Purge and Pack

The Inhulsens (Oma, Opa, Aunt Rie, Uncle Bep and Aunt Joe) Arrive in America

The Inhulsens (Oma, Opa, Aunt Rie, Uncle Bep and Aunt Joe) arrive in America.

It’s been over nine months since my last post. And as I said in that post, it had been six months before that. I really do suck at blogging.

This pattern may continue but, today, I’ll pretend that it won’t. Why today? Because I’m putting off purging and packing our stuff.

In the last nine months, I changed jobs, lost my Oma and got pregnant. And now we’re moving to a new neighborhood.

Pregnancy is overwhelming. I’m often awake at night wondering how we will raise another human being. In a small two-bedroom apartment. In Los Angeles. And what opinions do we listen to. What brand of baby gadgets do we get. And will it all fit in our apartment. Where will we finally find a daycare. What will our baby girl look like. Will she be healthy. And how will we ever choose between gray and charcoal for the nursery.

And then I look at the photo above. And feel ashamed. And so ridiculously lucky at the same time.

My Oma had a lot of hardship and heartbreak throughout her 91 years. More than any of us even know about. She struggled through war. Through pain. She left loved ones. Left belongings. And she boarded a boat to a foreign country with only her husband, three children and faith.

She still managed to love and care for her family. She lived for her children and gave so much love. I am where I am because of her.

We have too much crap. In our houses. On the Internet. In our heads.

Time to purge and pack. And have faith.

I Suck at Blogging

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It’s been nearly 6 months since my last post. The only reason I’m blogging now is because I’m waiting for my name to be (or not be) called at jury duty. 

But I keep this blog active because I want to be a blogger. I want to express myself and organize my thoughts. And maybe entertain or at least connect with one or two people. I read other consistent blogs (like a peer’s The Dinner Party Association and the genius Seth Godin’s). I get inspired. And then I don’t do anything about it.

Why? Because it’s way easier and less risky to veg in front of a TV. (Although my recent Breaking Bad binge was a legitimate excuse for like everything I wasn’t doing). 

I used to want to be an actor and only until I actually tried to work as one, did I realize that, guess what, I didn’t want that anymore. The only way for us to know if what we want will actually satisfy us is to go after it. DO it. And not when everything feels just right. That feeling will probably never happen. For example, I had some thoughts before starting this post but had no idea what words would form as I typed. And that uncertainty is part of what stops me from starting.

So if I actually want to have a blog, perhaps I should actually blog. 

I’m committing myself to doing at least two posts a month. Like founder of Accidental Creative and author, Todd Henry pointed out after his conversation with writer Sarah K. Peck:

“Take small, strategic steps each day to get uncomfortable and to stretch yourself. Over time, these add up to a high capacity for change and growth.”

So I will not commit to a weekly post just yet. Two a month. I can do that.

Starting after the Breaking Bad finale on Sunday.

LAX –> PHL –> DCA

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A shot of Reagan National Airport from the train platform.

I kinda love flying.* Among the annoying travelers and awkward security checks, there’s a reminder of life’s awesomeness. So many people and interesting stories.

For example, the three diverse guys that surrounded me on my first leg to Washington, D.C.:

  • An older Jewish male art auctioneer who frequently says “hm” with an admirable red-eye sleep routine complete with eye mask, pillow and blanket.
  • A curious blond male professor and art collector wearing a vest and small glasses (of no relation to the auctioneer).
  • A rough, raspy voiced divorced male construction worker with two daughters on opposite sides of the country and who claims his latest girl is “his heart”.

I recently went to a taping of Sir Ken Robinson‘s upcoming PBS special. He is a gifted, brilliant author/speaker/human whose mission is “to transform the culture of education and organizations with a richer conception of human creativity and intelligence.” (Watch his hugely popular TED Talk here) He spoke about his new book Finding Your Element (to be released May 21), giving snippets of ways to discover your talents and passions (no matter how old you are).

One of his talents is storytelling with bits of humor and connecting with people. At one point he asked us how many people have ever lived on the planet. People rose their hands and gave their guesses. He answered with something along the lines of “no one knows” and went on to point out that out of these X number of people, no one has ever been like us. No one ever will. We are unique. Made in the way we were meant to be made. Each given our own innate talents and passions.

It’s pretty powerful when you really think about it. Not one person is the same as another one. Not one is the same as me. Or the art auctioneer. Professor. Construction worker. 

Not one is the same as you.

And thank goodness not all are the same as the obnoxious announcer screeching in the mic at 7 am at Gate 23 in Philly.

* It should be noted that I wrote most of this post on maybe an hour of sleep on my way to a vacation in D.C. I noticed my feelings were a tad different heading back to reality.

Joy

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Sherren, Justin Timberlake and Me. This photo is real.

There are a bazillion books, websites and coaches all focused on helping us find happiness. Discover our passions. Live our best life (thank you Oprah). It’s overwhelming.

