How Do I Make 37 Better?

I just turned 37 this past weekend.

Honestly, I think I never thought about my life past kids. I had a plan to go through school, get married, get a graduate degree, and have kids. Now that I’ve accomplished all of that, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do.

I want to make 37 good. I lived 36 in this weird state of not sure where I was. I wasn’t happy with what I was doing. I was set in my priorities for everyone else around me.

I don’t want 37 to be like that. I want it to be filled with things that I can make memories out of. I want to feel like I accomplished something big. I know it seems like a weird thing to want considering in the past year, I’ve been raising 2 kids, managing their schedules, managing a household, and starting a new business.

Part of what I’m feeling is that a lot of that isn’t for me personally. I want to feel good about myself which I definitely have not been lately. I need to do something for me.

So I’ve decided to start a “bucket list”. The next step is trying to figure out what I really want. My feelings have been so jumbled up that I have to wade through all of those feelings to really understand what will make me happy. I also want to be able to commit to something. I usually push back if the thing I want to do takes up too much time or energy. I give up and walk away. I don’t know if that shows lack of interest or lack of follow-through.

I know it doesn’t seem like a big deal but I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in a routine where I have a hard time finding what makes me happy. I want to be proactive and really jump in and take the chances I need to be taking.

If you have any bucket list suggestions, I would love to hear them. I’ve been having a hard time figuring this out and the only way I know to expand my thoughts is to hear what others are thinking.

The Battle With Depression

So this is something I’ve been dealing with most of my life. I don’t know if it’s a chemical thing or a personality thing or what. When I read Eat, Pray, Love, and Elizabeth Gilbert mentions that her therapist said that she would battling depression on and off for most of her life because she has a tendency towards it, I was like “Yes, that’s literally what I felt like I’ve been doing”.

The American Psychiatric Association provides the following definition for depression:

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.

The funny thing for me is that there usually isn’t a huge cause for it. I’ll be wandering around just doing what I need to be doing and suddenly, I will realize that I’m just not feeling like myself anymore. It’s not like some big event always causes it (although that has happened as well). It almost feels like a bunch of little things that stack on top of each other and when I look up, I’m under the weight of all of that stack. I end up feeling like no one gets it. I end up resenting people for not understanding how I feel. I end up feeling like I’m a hole that I will never get out of.

I remember feeling that way when I was younger but I didn’t realize what it was. I’m really good at continuing to put one foot in front of the other so I would just keep doing whatever I was supposed to be doing (school, work, etc.). I think when I finally visited a therapist for when I had it really bad is when I learned to recognize it for what it was.

It comes and goes. I’m in the middle of trying to pull myself out of it right now. The best thing about recognizing it and beating it is that once you do it one time, you know you can do it again. It is tiring. It is overwhelming. But it is possible. I’ll continue to put one foot in front of the other and find love and happiness where I can. I’ll find help where I can because I know that it’s not possible to do this entirely by myself either.

The American Psychiatric Association also says that:

Depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given year. And one in six people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life. Depression can strike at any time, but on average, first appears during the late teens to mid-20s. Women are more likely than men to experience depression. Some studies show that one-third of women will experience a major depressive episode in their lifetime.

So if that’s you, please know you aren’t alone. There are a lot of us out there and we work hard at finding contentment and happiness. It’s not an easy battle but it’s one that is worth it. So get help, talk about it, do whatever you need to do to fight it. Because I promise that not being depressed really does feel good.

I Don’t Like Overly Enthusiastic People…

…especially if it’s not real. I feel you can tell if someone is totally BSing you. You can tell if someone responds to something and it just seems like they are saying what they think is expected of them.

It seems like, at some point, a message was sent to the world saying that if you like something, you must be overly enthusiastic about it. I don’t know if it’s just social media driven or in general. You must be “obsessed” with something or it has to be “amazing” or it is the “best” thing you ever saw.

Seriously?

Where did reality go?

Sometimes, clothes are just clothes. Sometimes, a story is just a story. Sometimes, things are just “good”.

What is this image that people are trying to portray? Why do they feel like they have to 1) respond to everything and 2) absolutely love it? Doesn’t doing this diminish the value of what they are saying?

I’m not talking about kindness or positivity. I think those things are necessary to cultivate in real life. I think it’s possible for a person to be kind and/or positive without all the BS.

I’m just honestly talking about the over-the-top responses that things in this world receive sometimes. Sometimes, I have trouble believing what someone is saying just because their answers seem fake and just something that people want to hear.

In my opinion, real answers (or no comments if you aren’t going to say something kind) are better than fake. Otherwise, how can I trust what you’re saying?

If you can explain this to me, I’d love to hear.

The Other Forms of Dance

Have you ever noticed that when you talk to certain people about the type of dance you do (or whatever your thing is), that if it’s not what they think is the best type, they sort of tune you out and ignore what you said?

There have been quite a few people who can’t seem to see past what they think is the most important style of dance.

I’ve had people literally ignore my dance resume because it’s not the style of dance they believe in. I’ve heard people in my style of dance claim another form is easier than what they do and that it’s no big deal to learn. I’ve heard of people who don’t even want to watch something else because it’s not “real dance”.

It’s kind of insulting actually. Why is it that we can’t appreciate other forms of art? Why is it that we have to put down anything that is unfamiliar to us? Couldn’t it be possible that maybe it’s just as good and it takes just as much talent to do one form of dance as it does to do another?

And why is it that people feel the need to put something else down? Why can’t something we don’t know just be that? Is it insecurity? Is it the fear that if something else is as good or even better that we aren’t good anymore?

If we have enough talent and you are able to share that with others, then whatever you know is good enough. I’m hoping more people can stop being competitive and just support others in our field.

Sometimes, it says more about you that you are able to accept something is good rather than try to prove that it isn’t good at all.

