Year: 2014

Thought Questions, #183-#189

 

Unsplash Dustin Scarpitti

(photo by Dustin Scarpitti via Unsplash)

#183: What do you see when you look into the future? Sadly, I see things getting a lot worse for the world if more people don’t start working for change–in the environment, in politics, etc. If you just sit back and let things go, they won’t stay neutral–they’ll slide downhill. Even small changes in your personal sphere can add up and make a difference, so don’t ever think that you can’t do enough because you’re “just one person”.

#184: What makes you angry?  Why? People who neglect or abuse animals. Like these assholes. I would never give one my kitties away for cash! They’re part of the family!

#185: What is the most valuable life lesson you learned from your parents? To budget carefully and never overstep your means. I know a lot of other twenty-somethings who are in trouble financially because they racked up credit card debt, or bought a too-expensive car because they were able to stretch to make the payments at the time and now with a cut in hours or wages they can’t make those payments. My Dad also really hammered into us the importance of “saving for a rainy day”, which has saved my butt countless times.

#186: What does love feel like? A blanket. Which sounds weird at first, but if you think about it, love makes you feel warm and safe and a bit soft, so I think it fits.

#187: What are your favorite simple pleasures? I’m sure you couldn’t possibly guess this, but…books and tea. Yep. Shocking, I know.

#188: If you could go back in time and tell a younger version of yourself one thing, what would you tell? To say “no” more. For years I struggled with being a people pleaser and as a result, I was often unhappy. Saying “no”–to a commitment you’d rather not make, a project you’d rather not take on, etc.–lets you take charge of your itinerary instead of being tossed around based on what other people want.

#189: What do you do to deliberately impress others? Hmm…I don’t like showing off, so I don’t know.

 

Belated Ten on Tuesday: vacation, kitty cuddles, and HTML woes

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1. Finally on vacation! Thank god. I know it’s terrible to be this thrilled to be away from work for a while…but I am.

2. I ended up spending almost all of Sunday and Monday just sleeping. I didn’t even make it to the bed, I crashed on the couch.

3. I’ve had such a craving for pitas lately, so I’m making some for dinner tonight.

4. I could also do with tacos…and spring rolls…and pie…just all the yummy hearty stick-to-your-ribs food, basically.

5. Now that it’s chilly the cats are extra cuddly. That’s a good thing!

6. I swear using HTML can be one of the most irritating chores ever. I need to learn more about it.

7. It’s time to break out the colored tights for fall.

8. Looking at style posts on Pinterest just makes me realize how little I fix up anymore. It’s kind of sad.

9. I think I have most of the items in my closet to recreate this look, or something like it. I’m just not sure if it would look cool on me, or silly.

10. I would really love this world map necklace.

Essentialism, by Greg McKeown (book review)

Essentialism is the opposite of having it all--and it's a concept that changed my life.(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.)

This is one of those “must-read” books for anyone who feels overworked, overwhelmed, and as though they’re no longer in control of their life. You could say it’s an “essential” read (do you see what I did there?) for the 24/7 generation–people who are hyper-connected, constantly taking on new commitments, mega-busy, and yet strangely enough, not accomplishing nearly as much as they would like.

The author likens essentialism to cleaning out your closet, and if you’ve ever purged a closet overstuffed with clothes, then you know the familiar routine: decide which things you absolutely love (and therefore want to keep), which things you absolutely don’t want (and will therefore purge), and which things fall somewhere in the middle, meaning you probably need to think long and hard about why you’re hanging on to them.

The comparison is an apt one, but McKeown takes it a step further by suggesting that if anything winds up in that third pile, you shouldn’t be considering hanging on to it at all. Rather, Essentialism says that something that you’re less than 90% thrilled about should go. The idea is to pare down your life to the absolute essentials and cut out all else, leaving yourself with more time and energy to devote to the things you really love. It’s basically a minimalist approach to life and work.

McKeown outlines a practical approach to this pursuit, going over such important topics as how to define your top priorities, cutting your losses, the power of “no” (and how to say it gracefully!), why you can’t have it all (and shouldn’t try), and the reason setting aside time to sleep and play is important. Altogether I think this is an amazing book, and one everyone should read, whether you’re trying to streamline your career, balance a hectic home situation, or strike out on a new path in life. So I know what you’re thinking…why not five stars?

Basically, I think there are situations in which you really just do not have the option of paring down. I agree that many people are too passive and don’t make the right choices in setting boundaries at work or with family, but there are times when you truly do have to sacrifice personal time or sleep to get things done–when caring for an ill family member, as a single parent working multiple jobs, as a student working and going to school, etc. I think a small dose of essentialism could help in even these situations, but it won’t revolutionize the situation. I don’t think the author is implying as much, but it would have been nice to see him acknowledge that in some cases, you will just have to grin and bear it as much as you can, because cutting out one of your commitments just isn’t practical.

That said, I can honestly say that Essentialism has changed my life and my goal strategies in my twenties. Especially as I’ve sought to define my freelance career, it’s helped me to decide what to focus on and what to ignore. So if you’re a blogger or new business owner feeling overwhelmed by all your options, pick this up! It’ll help a ton!

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown (hardcover, 260 pages). Published 2014 by Crown Business. Genre: business, self-help, psychology, management. Four out of five stars.

Ten on Tuesday: Demetri Martin and book packages

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1. It’s officially the season of Pumpkin Spice Everything and I could not be happier.

2. With that in mind, here are thirty vegan pumpkin recipes to experiment with over the next couple of months!

3. It’s also officially the season of the electric blanket. Ahhh…

4. Apparently I’m going on a surprise date today at noon? But I have no idea what’s been planned!! Hmm…can’t wait. :)

5. This cracks me up. I hate automatic operations in public restrooms so I think Demetri’s observations are spot-on.

 

6. If you like that, here’s a longer-stand-up set. (It includes the above clip.)

7. I love used book sales and hate waiting for the packages to arrive. My husband calls it “stalking the mailman”. I call it “observantly monitoring the mailbox”.

8. I successfully badgered the husband into reading Gone Girl. Now I have to talk the rest of my friends into reading it. Hehe.

9. Only one more week until vacation. Counting down.

10. Link up with Alyssa here!

Thought Questions, #176-#182

 

Unsplash Silvestri Matteo

(photo by Silvestri Matteo via Unsplash)

#176: What are the primary components of a happy life? Books, tea, cats, and a cozy place to enjoy them all.

#177: How would the world be different if you were never born? Well, no one would have rescued my two cats, for starters. And there would be one less person passionately pestering everyone around them to read books! I like to think of myself as an advocate for literacy.

#178: What is your favorite song and why? Hmmm…I love “Of the Night” (Bastille) and “Steve McQueen” (M83). Also “Crystallize” (Lindsey Stirling).

#179: With the resources you have right now, what can you do to bring yourself closer to your goal? I can set aside a little more time each day to write.

#180: What are your top three priorities? Reading, eating, and sleeping. I have pretty basic needs.

#181: Why do we idolize sports players? For the life of me I don’t know! It’s cool that they’re talented. But I don’t see why we should elevate them above the level of any other person in the way that we do. The same goes for actors or other celebrities.

#182: What is the nicest thing someone has ever done for you? Bought me a book, maybe? :)