Turning 22 Years Old: A Reflection

For some reason, 22 sounds eons older than 21. My friend Eric pointed out that it’s because there are no more checkpoints after 21, except arguably 25, which is the age when you can rent a car. However, I will never rent a car, because I hate cars. So I’m out of milestones now.

“Living My Best Life”

I think that 21 was overall the best year of my life. The end of the year, April, was pretty bumpy, but we pushed through it with an optimistic outlook. I graduated university, got my first full-time job, moved into an apartment that isn’t student housing, traveled a lot, and reconnected with friends.

Jokingly, I told my mom that I was “living my best life”, but I do truly believe it. There are two true peaks that I can recall of my 21st year. One was about a week or two before Electric Forest and continued until roughly the week after. The second peak was right after I got my job and moved in to my apartment. Possibilities seemed endless and I seemed unstoppable.

There were also a lot more highlights throughout my 21st year than there have been in my life before, but part of me believes that might just be because they are fresh in my mind and up-to-date with my current priorities. For example, I met my lord and saviour Porter Robinson, generally got more invested in teaching myself music production, and a bunch of other events I mentioned in my 2018 reflection post.

22 Things I’ve Learned in 22 Years

  1. Your support network is crucial. Choose your friends wisely.
  2. Having an all-or-nothing mindset will tear you apart. It’s okay to compromise.
  3. Actually, you don’t have “a purpose”. You can only offer yourself as you are, and work toward traits you want to be able to offer.
  4. Really, it’s okay to say “no”. Really.
  5. You can believe that someone is innocent until proven guilty, as long as you don’t make up excuses for why they’re guilty after the verdict.
  6. Be grateful for what you have when you have it.
  7. Early to bed & early to rise actually does make you healthy, wealthy, and wise. And I love this routine.
  8. Keep telling your loved ones that you love them.
  9. No matter how awful the situation seems right now, you will eventually get out of it.
  10. Worrying doesn’t help anything.
  11. If you want to feel like a part of something, you can always start something. You can take initiative.
  12. Trust and communication really are the two most important elements in any relationship.
  13. Stepping into someone else’s shoes is completely different from lending them your old shoes.
  14. Time is your most valuable resource.
  15. Don’t be afraid to actually have a conversation. You can lose your sense of communication. And then you will regret it.
  16. TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY.
  17. Spaced repetition is important when learning if you want to actually retain what you’ve learned.
  18. Moderation is the key to absolutely everything.
  19. Learn to manage your emotions. And if you don’t know how to do that, ask for help.
  20. Fundamentals can be carried over into other aspects of life. Use this to your advantage.
  21. It’s great to have a variety of interests, but there is no stability, especially when your emotions become involved.
  22. Charles Kettering said, “A problem well-stated is a problem half-solved.” And he was right.

One Second Every Day

For the last five or so years, I’ve been trying to complete a full year of filming one second of video every single day. Unfortunately, something would always seem to pop up right before my birthday. My phone broke or I got a new one or I broke up with my boyfriend of the time (who was in nearly every clip).

This was the first year I’ve been able to successfully finish the video. Some of it is fairly boring, but hey, that’s my life. And I don’t mind it.

What Comes Next?

Unfortunately, now, everything seems a little less certain. This leads me to worry a lot — have I made the right choices? Am I happy here? What’s going to happen to my relationships? Will I lose everything I’ve worked so hard for?

And I’m scared. Really, really scared.

Some might believe 22 is too young to have an existential/and/or/mid-life crisis. I don’t know. Maybe they’re right. Although, I’ve been having these breakdowns about once a year since I was 14 or so; I was about due for another one.

Right now, it seems as though 22 will be my buffer year. I’ve always been kind of go-go-go, and it feels like I will be taking a breather for a while. I am absolutely fine with that.

Journaling

Recently, I’ve re-picked up several of the old activities and hobbies I enjoyed during high school.  For example, I started journaling.  Physically writing my thoughts in a notebook has a very different effect on me than typing into my blog.

Actually, during one of my therapy sessions, Dr. Doctor recommended I write out my feelings on paper and see how I feel afterward.  This was a suggestion based on a very specific bout of anger I was juggling.  Then, I would be able to “let go” of the anger, letting it bleed onto pages and pages and pages.

Please note, I consider most of my current forms of writing to be journaling.  Taking notes, keeping track, mind dumping.  It’s all journaling in some sense of the word.

Scattered Journaling

I like to keep all of my thoughts categorized and compartmentalized.  I’m not sure where I picked up the habit, but it also manifests itself in my “Examiner/ISTJ” Myers–Briggs personality.

