Do You Want Something In Your Life To Change? Then, Change It!

Sometimes, when you aren’t looking, everything just seems to fall into place. All of a sudden, things seem to make sense again. How? Where? When? What happened when you weren’t paying attention?

Life works like that. Struggles happen and we wonder why is this happening to us. We don’t understand when everything will come together and we can look back and really understand why certain things happened the way they did. In the process, we sometimes have a hard time remembering who we are as well.

Everything is a step to something else. I find it easier to accept the things that are difficult if I can believe that it will help me move toward something better.

I also find it easier to deal with these times of struggle when I’m actively trying to do something to change my situation. It’s so easy to fall into the mode of “nothing is ever going to change” or “nothing is ever going to get better” and then sit around and hope something will make you feel better about your life. It doesn’t work that way. If you’re lucky, some opportunity will fall into your lap. But most of us have to work for it.

If you find yourself in a spot where you want things to get better or be different than what they are, find a way to change them. Step out of your box and towards something new. Be an active participant in the changed you want to see in your life. I know you’re thinking “well, easier said than done”. Actually, I’ve tried to change my life and I’ve seen plenty of people who also have made an effort to change theirs. And, all of a sudden, I find myself in a whole new place than I was before. Things look better than they did before. Opportunities arise that you would have never expected.

Give yourself a chance to really find what you’re looking for in life. Even if you don’t have a clear picture of what would make you happier, try to find something small that you know would make your day better than it was. Every time you take a step forward, you’re creating change in your life.

Eventually, you will look around and realize that everything is right where it’s supposed to be.

Small Talk

We’re Indian. Which means that even if we don’t know someone, we kind of sort of know them. So when we run into them at social events, we have to make small talk. It’s how we socialize. It’s how we get to know people. And it’s how we make sure that it’s not awkward when we see them again.

I spent a 30 minute ride home with a family friend who I’ve known my whole life in almost complete silence. Her daughters are really good friends of mine so I asked how they were doing. And that was the end of our conversation. We just had nothing to talk about. I couldn’t even think of what to say so I just sat in silence until I reached home.

There are times I will run into people that I have met before and be at a complete loss of what to say to them. Other than the standard “how are you doing” and “what are you up to”, I have nothing to say. I know small talk comes easily to some people but I’m not sure how.

I have a cousin who once told me that she manages to start conversations by just asking people about themselves. She found that people love talking about themselves and this helped her jump start any conversation. Is it that I’m not that interested in people? Or maybe it’s just that I’m too scared to start talking about anything. Maybe I’m worried what’ll people will think of me.

It’s interesting to me that that insecurity is still around. I’m at a place that I’ve established myself. I know who I am. And if I say something that everyone doesn’t like, should I even worry that much about it? I am well aware that everyone might not like me at this stage in life.

Maybe it’s just that I’ve done my job making new friends over my whole life and now, it’s harder. Now, we really have to make an effort to know someone else. Now, we have to try to find common ground that isn’t just provided to us. Before, we made friends of circumstance. We went to school with someone, they lived near us, we were in the same social group outside of school. It takes a lot to pass the insecurity we might have in order to make new friends.

Now, we have to work at it, especially if it’s a situation where you are truly there just to make friends. You have to put yourself out there. You have to find a way to make the small talk so that you can really get to know the people that you meet.

Small talk. Fun, huh?

A New Mom Reclaiming Her Life

We all talk about how you shouldn’t lose yourself when you get into a new relationship. We work so hard to maintain our individuality while merging into a relationship so that we still feel independent but can enjoy the aspects of spending time with a partner as well.

Well, what happens when you have a baby? As a new mom, I found myself really losing who I was.

Even before I had the baby, I didn’t recognize myself. I define my self worth by what I do (and if I really do it well). I had been working for the last 8-9 years and I had been dancing for a really long time and finding peace and happiness in that. But, as soon as I was a few weeks pregnant, I left my job due to the distances I was driving and I wasn’t allowed to do any other physical activity other than walk due to doctor’s orders. It was really hard for me. I still did see my friends but a lot of the activities I used to do were limited.

