• life

    On my mind: February 2016

    "I don't know where I'm going from here but I promise it won't be boring." (David Bowie quote)(David Bowie quote, original photo by Atlas Green via Unsplash)

    This month I’m thinking a lot about disappointment—best laid plans and all that, the realization that you’ve set out on a path with a specific destination in mind, but things haven’t turned out as you planned. The past six months I’ve made a lot of plans and gotten off to a lot of false starts, which have generated a lot of disappointment, but also a lot of lessons and rewards.

    Part of the reason I quit blogging on the regular was because I decided it was time for a career change. I spent a lot of time looking for other jobs and ended up taking a second job for a couple of months in the hopes that it might turn into a full-time gig and let me leave my current job. Long story short, that didn’t happen, which was initially a bit of a letdown, but in the end it was for the best. I ended up getting some perks at my current job that I definitely wouldn’t have received had I switched to a different job. Now that I’ve fishtailed about a bit with my job hunt and have settled down to stay at this job (for now), my schedule has opened up a bit and I have more time to write, which is my real passion anyway.

    I’ve learned time and again over the past several months that even though it can be rough to not get what you want, it’s sometimes for the best. And even though it can be frustrating to be nearing another birthday and have no clearer picture of where my path will go in the next few years, I’m realizing that that is absolutely okay. I may not know what the next six months or the next two years will hold—a new job? travel? school? new writing gigs?—but this no longer bothers me. An unwritten future is freeing; anything can happen. And for all that it may be uncertain, it certainly isn’t boring.

  • life,  New Year,  wellness

    On my mind: goals (January 2016)

    On my mind: goals (January 2016)(Photo by Lee Miller via Unsplash)

    Everyone is making New Year’s resolutions this month—stop smoking, lose weight, etc. etc.—and of course that has me thinking about my own goals. What do I want to accomplish this year that I didn’t do in 2015? What do I want to change? What would I like to happen in my life to alter my destiny this year, as opposed to the path I followed last year?

    I wont lie, I set a lot of goals for myself each year that probably seem pretty simple—eat healthier foods, exercise more often, blog more often, read more books, etc. I don’t think of these goals as the acknowledgement of a previous year’s failure. Rather, I see the New Year as an excellent opportunity to realign with myself and get back on track with the things that are important to me.

    This year, I’m also setting some larger goals. I would like a major job change, or at the very least to move closer toward writing at least part-time as a “real” job so I can move away from my current full-time job. And I’m striving to practice daily happiness, rather than be bogged down by the negative things in life. After struggling with depression for much of last year, embracing life with job and optimism is a major goal for me.

    One thing that has undone me time and again as I’ve previously made goals for myself is that little inner voice that sows seeds of doubt and worry. As I move into 2016 I continue to think of this quote from Nelson Mandela: “One cannot be prepared for something while secretly believing it will not happen.” I believe good things are in store for me in 2016, and I am determined to greet them with a positive attitude and an ambitious mindset, not a store of negativity and self-doubt.

    What are your goals for 2016? Do you make New Year’s resolutions or not?

  • autumn,  holidays,  life

    On my mind: November 2015

    Join me this November for the #gratefullifeNOV challenge on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook! (Original photo by Dayne Topkin via Unsplash)

    Happy November everyone! It seems like October really flew by, and now it’s already time to start planning for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

    This time of the year, everyone is talking about “the holiday spirit” and tossing around words like “thankfulness” and “joy”—but how much are we really focusing on those attitudes on a daily basis? And why is it so hard for us to focus on gratitude and maintaining a positive attitude once Thanksgiving is past? I know I personally have a tendency to zero in on tiny little things that irritate or upset me and then stew over them endlessly. And yet, when you focus on the positive, you’re bound to be happier (it’s science, people!). People who are more grateful also tend to feel better physically and have better relationships with those around them. Who doesn’t want that?

    It also seems like this time of year highlights a sharp contrast between the “haves” and “have-nots”, and I don’t just mean the people who are well-to-do financially and those who are poorer or even homeless. A lot of people spend the holidays without the love of friends and family, or face a long gloomy winter that highlights mental or physical health problems. I know I have a TON to be grateful for in my everyday life—a warm home, a loving family, shelves full of books to read—and even though I see almost daily reminders of people who are hungry, hurting, or friendless, it’s so easy to start taking all of those blessings for granted.

    So this month, I’m kicking off a gratitude challenge on Instagram. Each day I’ll post something I’m grateful for that day with the hashtag #gratefullifeNov. I’d love it if any of you want to follow along! If you don’t have Insta, you could do this on Twitter or Facebook, too. There is no daily prompt, just snap a pic of something you’re thankful for and share the story behind it. (Maybe it’s a mug of hot tea on a rainy day or a surprise card in the mail—it could be anything!) And be sure to tag me so I can see all your posts!

    I think taking note of all the little things I have to be grateful for will make me happier overall, and if you join in I hope it will help you have a happier November as well. <3

  • life

    On my mind: October 2015

    John Lennon quote(Original photo source: Autumn Mott via Unsplash)

    October is kind of the official start of the holiday season here in the U.S., and the next three months always seem super-busy, with Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s lined up in rapid succession. Not only do the holidays add a flurry of activity to our lives, they have a big impact on my work schedule—hello, overtime!—and they occur at the same time as the husband is already swamped with schoolwork. It’s supposed to be a season of fun, but it can feel more like a season of stress.

    Recently the husband and I were talking about our lack of leisure time and he remarked that when he does get the chance for a bit of relaxation, he ends up feeling slightly guilty for using it to play a video game (he’s an avid XBOXer) or watch TV. It ends up feeling like “wasted time”, when he could be doing something more productive, like working ahead on a school assignment. I’ve felt the same way about spending a Sunday morning reading magazines in a bubble bath instead of tackling a home project. But really: if you’re enjoying yourself, isn’t that the whole point? What you’re doing might not look important or productive to someone else, but if it helps you relax and enjoy a bit of your day, then I think it’s fine.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating for being lazy. Read a book! Take a walk through the leaves! Try a new hobby! But don’t feel bad for those days when you spend an hour on Pinterest or binge-watch a favorite TV show. Taking time out to just breathe and relax is important. It helps you better navigate the stresses of everyday life, job demands, and more. There’s nothing wasteful about that!