For example, I have three different blogs for three different sections of my life.  I have a DayOne journal with one journal per mood/state of mind.  Three physical notebooks keep track of my day-to-day diary, work meetings, and project ideas/planning.  Evernote hosts eight notebooks for different categories work projects.  Most of you know that Twitter is my favourite social media platform — and I have four active accounts.

Mind Dumping

Every so often, I’ll do something I call Mind Dumping.  Depending on how heavy my brain feels at the moment, I set a timer for 5/10/15 minutes.  Then, I’ll just write everything in a stream of consciousness until the timer stops.  This helps to unload a lot of my stress.  Since I’m a faster typer than writer, I write these in one of my DayOne notebooks, titled “Mind Dumps”.

At one point, I tried to make this a weekly ritual (Monday Mind Dumps?), but it began to feel forced rather than a source of decompression.

I’d recommend it for antsy folk like me, who have a harder time speaking than writing.  You can always rearrange the thoughts later and bring it to your therapist (or me).

Writing vs Typing

I originally titled this post “Writing vs Typing”, but really, I use both.  So, there’s no competition — both have their own pros and cons.  You should decide on what works best for your journaling.

For example, I’m a slow writer, but I’m more likely to spill my guts out write out what’s really on my mind.  I’m a fast typer, but I find myself filtering out my thoughts before hitting send.  Therefore, I use both.

The important thing is being honest.  Having a daily diary isn’t much use if it isn’t actually recording what’s on my mind.  I want to look back and see what I was really thinking, not what I wanted to think.

Perfecting Your Craft

For some reason, I used to really, really want to maintain a bullet journal.  I also attempted to use a Passion Planner for a while during college.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t using either of them to their full potential, and stuck to my regular routine.

People tend to forget that the main point of these things is to keep it consistent.  If you use a bullet journal, that’s great, as long as you’re actively using it to reach your goals.  I wasn’t, so I don’t even try anymore.

Constantly Optimize

Everything is ever changing.  You’re going to work well with one system when you’re twelve, and a different system when you’re twenty-one.  Taking notes in high school proved useful, because I was quizzed more on memorization.  Taking notes in university was pointless, because I was graded on more projects than exams.

Another example of this shows in my relationship with WunderList.  I used to glorify the app, used it every single day of college, and preached its powers to all of Twitter.

I had a really neat workflow that kept me on top of my assignments, projects, and textbook reading.  Keeping track of tasks was easy, and I could even get ahead of the rest of the students with this system.

However, since I’ve graduated, I’ve had less go-go-go reason to keep an ongoing TODO system.  I’ve instead moved over to the functional features of my IOS Calendar and Evernote.  I open WunderList whenever I need to add a movie/anime/book to my infinite list of entertainment recommendations.

It just makes more sense to use whatever works best for you now.

Revisit Your Thoughts

The point of journaling is to document a thought/event/idea/etc.  There’s no use in documenting your thoughts if you never reflect on them.  I don’t keep minutes during meetings just for the sake of it.

I’ll be honest, mostly because I write for myself on this blog, most of my daily diary is written in a negative tone.  This makes it difficult for me to want to revisit my thoughts, especially when I’m not in that mindset.  But reflecting on these entries and looking for ways to improve my life honestly helps a lot.

I don’t want to be sadtiredangry, I want to be happy.  What’s making me sad?  I need to look at the root of the problem, and go from there.

What to Write About

Sometimes, I open up my notebook and just stare at it.  I want to say something, but I don’t know what to say.  Usually, I combat this by writing about an event that just happened.  This can be as insignificant as my walk home from work, or as eventful as an outing with friends.

Gratitude Journaling

Maybe it’s the season, but I find myself trying to sneak in ways to write about what I’m thankful for.  It helps to be able to see it on paper (or on a blog post).

It doesn’t have to be a gigantic list.  I’m grateful for this laptop, because it got me through college and allows me to type up this blog post.  See? Easy, short, and now we’re moving on to the next topic.

Current Events

I don’t mean write about what’s going on in the news, though you can.  What’s going on in your life right now?  Journal entries make great snapshots into your life in the past.

Unfortunately, I tend to fall into the trap of trying to catch the reader (my future self) completely to the story, which after a while makes me dread journaling.  Now, I just include what’s essential to the story, and hope Future Maryn can connect the dots.

