218//365 — The Last Day of My Summer

It’s the last day of my “summer”. Tomorrow I go in for my mandatory six hours of training for the year—referred to as our “in-service” day—where we are reminded of all the rules and management attempts to make us care more about what they want than what we want. It’s a chance for us to ease back into the workplace.

After tomorrow, everyone will come back and begin practicing their routes for the new school year. Over the next week, we’ll call the parents of our students, confirm pick up times, and birthdays, known allergies, and best disciplinary strategies. The 6th graders and the 9th graders will have orientations and new drivers and assistants will work through their fears.

It’s strange to live this yearly routine into adulthood, but I can’t imagine life any other way now. I get to have a second season of beginnings, a new start, a new year, the same as we get in January, and next year I’ll get another season of freedom too.

I’m already looking forward to it.

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I’m trying something new here. In addition to my regular posts, I’m adding these short, daily-ish journal entries inspired by Thord D. Hedengren.

If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for inspiring reads + existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering. Or help support what I do by sharing a virtual cup of coffee.

Thank you for reading, and please, let me know what you think!

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If We Were Having Coffee // Remembering How to Do Things I Don’t Want to Do

Well hello, dear reader. Thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up. I’ve been playing with my old espresso machine again, tweaking the coffee to water ratios and getting closer and closer to the perfect brew. I’m still not there yet, but this one is at least as rich as it should be, even if it isn’t quite as velvety.

I haven’t had much time for coffee chats lately, but I’ve needed them desperately. The last time we met up was Christmas Eve, only two weeks ago but it seems a lot longer than that. Two holidays have passed. I’ve returned to work. I’ve been writing again too. The year has changed, and I think I’ve changed a little along with it. Not as much I as I hoped I would have by now, but less than I am sure I will by this time next week.

“Just coffee. Black – like my soul.”

― Cassandra Clare, City of Bones

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas or New Year’s celebration.

Christmas was spent with family eating good food, drinking, and catching up. I was happy to see the joy my gifts brought the people I loved, and I was delighted to find out how much they knew me by the gifts I received. I know that everyone knows I like coffee and books because I racked up a significant amount of gift card money to both Starbucks and Barnes and Nobel.

For New Year’s Eve, we got together with a few of our closet friends to get fancy and head downtown for a black tie event. I found a lovely maroon velvet jacket to wear, and my girlfriend was gorgeous in an emerald green dress.

We had a lot of fun, and I was happy to start 2018 off surrounded by people who cared about me. I only wish the overnight temperatures hadn’t dipped so low, that Uber hadn’t jacked up their prices, and that the light rail had been running a little more frequently. By the time we made it home my poor lady’s toes were nearly purple.

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Happy New Years! #newyearseve #blacktieevent

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I had hoped we’d get to ease into 2018 but, wow, this past week was bananas! Half the country is frozen. Our President taunted world leaders on Twitter, again. A Trump tell-all book was published. Then he tried to convince us of his sanity by lashing out and acting completely mental. Oh, and the whole state of California is smoking weed now.

By the end of 2017, I had stopped watching the news, and I felt guilty for not keeping up with what was happening in the world. One week into 2018 I’m ready to give up again. The anxiety I feel every time that man tweets is more than I need in my life. I have my own everyday fears and obstacles to overcome. I shouldn’t have to add nuclear war to the list, and I certainly shouldn’t have to spend my day refreshing social media feeds to find out whether or not nuclear winter is coming.

I’m exhausted already.

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If we were having coffee, I would tell you that too much of my break was spent watching movies and TV shows, but I regret nothing.

I indulged nostalgia by watching every Harry Potter film again on HBO. Black Mirror season 4 was everything I hoped it would be. Star Wars: The Last Jedi was better than everyone said it was. Dave Chappelle’s Netflix specials were genius. Call Me by Your Name—both the book and the movie—were good but far from great, each in very different ways.

