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4 Times 5 Twice

by Hannah Farrow about a year ago in self help
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2020 Silly

4 Times 5 Twice

In the beginning of 2020, I was a college student who was in a failing relationship clinging to a serving job I had held for 5 years at one of the busiest airports in the world, DFW. I was working at a restarant 40 hours a week and taking 5 classes. I was miserable. I was out of shape although fitness and health were my passion. I was emotionally crippled, me and my ex had put each other through the ringer. I was struggling with school, and as someone who held a 4.0 up through her Junior year, well that was the worst pill to swallow. I had completely lost sight of who I was, what mattered and what I wanted out of life. I was living to keep someone who didn’t even really know me and struggling to maintain a positive outlook.

Springbreak should have made me enough money to cover the cost of school but it was different this year. At the restaurant I was working with people who had known me since I was 18. They were family and boy were we killing ourselves laughing about covid. People were acting ridiculous. Asking us questions about what kind of soap we used and if the restaurant was clean. Is your beef sanitized? Ma’am what the hell does that even mean?

We all kind of just looked at them and answered each tedious question with the gentlest reassurance but went back to the kitchen and laughed about their ignorance. Most restaurant kitchens are just as dirty as the one you have in your home. Sorry to spoil it y’all, even the highest priced plate came out of a kitchen that probably had at least a couple roaches and a few rats somewhere. Especially at the airport, so since when do you care about cleanliness America? That’s how we felt and then something crazy happened. The flights quit coming in. People were not flying on spring break. A week that made us thousands left us sitting at tables playing Uno looking at each other feeling hopeless. Maybe Covid wasn’t so funny.

We weren’t making any money at all. In the state of Texas servers get paid 2.13$ an hour. We depend on tips. And the pandemic was looking like it was about to change all of our lives. We thought at the airport we were never going to get hit by anything that could affect our paychecks so deeply and yet Covid had something different to say.

We were all sent home in March after weeks of 2 people at a time working the entire floor. Wearing mask and gloves all day. I was drained. Add school, the boyfriend my life my body ugh it was just awful. For the first time since 15 I didn’t have a job. I was beyond depressed. No one would interview me because my resume listed the airport as the last place I worked and everyone was deathly afraid of the virus. Eventually, a friend of mine told me about a place doing walk-in interviews. I was so relieved. It was better than nothing. 13.50$ an hour working from home. I just couldn’t bring it in me to depend on my boyfriend anymore especially knowing how transactional he had the tendency to be. I got the job and honestly it was so last minute I didn't even expect to get the position. Immediately after I was hired, the hiring manager asked if I wanted to be considered for an administrative position. I said yes and was moved over to become the admin for the recruiting department. About 3 months later I was promoted to Recruiter. The 13.50$ was tough at first, I worked both the restaurant (once it was safe to return) and that job for a while as I tried to finish school. I was so tired. There was no emotional security in my relationship and I remember crying in the shower and in the closet so many times. My ex had made comments about me being weak so I was determined to never let him see me crying again. Super healthy, I know. Then, in July, I was promoted to a position that was making more money than I ever had made as a server. In fact most 23 year olds were not making the amount I started making with my company and my whole life relaxed a little.

Before that happened I did something else I didn’t think was possible. I graduated with my Bachelor’s of Arts in Organizational Communication in May of 2020 with a Minor in English. I was just moving through each day trying to make it through that moment. Surviving. And yet by only focusing on the present moment my life started to change. School became doable again. I just focused on each task at hand. My job, which was insane for a while, became something I found a rhythm for. But it started in the everyday. My relationship continued to deteriorate though. For months I just became more and more focused on myself and my journey and eventually my ex broke up with me. It was complicated but that is what happened. I was relieved when it was over. He was not a bad person we simply weren’t meant for each other. My health, my loved ones and my purpose became my focus. I started working out again and training people as I had when I was in college. I worked to get my certification in Personal Training and Nutrition which I still have not completed but will be done with before June of this year. My clients trust me anyway. It was my approach with them that they enjoyed and I learned in life most times it is about the approach, the mindset. I started hiking which I had loved to do but had given up because my ex wasn’t really an outdoors guy. He liked material things and going out and drinking. I didn’t. I liked being in nature, animals, reading and helping people with their lives. I had spent 18-21 volunteering at my church helping people break out of negative behavior patterns in a program called Celebrate Recovery. The program was responsible for so much of my own personal growth. My time in organized religion is definitely over but I found out I was good at helping people and I enjoyed doing so.

My job as recruiter fit me like a glove. I spent my days interviewing people and matching them up to opportunities that fit them best and I saw so many people really blossom into a success professionally the same way I had seen some of my clients blossom in their health and wellness. In December of 2020 I was approved for a mortgage.

