So, a policeman, a blond, and a vegan walk into a bar…

Now, this could end as a tasteless joke, and you’d probably enjoy that, but let’s consider what images this phrase conjures. What does the policeman look like? What ethnicity is he? How tall is he? Is he in full uniform? Does he have a crew cut?

And what about the blond? Is she tan? Is she beautiful? Is she scantily clad? 

And finally, the vegan. Do they have dreadlocks? Are they eating granola? Are they wearing flip flops? 

Just by giving the barest description of a person, you already seem to know something about them. Don’t you?

Except you don’t. And it’s not right to pin stereotypes on people before you get to know them, even if they seem to fit sometimes. Even when the policeman loves donuts, or the blond occasionally says something dumb, or the vegan chooses to preach their lifestyle to everyone in hearing distance.

So, why is it that even when you’re not fulfilling a stereotype you’re retroactively assigned one?

I mean, let’s say I love yoga. I love to practice yoga and meditation. This doesn’t mean that I also refrain from eating animals. This doesn’t mean that I am not interested in any other kind of exercise. This also doesn’t mean I solely wear yoga pants. (Okay, okay. The last one is true.) It just means I love yoga. That’s it. Fin. And do you know what it also doesn’t mean? That just because I don’t do any of the above that I’m not a true yoga “fan.” It’s like I don’t have the yoga street cred. 

Because we all just need to remind everyone that when you know one thing about someone, well, that’s all you can know for certain…until you get to know them for real. 

But also, if a person doesnt fulfill a certain stereotype, or even if they fill half of one or even all of one, you simply can’t assume. In the end, the time that it takes you to judge someone is the time it would take to ask them about themselves. You should try it sometime. 

What You Know and What You Won’t Admit

You know yourself, right? You know who you are?

I mean, if I asked you what your favorite color is, you would tell me. If I asked you where you’ve been dying to travel, you would tell me. If I asked you what food you could eat for the rest of your life, you would tell me. If I asked you what your guilty pleasure is, you would probably evade the question, and then tell me.

So, why do I see so many people leaving on month long trips to “find” themselves? Why do I see people sweating themselves to death in a hot yoga class trying to “center” themselves? Why do I see so many people asking themselves what their purpose is on earth…on Facebook?

You see, I have a theory. I think that we all know what and who we are. Maybe we haven’t reached our full potential, and maybe we’ll change and mature in a few years. But we all have this caramel, melty core inside that stays the same. And it holds our favorite things, like food and colors, but it also holds all the memories that have made us who we are.

And so, when we’re stuck, when we find ourselves in moments where we’re not sure how to make a decision, or we aren’t sure why we’re alive, we need to know the difference between two things: what we know and what we won’t admit.

Now, what we know is that little caramel, melty core. It melts and moves but it doesn’t change.

And what we won’t admit? Somewhere inside us, deep within the caramel core, is what we need to discover/admit, even though it’s been with us all along. We just have trouble seeing it (because it’s under the caramel). Let’s call it a big walnut, right in the center of the caramel. (Please feel free to substitute any nut you like. Or if you have a nut allergy, choose a different metaphor.)

Here’s an example: let’s say we want to make a big decision. So we complete a bike ride across the Midwest, and we expect there to be a potato chip that looks like Jesus that will give us a sign at the end. And everything will be clear.

But that’s not how it works. Because when you see that potato chip, it just confirms something inside of you that you already knew. Oh, thank you, Jesus. I KNEW I should be a potato farmer! You realize that what you’re looking for is something that you didn’t or couldn’t admit in the first place. You didn’t set out on that trip not knowing what to do. You set out not knowing what to choose.

In reality, we always have the equipment and knowledge to make our lives what we want it to be. We’re just afraid to admit things, sometimes. We’re afraid that we’re making the wrong decision. But my point is that you can’t make a wrong decision because your nutty and caramel center is always there to guide you. You just have to marry those flavors together to get what you want instead of isolating what you know and what you want to “find out” (which is really just what you won’t admit to yourself).

So, trust yourself and ask what you know and what you can’t admit when you’re trying to make a decision. Swallow your pride, and be one with your sweet, hard core.

Why We All Love Friday

Ah, yes, tomorrow is Friday. That holiest and most wonderful of days where the pleasures of sleeping in past our alarms’ urgent ringing and the allure of making up our own schedule (which may or may not consist of doing absolutely nothing) beckons. And who doesn’t wait for Friday? Who doesn’t give in to its romantic appeal? Brittany, it says, Brittany, we’re going to happy hour. You love happy hour on Friday. Aren’t you so excited?

Yes, Brittany. Of course you are excited. You’re allowed to take your mind off things and take things off your mind on Friday. It’s the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card. (Depending on how much you like your job, you can take that whole “jail” concept as literally as you’d like it to go.)

But I have a theory about why we all really love Friday, and it’s not simply because it’s the beginning of our weekend. Rather, it’s the day that we no longer become a slave to time.

Think about it. Monday through Thursday, you work to fit your activities into a single 24-hour period. You’re watching that clock to see when you have permission to stop one thing and start another. Okay, I can take my lunch at 1:00 today since I have a meeting at 2:00, but I can’t forget to drop off the marketing materials at 3:00…Put simply, your entire life is run by what time dictates.

However, there is a different philosophy on Friday, isn’t there? It’s a It can wait ideal. It’s a At least I made it to Friday mindset. And everyone stops looking at the clock. Not because they no longer care about their responsibilities for that week. Not even because their mind is already on the weekend. Quite the opposite: they want time to finally slow down. They want time to take an extra minute’s rest every once in awhile, now that it’s Friday.

My theory? Everyone loves Friday because they are finally living in the moment.

And what does that mean exactly? Well, it means that people have stopped thinking about what will happen next or what has happened before. On Friday, everyone is peaceful because they are present. And so, they are unknowingly practicing mindfulness, a core principle of meditation.

Of course, if this is true, then how do we master this technique on a Tuesday, for instance?

Personally, I like to read to achieve this same result. I can’t jump the track, so to speak, only reading one word at a time, so this is my version of living in the moment. But for you, it could simply be breathing or sitting quietly. As your yogi is probably always reminding you, bring yourself back to the moment. This is all we know for certain, and it is all the peace we have.

So, the next time that you feel yourself yearning for Friday, pull yourself back and cover the hands of the clock with yours. Everything arrives in time, and in that same time, it leaves.

In simpler words, make every single, solitary moment count. Even Friday.