I adopted a cat

I thought said cat would be my best friend. I’ve never had a cat before. It’s been interesting. 

The adoption guy said this cat was going to be a lot of work and not good for first-time cat owners. I said no problem. 

Some problems include: Murderous scratching while I sleep or walk or breath, murder attempts directed at my hamster, and tearing sheets.

I remember when I first got Abe Lincoln (my female hamster). I was going through a bad breakup and was pretty depressed so I bought the little thing to cheer me up. The first time I interacted with her, she bit me and I just cried and cried because I thought no one could love me.

Well, I’m happy to say these circumstances are very different. I know I’m lovable and I have a lot of love and I wanted to share that love with a shelter cat. I’m just not sure if Franklin (the cat) wants to be loved, is the thing.

Anyway, this time around in the new-pet process, I have to hide Abe away in a closet to keep her safe. But, on the bright side, Franklin is house-trained and teaching me to lighten up (as I’ve weaned off my meds, my anxiety has increased). I won’t say that having this destructive cat around is soothing yet, but in a way he’s teaching me to not be so uptight and that I can’t be in control of everything.

I don’t know how to pet parent. My arms are covered in scratches and my search history is full of articles and videos to help me raise this cat. He can be aggressive and I can’t tell if he likes rough play or if it’s from a dark past. 

Tonight, I’ll be sleeping in the living room and bringing Abe out for a safe sleepover and a chance to run around in her ball. Tomorrow, who knows.

I love my little zoo family.

 

 

hamilton-mn-orpheum

Crossing it off the bucket list

Let’s go back about two years to when I heard a song called “Satisfied”. Granted, I heard the Sia/Miguel mix-tape version first, but when I heard that song I fell in love. I loved the story it managed to tell in five minutes. I loved the lyrics and the pace.

I then found the Hamilton soundtrack and fell in love faster than a marble rolling down a slanted table. 

I had to see Hamilton

But I found out it costs five-thousand-million dollars to see on Broadway. Dreams crushed. Maybe after 20 years and a few promotions/CEO positions, I could go see it.

Then I found out a traveling group was coming to Minneapolis. And that you had to be a member of the theatre and pay a certain amount to MAYBE get a change to MAYBE get tickets. So after a roller coaster of emotions, I accepted that maybe it was never meant to be.

Then, a year later, I realized it’d been changed and that all I had to do is make an account and enter into a lottery!

Dramatic and long story short, I managed to buy tickets that did not cost five-thousand-million dollars.

I got to see Hamilton

Sometimes, people set their hopes too high when it comes to lifelong dreams. Like seeing a celebrity or going on a cruise or going to Disney World and thinking it’ll be the greatest time of their life… only to find the celebrity sucks or they get seasick or blisters cover their feet. For me, though, Hamilton was everything I dreamed and more. The music and dancing and story. It was the best night from beginning to end—from the Hamilton Edition Champagne to hearing my favorite song live.

This is what it means to live: Don’t wait until you’re richer or smarter or older or hotter, work towards something and then look forward to it. When it’s over, cherish the memory.

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Coffee-in-Minnesota

My positivity project

Through my time living alone and being hard on myself, I’ve tried to become a better version of myself and not just waste away alone in my apartment—although I will admit it’s tempting.

Here’s what’s been working to make me a more positive human: 

  • Going down on my meds and drinking less during the week (unless it’s F.R.I.E.N.D.S. trivia because, hello, i’m still human – also, a glass of wine is healthy, I’ve been told?): No more “reward” drinks or “it’s been a long day” drinks
  • Drinking more water 
  • Setting a rule for myself  to not jump into bed right when I get home, which has led to me at least being present in my day longer, not taking weird naps, and having solid sleep at night
  • Focusing on me, not other people: I’ve been pretty good at this over the years, but moving into a new apartment had me all out of whack and thinking everyone in my building was friends with each other and I was this weird outcast. That’s just not true at all (I hope)

I’m a very slow mover when it comes to making changes and I’m not going to say there’s a huge difference and I’m a changed woman or whatever. But with the decrease in my meds and trading (some) junk food for more vegetables and water, I do feel more energized. I mean, yesterday I had Chinese for lunch but today is a sandwich and carrots. And a month ago I would’ve just gone to Raising Cane’s or something. Anyway.

