Tag Archives: happiness

Just A Little Bit More Reflection (or Evaluating My Happiness Checklist)

In my million posts about the new year, I mentioned how I do a lot of reflection this time of year. Even though it’s an arbitrary start date (like people who say they will start something on Monday or when the next month starts), it still feels like a start or a clean break. There’s just something about a new year that makes me want to work on myself and see what I can improve upon.

I feel like I have done a lot of reflection and so many of the things I have done recently have been good things for me. I have very few regrets about what I’ve been doing lately and even the things I regret aren’t as bad as they have been in the past. But there are still things I know I could do better and that’s something that I’ve been thinking about this week.

I’ve been doing my happiness checklist for quite a while now. I find it a very valuable tool for me to use to make sure that I take time for myself each day to do at least one thing that makes me happy. There is never an expectation for me to do everything on the list (and I don’t think I’ve actually ever done that), but it’s good for me to check in with myself. And even on my worst days, it’s nice to remember that I have done some things that make me happy in a day. It doesn’t always make me feel better, but it does take the edge off of a really bad day.

I’ve made a few changes on my checklist since I started it, but I haven’t made a change on it recently. And as I have been filling out my checklists the past few days, I’ve been feeling like they aren’t necessarily the right things to have on there. They are things that make me happy, but either I do them every day and I don’t know if they should be on there or they are a bit too specific and I don’t get to do them as often as I’d like. And then there is one or two things on the list that I know should make me happy but they don’t necessarily do so. And I’ve been having weird guilt feelings about why I don’t feel happy when I know that they should.

So it is definitely time for me to work on redoing my happiness checklist. I need to take time and really think about things that do make me happy. And maybe I need to find new categories to have on there that combine a few things. For example, I had beauty stuff on the list originally but took it off because I didn’t do it often enough nor did I want to do it more often. And now I have watching movies on the list but sometimes I don’t want to watch a movie and I feel like I should at some point in a week to be able to check it off. I don’t know if doing a general category like “self-care” would be right to do on there, but there has to be a better way for me to categorize things.

I think the problem for me in the past is I felt like if I was going to make a change on the list that I have to do it immediately and move on. That’s a bit how it started when my therapist told me to do this. I felt like I needed to get it set up so I could start working on doing a check in every day. I didn’t think about it enough and that’s why I had to make changes early on. I also probably have the issue with feeling like once I set something up that it needs to stay that way and I am not as flexible as I feel like I am. That’s something I know I am working on and this is a great way for me to do just that.

As much as I’d love to have my new checklist set up tonight, I know that doing that is the wrong move. It is causing me a bit of anxiety to not know when it will be ready and I will start using that, but I need to sit in those feelings. I hear all the time that change only happens outside of your comfort zone and I know that keeping my checklist the way it is or setting up a new one immediately is the comfortable way. I need to be in the uncomfortable space now and hopefully that time will allow me to reflect and work on it and I will be better for it in the long run.

Spreading Some Holiday Cheer (or Finding Cheaper Ways To Make People Smile)

With it being the holiday season, so many people do things to try to make others smile. I love seeing the happiness and cheer this time of year and I try to participate however I can. If money wasn’t an issue, I would do so much for friends and strangers alike. That’s not the case for me so I do have to find out how to do things for less money.

I don’t have to worry about buying too many presents which does help with spending. I really only get presents for my immediate family and I already did those gifts. I work hard on those gifts and try to find the best things that I can afford. Fortunately, the gifts I’ve done the past few years have been less expensive than they appear to be so that helps. And since I get one gift for my parents and one gift for my brother and sister-in-law, that helps too. I don’t have to worry about getting 4 presents and can focus on 2 really good ones.

The only other gift I had to do this year was for the Reddit Secret Santa. I’ve done a few of these Reddit gift exchanges before and they have always been fun. Again, I would love to spend way more money than the suggested amount to get everything the person I got matched with asked for. But I have to read into what they want and really try to find the best thing that I can afford. This year, the person I got mentioned how they wanted to learn more about the science of cooking and they love popcorn. So I found a great book all about cooking and why things happen with different preparations as well as some fancy popcorn salt. The person I matched with posted online about how they loved the gifts and they fit exactly what they were looking for. So even though I couldn’t spend a ton of money, I got them something they liked and appreciated.

