The Merriest Christmas

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There isn’t a single material possession that could have made this holiday any better than it already is.
All moved into the new place and what a wonderful place it is. I feel right at home here.
I met such a great guy and cannot wait to spend many more moments with him. As cheesy as it sounds, I haven’t stopped smiling since we met.
Of course I always miss my family during this time of year, especially Christmas. But technology is a wonderful thing. I had a Christmas Eve video chat with them last night that helped me forget we were separated by so much distance. I feel that living far away from the ones I love is something I deal with differently on a day to day basis. It gets easier but then again, I still have the rough days. All I can say is that I am so fortunate to feel their love from afar.
I never take a moment for granted; life can be crazy at times but so rewarding. I am such a lucky girl, no doubt.

Merry Christmas and happiest of holidays to all my followers and anyone else reading along. Thanks for sharing the journey with me.
Much Love and Blessings to you all.

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Of Nothing In Particular

These last several weeks have been nothing sort of extraordinary.  I came, went, saw, laughed, learned, explored, discovered, shared, pushed, coped and conquered.

I’m very fortunate to work with an amazing as well as eclectic group of individuals.  They have exposed me to some very different things and ways of thinking.  In addition to just being great people, when I am around them, I always feel like I belong.  On an everyday basis I can feel misunderstood but when I’m around the people I work with, I feel right at home.  It never matters that I’m a thirty-one year old “Barista” that still has no idea what she wants to do with her life, because they are all right there with me; they get it.

Back in September, one of my friends who I work with put on his first official dance recital since being in NY. He’s a great guy with so much talent.

I finally gave EHarmony a try and even went on a date.  It was nice.  I had fun.  Dating had started to resemble a foreign language so it was nice to get back out there.  As to whether or not it will happen again any time soon… who knows.  Life is full of surprises.

Last month I had the wonderful opportunity to travel upstate with my good friend Caitlin for her annual “Family Fall Weekend”.  Every year she gathers friends and family to spend a weekend in Accord, NY in her warm and welcoming childhood home.  It was a weekend that I will not soon forget surrounded by amazing souls that truly made my heart happy.

I first saw Fiona Apple perform live back in 2006.  I’ve always had such a love for her music, voice and mostly her lyrics.  So when a chance came to she her again this year, I was ecstatic.  Words cannot describe how raw, real, emotional and inspirational the show was.  All I can say is that it was extremely touching and I enjoyed every moment.  Once in a lifetime experience to see her in New York City.

Probably the most priceless moment I’ve had lately is when my sister and my Mother came to visit me at the same time.  We had a week full of adventures and it was especially important to me that I had the chance to introduce my Mom to the wonderful ins and outs of my favourite city and also for her to understand what my life is like out here.  When Tiffany and I first moved away back in 2010 she said she never had any desire to visit NY.  I am so thankful she changed her mind.  The time we spent together was so important to me.  I love my Mom so much and miss her everyday.  Equally rad was to be able to see Tiffany again.  It’s hard to be so far away from her all the time.  She’s my rock and always has been.

Storm Sandy was the most intense natural disaster that I have ever experienced first hand.  Living through a real life tragedy really taught me a lot about human kind and especially the power of people when they join together to push through tough times.  The city is still struggling and will be for quite some time but it is wonderful to see how many organizations are committed to helping those in need.  I’m proud to be a New Yorker every day.  There is so much strength here.

Barely a week after Sandy and we got hit with our first snow storm of the season.  What a crazy surprise.  I have this love for snow that just wont quit.  Sure it’s cold, but so beautiful and mysterious.

I was lucky enough to visit the famous “Carnegie Hall” to see the New York Pops Symphony with my friend Sloan who had a press pass.  It was a religious experience that stimulated all the senses and put me in the perfect mood.  The night I shared with Sloan immediately following was just as fun.  I am so fortunate to have such fabulous friends here.

Between all these happenings it’s been my goal to continually gather up all that this city has to offer.  The holidays are just around the corner and this is my favorite time of year to walk the streets of New York.  It feels powerfully magical even on the days when you are aren’t quite feeling it.

Here’s to all the other firsts in my near future.  I plan on seeing and doing it all.

Happy Things

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Next week is going to be amazing. I get to see Fiona Apple perform live in New York City; a dream come true. As if that wasn’t exciting enough, Tiffany and MY MOM are coming to visit me!! I can’t even express how thrilled I am to have my Mother in New York. Cannot wait to show her around and share my love of this wonderful city. There is something that feels so powerful about letting my Mom see this whole different world through my eyes. I couldn’t ask for a better gift than this. My heart is happy. Looking forward to being around those that love me the most. I am truly blessed.

Underneath and In Between

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Striving to be a better me with each passing day. You can bet as many times as I fall down, I will always get back up, stand taller and work even harder.

