Goodbye, Encinitas

A Summer Away From Home

When I made the decision to move eight hours up the coast from home, I knew it was going to be a change – but I couldn’t have anticipated just how much.

I had never been forced to be this independent or self-sustaining. For my entire life, those couple of months between the long stretches of schooling were uneventful. I was used to working part-time behind a register and minding my own business.

But I was coming to the bay area completely on my own accord – I was pursuing a full-time internship at a big corporation, paying my own rent, driving my own car. After my mom helped me make the drive up north and move in all my belongings, the summer was completely in my own hands.

And I loved it.

It took some getting used to – developing a new routine, budgeting my income and my expenses, and learning how to live in a new place. Of course, I had the support of nearby friends and relied entirely on that 40-minute drive north to see the people that mattered most.

But I was able to grow a lot. In learning how to live alone and be completely self-sustaining, I developed a new sense of confidence in myself. I was learning new skills at my job, meeting all kinds of new people, and thrusting myself into this new – although temporary – way of life.

If anything, I’ve learned that breaking that bubble of familiarity and comfort and pushing yourself to do something challenging comes with a sense of excitement that is completely novel.

Getting out out of my comfort zone makes me want to push those boundaries even more next summer. I figured out what makes me excited, whether that in the job I want or just in small details of living life in a new place. Getting a taste of working life just makes me want so desperately to thrust myself somewhere else once I graduate from school. I’d love to explore the east coast, or live in a bigger city.

But for now, I’m enjoying the last couple weeks of my internship and soaking up this newfound sense of freedom. 🙂

Nostalgia: The End of Another Year

I am already an introspective person. I spend a lot of time thinking. Sometimes I can get caught up in my own head.

It’s a good way to check in with myself. It wasn’t until I came home from school that I had people around me who told me that I always seem to be in a constant state of stress. Whether it be tied to academics, social life, work, or finding a balance between them all, it’s been easy to let myself become overwhelmed.

But aside from that point, I think being introspective leads to a sense of nostalgia whenever the end of another year comes around. It’s another milestone, another step, towards the end of my college career and a reminder that I’m darting towards some sort of unsure future for myself.

Nostalgia is defined as a wistful longing for some sort of past memory or moment associated with a sense of happiness. It can be tied to really anything in the past whether that be a person, a place, or a thing. But the key point is that it’s usually unattainble or irrevocable — because it’s in the past.

Sometimes it can be harmful when you break out of the scope of that nostalgia and get caught up on the moments, or things, that used to be tied to happiness. Maybe now those things evoke feelings of regret or sadness at the memory of their loss. It’s easy to get tangled in a web of ‘what-ifs’ with the past and conjure up all sorts of scenarios out of touch with what is already a reality.

I think I spend a lot of time looking back out of a fear of that uncertain future I mentioned earlier. And I don’t think this mindset, this pattern, is all that uncommon. I think a lot of people struggle with it to some degree.

The way you can turn this into a healthy reflection is tweaking how you frame the past. It’s good to look back on yourself and your decisions and your experiences because it allows you to learn and grow — from them and within yourself.

But that only comes as a result of knowing you’re growing up and out of the past, instead of letting it hold you back and lingering things you can’t change. You should instead focus on reminiscing with a sense of appreciation for those moments.

I know I’m writing about this subject on a large scale, and maybe in words that are a little dramatic. But if you can identify these feelings within yourself, it makes you that much more of a person for being able to build a sense of self-awareness and trying to change how you frame your mindset in regard to the past, and subsequently the present. You don’t want to miss out on what’s right in front of you, and that’s something I have to remind myself sometimes ◡̈

The Pursuit of the Future

As a college student, it is too easy to get caught up in the future. I am surrounded by people who share a similar desire to figure out what’s next in all aspects, whether that be professionally, personally, socially, or academically. The decisions I make are done with the intention of consciously working towards the answer to a question: what is my future? And what does that really mean?

Coming to college solidified my independency by showing me the value of making decisions that I believe in wholeheartedly. At the end of it all, I am the only one that can truly carve the path that’s meant for me, and that’s terrifying. But there’s no roadmap and there’s no directions telling me which way to go. These questions I am trying to answer are so broad; it’s as if I’m standing on the edge of the ocean and all I see are distant, hazy shades of blue. How do I know where to focus if I don’t know what I’m looking at?

I am guilty of over-complicating. I like to take time for self-reflection and introspection, and I think it is healthy. But sometimes I become too occupied with what’s going on in my head and forget to consider what’s right in front of me. I’ve learned over time that the best way to approach this question of my future is to break down my overall life goals into smaller, more tangible steps.

For example, my dream is to run my own publishing company in New York City. Right now, it sounds so farfetched; it’s a dream. It’s an answer I’ve considered unrealistic and unachievable, but I know now that it could be attainable if I start working towards it. There are many steps I can take now, like reaching out to professionals and entrepreneurs in the industry or looking at other individual’s success stories or even just taking classes related to my interests.

