Having it All Together

Dang it.

I dropped the ball and haven't written in a little while.

Apologies.

I've been busy with my job and moving into a new apartment. Yet, one day, when I still had one foot in my brother's apartment and one in my new studio, I slipped.

I saw my Facebook Newsfeed.

I don't usually do that.

I avoid my Newsfeed intentionally as I have discovered that I don't enjoy a website telling me what I am supposed to know about other people. If I want to see pictures of my friends I prefer them to be shown to me in person over coffee. Or in the very least, having been sent a particular photo directly because it holds some relevance for me personally.

That's not to say that I am not at times interested in the general shares of people that I know, but I am more than happy to seek that info out rather than just have it laid upon my virtual doorstep.

Perhaps I should go through and alter all of my newsfeed settings, but that is incredibly tedious. It's far easier to just avoid it all together.

Of course, the real reason that I don't want to view everyone's shares is that I find it incredibly unhealthy for myself. You know, the whole, "comparison is the thief of joy" concept.

I like to think that I have matured a whole heck of a lot with regard to that idea, but it's amazing how much I really don't want to know what is up with the vast number of Facebook "friends" I have that I no longer interact with.

This age of technology has seemingly pushed aside the forgotten art of losing touch. 

Really and truly. Losing touch is not a bad thing. It makes room for the people and places that are your present. 

That's not to say that you should lose touch with everyone. Some relationships are worth preserving and technology has made communication and interaction possible at a distance. Lovely. But I'm becoming more and more discerning with regard to whose lives I want to allow into my present day psyche.

I'm still figuring out what I want for my life and I have found that my desires can become tainted by viewing other people's choices if I'm not careful.

Yes, I am older and wiser than I was at 18 when this whole FB thing got going, but I'm not entirely confident that I won't be thrown off my rocker by attempting to keep up with the varied happenings and accomplishments of hundreds of people somewhere on the scale of acquaintance to friend.

I'm firmly in my late twenties now and I can say that my life is rather different from what I imagined as a teenager my circumstances would be at this age. 

There was certainly a time when I thought that I would "have it all together" by my late twenties. If "having it all together" by now was some figurative target, it didn't pan out.

Although, I'm not actually sure what "having it all together" truly means. Society tends to label it as financial success, marriage, kids, homeownership etc. Those kind of things. 

Those sort of things are great for a lot of people, but with the exception of the financial angle, they haven't been priorities for me while in my twenties.

And there it is. Surprisingly, after being sucked into a Facebook spiral that revealed that I can, indeed, still be caught off guard by the different life paths of old friends, I found myself having a bit of a revelation. Despite the many, many challenges, I've concluded that I'm kind of digging not "having it all together" quite yet.

I like the fact that I am a bit of a unwritten book. Everyone's story is still unfolding, but I'm pretty sure mine is still sorting out main characters and nailing down major plot points. I like that this is because I've got a multitude of interests, that I desire to pave uncharted territory and that I prefer a certain amount of unconventionality in my life. I enjoy the fact that I know what it feels like to have absolutely no idea how things are going to work out and to still be actively in the creating phase. I feel as though I have great loves and great adventures coming my way and while the uncertainty of it can be unnerving, I'm learning (ever so slowly) to trust in the process and enjoy the moment. 

Here I am. Creating my own undeniably individual course. One day at a time.

Having it all together

Granted, for all of my lack of "togetherness" I suppose I've managed to meet some expectations of "adulthood" and make progress. I've never missed rent (though there have been close calls), I've spent many years able to afford my own apartment without roommates, earned multiple degrees and grown to like who I am as a person a little more each day.

And I guess that is where the joy in my lack of "togetherness" lays: in feeling as though I'm still growing. Despite my lack of many traditional benchmarks, I look back at how I thought and behaved at 18, 22, 25 and recognize huge positive shifts. Despite my own surprise at being in my late twenties, I'm really enjoying being 28.

I realize, of course, that no one ever stops learning, even after "getting it together." Whatever that even means.

