Category Archives: Random Musings

The Priority of Time

Looking up some quotes for another blog post this week, I stumbled across this one:

The site that deprives you of productivity one minute at a time. Replacing productivity with entertainment since 2010.

That…really hit me hard.

Everyone gets 24 hours in a day. It’s not an uncommon mantra for people to complain about–still–not having enough time in the day to get everything done that you want to. I know I certainly do. Every week, it seems, something gets left on my To-List that I really should have gotten done and is carried over to the next week. Or, I struggle to choose between reading that next chapter, playing a video game or watching an episode of TV, because each hour of free time is just so precious and I don’t want to waste it, even though I want to do all of those things. Then there are things that I really want to do–like writing and running–that, when I don’t complete them, my first excuse is, “I didn’t have enough time.”

When I’m really saying, “Eh, it’s just not important enough to me to make time a priority to ensure that gets done.”

Again, it hits really hard, especially with the writing aspect. Because I started a new novel this week. Wrote almost 500 words. But I’ve only written once, even though my plan was to write at least four days this week. My To-Do List wasn’t even as long as it usually was, yet still, writing hasn’t happened. Everything else on my To-Do List has come first.

Including writing and publishing this post.

Then I read that quote and I wonder; I wonder and I reflect, back to a time when I was writing every day, last year. How great it felt. How I do have the capability to make writing a priority, like I claim it to be.

I just need to do it again.

Social media is what I’ve cut back on the most. I don’t have anything on my phone besides Instagram, Spotify, FitBit, Goodreads and my Mint Budgeting App. Only one of those do I interact with anyone else and that is if something likes a picture I posted. I only check Facebook and Twitter and my blog when I’m on my computer. And my computer, I only log into on the weekdays. But even when I log in to check these sites, I could minimize my time scrolling and be doing other things; more productive things, more enjoyable things, less toxic things. Sure, there is the fear that I’ll miss out, especially with Twitter, when it’s how I connect with authors and agents and other writers. But when it’s taking away from some of the time I could be used to write the books I want to connect with them about?

Yeah, I think it’s okay to lessen that impact a little bit by not getting on Twitter as much; by checking Facebook, scrolling through once to catch up and then logging off; by finding other ways to stay in touch with people I care about that don’t involve social media.

Also, learning to actually listen to my alarm might also help give me, oh, I dunno, anywhere between two and three hours back each morning to actually get shit done.

Reading that quote was not only a nice, sucker punch for my own life, to reevaluate the use of my own time, but it made me think about some of the interactions I have with people closest to me and remind me that this is a problem that everyone struggles with. Makes me think about all those times a texting conversation has dropped because someone forgets or doesn’t have time to respond. Or how we run out of time to schedule dates with our friends and family, even though we really want to see them.

I recently sent out a copy of my book to some friends and family closest to me; the “last testing round,” if you were, before I do one more round of revisions and then query. I sent it to maybe…half a dozen people? Maybe a few more? I asked them to try and read it by November 1st, so I could spend the rest of the year editing and then query early next year. I sent it during the end of August/early September.

So far, three people have started it and another person has read it completely. Time–the lack thereof–is usually the excuse. Trust me, I get that. It is an excuse I go to often and, in many cases, in my mind, is a valid excuse. Especially in a case like this, where those who would read this book would be doing so as an immense favor to me. Still, I cannot help but wonder, if those who haven’t started it changed their language from, “I’m too busy,” or “I just haven’t had time,” to “I’m really sorry, reading your book just isn’t a priority to me right now,” how many people would actually read it or change their mind. Maybe it wouldn’t be a priority. And hey, that’s okay.

Still. It’s a bit enlightening. And perhaps, even a little bit unfair, to put it in that light. It’s easy to feel like shit, after re-framing your mind and looking what how often you use that excuse and when. But, personally, it’s been a real eye-opener, and made me reevaluate what exactly I’m okay with labeling as a priority and what I’m okay with not. At the moment, I’m really glad running and working out has been a priority, as well as blogging. I’m posting more on here than I ever have before. However, I’m really upset that writing and reading are not.

Now, I need to make the changes in my life to rectify that.

Cheers.