There is always the concern of finding and maintaining a balance though. How can I work hard and still be able to live my life fervently? There is still so much for me to see and to do. I don’t want to neglect giving myself those experiences. You only get the chance to live out each and every day once. When I look back on my time in college, what will have truly forged the memorable moments is all the times that I was surrounded by the people I love, not worrying whether I’m constantly moving myself forward professionally.

But that level of comfort and confidence with my decisions will only come with knowing that I put all of my best efforts forward when focusing on my professional and academic career. It goes both ways.

It’s important to build a level of self-awareness when considering your future. I think it’s necessary to set certain goals for yourself, even if they do seem broad. It can help give you a sense of confidence by allowing you to make decisions based on those goals, and set you on a purposeful trajectory to that future. Just don’t forget to enjoy yourself every now and then. :’)

Why I Lost My Inspiration

On Thursdays, I post. Every week for the past six weeks, I have made sure to have a piece written, an Instagram story scheduled, and a Facebook post drafted by 2PM. I have been proud of what I have been writing and have loved the feelings of happiness I get out of sharing it on my own personal website. All the work I put out is entirely my own, and that’s the best part about this endeavor that I started back in May.

And then I have these incredible moments. Moments when I am so invigorated by an intense desire to write that I can feel it building up inside of me, like I’m just bursting at the seams. And when I sit down with my laptop or journal open, it all just comes spilling out of me. I love those moments. But I know they aren’t consistent. They are not always going to show up on the dot when I want to write a post and have it ready by 2PM on Thursday.

I love spending time alone because that’s when I can think the clearest. That’s when I feel the most inspired because I get to hone into myself and my emotions. I become more aware of my surroundings and build a sense of self-awareness that only comes with spending time alone. But sometimes that becomes a rarity when I forget to prioritize myself. When I forget to do that, I neglect to take the time to sit back and check in with myself. Since coming back to San Luis Obispo after summer, my priorities and responsibilities have naturally changed, and that has exacerbated the problem. My focus has been all over the place. And as a result, my writing habits have suffered.

Let me explain. Before I started a blog, I kept journals. I had been writing down my thoughts in notebooks and journals and in phones for years. It was my way of reflecting, and every time I wrote my thoughts down, it gave me a sense of relief in being able to give up those thoughts and dreams and emotions and see them in front of me in a tangible form. It kept me centered.

Since starting my blog, that catharsis has been mixed with writing on my blog. It has been a place to let out my thoughts in the past. But because I have been caught up in my schedule and my blog is no longer my only focus, I have been guilty of neglecting to make time for myself. This has been building since I started working over the summer. But with the start of the school year and the inevitable chaos of my schedule, I have found myself losing the inspiration to write because it has become another thing to check off of my to-do list.

It’s important to live in the moment. But I have been living so much in each moment that I haven’t been looking outside of that, and that’s why I have lost the drive and inspiration to write that pushed me to make this blog in the first place.

Honestly, I wasn’t even aware of the extent of this issue until I sat down to write this post. Which just drives my point home. These ‘Thoughts” posts are a way for me to share what I’m thinking and how I’m feeling, and people seem like them because they get the most traffic on my blog.

If anything, I hope this post shows you that it’s normal to fall out of good habits. Everyone is guilty of it to some extent or another. It’s easy to neglect yourself and put other responsibilities first. But you are the best version of yourself only when you remember that, and make your self-care and wellbeing at the top of the list of your priorities.

Communication is Everything

In theory, communication seems like a simple idea. It’s the basis for the connection between two people. But in reality, communication can be difficult. It can be complicated and confusing. It can bring people together or tear them apart. It can be the cultivation of ideas into something brilliant or be the wall that some people never scale together successfully.

Throughout my life, I have always prided myself on my great sense of empathy. I think of myself as a considerate person, and strive to be the person to put other people first. I try to take their feelings and emotions into account even if they may differ from my own.

I’ve realized that in order for me to be successful, I have to be confident in myself and who I am. But part of that is also realizing what I am not, and taking comfort in the fact that that I will always have areas to improve in order to continually become a better person for myself and my relationships with others.

I’m a typical overthinker. Whenever I have something important to share with someone, I run through a million scenarios in my head beforehand and get so nervous that sometimes I write down what I want to say before the conversation happens to sort out my thoughts. I recognize that the nervousness can be a good sign; it means that I am invested in the situation. But sometimes I think that it comes off as disingenuous. I go over what I want to say so many times and it becomes polished — too polished — and what I want to convey to the other person can get lost in the words.

I think that the most important component of good communication is transparency. Being clear with your thoughts and your feelings to another person is so important. That’s not to say you should always speak without a filter. It just means that you should be candid and honest while considering that the articulation of your words may affect the other person’s reaction. Ensuring that you are maintaining healthy communication with the people who mean the most to you requires effort.

