Day 27 of my Happiness Journey

Day Twenty-Seven: One of the best things about the neighborhood I moved into is the all the Latino markets within walking distance. When I was living in Brooklyn, I stopped by my corner bodega for my morning bagel and the cashier insisted I reply to her in Spanish. The same thing happened to me this morning when I was at market buying ingredients for arroz y gandulas. I asked for pork fat at the meat counter and the butcher noted my Puerto Rican features. He said that he would only give me my slice of pork if I spoke Spanish back to him. For the next ten minutes, I stumbled over verb tenses but he patiently waited for my responses without any spoken judgement. I left the market feeling pretty proud of myself- I will be back for more practice and for their house-made flan.

¡Delicioso!

¡Arroz y gandula- Delicioso!

 

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Day 26 of my Happiness Journey

Day Twenty-Six: I first came to Reno when I was sixteen. My high school football team made it to the state championship and the marching band was invited to play. We were shown the university campus and ate at Denny’s. The next year, I spent a week and a half up in the Biggest Little City, playing in the pep band when the Wildcats women’s basketball team made it to state. That stay solidify my love for Reno and my decision to come here for college… When I moved back almost three years ago, I was hesitant to be back, especially after I stepped off the plane and exclaimed how bright it was outside. But since then, I have grown to re-love Reno.

Hiking in the Sierra Nevadas is the best!

I rode my bike around the Truckee Meadows today, pedaling out to the far reaches of Sparks. The weather is perfect- after three weeks of straight rain and clouds, there isn’t a cumulonimbus in the sky. Snow still covers Mount Rose but as I make plans to visit Lake Tahoe this weekend, I know that the mountains will be perfect for a quick trip. The city aside (I do love the art and the architecture), northern Nevada is beautiful. I love the area hiking and the four seasons. I love how one side of the valley is desert and the other is mountainous. I miss New York City all the time but Reno is finally feels like home.

Day 25 of my Happiness Journey

Day Twenty-Five: I’ve been thinking a lot about fear. Fear and all her sisters- anxiety, doubt, panic, worry, procrastination. The last couple weeks have been filled with this overwhelming feeling of horror but today, I woke up feeling grateful for the fear I have been experiencing.

Fear strips of me everything, especially lately. I don’t want to leave my house to do anything and when I do have to leave, the task feels like a chore. I can pair my fear with pretty much any event going on in my life- I’m scared to meet new people (or even old friends) and have nothing cool to say so I’m not going to go out. I’m scared that my resume looks like crap so I’m not going to get a decent job. I’m terrified about the unknown- if Steve breaks up with me, if I embarrass myself trying to do something new, if I run out of money- then, I curl up in a ball and cry for most of the day.

I just finished “My Year with Eleanor.” The author, Noelle Hancock, was obsessed with Eleanor Roosevelt and wasn’t digging the life she was living. Hancock was a workaholic, a bit of a shut-in and rarely had adventures. After getting laid off, she saw the following quote by the former First Lady in a coffee shop: “Do something every day that scares you.” So, Hancock got busy- she skydived, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, asked exs why their relationships ended. The book at times was a bit cheesy but it did give me the strength to think about what I’m most afraid of and think of how I can change that.

A friend told me that fear and excitement are the same physiological states for your body and these feelings can be easily switched. Your mind can make the switch between those states much easier than between feeling anxious and calm. Last night, I remembered that as I went through rehearsal for the play I’m in. It was only a dress rehearsal but I already felt the need to vomit. I carry a good chunk of the second act and when I choked and forgot my lines, a tear fell out of each eye and I wanted to run off stage. But I took a deep breath, looked over at my actor playing my husband who mouthed my cue word and I went on with my monologue. I spoke my lines slow, looked out to the audience and pictured my mom watching, cheering me on. My fear morphed into excitement and I threw myself into my character.