Still, I recommend all of it.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that my return to work this week was, well, annoying. It’s hard to get through a week of Christmas preparation, Christmas celebration, a weird waiting period where all you do is drink and eat leftovers, the celebrate a whole new year, and then go back to doing the same old shit you were doing before. I’ve had a hard time readjusting back to my old life. I’m having a hard time remembering how to do things that I don’t want to do.

I could have had more days off if I’d wanted, but living in a capitalist society means I feel guilty when I spend my time resting, reading, or doing whatever the hell else I want instead of making money. All I kept thinking about was how much I make per hour times how many hours I wasn’t at work. I kept a running total in my head of all the things I wouldn’t be able to buy if I didn’t go in. So I did.

At least I was able to do office work and ease back into my work schedule before the kids come back on Tuesday. All in all, it wasn’t bad at all, and all in all, my job is a pretty good one, so I’m not complaining too much. I’m only musing on the weird mental toll having so much time off, and dragging myself back, kicking and screaming, into the real world takes on me.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the highlight of my week, and the reason I didn’t get nearly as much writing done as I wanted to, was finally getting started on a couple of big bookbinding projects.

The first is my new daily journal. Last week I spent a lot more money than I expected on tools and supplies and got all the paper I needed to begin folding and sewing. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted ruled, grid, or plain, so I picked all three and added a few others: dots, and triangles, and hexagons. I printed them on bright fuchsia colored paper in random order so I can be a little freer in the way I write from day-to-day.

I also gathered up all my loose and scrap paper I had been collecting got it all cut and folded into beautiful little imperfect bundles for a new sketchbook. All the pages are different sizes, colors, and textures. Some are proper sketch papers, some are tracing pages, some are from an old graph paper pad, some pages are white, or black, or light blue, or orange.

I guess I’m trying to make little spaces where every day will be a little different. I guess, without realizing it, I am craving a little less structure and a little more freedom.

***

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have got to get going. Time flies when you are having fun, and it’s even faster with all this caffeine in my system. Loads of laundry need washing, more posts need writing, and I am itching to make a little more progress on those projects too.

I hope your year has been off to a better start, and that all the crap that is going on around us hasn’t already made your spirit weary. I hope your resolutions are still going strong. If they aren’t, don’t worry. There is still a lot more year left to go.

Until next time.

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There is no you. #makeblackoutpoetry #share

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Thanks for reading! If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for inspiring reads + existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering. Or help support what I do by sharing a cup of coffee.

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli

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Hello 2018 // A Good Year for Dreams to Begin

“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

I wrote yesterday that ending of a year is a strange time. Of course, there is no difference in who we are or how the rest of the world behaves from December 31st to January 1st, not any more different from any other two days, but something is different though isn’t it. Something about changing the date from 2017 to 2018 changes everything else too.

This morning when I woke I felt a kind of pressure in my chest. I felt full of potential and possibility, and I felt afraid. I didn’t want to explore that feeling. If you don’t acknowledge it, you don’t have to face it right? If you never dare to dream, then you never have to regret your choices or hate yourself for being so cowardly. You never have to try, or fail, or try again and fail again. You can just float through life all the way to the end. Easy peasy.

But what a waste, and I should know, I have been floating along for a very long time. I have been lucky that happiness, for the most part, made its way to me, but lately, I’ve wanted to find a kind of happiness I had gone after myself. I wanted to feel I had earned something.

This year, I need a win! It would feel so good to have something to bring to my family and friends to show them that I wasn’t a loser or a failure. It would be nice to have them feel proud of me. It would be nice to know they didn’t think I was wasting my time. I need to prove that I’m more than a mere dreamer. I want to be a doer too. Maybe I need to believe those things about myself first.

So, I am going to explore that feeling of possibility and potential. I am going to dream big impossible dreams about all the things I want to have and do, and little impossible dreams about what kind of person I want to be deep down inside.

