If Something Ends, It’s Only The Start Of A New Chapter

If Something Ends, It’s Only The Start Of A New Chapter

Your life is like a book and we have many, many chapters within it.
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I realized something this morning.

After I woke up twenty minutes before my alarm went off, downed a cup of instant coffee, and went running around the lake right outside my neighborhood, I got home and turned the shower faucet to cold. The week was long and stressful and many things took place. They soon will bring unavoidable consequences. Along with brooding over my current situation, a flood of memories from the past arose and overwhelmed me.

There’s no reason why I should have been reliving the past and dwelling on my mistakes. I’m in the shower. Absentmindedly washing my hair, reaching for the conditioner, and I realize, if I could go back and change what happened, I wouldn’t be here right now.

I know we’ve all heard the phrase in some form or another, “If I change the past, everything changes.” It’s the butterfly effect and Ashton Kutcher taught us that going back in an attempt to change the past only ruins the present even more. It’s tempting to imagine how it would be if we got the chance to go back. There are moments that if I changed my behavior, so many circumstances would be different now. If I never left California, would I even be here writing this now?

I should have told my family how I felt. I shouldn’t have said the things I said. Why didn’t I try to keep them together? Why did I give up so easily and leave?

It’s scary to think that we have so much power at any given moment to change our lives completely. One action has the ability to bring on so many life changes. Going back may seem like it’s the perfect way to fix the past and prevent all the pain you felt, but it’s not.

There’s a reason we can’t go back. John Green wrote, “That’s the good thing about pain. It demands to be felt.” Pain is necessary, it prevents us from making the same mistake again, it teaches us, it molds us, we are better from it. Burning yourself with the curling iron is a pain in the neck, literally, but you know to be more careful in the future.

I firmly believe everything happens for a reason. There was a time when all my family felt were tension and distrust, and sometimes I imagine myself returning to that period and acting differently. But, even if I went back trying to fix it, I couldn’t save them on my own.

If I went back and changed what happened, I wouldn’t be here today. Perhaps I would still be somewhere closer to the place I used to call home. Maybe I’d see my family more often. But I wouldn’t have met the people I met these past two years. I wouldn’t of been forced to trust the people I do now and develop long, lasting relationships. And despite how long it took to like where I am and what I’m doing in my life now, I’m happy with the way things are.

The temptation to imagine your life without the pain of the past should be avoided. It only makes you feel like you’re to blame. This pipedream of returning to the past is only a mechanism to deal with bad decisions in the past. In between wiping our eyes during the Fault in Our Stars, we all heard Shailene Woodley say “pain demands to be felt.” Whatever happens will happen. Mistakes happen. Your life is like a book and we have many, many chapters within it.

If something ends, it’s only the start of a new chapter for you.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wolfkann/15308600299/in/photolist-pjLzwt-9EQYC5-52QLU-sqGzxb-9RxAtN-dV4e28-9nbnDa-fVxsD-nEeSVu-abCUUy-aaUFev-bTKxB4-7jZVwN-arFTqU-9Qd5gw-aZ65jT-6Xwga5-ZG57Hr-dXJjZW-dFtf6N-4tmJEH-o7Z7C4-8zGJJ6-9jLRzy-9jLRsy-6LGbGg-87LKWW-7fz2pM-9rLSHs-sutaX-6bwbhP-9yz8sA-oypofx-4qpFmn-6qhxqh-dP29K2-7CQ7GC-5aYjNH-ekrtSk-9jHM1k-9jLRdW-3EAhUE-9jHMiv-TvqssT-iXeY6v-e8TwRS-ooWbfe-6j58tH-9jLRmd-d1ok5u

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22 New Things That I Want To Try Now That I'm 22

A bucket list for my 22nd year.

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"I don't know about you but I'm feelin' 22," I have waited 6 long years to sing that and actually be 22! Now 22 doesn't seem like a big deal to people because you can't do anything that you couldn't do before and you're still super young. But I'm determined to make my 22nd year a year filled with new adventures and new experiences. So here's to 22.

1. Go sky diving.

What's crazier than jumping out of a plane? (Although I'll probably try indoor skydiving first.)

2. Go cliff jumping/diving.

I must be the only Rhode Islander who hasn't gone to Jamestown and jumped off a cliff.

3. Ride in a hor air balloon.

Up, up and away.

4. Try out skiing.

Cash me in the next Olympics, how bout dat.

5. Try out snow boarding.

Shawn White, I'm coming for you.

6. Go bungee jumping.

Because at least this time I'll be attached to something.

7. Go to Portugal.

I mean I'm Portuguese so I have to go at some point, right?

8. Go to Cape Verde.

Once again, I'm Cape Verdean so I have to go.

9. Vist one of the seven wonders of the world.

I mean hey, Egypt's on, my bucket list.

10. Try out surfing.

It's only natural that somebody from the Ocean State knows how to surf.

11. Learn a new langauge.

Because my little bit of Portuguese, Spanish and Latin isn't cutting it anymore.

12. Travel to a state that I've never been to before.

Fun fact: I've only been to 17 of the 50 states.

13. Go paddle boarding.

Pretty boring but I've never done it.

14. Go scuba diving.

I'm from the Ocean State so I guess I should see the ocean up close and personal.

15. Learn how to line dance.

There's actually a barn in my state that does line dancing, so this one will definitely get crossed off.

16. Go kayaking.

All this water around me and I haven't done a lot of the water activites.

17. Stay the night in a haunted hotel room.

I bet if I got my friends to come with me, it would be like the Suite Life of Zach and Cody episode, minus the ghost coming out of the wall but you never know.

