Thoughts from the Coffee Shop

You can’t run away from your problems, but you can certainly escape reality. And for just for a moment, time will pause and everything will be okay. So, I escaped.

I woke up to waves crashing. Maybe my life isn’t so bad, I thought. The hangover still lingering and the scent of the sea in the air. It was early, and the sun was hot and shining on my skin through the enormous windows in the ceiling, but it’s  hard to be sad when you’re waking up in paradise. What is happiness though?

Ages 1-5: happiness was my mothers arms.
Ages 6-12: happiness was ballet class.
Ages 13-14: happiness was AOL messenger.
Ages 15-17: happiness was being a rebel.
Ages 18-19: happiness was independence.
Ages 20-21: happiness was my friends.
Ages 22-23: happiness was you.
Then it rained… and when it rains it fucking pours.

I no longer felt that light… But something funny happened when I woke up that morning. I felt the spark come back. My happiness had always relied on someone else… something else.
How do you teach yourself to be happy despite your surroundings and circumstances.

It’s such bullshit when people tell you to just look at the bright side… to be happy.
You don’t even notice how depressed you are until you realize you haven’t showered in two days as you lay on the couch watching law & order, ignoring the faint sound of your phone going off.

Depression isn’t crying every day. Sadness isn’t wearing a frown. It’s a feeling deep within you that you try and make go away, but you can’t.

Running away didn’t solve my problems, but escaping reality for a moment helped me reflect on what I wanted, what I had and who I was and was becoming.

Who knew that all I needed was a mental break. Maybe that is what we all need from time to time, and it doesn’t have to be in the form of a weekend vacation. It can be a night alone at a coffee shop with your favorite novel… or indulging in a lavish dinner for one. Mental health is so important, yet so many of us forget this.
I’m still not sure what it was, but I came back lighter, happier, and calmer.
I had been chasing this feeling for so long, not knowing how to reach it. These self-indulgent distractions weren’t my happiness. It wasn’t until I let go of the idea of happiness and what I thought it was that I truly found peace.

Now I stop and observe, I try not to rush life, I look up at the sky a little more and I always take the time to rest my mind. Finding peace with life was better than finding happiness.

To be find happiness in everything, seek happiness in nothing.

-M

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2016

Growing up I had always heard people say that the older you get the faster time flies. I’m finally beginning to see that it’s true. Now I normally don’t do New Years resolutions, but this year I told myself that my only goal would be to take better care of myself emotionally and physically.

This meant getting rid of toxic people, focusing on school, following my passion for writing, working out, eating cleaner and drinking less…all while working a full-time job.

In the mood to quit the bad habits cold turkey, I kicked off the year by participating in dry January. A whole month with absolutely no booze. I don’t crave a drink everyday, but I did find myself getting off of work stressed and craving my go-to gin and tonic quite a bit more during January.  By the end of my dry January run I didn’t notice a significant difference health wise or energy wise, which was kind of disappointing. However, I did save a good amount of money and my liver was probably happy. On February 1 I had two Hendrick’s gin and tonics. January taught me that (almost) everything is fine in moderation.

“I love Jesus, but I drink a little”. – Gladys Hardy

February was the month that I focused on my emotional health, which directly tied into every other aspect of my life. Having had gone through a tough breakup at the end of 2014, I felt somewhat lonely, lost and unhealthy. Determined to make a change I kicked my horrible eating habits to the curb. Working 30+ hours a week and going to school made it easy for me to grab fast food during my daily breaks, eliminating the stress of having to grocery shop and cook. This horrible habit was making me look and feel like shit, but the thought of cooking terrified me. Through trial and error I eventually learned how to make quick and healthy meals. I found it so much more satisfying to eat a meal that I prepared myself with quality ingredients over processed drive-thru garbage. As a result I was beginning to look and feel healthier.

I will never be the girl who wakes up at 5 am to go for a run followed by a cold pressed juice. It’s just not who I am. Once upon a time I thought it would be a great idea to run 2.5 miles to a juice shop near the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica and run back after I had finished my delicious juice by the beach. It was early and the scorching sun was beaming down on me with every miserable step I took. By the time I reached the juice shop I felt like I was going to die.  I ordered something called a hangover helper and took an Uber black back. As I sat in my air conditioned Uber with my juice realizing that running was NOT my thing, AND THAT WAS OKAY. Find ways to stay healthy that make you happy.

I will also never be that girl who snapchats her daily gym sessions and shows up in a matching sports bra and yoga pants, hair perfectly done in two French braids. Just like cooking, finding a workout routine that worked for me took a lot of trial and error. I tried a plethora of classes and routines, but I hated them all. I went through a personal trainer and two different gym memberships, hating it all. Then I discovered the magic of yoga and YouTube. Most of my workouts consist of me dancing along to a YouTube choreography video or following 45 minutes of yoga in my living room. This works for me because I can roll out of bed and make a fool of myself in my oversized mens t-shirt and sweats without anyone watching me. Just because you hate going to the gym doesn’t mean you can’t workout or be fit. Try different things and find what works for you.

In the last 2-ish months I have almost become a new person. I wasn’t afraid to go after what I wanted and I was beginning to regain my confidence back. What helped me the most was that I FINALLY stopped focusing on what I DIDN’T want and started focusing on what I DID want. It’s so easy for us to focus on our problems which in return end up attracting more negativity. While eating healthy and working out are great for you, a positive attitude is the key to overall happiness and emotional/physical health. Cheers to a positive 2016 for anyone reading this and remember to smile at strangers, be nice to people and focus on the good.

-M

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Robert M. Drake