I’ve written a list of 100 dreams that I thought were impossible but aren’t actually impossible at all. It was only that I had convinced myself I couldn’t do because it was too terrifying to imagine a life where I could. Dreaming and trying, focusing and making a real effort, believing in myself and finding the strength to love myself enough not to get lazy, undisciplined, or timid, that is how I will get through my list. This is how I will make my life into the one I’ve wasted all this time dreaming of.

Of course, I can’t tackle all 100 dreams in the short course of one year, but I can start with just a few. Some highlights include:

***

1. Get over my driving phobia
2. Get my driver’s license

This has been on every New Years Resolution list I have made in my adult life, and every year I fail, but going into 2018 I feel closer than ever to getting it done. I have been driving, to and from work, to the store up the street, and around the neighborhood,  up until a little over a week ago. Then the weather turned nasty here, and I didn’t feel ready yet to drive in the snow without having a full on panic attack.

But the roads are all cleared now, and I go back to work tomorrow, so back behind the wheel, I go. I don’t want to lose all that progress, and I don’t want to go on letting everyone, most importantly myself, down. I will get through this by the end of the year. I have to because I can’t keep relying on others to get me where I need to go, and I want to because there are so many places I want to go and things I want to do and driving is the only way to get there.

***

 

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59. Journal every day
60. Hand make all of my own journals

I already try my best to write in my journal every day, but buying the same old journal, again and again, is sucking the fun out of the habit. It’s boring and monotonous. It’s the same pages every day, with the same number of lines and even if I bought a notebook full of grid or dotted pages they would get just as boring eventually too. Why not pages that were all different? Some ruled, some dotted, some with a hexagon pattern, and some that were completely blank? What about some different color paper, something that pops! Hot pink or bright yellow?

I’ve been looking for a new hobby, something I can do with my hands, in the real world. I want to make something beautiful and useful, and a new journal, one I might enjoy writing in again, sounded like an easy enough place to start.

I found a tutorial by Sea Lemon on YouTube and decided to start making my own journals this year. It feels right that a writer should make their own tools don’t you think? So, a new notebook, and maybe a few notepads, and a pocket notebook, and a planner, and maybe a bullet journal for my sister and if people like them maybe I can make a few more for anyone at all who would like one.

I also have a lot of pages piled up just waiting to be made into a brand new art journal for number 72, “Complete one year of a creative habit.” Then maybe next year I can get to number 52, “Learn to paint with oils or acrylics?”

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48. Publish a book of essays and poetry

This one is the hard one. This one is what my year will be all about. This one will take discipline, and focus, and hard everyday effort! I’m starting with 400 words a day, no matter what. No matter how tired I am, no matter what else I am doing, no matter how much I don’t want to. 400 words a day that is all I have to do. I don’t have to write something great. It just has to be honest, and it has to be mine.

I’m not trying to get rich, I’m only trying to say something. I plan to self-publish whatever it turns out to be on my own when I am ready, and I will consider the dream realized if I can get 5 whole people, who I don’t know, to buy a copy of the damn thing.

I have other writerly dreams too. Number 46 is “Publish a sci-fi/dystopian fiction novel.” Number 47 is “Publish a graphic novel.” Those are big, and very far away dreams but number 49, “Publish 2 blog posts a week” and number 50, “Publish a zine” feel very doable for 2018, I think.

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66. Read 30 books a year

This is another repeat resolution. Every year I set a goal of 30 books on Goodreads, and every year I fall short, but by a little less each time. Last year I read 22 books, my best yet. I got stuck a few time on books I didn’t enjoy and out of sheer pride refused to let them win and move on. This year things are a little different. This year I will move on when books aren’t interesting to me, and come back to them when I have the strength to try again. Some books take more than one introduction to click. It has to be the right time for you to meet you know.

I’m also going to work on number 58, “Get a library card.” I had one, many years ago but I checked out more books than I should have once and never got them back, and I’m afraid of how much money I might owe to be allowed the privilege again. But books aren’t cheap, and I don’t have the room to bring a brand new one home to stay every few weeks. I’m also going to give ebooks another chance. Number 67 is “Read more philosophy books,” and I happened to have a list of 135 completely free ones! And when I get tired of those there are many more authors, genres, and topics to turn to, all for free too of course.

