23 Lessons (Re)learned

  1. The couch is comfy, but that comfy feeling is only concealing regret. Get up and do things. You don’t have to go cross-country to have a ball (though it definitely helps). Make the most of every Saturday by checking out museums, parks, and other wacky things.
  2. Take the chance. Life is short. Sometimes the chance comes with risk: like going on a date with an islander in a foreign country (okay, so he was a Canadian and I’m not sure that counts, but still) or putting your heart on the line with a friend. Neither of those ventures panned out for me, but that’s okay. Sometimes chance rides side-saddle with pain. Sometimes it runs free-spirited with rewards.
  3. Laugh. Actually, make appointments for it. John Crist and Tim Hawkins comedy shows undid more emotional damage than all my therapy sessions combined.
  4. Go to the doctor. It’s a hassle, a definitive nuisance, but regular check-ups save lives. Don’t be a missed diagnosis because you were too busy building a life to care for it.
  5. Jump on a fandom bandwagon. They’re a great deal of fun. Just don’t become obsessed. No matter how entertaining the fandom is, it can’t possibly replace the sheer ecstatic of worshiping our Savior.
  6. Worship harder, longer, every time. Feelin’ it? Don’t care. It’s not about you. And while you’re at it, worship at home. Dancing like a lunatic isn’t just reserved for praise breaks in church. Bobby pins should go flying no matter where you are dancing, especially when you don’t feel like it. And exude praise, especially when you’re tired. Sacrificial worship only occurs when you’re not feeling it, not feeling up to it, not feeling at all. If you’re scared of what people think, you’re nailing it.
  7. Meet new people. The process is uncomfortable, but it’s also fascinating. Their stories will fuel your own.
  8. Celebrate people. Not everyone is going to be in your life forever, so celebrate them while they are still around you.
  9. Keep standing for what you believe in, even if it makes people mad at you. But be nice about it. You don’t have to tear down the beliefs of others to demonstrate your own.
  10. Be a Christian before you are an American. Your country is amazing, your eternity is better. It’s okay to care about the state of affairs, but if your American beliefs begin to overrule your Christian beliefs, who is truly your god? So just shut up more often and love like Christ did, even if it lands you on a cross. And by the way, if it does, carry the thing. Pray for the souls who gave it to you. Don’t nail them to it instead.
  11. You’re required to try at least once, even twice, but then you’re allowed to walk away. If someone is hurting you, and they repeatedly disregard your attempts to kindly bring the situation back on track, you are allowed to walk away.
  12. Look up. Never forget your significant insignificance.
  13. Explore your own backyard. Adventures are still adventures, even when they’re just in your state or just in your city or just in your backyard.
  14. There is a literal devil on your shoulder. Beat the crap out of him.
  15. Finance support groups are fun. Yeah the discussion is about money (and usually how we’re failing with it), but at least we’re talking. We’re being vulnerable and sharing our dreams and aspirations. It’s beautiful.
  16. Don’t waste your time envying the gifts of others. God has painted unique strengths on you to perfectly fit your piece of His puzzle, so perfectly that the seam is invisible. Don’t screw the puzzle up by trying to duplicate the piece next to you. There are nooks and crannies you were never meant to fit, and there are nooks and crannies that desperately need you.
  17. There’s not much to glean from TV. Books, however, are a rich source of inspiration and knowledge. That said, you don’t have to collect them. A bookshelf can very quickly become a source of guilt instead of inspiration.
  18. Create from the soul. Words. Speeches. Conversations. Paintings. Dramas. Songs. Prose. Life.
  19. When nostalgia hits and you forget all the why not’s, force yourself to sit back and do and say nothing until the wave goes away and sanity returns.
  20. Take time to remember. Go through your photo album, read old blog posts, scroll through old timelines. Remember who you were, where you were; use remembering as fuel for planning.
  21. You are the only one preventing you from anything. You want to dance in public? Dance. You want to learn a language? Learn. You want to adventure? Adventure. Stop complaining and just do it already.
  22. People will never live up to your expectations. You will get hurt, and it will happen every single time. Yes, sometimes it will cut you like a knife, and you will bleed and ache and cry. But don’t stop expecting. Without expectations, there is nothing to keep us striving to be and do and believe better. Lord knows you are relying on others to expect greatness of you.
  23. Except in the case of Heaven, the journey, the anticipation, is always better than the destination. And that’s okay. After all, you were designed to be just passing through.