After I had the baby, there was obviously the time I needed to heal and get used to having a baby around. So that’s all I was doing for the first few months. But it was hard. You give yourself so entirely to this little human being. All of a sudden, the only label you have is mom. All of the other things you were disappear. At least, that is how I felt.

I’ve never been able to function in a one dimensional sense. Even though I worked in one profession, I was involved in so many other activities that really helped my life be well-rounded. So this was really a difficult way for me to live. There are women who fit so easily into the mother role and make themselves so well-rounded within that role. I’ve seen moms who plan activity after activity for them and their babies and it sounds amazing. I wish I could do that. But, after a recent breakdown, I realize that it’s not me. I need certain things in my life for me to feel like myself. And feeling like myself is the best thing I could do for my child.

I felt guilty wanting to be back in the workforce or wanting time to myself. I still haven’t gotten up the courage to have a girls night out without my baby. I want her to be with me at all times. But I have taken steps to reclaim who I was. I joined a gym and get an hour workout in a day which has done wonders to my self-esteem. I am looking to find other moms to hang out with. I have a found a new dance class that I’m really excited about. I also have taken steps to see if I can find a job that fits a schedule that would allow me to be home for my child whenever I want.

As much as I really wish I could do the stay at home mom thing with great joy, I know it’s not me. I need to find the things that help me feel like me so that I can really show my baby my best self, the person that I’m proud of, the person I want her to be proud of.

Undervalued and Unappreciated

Talent is a great thing. We all have talent in something and we’re lucky to be able to share that talent. But what about when your talent isn’t appreciated?

I don’t know if this is all groups of people but I feel like sometimes this happens especially in the Indian community. We just take other people’s talents for granted. And this shows up when something such as price is discussed. We just assume anyone could do whatever we want someone to do, all while making that person feel expendable. We then go on to insult that person and talk to them like we are doing them the favor of giving them an opportunity to work with us. 

I’ve seen this happen over and over again (and yes , it’s happen to me a few times as well). If the person was not within our own community, would we expect free work? Would we feel like we could just say whatever we wanted to them and they will do whatever we ask for? Would we even try to appreciate them for sharing their talent with us? 

A long time ago, I had an event and a family friend of ours mentioned to my mom that we should hire dancers for the event. For some reason, that family friend failed to comprehend that people actually hired me and my sister to do the same exact thing at their events. He took our talent for granted because he had seen it all his life. 

There are times when I believe doing something for free is warranted. One of those things is donating your talent to charity. Unfortunately, most of the time though, people are trying to make a profit off of your hard work. And usually, it’s not a request. It’s assumed that you will do it because they gave you an opportunity. 

I’m glad I’m at a point in my life where I understand the importance of respecting myself. If someone decides to undervalue my talent, I can walk away because no one is allowed to make me feel like I owe them something or like they are allowed to treat me like crap.

We need to start appreciating the talent that people share with us and actually valuing those people. We need to support those within our own community especially. No one deserves to be disrespected.

And a specific recommendation to the Indian community: If you would pay someone of a different race and treat them with respect, you should do the same for those within your race as well. 

Trust Your Gut

Have you ever been in a situation where your body was telling you to get the hell out? You felt uncomfortable and you knew something just wasn’t right about what was going on. You felt stressed and on some level, unhappy (if you chose to admit it to yourself). How many times have you ignored that feeling and gone on to do whatever you were doing anyways? 

I have. With relationships, with jobs, with situations. And I always ended up making myself completely miserable before I realized that I should have just listened to my gut and walked away from the situation.

Why is it that we trust what everyone else says but we don’t trust ourselves? And later on, in hindsight, we look back and clearly see all of the red flags. 

If you don’t feel comfortable in a situation, it’s probably a sign that it’s not the right situation for you. It might be a good opportunity or a good person to date but something is off somewhere and your gut is telling you to acknowledge that before moving forward. 

This especially goes for those who are being forced into a situation (like marriage, maybe?)

