Posts Tagged ‘change’

34, 35, 36.

November 11, 2016 1 comment

I was looking forward to this, to sitting down in a little West Philly coffee shop on a fall day, opening my lap top just as I received my tiny cup of espresso, and writing a cathartic, insightful reflection. However, I’ve been have a stand off with my keyboard for 18 minutes. I nearly walked away and just gave myself over completely to Facebook, but I want to be a woman of my word, at least my word to myself. So I’m writing. Reluctantly.

Considering the election this week is aligned with my 35th birthday, it seems like the right time to take stock of things. While the election brings a sense of timeliness and urgency to such reflection, I have been thinking about my next definitive steps for months now. The election seems to mirror the killer bee swarm that’s been my brain. Since the spring, I have been living in a mental hurricane tornado flood. I’ve been so stressed at times that my hands have cramped shut and I though I was going to pass out. I’ve experienced near daily tests of my character. Most of my thoughts question who I am, how I got here, who I want to be, and where I’ll go next. It’s hard to write during a time like this. Yeah, I’ve a few insights and revelations, but I don’t have a clear set of instructions right now. I’m in a strange place where I want to be open-minded, but I’ve already made up my mind. I am really “going through something,” as they say. I can’t write about something when I don’t have resolve.

I am resolute around a few things though. My family is a network of incredible people and I still don’t know how I got so lucky with this. I would hang out with my family even if we weren’t related. My dad continues to show me that people can grow and change, no matter where they are in life. He’s still my #1 motivation/inspiration/hero person. My relationship is making me act more mature and communicative than I feel comfortable with, but that’s what the good ones do. My friends are the best humans, full of empathy, intelligence, curiosity, and goofiness. I have some outstanding mentors in my life, showing me an image of what my life could be if I play my cards right.

Look, I just feel crazy these days and some things are too intense to write about, at least while I’m in the middle of it. I think most of us are in a constant pursuit of contentment and meaning. That process contains the good, the bad, and the forgettable. At this moment, I’m going to hold on to my values and the good influences in my life and my next steps will come. Maybe the bad that came with 34 will lead to good at 35, and if all goes well, 36 will be completely forgettable.


Haikuesday 05.24.16

I sit with spring time

and wait for summer to come

with promise of change.

I’m living it.

April 23, 2016 Leave a comment

I think my life started at 28 years old. That was when things started to change. That’s when I started to see what was possible. It’s not that I didn’t have good experiences before I was 28. I got to travel to other countries. I lived in different states. I got to go away to the college of my choice and study exactly what I wanted. I had good friends. It was nice. However, some things seemed fuzzy. Like my entire future. I didn’t have a sense of what I wanted for myself. I knew I didn’t want to be a nomad. Adventure grew less important. I still wanted challenge and risk, but with that I wanted purpose and stability. I wanted my brain to work hard and my bank account to reflect what my brain could do.

When I was 28, I was not happy. I was not even content. I was uncomfortable and antsy. I felt like a wolf with nothing to hunt. I had all this skill, all this potential, all this drive, but nothing to do with it. Then I made the decision to pursue my Master’s degree in social work. Then I found judo again. Then I ended my seven year relationship.

Those three acts made me feel new. All were terrifying and difficult and brought a sense of uncertainty, but they were necessary. At 28, I had the unshakeable feeling that this leg of my journey had to be done with me alone, ready to take my turn on the high dive. I wanted to be self-propelled.

Although I ended that relationship, I was never alone. I don’t think you can live a good life alone. I know that I need my family. I need my friends for fun, comfort, and sanity. I need the people in my life to inspire and motivate me. I like having my local heroes.

I’m 34 now. I’ll be 35 in November. I have some feelings about 35 which I didn’t expect to have, but I like where I’m at. The past six years have been rocket-fueled. I’ve had a series of intense, non-stop changes since July of 2014. With every good thing that’s happened, every new opportunity, every new personal connection, there has been something equally stressful and discouraging to keep me in check. I feel uncomfortable sometimes and I still get antsy, but I have focus now. No blurry vision about the future. No drifting. I know what I want to do. I know who I want by my side. This isn’t the life that happened to me. It’s the life that I chose. I’m glad I’m living it.

Haikuesday 04.12.16

April 12, 2016 Leave a comment

I know I’m changing.

I can tell it’s happening,

and I’m excited.



Haikuesday 01.13.15

January 13, 2015 Leave a comment

I had to force it.

My attitude was awful,

and I had to change.

Brand new.

November 10, 2014 2 comments

Today is my birthday. I think I have about 62 billion friends and acquaintances whose birthdays are also in November. There’s another significant November birthday that I almost forgot about until this past week. November also marks my dojo’s birthday. In November 2010, we move from our Center City location to our current South Philly home. Many years ago, before my time, our club was in South Philly. So for the judo program, it was like a homecoming and for our jiu jitsu program, South Philly was its birth place. I can’t believe it’s been just four years that we’ve been on Broad Street. We used to have barely eight people in our judo class and barely four people in jiu jitsu. Now we have people stacked up to the ceiling. We’ve grown so much and sometimes I forget how uncertain it felt when we first opened the new club. Four years. When I think of that time in November 2010, it seems like today is my fourth birthday, too.

2010 was the start of my new life. Late that summer, I ended a seven year relationship. That’s also when I set my heart on social work. In the fall, I started my Master’s of Social Work program at UPenn. During the months leading up to that break up, I fell in love with judo and in a way, judo was all I cared about. I wanted to be at the club seven days a week, and before school started, I was there five days a week. I trained at another club on Saturdays. After the break up, judo gave me focus and hope while I was mourning those seven years. Although I chose to end it with my former boyfriend, turning my back on seven years would grind on my conscience. But all the people I met while training were so brilliant, so creative, so dedicated, their presence reminded me over and over again that I made the right choice to move forward with purpose.

During the fall of 2010, I needed my dojo. It was another intense transition to go to graduate school. It was exciting for me to finally pursue my career in social work. I’d known for sometime that I wanted work that was complex, challenging, and had a meaning greater than myself. I wanted to solve problems and fight.  Like the individuals I met through judo, the field of social work led me to passionate, intelligent, and innovate people, several of whom I know will be in my life for a long time. Everything about social work felt right. But I almost cracked several times that fall.  Amid the pressure to perform, to achieve, to ignore sleep, and be excellent, my family life was chaotic and unsettling. I didn’t even felt at peace in my own bed. At least once a week, though, I could go to practice and be home. Judo had taught me about mental exhaustion and self-motivation, but it also gave me a safe place to let go and be all parts of myself.

I know who I was before the fall of 2010. I liked parts of me, but I was afraid to fail, afraid of confidence, and afraid of success. I would tip toe towards what I wanted, then double back when I got too close. In the fall 2010, I felt free. I was free to take risks, I was free to be incredible, I was free to fail, and I was free to suck it up and try again. I felt brand new.

So here I am, four years later. My dojo, judo, jiu jitsu, and my homegrown family are bricks in my foundation. I am working at the most challenging job I’ve ever had and I am dead set on succeeding. My friend, Dennis, encouraged me to publish a book of my haikus, and he’s working hard and guiding me to make that happen. My family keeps growing closer. I love my friends, I love my neighborhood, and I love my tiny little kitchen where I sit and write these words. I know I turned 33 today, and I don’t know what other 33 year olds feel like, but right now, 33 feels as fresh as four.

Haikuesday 10.28.14

October 28, 2014 Leave a comment

Burritos and friends

on a Tuesday after class

is a welcome change.