Liam Holyoak

This is where I write things.

Author: liamholyoak (Page 1 of 11)

Letting Go of Expectations.

Holidays have never really been my thing. I’ve always found that every year I expected them to be these great cinematic things, and was usually disappointed.

For the past few years I’ve been mostly a cynic about it. Or a scrooge if you will. I probably haven’t been the most fun person to be around on any given December. But this year I’ve approached it differently. I don’t have any expectations. It’s just another day. It’s just a regular month.

If you let go of your expectations of things there is a possibility that something incredible can happen. Or there’s a possibility that it won’t. That is the magic of it. It could be this beautiful incredible day filled with love, laughter and gratitude. Or it could be a regular Monday. Just filled with a bit more food and family time.

As a general rule letting go of expectations seems to be the ticket. You’ll stay consistent with your new workout routine longer if you let go of the expectation that you’ll have rock hard abs in 12 weeks. Falling in love can be much more exciting if you let go of how it should or shouldn’t be and instead fall into what it is, be curious about this new person you are discovering. Days can be much more fulfilling if you approach them with wonder, and curiosity.

Friday Thoughts

Jobs are strange. I have a love hate relationship with mine.

I like it because it’s hard. Most days I run into something I haven’t before and I have to figure out how to fix it. I like that. I like getting a paycheck. It allows me to rest easy. I get to live in a cozy place,  I have food on the table, a fast internet connection, the works. That bit is nice.

I like that I get to go to a lot of new places. I’ve traveled quite a bit this year and that’s been really fun. Albeit, not to the most exotic places. But you can find beauty anywhere if you just look.

The hate is there. Well more the dislikes. Which I think are mostly ruled by fantasies of being a professional writer, spending my days writing and tending to my farm.

When it really comes down to it it isn’t something I hate at all. The positives certainly outweigh the negatives. While I wish I didn’t have to spend so much of my day working for someone else. Maybe right now it’s exactly where I need to be.

Morning Routines.

*Beep Beep* I roll over. Grab my phone and swipe to snooze. It’s 3:20 AM. I lay there, trying to talk myself into going back to sleep. Instead, I reach up and turn on my lamp. It’s cold. I don’t want to get up. Slowly I sit up, swing my legs to the edge of my bed, and I’m up. I try and tell myself I’ll be able to take a nap, or lay down for a minute after the gym. I never do, but maybe this negotiation helps. I put on my workout clothes and I’m out the door. It’s dark. No one is awake, the only things on the freeway are semi-trucks.

I’m almost to the gym by the time my car warms up. No turning back now.

Six months ago I wouldn’t have been here. Six months ago I would have snoozed until just before eight. Getting up just in time to make some coffee before I left for work.

Habits are a wild thing. I don’t want to get up at this early, I think about that every morning when my alarm goes off. I don’t have to get up that early. But I do. Despite the urging of my sleepy self to stay in bed a few more minutes. I get up. I get to the gym. I work out. When I get home I journal, mediate, and write a blog post. Some days the monster convinces me not to post it. Tells me it’s bad. I’ll offend someone. I’m not a real writer. But most days I beat that monster too. By the time I leave for work I feel like I’ve already slayed a few demons.

Now that, is the power of a morning routine. I don’t say this to brag or say look at me. Look at all the things I do before you even wake up. I’m saying this as a very normal guy, who didn’t have a great morning routine six months ago. And now I do.

I don’t want to do it every morning. But I do. Action comes before feeling. If I waited to do something because I felt like it I wouldn’t get anything done. I’d rarely even show up to work if I had to feel like it in order to act.

Acting, especially acting toward something that doesn’t have an immediate reward is hard. It’s really hard. There isn’t anything outside of you that is going to compel you to get up a few hours earlier to start the day for yourself.

Start the day doing things for you, to better yourself. Doing this has done wonders for me. I don’t have a six pack, a six figure income, or yacht anywhere. But I am happier, I’m better at my job. I am a better friend, a better son, and a better human because I start my day with challenging things that make be a better person. Those things aren’t the same for everyone, but I promise if you suffer through a few weeks and put yourself first every morning you’ll see the benefits. They’ll certainly be worth it.

A Birthday Wish.

Good friends are hard to come by. The kind that you’re totally yourself around. That you can call in the middle of the night when your SO and you are fighting. The kind of friends that are just great to be around, whether you’re getting your butt kicked in Mario Kart, or you’re at a party. These types of friends don’t come around very often. So it’s pretty special when they do. I can count on 1.5 hands how many good friends I’ve had in my life so far. So it’s not a title I take lightly.

One of these friends had a birthday yesterday, she’s practically an old lady now. Like the space case I am I totally forgot it was her birthday until midway through the day. (In my defense, we celebrated it over the weekend, and I’d already given her her gift)

This is for you. As an apology, and as a reminder. If you ever forgets how spectacular you are.

