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2017 Goals: A progress report, III.

The end of the year isn’t too far away!

I know everyone is saying it: OMG it’s already August?! That’s right, 2017 is flying by! And another shocker, I feel like I’ve come nowhere on my goals. So, I’m revisiting them today to see if I can’t accomplish something or get back on-track, somehow.

GOAL: Start With Kindness. As you can tell by the name of this blog, I’ve spend a chunk of my life feeling sour about things that have happened to me, and choices I’ve made. But in general, I wouldn’t classify myself as bitter – I’m actually pretty kind and very giving.

In the last year, I’ve thought a lot about a kindness campaign started by my favorite radio show hosts, Johnjay & Rich. Their campaign, #LoveUp, encourages everyone to do something kind for someone else – whether big or small, and whether they need it or not. I’ve already started my own #LoveUp acts of kindness, and they’ll definitely be making appearances in 2017. 

PROGRESS: The last time I wrote this progress report, I’d purchased a snack for a fellow dancer after class when he was short on cash. Since then, I’ve purchased Starbucks for a few people in line behind me. It’s the simple things, y’all.

GOAL: Be a Practicing Writer. In my previous job, much of my day was spent writing. Whether or not it was stuff I actually wanted to write was not the issue, but I wrote a ton during those years. I blogged, I wrote freelance articles, I wrote books, poetry… and I really haven’t immersed myself in my craft since.

This year, I used birthday money to buy books on screenwriting, and I volunteered nearly 20 hours of my time toward the Austin Screenwriting Festival, listened to many podcasts on the craft, and have researched courses to take to learn on it – but haven’t actually DUG in there and started typing! So, I’ve got to do it – whether or not its work anyone sees, its time.

PROGRESS: I’ve totally sucked on this for ALL of 2017. The last time I looked at these goals, I was struggling to even write these blog posts. But, I’m happy to report that I am, at the very least, getting my grasp BACK on this blog, and am also working to carve out more time to W R I T E – ’cause that’s what writers do, right?

GOAL: Just Go For It. I spend a lot of time analyzing situations and decisions, trying to figure out if I should do it or how or when or why, and frankly, it’s exhausting!

When I moved to Austin in 2015, I had basically no money, was living in an extended-stay hotel, and I spent my evenings going on “adventures” – where I’d basically just drive to a place that sounded cool and check it out, so at least I’d learn my way around the city and pick places I wanted to visit later. It was simple, fun, and it really helped shaped the way I look at the city. I’m definitely aiming for more adventures in Austin, and elsewhere, in 2017.

PROGRESS: I’m still kicking this one’s ass. I’ve flown to two places already this year, and am about to book trip #3. I’m also trying new things, and doing new things, because JUST DO IT. This is the best advice I’ve given myself this year. Taking on this attitude also encouraged me to JUST get a blood test, JUST get my eyes dilated, just do things – all things because YOLO.

GOAL: Act, Believe, & Receive. I’ve spent the last several years really trying to focus on myself. After years of abuse from various places, I lost myself and I was letting other people create my course. It took therapy, time, and lots of self-reflection for me to even begin to build myself up and allow me to just be me, and I’m finally starting to feel like myself again.

In these last few weeks of 2016, I’ve felt it, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. So, in 2017, I’m going to act more confident, believe in myself, and receive the treatment that I deserve.

PROGRESS: On a recent trip to Indiana, I got smacked in the face with some weird truth from friends and family. Frankly, I haven’t felt the same since. But, it’s all good. It was time I learned a few lessons, and now? I move on with confidence; ask, believe, and receive!

GOAL: Be Intentional. As of yesterday, I started listening to “The Minimalists” podcast, and although I’m just four episodes in, I am hooked and craving for more learning on this lifestyle choice. The Minimalists are particularly two men who left corporate America (and six-figure salaries) to live simply in terms of having less things, but to also live with intention and do everything on purpose – down to drinking one perfect cup of well-made coffee instead of just guzzling another K-cup.

PROGRESS: I’m still packing up clothes and books after cleaning out my apartment, and I’m also taking a look at my GIANT stash of beauty products – using up the remaining ones before I buy new. But, I’m also intentional about small, daily things. I get up early and enjoy a slow morning before work; add a few slices of fresh lime to my soda water before I go sit on the porch. It’s small, but it’s those details that make things a little more special.

GOAL: Live High. Initially, I was thinking of a fantastically mellow Jason Mraz song titled as such, but then I thought of that moment at the Democratic Convention this year when Michelle Obama talked about her approach to bullies: “When they go low, we go high.” Essentially, I want to give myself permission to do things just for me. I do a pretty good job already of having no shame for watching hours of TV each week (hell, each night), but I want to do a better job of encorporating happy and healthy habits into my life, and not apologizing for them.

PROGRESS: I think I’m doing pretty good on this one. I am back to eating healthy (mostly vegan) foods to reward my body for all of the work it does. I do a face mask almost every night and still treat myself to pedicures, which feels especially great when I hang out at the pool! There’s no harm in rewarding yourself for all the work you do!

GOAL: Choose (& Plan for) Your Destiny! This started as kind of a joke between me, and well, myself, because someone told me earlier this year: “Everything that happens to you is because you let it. You choose your destiny.” In the way it was delivered to me, it seemed more of a way to avoid blame, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt it in all areas of my life.

Spent my Saturday working? Well that was obviously the destiny that I chose. No more being a victim; no more going along for the ride. We choose our destinies! 

PROGRESS: I live by this hardcore. This guides my daily course, helps me to avoid toxic friendships and loser dudes. I choose my destiny and I know it’s going to be great because that’s the kind of taste I have!

So, I still have a little work to do before the year is up, but I’m feeling pretty good about the way things are rolling. What about you? Or perhaps you’re already looking ahead to 2018 – I know I’m starting to think about possible goals for next year. I’d love to hear yours!

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2017 Goals: A progress report, II.

We’re halfway through the year – how are your goals shaping up?

It’s June, and that means we’re halfway through 2017 ALREADY! When I set my goals for the year I was thinking about how so many people simply set goals on New Year’s Eve and basically never revisit them, and before they know it, the year has passed.

I don’t want that to be me this year. So, I’m going to hold myself accountable and do some progress reports on the blog. I already think this miiiiight be a little embarrassing, but maybe it will light a fire under my booty to get things moving.

I wrote a list of goals at the end of 2016, which I published here, and today I’m going to revisit this same list and tell you if I’ve made any progress on it.

Here goes:

GOAL: Start With Kindness. As you can tell by the name of this blog, I’ve spend a chunk of my life feeling sour about things that have happened to me, and choices I’ve made. But in general, I wouldn’t classify myself as bitter – I’m actually pretty kind and very giving.

In the last year, I’ve thought a lot about a kindness campaign started by my favorite radio show hosts, Johnjay & Rich. Their campaign, #LoveUp, encourages everyone to do something kind for someone else – whether big or small, and whether they need it or not. I’ve already started my own #LoveUp acts of kindness, and they’ll definitely be making appearances in 2017. 

PROGRESS: The last time I wrote this progress report, I hadn’t really done much for this goal. But this time, I’m happy to report I have. Not only have I tried to remain calm in frustrating situations, but I also ran into a fellow dancer who was short a few cents while trying to buy a protein bar. I happily put a dollar on the counter for him.

GOAL: Be a Practicing Writer. In my previous job, much of my day was spent writing. Whether or not it was stuff I actually wanted to write was not the issue, but I wrote a ton during those years. I blogged, I wrote freelance articles, I wrote books, poetry… and I really haven’t immersed myself in my craft since.

This year, I used birthday money to buy books on screenwriting, and I volunteered nearly 20 hours of my time toward the Austin Screenwriting Festival, listened to many podcasts on the craft, and have researched courses to take to learn on it – but haven’t actually DUG in there and started typing! So, I’ve got to do it – whether or not its work anyone sees, its time.

PROGRESS: I’ve totally sucked on this for ALL of 2017, and I’ll be honest, I’ve barely been able to keep up with this blog. I’m sorry!

GOAL: Just Go For It. I spend a lot of time analyzing situations and decisions, trying to figure out if I should do it or how or when or why, and frankly, it’s exhausting!

When I moved to Austin in 2015, I had basically no money, was living in an extended-stay hotel, and I spent my evenings going on “adventures” – where I’d basically just drive to a place that sounded cool and check it out, so at least I’d learn my way around the city and pick places I wanted to visit later. It was simple, fun, and it really helped shaped the way I look at the city. I’m definitely aiming for more adventures in Austin, and elsewhere, in 2017.

PROGRESS: I’m kicking this one’s ass. I’ve already booked my second vacation of the year, and I’ve even “just gone for it” in terms of medical tests that I 100% would have backed out on before. On my vacation to Vegas, I totally just went for it when my friend suggested a rollercoaster ride. It was worth it, but if I had thought about it any longer, I would have talked myself out of it.

GOAL: Act, Believe, & Receive. I’ve spent the last several years really trying to focus on myself. After years of abuse from various places, I lost myself and I was letting other people create my course. It took therapy, time, and lots of self-reflection for me to even begin to build myself up and allow me to just be me, and I’m finally starting to feel like myself again.

In these last few weeks of 2016, I’ve felt it, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. So, in 2017, I’m going to act more confident, believe in myself, and receive the treatment that I deserve.

PROGRESS: This is slowly coming, although if you have ideas or tips on how to achieve this goal, I’m all for it.

