Liam Holyoak

This is where I write things.

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The First Step.

The first step is always the hardest part. The initial getting into it. I get excited about something and research the crap out of it. Then it takes a while, a while before I make the first leap and that step is scary and exciting and hard. The next day is a bit easier. By the end of the first week momentum is slowing a bit. The excitement is fading. You have to remind yourself why you started. But as long as you keep going your almost home free. By the end of the third week it will seem routine. You’ll see progress. Very slow progress. But you’ll see it there. Then in no time at all it’ll be this thing you’ve always done, that you can’t imagine yourself not doing.

But first, you have to take that first step. Then just keep stepping.

Being a kid again.

I’ve been ruined by romantic comedies. I’m ashamed to admit I’ve watched a lot of them in my day. It’s created this weird sense of nostalgia in me. Where I  long for something that I’ve never actually experienced.  It’s not the part of the movie that people usually long for. It’s not the romantic partner part. It’s the family parts. It’s the going home for the holidays, playing charades around the fire, laughing at the little ones. Those are the parts I long for. So much so that I’ve always wanted to move away from where my family lives so that I can have those moments around the holidays. Which is a bit absurd because I can hang out with them whenever I want now. But a little piece of my mind things it would be so much more fun to only see them a few times a year, maybe I’d appreciate them more.

It’s this strange persistent thought that always seems to be floating around my mind. What it really boils down to is that I want Thanksgiving or Christmas time tp be like they were when we were kids, where we are all staying in the same house. I want those times back, when we all woke up together on Christmas morning and no one went home that night. We had to stay together, even if we got annoyed with each other. I want that back, and if I lived out of state and came home for the holidays. I’d get piece of that back. Isn’t that funny how minds work. I swear we are just always doing things to get back to being a kid again. It seems that way at least.

Birthdays.

Before the end of this year I’ll have lived a quarter of my life. That’s if my lucky, and get to live to 100. I don’t like birthdays, I don’t like the reminder that I am aging. The reminder that I am not where I had always envisioned I’d be. They scare me, comparing where I actually am with where I intended to be. It’s hard. Self-imposed ‘hard’ of course. But I think maybe I should set myself some better markers. I’ve always measured a year by financial success, which isn’t really working out for me. Hell, I’ll only be 25 so I think it’s okay to choose different things to measure my success by. I could measure hours spent with loved ones, hikes with my dog, words written, jokes made, games played. I think there are a lot better ways to measure the success of year than simply how your career progressed. So I’ll start focusing on all the other things that matter to me, and maybe this year having a birthday won’t be so bad.

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.

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