Here’s a thing, internet.
I’m becoming a person who runs. On purpose, even. I have no idea how this happened. One minute, I was trying to run a mile in the least athletic way possible, the next minute, I have a gym membership (!!!) and I use it to run many multiple miles several times a week. I’m even starting to crave running. I look forward to my next run. I even went running with my boyfriend like one of those couples who does cute couple-y things together that everyone else secretly hates.
Also, I’m really obsessed with my nail color right now. I realized that doesn’t have to do with anything, but it keeps catching my eye as I type this and I can’t not mention it, you guys.
Anyways, I run now kinda. So I feel like I have enough experience to tell you how to do it, right?
SEVEN THINGS I LEARNED WHILE RUNNING:
1. Running is really boring. It never stops being boring. A runner’s high is just zoning out of the fact that you are really, really bored.
2. There is no amount of deodorant or dry shampoo that will make you feel clean and dry after running on your lunch break and going back to work. You just gotta embrace the gross. And sit farther away from your coworkers.
3. Running outside means stepping in goose poop and getting yelled it by creepy strangers. Running inside means creepy strangers pretend they haven’t been staring at your ass, which is at least marginally better.
4. Speaking of poop, don’t eat a salad or drink coffee directly before a run. Your gastrointestinal tract will… protest. Eating like crap either makes your run feel like crap or will make you have to crap.
5. The treadmills at Planet Fitness are too far away from the TVs to read the subtitles. Don’t kid yourself.
6. Running in underwear that doesn’t have a strong elastic band is a poor choice. Those suckers will fall down.
7. Running is secretly kind of awesome.
I have never once claimed to have gotten my job using any sort of skill, talent, or ingenious tactic. Or particularly trying at all, really. In fact, I bungled my job interview so badly that it’s incredible I got any sort of job at the company I’m in, and to this day I feel like I owe some sort of apology to the peers of mine that did the hard time and logged the hours calling, filling out useless papers, and interviewing at hundreds of companies to land the positions they have.
However, although the job that I got landed in my lap almost by accident, I’m finally starting to feel like I’m earning the right to have it.
Let me briefly explain:
I got degrees in Art and English (with a completely useless and frankly GPA-killing French minor, just for fun-zies). After aimlessly wandering around for a year applying and being rejected from multiple graduate programs, I applied for a Marketing position a yoga clint of mine suggested I try out for.
I then told my interviewer I’d rather go to grad school than take the job.
(STUPID. STUPID DUMB PAST ME.)
Miraculously (likely charmed by my naïve nature and Golden Retriever like optimism), they hired me for a part-time position working the front desk. After a while the overworked social team gave me an endless barrage of kinda-sorta-cheating marketing-ish work to do until the position I’d applied for opened back up and they promoted me into the marketing gig. Almost exactly 9 months after I blundered my way through the original interview, incidentally.
Yes, I was incredibly lucky – because frankly, if they’d had better interviewees, there’s no way in heck I’ve have landed any job. I’d probably still be stuck in Job Hell with the rest of my Millennial buddies (hang in there, Millennial Buddies).
To be completely honest, when I was promoted to Marketing Coordinator, I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I felt like I hadn’t earned it, and that I wasn’t qualified, and that I wasn’t capable enough.
Yet in spite of my skepticism towards my own capability, I’ve noticed that my friends are become nurses and technicians and teachers with the same sense of doubt in themselves. All of them, no matter how proud they are of their jobs or how “important” their positions are, are becoming specialists in subjects I will never fully engage with, and they are doing it well, and they can’t see for themselves that they’re doing well.
I can’t catalogue a library full of books or prepare a meal for a hundred people in one night. I can’t even cook a meal for myself half the time, so I’m enamored and jealous of those of my friends who can. However, they see the next person on the ladder ahead of them, who is competing at a whole different level. They can’t step outside of themselves enough to see how well they’re actually doing.
It took me a painfully long time to realize the same rules apply to me as well. I’m becoming a specialist. Maybe I’m not a professional magician or a police officer, but I’m becoming adept at writing press releases and putting together itineraries and explaining what a URL bar is to old people over the phone (hint – it’s NOT the Google search bar). Maybe I can’t put together a Google AdWords Campaign with my eyes closed like my supervisor can, but I know what it means and what the components are, and within the year I’ll likely be putting them together myself, moaning about the fact that I can’t yet competently do the next biggest thing on the list
What does it mean to be worthy of a job? Does it mean having all the requirements on the checklist and working overtime and never screwing up? It might. But I’m realizing it’s just as important to be willing to learn, to know your strengths, and to always want to improve. To become a specialist in a field that matters to you, or at the very least, matters to somebody, even if you’re not aware that you’re gaining skills inch by painful inch. To push past that crippling sense of doubt and fear that says you’re not doing good enough.