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37. Start running
38. Join a gym, attend regularly
39. Make meditation and yoga a daily habit
40. Become a weekday vegetarian

And finally, finally, I have come to my last resolution, so common and prone to failure I almost chose not to include it, get healthier. I want to start a running habit. It seems like the easiest place to start. Even if I just went once around the block, it would be better than all the couch surfing I am doing now.

Then there is a gym up the street. Walking, or rather, running distance away from my house. If I could prove myself by running every day for a month or two, maybe I could trust myself with a gym membership. I could cycle, take classes, I wonder if they have yoga? And then, I could take the two nights a week I don’t eat meat and make it 5 days a week. A weekday vegetarian doesn’t seem so hard.

As you can see, I’m trying to take it easy and make small improvements to my routine. Too many people try for a 30-minute hardcore workout every day of the week with a goal weight and a brand new radical diet. I have no goal weight, and I have no diet restrictions, as of now. I’m just going to try, and if I can just do that much, I can’t fail.

***

One hundred dreams feels like a lot, and I doubt the list could be completed in one lifetime. I doubt I would want to complete it. There are things on there I may want to do now, but five years from now or more I might change my mind. So, the list is a dynamic one. Not only will I be crossing things off, but I’ll be tweaking, and adding, and deleting from them too.

Hell, the list isn’t even finished yet! I made it to 85 things before the ball dropped last night and I thought I’d give myself some time to figure out the last 15. There is no rush after all. I have my whole life to figure it out, I only have to remember that lives tend never to last as long as we hope they will. I have time, but I better get started, and no time is better than the first day of a brand new year.

But what about you? Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions? Do you believe they can actually work? Why or why not? Let me know in the comments.

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

― Neil Gaiman

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Thanks for reading! If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for inspiring reads + existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering. Or help support what I do by sharing a cup of coffee.

Check out my complete list of 100 Dreams, or what I have so far anyway and if you make one yourself, feel free to drop the link in the comments so everyone can check it out.

Featured photo is by Josh Boot on Unsplash

My 2017 Reading Resolutions

I will read at least 30 books this year. I had the same goal last year, and while I did fall a little short, I am still so proud of myself for reading more than I did the year before. I am going to do everything I can to make sure that 2017 is the year when I finally meet my goals.

I will read even when it is hard. One thing that set me back was that I kept giving up when it got hard. When a book was hard to understand I avoided it but rather than just picking up a different book, I did nothing. This year, if a book is hard and I find myself falling into old habits, I will move on to something else and come back when I feel like trying again.

I will read the Bronte sisters. I’ve been curious about the sisters Charlotte Bronte, Emily Bronte, Anne Bronte but I have been afraid to dedicate time to books on romance and domestic affairs. I thought the same about Jane Austen so I could be wrong about these obviously talented and quite mystereous—I hear—ladies.

I will read Jorge Luis Borges. Fantastic realism is a literary trick I would love to get a handle on, why not start reading a man who was famous for employing it in his own work? Not to mention he has a body of work across many forms of writing including short stories, poems, and essays.

I will write in my books. I’ve read that reading should be an interactive process and that the notes we take in the margins, the words we choose to highlight can be considered a sort of art form. I hate writing in books because I want to keep them in pristine condition but I recently got a used book with a ton of writing in is, and I love the book all the more for it.

I will read before bed. We should all be turning off our screens about 30 minutes or so before bed, but what to do instead?

I will write more reviews. I’ve written a few but not nearly as many as I’d hoped. This year I am going to take the reviews in a different direction, I want to share what I learned from the book. How does each book I read become a part of who I am and where I am going? How does the book make me feel and think? This is why I read, and this is what I want to share.

I will have a plan for what to read next. This was another reason I fell short of my 2016 reading goals. I lost days and weeks just trying to figure out what to read next. This year I will have a plan!

