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you don't have to finish that thing

Today, I removed a TV show that I have not finished from the “To Watch” list I keep in my Wunderlist app.

It felt… good. It felt… free. It felt… transcendental.

It doesn’t matter at all what it was — I add like, everything to this list that sounds even remotely interesting when I see somebody talk about it — and it isn’t because I even think it’s “bad” or whatever (I don’t, actually. It’s good!) but just because I didn’t really want to watch anymore episodes. It just wasn’t a thing I needed to see through and for like, one of the first times in my entire dumb life I just… decided not to.

I have always been finicky about Finishing Things. (Well, watching/reading-type things. If only I could produce the same kind of energy for producing things instead of consuming them. The books I could finish writing! The screenplays! The chores!) I’ve only ever really given up on a book TWICE (Both of which were boring and pretty bad. One or the other… I stick those out constantly. I have been ”’reading”’ House of Leaves for fourteen years.) and I am constantly having the incredibly stupid thought, unbidden, that I have to take in an Entire Thing before I’m like, allowed to decide whether I liked it or not.

But the older I get, the more I realize that life is just TOO SHORT to finish every single thing I start. I have no idea how much time I get on this planet, why the hell do I keep wasting it on stuff that I’m not even that into?!

This feels like a real evolutionary moment for me. I can change! I can reclaim my time! And stop wasting it on things I don’t really care about!

And! I walked the talk and doused the stupid little burning need I had to tell everyone about how This Thing Was Just Not For Me because… Who cares? Lots of things aren’t for me! (That’s like, a product of being alive in a time where there is more content being created every day than in the one prior: not all of it can or should be made for everyone. That actually rules, knowing there is SO MUCH media being made, that like, you don’t have to care about kind of a lot of it at all. That’s awesome.)#

(It’s almost like… I can be the person I actually want to be? Sometimes? If I try? Sounds fake, but okay.)

So, in case you need it, I am here to tell you: You Do Not Have to Finish That Thing.

Whatever it is, no matter how good it is or how much you want to be part of the zeitgeist or which one of your amazing friends recommended it, you can just stop reading or watching or following it. And you don’t even have to tell anyone about it. Just Quietly Quit That Thing and On To The Next. Liberate yourself. Bask in that freedom. You deserve it.

#: I hope it is obvious that this doesn’t apply to, like, diversity and representation in media. We always need more and everyone should be able to see themselves in the media they watch. This is a Mob Movies Aren’t For Me, not Movies Should Be For Straight White Cis People Only thing. Fuck white people. Including me.

adulthood is a menace

I am TERRIBLE at making time for the things I want to do and, to be fair, am only marginally better at both making the time and expending the energy to do the things I have to do, but I am very tired of myself for not making time to blog which is something I desperately want to do.

How do you make time for all the things you have to do and all the things you need to do and all the things you want to do? I have the same number of hours in a day as Beyonce and Lin-Manuel Miranda, but they don’t really have to sit in an office for 8-11 hours every day doing things that have no relation to what they want to be doing. You have the same number of hours in a day, but the allocation of those hours is incomparable.

My point, though, is not to whine because I got mad at a motivational image on Facebook (I actually didn’t even recently see it, I just got mad after the fact while writing this post. The human mind is a Thing.) – my point was to show up here and write something down for the sake of having done it and because I like doing it. I am thirty-one and can no longer make super meaningful promises about how I want to spend my time because my time is largely not my own. I am married. I have a full-time job. I am trying to buy a house. I have living creatures to take care of and keep alive, including myself.

Adulthood is a menace.

At least my dog is cute.

shit week survival kit: ten ways to help you make it through

Work has been intensely frustrating this week, largely due to pervasive bad attitudes, and my at-home rhythm has been completely stunted in increasingly stupid ways, so I am feeling pretty tired and overwhelmed and cranky as hell and that’s terrible! So, just in case you’re having one of those weeks too, here are some of the things you can do to make it through a crappy week. I have personally done all of these things with varying levels of success, so there’s some anecdotal evidence supporting these.

TEN WAYS TO HELP YOU MAKE IT THROUGH

1. Be nice to someone else! Find somebody, tell them something nice. Tell a stranger you like her shoes. Buy your significant other a small gift just because. Call your mom and thank her for doing a good job raising you. It’s always easier to be kind to yourself after you’ve been kind to someone else.

