On Excuses, Being Overwhelmed, and Not Doing ANYTHING

So to start, let me tell you a list of things I’d like to do/try/become more involved in. This isn’t all-inclusive (I mean I’ve got “earn a million dollars” and “exercise everyday” in my mental list, but those aren’t happening any time soon), and it’s certainly not specific bucket-list-style items, it’s more of a list of
“Lifestyles I’d like to experiment with”:

1) The 100 things Challenge started by Dave Bruno, but only to an extent. I’d modify that to include certain “groupings”–all of my makeup, for example–as 1 item, and I’d probably allow myself something like 300 items, at least to start. (Let’s be real, I currently own 370 books–not including literary magazines or the recipe books in my closet, which I just remembered existed. And yes, I just counted them all, so that is an actual, factual number.)
2) Reading 52 books in one year; essentially, one book a week.
3) The Whole30 Challenge started by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig.
4) Yoga and certain parts of the yogi lifestyle.
5) Project 365.

In fact, I’ve sort of decided that I’ll talk about each of those items in separate blog posts, hopefully when I actually start doing them. Which brings me to my main point:

I’ve either failed or not bothered trying each of those 5 things. The “Why” can be simplified into 3 main categories:

1) Excuses/Wrong Choices
2) Money
3) Being overwhelmed

Excuses-

I’ve got excuses for everything, and as much as I’ve been trying to stop using excuses at all in my life, it’s hard. The hardest instance for me is when I’m late–and I’m late a lot. When I’m on my way to where ever I’m going, the little demons in my head start whispering excuses or even exaggerations that border on lying, for why I’m late. I’ve gotten better at not letting those little demons out of my mouth, but they’re still there inside my brain. And while I need to allow certain freedoms for myself–not doing the Whole30 Challenge in September, for example, because obviously I want cake on my birthday–I can’t allow those acceptable things slip into the negative realm of excuses.

Money-

While I sometimes think that money can be used as an excuse, there is the concrete, undeniable fact that I’m more than $20,000 in debt thanks to student loans and car issues, etc. But I don’t need money to start practicing yoga in the mornings, or to get rid of items I own, or to read books (did I mention I own more than 300 books?), or even to take a picture every day (crappy phone quality pictures still totally count). So while money might be a hindrance to certain things, it’s likely that there’s still a work-around somewhere. The biggest money problem I’d run into from the above 5 lifestyle changes would probably be the Whole30 challenge, simply because it would mean starting from scratch on a lot of things, and let’s be real–food isn’t exactly cheap.

Being Overwhelmed

I made a post about change and fear a while ago, and I think that’s a big part of why I get overwhelmed with things–the fact that I’d need to change a significant thing in my life to accomplish any of them, even if that “thing” is simply devoting more time to doing something like reading more, instead of watching a TV show. Another factor is that when I get excited about change and trying a new lifestyle, I try to do too much at once, sending my brain into panicky overload-mode until I shut down.

So where do I go from here?

I start small. I’ve been trying to get rid of a few things at a time, and that’s great until I forget for 3 or 4 months at a time. Goodreads has a Reading Challenge option, and I’ve been trying to slowly increase my yearly goal (last year it was 15 books, and I read 16; this year I’ve set the goal at 18). I do practice yoga occasionally, though it’s mostly when my back is really hurting (still, that’s something, right?). A big thing is that I need to focus (by picking one to really push myself to do, instead of trying them all at once).

Until next time,
M.

What makes your heart beat faster?

On Tumblr I was asked what makes me passionate and what makes my heart beat faster. And I keep thinking that I’m not passionate about anything, but when phrased in that slightly different way: “What makes my heart beat faster?”, I suddenly realized that I do, in fact, have answers.

What makes my heart beat faster?

