Category Archives: Life

Less is More?

less-but-better

Do you ever feel like sometimes you would feel more fulfilled with less? I recently watched a documentary on Netflix called Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things and it opened my eyes to how a large percentage of our society feels the need to buy things, giving them a temporary sense of fulfillment, when in reality, they are trying to fill some sort of void in their lives.

We live in a day and age where people’s lives are constantly documented through social media, giving a certain perception to others. Most of these perceptions are not real – no one is going to document the struggles, because who wants to see those, right? So we post about anything from job promotions, engagements, weddings and babies to dinner dates with friends and good deeds we did that day (did you know you can do a good deed without posting on Facebook about it? Crazy, right?!)

While watching the documentary, one part struck me and has been stuck in my head ever since. A man who used to work on Wall Street had decided to try out Minimalism after he was offered a huge promotion. He already had his own office, and was probably making a pretty decent salary already, and the promotion offer opened his eyes. After he received the offer, he said he wept inside his office, realizing he was now even more trapped than before.

[Thought] – Can so much security make you feel stuck? Like you can never leave or that security will go away?

This Wall Street man had finally received what he had been waiting for all this time. Or so he thought. Not everyone is built for corporate, structured, 9-5 life. And that’s okay. But society has a way of making us feel like we’re doing something wrong if we don’t follow what everyone else is doing, in the exact same order they’re doing it. This part of the documentary was small, but it spoke to me so much. There is so much more throughout the film that will open your eyes.

minimalism-quote

I’m beginning to think this is all just an illusion we create in our minds, because we think that’s how it’s supposed to be. Did you ever think you could maybe be happier with less? Less clothes, less designer handbags and shoes, less clutter, even less income. Money may make things a bit easier, but it won’t all of a sudden turn you into a happy person. We have hopes and dreams, and us humans love the chase.

But, what happens when we reach our goal? Have we instantly gained complete and utter happiness? Probably not. Our dreams sometimes come along with baggage. Baggage that leads to an overwhelming stress and a realization that maybe this is not really something we wanted the burden of carrying. But, because we’re told it is what we should aspire for, we chase, chase, chase… until we arrive at our destination only to come to become aware that it wasn’t for us in the first place.

After watching this documentary, it does not mean I’m all of a sudden going to sell all my things and get by with just a few items. But, it does make you realize that you can declutter other parts of your life that are far too overwhelming. Use it a a metaphor, declutter your mind and get rid of all that makes you unhappy. You do not need to follow what everyone else is doing and you do not need to purchase the most recent styles and trends to maintain or gain happiness. Letting go can be liberating. 

clutter.jpg

You do not need to be engaged just because you and your partner have been dating for years, you do not need to have an extravagant wedding to please others and keep their mouth’s shut. You do not need to make a certain amount of money just so you can sit across from an acquaintance one day and brag about your job title. You do not need to have a piece of paper to show you can start a family and you do not need to take the opinion of others and turn it into your own.

There isn’t enough time for this, we grow older each second, and one day we will regret making our lives about everyone else. And as I type this, I’m telling myself along with you. I need to listen to these words as well, each and every day.

Check out the ‘Minimalism’ trailer below and watch the full documentary on Netflix.

Click here to follow Joshua & Ryan, “The Minimalists” on Facebook!

Speed Bumps

While doing your best to stay on track physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc. – it is important that we remind ourselves it is okay to have our bad days.  Bad days are needed, and are necessary for one’s growth, to teach us that speed bumps will pop up, but they will not stop us. Deal with the speed bump that has been placed in your path, recognize it, acknowledge that it is there, and get over it. There is no need to keep going over it. It was there, it messed with your speed a bit, slowing you down for a brief amount of time, but now you are over it. You can now get back up to speed again.

As a Child, The Options Were Endless

dont disappoint yourself

I am 26 years old. I remember being little thinking those my age really had their shit together. “I’m going to have a nice car to drive around in and a beautiful house with a white picket fence for my gorgeous family to live in.” – just some of the thoughts I had when I was younger. I also thought I’d be married by now, maybe even have a kid.

Man, what little I knew back then. 

