motivation, Personal, Uncategorized

2017 is EVOLVE

I’m not going to mince words here: 2016 was not fun for anyone. I spent the second portion of December sick as a dog – including on Christmas, as if I needed to be punched in the boob one more time for good measure – and I fell behind on everything. 2016 was stressful and difficult for me personally, and there are tons of listicles and tweets out there with reasons why this was the case for most other people too.

But 2017 is here. We’re moving on. We’re starting fresh, and it’s going to be great.

So this year, I’ve chosen the word EVOLVE.

Anyone who knows me knows that for roughly the last six months, I have been really, really, really into Pokemon, especially Pokemon Go. And although Pikachu still holds a precious place in my heart, my mascot for this year is this little guy:

eevee

This is Eevee. Isn’t he cute? Eevees are considered “Normal” Pokemon but they are extremely adaptable. Under different conditions, Eevees can evolve into eight different forms that are all unique, powerful and really freaking awesome. But the thing about it is that an Eevee that remains an Eevee is still fantastic! Look at that face! He’s good just the way he is.

I want so much to be better in 2017. I want to take the things that I do and kick them up a notch. I want to be better, do better, make better and give better to the world. When something challenges me, I want to take a step back and say, “Here is the bare minimum I could do. But how can I do more?” But I also want to recognize and be confident with the person that I am in the present. I want to choose to be happy and honest and comfortable with the ‘me’ that I am now so I know that the changes I’m making are just to enhance that goodness.

So how about you guys? What are you looking forward to evolving into in the new year?

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Goals and Ambitions, Uncategorized

2017 is EVOLVE

I’m not going to mince words here: 2016 was not fun for anyone. I spent the second portion of December sick as a dog – including on Christmas, as if I needed to be punched in the boob one more time for good measure – and I fell behind on everything. 2016 was stressful and difficult for me personally, and there are tons of listicles and tweets out there with reasons why this was the case for most other people too.

But 2017 is here. We’re moving on. We’re starting fresh, and it’s going to be great.

So this year, I’ve chosen the word EVOLVE.

Anyone who knows me knows that for roughly the last six months, I have been really, really, really into Pokemon, especially Pokemon Go. And although Pikachu still holds a precious place in my heart, my mascot for this year is this little guy:

eevee

This is Eevee. Isn’t he cute? Eevees are considered “Normal” Pokemon but they are extremely adaptable. Under different conditions, Eevees can evolve into eight different forms that are all unique, powerful and really freaking awesome. But the thing about it is that an Eevee that remains an Eevee is still fantastic! Look at that face! He’s good just the way he is.

I want so much to be better in 2017. I want to take the things that I do and kick them up a notch. I want to be better, do better, make better and give better to the world. When something challenges me, I want to take a step back and say, “Here is the bare minimum I could do. But how can I do more?” But I also want to recognize and be confident with the person that I am in the present. I want to choose to be happy and honest and comfortable with the ‘me’ that I am now so I know that the changes I’m making are just to enhance that goodness.

So how about you guys? What are you looking forward to evolving into in the new year?

inspiration, Self Dare, Uncategorized

One Words Better Than None (Or Too Many)

So today, on my writing site, I talked about my word for 2016: REBOOT. This is a follow-up to 2015, which was a JOURNEY, and 2014 when I was BRAVE.

These focus words have been more helpful than any “concrete” resolutions I ever set. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with resolutions, but it’s easy to see why they can end up being frustrating. For example: you write down on your list of New Years Resolutions “lose weight.” That’s it. Just lose some weight. No problem, right?

Maybe not, but what if you get sick? What if you do but then gain it back after a rough patch? What if you just stay the same, all year, no matter what you do? December 31 of next year rolls around, and all you have is this feeling of failure. It may not even take that long – studies have shown that people give up on their resolutions within the first month.

By giving yourself a focus word, you can take a look at what you’re doing throughout the year and decide if it’s in line with who you want to be or where you want to be going. The words I’ve seen people use, including myself, are never negative – you don’t see things like DROP or ELIMINATE or SAYNOTOTWINKIES. Just reminding yourself of your word is a burst of inspirational energy. It’s great. Try it this year. And tell me about it!

I dare you!

Goals and Ambitions, Personal

2015 was a Journey…2016 is time for a REBOOT

2014 meant being Brave. 2015 was a Journey. For 2016, the word is REBOOT.

There were a lot of changes in 2015. Added responsibility. New faces, places, things. Experiences that, while enriching and ultimately good in the greater sense of living, have worn me the hell down.

We bought a house. I changed jobs. I participated in events in front of a million people (Ask Me Another) and in front of complete strangers (Mudderella), both trials that challenged me mentally and physically. I wrote a novel. I made things.

And guys? I feel like a bit of a mess. I feel like the Stretch Armstrong you find in your garage after 20 years, and when you pull the arms with the hope of stretching, you send up with a pile of sawdust and rubber. I feel like your first swimsuit. I feel like a super ball with a crack in it, like if I try to fulfill a purpose I’m just going to explode tragically.

Anyway, you get the point.

2016 is going to be coming back to basics. It’s going to be about taking a look at the everyday, and reestablishing habits. It’s going to be about installing all the personal updates and getting my heart restarted.

