I usually get on my soap box on Thursday’s.
And I’m happy to say today is no different.
I just wanted to tell you that you are enough, in whatever you want to be enough in. You’re just that amount of extra.
You’re kind enough, smart enough, pretty enough, brave enough to do what you want to do.
But you’re also hard on yourself enough, alone enough, unhealthy enough to do something about it all. You don’t have to hit rock bottom in order to get to the top, your life is not a slingshot. You don’t have to be pulled back so hard, have so much tension, that you’re barely able to move before you get launched into a new phase of your life.
You can ease into it. One toe at a time into the deep end of the swimming pool. And actually, you owe it to yourself to do that. Start making small changes. Because then you can get used to the water temperature. And you can get used to your new life. And you can discover yourself again.
You already have what it takes to change your life for the better. The only thing you need is to accept it. That your new life will be enough.
I don’t dream very often. Or rather, to be absolutely correct, I don’t remember my dreams very often. I put my head on the pillow and the next thing I know is that my alarm is going off, and it shouldn’t go off for another 7 hours and–oh, it’s time to wake up.
And as for dreams? There’s no time. I have to get my beauty rest and worry about the future of the human race before bed. Who even has enough time to dream?
Well, unfortunately, all of us. At least once in awhile. And probably Freud has a lot to say about it, but for me, when It comes time to dream, it’s intense. And the symbolism is so obvious and so apparent that I’m almost embarrassed for myself in my sleep. It’s like I wake up and just cringe. Oh. So I was naked in front of the whole school because I’m worried about the talent show. Right. No, no, that makes perfect sense.
So, if you’re like me, and you don’t really dream, then pay attention when you do.
Your brain is really trying to tell you something and its best course of action is to slip it into your thoughts when you’re sleeping (since it knows it’s too busy during the day). The least that you can do is listen to it.
So, who are you, really? Go ahead. Introduce yourself.
What do you like? Love? Hate? Believe in? What are your experiences? What are your fears, and hopes, and dreams?
I bet you can answer all of that relatively quickly. So, why does that suddenly go out of the window when you’re trying to find a new job or meet new friends? Why do you have to be someone you are quote unquote “not?”
I get it. First impressions are big so you can’t talk about your UFO theory immediately upon meeting someone new. But if that’s who you are, then that’s who you should continue to be. Ease into yourself, but don’t erase your identity.
And by the way? You should be searching for jobs and friends that allow you to be who you are, naturally. That allow you to move in the circles and skills that are comfortable to you.
Why? Because nothing can change who you are at your core. This is both a comforting and terrifying thought: it’s great because you can always rely on yourself. It’s awful because the people who have “changed” around you, probably haven’t.
But the only thing that matters here is who you think you are. If you like that person, then great. Everything else is just perspective.
Humans are pretty resilient.
I mean, no matter what your mom says, she most likely hit you on the head when you were younger. (It was probably an accident.) And you’re totally not a serial killer now, right? (Right?!)
Right. You turned out just fine. Which made you better because what doesn’t kill you (or makes you a killer) makes you stronger. And that’s great for the bad things.
But what about the good? People say be careful what you wish for, but I say be careful what you adapt to. Because the old routine that doesn’t seem to change much and that feels comfortable could be the one thing in your life that is really damaging. It makes you stay inside instead of going out with friends because your show is on. It makes you never try anything new at an old restaurant. And believe me, I understand. I would rather be in my pajamas too. But sometimes, it’s not good for us to have the same old, same old. Sometimes, the same routine that you’ve adapted to has bad habits, which is a double whammy.
You adapted to the routine you have now. I’m sure that in some point in your life you moved, or broke up with a partner, or started a new job, or tried a new ice cream flavor. You pushed your boundaries then and adapted. Push them again and see what happens.
It’s great that we’re able to adapt. But it’s a very old instinct that needs to take a backseat to you having new and different experiences every once in awhile. You need to unadapt. Your couch will still be there when you get back.
I watched a little girl almost run out into traffic today.
I was across the street from her, and cars were whizzing by. Her older brother was waiting patiently, but I guess she couldn’t. Thankfully, her mother was paying attention because she grabbed her at the last second. I could hear her mother call her name loudly and then when the street cleared, I heard her mother sweetly say, “now, we have to wait to cross the street, ok?”
And that was all wrong.
Okay, I quite literally live in fear of being scolded. I avoid conflict like it’s the plague. I honestly say “yes” to people just so I won’t have to disappoint them. And to be yelled at? That makes me want to crawl out of my skin. I’d burn all my living possessions if it kept me from being yelled at (honestly. Down to my toothbrush). But that experience today made me realize something. People don’t yell at you to make you feel bad. They yell at you so that you understand, and you make a memory of fear so you don’t do it again.
That mom was setting herself up to just have her daughter run into the street again because she wasn’t making it clear that that was the wrong thing to do. She was telling her it was OK, not with her words, but with her tone.
I understand now that people yell at you so that you don’t make the same mistake. Which is much, much more important than having your feelings hurt. Especially when traffic is involved.
I realized today that sometimes, raising your voice is the best way to be heard.
You know how the local news frequently interviews little old ladies that are like 100 and they’re all like what’s your secret and the little old lady is like “I drink scotch and play poker.” Or they’re like, “I never had a husband.” Or they’re like, “peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.” And to everything’s you’re like huh, makes sense. And you take down the scotch and peanut butter for later, because who doesn’t want to live forever and be interviewed by the local news?