GOAL: Be Intentional. As of yesterday, I started listening to “The Minimalists” podcast, and although I’m just four episodes in, I am hooked and craving for more learning on this lifestyle choice. The Minimalists are particularly two men who left corporate America (and six-figure salaries) to live simply in terms of having less things, but to also live with intention and do everything on purpose – down to drinking one perfect cup of well-made coffee instead of just guzzling another K-cup.

PROGRESS: I’m 90% of the way through cleaning my closet, and I have lots of things to giveaway. However, I have replaced many of the items to give away. I wanted to look forward to getting dressed each morning before work. Now, I am excited to see the clothes in my closet and make a choice on what to wear, based on my mood.

GOAL: Live High. Initially, I was thinking of a fantastically mellow Jason Mraz song titled as such, but then I thought of that moment at the Democratic Convention this year when Michelle Obama talked about her approach to bullies: “When they go low, we go high.” Essentially, I want to give myself permission to do things just for me. I do a pretty good job already of having no shame for watching hours of TV each week (hell, each night), but I want to do a better job of encorporating happy and healthy habits into my life, and not apologizing for them.

PROGRESS: Eh, this one still needs work. However, I have been trying to make time for me in the form of a weekly soak in the tub, making time for a nice facial mask several times a week, and had a nice manicure and pedicure about a month ago. It felt wonderful!

GOAL: Choose (& Plan for) Your Destiny! This started as kind of a joke between me, and well, myself, because someone told me earlier this year: “Everything that happens to you is because you let it. You choose your destiny.” In the way it was delivered to me, it seemed more of a way to avoid blame, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt it in all areas of my life.

Spent my Saturday working? Well that was obviously the destiny that I chose. No more being a victim; no more going along for the ride. We choose our destinies! 

PROGRESS: Yes – I’m still living by this motto, but it’s a constant effort, and I’m sure I’ll be reminding myself of this rule a time or two.

…So, it’s safe to say I’ve got my work cut out for me, but I’m also doing okay. What are your goals for 2017 and how are they coming along? It’s certainly not too late to jump on them and cross some big items off your to-do list before the year is over!

2017 Goals: A progress report.

Just doooooo it!

Just doooooo it!

It’s March 1st, and that means we’re a quarter of the way through 2017 ALREADY! When I set my goals for the year I was thinking about how so many people simply set goals on New Year’s Eve and basically never revisit them, and before they know it, the year has passed.

I don’t want that to be me this year. So, I’m going to hold myself accountable and do some progress reports on the blog. I already think this miiiiight be a little embarrassing, but maybe it will light a fire under my booty to get things moving.

I wrote a list of goals at the end of 2016, which I published here, and today I’m going to revisit this same list and tell you if I’ve made any progress on it.

Here goes:

GOAL: Start With Kindness. As you can tell by the name of this blog, I’ve spend a chunk of my life feeling sour about things that have happened to me, and choices I’ve made. But in general, I wouldn’t classify myself as bitter – I’m actually pretty kind and very giving.

In the last year, I’ve thought a lot about a kindness campaign started by my favorite radio show hosts, Johnjay & Rich. Their campaign, #LoveUp, encourages everyone to do something kind for someone else – whether big or small, and whether they need it or not. I’ve already started my own #LoveUp acts of kindness, and they’ll definitely be making appearances in 2017. 

PROGRESS: I’ll be honest. I haven’t gone out of my way to buy someone coffee or anything. But, I have thought every day about putting kindness first. Sometimes it just means stopping by the front desk at my office and asking our receptionist how she is doing, or making sure I tell someone when they did really great, or asking someone if they need help with anything. Maybe I’m just tooting my own horn, but these little things go a long way.

GOAL: Be a Practicing Writer. In my previous job, much of my day was spent writing. Whether or not it was stuff I actually wanted to write was not the issue, but I wrote a ton during those years. I blogged, I wrote freelance articles, I wrote books, poetry… and I really haven’t immersed myself in my craft since.

This year, I used birthday money to buy books on screenwriting, and I volunteered nearly 20 hours of my time toward the Austin Screenwriting Festival, listened to many podcasts on the craft, and have researched courses to take to learn on it – but haven’t actually DUG in there and started typing! So, I’ve got to do it – whether or not its work anyone sees, its time.

PROGRESS: I’ve totally sucked on this, and I’ll be honest, I’ve barely been able to keep up with this blog. I’m sorry!

GOAL: Just Go For It. I spend a lot of time analyzing situations and decisions, trying to figure out if I should do it or how or when or why, and frankly, it’s exhausting!

When I moved to Austin in 2015, I had basically no money, was living in an extended-stay hotel, and I spent my evenings going on “adventures” – where I’d basically just drive to a place that sounded cool and check it out, so at least I’d learn my way around the city and pick places I wanted to visit later. It was simple, fun, and it really helped shaped the way I look at the city. I’m definitely aiming for more adventures in Austin, and elsewhere, in 2017.

PROGRESS: I’m kicking this one’s ass. I took a new job two weeks into 2017 and it’s working out great! I’ve already performed on stage this year, I’ve booked a vacation, and I’ve signed up to walk for charity (I do still need people on my team). I know there are tons of adventures around the corner for me this year!

GOAL: Act, Believe, & Receive. I’ve spent the last several years really trying to focus on myself. After years of abuse from various places, I lost myself and I was letting other people create my course. It took therapy, time, and lots of self-reflection for me to even begin to build myself up and allow me to just be me, and I’m finally starting to feel like myself again.

In these last few weeks of 2016, I’ve felt it, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. So, in 2017, I’m going to act more confident, believe in myself, and receive the treatment that I deserve.

PROGRESS: This is slowly coming, although if you have ideas or tips on how to achieve this goal, I’m all for it.

GOAL: Be Intentional. As of yesterday, I started listening to “The Minimalists” podcast, and although I’m just four episodes in, I am hooked and craving for more learning on this lifestyle choice. The Minimalists are particularly two men who left corporate America (and six-figure salaries) to live simply in terms of having less things, but to also live with intention and do everything on purpose – down to drinking one perfect cup of well-made coffee instead of just guzzling another K-cup.

PROGRESS: You may have read my blog post yesterday on minimalism. It’s true, I’ve slowly started to clean out my apartment, but I’ve been really good about NOT shopping (which leaves more money for experiences like concerts and trips), and only buying things I need, when I need them (i.e. not stocking up on coffee when I have plenty at home). It’s nice!

GOAL: Live High. Initially, I was thinking of a fantastically mellow Jason Mraz song titled as such, but then I thought of that moment at the Democratic Convention this year when Michelle Obama talked about her approach to bullies: “When they go low, we go high.” Essentially, I want to give myself permission to do things just for me. I do a pretty good job already of having no shame for watching hours of TV each week (hell, each night), but I want to do a better job of encorporating happy and healthy habits into my life, and not apologizing for them.

PROGRESS: Eh, this needs work. Between adjusting to my new job and to the new president – things are a little rough. But, I have been on a really healthy diet for the last five weeks and I feel good about that.

GOAL: Choose (& Plan for) Your Destiny! This started as kind of a joke between me, and well, myself, because someone told me earlier this year: “Everything that happens to you is because you let it. You choose your destiny.” In the way it was delivered to me, it seemed more of a way to avoid blame, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt it in all areas of my life.

Spent my Saturday working? Well that was obviously the destiny that I chose. No more being a victim; no more going along for the ride. We choose our destinies! 

PROGRESS: Yes – I’m still living by this motto, but it’s a constant effort, and I’m sure I’ll be reminding myself of this rule a time or two.

…So, it’s safe to say I’ve got my work cut out for me, but I’m also doing okay. What are your goals for 2017 and how are they coming along? It’s certainly not too late to jump on them and cross some big items off your to-do list before the year is over!

Introducing my spiritual masters.

Broadway playwright and performer Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Broadway playwright and performer Lin-Manuel Miranda.

A few months ago, I was listening to the “Happier” podcast hosted by Gretchen Rubin and her sister Elizabeth Craft. In each episode, they offer a tip you can try at home that might make your daily life a little happier.

In one episode, their tip was to “Imitate a spiritual master”, basically someone you can look to for guidance, or perhaps someone that can inspire you when you need a little push. I’d never really though about having a spiritual leader, but Elizabeth said hers was Barbra Walters.

Uh, yes! I’d always thought it would have to be someone like Ghandi or the Dalai Lama (both would be fantastic spiritual leaders).

Ever since then, I’ve been thinking about who my spiritual masters are, especially in these times – I have a feeling I’m going to be looking to them a lot. So, I made a list:

Lin-Manuel Miranda

“Hamilton” creator and performer Lin-Manuel Miranda was the FIRST person I put on my list of spiritual masters. Frankly, he’s so freakin’ awesome, I think I could have a list of JUST him.

Yesterday, the Oscar nominations were announced, and Miranda is nominated for Best Original Song. Not only is it just another thing that makes him cooler, but it puts him closer to something only few can dream of: an EGOT – a rare title one gets after winning an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony. Damn.

As mentioned in a New York Times article, “Mr. Miranda has two Grammys, one for the cast recording to his 2008 Broadway musical “In the Heights” and another for his smash hit “Hamilton.” He has personally won three Tony awards (and his musicals have collected many more). He won an Emmy for his work on the music and lyrics at the 2013 Tony award show.”

So why is Miranda one of my spiritual masters? Aside from being a wildly talented writer and performer that I can look up to, what I look up to most about him is his attitude. He’s willing to speak openly about his political views, but remain positive on a daily basis.

Seriously, when you’re in need of guidance, just go to his Twitter feed @Lin_Manuel and get a dose of sunshine.

tumblr_o6fi35rfy31v05ed4o1_500

Issa Rae

I first heard of Ms. Issa Rae on the HBO series “Insecure”, which premiered in the fall of last year. I pretty much loved the pilot episode and couldn’t get enough of it after that. Little did I know that Issa was more than just an actress on the show.

