Take Care of Yourself

The news today is scary. You read the headlines and wonder what has happened to the simplicity, the safety, the world. Terrorist attacks. Murders. Robberies. Car accidents. Sneaky, untrustworthy politicians. Violence. Lies. Abuse.

This world is so big and we are so small. We can only do so much to protect each other and keep each other safe. When it comes down to control, there isn’t much we can do but we CAN take care of ourselves and each other.

I am a news junkie. I like to stay informed, no matter how negative the world has become. I scroll through CNN, Time, and the local newspaper websites at least 4 times a day.

Last night I came across this headline and oddly enough, it had scared me more than the average because I felt that this time, I had control, and if I didn’t, I had to take it.

“The death rate from Alzheimer’s has increased 55% over 15 years”

This number is DRASTIC.alzh

This is an emotional topic especially for those who have been a witness to those affected by this unbelievably devastating disease. We watch loved ones forget how heroic they are, how loved they are, who they are. They lose their sense of self and independence. And we are forced to accept that this is now a common occurrence in the stages of getting older.

Alzheimer’s Disease is heavily studied yet no cure has been found.

I am 30 years old. I have a lot of living left to do but this scares me. 

“They” (those who study Alzheimer’s Disease) suggest that we keep our brains sharp – read more books, learn a new language, do crossword puzzles, exercise, eat healthy. Didn’t we do this more when there was less technology? Weren’t we forced to learn new languages to communicate with other countries? Didn’t we have to work harder to understand something because we didn’t have the materials, we didn’t have an internet full of answers? Didn’t we use our bodies more? When technology was at a standstill? I mean, van doors open by the touch of a button and robots are vacuuming our floors.

What is the problem?

Now, I’m no doctor or scientist but I feel so strongly on this topic for some reason and it horrifies me that there is no listed cause and no solution. What can we do other than sit and hope that we do not became a part of this growing percentage?

I am afraid of what is in my food. I am afraid of how it is produced, where it is produced. Long ago the world did not have access to the chemicals used to create or mass produce the food we consume today. Now I’m not saying this is the cause – this is simply something that concerns me. You, as individual, are free to believe whatever it is you believe. What I am saying is, is that we must take better care of ourselves. And not only because we are afraid but because as a society, as a growing population, we ARE the future. What we do today immensely impacts what we do and how we function 100 years from now. How do you think we got here?

Please understand that I am not trying to scare you and I’m certainly not telling you how to live your life. This is nothing but a simple plea to live with a little more caution, a little more care.

Read an article today (a happy one even!), stretch, go for a walk, eat an apple.

Let’s take better care of ourselves so we can take better care of each other.

 

 

 

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To Do List: Live

to-do-list

I have always been a fan of lists. I’m not talking using my notes app in my iPhone, I’m talking pen in hand and pretty pad of paper (oh it’s the simple things)! I am a TANGIBLE list kind of person. Lists help me organize, plan, set goals (and hopefully reach them). When you can cross  that shit out, it feels good. You can see you’ve accomplished something. Right in front of your eyes.

Today is the Friday before memorial day weekend so I decided to extend my three day weekend into four full days. Typical me, I have some things I would like to accomplish (I would list all of them but I won’t bore you all with my “chores” list) but today is day 1. Today is the day I start to set goals and accomplish them (no matter how small, we must start from the bottom – doesn’t mean we have to stay there).

Now, I have an issue with my-whole-house-needs-to-be-clean-before-I-can-have-fun kind of thing. I don’t know where this came from and I don’t know WHY I feel it is necessary but it has always put my mind at ease.

Today I asked myself, how can I get it all done? This is not a new question for me. I often set these expectations that I can clean my entire house, do all of the laundry, go grocery shopping, go to the gym, clean my car, and have fun, all in one weekend. C’mon, let’s be realistic. That ain’t happening. What the hell is wrong with me? I have got to let that go. Where is the fun and enjoyment in all of that? Yes, being productive is important in life, crossing things off feels good but we must remember to enjoy ourselves too.

Sometimes we have to let things go so we can live. So we can just be. This is step one for me. I’ll start that list, I’ll cross some things off, and I may not get all of it done. Big deal. The whole point of my return is to let go, let live. New lesson: Time is precious. Every minute counts. If I’m not enjoying myself, what’s the point?