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My Desire To Be More

One of the coolest things, I’ve found, about your own personality and your own existence as a human is how the process of discovering ourselves and growing into the person we want to be never ceases. There is always the opportunity to better yourself and change aspects you don’t like, heightened the things you do or embrace an entirely new element about yourself.

Recently, I’ve discovered a couple things about me that I’d like to focus on changing. They aren’t necessarily bad things. Recently, I’ve been more akin to noticing them and how they are holding me back from being the woman I really want to be and that’s why my goal is to actively change them, whatever that my look like.

Be More Assertive

This aspect of my personality is something I’ve really struggled with. I’ve always been that introvert with extroverted tendencies. Someone who is more shy than outspoken. Someone who will be quiet over making her voice heard. Someone who cares more about the opinions and desires of others–and making sure those are met–than her own. I wrote a post that discussed this at some length, but it just keeps popping up.

Most of the time, it’s simple stuff, like feigning apathy when I actually know what I want for dinner or hesitating to offer a suggestion when an open call is asked for one. But at the same time, it’s still important. My voice and my opinion are still important. And, quite frankly, it’s also rude to other people, who also value my voice and opinion and want to hear it. Why hold back what I want to say or how I feel because I’m so concerned it might not align with what they want or feel? Why assume that, because I’m so used to swallowing my own desires and needs, that they will do the same and we’ll be stuck at an impasse? Why shy away from honest conversations where the needs, wants, desires and opinions of all parties are heard and discussed, before a conclusion is reached? It doesn’t make a ton of sense.

So I want to express my opinions, my thoughts, my wants, my desires, my needs. If I want to eat at one restaurant and my friend wants to eat at another, nine times out of ten, we’ll end up eating at the restaurant my friend wanted, to be honest. Though I want to be more assertive when it comes to expressing my own voice, that doesn’t mean that I’m suddenly going to be so assertive that my needs come before everyone else’s. Nor should it. But there needs to be more of a balance, between being selfless and silent, to being selfish and speaking. I want to be a little bit of both. I want to have a voice and make it heard, while still being super flexible–an aspect that I love about having a meeker personality and I don’t want to lose that as I develop an assertive voice. I do want to be a little more selfish when it matters, when I have a strong opinion, yet I also want to continue being empathetic. I want to balance putting others needs first and making sure my own needs are met.

Every day you have the opportunity to grow and make the decision to become a happier version of yourself. You aren't the same person as you were yesterday. Who are you choosing to be today?  Tag a friend  /// Get the best happy quotes from the week delivered to your email. Link to sign up in my profile. via @angela4design by @happsters

Be More Confident

This might be something I’ve always struggled with, ever since I can remember. I’ve always had body confidence issues, for sure, but it’s bled into every area of my life where I could possibly have confidence, to the point where I have hardly any at all.

And I kinda should.

Sure, I think being humble is awesome and that’s something I’d like to claim to be, but there’s a difference between being humble and then honestly belittling your own self worth and self image. This whole post might be talking about how I want to improve, but if I’m being really honest with myself, I like who I am and I like who I am becoming.

I need to stop apologizing for everything (something I also talked about on this blog). I was out with my family this past weekend and I realized feeling the need to apologize for every little thing is apparently something we all do. I was surprised at how annoyed I got with hearing utterance after utterance of, “I’m sorry” for things where no apology was necessary. Which I’m sure you find ironic, considering how I confessed to doing the same thing all of the time.

I need to learn to accept compliments and not immediately try to dissuade them and label the compliment as a lie. I need to be confident in my own skin and realize that, even though I’ve made progress in my weight loss goals and still have work I want to do, I shouldn’t be afraid to still flaunt and love the body I have now. I need to be confident in my writing and my stories and my ideas. I need to be confident in my voice.

I am starting to love me for me. I just need to let other people see that.

Be More In the Present

This one might be a little weird, but it ties into my anxiety, which I’ve also talked about. But I want to focus more on living every day as wonderfully as I can. I want to work harder at creating happiness from each moment, instead of constantly waiting for each weekend or the next big event; doesn’t mean I can’t get excited about the future things on my horizon that get me amped, but I want to be more present in my day-to-day life, appreciating the little things. More often than not, I lose myself to anxiety over the future or overthinking the past that I forget how to live in the present. The scary reality is, the present can change so quickly and not always in a positive way. So I want to focus more on just enjoying what I have, where I am, who I am, now, and letting the future happen as it happens.