After graduating from Stanford and attending the New York Film Academy, Issa had started to build her reputation as a screenwriter and a video producer. She created a series on YouTube, “Awkward Black Girl”, that has more than 200,000 subscribers.

The fantastic and gorgeous, Issa Rae.

The fantastic and gorgeous, Issa Rae.

She later turned her web series into a book (which I am currently on a waiting list for at the library), and it quickly became a New York Times bestseller. And then HBO came a-knockin’ and she actually was given a budget to turn her YouTube series into a hit on network television.

She da-bomb! Yeah, I just said that. She’s beautiful, hilarious, and sharp as hell – I cannot help but look up to this woman.

“It’s a bit cliche, but you can’t go wrong by writing what you know. Even if you’re a horrible writer, your own knowledge and experience is unrivaled. Nobody knows what you know like you know what you know. The way you see things is pretty unique.” – Issa Rae

Trevor Noah

I know I can’t be the only one that’s basically looking to comedian and host of “The Daily Show”, Trevor Noah to guide us through the next four years. I’ve limited my new coverage to 10 minutes of “TODAY” each morning, and then leave it up to Trevor to pick up the pieces each night before bed.

Born in South Africa, Noah comes from a very interesting background which he talks about in his book, “Born a Crime“, and serves as a lense for his unique sense of humor.

One of my biggest concerns in the coming years is how the press is going to handle it all (aside from that whole nuclear thing). We need journalists who are going to be blunt, and check the President on everything. And Noah just so happens to do it with a laugh.

“We get angry about the small things sometimes, I feel, so that we feel like we’re doing something, so that we don’t have to tackle the big things. And it’s fine; let people do that. But I’m not gonna now change because of that. You know? Like, the worst thing that happens to me is you don’t like me. And then what?” -Trevor Noah

Anna Kendrick

I didn’t really get the craze surrounding Anna Kendrick until I read her memoir, “Scrappy Little Nobody” last week… and I loved it. Of course, she was awesome in”Pitch Perfect”, but I had no clue she’s been working her little butt off since she was 12!

The lovely Anna Kendrick.

The lovely Anna Kendrick.

Not only does she have drive, but she’s hilarious, humble, and has a “take it or leave it” attitude when it comes to men and dating, which is just the kind of advice I need from a spiritual master.

“Maybe I am stepping up in the world. Pretty soon I’m going to be 30 and making dope carrot soup and will have my sh-t together.” – Anna Kendrick

JohnJay Van Es

I can’t have a list of spiritual masters without including JohnJay Van Es, co-host of the best radio show ever, “JohnJay and Rich”.

While I know cohosts of the show, Rich and Kyle, would get a big kick out of my trusting of JohnJay with my spiritual guidance, but I’ll explain. I started listening to the show years ago, during a time when my job was pretty rough.

JohnJay Van Es.

JohnJay Van Es.

I found daily solace in listening to their jokes, phone pranks, and the simple chatter of small problems. Little did I know, I was about to lose my job, and when I did, I kept listening to the show. It was sometimes the only thing I looked forward to each day.

Years later, I am still listening every day, and I love laughing along with JohnJay as he tells the stories from his insane life. He’s also the creator of a kindness movement, LoveUp, which promotes random acts of kindness of all sizes, each and every day. It’s changed how I look at the world, and I can’t thank him enough.

There you have it! I’d love to know who your spiritual masters are these days – who knows, maybe I’ll add them to my list!

How to make the most of it.

The world is your oyster!

The world is your oyster!

A big part of this blog is me figuring out how to make the most of any situation. People say it all the time, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade!” But no one ever talks about HOW we’re supposed to make the most of it.

So, I’ve taken a look at some typical situations and attempted to figure out how to make the most of them, or at least try to.

How to make the most of your time.

In high school, I had a history teacher that asked us what we would do if we could do whatever we wanted in 24 hours. I don’t remember what I said I’d do, but I do remember calculating that in order to do everything I wanted, I needed 26 hours.

I’d say most people probably have that issue: there’s never enough time. And then someone snaps back with, “Well Beyonce has 24 hours in a day, too!” Yeah, she does, but she also has a staff.

Instead of wishing for more time, you’ve got to look at the time you DO have, and then figure out how you’re already spending it, what things are sucking up your time, and how you want to utilize your newly found free time.

Start by looking at the time you have: everyone does have 24 hours in a day, and 168 hours in a week. Take a look at how you spend your time – and subtract it from your 168 hours, just as you would a bank account.

Of course, there’s things you have to do – like work 40 hours. But do you always work through lunch when maaaaybe you don’t have to? I’m guilty of this, but even if you vow to take one lunch break a week, that’s an hour you could read the book collecting dust on your nightstand.

Once you track where your time is going, pick things you can remove – maybe your time is being taken by checking Facebook several times a day or watching too much TV when you’d rather be doing something else.

Even if there’s an extra 15 minutes here or there you can find – that’s time you can devote to something on your to-do list, or something you’ve been putting off. Cheers to finding hidden hours in your week!

How to make the most of your workout.

I know a lot of people made 2017 resolutions to lose weight or to work out more. But in the essence of time, why not just make the most out of your workout?

When I lived in Baton Rouge, I spent a few years really getting into fitness, and I worked out several times a week at a boxing gym. All I did was go to a boxing or kickboxing class for one hour 4-5 times each week, and it was the best I think I ever looked and felt.

Sure the workouts were tough as nails, but in one hour, I burned a ton of calories and got strength training. I even met some awesome friends while I was at it!

I take a similar approach to my workouts now that I live in Austin. I take dance classes several times a week (I took 7 last week), and even though it may not burn as many calories as the boxing classes, I’ve gained confidence, built physical strength, made friends, and get to express myself creatively – all while burning fat!

So, find a workout that’s going to work for you in more ways than one: maybe it’s something you love, maybe it’s a chance for you to see a friend each week, or maybe it’s just seriously intense (hi, pilates) and you’ll see results quickly.

Whatever you do, don’t just go to a gym and mindlessly do the eliptical, because that burns about 0 calories and you’re going to be wasting your time.

How to make the most of your weekend.

If you work Monday-Friday, 9-5, then you probably rely on your weekend to really get things done, or possibly to just party and let loose. I used to use my weekends to clean and cook, and while I felt productive, I also felt tired on Monday mornings.

So I started doing my household “chores” during the week. As shitty as it sounds, it’s not bad. I made a list of all the little things that need to be done: litter box, sweep, mop, trash, wipe mirrors, etc. Then I bought a dry erase calendar from the Dollar Tree and stuck it to my fridge and put one or two chores for each night of the week.

Of course, doing chores after I’ve worked all day and gone to a dance class isn’t really a party, but most of these chores take maybe 5-10 minutes, so if I want to watch TV, I can usually get it done on a commercial break.

It also helps if you spend just 5 minutes picking up before you hit the sack; then when you wake up in the morning, you’re not greeted by a giant mess.

So, if you get your chores done – or a majority of them done – during the week, you can use your weekend to do something more fun, or work on a bigger project you’ve been wanting to do.

How to make the most of your sleep.

I used to be a very troubled sleeper, and if I’m not careful, then I will have a shitty night’s sleep and that pretty much ruins everything.

Of course, different things work for different people but this is what’s worked for me. I started by finding an all-natural sleep aid that I like (it’s called Rest EZ and it’s from Melaleuca). It helps me relax when I’m ready for bed and helps me stay asleep without feeling groggy in the morning.

Secondly, I stopped drinking during the week, and honestly, I cut back on drinking in general. Date an abusive alcoholic and that’ll all but ruin drinking for you. Sometimes, a glass of wine seems like it will help you relax and sleep, but for me, it made for a lesser-quality sleep and often led to really weird nightmares.

Next, I set a bedtime for myself. Sounds silly, but it helps me get to bed in time to actually sleep enough to function the next day. I use the bedtime app that’s already on my iPhone, and it has a little alarm that goes off when I need to go to bed. If I don’t go to bed then, I am consciously making that decision to be tired the next day.

Other things you may consider doing: using essential oils to help you relax and sleep, making sure electronics and lights are off while you sleep, or maybe even investing in nice sheets or a more comfortable mattress.

Want to get shit done while you sleep? Get one of those facial masks that works to improve your skin while you sleep – I’ve also seen other skin creams you can apply before bed that work while you sleep; or maybe go to bed with the lotion socks or gloves on.

How to make the most of a shitty situation.

Whether you’re stuck on a bad date, had a terrible day, or are running late to something super important, there’s a few things you can do to make it suck less.

One thing I always try to do is figure out what I can immediately learn from the situation so it either doesn’t happen again, or I can prepare better for it next time.

Then, I try and put it into perspective: is this something that’s going to matter tomorrow? In a week? In a year? And react accordingly. Try not to beat yourself up over something small, or something that’s out of your control.

And finally, it sounds cheesy, but find the good in the situation – even if it’s something small. I spent the last 15 months of my life pulling data and dumping it into spreadsheets, but I got to listen to about 45 hours worth of podcast material every week and I kind of loved it. So, there’s that!

…And there you have it! If you’ve got additional tips for my list, feel free to leave them in the comments.

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Yeah, Nike has it right.

New motto.

New motto.

Good morning! You’ve heard me talk about a big change that’s happening in my life these days – I’m starting a new job. And guess what? Today is my first day!

As with any change in my life, of course I’ve been thinking about the past. Many of you were reading when I announced my first day of my last job – the one I left on Friday.