While I don’t doubt the wisdom of old ladies on the news, I have to say that I would think that there’s an easier way for a long life: Enjoy what you have.
The number one way to stress yourself out is to want or wish for something that isn’t yours. It is to focus on the future, which isn’t here yet. Rich people, poor people, sick people, healthy people, young, old, you name it. They’re stressed. But why? Because they’re not looking around at what they have and being happy they have it. They’re just looking at it and saying more.
It’s really as simple and uncomplicated as that. Be grateful about more stuff in your life. You will be a much happier person for recognizing your life as an abundant success than a laughing stock.
I mean, by all means, drink the scotch. Life is short, after all. But be grateful for the scotch and your life too. Your health and yourself, as the little old ladies will tell you, do not last forever.
Like many people, I work in an office. I’m basically on email at all times of the day: writing, drafting, deleting, filing, rereading.
And a lot of my emails start the same way: “hello, this is a friendly reminder to…”
Because everyone needs to be reminded of things sometimes. Because even though most things are automated, it doesn’t take away the fact that we’re human. And because it doesn’t mean we don’t have to be friendly about our little nudges and follow ups.
So, I figured that maybe we could all use a few friendly reminders. Not only on emails but on life.
Here’s my favorites:
- Friendly reminder that doing poorly at something does not mean you will fail at it permanently.
- Friendly reminder that being overwhelmed is a choice you make.
- Friendly reminder that sometimes a bath or a soft blanket is exactly what you need to recover from a long day.
- Friendly reminder that people’s opinions of you don’t define who you are.
- Friendly reminder that the stars are there, even if it’s too cloudy to see them.
- Friendly reminder that time may be the best distance between you and something you need to forget.
- Friendly reminder that it’s not always your fault.
- Friendly reminder that you’ve made at least one person’s day once in your life.
- Friendly reminder that the internet has a plenty of cute animal videos to go around.
- Friendly reminder that the world needs your story, however you want to tell it.
- Friendly reminder that the universe is rooting for you.
I hope these reminders are friendly enough. And I hope you have a friend when you need one. (I’m always here if you don’t.)
Everyone has goals. Everyone has dreams. And everyone struggles to achieve them sometimes.
Magazines and blogs make millions every year trying to help you unlock the secret to not falling off the bandwagon when in pursuit of your happiness. (The key to mastering your abs on page 7!)
But do you really want to know how to do it?
You do a little. Even the tiniest amount. And you do it every day. And when you’re tired and sore and pretty frustrated, you can look back and see the mole hill you made is actually a mountain. (And that’s a good thing).
Wanna write a book? Write a single sentence each night.
Wanna run a race? Start off walking, even just around the block.
Wanna eat a ton of hotdogs in one sitting? You gotta eat the first one first.
And in that way, you can do it. The trick is to not let yourself be stagnant in any part of this life. You can only do better if you are willing to work on your own progress. Even just a little bit.
I could easily make the argument that St. Patrick’s day is the best holiday of all the holidays.
Instead of making the argument though, I’ll just make a list:
- There is a really easy dress code to follow.
-Yup. You just wear green, white, and orange together and you’ll look like you’re the most patriotic Irish person on the planet. I mean, really, all you have to do is wear something that looks vaguely Irish and you’re in.
2. Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s day.
–It’s true. Even if you don’t have a drop of Irish heritage in you, you can still totally join in on the festivities. Don’t believe me? See #1.
3. It’s all about drinking good beer with good friends.
-No gifts required. And it’s not like Christmas where you’re just drinking to make your family more tolerable. You’re drinking to feel warm and fuzzy and have a good time with friends. Shouldn’t that be every holiday?
4. It’s always on March 17.
–You don’t have to check a calendar or count back to the third Thursday after a blood moon or whatever. You can just expect it every March. Like an old friend.
5. You feel connected to your ancestors but also the Irish people.
–Believe me. The Irish people definitely celebrate St. Patrick’s day. And they’re proud of that. But Guinness and shamrocks aren’t their entire culture. Which is why St. Patrick’s day is the perfect time to learn more about Ireland if you don’t know much. You might discover something about yourself too.
Cheers! Slainte! Enjoy!
And most importantly, have a pint for me!
I guess this week is all about productivity. Because here’s another realization I had today:
You get less done when you’re chained to your desk. You get more done when you frequently get up and take breaks.
I know, I know. Every self help article on how to “Study Harder and Better” will give you this advice, but I don’t think you understand it until you live it.
Because you take me, a person who gets some sick pleasure when I don’t take a lunch break, and you tell me to do a project. I’ll work on it all day long, assess it from every angle, and I’ll deliver it to you by the deadline. But I’ll be tired and mean and frustrated over my contribution.
And then, you take a slightly less neurotic version of myself, and you give her a lot of water (so she goes to the bathroom a lot) and she takes a bunch of breaks. She still gets her work done, but she also gets some exercise, and she gets well hydrated, and she also gets some time to step away to think about the project from a different perspective.
And again, you may not be impressed by this discovery, but for me, a person who attained two degrees fueled entirely by staring at a screen for hours at a time and eating Mike n Ike’s, this is earth shattering. That I can have a taste of both worlds: less stress and more productivity. Just by getting up and walking around a couple times a day.
But again, if you’re not wowed by my revelation and if you’re looking for a real lesson in life, then try doing something that you’ve never done before. Especially if it goes against the very fiber of your very stressed out being.