5 Motivational, Encouraging Phrases (from me to you!)

I don’t know what 2015 has been like for you, but for me? It’s been busy. And that’s putting it lightly. I feel like every day is a stir fry that’s made up the stuff I want to do and the things I have to do. I just take a bowl and whatever I get is what I get.

So I was thinking to myself how I could reach out to you, because I love you and I want to make sure that you are doing okay, but time has been limited. And I decided that instead of doing 5 things I had going on, I would write 5 things that I hope make you feel good about whatever it is you’re doing.

Let’s do this.

1. Any little thing you can do is a tiny step towards something awesome. Don’t have time to squeeze in reading a whole chapter of a book? Read a paragraph. Love that paragraph.

2. You are amazing, good-looking, smart, and talented. Define those things as you will but know that they are true in some form and fashion.

3. Nothing is permanent. And while that can be sad, keep in mind that it applies to all the crappy stuff too. Like bad days. And headaches. And stinky farts.

4. It’s gray outside and that sucks. But you can improve your mood with a blanket, a cup of something warm, music, and a magazine. Or book. Or video game. Whatever. Cozy up and get your chill on.

5. Pamper yourself. One little thing every day. Maybe it’s just a warm pair of socks. Maybe it’s a long shower. Maybe you just let yourself go to bed a little early. You deserve it.

2014 was a Year to be Brave…2015 is a Journey!

So last year, I created a word for 2014, and that was Brave.

And I was. I tried taxidermy for the first time. I lost my wallet in NYC. I took my first bus and train trips (trains are better). I hit all the zombie hotspots in Western PA, and I drove from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh in the middle of the night.

I made bread from scratch. I created a chapbook of poems. I laughed a lot, cried a bit, and made some new friends. When I would start getting anxious or, worse, bored…I said, “What can I do now?” It was a great year, which is contrary to what I’ve heard from a lot of people.

This year, as I sat on my couch re-watching season 2 of Hannibal on New Years Eve, I doodled trying to figure out what I wanted to do with this next year. I have a few goals – to visit Canada, to get comfortable playing the ukulele, among others – but I wanted another word. I wanted a theme.

I messed around with several words, including:

  • Adventure (too broad)
  • Dream (too abstract)
  • Finishing (too narrow)
  • Content (too slow)

Then, as I was writing about who I wanted to be by the end of 2015, I wrote a note about how I wanted to “document the JOURNEY.” And that’s what stuck.

I want this year to be a Journey. I want to ride through it and stop at the places that appeal to me. I want to try new foods and see new people and live so presently that all I’m thinking about is this moment, second, instant. I want to turn off regret and nagging and stuff that bothers me and drive.

And I definitely won’t stop believin.’ Or holding on to that feelin.’

Did you really think we’d get through this without a Journey reference?

How about you? Do you have a theme for this year? Any spiffy goals or ideas? Resolutions? Tell me!

Happy Holidays! (5 Things Happening Right Now Because Geez)

Hi, guys. Did Thanksgiving zip by you, too? Because it did for me. All of a sudden I looked up and it was Monday. Now, I’m out of leftovers and losing my mind. Also, doing these things:

1. Christmas. Christmas, Christmas, Christmas, Christmas. I love this time of the year. Everything about it makes me a warm buttery ball of happy. I am working on gifts and donations and foodieness and decorations and, and, and, and!! So much Christmas, so little time.

2. Rats. I am adopting three rats. I’ve settled on the names Moby, Oreo (shut up, Brett*) and Chu. They are adorable and I am so very excited to have them joining my family. And I found this short essay which explains why you need rat people in your life, too.

3. I’m going to a talk about positivity tonight with one of my best friends. It’s all about creating a more vibrant life and feeling powerful and alive. I’m looking forward to going.

4. Tomorrow starts a special holiday series of How to Have a Day Job. It’s not too late to join the fun and figure out how to:

  • Enjoy the holidays without getting burned out.
  • Juggle festivities with responsibilities.
  • Take stock of what is important about this festive time of the year without losing sight of it behind a massive pile of work.

So click here and sign up already!

