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day 6 – list

30thingsGrowing up we’re taught about how difficult it is to be a teenager, how much transition happens as one grows into an “adult”.  Back then it was made to seem that while the teens are super tough, the 20s would be easy – graduate from college, start a great career, buy a house, piece of cake.  Not so much anymore.  Oh, things they are a changing.  Graduating from college doesn’t mean shit anymore.  Who the hell has it all figured out by the time they turn 22?  Job opportunities aren’t what they used to be, people are graduating with 10x’s more debt than they used to – things are far from easy.  Being in your 20s, as far as I can tell, is the hardest decade.  Full of a lot of uncertainty, one challenge after another, a lot of proving yourself to people you could care less about impressing, a lot of hard work and very little reward.  It is the foundation period for setting up a better life, or so I’m told.  It is a lot of hurry up and wait, it’s confusing as fuck, super frustrating, mildly fun and filled with a lot of learning about yourself, then forgetting everything you thought you knew and learning it all over again. The 20s are a scary time.

Today is the last day of the Hollander-Rosen family vaca 2012.  Sad to see my family go, sad to leave this beautiful place, not looking forward to returning to the to do list(s), to real life.  Hanging out with my fam this morning we got to chatting about turning 30 – how fast time flies, what it feels like to be “almost there”, etc.  My mom asked me about my 20s. My response: “the 20s are lame.  They suck and I am looking forward to turning 30.”  My mom reminded me that the 20s were filled with lessons and tons of accomplishments.  She started to list them and I was reminded of just how much has happened in the last 10 years, in my lifetime. I find it very easy to discredit all of the work I have done, to create lists of all that I want to do, buy, accomplish etc., to future trip.  So today I decided that instead of writing the 30 things I want to do before I’m 30 list I was planning, I am going to list 30 things I have accomplished before 30.  Better to reflect and be grateful, than to drive myself even more nuts.

  1. graduated from MSU
  2. completed Masters thesis titled: Defying Defiance: The Experience of Transitioning from and Oppositionally-Defiant Adolescence to a Meaningful and Passion-filled Adulthood
  3. received MA in Clinical Humanistic Psychology, became a licensed psychologist and certified advanced alcohol and drug counselor
  4. traveled to: Paris, Israel, Mexico, Costa Rica, Belize, all over Canada, about 25/50 states, went on 5 Caribbean cruises
  5. jumped out of an airplane
  6. bungee jumped
  7. learned to wakeboard and snowboard and then did both of them lots
  8. backpacked through the west, northwestern Canada and Alaska
  9. completed two 200 hour yoga teacher trainings, 1 Yoga Therapy certification, currently working on my 300 hour teacher training certification
  10. road tripped across the country – moving my whole life from MI to LA
  11. got married to my high school sweetheart
  12. became a dog mommy
  13. stayed up all night long dancing with friends
  14. studied Kabbalah, Buddhism, Yoga, Vedanta, 12 steps, Humanistic and Positive Psychology, and many other things I am sure I am missing.  I LOVE learning.
  15.  made the most amazing friends in the world – diamonds are forever – you know who you are <3
  16. apologized to those I have wronged (if you’re reading this and thinking to yourself, no bitch you haven’t – please don’t be shy, out with it!)
  17. got tattooed/pierced my belly-button
  18. stood up for things I believe in – if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.
  19. became a high school teacher
  20. taught well over 1,000 yoga classes
  21. started my own company – One Down Dog, LLC
  22. rock climbed and summated mountains
  23. chopped off all my hair, dyed it lots of fun colors
  24. voted for 3 presidents
  25. drove up and down the coast of Cali, hiked in the mountains, hung by the ocean, ate yummy food with family and friends:)
  26. swam with sharks, sting rays and lots of fishies in the ocean
  27. hiked through a cave and jumped from a waterfall inside it
  28. led 80s yoga dance parties
  29. been to well over 100 concerts/music festivals including the first ever DEMF (Detroit Electronic Music Festival)
  30. started a BLOG!!!

Whoomp there it is!  I am sure that after posting this I will want to add/change this list.  Maybe I will make 30 lists… oy vey.

day 5 – thoughts

thoughtsWhere thoughts go, energy flows…

…the Internet went out.  FUCK!  Here I am on vacation stressed as fuck because I can’t get my work done, I can’t write my blog.  How messed up is that?! and then the self-doubt kicks in – what’s the point anyways? Nobody is going to read this thing.  Nobody gives a shit what I have to say.  It’s ok to quit now, no one will notice.  I look at other people’s blogs, facebook pages etc. that have been around for a while and compare, thinking to myself: why don’t I have over 500 likes yet (www.facebook.com/OneDownDog)? why aren’t 1,000’s of people reading my blog?  I am a yoga teacher, what is wrong with me? Why am I being so negative? Why can’t I practice what I preach 100% of the time?

