Tuesday, November 25, 2014

High on Life


I have thought really hard about life and more and more have come to the realization that the older I get, the more fearful I am getting. Not cautious, which is good and comes with wisdom, but down right BORING.

I look back in my life and one of the things I was always proud of is that I tried things. I camped in the Amazon forest, I packed a bag and moved to England. But as a I grew older, all of a sudden, I became really afraid of dying.

I understand that as we get older, we feel less invincible and realize our bones break and our hips may not mend as fast. But I don't want to become someone who is so conservative to the point I stop living.

So here is my own personal challenge: do 1 thing I have never done or would normally never do at least once a month.

I started with the Miami Color Run, which happened last weekend and I would generally not do. But honestly, it was a blast!

What would you like to do that you have never done before?

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Misunderstood Introvert

Shushu pre-haircut

Shushu post-haircut

Destin, FL- Navarre Beach 43 degrees 

Ballet ballet ballet

I haven't completely abandoned the blog, but I swear things have been so insane and I am traveling so much that even blogging seems to be too much at the moment.

But what brought me to blog today was how sometimes the medical community seems to be a bit misinformed about us: introverts, HSP... I went to see a psychiatrist for my anxiety. This is someone who has seem me for almost 4 years now. I told him I wanted to go back on medication because I was having a hard time managing my anxiety with just meditation, ballet, etc. 

Then, I went to to tell him I understood what my real issue was: that I was an introvert working in an extremely people oriented carrier: I am traveling a lot, I do presentations to sometimes 500 people in 4 days, and I am constantly dealing with people's medical issues. I said that this overwhelmed my brain and I felt so depleted. Now, I have a good relationship with this guy and he knows I worked in counseling in the past, so knows I have a good grasp on mental health... but he asks me if I had ever taken a stimulant drug such as Adderall.

I immediately repplied: I do not have ADHD! 

This scared me a little. Not for me, because I have a good understanding of mental illness and my own triggers, but because what if another introvert and/or highly sensitive person goes see a medical professional because their brains are in overdrive and they get prescribed Adderall???? How many introverts and/or HSP get prescribed medication instead of guidance?

I am not saying some introverts do not need medication, a lot of people do, but I also know that if I worked alone or in an environment with less stimuli, I would be a lot less anxious. I traded off careers that made me happier and were more rewarding for careers that I kind of liked but that paid a lot more. Now, that's my choice, a trade off that I made, but it did not come without consequences and I understand them. But a lot of people out there do not and get type cast with a mental illness. 

The second misconception was when I mentioned to him that I was back to ballet. He said "great, socializing is very good." I understand that he wanted to make sure I am not isolating myself, but honestly that's exactly what I need because I am with people about 50 to 70 hrs a week and I am EXHAUSTED because of it. So I didn't get into the fact that I was looking into going to central florida to a log cabin for 2 days without nobody, just me.

That's why I feel this blog is important. I never felt as though I was a misfit growing up because my whole family is like me. My mom, my dad, my brother (who probably is the most introverted of us). We never liked guests over, we liked routine, and many times we each went to our rooms and talked to each other around a movie, meal times, etc. My parents never forced us to visit relatives, participate in holiday parties or to socialize. But when I moved to Florida, as an adult, certain expectations became more apparent and being an introvert became more of a problem as people could not understand my need to be alone.

Solitude is not anti-social behavior. Grieving is not depression. Over stimulation is not generalized anxiety disorder. 

Not everyone is driven by money, not everyone see success as by many awards one receives, some like the internal reward of a life lived in truth.

P.S. I have not proof read this... 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

For a Simpler Life

I have mentioned here before my 5 year plan to quit the rat race. Honestly, the end of the 5 year plan can't get here soon enough. This morning, I was at my wit's end and my feelings of anxiety soared like an exploding volcano. 