This is your life. Remember that. Just because there are those around you that think that you should do something doesn’t mean you should if it doesn’t feel right. You will be the one who has to live with this day in and day out. So it might mean some fighting to make sure that you are getting what you want but standing up for yourself is the only thing you can do when it comes to your own happiness. It’s not that other people don’t have your best interest at heart. It’s just that they might not have the same feelings you do. 

Know yourself. Know what’s right for you. Trust yourself. 

Tired of Politics

Everything is about politics. You have to play one game to offset another game. You have to give something to get something.

Politics sucks. It sucks in our daily lives, it sucks in our careers, it sucks in our fun projects.

I’m tired of politics. I’m tired of mind games. I’m tired of having to be careful of what I say or do.

I think I’d honestly rather get taken advantage of than try to protect something from someone with political ambitions. I want to be able to do things cleanly and with a pure heart. I know. It sounds idealistic.

I have no desire to take over the world. I have no desire to put others out of business. I really just want to be able to share everything with everyone and be happy doing it.

So…politics. Why? Why are there games? Why do we have to fight and compete to be noticed?

My husband was telling me about this photographer who works on all of these famous tv shows. The man just does what he does. And because his passion and love for his work is there, he is good at what he does and well-respected.

Fighting and competing wears you out. How long can we keep doing this? How long can we fight?

I have been reading these series of books that take place in this little town where everyone is like family. Everyone takes care of one another and going the extra mile for someone that lives in that town is no big deal. I want to live in a place like this. I realize LA is a little big to know everyone. But it’s still small enough that we have the ability to really build a community. Every person that’s happy and take care of is a benefit to our community.

Helping others succeed is a unique concept. It’s hard. We are built to want to be the first person. We want to be the ones who win. We forget that we can succeed together. And the best way to move forward is together.

Don’t Let What Anyone Else Says Hold You Back

Due to a variety of experiences I had in my 20s, I got to a point where I believed I wasn’t lovable, I wasn’t good enough at choreography and dance, I wasn’t perfect looking, I wasn’t thin enough, I wasn’t the “ideal” anything. To be honest, I shouldn’t have let anyone make me feel like I wasn’t good enough. But it happened. 

It’s a hard thing to take when you feel as though the people who have seen you work hard day in and day out don’t believe in you. Being a second option or even worse, a last option makes you feel like you’re not worth anything. 

I felt like this until I decided to make my own path. I started working on projects with people that did believe in me. I walked away from situations that didn’t appreciate my hard work. I don’t know if those people ever realized how they made me feel but it was not a good place for me to be. 

I realized after I walked away that I was quite good at a few things when I had my freedom to really follow my passions. It was then I realized that I shouldn’t have let what anyone else said make me feel less than I really was. I wasn’t. I know that now. 

Don’t ever let anyone make you feel like you are worth less than you are. If you believe that you are good at something and you work hard at it, then it’s worth it. You’re worth it. 

Marriage Is No Joke…But It Should Still Be Fun

Who says that marriage has to become boring or redundant after some time? As my cousin once said “It’s like having a slumber party every day.”

Now, let’s get something straight. Marriage isn’t easy. Relationships in general aren’t. They take work, compromise, and really learning how to take into consideration someone else’s needs and wants, their happiness. Entering a marriage should take some thought. Obviously, there is no way that we could ever know if something is going to work out one way or another. Knowing if something is right for you, if someone is right for you is a learning process.

Someone once asked me about my relationship and what I think is the most important thing about it. I told that person that in my opinion, in my life, the answer would be friendship. I think that being friends is the most important thing that holds my relationship together.

If you think about it, your friends are the people that know you best, that you know will understand you beyond anything, and that you can be silly with and not worry about what they think after. So why wouldn’t you want that in a relationship?

All my life, I’ve been operating under the labels of geek, nerd, dork. I’ve been known to have a very corny sense of humor that if you’re way too cool for me, you won’t understand. But, for once, I have found someone who matches those personality aspects on every level. And we laugh a lot while being ourselves.