Now, I realize how much work is needed to achieve those things. You can’t just get married for the hell of it, which a lot seem to do now-a-days. Hey, you’ll get a ton of likes on Facebook and Instagram though, right? The sacred bond of marriage seems to have slowly dwindled away the past few years. Some couples jump right into it just to change their Facebook relationship status to “engaged.” And don’t even get me started on the cost of a wedding! Sheesh! If only I put money aside with those cut outs of wedding dresses when I was younger…

And the kid thing, everyone around me is having children. And don’t get me wrong, I am at that age now where this is supposed to happen. And it’s absolutely beautiful and I can’t wait to have my own little bundle of joy one day. But… just like marriage, it’s the cool thing to do. So many kids having kids and people expecting you to have them by a certain age!

Me? I want to be 150% okay with myself before bringing a child into this world. Why? Because they deserve me at my very best. And my twenties have been… well, a learning experience. I’ve changed and grown into someone who I’m in awe of at times. And others times I’m angry with myself, but it’s all a part of the growing process.

I am 26 years old and things did not pan out quite the way I thought they would. And that is okay. It’s okay! Things don’t always go as planned and that only means there is something else in store for you that you were not able to “plan” for.

Keep going and moving forward… no matter how slow you may think you’re moving, you’re still going forward, and forward is the right direction. 

I Turn 26 Tomorrow & I Am Exactly Where I Need To Be… A Good Read to Inspire You

Seneca Quote

Working from home isn’t for everyone, just like working in an office all day isn’t for everyone either. Don’t get me wrong, some days I wished I was getting up, showering, getting ready and heading out of the house to my job that I probably didn’t like. But then, later on in the day, I would realize just how lucky I am. I’m able to work whatever hours I like, while still being able to enjoy the little things that somehow get ignored while working the 40-hour work week. The hustle and bustle seems to distract us from the things that matter most.

I’ve worked since I was 16, different jobs here and there, and then one steady job for almost seven years… with other jobs in between, since of course, that seven year job didn’t pay enough. There were two different times in my life where I worked three jobs at once, yes, one was “from home” but it still took up my time after working the other two jobs. I also went to school for five of those years, two different colleges, and no degree to show for it. I can’t really blame anyone else though, I missed the deadline for my financial aid and I had no money to go back. Some days I wish I could sit in a classroom again and take in all the knowledge that I seemed to ignore back then, worrying more about going out with friends, drinking and boys. I never realized that I was actually paying for my own schooling, that one day I would have to pay back all that I had “borrowed” from the banks. But like I said, just some days. Other days I’m okay with not having my degree, because I still feel like I’m being active enough to build myself a career without having one. Maybe I would just owe even more money if I were able to go back. And there are a ton of people out there who have degrees, and no job to show for it. So I wonder sometimes, which is worse?
So now I sit here, on a Monday afternoon, at my kitchen table, writing this. While others are at work, counting down the hours to 5:00 PM. This is alright with a lot of people, and this is the way “things are supposed to be.” You’re supposed to go to college, get a job and work 5 days a week to make ends meet. Move out, buy or lease your first car (on your own) and spend most of your paycheck paying for these things, among other “important” necessities. I always ponder about this… who decided this is what we humans were supposed to do with our lives? Who started this life of ridged routine? They are probably dead now. So, why do we still need to follow these “rules of life?”
We live in a world where it is okay to give your all to your boss, your company, your family, your friends, your significant other… slowly forgetting to give to ourselves. We fill our days up with the things we are “supposed to do” while all it is doing is emptying us, hollowing us from the inside out. I am writing this to make others understand that it is okay to do what is not expected, to go off on a limb, and try something. Life is oh so short, and we will forever think we have the time to do everything we want. “One day” we always say. But to be honest, we all don’t have “one day.”
There are times I don’t feel like telling others that I work from home. Feeling as though they’ll look at me funny and judge me for probably not making enough money and being a lazy bum. This also could just be my anxiety thinking for me. But, I believe that people use harshness to conceal their envy, wishing they could remove themselves from the routine life. Just because I am not driving to work each day and sharing an office with others, does not mean I am not working. Working does not have to mean you are making money off of something, either. I work towards other things, other things that are no one else’s business but my own. My days are still fulfilled and productive, but with other things. They are filled with writing, relaxing, my dog, nature, understanding, wonder and of course, working and cleaning! I work on myself every day, because I have to. My anxious mind continuously tries to work against me and I have to fight it all day, every day. I couldn’t starve my anxiety while working in an office every day, kissing the asses of others while I was only getting worse myself. I knew that if I continued, for the money because we “need it,” that I would completely lose myself.
I turn 26 tomorrow and I have been working fully from home since July. So, a little over 2 months now. Yes, I have gotten bored and wanted to work somewhere again, but knowing myself, I knew that my indecisive mind should finally for once, not jump into something so soon. I have my entire life to make money, or do I? That’s that “one day” stuff again. But I rather miss out on the money now, and have an actual life, than miss out on my life but have a ton of money to bury myself with.
So, what have I learned?
I’ve learned to slow down time a little, since I’m always in a rush. I’ve learned that some days it is okay to do nothing… there is absolute beauty in doing nothing. They explain this in the movie, “Eat, Pray, Love” where Julia Roberts is speaking to an Italian man in Italy who stresses to her that America is filled with people who are all about money, that they never just take the time to do nothing and enjoy it.
Although I may not be where I thought I would be as I turned 26, I am trying my very best to understand that I am exactly where I need to be. I may not have a ton of savings in the bank yet and I may not have my career set up yet, but I am content knowing that I finally had the chance to write a children’s book, something I always wanted to do. Maybe I would have never had the time if I devoted myself to some empty job.
I’ve also learned that although it is extremely harder, there are natural ways to deal and cope with the things you are handed. If our minds are a bit different than others, we are quickly given something to assure they start working like everyone else’s. This is what is wrong with the world, always looking for the quick and easy way to fix something. Teach people to stop and live a little, and then maybe their anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc. will slowly fade away or maybe they will have the actual strength to keep it at bay. Teach them to make more time for themselves and to ignore the opinion of others, because surely, you are the only one who knows what is best for you. The world wants people to turn into zombies who make them money, even though it could kill you. Step outside, smell the flowers, look up at the blue sky and take it all in. No matter what you decide to do, be sure it is what’s best for you – not what others tell you is best.