My presents from my Reddit Secret Santa have been coming in a few different boxes. There is still one more box coming and I don’t know what is in it, but I’ve gotten 2 presents so far. Just like the person I matched with, in my profile I mentioned I love popcorn and my Secret Santa got me a variety of gourmet microwave popcorn flavors! I also mentioned I like historical fiction books and they got me a box set of books that are about female pirates. I have no idea what the last box will contain, but I’m excited to see what they got me since these gifts have been so cool so far!

Another holiday thing that I’ve done the past few years is to do holiday cards. I don’t do anything with my photo since it seems weird to do that when I don’t have my own family (or a pet), so I can buy just regular cards in a store or online. For a few years, I did cards with envelopes and those were easy enough to do. But to save money as my holiday card list has grown, I did postcards last year and am doing the same this year. Postcard stamps are about half the cost of regular stamps so that is a pretty significant savings for me. And since the cards are always pretty simple ones, it’s not a big deal for me to do postcards instead of cards in envelopes.

I’ve been a bit slow with getting my postcards out this year. Normally I have them out toward the beginning of the month, but this time I’m still working on finishing them. I’m hoping to get them to the post office by tomorrow, but I’m not sure if I’ll make that deadline. But it’s ok if they arrive after Christmas since they aren’t specific to any holiday. And I know that since most people don’t get things in the mail, it will make them happy even if they arrive in January. No matter when they get them, it will be something special and not just boring bills in their mailbox.

I’m also starting to get holiday cards from my friends which makes me so happy too. I do get a lot of joy out of doing things for other people, but I also enjoy getting things myself. I always feel special that someone has included me in their holiday card list and I love seeing the fun cards that people send out. A lot of my friends that send cards have kids so it’s also a nice treat to get to see what pictures of their kids that they have on the cards.

It hasn’t been the easiest holiday season for me due to stress and worries, but I’m glad that it hasn’t stopped me from still finding ways to celebrate the holidays and to do special things. I know I don’t do a lot, but it’s something and I’m glad that the people who get things from me appreciate even the little things I can do.

Staying Strong And Having Standards (or Still Learning From Dating)

So many of the changes I’ve made in my life over the past few years seem to come from things I’ve dealt with in online dating. I’ve questioned if it’s a good thing that I’m discovering so much about myself through dating and how men see me, but I’m starting to think it’s a good thing. This isn’t just about dating, but dating makes it a different environment. I’ve always been a people pleaser, but I’ve notice that this can also allow for people to walk over me. And this wasn’t as clear to me before as it has become after a guy treated me that way. So I’m just thinking that dating has given me a new perspective to view behaviors in my life and how I react to them.

I do still have things to work on and those issues are much clearer to me now, but I feel like I have become a much more confident person recently once I stopped worrying as much about what men think of me. I’ve allowed myself to be rude when it was warranted. I never would have done that before because I didn’t want someone to think I wasn’t kind or nice. But there are times where it doesn’t matter what someone else thinks because you need to do what is going to give you the answers or life you need. I still won’t be mean out of nowhere and I do hesitate to reject a guy when I’m questioning some things. I will always err on the side of being nice, but when I need to stand up for myself I will do so.

I’ve had a few chances to do that this past week, both with guys that I had gone out with about a year ago. It’s weird how guys from my past seem to reach out around the same time, but it has happened that way more than once. With these guys, things ended for different reasons so while my feelings about them were both something I questioned I still had different feelings.

For one guy, it didn’t end that well. It doesn’t matter why it ended, but it was something that made me mad and I held on to that feeling longer than I should have. He reached out to me to say how he missed me and wanted to see me again. And I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that I was willing to see him even though he didn’t treat me that well before. But of course, even before I could see him he ended up treating me with the same lack of respect that he had before. I did allow it last year and I guess he thought he could still treat me the same way. But I called him out on the behavior and I didn’t see him. If he reaches out to me again, I would love to say I would ignore him but I honestly don’t know. It seems like some people are harder to kick out of your life than others.

