4 Guaranteed Ways to Fail

Being out of college has left me feeling restless. I miss the constant sense of forward movement and a long-term goal. Even better was the feeling at the start of every semester that I could wipe away the last few months and start fresh.

Now I feel stuck, repeating the same cycles over and over again in my flailing attempts at self improvement.

But, to paraphrase Thomas Edison, I have not failed but simply learned many ways that don’t work. Here’s the cycle I’ve found myself stuck in, in the hopes that maybe by writing it down I can start to get out of it and that it might help someone else get out of their own rut.

Make a ton of goals

It’s so easy to start with one goal (i.e. “I’m gonna get in shape and lose a few pounds!”) and quickly get derailed. I should clean the house more. I really ought to make more of my own food and clothes. Oooh, I really want to get started on Etsy and the craft show circuit. Hm, and my blog’s been dead for like a month.

Have high expectations

Then comes the daydreaming.

As someone that’s way out of shape, fitspiration is merely thinly veiled daydreaming.

Suddenly I’m imagining myself next summer with a super model body, a financially sustainable handmade store,  a closet full of clothes I made by myself, and a spotless, minimalist apartment. Never mind that each of those by themselves would take months of focused effort to complete.

Work hard at all of them

Willpower’s a muscle, so I need to exercise it a ton. Except that this is the exercise equivalent of trying to bench press a car when I’ve only been able to lift fifty pounds.

After burning out, vow never to fail again and repeat the process

The self-hate is vital here. Really pound in that I suck, that I just need to try harder. Come up with a slightly tweaked but equally difficult version of the previous list of goals and repeat it all over again.

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Hey, they say to write what you know, and you have to admit this is much better than a “so sorry it’s been awhile, life got in the way” post. If you’re looking for something a little more uplifting, I’d direct you to:

/r/GetMotivated – an active, friendly community that’s happy to offer advice and support alike

/r/ZenHabits – similar to GetMotivated with happiness and meditation advice as well

Nerd Fitness – whether your goals are fitness related or not, the six week challenges are an excellent format for goal setting

You Can’t Pick Your Family, But…

You can pick the friends that become your family.

I don’t mean to get super melodramatic here, since from the title you may be under the impression that I have some horrible family. I don’t. They are all good, generally well-meaning people and I do love them. However, particularly with my parents, I’ve been feeling a growing rift between us since they’ve discovered that I do not have any religious beliefs and neither does The Geek.

It’s a little hard to believe “Oh, we’ll always love you sweetie”, when it comes directly after, “we will never condone you being with this person that you love.” That was the conversation that left me so desperate for some form of maternal approval I just about called up The Geek’s mom (hello, second mother figure!) to get some, any, affirmation.

Rather than dwelling on the sad side of things, today I’d like to talk about the positive – the people in my life that lift me up and are family regardless of bloodline.
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Level Up!

(This time with a bonus Mulan theme!)


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The Rule of “F&*% Yea or No”

As I was puttering around the blogosphere, I came across a post called “Fuck Yes or No” (sorry, I censored it in the title, but I’m just not going to do that for this entire post). Essentially, if you or the person involved does not say “fuck yes”, then consider it a no.

Its original context is sex and dating, and in that arena it’s a genius rule; why would you want to be with someone who isn’t actively excited about being with you? Forget all of the “is s/he into me, why haven’t they called/etc” and just move on.

I read that earlier this week, and I keep coming back to it throughout my day.

While trying on clothes. Wellllll, this dress is okay. The top is weird, but I guess I could rip it out or something and…

Is it a fuck yea? It’s not? Okay, then that’s a no. Move on.

Then as I was working on some earrings, but not feeling particularly inspired I found myself thinking,

Does the thought of making these make you say fuck yea? Oh, you’re just doing this out of guilt that you have unused craft supplies? Go do something you’re actually excited about!

Or when I woke up at the crack of dawn and proceeded to waste time on some funny story websites, but wasn’t even cracking a smile.

I’m not even really enjoying this am I? This is just autopilot. Let’s go find something to say fuck yea about.

Yes, of course this can’t always be the case. Sometimes at work, as I stare at my overflowing to do list, I am definitely not cheering fuck yea. But. Of course I need a paycheck. And those time of stress are evened out by the funny moments with my clients and coworkers, and the feeling of accomplishment and making a difference I get from this job.

Not every moment is going to be a fuck yea moment, but I can make choices that give me a lot more of those moments instead of comfortable apathy.

Welp, I just broke my record for number of swear words in a post. I’m now going to go make sure my mom never reads this.

I’m Such a Wuss

I have issues with calling out sick. I spend the whole day wondering if maybe I should’ve gone. But this morning, after getting little sleep all night and feeling awful, as I faced the prospect of having someone observe me with a rather difficult client (with this observation determining whether I get a pay raise), I went

NOPE-NOPE-NOPE

Drawn by The Oatmeal

Once I feel fully justified in being sick, I get whiny. Really whiny.

