As I’ve lost my time in the car to sing loudly and without shame to cheesy pop music, I’ve replaced my obsession with One Direction and Carly Rae Jepson with an addiction to podcasts. One such podcast is The Nerdist Podcast with Chris Hardwick, which seems like it would be just all Star Wars and Comic Books but can actually (sometimes) get into some deep conversations with some of my favorite people. (If you like vaguely nerdy things and/or comedy, definitely check it out!)
Just last week, I was walking down 1st Ave happily listening to Chris interview Tina Fey when she said something about making change in your life as an adult that stopped me in my tracks, much to the dismay of fellow pedestrians. She noted that “in life when you have to choose these transitions on your own, it’s always hard. When you go school, you graduate…or get kicked out. It’s not up to you when you are going to transition. And it is hard to take responsibility for your own transitioning.”
It was like a light bulb went off! She’s right! This stuff is HARD! I mean, does Tina Fey ever NOT speak the truth? This is one of those big things you never think about until you are an adult and you realize, Oh! No one else is going to tell me when to do things anymore and no one is going to hold me accountable! That’s weird…. We just suddenly have to figure out when to do everything for ourselves after years of following a prescribed schedule, which can be liberating and awesome but also terrifying and paralyzing.
When do I change jobs? Should I end this relationship or friendship? When should I go on vacation? Should I move into a new apartment? Do I really need to buy new boots right now? Not all of these are big, huge changes and choices, but even making tiny changes to your life and routine can sometimes feel impossible and difficult because NO ONE can make you do it but you. It is just so easy to stay the same and make easy choices.
Choices like drinking a lot, sleeping in late, eating ridiculous amounts of Trader Joe’s frozen entrees, and choosing to not go to that Yoga place because the parking is a little tough. Its easy to let things pass you by – hiking excursions, biking trips, that fun bar crawl you were totally going to go to before you got sucked into that all day Awkward marathon on MTV. It is all tol easy and then suddenly, you stop and think about how a year ago you were doing the same things, making the same choices and feeling the same regrets.
I finally jumped into the Joy Equation because I was sick of the easy choices I was making and had decided I needed a change all by myself. I wish I could say that from the day I heard Molly’s soothing voice coming from my computer leading me through a meditation that everything was suddenly fine and dandy.
Yes, I was more aware of my choices and yes, I figured out that I needed a big change and pulled the trigger on accepting my place at NYU, but I still went out most weekends and did things I regretted. I still had difficulty pushing myself to go to yoga or go running, and I still ate some super unhealthy meals I wish I hadn’t. (Especially the day I hate a cheeseburger and fries and then went running and thought I was having an actual heart attack. Good thinking, Amanda.) I still did these things for months and I’m still doing some of those things, even after moving!
Through that time and since moving, I’ve realized that living my best life means making a daily commitment to what is best for me, to choices that will leave me celebrating myself for getting out of bed and getting shit done instead of kicking myself when I wake up at 11 stressed about all the errands I have to do. Its not just choosing to make that big change. It is also making daily choices that slowly amount to big changes.
I naively thought all these little things would magically be easier to change once I got to New York, because big change makes small changes easier, right? Not so much…
After two weeks in New York, I was still not making good choices and found myself slipping back into old habits. I kept writing off my lack of positive choices to just getting used to a new schedule and a new situation, getting situated in new routines, but I know I was letting myself of the hook when I shouldn’t have. Again. (Are you getting that change is hard? I think I finally am…)
And that is why I’m here. Blogging about it.
So that I have all of you wonderful and amazing women who want the same things I want – authenticity, happiness, joy, fulfillment – to hold me accountable. To slap my face when I choose to be so hung-over that I can’t go to that dance class that will actually make me feel awesome and empowered. To remind me why I’m here in New York – not to eat my weight in unhealthy street pizza but to pursue my passions in theater and education. To push me to spend money on the things that will actually make me happy – seeing a great show, taking in a beautiful New York site, having real conversations with my friends instead of buying drinks and talking to sleazy bar guys.
Just typing out my first draft of this post a few weeks ago kicked my butt into finally getting some things together. (More on that soon!)
So I’m putting out there what I want to get out of this year – I want to work hard and prioritize school above all else and to make connections to get me closer to my goals of helping to close the arts gap in our schools (no small task.) I want to do take in all the things this city has to offer – I want to see every Broadway shows I can manage to see. I want to go to museums. I want to go to a taping of the Daily Show. I want to eat at amazing, out of my price range restaurants, but I also want to spend money responsibly.
I want to keep in touch with my wonderful LA friends and spend time with my parents and extended family, who are so excitingly close to me for the first time in a while. I want to read more than watch reruns and Netflix. I want to commit to running three times a week and going to dance or yoga class at least two times a week and complete the Marine Corps Marathon 10K with my mom in October. I want to cut down on drinking (and in turn, money spent on drinks) and buy fresh vegetables, because frozen ones are gross. I want to take pictures and cook and maybe have an unexpected adventure or two.
In short, I want to build habits now while I have the time and perspective to do so that will help me be the best version of myself now and in the future, because I am the only one who can choose to make this transition happen in my life. Thanks for the insight, Tina.
And thanks in advance to you all for helping me along the way!