How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life

notebook and pen

What do you write down? For most of us, writing consists of emails, task lists, and perhaps the odd work project. However, making time to write down certain things, such as our daily experiences, our goals, and our mental clutter can change the way we live our lives.

Here are six different ways that writing things down can change your life, and what you can do to get the most out of each.

1. It clears your mind for higher-level thinking.
You can clear your mind by writing things down in two different ways.

David Allen, productivity speaker and author of Getting Things Done, recommends doing what he calls a “core dump”. This involves writing down every task, activity, and project you need to address. This could range from picking up milk on the way home, to a multi-person project at work. Writing down every “to-do” item you can think of clears space in your head for more important topics.

You can also use a technique called “morning pages”, which was pioneered by Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way. Morning pages involves completing three pages (around 750 words) of stream-of-consciousness writing. Through doing this first thing each morning, you clear your head in preparation for the day’s most important thinking.

2. It helps you process your emotions.
Writing down what’s on our mind is a great way to work through inner conflict or process your feelings around a particular situation. It’s similar to talking a situation through with a friend, except it’s a useful way of strengthening your self-soothing abilities and enhancing your self-knowledge.

3. It gives you a record of the past.
If you keep a journal and regularly write down your thoughts and feelings, you’ll soon have a record of your experiences that you might otherwise have forgotten.

Reading back through this record is not just fascinating—it also provides a valuable insight into your thought process and emotional life. You can savor moments that you could have potentially forgotten and increase your levels of gratitude.

Keeping a journal can also enhance your levels of self-trust. When you can look back and see how successfully you’ve traversed and dealt with important decisions and tricky situations in the past, you’ll feel more confident in your ability to do so in the future.

4. You gain a sense of achievement.
Writing things down can foster a sense of achievement and progress, expanding our possibilities and increasing our productivity.

If we journal, it’s incredibly satisfying to fill up one or more journals with our thoughts and feelings. Many people harbor dreams of writing a book, but balk at the reality of how long it takes. When you finish a journal, you’ll realize that you have written a book. This opens up a new sense of possibilities, not just in writing but in other areas of our lives, too.