Here’s to the next year of life. 

23 Lessons (Re)learned

Unplugging.

Well, I’ve finally done it. I’ve been obsessing over the idea for well over a year at this point, and I finally woman-ed up and just did it.

I cancelled Netflix.

I cancelled Amazon Prime.

I cancelled WiFi.

My connection to the last of these will be terminated on the 15th of the month, in T-minus seven days.

Starting on the 15th of the month, I will no longer be a Netflix-binger, online-window-shopper, or internet-user in general.

At least for the foreseeable future.

At least until January.

Rather, I’m hoping I can make it that long.

Here’s the thing: my productivity levels at home su-uuuuck. Once I’m home, I’m basically done for the day. I turn on the TV, select a Netflix show, and promptly become a mindless zombie.

I can’t even be bothered to respond to texts; how dare they interrupt my solace.

I once read that a study was done on people who watched TV – they came out literally dumber than before the episode or binge or whatever. I don’t remember where or when I read that, but it has stuck with me for ages. And I’m probably imagining this to some extent, but I feel dumber lately.

When I was 16, I was working two part-time jobs and going to two colleges full-time. I was exhausted. But, like, a good exhausted. The kind you feel when you know you’ve used up every bit of energy your brain and body can produce for the day.

Now I feel bad exhausted.. pretty much all the time. The kind you feel when you have a mountain of to-dos and spend three hours binging Friends rather than completing even a single task. The kind you feel when you’ve been a zombie for so long that you struggle to get creative juices flowing, juices that used to flow freely and allow you to bang out a 5-page essay in 20-30 minutes.

EL. OH. EL.

Don’t even ask how long it would take me to write that essay now.

I was talking to a friend last night and he point-blank asked me if I was living any of the advise I freely give others about pursuing their dreams.

The answer was an obvious and awkward: “um, no..?”

And it was just the push I needed to finally get it together.

So I called Spectrum at 12:05 PM today, and cancelled my WiFi.

I’m hoping this exercise in unplugging will make me so. stinking. bored. that I actually want to tackle that mountainous task list.

I need fewer distractions and temptations to waste my life, and by getting rid of WiFi in my apartment, I’m getting rid of almost all of them.

Thanks to the recent declutter, I don’t own much in the way of entertainment. My books are purged down to just a Bible and 3-4 non-fiction books I’ve been meaning to get to for ages. My collection of movies is downsized to 3 – the Anne of Green Gables series. I have a handful of games and five partially empty notebooks. I’ve got an iPad, MacBook, and iPhone. Oh, and a keyboard.

All of these things are generally ignored in favor of Netflix or YouTube or window shopping on Amazon.

Getting rid of WiFi is getting rid of pretty much everything I do in my free time.

And this idea thrills me.

A world with no old habits to fill the time is a world of endless possibilities.

Who knows what I’ll do first.

I imagine I’ll catch up on sleep again, and maybe finally read those books. I’ll probably get outside more and call friends more and study the Word more. I’ll probably goof off on the keyboard and spend focused energy on developing my vocal range. Maybe I’ll finally get around to experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen. Maybe I’ll go on more adventures to local museums or random far off places. Oh, oh – I might even become a consistent blogger (aaah ha)! After all, there’s nothing else to do.

Just to clarify for the nay-sayers: I’m not cutting the internet or entertainment out of my life entirely.

This should be obvious since my job is 100% an online gig.

Also, as I said, I have an iPhone which has data which means internet. And there’s no way on earth I’m giving up my GPS, the ability to check open/close times of businesses, or an opportunity to fact-check people in the middle of a conversation (because yes, I’m one of those annoying people who has to fact-check EVERYTHING).

