Scheduled To Relax

Humans as a whole are far too willing to work themselves to death.  We over-schedule, over-analyze, and over-commit to life’s flurry of events and obligations.  It’s natural for use to want to be everywhere and do everything, but when do we really focus on ourselves and enjoy a day of peace and quiet?

As I have mentioned, I have been working some Saturdays lately.  Luckily, I didn’t have to go into the office yesterday, but I had a 5K first thing in the morning so sleeping in was out of the question.  Though it was my decision to run a 5K every month, I really wanted to just stay in bed rather than drive 20 minutes to the event and spend time out of breath and sweating my brains out. But I did it. Continue reading

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A Passion For Life

As I’ve gotten older, certain things have become more important to me than they were to my younger self.  I no longer stay friends with people who treat me poorly.  I no longer care about the latest trendy gadget on the market that everyone “has to have.”  And I have learned that a life without passion is no life at all.

I have met many people over the years, and the ones who always stand out are the ones with passion.  Now, I’m not talking about the push-you-up-against-the-wall-and-kiss-you-in-the-pouring-rain type of passion so common in romantic films (I’m looking at you, The Notebook!), but the yearning for something more than the ordinary life.  This is the type of person who cannot go a day without playing an instrument, who stay in low-paying careers because they absolutely love what they do, and who light up when they talk about something that is important to them.

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Listen To The Little Voice

Several months ago, I did something I had never done before.

It was a sad Friday.  The family dog, Killer, had died the night before after being a part of the family for more than ten years and I was fairly certain I had a difficult decision to make in the relationship department.  Since it was my day off and I didn’t really feel like staying home to wallow, I packed up some tissues and headed to California’s Shangri-La otherwise known as Ojai.

You might recognize the name of the town as the setting for the Emma Stone comedy Easy A.  Yes, it’s a real place and I hadn’t been there since high school.  It’s a quaint little town with locally run shops and few chain stores.  With my bloodshot eyes carefully hidden behind sunglasses, I wandered the main drag, popping into stores that had artisan crafts and produce picked from nearby farms.

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Let Me Hear You Roar!

Vintage Fighters

After schoolyard episodes of shouting and name-calling, often resulting in pulled hair and bloody noses, we have been taught not to fight. We should work out our issues with other people with our words and not our fists. Sure, it’s a great sentiment to use non-violent ways to defend ourselves, but what happens when we stop fighting altogether?

Plain and simple: we lose.

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Be The Priority Of Your Life

As adults, we juggle many responsibilities. Some, like managing finances or family, are a given. Others, like the ever-growing to-do list, come to light at a moment’s notice. In one day, we may attend back-to-back meetings, get our teeth cleaned, root for a child on the soccer field, share dinner and a movie with a loved one, write a blog post, and still find a way to sleep. With an act like this, let’s just run away and join the circus now.

Granted, we don’t do all of these things all of the time. We place value on the events, relationships, and goals in our lives. Watching your daughter’s first ballet recital may be more important than working overtime at the office. Saving money for a down payment on a home may be more important than a big, elaborate wedding. It’s really up to you to decide what takes precedence in your life. We order our preferences by their significance and place the priorities front and center.

Between all the juggling, we often forget one very important piece of the puzzle: ourselves.

Priority

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Happiness Starts With You

What makes you happy?  Are you getting enough of it?  If you’re not, why aren’t you?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the choices we make and the reasons we make them.  What I’ve discovered is that a lot—and I do mean a lot—of the decisions we make are because we are trying to make other people happy.  It makes sense.  We focus on families and loved ones because, in order to be seen as kind and selfless people, we must put their happiness above our own.  We justify it by saying things like “if they’re happy, I’m happy” or “their happiness is more important than my own.”  But is that always right?

The simple answer is no.

If we always put the needs of others before our own, we lose sight of what we need as individuals and can turn bitter and resentful.  There have been a great many times when I have witnessed or experienced the anger that comes when one’s own needs are forsaken for someone else’s.  The seed of resentment is a slow-growing emotion that once realized, is far stronger than you thought possible and incredibly hard to get rid of.  And let me tell you, it’s not pretty.

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All Signs Point To Ask

When it comes to generating ideas for posts, a lot of times I just pull something out of thin air.  Usually it will be related to something that I’ve experienced in my recent days or something I’ve wondered about, but most of the time, ideas just hit me for no clear reason and I run with them.

This particular post was brought to you all by the universe.  Yes, that’s right.  The universe.  You see, for the last week, I have been inundated with the same topic time and time again.  Badgered over the head, if you will.  In no less than three different ways has this issue been made the focus of my life at separate times.  Clearly, I am meant to write about it.  However, as I sit here, I feel like I cannot truly do the topic justice because I feel that the message is clear enough and why should I further elaborate on an already defined subject.

But I will because, let’s face it, this is what I do here.

What is this mysterious topic that I write about so enigmatically?  Asking for what you want.

Who could forget Meredith’s speech on “Grey’s Anatomy” where she begged Derek to choose her over his estranged wife?

Simple enough, right?  You see something you desire, you ask for it.  A raise, a dance, a shiny new pair of shoes.  Children do it all the time.  “Mommy, I want ice cream!”  “Daddy, I want a teddy bear!”  “Auntie, pick me up!”  But is it really that simple?

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Let Your Freak Flag Fly!

I’m sure many of you out there have heard the term “freak flag” and wondered about what the heck it could possibly mean.  Is it an insult?  Is it a compliment?  It is anything special?  Is it worthy of a blog post?

The short answer is yes.

Urban Dictionary defines freak flag—its Urban Word of the Day on March 21, 2008—as “a characteristic, mannerism, or appearance of a person, either subtle or overt, which implies unique, eccentric, creative, adventurous or unconventional thinking.”

Ok, so what does that mean?

Is flying your freak flag horrible? Absolutely not!

In simplest terms, a freak flag is something that sets you apart from everyone else.  Now, I’m not saying that it involves a person swinging from a chandelier or down on all fours, barking like a dog in the middle of a staff meeting.  In the right context, that might work, but for the most part, those types of behaviors might land you a trip to a padded room with a jacket you can’t get out of.  Rather, waving one’s freak flag might be a gesture learned from your father or an accent that you only use with your best friend.  What sets these quirky acts apart is that they would not be defined as freaky if performed in private.  However, once you let loose in front of other people, consider your freak flag flown.

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Chase Your White Rabbit

With so many forks in the road and decisions to make, how does one ever know if they are taking the right path?  Making the right choice?

Unfortunately, life is not as simple as the Choose Your Own Adventure book series popular in the 80’s and 90’s.  If you reached the end of the story, you could always go back and make a different decision to see where that would lead you.  As a kid, I read one of the stories—I’m pretty sure it was #52 Ghost Hunter—and I got to the point where the character fell to his death.  I remember being frustrated and confused.  How could I have chosen the course that had resulted in such horror?  Weren’t all stories supposed to have a happy ending?  Since I didn’t like that particular conclusion, I decided to retrace my steps and change the story.  Ironically, I didn’t like that ending either and the first one became the one that stuck with me for decades.

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Embrace The Fabulous

How many times have you felt like the life you lead wasn’t the life you wanted?  How many times have you let an opportunity pass because you didn’t feel good enough about yourself to take it?  How sick and tired are you of making excuses as to why your life isn’t consumed with the sparkle and shine of a thousand disco balls?

Disco may have died, but the sparkle lives on.

I’ve got three words for you: embrace the fabulous.  You heard me.  Embrace.  The.  Fabulous.

Confused?  Let me explain myself. Continue reading