Love,

Ana

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Hello from 2017!

I cannot believe that I was able to log into my blog after entering my password only twice. It has been about 4 years since I’ve updated this blog and I am amazed that I was not locked out of my account. Often times I forget my facebook or email password even after using it hours before logging in again! Either way, I am back and my purpose today is to serve not only today, but tomorrow, and each day forward.

A good friend of mine sent me this motivational speech yesterday and said “Listen to this when you get a chance. I hope it helps even a little bit”. It’s crazy how a good friend knows you well enough to know that a 10 minute motivational speech can set off a spark, and maybe even light a fire in your soul.

It’s just words right? No. LISTEN.

“We have control of our minute, our hour, our day, our week, our month, and our year.”

Now you have my full attention.

I think back to a time of simplicity. That innocence and wonder where it went. I think to myself, “What has changed? Has the world changed? Have I changed? Is this what being an adult feels like? Is this how my life is supposed to be?” I realized something here. The answer? If this is NOT how you want to live your life, you do NOT have to live your life this way and no one, not one single person, is in control of that, but you.

Common sense, right? Same bullshit every motivational speaker or here’s-how-I-got-rich jerk says? “Follow your dreams!”, “Never give up!”  blah blah blah. Okay, that sounds all fine and dandy but I have BILLS TO PAY and I have to go to the gym and do laundry and feed the kids (this does not apply to me but I hear you!), and I work late and and and STOP. Take a step back. WE ALL HAVE THE SAME AMOUNT OF HOURS IN ONE DAY. Oprah has 24 hours a day. A homeless man on the streets has 24 hours a day. A nurse, a teacher, a lawyer, an assistant, someone who is collecting unemployment has 24 HOURS A DAY!

Excuses are your Enemy. Reasons make your reel. Take those reasons, cast that shit into the world, and catch something SPECIAL (my boyfriend would be so proud of my fishing reference)!

The world today is scary. It’s violent, judgmental, cruel, and it’s scary. Period. We are all afraid of what we don’t know but why aren’t we taking what we do know, expanding that knowledge and throwing ourselves out there? The only thing we have to lose is time. And time is the most precious thing in the world because in reality, we don’t know how much we have.

Going back in time, to the 4 years I created this blog, I see beauty. I see freedom, I feel the laughter, the love, the genuine, feel-goods. It’s inside of me and it is waiting to reunite with my 30 year old self.

Today is the day a new journey begins. Thank you, friend, for reminding me that life really is what we make it. And a pat on the back to me for remembering how true that really is.

Thanks for joining me on my second adventure.

May this one be just as special and everlasting as the last.

Love,

Ana

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Who’s Got My Tongue?

I’ve logged on a few times over the past week or so. I typed a few words and backspace, backspace, backspace, delete. I can’t focus. So many thoughts going through this crazy head of mine! Let’s give this one a shot.

Hi! Wilmington is incredible. The people here are so friendly and so pleasant. People actually walk around smiling. It kind of reminds me of this guy…

Anyway, it’s true what they say about the people down south (yes, us New Englanders like to generalize people), they are MUCH happier. I wonder why that is? Is it the sunshine? The climate? The slower pace? Wait. Maybe it’s the gas prices? I’ll go with e.) all of the above.

I am nestled in a one bedroom apartment that overlooks Cape Fear River. I could easily sit on my patio and watch people stroll up and down the riverwalk all day. There are tourists everywhere and they’re happy too! They must be from down south. Every single wall in this apartment is painted bright yellow. It’s happy and I absolutely love it.

The apartment has everything I need and downtown has everything I could ever want. Coffee shops, music stores, live music, old book stores, restaurants, boutiques, gift shops, and last but not least? Kilwin’s Ice Cream. My goodness.

I’ve explored Southport, Fort Fisher, Airlie Gardens, Wrightsville Beach, Kure Beach, and all over downtown. Each destination has something special.

Southport is a quaint town where one of my favorite movies (and books), Safe Haven, was filmed. Yes, I’m a nerd but a proud one at that! I wandered through many spots where the filming took place and was in absolute awe. It was such a cool experience to see it all in person. It was definitely an experience I will never forget.

