Monday, May 23, 2016

Lazy? Or relaxing?

I choose to use the word "sluggish", rather than lazy to describe this weekend. "Lazy" has so much negative connotation behind it. In a world where people are constantly on the go, always having to move quickly, it's seen as a waste of time to relax. Even when people are on vacation, they end up spending so much time on tours, hikes, and events that they forget to just unwind. To just be still.

If there's one thing that I've learned in life, and that I actually had to stop and remind myself of lately, it's that it's okay to be still once in a while. It's perfectly okay to sit quietly on the couch, and rest. Or to read in your favorite chair, for hours. Or, in my case, to drag everything you want to do for the day out to the lawn, and enjoy the sunshine.

When I was younger, I used to understand how important that was. On summer days, I'd take an armful of supplies out on the lawn and stay out there all day. Books, journals, snacks, and a bottle of water. All piled up in my arms so that I could hang out in nature until it got too cold to stay there. I loved the bird song. I love the rustle of wind in the grass and trees. I loved the kiss of sun on the back of my neck. To be still, and appreciate being outdoors.

I needed that this weekend, and so I relived it. And you know what? It worked like a charm. Never underestimate the power of being calm. Of being content. Of being relaxed. It's okay to hustle! But it's also okay to take a quiet day to yourself.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Life Philosophy

Do you have a philosophy of life? If so, what is it? If not, what is your method for making important decisions?

So I wrote down a bunch of journal prompts in an excel sheet, numbered them, and now when I feel like writing I just pick a number and start typing. Pretty cool, huh? That way if I'm not feeling particularly inspired, I have a jumping off point. I'm hoping this will keep on on the path of at least posting a few times a month. Journaling is good for the soul.

Well, anyway, down to the prompt shall we?

I think if I had to describe my philosophy of life, it would be to take things one day at a time, and appreciate all the small things around you. 

Once upon a time, when I was much younger and much less beaten down by life, I used to think that having a plan was the only way to get through. I obsessively planned out my college years, and the adulthood beyond. I just knew I'd graduate in 4 years. I'd be a teacher, and I'd have 3 kids and a big house. Oh, yeah, and I'd do that all by the time I was 25.

College came, and for the first two years I worked my ass off. I had no time for friends, or the beach, or anything really because I was too busy sticking to my plan. You can't graduate with a teaching degree/credential in 4 years without taking 14+ units a semester. I was exhausted. I was frustrated. I took a step back, and realized that I was hurting myself but not giving myself any time for the real college experience. That was the first time I let the reins loose, albeit a tiny bit, and it felt good.

College came, and went. Suddenly I was faced with a wide world full of everything... except jobs. Yup, I graduated right during the recession, when teaching jobs were few and far between. The substitute list in our district had over 800 people on it. It was daunting. I was angry. Didn't I just work so hard in college so that I could get out, get a job, and get back on my plan track? What the hell was I going to do now? Needless to say, I freaked out. I admit, I cried a bit. Then, I let go of the reins a little more and just found a job. It was kind of what I wanted to do. It made money. It let me stay in the city I had fallen in love with. So be it.

You get the picture. Life kept hitting me with unexpected road blocks, and after a time it finally battered my plan to pieces. The funny part is though, that the more that happened, the happier I was. I realized that you kind of just have to let things happen sometimes. I mean, you can't be a spectator. You've got to get out there and seize opportunities. But I also learned that you can't plan everything. Life won't let you. So I've accepted that, and I've learned to love it.

Now, when I make big decisions it's all about potential. When I chose to take my new job, as a part-time, as-needed worker, I was leaving another possibility. I chose this one, because the potential for something permanent was higher. It was a risk, but I figured it was a risk that was worth it. That's what my life has become. Weighing potential, weighing risk, making decisions based on that. It's worked! For other things, like our wedding for instance, I decided that it wasn't worth my mental energy to try to freak out, or plan too much. I was just happy that the potential in that instance was marrying the man that I loved. If he was there, and I was there, everything else be damned.

My life is about potential. It's about possibility. And, as much as I can make it, it's about positivity. Loving the good things, appreciating the small things, always looking forward.

Monday, May 2, 2016


Ah, Young Adult fiction. To those you of you who aren't ravenous book readers, that little button up there might not make sense. I'll explain. This week is the week we celebrate YA, or Young Adult fiction, as a genre. We celebrate the stories that help teens deal with the tough stuff. We celebrate the stories that show us that strong characters can be 16 years old. We celebrate the stories that I wish I had as a teen, and am now a huge part of the publicity for. I know I don't normally post book related items on this blog, but this is something that's important to me.

I've been a reader since the beginning. As a child, I devoured every book I could get my hands on. In school, I had teachers that gave me extra time to visit the library, because I'd already read every book in their classroom. As a pre-teen, I made it to a point where I'd read every "age appropriate" book in the public library, and so I started reading things like Anne Rice's vampire series at age 11. (Shout out to my mom for always letting me decide what I was ready to read.) I've always been a reader.

What I didn't realize until I became a book blogger, six years ago (oh wow, that was a while ago), was that I missed out on the YA aspect of my reader journey. At the time, YA wasn't a thing really. There may have been books that should have been classified as that, but they weren't marketed and they weren't put into my grabby little teen hands. As I read them as an adult, I realized quickly how important these books were. They dealt with things I remembered dealing with as a teen. Sex, drinking, fake friends, and even abusive relationships. Suddenly, I was seeing all the things in books that I wished someone had given the opportunity to read about when I really needed them the most. Books are great at empathy. When you find one that just KNOWS what you're going through, it's cathartic. I wish I'd had that as a teen.

So now, as an adult, I proudly read YA. I read it, I soak it all in, and I use it as a means to recommend books that I think people might need at certain points in their lives. You're never too old for these books. Some of them are so poignant, so deep, that they bridge the gap effortlessly. I've found more books to love in YA than in any other age group of reading, and I'm not ashamed of that.

So, now you know. Read YA. Love YA. Share YA. It's important.