Every day presents new wins and challenges that stem growth and there is no such thing as having it "All Figured Out." Still, I kind of like being in a place where I can freely admit to being unabashedly ambling in the wind for a bit longer.

I see some lights at the ends of tunnels, which is necessarily reassuring, but I'm still learning how to combine separate tunnels into one giant chasm that allows for all my varied passions to be tended. 

I suspect that I am not alone in this. I think that my generation has experienced a large influx of unmet youthful expectations with regard to stability and supposed "American Dream" fulfillment coming at a young age. Those of us born in the 80's and 90's are being met with a different economic climate than those who entered the job market at that time. I'm not about to prattle on about student debt and unemployment as it is already being discussed at length by those with more education on the matter, but the point is that less of us are in our dream jobs, in committed relationships and feeling financially secure in our twenties. The technology boom, which has fostered increased communication, global interaction and entrepreneurialism, has presented us all with the wonderful ability to think outside of the box with regard to our livelihoods. With that, however, (and the aforementioned high debt and high unemployment) has come a shift in timeline for classic benchmarks. I rather like the fact that the checklists are being edited, but it can cause some internal struggle when society at large (especially older generations) still reinforce those guidelines. 

Hence, I write this to tell my peers and fellow comrades leery of Facebook-comparison not to judge ourselves so harshly or feel as though we have come up short. 

This is not an argument in favor of complacency, rather it is a suggestion to inject some kindness into whatever inner monologue is happening in our minds. Take away any previously held assertions and instead focus on our own happiness. Of all of the things to feel frustrated about, not meeting arbitrary benchmarks shouldn't be one of them. Sorting out life will always come with its unique set of complications and confusions so perhaps we can at least remove one unhelpful point of upset.

And even more importantly, for those who may "have it all together" let's be clear: you are allowed to still have crappy days. You are allowed to both love your life and be slightly envious of the freedom that can come with being a mess. You are allowed to one day wake up and decide that your current "all together" needs to change to a different version of togetherness. Just as we amblers are allowed to have the best of days (as well as the worst of days that lead to even better days). Amblers are allowed to both love the journey and sometimes shed salty tears of dismay. We are allowed to wake up one day and decide that our feet are tired and we'd like to hang our boots here for a while. 

 

Photos via Pinterest

It's All Things

Not all that surprisingly, many people have asked me, "What's it like to be back in LA?"

I've been trying to figure out how to answer that question and what I have discovered is rather simple: it is all things.

All of the things.

It is strange. It is also normal, which feels kind of strange. It is scary, exciting, daunting, brimming with possibility. Both familiar and different.

The answer to the question, "Is it ______?" is yes.

every emotion

My emotions and sensory perceptions are very changeable. 

It's not that I am feeling every emotion all at once, rather I feel each emotion in quick succession. One moment I'm focused on the possibilities and then I have a momentary freak out.

It's similar to the latest studies that have come out on multitasking, stating that we never really multitask, but instead simply switch back and forth between different actions very quickly.  

It helps to be doing. Idleness for me is the enemy of positive thought. Do not confuse relaxation with idleness; sometimes all I want to do is sit with a cup of tea and watch a favorite show. But that usually comes after having accomplished things and then my mind is happy to chill out. Meditation is not idleness either. Idleness stems from confusion. The "huh, what should I do now?" that can happen when I don't really have anywhere I need to be, my mind is too worn out to write any more job applications, but not quite so tired as to merit just chilling out.  Basically, it is when I create the story within my own head that I should be doing something and I don't really have anything on the docket.

Once again, it is just me. Being crazy. Creating my own upset.

I'm working on it.

Overall, things are quite good.

I'm anxious about employment and income and all of those grownup things, but I'm working towards a happy result, I can tell. It is coming. I'm having interviews, I'm reacquainting with old friends, and I'm remembering/learning my way around this silly city again. I went to Disneyland.

Things are working out and looking up and all other positive turns of phrase. I'm just in a constant state of flux. Which, clearly, most of me really loves. It must, or I wouldn't constantly find myself in these transition phases. Most of me loves change. Is comforted by discomfort. I suppose it makes me feel as if I'm growing, which I am. One of these days, (soon, pretty please) the other part of me is going to learn to trust it and stop spinning stories born of fear and anxiety.

