Thinkkit #8: Rants and Raves

Get on your soapbox. What issue, idea, or stance were you vocal about this year? Or did you let it internally build up? Was there an event, person, or time that triggered your strong reaction? Or was it a slow-burn? Why do you feel so strongly – is it personal? Emotional? Strictly reasonable?

Show us some passion – make your argument from the mountaintop!

A personal issue I made a stance about this year was battling my insanity. Not clinical of course and I don’t mean to belittle clinical insanity. Clinical insanity isn’t something you can change with sunshine or positive thinking. The insanity I am speaking of however is totally under my control. They say the definition of non clinical insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

I wanted to be involved in a young professional group or board but passed up opportunities and didn’t fight for a spot.

I wanted better, stronger, and more authentic relationships and yet spent time alone and passed up chances to connect.

I don’t like stepping out of my comfort zone but if I wanted to change I had too. I took a few steps that I never would have a few years ago. I tried online dating, I joined a board, I started playing in the my Church’s band.

It wasn’t easy. One moment I stepped out of my comfort zone ended up being one of the most painful experiences of my year. I trusted someone to be there and they let me down monumentally. However it made way for someone infinitely better. I went on a few bad dates. I would leave a few networking events by pretending I received a phone call. I had awkward interactions. I probably embarrassed myself more in the past year than I have in my entire life.

I made new friends and strengthened bonds with past friends. I stopped walking in a direction that was leading me to a life I didn’t want. I took a path that had pauses and roadblocks, but at the end of the day I am far happier now than I was 6 months ago.

I now try to urge friends who feel stuck to do the same. Not the exact same because I think this process looks different for different people. I hope if you find your life looking like Groundhog’s Day you can find those areas where you want to change and start taking small steps in a different direction until you find a path that leads to change and progress.

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Thinkkit #7: Alla-Kazam!

Wave your magic wand – whoosh – what would you transform, create, or make disappear in 2015? Don’t be afraid to change the world, or merely alter the mundane. Just be prepared to defend your decision with reason, or irrational emotion!

Took a bit of a break…but I’m back! I’m hoping the powers that be in the Thinkkit world are comfortable with me writing posts SUPER late.

If I had a magic wand I would shut off the internet from 6:00-8:00 every night. It would specific to your timezone, 6:00-8:00 at night where ever you are. If you wanted to constantly be online you would just have to keep moving but hopefully you would welcome this break from false connectivity. You would share your opinions and funny quips with friends in your proximity and remember that laughter is a far better currency than “likes”. You would make eye contact more and use emojis less. You would tell the waiter your food was a little cold rather than wait until you got home to write a scathing review (that’ll show them!).

I know I am a bit of a hypocrite for writing this post online, posting it online, and hoping a couple people read it. I find myself relying on the internet more and more to live my life. Find recipes, watch the news, shop, track my fitness, track my nutrition, and perform pretty much all the essential functions of my job. I text, Facebook message, tweet, instagram, and email but rarely have an actual conversation with friends from out of state. I don’t feel like I need to attend my 10 year high school reunion because Facebook has already provided me with all the information about my old classmates. Who’s married, who’s got kids, and what they ate for dinner last night.

I should be able to put my phone down for 2 hours a night on my own with no magic required. I could either spend time in solitude or with family and friends, but instead I spend time staring a screen alone or staring at a screen with family and friends. My magic wand trick each night might stress some people out but I feel that most would find themselves with more real connections. Maybe eventually I wouldn’t need to wave the wand and people would come home from work, drop their phone, and look someone else in the eye.

Thinkkit #6: Third Place

Prompt: Work, home, and _____. Where was your third place this year? Did you like it, love it, …or was it out of obligation? What feeling, sense, or vibe did you get from your third place? If someone can’t imagine the scene, give the lay of the land in words. Is there natural light? Is there a certain smell? Bring us inside.

I may not end up answering this prompt exactly the way it is intended. The way I think of my ‘third place’ is the place I go to relax and unwind. The place where I don’t have to think about obligations. A place where I can lose track of time. A place I can exhale.

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I think for me that place is Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Company in Fletcher Place. As much as I love Starbucks I always wanted to find a local coffee shop to frequent downtown. Calvin Fletcher’s isn’t just a coffee shop. It’s a center for Fletcher Place as a community. The window display would make it appear like an antique shop but behind the hodgepodge of old instruments, lamps, and crates is a cozy little place full of awesome people. I have never been there without overhearing a group of people talking about some positive change in their neighborhood or the city. The art on the walls is all local. They have a bookshelf full of donated books and magazines. A community bulletin board overflowing with items for sale, ads for local concerts, theater productions, and more.

It isn’t odd to see someone come in with a happy pup on a leash or someone wheel their bicycle in from the Cultural Trail. This little coffee shop is always full of life. I can’t describe it any other way. On top of all these wonderful things, Calvin Fletcher’s is also a non-profit and donates all profit to local organizations that serve people. I come here to write, think, or read. If you haven’t checked it out I highly suggest that you do.

Thinkkit #5: Aloha

Prompt: What did you say goodbye to this year? Was it a bad habit? A ’94 hatchback? Or something less tangible? How did you feel the day after? The week after? 

