Raise the bar. High.

IMG_2963Are you sick of dating? Me too!  I’ve decided to give up, but trust me, I’ll never give in.  Let me tell you what I mean.

A few weeks ago, I had a great phone call catching up with one of my best friends from college, Katie.  Of coarse, during the conversation, we gave each other updates on our love lives.  Both of us are single and actively dating, and yet, we both agreed that it was really hard to date.  I told Katie that I had given up expecting a man in my life.  She told me she had come to the same conclusion.  We both want to get married one day, if we met the right person, but neither of us was sure that was ever going to happen.

Now, to give you some history on the subject, I should tell you about my first memory.  I was two and a half and my parents were getting married.  My mom was trying on her wedding dress in my parents room, and I thought it would be awesome to get under the dress and make it my own white satin fort.  To this day, I remember her vividly: how she looked, how she smiled, and how exciting it was for her to be getting married.  I have always dreamed of being married: the wedding, the love, the family; it all sounds so great to me.  But it hasn’t happened.  And I have asked myself so many times: if it hasn’t happened, will it ever happen?

My friends would tell you I’m a big believer in true love.  I also have a tremendous capacity for love.  For most of my adult life, I have been waiting for that perfect individual to come in to my life and make me the happiest girl on the planet.  Well, I’ve quit waiting.

I recently read a book called We Were Feminists Once.  In it, author Andi Zeisler makes reference to Hollywood movies.  She makes the excellent point that so many (and I mean SO many) of the movies that hit the theaters are stories of women who are lacking until they meet a man.  Maybe they are miserable, or haven’t come into their true personalities, or are just overall lacking in life; and then all of the sudden Prince Charming rushes into the scene and saves the day.  The woman is now the happiest girl on the planet and voila! they live happily ever after.

This common theme got me thinking: have I been waiting for a man to start my story?  It seems so ingrained in our culture and ingrained in our minds that our stories must indeed revolve around our relationships.  Sure, we can talk about our careers and adventures, but I notice that it always seems to circle back to, you guessed it: Prince Charming.  Once I realized this, I made a bold decision: I am giving up on finding Mr. Perfect.

Okay, I know what you’re thinking: Kelsey, you cannot give up on your dreams.  Kelsey, he is out there and you just have to be patient.  Let me tell you something: I’ll never give up on my dreams.  I will always be open to meeting a man who is going to help make my life awesome.  But in all honesty, it is up to God.  And only He knows how and when and if that person will be a part of my life.  But thinking of it that way is actually the best feeling I have had about dating in a long time.  I trust whole heartedly that He has an amazing future planned for me.  I don’t have to worry about making it all happen; God will take care of that.

I have taken a real look at my life now.  What do I want to accomplish?  What are my ambitions and dreams?  How do I want to spend my time?  You guessed it again: doing awesome stuff!  I need not hold back.  I am hiking and traveling, learning guitar and making new friends.  My life is awesome.  And if someone is going to come in to my life and be a big part of it, they have to be the kind of person who is going to make it even more awesome!

I sincerely refuse to give in.  I refuse to believe that I have to lower my standards or settle for less than what my needs really are in order to be in a relationship.  I refuse to conform to what other people think is best to ‘complete me’.  I refuse to be okay with mediocre dates, guys who are only nice some of the time, or anything short of amazing.  I refuse to accept that my life story has to start when I meet a guy.  Nope!  My story started long ago, and Mr. Perfect or not, my story will go on.

So, I say raise the bar.  Raise the bar high!  Live your life to the fullest and wait for no one to complete you.  Be complete by just being the wonderful and unique person that you are.  I’ve adopted this attitude and it has helped me to be excited with my life and satisfied with who I am.  Because I’m awesome.  And my life is awesome.  And I’ll accept nothing short of awesome.