Focus on the good.

I got a few things I’d like to work own. Like most good things, none of these changes are going to happen overnight–apparent by the fact that I’ve written at least one other blog post that ties into each of these aspects of my identity once before, so obviously this is a topic I’ve considered before or is on my radar. Awareness is a great first step and I’m there.

Now it’s time to do something about it.

It takes little changes, every day, to reshape, build and then strengthen these elements into my true personality and that is a challenge I really want to–and am very excited–to undertake. Have any tips on how to do exactly that? Leave them in the comments below. I’d really appreciate it!

Cheers.


A Very Needed Reminder

Last week, I was on my period. Although it’s different for every woman, I’m the sort that definitely becomes overly emotional during that time. I like to believe that I usually do a good job keeping those emotions in check and under wraps during that time (though my Mom is always quick to tell me differently, saying she can always tell when I’m on my period or not), but this past week was a bit more of a struggle than usual.

Perhaps it was paired with the dreary weather (which I usually love). Perhaps it was tied with the fact that said weather made it difficult to work out and release those happy hormones I’ve become so addicted to. Perhaps it’s simply just that kind of week with no other reason attached. I can’t nail it down, but for most of the week, I’ve been in a bit of funk, emotionally; focusing on the few negative aspects of my life instead of focusing on the positives. The past two days, especially, my head space has been completely zoned in on the negative, focusing on things like some frustration at work, stress over money, worry over my complicated relationship status, fear of the future, fear regarding change, mixed emotions about figuring out who I want to be as a person (and how that person is shaped by others juxtaposed by how I shape myself), stress regarding missed runs, bad eating days or sleeping in too late, amongst plenty of other things.

I wanted to focus on something to help get my brain back into a positive head space, regardless of how my hormones are functioning and attempt to raise my mood so I don’t end the week still feeling a sense of…well, just, “Blah.” So I thought I’d make a list, a friendly reminder, of some of the good things that went on this week or are happening in the near future–not to brag or rub it in, but just to remind myself that despite the other things I’m dealing with, they are some good things to focus on and remember; things I can potentially distract myself with whenever those negative thoughts above try to take over.

  1.  Puppy videos posted on my Facebook timeline.
  2. That feeling I get when working on anything writing related–and actually sticking with my new writing schedule.
  3. A pair of arms wrapped around me, making me feel safe and cherished, before I fall asleep.
  4. A last-minute lunch date with mi padre.
  5. Plot twists in the book I’m reading.
  6. Getting precision kills in Destiny 2. 
  7. Looking at the calendar and seeing plans every Saturday for the next month (including a 5K Breast Cancer run, RenFest, a book fair, a Break Out Room and potentially some new ink).
  8. My birthday is in less than 30 days (eep!).
  9. The start of the holiday season is upon us.
  10. Trying out new recipes.
  11. The promise of making cookies over the weekend.
  12. Feeling like a stud wearing a pair of jeans.
  13. Staying in touch with far away friends via email.
  14. Crossing things off the To-Do List.
  15. Being heard in conversations.
  16. The promise of good things in the future (trying to combat the fear/focus of negative things awaiting in the future).
  17. Spending an afternoon looking up things to get everyone for Christmas.
  18. The smell of a forested-trail after a fresh rain.
  19. Seeing so much wildlife during a run.
  20. Surprise visits at work from my man.
  21. My sleeve (tattoo) finally healing and looking really good.
  22. Getting all the circles filled on my FitBit app.
  23. Awesome conversations with my students at work.

Reading through that list, my heart feels a lot lighter than it has the past couple of days. Doesn’t mean that those things I’m dealing with aren’t present in my life anymore; doesn’t mean there aren’t still some things to address or be aware of. But it’s nice to remind myself that there is always something good going on, even if your brain convinces you otherwise.

What about you? If you’re reading this post, I’d seriously LOVE to see your own list of good things that happened this week (or are about to happen or just generally make you happy) to appear down in the comments (or maybe in a post all your own). I want to hear all about it. Let’s kick off the weekend with a little positivity, eh?

Cheers.


My First Post, Revisited!

