The First Step Toward Change

elaina avalos, take the first step, accomplish goals, chasing dreams, nathaniel branden

My apartment is a disaster because I’m halfway through taking down the Christmas decorations. I have a second bedroom to organize & clean out {went from a 4 bedroom house to a small 2 bedroom apartment}. I have a bunch of food to meal prep for my week and I need to write. I’ve been up since 7:00 AM, but I’ve accomplished next to nothing. Nonetheless, I am reminding myself to apply liberal helpings of grace on myself. I still need to {and will} accomplish what’s in front of me {the above mentioned items are just the tip of the iceberg}. So while the day isn’t going as planned & there’s a huge mess, I also know that this year and last, were hard and exhausting. I’m getting back to normal. But after what I’ve been through, I can’t expect perfection nor should I. I am aware of my limitations and my strengths and what I need to do, to accomplish what lies ahead. That is the first step – awareness of what I need to do to change and acknowledgement of my current limitations.

In a world where we’re constantly inundated by what everyone else is doing and accomplishing – shared online in a perfect photo – it’s overwhelming and honestly, it’s discouraging. While there are many out there I am encouraged by – it’s usually those who are real about life – in their triumphs and failures, that are most encouraging to me. But I have already taken the first steps, not only to accomplish what I want to accomplish while away from the office, but in the upcoming year, too. Those are the first two steps of change – awareness and acceptance.

If you’re anything like me and you are holding yourself to standards that are based in superficial or artificial requirements or because you’re comparing yourself to others – give yourself a break. While the goals are still ahead, the Christmas mess still needs to be cleaned up, and my healthy meals still need to be made – what good is beating myself up? What do you accomplish by beating yourself up? Usually very little except keeping yourself stalled in place.

Take the first step toward change. Then take the second step. And then give yourself some grace along the way.

How do you motivate yourself when you have a goal to accomplish?

Everything is Changing

IMG_6813
De Luz, California

I’ve been in California since the 27th of August. My grandmother passed away on Saturday the 29th. I will have more to say on my Grandma, later. She was so special to me and the grief is close. But along with losing Grandma, there are other changes coming.

IMG_6646
IMG_6656My Mom, who has lived with Grandma for nearly ten years, and has taken care of her full-time for several years, is facing a transition. The house has a reverse mortgage so it goes back to the bank. Having spent the last few years taking care of Grandma, with me being in NC, and California being ridiculously expensive, it only makes sense for her to head east.

It’s the logical choice. But somehow, the thought of this has really put me in a bad mood. With my Mom moving to NC, I’m basically saying goodbye to “home.” Grandma’s house has been home base. Mom has been here – where I grew up. I come home once or twice a year, I see my family, eat a ton of Mexican food, stop at In N Out, enjoy mountain views and palm trees and then go back to my adopted home.

IMG_6691
Grandma’s yard – love the view of the mountains. Over the mountain is San Juan Capistrano.

We won’t be back for holidays. I won’t get my at least yearly break in So Cal and that leads to . . . when will I see the rest of my family? Granted, I don’t see them often anyway. It’s hard enough to find time to see my brother when I’m here, what happens when my Mom is no longer here? I can’t even imagine when I’ll see him, my aunts, cousins, etc., again.

10527462_10152523952865256_1899445723812134112_n
Grandma’s 90th birthday in July 20014. Most of my cousins are in this photo.

Everything is changing.

And then . . . as we’ve begun to go through my Mom’s and Grandma’s stuff, getting ready to pack some up, sell the rest, etc., I’ve had to go through some boxes left here, myself. My childhood flashed before my eyes! The things I’d saved, the things that mattered to me as a kid or young teen speak to the dreams that are still mine – still just dreams.

IMG_6736

IMG_6737

Long story, longer . . . this has been an emotional trip home. There’s been plenty of tears to go around. And frankly, I’m uneasy about the future, sad to say goodbye to my beloved Grandma, and California. And I’m trying hard to hold on to the dream.

Somewhere in the midst of all of this, I still cling to hope that though each day is filled with joy, good work accomplished, and meaning, there is more on the horizon. While it doesn’t always feel like that in the moment, I’m going to trust that this is another step in the direction I’m meant to take.

Everything is changing. Challenging yourself to see change as an adventure isn’t easy. But finding the joy, living in the moment and being thankful for the beauty of life as it is, in all of its messy wonder, is worth it.