Did I work hard to get this job? Maybe not, but I’m working hard to keep it, and most importantly, to deserve it. And hey, I think I’m maybe even doing a decent job.
It has been about three weeks since I confessed to you guys that I couldn’t run a mile.
I can now run a mile.
Well that was fast.
It turns out that your body (or at least, my body) adapts to running pretty fast. All I did was run a half mile about every other day for the first week (walking another half mile), run 3/4th of a mile every other day the second (walking the last 1/4th) and run a full mile every other day the next week, with a five minute walking warmup and a five minute walking cool down every run-day.
However, while it was conceptually easy to do, it was by no means a fun thing to do.
I stand by the fact that I absolutely hate running. Or at least, strongly dislike running, probably for all the same reasons that have been quoted and re-quoted over and over ad nauseum, amen.
I think it’s boring.
It makes my legs feel weird.
It makes my knees hurt.
I can tell the weird guy on the treadmill next to me is trying to look down my shirt.
I’m pretty sure if I touched the treadmill screen I’d contact a rare and fatal virus.
I could be doing nothing right now.
My thighs rub together sometimes and it makes me feel like an overactive lion seal.
Putting all those excuses aside, however, I think I’m going to try to run a 5k this summer.
Anyone care to join me?
Internet, lately I’ve been feeling the exact opposite of young and carefree.
In the past year or so, I’ve almost completely stopped going out to bars and hanging out. In fact, I feel so disconnected from the person I was when I used to go to bars and and hang out that I have no idea what the point of going out to bars even is anymore. I barely drink. I go to bed early so I can get up early and have eaten brussels sprouts everyday for the past week.
Not to mention the job, the 401 K, and the crushing realization that my knees will probably just hurt all the time now because my joints suck and there’s nothing I can really do about it.
Yeah, yeah, I know I’m 24 and I have nothing to complain about, but lately I just feel dull. And boring. And old.
At least until I heard this new song on the radio – Animals by Martin Garrix – and danced my ass off in my car in the parking lot outside my job, some punky techno song that has this one part that kept playing that makes me go ughhh yes play that one part song I love that one part. You know, the part that feels like the music is right in your bloodstream.
(The part starts at 1:30)
And then I calmly got out of my car and went back to work like a real person.
I guess the moral of the story is that oldness is what you make of it, and that lately I’ve been too stressed out and overworked to realize I can still go out and have fun like the idiotic, carefree young thang I still am, and that everyone has a song that will make them dance like they’re still 18.
So go out there and dance, internet. Because you aren’t old until you tell yourself you’re old.
1. Know your hiding spots to get away from annoying relatives when necessary.
2. Rest when you can.
3. Plaster a huge grin on your face for anyone you see. Or just be really, really happy to see them.
4. Don’t be afraid to make fresh tracks.
5. But be ready to follow the leader when you need to.
6. Examine your surroundings.
8. And run.
9. And run.
10 Make snow angels.
12. And do what you have to do to get the best treats.
My boyfriend’s birthday was last week, internet, and Jesus’s birthday is next week, and the year’s birthday is the week after that, and mine is drawing near as well. So you might well imagine that I’ve got birthdays on my mind.
As it’s Life Advice Wednesday, I figured I would give you some life advice about being 23 whilst I’m still 23. In list form. Because the internet is crazy about lists.
(Seriously. It’s actually a real thing. The internet loves itself some lists.)
1. As a 23 year old, you’re likely finally becoming a real person, with real responsibilities and a real job and real, chronic back pain (just me?). That doesn’t make you particularly wiser or more adept than you were at 22, or 21, or even 20. You’re still probable a dumbass.
2. You should accept the inevitability of your aging and your eventual death. By starting a saving account. And using it.
3. Learn how to make chicken tenders. Better and cheaper then that frozen boxed crap.
4. Also eat vegetables. Nothing screams immature diet like shirking at a brussel sprout when you’re 23.
5. Spend a little time being as stupid as you were as a teenager, but not all of your time.
6. Invest in a few high-quality pieces of clothing and wear them.
7. Update and maintain your Linked-in account. Okay, realistically, start having a Linked-in account. People do look at that.
8. Find, prepare, and perfect adult versions of your favorite little kid foods.
9. Keep eating the little kid versions anyways.
10. Embrace the fact that you have no idea who those relevant toddlers on the red carpet are. Ain’t noboday got time for that.