I’ve been doing an alright job in the fitness department and just trying to relax beyond that. Convinced that I shouldn’t have to feel so homesick this often, I just planned another trip back home for September. When all is said and done the point of life is to enjoy it. Money means nothing to me without being able to spend time laughing with my loved ones. As I continue to get the hang of balancing my love of this city with the distance I’ve put between the people who mean the most to me, I am slowing learning how to make sense of all these emotions. I plan to stay on my own for now but that doesn’t mean I can’t plan more trips back home.
Everything is going to be just fine.

Carry Me

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“Choosing to live your life by your own choice is the greatest freedom you will ever have.”

I suppose it’s time to make another big decision. Life kicks and throws you around sometimes but that is surely a sign. I need to follow my heart and if that means moving on again, then so be it.

The Sand In My Hourglass

In a way, I’ve been running on empty.  Day to day, month to month, for the past year or so. It’s sort of like I am waiting for something big to happen.  I keep expecting it.  I don’t know exactly what it is but I guess I thought it might just fall into my lap.  Well that is not the case at all.

Now don’t misunderstand me.  It’s not that I don’t have things I want.  I do in small forms here and there.  The big things, however, are certainly missing.  These things seem to surround and encompass me in almost every breath I take.  Families, children, graduations, stability, education, basic necessities, love…  Etc. Etc.  Etc.  As I say often, I am nothing but thankful for the small things I do have but it sure doesn’t keep me from wanting and wishing for much more.

I have conformed myself to live more in the moment than plan for the future.  I think that is what keeps me moving and really explains my more recent relocation patterns. Once I boarded that plane to move my life to New York there was no looking back for me.  I was finally free from everything I ever was.  I was this new brave soul, ready to explore.  I have done just that and although I am still feeling quite wild-spirited and could really end up anywhere, recent events have set off some sirens in my head.  I need to examine my intentions and decide if this is the life I really want for myself.

Sometimes I think my trouble is that I want everything.  There were times, while residing in New York, that I dreamt of a less chaotic, quieter, slower-paced country life.  But now as I sit here in a life closer to what I imagined back then, my heart aches to be back in the city.  I miss the liveliness, the cultures, the history, the people, the energy, the acceptance; I miss the way it all made me feel so alive.  Most of all, I miss the way I was completely and totally myself and always fit in. Everyone was different in so many ways but you were celebrated for that.  I haven’t found my place here yet and it feels so much more difficult to make friends.  I might say that is the hardest part.  Being away from my friends.  After my sister moved back to Arizona a few weeks ago, it became even more difficult to keep myself from feeling lonely.  But I’m not giving up.

Recently my Grandmother passed away.  She was the last one, on both my Mother and Father’s side, to go.  It was sad of course but we knew it was coming.  She was living in pain for so long.  I’m glad she can finally be at peace.  This was difficult on the family in many ways.  Out of the seven of them(Mom, Dad and five children), there are only three left.

My mother made her way from Ohio to live in Arizona when she was just 18 years old.  She was raised in a very small town, had a childhood overshadowed by physical abuse as well as alcoholism and just could not stand to be there anymore.  Over the years she has been back home to visit as often as she could but sadly a good portion of these visits have been for funerals.  I know that the passing of her Mom was the hardest for her because she felt bad for not being around more often.

I realize we have to live our own lives.  We grow up, have our dreams to fulfill and can’t always continue to live near our families.  But I can’t help but think that maybe I need to go back sooner than later.  I don’t want to look back and regret not spending more time with the ones I love.  Time seems to be moving so much faster these days.  I will never get to do this over and anything could happen.  I still don’t know the answer but I sure wish I did.  I guess for now I will continue to send my love long distance and be strong.  All I can do is keep creating a better me and be a part of things I can be proud of.  I’m still working on the big things and for now I can only find comfort in the small ones.  I know I have to take things one day at a time.

Looking Both Ways

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“Happiness depends on ourselves.”
[Aristotle]

I recently took a week-long trip back home to Sunny Arizona. This was my third visit since my move to New York over a year and a half ago. I could feel differences during this visit for a plethora of reasons. In a way, the visit felt overshadowed by the fact that my sister is moving back. It seemed that was all everyone could talk about. Then I began to approach it with more of an understanding and as I previously stated I only want what is best for Tiffany and do support her decision. If this is what she needs to find herself again, I am all for it.

I found it more difficult to plan time with my friends this time around. Could it be possible that the longer I spend away from my home town, the less important I become to those I was once the closest with? I know everyone is busy with their everyday lives but it would have been nice to see more of my close friends. I certainly felt bummed about it. It is always a challenge to plan a trip back home as I feel I have so many things to fit into such a short while. I am striving to fly back home more often although there are so many other new places I wish to discover.

No doubt that there were plenty of wonderful moments during the week. My entire family gathered together for a late Christmas celebration of sorts. Being around them always reminds me of how lucky I am to be supported in my decisions, no matter what they may be. I was on a definite high as I sat around my Aunt and Uncles fire pit on a windy but mild Phoenix night. My love for my family is endless. No matter where I end up I am comforted by the fact that they will be there through my successes and to lean on in my times of need. I did spend some time with some lovely friends as well. It was amazing to see them again.

