Farewell Letter

Dear Reader,

Hello, old friend, it’s been a while. It’s been over a year, in fact. I have not written to you since my travel stories from Cuba and even then, my blogging was sporadic at best. Why? I ask myself that question every day. I think my failure to write has been part distraction and part denial. Keep reading as I attempt to explain what’s gone down in the past year and a half.

First, there’s something you should know about me: I box. I’m a habitual, almost addictive, boxer. And by that, I mean I love keeping things in neat boxes! I have small boxes for little things like buttons and pennies and bigger boxes for the things I can’t seem to let go of like all the size 8 clothes I outgrew in 2016. In my kitchen cupboard, the spice bottles are placed in threes, inside Ziploc bags, inside transparent plastic boxes. Inside my purses, boxes aren’t very feasible. So, I have bags. A red bag I keep tampons and liners in. A clear bag with over-the-counter allergy medicine, pain medicine, and band aids for just in case. A fabric bag where I keep my aligners, toothpaste, and floss in. The most important bag within my bag is the one where I keep the pens in, always a minimum of three colored ones. In my office, I have jars. A mason jar for paperclips, another for magnets, another for rolls of tape.  I keep post-its and stickers in 5” x 8” sheet protectors – organized inside a mini-binder. I own (and use) 2 planners. Still, all my events are entered in my Google calendar, color coded, and synced to my phone. Notifications always on.

I’d be downplaying it if I simply said I like having things in my life neatly compartmentalized. It turns out I have been compartmentalizing my self too.

Online, I was safe keeping all my personal writing on the A Girl in Her Thirties website. For years, I shared raw confessional memoir essays and advice on this website. I gave you pep-talks and tried to share the lessons I was learning. When I felt inspired, I shared my travel stories to illustrate how finding yourself in your thirties can mean losing yourself in unknown places. That was one compartment, the other being social media. I’ve been sharing about my mental health and self-care practices on Instagram and even tweeting the occasional poem or quote.

And, let me tell you – it all just got to be so overwhelming! Often, I felt as though I was watching myself drown – like if I was in a dream sequence I couldn’t wake from.

All photos by VNZ Photos 

Hey, Girls Drink Whiskey Too!

Disclosure: Although I was invited by Cooper’s Craft to attend the Summer Sipper’s event and try their bourbon whiskey, all opinions come from the bottom of my tiny blogging heart. ❤

Have you ever stopped to think how confined we are by traditional gender stereotypes; these tiny social constructs that affect so many of the trivial daily decisions that we make? Anything from what we wear to what we drink is affected by societal norms. But besides being exhausting, the stereotypes we use can be so limiting. That’s what I realized when I was invited to the Cooper’s Craft Summer Sipper’s event to try their bourbon whiskey.

Traditionally, whiskey is considered an old-fashioned man’s drink. So, just as I hadn’t learned to drink beer until I was in my thirties, in keeping with tradition, I had never tried whiskey until my thirties either. But since I’ll do nearly anything for a writing assignment, I decided to attend the event and give this bourbon whiskey a try.

Photo Credit: Nabila Verushka

7 Tips for Responsible Tourism in Cuba

 “Visiting other countries and peoples today has helped many to realize that we are truly one human family and that we have the potential of living together on earth in peace [source].”

Aside from experiencing a glimpse into a beautifully unique culture, visiting Cuba allows you the opportunity to practice responsible tourism and sustainable practices which, aside from minimizing negative social impacts, will generate greater economic benefits for locals. For me, this meant enjoying my travels on a much higher level.

What You Need to Know About Finding Depression Support Online

After my post about high-functioning depression, I was able to connect with Natasha who shared the following post.[i]

Depression, by nature, is an incredibly lonely experience. Your brain twists your thoughts, you don’t have the energy or motivation to spend time with friends or do the things that make you happy, your body aches, and nobody in your social circle truly understands what it is you’re going through. Lonely.

While there are many forms of treatment and therapies available, having someone to talk to, connect with, and who will listen and understand can be so important. Individual therapy for depression and support groups can be very effective, but are often restricted by time and availability.

The internet removes so many of these barriers. Time, location, and language aren’t restrictions when connecting online; social media, forums, and online communities provide us with worldwide connectivity. There are a large number of people in the world who are experiencing depression at the same time that you are, are looking to support those who are suffering, or are available to lend and ear to those in need. You don’t have to feel alone.

Shock the System

I’ve done some pretty scary things in my life. I ran off a mountain in Venezuela’s Colonia Tovar to set in motion a paragliding tour in the skies under which I was born. I’ve white water rafted down the Class IV Sarapiqui River in Costa Rica…without knowing how to swim. More than once, I have spoken in front of an audience of over 3,000 people. And while I thoroughly enjoyed the combination of adrenaline and panic, I’d never really ever been scared. I attribute this fearlessness to the upbringing I have had.