When I got that job, I’d been freelancing and working retail for about nine months, and had applied to easily 200 jobs. I had so many interviews at different places, and when I finally got the job offer, it was as if the stars were aligned.

I’d nailed a job in a pretty cool city, it offered enough pay to cover my bills and there was paid time off and benefits. It was also a bit of shift in my career – I was going from content development and social media strategy to strictly search engine optimization. And it was an agency. All things would be new to me, not to mention a new city, new apartment, the works.

When I started the job, I was living out of an extended stay hotel for two weeks because my apartment wasn’t ready. I had no money, lived off frozen meals, and would you believe the shower didn’t even have a curtain? I was roughing it a little, but I wanted to kick ass at this job. I didn’t want them to regret taking a chance on me.

In order to learn SEO properly, I went through a 90-day bootcamp at the agency, which was polished off by me giving a presentation to the CEO that basically decided if I could stay or go.

I got to stay, and was actually told I would go far – I’d worked my ass off. And in all honesty, things were looking great. My coworkers were so cool! We worked near downtown! Our agency valued learning! There was free beer in the fridge!

But as the months rolled by, things became a little clearer. This #AgencyLife that colleagues had warned me about for years was coming true – it was a culture of late nights, early mornings, and lots of spreadsheets.

And the benefits? Well they’re not really beneficial if you don’t use them. It’s like a car salesman selling you on the optional third seat when you have no kids. Turns out, I don’t give two shits about free beer if the free beer means you have to skip happy hour and work late to drink it.

I came to see that many tech startups have these same perks – offering free food and drinks instead of a bigger paycheck; housing pool tables and bean bags so you’ll stay later. It’s appealing if you’re interested in working in a frat house long after it’s socially acceptable.

It wasn’t long before people started quitting; one-by-one. When coworkers left, the clients stayed – meaning more work spread between less employees. With every employee that left, agency management was 100% sure it was not any fault of the company’s. Put that in your spreadsheet.

Over these months, I grew tired and stressed. I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. There were many conversations between me and management – they wanted to know if I was job hunting.

The truth is, I wasn’t. I didn’t know what I wanted and I didn’t want to quit. I am a fixer and I wanted it to work. I’d done too damn much to just leave.

But one Thursday night in early December, I made the decision to skip the company Christmas party. I’d worked until 1am nearly every night that week and was dead tired. I wanted to work a few hours and then crash.

Choose your destiny!

Choose your destiny!

Giant mistake. The next morning, my boss and the CEO laid it out for me, that since I didn’t attend the party, it must mean I didn’t like my coworkers, and if I wanted to leave, that was okay.

“Everything that happens to you here is because you let it,” they said. “You choose your destiny.”

To them, I’d chosen to work and sleep over going to the party, and apparently, that was a giant mistake.

But they were right – I do choose my destiny. And I knew my destiny was going to have to change.

Just a few days later, I saw a job posting for a digital marketing position with a woman’s healthcare provider that specialized in abortion aftercare, and also served as an advocate for woman’s reproductive rights.

I applied, and had two interviews. The conversations I got to have with the employees were eye-opening. These were women helping others who needed it, while fighting for the healthcare rights of all of us.

As some of you may know, I had an abortion when I was 23. It was not a pleasant experience, and I spent years being ashamed of the choice I made. I am still working through some of these issues, but to be able to share my story in an interview and be able to think that I can help women that may find themselves in a situation similar to what I was in, was refreshing.

I was offered the job about two weeks from when I applied for it. Honestly, I only had the two quick interviews, didn’t really do much research on it, but I took a night to think it over, and took it.

It was the perfect storm. All of these bad things kept happening at work, and nothing was being done to fix them. I probably wasn’t as passionate about the work itself as the agency needed me to be – and that’s something I can’t change. And to top it off, some of upper management had accused me of lying over a task I’d been stressed about.

You can call me lazy, weak, and disconnected, but one thing I am not, is a liar. And just an FYI, I graduated from high school almost 15 years ago. I’m so done with the Mean Girls’ schtick.

In 2017, I vowed to just “go for it”, and that’s what I’m doing today. It’s a job that utilizes my writing and digital strategy skills to help women across the country. It’s also a small way I can make a stand in my political views, and try to help make a change in the world around us.

In all honesty, I thought I was going to stay at my old job forever. I don’t want to be a job-hopper; I want to stay and grow with a company and climb the ladder appropriately.

But I also don’t want to be the person that hits snooze a million times because I dread the day ahead; I don’t want to just wish for Friday on a Monday. After the 15 months I’ve had, I know that I can get through just about anything. And at the end of the day, no matter what happens, I’m working for a cause that is very personal to me.

About two days after I’d put in my two weeks’ notice, I was listening to “SandyLand” with host Sandra Bernhart and she was talking to her guest (of course I don’t remember who), but she said something along the lines of, “No paycheck is worth having to stifle who you are.”

PREACH! I feel like that’s all I’ve done for the last nine years, and finally, just finally, I may have found a job that is willing to utilize my snap-back wit, my passion for equal rights, and my brain full of digital goodies.

And yes, I was very sad to leave my coworkers – some of them were so sweet in their goodbyes it nearly brought me to tears. But good people want the best for other good people, and I appreciate their support. I wish the best for any of them, and I hope they stay in touch.

I’m not going to be that person to sit here, and tell you to run out and quit your job. I know it’s not an easy task. Hell, I was so nervous to turn in my two weeks, and almost thought about not doing it just so I wouldn’t shake the waters.

But I am going to say that my old job had something right: you choose your destiny. You’re going to hear this a lot from me this year (my friends and family are probably already sick of hearing it), but it stops you from playing the victim in any situation.

Hate your drive to work? Find an alternative route, clean out your car, invest in Sirius radio or find some great podcasts to listen to. Change what you can.

Sick of always cleaning your house? Get rid of unnecessary things. Find a spot for all the good stuff. Implement daily habits that will make weekend cleaning easier.

I’m saying all of this to say one thing: take control of your life. Decide what’s important and make it happen. It’s like President Obama said in his farewell address, “If something needs fixing, lace up your shoes and do some organizing.  If you’re disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself.  Show up.  Dive in.  Persevere.  Sometimes you’ll win.  Sometimes you’ll lose.  Presuming a reservoir of goodness in others can be a risk, and there will be times when the process disappoints you.  But for those of us fortunate enough to have been a part of this work, to see it up close, let me tell you, it can energize and inspire.”

So, here’s to just going for it!

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Tackle your passion!

PASSION in 2017!

PASSION in 2017!

I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’m so excited about this being a new year, I feel so fresh and rejuvenated, and overall I’m just ready to really tackle my life and my dreams in a way I haven’t felt before.

When I got my first day job, I remember my coworkers were always so shocked at how much I had going on in my life outside of my job – at times I was bartending at night, I was always maintaining my boxing regimen, I wrote and published books, kept up with this blog, taught my blog classes, and did freelance editing work.

There were times I hated being so busy, but the truth is, when things are slow, I really don’t know what to do with myself. I may ALWAYS have a life like this, and that’s how I like it (within reason, of course).

In reality, I’ve sought activities and side jobs outside of my 9-5 job because there was always something my day job was missing. And I think no matter what job you have, it won’t be perfect. Even if I was being paid enough by simply keeping up with this blog, I would still be at the dance studio every night, I’d still be attempting to learn how to write a screen play, and I’d still be doing freelance.

My struggle is really staying focused on my passion, which is writing. Period. I always want to be writing and want to be perfecting my craft. And in order to be a great writer, I have to be a great reader. So, aside from finding quality time to write, I’ve got to find time to read! It’s the great balancing act.

Now, I’m not sure if any of you are working on tackling a passion project this year, and there are many methods out there that can help you get things done, but I came across one way that sounded interesting: the 90-90-1 rule.

The 90-90-1 rule is this: for the next 90 days, spend 90 minutes first thing in the morning, on your 1 passion project. Sounds cool, right?

I would consider myself a morning-ish person. I always get up earlier than necessary so I can have extra time to get ready or to write, or whatever I need to get done. So the 90-minute thing would probably work for me each morning. But maybe you’re an afternoon person, or a night owl – I say do it whenever you feel your mind is going to be the best for whatever your passion project is.

Several weeks ago, John Mayer (swwooooon) was on Facebook Live doing a Q&A session before releasing his first single off an upcoming record. He was answering a fan’s question, about what I don’t remember, but he told the person something along the lines of, “Go too far with it…go crazy…those are the people that succeed.”

Preach! It takes a lot of time, and work, and guts to succeed, and that’s why some of the most successful people (whomever you consider that to be) are probably a little weird – because they are SO passionate about what they do.

I have this daily struggle of being super regimented in order to “succeed” at my day job – go to bed early, get a good night’s sleep, work through lunch, work late, etc. But then the weekend rolls around and I’m dead tired, and I have to cram all of my leisure reading and blog writing into two days, and it hardly works.

I have always wanted to live a life that’s full of variety – where every day feels a little bit different. Maybe it means, going to a coffee shop before work instead of just drinking from my little coffee maker, or maybe it means checking out a new place to eat lunch, or even just staying up late on my couch on a Monday night to finish reading a good book, at the risk of being groggy at work the next day.

The latter sounds more fun, right? If you’re tackling your passion this year, I’d love to know what method you’re using, or how you’re planning to go about it. Let’s support each other as we work to live our dreams!

Okay 2017, let’s DO this!

Let's set some goals!

Let’s set some goals!

You guys! The next time I post a blog,  it will be 2017! I feel like just about everyone is ready for this year to be over, and I’m including myself in that bunch.