I didn’t really understand forgiveness until I met you. I’m the type to pretty easily cut people out of my life if they do any sort of wrong. I know that sounds harsh, and I’m learning to be a bit more forgiving. But you, you just forgive. You do it easily, you seem to give people the benefit of the doubt and realize everyone is human. You move forward, and don’t hold it over their head. We all mess up. You believe that and you have this ability to see through it.

You have grit like I’ve never seen. Life has handed you a whole lot of punches. You’ve been up, down and all around. Anyway the cookie crumbles you manage to get yourself back up on the horse and keep going. Whether that means working several jobs, late hours, or sacrificing anytime you have to yourself you do what is necessary. You aren’t afraid of hard work, and you have the work ethic to prove that. Even if you despise what you’re doing, you will make sure you’re the best at it.

Even with a lot of heartbreaks under your belt you still believe in love, in romance. As a former cynic I find that to be pretty incredible. If there is anyone who “deserves” to be a grump when it comes to love it would be you. But you aren’t. You keep trying, you keep loving. I hope someday love will find you back.

While this list could go on I’ll spare you the cheesiness. I’ve spent most of my life not realizing that real friends exists. People who accept you without question, challenge you on your bullshit, who love unconditionally. I’m very grateful that I’ve found this in you. You’ve managed to open the door for me to find it in other people as well. Thank you for that. Happy Birthday. Thirty one is going to be your year.

Relationships are Scary.

Relationships are scary.

Opening up to someone is scary.

Telling someone how you like to be kissed, how you like to be touched is scary.

Letting someone tell you you’re doing something wrong is scary.

There are a lot of new things you have to figure out with someone. You have to figure out how to talk about the hard stuff. Talking about light stuff tends to be easy. At least for me.

You get to learn how to be vulnerable. How to be around their friends. How to let go of some of your free time to be with them. You have to relearn how to sleep next to someone. In a bed that isn’t always yours.

You get to learn what makes them laugh. That a whole Sunday together can feel like only an hour. That being honest feels good. That five seconds of courage can open up a part of you, and them that you never thought you’d know.

It’s scary, I’ll give you that. But as they say nothing worth having ever comes easy.

Wasting Time.

I’ve been wishing away too many days, wishing it was five. Wishing for the weekend. Wishing for a holiday. It seems like I am always wishing for something else.

A time where I don’t have to show up for my job at 8, and pretend to work until 5. I say pretend to work because let’s be honest. No one works a full 8 hour day. Mentally anyway. Which isn’t the point.

The point is, life seems far too short, and far too fragile to spend so much of it wishing time away. Time is precious. We don’t ever get it back. I’m not sure how, and I have no idea when. But at some point I am going to stop wishing away days. I’m going to put myself in a position where I enjoy the work I am doing every single day. Not doing it for someone else, or simply for a paycheck but because it’s hard, fulfilling. I don’t think it should be this easy thing, it should be hard work. But it should be hard work that feels good, that matters. Not even in a grand way, but matters because it challenges you, and after it’s all said and done is something you can be proud of, feel good about. I guess that is what I am searching for. Something that I don’t want to wish away.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. Especially as the year comes to a close. I tend to think about my mortality more near the end of the year. As I reflect on the things that have worked this year, and the things that haven’t.

While, I am grateful that I have a job that pays the bills so I don’t have to be worried about that. I do find that I need something more. It isn’t enough for me to just show up and get paid. It isn’t enough for me to feel like a number in a global corporation. Only helping people so they can do work that they don’t find fulfilling either.

Maybe it’s too much to ask. Maybe I’m just another naive millennial. But I’m not going to settle for that. Maybe I am entitled. But I refuse to believe that this one life I get needs to be spent with 40 hour weeks of meaningless work. I have no idea how to break free from the system. All I know is that I must. And as I have heard so often. If there is a will, there certainly is a way.

Becoming more Present.

I’m not sure when exactly this happened. At a certain point in the not so distant past I decided that I didn’t need anyone. It wasn’t a conscious decision and I don’t quite remember what events caused it but I’ve been riding the independence train for a while now. Seeing a reliance on other humans as some form of weakness. I’m not really sure why that happened. Maybe it was because of the ending of an unhealthy relationship. Or maybe I’ve just told myself that that’s what happens as you get older. You have to stop relying on other people. I think I’ve been so scared of codependency I ran in the complete opposite direction. Swearing off any sort of feelings for people.

Something has changed recently though. Slowly, but surely. I have realized that humans can be pretty incredible. Getting to know someone new can be daunting, but amazing. Being around friends doesn’t have to be a form of procrastination, it can just be fun. I’m allowing myself to be present when I am around people, and really just enjoy them. I’m learning to let go, embrace the fear that comes from being vulnerable. Friendships, relationships, and interactions with people can be beautiful, awkward, and rewarding. Sometimes, I just have to get out of my head and see them that way.