While in Phoenix, we stayed with my father. I have never had what I would call a close relationship with him. But in the last year we converse often. I like my Dad a lot more as an adult and we have become quite close. He is the one who offered my sis a place to stay and a vehicle to use if she wanted to move back. He only wants what is best for us. He made sure to let me know that if I ever feel like I can’t survive here anymore that I can always go back home. I made me feel so secure to hear that and I am eternally grateful. But despite that offer, I know that I am not ready to return to Arizona. Especially not now and possibly not even in the future. Once I picked up my life and moved to the east coast I unleashed a completely different women in me. I crave more adventure and constantly desire and feed off of new surroundings and experiences. Every visit is such a reminder of my new independence. I appreciate where I came from and respect every life lesson that I learned while in AZ but it also represents nothing but the past. Certain streets, buildings, locations and landmarks even have the ability to make me sick to my stomach at times.

This leads me to the here and now and certain changes that are about to happen in my life. I decided a while ago that I would settle down in Columbus for the duration of my schooling. I have begun the beginning stages of figuring out all the details. I’ve said I was going back to school many times in the past but this time is different. I applied for financial aid and found out that I will most likely receive a Pell Grant. This last year of barely making money and struggling has finally paid off!! I am beyond ecstatic! So next week I plan to meet with a guidance counselor to figure out my next steps. The great thing is that the same nursing school I plan on attending here is one that I was interested in Phoenix years ago, so I’m already somewhat familiar with the process. School begins in July so I have much to get situated before then.

Everyday life has been a struggle without a car during this winter season. I am currently on the search for a vehicle and looking forward to simplifying my commute from work to the gym and home again.

I am still marathon training, although I can’t say that I am the least bit proud of any of my current workouts. I am working at getting myself back on track in this new week. Running has been much more painful on my body lately and my excruciating leg cramps have seemed to return during the nights. Sneaky bastards. It’s unbelievable how difficult it can be to recover from a week-long vacation with little exercise. Regardless of obstacles, I am still at the gym six days out of the week giving it my all. I have a little over 4 months to get myself conditioned enough to run those 13 miles that I’ve been dreaming of for months now…

So I’m going strong on this path of self-improvement and each day continues to teach me some new lesson or bring out more strength from within. You know that saying out there, about everything happening for a reason? Well I believe it and, in fact, I am living it. I would’ve never guessed I would end up living in Ohio at thirty, finally getting my shit together to build a future for myself. But here I am. Now that I am here and finally understand how to regain complete power over my life, I am in full speed. All I need is to believe in my dreams and nothing can ever get in my way.

My Christmas Wishes

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I wish for no more pain and only happiness. Love and companionship and never a moment of loneliness. Clarity, an open mind, peace and comfort. Infinite hope and the ability to believe in the worst of times. Abundant amounts of strength and everlasting passion. I wish to have every last dream come true. I know that things happen only when they are meant to and that I must hold on until it is my time. I can only hope that I can resist the emptiness that sometimes wants to take me over. I will continue to be a bright shining light in my own life and do everything within my power to keep myself content. My heart will stay safe. I’ll make sure of it.

Happy Holidays to you all. I hope you have family, friends, new memories to last you a lifetime and most importantly
Love.

~J

My Blessings

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Family.
Mine is just the greatest. I miss them so very much, especially during the holidays. It can be difficult living separated by so many miles, but I can always feel their love just as strongly.
Friends.
The new ones I’ve made, those I’ve left behind, those who have left me behind and the special individuals who never let me down. I feel so supported by those in my life. I have met the most amazing people and I would not be the woman I am today if it wasn’t for everyone who has touched my life in some way. Near or far, you are all in my heart.
Travel.
I was born to travel and I know that with every bit of my soul. New places activate the liveliness inside of me that tends to go stale. I love to explore and learn my way around new places. This last year has been only just the beginning of what is to come and has definitely sparked something in me that will not soon go away. After residing in Arizona for most of my life, New York for a year and now starting over in Columbus, I feel I’ve really had exposure to many different ways of life. There are still many places i wish to live until I’m ready to settle down one day; perhaps I never will. I cannot wait to experience other countries. There is nothing I desire more.
Running.
This new hobby has truly changed my overall demeanor for the better. It keeps me feeling alive, helps relieve stress, keeps me healthy and provides a challenge that I know I am capable of. I am excited to continue to reach more milestones in this new quest in my life.
Creative Outlets.
Cooking is so therapeutic for me and it always cures any sort of sadness inside of me. I love inventing things in the kitchen. Even more so when people really enjoy what I’ve cooked. It’s very rewarding.
Photography lets me show everyone the way I view the world. There is always a moment to capture or beauty to portray. Pictures make me happy and are a great way to document life.
Love.
“You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly.”