So, the lovely, talented and inspiring Jess from ellDimensional tagged me in a really cool blog hop that I hadn’t seen before, but I thought it was neat. Of course, it still took me ages to actually get this post written, but Jess, thanks for the tag. It was a really neat trip down memory lane.

The Rules for the #MyFirstPostRevisited Blog Hop

  1. No cheating. You must highlight your first post. Not your second post, not one you love…the first post only.
  2. Link back to the person who tagged you (thank them if you feel like it or, if not, curse them with a plague of ladybugs).
  3. Cut and paste your old post into a new post or reblog your own bad self. (Either way is fine, but NO editing.)
  4. Put the hashtag #MyFirstPostRevisited in your title.
  5. Tag five (5) other bloggers to take up this challenge.
  6. Notify your tags in the comment section of
  7. firstpost.jpgtheir blog (don’t just hope they notice a pingback somewhere in their spam).
  8. Feel free to cut and paste the badge to use in your post.
  9. Include “the rules” in your post.

So, curious to see what my first post ended up being? It was titled “Finding An Outlet” and it was published on July 4th in 2012. Yeah, you read that year right. 2012.

I’ll quote the post for you right here, but if you want to see it in the flesh, you can check it out here:

Hello to any and all readers!

I have decided to write a blog (kinda obvious, I know, but hang with me, if you will be so kind). I have always had this curiosity about blogs. I’ve always wondered how they functioned, their purposes, the reasoning behind why people wrote them, and why people read them. And I’ve always had random thoughts that I’ve had a canny desire to share, yet was always unsure exactly how to share them. Whether it is my opinion on a book I just survived, advice I pretend to think is helpful, reactions to the latest movie I’ve viewed or CD I’ve blared, or just a random thought I must get off my chest, I always have ink stained on my fingers, the words ever flowing. So, I thought, why not use blogs as an outlet for all of these scattered thoughts? Not only will I get to share ideas, thoughts and opinions, I will discover the world of blogging and how it works (and hopefully get some reactions and feedback as well)! It’s a win-win situation, I think. I hope you’ll stick around and see what ideas and words lurk in the caverns of my mind, from the depth of my heart. I’m definitely excited to see what slips through my fingers and onto the electronic page! I also hope something that I write on this blog will affect you in some way. Whether it raises questions, reactions, or inspires you, I just hope that what you read makes you think or makes you feel. I hope it allows you to either escape the hustle and bustle of the world or focus more intently on it, but on a different angle. No matter how you feel about whatever I write, however, I hope we both enjoy the journey. I know I plan to. 🙂

“Words are, in my not so humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic, capable of both inflicting injury and remedying it.” — Albus D

Cheers!

— Nicole

So, a couple of things immediately jump to mind here.

  • Look at that BREVITY.
    • Seriously. My posts now usually average around 1500 words in length. That post was barely over 300. Once upon a time, I did know how to write short things, contrary to everyone’s (me included) belief. I wonder what that feels like…
  • Hello, non-existent formatting.
    • I’m not a wizard when it comes to creating awesomely-formatted or really creative posts or anything of that nature, but when I was reading through that post, I could tick off on my fingers all the places where a new paragraph should have started, instead of simply posting one large chunk. Eh, you live and you learn.
    • Also, a little proofreading might not have hurt. I’m glad to see how I’ve improved as a writer, but I won’t lie and say I wasn’t wincing a little bit and mentally rephrasing every other sentence.
  • My purpose for this blog remains the same.
    • I’m glad that hasn’t changed, even as the blog as grown since I’ve dedicated more time to it and actually, you know, written posts. Though I write across a bunch of different topics, my main inspiration will always be the same: using this blog as an outlet for my thoughts and experiences, with the hope that others can connect and share theirs, too.
  • I can’t believe this blog has existed for five years.
    • It makes me feel both old and accomplished. It’s mindblowing to think that I’ve been writing on this blog for five years, even if I almost don’t count the first two considering how little I actually posted. But to think that I’ve still kept it up and running for that long, knowing how much of my life has been catalogued through puns, long posts and dragon pictures? It’s a really neat thing.

Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Jess! I’m really curious to see some first posts from these poor victims:

  1. Rebekkah
  2. Chuck Wendig (I know he’ll never do this tag, but I’m actually really intrigued what the inaugural post was on my favorite blog to follow)
  3. Melissa
  4. Jo
  5. Sonia

Thanks for sticking with me and this blog as it evolves and attempts to thrive. Hope everyone has a lovely day!