Future Events

What are you looking forward to?  I love having events to countdown, because it kind of keeps me going.  After you cross off one event, you have more to go.  I’m down to one more event of the year that I’m looking forward to: Chet Porter & San Holo!

Whatever You Want

Out of my personal diary, I also keep a notebook of ideas. I write them down, even if I don’t intend on following through.  Sometimes, reading back on the entries, I feel inspired to work on things, even if it isn’t what I was writing about.

You can be as vague or as specific as you want.  The important thing is to keep writing.  Consistency is key.

Finding Yourself

In the more traditional sense of journaling, most people write because they want to analyze themselves.  I want to shatter my brain and evaluate each shard of thought.  Why am I like this?  What are my goals?  Where am I heading?

Your past affects your present.  Your present affects your future.

With journaling, you can figure out your own patterns and the way you work.  In addition to all of my aforementioned journals, I recently picked up an app called Youper.  It prompts me to log my feelings every evening before I turn off my phone.  It’s very useful for a quick glance into the window that is my brain.  I’d recommend it.


love,
maryn

Trust Your Body

For Black Friday, I got myself a Nintendo Switch and some food poisoning.

Warning: the Graphic Symptoms

I absolutely hate feeling sick.  No one really likes feeling sick, but my body generally refuses to throw up.  I had about a three year “no vomit” streak going, and I lost that streak yesterday morning.  The last time being three Thanksgivings ago, where everyone in my family got food poisoning from the feast.

This year, however, it was just me and my sister.  I woke up at about 5am, per usual, but I could tell something was off.  I kept trying to brush off the feeling.  Eventually, I made my way to the bathroom.  My sister was laying by the toilet, and I immediately thought to myself, “Oh no.  Not again.” and ran to the other restroom.

After a short bout of vomiting, I got up and went back to bed.  This happened a couple more times throughout the morning — waking up, running to the bathroom to puke, and then going back to sleep.  Before I knew it, it was 5pm.

Luckily (?), I haven’t had any diarrhea, which is extremely common with food poisoning, but that could be due to my IBS-C.  Aside from vomiting and nausea, I also experienced some extreme hot/cold flashes.  I had some general sleepiness, but I believe that was simply from overworking my body to get the poison out.  Walking to and from the bathroom, I could tell I had dizziness and weakness, but that could also just be from the lack of food/water since Thanksgiving dinner.  I’m still experiencing stomach cramping now (more than 24 hours later), but I hope that subsides soon.

Breaking (an unintended) Fast

The Food Poisoning Cure: Cabbage Potato Soup.

Since I was not feeling well all day, all I was able to stomach was a bottle of gatorade.  Near 5pm, my dad made me a nice bowl of cabbage potato soup, and I had a handful of Ritz crackers.

I can’t tell if it helped or not, since now it’s the next day at 1:55pm, and my stomach is still aching pretty badly.  This makes me think perhaps it isn’t food poisoning, but some kind of stomach bug.  My sister is feeling fine now; she went out last night with friends and is heading out again now.  I’m doubled over in pain, I have knots in my stomach and my throat is throbbing.

In the Name of Thanksgiving

I’m beyond grateful for my parents.  Both my mom and dad helped a lot while I was/am feeling sick.  My mom cleaned up a lot after me, and my dad made some soup.  It makes me feel almost nostalgic.

There’s nothing I wish for more right now than to just feel healthy again.  I’m grateful for my overall health, and I touched on that a little in my previous post.  Food poisoning is no fun.

Listen to the Cues

I’m actually surprised at how well my body was able to warn me before I had to puke.  I’m also surprised that I was able to listen to my body and make my way to the bathroom, even though I was sure nothing was going to happen.

From this situation alone, I’ve learned it’s important to trust your body.  Really listen, and I don’t mean just when you are sick.  Listen when your body tells you to drink water, or eat healthy, or go for a walk.  It sounds kind of stupid writing it out, but it’s definitely something I think I need to work on.

Post-Food-Poisoning Plan for Wellness

All I can really think to do right now to get better is to drink more water and gatorade.  I was able to eat a decent breakfast (my mom made dan bing!), but I feel like it was a bit too heavy for my stomach to handle.  Maybe I’ll take a nice relaxing shower and a nap before playing some more Celeste.

Some quick Google research assures me that I should be feeling better within the next few days.  I really hope so.  I’m definitely feeling better today than I was yesterday, and there has been no sign of nausea (though the knots in my stomach feel like they may disappear if I had one more flush).

If, unfortunately, you also contracted food poisoning this Thanksgiving, please remember to wash your hands and get plenty of rest.

