You Are Exactly Where You Should Be 1024 681 samantha

You Are Exactly Where You Should Be

My generation is plagued with the idea that we are never where we should be; in our careers, financially, in love, in what our home looks like, in life. Maybe (hopefully) we don’t feel all those at once, but the years of post-college life are usually peppered with phases of extreme hardship on ourselves for feeling like we’re not where we should be in some facet of our lives. We had a plan, an idyllic timeline of how things should play out. We should be this age when X happens. We should be achieving this goal, by X point in our lives. And if reality doesn’t match up with the timeline we conceived in our heads, it’s hard to enjoy the present for what it is when we’re so busy fretting about the future.

But then 2020 happened. And I felt this collective sigh from people my age because no matter what we thought we wanted to have happen by 2020, no matter what we told ourselves we will achieve by the end of that year, it all got put on hold. We all got a get-out-of-jail-free card from the cell we were putting ourselves in to just…be. We were able to pause our comparisons because we were all in the same boat of not being able to do anything but get through each day one day at a time. For once our inner critic was able to go on vacation while our only worry was just about surviving. All we really could do was be present.

As 2020 went on and we realized things weren’t going back to “normal” like we thought they would, that this was in fact the new normal, we all started to do the same thing: we indulged in the little things. We started to focus more on the small things that make up our life. We started baking, and going on walks more, and soaking up nature, and being so grateful and communicating that to the people in our lives. And while there were still some “big picture” things that kept us up at night, like the election or overwhelming Covid statistics, we kept returning to all the little things that make us happy.

So as I would curl up with the latte I learned to make this year, or water the plants I spent time learning how to not kill, or sit on the couch laughing so hard with my best friend about a stupid video, or closed my laptop after writing something I wanted to write just for fun, it weighed so heavy on me in the most enlightening way: it’s about the becoming. It’s the everyday-ness of our lives and being present in it that adds up. It’s about the becoming of who you are, which is actually ever-changing. We’ve heard so many times throughout life that happiness is not a destination, it’s something that comes from within. It’s about being happy along the journey of life and not waiting until you arrive somewhere, because even then we’ll strive for what’s next. It’s about being present and enjoying it and leaning into the deeper knowing that no matter the timeline you had in your head, you are exactly where you need to be. We can have goals and set deadlines, but accept that sometimes things change. We can know that we are exactly where we need to be, because what’s for us won’t miss us. And anything that doesn’t work out, that didn’t go according to plan, is just a redirection—not a rejection.

I think we learn lessons over and over again, in different ways and for different reasons. I’m not saying I’ll never worry about where I “should” be in life again, but I am acknowledging that 2020 shifted my perspective in a way I hope to return to again and again. Be present, as often and as intentionally as you can. Know that you are exactly where you should be. And enjoy your becoming, now and forever.

reframing thoughts
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Coming Back to a Reframing

Much of this year has been about a reframing of things. A reframing of our thoughts. A reframing of our vision of what we thought this year would look like. A reframing of how we look at everything we’ve gone through in this tumultuous year, and even in our lives.

reframing thoughtsGetting outdoors has been so freeing for me this year. It has filled my cup up more than I know how to express. Being in nature always allows me to pause, to breathe in the little things, to acknowledge life as it is in that moment, and even sometimes to shift my perspective. In those moments when I’m away from the busy routines of everyday life, it feels like a coming home to what really matters most in life. I will look back on this year and know for me it was the year I said yes to every outdoor adventure opportunity that came my way. Next month I officially get my scuba diving license and I was almost convinced to go skydiving. Almost.

Last month I went to Big Sur and camped on a ridge 45 minutes up a mountain, high above the cloud cover. It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen and I enjoyed every second of that trip. I had been talking about going to Big Sur for years now, and as a California native, I truly have no explanation for why I hadn’t been yet. It was so nice not to have service, to completely disconnect. To make new friends with strangers. To watch the most memorable sunset and have the best sleep in a tent I’ve ever had. I remember we were watching the sunset amongst strangers and everyone was so grateful to be there witnessing nature do her thing. I felt so grateful for life in those moments and so unencumbered by anything else.

But the everyday-ness of our lives sometimes still find ways to seep in during those moments of isolated clarity. Somehow a text from my boss had gotten through the no-service zone. My brain automatically went into stress mode, thinking about anything that might need my attention at work. I didn’t even bring my laptop in the car so that I could properly disconnect. Did I accidentally cause myself more stress by so intentionally disconnecting? By not tuning in to any of my responsibilities on this trip, would it be worse come Monday? Was disconnecting and relaxing actually just avoiding the reality of work and life? But just as quickly as the stress came on, I came back to something so relevant for me this year. A reframing.

Something someone taught me this year that’s been so transformative is how to reframe our thoughts. Instead of me looking at reframing thoughtsmy weekend away as me “disconnecting at first, but only for things to be so hectic come Monday,” I reframed it to: this rest is necessary for me to go back to work fully charged and with energy to begin again.

When I can feel my energy shift, feel the future-stressing creep in, feel that some anxiety is coming on, this reframing perspective has changed the way I look at things. It’s about asking myself: how else can I think about xyz, that still rings true for me?

Reframing is a tool though, not a crutch. And reframing isn’t supposed to take the place of a gut reaction to something you know doesn’t align with your highest good. I can reframe some things that have happened to me this year as necessary for my growth and necessary to level up, instead of a waste of time. Recognizing the positive shift from a negative thought that doesn’t really serve me to a more appropriate thought that feels forward moving is powerful. It’s amazing what you can train your brain to do. But I try to be mindful of that power of shifting thoughts vs. not listening my gut feeling of: this (fill in the blank) really doesn’t feel good to me, but it’s necessary to listen to that gut feeling.

Like I said back in March, life is FOR you. So if I can find a way to reframe things that align with me and that make me feel good, that’s exactly what I’ll do to give it my best efforts to stay present and peaceful.

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The magic of the rest of this year

You know when Joey from Friends tells Chandler, “HEY opposite…IS OPPOSITE!”

That’s all I can think about when I think of the second half of this year. I’m going out on a limb to declare it’s going to be everything the first half wasn’t and I’m SO so excited for everything that is in store for the rest of this year! I can’t wait to share more.

Not only as a collective are we making huge shifts and giant strides of change, but I believe so many of us have moved beyond being JUST self aware, but we’re self aware and doing something about it. In addition to the greater lessons on race our country needs to learn (and re-learn again and again), something the Black Lives Matter movement has taught all of us is that we have the beautiful ability to stop, listen, learn, and change– again both collectively and individually. How else will we grow if we don’t stop to acknowledge the places in which we fall short and can do better? The amazing change being created in the world and the affirmation that our voices are being heard are filled with so much hope in my opinion. I’m committed to observing myself and how I can do better both as an individual and in relation to the world.

I can’t stop smiling when thinking about the magic of everything to come!

I wasn’t as active on this blog/website the past year and I’m feeling drawn to write more on this platform and share my musings to connect with you. I’d love to hear from you so feel free to reach out!

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