being positive, and other BS we’re fed . . .

Yesterday, an old co-worker turned dear friend of mine contacted me out of the blue with a simple work related question. A few texts later we exchanged the answers to “How have you been?” in which mine was a quick reference to the crazy roller coaster ride I’ve been on lately.

Her reply surprised me because it wasn’t anything that was in agreeing about how life is crazy, or fucked up or anything about keeping tabs on who is suffering more.  It simply stated that she hoped the ride was joyous and blissful because I deserved it, especially knowing where we both came from trying to plant our roots in our careers and ourselves just 2 short years ago.

At that moment, it was exactly what I needed to hear.  The hours that followed this sweet message consisted of me being inadvertently called out for worrying too much and not being able to live and enjoy the present moment from more than one person. Of course, there was more to the story, especially dealing with the craziness of the last few months but this day in particular left me feeling like a really shitty human being and the worst part was I couldn’t find a damn thing to truly justify it because I agreed.  It felt like I got slapped in the face with the reality of what I looked like to the people closest to me and how I really didn’t enjoy what that was.

It got me thinking . . .

Did it really have to be this way?

Is it true that this ride CAN be joyous and blissful all the time?

And more importantly . . .

Am I in control of it?

I think a real issue that has stayed with me for as long as I can remember is that I tend to be very black and white with most things that I do.  Its all or nothing, good or bad, diet or binge.  I guess that is to be expected from a former young wannabe bodybuilder, but that stage of my life has passed leaving me with that last little bit of these life lessons to conquer.

I use this mentality when my judgement gets crossed.  Someone telling me I am too negative or worrysome (even if its me) immediately throws me into this tale spin of me trying to be positive and happy 100% of the time like one of those creepy people (you know at least one) that justifies EVERYTHING as a universal lesson which leaves them no room to take personal responsibility for anything.  When that fails, I get “negative”, pissed off and want to punch everyone that tells me to “live in the moment” far into the future . . . just because.

What I have come to believe is we are not MEANT to be positive 100% of the time. The situations in our lives that get us mad or angry or sad are just a part of it, just like death is a part of life. Furthermore, things are not MEANT to always go your way either.  This is a huge indicator of life putting you on a better path and allowing you to have different feelings, emotions and THINGS that will ultimately keep propelling you forward or backward or whatever is in store for you . . . unless you’re boring and have completely settled on a mundane life.

We are MEANT to feel like shitty human beings sometimes and it’ll takes more than a pep-talk or a specified amount of time to change your perspective. It’s all unique to you and what you’re going through.

And so is how you choose to strive . . .

You could strive to be 60% positive most of the time.



As long as you can embrace that its ok to feel the way you feel.


Which is obviously what I need help with the most, but for now it is a pretty freeing realization even if I end up being wrong or changing my mind down the road.  Maybe feeling terrible is a key to not more often?

But for now . . .

  • Strive for being on the other side of dark most of the time (see above)
  • Enjoy the ride when its good, but embrace with curiosity and kindness when its bad (you don’t have to PRETEND its good when its bad even if the whole thing is for your own positive good in the end)
  • Be amazed that you get to experience all of it

Life Soup.

I go back and fourth about sharing my life on this blog.  How much is too much?  And how do I navigate all the randomness from deep thoughts to a simple recipe. To me, it seems like a lot of important things in my life are soupy + slow, up in the air but also changing at the speed of light.

Life Soup . . .  

The good thing about this trusting stage I’ve come to know is that change is upon me which means anything is truly possible.

The bad thing is the heart-wrenching pain and sadness that comes along with the intense highs of happiness and just being in this life and having the things I DO have.

But, I guess this is what is to be expected when you get married, lose your father unexpectedly 5 days later and slowly drift into the stage of your marriage you knew was coming … the deployment chapter.

There’s a lot of things I could say. There’s a lot of things I WANTED to say.  But in true Val’s blog fashion, I am just not sure how to piece it all together into a nice fluid package that is often enough and informative enough and worth it enough to share.

What I can say is that I have learned some AMAZING lessons in the last few months that have changed me for the better.


  • MY FAMILY IS EVERYTHING. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a devastating blow to the heart to realize what kind of people you come from.  My father spent his adult life making sure that we were the people we needed to be, the strong, ambitious, intelligent rocks that we are. His loss left us with an even stronger bond we have to him and the rest of us which includes my husband who jumped right in and became our family as if he has been all along. I know we will always be there for each other no matter how much life changes for all of us.


  • I WORRY LESS. The benefit to knowing that you truly don’t have much control over the things that end up happening to you is that you just let them …happen. Not sweating the small stuff really means that YOU decide the things that are important to you and don’t worry about anything else.  Its not worth the time or energy.


  • I JUDGE TOO MUCH. This is not really a “good” lesson but its important.  When I came back from New Jersey after everything went down, I realized that I spent a lot of my energy “assuming” things about people, mostly at work.  Maybe it had to do with needing a break, or getting a laugh from someone or even just because I felt some insecurity deep down, but overall it does not feel good.  I cannot succeed as a person if I am not trustworthy and judgmental and it is a work in progress for me.


  • I AM NOT A GREAT FRIEND SOMETIMES. I am truly guilty of not making my friends a priority and I hate admitting it, but its true. My life obviously changed when I moved here, and then constantly after that. Friendships evolve just like romantic relationships into different stages. The friends that are meant to be in your life will be there in some capacity no matter what, but it takes work from both sides. Sometimes less, sometimes more, but still work nonetheless. From now on I am vowing to make being a better friend something I want to improve about my life. This could be as simple as sending a text or calling someone back home, or meeting up for a quick lunch or beach time and overall making sure I am meeting the needs of those that are closest to me.


  • MARRIAGE IS WONDERFUL. Sadly, the overall view on marriage in the mainstream world is pretty terrible.  I personally attribute this to the wrong people getting together at the wrong times in life and not being completely honest with themselves. I feel blessed and almost like I am cheating the world for being as in love as I am. So far, even with these awful life-altering speed bumps, I love the life we are building together. Sure, we have trouble spots in learning what marriage means to us anywhere from what should we spend/save to where should we hang that picture, but I love that we get to do it together. I know that no matter what life throws at us (like, him being gone 60% of the next 2 years with limited communication) we will, adapt and make it through better on the flip side.


  • I HAVE PASSION ADD. I can’t even explain how many times I’ve told myself and annoyingly told others how I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.  Sometimes I hate cooking in a kitchen, other times I enjoy managing people.  Then I want to sell wheatgrass for a living and the week after its create budgets and finances for newlyweds. Plus, those DAMN SHIRTS!! Things are going as far as my career now, especially with our second location opening in the fall, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t strange holding patterns in between and issues that keep you questioning if you’re really doing what you want to do in life and if you should make a leap in a different direction. I’ve made the decision to stick with what is in front of me for now for a lot of reasons, but because I made that decision I have to make the best of it, change my attitude and truly attempt to keep positive.  In the meantime I do have side projects in the works to keep my ADD at bay.


  • GRATITUDE. For some reason, I’ve been drawn to learn more about the gratitude craze. I’ve been reading books, keeping journals and just staying in awe about the things that are around me when life gets interesting. My thoughts on the universe and manifestation change the more I educate myself. The one thing I am sure of is that being thankful for what you have NOW keeps more of that good stuff coming, even if it may take a bit. (trust, ugh!)


The rest of the year ahead seems daunting and scary (in a good-ish) way because so much of it is completely uncertain. My goal is to continually learn what my best self is and put it out there as much as possible while life continues on.

*breaks blog post ice*