Monday, August 15, 2016

29: Do things that scare you & embrace new beginnings!


I don't know what it is about the number 29 that irks me so much. I've never been one to be ashamed of getting older, but somehow when I turned 29 this past January, all I wanted to do is speed up time so I could already officially say I was 30.
It's the end of my twenties, and I'm honestly proud to say that I've changed tremendously in the past decade. In fact, I wouldn't even want to hang out with my early 20-something self at this point. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or what I wanted for majority of that time. If I could go back in time and slap myself and guide myself on the right track sooner, I wouldn't hesitate. But I digress, that's neither here nor there. 

It's mid-August, and I'm proudly reflecting on how this year has changed me thus far. Month after month, I've found myself doing things that scare me, which inevitably sparked a tremendous amount of personal growth and changed my outlook on new experiences.

TRAVEL
In January, as a birthday present to myself, I traveled to London, Paris, and Rome. This was my first time flying internationally without my parents or a friend who was familiar with the country, spoke the native language, etc. As an introvert, I was terrified and kept running through the worst-case scenarios in my head. But I threw caution into the wind, and being the kind, yet resourceful person that I am, I made a group of friends at breakfast during my first full day in London. We ended up becoming extremely close over the next days we spent together. (Also, don't worry - I'll get into the full details of my travels another day!)


TATTOOS
During my Euro trip, while in Paris, I was inspired by two of my new friends to get my very first tattoo. As I was heading to Rome, I was forced to say goodbye without heading with them to the tattoo parlor. 

Bear in mind, I've always considered myself as someone who would NEVER get a tattoo. I tend to change my mind often, and in the past, things that I've considered getting tattooed on my body I ended up deciding against days/weeks later. I was terrified of scarring my smooth, brown skin with something that I'd regret. 

In February, I got the quote "J'y suis jamais allé mais j'en rêve" tattooed down my back over my spine. This translates to "I've never been there but I dream". I love traveling and exploring the unknown, and I felt this quote truly encompasses that. Plus, as I was inspired to get it in Paris, getting it in French brought an additional personal element to it. (I took French in High School by the way. I'm pretty damn near fluent.)


In May, I got another two, small tattoos on a whim for my friend's birthday. Not only did I get them for a steal during a Friday the 13th Flash Sale ($13 + $7 included tip per tattoo), but I love them just as much as my first tattoo. 

I got a small semi colon on my right wrist and delicate, baby's breath flowers on my inner left wrist. The semi colon not only represents my personal identification as a "Grammar Nazi", but I also support the Semicolon Project. The flowers represent growth. 


ONLINE DATING
If you ask any of my friends or family, they'll tell you that I'm an extremely lazy dater. I've never been someone who actively desires to be in a relationship. The relationships that I've had in the past were never of my own personal efforts. I honestly don't need to be in a relationship to feel happy or complete, but if I find someone whom I admire that adds to my life in a positive way, I'm more than happy to open myself to them. Who doesn't want someone that can make them even happier than they already are? 

In the past, I considered my singleness like unemployment. If I'm not actively looking for a relationship, I'm not "technically" included in the single population, right? lol

This year, I joined Coffee Meets Bagel, Bumble, and happn. It was mostly because my best friend, Jessica, forced me, so she could live vicariously through my dating life. Most of the people I connected with were only because of her. I usually never accept last minute date requests, but she forced me to accept several dates with less than 24 hour notice. It drove me absolutely nuts to miss my usual Bikram yoga or Taekwondo classes! lol 

Dating is SCARY, especially when you're introverted like me. I found it very difficult to open up to complete strangers. I know I get really awkward and painfully shy at times. I do have pretty good instincts about how well I vibe with someone, and I absolutely hate small talk. I was also surprised to come across so many people that I knew in real life. (These people were immediately swiped left! If you already know me in real life, why do we need a Dating App to reconnect?!)

Actively dating again forced me to really put myself back out there. I missed having a more active social life. It also taught me more about what I want in a partner. Though I started dating with the expectation that I'd get a lot of free meals out of it, I'm happily more in tune with how I carry myself, and I fully trust my instincts when considering the character of the person sitting in front of me. 


FLYING TRAPEZE
A big part of my responsibilities as a leader is planning positive team engagement. In May, our team decided to learn how to fly trapeze together, and (surprise, surprise) I am scared of heights! 

I still remember struggling up the narrow, shaky ladder and holding on for dear life on the platform. I did my best to slow my breathing and kept telling myself "You can do this!" over and over in my head. 

I surprised myself the moment I placed my hands on the swinging bar and jumped from the platform. As I was soaring through the air, I felt fearless. I followed instructions well. I was hanging by my knees and even performed a flipping dismount in the air. 

It's true when they say that fear is all in your head. Not that I plan to go bungee jumping or sky diving anytime soon, but after flying trapeze, they've both definitely been confidently added to my long term goals list!


LEAVING MY COMFORT ZONE
I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. I was born at the San Francisco Children's hospital and lived in the city until I was three. My parents bought a house in the suburbs soon afterward, where I lived for the remainder of my childhood. 

I did move to Merced, CA while I was attending college at UC Merced, but I moved back in with my parents once I graduated. Once I got my first salary job, I moved a little further south, but still in the peninsula. 

I officially moved to the South Bay last Wednesday. The commute to work has been a bit of a challenge to get used to, but overall, I'm happy with the change. I left my comfort zone behind. I know that true personal growth requires you to feel uncomfortable and awkward in the unknown. Every day since my move has been a new adventure. I'm completely unfamiliar with my surroundings. It almost feels as if I'm on vacation. I find myself thinking "This is your life now. This is your new home. Get used to it." every single day.


There's still four more months of 2016, and I'm ready and willing to take on whatever life throws in my direction. I encourage you to embrace anything that scares you. I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised to discover what you're capable of. 

XO,
Denise