Exactly one month ago I turned 27. While I’m personally excited to grow older (I’ve always felt about a decade older than I am, anyway), I usually dislike my Birthday. We don’t celebrate them in my family after a certain age & although mine is on or around Thanksgiving, I struggle with the fact that my family forgets to acknowledge it. I’m a very understanding person & my closest friends all go out of their way to make my day special, but I’m sure most people can understand how upsetting this situation can be year after year.
Well this year, it definitely got worse. On my Birthday, I broke out into hives, which I later found out was due to an allergic reaction that attacked my immune system. I’m still not 100% positive, but it’s most likely from using some of the cleaners at the bars I work at. Inhaling some of those chemicals can be pretty toxic & I was also dealing with a case of eczema on my hand, which was slowly spreading. Mixed with occasional alcohol, the caffeine from my frequent coffee fixes, stress from the Holidays & dreading my Birthday, everything told my body that it was out for the count. I’ll spare the full details, but I was literally shut down for 9 entire days. No work, no play, no anything. I barely left my bed, let alone my house & I wouldn’t let anyone see me, not even my roommate until with her amazing help, I was able to get a doctor’s visit & get on some medication that got me back on my feet in no time!
During my self-imposed house arrest, I didn’t have energy to do much besides sleep & watch TV, which got old very, very quick. It wasn’t until about a week after I had started getting better that I was able to reflect on the situation & realize how thankful I am for everyone & everything I have in my life. While sick, I felt exhausted, alone, ugly, depressed & utterly helpless, but the people who knew I was dealing with something pretty serious were all incredibly supportive & for that I am truly thankful.
And now that Christmas is just ending & I have just spent time with family & friends, I want the World to know how wonderful the people in my life are. My family may not be affectionate or remember my Birthday, but they are always there for me when I need them. Always. My parents support whatever I choose to do with my life without questioning & trust that I’m taking care of myself. We may not say it a lot, but I know my parents love me & I love my family regardless of how crazy they are & how much they stress me out. And I may have never been a popular kid growing up or have a ton of friends now, but I can always count on the few dearest friends I have now to be there for me through the good times & the bad. If I’m really excited about something happening in my life, I know they’ll be excited for me & if I’m going through some hard times & need a shoulder to cry on, they’re there to help. I couldn’t ask for a better circle of friends & I like to think I reciprocate the love they have for me, but I will always be grateful for everything they do for me.
I am truly Blessed. Thank you.
Last week I left town for a few days & lately I’ve become accustomed to the Greyhound system for travel; it is after all cheaper & almost more pleasant than flying to me. While I was waiting to depart, I was able to have a nice conversation with a woman about her destination & why she was traveling.
She was about to embark on a 20+ hour bus trip to live with her boyfriend she met through a social networking site. Not only was this her second attempt at a life-long relationship, it was also her second attempt to make things work with this particular person. The first time with him didn’t work out because of the physical distance between the two of them & the fact that he was still dealing with his divorce to his first wife. She then told me, “but if you let them go & they come back, it’s meant to be.” And so after 9 months apart, he did come back. And now, even though she has a disease where her joints are swollen & it’s painful to travel long-distances, she’s taking the risk to be with her love. It’s because he makes her feel beautiful & wanted, even if others may pass her by & think otherwise. He loves her unconditionally & at the moment, that is absolutely enough.
Some people say that, “all you need is Love,” while others can argue otherwise & think it’d be crazy to do what this woman is doing. I feel that Love is ultimately something everyone deserves to give & receive; whether in a family, friend or romantic setting, it’s all important. I’ve talked with a lot of friends lately about the risks involved especially when pursuing a romantic interest. So many questions fill your head about what you want, what they want, if the effort is even worth it, etc. It can be a confusing & frustrating process if you let it get to you, but if you follow your heart like the woman at the bus station, you could quite possibly find the love of your life. Or, if it doesn’t work out, you can hopefully learn & grow from the situation. I myself have had some interesting (and awful) moments dealing with failed relationships in the past, but I always tell people that if I hadn’t of taken the chance & lived through the disappointment, anger & sadness of these past relationships, I wouldn’t have learned so much about what I feel is important in family, friends & love. I’ll never regret decisions I’ve made, no matter what the outcome & I refuse to let fear stop me from taking risks in the things I am passionate about; and one of those things is love.
Where will all of these risks, or opportunities as I call them, take me? Not sure yet, but because of what I’ve learned from my past, I will continue to pursue my passions without hesitation or regret in hopes it’ll lead me to a place of love & happiness. And so far, so good!
I’ve been working in different realms of the service industry for over 8 years & currently work at 3 establishments as a bartender. To some, working an average of 30 hours per week sounds like a dream & it can be. However, I’m not in school & I don’t have a day job, so I rely on bartending to pay my bills & feed my belly. I’m the type of gal that tries not to ride on her looks & stand around; I actually hustle & while I know I’m not the best bartender in Milwaukee, I do know how to sling drinks pretty well. With that being said, it gets exhausting being “on” for 90% of those 30 hour work weeks. On busier nights, my “lunch breaks” are brief moments between pouring drinks & maybe a very quick bathroom break (if I’m lucky). My “clients” span a wide range of people, including: my awesome friends, other service industry workers, creepy old guys, college kids, rowdy stay-at-home mom’s, athletes, musicians & a lot of annoying drunk people.
Wow, I’m beat.
Luckily, now know it’s okay to set boundaries. Earlier in the year when I decided to take on 3 jobs (establishments have changed a bit since then), I promised myself I would keep at least 2 days open for sanity purposes. I’ve done the whole, “work EVERY single day for 2 months straight” thing, and it sucked. Especially because I’d get maybe one day off & would just repeat the process. A life like that left me irritable & I had no time for my true passions in life: art, music & happiness. Sure, I love spending time with my friends when I have a day off, but as I get older, I’m better understanding the benefits of personal time to myself. I like to have time to be reflective on my life, to read, to dream about the future. I also enjoy watching mindless television, playing videogames & actually being productive in my art. Last week on my 2 days off, I got to do all of that & besides a few text messages & phone calls, I didn’t focus on anyone else except for myself. I didn’t even leave the house & that is what I like to call a People Detox.
Every moment of my work week is spent being around people with various moods & energy levels; and while I consider myself an optimistic person, if someone around me is being negative, or in some cases, is being a drunk asshole, it takes some of my energy to stay positive & move through the situation. I’ve finally learned that it’s okay to kindly decline invitations out & to not squeeze people into my free time EVERY week. Everyone needs to reboot & I feel it would do a lot of people good to simply relax & take the time to enjoy themselves.
So please, go grab a coffee or tea by yourself, enjoy a little quiet time & let your brain relax for a moment. Your body, mind & spirit will thank you.