I will ask for recommendations. I don’t talk to a lot of people about what I am reading and what I like to read. I don’t ask people about their reading habits much either. I guess it’s because there is so much pressure to react to a book the way other people have. If a book changed someone’s life, and then you read it, and you didn’t really like it can be awkward to say that, but there are so many books that I have never even heard of. I need help.

I will get a library card. Actually, I have a library card. What I mean is, I will pay off my library fees so I can use my library card. When I was young, I lost a ton of library books and never paid for them. I know, I’m awful. I have to fix this though because books are expensive!

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If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter on life, love, and suffering (:

Written in response to The Broke and the Bookish Top Ten Tuesday Prompt with a twist inspired by Nut Free Nerd

Many of the items on this list or ideas I’ve gathered from the author and artist Austin Kleon. Check out his posts How to Read More and 33 Thoughts on Reading. And if your phone is too much of a distraction download his Read a Book Instead wallpaper.

Featured image via Unsplash

 

Embracing Uncertainty

Hello, dear readers and happy Monday! I know I know, Mondays aren’t happy. Mondays are for being tired, and grouchy, and remembering all the things you don’t like about your life. Mondays are for wanting nothing more than to crawl back into bed and escaping the world.

But, let’s try something different. Let’s think of Mondays as a fresh start, every week. Mondays are our do-overs, our reset buttons, our first days. Let’s make the changes we want to see in ourselves and the world, okay?

For me, this Monday is a super easy one, and, hopefully, if I can focus, a productive one too. It’s the first day of my winter break from work, and I hope to spend it writing as much as I can since I blew off the whole weekend laying on the couch or visiting family. I still have to work a few days over this week and next but today I am home. I am relaxed but focused. I have coffee, and I have set up shop in the spare bedroom, far away from the TV.

I am trying.

“The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.”

— Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to grow up and grow old with another person.

I feel lucky to have lived as close to a fairy tale as most people can ever hope. It has been—and continues to be a roller coaster ride of emotion and uncertainty by as time go one the highs are less high and the lows aren’t so low. It’s a good thing to be slow and steady and secure in each other. We are like one person with two brains. We fight, we confess, we whisper sweet nothings, and sometimes we want to get away from one another. It is all very lovely and typical.

We wanted to be secure with each other, but we became too confident in the trajectory of our lives. Lately, things are beginning to feel repetitive. Lately, things have started to feel like they are over.

We wake up, we work, we come home, we watch Netflix, we go to bed. We grocery shop, we see family, and we go to the movies. We pay our bills, we have food, we have a roof, we have water and heat. We have fun, and we laugh, but we have fun and laugh in all the same places with all the same people. We love each other, and we love the life we built, but it’s beginning to feel a bit too insulated I think.

There is no more uncertainty, and we have found that instead of making us any happier, it’s actually driving us a little insane.

Last night, just before we fell asleep, we had a bit of a joint existential crisis and decided that life feels too much like life is already over like we did everything everyone is supposed to do, or that we can do, and now we are just going through the motions until the end. It was sad, and I realized that to be feeling like this before we’ve even lived half of our lives is so awful. We are not supposed to be feeling like this!

So, I proposed that we make a joint New Year’s resolution. We will resolve to start, right away, doing all the things we’ve always wanted to do. All the places we’ve wanted to visit, all the experiences we’ve wanted to have, all the things we wanted to learn, they are going on the list. Some of the things on the list will be easy, trips and classes to take, some will be big, like changing our careers big.

Life may become a little less certain for us, but just thinking about this list and where it might lead us feels so exciting. It feels like life can begin again for us, together, as it should.

Life should never feel stale, and I regret letting things go on the same day after day the way I have. I grew up in chaos, and so this calm felt good. It felt like I could finally breathe. I could stop and look around, I could get my bearing and figure what it meant to exist, to be me, and to love, and suffer, and learn. But I have done that, and now it is time to shatter everything I think I know and let my life become something new again.

