progress.

 

My life is in a very positive space right now. Perhaps the best it has been in a while or maybe ever. I cannot remember a time when I have felt this good – mentally, physically, and spiritually.

I do not have everything I would like to have. I do not have my own apartment. I am still making just enough to survive every month and still have some fun. I do not have a six-pack. I still cannot run or jump because of my torn Achilles. I do not have a girlfriend. I have not been romantically involved with a woman in a long time. I have an idea of the life I want to build but I do not have a clue to how I will get there. Regardless, I am happy with where I am in life right now.

Living at home gives me an opportunity to spend time with my parents. As I get older, they are also aging. I am simply trying my best to enjoy this time I have with them. I still feel like their son but we have also developed a friendship. It feels freeing to have the chance to be open with your parents. We talk about anything and everything. From our family history, to our jobs, to me getting super drunk last night and needing to sleep all day today. My job is not something I would like to do for the rest of my life but for the time being, it is exactly where I need to be. It allows me to travel without spending my own money. It allows me to make enough to pay my bills, my student loans, and still have fun while putting a little bit of money away every month. It is also fulfilling in a way. The daily interaction I engage in with students and parents helps me feel like I am doing something positive for the world.

Yes, I am single and the single life often has pockets of loneliness. However, I am single! There are a lot of pros that come with it. There are times when I feel insecure about the fact that I am single. For some reason, I have this idea in my head that I should be picking up numbers and going on dates every weekend. A thought pops into my head as another weekend approaches, “I wonder if this will be the weekend when I will hookup with a girl”. I have not been romantically involved with a girl in a while. Is it strictly due to circumstance or is it partly my own choice too? It is probably a little of both. Nevertheless, I know I want something worthwhile and lasting. I do not want a one night stand. I can no longer waste my time or energy. I do not want something that will temporarily fill a void for one night. I want something to invest in. If it means that I have to be patient, then I do not have any other choice. All I know is when I see an opportunity, I am ready for it.

A six-pack has been my goal since I was fifteen years old. I have been chasing this goal for over ten years now. I still do not have one but I feel great about my body. It is not where I would like it to be but I feel strong, limber, and lean. Plus, I look great in my clothes. Tearing my Achilles might have been one of the greatest blessings I have had. The process of recovering from this injury has taught me how to stop relying on running to remain in good shape. I have learned different methods to staying lean while building muscle and strength. My knowledge about fitness and health has expanded greatly. I am not sure if I would have ever learned about intermittent fasting, ketosis, calisthenics, or yoga if I had not injured myself. I would probably still be playing basketball every weekend. Nothing against basketball, I love it, but I just feel like I had come to a standstill. Thankfully, I was forced to make a change. If you are not making the changes you should be, I truly believe that the universe will choose to make that decision for you. You will be given an important choice to keep doing the same thing you have been doing or to take a new route.

Most importantly, this is the best I have felt spiritually. It feels like nothing can disrupt my inner peace and calm. There are things that happen everyday and I am forced to decide if they will affect me negatively. Luckily, I have built enough strength and knowledge about myself to stop myself from falling into the trap. Whenever these circumstances arise, I rely on my daily mantras to get me back on track. Everyday is a battle but I am equipped to go into war. It took a long time to learn how to arm myself with the necessary weapons in order to make it out of the battle. The daily work I invested in myself is definitely worth it and I can see it all paying off.

Now is not the time to stop or slow down. I need to keep going. Now is the time to continue investing in myself. I try to keep this in mind, “grind in your twenties and build in your thirties”. I am trying my best to stay true to this mantra daily. As I continue to try to be the best version of myself everyday, the closer I will get to the life I want to build. There is a lot more to improve on. I will be implementing something new to my life – controlling my alcohol consumption during the weekend. I do not have a drinking problem (I know I know, that is what everybody says but no I am serious). I have a, “I am very disciplined during the week so when the weekend comes, I let loose but it hurts me because my body literally needs the rest of the weekend to recover so I do not do anything else but sleep” problem. I also know I have to separate myself from people who I have outgrown. I have to be more wise about how I am spending my time. Time is the greatest currency in the world. It sounds fucked up but I know who deserves my time and who does not. I will track how these changes affect my daily life. For now, I need to keep going. I am responsible for my choices. I am responsible for my life.