The second guy was someone who I went out with a few times. Things ended because we were in different places in our lives. He had a bit of an issue with follow through when making plans, which annoyed me, but nothing was that bad. It ended, but it didn’t feel like it was for any reason other than I didn’t want to waste my time if I wasn’t feeling totally certain about him. And with that feeling, someone could change my mind because the things that didn’t work are things that could easily be fixed.

With this guy, I was very clear about my stance on what I am looking for and that if he didn’t want the same I didn’t want to waste time. He said he wanted the same and we made plans to see each other. And based on all my past experience I shouldn’t have been surprised when again he lacked the follow through for making plans. And I’m more than happy to call him out on it if he reaches out again. If someone wants to date me, they have to make plans and do those. Or if they need to reschedule they need to let me know. They can’t just say that we will be seeing each other after work on a certain day and then never make plans even after I text to ask what we are doing. This is something that can be changed, but I also know that I can’t go into something wanting someone to change. They need to want the change for themselves.

In the past, I would be terrified to let either of these guys out of my life or to stand strong on what I want and what I deserve. I would have felt lucky that anyone was interested in me and would be doing whatever it takes to not be too much work for them to want to be with. I would not allow myself to have my own standards and conform to theirs because I wouldn’t feel like I had the right to want something different. This has been a very tough thing for me to overcome because I had heard that I didn’t deserve it for so many years. But I’m so glad that the automatic thinking that was in my head for a majority of my life is starting to chip away.

I have no clue if I will give either of these guys another chance, but I know for sure that if I do allow them one I will continue to be strong in what I want and deserve.

A Milestone Birthday (or I Have A Feeling 35 Will Be Awesome)

Today is my birthday. I’ve shared on here each year about how my birthday is something I love to celebrate. And I’ve done some awesome things for milestone birthdays in the past. For my Sweet 16, I went on a vacation to Catalina with my mom, my grandma, and 3 friends. For my 18th birthday, I got to get a limo and go to a musical and dessert in San Francisco with several friends. My 21st birthday was a little bit of a bust because of my work schedule, but I still went out for my first legal drink. And even though I didn’t do a huge party or event when I turned 30, it was still celebrated with friends.

Last year I wrote about how I was excited to see how 34 would be for me. I had ended a streak of what felt like bad luck and really thought things were turning around. And even though I had some setbacks and some things that weren’t the best in this past year, I think I had a pretty amazing year. I did so many things that made me feel more confident and that bettered myself. Looking back at 34, I think it was a great year and I don’t have many regrets about things.

Today I am 35. There’s no way to deny I’m in my mid-30s now. And this is a milestone birthday for me, but I don’t feel like it’s that big of a deal. This isn’t me thinking it’s not a big deal because birthdays don’t matter for some people as they get older (I still love my birthday as much as ever), but the idea of it being a milestone because of a number versus what I was able to accomplish at a certain age just doesn’t sit right with me anymore. And I’m not freaking out over my age or anything so to be in my mid-30s isn’t something that bothers me.

But I’m so happy with how I am going into being 35. I’m in a much better place in my life than I have many times in the past and I think that will make this year so much better for me. I don’t care as much about what other people think about me so I’m not stressed out about pleasing everyone. I am putting myself first in many aspects of my life and making sure I’m happy before trying to make someone else happy. I know other friends have talked about how they start caring less about making other people happy as they get older, but I never thought I’d feel that way because I have always been a people pleaser. I’m glad to see that it’s true for me as well and I’m focusing on prioritizing my happiness.

I’m not in the best place financially and I’m still single and dating, but those are both things that I’m not necessarily in control of and I’m making efforts to make things better. I think part of what is making me happy is knowing that I am working on them and not stressing that things are perfect right now. I also know that money and having a boyfriend or husband isn’t going to make me happy on their own. I need to be happy with myself before I can be happy with outside things.

Even though this is a milestone birthday age, I’m not really doing a big party or a hangout to get drinks with my friends. Everyone has such crazy schedules and any dates I could find would make it so that several people I wanted to celebrate with couldn’t make it. So instead of doing just one party, I’m trying to do a birthday month where I do lots of little gatherings. This will also allow me to spend more time with each friend and I won’t feel as overwhelmed about feeling like I need to be a good hostess to everyone. Also, I’m fine with celebrating my birthday over the entire month because I love birthdays!