Equally, if we write down everything we need to do in a particular day or week, we gain an additional sense of satisfaction when, having completed the task, we can cross the item off our list. Feeling productive enhances our productivity, creating a virtuous cycle.

5. It helps you think big.
Writing things down gives you space to think big and aim high. No matter what’s going on in our outside world, when we write things down, we enter a world of possibility.

Doing this helps us stay motivated, and it reduces the chance that we fall prey to self-limiting beliefs. (Even if we do, we can keep writing things down to process our feelings!)

When we write things down, we have a chance to explore dreams and ambitions that we might not feel safe revealing to anyone else yet. We also have a space to keep track of all our ideas and desires so we can return to them later.

6. It makes you more committed.
As well as offering a space for exploring possibilities, writing our goals and ambitions down makes it more likely that we’ll achieve them.

As with any goals, they are most effective if they are SMART: specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timed. These are all variables we can work out and commit to through writing.

Writing down our goals is the first step towards making them a reality. It can also help us stay accountable. When you’ve outlined your SMART goal in writing, display it somewhere you can see for an extra shot of motivation.

 

Source [www.Lifehack.org]

If You Only Had 6 Months to Live

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I was watching TV with my mom tonight when a commercial came on about a new TV show where a woman learns she has cancer. She talks about how her whole life is different now and she begins to do every crazy thing she’s always wanted to do. Then my mom turned and said to me, “Imagine you were told you could only live for another 6 months? Think of all the things you would do.” This statement really got me thinking… how come we need to be told we have a deadline for us to start living like we have one? Because the truth is, we all have a deadline. Some come faster than others and some are told theirs when others never get the warning.

Imagine how differently you would live if you knew when you were going to leave this Earth. But the real question is, why can’t we live that way anyway? Why can’t any of us just enjoy ourselves like we were dying??? We are dying, all of us are. We should really start living like it. Instead we waste our days away, slaving away at jobs we hate, letting people walk all over us, always putting off our hopes and dreams because of the reality that’s in front of us at that moment. I think we’ve got it all wrong… the ones out there living really get it. Are you one of them?

Charles Bukowski’s Top 10 Tips for Living a Kick-Ass Life

charles-bukowski

Looking for some pointers on how to live an awesome life? Take it from Charles Bukowski, an American author, poet, short story writer, and novelist who shared his unfiltered views and opinions with the world on everything from art to death. He was a renowned and prolific writer, often depicting the experiences of the downtrodden and depraved people of American urban life, and he provided plenty of great tips on how to spend your days. But don’t just take my word for it, soak up the wisdom with this valuable advice from some his most well-known quotes.

1. Don’t settle.

“I wanted the whole world or nothing.”

You shouldn’t settle for anything less than what you absolutely deserve or desire. Strive for the best and don’t accept anything except for what will make you entirely happy. There’s no point in giving up on your goals simply to settle for a sub-par result that will forever leave you wishing for more in regret.

2. Love yourself.                        

I never met another man I’d rather be. And even if that’s a delusion, it’s a lucky one.

No one’s perfect, that’s for sure, but there’s also no point in beating yourself up about it. Stop criticizing every minute thing about yourself that you wish you could change and show yourself some love. That’s not to say to never work on self-improvement, but be your own biggest fan while you’re at it, no matter what.

3. Live life to its fullest.

“What is terrible is not death but the lives people live or don’t live up until their death.”

“Some people never go crazy, What truly horrible lives they must live.”

Want to go skydiving but have never done it? Take the leap. Dying to get that degree in art-history but don’t know how you’ll use it? It’s time to enroll. You only have one life so you might as well live it to its absolute fullest capacity – right now. Why wait until it’s too late?

4. Don’t fear pain, without it, you can’t experience happiness.

“You have to die a few times before you can really live.”

Pain, sadness, anger, frustration, anxiety – negative feelings like that can be miserable and even downright painful sometimes. But you can’t fully appreciate the good emotions that life has to offer without experiencing the hurtful ones. So when you think you’ve hit rock bottom, remember it can only go up from there, and the pain you’re experiencing in the moment will only make the happiness taste so much sweeter later on.

5. Be your own unique self and shamelessly express it in all you do.

It’s better to do a dull thing with style than a dangerous thing without it.