This week, we should all start thinking about what your life has become and what you always meant for it to be. How do you feel about where you are and what you might have thought was good and it turns out was not what you wanted after all? Think about what you have learned over your life and what you still hope to.

Think about how much time you have left and how you might feel when the end comes, and you have continued just as you are for the rest of the time you have. How might you feel?

Make a list of the things you want to do, see, and learn. Put them in whatever order you like and make it your mission to check off whatever you can—however you can—until you can’t anymore.

Think about how good that will make you feel, when the end comes, and you had the courage to let go and give into a little uncertainty so that you could really live!

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If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter on life, love, and suffering :)

Quote via Austin Kleon

Featured image via Unsplash

2016 Dreams and Resolutions 

I can’t believe it will be a whole new year in just a few short hours. It snuck up on me this time, I thought I had more time than I did and I feel a little unprepared to start a new chapter in my life. There was so much more I wanted to do this year but I have to be content with what I did. Time neither stops nor slows for anyone right?

So instead I am thinking of all I want to accomplish in the next chapter, and working on a plan to get it done.

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Make my health a priority. I turned 30 this past year and I had to face the fact that I am never going to be young and carefree the way I was in my twenties. I can’t go on acting like I’m invincible, I have to start thinking about how I am going to live a longer life, and that means taking better care of myself. So this year I want to:

  • Join a gym. There is literally one walking distance from my house now. I have no excuse not to do this.
  • Start a meatless-Monday tradition. Studies have shown that red and processed meat can increase your cancer risk, so I’m going to start cutting back.
  • Buy a longboard. I want to do more to be active than just going to the gym. I need an activity that gets me out in the sun and moving and longboarding looks like a good time.
  • Stay smoke-free. No more putting poison in my body. I have gotten through the worst of quitting, and I know every day will get easier.

 

Make learning something new a daily habit. This was also a resolution I had for 2015 and while I did better than 2014 I still wasn’t perfect. When things got hard I gave up, for months, and lost a lot of progress. This year I am going to remember that even a tiny bit of progress is good and not get so down on myself.

  • Finish learning Spanish with Duolingo. I love this app so much! I think I might actually be addicted to it. I do little Spanish lessons anytime I have more than 5 minutes free time. I have a long way to go still but I would love to be able to finish it this year, and maybe start German next?
  • Continue working on Codecademy and Khan Academy. I don’t have specific goals for these projects except to say I need to work on a little bit of a project there every single day. I am interested to see how far I can make it through each site learning resources after a whole year.
  • Read 30 books. I didn’t reach my reading goal in 2015 but I’d like to try again in 2016. This time, I have a daily goal of reading 10 to 20 pages which won’t be terribly time-consuming.

Do more writing, outside of this blog. Last year I had a few poems published in felan zine and it was a great feeling to know someone thought I was good enough to be included in their work.

  • Get published again, this time in a bigger publication. I’ll be on the lookout for other places to submit work. I want to have more to add under my list of writing accomplishments, I want to have some “writer’s cred”.
  • I want to publish my own work too. I want to become a better essayist and poet and publish and sell my own zine. I think it would be great fun and good practice to self-publish a small zine of my own.

Be a better blogger. I think I’ve done well for myself here, considering I am still new at this. I was Freshly Pressed, and I met and surpassed my goal of 1000 followers (I’m sitting at 1450 now). Next year I want to change things up a bit.

  • Focus more on quality, not quantity. With everything else I want to accomplish I may have to publish here less often but what I do publish will be of much better quality. I want to go more “in-depth” and learn to edit better.
  • I want to try for Freshly Pressed again. I got a lot of exposure for this blog and it was nice to feel some kind of confirmation that I was doing something good and right. I’d love to experience that again.
  • I also want to involve my readers more. I’m not sure how yet but maybe an event of some kind….

Become a better person. Resolutions are all about improving your life and character but I like to focus on exactly what that means for me.

