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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 hate Christmas.
Okay, that’s not true.
I hate Christmas marketing.
As far as I’m concerned, Christmas music is only acceptable when my Papear plays it during the week I’m off at Christmas, and even then, that Frosty the Snowman song can die in a corner.
One of my work offices has been decorated for Christmas for the past three weeks. It has been… frankly, a bit much.
Christmas has been Valentine-nized, as far as I’m concerned. The point of Christmas is to get together with people you enjoy and appreciate, drink eggnog by the fire, and get warm fuzzy feelings of love from multiple people all at once.
It is not to listen to hokey music and kill trees and look at cartoon images of Santa on everything.
Our downtown put up a bunch of those huge, tacky beyond reason plastic blowups today, and it was almost the last straw. Luckily, I had hot chocolate and a muffin, so I was preoccupied with other, better concerns.
Honestly, I think I’d like Santa a lot more if he didn’t hang around for 2 months.
At any rate, if you are as Grinchy as I am around this time of year, here are some things I’ve found helpful as far as keeping my blood pressure down for the past few weeks:
1. Realize that other people are getting enjoyment out of the hokeyness, even if you are not.
2. Find a small, non-Jewish child and have an enlightening conversation about Santa. Or, failing that, read this.
3. Spike your eggnog. Heavily.
This is somewhat of a follow-up post to this post on procrastination, but also not.
Words are good today, people.
In the last few months, I’ve become somewhat of a time management expert.
Nearly every day, I work an 8 hour shift at work. Three days a week, I leave from that job to go to my other job and teach either a barre or a yoga class, which takes up about another hour and a half of my time. When I’m not doing that, I’m writing a blog post for this website, and when I’m not doing that, I’m practicing or performing music.
Oh, and I also have a life, and friends, and a boyfriend, and a family, and chores, and myself to look after.
Oh, and did I mention I’m going to be participating in NaNoWriMo this November? On top of moving back into Mamma Mia’s house to take care of my dogs for a month?
Oh, and picking up three more yoga classes a week, while I’m at it.
I guess you could say I’m a little busy.
How do I manage to get all of this accomplished without going crazy (okay, without going completely insane)?
Oh, a little effective time management.
I use my lunch breaks to either research stuff for blogs, write my blogs, or run errands. I write and practice music in the shower and in the car. I clean something in either the bathroom or the kitchen everyday, and I do my laundry at mi Madre’s house whenever she invites me to dinner.
I’ve learned over the past little while that it’s easy to want to push off hanging out with your friends and family because you feel too scattered brained and frantic to even imagine taking the time out to do it, and I’ve also learned that it’s important to prioritize those moments, because they make everything else worth it. No, I don’t see some of my friends as often as I’d like, but the purest friendships are sometimes the ones where you can pick back up wherever you left off.
Most importantly, I’ve learned that you need to devote your entire mind to whatever you’re doing. Don’t half-ass your job, or you’ll waste time redoing it. Don’t have your mind on other things when you’re out with your friends, because you rarely get to see them. And when you need a moment all to yourself, give yourself a full moment.
Lord knows you deserve it.
If you’re wondering, no, I didn’t have a reason for not posting a Yoga Tuesday blog yesterday, other than the fact that I thought it was still Monday.
Don’t judge me.
1. Don’t forget your own damn blog schedule.
2. If you put flowers in your house, people will think you’ve got your shit together. Until those flowers die, and they’re still in your house. Then not so much.
3. Make not wearing makeup to work a habit. That way, if you show up to work looking a rachet mess with no makeup on, you can just pretend you’re sick, and no one will suspect a thing.
4. Memorize one smart sounding thing about politics or the economy or culture every day to slip casually into conversation. For example:
Coworker: Man, I hate how the bank is closed on Sunday. It’s so inconvenient.
You: Just like the government, huh?
5. Occasionally leave parties early and tell people you’re going home so you can get up early the next morning and hit the gym, because you’re training for a 5k / a marathon / the Olympics / NASA.
6. Quote people no one has ever heard of. Actually, no, don’t. That’s just annoying.
7. Keep your car really clean.
8. Tuck your shirt in. Preferable wear shirts that are ironed. Or at least clean, with few / no holes.
9. Stop getting drunk in public. No one wants to see that. Also, if you’re out of college, what are you doing getting drunk anyways? In fact, if you’re in college, you shouldn’t be getting drunk either. Everyone stop getting drunk.
10. Have a definitive answer to the question where do you see yourself in five years? Then do that thing.
My flatmate Varenka (I’m going to start using the term “flatmate”, I’ve decided) asked me to talk about procrastination for today’s L.A.W.
She totally picked the right person to ask.
Everyone procrastinates from time to time. If you can honestly look back on your day at work and tell me you didn’t spend some time on Facebook, or checking your phone, or staring blankly at the wall while you were supposed to be filing paperwork or something, you’re either a dirty dirty liar or a mutant.
This is not a bad thing. Procrastination gives us a moment to recharge our brains so that we’re primed for the next task. The trick is not to procrastinate too much, or you never get anything done.
Case in point – I wanted to have this blog post done about an hour ago but I watched two episode of .hack//quantum first and now I’m ripping through this. Boom.
If you have a crazy schedule and an overloaded day, the best advice I can give you is to practice useful procrastination. Break your big projects into little chunks, and when you get tired of one task, switch. Maybe it’s not as fun-sounding as reading Buzzfeed articles about cats for twenty minutes, but the effect is the same – you get a break from what you’re working on, you’re still getting things done, and when you come back to the first project, you’re refreshed.