I spent the last few hours thinking about all the courageous moves I made in my life. I’ve climbed and fell out of trees. I’ve traveled alone. I moved all over the country without knowing a single soul. I’ve surfed in the ocean after a shark sighting. I survived rehab and multiple dark periods. I’ve wrote difficult but moving pieces. I’ve loved with great conviction. I’m doing this play, for crying out loud! I know that I have several ounces of courage in me, not just one. I just have to remember that courage is a muscle; it’s strengthened by use. You must have courage to live the life you want and kick fear aside. Someone who is truly fearlessness is person who is terrified but does it anyway- and that is the person I intend to be.

Day 24 of my Happiness Journey

Day Twenty-Four: I’m always seeking out new opportunities. I know that my dream job is out there (hello, Vogue!) and I’m always on the hunt for places to freelance, volunteer and that will help me get my creative juices flowing. I don’t update my Linked In account often so I took the morning to do so. I have to admit- in my early twenties, I padded my resume. I got bored quickly with jobs and quit (a new job every four months doesn’t look great). I said that my Spanish and math skills were better than they actually were. It took a while but I finally started taking my career history seriously. Now, looking at my resume, I’m really proud of what I accomplished. I have a lot of different experiences and I’ve done some really cool projects. And I don’t have to lie when I submit a cover letter. Perhaps this is a weird thing to feel good about but I do.

Day 23 of my Happiness Journey

Day Twenty-Three: Mimosas and “Mad Max…” There’s an old “Friends” episode where the gang writes their freebie list, a list of celebrities who, should the opportunity arise, one is allowed to sleep with without it being considered as cheating by your significant other. Tom Hardy is at the top of my freebie list. I’ve been crushing on him since “Inception” and I counted down the days until I got to see him as an Australian badass blowing up cars in “Max Max: Fury Road.” Along with my friend, Barbara (and after a couple several rounds of mimosas), I watched the film with drool dangling from my mouth and a rush of love for Hardy and the rest of the cast (Charlize Theron is… indescribable, as well as the other women in this movie).

What a day… What a lovely day…

Day 22 of my Happiness Journey

Day Twenty-Two: Yesterday was a rough work day and I ended it by moving the rest of my things from my old place in the rain. I needed a pick-me-up and wanted to treat the manfriend for doing all the heavy lifting. What better idea than sushi? We feasted on ungai, hamachi (my favorite) and hand rolls, celebrating my move with 32 oz. bottles of beer and talking about opening a cat cafe/all-you-can-eat sushi joint. I left with my stomach feeling heavy and my heart happy. Once home, I rolled into bed and passed out from sushi coma.

Day 21 of my Happiness Journey

Day Twenty-One: The last few days have been extremely busy. I don’t have a lot of free time at the moment- if you looked at my planner, you would see that most hours in my day are booked solid. As much as I complain about a lack of moments to breathe, I still wouldn’t trade my life for anyone else’s (well… maybe for Anthony Bourdain’s but that’s a different story). I do fun and challenging things. I step out and have adventures. I create things that I’m proud of. I befriend new, interesting people. I try my best to live a life I love and love the life I live. So yes, being busy is a good thing. It’s the best thing for me.

Day 20 of my Happiness Journey

Day Twenty: Have you ever had one of those days, dear reader, when you just feel great? The world could be ending with fire and brimstone but you still have the biggest smile on your face- nothing is going to let you down. This is me today. I don’t know what it caused this feeling- maybe it’s the feeling of being fully recovered after yesterday’s nasty hangover. Maybe it’s doing more furniture shopping with my boyfriend (and watching him assemble the piece by himself). Or the paper fortune I got in my cookie during lunch. Maybe it’s finally getting my closet unpacked and sorted. Or waiting for my best friend to come and snuggle with me as we drift off to an episode of “Star Trek.” Whatever it is- I’m happy.

Day 18 of my Happiness Journey

Day Eighteen: I love quiet days at the office. The individual offices are empty. There are hardly any guests and phone calls. I can focus on my work without any interruption and crank up some Mark Ronson and Ariana Grande, singing along without having the feeling of being watched. If only every work day could be like today, easy and stress-free…