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Fort Fisher has some of the most fascinating trees I have ever seen. They almost look as if they froze in the midst of storm.

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Wrightsville Beach was a pleasant surprise! The water was absolutely beautiful. Don’t get me wrong, I was not expecting a dirty beach but I certainly wasn’t expecting this! With it’s shades of green and soft sand, I was in heaven.

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I have a feeling I would have been able to appreciate Airlie Gardens much more if it wasn’t a million degrees out. The landscape is absolutely stunning and the live oak trees over 400 years old are breathtaking (but not as breathtaking as 95 degree weather).

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Visiting these places on my own was a bit strange at first. Even when I walked into a restaurant and they asked “how many?”, I’d respond with “just one”. Ahhh I’ll admit, the first couple of times felt rather lonely. Sitting alone and watching other people laugh with each other or simply spend time with each other was a difficult thing for me to do. Especially knowing I’d be on my own for longer than a meal or two.

This all changed when I became aware and learned to appreciate my surroundings. The world is not perfect and people invest so much energy focusing on it’s imperfections. In society, we are basically told to do so. Have you watched the news lately? Anything good on there? Not really. We are basically programmed to believe that the world we live in today is a disgrace. Yes, I’ll admit, there are some crazy people out there but  my overall view has changed. Once I stopped to really pay attention and appreciate my surroundings, I was able to see that the world has better things to offer than what we see on the news. I have fully learned to appreciate the world around me and I learned to appreciate it in the company of myself.

Love,

Anna

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On Foot

Hello from Wilmington, North Carolina!Image

It has been extremely difficult for me to put the past few days into words. I sat down to blog a few times but nothing was coming out. I felt I was forcing myself to reveal feelings I hadn’t quite understood yet but today is a little different. I am in a good place mentally and physically.

The night we arrived, I had struggled from severe homesickness. Note: A serious lack of sleep on a 13 hour car ride can cause extreme emotional turbulence. A good night’s sleep, an encouraging conversation with my favorite, and the company of my father allowed me to calm the storm in my head the next day and for that, I was extremely thankful.

I believe missing home will always being a feeling in my heart no matter where I go and I’ve realized that it’s a blessing to feel that way. Having my father here to help me transition has been an incredible experience (not to mention, I learned a little more about my dad each day)!

Yesterday was the first day I was on my own. I explored Wilmington on foot with a good attitude and headphones on. The people here are refreshingly kind and genuine. When you make eye contact with someone, they say hello or offer a smile your way. It’s true what they say about people down south. They offer a different type of kindness. It’s real and it feels good.

I woke early yesterday morning and walked for miles in the heat. The beauty of the homes surrounding me distracted me from realizing I was completely soaked in my own sweat. Do you ever stumble upon old, large houses with front porches, and beautiful gardens and realize how much they stand out because of their indescribable beauty? It’s like that everywhere. A photographer’s dream and a young woman’s daydream.1st Street Stroll

I stopped at Chop’s Deli for lunch and enjoyed the most delicious sandwich I’d ever had. I sat quietly in the corner and observed others laughing while talking about life’s daily struggles. Radiohead in the background and people walking in and out of the deli, it was the simplicity I needed that afternoon.

I walked for miles. Nothing stopped me, not even the high heat and humidity. I visited an Italian gourmet coffee shop for an iced coffee and had another friendly interaction with the locals. The coffee shop’s aroma outside the door reeled me in and the people’s attitude reeled me closer.

Walking the streets of Wilmington with an iced coffee and my headphones on isn’t anything to write home about but it offered me a sense of freedom. I am here to be me. I am here to discover me and at my own pace.

I browsed a few gift shops, hunted bookstores, watched a man teach a family how to juggle, and ended the simplistic and pleasureful evening watching the sunset over Cape Fear River.Image

I am aware that everyday won’t be like this but I appreciate these moments and will remember them for a long time.

Today, I will explore Fort Fisher. I have been told by numerous locals that it’s an incredible place to visit. Day 2, I’m ready!

With Love,

Anna

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Face Your Fears

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this trip. I’ve imagined the night I leave in my head and played it over and over again. I have anticipated it to be a difficult thing for me to do. Leaving home for a month for the first time is tough for a girl who wanted to leave sleepovers growing up. Yes, that’s me!