That will be a beautiful day.

beautiful day

photo: 1. source 2. source

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Katie Dawn Habib

Katie Dawn Habib is a Holistic Nutrition Coach with a M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health. By combining her nutrition knowledge with a love of writing, Katie created her own website, The Hungry Gypsy, where she talks about food, nutrition, wellness and travel. On her site you can also find information about her nutrition coaching practice and join in on the conversations. Katie would like to contribute in some small way to global healing and help her clients and readers feel inspired.

Big Announcement

I’m moving back to LA. 

los-angeles.jpg

For how long or exactly what that entails, I do not know.  I’m trying ever so hard to be okay with living in that uncertainty.  In my daydreams I thrive on uncertainty.  Gypsy-wanderer style.  But in my current, everyday reality, such massive uncertainty freaks me the hell out.

To be fair, I am prone to anxiety.  I’m working on it.

I don’t have the specific date of departure yet, but it looks like I will be leaving in the end of April and road tripping it out to Los Angeles.

via fanpop

via fanpop

Annnnnd....enter overwhelm.

Here I am attempting to plan what should amount to a truly epic cross-country road trip with my best friend, and yet all of the questions and details have turned me into an insomniac.

Because here is the thing:  I’m going out there without a job.  Without a fully developed plan.  I mean, I have a partial plan.  I have people that I can stay with and the intention of subletting over the summer so that I don’t have to buy furniture or commit to a lease until I find my footing, with just enough money to do so.  But just enough.  I will need to figure out an income stream fairly quickly and that is stressful. 

I’m from a family that ensures that everything is already worked out ahead of time, instead of trusting that everything will work out in time.

Yes, I am the token risk taker of the family, and I generally like to be flexible and care-free, but my genetics and upbringing betray me and the secret truth is that their fears and concerns do affect me. 

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Interestingly, I’ve got their support on this one.  They know that I have spun myself a tangled web of frustration and restlessness that needs to be broken.  They trust that this is a good move for me.  Beyond good-- necessary.

But then what?

I’ll admit that I hunger for my adventures to include a lot more international travel.  That is certainly the goal.  But, seeing as how I generally want to see EVERYWHERE, I also want to explore more of the U.S.A.  This is a rather large country, after all.  There is a lot here.

via pinterest

via pinterest

A cross-country road trip is on my bucket list and here I am planning to check it off.  That’s amazing.  Plus, I am going to Charleston in a couple days.  Hopefully, Boston next month.  And then I’ll be road trippin’ it.  I even have potential plans to go up to San Francisco for a few days in May and I’ve always wanted to do a pacific coast road trip as well.  So maybe that can be the plan for now.  I’ll get my wandering in state-side first.  I’ll gypsy around the U.S. and enjoy some domestic hungry adventures.  (And get a job of some sort, of course.)

Instead of stressing over how to make everything work out, and how to include all of the epic adventures that I want to have IMMEDIATELY, I will be excited about this change.

(She says because, “Words are the first step towards deeds!” Right, Liz Lemon!)

via pinterest

via pinterest

In truth, writing this all down is helpful.  It pulls the words out of my brain and removes some of the mental clutter.  Between this and some newly revamped sleep hygiene, I’m starting to be able to fall asleep before the wee hours of the morning. 

Progress.

Compare Much?

I got published in Flux!

Thanks Flux!

In their own words: Flux is a space for those of us who are trying to navigate the beginnings of adulthood to safely express our views and experiences on topics that affect our daily lives. Personal stories, reflections, political views—they all have a place here. This is a judgment-free zone for those of us working to figure out what it means to be a “grownup.”

Here is an excerpt of my article titled Maybe Other People's Lives Don't Matter.

As it turns out, turning twenty didn’t actually make me much less like a teenager.

At 18, I really did think of myself as discerning and astute. I had it in my head that I was now a real-life adult and that I was in control of my own life. In actuality, I was often affected by my surroundings and fairly insecure about a lot of things. I suppose being easily influenced is a rather common trait among teenagers. Unfortunately, that unpleasant state of confusion and that search for exterior validation didn’t magically go away when I turned twenty.