18. Get my palms read.

Because who doesn't want to know their future.

19. Go to a medium.

Like a medium that can communicate with people that have died.

20. Take a helicopter ride.

Air plane: check Helicopter:....

21. Sleep under the stars.

Because sleeping in a tent is more like glamping than camping

22. Just to try new things in my everyday life.

Whether it's trying a new restaurant, getting something different at my usual restaurants, changing my usual style, going on the scary rides at amusement parks, and bringing things I used to do back into my life now.

Cover Image Credit:

Author's illustration

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Self-Care When You're Broke AF Is Hard But Not Impossible

Because we all need to take better care of ourselves, even us financially struggling folx.

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Let's face it: things cost money. Not all of us can go out to the movies every time we're sad, or get a pedicure when we're stressed out. I'm one of those people who struggles financially, and I'm also *often* sad and/or stressed out.

I'll be completely honest: I spend a lot of time on social media trying to de-stress – but it doesn't help whatsoever. However, it's (essentially) free for me. I know people who spend half their lives on the couch watching TV because it costs too much to go out, and it seems like there's nothing to do around the house.

But despite what capitalist society preaches, there are so many ways that you can take care of yourself and have fun, without spending lots of money.

Take care of your mental health

When I say "mental health", I am referring to the cognitive processes rather than the symptoms of mental illness. (We'll get to that later!) Mental self-care is the most important because it allows for successful completion of emotional, physical, and social self care.

Mindfulness is the key component of mental self-care. According to mindful.org, mindfulness means you are "fully present, aware of what you are and what you're doing, and not overly reactive and overwhelmed by what's going on around us."

That sounds boring! Yeah, it is. However, it's important to realize that mindfulness is a key aspect in self-care. Many self-care activities rely on mindful awareness. If you can't stay engaged in the moment, how are you supposed to enjoy the moment?

Mindfulness activities to try

Prayer

If you are religious, practicing your religion establishes routine and also fulfills your spiritual self. Taking a moment to reflect on the day or week and asking for guidance brings you into the present and is also a great way to practice self compassion.

You don't have to be religious to practice this, nor do you have to follow a religion with a god or with "praying" routines.

Meditation

My personal favorite is the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 method, but there are SO many that I cannot begin to describe them all.

The 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, method activates self-awareness with senses: 5 things with your eyes, 4 things with your ears, 3 things with your body, 2 things with your nose, 1 thing with your tongue.

Another common one is the body scan, where you dedicate time to "scanning" your body and becoming aware of it, from your feet to your head. You can find more exercises here and here.

WOOHOO! We're done with the boring part.

Things to do when you need to feel control

1. Organize a photo board of good memories. Or of your favorite celebrity or TV show. This can be a

digital photo board too! (Aka Pinterest.)

2. Make a list of your friend's birthdays. And then make them some quirky/funny birthday cards in advance.

3. Make a playlist for a friend. Put it on a CD or cassette if you feel like it.

4. Clean your room, but reorganize it completely different.

5. Dye your hair. (Listen…I'm not talking about a salon dye. Grab a friend and hit Walmart -- you can get semi-permanent hair dye for about $5.)

6. Go to a dollar store, or FiveBelow (god bless), or a thrift store. Buy a cheap glass dish and write whatever is stressing you out. Smash that darn thing on the ground outside. (Please be safe and smart about this.)

Things to do when you need to feel less alone

1. Text or post on social media this question: "What is the best memory we have together?" Print those comments out and tape them in a journal or on your wall.

2. Make a web of people you love. Whether that's a complex spiderweb made out of yarn or just a piece of paper and pencil, trust me, it'll give you some perspective.

3. Invite a friend over to make some baked goods. (You can get some cheap cookie mix for $2-$4.) Play some board games, or answer some deep question prompts back and forth.

4. Build a huge fort with a pal and watch a feel-good movie. (Feel-good on your terms, BTW. Some people's feel-good is a horror movie). Make some popcorn. Have a sleepover in that fort.

5. Read a book with a main character similar to you.

6. Listen to music that describes how you're feeling. Or, how you'd like to be feeling.

Things to do when you're bored or need a break

1. Play a video game! (PSST…Fortnite is free. Or check out the free or indie games on Steam).

2. Host a spa day with your friends. (P.S. I don't care what gender you are, there is nothing quite like a face mask and coconut oil in your hair.)

3. Host a "fancy" party in which you dress up and eat cheap snacks of your choice. Make fake nominations for something. (This is especially fun around Oscars, Emmys, and Tony's time!)

4. Host your own paint'n'pour. You don't need elaborate supplies, I promise. And it doesn't need to be artsy – it can be funny! Hell, if you want to print out something like this and just use crayons/colored pencils lying around, that'd be a pretty fun time.

5. Get some friends together for a mystery dinner potluck. You can find some free ones online or write your own. You can even make this a lunch or brunch time thing if you'd like.

Things to do to take care of yourself

1. Exercise. I know, the last thing you want to hear when you feel bad is the word "exercise." But it scientifically *does* help (read: help, not cure.) You can find yoga Youtube videos online or general equipment-free exercises
2. Shower! Bathe! Take a long bath with Epsom salts. Make your own bath bombs. Shave, if you want to.
3. Make a smoothie. Eat some fruits. And hydrate.
4. Change your clothes. Do your laundry. I promise, you'll feel so much better.

5. Take a nap!

No matter what you choose to do, take care of yourself.

When we let our bodies run on empty, we are less likely to perform at our best. When you give yourself time to relax and heal, you are letting your body and mind recharge to full capacity. At the end of the day, remember, you're human, not a superhero.

Cover Image Credit:

Pixabay

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