Nintendo, Love, and the Great Midwest: Let’s Risk it All

Life is no Nintendo game, there are no re-dos , no unlimited lives, and no reset button. You have only this one shot and every choice you make will shape your life.  How are you choosing your path life to look?  Are you making your own decisions or are you listening to what people are whispering in your ear?

jack sparrowI recently celebrated my 24th birthday and finally made the decision I had been wanting to make for a long time. That is that this year I will take risks that I believe will ultimately improve my life.  I know that a lot of people think that I am on a pretty crazy path, and it’s true. I’ve made some wild moves to pursue what I’m looking for. I am the first to admit that I have been making some pretty risky decisions, but I can’t help but feel like these decisions are going to lead to a kick ass year.

When I was growing up I had always looked to my dad for advice in every aspect of my life.  I’d weigh out the pros and cons and 95% of the time I would always do what my dad told me I should do.  I’ve been doing this for 24 years and with this New Year of my life I am finally ready to put my resolutions into action.  This year I’ve taken more risks than I’ve ever had in my personal and professional life and for the first time I didn’t ask my dad for advice before I made the final decision. I just did what I wanted to do.

head on deskAfter college, like many recent graduates, I stressed about finding a job as soon as I could. My dad told me I shouldn’t be picky, so I accepted a job with a great company, even though, deep down, I knew it wasn’t the right fit for me.  While working I realized something so obvious that I am surprised it took me as long to realize as it did; I’m actively choosing to be miserable.  So ridiculous, right?  But I stuck with the job under the idea that I should be thankful to be employed and should not be picky, until quite recently.

The number one thing I’ve learned from my first year post-grad life and what I would tell anyone graduating now, is that you don’t have to love your job, but at the very least you should, and are allowed to, like some aspect of your job.  You don’t have to go for the first opportunity that presents itself and  it’s ok to be a little picky about your first job.

Something that I think is important to keep in mind when it comes to any aspect of employment is to know your own self-worth.  You have something to offer.  I feel like sometimes people forget that in the job searching/interviewing process.  When you go to an interview you have to remember that you are interviewing them too. You need to also decide if they’re worth your time, energy, and if you will be happy there.  This may sound kind of arrogant, but it’s true.

Which brings me to one of the major risks I’ve ever taken…I quit my job!

I’ll be unemployed starting May 15 and moving to Minneapolis June 1st.  I’ve been thinking about quitting for some time now, but never actually thought I could do it.  I’d talk to my best friends, and writers of the Muse, Elizabeth and Sam about it a lot and I am sure they can more than attest to how much I hated my job.   Still, the risks of quitting and not finding another job seemed too high.  (My dad talking in my head)  Would I find another job?  What do I have to offer another employer?  While all these questions were racing through my head, I realized something else I seemed to have forgotten, I’m 24. That is young!  If I’m going to take risks it should be now while I don’t have to truly consider another person in my decisions.  I can be completely selfish.  Which I finally realized is completely ok for me to do too right now.  Quitting without another job sounds crazy, because it kind of is, but it’s also exciting!  An entire new city with so many opportunities, not just for jobs, but anything really.  I could get a puppy, get employed at my dream company or meet Tom Hiddleston! I mean the possibilities are really endless.

Don’t get me wrong. I also have thought of the not so fabulous possibilities too.  Where I could find myself somehow living with a stray cat who I am too afraid to kick out(I’m allergic), being unable to pay my bills, having to work at the BK lounge and meeting someone who is the exact opposite of Tom Hiddleston.  But if this does happen (cross your fingers it doesn’t)at least I can say that I tried and I’ll learn from it and be better for it.

j cole quoteMost of you don’t know me very well, but Sam once told me that I hold my cards very close to my chest.  That couldn’t be more true.  I would consider myself more of a private person.  I don’t share too much with anyone unless I am 100% sure that I can trust them and even then, sometimes I have a difficult time talking to people that I absolutely trust.  Trusting someone with my feelings is one of the most difficult things for me to do and even when I feel like I am opening up, I know that I part of me is still holding back.  Honestly, this is probably why I’ve never had a serious long-term relationship and why I am always a bit hesitant to use the word “relationships” to describe these…”things”?  (We’ll go with that).  But, I’ve learned quite recently that you need to take risks and try being with someone.  You have to really put yourself out there, put it all out on the line, and don’t hold back, even though you know it might end in heartache. You can’t let the chance that something bad will happen keep you from discovering something wonderful.

I am working on that.

tumblr_mg5ur05Pne1qfvaoco1_500Finally, what I’ve learned from my most recent risk in the dating world is that when you take a risk and start to put your self out side of your comfort zone that nagging feeling of, “what if?” goes away.

In this case, I went for it and I definitely learned a lot about what things I need from someone in order to be with them in the future. I learned to not be shy about asking for more and learned how to give of myself more deeply.