Being able to experience life with someone who really can enjoy the same things beyond a basic interest level is an amazing feeling. Having common interests is great but it’s really the little underlying things that make it fun to be in the relationship.

Yes, relationships take work. They require time and effort. But, if you can enjoy it, then hopefully, it doesn’t seem like it takes as much work as you would imagine. If you find yourself complaining about the relationship more than just having fun, then my guess is there is something that needs to be examined. And I know I have spoken about this before but the idea of your significant other being a drag just doesn’t make sense to me. We aren’t in an era when we are with someone out of duty. Most of us are in it out of love. So then, why wouldn’t being with someone you love be fun?

So, before you get married, figure out if you’re having a good time. Because, as long as you’re laughing together, marriage will be okay.

Financial Stability or Passion? Can I Have Both?

For most of us, our careers are based on what we might be good at and financial stability. We choose them when we are really young and just keep working away until we get to a point where it’s comfortable. We work, we work, we work, and all of a sudden, we’ve been doing this job for over 30 years. We achieved what we wanted. Financial stability. So my question is where do our passions fall into all of this?

I don’t know about you but mine are side projects.  I make time outside of my regular work to do things I enjoy like writing in this blog. I couldn’t do them full-time though. What if I can’t achieve financial stability? What if the whole thing is a struggle? There is a quote that says “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I’ve constantly been on the search for that my whole life. I don’t know if I’ll ever find it. 

I really admire those people who manage to turn their passion into a full-time business without letting it feel like a business. My other big fear with turning a passion into full-time work is that what if I start resenting it? What if the business aspect kills it for me? 

Passion. It’s part of what makes life worth living and helps you enjoy every day. It brings people together to achieve common goals. So how does a person take that step towards something that they are passionate about that won’t guarantee financial stability? The people that can do this are amazing. They don’t seem to have any fear. They make it work. And they have enough drive and ambition that leads them to success. 

Why is it so hard for some of us to take that step? We burn out so we can have both financial stability and passion instead of really finding something we want to do and figuring out how to achieve financial stability through that. We get to a point where we don’t want to do anything because we’ve worked so hard at everything. There has to be a balance. There has to be a way to achieve both at once. 

The question is how do we make it happen? 

The Guilt Factor – Off of the Beaten Path

Does this life sound familiar to anyone else? We go to school, graduate with our bachelor’s, work, go get our master’s degree, work, get married somewhere between the bachelor’s and the master’s, work, have kids right after our second graduation, work, and work until this repeats with our children.

Wait, what happens when you don’t follow this formula? Probably guilt. I feel guilty that I’m not doing what I was programmed to do. This is the correct formula to make everyone proud and to be able to show your face in society, right?

Well, crap. I didn’t follow the formula and now I feel like I’ve let everyone down. I feel the guilt. In all fairness, the guilt tends to follow you every time you do something that isn’t allegedly morally correct, not just when you step off of the beaten path. I don’t know if this is oldest child syndrome or not but I’m willing to bet it’s not just me who feels guilty every time I do something that I know might not be the best choice. I feel guilty even putting myself first before my family.

It’s unrealistic to feel this guilt. When you do something for you, as long as you’re not hurting anyone else, it shouldn’t be a bad thing. Taking time off to take care of yourself is a good thing. Finding out what makes you happy and working towards that is a good thing.

Happiness. It’s a fairly unknown concept in our culture. So much of our society is based on duty and responsibility. We forget that life is so fleeting that you might as well enjoy it while you’re here. It’s a concept that is slowly start to emerge as the new generation grows up and realizes that they don’t want to live the same formula anymore. It’s interesting to watch people chase their dreams and follow their hearts.

The guilt needs to go. It’s taken me a while to learn how to dump the guilt. I still feel it since it is programmed in me but give me an hour or so and I’ll get over it. I’ll know that if I trust myself and know that I’m doing the right thing, then I have nothing to feel guilty about. Hell, even if it’s not necessarily the ideal thing to do, at least I made my own choice and will live with that decision.

How else are you supposed to live your life to the fullest?