Lukewarm Living

We’ve been off of work for the past few days. For the holidays and such, and it’s left me with some interesting down time. Too much down time I think, because I can’t stop thinking–about the fact that I’m still thinking...and so now I’m typing (have to get this out of my head!).

I like people. movies. shopping. working out. gym culture. I like baking, animals, {especially dogs and hamsters} I like love, the idea of companionship, family time, deep conversations, quality friends, and food. I love to dance–to have random outburst of musical soundtrack singing, twerking (yes, I put that in a different category than dancing, hm!), and thinking. I like analyzing, pulling something apart and putting it back together, rearranging, cleaning, organizing, writing. I like giving to others, providing new opportunities, I like believing in happily ever after. I love Disney. warm water, sunshine and beaches. I love art, safe-ish adventures, and traveling. I like believing in the unbelievable.

I’ve always been that person. That kid that you’d find off in a room somewhere seemingly talking to myself. Creating these adventures and occasionally looking up to one of the follow:

  1. My brother staring at me and saying, “What is wrong with you! Who are you talking to?”
  2.  My mother standing in the doorway, smiling, then saying, “You alright in there, you’ve been talking for hours!”
  3. My dad, listening quietly from the hallway, and with a small laugh where I could feel his smile, I’d know he was out there. I’d stop talking, he’d peek his head into my room and say,”oh child. You are my special child.”

I’ve always been that person that didn’t struggle to articulate what I like. Or what I wanted to do. Or what I wanted to be. First it was a vet, then I evolved into a doctor, then I realized I liked talking more than I liked science so maybe a therapist? Yes a therapist! That’s perfect for me. I’ll fill my life with listening, responding, and sharing the benefit, or rather how life has served me so eloquently, by my optimism.

Somehow I landed in athletics. Notice that’s not one of the things I stated that I liked and or loved. I landed in this foreign space of people who rattle off player statistics. Review film. Watch social media for recruit announcements. At the collegiate level, I landed at the crossroads of academia and entertainment—and people. After spending a greater part of my day watching college football, and feeling overwhelmed with my thought patterns, I realized that I’ve been living a lukewarm life.

I’ve done some bad ass things. I have changed a lot of people’s lives. I have discovered so many new things about myself. And yet. Here I am. Stuck. Stuck in this space of knowing what I like. knowing the power of optimism, knowing that anything I’ve every truly wanted in life I’ve gotten. Honestly- let’s recap:

I wanted to be the cool kid for once in my life- Ohio State came knocking on my door with an academic scholarship, I accepted, mainly because everyone told me it was a good idea, and suddenly I became a cool kid. I was at THE school, with THE best programs in nation, in whatever I chose, I was THE bomb. (okay okay, I’m done with the THE 🙂 )

Then, I decided I wasn’t ready to grow up, so I ran to grad school, except I suck at standardized test; here comes MSU, who loves me just as I am, with or without a superb test score and I land at one of the top Education programs in the country. M.A. in Higher Education *booya! payyyy meee*

I decided I wanted to travel the world, asked my graduate advisor to approve and independent study that would have me going on an 11 country tour of Europe researching European higher education. He approved, I traveled, and fell in love with seeing the world.

I wanted my first job to be in college athletics. I was being told I was good at it (mainly because I wasn’t a sport enthusiast) so I took a leap, and landed in a warm, travel friendly, city. Nashville, TN. I had literally spoken my dream job into existence. Until it wasn’t my dream job anymore. My dream shifted, and suddenly I found myself wanting to be closer to my family and back at my first alma mater.

Ta da! I land my REAL dream job back at THE Ohio State University (sorry I had to) and got right at changing lives. Embedding travel, “therapy”, laughter, and genuine authenticity into my work. At the end of year three, during a holiday break full of thought {I’m referring to right now, as in this very moment} I’m reflecting and feeling lukewarm.

As optimistic and as dream fufilling as my life has been for these 27 years, I feel like I’m living someone else’s dream. Sometimes. I feel like I’m doing what I’m good at, but not what’s the best fit for me. Other times I feel overly annoyed with myself. How dare I challenge my steady income, cool kid job, and people who’s lives I’ve changed. They need me, right? And who truly knows what’s best for them? We’re all lost puppies doggy paddling through life right? As my mom always reminds me, “We all have something, Cierra, you just tend to process your “something” out loud.”

I look at holiday commercials and see all this middle aged people shopping and such and it literally gives me anxiety. I don’t have the desire to have a family of 4 who I go crazy secret Santa black Friday shopping for. I don’t have the desire for holiday warmth and comfort… I get this image of me being in New York, San Francisco– some busy city, bar hopping by myself and stopping by a salsa bar in route to home to get a quick spin or two in. I see myself with this deep thinker who blows my mind with his depth of thought and capacity to see the world so fully. This man doesn’t have to be a husband or my baby daddy. He’s my life partner and we duke this thing called life out one day at a time. I see myself making improve appearances and living in a loft. With friends that make their own music and play at coffee shops for a few extra bucks. I see myself as a writer, blogging and documenting life. Having a private consulting practice where people hire me to tell them like it is and help them to get out of their boring lukewarm lives. I see myself as this super fit, green eating, life activist. Occasionally enjoying the splurge of a new Kate Spade bag, but much preferring my Rastafarian hat, nose piercing and yoga pants (that I’m wearing because they’re comfortable, not to hide my belly fat 🙂 )

 I want to feel alive. The way I felt waking up at 6am in Austria four years ago getting ready to go horseback riding. Or the night(s) after I come home soaking wet from dancing my tail off. I want to feel like I do the moment I finish a super hard workout that I cried through but made it, or that last morning in 2012 watching the sun rise next to a Zebra (uncaged mind you) in Tanzania. The most memorable “living” moment ever? The day I got accepted to Disney’s College Program, called home (freshman year) and told my parents I was dropping out of school for a little while to fulfill my dream of working at Disney. Never in a a million years did I ever truly think I had a shot a performing at my dream place. I did it. Because at 18, I chose to scare the shit out of my parents and live for me.

What happened? I get segments of living– yet so much of my life feels lukewarm. It’s comfortable. Or am I just being super critical? I don’t know how to break free. I don’t know how to get back to being that strange little girl sitting in her room talking to herself…okay maybe not talking to myself but for sure–not giving a rat’s ass about what anyone was thinking of me.

I was free. Childhood was so freeing. I was never the kid that was in a rush to grow up (ask my parents, I swear it, asked to stay at age 10 for forever). The reality is that growing up is inevitable, but it’s my choice, as to what growing up, and “being an adult” looks like to me. My parents blessed me with a life where Santa was real. I knew it- I believed it in my soul; and even when I discovered otherwise, the spirit of Santa–the spirit of giving without expectation still lives, I still believe. A life where it was okay that I was overweight, super round, and super awkward. My parents created such a space for me to flourish as a nerd. A book worm, a non-athlete. There’s a part of me that feels like I’ve sold myself out. That I had given up on being the real me.

In looking to be the cool kid, that I settled with lukewarm. That at some point, fitting in became more important than living out loud. So on a holiday weekend. With a part of my family celebrating together, and me, here alone, I realize that I am in the middle of a shift.

I’m smack dab in the middle. I’ve been sitting on the stove for far too long and I can’t decide if I want someone to turn the heat on underneath me, or if I’d rather be dumped out and get some freshwater, you know? Start over? Is that even an option?

Either way. Lukewarm living is coming to an end.I’m liberating in knowing that there’s this small part of me that’s being born again.

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