What Time Frame Do You Think In?

Sometimes I get distracted by how many different components in life there are to juggle. There are personal battles, immediate obligations, possible opportunities, and the future person you are trying to become. Within each category, we have memories from the past, events occurring in the present, and unwritten narratives of the future. I’ve been pondering the various levels of this over this last month.

In an earlier post, I wrote about setting priorities as far as selecting the right career path to take; however, I think setting priorities is vitally important to this topic. Usually, I see people create a four cornered box in which the X axis is Urgent to Non-Urgent and the Y axis is Important to Non-Important. This exercise is extremely relevant, in that it focuses on improving Time Management skills. Yet, where this doesn’t help me is that I will always continue doing the immediate work (e.g. work assessments this week and setting doctor’s appointments). But I feel more limited in attempting to work toward those Non-Urgent goals which may or may not be super important for the now, but are of interest to me.

So with there only being 24 hours in a day, how much of that time is used reflecting on the past, acting in the present, and planning for the future? Though I have no answer for this, I have always been a person who’s planning for the future. I am always thinking about my next step or my destination, which leads to a number of anxiety, perfectionism, workaholism, and negative self-talk issues. The reason for all of this stress is that I do not take the time to breathe and rest. So I’m torn between being hungry for more and reaching what is “greatness” for me or being grounded in the immediate pressing assignments which ultimately seem like busy work.

I don’t want to stay in my past, because it wasn’t the most pleasant of memories and they’re uneditable. Yet, I take comfort in hovering over memories, because they give me information about the world and its people which help me navigate the present. I would love to say that I am an “in-the-present-moment” kind of person. I say this because it would mean that I give everything my full attention, I come through on my word to follow up with someone after networking, and I enjoy the youngest moment of my life. Yet, I am limited in this enjoyment because of past experiences and I’m always hoping that the future will be better. I feel that I shouldn’t stay in the future because some immediate things are quite important. So I have to think of what’s of higher importance: investing in that which gets me closer to being a stronger version of myself or being efficient and successful now.

I guess the semi-satisfying answer is that you just have to do what’s best for you. However, the focus should be on how all forms of time co-exist. There is a way to let the past inform my present and future without limiting my choices. There is a way to live in the moment while also growing. There is a way to plan for your future with information from the past and small successes in the present. I just have not found my balance yet. My highest priority is happiness which for me comes from creating, moments of solitude, great food, and great sleep. Because I choose me, my job become secondary (maybe tertiary most times) and those who don’t help me advance toward a specific goal aren’t as important. I just want to be comfortable and in a space that inspires me to create. I want to be in a space doing something that matters. Therefore, I constantly switch between time frames.

So this post is less of “advice” and more of a “question.” Which time frame do you think in? What is most important to you? How do you balance all the confusion which is our lived experience?

Best,

Cayla Jae

 

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Gap Year: How to Plan Your Life

I’m no stranger to having a plan and setting goals to achieve. While scrolling through journals, speeches, or posts, I noticed that I always select captions geared toward planning your life. I’ve always been curious about how people got to their dream job or found this content/ happy median between work and home life. What I’ve discovered is that the majority of advice for figuring out this world is summed in 4 statements:

  • Audit your life and determine what needs adjustment
  • Find your passion and listen to your heart
  • Rely on Mentors and Network
  • Schedule time to build on your skills or achieve your end goal

However, you have people that will tell you that none of that matters. The truth is that for some of us, if every step is over calculated, we will spend the majority of our lives trying to figure out what we want to do with it, rather than actually living it. Another thing that is tough to accept is that finding some passions and goals are easy for others to decide on, while the rest of us linger in the grey zones. For those of us in the grey zone, we have to remember that the standard advice above may not apply to us. Of course, this isn’t the most comforting advice, but we all have different plans to take us on a unique journey.

I happen to eat, sleep, and breathe in the grey zone. One of my favorite professor’s advice was to find something we’re good at and something we like. Yet even that advice was tough for me.  I like a lot of things and my passions about those things shift with time. I know that I am artistic, creative, humorous, analytical, compulsive, and curious. I like visual and performance art, writing, and creating order to things.  I care about a variety of causes and issues. Overall, I spread messages of feminism and the Golden Rule which means that I believe in equality, humanism, and trying to be a good person. I have tested the waters with a number of fields. I can tell you my experiences working for non-profits, for-profits, film, theatre, pharmaceutical industry, teaching, writing, and more. I also know that I’m good at almost anything. I’m not bragging. I’m just confident in my abilities to complete a variety of tasks and do them well.