11. Please get rid of your high school email@example.com email account. It’s time.
12. Clean. Your. Damn. Room.
13. And your bathroom.
14. And your kitchen. You do not live in a fraternity house. I hope.
15. Are you still drinking PBR? Please stop. There are these things you have called taste buds.
16. If you aren’t working in the field you want to get into and are struggling to find a job in that field, get creative. Your future employers want to see that you have initiative. I will swear until the day I die that starting this blog, as dumb as it is, got me the marketing and copy editing job I have today. Figure some project or volunteer gig or something and do that thing.
17. Figure out what your life priorities are.
18. Figure out that number 17 is irrelevant and changeable.
19. Procrastinate (just a little bit).
20. Learn how to drive without being an asshole.
21. Pay your bills
on time eventually.
22. Be young, wild and free.
23. Have fun, you young thing, you.
I was looking around the internet for a little inspiration today, internet, and I came across a list of questions from Operation Meditation that I thought were mildly interesting. I particularly liked No. 1. – Is it worse to fail at something or never attempt it in the first place?
When I was younger – say, high school freshman – I used to think life was a series of planned out, easy-to-follow steps that if followed correctly, would eventually led to riches and stardom. You go to high school, then college, then grad school, then you choose a job from the hordes of people falling over themselves to give you a job and then suddenly you’re a Victoria’s Secret model (my grip on reality when I was younger was loose at best). Shitty stuff like diabetes and divorce and identity theft happened to people who didn’t follow the steps. Life is like a baking recipe – you skip the baking soda and those cookies are going to suck.
But then my guidance counselor failed to send out my transcripts on time, so I missed the deadlines on a bunch of schools. My best friend was diagnosed with leukemia and, after a three year battle with it, passed away. I was (wrongly) diagnosed with diabetes. I failed my sculpture midterm and my art history midterm and my astronomy midterm right in a row (sorry, parents). I was cheated on by my boyfriend with a close friend of mine (it was complicated). I got declined from six different grad schools (six? Seven? Many).
At some point over the last six months or so, I finally realized that life is not a recipe at all. Life is playing darts, drunk and possibly blindfolded, and you think that you’re playing one game, but halfway through the other people playing decide to switch the rules around and no one bothers to tell you. Or maybe life is like being a mouse in a maze, but all the lights are off and you keep bashing your head into walls because you are a mouse and you are kind of stupid.
At any rate, you fail a lot in life.
Some of those failures are huge failures, or at least they seem huge at that moment. When I failed those midterms, I felt like the world was dropping out from under me. Now? Meh. Didn’t come up in the job interview, strangely enough.
Some of those failures are your fault, and some of them aren’t. Sometimes it seems like life fails you, or that life’s not fair. When your best friend dies when you’re 20, that’s not fucking fair. That’s life failing.
At any rate, you can’t predict failure, most of the time. Sure, if you’re entering a salsa competition without ever dancing before, that’s predictable, hilarious failure ready to happen. That’s one thing. But most of the time you can’t predict when something in your life is going to blow up and go horribly, horribly wrong.
So what, then? You sit down and have a cry and some chocolate, and then you keep pushing. No, I didn’t get into grad school, but I ended up with a fantastic job. Yes, my ex-boyfriend cheated on me in a horrific, dramatic manner, but I learned from it and waited and ended up with someone way better.
Yeah, life is hard. Life is mean, and you keep bumping into obstacles and reaching and trying and losing. But it’s also brilliant and beautiful, and reaching for that next rung on the monkey bars is always worth it, fall or not.
I am not good with heights, internet.
Me and heights had a breakup over a decade ago (god I’m old) when I fell off a chairlift.
At any rate, since I was six or so, heights and I have not gotten along. Eiffel Tower? Horrifying. Mt. Hood, Oregon? No thanks. Ladders? I’ll pass.
In spite of this anxiety, I went rocking climbing a few weeks ago with my coworkers as part of a team building activity, and it was amazing.
I’ve tried rocking climbing on several different occasions, and none of them ended prettily. I panic when I’m about three feet off the ground. Panic-panicking. Like, almost hyperventilating panicking. I have had a panic attack on a porch.
However, despite breathing like a stranded fish and sweating like a chubby kid in a sauna, I somehow made it to the ceiling.
Here is proof.
That yellow line near the bottom? That’s the ten foot mark.
Goodness, just looking at this photo gives me vertigo.
At any rate, the huge difference was having a group of people at the bottom cheering me on and telling me where to go next, because when you’re fear-clinging to a wall with your sweat-hands 35 feet off the ground, it’s really hard to figure where to put your feet. Mostly because the looking down thing is a huge no-no.