I feel like 35 is going to be a great year for me. Every year I feel like things keep getting better and better for me. They aren’t necessarily turning out exactly what I thought they would be like, but each year I find new things that make me happy that I didn’t consider before. So while I do have ideas of what could make me happy this year, I’m not going to focus too much on making those happen. If they do, that’s awesome. If they don’t, I know that other things I wasn’t expecting will happen and I’ll be writing about those in a year with how happy they made me.

Today is going to be a day just like most days. I’m working and I’ve got other things I need to do. I’m not able to take the day off and honestly even if I could I don’t know what I would do. I know that all the amazing things that happened last year happened while I was working and doing my regular routine. So by doing the same thing today maybe something awesome will happen that I wasn’t expecting. But I will be celebrating as I work and throughout the month!

So Much Reading (or Really Taking Advantage Of The Library)

As you may have seen from recent posts of mine, things have been a bit weird for me. I’ve been going through some things and I know I’ll be through them soon enough. And fortunately, some of these issues have already started to resolve themselves and things are feeling a bit more normal again. It’s still not totally normal, but it’s so much better than it was just a week ago.

Whenever things are weird for me, I do try to find the moments of normal where I can. I’ve learned in therapy regarding my panic attacks that you focus on what is in front of you and real and hold on to that to get over the panic. And when things are weird, I find the normal things and hold on to those. This time of weirdness seemed like it was endless and I couldn’t find much to hold on to, but I was able to connect more than ever with reading and used that to work through things.

I’ve always been a big reader and I am always reading something. For longer than I would like to admit, I bought a ton of books. Even when I got my first e-reader I bought a lot of e-books since they were pretty inexpensive and way too easy to purchase. When I got my Kindle, I was in the same bad habit with buying books since it’s so simple. But when I got more serious about my financial situation, I realized book spending was the one I needed to cut back on and that’s when I got a new library card so I could take advantage of the library again.

I rarely go to the library near me to get physical books because I do love to read on my Kindle. I still love reading physical books, but my Kindle is really convenient and easy. And I don’t feel like it’s looking at a computer screen since it is a reading only Kindle and not the tablet type (like my iPad is). And the library e-book selection really is great and they have been good at getting the books I recommend. So even if the books I’m looking for are a part of their collection when I’m looking for it that moment, more often than not they will purchase it and then I can get the e-book.

I also love how it’s so easy to get a Kindle book from the library. If I’m in bed and finish a book I can just go to the library website to find a new book and have it sent to my Kindle instantaneously. We live in a world of instant gratification and this is one of the best examples of it. I have gotten close to the borrowing limits from the library, but I haven’t gone over just yet. I have a feeling it’s only a matter of time before that happens though.

It’s not always easy for me to find new books to read, but I do look at Kindle recommendations (I just don’t purchase the books) and there are a few different websites that share when new books are released or can recommend books based on other books you’ve liked. Lately I’ve discovered a few new book series that have been fun to read and I’ve been flying through them.

While things have been weird, I have done a ton of reading. It wasn’t just that I was loving what I was reading (although that is a part of it) but it really was just helping me feel centered and away from any issues I had been dealing with. It was my life-preserver for that moment and I think that reading is a pretty healthy one to have compared to what other people might turn to in moments of weirdness. It also helps that right now is the slow time at my work so I have been able to spend a lot of time during my work hours reading as well.

There have only been a few brief times where I wasn’t as big of a reader as I am now. My entire childhood was surrounded by books. So many life moments are remembered by what books I was reading at that time. In college I still read, but it wasn’t something I did every day and I think that had to do with how much reading I had to do in college. But in my last semester of college my class load was pretty much only 1 day a week so I had lots of free time and got back into reading. And since then my love of reading has only gotten stronger and stronger.