 

Yours Truly,

Ivan

flashback fridays – portland, maine.

Portland, Maine was a spontaneous trip. I am still not sure what convinced me to drive seven hours from New Jersey to Portland by myself and stay at an air bnb for five days.

It was March 2018. Travel season just ended and we were gearing up for the enrollment period (I am an admissions counselor for a small, private university). I was beginning to find my confidence and thinking more positively again. It felt like I was beginning to shed off the weight I have been carrying after going through a break up. I needed something, just anything different. So I went to Maine.

The air bnb was hosted by a couple, Jess and Chris. I never met Chris. Jess was the only one I communicated with. Regardless, they were great hosts. I definitely recommend staying at their humble abode on Preble St. in South Portland. It was a small studio on the third floor of an apartment building. The space was cozy, neat, interesting, and minimal. The first thing I noticed was the drapey tapestry separating the space in between the doorway and the main room. It had a cool pattern. Walking through it kind of gave me a feeling of leaving the outside world and entering a totally different space. A space where you can be yourself, where you can be comfortable, a place where you can rest. It might have been my second favorite detail about the studio. By far, the best thing about the studio was the balcony. The first thing I did after waking up on my first morning was walk out to the balcony. The cold air quickly hit me but the chill felt amazing. It was a calm morning. The only sound I focused on were the waves crashing onto the beach down the street from the studio. It was the only important thing at that moment.

Five days, alone, and in a new environment. This was a dream come true. I spent my days walking, visiting thrift stores, visiting interesting spaces, eating whatever I wanted, and gazing out onto the Atlantic Ocean from Maine’s beautiful coastline. The thrift stores in Portland were different from what I was used to. Two specifically stood out from the rest – Portland Trading Company and Portland Flea for All. Portland Trading Company was not actually a thrift store. It was a goods store owned by a tall, sharply dressed black male. He was an outgoing, interesting fellow. He seemed to have a story for everything. The space was in the basement level of a building, with a trendy retail store right above it. The merchandise was made from good quality materials. It was easy to tell these products were made with care and attention to detail. Clothes, books, journals, pens, shaving products, and many more items were for sale. I left with three journals and a sew on patch (I always try to support local, individually owned businesses). Portland Flea For All was a much bigger space. It literally had anything you could think of. Want a new, old couch? It was there. Need an obnoxiously big mirror? Buy one there. Need some fishing poles? There. Are you looking for a large, terrifying, crying baby mask? Yup you know where to go. The number of items in this place was almost overwhelming. I was amazed at the owner’s ability to shop for that many things. The idea that all of those items came from different people from different places and each had a different story of how it arrived there, was also something special. Side note, I specifically remember a sign on the window before I walked in. It read something like “the owner is the daughter of an immigrant”. Very cool sign. I walked away with a new, old dark olive green patagonia fleece jacket. I wonder who wore this before me? what was he/she like? what was his/her story?

The Maine coastline is indescribable. Specifically, Two Light State Park and Fort Williams Park. Looking out into the ocean felt like looking out into forever. The sound of the crashing waves was hypnotizing. I only felt calmness at this moment. The only thing on my mind was gratefulness for being given the opportunity to even enjoy a moment like this one. It helped me remember, there is more to this life than what I have at home.

I am not sure why but I walked away from this trip less broken than when I started. I was reminded that it is okay to be alone. I was reminded that it is a big world and I am not even close to seeing everything it has to offer. There is a whole world out there for me to explore. This was the beginning of a change in the tides. Nothing extraordinary actually happened during this trip but it will always hold a special place in my heart.

 

Yours Truly,

Ivan.