What do you usually do when you’re sick, besides rest and drink fluids?


love,
maryn

Thankful Thoughts

On being thankful: a snapshot of where I am, right now.

Hello, World!

As some of you may know, I recently took on a couple of therapy sessions in lieu of at-home internet access for the last month.  I’ve also taken up reading more self-help books, yoga, and kindly giving myself some well-deserved “me time”.  Overall, I believe I’m in a much healthier mindset now than I was pre-Paris trip.

One of the many key attributes I’ve been working on during this time was simply gratitude.  Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to forget to take a second and be truly grateful for what you have.  Sometimes, I find myself unmeaningly saying, “thanks” — such as to strangers on the elevator when I arrive on my floor.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s better to say it more often than not.  However, I wanted to truly feel thankful for what I have.

Although the coined history of the American Thanksgiving is horrendous, I do like to take this time of the year to reflect on what I am thankful for.  Sure, it may be a little cliché, but for good reason.

Health

Honestly, I’m very healthy now, in multiple areas of the word.  I’m grateful for that, especially since I just got over a nasty cold that lasted about two weeks.  But there are also several other factors under the umbrella-term “health” that I’ve improved on in the last year.

Spirituality

As aforementioned, I’m in a better mental space now than I was two months/two years/two lives ago.  I am truly grateful for my progress, even though I still struggle with social anxiety quite a bit.  However, I can definitely tell a decrease in my generalized anxiety.  I don’t necessarily get stressed out over situations or things anymore.  It’s refreshing.

Living Environment

I feel as though a lot of my social anxiety stemmed from my previous living environment — student housing filled with roommates who were all friends with each other, and excluded me from their activities.  I recently moved out, and my living environment has improved immensely.  I’ve taken up homemaking as a hobby, and it’s made me very happy to be able to have that control again.  To feel comfortable where I live.

Recently, I fell in love with my town as well.  I get the biggest smile on my face when I’m walking around the area running errands or heading to work.  It’s small, it’s quaint, and it’s just about perfect for me.

Romance

I’m in a much different relationship now than I was this time, last year.  Though I’m so (fucking) grateful for my ex, I am insanely happy with my current boyfriend, Quentin.  He has unknowingly taught me several valuable life lessons in the six months we’ve been together.  Not to mention, he’s supportive, kind, and caring.  He deserves the best, and I’m thankful to have him in my life, even though we live oceans apart.

Health & Fitness

Again, I recently got over a nasty cold, so I’m especially grateful for my current health and my ability to breathe without sniffling every ten seconds.

I’ve been trying on-and-off for years to get back into yoga, and I’m trying to get back into it again on Monday mornings with my sister.  So far, we’ve only made it to one and a half lessons — no one except us has shown up, and the instructor didn’t even make it to the second class.

Pre-Paris, I was taking a trial of Tang Soo Do classes.  It was really fun, and the instructor seemed really personable and interested in helping each student.  I hope I can start taking those classes again, or even get back into Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, but I had to temporarily put a halt on these to accommodate for the living environment changes I’ve been making.

Professional

So much has changed in my professional area within the last month.  I’m incredibly thankful for these opportunities and realisations.

Growth & Learning

I graduated with my Bachelor’s in June, and began attending the most difficult school of all — life.  Actually, it hasn’t been that bad, though it’s been different to have to come up with my own “lesson plans” and find ways to keep my creative and academic juices flowing.

As I previously stated, I started reading a lot more.  I try to read every night before I go to bed.  You can keep up with me on GoodReads if you’d like.

I’m also now subscribed to many developer newsletters (sent to a special inbox of course).  The goal is to keep up-to-date with new technologies for work.  Lately, I’ve been learning a lot about Gutenberg and WordPress 5.0, since it will affect our CMS at work.  I’m grateful for a progressive growth and learning experience.  There are so many resources available for me to grasp a better understanding.

Work

According to a Google search I made on “areas of life”, this section was originally titled “School”, but I covered most of that in the “Growth & Learning” section.  (Side note: I actually did sign up for an actual academic class for the spring semester — math!  Thank God my employer covers my tuition.)

I decided to change this section to Work, since that is where I spend the majority of my day now.  I recently graduated from Part-Time to Full-Time, and I am very thankful for this upgrade.  I’m now able to support myself completely.  The new job has also opened up new opportunities in several different fields.  For example, the academics, as I have for my upcoming math class.  I also now have health insurance and have started up my retirement fund.  Adulting!