But now, I feel like my reading obsession is the strongest it’s ever been. I’ve found a new love for reading beyond just the act of reading. It helped me feel sane when I know that things could have been worse for me. It is my greatest act of self-care and I don’t know if I really considered reading self-care the way I do now. I’ve always considered it a habit that makes me happy and have it on my happiness checklist, but that feels like something different to me. I’ve never considered how good for my mental health reading could be and I’m so glad that I had it to turn to when I was struggling recently.

Having A Book Nerd Moment (or The Little Things That Make Me Smile)

I’ve shared on here before about how I am a giant book nerd. I’ve loved to read my entire life and I never seem to be able to get enough reading. Thank goodness for the library because if I had to pay for all the books I read I would be spending thousands of dollars a year. I don’t read as much as I would like to every day, but I do read every single day at least in the evening before bed. But there are also days where I spend the entire day lost in books.

Because I read all the time, I read lots of books every year. Some of them I read and forget about because they aren’t super memorable, but fortunately most of the books I find are ones that connect to me somehow and they stick with me. I revisit books I’ve read previously from time to time because I always find something different in them. I also love the comfort I get from reading a familiar book when I’m not having the best day.

I do have some fun stories about book twists that have shocked me or books that made me cry when I wasn’t expecting it. But most of them are normal stories. But there has been one story that sticks out in my head when I think about funny stories about reading a book.

Years ago, when trying to find a book to read I would wander bookstores and find books that stick out to me. I literally was judging books by their covers, but it seemed to always lead me to fun books that I might not have picked out otherwise. I could spend hours looking at all the books and taking notes on what I wanted to read. And one of the books I found because the cover looked interesting was “Body Movers” by Stephanie Bond.

I brought this book with me to Tahoe to visit my parents (back when I had to pack my suitcase with actual books instead of having my Kindle) and I very clearly remember reading that book on that trip. I remember being close to the end of the book and reading on the couch while my dad was reading next to me. And without giving much away about the book, it ended on a cliffhanger and I was not expecting that. I had no idea that this was the first book in what was going to be a series and I couldn’t believe that I would have to wait to read the next one. I think it was about a year until the next book would be released.

I’m sure I looked crazy to my dad because I was ranting about how it sucked that this book was so awesome and then it ended on a cliffhanger. I couldn’t get over it and as soon as the next book came out I immediately got it and read it. Then I got the next one when it came out and the next one. Until last week, there were 9 books in the series (there were 8 main books and then a novella that fit into the story but wasn’t furthering the plot). And every time a new book came out, I was prepared that there would be twists and cliffhangers but that made me happy because then I knew there would be another book coming out.

Last week, the most recent book in the series came out and of course I read it right away. I was sucked back into the story right away and it was difficult to put the book down. Even that night when I was reading at bedtime I couldn’t stop reading. I really try to not stay up all night reading, but sometimes I can’t help it. And this book was one that was keeping me up.

And even though I had read so many other books in this series, when this book ended on a huge twist I was shocked. It was after 1am and I screamed out loud “are you kidding me?!?!?”. Of course, I immediately worried that I woke up one of my neighbors because I screamed pretty loudly. But I think everyone who lives near me was sound asleep and I didn’t wake them. I did have a good laugh because of how strong my reaction was. That’s clearly a sign of how good this book series is and how connected I am to it.

I couldn’t believe the twist and now I want to go back and reread all the previous books because I can read them with a different perspective on the story. And of course now I’m just waiting for the next book in the series to come out to see what happens next. While reading is one of my favorite things, to have a reaction like I did with these books is special and unique. And that just makes me so happy!


Remembering To Do What I Like (or Weird Disappearing Time)

I’ve written about being over-scheduled in the past, and this is kind of the same idea. But at the same time it’s different and it’s weird. But somehow it feels like my time is disappearing from me. And with that disappearing time, I also feel like I’m not doing as many of the things that make me happy each day when I know there is time to do them.

I seem to be losing my Wednesday and Friday afternoons. Those used to be my workout times, but lately I’ve been working out in the mornings and those afternoons are free. But somehow that time it going by without me realizing it and I’m losing that time. I need to be a bit more intentional with how I schedule my time so that I don’t end up sitting at my computer going down a YouTube or Buzzfeed rabbit hole after work and wasting those hours. I’ve had weekend days like that as well when I get up at 7am and then all of a sudden it’s 7pm and I have no clue how I spent my day.

