florida photography

Enjoying Your Own Company | Beach Photography by Rachel Abrahams

Raise your hand if the idea of going to a restaurant or movie alone sounds like your personal nightmare. 

Until recently, I had no idea just how many people felt this way and won't do things alone and it truly surprised me. Is this because they worry if they were at a restaurant alone, others would look at them and judge?

I call this mentality the "High School Cafeteria" thinking. Remember in high school how you were so convinced, while walking into the cafeteria, all eyes were on you? I know, in the movies that's exactly what happens but in reality, everyone is so busy worrying about themselves, they really don't notice you. Ok, that sounds harsh but it's not meant to be. People generally are not paying attention because they are also worried about everyone's eyes being on them and trying to act like they don't care. See the irony? 

Maybe it's because I am an only child but I have absolutely no issues going to the movies alone, eating by myself in a restaurant, or even going shopping. I tell people this and I usually get a very surprised look and they say "You went alone? Why?" Well, why not? I wanted to see a certain movie or eat at a certain place and just because I couldn't find a partner in crime, I was not going to let that stop me from enjoying myself.

Honestly, sometimes I really have a lot of fun just doing things alone. I highly recommend more people try it. 

Now, I know some people reading this are still thinking "No way, that sounds really lonely" and my response to that is - are you not good company? If you think spending an hour, by yourself, with your own thoughts is lonely it's time to reshape your thinking. Let me list some of the benefits of doing things on your own.

1. It strengthens your independence. When you remove the need to always have someone by your side, you grow in your confidence and independence. You learn to trust your decisions because you stop relying on others' opinions and just do it. Whatever you want - you just go with it. No more looking around to confirm your decision based on others' opinions. It's just you, so trust your gut.

2. You find out how awesome you are. Maybe it's just me, but I have this crazy need to make everyone like me. It took a long time for me to realize I judged myself based on how I felt others saw me. Once I decided to hang out with myself - with no one to try to please or make my friend - I stopped behaving like the dancing monkey and really thought about what made ME happy. It was an incredibly eye opening experience that made me a better person. 

3. How do you like your eggs? Remember that scene in Runaway Bride where he points out all of her favorite ways to eat eggs were always a mirrored reflection of how her fiance's liked their eggs? When you try new things on your own, you learn very quickly (without the influence of people around you) what you truly enjoy and what you'd prefer to avoid when you are spending your precious minutes alone. For example, when my husband is out of town I love to eat at my favorite, mainly vegetarian, restaurant. I love the food and I know he would not enjoy it so I go on my own. It's my favorite retreat.

4. Silence becomes truly golden. How often do you find difficulty falling asleep at night because the thoughts buzzing around your brain are distracting you, the silence is deafening, and it's all keeping you awake? That's probably because this is the first time all day (week? month?) you've been alone with your thoughts and now the tidal wave is hitting you in the silence. The more time you spend letting your brain process your thoughts, to do's, and dreams without a million distractions, the more likely at the end of the day your brain will stop trying to make you pay attention to it and actually let you recover. Why? Because you already took the time earlier in the day to listen to yourself.

5. Did you know you are important? Many of us put ourselves last (color me guilty). When you make the conscious decision to spend time alone and enjoy your own company you are also deciding to put yourself first.......and there is nothing wrong with that. I once heard the phrase "whenever you say yes to something, you are also saying no to something else". When you always say yes to others, you are always saying no to yourself. There has to be a compromise because you are also important. 

I don't say this so everyone will go rushing out to be alone and never invite a friend along again - that's not a good idea either. It's just nice spending time doing what you want, without having to answer to others, and being your own LIFE BOSS. Appoint yourself CEO of your time. If you don't, you will get lost in the wants and desires of everyone else without getting to figure out how much you adore bad-ass action flicks, spicy tuna rolls with extra wasabi, and long walks on the beach (for real, not in irony to be made fun of on a dating site).

And that would just be such a shame. 

blog-photoandsignature-e1430271174368.png

Am I Too Old For Magic | Walt Disney World Photography by Rachel Abrahams

I absolutely adore reading. I have always been an avid reader and didn't let the "required reading" of school/college even try to beat that out of me but I also have learned when I get sucked into a book everything else in my world disappears. That can be both a good and a bad thing - I am engrossed in other worlds I could never imagine on my own but that also means my real life can get ignored. This isn't so bad if you can do it in healthy doses but healthy doses of reading is not something I am prone to do (so far this year, I've read 16 books. My goal for 2015 was 30.....).