  • Learn to be less afraid. I still haven’t gotten over my fear of driving. this year I need to practice more and get my licence finally. No more excuses! I can do this!
  • Become more aware of and more involved in civil rights and activist movements. I’m not looking to do anything radical, yet, I just want to help spread the word and be more informed about what’s going on in the world.
  • Embrace minimalism. Starting in January 1st, I will be doing a 30-day minimalism challenge. I want to learn to control my impulses and spend my money and time and what is really important or what I really want to do. Practicing a bit of minimalism can give you perspective on you wants vs your needs.

Do a whole bunch of fun stuff. A lot of these things I did last year but they were so much fun I want to do them all again. The new ones are to travel to another city in another state and

  • Go to a drive-in movie
  • See a concert at Red Rocks
  • Visit the Museum of Nature and Science
  • Visit the art museum
  • See a play
  • Go camping
  • Spend a day at the hot springs
  • Visit another city, in another state
  • Get another tattoo
  • Get another piercing, or stretch my ears up another size

And finally, and most importantly, get married already! My girlfriend and I have been engaged for over 2 years now and we just cannot get our shit together enough to plan and execute a damn wedding. This year we are going to finally make it happen.

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I may have chosen to do too much but I felt it better to aim too high than to sell myself short and aim low. I’d rather give my all and accomplish more of this than to put together some half-assed resolutions and accomplish it all.

So wish me luck in the New Year and know I wish you the same in return. Next year is going to be a good one for us all, I can feel it :)

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art – write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

— Neil Gaiman

 

The Wisdom of Rest and Relaxation

Hello and happy Monday before Christmas! I hope you aren’t too stressed with all the planning, prepping, and present shopping. This time of year can be hard to get through, especially if you have to get up and get to work too. Some of you might be ready to give up, you might be wishing it was all over and done with already, but I want you to remember: This Monday is like any other, a time to reset and restart. Try to enjoy the day and think of it as a chance to get motivated and get stuff done.

For my this Monday is the first of my Holiday break, but I have chosen to come in and get in a few hours of pay a day. I know that sounds pretty dumb, but I couldn’t justify that much time off doing nothing. I felt the best use of my time was to commit to something that forces me to get up, get dressed, and get out of the house. This way I won’t fall into the trap of lounging around in my PJs while lying to myself saying I was going to “get so much done”.

I know myself pretty well and without some structure, I will get lazy very quickly.

I did, however, decide that I would only work half days. This way I still get in that time to relax and let go of all the stress work has put on me.

We humans have lost the wisdom of genuinely resting and relaxing. We worry too much. We don’t allow our bodies to heal, and we don’t allow our minds and hearts to heal.

// Thich Nhat Hanh

I intend to really rest too. I haven’t made a ton of plans to work on writing or art, not unless I really want to, but instead gave myself permission to do nothing without worry. I give myself permission to watch movies on Netflix and to scroll Facebook and Twitter to my heart’s content. I give myself permission to read books and take long showers. I give myself permission to stay up late and take naps if I want to. I give myself permission to let go of the idea that I must always be “getting shit done”.

It feels strange to say I am going to do nothing. Resting seems  almost un-American. Resting is just laziness by another name. Resting is something to be ashamed of, right?

Resting means losing track of your good habits and gaining bad ones. Resting means making no progress and possibly falling behind. Resting means contributing nothing, letting things fall apart, and being generally selfish.

But maybe not. I think resting is a very important part of self-care. Resting means letting my mind and body heal and be happy so that I can come back fighting. Resting means trying different things, things I didn’t have time for when I was Getting Shit Done. Resting means discovery and enjoyment, and the carefree life we all wish we could return to. Resting is for reflection and taking stock of the work you do and how you do it.

I think resting, if done in the right way, can be very beneficial to the human heart and what better time to do it than before the start of a whole new year of productivity and goal achievement.

So even though the holidays are all about the hustle and bustle and going here and there, even though you still have to go to work and get some shit done, try to find time to rest up and recover from the year you have had before you jump into starting a new one. The R and R will do you good, I promise.