27

Not only is today Thanksgiving, but it also so happens to be my birthday. I’ve been overseeing this WordPress blog for nearly five years now. That’s five years of memories, five years of storytelling.

When I look back at the things that I’ve written about, I’m always surprised at how quickly it takes me back to that moment. I think that’s why I love writing so much. It’s one of the closest things you can get to an actual time machine. Photographs and videos may serve the same purpose, but with writing, it’s your own words; your own version of a story that you are telling to yourself and to other people.

This year, and this month in particular, in addition to my five years of WordPress writing, I also celebrate five years of living in New York City. It’s especially meaningful to me because I’ve found this past year to be the most transformative.

When I was in college, I remember watching a documentary in a Psychology class about a study where these Psychologists chose a select group of children and followed up with them every seven years until adulthood in order to examine how much they have changed over time. In science, and in psychology, it’s theorized that we as humans drastically develop every seven years. If that’s true, then I sure am interested to see who I become in my next wave of development.

As I celebrate this five-year milestone, this half decade of living in this city, I also acknowledge how far I’ve come and how much I have changed (and not changed). As of now, there are two things that have drastically changed, but also somehow stayed the same. These things are my job and my boyfriend.

I recently started a new job at the first company that I ever worked for upon graduating college and moving into the city. Similarly, about a year ago, I got back together with the first person that I ever fell in love with.

It’s a curious thing to go back to something of which you are already familiar, yet have a completely different experience.

There’s a quote that I really admire. It goes,

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.”

In five years, I’ve experienced many things, I’ve met many people, lived in different apartments, had many jobs, encountered great joy and great sadness. And through all this, I have still come back to where I started.

It’s amazing that despite everything that has happened, through so much change, I am inherently the same. Going back to that study that I watched in college, maybe it’s not necessarily the person I am that has changed, but instead, the way I look at life. Maybe, it’s less about the actual changes and more about the maturity through all of it.

Advertisements

Attention

As we’re approximately three-quarters of the way through 2017, I’m already getting ahead of myself by looking back at what has happened so far in this past year.

I think that most of us can agree that 2017 has been quite an eventful year to say that least (I’m primarily referencing the United States). Even today is a noteworthy one in history, being that it’s the first time in twenty years where North America is able to witness the Solar Eclipse.

Though I refrain from individually listing events one-by-one, I will say that it’s been a huge eye-opener in many ways.

Looking in on my own personal life, I’m solely comparing 2017 to 2016 and I already see such significant differences.

This is the first time in a while where I’ve had a steady enough year that I didn’t have to put 100% focus on myself, but rather, I was able to focus on other people instead.

Last year, I had started a new job and moved into a new apartment. All of my energy was honed in on how to settle in at work and at home. I was able to be a little more selfish than usual. I was in year of grounding.

Last year, I didn’t have much time to pay attention to what was happening with the people in my life. And fortunate enough, it was a year where I didn’t really have to.

This year, now that my life is steady and I’m firmly rooted at home, at work, and even in my relationship, I can shift the attention towards the people and things in my life that actually need my full attention.

Two years ago, I had written about how one of my best friends was getting married. Well, this year, another one of my best friends is getting married and a decent amount of my time has been put aside towards making sure that my undivided attention was being placed on the events leading up to the big day.

In addition to that, I can also point out other major milestones my friends’ lives.

One friend gave birth to her first child, another friend is expecting her first child, two friends moved across the globe, another friend experienced the loss of a loved one, and the list goes on.

For me, I fell in love all over again.

It’s amazing the things that you can celebrate for others when you’re life doesn’t revolve around yourself.

It seems as though the years that I provide the least amount of time to others is when I am able to provide the most time to myself. Similarly, the years that I can provide the most amount of time to others is when I provide the least time to myself.

I’m thankful that I am finally grounded and able to be present for other people’s big moments. I’m thankful that I didn’t have to miss anything.

It’s funny how when we shift the focus away from ourselves, we’re able to witness other people’s joy, hurt, struggles, or big moments. When we take the attention off of ourselves, we’re able to give it to others. When we can’t give it to others, we need it for ourselves.

It always balances out and that’s the beauty of life. It’s one big balancing act.

Tracks

One of my best friends got married to her boyfriend of five years this past weekend. It was a profound milestone in her and her husband’s lives. Moreover, it was a huge milestone in my life as well because I have been there throughout the entirety of their relationship, from the very first time they met to this very day. To witness their relationship grow into what it is now is truly a remarkable thing.