Less than a year from being in the darkest and worst place of my life I am about to purchase a home, doing what I really love on the side while preparing to go back to school for my Doctorates in Physical Therapy. I am making more money than I ever have. I have more peace than I ever believed possible. I hike every weekend. Kayak when the weather allows and have nothing planned but trips to see more of our beautiful planet, help people along the way if I can and learn as much as possible. I lost a lot of friends, my relationship and the job I thought I would still be doing even now but gained so much more. I would like to share with you what I learned in the process. Just these 6 things.

Do the thing everyday

This is a simple concept but it stands to reason that we only become more of what we do all the time. Our bodies work on this concept. It is called the principal of specificity which states in so many words that our bodies will become better at doing what we ask them to do every day. Don’t believe me? If you lift 20 pounds every day with one hand you will start to notice that it is getting lighter. Not because it actually is, but you are getting stronger. Your body is adapting. It is what we are made to do. So if you want to get better at your job, do it to your best ability everyday. You will get better at it. If you want to become stronger, consistently lift weights in the gym. If you want be healthier, do healthy things every day. Now if you have heard all that crap before let me illustrate this point with a different concept. Atrophy. That principle of specificity works in the opposite direction. If you do nothing everyday you will get better at doing nothing. People who sit for most of their week and abandon physical activity will find it harder to get active than before they took on the sit and stay life style. Atrophy is the process by which your muscles shrink and you literally become better at doing nothing because your body is doing nothing to stimulate or maintain the muscle mass. Your body becomes better at what it does everyday…..did you hear me….if you do nothing everyday it will become harder for you to do anything because you are getting better at doing nothing. And it is because you do it everyday. Cognitive dissonance is when your actions do not match up with your values, thoughts and beliefs. I believe it is the source of most anxiety. When you are out of alignment and when you do things every day that negate what you want your life to be like…I believe it creates anxiety within us. I can’t remember where I read it but somewhere it said that action relieves anxiety. Can’t be anxious about something if you are taking action about it. I believe anxiety is also a real disorder and I do not underscore its seriousness but just like I don’t believe people are genetically prone to being unhealthy in most cases, I don’t believe mental disease is what most of us our destined for either.

Environment matters

I have never cared much for what people thought of me. But people who love me or are attached to those I love psh….I was bending over backwards and doing cartwheels trying to stay in their good graces. I was in this environment constantly seeking approval and being fearful of the day I would be cut off by certain people. Or seen in a negative light by certain people. It made me criticize everything I did. I was around people who criticized everything that happened in front of them and around them. Constantly passing judgement. It made me judgemental of others and myself. I was scared to leave the house hoping that I would pass peoples' standards which I had literally never cared about before but I was surrounded by people who did. My body also was not where I wanted it to be. I was drinking constantly, not eating right and spending more money than I was saving trying to keep up. It’s because of the people I was around. I always look for signs in the natural to give me wisdom for living. Our bodies respond to stimulus and adapt to survive. I have learned socially we act the same way. We want to survive socially so we adapt to do so but what if the social group you’re in bases you surviving in the group on habits that are not healthy for you? That means you have prioritized your social survival in that environment over your real survival and your real success for people who don’t even care about their own let alone yours. Not even our skin is a completely firm barrier. It is a semi-permeable membrane that allows things to pass through it regardless of whether that chemical or substance is good for us. Our minds work the same way. You are absorbing the energy, the habits and the lifestyle of the people around you. If it doesn’t match up with what you want for your future you need to change your social environment.

Be you

Darlin I blast Lion King's Circle of Life from my little Corolla’s speakers as loud as it will go and I don’t plan to ever stop. Despite my disdain for organized religion, I love our Creator. I believe they love us and will also blast a worship song on the way to the club if I’m feeling too grateful. When I want to indulge I go big, I don’t go home. I laugh at nearly everything because I believe you can find humor in most things. I love learning people’s stories because they are so unique. I sing constantly but can’t hold a note to save my life. I have piercings and tattoos that are just the beginning of decorating my amazing body that I am so grateful for. I love reading and learning. Knowing things is so dope to me. Our bodies fascinate me and I love how amazing they are and what they are capable of doing. I love being outside. I love nature intensely like a person. Some places I leave and hope that I will still be able to come back one more time before my life changes again but these sentiments make me who I am. I am a firm believer in indulging in all of your little habits that don’t harm others and simply bring you joy. Chase those moments because they will lead you deeper into who you really are. It’s how I knew I was meant to be in the health field helping others. It’s how I knew I was meant to be in social roles for work because of my love of people’s stories and of laughter and damnit if humans aren’t the funniest things on earth. The Office alone. I mean come on. The trails taught me that my body was meant to be mobile. I wanted to experience more and more of them and that is what led me to pursue optimum health so I could explore the earth with just my two feet. Spend time alone. It isn’t so bad. You will get to know yourself better and honestly now I really dig me. I am super dope and there is nothing wrong knowing that. You are too but only when you’re you.