Inspiration

San Diego Beach

How a Series of Unfortunate Events Led to a Dream Come True

I’ll start off by saying that I have an inspiration to write, and so I am.  Writing a blog will be an adventure, as with most things in life.  I can promise only two things.  One: I will be honest.  I will tell the truth about my life, experiences, thoughts and beliefs.  Two: I will be positive.  Each article will include controversy, difficulty and possibly failure, but I am an optimist and so you will find that each time I share, I will focus on the positives.  After all, life for me is about honesty and optimism.

I have dreams; goals and ambitions for my life that until recently seemed clear and attainable.  One of the goals is to be a writer.  And as I sit at my table, sipping coffee on this cloudy Monday morning, it seems surreal to actually be writing.  It was not an easy road that led me to take steps towards this dream.  But I’m glad to be here, difficulty and all.  I like how Daniel Handler used the phrase ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’.  For me, it truly was.  But first, some history…

In December of 2012, I was diagnosed with Bipolar Type I disorder.  Honestly, this came as a shock to me.  I pride myself on ‘knowing’ myself.  I can recognize that I have highs and lows, bad days and good, but I never thought of my experiences as being a disorder.  I was quickly placed on a regimen of medication and found it much easier to maintain balance, especially in my thinking.

I had been cautioned by many people, including my expert doctor, against quitting my medications.  My doctor explained that I had a 98% chance of hitting a manic or depressive episode if I were to quit taking my meds.  And yet, he explained, it is the nature of many bipolar patients to want to quit their meds.  Why would I want to take medications for the rest of my life, when I was feeling fine?  Why deal with a host of side affects, which for me included weight gain and mild tremors in my hand, when I did not think I was struggling?  Fast forward two and a half years: I decided to quit my medications.  That was unfortunate event number one.

When I was originally diagnosed, I was living in San Diego, CA.  I had a wonderful job, and although I lived far from my family, I was enjoying the freedom and fun of sunny San Diego.  After four years in California, I made the drastic decision to move to Portland to help my sister.  She is a single mom with two kids, and needed the help to finish culinary school.  I found myself working 60 plus hours a week, between watching my sisters kids during the day to working a low-paying administrative position in the evenings.  I was burnt out and ready to make a change.  I was applying, and finally landed what at the time was my ‘dream job’.  I was chosen as the office manager for a local primary care practice.  That was unfortunate event number two.

After three stressful months of long days, half of which I was not medicated, I was fired from my dream position.  They told me ‘it was not a good fit’.  I had hit a manic episode a few days before the news (not sleeping, anxiety ridden, racing thoughts), and plummeted into a depressive episode quickly after.  I wasn’t sure my life was worth living anymore.  That was unfortunate event number three.

Slowly but surely, I began to recover.  I had started back on medications, this time with a doctor who was able to give me a plan of action that felt closer to what I  wanted.  I applied for unemployment and was able to begin my job hunt.  When my unemployment check finally came through, it was accompanied by a letter.  The letter said that if I wanted to start a business, in lieu of looking for work, that I will still be eligible for my unemployment insurance.  As long as I was working 40 hours per week on my business, I could quit looking for work.  This sparked something in me.  It created the option for a new future, a hopefulness in me that had been lacking.

Now, there is no way in high heaven that I want to start a business.  I’ve seen it done, and it seems like way too much work.  Long hours, financial stress, little to no predictability, all of which are not my cup of tea.  But the letter was like a calling.  What did I really want to do with my life?  What was I good at?  What was my dream?  Finally, I was able to see how my unfortunate events were leading me somewhere.  I’m not sure where that is, but this blog is the start.

At age 26, I cannot claim to know it all about life.  Nor do I think it is attainable to ‘have it all’.  But two things truly tickle me: happiness and health.  I love to dabble in what makes us happy, how our journey can be blessed with long periods of joy and contentment.  I also enjoy focusing on health.  What makes us healthy, how can we pursue health, and what does it mean to be ‘hot’?  Women in their 20’s and 30’s face a lot of challenges, particularly surrounding how to be happy and hot.  Inspired by my own journey, I will explore what it means for women to be happy and healthy.  After all, happy girls are hot girls, and healthy girls are hot girls, and you can be both.

I hope you enjoy my journey and my dream.