And part of the disappearing time is realizing now that my routine is a bit different that I don’t have the same time to kill that I did before. When I was driving to the Brentwood Orangetheory location after work twice a week, I had so much time in my car. I spent about 30 minutes in my car driving there and driving home would take between 1-2 hours (I know that sounds crazy, but since I work from home I figured this was my commute). During that time in the car, I would listen to podcasts. I usually would get through at least 1 podcast each time I drove to my workout.

But now that I’m not going to that location when the drive would take that long (going on Mondays is a pretty fast drive), I don’t have that time that I’m listening to my podcasts. And that wouldn’t be a problem for that many people, but since I listen to over 50 podcasts they were starting to pile up! I’m not using those afternoons to listen to podcasts while I’m home, so that time to listen has gone away. So I’ve had to make more of an effort to listen to podcasts since the time that I used to listen to them wasn’t really there anymore. So now I’m trying to spend my time during work between customers listening to the backlog and I’m finally starting to get close to being up to date on them again.

I know that everyone has this problem and seems to lose track of time, but because I’m really trying to be more mindful of so much in my life I want to work on making this not happen as often. There will always been random days every so often where the day will be wasted watching lots of random things on Netflix. But I want those to be rare and not happening as often as they have been recently. The example of losing my afternoons and then also losing podcast listening time shows exactly what is happening. I’m losing that time, but I’m also losing the time that I used to spend doing something that makes me happy.

I love listening to my podcasts and I need to dedicate time to listen to them. In the same sense, I need to make sure I dedicate time to doing other things I enjoy. I do read pretty much every evening before going to bed, but I should make an effort to read more often. Reading before bed is only for a little bit of time because then I fall asleep. But I get so much pleasure out of reading and I should be doing it more throughout the day.

Scheduling fun things doesn’t necessarily sound like the most exciting thing, but I really do need to work on it. I think scheduling it helps me find the balance between being over-scheduled and under-scheduled and helps me plan where I have empty time in my schedule that I might want to fill with something else. While there is always time I want to use to watch TV, I don’t want to spend an entire day just watching junk. I’m working on only watching shows that I have recorded so that I limit how much TV I’m watching and I also can stop mid-way through a show if necessary (I do make an exception to this for news).

I’ve also realized lately that I haven’t been doing as many things from my happiness checklist as I was doing before. I’ve thought about maybe changing some of the things on the list, but all 10 of the things still are things that make me so happy when I do them. And I haven’t thought of something else that makes me just as happy or happier to replace them with. So instead of changing them (which is what I’ve done in the past), I am just trying to be more intentional and trying to make the effort to add them back into my schedule. I probably need to set some reminders on my phone or add them to my calendar so I don’t forget, but having reminders isn’t a bad thing.

Hopefully the combination of realizing I’m losing time to doing nothing and I’m not doing as many things that make me happy as I should that I can start planning better and that will just make me feel happier and not that I’m wasting time in lots of aspects of my life.

Another Day On The Lot (or Going Solo For The Podcast)

I wrote about how recently the podcast I work for started working on our 300th episode. It’s still so amazing to me that we are going to be releasing our 300th episode before this year is done. It feels like we were just doing episode 100 and 200!

Even though our 300th isn’t going to be until November or December, we started producing it early because it is a big episode that will involve multiple days of work. Typically, our episodes are pretty simple interviews that take about an hour or so and we edit them into 2 or 3 episodes. The interview time is minimal while post-production time is a bit more. But with this episode, we are doing multiple days of interviews and production plus we know that post-production will take even longer. So we wanted to get a head start.

We had an amazing day working on it previously, but we knew going into that day that we would be coming back to the studio the next week to continue working on it. But what we didn’t know at the time was that both of the hosts would end up being unavailable to return due to scheduling issues. We didn’t want to lose the day, so the hosts suggested that I go to do the interviews on my own.

