Tag Archives: love

Lesson #356: They say bad things happen in 10’s… and 20’s… and 30’s.

7/11/15.

You know when one bad thing happens? And then another? And another? Then so many bad things start happening that you begin to wonder if you’ll ever see the sunlight again through the heap of horrible things piling up on you?

Okay, that was a little bit dramatic.

No tears, but today was definitely rough day.

My external hard drive crashed in the middle of editing a good friend’s wedding video, I had to drop a ton of money on a new drive without even knowing if I would be able to get all the files back, I came across something that I didn’t even know would still hurt, and I was behind on my blog posts, amongst a list of other things. Add in one little thing here and one little thing there, and soon my entire day was a hot mess. About the only good part of it was a phone call with my dad and a huge chocolate chip cookie.

I went to a coffee shop around the corner that I had never been to and did some work alone, and it turns out that my day got a lot better with just that small action. It was just distracting enough, but it also gave me the space to think.

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I typed up a little list of some things that I learned.

1. Be gentle. With the things you handle, and with yourself.

2. Outlines work on everything and anything. It’s the best way to get organized. Seriously. If you learned nothing else from middle school English class, remember this.

3. Schedule time at least once a week to be alone. And I don’t mean “alone” as in coming home to an empty house or sitting in your living room while your friends or roommates or significant other is out. I mean “alone” as in out doing something alone. Alone, as in surrounded by people. Being purposefully alone. Re-centering yourself in the presense of other bodies is a very powerful, refreshing, and empowering thing. You’re not tucked away in the usual comfort of your own mind as you sit on the couch; you’re just ever so slightly aware of what’s happening around you, and you’re forced to be in tune with yourself. You’re out, and you’re doing your own thing. You’re spending time with you.

4. I’ve come to a resolution about a certain thing, and the resolution is that it’s just not going to hurt any less. I don’t mean it’s going to hurt forever—because it can’t. But I know that right now, and for a very long time, it’s not going to hurt any less without action. I need to seriously separate myself for a while, or it will never get better. T-swift said that bandaids don’t fix bullet holes, and that’s the truth. But what she didn’t tell us (until next single) is that you can’t keep putting bandaids over open wounds. I need to accept that it hurts and work to get past it by creating space. As I’ve said in a previous lesson, realizing something is a completely different lesson than actually executing what you’ve learned. But at least I’ve gotten as far as the first one. Wish me luck.

5. When I spoke to my dad today, he reminded me of the most true and fundamental thing we need to remember. Bad things that happen to us—and even the bad things that we bring on ourselves—will only make us stronger and better. You can’t afford to get all frustrated over it. You have to take it as it is, learn from it, and know what to do next time. It’s as simple as that.

I’ve learned so much about myself today. How I become hesitant and introverted when I go into crisis mode; how tough I can be, but how fragile I am too. I realized that I am stronger than I give myself credit for. I realized that I am confident and independent, but I sometimes rely on others for answers that I need to find myself. I realized that it’s okay to rely on others for a push sometimes, but NEVER for validation. I learned I am meek and shy when it comes to being wrong, but regardless, I always admit when I am. I learned that I am most discombobulated and frantic and not myself, not when I’m stressed, but when I’m nervous. And all of these are things I want to work on.

As we get closer and closer to Day 365, I’ve realized that the good times teach us something wonderful, but the hard times aren’t just hard—they teach us something as well. There is no good feeling that comes with mess-ups, mishaps, or moments gone wrong. But the greatest feeling that rises from it all, is the feeling of a lesson learned; of a little piece of betterment for ourselves.

Use it to carry on.

Day 356.

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“Don’t Put All of Your Eggs in One Basket.” A guest lesson by Joe McGraw.

Recently, I lost the best relationship I had ever been in. We were together for a little over two years, and he was honestly my best friend. But one night I could sense something was wrong. He later told me he didn’t love me anymore, and that he was no longer attracted to me. My self-esteem was destroyed. It felt as though a piece of me had died, and finding a way to feel complete again has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I knew something was wrong a few months before it all ended, but I chose to ignore the signs because I thought it would pass and we would spend the rest of our lives together.

About a year into our relationship he proposed that we move to Germany together because free tuition is now being offered to international students. We both dropped out of college and started working more to save up our money. The thought of living out the rest of my days with the guy of my dreams made me so incredibly happy, it felt as though it was too good to be true. And it was.

I’ve been dealing with depression since around the 8th grade, but after it was all said and done between us, I fell into a pit of self-hatred and lost any motivation I had left to move forward in life. I moved back in with my parents in Georgia because I thought making a fresh start for myself would fix everything. I lost contact with the majority of the people that I called my friends, and I can honestly say I have never felt more alone in my entire life. I began having several thoughts of suicide.