The Resistance.

I’ve been reading War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Rereading it. Which is funny because I had been putting off reading it for so long. Yesterday I finally made myself start. I knew I’d been avoiding it for a reason. There are lessons in it that I needed to hear.

It’s funny how that happens. Humans are weird creatures. It seems we are constantly at opposition with the things we desire and dream for ourselves versus the things that are quick, easy, and gratifying in the moment.

Why do we do that?

I’m sure long ago there was a biological necessity. But that also doesn’t make much sense to me. Maybe we are just weaker now than our ancestors were. People used to just get things done. You did what you had to do. You didn’t complain about it, well I’m sure some people did. Regardless, you just did. You knew in the end it was good for you. Even in the initial moments when you didn’t want to do it.

What has changed? Something has. It seems everyone is spending their time avoiding doing things they should actually be doing. I am certainly guilty of this.

Is it a Paradox of Choice type of thing going on. Do we have so many options that we are paralyzed to do something about it.

Maybe it is just “The Resistance” or something constantly fighting to maintain the status quo. I don’t really know. Somedays I win that fight, others I don’t. 

I’ve been thinking about this a lot. In a grander sense.

I grew up religious. I went to church every Sunday, youth activities during the week. An hour of my school day was spent at a church facility near the school.

Once I was in High School I rebelled against this pretty hard. Pretty much doing away with all believes I had in anything that wasn’t backed by science. I refused to believe in anything that wasn’t concrete.

In a sense though I’ve always been jealous of religious people, it seems insane to me to believe something so strongly. To devote yourself to it. It seems so powerful.

Recently I’ve realized I do believe in the mystical in some sense. It’s not something I just have faith in. It’s something I’ve felt. There is some magic to it, if you will.

I think most creative people could attest to this. It doesn’t just happen. It takes a lot of work. It quickly goes away if you lose momentum. But if you show up. You keep showing up. Piece after piece of awful writing. One day something else will be there. Guiding your fingers along the keys.

It’s not going to bring you fame or fortune. It won’t be this grandiose thing. It will be a whisper. A small idea. If you run with it, it can change things.

If you allow something beyond yourself to have a little control something amazing can be created.  If you just keep putting in the work. Someday you’ll be a part in creating something truly incredible.

But for now, it may just be a silly little piece. Same thing for tomorrow and the next day. I think that’s why you have to love the process. You have to love the doing. There are too many days where nothing good comes. If you don’t learn to love the process you’ll give up far too quickly.

Seeing the World with Wonder.

In the neighborhood I grew up in there was a field at the top of the street. I think it used to be farm land of some sort, or someone used it to garden. I’m not really sure. But we spent a lot of time there. We’d play sports, camp out. Get into all sorts of shenanigans. When the sun had set and you looked across the field there was a cluster of colorful lights far off in the distance. I used to look across that field and think I was seeing Disneyland. It was so exciting to me to see such a magical place, it was so close. I’d look across the field and dream of going there. Oh how fun it would be.

I grew up in Utah so I certainly wasn’t seeing Disneyland. But, there is something so great about being young. When everything seems so magical. You look at the world with wonder. With each passing year I seem to forget about that a little more. Forget about seeing the world as an exciting place. I’m not quite sure how to change that. I’m going to though. Living just isn’t as wonderful, when you aren’t seeing all the beautiful things that are just within reach.

Back Dimples.

I could see the small of her back. Just a silver between the edge of her pants and the bottom of her t-shirt.

She had back dimples. I liked that. Her skin is pale white.

But not embarrassingly so, not the kind you make jokes about seeing in the dark.

I wanted to touch her. I kept thinking she had to realize her back was showing. But she didn’t even tug on the back of her shirt. You know that insecure way. The way that I do to make sure every part of my body is covered.

She was just there, and I could see her back. There was something so confident about it. I can still see her now, standing at the edge of the kitchen watching football, and me sitting on her couch staring at her back.

I don’t think I’ve ever liked a back so much. But even now I can’t stop thinking about it.

I’ve been avoiding love. All sorts really. Well, not the kind of love your parents have for you. But the kind of love that friends give, that someone you’re dating has. That rush. Or the comfort of love that comes from someone that doesn’t have to love you.

After a string of terrible dating experiences I’ve been telling myself I don’t want to feel anything. Not for another person at least. It’s too hard. There are too many things that can go wrong. I’ve been thinking of all the bad parts about previous relationships, ones that didn’t work out.

I’ve seemed to forget the good bits. The parts where you can’t stop thinking about someone’s back, and how much you want to put your hand there. Not in a sexual way. Just as a way to tell someone you’re there.

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