Just goes to show that a second pair of eyes, sometimes, is exactly what you need to get you places you never thought you were going to.
There’s a lot of shitty relationship advice on the web, internet.
Let’s add to the pool.
I asked some of my dude buddies and man-friends what their biggest relationship deal-breakers are. Let’s examine the results.
1. Lack of passion.
2. Low self-esteem.
3. Doesn’t read books for pleasure.
4. Passive aggressive.
A short disclaimer: I am not now and will never advocate changing your habits, lying, or settling for any person. Ever. Even if they are the most sparkly, stone-cold, drop dead gorgeous 107 vampire you’ve ever met. It’ll ultimately make both you and your partner miserable.
That being said, these are life traits and values that should be kept in consideration simply because they’ll make you a better, happier, more successful person.
Let’s talk about numbers 1 and 3. “Reading books for pleasure” is a bizarrely specific pet peeve, so I’ll extend it to include not having a hobby.
I sort of touched on this one in last week’s L.A.W. I deeply believe that everyone should have one facet of their life that gets them out of bed in the morning because they are so excited about being fantastic at that one thing. So yes, you need to be passionate. About something. It could be painting. It could be soccer. It could be accounting. Being passionate about something not only make you more vivid and interesting, but it makes you happier.
And no, being passionate about your boyfriend or picking up your boyfriend’s hobbies to make him happy does not count. You need to make it about you. Sorry.
As far as numbers 2 and 4 go, low – and passive aggressiveness are absolutely linked, because people with high – value themselves enough to realize that their opinions should be voiced and heard. People with low self-esteem often feel like they aren’t going to be listened to, so they get frustrated, and can’t communicate why they’re frustrated.
You know what hnwcassandra’s home-brewed cure for both of those things is?
Honesty. It’s that simple. You need to value yourself and your man enough to say “Hey I don’t feel great about my belly / thighs / boobs / face because I was raped / teased / beaten / stood up.” In return, it’s his job to realize that it’s not his job to fix you, just to hold your hand on the way back to a healthy self-worth.
Ultimately, that trust will enable you to say things like, “Hey, I get annoyed when you leave your dirty socks in the freezer”, instead of putting them into his coffee.
You asked for it. I delivered it. This is the first Life Advice Wednesday. Keep your pants on, people.
I was watching an episode of Mind of a Chef the other day (which is the weirdest, most fascinatingly amazing show) and Anthony Bourdain struck up a conversation with all this really famous chefs over what their definition of mediocrity was.
What an awesome question.
Mediocrity is something that everyone has a vague impression of. It’s what not to be. The official definition of mediocrity is “the quality or state of being mediocre”, and the definition of mediocre is “not very good”, and I think the only think we’ve just learned from that is that those definitions of mediocrity are themselves mediocre.
Some synonyms include average, uninspired, lackluster and forgettable, which gets us a little farther. Mediocrity is the quality or state of being utterly forgettable. Harsh.
Questions that logically follow the definition include:
How do you become mediocre? How do you perform mediocrity? How do you stop being mediocre? Can you even know you’re being mediocre? Is it important? Do you care? Does it matter? Does anything matter??
(Okay I got a little carried away. But you get the point).
I asked my coworker, Awesome Andy, whether or not he thought that striving to overcome mediocrity was important, and he made an excellent point that somebody could work the same job for 40 years and be seen as living a mediocre life, but that same person could be a perfectly happy individual, and perhaps happier than the ladder-climbing overachiever we’ve all supposed to emulate.
So I guess the question then becomes where happiness and mediocrity collide, and whether or not you can be happy being mediocre. I believe for a lot of people, that answer would be yes (even if they don’t know it or aren’t willing to admit it). Let’s face it, on a grand scale, the vast majority of us are and will continue to be mediocre (unless you’re Beyonce).
However, that brings me to my last point.
(Have I been making points? I think so? I’m just going to go with it, I guess).
As far as my own warped, biased, politically incorrect opinion goes, I believe people can be happy leading fairly unexceptional lives, as long as they are striving beyond mediocrity in at least one aspect.
Mediocre job? Fine. No spectacular life achievements? Cool. Never run a marathon? With you.
But good god, do something. Maybe strive to be the best parent you could possibly be. Win a chess tournament. Collect stamps or Barbies or severed heads.
You don’t have to be the next Barack Obama or Steve Jobs or Britney Spears, but you should have goals or dreams or ambitions that make your life above average.
Isn’t that what makes getting out of bed in the morning worth it?