5. Christmas! Did I mention that already?! It’s enough to count for two!

*Brett is a dear friend of mine who has been around through a few pets, one of the first being a guinea pig named Cheeto. He does not approve of these food-based names. And to that I say ‘nyah.’

5 Things You Can Do Right Now

I know yesterday I said I would be posting every day this week with five things I am grateful for, since it’s the week of Thanksgiving, yadda yadda ya. I sat down after work to do just that and realized I can’t. Well, that’s not true. I knew last night that I couldn’t. That something needed to be said about what is happening in the country right now.

Last night, the grand jury announced their decision not to indict white police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed black teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, in August of this year. The evidence and court transcripts were released and are available to the public. There have been protests, gatherings and, in some cases, riots in response to the news.

It is a time that is extremely emotional for everyone. Social media outlets are loud, buzzing, angry, distraught. There is fear for loved ones, for lives of those in areas where reactions are potentially violent, for those who may be impacted in other ways in the days to come.

So here we go. Five things you can do right now in light of what is happening.

1. Be educated: gather information. Read. Question. Look at what is credible and not credible by turning to different sources. Make your own opinions, even if they are not the same opinions as everyone else.

2. Be aware: not just about what is happening around you physically but emotionally, socially. Take note of yourself as a person and the words you use and the actions you take. Consider the impact of that tweet, or status, or picture. Think of how you would act if you were in a room with people you don’t know. Act conscientiously.

3. Stand for love: no matter what side you take, ask yourself where your belief comes from. Is this sentiment rooted in love for the world you live in, the people around you? Or is it from feelings of superiority, inconvenience or pain? Do you want to raise people up or let them wallow wherever they may be?

4. Don’t mistake “drama” for “activism”: last night, I had to make an effort to step away from the computer. It’s hard to not get pulled into the emotional raucous that is happening in front of you. It’s like a mosh pit: sometimes you just end up in it, sometimes you feel drawn to it. Don’t get involved in the finger-pointing, name-calling, communal hand-wringing. Never let anyone decide how you are going to react to something.

5. Remain present: life is happening right now, all around you. You aren’t doing anyone any good mulling, sulking, pouting and complaining. Live. Do what you’re supposed to be doing. If you want to help, do something tangible: write a letter to local, state, federal officials; donate to a cause; volunteer in cleanup. Do what you can.

Be the change you want to see in the world.

New Things!

5 New Things I’ve Done Since Turning 30

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[Has it already been a week? I promise, this will be last time I milk this but come on. It’s not like someone turns 30 every day…]

1. Took a Project Life class. I’ve really gotten into it. It’s a perfect scrapbooking technique for people like me who have a hard time focusing.

2. I tested and confirmed that I am allergic to cats. This is very sad. But my husband and I are now looking at getting rats, so…yay!

3. Went to an open house at a place down the street. Never done that before.

4. Actually went to a phone store. It wasn’t for me but for my husband. But I’ve never actually gone through that experience of buying a phone in person. It was a lot of fun.

5. Created a sculpture with Kinetic Sand! It was really relaxing!

I have to go on a trip this week to receive a MAJOR AWARD(c) at my day job, but I’m slowly getting back to working on this, that and the other thing. But enough about me. How are you doing?

30 by 30: Part 6

30 Things I’m Glad I Know Before I Turn 30: Part 6

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26. Being nice.

It’s the trick to getting through anything, whether it’s international travel, getting caught in a bad spot or calling customer service. I am happy to say that I am really freaking nice and I know how to not be an asshole. Hooray!

27. How to form a habit.

If I want to do something different, I know now how to adopt a change to a behavior. That used to be really hard for me. I used to just say, “Nope, I could never do that.” But it’s all in the baby steps.

28. The definition of marriage.

Life thus far with my husband has been awesome, and it’s because at some point in our relationship, we decided that we just weren’t going to listen to anyone about how to do things. Just because other people are married doesn’t mean that it’s the same in every other couple. I’ve learned how and when to break the rules, and in what cases to say, “That’s awesome you think that, but we’re doing this our way.”

29. How to get the most out of a bad situation.

Smile. Laugh. Take notes. Put the story out there asap.

30. Where adventure is.

Everywhere. Every day. If you’re willing to look for it.