So as I read, hear, and watch all of these extraordinary human beings in their successes, I am still curious about how they made their decision. And now I’m starting to think that I’ve figured it out. I restructured the 4 step process for planning your life, even if you’re in the grey zone.

  1. So at the end of the day, you have to set your priorities. Aside from interests and job prospects, what is the most important thing for you to have or do? I need a beach or tropical climate and I want to be able to support myself well enough to live alone. Therefore, I am looking for what industries are most popular in coastal regions and have a decent cost of living. Because being financially comfortable is important me, I know that I will need a boring 9-5 job to get above the poverty line (seeing that I’m single with no children or debts). I will always be creating art, but realistically (based on my priorities) I need something to support myself and those supplies to create my dream pieces. I also know that I don’t have the drive of an entrepreneur to start my own business.
  2. In the spirit of being realistic, you have to do a mini assessment of your life. I am single, childless, and debt/ loan free. I am also mobile with a car that I now own, passport, and no other obligations once August comes. My options are to find a job, another service position, or a graduate program in a coastal city. Of those three, I would have to make sure that I get enough scholarships and would make enough for living off-campus or make sure I’m making at least 35k a year or more with a relocation package. So if I want to pursue either school or a new job, I will have start applying for schools now and wait a couple of months before August to start applying for jobs.
  3. Before making a final decision, do a happy check with yourself. Although I’ve discovered that adulting isn’t really about happiness, the goal is to not be miserable. Therefore, at this point revisit your priorities and skills. As I search for a degree program or job, I will be realistic about my past experiences (rather than trying to follow a passion). Basically, I just want to make decent money to support myself and be able to drive to a beach easily on the weekend. So I’ll apply to a few programs and jobs in good locations that connect to my undergraduate degree. During this time, I can build a portfolio or network for a decent 9-5 job which I’d be skilled at. For me, at this point, it’s not about having a meaningful position or solving the problems of the world. I’m just going to be basic and maybe every now and then I will have the chance to pull out my cape and save the world.
  4. Finally, think of some small goals to get there. You don’t necessarily need a big end goal (unless it’s an easy choice for you). So I’ll give myself two to three weekends to decide on at least 3-5 graduate programs (mostly in coastal cities) to apply to. After that I’ll put application dates on the calendar, call and email department heads with questions and start sending in paper work. If the universe wants me in that program, maybe one of them will say yes. If they say no, I will already be applying to jobs starting in May (maybe earlier but it really depends on when they want the positions filled). Again, if the universe wants me in those job positions, then I might get a call back and a chance to kill that interview. In the meantime, whenever I get stuck, I’ll ask more adulty adults for advice (or ecosia and google).

I originally took this Gap Year, because I had no idea what I was doing, what I wanted, or where I was going. I was also VERY exhausted from my undergraduate program. And now I see myself and what habits I want in the real world. Now I know how well I work with people, commuting to and from work on a daily basis, and how I maintain relationships. I am starting to notice patterns in my free time habits. I noticed that I actually can survive in the real world. Although tough, I have seen quite a bit to be more prepared in the near future. I’m also seeing that to be extraordinary, you do no have to be famous or unique. To be extraordinary you just have to be you and craft your life for you. So just remember, just do you boo.

Best,

Cayla Jae

 

Gap Year: 10 Reasons Why I Swipe Left

My last few posts have been kinda serious and I plan to go deeper during the next few weeks. Next week, I’ll let you know how if felt to sit back stage for the National Civil Rights Museum Freedom Awards. For now, let’s have of bit of fun and talk about how horribly confusing life is on online dating apps.

Below, I have listed my top ten reasons for swiping left on any person within my set radius. After graduation, I moved back home, but I lost touch with high school friends. For this reason, I’ve become an expert in the world of online dating apps, in an attempt to find new friends to rediscover my hometown with me.

10 Reasons Why I Swipe Left

  1. I am a woman.

Due to the fact that I’m in the 21 and above club, I prefer a person with a legal ID which allows them to join me for a drink. I also need some who’s mature, respectful, and who will add to the conversation. I want a man. So if your only images highlight some car, that you’re 420 friendly, or something remotely sketchy… Can’t do it. This also includes a stack of money as your first image which leads me to think you are into drug dealing or “hustling”. People with real money don’t have stacks in their profile pictures. Side note: watch out for people who have screen ages 23, look 15, and claim 19.