I also learned its ok to cry.  Not just for that day, but maybe for a couple days, and even then still feel the dull ache for a while.  But, just let it out.  Everyone should be proud of themselves for taking such a risk with their hearts and making themselves vulnerable. It’s important to remember that you will be ok.  There is clearly someone better or maybe the timing was just off, but don’t wait around.  I’m a big believer in fate and if it’s meant to be, it will happen naturally.

I know it is said all the time, but lean on your friends during this time, call them up or have a girl’s night to talk about.

If you end up thinking of him/her later that’s completely normal.  They were a person you really cared about at one point and you’re going to wonder how they’re doing.  Then, get back out there!  Don’t be afraid that it might happen again, because you know what, it might, “but it also might turn out that you find the person that makes it all worth while!” – Sam (sorry Gabs, has to add a bit 😉 )

Overall, I’m happy with the risks I’ve taken.  It’s a crazy path and I have no idea where it’s taking me., but that’s what makes it exciting. I’m ready for the adventure and fingers crossed it goes well!

Cheers everybody and good luck with the rest of the year!!

– Gabby J.



I Resolve To… ((A Journey of Growing.))

Hello and happy (almost) spring! If you are like me (and many hopeful others), you probably made some sort of resolution for 2015. How are you doing?!?! Are you seeing willful and meaningful changes in your life? Have you been measuring your progress? Have you formed some new and exciting habits?

I hope so!

2015 has been my year to center myself and take control of the person I want to be. It is also, coincidentally, my 25th year – the year my brain finishes its development. Honestly, it’s like I can feel my pre-frontal cortex making its final adjustments for impulse-control, planning, and sequencing consequences…

I’m totally kidding. But in all seriousness, I am really honing in on some skills that I’d like to continue for my next quarter century, and I think that it’s great if you’ve chosen to do the same! For myself, I looked at areas of intellect, adventure, and physical/mental wellbeing. It has been a lot to take on and challenge myself with, but I’ve set up very measurable objectives in order to meet my final goal which is ultimately to be a happier, healthier, more fulfilled person.

Tip: Fall in love in a comfy chair with an ocean view.

Tip: Fall in love in a comfy chair with an ocean view.

Do you have a lost love? When I was a kid, I was a ravenous reader. I starved for books and I engulfed them. Somewhere between high school and college, I lost my hunger. Reading became a chore and I became a couch potato. I decided that one of my primary goals this year was to revive my love of reading by reading 24 books by the end of the year. It’s March, and I am happy to report that I am about halfway through my eighth book. I’ve shifted my goal to reading as many books as possible this year. So, I’ll ask again – do you have a lost love? A forgotten hobby? Pick that shit up and revive it. (You’re welcome!)

Have you been anywhere new lately? Anywhere exciting? Anywhere that made you cry because of its beauty or warm you to your core? This year, I told myself that I was going to visit three new places. On a whim, I bought a plane ticket to Colorado ($120 roundtrip – thanks Spirit Airlines!) – a place I am well acquainted with and has brought me to tears more than once. If you do nothing else in life, surround yourself with mountains and be humbled by how small you are in this big, beautiful world. After hiking the Hanging Lake Trail and Red Rocks, soaking in hot springs, visiting old friends, and laughing (a lot) with one of my best friends, I returned home with a lighter heart and a smiling face.

Tip: Do go chasing waterfalls. (Hanging Lake, Glenwood Springs, CO)

Tip: Do go chasing waterfalls. (Hanging Lake, Glenwood Springs, CO)

Shortly after, I visited the Virgin Islands and had my soul warmed by the sun, snorkeling, and the beauty of the Caribbean. I cannot tell you how fulfilling these two journeys were to me, or how incredibly grateful I am to have had these opportunities. I can tell you that I don’t want to stop seeking these adventures and exposing myself to the world that surrounds us – whether that be a two hour drive to a state park or a flight to a continent away. I have found my cure for any ailment that may hinder me just by going outside. Nature is for everyone – go get your slice!

Finally, for the past three months, I have been trying to move past pretending to like exercise to actually liking exercise. This has worked to an extent – I have increased my endurance and I look forward to the proud feeling following my workout, but you will not find me dragging myself out of bed every morning at 6am to get to the gym. Unfortunately, I have not come to detest the taste of ice cream, but I have come to dislike the taste of things that are too sweet and most, if not all, processed desserts – particularly candy bars and anything packaged. Fortunately, I have come to really enjoy well-rounded meals, and incorporate a ton of fresh produce and water in my diet. It’s a lifestyle choice not a diet – I’m creating eating habits that I can maintain for long-term, not a short-term fix for weight loss. Listen to your body and abide by the things it needs – and give it a treat once and a while. I know from experience that it really likes treats.

Overlooking Nazareth Bay, St. Thomas, USVI

Overlooking Nazareth Bay, St. Thomas, USVI

My hope for this post is that you are motivated to get moving – whether that is to a new place, a new experience, or literally just moving your body. Moving on to the person you want to be, the person you have big plans for, and the person that deserves the most you can give them. Surround yourself with positive people that love and support you in environment that will foster and encourage growth and personal development. Adopt an optimistic mindset and refine the skills that make you innately you!

Thanks for reading!