As more and more of my friends are moving further along with their lives and taking those next steps of life-changing decisions such as getting engaged, getting married, and relocating, it really puts things into perspective for my life. As happy as I am for my friends, it also brings me great sadness to know that things will never be the same again.

Last night, I was looking through old photos, reminiscing on memories, and replaying those moments in my head. I tried hard to soak up as much of what I remember as I could, but I know that living in the past is no way to live.

I’ve never been one to settle for less than I want or deserve and I’ve always wanted more in my life. I’m not sure if that makes me greedy or ambitious, but as I look back at my life decisions, I’m starting to question whether or not I should have just stopped on one of those tracks and taken my life in another direction; a more stable direction.

When I decided to take a job in New York City, pack up, and leave, I imagined an endless amount of opportunities and adventures. To no surprise, I received exactly that. I’ve had amazing times in this city throughout the past three years. I have encountered many unbelievable experiences that I wouldn’t have had if I just stayed in New Jersey. And for that, I am grateful. But at the same time, it’s hard not to picture what my life could have been like if I had made different choices. It makes me wonder what would have happened if I had stayed put and grew with certain people instead of left them behind.

Of course, I’ll never know now. Even if I try to go back and re-live certain situations, it will never work out the way it would have if I had just ran with it during that time. I have already grown and I can’t unlearn the things I have learned. I can only hope for new doors to open and to finally find the person that stops me on my tracks in order to create a new one together.

It’s a special bond you create when you grow with certain people, not only romantic relationships, but in friendships. As I realize and greatly appreciate the people who have stayed by my side throughout all my years of ups and downs, I am thankful to have never left them behind even during those times where I was straying too far.

As you get older, life seems to be moving quicker. It’s important to make sure you don’t let go of the people who have helped you get you to where you are now.

The Motivation of Love

Nothing motivates a person more than love.

When I look at the great men and women in literature, art, music, etc., I notice one defining commonality between all of them – And that is the inspiration of a lost or found love. When I think back to my personal experiences, I recall all of the profound moments in my life; the milestones; the life-changing moves that I have made to become who I am today. And similarly, these moments happened in the midst of the beginning or the end of a romantic relationship.

Although it may work in different ways for some people, love significantly changes you. It leaves a mark on your soul to the point where you will be forever different from that moment on. Something happens inside; something that can make or break you.

When I look at my friends’ relationships and how it has changed them, I’m taken back by how much of an impact one person can make on your entire life.

Then, when I look at myself and I realize how much of an impression the relationships from my past have made on me.

As I am experiencing yet another failed relationship, I am able to see the things that I have done in reaction to this heartbreak. Though there were many times of weakness, I also notice the strength I have found to take that pain and turn it into something else, something great like writing, running, friendships, work, etc.

It’s amazing how much one person can influence your life. In the same light, it’s terrifying how strong of a hold that love can have on you; to make you do things that you never thought you were capable of.

I feel the changes happening once again in my life and I look forward to seeing how this shapes my future self.

Seeing how far I have come now, I can only hope that I become a better version of myself. Maybe (hopefully) one day, I’ll end up with the person that completes me after I have already completed myself. Maybe that’s what all this heart break is for; to prepare us for the big one – that big love.

And so, I’d like to thank my lost loves for shaping the person I am today. Without them, I wouldn’t have accomplished the things I have accomplished. I wouldn’t have been able to grow.

New Beginnings

In the wise words of Semisonic, “Every beginning comes from some other beginning’s end”

It took me a while to truly understand the meaning behind this. Even now, it’s still difficult to comprehend in many scenarios.

A part of me has always been a big fan of tradition and keeping things the way they are. However, the other part of me thrives off of change. The main reason behind this tear in beliefs comes from the way that I was raised; coming from immigrant parents and being a first generation American. On top of that, I was born in this particular generation of rapid technological development where I have seen the fine break between the old and the new. I think that’s why it’s so much harder for me to let go of things. Although, in the end, I know it’s always for the better.

I’ve undergone many changes this past year. I’ve dealt with many periods of adjustment and uncomfortableness. It was never easy in the end stages, nor was it easy in the beginning. But, there was always that sweet spot where everything was working really well.

I started a new job at a new company today. I left behind the first job I had out of college, where I was an employee for about two and a half years. To emphasize my earlier point, it was not easy. It’s just like going to a new school, moving to a new town, or dating a new person. There is a lot to get used to, but eventually it becomes normal.