A friend on Facebook posted this article, I think it was from NPR, yesterday, and it was basically saying that everyone was naming 2016 as a sucky year because of all the celebrity deaths. It also said that if you’re complaining about a year because of celebrities you never even met passing away, then you’re already privileged and shouldn’t be whining about it.

Ehhh, I don’t want to spend a lot of time arguing these points, but whatever happened to being able to have feelings for whatever we want? I say in 2017, maybe NPR should come up with a more substantial content calendar. But what do I know?

I do know that as each year comes and goes, it becomes much more clear to me what I want out of this life and in order to get it, I continually have to set goals – big and small – so I can reach my dreams!

I never really did like the term “resolution”, because I feel like when people set resolutions, they’re vague like “lose weight”, and they hit the gym religiously until January 14, and then it’s over until the following year. I try to set goals that are reachable (although challenging, of course), specific, and at least somewhat measureable.

So, here are some of my goals for 2017:

Start With Kindness. As you can tell by the name of this blog, I’ve spend a chunk of my life feeling sour about things that have happened to me, and choices I’ve made. But in general, I wouldn’t classify myself as bitter – I’m actually pretty kind and very giving.

In the last year, I’ve thought a lot about a kindness campaign started by my favorite radio show hosts, Johnjay & Rich. Their campaign, #LoveUp, encourages everyone to do something kind for someone else – whether big or small, and whether they need it or not. Many of these little moments of kindess are shared on air during the show, and they are very touching.

I’ve already started my own #LoveUp acts of kindess, and they’ll definitely be making appearances in 2017. They can be as small as holding the door open for someone, helping out a coworker, or as big as helping someone financially, or fostering an animal.

Be a Practicing Writer. In my previous job, much of my day was spent writing. Whether or not it was stuff I actually wanted to write was not the issue, but I wrote a ton during those years. I blogged, I wrote freelance articles, I wrote books, poetry… and I really haven’t immersed myself in my craft since.

This year, I used birthday money to buy books on screenwriting, and I volunteered nearly 20 hours of my time toward the Austin Screenwriting Festival, listened to many podcasts on the craft, and have researched courses to take to learn on it – but haven’t actually DUG in there and started typing! So, I’ve got to do it – whether or not its work anyone sees, its time.

Just Go For It. I spend a lot of time analyzing situations and decisions, trying to figure out if I should do it or how or when or why, and frankly, it’s exhausting!

When I moved to Austin in 2015, I had basically no money, was living in an extended-stay hotel, and I spent my evenings going on “adventures” – where I’d basically just drive to a place that sounded cool and check it out, so at least I’d learn my way around the city and pick places I wanted to visit later. It was simple, fun, and it really helped shaped the way I look at the city. I’m definitely aiming for more adventures in Austin, and elsewhere, in 2017.

Act, Believe, & Receive. I’ve spent the last several years really trying to focus on myself. After years of abuse from various places, I lost myself and I was letting other people create my course. It took therapy, time, and lots of self-reflection for me to even begin to build myself up and allow me to just be me, and I’m finally starting to feel like myself again.

In these last few weeks of 2016, I’ve felt it, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. So, in 2017, I’m going to act more confident, believe in myself, and receive the treatment that I deserve.

Be Intentional. As of yesterday, I started listening to “The Minimalists” podcast, and although I’m just four episodes in, I am hooked and craving for more learning on this lifestyle choice. The Minimalists are particularly two men who left corporate America (and six-figure salaries) to live simply in terms of having less things, but to also live with intention and do everything on purpose – down to drinking one perfect cup of well-made coffee instead of just guzzling another K-cup.

They do things because of the joy it creates, or the meaning it brings – not because it fulfills the old school cliche of the American Dream. The more I learn on living minimal, I’ll let you know, of course!

Live High. No, I’m not planning on smoking more weed in 2017, but if that’s your goal – call me. “Live High” comes from a multitude of places. Initially, I was thinking of a fantastically mellow Jason Mraz song titled as such, but then I thought of that moment at the Democratic Convention this year when Michelle Obama talked about her approach to bullies: “When they go low, we go high.” See the video at 2:45 for the exact moment, but you should probably just watch the entire thing because, let’s face it, it was one of the most hopeful moments of the year.

Essentially, I want to give myself permission to do things just for me. I do a pretty good job already of having no shame for watching hours of TV each week (hell, each night), but I want to do a better job of encorporating happy and healthy habits into my life, and not apologizing for them.

Choose (& Plan for) Your Destiny! This started as kind of a joke between me, and well, myself, because someone told me earlier this year: “Everything that happens to you is because you let it. You choose your destiny.” In the way it was delivered to me, it seemed more of a way to avoid blame, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt it in all areas of my life.

Spent my Saturday working? Well that was obviously the destiny that I chose. No more being a victim; no more going along for the ride. We choose our destinies! And you know what? Destinies need to be planned. So, I bought myself a gorgeous new planner for 2017 – this one is nearly identical to the one I got – and I’ve already started filling it! It has inspirational quotes, folders, pages for notes, and lots of fun stickers to keep things organized.

So, there you have it! I asked my Facebook friends about their goals for 2017 and I heard all sorts of good things – from living simplistic or getting outdoors more to lowering debt and taking more pictures. I’d love to hear what your hopes and goals for the New Year are.

I’ll be right back here on Monday, and until then, have a safe and very happy New Year! Cheers!

Podcast: Happier With Gretchen Rubin.

My latest podcast obsession.

My latest podcast obsession.

I’ve still been listening to podcasts like they’re going out of style, and I’ll have another roundup of my latest favorites for you in the next few weeks. But today I wanted to focus on one in particular, “Happier” with Gretchen Rubin. So far, I’m about 2o episodes in and I couldn’t help but take note of what I’m hearing because there’s so much good stuff in each episode.

Let me start by explaing who Gretchen Rubin is. She came into my life, and probably many others, when she published her book on happiness, “The Happiness Project”, which explored habits the average person could take in order to improve their general state of happiness. I really loved this book and got a lot of takeaways from it that I still apply to my life, years later.

So, when her next book was released, “Happier at Home”, I snatched it right up. But truthfully, it seemed like she was starting to make up rules about ways to live extravagantly, just to “be happy”. I took a break from Gretchen after that.

Until I stumbled upon this podcast, as it is always listed in the iTumes Top 100 list. So, I took a listen, starting at episode one.

The show is hosted by Gretchen, who is by now a “Happiness Expert” ontop of being a bestselling author. Gretchen’s sister Elizabeth serves as the cohost, and she’s also a TV writer living in LA (SO jealous). She serves as a good other half to the show because she’s more neutral to the rules of happiness, and she’s a regular person with a job, a husband, and a kid – so hearing her side of the happiness theories balances out Gretchen’s sometimes over-the-top approach.

Each episode is only 20 minutes long, so it’s easy to fly through them. The episode layouts are all the same: they begin with a “try this at home” tip, which is a little task that’s supposed to make your life happier. This is my favorite part of the show, as I like to see if these tips would make my life better. Here are some of the tips they’ve suggested in the episodes I’ve listened to:

  • The 1-minute rule
  • Set an alarm for bed
  • Keep a one-sentence journal
  • Embrace good smells
  • Do a power hour
  • Treat yourself like a toddler
  • Give warm hellos and goodbyes
  • Treat yourself!
  • Make the positive argument
  • Indulge in a modest splurge
  • Stop reading a book if you don’t like it
  • Dedicate space to shrines
  • Imitate a spiritual master
  • Have an exact space for everything

One of the best suggestions is the “1-minute rule”, which basically suggests that if a task takes less than 1 minute, you just do it. For me, this is simply picking up my kitchen or living room at the end of the day so when I wake up, I don’t see a pile of crap right when I’m getting my cup of coffee. It’s easy, but it makes a big difference.

The Power Hour, on the other hand, is setting aside one hour a week, or maybe it’s per month, where you do tasks that you’ve been putting off – such as hanging that picture that’s been leaning against the wall or changing that lightbulb which requires the big ladder.

“Treat yourself like a toddler” is an interesting one, which highlights the idea that we look out for children and make sure they have everything they need, but we often don’t do that for ourselves. For example, making sure we get enough sleep, are dressed for cold weather, or eating a nourishing meal. Basically, be extra nice to yourself!

Aside from these “Try at home” tips in the beginning of the episode, there is usually a happiness lesson that takes up a majority of the remaining time, followed by a listener question, which is always interesting.

You can check out the podcast here, I know I’m going to keep listening and collecting these tips in hopes of living a happier life… to some degree.

Living your dreams… with a day job?

Truth bomb!

Truth bomb!

At the beginning of the month, I got an email with the subject line that read: Does a day job mean giving up on my dreams?

It was an email newsletter from Marie Forleo, an entrepreneur and motivational speaker (named as the thought leader of our generation by Oprah) whom I’ve been following for the last two years.

The body of the email talked about the problem of a specific person, who had been trying to make a business work, but wasn’t quite making enough money to pay the bills. But if she took a regular job, would that mean tossing out her dreams?

There was a video attached, because if you follow Marie, you know she truly excels in front of the camera. What followed was an hour-long (free) training called “How to Get Anything You Want”.

I listened immediately.

Before I go any further, I’ll explain that I’ve toyed with this idea of “Dream vs. Career” for pretty much the last 10 years of my life. I have always either worked two jobs, or had a job and freelance on the side, or had a job and wrote this blog on the side… all because there was something my day job wasn’t fulfilling in me, whether it was enough money or the social environment or creative freedom, something was missing.

