Working With What You’ve Got

Sometimes it’s easy to find yourself wishing for something. Something that you don’t already have – whether it’s something material or something that is physically intangible. I don’t know about you, but I’m guilty of both.

To illustrate, I will use myself as an example. Things I’ve wished for include…

Material – Warby Parker glasses, Macbook Air, new clothes, new watch, new jewelry, a completely remodeled house, more money, my own designated parking spot at work since parking is impossible unless I get there before 6am or something. Hence I’ve been commuting without my own car this week. Uber to work, train + walking back to home. And yes, Los Angeles now has Metro Rail which is its own train system which kind of blows my mind. I thought trains only existed in places like New York and Boston.

Non material – The ability to jump out of bed feeling completely refreshed every morning, 24/7 happiness, a Master’s degree in Finance (without having to do the stressful learning part), the ability to sing better, to be a little less awkward and introverted, and lots and lots of free time to do more personal reading, to get more sleep, and to learn and work on my hobbies/passions, one of which is now blogging.

I also wish for my next relationship to go much more smoothly than the last. But we’ll cross that bridge when/if we get there. In the meantime, I’ve actually been really happy enjoying my life of independence and self discovery.

So you get the idea. We all have our list of what we wish we could have. But the reality is, we don’t have all that we want, and we will never get everything we wish for. Because once we get that one “something,” we soon find ourselves wanting something else. And then something else, and then another something else.

My most relevant illustration is the case of the lack of parking spaces at work, which at first made me so annoyed and frustrated. No one likes the feeling of coming in late to work because you couldn’t find street parking for the past hour.

I realized that well, this is my current situation and this is what I gotta work with, and so I better make it work well even with all this inconvenience.

What this looked like for me is as follows. For my 2nd and 3rd days of work, I decided to Uber it with the cheapest Uber option (Express Pool ftw) which has cost me about 5 bucks each morning.

I had to use my brain a little more when deciding how I would commute back home from work. My thought process was something like: no parking spot, will Uber, but there’s terrible rush hour traffic after work so Uber would also take a long time, so let me try walking for 30 minutes and then I can call an Uber to pick me up and that way I won’t have to spend as much money and I could use the walking time to have some personal prayer which I’ve been wanting to do consistently for so long, and the walking will be good exercise too after sitting and staring at a computer screen all day.

The first time I tried this 30 walking thing was yesterday, and little did I know that I would walk right into a train station, buy a train tap card, and hop right on. Three stops later I get off the train but I still have to walk another 16 minutes to get home.. hm. I decide to go for it and I came home sweating with cold ears and face because of the brisk, chilly air outside.

And yes I do realize that I kept switching between present and past tense in that last paragraph. My apologies. I promise I do speak English.

Anyway, I was just using my recent experience as an example because it shows how I was able to use a “negative” situation (no parking spot) to my advantage by getting more exercise, having a new set time for daily pray-walking, and saving a little bit of money by taking the train instead of Uber.

In my experience I’ve noticed that once I get started on something that I find productive or useful, it’s easy to just keep the ball rolling even when I’ve moved on to whatever I have to do next. I’m no psychologist or scientist but it seems like there’s something to that kind of productivity mindset in that once you get yourself into it, you have the momentum and desire to keep moving forward with that mindset, which you may or may not even be aware of at this point.

For example, today I went to work. I did my work productively for 8 hours while listening to podcasts with my headphones. Ok I didn’t listen to podcasts for 8 hours, but I did listen to them for a good while today. There’s so much food for thought in every podcast episode, even when it’s on a topic that you thought you already knew a lot about. Today I listened to a Tim Ferriss podcast episode that caused me to have a shift my thinking regarding people who have been incarcerated.

Ok so I went to work. Good building up of momentum, getting “in the zone” and staying there. Then I get off work, and my brain and body are still in “zone mode,” so I find ways to take advantage of my train ride time, walking time, any time.

Then I get home, greet my dog who runs up to me like she’s never been happier to see me, and I go to my room, put my stuff down, change into comfortable clothes, then I have dinner, chat a bit with my mom about the podcast I listened to, and then turn on my laptop, go to Pinterest and Tailwind to pin pins that would appeal to potential blog readers, then I go on WordPress, check how many posts I’ve published which was 53, so I click the “write” button and type in “54.”

(update: I realized on 3/7/18 that this is #55, not 54..)

There really weren’t any gaps in between all this “stuff” I did today. Rather, the more I got things done, the more I wanted to get more things done, not as a chore or obligation but as what I really want to do..

Although now I’m starting to feel a little sleepy….

Which means it’s about time to wrap this post up and hit that “Publish” button with a sense of accomplishment.