I’ve worked on the podcast for a long time, but my voice has only been on the podcast a handful of times. Mainly it’s if you can hear me in the background during an interview. I’ve never conducted an interview on my own and I’ve never done any of the work outside of pitching potential guests on my own. But I knew how important this day was to our production schedule so I knew I had to do it. I was incredibly nervous about what I would do, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

I can’t share too much about what happened that day because we are still keeping things a surprise, but the main thing I got to do was be on set while there was some filming happening. I’ve been on set plenty of times as an actor, but I’ve never been on set when I wasn’t acting. Being an observer is totally different because you can focus on so much else happening on set. I was able to watch the writers and director work together while things were being shot and could listen to the discussion they had between takes. This was something that actors don’t get to see that often so it was totally a special treat for me.

Between filming, I was able to do a little bit of interview work. I’ve sat in on dozens of interviews and I know kind of how they go. But I felt very unprepared and that was totally my fault. I didn’t prepare in questions in advance but instead used what I observed that day to inspire what I wanted to ask. I’m sure that the interviews were fine, but I felt pretty disappointed in the lack of things I was able to discuss. But I know that the hosts are just so grateful that I was there to do the work because it needed to be done.

I was at the studio for several hours before the day for the cast and crew wrapped up. While I was waiting for an actor to walk me back to my car (we wanted to chat some more), I was able to wait in a trailer that wasn’t being used that day. It was so unbearably hot and they didn’t want me to have to wait in the sun.

While in the trailer, I just sat back and reflected on the day. I was proud of myself for doing the interviews, even if they weren’t as good as they probably would have been if the hosts were doing them. I got to learn so much while on set that I know I can use as an actor the next time I book a job. And I got to think about what it would be like if this was my life instead of a life that I was observing.

There is no question in my mind that acting is what I am meant to do. Even being an observer on set made me so incredibly happy. There is a sense of calmness and joy I get while on set that I don’t get anywhere else. And if I could experience that everyday, I would be so happy. That’s exactly how I want to feel all the time. I know that being happy and working as an actor won’t cure everything for me, but to feel like that in just one aspect of my life would be a dream.

I know that we are already talking about having more days at the studio for production of our 300th episode. Knowing that makes me so happy because that means I’ll get to have more days where I get to feel like I did that day. I just hope that the hosts will be able to come with me the next time so that we can all work together and I don’t have to be alone.

Happy Birthday To Me (or I Can’t Wait To See What 34 Will Be Like)

It’s my birthday! You all know that birthdays are a big deal to me so I’m pretty happy that it’s my birthday today! Although I am working multiple jobs (most likely I’ll be working all 3 of my jobs today) so today won’t be too much birthday celebration. But I still enjoy all the phone calls, texts, and Facebook messages I get even if I have to look at them between customers at work.

Birthdays are always so awesome for me, but this year seems even more amazing. And that’s because 33 ended up being such a great year for me. If you had asked me when I turned 33 if I thought it was going to be so amazing, I wouldn’t have guessed it would have turned out the way it did. And a few months after my birthday last year, I started to have what felt like a horrible streak of bad luck.

I had the discovery of the tumors in my liver and then my car breaking down multiple times, spending money to fix it, only to have my car die on me. I also had issues with my eating disorder and some other personal things happen that made me feel like my luck was just awful and good things weren’t going to come my way. I didn’t want to feel so negative about my life, but it was hard to ignore the feeling that things were just going horribly for me and I didn’t know how or when that would change. But then things turned around so much starting with my tumors shrinking!

I still don’t know what changed my luck, but I’m so glad that it did. It’s not that I’ve always been unlucky, but I feel like my luck is better now that it ever has been in my life. And I feel like the good luck is allowing other good things to come into my life and I don’t want that to stop. I’m trying to not worry too much that my good luck is going to run out because I know it can end at any time. But I’m working hard to enjoy it while I can since things are just so much fun right now for me!

And if when I turned 33 I had no clue how awesome my year was going to be, I’m thinking that 34 will be even more incredible since I’m getting off to a good start. There are so many things that I’m looking forward to this year already and I know that things will continue to be added to that list. I’m so grateful that things in my life seem to be going so much better for me and I have hope that it will continue to be this way. I know that there may be some tough stuff this year, but I’m trying to stay optimistic about things this year.