And things are finally getting to the point where I’m not sure how much longer I can go just imagining my dreams. It’s time I got off my ass and actually made them a reality.

So, Marie’s training came to me at a great time. She started off by talking about how everyone has dreams, but not many people actually attempt to go after them because they’re so afraid of failure (totally me).

Realizing your dreams; even just writing them down on a piece of paper in a hidden drawer, makes them real, and puts yourself out there. So, the first step is gathering that courage to define your dreams.

As silly as it sounds, this may be the most difficult part for me. Why? Because I have SO many dreams. I don’t want to let any of them go, even though I know I can’t live them all. I want to live in Los Angeles AND New York and not at the same time; I want to go to London; I want to take an Alaskan cruise; I want to write for Vulture or The Cut; I want to write a made-for-TV screenplay; sometimes, I just want to choreograph dances for the local high school pom squad and other days I want to have a guest spot with the Laker Girls. I kind of want to go to culinary school, or maybe just write a TV series, all until John Mayer finally swoops me up and I can just live Montana cabin life and write his blog for him.

I know, I sound like a crazy person. So, I’m still working through step one (I’m using my holiday weekend to get some of my thoughts organized). Overall, though, I know I want to empower and motivate others, and I know I want to do that through my writing and through teaching others how to write and publish their own blogs, to get the fulfillment that I have gotten.

Marie talked next about a woman who really wanted to write a book and have it be published. But as soon as she wrote this goal down and committed her life to making it happen, life got in the way BIG TIME for her. She had family problems, and major financial problems… basically all signs pointing to “no!” But, she kept on and wrote her book. And once it was finished, she sent it to publishers. And they, too, told her NO. Even the publisher that eventually told her yes, told her to keep her day job because she wouldn’t see enough money from the book.

That woman, of course, was J.K. Rowling, and the book was the first installment of Harry Potter. And look how that turned out!

Now I know, we can’t all turn out like Ms. Rowling, but I have always loved that story. Anyone can make their dreams come true, and Marie was using that story to say that once you absolutely commit to something, it can happen.

That’s why you have to make your goal as specific and concrete as possible (again, not easy). Because once you fully commit to this goal, other goals have to take a backseat (heart = broken).

So, if you’re feeling me and doing this exercise, you get a clean piece of paper and write down your dream. “What I really want is…”

And it doesn’t have to be something career-related. It could be a project at home; losing weight; running a marathon; learning a skill; traveling to an exotic place; saving money, etc. Whatever you truly want!

Once you define what you want, write the WHY. And while I know I’m still defining my wants, I know the why. I need creative freedom and fulfillment, and I don’t want to necessary be strapped by the daily office grind.

Next, make a list of all the excuses you’re going to tell yourself as to why you can’t achieve your goal – such as, “I can’t afford it”, “There’s not enough time”, or “I live in the wrong city”.

Next, debunk all of those excuses with a solution. According to Marie, time and money are the top two excuses we use on ourselves, and they can be solved if we just try. The time one is definitely one I’ve heard a lot from other people over the years – when I had a second job or wrote books or maintained this blog, my coworkers would say they didn’t understand how I had the time.

But time is the great equalizer; we all have 24 hours in a day. And yes, I know Beyonce and Oprah have full staffs to keep their empires going, but you control how you spend YOUR 24 hours. Do you spend it researching, reading, at the gym, etc. doing what you have to do to reach your goals, or do you spend it sleeping?

If you can’t find ways to solve your potential excuses, there’s a chance you just don’t want it bad enough. And that’s okay, time to seek the next dream! Because if you want it, you will make the time. Use this as a way to become more self-aware; see how many times you tell yourself you can’t, and then look at your list of solutions to keep things moving.

And finally, you’ve got to keep the faith. Be your biggest cheerleader, and be ready to pick yourself up when the course changes, because it will.

So, all of that to say, that this has what’s been on my mind for the last few weeks. I’m 100% certain you’ll be hearing more about it, because I’ve got to put my dreams into the universe if I think they’re ever going to become real.

I’d love to know about your dreams. Maybe you’re living them already, and how did you get there? How do you keep yourself going? I’m ready to jump into a supportive community right away!

But first, turkey (amirite?).

Dancing thru challenges.

Hellooo.

Hellooo.

I mentioned on Monday that I spent my weekend dancing. The dance studio I attend, Dance Austin, put on its 9th studio showcase on Sunday, and I was performing in both showtimes.

I know I’ve talked about my love for dance on here before, but being a part of this showcase (my second) made me think about it a lot more. Let me explain.

I started dancing in 6th or 7th grade; taking a small jazz class where I learned basic turns and leaps, and also performed for our families at a local gym. In 8th grade, I joined my middle school’s dance team, where we performed during pre-game or halftime of the basketball games.

I also did this in high-school, where it became a much bigger part of my life. Dance wasn’t just something I did – it was a huge stress relief for me, an escape, and it was where I made a lot of my friends. It gave me goals and confidence; it shaped another way for me to express myself.

In high school, I dreamt of being a choreographer. I wanted to put together dances for music videos and huge productions, that is, until I did a project for school and discovered the harsh truth about that side of the entertainment industry – it didn’t pay much, and it wouldn’t be a job for long – my body would probably be too beat up to be a choreographer in my older years.

And so, when I moved away for college, I left dance behind. I knew I wasn’t talented enough to be on a collegiate team or to go pro.

But when I moved to Texas, I wanted to see if there was a place for adults of any kind to dance. I took to Google, and found Dance Austin, a studio with a variety of classes for anyone, and they did performances! I hadn’t taken dance in 12 years. So, I was nervous for my first few classes.

At the very least, though, I was burning calories, and dancing in a room full of people I didn’t know. I had everything to gain.

Since then – it’s been a little more than a year now of going to class four times a week – I’ve gotten to know several of the people who dance beside me. They are diverse in age, culture, background, and experience. Some of them are engineers, video gamers, or salespeople. Some of them are dancers who audition for paid gigs or choreographers. Some are school teachers or vet techs, and some are retired.

But we all love to dance for one reason or another; and we don’t just love it. We do it. We all have lives outside of the studio, but we do whatever we have to and make it to class, day after day, week after week, and we get to perform our work in front of loving crowds.

At the showcase on Sunday, the hostess (who is fabulous and teaches “Twerk and Burn” at the studio) asked the audience to applaud for the performers because they are LIVING life. At first I clapped and nodded, but she’s right.

Yes, I dreamt of making it as a dancer. I have dreamed of being one of those who goes on tour with someone as a dancer, or performs with a professional team at halftime. But that’s not how my cards were dealt, and that doesn’t mean I can’t still dance. I can still do it; wherever I am – and not just in my living room. I can still perform for crowds, and rehearse in a studio, and rejoice silently when I wakeup sore the next morning.

Dance is a daily challenge for me. I test my brain to learn choreo quickly and work it through my body to do the moves I want. I work to keep up with my instructors, and with my fellow students, who may be more fit or more skilled than I am.

And hey, I don’t know any of us who don’t get nervous before getting on stage. In fact, before February, I’d never performed on a stage in that capacity, ever. And I did it – I performed a dance for 200 strangers. And it was pretty awesome.

And Sunday? I had set a challenge for myself: perform a stiletto routine (meaning, an entire dance wearing heels), and perform it. And I did! There were even stairs involved, and turns, and a stage, and nothing bad happened! It was awesome!

The following day, sure, my legs hurt, and my back was sore, but it was all worth it. At our next showcase, in February, I’ll set another goal for myself, and I’ll walk away (or dance away) feeling more confident than I do today.

A history of attitude & badassery

"Gentleness does not get work done unless you happen to be a hen laying eggs." - Coco Chanel

“Gentleness does not get work done unless you happen to be a hen laying eggs.” – Coco Chanel

My attitude has come into question lately, when I had an honest reaction to something that happened in a moment of stress. I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t the first time I’ve gotten a talking to about wearing my heart on my sleeve.

And in all honesty, it is never my intention to hurt someone’s feelings or come across as being rude. I consider myself to be a caring person; I’m very giving, and in general, I think I’m pretty fun!

But, I do have opinions and I’m not afraid to share them. I also was not blessed with the gift of being eloquent – my strength is writing, not speaking, so if I have a response or a look that’s less than stellar, it comes across as an attitude problem.

Like I said, I’m not out to hurt anyone, but I’m also not in the business of walking on eggshells. So, I got to thinking about attitudes, and really, what IS the big deal with my attitude? Do I have an attitude problem? Maybe. And so what if I do? Maybe it’s time to GET OVER IT.

After having this little revelation, I was in traffic the other day, when I noticed the car in front of me had a couple of interesting bumper stickers on it. One said, “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” Bloop!

And I know I’m really doing nothing to change history, so I thought about the women who have. Where are the ladies who’ve broken a few rules, said a few honest things, pissed a few people off – and in the end, they prevailed at something they’re passionate about?

So I found a few – and trust me, not all, because there’s a ton of women who’ve been badasses and have paved the way for us. Here are a few of them:

  • Kathrine Switzer: the first woman to run the Boston Marathon (1967), when the race;’s organizer realized a woman was running in the marathon, he attempted to tackle her! Switzer started training to run in the Boston Marathon when a male runner told her that no woman had ever ran it, and no woman could. She trained hard, paid her entry fee, and on the day of the race, she wore lipstick (refusing not to wear it). When she was attacked by the organizer, he told her to “get the hell out” of his race and attempted to rip the number off her shirt. After four hours and twenty minutes, she finished (read about her entire race experience).
  • Amelia Earhart: Many of us have heard the story of the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic (1928), but Amelia Earhart was passionate about flying for her entire life. Earhart set several records, including the highestaltitude for autogyros of 18,415 feet that stood for years; on January 11, 1935, she became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific from Honolulu to Oakland, California. Later that year, she was the first to fly solo from Mexico City to Newark (read more about her accomplishments).

“Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.” – Amelia Earhart

  • Rosa Louise Mccauley Parks: This is a story I’m sure you learned in grade school, but the work of Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks is worthy of repeating. On December 1, 1955, Parks had finished a long day’s work, and boarded her bus home, sitting within the first few rows. As the bus began to fill with white people, forcing many of them to stand, the driver started asking black passengers to give up their seats. When Parks refused to give up her seat, the driver called the police, and she was arrested. That same night, bus boycotts were being organized. This event became The Montgomery Bus Boycott, which emptied city buses, and filled black-cab companies. The boycott continued, crippling city transit, forcing them to desegregate the buses just one year later.

“The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.” – Rosa Parks

  • Anne Frank: Born on June 12, 1929, in Frankfurt, Germany, Anne Frank lived in Amsterdam with her family during World War II. Fleeing Nazi persecution of Jews, the family went into hiding for two years; during this time, Frank wrote about her experiences and wishes. She was 15 when the family was found and sent to the camps, where she died. Her work, The Diary of Anne Frank, has gone on to be read by millions.
  • Princess Diana:  Princess Diana became Lady Diana Spencer after her father inherited the title of Earl Spencer in 1975. She married heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, on July 29, 1981. They had two sons and later divorced in 1996. Diana served a strong supporter of many charities and worked to help the homeless, people living with HIV and AIDS and children in need. Diana died in a car crash after trying to escape the paparazzi in Paris on the night of August 30, 1997.

“I like to be a free spirit. Some don’t like that, but that’s the way I am.” – Princess Diana 

  • Marie Stopes: Marie Stopes was a campaigner for women’s rights and a pioneer in the field of family planning. Today, Stopes’ legacy lives on in the form of one of the largest international family planning organisations in the world. Millions of the world’s poorest and most vulnerable women trust Marie Stopes International to provide them with quality family planning and reproductive healthcare.
  • Coco Chanel: Fashion designer Coco Chanel, born August 19, 1883, in Saumur, France, is famous for her timeless designs, trademark suits and little black dresses. Chanel was raised in an orphanage and taught to sew. She had a brief career as a singer before opening her first clothes shop in 1910. In the 1920s, she launched her first perfume and eventually introduced the Chanel suit and the little black dress, with an emphasis on making clothes that were more comfortable for women. She died on January 10, 1971.
  • Margaret Thatcher: Born on October 13, 1925, in Grantham, England, Margaret Thatcher became Britain’s Conservative Party leader and in 1979 was elected prime minister, the first woman to hold the position. During her three terms, she cut social welfare programs, reduced trade union power and privatized certain industries. Thatcher resigned in 1991 due to unpopular policy and power struggles in her party.

“If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.” – Margaret Thatcher

  • J.K. Rowling: While struggling to support her daughter and herself on welfare, Rowling worked on a book, the idea for which had reportedly occurred to her while she was traveling on a train from Manchester to London in 1990. After a number of rejections, she finally sold the book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, for the equivalent of about $4,000. By the summer of 2000, the first three Harry Potter books, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban earned approximately $480 million in three years, with over 35 million copies in print in 35 languages.

“It is our choices…that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” – J.K. Rowling

  • Hillary Clinton: Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton is an American politician and the presumptive nominee of the Democratic Party for President of the United States in the 2016 election. She is the first female candidate to gain that status in a major American political party. She served as the 67th United States Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013, the junior United States Senator representing New York from 2001 to 2009, First Lady of the United States during the presidency of Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001, and First Lady of Arkansas during the governorship of Bill Clinton from 1979 to 1981 and from 1983 to 1992.

And so, perhaps this can serve as a little Monday Motivation for you – not to have an attitude problem, but to do YOU, to stand up for yourself when you need to, and to keep your chin up when the going gets tough.

See what Holly is up to today by following her on SnapChat @OrangeJulius7 – the chances are likely she’s just hanging out with Blanche, but you never know!

What’s holding us back?

Live the life you've dreamed of.

Live the life you’ve dreamed of.

It’s my birthday-eve, and I admittedly get reflective around this time each year (as if I’m not reflective every day of my life). Before writing this, I took a look back at the last few years of birthday posts – and most of them are similar in fashion; I’m really just trying to forget the fact that another year has passed without me really reaching any of my life goals, while somehow simultaneously trying to get my life in some sort of order.

Truth be told, I’ve had such a shitty few weeks that it’s not really worth me worrying over the baskets of unfinished laundry or seemingly never-ending stack of bills that’s attacking my small income.

What I really want to know is, where is this all going? And please, spare me the Jesus talk. I’ve heard it plenty of times, and it’s not my thing, and let’s just leave it at that.

I started thinking about this a few weeks ago while listening to Chris Gethard’s podcast, “Beautiful Stories by Anonymous People”.

It’s episode 15, “The Hardest Part is That You Love Me”, and it’s a 25-year-old woman from California, and she claims she’s experiencing her quarter-life crisist. Preach, girl!

She is questioning where her career is going, and she’s convinced that instead of picking something she wants to do, she needs to let the universe gather information and guide her to where she needs to go (she’s admittedly a California hippie).

Eventually, he asked the caller what was keeping her from living her dreams… and whoa; that really got me thinking. I think about my hopes and dreams a lot; but never in those terms.

And the thing is, I think most of the time, we’re keeping ourselves from living our dreams over fear of failure. Right? Sure, there are other little excuses that could live in the way – money, location, people, etc. But when you REALLY think about it – what is it, what’s that thing that’s holding you back?

I found an old article in “Forbes” magazine, “The Lies We Tell Ourselves That Hold Us Back,” that talks about this exact subject.

“Always the easiest move is to do nothing. The path of least resistance is well worn. It’s when we decide to do something that things get trickier. It’s difficult to determine when we’re being cautious or being fearful. After all, we’re masters at rationalizing our fear into prudence.

Fear exists for a reason — protection. That same fight-or-flight response that prevented us from being eaten by tigers also warns us when our mental selves are in danger. Fear feels bad, and we want it alleviated.”

All very true. Sure, we’re afraid of failure, but what about when failure becomes the comfort zone? I think about this a lot in terms of dating. I know failure very well in relationships; I know it so well I’d venture to say that heartbreak is my homebase.

I know how to mend my heart when it’s hurting – it’s almost sad how sad of a science it’s become. I have certain go-to movies; comfort foods and positive phrases. I pack the memories in boxes and toss them in dumpsters; I ritually delete things from my phone and inbox. And with each time, the failure gets easier to get over, almost scary in a way, like the relationship was just a means to an end.

…Which explains why I’m terrified of something actually working. What does that even look like? What is that like, when a man introduces a woman to his family with no other intention but to include her in his life? Or when he does something for you with the hopes of nothing in return but your happiness?

But what about other hopes and dreams? Maybe it’s taking a trip, writing a book, running a marathon, recording a song, winning a contest – would it kill us to fail at something like that?

Many of my dreams involve living certain places or getting published… and I’ve failed plenty of times at that. But perhaps my fear is just never being successful at it; then I’d be crushed. Or would I? I’ll never know until I try, right?

In the podcast episode, Gethard tells the California girl a similar sentiment; that before he became a comedian, he was afraid of discovering the sting that he just wasn’t good at it. But, eventually he got his first big gig (right before he was about to run out of rent money).

But he packs a lot of truth in saying that there’s one reason you SHOULD try to go after your dreams: happiness. That one reason outweighs the 100 reasons you shouldn’t do it.

And yeah, I can get behind something like that. So, this weekend, I’m old AF, and I don’t care. I’m getting drunk, I’m eating all the foods I never let myself eat, and I’m sleeping in. Maybe I’ll make a dreamboard; maybe I’ll start writing the script I’ve got in my head. There’s another year ahead, in the adventures of me.

So, if you really want to wish me a happy birthday, I’d love to know what your dreams are. Maybe you’ve reached them, and how? Or how do you plan to reach them? Or what’s stopping you from going after what you want?

Let’s dream it, and let’s do it. This year.

Follow Holly on social media @OrangeJulius7 to catch up on her weekend antics (really just cat pics). We’ll see you right back here on Tuesday!

Life: Is this where you thought you’d be?

Time flies...

Time flies…

I mentioned on Monday (in my review of “What Alice Forgot“) that I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately. I was thinking about it before I read the book, although I’m not entirely sure what brought it on – it very well may be the fact that my 31st birthday less than one month away, or it could be that I just have this feeling that time is going by so, so fast.

And I don’t say that in the whole… conversational way of saying, “omigosh I’m just soooo busy, time flies!” It’s more as if, the days just go by soooo fast. One day it’s Monday, and before I can even realize it, it’s Friday. And then, Monday again, and the next thing I know, it’s 9 months later, and my lease is up, and my one-year review at my job is coming, and here I’ve lived in an entirely new place for legit almost a YEAR, and I still get excited when I don’t have to ask Siri for navigational assistance.

Like, what the hell is that about?

I know part of this whole time thing is Facebook, and I’m also fully aware that I blame Facebook for most of the world’s social problems, including but not limited to, cyber bullying, interpersonal communication skills, dating and relationships, and self-esteem. I sort of hate Mark Zuckerberg, and I kind of like hating him.

But anyway, I think Facebook is what’s brought to my attention just how fast time is passing by, and it’s made it hard and clear, that I’m getting older by the hour.