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Why There’s No Need to Worry About Anything

Recently I’ve found myself telling certain loved ones not to worry, followed by a certain kind of reasoning behind these words of “wisdom.”

Unfortunately this so-called wisdom of mine came out of lessons learned from my old lifestyle of worrying, making my life miserable and unbearable, and wasting a lot of my time being anxious and/or depressed when I could have been doing something much more productive or rewarding.

But we live and we learn. Not worrying is one of the most helpful lessons I’ve learned in life, but I would say though, that it does require training yourself to have this kind of mindset, especially if being carefree has been the opposite of what your life has looked like to this date.

There’s a song written by someone I know that says “To worry is vain.” I can testify to the truth of this statement. I worried myself from childhood to adulting-hood, because I was born with the kind of personality that takes everything too seriously. I guess you can call me a sensitive soul. And for some reason that just reminded me of The Lion King.

“Hakuna matata” – it means no worries. Doesn’t that sound pretty good?

I’ve worried about the kind of birthday present to get for a friend. I’ve worried about the possibility of not being able to find a parking spot in Los Angeles. In high school I worried about what college I would get into. In college I always worried a lot when I had papers to turn in and finals to take. Then I worried about what I would do after college. I’ve also worried about where I would go for Thanksgiving dinners. And I’ve worried many times about what my next meal was going to be. #youngadultproblems #maybeitsjustme #eatallthehotcheetos

I worried about the need for me to get surgery upon graduating college (and turns out it went very smoothly). I worried about offending other people, so I was often way too self conscious to be able to speak to someone normally for fear of saying the “wrong” thing.

I was very worried about what my dad would be doing when my parents were going through a divorce. So much so that I spiraled myself downward into a black hole of depression. All it took was my mind and the thoughts I allowed myself to engage in. Yes, the situation sucked and it definitely hurt, but in retrospect I would say that some of the pain could have been mitigated by even a slight shift in my thought process. All the “what ifs” I worried about never helped with anything.

Then there were the adult things I worried a lot about. Finding a place to live. Finding a job so I could pay for rent. Finding love so I could get married and have a family. Finding a way to make my serious (but seriously unhealthy) relationship work. And I worried too much about how each dinner date would go with my unpredictable ex, whether he would be happy to see me, or whether he would be aloof and not really want to be there… Aaaand I definitely should’ve recognized all the red flags earlier in that relationship.

But we live and we learn.

I worried about how much it would hurt if my ex fiance (basically) dumped me. I worried that I would never be able to open my heart to someone again. I worried that I would never be able to love anyone else. I worried about having a “second love” cause someone else already took the first.

Then I worried about how I was supposed to get rid of all my stuff in order to pack only three suitcases to move back home to be with my mom. Somehow the moving process all worked out just fine.. but I had already used up so much time and energy worrying about what the moving process would be like.

Then I started to worry about having to start my life all over again at age 27, single and unemployed, because I’m already “so old.”

To make a long story short, recently things started to click in me. As I began to find joy in the little things in life, my mental health began to improve, thus improving my entire well-being, body, soul, and spirit. And one day I kind of stopped and thought, wow, I can’t believe I’m happy. And after much reflecting I had a realization that there was somehow a shift in the way I looked at things in life.

I realized that I didn’t have to worry as much as I did about the possibility of breakup with my ex fiance, because looking back I can see that I was rescued from a disastrous marriage. I knew in my mind that what happened really was for the best and that I would eventually heal over time. I seriously believe that somehow, my positive outlook on this difficult life event has had some positive chemical/hormonal health benefits.

By the way, I’m not saying that worrying is equivalent to taking care of your important day to day responsibilities, and I’m not saying that there will be no pain when things are hard. Human life has many ups and downs and complications, and things will not always go our way. But one thing I’ve learned is how to let go and keep on going forward without letting my mind give heed to avoidable pessimistic thoughts.

Worrying is like a thief coming to steal your most valuable possession: time. But really though, worrying about anything just takes away your precious time, and being that person who worries all the time benefits no one, neither you nor the ones around you. I’m pretty sure others would prefer to be around someone who is less stressed out and uptight about everything.

So today, when my mom was describing to me her ongoing difficulties with major T-Mobile complications, I didn’t know how to comfort or help her except to say (lovingly.. I think) that worrying about it will not make the situation better. Rather, worrying only makes your life more miserable. There’s this song I know that says “everything’s the best that it could be.” And I feel that’s the best way to look at any situation.

There really is no need to worry about anything. Your life does not need the addition of unnecessary pain and suffering. Life is too short to worry. I don’t know about you, but I want to be happy and enjoy the time I have here on the earth. And don’t worry, I will still be a responsible human being, just a happier one. Better than being a responsible worrisome human being. 😉