Looking back, I know there were plenty of reasons the relationship had to end. To name one, we smoked pot every day and sat around accomplishing nothing. Sure, we were still working, but after about a year we didn’t really have a whole lot of money to show for it because we spent most of it on weed.

I’m in no way trying to bash this person by any means, because honestly, he’s a really good guy. He just ended up losing feelings for me and it all came out in a really bad way. We had reached a point where we were both stuck in a stasis, and the path we were both once following had reached a fork, and it was time to go our separate ways. He still wanted to be friends, but I knew if I had let that happen I would never actually be over him. I’m still not, but I’ve unfollowed him on all social media and I’ve deleted his number off of my phone in hopes that one day I will be.

Depressing shit aside, I do want to convey a lesson here. Throughout the relationship, I put all of my heart and soul into being with him. We were together just about every day. We didn’t give each other any room to grow as individuals. I focused all of my time and effort on staying in that relationship, I no longer even had a hold on who I was. I put all of my eggs in that basket and just hoped that everything would work out. I basically depended on him for my happiness, which is something nobody should ever do. I couldn’t make myself happy, so he was my solution. Its cliché, but a person really cannot love another until they can learn to love themselves, and that’s something I’m desperately trying to do. I’m going back to therapy and I’ve been going on daily walks and trying to work out more.

I’m still not sure on what I want to do with the rest of my life, but I feel like making these small steps to better my overall mental health is at least a good start. So what’s the lesson here?

Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Work towards your own goals and never lose sight of yourself. I’m not saying be selfish and never invest your time in a relationship, just don’t let your relationship consume your life. Don’t let any other person be the source of your happiness. That happiness needs to come from within.

I’ve also realized that it’s perfectly okay to not know what you want to do with your life. What I’ve started doing is just considering every little thing that I’m the slightest bit passionate about and going from there. Don’t be afraid to try anything and everything.

Stay cool, kiddos.

-Lesson by Joe McGraw-

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Joe McGraw likes long walks through beautiful scenery and following an endless number of cats on Instagram. Coffee is life.

Lesson #348: Loving and living.

7/3/15.

It’s a wonderful thing when someone tells us exactly what we need to hear when we don’t even realize we need to hear it.

Tonight a great person told me something very important.

Focusing on one thing at a time is the best thing we can do for ourselves.

Put your full attention on that, relish in whatever you’re doing, and when you finish—put your heart and soul into the next thing.

Life is too short to spread yourself thin.

Put love into everything you do, but don’t forget to live.

Day 348.

Lesson #346: Getting clear.

7/1/15.

I can’t quite explain what was happening in my brain as Amy was talking yesterday, but somewhere in the midst of it, something clicked for me. And today only confirmed it further.

Like Amy, early on in my life I fell in love with the way movies made me feel; how all these elements could come together and move a group people—even change people. Before I lost all my baby teeth or knew how to write cursive, I already was putting on shows with my Barbie dolls on my bedroom floor. By the time I was 10, I had a notebook full of novel ideas and chapters, pieces of movie and television scripts, and short plays. I wrote and devoloped a television series about a group of pre-teens living on the beach before I even had boobs. I remember asking my mom and dad to use the family computer to type all of these scripts and chapters, printing out pages and pages of stories and sticking them in Lisa Frank folders (that I still have… it’s hilarious). Kids were asking for Polly Pockets and Easy Bake ovens, and I was the kid asking for a typewriter.

My friends would come over after middle school, and we would re-enact scenes from Hannah Montana in the living room for our parents. On a shitty flip-cam that I got for Christmas one year, my neighbors and I would record ourselves singing songs we wrote in spiral notebooks that were falling apart from being written in so much. We even took turns strumming my small green guitar that we had absolutely no idea how to actually play. 

When I picked up a much better (but still shitty) camera at the age of 12 and made my first semi-real video with a friend, we decided to post it on YouTube for fun. I later found a video editing software that came with my laptop, and started experimenting with more videos. That’s when it really began.

I started making and filming my own original skits—then music videos—then movie scene re-makes—then my own short films. I gained a YouTube following and started building relationships with people in the online community who loved doing the same thing. My interest in being in front of the camera began to grow as well. During my first year of middle school in sixth grade, my mom encouraged me to try out for the school play. I won best actress for my role as the school nerd that year, and tried out and acted in the plays every year after that. I continued to do theatre all throughout high school, making friends and falling in love with the costumes and characters and stories; both performing and directing. I took what I knew from the stage, and let it inspire me to do some of the same things on camera—and I loved it.