2. Write a letter to your past self! Did you make a lot of dumb decisions when you were young? Did your life turn out okay anyway? Write a letter to your idiot younger self and assure them that things will turn out okay, even if they seem life-ending in the moment. This is super good therapy and can help you let go of incidents from your past that you don’t even realize you’re hanging on to.

3. Go out to eat by yourself! Even if it’s just your favorite fast food place, take yourself out and eat a meal you like. Read a book or journal while you eat, if you feel weird sitting by yourself. Eat slowly, focus on your food, and really try to enjoy eating as an experience instead of eating to survive.

4. Ignore your phone for an hour! I don’t believe the machine that says that social media and FOMO is going to kill us all, mostly because I’ve been on the internet since I was ten and I’m FINE, but I have personally found that disconnecting from everything for a little bit can be a powerful way to reconnect with your own brain. Even if you spend that hour reading or watching a TV show, if you’re not also checking your phone, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy the experience more. Don’t you feel super good when you leave the movie theater after watching something uninterrupted? Do it at home!

5. Take a nap! I honestly cannot hype naps enough, especially in winter. I prefer to nap in bed, but the most important element is being exactly as cozy as possible. I especially like when I can get curled up in the perfect temperature and position and drift hazily to sleep while watching Friends on Netflix or YouTube beauty tutorials. The “If all else fails, take a nap and try again” portion of all my internet bios is NO JOKE.

6. Send a card or letter to someone just to say hi! I LOVE sending and receiving cards and letters and postcards and packages because mail is GREAT. And I know that other people like getting stuff in the mail too. So send some mail! Say hi to someone you don’t talk to all the time and let them know you were thinking of them.

7. Take a totally unnecessary bath or shower. Play music, use fancy bath stuff, take your time, and enjoy the warmth and solitude. I don’t have a bath (which I yell about regularly because I NEED A DAMN BATH) and I generally hate showering, but if I can get in and stand under the warm water for a while instead of rushing to clean myself, it definitely makes me a happier and more pleasant person. I still highly recommend cinematic showering too, if you’re really feeling it.

8. Write a list of ten things you like about yourself! Even if they’re totally arbitrary things like “I’m wearing a really cute sweater today,” they’ll make you feel better about yourself which you deserve because you are totally awesome.

9. Make a list of all the things that are upsetting you. This should be a long list with lots and lots of detail. When you’re done, either file it away somewhere you won’t find it for a while or destroy it. It’s kind of hokey to be like, “Getting your feelings out will free you,” but to be honest, it usually does. Some people like to read these things over and see how nothing they’re mad about is actually that big of a deal, but that’s garbage for me. I just like to get it all out and get rid of it.

10. Cry. The best thing about crying is that you can do it anytime, anywhere. I’ve cried in public, at my desk, at Disneyland, in hotel rooms, I’ve cried in the bathroom of every workplace I’ve ever had, every state I’ve ever visited, and there’s a good chance that if I’ve been in your home, I’ve cried there. Cry while listening to music! Cry while watching your favorite sad movie! Hell, you can cry while doing all other nine things on this list! When nothing else is working, crying can shake the shitty feelings right out of you.

Above all, remember that you are a wonderful, unique, worthy person and that you’re awesome and deserve to not be miserable!

let’s kick 2016 in the ass

There are two different schools of thought when it comes to Resolutions for the New Year. The first thinks your goals should be concrete and measurable so that you can see what you’ve accomplished; the second thinks they should be intentions rather than goals so that you don’t get discouraged by numbers. Well, three schools I guess, since the third thinks they’re bullshit entirely. I used to be that third school! Now I’m a mix of the first two because turning thirty has turned me into the kind of woman who drinks lattes and sometimes reads motivational quotes, nodding her head like she feels it. Anyway, my goals last year went okayish, if not as well as I’d hoped, but I figure rather than giving up on all those refresh-and-renew New Year feelings, I’d just keep trying! Because trying is cool!

Since I’m trying to mix those two schools, I’m thinking of intentions as lofty, abstract, and aspirational, while goals are manageable, actionable, and calculable.

ADULTHOOD: Plan, execute, follow-through. Be a thirty-one year old adult. Kick being an adult’s ass. Be a Super Adult. Or like, at least be a better adult. Use your gym membership. Do laundry regularly instead of like you’re putting out a laundry fire. Plan meals for the week. Clean out the fridge and go grocery shopping. Develop a routine. Pick up your shoes. Floss. Make lists and actually do the things on them. You know, all that boring crap that actually makes your life better.

