Life is For Living…

I wish I were one of those people who could get up early in the morning and feel like they can take on the world. You know who I mean. Those people who rise at five, do a little meditation and yoga, sip some coffee, ponder life and the like. The truth is, I’m not one of those people. One of my many faults lies in the fact that I am a dreamer by nature. I would rather sleep in, and hold on to my amazing dreams that give me the pleasure of escaping from the reality of the world. My fantasy seems to be so much better than my reality could ever be. But I suppose that’s the problem. All too often, we allow fear and complacency to make us believe that what we are today, what we have at this moment, is all that will ever be true for us. I’ve realized that it is in those moments that we have to push through and make the conscious decision to NOT give in to mediocrity, that we cannot allow our dreams to become wistful memories.

Lumber Ax Man.jpg

 

What is it that you truly want out of life? What are your dreams made of? How will you make those dreams come to fruition? These are the sorts of questions I ask myself, when I find that I’ve spent too many minutes viewing the falsified lives of others on social media sites. Depictions of grandeur, of steak dinners and golden tickets, when the realism is more ramen noodle and shut off notices. I’ve been smart enough to remove television from my life; so much so that, I probably watch not more than an hour a week, if that. Yet somehow, I have a harder time blocking out the social media chatter. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not a coveter by any means. And social media gives me great ideas about what I need to be doing. The one thing it doesn’t provide me with is the actual motivation to get up and do it. I get sucked in the 30 second video montages, and I find that I am unwittingly wasting my life, one view at a time.

Selfie Cam.jpg

So how do I begin to become one of those people? The early riser, the go getter? At one point, I fit squarely in that category. I was unstoppable, ambitious, creative. And somehow, I’ve let the bullshit take over and turn my mind into the malleable clay that media and society is so desperate to capitalize on. I’ve realized that I need a break. A true break. I need to refocus on living, experiencing, being present. We spend so much time proving to everyone else that we’re living our lives that we forget to prove to ourselves how to actually do so, never realizing that we truly aren’t. What’s important to me right now though? Living in this moment, regaining my creativity and drive, loving myself and those around me, but in an intentional, not half-hearted way. Too many of us are alive, yet refuse to live. I have no desire to be a drone, a clone of everything that is wrong in our shallow world, a person who is incapable of formulating their own opinions and feelings without first checking in on the popular consensus. Today, I choose to wake up; what will be your wake up call?

I'm a Winner.jpg

 

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You’re Really Not Missing Anything

The other day, while aimlessly checking my FaceBook, Instagram, Twitter, and [insert social media app of the moment here], I had an epiphany. Or something like one. More like a kick in the shins. I didn’t really care what anyone was doing or posting (not in a negative way, because I do care about my friends or family), but I was drawn to the need to feel connected to something, anything. It seems that I, like many young people in my generation, suffer from extreme bouts of the fear of “missing out” and “being alone with yourself”. Obviously, I can’t speak for everyone, but it seems like this has become a huge issue for me. I’m slowing become a boring person, one who gets bored easily, and needs to find some sort of stimulation by living vicariously through the mundane but seemingly more exciting lives of my social media friends. I’m forgetting how to think critically and deeply, how to entertain myself, how to feel okay with being by myself.

Social-Media-Addiction-Shots

Most of us aren’t so young that we can’t remember the times of actual interaction with real live human beings, with no distractions like smartphones to glance down at every five seconds in the middle of a conversation. Remember trying to remember the name of a movie or a place, etc, and you had to like, actual talk each other through it and THINK, instead of Googling it?? And while you were trying to remember that thing, you thought of other things, that possibly made you think of something else, and took the conversation off into a tangent about THAT new thing?? That so rarely happens in my life now, I’m sad to report. I’m trying to think of the last time I had a real-life intellectually stimulating conversation with someone, and I’m blanking out (maybe two weeks ago?). And those times that I do attempt it, because I’m feeling quite thoughtful and pensive that day, people look at me like I take life too seriously. But isn’t the purpose of life to ponder and well, search for the purpose of it?

Prehistoric Googling

I can also recall not being able to wait until I had a few hours to myself, so I could do whatever I wanted, kid and husband free. I would write some poetry or music (or a blog post), or maybe do a little reading, or make something else worthwhile, like being present in the moment. Now, I get a couple of hours, and I’m staring at a phone or iPad screen, scrolling through and “liking” stuff that I actually really don’t like, or playing the evil that is Ruzzle or CandyCrush (I’m soooo ashamed to admit this). I’ve considered deactivating my social media accounts, but I always come up with excuses like, “I live so far away from my friends and family now, this is how they can keep up with us!” (because there are no such things as phones, anymore, right?), or, “I need it for business purposes!” (I really don’t). And so the insanity ensues.