…but be Accountable

Seriously. One of the most triggering things for me to hear, which I am working on, is "this is just how I am." No ma’am Pam. No sir chauffeur. You are in control of every decision you make. You are not a slave to your impulses. You have the power to act right. If your behavior is hurting someone (and they aren’t a crazy person who is trying to change something about you to suit their preference) you need to stop. I am pretty sure we are all aware of the difference between right and wrong.

Lying. Wrong. I’ve done it.

Cheating. Wrong. I’ve done it.

Gossiping. Wrong. I’ve done it.

Spreading negativity. Stop. I am trying to stop too.

Don’t just hold yourself accountable. Hold other’s accountable for their behavior with you as well. If you want the relationship to continue in a healthy way you have to. If you don’t, resentment will build and you will lose them either because you can’t take it anymore or you do something ugly out of spite.

Right and wrong in relationships…well that is just a hard fight to win so when something is bothering you simply say it is bothering you. Let the person know their behavior is upsetting you and sit down with them and try to figure out what is going on. Tell them when you do XYZ I feel ABC. If they turn into a screaming banshee see my second point about letting go. If you turn into a screaming banshee time for you to take a beat and figure out what work you need to do in yourself to be able to communicate effectively and maturely. Accusing them of something being wrong with them for the thing they’re doing is not only counterproductive, you very well could be wrong too. If you are unable to have these kinds of conversations, leave romance alone, you are not ready for a serious relationship and honestly need to do some soul searching friend. I have dealt with the screaming banshee but I have also been the screaming banshee. Holding yourself accountable and apologizing for your hurtful and negative behaviors creates more room for others to do the same. I can’t say I have always turned the other cheek. However, I mean it when I say that I have never regretted the decision to be the bigger person but have always regretted acting out of spite and in retaliation.

Be here or be where your minds at

When you are present you don’t have the ability to worry about the future or regret the past and in that space I believe anxiety cannot exist. You are where you’re at. If something is weighing so heavily on your mind that you cannot ground yourself in the current moment go adress it. If you are not able to then you need to let it go and be grateful for the breaths you currently take. I am about to burst your bubble.

You did nothing to earn your life therefore your deserve nothing and truly own nothing.

Everything you have is a gift because you didn’t earn the life that allows you to be here.

So be grateful and be present. While every moment may not be good I am a firm believer that there is something good in every moment. Cliche I know, but being present will make you grateful because you will start to see just what all you do have. Gratitude I believe, is the key to happiness. It all starts with a choice. Are you going to be right where your feet are at or do you want to continue living in your head where you can’t enjoy anything around you?

Love

Make eye contact when you walk down the street and smile at strangers. It’s going to be weird and awkward at first but this alone will change your life. Smiling and being open. Being kind. Doors will open for you that you never thought possible when you stay present and stay loving. Listen. I think if we all listened more we would be in a much better place. I know I have struggled to listen but now I am all ears. The amazing thing about listening is it will show you who to love up close and who to love from afar. You have to show love though because the world is getting crazy right? In all realness I want to love on people. Know their stories, learn from them, and hopefully and humbly teach them something that could add value to their lives given the opportunity. Love simply acknowledges that we are all imperfect people in an imperfect world and doesn’t take that fact personally. If they hurt you it has more to do with them than you most times…unless you fucked up then you hurt yourself friend. I've done it. Both scenarios can be avoided through the proper application of love. Remember how love works. It’s patient. It’s kind. It doesn’t boast. It listens. It’s present. It’s honest and it’s in you. And if you let it out. If we all let it out, the world just might fix itself.

I have not said anything new here dear friends, in fact all these thousands of years later is there anything new for any of us to say? I had a pastor who used to say there is nothing new under the sun. I am inclined to agree with him. It's good news though. That means you are not the first person to be hurt. You are not the first person to hurt. You are not the first person to fail. You are not the first person to procrastinate. You are not the first person to self sabotage. You are not the first person to miss an opporutnity. Also this is not the first pandemic. It should make you feel less alone in your hard moments when you realize many before you and many after you have survived what you are going through. Many are making it work each day in their own way.

That sounds like it diminishes your existence but it doesn't, in fact it means the only thing truly unique here is us. You are the only one of you that will ever exist which means it is up to you to live like no one else will. We will all do similar things but how we do it will define those actions and make them special. You are intricate, not insigificant. Your purpose is woven into mine and in that way we all depend on each other. My final bit of advice is not to think about what you will do this year. Think about what you will do today, everyday.

self help

About the author

Hannah Farrow

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