Believe in Yourself

Validation. We all need it. But how do we get it?

A lot of us tend to seek it out from other people. It’s hard to value ourselves. It’s hard to be able to see our own self-worth. It’s hard to really trust that we are the best versions of who we can be. So we look to others and if they approve of us, we feel good about ourselves.

But what happens if we do something that people don’t approve of? What if we do something that is a good decision for us but isn’t what others think is the “right” thing to do?

How do we validate our decisions then? How do we feel good about ourselves when the rest of the world tells us we aren’t good?

I honestly don’t know the right answer to these questions.

I know that we should be able to validate ourselves. I know that if we are going to trust others, we should trust the people who have been there for us through everything. Why should we listen to people who don’t know us at our core? Why should we listen to those who don’t understand us or our feelings?

I think that sometimes, we just need to trust ourselves. I didn’t trust my emotions and myself throughout my entire 20s. I thought I was wrong in feeling the way I felt. I tried to change my mindset because I thought that I shouldn’t be feeling the way I did. I thought I wasn’t gracious enough and that I wasn’t good enough. I looked at myself through the lenses of the people around me. I didn’t like what I saw at all. I learned by my late 20s that the problem wasn’t me or the way I felt. My feelings were correct. I needed to change my life around.

So I started doing just that. As I entered my 30s, I learned to trust myself and the way I felt. Once I felt centered, I was able to make friends who really were people that I could really reflect off of. I was able to see myself for who I really was. And they saw me for who I really was.

It isn’t easy to always validate yourself. Once you start believing in yourself and who you are, it gets easier.

What About Your Friends? (Throwback to TLC)

There are some days that it really hits that I don’t have that many friends. I definitely have a few good friends but I’m not getting 800 invites per weekend to do things. People aren’t throwing parties in my honor, I’m not getting a ton of texts a day, and my weekends aren’t crammed with random events.

To be fair, having kids also limits your social life a little bit but I don’t want to blame them since this has spilled over from my life pre-kids.

My friends have now evolved into people who will come running any time of the day if I need them, people who will be there to the best of their ability between their busy lives, people who I can be completely open to about what I feel and think.

And while I love that I do have some really good friends, sometimes, it does hit me that I’m never going to be the popular girl.

I guess I never was. From the second I was in school, I have never been the center of anyone’s crowd. I’ve never been the person that everyone needed at a party. I’m not the person that would up anyone’s social standing (if there is still such a thing). Even my “groups” from college or different dance teams have moved in a different direction. And while I was there though, I was always on the periphery. I was the one person who was good friends with one of the people in the group which is how I was a part of it.

Honestly, I suck at making small talk with people. And to be completely blunt, sometimes, I’d rather be home with a good book or watching tv than be in a social setting full of people I don’t know.

For example, a few years ago I went to a party without my kid for the first time since becoming a mom. I was so excited to be able to be in the party scene again. But when I was there, I spent all my time hanging out with a good friend who I still saw on a monthly basis and talked to all the time anyways. I did small talk with a bunch of other people who I knew but wasn’t really friends with and then just hung out with the person I was most comfortable with and liked being around. It made me wonder what the point was of being at this party.

Recently, I watched someone who has a lot of friends at their social events. I kept trying to figure out if she was just more extroverted than I or maybe nicer than I am. Maybe she is just easy-going enough to be able to accumulate a lot more friends. Maybe she just has more time since she isn’t raising 2 smalls kids. (Although again, I don’t think that is a fair assessment because these personality traits of mine were there before I had kids.)

I also started wondering if sometimes, people just hang out with each other so they have “friends”. Do some of them in the group really even like each other? Or do they just tolerate it because it’s their group?

I don’t really have a conclusion to this. All I know is that this is where I am in life. At this point, I don’t really expect it to change. Maybe between the time I was a teenager to my 20s. Or my 20s to my 30s. But now, on the downside to 40, I doubt that I can change this part of my personality. I don’t even know if I’d want to. I’ve made the effort this far in my life and maybe it’s time for me to just be.

This might just be who I am.

Yeah, It’s Out Of My Control

We, Indians, are perfect. No, really, we are. We are all intelligent, beautiful, and successful.

Ok, let’s talk reality. No one is perfect. Yes, we might have a lot going for us.

However, there is a lot of us have things that we don’t talk about much, things that are out of our control. Many of us have a weakness that we don’t advertise. But it’s there.

My weakness is epilepsy. Unless you’ve seen me popping my medication or have actually seen me drop into a seizure randomly, you probably don’t know that I have epilepsy.

It is super frustrating for me because while I know the triggers, I hate having to change my life to cater to my condition. I do take care of myself though because I don’t have a choice. That doesn’t mean I don’t slip every so often.

My most recent seizure happened during my sister’s wedding weekend. I was lucky that one of my sister’s friends knew what to do. I woke up, got ready, and went to my sister’s wedding rehearsal.

My other sister asked me why it didn’t bother me that it happened. I told her later that it did. But I had 2 choices at the time. I could sit and dwell on it and be upset it happened or I could move on and enjoy the weekend.

We all have something or we will have something at some point in our life. And we can curse our bad luck or we can accept that this is our reality. We can figure out how to live with it. We can ask for help if we need to.

There is no shame in anything that affects your health, whether it be physical or mental. We are human.  There is a lot we have to deal with. And absolutely everyone has something that they can’t control. Everyone has something that takes work, that we have to adjust to. Dealing with epilepsy didn’t just take a neurologist. It took a therapist as well.

Yes, it sucks. I’ve felt that over and over again. I probably will be taking medication to control the seizures for a long time. But since I don’t have an option in the matter, I can only learn to have a good attitude about it. I can be upset or I can have fun.

And I choose to have fun.