It’s only day 5, and already I am planning my demise.

So then I started to explore: what is that all about?  It’s a habit – where thoughts go, energy flows.  I dug the groove of self-doubt so deep that it has become a raging river of negativity.  Creating a stream of positive thinking is going to take some time. Yet I have the expectation to have it all and have it quickly, and that’s what fucks me up.  These things take time and I am impatient.  So I am going to post today and tomorrow and 23 more days after that and then I am going to keep blogging and writing and cheering myself on until the little tiny stream of positivity becomes a deep flowing river and I will let the fighting current of negative dry the fuck up!  I am putting my yoga into action rather than waiting for it to “just happen”.   That means showing up, doing the work, reflecting on what works, letting go of what doesn’t and then doing it all over and over again.

I think unconsciously I started this blog so that I could create a sort-of cheerleader to push me into this next decade with some momentum.  As I’ve written every post I have heard my inner voice get louder and louder saying you can do it! You can make your dreams reality. Fuck the naysayers, fuck the itty bitty shitty committee living in my head, fuck the drama, fuck the past, fuck the fear, fuck it all! You CAN DO THIS!! MAKE SHIT HAPPEN! And then I realize it is happening. Even in the moments where the self-doubt creeps in, I catch myself – each time a little quicker than the last.  It is not always easy, it is still far from perfect, but it’s happening and that my friends is progress! I am a yoga teacher, and I am living my yoga – day in and day out. And that is a beautiful thing 🙂

ps. want to know what else Patrick says? click here

Day 4 – it’s all relative

relativeIt’s day #3 of the 2012 Hollander-Rosen family vaca at the Terra Bella yoga retreat in Glen Ellen, CA.  After a long day of hiking, eating, driving and exploring (where is the yoga??) I am sitting in our room with the pup realizing how lucky I am to have such a cool family.

It’s funny to think about that – “cool family” – those words would have never come out of my mouth say 14-15 years ago.  Back in the day I couldn’t stand to be around my parents (what teenager can?).  I wanted nothing to do with them and thought they were the strangest people on the planet.  I just wanted a “normal” family with parents that let me do whatever I wanted, when I wanted, and gave me money to do it (isn’t that what every teenager wants? No? just me. ok then…)  I definitely swore on many occasions that I would be nothing like them.  And yet I realize, more and more, how much I truly am. And I’m grateful for that.  I am a better person for it.  Sure they have their flaws, their idiosyncrasies, and there will always be those little things that irk me, but in the end they are awesome!  Turning 30 has taught me a lot about acceptance – I am learning to love those things that used to drive me nuts.  After all, as my mother in-law so beautifully said today:  Normal is relative, and my relatives aren’t normal.  What is normal anyways?

On a side note – today I got carded at a winery.  The women did not believe I was the older sibling (by nearly 5 years) and was shocked when she saw that my birth date was in 1982.  Yep, 30 ain’t so bad.

Day 3 – abundance

day3Family vaca day 2 …and we’re off to Muir Woods on our way to Sonoma.  On the way out of San Fran we crossed over the Golden Gate Bridge and I was reminded of a time when my husband and I traveled to Healdsburg for a wedding back in 2009.  We crossed over the Bay Bridge and did not have enough $ to pay the toll, so we were ticketed by mail for double the cost instead.  This way we could use our credit card to pay for it, which at the time was our main source of currency.  Remembering this moment brought me to a place of gratitude for how far we have come and how abundant life is right now.  It has been a big shift to move from a mindset of scarcity to a mindset of abundance.  I am definitely still working on this, but must say it’s moments like these that put things into perspective.

In September of 2008 we moved across the country with a promise of a better life/lifestyle.  A promise of more sunshine, more fun, more $ – all around more-ness.  My husband had a promised job with a big clothing company, I with the promise of managing the yoga studio I had been working at for a couple of years.  We had promised salaries, promised positions – lots of promises.  In the end that’s all they were – empty promises.  The economy crashed the month after we moved – October 2008.  The studio I was to work at ran out of cash and didn’t open, the clothing company did major cutbacks and had a hiring freeze. Fuck. Here we were in LA in a super nice (and rather expensive) apartment, with a car lease and bills to pay and barely any money left in savings (had to pay moving expenses and 1st months rent).  So we did what any great American would do. Begged our families for money, got a roommate and lived off of credit cards for a bit over a year.  $30,000+ in debt later and we still had no idea how we were going to make it out here.  We did what we could to survive.  I worked retail, the hubby took internships and worked in restaurants.  We ate a piece of humble pie and pounded the pavement to make our dreams come true.  Looking back I can see that, but in the moment our only thought was – survive and don’t look back.  You spend enough time living in survivor mode and it kind of takes over.