I will say that reading The Daily Love everyday did help me go after a dream of mine I’ve had for many years. I gained the confidence to put myself out there in auditions, plays and classes. Throughout 2012, I’m proud to say, I was pursuing my dream.

But it felt funny. Uncomfortable. Frustrating. I didn’t understand. I was ready to fully commit, but I was still anxious.

Before turning 30 in August, I did the Free to Love Chopra Center 21-Day Meditation Challenge. I wanted it to ease my anxiety. It did that. And so much more. My mind was finally quiet enough to hear that inner voice that had been buried by so much crap. Slowly I dug through the heavy pressure. The worries. Judgement. All dumped on me by me since who knows when.

I had waves and visions of joy that I’ve had since I was young but had forgotten. What I realized is: what brings me joy is my passion and what I need in my life to succeed and to live my best life. Acting brings me joy but the industry does not and I’m not willing to make any sacrifices for it anymore. My family brings me so much joy it hurts. I cherish Sundays with Andrew and Brin. Connecting with people. Listening. Helping others. Cooking. Exercise. Writing. Good wine. Great friends.

And Justin Timberlake. (of course I had to work this post back to him … I mean he is FINALLY releasing new music today). I know some people don’t get this JT obsession. I can try to explain it but like I said in The Day I Met Justin Timberlake, he just … brings me joy. And that’s that.

So I actually think it’s quite simple. This key to happiness and living your best life…

What brings you joy?

No explanation necessary.

Never Say Never

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Thanks @xoxolizza for this

I never thought I’d care so much about politics. But I care more each day.

I never thought I’d want to attend grad school. But I do. And it’s not for Marketing or even Acting.

Some people never thought they’d see an African-American president. But we have one. For four more years.

Some people never thought women would have the right to vote. And now 1 Senator in 5 will be female. And, dare I say, HILLARY 2016.

“Republicans and Democrats will never agree.” “America will never be the same if Obama is reelected.””I’ll never be happy until I have X or X happens.”

When we open our minds and listen to our inner selves and to others, amazing things might happen. And if we raise our voices for what we believe, like equality, and never say never, change will happen. Yesterday’s results clearly show that change has happened and I believe it will continue to in a positive direction. It’s when we remain stubborn, selfish and narrow-minded, that we remain unhappy.

So in the wise words of the Bieber, “Ne-never say never. Ne-never say never. Ne-never say never. Never say it, never, never say it.”

The Wall

My Dirty Thirty

I wanted to do something somewhat significant for my 30th birthday so when my friend Melanie brought up the idea to do the Tough Mudder together, I got excited. Nervous excited. Perfect for my 30th! But after doing the research I found that the Tough Mudder is … significant. And I said “somewhat” significant so, um, no. Then she suggested the Warrior Dash. Less running. Less electrocution. Let’s do it.

I started going to kickboxing several times a week. I tried to eat better. Hiked and ran. Of course my body wasn’t in the shape I had envisioned when July 29th came around, but it probably never will be. I like beer. And cheeseburgers. I was ready for it though.

My body was ready for it. My mind, not as much.

I forgot how much my mind mattered. I got through the first few obstacles but then I came upon a wall. Literally, a wall. And unlike the previous wall obstacle, there wasn’t a guy on the other side helping me to land.

I used the rope to walk up the wall. Solid. I got to the top, looked down on the other side and panicked. It was high. I dislike heights. I had a new vision. And it was of me getting stuck on the top of that wall and the crew needing to help me down. I also had a flashback. To elementary school at Penny Whistle Playground when my leg fell through a cargo net hundreds of feet in the air (hundreds? probably more like 10-20).

Those thoughts sent me back down the wall the way I came up, excusing myself to the other braver souls.

I was immediately mad at myself. My own voice inside my mind scared me. Not my legs. Not my arms. My mind. It’s a powerful thing, that mind. And it’s much more useful when it’s a powerful POSITIVE thing.

Damn right, I got over the last cargo net obstacle to finish.

Two Weeks Notice

To My Twenties:

Please accept this letter as my resignation from My Twenties. August 2, 2012 will be my last day as a “twentysomething.” I have had a (mostly) wonderful time with you, but it’s time to move on.

Thank you for the transitions and challenges. From graduating college and moving back in with my parents to changing jobs, getting married and moving across country. Thank you for the many memories I have of living with my best friends and then my parents during those confusing years. And time spent with those who are no longer here. Thank you for the dreams that I never forgot which led me to where I am now.

However … I will not miss the pressure of feeling the need to know what the hell to do for the rest of my life. I still don’t and am excited about that. I will not miss the pressure of feeling that I need to do what others think I should do. I will not miss the panic attacks. Although they very well could visit me again. But this time I’ll be aware. And I will not miss standing in line for the Riv freezing my ass off in the dead of winter for Burgerama. Okay, I will miss that.

I’m looking forward to the new challenges and transitions ahead with My Thirties. New dreams. And many new memories. With new and old friends and family.

But first … the Warrior Dash.

Sincerely,

Nissa Sompels