It’s terrifying to take a leap of faith and take a risk for something potentially greater. Sometimes, it works out in your favor and sometimes, it doesn’t. But if you never try, then you’ll never know. It’s terrifying to leave the familiar behind. We just get too comfortable.

We mustn’t get too comfortable until we reach that ongoing sweet spot in our lives. Even then, we must continue to grow. I’m not a life expert, nor am I psychologist or psychic. However, in my experience, I can speak to this:

Don’t settle where you cannot grow.

Don’t be afraid to take risks.

Don’t be afraid to get hurt.

Don’t be afraid to fail.

Don’t give up.

Life gets hard. We go through difficult times. But we must move forward. This is how we’ve come so far in the past. This is how we will continue to grow.

Sure Things

It’s strange how distorted memories become when you look back at them. In that exact moment, you may have been so sure of yourself. Everything seemed just right. Then, when you reminisce, those moments seem so hazy and you can’t separate what was good from what was bad.

They say, “there’s no such thing as a sure thing”, so how do you ever really know what’s right or what’s meant to be?

If sayings like these are so accurate, such as “anything is possible” or “anything can happen”, then how can someone ever put all of their faith into something or someone?

It’s hard not to become jaded lately now that we live in a time where people are constantly re-locating, changing jobs, and refusing to settle down.

It’s common now for people to put off the serious stuff. Instead, we just want to stay young and be free. It’s becoming harder and harder to find people who want the same things.

So, how do we keep up with anyone these days?

We meet hundreds of people who come in and out of our lives. All of them somehow contribute to our experiences and growth. We pick and choose which ones we want to hold onto and which ones we should let go.

Often, we try to hold on as long as we can. We don’t want to let go of the feeling, the connection. Then all of a sudden, when it’s gone, we don’t know whether to go back or move forward.

Because nowadays, it is much harder to really connect with someone the way people used to.

It’s rare.

I used to think that I had a pretty clear vision of where I wanted to go and who I wanted to be. It was easier when you were young; to think that things won’t ever change. You envision that you’ll end up with a certain person or live your life a certain way. But it’s never that easy.

It makes me wonder if I ever really knew what I was doing.

Searching in the City

Have you ever re-watched something (a movie, a show, etc.) that you saw when you were much younger and thought to yourself, “Wow I really had no idea what was going when I first saw this”?

Well right now, I’m doing that exact thing with Sex and the City episodes and I’m five seasons deep. Lately, I’ve been re-watching every episode of Sex and the City all the way from the first episode of the first season and it is truly mind-blowing to finally understand what they were talking about now that I actually live in New York City. I guess there are still going to be people who will never fully digest how accurately this show depicts the city and life as a whole. It may be pompous to say, but you never really understand it until you live here.

Now, I’m not trying to be melodramatic, but I was in need of something to relate to (I probably should have started reading a book or something) Watching this show has somehow brought me to this existential realization which I am slowly manifesting through this blog entry.

I have only lived in New York City just shy of two years, but I feel as though the number of experiences I’ve had far surpasses that time frame.

The recent episode of Sex and the City that I watched really hit home for me.

The main character, Carrie Bradshaw, narrates as she types,

In New York, they say, you’re always looking for a job, a boyfriend or an apartment. So, let’s say you have two out of three and they’re fabulous. Why do we let the thing we don’t have affect how we feel about all the things we do have?

As I once again compare my current situation to where I was last year, I look back and notice that I’m always searching for something or someone. I always wonder if anyone can really have it all.

Last year, I can remember loving my apartment, loving my job, and loving every bit of New York City that I was soaking up.

This year, I find myself in a not-so-content situation.

It is true what they say. In New York City, you’re always looking for a job, a boyfriend, or an apartment.

I can tell you this much: I’m definitely still looking for one of those things.

In a city that’s constantly undergoing change through the lives of the people who are coming in and out of it, it’s hard to really keep it all together. You never know what’s going to happen here, but I think that’s the exciting part. Yet, at the same time, it’s absolutely terrifying.

Happy Anniversary, Big Sur Marathon

The 2014 Big Sur Marathon took place in Monterey, California today. Waves of nostalgia have been flowing in and out of my brain for the past few weeks. As I’ve watched the seasons change from the bitter Winter to the slow immersion of Spring, I’ve been trying to think of the things I’ve accomplished so far in 2014. My immediate response: “Nothing”

We already have 4 months of 2014 under our belt, and I can’t help but feel like I’ve been on cruise control for the past few months. This past Fall, my life had undergone some drastic changes. I was in a very uncomfortable place between settling into a new apartment as well as a new job. Now, I’m on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. I’m craving for some kind of chaos. Some kind of challenge.