I’ve come to realize that classic “peer pressure,” which is often depicted as an exclusive product of childhood, sticks around well into adulthood. In fact, there is a solid possibility that I will one day be 70 and will face manipulation by my fellow 70 year olds. (I’ve worked in a country club and witnessed this happening first-hand.) But, it is definitely an epidemic when we’re in our twenties. I mean seriously, why do you think the most coveted key demographic for advertisers is 18-34? Because we are impressionable! And on top of that, we tend to buy shit. Because we actually believe that we need it!

Granted, besides the already often-discussed consequences of consumerism-gone-wild, I don’t actually think that wanting to wear fashionable clothes or have the latest iPhone is super terrible or indicative of a personal crisis. We are allowed to like shiny things. No, I’m more concerned about being so affected about others’ opinions of how we live our lives.

Click here to read the rest of Maybe Other People's Lives Don't Matter

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Katie Dawn Habib

Katie Dawn Habib is a Holistic Nutrition Coach with a M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health. By combining her nutrition knowledge with a love of writing, Katie created her own website, The Hungry Gypsy, where she talks about food, nutrition, wellness and travel. On her site you can also find information about her nutrition coaching practice and join in on the conversations. Katie would like to contribute in some small way to global healing and help her clients and readers feel inspired.

Getting Yelped

During my early twenties, I held one of those rites of passage, character-building jobs known as being a waitress.  Or for you fancy restaurant industry types: a server.  Yes, I was a server for a couple of years and in general I think I was pretty good at my job. Which, by the way, is actually not a super easy job.  I know it looks like it would be really easy, but the truth is that being a server is only easy when everything goes smoothly and all of your customers are nice.  This never happens.  Instead, you inevitably get some really difficult tables, the kitchen gets backed up, people keep changing their order after you’ve already put it in the computer and you inexplicably get caught trying to take the order of a party of 10 for over 20 minutes.

via blogs.sap.com

via blogs.sap.com

            Most of the time I was pretty good at keeping my cool.  Well, not actually, just in appearance with my tables.  Trust me, all servers are bitching up a storm about how crazed they are to one another in the back.  But every now and again, my horror would show up on my face.  I honestly don’t think it’s my fault; my face is overly expressive.  Can’t be helped.  Still, one day, when I was not stoked to be at work, I served a lady who apparently liked to write reviews on Yelp. 

Remember Naomi from the movie  Waiting.   Every waitress can relate to her.

Remember Naomi from the movie Waiting.  Every waitress can relate to her.

            Okay, so I really would like to talk some trash here because I personally think that it is incredibly shitty to call out a broke waitress by name in an online review unless this person was a straight up jerk.  In all honesty, the write up wasn’t that bad and did not get me fired or anything.  It did get me called out by my manager in a shift meeting, though.  But here’s the thing: I wasn’t great that day.  It started off just fine, but I was feeling grumpy and when she started complaining that the food came out in the wrong order when I didn’t realize that she wanted the food in a particular order my patience was thin.  Normally, I would have put on my standard overly apologetic server speak and been uber nice to make up for it, but that day I wasn’t having it.  It just seemed absolutely ridiculous to me that she required the food in a certain order when this was an average Chinese food restaurant where it’s all pretty interchangeable and most of our clientele doesn’t care.  Or if they do, they specify.  Then when I thought she was completely stiffing me on a tip I made a point not to say my usual “Thank you so much” spiel when she left.  It turned out that she did leave me an okay tip... and a blast on yelp.  Ouch.  Lesson learned. 

            So back to my original point, I still think it’s shitty of her to use someone’s name when it’s not like I called her names or something.  In general, I’m a fan of supporting what you like and not bashing what you don’t.  I think the internet has made it far too easy for people to insult others.  I have never in my life done that and I would never complain about food order or just about anything that seems kind of beside the point.  I’m a super chill customer so it always blows my mind when other people are not.  And yet, I would have been far better off sucking it up and being a gracious server in spite of it.  So here’s the lesson twenty somethings: sometimes you are going to be moody and not like your current “not your dream job” job.  Do a good job anyway.  I mean, don’t kill yourself trying to make the world’s greatest latte or something, but put it this way: you’re never going to regret doing any job well.  You may regret screwing up a job, even one that you didn’t think you cared about.  Being professional does not come back to bite you in the ass.  Being unprofessional might.  Why risk it?