I’m going to:
  • Spend less time on things that cause me unnecessary distress.
  • Be more honest – with myself as much as others.
  • Practice moderation. And, in doing so, relish what I take in.
  • Make new things out of joy, not necessarily to gain recognition or compensation.
  • Schedule time for things I love, no matter how trivial.

What’s your word for 2016?

5 Things, Self Dare, Uncategorized

Reflecting vs Resolving

So over on my writing site, I just did my annual post of my 5 Favorite Things from 2015. Check it out by clicking the image below:

2015 copy

I started doing this because every year, the big idea we see plastered all over the media each late-December-early-January is ARE YOU READY FOR THE NEW YOU? Everybody talks about resolutions. “Should we do them? Shouldn’t we? Are we setting ourselves up for failure? And have you joined a gym yet? Clean out your fridge! Quit your job! GET IMPLANTS!”

However, while I do give myself some soft resolutions as well as a word to focus on (more on that tomorrow), I have learned that it’s just as important to stop and ask, “What did I do with myself this year? Who was I?”

In 2014, I traveled a lot. It was awesome. This year, because I didn’t travel as much, I’ve been muddling through the past few days, kicking rocks, a voice in my head saying, “Great, so I bought a house this year. Big whoop-dee-do.”

Then I started going through my Facebook timeline and my Google photos and guys. I did so much more than “just buy a house.” I did travel. I did a marathon. I went to author events. Hell, I had an author event of my own. I was so lost in the big picture of 2014 not being like 2015 that I almost let those memories slip away unrecognized.

So, during these first few days of 2016, I urge you to stop and take a good long look at this past year. Delight in the memories. Realize what you needed to learn from. And realize that the passage of time is the same today, tomorrow, on New Years Eve and Day and March 5 and July 10, onward and onward. We’re all hurling through life at the same speed. Live it viciously.

I dare you.

5 Things, Five Favorites

5 Best Things from 2015

Holy crap, guys, is it seriously 2016? Oh God, I typed 2015 there originally. It’s already too much for me. But don’t get me wrong, 2015 was kind of crazy. Here are the big five awesome things that happened to yours truly this year. My Five Favorites of 2015 (in no specific order) are…

2015 copy

  1. The Travel Weekend, in which I went to Bard to see Neil Gaiman and then drove to DC to see Amanda Palmer the following night. She signed my hippo. It was magical.
  2. My First Book Event, in which I read from my poetry chapbook, Pickled Miracles, at Rickert & Beagle in Pittsburgh. I also sold custom poetry.
  3. Our First House, in which my husband and I bought a house in Pittsburgh. It was one of the most stressful processes I’ve ever gone through, but now…we own a freaking house.
  4. Ask Me Another, in which I was a participant on the NPR quiz show. Such fun. I didn’t win, but it was totally worth it.
  5. Crafts, in which my visual art game became stronger. I did monthly doodles, photography, felting, papercrafts…it’s been fun to have something more tactile to balance my writing.

Honorable mentions: The Chuck Palahniuk and Rainbow Rowell events, Picklesburgh, Welcome to Night Vale, Mudderella, the Priory Hotel, the Pittsburgh Botanical Garden, NaNoWriMo

Has this year been a journey? Absolutely. But even though that was my word of the year, it’s not over yet. Is it ever?

Tomorrow: the word for this year and what I have planned.

mental health, Personal, Uncategorized

Aftermath!

Phew, guys. That’s all I can say. Phew.

These past two months have been absolutely crazy-go-nuts. In November, I did NaNoWriMo (and won!). In the middle of that was Thanksgiving, which is a big cooking holiday for us, and then everything from Black Friday until, like, this past Saturday was…Christmas.

Christmas, with the making of gifts for friends and family.

Christmas, with the enjoyment of music and movies.

Christmas, with the traveling and visiting (we live in Pittsburgh and our families live in Maryland and Southern Virginia).

Christmas, with the scheduling of all of the above.

And now New Years is in spitting distance, and I’m holding my head like…what just happened and why is 2015 ending I can’t even.

I’m not sure why, but the combination fried rice of making, doing, seeing, being and working has made my brain feel like it’s pretty much just that: scrambled egg in soft grain. With peas and carrots. I can tell that I’ve reached my limit because all my anxiety which is normally just sort of simmering beneath the surface is erupting all Old-Faithful style. This comparison works because Old Faithful is more like Anything But, because it’s not easy to predict when it’s going to happen.

My anxiety manifests itself in obsessive thinking patterns, over-analyzing, and Way Too Big Picture questioning. I get in bed, and I ask my husband, “Do you think I’m where I’m supposed to be? I’m so old. What am I doing? I’m pretty sure the world is ending.” These are not things that one should be thinking about before they sleep. In fact, my anxiety created this bizarre dream in which a Jason Momoa lookalike berated me at length – about my appearance, my life choices, what I was doing with myself.

It is safe to say I woke up confused, perturbed and hurt.

The post-holiday letdown is something I know that other people deal with too. We get so, so wrapped up in the season that when it’s all over, you end up looking around like, “Okay! What’s next?” And the answer is a big slap in the face by baby new year.

So, y’all, if you’re anything like me…be good to yourself right now. Take everything a little bit at a time. Create a to do list and commit to taking care of just one thing every day. Get sleep. Eat well, even when the anxiety demons are all, “Dip the chocolate bar IN the Speculos spread!”

You’ll feel a hell of a lot better in a week. I know it.