With the 2013 Big Sur Marathon being my first marathon last year, I can’t help but look back and think about the training that I did last year in comparison to my training this year. My next marathon is the San Francisco Marathon coming up in July and I’ve been starting to worry about how calm I’ve been towards it. I feel less anxiety, less excitement, less seriousness, less motivation. I don’t know what happened between last year and this year, but my fire has been going out in terms of running; not even just running. I’ve also felt my steam running out in terms or writing as well.

Maybe all of the drastic changes that were happening to me in the Fall were actually a good thing. Maybe it’s exactly what I needed to keep me on my toes.

When we feel like we’re losing our fire, our motivation, our drive, how do we get it back?

I know I shouldn’t be complaining because this is the calmest I’ve been in quite some time. But as they say, there’s a calm before the storm.

I guess I’m just waiting for the next storm to come in my life…

Small Changes

We often tend to only focus on the changes that happen within our own lives. What we don’t realize is that the changes that happen in the lives of others affect us too – especially those who are a part of our daily lives.

I’ve touched upon the subject of getting comfortable with being uncomfortable (https://lindseylazarte.wordpress.com/2013/12/16/getting-comfortable-with-being-uncomfortable/) . Change is never an easy process. We have to adjust and readjust until we feel normal again.

Ever since I moved to the Columbus Circle area from Harlem, I’ve had to make many adjustments; getting used to a different subway line, going to a different supermarket, running in a different location. After about a month, I finally had everything down pact. I found myself getting familiar with the cashier at the CVS around the corner from my apartment and recognizing people who live on my street. My life felt balanced again. And despite the chaos of our wildly opposite schedules, my roommates and I have even developed a weekly routine of going to our favorite local bar several times a week. We’ve formed relationships with our bartenders and have actually become quite good friends with them.

Then, something strange happened yesterday.

After making a slight alteration to our normal routine of going straight to our favorite bar, my roommate and I deviated from the plan and decided to stop somewhere else first. It was exciting to do something different, but it was only a matter of time before we decided to leave and go to our regular bar.

Once we arrived, we found two available seats and made ourselves right at home. We said hello to our Bartender-friend, who we always talk to and I noticed that the other one wasn’t there. I waited until it was brought into conversation and when it was finally mentioned, I learned that he no longer works there.

Here comes the strange part…

I was legitimately upset. I found myself becoming very uncomfortable at the thought of getting used to a new person. And then it dawned on me; this actually affected my life.

This morning as I was walking to work, I came to realize that this small change is only a freckle in my life, but for him it was a complete change in lifestyle.

It’s hard to think about how much one person is currently going through. We really only stop to think about how it affects us. Regardless, these changes that affect our lives also affect the people around us. Even something as small as getting used to a new bartender…

When to Call it Quits

As a public confession, I have to admit that I haven’t been a very good friend lately. To my friends who are actually reading this, I’d like to say I’m sorry.

It’s understandable that as we get older, our priorities change. As we acquire more responsibilities, we lack the down time to see or even speak to our friends as frequently as we did when we were in school. We become busy and too involved in our own lives.

Throughout the many changes that I’ve been adjusting to in the past few weeks, months, and even year, I’ve been putting my friends on the back burner. I’ve been rescheduling on set plans or even completely dodging them. And it’s because I’ve been focusing all of my attention on performing well in my job, adjusting to a new living situation, and avoiding a mental breakdown.

The question I ask myself though, is at what point do we give up on making an effort to keep our friends in our lives? Is it when we start our career? Or get into a relationship? Move away? Get married? Have a family?

And how much time will pass until our friends stop responding to our efforts?

I guess it depends on the person.

As I’ve gone through these waves of change, I’ve done a fantastic job of shutting my friends out of my life. I can only blame myself for not reaching out to them when I was having a hard time. I tried to be strong and deal with it on my own. Because it was too frustrating for me to explain what’s been going on when all I really wanted was for them to be by my side to get through it all.

Like any relationship, friendship involves reciprocity. It only works when both sides are making conscious efforts. And like any relationship, friendships can involve break-ups.

It’s natural that people grow apart, but when do you call it quits? As sad as it is, not all relationships or friendships have a happy ending.

I guess all we can do is try our best to hold on until someone gives up.

To my friends who have already given up on me, I do miss you and I’m still thinking of you…