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Katie Dawn Habib

Katie Dawn Habib is a Holistic Nutrition Coach with a M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health. By combining her nutrition knowledge with a love of writing, Katie created her own website, The Hungry Gypsy, where she talks about food, nutrition, wellness and travel. On her site you can also find information about her nutrition coaching practice and join in on the conversations. Katie would like to contribute in some small way to global healing and help her clients and readers feel inspired.

Seriously, How Old AM I?

I think I temporarily threw out my back yesterday.  Sitting in a chair.  WTF?! 

I have a newfound respect for the power of a chair to destroy a person. 

I was at the library.  (Yes, I hurt my back at THE LIBRARY.  Ok, seriously, how old AM I??)  Sitting in a, yes, god awful wooden chair for a couple hours straight, but I am 27! And I take good care of my body! (At least I thought so.  Maybe I need to get back into a regular yoga practice.)

I don't know what I did, but clearly I tweaked my back somehow sitting (in a definitively non-ergonomic chair) and abruptly my whole back was in pain.  On top of that I was suddenly overcome with nausea.  Not fun.  I remedied the situation by crouching in a hip opener pose next to the evil chair for about five minutes until the nausea and pain subsided.  I'm pretty sure the studious nerds at the table next to me were a little uneasy about the strange actions happening beside them.  (And btw, I'm not judging their studious nerd-ness, as I am clearly one of them.)

So how did this happen?  Well, for one, I did break my self-decree of getting up every half hour or so when studying, working on a computer etc and at least walking around for a bit or stretching.  But that mandate easily applies when I'm at home.  I was in a public place with stuff.  Valuable stuff like a computer and phone.  And while I probably could have trusted the people who were VOLUNTARILY AT THE LIBRARY in the middle of the day, the "never EVER leave your stuff unattended" mentality of a post 9/11 America trumped my sense of body awareness and I remained seated the entire time.  Until the pain.

The funny thing is that as a nutrition professional, my mind went, "maybe it's because I haven't taken magnesium recently."  Which, I still kind of stand by (or crouch by, as it were) since I have a well documented history of magnesium deficiency that is worsened when I'm stressed, (say studying for an exam) and I had forgotten to take my magnesium supplements.  It feels a little fast acting for neglecting to take a supplement a mere couple days, but I don't know, maybe.  Nausea and muscle cramping are symptoms of magnesium deficiency.  Regardless, I seem to be okay today, having since taken magnesium, but I will certainly make a point of getting up and walking around regularly at work.  I suppose the take away from this rather disconcerting ordeal is to always remember to pay attention to my body.  Because I totally wanna be this lady when I'm 80:

Old woman doing yoga
photo credit: Pinterest
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Katie Dawn Habib

Katie Dawn Habib is a Holistic Nutrition Coach with a M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health. By combining her nutrition knowledge with a love of writing, Katie created her own website, The Hungry Gypsy, where she talks about food, nutrition, wellness and travel. On her site you can also find information about her nutrition coaching practice and join in on the conversations. Katie would like to contribute in some small way to global healing and help her clients and readers feel inspired.

Welcome to The Hungry Gypsy

I have been putting off starting this site for a little while now.  You see the grand plan for this site is to document my hungry travel adventures.  Hunger both for food, yes, and the deeper soul hunger.  I want to talk about healing, happiness and connection.  A big part of that will be about food, but not all of it.  Sounds great! (I say to myself) So what’s the problem?

The issue is that at the moment, I’m not actually traveling.  I had it in my mind that I couldn’t possibly start this site until I was literally on the road, with travel stories to share and wondrous photos to post.  And then I decided that was bullshit.  That it was an excuse to not be doing what I want to be doing, which is kind of reminiscent of my life right now where I am not traveling instead of traveling. 