I live at home with my Mom. Yes, at 26 going on 27 and there’s no shame here. My mother and I have an amazing relationship. She has been an incredible role model and friend and I am beyond grateful for all she has done. We laugh, we cry, we chat over a cup of tea, coffee, or a glass of wine (or two). We often exchange stories about our past and present life. These stories helps me get through the day. She’s the greatest roommate a girl could ask for.

Although I don’t have the pleasure of living with my father, I have the pleasure of being close with him, too. I can confide in him about anything. Ladies? Dads are tough for a reason. They want you to be independent and successful. Growing up, it was difficult for me to see that my dad’s two cents was simply a helping hand. Now that I am older, I am able to see what my dad’s intentions were all along. All he wanted was for us to be okay in this crazy world. I’ll never forget the day he said “I pray for you girls everyday. I pray that you will each have a good life.” Those words will never leave my heart.

My sisters and I are VERY close. How lucky am I to have such an incredible family? They are my best friends. Yes, we argued growing up but that’s what siblings do. Today, we are the closest we have ever been and with my first niece on the way, I’m certain that we will grow even closer.

The relationship I have with my family makes me feel safe at home. I’m a home body. THIS is what has made it so difficult for me to go anywhere. Why would I have the need to go anywhere else? Deep down, I know I’m a traveler. I want to see the world. I want to see the world 10 times!! But… the comfort of home and list of “what ifs” have kept me here. I’ve met people who have traveled all over the world. I admire them for being so brave but I’ve finally come to the realization that I can be brave, too.

Face your Fear

I’m such a believer in signs. I see signs all of the time. I’ve always viewed them as a gentle reminder to appreciate your surroundings and be thankful for what life has given you (and what YOU have given this life). In conversation the other day, I described the apartment I’ll be staying in, “it overlooks the Cape Fear River”.  At that moment I became aware that for the whole month, I’ll have Fear on my side.

You can’t look for signs. They just happen and when they happen, appreciate them. Appreciate that you are capable of facing your fears but understand that patience comes first.

4 days.

With love,

Anna

 

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Never Judge a Book…

This morning, another conversation sparked something in this brain of mine.

“So I hear you’re going to North Carolina!” he says. I reply with “Yes, sir!” This conversation usually leads to “Who are you going with? Are you visiting anyone? What do you plan on doing down there?” and it did. My response always shocks people. They don’t usually understand but today was a little different. His first response was expected. He didn’t quite understand but knew there was a part of me, deep down inside, that needed to get out. He excused himself for delving into my personal life but was curious as to what was wrong. He wanted to know why I wanted out.

I discovered at that very moment that it is in fact possible to think of a number of things in a matter of 5 seconds. If my response was equivalent to my thoughts? I would have responded with…..

“I’m thinking of a possible career change. Who am I? What do I want? Where do I want to be? Why am I such a flake? I want to play music and I want to write more. I want to learn Spanish and travel the world and paint and read and exercise. I want to do more yoga. I want to meet inspiring people. I want to be carefree. I want to pay close attention to my thoughts and learn to ignore other’s. I want to hear stories and go on adventures. I want to take my camera with me andddd really, all I want to do is see this crazy world and escape it all at the same time!!!!!”

…but my response was my typical “quarter life crisis” shpeel. He was puzzled. “A smart, beautiful, young woman still searching for herself! Fooled me!” Hmph.

Mind you, our deep conversation began on the topic of meditation. A successful middle-aged man, well dressed, well established, was discussing meditation with me and explaining how he deals with his anger when he’s on the phone with customer service. REALLY?! I have never seen this man without a smile. Is that how he does it?! He meditates to prevent himself from flipping out on these people? Genius. I might be meditating on the wrong topic here.

He might be angry with the people on the other end of the line but carries himself so well. He might be angry at something totally different. Maybe his life isn’t exactly what I thought it was. Maybe it is. How the hell do I know?! I might look confident. I might look like I know what I’m doing but guess what?! I don’t… but I’m still going to North Carolina!

Acceptance, like they always say, is the first step. I’ve accepted that sometimes I am absolutely clueless but I’m also preventing myself from becoming more clueless.

Each day, I’m learning a little bit more about myself and throughout this learning experience, I learn a little more about others, too.

Love,

Anna

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