I have come to accept that my anxiety is not necessarily a mental illness, but the bi-product of 3 things: my introversion and need for down time to think and recollect; my being highly sensitive and more susceptible to life's stressors; and my need for nature/spiritual balance.

I will talk more about on how I plan to achieve this milestone in my life. At the end of that 5 year goal, I plan on taking a year off work. I want to always work, but I want to work on something that better matches my personality and I have settled on independent contractor for the field where I already have experience on.

My first step towards that goal was to get rid of any debt such as credit cards, student loans, etc. I never really had that much debt to start with and I paid for most of my education. But last year, I was able to pay-off the last of my student loans. 

I also never had much in form of credit card debt and only had one credit card for many years with a low credit line which I paid off every month. I still pay off my credit card in full and never buy anything I cannot pay off.

I own my car outright, so I do not have a car payment. It is a small car, simple car and I get an average of 34 miles per gallon. I drove my prior car for 10 years and had over 140,000 miles on it. It ran great. A friend now has it.

Our biggest goal now, my husband's and mine, is to pay off our mortgage. Now, I know not all people can do this. My hubby and I are DINKS (dual income, no kids), so that makes things just a bit easier for us. Being childless was a choice we both made a long time ago. Therefore, I would not be able to plan if we did have a kid. They just sound expensive. 

Once these main goals were more or less defined, I needed to write down what was really important to me and how much it would cost. Therefore, I was able to determine what kind of career I could have that would provide what I wanted that money buys and would give me in terms of time that I need.

This is the list I came up with:

  1. My 401(k): to be able to contribute to a 401(k) account is an absolute must for me. I want to enjoy life now, but I am also cognizant that I will need money when I am old.
  2. Health insurance: although most of my medically related expenses are a direct result of the life I now live, I still know how much a hospital bill can cost. I am lucky that this is the industry I specialize in so it is not overwhelming to navigate through plans and know exactly what kind of financial exposure I would get with each plan.
  3. Savings account: a healthy savings account for an emergency
  4. My mom: my mom never worked outside the home and I help her financially. To be able to continue to do that is something I consider very important.
  5. Any other expenses: car insurance; phone (which I would probably switch to a pay buy minute plan instead of the expensive unlimited plan I now carry)
  6. pursuit of happiness: this is anything I happen to take on it terms of activities that make me happy: watercolors, dance.
As I look at life, at how fragile and ephemeral it is, I realize my soul cannot eat money.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Madness, Mindfulness and other Random Thoughts

First, I want to apologize for all who participated in the Women's Circle Traveling Journal. I completely dropped the ball. The book is back in my hands and I was supposed to send it to 2 other participants and I have just not had the time. My work has been all consuming, insane. I will be in 3 different states in the next 3 days...you get the picture.

Second, my anxiety has come back and any free minute I have found has been spent on my couch in pure exhaustion... I know. I hate to make excuses, but it's been tough.

Third, I have been trying real hard to stay positive, to do my mindful meditation, but the world seems to have gone just a little bit insane. Between diseases, chaos, and psycho behavior, I have to say this introvert's brain is MAJORLY scattered and I am having a hard time collecting even the most rudimentary thoughts.

The one escape has been the ballet. I went back to taking adult lessons and it has allowed me not to succumb into madness with the rest of the world. I am starting pointe training and this is such an accomplishment for me.

Love you all, miss you all and hope that very soon I will be shipping the book to the rightful owner.

Monday, September 8, 2014

The Nostalgia of Illusion

These past months have been the most rewarding and also the most painful... It has been the most insurmountable path I have taken so far.

It is the slow realization that most of the life sold to me was nothing but an illusion. The career, money, status... it means nothing. It is the going back in time, when life seemed so complicated, but was actually so full. It is going back when the running in the rain was the most outrageous thing a girl could do. It is the feeling of being alive. The first moments you understand who you are and fall in love with being yourself.

These are some of the things I want to live for.

Continued path into my 'quit the rat race' adventure.

Step 1: get rid of debt - Check :)