Lessons learned while on vacation 

Puuhonua O Honaunau: City of Refuge

I was on vacation. Well, I was on a mental vacation (After my last post), then we (the husband and I) followed the mental vacation with an actual vacation. We learned several things while on our vacation:

  1. Small children should not be allowed in First Class (or more so, if the mother knows her child is going to be a crying, vomiting pill the entire 5 hour and 15 minute flight, maybe she should not book those First Class seats because I do not think that those of us who were sitting in First Class will be none too thrilled. note: we booked First Class, one way, because Honeymoon – it was our Honeymoon).
  2. While the cost for the shuttle is only $10 one way, make sure you have the time to travel an additional 40 minutes to get to your hotel (when it should only take 15 minutes).
  3. The rolling and shaking on a giant boat is similar to earthquake swarms. We worry when we next feel a tremor. We might have flashbacks to being back on the boat.
  4. The premium beverage package is both great and dangerous.
  5. If you are normally a very clean eater, making your meals 95% of the time, 10 days on a boat will do a number on your stomach (and your waistline, or thighs in my case). Sure the portions were small, but so much butter, so much sugar – how do people normally eat like that? How did I use to normally eat like that?
  6. The casino does not seem so appealing if all you earn is credit towards perks you already got for free when you booked your cruise.
  7. $39 for a Bingo board?!?!
  8. Sommeliers are the best people to become friends with on the boat – they become so generous with their pours.
  9. Soda does taste differently in a specifically designed glass (seriously, try this – pour some soda in a regular drinking glass, then pour some in a champagne glass. You will taste the difference. Mindblowing).
  10. The rolling motion of the boat works really well when getting a massage.
  11. A veranda is great, until you are in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for 5 days. Brrrrr.
  12. By day 7, you are done, you are ready to go home, relax, being in your own bed, but you cannot. There are still three more days at sea.
  13. Sure you booked your ride home from the airport. Sure you confirmed they would be there to pick you up. Is it not amazing that when you land, you learn they never had you on their books? So, instead, you take a $200 taxi ride home, during Friday night Bay Area traffic, in a taxi with a maximum speed of 60mph?
  14. How wonderful it is to open the front door of your home to see that no-one broke in and stole your stuffs (a big concern because just before we left, there were a series of break-ins in our neighborhood).

I feel good. Why does that make me feel bad?

I feel good. I am riding a lovely high of “Life is good” and I am enjoying it. It feels good – great, amazing, fantastic – to be enjoying life. I am happy. I spent so much of my life not happy. Now I am and I find myself feeling bad about it. Why? Why do I do that?

I see what others are going through right now, and it makes me feel bad that I feel good. I find that when I am talking with certain people, I hide my happiness and contentment as best I can, because their lives are not going so well. Is this why I try to find reasons to be unhappy? I do not want them to feel like they are the only ones suffering?

Seriously, why do I feel bad about feeling happy? Why can I not be more selfish about my own happiness? Honestly, most of the time that I feel good, there is this little voice in the back of my brain telling me that I should not boast about it – others are not as happy.

When my brain needs to react (to anxiety for example) it does not. When I need my brain to keep silent, it shouts. My brain and I need to have a little conversation after this. It apparently does not understand the priority levels for what is to what is not important.

I feel good and I should feel good about it.

Emotionally speaking…

It is raining rather hard right now, and it is distracting me. I want to stare out the window and watch it. However, I have an entry to write, so let us focus, shall we?

Last week, I came across a test question that resonated with me a little more than I had anticipated: You see yourself as emotionally stable.

Do I see myself as emotionally stable? Yes, but not in the way you would normally think. I am emotionally stable because my emotions make me who I am. This is only a recent self-discovery moment for me.

Even the emotions that frustrate me. Like the ones that cause me to cry. I cry a lot. I cry because I am frustrated, or angry, or sad, or anxious, or stressed, and when I am happy. In the past, this bothered me. I would cry more.

Now, I realize that my emotions are what guide me through the harder moments of my life. Yes, also the easy ones. My emotions are my “gut” – they make sure I am listening so I make the right choices.

<side note – ever have on of those days where typing seems really foreign? I am having one of those right now.>

I tend to fight my emotions and consider them a sign of weakness. In truth, they are my strength and I should rely on them more. More good has come from situations where I allow my emotions to be in control. Yes, even the bad moments. My emotions are there to aide me.

I might not be emotionally stable. That might not be the right thing. Emotionally aware?

That is more accurate. I am emotionally aware.

note: if you were curious, the “You see yourself as emotionally stable” statement comes from the Myers Briggs test. If you are super curious, I am an INFJ-T

It’s the end of the year that we just lived, and I feel fine.

I started this entry at the end of 2015. I never managed to finish it. The plan was to do the usual reflection on the previous year, blah blah blah. And I wrote a considerable amount. However, it never made it to post.

Also, on the last day of 2015, I sat down and started to reflect on the year in my journal. I did not get that far on that either.

You know why? I do not need to. There is no need for inner reflection. Writing on the last day of each year was a release for the part of me that needed the ear. I needed an “ear” to hear me out regarding every thing I did or did not do during that particular year.

I wrote about the good, the bad, the embarrassing, and the perplexing moments. I wrote about my goals for the new year. The plans I had for myself in those entries were daydreams I did not have the determination to make realities.

Every year, I would repeat this inner reflection.

