The following is going to be a very stereotypical article that you have no doubt read before. Some new opportunity that lead to a big life decision which allowed for an exhilarating experience. You’ve heard it before and may choose to skim over or skip mine entirely but this is part of my story.
I had moved back to Arizona from New York looking to slow my life down and be more satisfied with each individual moment. Up until recently, I’ve continued to struggle with the idea of not searching for an escape route or planning too far in the future without enjoying the life I live now. I became busy right away with a new job and had been stressed out by it, slowly being torn down, hating every second of the job. To its and the company’s credit, it wasn’t always that way. I just progressed into this realization by wanting more for myself and recognizing how unhappy the job made ME which is not a reflection of the job or company itself.
About a month and a half ago, I decided it was time I supplement my healthy eating with some form of exercise. I hadn’t worked out since the fall of 2011 and was doing well and was determined with my diet but knew I needed something more to see the results I wanted. I decided on yoga not only for the economic and geographical convenience - the studio I chose is a 5 minute drive from my home - but also because I figured it would be a slow progression to something more physical eventually.
My first class, I expected to sit and hold poses like the yoga videos I had done before and not enjoyed for the time I did them but enjoyed the benefits of it including muscle toning and balance. What I didn’t know is that I had signed up for what is called Power Yoga.
That first hour, I sweat like I had during a boxing course and couldn’t believe yoga involved so much cardio. I was also hyper aware of how little flexibility I was capable of. Regardless of how tired and drenched I was, I already knew after the first hour that I had become addicted.
I proceeded to attend any and EVERY class I could and enjoyed meeting all the yogis and getting to know the instructors. Suddenly yoga was the only thing I had going for myself. I enjoyed the atmosphere, the workout and yet fitness is always a struggle so no matter how well I succeeded in practice, it was still easy to become discouraged. My job was becoming more unbearable by the day and my social and love lives were non-existent. It was hard to deal with all that and the constant “two steps forward and one step back” battle with health and fitness.
This particular yoga studio had a motivational quote in the studio. Each day they posted a new one and though most carry the messages we’ve heard over and over from educators, parents or maybe even apps on our phone. One day, one quote just allowed me to digest what was happening to me and make the decision to change it.
The quote was as follows: “Your time is limited so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
The next day, I quit my job. I’ve been searching for another job since then and sure I miss having some financial support but I am SO much happier. I even wish I could find just part-time or work-from-home stuff because I’ve been able to have so much more time for myself. I’ve been able to enroll in online school to build on my education and have decided to take the GRE in spring. Even if I’ve had more time to cheat on my diet, I’ve still been committed to yoga and how it’s helped me grow thus far.
I can’t wait to see how it will continue to help me grow in my practice and perhaps even as a teacher in the future. You don’t have to try yoga to make this revelation but trying something new or giving something a second chance is all it takes to open yourself up to new opportunities and deciding what really makes you happy - who do you think you are?
In life, we battle every day to create a definition for ourselves and our lives that foster a sense of belonging.
Like many of you, my entire life has been a battle. I’ve stood by people who stick up for others, I’ve crossed over language boundaries, countered negative energy with a desire and work ethic geared towards success, I was never “average,” I’ve taken chances with competitive scholarships and put myself outside of my comfort zone numerous times. I’ve battled so much to earn what I have, which, on paper, seems quite significant at my age and yet in reality is close to nothing.
There’s a girl who has the same position as I do, slightly older than me. At 20, she became pregnant and decided to discontinue her education after having a baby. I’ve overheard her brag about speeding tickets and describe a car accident to others. She also, notably, decided to speak ill of me at work at one point.
When I was 20, I had completed a Bachelor’s degree and picked up a sixth language. I took a risk moving, again, somewhere outside my comfort zone, have 0 traffic violations (in fact, these days I feel like I’m the only one who follows the speed limit), and 0 children. Yet here I am, in the same line of work as her.
I read a quote the other day that goes “Good judgment comes from Experience and experience comes from bad judgment.” I almost feel as though I should have had more “bad judgment” in my lifetime and yet, I didn’t require a lot of bad decisions to reach good judgment and should be proud of that.
I will always agree that mistakes are our greatest teachers. People tend to neglect those boring days where nothing may happen and what they teach us. I may not have stories of wild adventures, but I have my own experiences to share and a level head. You don’t have to make stupid decisions just because you’re young. Someone recently commented that based on my maturity level I am - and I quote - “the oldest young person [they] know and it’s impressive.”
Be wise in your decisions. Be kind to others. And never forget that even though you feel life has dug you into a hole you can’t get out of, listen to the universe. This is just another battle. You have to find the victory yourself.
As someone who doesn’t practice Catholicism, I had to look this one up. Apart from the purification process, purgatory is also used as a state of punishment for the sins of the past life - where the soul can no longer live - and the stepping stone to the afterlife - eternal paradise.
There’s nothing for me in Tucson or in Arizona for that matter. I’ve used the area for all it’s worth to me and am not qualified for the jobs available there.
In New York I’m equally unqualified and pay an arm and a leg for no private space, no luxury, no beauty - even the city has lost its luster and allure to me. In fact I find it all very unglamorous and unsophisticated.
Before I was legally allowed to drink in this country, I had a University degree in my hand. I speak five languages and my greatest achievements of yet: unpaid internship and retail, where I sweep, mop, wash glasses in a bathroom sink and clean an entire store on my own, each day, while attempting to sell the world’s ugliest and tackiest shoes.
I don’t know what exactly I’m being punished for, though I know I’m no saint. I don’t know where exactly I could call home but I know I’ve seen far more beautiful places that inspire me more and make me feel…alive? Vibrant? Daring? Anything really as opposed to this dull, monotonous, exhausting feeling I feel here in purgatory.
New York is my purgatory and I must endure it with the knowledge that something better may come. I work hard to find it and finally find that glimmer of hope - an interview, a nice evening with friends, a good reflection in the mirror - but it’s just the same tired, sunken eyes that work and work only to be disappointed.
I will suffer my punishment in purgatory and continue to try and understand it while reaching for the after life, which, I hope, can only come as quickly as this year has gone.