Benefits I’ve noticed:

  • More energy
  • Clearer skin
  • More positive (that could be because I moved out of my dirty, depressing college house)

Hopeful habits I’d like to start in an ideal world that would be great for people to start and I encourage you to but it’d be hypocritical of me to say you should and then not do it myself:

  • Spending less money eating out/more meal prepping
  • Hitting up the gym, like, twice a week
  • Reading more instead of getting home and turning on the TV and somehow watching it and getting nothing done and then it’s 2 AM and I’m tired and nowhere closer to where I want to be
  • Writing every day (non-work related writing, such as novels)

So there you have it: What I’m doing for myself this month. Clearly I’m not perfect but if you ever need someone to talk to about stuff, send me an email at lindsey.b.bakken@gmail.com. You’re not alone out there. 

How do you stay positive?

 

dad and daughter move-in day

How to adjust to living alone

So I moved. To an apartment. All by myself (queue that one song that goes “Alll byy myseeeelf” by Celine Dion). And it’s kinda awesome. But also lonely. But also super cool. And messy. And other things.

How I feel right now…

  • Crappy. So there’s a dark feeling in my gut that I haven’t felt since college day 1 when I was like: “Oh, huh, my parents are gone. I don’t know anyone. I didn’t think this all the way through.”
  • Lonely. (Bear in mind I’m being dramatic because I have some very near and dear friends within 30 minutes.) But I hear people laughing and hanging out by the pool and it hits me that I’m starting over again.
  • Empty. I went from a house with 12 guys/girls and this new place is dang quiet (which they promised me that when I toured but I kinda thought “ya ok sure of course it’s ‘quiet’ so was my college house made of paper walls”). Turns out they were telling the truth. Turns out I miss the noise. 

What I’m going to do about it…

  • Take time. I’m going to take some time to feel the feelings but not get stuck in them, I just need to acknowledge and most past them. Turns out that’s the healthy way of doing things. Who knew. 
  • Take life into my own hands. Easier said than done… But I’ve already got a plan cooking; it’s far away from the kitchen and into the pool area. I’m going to take some beer and a book down so that I can attract intelligent friends or – at the very least – ones who enjoy cheap beer. I’ll see where things go and be open-minded. If nothing else, maybe I’ll finally pick up on the vibes around here.
  • Take away bad habits. And replace them with some healthier ones. The ones I’ve been putting off until I “got a job” and then “graduated college” and then “moved to my own place.” I gotta stop waiting around for these magical moments that just aren’t evvvver going to happen. I’ve lived here a month and tell myself “once I get settled in”. NO LINDSEY, NOW. TBD how well this goes, but at least it’s a start.

Notice how this goes from recognizing emotions to taking actions to feel better. What can you do today to make for a happier tomorrow?

 

How to be hard on yourself

Look, no one is perfect (not even you, Michelle with the flawless complexion and expensive heels that you know how to walk in and everything). And that’s really okay. What’s not okay is sitting back, accepting things as they are, and just being “imperfect” with no intention of evolving. I get the struggle: I went through periods of numbness and not caring and just existing, almost outside of my body. Sometimes you don’t want to, don’t care, don’t have the motivation. That’s all right, but give yourself a chance. Be hard on yourself.

Three reasons why you should try

  1. As I’ve talked about before, you need to be sympathetic with yourself… but after a certain number of weeks/months of self-pity and sitting around waiting for change, you gotta be the one taking action.
  2. Do you want to end up being thirty and wondering where your twenties went? I read a book about being in your twenties (The Defining Decade) and one of the things that stuck with me is that you have to know where you want to be in your thirties in order to take action in your twenties. So think ahead! And don’t limit it to your twenties, take that lesson into all of your decades: To make it to your next step/goal, you have to be actively preparing for it. There will be good days and bad, but just keep going.
  3. Also from The Defining Decade is the idea that the thing that messes us up the most in life is the picture of how things are “supposed” to be. Excuse my french but f*ck that mentality. Do what you need to do to get where you want to be, not where you think you should be. Sooo what I’m saying is, you should be hard on yourself because you need to get real about what your thing is.

