Tag Archives: experience

Lesson #342: The city is the cure.

6/27/15.

After taking on a day’s worth of beautiful places—I’m pretty sure I found the cure-all to bouncing back from a stress-filled week and refreshing a cloudy mind.

The city.

Today we hopped on the metro bright and early (half of us weren’t awake) and headed towards Hollywood. We started out with the usual tourist attractions—the Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood stars and handprints—and made our way across town. We passed incredible street art, walked through the Walt Disney Concert Hall, took a coffee break and an impromptu tour of the Biltmore Hotel where a 1940s Oscars ceremony was held, dropped by Perishing Square, visited Union Station, went to a few famous film locations (500 Days of Summer, anyone?), and had incredible and authentic tacos, beans, and rice at Grand Central Market. The ice-cream we treated ourselves to for desert was the cherry on top of the day thus far.

Our last stop was a quaint but lively area called El Pueblo, a hispanic corner in the city. Live upbeat music filled the streets and colorful flags were strung from lamp to lamp. Little shops and stands with food, clothing, and trinkets lined a crowded alleyway. I had a lovely time finding teeny presents for my loved ones back home, and learning about the culture behind the items from the stand owners. I even found a cute little wishing well, and #blessed my tiny coin as it made its way to the blue bottom of the fountain.

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Taken by the wonderful LA roomie, Alejandra Buitrago.

People were everywhere.

Of course, as soon as we got there, I immediately made my way towards the dancing and music. I pulled my friends Lexie and Christine into the commotion, and we began to salsa—horribly. A small, adorable older man in a red shirt approached us and started dancing with me. We shimmied together and shook our hips and danced and laughed as the crowd surrounding us got larger and larger and pulled out their cameras.

Today was literally the happiest I’ve been all week.

It’s funny and strange to think that I almost didn’t come, because I have so many things to do.

This week, I’ve felt a little out of my element.

Obviously I’m in a completely different city across the country.

But in addition to being in new surroundings and new situations, I’ve felt more than stressed out trying to find a balance between getting things done (this blog, my youtube documentary series, homework, and a freelance project) and having the time of my life in LA.

I couldn’t quite pinpoint why I’ve felt so strange, but I now realize that it’s because I let the weight of my tasks weigh me down.

While I still didn’t end up getting much done at all, I learned a lesson that was well worth it.

It’s the moments that we lose ourselves in the things we don’t know, and re-lose ourselves in the things we already know, that we find little pieces of ourselves again.

We find happiness.

The city isn’t the only option. Maybe a trip to the woods, or to the top of the mountains, or a day sprawled out across a field, or on a beach.

But every once in a while, we do need to get outside of ourselves and be around people who are walking the same earth as us.

We need to live.

Today reminded me of one of my favorite lessons I’ve ever written, and I was happy to revisit it in a new light, and in a new place.

Get lost in what’s around you.

Sometimes a day on the town is exactly what we need.

Day 342.

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Lesson #310: Your time in the sun.

5/27/15.

It’s so good to have good friends you know you’ll have forever.

As my LA departure creeps up closer and closer, I’ve made it a point to see the people who mean the most to me before I leave for the summer. When I met up with one of my closest friends, MaRae, she gave me a journal to write about my journey in (isn’t she the greatest?) and an amazing piece of advice I’ll never forget.

“Don’t let anyone ruin this time for you. Let no one unload any of their troubles on you—back home or out there. This is your time. This is your season. This is your blessing.”

I told her that what she said was so funny, because it was something I needed to hear. “I could see myself actually letting someone do that,” I paused. “And I won’t.”

I feel like this is something that happens often. When we find ourselves in a new experience or position or location—we’re vulnerable. We open ourselves up to a world of possibilities, but by doing that we also open ourselves up to a world of potential wounds. There are always people there to support us, but there are also always people there just to tear us down, whether they mean to or not.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in other people’s drama or lives. It’s easy to get caught up in what people think and their beliefs about us.

It’s a lot easier said than done, but just don’t do it. 

It’s simple.

When it’s your time in the sun,

bask in it.

When you’re enjoying every bit of sunlight,

you don’t have time to sulk in the shadows.

I’m lucky enough to have a ray of sunshine in my life to remind me of this.

Day 310.

Lesson #298: Why was this a good idea again?

5/15/15.

I am the master of starting a personal project or task, getting half way through, and think to myself, “Why the hell did I think this was a good idea?”