In one of my first production classes in college, it hit me: I was developing and writing treatments before I knew what they were, and shooting low angles and high angles and rack focusing before I even knew they had names. I was a writer, producer, and sometimes actor, and I didn’t even know it. I was just doing what I loved.

As I got older, I realized it wasn’t just the act of movie-making that I loved.

It was storytelling.

As you can see—I used the word “love” at least four or five times while explaining my story.

And if that doesn’t say something, I don’t know what else does.

When Amy told us yesterday to get clear on what we want by tuning in to what we love instinctively—it only solidified the answer for me.

Storytelling runs through my veins; it’s constantly on my mind and in my heart.

But I’m still pretty confused.

I mean—I’m 20.

Storytelling is a very broad term. I like a lot of things—so many things that I don’t know exactly what I want to do yet. I don’t know where to start. I want to act. I want to talk and discuss. I want to write. I want to develop. I want to produce. I want to direct.

At my internship this summer, I love being there. I like what I’m doing and how much I’m learning. I’m working hard.

But in the midst of Amy talking, I realized something right then and there.

There are two different kinds of hard work. There’s the kind of work where you try hard because you want to appear good, be good, or look good.

And then there’s the kind of work where you’re working hard and you don’t even realize it. Where you stay up all night (like right now on the living room floor writing this) to perfect something, or understand something, or finish something. Where you work hard because you want to discover, or find, or build, or be better; because you want to make something the best that it can be.

You’re working hard for yourself.

And I realized the second is the one we’re supposed to chase after.

I found that where I worked my hardest, is creatively.

Using my brain to create. To problem solve with my eyes, heart, and mind. To figure out where something should be placed, or what to capture, or how something can be told. To strategize how it can be marketed and advertised and sold. To execute visions, and write ideas. To bring something inspiring to the world. And it’s what what feels right to me.

I don’t know where I’m going yet.

But I do know that feeling is what I’m going to follow.

Day 346.

“Don’t you dare wish time away.” A guest lesson by Morgan Weitzel.

Don’t you dare wish time away.

Time is finite, making it one of the most precious things here on this earth. Finite things have an end. Time will end. Always.

One of my biggest college regrets is wishing my time away and wanting to move on to the next chapter of my life before I even finished the page that I was on.

A bad breakup regrettably triggered my time squandering.

For the next year and a half, I not only disliked who I had become because of the breakup, but I also began resenting my life and the cards I had been dealt. I wanted to fast forward to the end of college—where my new life would begin and where I would have a fresh start at happiness.

I stopped going out, cut off close friends and family, and lost my Morgan spark. For that, I honestly hated the guy—but now I know better.

Hating someone still makes them an important part of your life. If you forgive them—even if they stole your heart, time, and money—it makes them obsolete. [Side note: Don’t ever let a stupid boy do that to you, ladies. No guy is worth the pain. I have so much more advice about that…but that’s for another lesson. ;)]

So THAT, expediting my life’s chapters, is my biggest regret. I was so focused on a final destination that I hoped to skip the journey simply because I ran into some bumps.

I’ve learned that no one knows what life will bring on any given day. No one knows how long anything will last. No one knows when you might lose something or someone you love. No one knows when the next tomorrow won’t come. No one knows ANYTHING.

Now, after I’m finally over the mega-douchelord (I guess I shouldn’t call him that..but it’s definitely the most appropriate of the words that I would like to call him), here I sit without any possibility of regaining that time. I have one semester to make up for all the time I lost staying in bed, binging on takeout and Netflix. It breaks my heart all over again to think about how I spent my days crying and angry at the world, when I could have been out with my best friends making unforgettable memories.

All because I was caught up wishing away time.

Time is finite. Everything will eventually come to an end without warning, but don’t rush. Take life slowly and savor every step along the way. Enjoy where you are when you are. The journey is the best part. Don’t waste time being unhappy; it’s just not worth it. Ever.

Don’t you dare wish time away you beautiful soul, you.

-Lesson by Morgan Weitzel-

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Morgan Weitzel is a strong, independent woman with a heart of gold, the lifestyle habits of a 70-year-old man, and (if needed), the attitude of a fighter. She is heading into her final semester at JMU, and will be graduating with a degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology. She’s never really taken the time to scribble down the on-going thoughts in her head, but she is finally ready to share a lesson.

“It’s okay to cry behind your sunglasses: A lesson on long-term gratification.” A guest lesson by Michelle Mullins.