I’m not perfect. Take what I say with a grain of salt, because the next person may have a different perspective to offer in terms of what they believe cultivates good communication. But that’s the beauty of it. We all react and learn and grow in our own ways, and communication is how you can bridge the gap between those differing characteristics. I believe that as long as you show that you’re well-intentioned and are truly trying your best, then you’re doing just fine.

A Proper Introduction: Discovering the Undiscovered

I’ve come to the realization that I don’t really have a proper introduction post to my blog. I started this website a while ago as a place to express my thoughts and have started to adhere to a consistent posting schedule, but have yet to create a post where I establish my purpose and my goals.

There’s many emotions that come with starting this blog. I’ve always aspired to find a place where I can share my deepest thoughts, express my opinions, and discuss my experiences through writing. Here, my options are limitless. No boundaries, no restrictions. Just me and my thoughts. I have the opportunity to write whatever I want whenever I want.

As a young person who has been brought up in this society – this chaotic, ever-changing, and sometimes polarizing society – I’ve always had an opinion. I’ve always wanted to say something, but I’ve never known where to start. As humans, we are ultimately working towards our truths and what really drives us to continue doing our best each and every day. Along the way, we may run into a few bumps in the road. The ups-and-downs of life can sometimes throw you a surprise. It’s always those unexpected situations, good or bad, that can put a person on the line and throw them onto a path of self-discovery and show them something new about themselves. And in order to figure out what life is to us, we must first discover who we are – what causes us to react with certain emotions and impulses to situations, and what makes us, us. Those are the moments I have always grown as a person, and I want to be able to share those moments on my blog.

Don’t get me wrong; it took a while to work up the courage to want to share those experiences to the public. I admire every person that’s able to do that without much hesitation. But once I got past my initial uncertainty, I saw how great this blog could become.

I haven’t even started my second year of college. I still need to live and discover myself. I still need to experience life. I need to go out, cram for exams, lose and make friends, and find out who I want to be when I grow up. I’m new to this experience. I’ve never written for a blog before and I’m not perfect. Maybe my opinions will be bias, too naïve, or against the majority. I’m okay with that, but I hope you will follow me and listen to me and be open to me. I always keep an open mind to others’ opinions, and I am always striving to learn more.

This blog is where I can share that with people who will listen to what I have to say, whether they agree or disagree, and create a space where we can learn from each other. And eventually I want to go beyond just sharing my opinions and my ideas. There are so many possibilities. Words are powerful, and I want to make an impact with my own.

Self-Love

Loving myself has been the hardest challenge that I have faced in my life so far.

Most students are able to tell you about all the difficulties that they faced when making the transition to college. For me, this past year I struggled a lot with my self image. When you’re thrust into a new environment and a new way of living paired with the ubiquitous fear of not knowing your place in the world, it can be a lot to bear. Maybe putting my problems into the scale of the world was a bit much, but nevertheless it was the root of a lot of my insecurities.

I found myself constantly comparing myself to other people in my life, asking questions that weren’t giving me answers that satisfied me. Why is this person doing better than me in school? How come they have more friends? Why are they better at talking to people? Why do they seem so much more confident than I have ever felt?

Anyone that knows me well will tell you that I am guilty of getting stuck in my head about everything which leads to overthinking, self-doubt, and self-sabotage. It is easy to compare yourself to others and only see what they have and what you do not. It is easy to focus on what you perceive as flaws instead of being grateful for what you do have.

For me, the best outlet was talking to people that cared for me. I knew that what I was doing was unhealthy. What I realized through these conversations is that everyone does the same thing. It is inevitable that people compare themselves to others around them. It’s human nature. But the ultimate challenge that comes with that is learning to practice gratitude. It is so easy to see what you don’t have, that it often becomes difficult to remember to appreciate what you do have.

Don’t get me wrong — sometimes using people around you as inspiration to get to a place that you want to be is not a bad thing. It is good to surround yourself with people who are high-achieving and are striving to be the best versions of themselves because it can motivate you to do the same. But don’t confuse that with having to be the same as them. Instead of asking “Why don’t I have what they have?” you should be asking yourself “What do I have?” and “How can I use that to make me even more successful?” It’s about appreciating your own attributes and strengths and learning how to use and build upon those to be happy with who you are.

Every person is different which means that your path to success and self-love and all that is not always going to look the same as those around you. Each and every person in this world has something to offer, and when you realize that, it really opens up your perspective of yourself and the people in your life. It sounds like a cliché, but it is so true.

Like everyone else, I have days where I find myself feeling down and getting lost in my head. It is okay to doubt yourself because that’s natural. But when you have those moments, remind yourself that it’s okay to feel that way. Don’t try and shut it out. Acknowledge it. Keeping track of my thoughts in my journal or going to my favorite spot at the beach just to be alone and check in to see how I am feeling has helped me a lot.

It took me a long time to love myself, and it’s still something I am working on today. It is a lot easier to say something than actually put it into practice, but awareness is the first step. It is hard. But it is something you have to continually work on and eventually, you’ll get there. I believe in you. :’)