2014-2015 was a time of go-go-go. I had managed to go through several life changes without really stopping to reflect or accept that things had changed — I had changed. During that span of my life I got engaged, finally quit a job that had become my identify for 10 years and decided to set on a new career path — a career path, proceeded by a ruthless no-holds-barred training period. Moved from Manhattan to The Bronx :(. Stopped living with my mother. Got married. Started a new and grueling career. Visited Italy, and fell in love with Florence. Visited the west coast and realized it is where I belong.
It was a lot to take in.
Nope, not looking for pity, as I know anyone reading this might think, ‘don’t you dare complain about your life, bitch!’
But after all the Instagram moments of my life settled, I was wiped out — I was a hollowed shell physically, mentally, and emotionally. As someone who is extremely reflective to the point of fault, I had not allowed myself to reflect, and man, I fucked myself over.
For the first year of this new career path, which will remain nameless on this blog because I want to keep work and personal separate, I worked like a beast. I climbed only to fall down, got back up, tumbled back down, got up again, then tumbled, tumbled, tumbled, tumbled down, and not even getting back up, but thankfully being pushed back up by friends and family.
And in all of it, in somehow finding myself, I completely lost myself.
The summer of 2015 was a dark one. I was forced to slow down. And in slowing down, I came face to face with my demons — insecurities, unrequited dreams, the pressure to work on myself versus my work, and a whole other bag of shit. So how did I fare? Not well. Not well at all.
I tuned out.
Although today I can squarely say I tuned out, at the time, I called it ‘tuned in to myself’…HA…what a joke! When work wasn’t on my mind, I was on my couch binge watching T.V. barely going outside or talking to anyone except FunnyGirl. My body just wanted not to feel. But I also knew I didn’t want to just be in a room by myself and be completely alone with my thoughts, so T.V. became my escape.
And then guilt came for shits and giggles.
I felt guilty for not reaching out to friends I had not seen in forever. I felt guilty for not calling friends and family. I felt guilty for not being thankful that I had the freedom to go to the park instead of laying in a dark living-room with only the glare of the last season of The L Word. I compared myself to friends who were doing and not just watching. I defended myself too — “well if that’s how she wants to relax, then let her, but that’s not what I want”.
Fall came, and nothing could have prepared me for the insanity my life would become, not my own foreshadowing thoughts, not my friends’ advice, not my wife’s concern, not anything. I was smack in the middle of full-time work and part-time graduate school, and I was in a perpetual zombie state among the remnants of my living-life. I have never been stretched so thin as I was this past Fall. I really thought I would crack into a million little bits and pieces. I knew something was wrong — my mind, body, and heart knew it.
Then came therapy.
Not having the actual time to go to a therapist, I turned to the internet and found Kati Morton. And it was something so simple she said in a video, “Don’t tune out”. And right then and there, a lightbulb went on. I thought to myself, ‘what do you mean don’t tune out?’ I happen to enjoy being on my own, but the more she explained what tuning out meant, I realized I was tuning out — I was avoiding living and doing while hiding under my couch, sleep, other’s problems, and mainly, my T.V.
So here enters my one and only New Year’s Resolution, tune in. Two little words, that’s what I can commit to, and will do so on my terms, step by step. To tune in, it basically means you pay yourself first before anyone or anything else. For me it means, painting my nails, drawing, painting, cooking, yoga,making dates with FunnyGirl, nurturing my marriage, calling friends, making dates with friends, etc. The most important thing to understand about tuning in, is that it happens on your terms. Others cannot be the ones to decide for you how to best tune in. You will know you are tuning in because you can articulate ‘I tried this today, and this is how it turned out for me’.
Essentially I’m challenging myself to tune in to my life instead of an episode of ‘someone else’s life’.