It quite honestly makes me mad every time, because I know I only have two choices.

1. Quit.

2. Keep going.

Wow. What a plethora of options.

Free will is kinda-sorta one of the worst gifts to humankind. I mean—not really—but let’s be real. We hate having to make decisions, and we hate being held responsible for own actions even more.

I told you from the very beginning of this blog that I’d always be real with you, so unlucky for both of us, I’m not here to say, “Don’t quit!”

Because in reality, that’s a very possible outcome.

But today we confront it.

Here’s the real question.

Are you quitting because things got hard? Or are you quitting because you really don’t want it anymore?

Whenever you find yourself at that half way mark thinking: “Why am I doing this?”

Actually think to yourself, “Well, why am I doing this?”

Why did you start? What made you want to do it? Was it for the outcome? To hold or see the finished product? For the experience? To see the look on their face? To reach a goal? To gain something for yourself?

Thinking back to why you started something in the first place is the best motivator to keep going.

And sometimes, thinking back to why you started is the best reason to quit. Maybe you never really wanted it anyway.

And one choice is not more right than the other.

But a little advice—never confuse not wanting something with momentary laziness, or fear of hard work.

So whenever you find yourself in this situation, always think about why you started doing it, and why you want to finish.

That’s the truest way to figure out if it’s worth it.

Day 298.

Lesson #282: That time I hated it, but stayed.

4/29/15.

When I walked out of my first poetry class of the semester,

I wanted to die.

My professor seemed cool and super intelligent, but she rambled.

The class seemed to have no structure, so I felt like my brain was being tossed around.

We workshopped online instead of in class, and I thought it was completely disengaging.

I was positive the class would be horrible.

But now I’m in the library, just coming back from the last class of the semester, and I can honestly say it’s one of the most meaningful classes I’ve ever been in.

It’s strange to think that on the second day, I almost dropped the class.

And it’s even more strange to think that my life—in the most inescapably cliché way— would not be the same if I had.

I have met some of the most kind, different, intelligent, and exciting people—artists, dancers, rappers, journalists—and we’ve all become closer through our writing and conversations. It saddens me to think that after this class we may all go our separate ways, but I can honestly say that my life and perspective has been impacted just from being in a room with these people for four months.

I have been put out of my comfort zone. I have learned to take chances, and put up with things I hate (aka iambs and pentameter), and have written things I would have never thought to write. I have heard many stories, and have had many, many conversations that I could never have in an everyday setting with people who are too in-their-ways or dismissive to talk about it with. I have learned how to be uncomfortable, but to explore why, and then talk through it.

I have become a little bit better of a person.

And by this, I don’t mean I—or anyone else who has come out of a good experience—was a bad person before. I just mean that every experience that you take and run with, you become a little bit more of who you are, and who you want to be.

I’m also not saying that everything we hate in the beginning will turn out to be wonderful and life-altering and perspective-shifitng.

It won’t.

But this is what I’ve found to be true.

Just because something isn’t how you first imagined it, and just because it’s not how you are used to learning, doesn’t mean it’s wrong and does’t mean you won’t benefit from it either.

Have you even given it a chance?

Try.

It could be the time of your life.

Even better—

it could lead you to a better you.

Day 282.

Lesson #278: Create vs. Recreate.

4/25/15.

I fell asleep on the couch yesterday after eight hours of orientation leader training before I could write my blog post.

Hehe, oops.

But it just so happens that this is the perfect transition into what I’m going to talk about.

So.

TODAY’S YESTER-LESSON.

During eight hours of training, naturally, you’re bound to learn a lot of things. But there was one thing that really stuck out to me.

The idea of creating vs. re-creating.

Our orientation coordinator, Maria Arbizo, put this on the last slide of the powerpoint, leaving it as one of the most important pieces of advice.

Many times in life, people who have come before us tell us of the experiences they had in the position we hold: whether it’s positive or negative. We adapt what happened to them into our expectations, when the truth is—our experience will be different.

She told us not to re-create, but to create.

This summer, there will be a whole different class of orientation leaders than last year. There will be different first year students, different circumstances, and different opportunities.

And I think this applies to most everything else in life.

Your experience is unique. You won’t view it or see it or have it like anyone else ever did, or ever will.

Your experience is yours. More importantly—your experience is yours to create.

So drop all of your expectations,

and get to creating.

Day 278.