Here’s to another amazing 30+ years!

30 by 30: Part 5

30 Things I’m Glad I Know Before I Turn 30: Part 5

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21. Public speaking.

Not only do I actually excel at this, I look forward to it! I love going over things with people, presenting materials, reading, whatever. It gives me a rush!

22. Persevering self awareness and self perception.

I know who I am and how I fit into the world. I am a snowflake, a butterfly, a grain of sand. I am a speck in the universe. I am stardust. It’s okay.

23. To always say yes.

Like in improv, life is a lot more interesting when you go, “Oh, wow, that doesn’t sound like anything I’ve done before so I’m going with…yes! Of course I’ll try it!” But then I also know…

24. When to say no.

Just because someone else thinks they know what I should be doing with my time doesn’t mean I’m going to agree. You think I should get rid of x, y or z in my home? You think I shouldn’t be wearing what when? Haha. No.

25. How to cook.

I buy no prefab meals from the grocery store anymore. And you know what? That feels good.

30 by 30: Part 4

30 Things I’m Glad I Know Before I Turn 30: Part 4

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16. What to do in an emergency.

I can stay surprisingly calm in these situations nowadays.

17. How to defend myself.

And not just physically. My armor is solid in every way it can be. I know who I am. Nobody can tear me down, whether it’s with words or fists.

18. How to cut myself a break.

I have spent a large part of my life acting as my worst critic, parent and stern teacher. It took a long time for me to say, “You know what, you did your best. Go take a nap already.”

19. Appropriate communication.

I used to be unable to handle confrontation. The idea of stepping up to someone and sharing my feelings in a direct manner pretty much guaranteed a panic attack. Now, after being a part of not only a day job but also a marriage, I’m pretty on top of being able to know when and how to talk about something.

20. How to handle my money.

I don’t sweat where money for something is coming from. I am comfortable with how I choose to spend my cash and I’m responsible about bills and financial commitments. I’m walking into my birthday with no credit card debt. How about them apples?

30 by 30: Part 3

30 Things I’m Glad I Know Before I Turn 30: Part 3

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11. When to ask for help.

And that there is a fine, fine line between that and being a drama queen. I’ve gotten to where I can tell someone, straight up, “I can’t do this alone.” I’m not ashamed. I’m not embarrassed. And if people try to make me feel that way when I reach out to them, that’s their bad, not mine.

12. Who my friends are.

See #11. I keep good people around, but I’m always accepting applications.

13. That I have a say in every aspect of my life.

If I don’t like something, you can bet I’m going to stop doing it. If I want to make something happen, I can get where I need to be make it happen. In fact…

14. I can do anything I want to.

And so can you.

15. Who God is to me.

Just because I don’t prescribe to a specific dogma does not mean spirituality isn’t important to me. I know what I believe, it doesn’t hurt anyone else, and I’m happy I can comfortably say that I keep in touch with that part of my soul every day.

30 by 30: Part 2

30 Things I’m Glad I Know Before I Turn 30: Part 2

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6. My body.

I know what I like. I know what I hate. I know what will happen if I put certain things in it. I know my chemical imbalances. I know when I feel good. I’m very aware of my physicality. I am a meat bag.

7. How to tell people how I feel.

Confrontation. Telling it like it is. Being blunt. Padding where appropriate and showing emotion as necessary.

8. How to forgive – both myself and others.

Letting go of grudges doesn’t just go outward. It also means saying to myself, “Yeah, you fucked up. Don’t do it next time, yeah? Yeah. Off you go.”

9. My hobbies.

I used to be absolutely paralyzed when people asked me about my hobbies. Especially after I stopped LARPing. I used to deal with a terrible anxiety about doing stuff other than what I thought I “should” be doing at a given point. By letting go of that, I now have a laundry list of interests: taxidermy, painting, felting, sculpting, traveling, photography, on and on and on.

10. How to have a day job.

If I had a dollar for every day during my twenties that I was angry about the office jobs I’ve had as a post-graduate, I could probably take a Caribbean cruise. Over the years, though, I’ve learned a lot of great lessons about how to handle not doing what you think you should be doing 24-7. I’m sharing some of these secrets in my newsletter, by the way.