3 years later and so much has changed.  Debt is down to under $5,000 total – this is HUGE! And we have money in savings with a tiny bit left over every month. Yet I still find myself regularly hung up on this idea that we don’t have enough.  So today I present these questions: “how does it serve me to think about the have nots?”  “when is enough, enough?”

I have been working hard this year to appreciate all that I do have.  To recognize how far we have come, how hard we have worked to create this amazing life for ourselves out here.  We live in a super cute bungalow with a shared courtyard and awesome neighbors that we can afford sans roommate, we have the greatest and cutest dog that has ever lived, wonderful and supportive family and friends, 2 brand new cars, less debt than a majority of this country, awesome jobs with bosses that appreciate us and recognize our hard work and we are surrounded by an abundance of possibility.

I have created an amazing life for myself.  In this past year I left a job that was no longer serving me to concentrate on my company (I own a fucking company!) that is consistently growing into something magnificent.  I have the most wonderful students that push me to grow and be a better person each and every day.  I completed a year-long certification in Yoga Therapy and entered into a 300 hour yoga teacher training program with a teacher I adore – Christy Marsden at Yoga Blend (check it out!).  I have learned the true meaning/goal of yoga (of life) is to experience more sustained joy and I am learning how to create that for myself each and every day!  I am learning who I am and who it is I want to be.  From the outside looking in, I am realizing (just now) that I have it all! Sure there will be more work, of course I would love to vacation more and be completely debt free.  But in the end we are doing alright. We are doing more than alright.  We can afford to pay for the bridge toll!! We have arrived bitches!! 2013 watch out! One Down Dog, LLC takeover coming your way!!

Day 2 – free to be

truth

When I was younger, I thought 30 meant I was an adult.  I thought that by 30 life would look a certain way, I thought things would be easy and fun all day everyday, I thought I would have a certain amount of money in my bank account and a super awesome life that looked something like this:  a high paying career, house with a white picket fence, 2-3 kids, a super amazing husband, a range rover, released my first best-selling book, was the therapist for Madonna’s kids and had been on Oprah… at least once.

30 is around the corner …I haven’t quite figured out the career thing, I hate white picket fences, I don’t want to have children, my husband is super amazing (got that one), I don’t drive a Range Rover…thank god! have you seen the gas prices these days?!  my book hasn’t made it past page one… yet., I am no longer a working therapist, and sadly Oprah hasn’t called… yet.  30 used to seem far away; it used to seem like a big huge milestone into the world of adulthood, the world of “real life”, the end of my youth.  I thought by 30 I would have it all figured out. The truth is, I don’t.  The truth is I don’t feel all that old. Currently, I am on a family vaca in San Fran with the in-laws (parents/bro arrive tomorrow am).  Sitting around eating dinner, watching the Tigers lose 🙁 doesn’t feel much different than when I was in high school hanging out on their couch pretending to be interested in a sport I know nothing about (sorry Mary Jo).  What I’ve realized is that there is no switch that changes life from kid to adult – I will forever be somewhere in the messed up middle. And the truth is, I like that place.  There are quite a lot of perks 🙂

Growing up I thought I had to be a certain “something”, a certain “someone”. Throughout my 20’s I was always racing to “get” there.  Wherever the fuck “there” is.  I put tremendous pressure on myself and on occasion drove myself insane. (remember: I am harder on myself than anyone ever could be, ever.)  I don’t know where the pressure came from – it was just always there.  Maybe because I had super high achieving (and rather amazing, might I add) parents, and felt I had to be just like them, have what they had.  I was (and probably still am to some degree) constantly comparing, judging and feeling less than.  The MA degree, the certifications, the awesome jobs, the praise from employers/fam/friends, the accomplishments were never enough.  The focus was never on enjoying the moment – always on what I “should” be doing, on this expectation of where I “should” be.  This past year has been all about change and transformation, a lot of growth and acceptance.  I have realized that I don’t have to be anyone, I don’t have do anything.  Like Muhammad Ali said – “…I don’t have to be what you want me to be, I’m free to be what I want.”  So this year I’m going to do what I fucking want! I am going to have fun. I am going to let go of the pressure/expectation/judgment.  I am going to make shit happen and live!  Fuck the 20’s. Bring it 30’s!