So technically I am a wannabe, which even though I don’t honestly believe this, feels kind of like being a fraud.  But that, once again, is the little critic in my head telling me lies.  The truth (I imagine) is that the story of how I will get from here (not yet traveling) to there (actually traveling) is going to be an adventure all its own, and hopefully will make for a damn good story (or an introduction to my even larger story).  After all, I am hardly the only twenty-something gal who wants to be traveling, but isn’t, so I figure maybe I can be a tad helpful to those of you out there who will be able to learn from my (sure to happen) trials and tribulations. 

Hiking photo of Katie

So here’s the run down on why I want to do this.  I had the wonderful, amazing, fabulous, fantastic, stellar (insert additional positive adjectives here) experience of studying abroad in New Zealand during my undergrad.  I spent approximately 6 months back packing around The Way Down Under, with a couple of short jaunts to Australia and Fiji thrown in for good measure.  Ever since then I’ve had the travel bug and I’ve had it bad.  And that was in….2007.

….Yea.  So what on Earth happened between 2007 and now?  Well, I returned to Los Angeles and completed my bachelor’s at USC.  Then, I moved into my first big girl apartment in LA where I was actually responsible for rent and bills.  (Although to be fair, my parents did help me out a couple of times with some fast cash when my rent check would have bounced….yikes.  Those were bad times.  I literally gave myself a stress rash two months in a row when rent was due.  I’m not proud of those times.) 

Then I managed to stabilize my income slightly and moved into my own 1 bedroom apartment, still in LA, and learned how much I crave and appreciate some alone time.  GOOD LORD was it glorious to come home and have space all to myself!  Unfortunately, I was also a highly unsatisfied waitress at the time.  It was then that I discovered that I was a NERD for food documentaries, food/nutrition books, cooking, and EATING of course.  I love how food connects all people and is the centerpiece of culture.  I’ve always been an outdoorsy environmentalist, so I easily became entranced with knowing where our food comes from and the impact of various farming practices.  So, this whole obsession with “food as medicine” and the idea of really wanting to help people and be of service resulted in me going back to school to get my Master’s Degree in Nutrition and Integrative Health.  The catch?  The program was back in Maryland, where I’m originally from, and I would be moving out of my solo haven back in with my parents…into my old high school room.  Of course the original plan was to crash at my parents only for a few months until I got a full time job and moved into my own place.

HA. HA.  Cut to nearly two years later and I am still living at my parents’ because grad school is hard (dammit!) and there are only 24 hours in a day, which means that being a full time student and working full time was crazy talk.  Instead, I got a part time job that paid (sadly) far less than what I was making as a waitress in LA.  Although, at least I’m no longer a fucking waitress.  (Or “server” for you restaurant types.  You restaurant types will also understand why I said the previous statement and why the language was 100% necessary.)

I will travel the world

So here I am.  Finishing up my M.S. and completing my clinical internship, while working part time in a wellness center and sleeping in my old twin-sized bed (I shit you not).  I am staring down graduation in (hopefully) a month or so, assuming I can complete all of my clinical requirements that quickly, and I really don’t know what is next.  I do know that I want to travel.  Now I’ve got to figure out how to make that happen.

So I decided to take the plunge.  If my dream is to one day (quite soon, hopefully) be on the road with a travel-food-community-wellness-soul centered website, then maybe I should start the damn website.  So here it is, my new site dedicated to trying to live a life of adventure and following my bliss all starting while I’m still finishing up my Master’s Degree and crashing at my parents’ house.  Let’s do this.

 

Photo credits: Pinterest
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Katie Dawn Habib

Katie Dawn Habib is a Holistic Nutrition Coach with a M.S. in Nutrition and Integrative Health. By combining her nutrition knowledge with a love of writing, Katie created her own website, The Hungry Gypsy, where she talks about food, nutrition, wellness and travel. On her site you can also find information about her nutrition coaching practice and join in on the conversations. Katie would like to contribute in some small way to global healing and help her clients and readers feel inspired.