I’m not trying to stress about my liver and the scan that I’ll be having this fall. If my tumors have grown, I’ll have surgery and that will be fine. I don’t want surgery, but I think I’m in a much better head space now to have surgery than I would have been if I had it in April. And I’ve got some stresses at work right now that I really can’t control. I’m just working on getting through it and dealing with things as they come. Hopefully things will turn out my way, but I also know that I’m doing everything I can to make that happen and I can’t worry about it any more.

Today isn’t going to be the most exciting day for me, but that’s ok. I knew having my birthday on a Wednesday meant that I would have to plan celebrating on other days. I’ve already done some birthday fun and I’ve got more coming up this weekend. But today will be a relatively normal Wednesday for me. But to know that I’m working hard, going to the gym, and doing stuff that makes me happy is all I could really want for a birthday.

I’m actually kind of excited to think about what my blog post will be like 1 year from today. I hope that being 34 will be just as great as being 33 has been for me. But again, I have no clue what my future holds and there is no way for me to predict it. I just hope that I continue to have fun and that whatever happens makes me happy and makes my life even more amazing!

My August Challenge (or Being Selfish To Be Happy)

Another month is here! I can’t believe July is over and it’s already my birthday month! And as always, a new month brings the recap of my last month’s challenge and announcing what my challenge will be this month.

Last month, I wanted to work on practicing more mindful breathing. More specifically, I set a reminder to work on breathing and staying calm at 2 of the times that I commonly feel like I want to binge eat. This was a challenge idea I got from therapy and I was curious to see how it would go for me. Doing things like this have been tough for me in the past because I get super focused and forget to do it. Or I get distracted by something else and forget. But having a reminder on my phone does help since I have to dismiss it to make it go away.

While I didn’t always do the 10 slow breaths that I planned on doing, this still was a successful challenge to me. If I was feeling like I wanted to binge, this alarm stopped me and made me think. It didn’t always stop it, but at least I was not in the trance that I’m used to being in when having an episode. I was more aware and even if I didn’t always make the right choice I knew it was my choice. Because this gave me so much more awareness, I will be doing this beyond just last month’s challenge. I think that the benefits will continue each month that I do it and it is a helpful thing for me to have.

But doing challenges beyond the month that they are for brings me to this month’s challenge. I really struggled to figure out what I wanted to do. I’ve added so much to my days between my happiness checklist and all the monthly challenges that I’ve continued to do. I’ve continued almost all the monthly challenges beyond the month that I did them for and that’s a lot of stuff for me to remember to do.

So this month’s challenge isn’t necessarily something I will be doing every day but instead something that I want to have as a focus for the month in general. I want to focus on figuring out what makes me happy and what I want to continue to do. I have to do so much out of obligation or responsibility and I want to make sure all the stuff I add to my life are for fun and not because I feel like I have to because I’ve been doing that for a while.

On my happiness checklist, most things are things that I want to keep on there. They do make me happy and when I haven’t done something for a while I’m reminded to do so. But the ones I’m thinking about taking off are the ones that I do every day and I don’t have to focus on doing. This mainly is about reading and eating disorder recovery research every day. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t read at least a little bit. I read every single night before bed and I read a lot in my down time too. And I do recovery research every day because I read 10 pages of a recovery book every day. While these things make me happy, I think maybe I should add 2 other things to my list that I don’t do every day so I can challenge myself to keep focusing on my happiness.

And with my monthly challenges, most of the time I want to continue doing them when the month is over. But I’ve been noticing that some things are either stressing me out or I’m not doing them. I need to start removing those reminders from my phone so they don’t remind me that I’m not doing something. It can make me mad when I get a reminder to do something that I know I won’t do. But my idea of wanting to try to be perfect has prevented me from just deleting those reminders. I’m going to go through them this month and figure out what I want to keep, what I want to delete, and what I might want to add.

And when I’m figuring out what I want to edit and add, I have to work on being very honest with myself and not worrying about not being perfect or caring what other people think. That’s not easy for me, but that’s why this is a good challenge for me. It’s my birthday month and I want to make this an amazing month! And I think focusing on exactly what makes me happy is the perfect way to make the month the best it can be!