This past year, I decided not to. I can reflect on the past and dream about the future all I want, and continue to be a passive passenger in my own life. Or, I can be proactive and actually do something.

Which I am doing. Instead of talking about the great dreams I have for the year, I have started working on them.

I am working on a rewrite of short story right now, which is going a direction I never anticipated.

My paints, pencils, and brushes are starting at me, itching to be in my hand. 

My goal for this year is to live in the moment.

And I would to get back to that now.

That time when I found my “Eureka” moment

This past weekend, I talked with my husband about the trouble I am having is dealing with the fear of starting. When I want to start something, the fear kicks in. when this fear kicks in, another issue also surfaces – I am afraid of letting people down. Not so much letting myself down, but letting others down.

In my head, everyone depend on me. Everyone depends on me to do something great, or have the answers, or know how to obtain the answers. I have the talent. I am the smart one. I am the one that always either knows what to do. It is a lot to live up to.

Since I can remember people expected me to do great things because I am talented. My art teachers, my design teachers, my family, and even friends. These people expected me to do amazing things. So, when my mother said that I do not have the emotionally strength to be a designer – it stuck with me. It has always been there in the back of my mind, since the late 90’s when I was out of college and just starting out. I wanted to prove her wrong.

And maybe that might have been a key point in how I began to approach my career in graphic design.

Creativity needs emotion. It thrives on it. Maybe that moment in time, that car ride (yes, i even remember the she said it – on the 101 E, No 1 lane, just before the 405, it was daytime) was the starting point of my shutting down, creativity, to get the job done. I removed the emotional factor related to my work. Subconsciously, I chose that moment to separate my creativity from my ability to be a designer. It is why I tended to enjoy layout & production of catalogs. It was confined and tapped into the logical, puzzle solving portion of my mind. If creativity was needed, it was to creatively make everything fit and not how it made me feel when everything did fit. (Okay, there were feelings, but I can compare the feelings more in line with when you can pull on a pair of pants a size smaller than you use to. That feeling.) I started to gravitate towards geometrical as opposed to organic shapes. My work was structured, everything had a specific place. Creativity, was not needed after a while, at all.

The few times I had to create something, it was a very simple element. Symbols.

Being a designer became a profession that was an emotional void for me, creativity. It is something I only realize now. If there is no emotion, there is no passion left for what I did. Sure, I was still emotionally charged, but it was the wrong emotions. Instead of emotions of release and joy, an creative fulfillment, I was feeling and encouraging emotions of stress, rage, panic, and doubt.

So, this loss of passion did not happen over the eight years at my last full-time job, like I had thought. It went away when I started my first design job in 1998, when I started my first job.

There is that moment, when something in your head clicks, and all the scattered pieces start clicking back together, fitting into place, like a puzzle. This is that “Eureka!” moment that happened this past Monday morning.

Since, I have been enjoying each day, feeling really good. I love feeling this good. I plan on keeping this good feeling going for as long as I can.

And I will need it. I have a lot of creative projects to work on.


I could wait until my usual Thursday posting (my usual attempt at posting on that day, that is), but I feel like this cannot wait. I need to share with something right now.

I just had my “Eureka” moment. For two years, I have tried to figure out where my passion for creativity went. My morning journal writing just showed me that it happened at the beginning of my design career.

One statement was said to me, “I do not think you can emotionally handle being a graphic designer,” by someone whom was looking out for me.

That was it. That moment, that conversation, that statement was when I subconsciously took the path that would suppress my creativity and passion for being creative.

I will expand on this in my normal weekly post, but I had to get this out now.

TIme to celebrate this moment with a shower.


Enjoy your Monday!

Cue the End Titles

This past week continued the depression and malaise I have been battling since – well pretty much since last year. I have been making so many excuses to why I am out of sorts.

  • My hormones are still out of whack one year after my surgery.
  • No one wants to hire me (with exception to insurance companies sending out form letters that my design resume perfectly fits a life as an insurance agent).
  • I do not have a professional purpose.
  • I cannot create anything original.
  • I do not exercise enough.
  • I am tired. I am burnt out.
  • I am lazy.
  • Blah, blah, blah…

I can go on with this. We all can. Damn those little demon voices.

I finally figured out the root of my depression and it makes sense.

I no longer want to do what I have been doing since I graduated from high school. I am ending my career as a graphic designer. Done. No more. My outlook is brighter since realizing this. Sure I might be enjoying the initial “Eureka!” high, but I am also feeling that this time, I hit it. I figured out the culprit to my current depressive bout.

Initially, I started to write a very long-winded blog entry trying to explain why I am done with being a designer. It was like I had to justify to everyone why I am making this decision. I do not need to. Still, here is a abbreviated reason.

Being a graphic designer did not make me feel happy.. It has caused me stress and worry, the final results never gave me the creative high I was looking for. I was a graphic designer because that is what was expected of me.

Ah, doing something because it is expected of you. There it is.

The underlying thought behind it all: It was expected of me. Enter the plunge down the depression slide. That is something to work out in my personal journal.

I should bring this to a close.

An image comes to mind as I finish writing this week’s entry and that is the ending for every episode of the television series, The Incredible Hulk. David Banner (TV show, remember, not the comics or movies) walks down the road while a melancholy instrumental plays him off.

This week, instead of Banner, that is me. However, while the music starts off melancholy, it slows picks up its pace as does my step. Suddenly, I am skipping and it is the music during the ending credits for Little House on the Prairie.