“I’m boooooooored”

“Everything hurts

“Ugh I’m so tired”

And my favorite, “It’s like being on Jupiter with super heavy gravity pulling me down, and the only way to get it to stop is to sit or lie down.” At which point The Geek calmly said, “I understand the feeling.”

I realized that saying that to someone who has clinical depression is like whining about being assigned a one page paper to a master’s candidate whose thesis is due the next morning; at best blindly unaware and at worst downright selfish.

So I’m just gonna shut up a bit until I feel better. Besides, no one likes a whiner!

The (Less Obvious) Downside of Living Forever

I’ve often found myself doing a quick Facebook check on people I used to know. Not (usually) in the I-hope-they’re-ugly-and-working-a-dead-end-job way, generally just to see where they’ve ended up and what they’re doing. Sure, I could friend them, but we’d never talk after our initial catch up and then it’s just kind of awkward.

But of course, to look someone up, you have to remember their names.

I found myself trying to look up a friend of the family, but blanking on their last name.

Sssss…..
Ooh, it definitely had a sh sound!
Sh….aver? No, that’s a coworker’s name.
Sha…..damn it, now all I can think of is Shaver!

It came to me an hour later; Shafer!

Everyone else talks about how cool it would be to live forever, but I can’t even remember people from five years ago; I can just imagine myself at 200, struggling to remember my mom’s name. Reese? Ida? Olga? Bugger, I’ll just call her mom.

Unless uploading my mind to a robot comes with a serious memory upgrade, I think I’ll stick to a normal lifespan and only forget most of it, thanks.

A Geek Dream Come True

It looks like I’ve found it. The one thing in real life that gives me that same “just one more quest…” feeling of an MMO.

Swimming.

No, seriously.

Stop laughing!

I even wear a swim cap, googles, earplugs and a nose plug. Now you can laugh.

An accurate visual, but you’ll have to imagine all the splashing and gasping for yourself.

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Father’s Day

I can’t help but feel a little weird about Father’s Day. It’s not that my dad and I don’t get along, it’s just that we don’t really talk much. Last year our phone conversation lasted five minutes, this year it was down to four. (That was with him ending it, not me).

It feels strange to fill out Father’s Day cards year after year gushing about how great he is, but to make me feel more honest I usually pad it with a substantial amount of how much he taught me and that sort of thing. This year I couldn’t wiggle out of it; my mom asked my sisters and I to write up notes of all the things we love about him so she could make a collage for him to wake up to.

I did it, and I wasn’t dishonest, per se, but…well, take a look for yourself. Continue reading

An Excused Absence

As soon as I got home from work today, I spent my evening trying to update my Nerd Fitness six week challenge thread. In theory it should’ve been easy; throw up a couple of ‘before’ pictures and a few lines of text, and done! But I needed to resize my images, which led me first to photoshop (not working) then to Picasa (doesn’t have that functionality) until about an hour later I’d given up and was working off a thumb drive on The Geek’s computer.

As we sat down to watch the latest Game of Thrones I started trying to talk myself into being productive – “I still need to write my blog for today too!”

The Geek: “No, you don’t.”

Oh, well if I have permission I guess that’s fine. It’s like a note from your mom to get you out of school. That’s how this works, right?

Anyway, feel free to join my half-Orc ranger in my epic quest to level up my life.

Or just tune in to laugh at my failures. It’s all about the same.

I’m going to continue my evening contemplating the reality that any character I get attached to in Game of Thrones is invariably going to die. Just spare Tyrion for me, okay? Please?

“This is sitcom levels of absurdity”

As an ongoing annoyance to The Geek and my friend The Historian (previously mentioned here and here – sorry, I’m bad at recurring characters), I’m very self-deprecating, most notably about my ability at work.

As The Geek and I were on our way to a coffee date (yes, we’re officially old now), he brought it up suddenly.

The Geek: “You’ve been doing your job for two years now. You must be good at it.”

Me: “Yeah, but I feel like I have a lot more to learn.”

The Geek: “But you got a promotion, you must be good!”

Me: “That job’s mostly making materials, it actually means I get less practice one-to-one with kids.”

The Geek: *big sigh* “Rachel, I swear, if they gave you Employee of the Month you’d say you didn’t deserve it.”

I turned red and started giggling nervously, and then had to explain that after a month with the agency they’d made me Employee of the Month.

The Geek: “What?!” he yelled. “Are you kidding me? This is sitcom levels of absurdity!”

Realizing the depths of my self-deprecation, The Geek now seems to be trying to use reverse psychology on me. He recently made a joke about me being Socially Awkward Penguin, and when I responded that I’m not that bad he said, “Oh good, I thought you’d agree with me.”

Well played, my friend, well played.