Many of you, my readers, have connected with me on Facebook, and I’m very thankful for that. But because of our online connection, I’ve literally been able to watch your lives from afar. I’ve seen you graduate from college, get engaged, married, have children, perhaps gone through divorce or relationship turmoil, and now, your children are not babies anymore, they’re actual humans who look like you and speak the same language we speak.

And me? I’m still sitting behind a laptop (the same exact one I was nine years ago), writing about the same things (my hatred of all men aside from John Mayer), and posting pictures of my cat anywhere I can. And I just have to wonder, is this where we’d all be if we’d asked ourselves ten years ago?

You know when you go on an interview, they’re likely to ask you where you see yourself in five to ten years. I’d venture to guess that 90% of the answers to that question are complete bullshit, because most people don’t have a fucking clue. Sure, we’ve all got hopes and dreams – where we’d like to see ourselves in five or ten years.

Ten years ago, I was going into my senior year at LSU. I had to take summer classes in order to graduate in a decent amount of time. So, I took classes from 7-12 each day, I had a two hour break to eat lunch, study, and crank out any writing (I was a news stringer for the university paper). Then, at 2 pm, I had a shift at the mall,  at Abercrombie. My shift was 2-10, Monday through Friday, and that’s what I did every day. On the weekends, I studied.

If you would have told me that in ten years, I would have changed careers, working an entry-level job with a bunch of 23-year-olds way smarter than me, I would have dropped dead. I would have never believed that I’d moved to Austin, a place that ten years ago, I’d been to twice: once for SXSW, and once to meet up with a guy I had a crush on.

I also would be saddened to hear that ten years later, I’m still not at that point where I feel like I’ve got it together. While I am lucky enough to have a salary and benefits,  I’m not financially organized. My apartment is rarely clean, and I spend every other Friday night at the laundromat. I’m single, and have grown quite fond of doing most things alone. I’m not well-traveled; instead, I teach night classes at the University of Texas.

Honestly, what on earth led to this life? It’s not a bad one, I’m not saying that; it’s just not the one I thought of, or planned for – I kind of feel like things just fell this way. And I wonder that about all of you – the ones I’ve seen over the years. Is this the life you created? The one you’ve dreamt of? Planned for?

My current job is tough – the toughest job I’ve had yet, and I think it’s also a big reason I’ve been thinking about time. I do more work in a week now than I think I did in a month at my previous job. It’s more high-pressure, very fast-paced, and I think it’s part of the reason why the weeks fly by as fast as they do.

The nature of my life right now makes me think a lot about who I am. Am I cut out for this environment? Was I meant for this job? Am I meant to be involved in something more creative? Given that most things in my life haven’t changed over the last decade: my relationship status, my checkbook,  passport, available free time, etc., I kind of wonder if I’m living in the past.

Should I have given up this blog when it proved to not be a smashing success? Should I have stopped writing books when none of them sold? Should I stop pitching publications when I’ve yet to get a piece accepted? Should I stop taking dance classes when even the beginning ones leave me breathless and sore?

I mean, of course not. I am still very much navigating this life. It’s certainly not where I thought I would be – but I mean that in both good ways and bad. I know I was led to Austin for a reason; even if I’ve yet to discover it. And I know there’s a reason I’m still hunkered behind this ancient laptop (my last visit to the Genius Bar claimed it’s “vintage”), clacking away on a blog that, to a data analyst, would be worth nothing.

Tonight, I’m teaching my last blog class of the summer semester at UT. It was my first semester teaching in Austin, and I was refreshed to find my students were very eager to tackle the blogosphere. Last week, one of my students raised her hand and asked me the truth about being successful in blogging.

“It takes someone really extraordinary to make it,” she said.

I suppose, in several cases, that could be said about most hobbies and professions. But just like there are hundreds of thousands of food bloggers and mommy bloggers – there’s hundreds and thousands of doctors and authors.

The difference, I told her, is you. No one has the same outlook on this world as you. You have something that no one else has. As cliche as it sounds; that’s what it is. It meaning drive, passion, opinions, style, ability; whatever makes you the cream of the crop – that’s what determines your next ten years; your next twenty.

So, what is it? I’d love to hear from you about where you were ten years ago, where you hope to be in the next ten; twenty, and perhaps what you’re doing to get there. Let’s do it, and by it, I mean… something extraordinary.

PS. UT has already asked me to return for the fall semester. Cheers to the future!

So, can we have it all?

Is it possible to have it all?

Is it possible to have it all?

I feel like I’m constantly going through, what John Mayer would call a “Quarter-life crisis”, when it comes to the state of my life. A few weeks ago, I talked to you guys about settling when it comes to our careers – what’s realistic and what’s… just the sad truth.

“Having it all” is not something I’ve ever thought of as an option; truthfully, it’s not something I think about often. But, remember that season of the “Real Housewives of New York” before Bethenny met Jason, and she was questioning whether or not having it all was actually possible.

Her argument was that, perhaps since she had such a successful career, she would never be able to fulfill the other parts of her dream: a husband and a child. Aaaaand then she met Jason and got pregnant, and they got married, and had this amazing (baller) New York apartment…

All of this had me convinced that YES, we can have it all!

…Until their marriage went down the shitter in flames; and is probably recorded as the longest, worst divorce in history. I was truly devastated when they broke up.

Of course, I’m not basing my life off the one situation I speak of; I don’t even know if there was a time that I’ve wanted it all. Sure, there’s been times I really wanted to get married. But, those were times I was not focusing on my career.

Yes, I have thought about having children; but only when I have a man in my life; and none of those men have ever been eligible fathers. I don’t know if I would have a child on my own; simply because of how difficult it would be. I am, however, contemplating freezing my eggs.

I’d say for most of my life, I’ve thought about my career the most. In my mind, I’ve wanted to be many different things or go down different paths, but I’ve always wanted to be successful.

Not to be the bearer of bad news, but I just don’t think it’s possible to have it ALL. And please don’t give me the Beyonce example – yes, she’s got the career, but I am 100% sure that her marriage is a sham. So, there.

Instead of trying to have it all in all categories though; what about having it all in ONE category.

It’s pretty obvious that I haven’t figured out how to have it all in a relationship. Is it possible to have it all…in dating? I’ve never really met someone that could offer it all – it’s either one thing or the other; the personality or the looks; the success or the kindness, etc.

So, can I have it all in a career? This is currently what I’m struggling with, MAJOR. I can cope with the fact that I may never meet someone; may never get married, and probably will not have children.

Whew, let’s mourn on that for a moment.

Okay, so, the career thing. Over the years, my career has taken an interesting turn. I started as a web editor at a pretty big university, and worked there for about 7 years. My interest in digital marketing and strategy grew, and after being let go from the university, I was job hunting and doing freelance for most of 2015.

While doing full-time freelance was cool in that I could work from my bed; it was unstable. I was constantly worried whether or not the bills would be paid; and I was always working – often taking low-paying gigs just to get SOMEthing in the bank. It was a wreck.

For the last 7 months, I’ve worked as an SEO Analyst full-time at a search engine marketing agency.

Let me tell you this: the work we do is legit. I never expected to do this much data pulling and research surrounding a general online marketing campaign. I have learned a CRAZY amount of information this year. And, in general, the people that run the company are really smart and awesome, and there’s lots of perks you’ll generally see with start-ups: unlimited PTO, free food and beer, flex scheduling, and yoga pants.

But with all that said; I still struggle to wake up every day feeling happy. And I don’t really know why that is. Part of it is that my job is a real challenge; like so challenging each day that it’s beyond being excited; it’s terrifying and stressful.

I worry that maybe I’m not the person I thought I was. I resented my last salaried job for being too safe; too boring. I jumped with excitement when I heard my current job was challenging; fast-paced; never-stagnant. But there are days I feel I don’t have time to breathe; let alone relax after work. Work, for many, is 24-hours. Am I the lazy one?

“There has to be a balance,” one of my girlfriends told me over the phone last week. She’s right; balance is good; but where do we find it, outside of that happy medium between the air conditioner and the ceiling fan on a spring night in Texas?

I feel like I’m good at a lot of things that don’t make money: I’m good at blogging about my thoughts and TV shows; cooking delicious meals on a budget; live-Tweeting; wine-tasting; and pretty much making an adventure out of anything.

But where does that leave me? Will I ever be able to have a job/career that makes me excited to wake up everyday; excited to check my email; to have that feeling that I’m actually not “working”, I just get paid to do this fun stuff; whatever that may be.

In truth, I feel pretty guilty for having these emotions. I know I should be thankful for my job and I am – I’d be homeless without it. But my main struggle is this: is it my field, my job, the people, or… is it me? Something about it isn’t jiving.

I also know we’re not supposed to compare; but how can I not notice that I’ve been working for almost 8 years now, and I’m essentially entry-level? I feel like I’m always going to be in the slow reading group.

You know in “Office Space”, when Peter and Michael are talking about the “Million Dollar Question” – if you had a million dollars, what would you do? And whatever you say, that’s what job you should have. The guys determine that it’s total bullshit, because no one would clean up shit for a million dollars, and there’d be no janitors.

If I had a million dollars, then I’d just do this blog. And sure, perhaps I could monetize it to make money, but there’s a chance it would change the dynamic of the content, and I could lose readers because of it; or attract the wrong ones.

I’m not saying I’m giving up on the idea, but you know what I mean. And I know this is a battle I’m probably going to be dealing with for a minute (or for a year); so this won’t be the last you’ll hear about it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on it – do you have it all or know someone who does? Does your job offer it all? Your relationship? I’m dying to know!