Three suggestions for how to be hard on yourself

  1. Get real about your thing. Hi, you read the third reason above, right? Yeah, your first order of business here is to figure out what you want your business to be. Ignore what Jenny from the block is doing and peek at yourself. Have you been wasting the past few years going through the motions but not getting any closer to your goal?
    • If you’ve been wasting time, stop! Easier said than done, so take small steps (see second suggestion).
    • If you don’t have a goal, go find it
  2. Take baby steps, or in-utero steps. If you want to quit your day job and open a bakery, stop talking about it and start researching. Dedicate half an hour a day (or every other day, if you want to start smaller) to researching what you need to do. Then start building a business plan and mission. Take your research and lay out how to make it happen.
  3. Balance it all. The good and bad days, the lazy days and productive ones. Let yourself have both. I’m not so good with exercising, but think of it like how workout guru’s talk: Everything in moderation. You’re not going to stop pitying yourself or wasting time in one day. That’s fiiine. If you like watching TV after work and don’t feel like working on your dream, don’t hate yourself for it. Work on your dream for an hour and then watch TV, or alternate days between what you want right now and what you want for your future.

It’s hard to find the right guidance out here on the World Wide Web, but take this article into consideration and find a way to get closer to your dreams, whether that takes weeks or years. Do it your way, but do it.

 

 

man s hand in shallow focus and grayscale photography

Photo by lalesh aldarwish on Pexels.com

Writing day at T-rex cafe

When it’s time to be hard on yourself

If you’ve read my previous article on not knowing, you’ll be aware that I’m trying to accept the unknown instead of letting it be a burden or hardship. That said, there’s a tricky balance to be struck in being kind to yourself and babying yourself.

On my hunt to figure out the key to life, I’ve definitely fallen into self-help and grand ideas of being kind to myself to counteract all the horrible things I’d say about me, to me. Unfortunately, that turned into babying and allowing myself to sit in my feelings—this lead to not growing. It led to ideas without action. Thoughts without real hope behind them. Numbness and discontent and lethargy.

Whatever it takes, take a hard look at if what you’re allowing yourself to do now is hurting or harming you in the long run. You don’t have to be able to love yourself all the time (though it’s great to work towards). There will be better and worse days, but take a minute to read this chart and think about where you’re at:

When to be hard on yourself When to go easy
You’re using pain from months ago to justify your actions. If you’re having a hard time coping with a hardship, don’t be ashamed. Reach out to a friend or try an app like Talkspace. You’ve just had your heart broken—lost a loved one, friend, boyfriend. Take time to grieve.
To make yourself feel better, you drink and eat whatever you want all the time—you can be kind to yourself without having chocolate cake for breakfast every morning. It’s been a really rough day—we all have them, let yourself be in it.
You’re being so nice to yourself and never doing anything you don’t feel like doing, and it’s hurting your friendships/career. You don’t want a salad or to go to the stupid gym—don’t. If you’d be better served taking some time off, don’t waste time hating yourself for not going. Instead, do what you really want to do. Read a book or do a face mask and accept that not being perfect in your habits doesn’t make you a bad person
After “taking care of yourself” by whatever your own means are, you still aren’t happy. If you’re feeling sad—don’t take it out on yourself. It doesn’t make you ungrateful or lazy or messed up. (Note: this is where I’ve gotten into trouble. While you’re feeling down, doing anything seems impossible. Stay tuned for upcoming blogs on how, after a year, I’m finally trying to change my habits and be tougher on myself.)

So many people are going to throw their ideas at you—where they think you should be emotionally and what they think you should be doing. This post is intended to give guidance from my personal experience and help bring people out of similar places I’ve been.

You’re allowed to not know

For most of college I had no idea how to find a life that I’d love. Even now that I’m taking steps toward a future–getting an apartment and working full-time–I still have no idea. And I’m really tired of seeing quick plans to find happiness or success or whatever you want to call it. I think it’s time to accept that we don’t have to know.

I’ll be blunt: I got lucky by falling into a job I didn’t even know about last year. These things happen, they work out. Sometimes happiness finds you… But saying I had no idea what I wanted from life and accidentally finding hope is annoying. So hang with me.

Here are some–of many–things you don’t have to know:

  • What you want to do with your life
  • What to eat for lunch
  • How to cook lunch
  • How to be as good as someone else–DROP THAT THINKING. DO IT RIGHT NOW. (I’ll do it if you will)
  • What you want to write about
  • Where your writing is going
  • How to get noticed and published and achieve the life of your dreams
  • What your dreams are
  • Anything

I’ve wasted so much time obsessing over who I am and what my actions mean and reading into everything, calling it logic or emotion or whatever seems the least bull-shitty at the time. In my life right now, though, it’s most important just to be. To be appreciative of the chances I’ve had, of my amazing job, of the people in my life that accept my imperfect self.

You may even find there’s a power saying “I don’t know.”