Tyrone Biggums

I honestly don’t have a solution to this issue, but I know it’s one that is starting to have a large impact on my relationships and my creativity. When I can sit on the phone with someone I haven’t spoken to in a while, and I can’t have a conversation that’s longer then ten minutes, that’s a problem to me. And when it takes me a month and a half to write a new blog post because I can’t focus, that’s also a problem. If you’re not experiencing this issue, I commend you. And if you are, I think we may need to start a support group. If you suddenly see me disappear from your friend feed in the near future, know that I haven’t unfriended you or blocked you out of my life. I’m just needing to be focused and blocked in to MY life.

The Obligatory New Year’s Post

Well, this is it folks. 2012 has come to a close, and thankfully, we’re all still here. For those of you who claimed 2012 as your year and have no clear progress to back that up, well, sucks for you. Please don’t claim 2013 until you get to the end of it, ‘k? Right now, most of you have made a list of goals for the year that you’ll either be too lazy to commit to, or you’ll start them for about a week and bow out with no results. Either you’ll be too vague when you make the goals, or too lofty with them. Your best bet if you want to feel somewhat accomplished by year-end? BE SPECIFIC.

But I’m going to make it easy for you. Maybe you don’t know what you want to do; you just want to do something. To help you out, I’ve compiled this short list of five things you can do this year, that you can look back on and feel proud that they’ve been checked off your list.

1) Give back.

This is an easy one. There are so many different ways you can do this, whether it’s by actually getting involved in your community, or writing a check. Not sure where to start? Check out Do Something, a site completely devoted to helping you figure out what to do. If writing a check is more your speed, the United Way is another site that makes it simple for you to click a button and have a tax write-off for the year.

Gandhi

2) Learn something. 

Something, anything. Remember back in the day, when you used to actually keep information in your brain, and not your smartphone? You can still relive a little bit of the past by learning something completely new, by picking up a book, or delving a little deeper into a topic you’ve had some interest in. Imagine how envious your friends will be when you offer up information you didn’t have to consult Google for.

Books

3) Get physical. 

Every year, you all swear that you’ll be more fit, get that beach body by March, and go to the gym in droves for two weeks. And then it gets too cold. And then you don’t want to get up early or be out too late. And then you get sick and decide to never exercise again. Excuses, excuses, excuses. You have no problem setting aside time for happy hour or Love and Hip-Hop, but exercise? Who has time for that? This year, why don’t you actually set aside 20 minutes at a minimum, 3x a week, to get more fit? Sure, it’s not much, but it’s a start. And everyone knows that the only way to do something is to start it. One of my favorite sites for workouts is BodyRock. It’s got a ton of HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts that take about 20 minutes. So no excuses!

Weights

4) Get connected.

No, really connected. I love social media as much as the next person (obviously, since I’m a blogger), but it’s no substitute for real-life human contact. Instead of relying on Facebook and Twitter to find out how your friends and family are doing, why don’t you just (gasp!) pick up the phone? Most of us have become so averse to talking on the phone, but it’s one way to feel like you still know someone. Social media isn’t real connecting, especially since most people only post the good stuff. For a week, disable your social media apps, or ignore them. Spend that time visiting friends, or phoning them. It’ll be weird at first, and if it doesn’t work, at least you tried!

Pick up the damn phone.

Pick up the damn phone.

5) Do something new. 

There’s a great video I watched the other day, where the narrator poses the question, “What would you do if money were no object?”. It kind of made me stop and evaluate the things that I do all day, and whether or not they were fulfilling. Most of us talk about the things we would do if we were rich, but most of those things don’t require millions. Some just require time, and ingenuity. You want to travel? Start saving! You want to be an artist? Take a class at a community college. As cliché as this is, life really is too short to be doing things you hate. Find a way to start something you’ve always wanted to do. It’s not too hard to use Google to find things like free or inexpensive courses, or using Living Social and Groupon for those getaway deals. You’ve got an entire year to make it happen.

It's that easy.

Making changes in your life is really not as hard as we make it seem. And if this post didn’t make you want to get your arse up and do something, maybe this great piece by David Wong will inspire you. Maybe you don’t need a jolt, maybe you have this life thing all figured out. If that’s you, please share you words of wisdom, or just let me know what specific things you’re resolving to do for the coming year. A friend of mine re-posted a good idea on Instagram: Start the year with an empty jar and fill it with notes about good things that happen, so you can read them at the end of the year. I say, fill it with those things you’ve accomplished, so you’ll feel compelled to outdo them in the next year.  As always, thanks for reading, and have a happy and safe New Year!

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