  1. You use every word but “woman”.

Y’all don’t know how often I see people referring to women as garden tools, females, girls, female dogs, and other degrading nicknames or parts to the female anatomy. If you’re crass enough to hypothetically attack me in your bio… I don’t think you could handle my feminist clap backs. Side note: some people actually request that feminist not swipe right for them lol like no problem, Steve.

  1. I am greeted by your bare chest.

I don’t care to see how built your chest is (or how much you think it is). I’m just hear to see a clear picture of your face and maybe hobbies that interest you, not your birthday suit. Plus, your skin signals to me that that’s the only thing you’re concerned with. Our texts will literally be about you going to and leaving the gym and maybe even dietary stuff. Side note: If anything else, guys that are looking for women, be sure to get some professional or super nice quality photos of your face. Also, try to avoid using mostly group photos because we don’t want to search guessing who you might be. And so the snap chat filters… Like why? We grown people.

  1. Your bio is empty.

I get this part. Most people say that no one looks at your bio anymore and others will note how awkward it is writing one. First of all, bios help me craft my opening message. They also let me know what things we have in common to discuss. Your bio can literally be ” world traveler, art, Latin music, lizards ” and I’d be like cool, “I paint.” Secondly, if I’m on the border of swiping left or right, a good bio will win me over. Whether you spent time on it or not, if it makes me smile, we might match up. Lastly, if a bio is awkward to write, what’s more awkward than putting yourself online asking for friends or friends with benefits or life partners??? Like none of this is traditionally normal, so don’t take yourself seriously, Karen.

  1. Speaking of… you’re ready for marriage.

Now I’ve had a hand full of family members meet their current spouses online and are content and happy. However, I’m not in the head space for marriage. I just want someone to dance with at Spectrum or the Rumba Room. I want to go walking in the park on a pretty day. I want to socialize away from the altar. This is not a negative because lots of people are looking for that happy ending. It’s just not me, love. I feel like marriage for me would come from meeting someone in person, leading to friendship, and then romantic stuff.

  1. You’re never on the app and want me to follow you on another platform.

Like… WHAT?! This ain’t some free advertisement site for you to get more snap followers! What I look like copying and pasting your username, opening my other app, pasting you in the search bar and waiting to see if we should talk… While I’m swiping on the dating app!? What is this madness? Look, if you ain’t using the dating app, hide ya profile and save us all time. Come on, meet me half way… “LEFT!”

  1. My finger slipped, just being honest.

There’s not much to add here. Although most apps are free, undoing a swipe ain’t free. Sometimes I’m in such a groove swiping left that I accidentally go left on someone great and they’re lost to the universe. So you could honestly have been the perfect fit, swiped right on me, and then nothing… Because your photo was surrounded by selfies of ab/ stomachs. And I’m not sure you’re worth the $9.99 commitment to a month free of back swiping… Just saying.

  1. I don’t know that I could be in the same photo with you.

This sounds crazy but I actually do think about whether we’d look abnormal in a picture together. I’m also thinking about where your photos are taken. Like could I see myself hiking with him, do I even like mudding, or would I join him in a tattoo parlor? I also think about if you’re physically “my type” because if we clique as friends I want to know if I have to friendzone you or not. I just don’t want to be awkward and loose a foodie buddy. But honestly, I’m always awkward so I want to be prepared if that conversation comes up.

  1. You say your an introvert and a homebody, but expect me to solve your hermit lifestyle.

Dude/ dudette, whyyyyy? I get it, I’m introverted and love a good night in, but I’m also on the site cause I want to do more than watch Netflix, sit on the couch, play video games, or take naps. Like I want to do stuff and make memories. And I can’t come into this friendship knowing that you’re awkward in conversations, would rather spend 25/8 playing video games, and you don’t like my energy. Like no. Well you know maybe there are apps for pen pals, but this ain’t it.

  1. Your dog wasn’t that cute.

I know that secretly most people post pictures of their pets because most of us on these sites likes animals more than humans… I mean come on. So you gotta make sure that your pup, doggo, kitten, or baby lama is the cutest living thing ever. If not, I gotta swipe left. Real talk, guys, I’ve literally swipe right on people just for the chance to meet there pets and it works. Animals never let you down.

Long story short, online dating is not the fix to find love, but it makes for some interesting stories and unforgettable adventures. I hide my profile often because it’s so distracting, but it’s so cool realizing how many strangers exist that we never cross paths with. My advice go get involved in something outside your house and try your luck by meeting some cutie in real life.

I would love to hear about what makes you swipe left. Leave a comment below of one of your pep peeves.

Best,

Cayla Jae