Or! What did you say hello to this year? Did it enrich your life…or detract? A new favorite possession? A tattoo? Did you decide that your life was missing something, or did you just fall into new-ness?

Share your aloha!

This year I said hello to something I had pretty much said goodbye too. My beautiful guitar who I have only recently named Hendrix.

10805779_867867350273_7484236230141220836_nWhen I was a teenager I asked my parents for a guitar….ahem…an electric guitar. I didn’t understand why girls always played acoustic guitars when electric guitars were so much cooler. My parents bought me a cheaper model with a small amp and I signed up for lessons. After I stuck with it for a bit I decided to upgrade. I remember standing in Guitar Center for hours trying decide between a red or teal Fender American made Stratocastor. Ultimately I went with the teal one and thus my relationship with Hendrix began.

Like a lot of teenagers I neglected something I once loved. I didn’t like practicing and I ended up eventually putting Hendrix in his case after my freshmen year of college. This year I decided that I needed to give Hendrix a second chance.

After blowing off some dust and getting my hands to move the right ways again I was back. I have recommitted to playing regularly and making sure Hendrix doesn’t stay in his case too long.

Thinkkit #4: 2 cents.

Prompt: The best advice I was given this year.

Worry about yourself.

I always used to think about how every decision I made would impact other people. Every year growing up I would get to go to whatever restaurant I wanted on my birthday and yet I would think of what restaurants served food that my parents and sister would like. I hate when I have the remote control in a room full of people watching television because I don’t know if someone hates Jeopardy and here I am enjoying it. I don’t want to be the reason we turn the heat on at work because I am wearing fingerless gloves at my desk. If I am given the wrong drink at Starbucks I will just take it rather than inconvenience the barista by having to make another. I have been called a doormat.

I don’t assert myself or speak my mind if I think it will cause someone else to be uncomfortable. I allow myself to take the fall or fade into the background rather than step forward.

Generally putting other people before yourself is a good thing. It is an attribute that people aspire to have and yet sometimes it can hold you back. When I was given the opportunity to take a different role at my current employer my immediate thought was “no, I can’t do that to my current team”. My parents, the VP of my dept., and the book ‘Lean In’ all told me to worry about myself. So in that decision and in many decisions since that moment I have decided that I need to worry about myself more often. I need to do what is best for me unless it would actually impact someone negatively. I have to remind myself that sometimes it is okay to worry about myself.

Thinkkit #3: Deck the LOLs

Prompt: What made me laugh this year.

I love to laugh and yet it took me nearly all day to think of what to put here. I could tell you stories about the weird things my coworkers say and do. Maybe I could tell you about an awkward date or the time I fell out of my chair at the office. I could give you a list of my favorite gifs of the year. I could share an SNL clip or any number of youtube clips. Instead I will choose to highly recommend a book by a beloved female comedian. No, not ‘Bossy Pants’, or Lena Dunham’s book….

I read Kaling’s book in 2 days. Which according to Kaling was the correct amount of time due to the amount of pink and flowers on the front. She is honest about her success instead of pretending she got lucky. She was a writer on The Office, not just Kelly Kapoor. She is hilarious. A few quotes for you:

About how she ‘ghosts’ at most parties:

“The reason I pull Irish exits is not because I think I’m too busy and cool to be bothered with pleasantries. It’s that when there is a gathering of more than thirty people I don’t want to waste your time with hellos and good-byes. I think it’s actually the more polite thing to do, because I’m not coercing partygoers into some big farewell moment with me. Then other people feel like they have to stop what they’re doing and hug me, too. It’s time-wasting dominoes.”

About friendship:

“We clung to each other with blind loyalty, like Lord Voldemort and his snake, Nagini.”

About people who love Frisbees too much:

“Unlike other athletes, Frisbee people won’t let it go. My theory is that this is because there’s a huge overlap between people who are good at Frisbee and people who do Teach for America. The same instinct to make at-risk kids learn, which I admire so much, becomes deadly when turned on friends trying to relax on a Sunday afternoon in the park.”

If you need a light read that will make you laugh and respect Mindy Kaling more than you already have to respect her, I suggest you read it.

Thinkkit #2: Flip the Script

Prompt #2: Did you change your mind about anything this year?

Vacation. I changed my mind about taking vacations more specifically. I am a control freak. I have trouble letting things go and just relaxing. At my first job after college I don’t think I took more than one day off at a time. I had hours of PTO just sitting there after almost 2 years (over 200 hours….).

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This year I told myself that I was going to use every bit of the PTO I was given. When my parents said they had a condo in Florida for a week in April I went. When a friend asked to go to Europe for almost 2 weeks in May I said yes. I don’t think I would have said yes to either one a year ago. I am not one of those people that thinks the department or company will fall apart when I am gone or anything. I just have trouble asking for help or giving my work to other people. The neat thing about asking for help is that people then feel more comfortable asking you for help in the future. I really think vacations probably help teams collaborate and communicate better or perhaps they force us to collaborate and communicate more.

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It was amazing allowing myself to unplug and recharge. I think I was a better employee and person because I went on vacations. I intend to do the same next year.