Music. Amazing music that I’ve never heard before but is so wonderful I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to find. Music by my favorite bands. Concerts and shows. Street music that’s incredibly talented and makes me pause to listen. Playing the piano and getting emotionally involved in what I’m playing.
Reading. Getting so caught up in a good book that I can forget about my own life for a little bit. Feeling understood. Learning new things. Feeling invested in another person’s life, because their blog posts are so well-written or so relatable.
People. Sharing a mutual look with a stranger about events happening around us. Catching a guy looking at me and then glancing away when I glance at him. Making a new friend. Making friends on the internet. Realizing how much you have in common with someone. Just laying back on my bed with my best friend listening to music and talking (or not talking). Observing a room of strangers doing their own thing, walking down the street or in a cafe.
Living. Really experiencing life. Taking walks through the woods, going on mini trips, opening the windows and breathing in the fresh air, trying new things, getting excited about things (even if people will make fun of me for liking the thing I’m excited about).
Writing. Writing poems. Even bad poems. Writing letters to friends or birthday cards for my parents. Writing lists. Writing blog posts. Answering anonymous questions.

 

What makes your heart beat faster, dear reader?

Tuesday Thankfuls: An Explanation

Seeing as this blog has turned into mainly me posting on Tuesdays (I could give you a litany of excuses, but who wants to read that?), I figured I should at least give a little bit of a reasoning behind posting them in the first place.

I’ll be honest: they’re quick and easy to do once I’ve actually sat down to write the post. But more than that, I think they’re important. It’s important to be thankful for things in your life. It’s easy to be thankful for things like birthday presents or to appreciate big things in your life like graduation from college, but it’s important to appreciate the little things, too. (Go ahead and groan at the cliche. It’s okay, I understand. But groan and then keep reading, okay?) Appreciating everyday things like getting time to relax before bed or enjoying the great weather make living way more enjoyable. A big thing behind my blog, if you didn’t know, is learning to be more than just “alive”. I want to appreciate the life I’m living and do more with it, and appreciating things is a great way to make a mundane day not so mundane.

Posting on Tuesdays is just me getting excited about alliteration (it could just as easily be Thursdays, but whatever), and wanting to make it a once a week thing. If I decided to post “thankfuls” every day, I’d start resenting the idea of “having to be thankful”, and I’d stop posting and I’d stop taking time out, at least once a week, to really think about all the little things in a day I’ve really appreciated without consciously considering them.

So tl;dr: taking time once a week to consciously appreciate some of the little everyday things I take for granted is a great way to make me feel like I’m doing more than slogging through this life. (There’s more to living than being alive!)

Tuesday Thankfuls

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  1. My sickness is almost gone!
  2. Last Wednesday was the first day I spotted Crocuses growing in the front yard. There are Daffodils, too. I think spring has really, actually, sprung!
  3. It was sunny today. And the weather is supposed to be really nice tomorrow, too!
  4. I had another customer at work ask me if I got my haircut and tell me that it looked nice (she, at least, looked familiar, so I’m pretty sure she’s a semi-regular). People who don’t know me well remember details about me? It’s extremely flattering!
  5. I work with really great people. I’m continually amazed at how enjoyable it is to work with most of them, and how much they make being at work feel less like being at work.
  6. I leave for State College on Friday and I am going to see so many people and I am so, so excited!!
  7. My mama and I are going geocaching again tomorrow, and we’re going after a Hunger Game series. It’ll be nice to be out in nature when it’s not like 30 degrees out, for once!

Tuesday Thankfuls

  • No work today!
  • Snow, but just a little bit. Enough to remind us that winter can be pretty, but not enough to cover the roads (or at least not yet).
  • Delicious dinner with my mom.
  • Getting to spend time reading some posts from one of my favorite bloggers.
  • Getting enough done to feel productive without feeling resentful.
  • Fuzzy socks.
  • Getting to curl up in bed and read for the next half hour or so before bed. (:

There is still Goodness in the World

I got back from Boston yesterday (the 23rd), and it was truly wonderful. I could tell you a great deal about Extreme Beer Fest (hereafter referred to as EBF), about all the beers I tried, about the atmospheres of different bars we went to, or about the history of a lot of stops on the Freedom Trail, but what I want to focus on right now is the people.

When you go to an unfamiliar area, any kind gesture is greatly appreciated–and we received a lot of kind gestures. I met lot of friendly people, many whose names I never learned.

