Queen of California

While this happens to be my favorite John Mayer song (tied with 5 others), it also seems to be a new identity I’m trying out. 7 weeks ago now, I packed up a few suitcases filled with vaccuum-sealed bags of clothing and my Vitamix… and that’s about it, jumped on a plane going west, and moved myself to the Bay Area! Working in San Francisco and commuting from Berkeley (soon to be Oakland), I’ve been enjoying a new life as West Coast Girl. Sunshine 90% of the time, bike lanes found as frequently as man buns (read: very), cafes with specially designed frothable almond milk, and starts up on every block. Literally.

When I moved, I decided to give myself some transition time. Not one to be well-versed in “giving myself a break,” I dove in head first. Most days for the first month, I came home from work and lazed at home. Going from a stressed college life to summer vacation to summer camp to a full time job in a new city is surprisingly exhausting. So I adjusted. I’ve been living with a60 year old Nigerian mom, whose social life is arguably more vibrant than mine. But most nights, we see each other in the kitchen, and then say goodnight as we head into our respective bedrooms. At 9:30pm. What can I say, I’m an old soul and a morning person. [AARP, where you at with my senior specials?] I also wasn’t exercising regularly. While I knew that exercise made me happy, I knew that stressing out about it had the opposite effect. So I ran when I was in the mood, took some Pure Barre classes, and explored Berkeley on foot. I even went for a beautiful hike in Tilden Park, which proved to be emotionally rejuvenating and the most glute work I’ve done in months. Dat booty.

My break also included active self-care. I didn’t journal, or meditate, or practice yoga, or reflect. I decided that being in autopilot for a few weeks was ok: My attention span is limited, so focusing on 1 big thing–getting used to the real working girl life–was all I could handle.

Now, I’m settled in. Life makes sense here, now. Next week, I move into a new apartment with a colleague and her sister where my space can be by own, and my commute is cut in half. I know I’m ready, because the reflecting has begun. I’m realizing my need to stay grounded by the people I love. My best friend, homie homie Allie, visited me this past weekend, and it was like for the first time since July, I could relax my shoulders, like I was breathing clean air for the first time. Being around someone who knew and loved me to the core reminded me who I am and how to love that person.

I am learning that having work life balance means actively creating life outside of work, not merely recuperating from work until you return. My creative brain must fire on just as many cylinders after 6pm as my strategic brain in the office before then. Fatigue is a result of more than exhaustion, but of not energizing myself in ways that matter to me.

I am reminded that my physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional strength all grow in tandem. When I trust and believe in my ability to get stronger, my body follows, I feel better, and I know myself on a deeper level. If I ignore my need to develop my strengths, they work against each other.

And I am relearning everyday that it’s ok for some people to not like me. That is simply confirmation that I am being authentic to my true self and not compromising my identity to be a chameleon. Being unliked by someone does nothing to diminish my value. Unicorns trump chameleons, every single time.

Over the past 2.5 years, this blog has taken many forms. In truth, right now I don’t know what this blog is now. I feel a strong pull to reflect and share my life, if only to help myself understand the innards of my brain, and to express my creative self. This post is surprisingly un-funny, which I’m teaching myself is ok: even Jim Carrey has had uncomfortable conversations with his mom, or sad confessions with his best friend.

I think my plan is to write about my food + fitness + life happiness / revelations. But we’ll see.

xo

Caitlin

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