Cheers.


That Pesky Domino Effect

The brain is an interesting thing.

Particularly how it ties into willpower and how willpower ties into decision making and how tripping up once with your willpower and choosing the “wrong” thing can easily create a domino effect.

That pesky domino effect.

Last week, I ran twice when really, I had the opportunity to run five times (maybe even six). Yet a lot of the time, I chose to sleep in instead of getting up to go run. And though I was tired, I never really woke up fully rested, instead usually just berating myself for choosing to waste another morning. And then the rest of the day, I’d be slightly irritated–even if it was just in the back of my mind–for not running in the morning, which threw off my entire groove.

Image result for threw off my groove gif

Oh c’mon, you knew this was coming.

It tied into my eating, as well. Since I already messed up one thing tied into my goal of shaping the body I want and living a healthier lifestyle, i.e., running, I let myself slide with all the other aspects of that goal. For example, eating that snack when I wasn’t hungry or splurging on that meal even though I knew it was going to mess me up. And sure, those aren’t necessarily bad things, but they stack up. Especially when this line of thinking repeats multiple times over the week and you’re trying to hit your calorie goal and consistently go over, yet you’re not fighting it by running.

Today is weigh day and I’m absolutely dreading to see how much I gained. Sure, it’s not going to be 10 pounds or any such nonsense, but it will probably be a couple pounds back instead of that losing-one-pound-a-week progress I’ve been making. And that’s going to bum me out. Nothing that I can’t conquer, by any means, but it makes me to just go back and reflect on what caused all this in the first place; the same thing causing me to feel so guilty about it currently, a guilt that’s been carried around all week, weighing more than whatever number pops up on that scale.

That pesky domino effect.

Related image

It’s crazy to me how, if I oversleep or choose sleep instead of running, suddenly my entire day is thrown off. Suddenly the habits I’ve instilled, like logging food or eating good, filling, healthy meals, go by the wayside; how easily, if I miss one day, suddenly the next day, the temptation to choose sleep over the goals I’m working towards becomes even more appealing. Then you blink and your entire week has been messed up. It’s even crazier when I know, every time I choose to sleep (or play video games or what have you) instead of start my day off with a run, that I’m going to beat myself up for it and I know it’s going to take that much more willpower to get back on track.

I know this, but I still fall into this trap anyway, tipping over that first domino and then waiting to see if the rest of them fall.

So yeah, last week sucked. Worse, it’s been eating me up since last Monday, that first day I skipped a run. And I don’t like it, especially because the only thing causing that is me and the choices I made. I’m excited for the chance to get back on track this week and do better. I’m nervous–but excited–to see how far I’ve set myself back and then begin taking the steps forward again to get back on track.

Granted, I also have to admit that I’m beating myself up a little too much for one lazy week. I’m not above taking a lazy day here and there, because I honestly think that’s needed to recharge and be happy in general. But when I’m being so lazy that it’s one of the only things I think about and I’m constantly regretting as it happens? Yeah, not so much a fan of that.

So here’s to new weeks and fresh starts and being forgiving, while also chasing your goals.

Cheers.


My Life Can Be Told By The Awkward Yeti

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First off, I love The Awkward Yeti web comic. It’s fantastic and never fails to be absolutely relateable to my life.

This picture popped up on my newsfeed the other day and felt particularly apt.

I’ve written about it before, how my overthinking and anxiety causes me to focus on the negative instead of the positive (even though I usually have a glass-is-overflowing kind of mindset); how I’ll come up with the worse possible outcome and immediately assume that’s how the situation is going to end; how my brain will hone in on that one bad thing and completely miss all the good things that are just as important and obvious, yet completely overshadowed.

Obviously, those struggles are captured perfectly in the comic above.

It’s particularly apt because this past week, I’ve had a bit of a weird week. It’s been a mix of having days where I felt completely on top of everything and days where I was as lazy as the definition allows and felt worthless. It was a mix of feeling, oddly, at peace with how lucky I am in my life; how there are so many good aspects and elements within it that makes it hard to complain about anything at all; juxtaposed with feeling those familiar desires to overthink and lose it to stress hinting at the edges of my consciousness, desperate for that microscopic focus and attention that blurs out anything else. It’s been a mix of feeling totally content and utterly scared.