I can even use the internet for other things if I should so desire, just not at home.

There’s a Starbucks with great indoor and outdoor seating areas and free WiFi less than a mile away. I’ve got a MoviePass membership (that will soon be swapped for the AMC membership because MoviePass just passed a bunch of new policies that are complete suckage) that I will use to enjoy the frequent theater experience. I have a DVD player and a library card. My iPad is already filling up with books I want to read, and my phone is overwhelmed with Podcasts I intend to listen to on long evening walks. I also have Ronnie, my delightful car that is more anxious to hit the roads than I am.

The point is: I want to make distractions harder to get to; I want to make them a reward, rather than my norm.

So here I go, starting my experimental mutiny of the internet. Wish me luck.

Unplugging.

I’m back, babes.

Do you ever feel…

… like a plastic bag?

I can’t tell you how often those lyrics have run through my head of late (much to my chagrin as I loathe all things Katy Perry).  They just so perfectly epitomize life sometimes, ya feel?

Anyway, long time no see. I’ve been sick lately. Like bad, mega, crummy, wish-it-weren’t-so-and-can-I-just-catch-a-break-for-the-love-of-God-fibro-sucks sick.

I’m now on the other end of what was the longest fibro flareup I’ve had to date. From late November to early February, I spent my days crying, eating, sleeping, working, crying, eating.. you get the pic. But like literally. I was in bed for the night by 6pm most nights, sleeping fitfully, hurting painfully. Not to mention the barely breathing depths of depression (because that’s pretty much where you end up when all you do is sleep and work and feel excruciating pain for absolutely no reason at all).

But one day, I just awoke and it was over. Well, the worst of it anyway. I’m back to manageable. I am feeling energy again (what is that?!) and desire (who’s a what now?!)to get my life back together. Which is good, because it’s even pitiful-ier than it was before the worst of the flareup hit and I was already feeling all failure-y. I think I’ve discovered the culprit of this horrifying couple of months (drumroll if you’re into that sorta thing):

Cymbalta.

Also known as: the meds that were supposed to be helping.

Needless to say, I’m now off them and feeling mucho better. I’ll write up a whole post on this later, ’cause peeps need to know the horrors of the drug that aren’t readily found when researching it.

Anyway.

The last couple of weeks have been catch up. I’ve picked up where I left off with the Great Purge, laundry, getting back in the routine of cooking meals instead of eating icky-for-me-and-definitely-not-enough-nutrients fast food. I’ve started going to church again (LOL – kind of an insider joke, kinda not). I was so fibro-psychically spent from work, I made it to like 1-2 services a month in December and January- which MEGA SUCKED.

OHMYGOSHDIDIMISSBEINGABLETOWORSHIPWITHMYPEEPS.

Very happily, I’ve now made it to SEVEN services in a row + a prayer meeting and a choir practice (though I was more dead than alive for the latter). Oh, and on Sunday I sang with the praise team again AND did little jumps and air punches at the stupid devil who dared come against me, which -bestillmybeatingheart- was the delight of my worship-God-craving soul. I don’t even care that it meant I slept the rest of my Sunday away because I physically “couldn’t even” after church.

Tomorrow I’m hopping on a plane and heading to New Mexico to see my bestie. Gosh darn have I been missing her since she moved there last summer. It’ll be so good to catch up. I’m thankful the flareup broke when it did, I was really worried I was going to have to cancel which would have KILLED. But I’m feeling better and I’m going and-

wowza life is good..

Seriously, y’all don’t even know how great it feels to step out from behind the thick fog-veil of a flareup. Breathing has never tasted so free. (Is that a saying, or am I still suffering fibro-fog remnants?)

Anyway, just wanted to update y’all on my existence. As in: I still have one.

I’m looking forward to blogging again. Upon my return home, I’ll be retaking inventory of my belongings and sharing the Great Purge (room-by-room as promised) results. I don’t think I’ve quite hit 50% yet, but I’ll tell you, my apartment is feeling pretty breathe-easy of late.

What’cha been up to?

 

I’m back, babes.