Financial

I saved up a lot on my own during my college education, because I knew I wanted to move out of student housing as soon as possible.  I’m grateful to my past self for doing that then, so it isn’t such a burden now.  Because of this, I was able to afford a bed and mattress, which definitely beats sleeping on a camping pad on the floor (which I did for about a week until I bought the mattress).

I’m thankful I’m able to just sit down once a month and keep a log of what I’m doing with my money.  Money doesn’t rule my life — I’m in charge of my money, and I am truly grateful for that freedom.  I also give myself a little wiggle room for leisure spendings, so I’m thankful to be able to head out to lunch or dinner with friends on occasion.

Personal

I’m still working on my social anxiety, but it just makes me more grateful for the people I’m able to feel comfortable with.

Family & Friends

Luckily, I still live fairly close to my parents and I was able to visit them for the weekend on Thanksgiving holiday.  It was nice to see them again, since the last time I went home was for Virtual Self.  My family is amazing, and anyone who hears me talk about them knows how much I love them.  We’ve always been very close and I’m eternally grateful for my parents and siblings.  They’re the best.

My friends are also super, super important to me.  I don’t know where I’d be without my tight-knit Twitter community and IRL friends.  I hate using my anxiety as an excuse.  The overwhelming feeling makes it difficult to start or engage in conversations with people.  This makes me especially grateful to feel welcomed regardless.  And it’s nice to have one-on-one conversations with some of my favourites.  You know who you are.

Fun

I’m grateful for the many interests I’ve developed over the years, particularly music, art, and development.  There’s no better feeling than progression in creativity, and I’m thankful that I can feel that in my free time.

Though I’ve been fairly busy since I started working full time, I am grateful that I can leave my work at work and do some fun things.  That’s actually something that I hadn’t thought of until a couple days ago when I was talking with a friend; he’s still in school and has to finish up homework when he leaves class, whereas my work projects are left in the office.  That’s a new experience I’m grateful for.

Community

As I’ve said before, I’ve recently fallen in love with my town.  I’ve been trying to get more involved in volunteer work and local events, even though it’s a little out of my comfort zone.  The important thing is that I’m actually trying to put myself out there.

I’m grateful that I’m a part of a lot of different little communities, especially groups that are tied into my interests.  I was on a phone call the other day with my buddy and we were talking a little about the “SoundCloud community”.  I feel like people have split a little more now than they had previously (which some of my Twitter anxiety derived from, but that’s another story).  But I always feel as though I’m a part of something.

Thankful Closing Remarks

We have Thanksgiving feast in about an hour, so I’m going to try to wrap this up and help my family out with some preparations.  Life has changed a lot, just with a new perspective of gratitude — you can really see a difference.  I’m grateful for so many things in my life right now, and honestly, sometimes I’m a little afraid to show that thankfulness.

It’s important to be grateful for what you have, and it’s also important to keep in mind those who may not have things going great for them.  Therefore, I’d like to close with a few links to some charities I’ve been keeping an eye on and contributing to over the last year.  The first one being probably the one most personable to me.

Laurie’s Cancer Relief Fund

My aunt was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  She’s been a huge inspiration to me throughout my life, particularly in humanitarian aide and writing.  Thankfully, she has kept close friends and family updated on her treatment status in the form of blog entries and pictures.  December marks the end of her treatment, and she could use a kind hand with some funds.

I was inspired to chop off 16 inches of my hair as a statement and donation to Pantene.  This is the last year they’re taking donations.  I announced the change and my aunt’s fundraiser on Twitter.  It’s been really encouraging to see familiar names pop up in the donation feed.

As of writing this post, she’s only $5,000 away from her goal.

https://www.gofundme.com/laurie039s-cancer-relief-fund

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

My sister and I walked for the AFSP “Out of the Darkness” event in my town.  We also were able to raise the funding goal right before the walk, which was amazing (huge shout out to Bradford).  The charity is great, I’d recommend checking them out!

The campaign page should be open until the end of December, but please feel free to donate to the charity even afterward:

 https://afsp.donordrive.com/participant/maryn

Charity:Water

Last, but not least, I’d like to show my support for Charity:Water.   Once a month (on the fifteenth), I fast for 24 hours.  Then, I donate the money I would have spent on meals to Charity:Water.  I got this idea from an organization called “Fast For Peace“.  The difference is that they change the charity every month.  Hopefully, when I’m a little more financially ground, I’ll be able to participate in both.

They’re doing a cool referral program where you can “Pledge Your Birthday” with me: 

https://www.charitywater.org/get-involved/pledge-birthday/telepathics


love,
maryn