It does mean I sometimes have to say to myself "you can read for 20 minutes AFTER you take care of X, Y, Z adult/boring life requirement" and the bargaining (typically) works. It's just like what my parents would have to do with me as a kid.  BTW - My mom once learned to be super specific in bargaining with me. She once said "No TV in the morning until you are dressed with your shoes on". The next morning she came out to me watching TV, in my pajamas, with my shoes on, and no socks. But I had my shoes on like she said!

I think it's healthy for adults to keep their childlike wonder and imagination. I absolutely admit I am the first to line up to see the movies with fantasy, superheroes, and magic (yup, I have almost every Disney animated movie, the extended edition Lord of the Rings trilogy, all the Marvel Avengers movies, and all of the Harry Potter movies as well and that's just the tip of the nerd-collection-iceberg).

I also love living near the theme parks and have been an avid lifelong Disney fan with annual passes and also recently added Universal Studios to my favorites list. I run inside just as fast as the kids and giggle and scream like I was 10 years old (to the embarrassment of those with me - I know they love me and tolerate my idiocy with some deep sighs and probably a little side eye too).

Books spark the flame of magic and then movies and theme parks take those amazing worlds even further by actualizing them into what you always imagined. I find it all to be perfectly complimentary, honestly.

As I was home sick for a week with a cold, I needed comfort and I reached out immediately to my favorite books and movies which I realized were all intended for young adults and kids. I wondered - is this lame? Am I seriously in denial of trying to be an adult and instead disappearing into these alternate worlds where I can fly, do magic, and even battle evil with superpower skills I could never have in real life?

My answer - a resounding hell to the yes. Why? Because it's awesome. Do I really need to explain myself? Nope. Am I too old for this magic and wonderment? Some might say yes but those are also people who are lame or unwilling to admit it's UBER FUN to be get sucked into these alternate worlds.

I know I am not alone in this.

Now, if you'll excuse me I am going to get back to my book I promised myself I could keep reading when I finished this post.........

Hold Onto Your Shorts, January | Beach Sunset Photography by Rachel Abrahams

Sand Crossover Sea Grass by Aspiring Images by Rachel

My theme for this month of January? Hold onto your shorts.

I thought with the end of the Holidays, the new year would start off allowing me to eeeaaasseee on down the road like The Wiz......apparently not. It has been fast and furious both at work and with life at home. I typically fall into bed like a sack of potatoes and I'm asleep. It's ok though. I am not ashamed in admitting I just put my Christmas tree away. Well, it's now in it's box which has yet to make it to the garage. That's pretty much away, right?

Why so blase about this? Well, I spent most of last year learning how to just chill the eff out about silly things. I worked really hard on letting go of the things that I just have no control over and taking a stand on the things I can. So, the naked Christmas tree standing in my living room staring at me for most of January? I decided it could wait. Instead, I focused on working my new goals this year both personally and professionally. Have I maintained them? No, I already dropped the ball but that's ok. I just try, try again.

I decided to start a daily gratitude journal. Just a little something to remind me when I am feeling all dramatic and nobody loves me (so I'm gonna eat some worms) I can refer to this and enjoy those things that make me feel grateful. I wrote in it for 5 days and then it's sat dormant in my purse the remainder of the month. It's cool. I'll re-start soon. Maybe even tonight? My hope (and I already started it) is to convert it into a smash book. I used to love scrapbooking and this is a way chill version with a lot less rules. Totally more my style.

I also realized the amount of books I read last year was just abysmal so I went on Goodreads, upped my book challenge, and have already read 2 books this month. Remember that Christmas Tree in my living room? It's been my book reading buddy. Read a book or put away the tree? Yeah, there's no question there.

As for this year? I decided I want to live a lot more positively. My daily question I now ask myself is did I make someone happy, help someone out, reach out to someone I haven't spoken to in awhile, and/or let someone know how special they are to me? If I can say yes to even one, it's been a great day. I've been doing this for awhile though - probably since last August - and it's been fantastic.

So yeah, January is almost over and I am just now getting a blog post out but, honestly, I kept getting really stuck on a topic and after my long days I would stare at the computer to inevitably decide sleep was more important. As for the topic, I finally went with honesty. I've been told that's the best policy.

Notice how I put lovely beach sunset photos in between my ramblings? I figured I'd give everyone the choice to:

A) Look at the pretty pictures

B) Read the randomness or

C) Do both and join my Awesome Possum Club. I should get around to making a sticker for that.

Anyone else working on personal/professional goals? Have you kept them going smoothly or randomly like me? Should I mention Floridians are complaining about 50 degrees as being cold while everyone else is experiencing snowpocalypse? Who else out there was annoyed at how soon they had pukey pink Valentine's stuff up in stores?