I have learned that history tends to repeat itself.  Recently, I stumbled upon this quote on Twitter: “The greatest human tragedy is that we want what we can’t have, grow disinterested in what we do, and terribly miss the things we lose.”  This really hit home for me, personally.  I tend to take things for granted when they’re there, get bored with it, and I’m always looking for something better.

My lesson for you today, is to not be like me: don’t go seeking out something that could possibly be better.  A lot of the time, it’s not.

Now don’t get me wrong—I’m not saying we should be stagnant and not take risks or make changes in our lives.  I believe that change is important, and striving for more is fantastic.  But when it comes to people, relationships, love—appreciate when you have a good thing.  There are so many pictures on Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, and more of couples that you “should” be like.  As much as those pictures are #goals, it is such a minuscule representation of what that relationship actually is like.  I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer, but the couple with the cute candid picture of them kissing or laughing could be fighting every night, or may not have even been together for that long.  In a long, committed, and serious relationship it’s not always going to be fun.  There will be times when you get into a “lull” in your relationship or get bored with it—but don’t give up.  Don’t let go, and then end up missing what you have lost.  Sometimes, we need to put in a little extra effort so things don’t get boring. Sometimes, we need more communication to save something that is extremely valuable.

The problem with our generation is that not many people (including myself) understand how to put in that extra effort because it’s so much easier just to give up. In our generation, we all want instant gratification, which eventually leaves us feeling empty.  To have fulfilling and rewarding relationships, we need to learn the value of long-term gratification, the ability to resist temptation for an immediate reward, and how to wait for a later reward.  Next time you think it would be easier to break up because you’re bored or because you got into an argument, think deeply about what you would be giving up.  Ask yourself: am I making this decision based on delayed or instant gratification?  In the long-run, will this leave me feeling satisfied or empty?

I have had this experience twice now, and both times I have been left feeling empty.  Do not make the same mistakes I have, or you’ll end up crying behind your sunglasses at work.  While it’s okay to cry and let the emotions out, it is not okay to make the same mistake twice.  Resist smaller more immediate rewards in every aspect of your life—not just relationships—in order to receive a more enduring reward later down the road.

All I can hope for in my personal life is the “three strikes and you’re out” rule.  I don’t deserve a third chance, but I hope to someday earn one again.  An anonymous person on Tumblr posted: “Never trust a person that has let you down more than 2 times. Once was a warning, twice was a lesson, and anything more than that is simply taking an advantage.”  I hope that someday I can have that third chance, not to take advantage—but to do things right.  I know I personally need time to mature and develop more deferred gratification.

Please use this lesson as a warning. Do not grow dissatisfied when there is nothing wrong.  Appreciate what you have, and don’t always go looking for more.  Practice long-term gratification in order to avoid long-term heart ache.

And in the meantime, it’s okay to cry behind your sunglasses.

-Lesson by Michelle Mullins-

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Michelle Mullins is a sophomore at James Madison University, double majoring in Marketing & Advertising and Corporate Communication, with a secret dream of going into journalism.  Her hobbies include workouts at 6am, more extra-curriculars than one can handle, and tumbling. Check her out here at the-michellem.tumblr.com.

Lesson #311: I came for a short time, but a sweet time.

5/29/15.

I’ve only had about two and a half weeks at home.

At first, I was a little upset.

How was that supposed to be enough time to see my family and friends and get ready before I leave for an entire summer?

But now that I’ve reached the end of my time and get ready board my flight in three hours,

I’ve realized that this was actually the perfect amount of time.

It wasn’t too long, and it wasn’t too short.

It was sweet.

I’ve probably done more in two and a half weeks then I would have done here over an entire summer.

I shot and went to a wedding, saw and met Andy Grammer, reunited with all of my family for my grandma’s 70th birthday, beached it, spent a few nights out on the town, met a few new people, saw all my friends instead of putting it off and never doing it, got a tattoo, and a ton more.

Every moment became precious.

It’s not like i’m going off forever—at least not yet—but I think it’s just the whole concept of leaving what you know behind and saying goodbye, even if just for a little bit, that makes everything so valued and adored and cherished.

A shorter time means a sweeter time.

Of course, not everything gets done.

In fact, there’s a list of things I still haven’t done and a list of people I still haven’t seen—and now won’t now until August.

But what in life is ever completely done, or finished?

No amount of time will ever truly feel like enough when we’re spending it with the people we love.

But we have to go off.

We have to leap.

All I know is, I’ve had a heck of a good time.

And I can’t wait to see what this LA adventure and these last 54 days bring.

See you on the west coast ;)

Day 311.