On our first day we learned that the parking meters only took quarters, and each quarter only gave you 12 minutes–between my dad and I, we had exactly 0 quarters. We tried to trade 2 dollar bills for quarters at the nearby pizza shop, but the store owner told us he’d only give us quarters for one dollar. As we were leaving, a guy gestured my dad over and handed him 3 quarters with a “Here, buddy”, and refused to accept a dollar in return.

That evening we went to a “pre-throwdown” for the EBF, and found so many people willing to start conversations with us, or willing to let us join conversations, and we got a lot of handshakes and smiles and “see you at the Fest!”s.

There was the lady at the hotel who told me she was going to watch me make a waffle, because she didn’t know how to work the machine and then struck up a conversation, telling me that she was from Florida and she was there because her son was looking at Emerson college. I found out that she, too, had graduated from Penn State, and that she’d grown up in Pittsburgh, and we had an easy, friendly conversation while our waffles cooked.

There was the girl from Texas who I’ve gotten to know over the last year or so from talking to her on Tumblr, who just happened to be in Boston at the same time as me. We met up at a 2 story bookstore/cafe, and she gave me a big hug when I first walked in and saw her. We proceeded to have a great lunch/conversation, and she was so, so, friendly, and it didn’t feel that strange that we’d met on the internet instead of real life–our conversation just flowed from one topic to the next, until we had to part ways, and she hugged me goodbye.

There was the shuttle driver who drove us as far as he could take us, and then gave us directions on how to get the rest of the way to the conference center we were looking for.

There were the people in line behind us while we were waiting an hour to get in to our session at EBF. When the EBF volunteers came around to check ids, the one checking mine said something along the lines of “Wow! Pennsylvania? Did you come all the way out here just for the Fest?”, and the guy behind me said “You’ve got another Pennsylvanian to check, here”. He was there with his brother (who was from Brooklyn), and they were very friendly and entertaining, and kept up a conversation with us during most of the wait time–we ran into them a few times inside the conference center, too, and each time they waved or tossed a comment our way.

Then there was the guy from Half Acre Beer Company who we’d met the first night at the “pre-throwdown”. He somehow remembered both mine and my dad’s names without prompting, even though it was nearly 2 days after we’d originally met him, and he greeted us extremely cheerfully. We got a picture with him.

Image

(and look at that beard!)

There was the lady who offered to take a picture of me and my dad at the fest, when she saw me trying to take one of the both of us.

There was the guy we met while waiting for a shuttle back to the hotel who told us he was from San Diego, and he struck up a conversation about the weather and the conference he was attending (an arts and crafts type thing), invited us to go to it the next day, and asked us why we were in Boston (and continued the conversation, sounding completely interested). Just before he left to grab his own hotel’s shuttle, he told us “I hope my daughter and I have a good enough relationship that she’s willing to go on trips with me when she gets older”, and it seemed like a very sweet thing to say.

On our last day, there was the family of geocachers whose car travel bug I spotted, and Froedo Bagginz (a cacher who was sitting in the back of the car when I went to write down the trackable number) jumped up to introduce himself and show me some more trackables, and talk about caching, and then he introduced me to the rest of his family who had been watching a nearby performance, and between he and his wife, they showed me 11 trackables they owned so I could log them all when I got home. They then suggested a nearby cache, and talked about some upcoming caching events, and said that maybe they’d see me at one of those events in the future.

And then of course there was every person who wished us a good day or held a door or started a conversation with us, and it was so, so, wonderful to find so many kind or friendly people. It was great to observe that there is still goodness and humanity in the world, and I hope I can be that kind of a person to many other people, now and in the future.

On Packing

Those of you who don’t know me in real life (and maybe some of you who do) don’t know that packing makes me panicky. I mean like a full-fledged, checking the weather 6 times on the same day, putting half my closet on my bed, writing pages and pages long lists, panic.

Also, I’m great at procrastinating on packing, because I know I don’t like that panicky feeling so I avoid it as long as possible by, you know, watching tv or writing blog posts (ahem). Now I know what you’re thinking: maybe you wouldn’t get that panicky feeling if you started packing sooner than a day or 2 before you left on a 4 day trip. And you might be on to something, but why risk it, right?

So I’m going to go check the weather again, and maybe–just maybe–actually put something in my suitcase. I leave tomorrow.