And then I saw that comic.

A needed reminder, if I ever saw one. I have a heart desperate to recognize all the good in life, even when it’s harder to see or there are other, negative distractions waiting to capture my attention. Of course, this will always be a work in progress. I’ll always have days where that picture describes me perfectly. But I want to work on having more days where I’m more like Heart and less like Brain (even though both are very important).

Cheers.

Also, here’s some of my other favorites from The Awkward Yeti. Enjoy. 🙂

 


Breaking Out of the Multitasking Mold

So, if you’ve ever looked at my Instagram account, you might see posts from my little book of To-Do Lists.

Seriously, I post about them all of the time.

Not only are To-Do Lists what keep me sane, but they also reflect just how much I like to stay involved and, arguably, how I will often take on more than I can chew. That being said, I’m very lucky to have a job that allows me to multitask. After finishing anything related to the job itself, I can spend the rest of the time doing dual tasks, i.e., still managing the front desk of the library, but also working on other things like this blog, my writing, my internship or any of the other things that slip onto my To-Do List from a week-to-week basis. If I didn’t have that luxury, there is no way I could put as much as I do on my To-Do List and be as consistent as I am crossing things off.*

Image result for multitasking

That said, one of the major things on the List this week was catching up on my Mythgard Academy classes. Mythgard is a wonderful resource that I discovered last year, when they were doing a seminar over Return of the Shadow (check out the link to read more about it). I tried to keep up with the weekly discussions and readings–it was over Tolkien, after all (jazzed was an understatement describing my excitement)–yet I ended up not making it past the first couple weeks. There were no consequences of that, but I was bummed, because I really enjoyed it.

So when they offered their next course over The Treason of Isengard, you know this nerd signed up immediately again.

And fell behind once more.

Between vacation and the rest of the List, I ended up falling behind on Mythgard, to the point where I was four weeks behind (technically five, if you consider doing the reading for this week’s upcoming lecture). I was so disappointed in myself. I really wanted to keep up and, writing out every lecture and reading I need to accomplish to catch up…it felt impossible.

But I really, really wanted to do this.

So I buckled down and caught up, at the expense of some writing time and pushing some other things towards the bottom of the List’s importance.

I discovered something, however; something that I did not expect.

I think I, sometimes, struggle with the desire to multitask too much, instead of focusing on one thing at a time.

The lectures over each week’s reading are roughly two hours long (though they usually go two and half hours, because we’re nerding out about Tolkien) and if you miss the live chat, you can catch up through various forms, but my favorite is YouTube. So when there was a lull at work, I’d put in one headphone, get out my notebook, open up the lecture and then get ready for nerdery.

I struggled, a lot, with not trying to do something else at the same time, whether it was writing a blog post, checking social media, responding to emails or loads of other things. Even though I was definitely invested with what the video was talking about, I kept itching to do something else. How could I spent two hours just sitting and listening when I could be crossing off two, three and four from the List at the same time?

By multitasking and crossing off two while also doing one, I was losing the true worth of one. Which, I’m sad to admit, I definitely did for a lecture…or two. And you can tell, by the lack of notes I took. Yet in the last lecture I watched last night, I had over a page of notes and I was much more invested in the material and the discussion, even if I was listening to it after the fact and not participating like normal, had I caught it live. And I felt so much better afterward–and enjoyed it so much more–than the previous two lectures where I did multiple things at once, but all of them didn’t feel half-assed, necessarily, but definitely not fully engaged in any of them.

That’s important.

We live in a world where there is never enough time in a day and a common question in job interviews is how well a person can multitask. But I think it’s important to remember the value of focusing and dedicating your attention to one thing; to one project, one goal, one setting, hell, one person, instead of trying to do everything at once and getting distracted. It was a good reminder that I’d forgotten. Now, time to try and do better.

Cheers.

* Not saying that I always am able to cross off everything from my To-Do List. It’s just as common for me to transfer multiple items from one week’s To-Do List to the next week’s. Only trying to convey that having a job that lets me work on multiple things is a huge reason I’m able to commit to the things I do commit to.