Embracing Unrest and Fine Tuning My Intuition

When I was younger, wearing jeans would send me into full on panic attacks. It wasn’t the material that bothered me, it was the fact that they didn’t hug my ankles like my in-at-the-time stirrup pants did – the bagginess alone had the ability to make my palms sweat and my heart beat a little faster. If I was coerced into actually putting them on, I would spend a good thirty minutes (at least) attempting to roll the bottoms so they actually touched my skin. 

Even though the fact that a clothing item caused me such distressed was a bit, well, psychotic, it made one thing very clear: I knew from a young age – as we all do if we’re tuned into ourselves and our intuition – when things just didn’t feel right.  

For the past few years – and the past few days in particular – I’ve been wrestling with this feeling of unrest, attempting to find the “rightness” in where I am in this moment. Constantly feeling unsettled is driving me to the brink of insanity. 

Just for a moment I’d like to shut it off, forget the “big picture,” and convince myself that I don’t need to keep searching for fulfillment. You know – lose myself in a few days of drinking and pure indulgence and quiet that voice that keeps telling me there’s more out there.

Yesterday as I was spewing all this craziness out to anyone that would listen, my mom shed some much-needed light on the situation:

That ability to tell when things aren’t right is a blessing. It’s the Universe’s way of guiding you to something that fits better for you. If you didn’t have that you’d never move forward, never get out of your comfort zone, and never experience some of the greatest things life has to offer. That nagging feeling is there for a reason – it’s pushing you in the right direction. 

The truth is, she’s right (yes mom, I said you’re right). Every time I’ve made a big move in my life it was spurred on by this feeling that there was a better place for me – that I had the capacity to experience even more happiness than I was already experiencing. 

It’s not about failing to find happiness and beauty in the current moment, or looking outside for solutions to internal problems, it’s about allowing these feelings – something most people find as inconsequential – to serve as a guide to what should come next.

Out of all the things we strive to accomplish in our lives, I believe that nothing is more rewarding than experiencing a deeper sense of joy. The fact that we are able to discern between what will bring us closer to this state of being – and what will take us farther away – is amazing.

I still have that feeling of unrest, but instead of allowing it to represent what is currently lacking in my life, I’ll choose to see it as a guidance tool – a very clear indication that I have some really spectacular things waiting for me just around the corner.

After all, our reality is only as good or bad as we choose to see it…

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How Facebook Has Royally Screwed With Our Happiness Meter

I have a bit of an obsession with happiness – what causes it, what makes it stick, what can obliterate it all together. Perhaps this is the reason why I have an urge to ask complete strangers whether or not they are completely and totally happy with their lives. Because let’s face it – most people aren’t, and most have perfected the art of hiding it.

Why hide it? Well because happiness has become a measurement of success of sorts, a real indication of how well you’ve been at living. Hate your job? Can’t stand your spouse? Then by god, what have you been doing with your life? Not being happy is a sure sign that you just don’t have your shit together – or so we have come to believe.

It’s also a pretty damn good way to measure ourselves against those around us. If, for instance, your relationship is bobbing like a half-dead fish in the water when your BFF calls you up to let you know how her new beau bought her a ridiculously disgusting spread of exotic flowers – well, then chances are you’ll be feeling a bit like a failure. And how can you possibly compete with those people who seem to be thrilled with the idea of waking up in the morning, have their calendar filled to the brim with exciting happenings, are enthralled with how perfect their families are, and have prince charming to share their magnificence with?

Those people exist, right? Well, according to Facebook they do.

I’ll admit it. I’m a bit of a Facebook whore. In fact, I probably spend more time Facebook stalking than attempting to find a decent paying freelance job. However, that simply makes me an expert of sorts (because I like thinking of myself as an expert). Which has led me to notice a few things:

There are two types of Facebook personalities:

  • The type that always has something utterly depressing to say and will passive aggressively attack those who have “wronged” them (the ones you want to block from your news feed or just punch in the face).
  • And the type that always has some exciting weekend to look forward to, the perfect partner to gush about, and the most amazing job they could have ever hoped for – you know, the perpetually happy type.

So one day I, in my unhealthy obsession with dissecting happiness into little manageable bits, discovered that Facebook had given me the sense that a huge portion of my peers (some 400+ of them) were far happier than me (minus the Debbie Downers, of course). It was obvious after browsing through thousands of pictures of smiling faces and sorting through status updates, each with the underlying message of: “Look at me and my fabulous life!”

Funny thing is, I have those pictures too. And I’ll admit to writing one or two status updates that boasted of something I have had to be happy about – because each of us chooses the side of ourselves we wish to show and the parts of our lives we want others to admire.

That is the reason why Facebook has royally screwed us over. All those people whose profiles tell us they have their shit together? They have bad days too – they just don’t take pictures of it and plaster it all over for the world to see.

Facebook is our way of entertaining each other and should be taken as nothing more. That’s just a little hard to remember when you are sleeping on your parents couch and brooding over the fact that your life seems to have veered off into a ditch. I’m just sayin’.

And Here Comes the Sun…

For the better part of the last three years I have waited for a significant change to happen in my otherwise middle of the road kind of existence. Perhaps the universe was backed up with requests and received all of mine at the SAME TIME. Nonetheless, the past three weeks has left my life looking like Heidi Montag post surgery. In a good way, of course.

After seven months of panic attacks and limited communication, my high school sweetheart came home from war. (Strange how retro that sounds now.) This was precluded by a week of hearing that the homecoming date was being pushed back yet again- another indication that organization is not one of the Marine Corps strong suits. However, every cloud has a silver lining and mine was wine guzzling and antique shopping with the other perturbed Marine wives/girlfriends. Without them I very well could have pulled all my hair out.

Three o’ clock in the morning on April 30th we were all dolled up and ready for those few seconds we had waited too long for. While I will undoubtedly experience other reunions in my life, I don’t know if I will ever again experience the massive amount of love and respect that this one garnered from everyone present. And for that I am truly grateful that I have loved someone who couldn’t be entirely mine for the past 3+ years of my life.

For those who left on October 4 and never came home and for those who sustained injuries that will forever change their way of life, my heart goes out to you. I know that the brotherhood of men that my love left with ensured that I attended his homecoming and not his funeral. I am forever indebted to all of you.

Because pictures (and videos) speak a thousand words, here is the video of the 3rd Battalion 4th Marines homecoming from Afghanistan. For anyone without an immediate connection to the military who doesn’t fully understand the sacrifice involved, this is what it’s all about.

I will now always have this as my reminder that all challenges come to an end and a little bit of faith can move mountains.