BETTER CHOICES: Choose better. Not perfect choices. Not even good choices, just better ones. Choose for the long-term instead of the immediate. If there is a choice, make the smarter one. If there are a lot of choices, narrow them down and make the smartest one. Making choices that make my life better and help me to take care of myself including meditation over griping, mindful eating over eating to survive, and moving my dumb body instead of slowly turning to stone. Choose well and above all, choose to be kind. To the planet, to others, and to myself.

FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY: Make thoughtful purchases instead of impulsive ones. Save money whenever possible, including the Reverse 52 Week Savings Plan. Avoid the unnecessary. I am not, nor will I ever be a minimalist, but good lord do I just have enough stuff. We are pretty good about picking through our things and making regular donations, but I want to be better about not buying back-ups and collecting things that just end up collecting dust. One In, One Out isn’t realistic for us, but I think Less In, More Out will be the way of the year.

JOURNAL EVERY SINGLE DAY: This sounds more like a punishment than a goal, but is something I want to do because I am getting old and I would like to maybe understand my feelings and also remember things that happen in my life. Crystal and I also got the Our Q&A to start around the wedding, but we are not good at follow-through, so that’s another thing I’d like to commit to and add to our routine. Feelings are gross and should be banned, but until then, this is how I will try to deal with them.

100 WORDS A DAY: I write so rarely now that I hesitate to even call myself a writer anymore and that bums me out, like, a lot. So I’m starting small. I probably story-tell well over 100 words a day already easy, but I have to put some of those words down on paper every day. Just 100 of them! This can include the journaling, but should also mean at least some prompted writing or work on one of my books.

55 BOOKS: I read 53 last year and got a butt-load of Amazon gift cards for Christmas, so I think this one is super doable.

3 SEASONS OF TV & 20 MOVIES: They have to be new to me because re-watching doesn’t expand my knowledge-base. I also just want to generally seek out more tv and movies that interest me. I watched some stuff I really loved last year, but not nearly as much as I have in the past. Part of that is just having a full-time job and not being so sickly that all I can do is sit on my couch and watch cool stuff (which is obviously awesome) and part of it is just laziness (which is not).

BLOG AT LEAST ONCE EVERY TWO WEEKS: I just, you know, need to get it together. This also includes revamping the look of this place to match my awesome new url/name and also just, like, because it hasn’t been updated in way too long and it’s starting to get super embarrassing.

a thirtieth birthday

I turn thirty on the 26th of this month. I haven’t decided yet if I am going to be traumatized by turning thirty or if I’m going to take it in stride and be chill about being an unsuccessful but surviving adult, still living in their parents’ basement. Who knows? This next 24 days are going to be a real adventure.

Most of my freakouts have been not age related, but milestone related. I freaked out about going to middle school. I freaked out about going to high school. I freaked out about going to college and graduating college and going to grad school and graduating grad school and moving cross-country and moving back and moving cross-country again.

But the birthdays? Nah. I like birthdays. I remember ten being a big deal — double digits! — and thirteen! And I failed my driver’s test on my sixteenth birthday, so that one was pretty garbage-y, but otherwise I’ve been okay so far. Birthdays are happy, celebratory. I spend the entire month of my birth making myself the center of everyone’s attention and because I am just that annoying and because the people around me are just that amazing, they not only tolerate it, but encourage and participate in it.

I feel old all the time. I feel old when I realize how young other adults are. I feel old when I realize — with a suddenness that should be impossible at this point — that I will not publish my first book before I am 25*. I feel old when I see Taylor Swift. I feel old when my bones ache — which is sometimes daily — and I feel old when I hear a song I loved as a kid played on an “oldies” station. I feel old when I don’t like something intended for youths and old when I do. I feel old when I wake up with a headache or when I decide not to have a drink because being buzzed sounds exhausting. I feel old constantly, but I have always, since I was a kid, and it has never had anything to with the numerical value of my age.

I am old. I have always been old. I am perhaps slightly less old now, at thirty, than I was at 25, and most definitely than I was at sixteen. I will likely always be old.

But for me, old is just the way to be and the way I have been has worked out pretty well for me. So bring it, thirty, I’m waiting.

*And now not before thirty. What a failure.

PS: My RSS feed was/possibly is broken, so it is likely you aren’t even seeing this post! I have removed the Totally Top Five 2K14 Giveaway since it wasn’t hitting readers, but I will get it up again this week and give you guys plenty of time to win some Amazon gift cards! I will eventually spend a weekend moving away from my current theme since it is kind of infuriating, but for now we shall persevere.