damage was minimal. “The Hatch” has been through a lot this week, but at least I feel like I came out of the negatives with a positive smile 🙂
Virginia

Happiness Project: Practice Makes Perfect – A June Review

Well hello there, July. My first month of my personal Happiness Project is complete and it definitely was a fun ride. My mission for June was to focus on my energy, both physically and mentally. I decided to make sure I had at least seven hours of sleep each day, exercise at least five days a week, as well as practice the art of meditating – a challenge, but one of my new favorite things.
At the beginning of the month, I was at the top of my game. I worked out almost everyday, even if it was in small increments. I felt fully rested when I woke up every morning due to my sleep schedule, and meditating left me so relaxed and energized to continue my day.
As I mentioned in my previous post, “The Balancing Act”, I started struggling with my routine due to me moving in with my parents. I think my body is finally starting to get acclimated with the new move, but I will be doing it again when I move for grad school at the end of the month.
I guess the big question to ask at the end of this month is, do I feel happier? This month definitely challenged me to abide by my commandments, as there have been some down days, but overall, I am pleased with the progress and am excited to tackle a new month of the happiness pursuit.
For the month of July, I decided to dedicate my focus on my health, and how it reflects my confidence. I don’t have the best confidence as of right now, but I have a good feeling about this month and what some of the ideas I have will bring.
Here’s to month two!
Virginia

Happiness Project: The Balancing Act

June Update: For the first couple of weeks, I definitely felt more energized. I was working out frequently and meditating 10 minutes a day. There were days where I didn’t even think about getting coffee! But when my schedule changed, and I moved out of my apartment, my new routine started to slip.
Juggling always seemed like a fun hobby to learn, but in my personal life, it’s not as intriguing.The one question that I forgot to ask myself while starting my Happiness Project was “Where do these new plans fit into my current schedule?” Now that I am ending my first month of trying to maintain my energy, I am beginning to ask this question more often.
When I moved out of my apartment and into my parent’s home. I didn’t have the flexibility of some of the things I had at my own place, so this made things difficult when trying to meditate and sleep more. The past couple of weeks have also been quite busy with friends, which is nice, but also taking away the time I was supposed to have toward my project.
Am I supposed to stay up late, just to make sure I can get my 10 minutes of meditation time? Or make sure I get enough sleep? This is the Catch-22 situation that I am currently dealing with this month, and am fearful of in the next 11 months to follow. With my 10 commandments in mind, I am doing my best to enjoy the ride and practice my juggling skills… One more week of June to go!

Happiness Project: The 10 Commandments

I am not the most religious person in the world, but I was always fond of what the 10 commandments stood for. Ways of living a healthy life with just a few rules of thumb never hurt anyone. I must admit, I’m not sure if I have abided by those 10 rules throughout my life, but I hope the 10 I created for myself become an everyday practice.

One area of the Happiness Project requires you to create your own personal 10 commandments to live by. When I started writing mine, they started to sound vague and not very true to me. I felt like if I was supposed to get to the nitty-gritty of finding happiness, I had to own up to what I really wanted.

Virginia’s 10 Commandments:

1. You are right where you are supposed to be

2. Set no limitations

3. Laugh it off

4. Enjoy the ride

5. Embrace insecurities

6. Think before you act/speak

7. Worry about others less

8. Live in the now

9. Have fun with failure

10. Smile

My commandments now speak perfectly to what I need to do to maintain my happiness. After I wrote them out, I felt great and wanted to make copies of them to hold on to so I can remember them in a time of need. So far, they are just listed here and in my phone, but I do have a crafty plan for them once I am no longer living out of a suitcase…

For now, I look back at them just in case there is a day where I try to act against them. Like this blog and its purpose, I hope that the commandments will challenge me to act on my words and continue to move forward to  a happier me.

Until tomorrow!

Virginia

The Happiness Project: My Mission to Dedicate a Year to My Happiness

These past couple of months have been brutal. I am admitting now that I have not been my best self. My mood has been up and down like a roller coaster because I’ve been losing focus in my life and having a hard time watching people move forward. I wish I could find a better word than jealousy, but that is pretty much it, pure jealousy. I’ve been watching my friends be successful in finding careers, love, and their personal passion and I have been frustrated with my own process.
At first, I though I was just in a funk, and I tried to do everything that normally helps me get out of those funky moods. I belted songs from the top of my lungs, wrote, danced in my room like I was in a discotec in Amsterdam, but nothing worked. I wanted a change, but I couldn’t find out where to get it. This weekend I started a new book called The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. I didn’t know what to expect from this book, since I pretty much judged the book by its bright colors and Best Seller sticker. As I started reading, I knew this could be something I could do on my own, and something I needed to do. Gretchen makes monthly resolutions and focused on them, by creating objectives to follow in that time frame. Each month is different, but they all connect to her main goal of feeling happy with the life she has. Now I want to attempt my own happiness project. I know that I am blessed for the life and opportunities I have had, and I want to appreciate them more.
Next Sunday I turn 23, and I want to dedicate this year to my happiness. I don’t feel like I know myself as much as I should yet, because I always get deterred by what I think I want by following others. I’m challenging myself by writing about it and sharing my story, because I think it will push me more if I start to give up half-way through (don’t let me do it!).
I have written my resolutions for 12 months and I plan on sticking to them! I am dedicating my first month to energy, since this is the key thing needed to get my life started.
Wish me luck!
V

Post Grad Confession: I Live with My Parents

If you would have asked me three years ago, hell maybe even five months ago, I would have told you I would never move back in with my parents. I tried to fight it by saving money and applying for as many jobs as possible….

But here I am sitting in my bedroom (?) realizing that I officially live with my parents now. Of course there are some perks:

– Free Food…Sort Of: Upon my arrival home, I had delicious chicken kabobs, baked potatoes and an always good salad. Nothing and I mean NOTHING compares to home-cooked meals (especially the ones we don’t pay for). When it came to desert tonight, I flipped the bill for a pint of Baskin Robbins ice cream for everyone. I thought it was a good win-win deal at the time.

– No Bills: I really do enjoy the idea that I won’t have to pay rent, utilities, cable, etc. anytime soon. I want to save more money for grad school and rent would not be helping me save.

– My Dog: the love for my dog (excuse me, my sister) is a strong one, so having her by my side tonight is going to feel pretty damn good.

As I savor in the benefits of being home, I can’t stop thinking about having my own place. I want to decorate and make a place completely mine. I mean, I have to use up all my Pinterest crafting skills somewhere.  Being somewhat unemployed, I feel like I am in limbo with wanting to live on my own, but having no means to afford it.

My goal is to stay optimistic and patient, two words that I have been tangling with for the past couple months as a post-grad. I know I won’t be living with my parents for long, so in the meantime I am going to save money and keep on being a part of the job hunt!

To all of my friends and readers living at home: Appreciate what you have now, but don’t stop fighting to get the place you want.

V