Don’t be afraid to be yourself – Charles Bukowski certainly didn’t hesitate to. Always show your true colors and express your own fantastic personality. It’s better to live your life being your whole self than trying to pretend to be something you’re not, simply for the approval others. Who cares what they think anyways?

6. You’re stronger than you think.

Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside…remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.

Life is full of trials and hardships – you know it, you’ve likely experienced it many times. Yet, no matter what, you always make it through these difficulties in one piece. Always remember that you’re stronger than you may think, and you have it in you to get through the toughest of days.

7. Don’t fear death.

I carry death in my left pocket. Sometimes I take it out and talk to it: “Hello, baby, how you doing? When you coming for me? I’ll be ready.

“There’s nothing to mourn about death any more than there is to mourn about the growing of a flower.”

Death is unavoidable, so why spend your life worrying about it? Instead of obsessing about when you’ll finally go, take advantage of the life you were given. It’s much more worthwhile to celebrate life instead of fearing death, and you’ll likely be much happier because of it.

8. Have confidence in yourself.

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts.”

You are awesome, and all you have to do to let your true talents shine is believe that fact. Have complete confidence in yourself and you might be surprised with all you can achieve.

9. There are much worse things than loneliness.

“There are worse things than being alone but it often takes decades to realize this and most often when you do it’s too late and there’s nothing worse than too late.”

I wasn’t a misanthrope and I wasn’t a misogynist but I liked being alone. It felt good to sit alone in a small space and smoke and drink. I had always been good company for myself.

It’s easy to fear being alone, and the company of others can often act as some form of a safety blanket. But there are much worse things than loneliness, and there’s no point in getting caught up in being alone when that time can be spent on so many more fulfilling and joyful things. Learn to appreciate yourself without others, and value your time alone.

10. Life happens, don’t always take it so seriously.

“Sometimes you just have to pee in the sink.” 

Unexpected, even crazy things are bound to happen in life, and sometimes you just have to go with it. Don’t get caught up in perfection and make sure to lighten up sometimes. There’s no point in taking everything seriously, and sometimes you just need to have some fun.

 

[Source]

National Geographic Concludes What Americans Will Look Like in 2050, and It’s Beautiful

It’s no secret that interracial relationships are trending upward, and in a matter of years we’ll have Tindered, OKCupid-ed and otherwise sexed ourselves into one giant amalgamated mega-race.

But what will we look like? National Geographic built its 125th anniversary issue around this very question last October, commissioning Martin Schoeller, a renowned photographer and portrait artist, to capture the lovely faces of our nation’s multiracial future.

Here’s how the “average American” will look by the year 2050:

Image Credit: National Geographic

And like this:

Image Credit: National Geographic

Wow. These are obviously not Photoshopped projections, but real people, meaning tomorrow’s America lives among us now in every “Blackanese,” “Filatino,” “Chicanese” and “Korgentinian” you meet at the DMV, grocery store or wherever it is you hang out.

Their numbers will only grow. The U.S. Census Bureau let respondents check more than one race for the first time in 2000, and 6.8 million people did so. By 2010 that figure had increased to nearly 9 million, a spike of about 32%.

This is certainly encouraging, but there are obvious flaws with tracking racial population growth through a survey that lets people self-identify, especially since so many familial, cultural and even geographical factors influence your decision to claim one or multiple races. Complicating things further is the definition of race itself: It has no basis in biology, yet its constructions, functions and mythologies irrevocably shape the world as we know it.

So is an end approaching? Will increased racial mixing finally and permanently redefine how we imagine our racial identities? The latest figures suggest we’re getting more comfortable with the idea, or perhaps that we simply give fewer shits than ever before. Either would be a step in the right direction.

The Wall Street Journal reported a few years back that 15% of new marriages in 2010 were between individuals of different races. It’s unclear whether they’ve included same-sex unions in the count, but as currently stated, this number is more than double what it was 25 years ago. The proportion of intermarriages also varied by race, with “9% of whites, 17% of blacks, 26% of Hispanics and 28% of Asians [marrying] outside their ethnic or racial group.” Interracial unions now account for 8.4% of all marriages in the U.S.

Image Credit: Wall Street Journal

In addition, more than 7% of the 3.5 million children born in 2009, the year before the 2010 census, were of two or more races.

The future: As for how this looks moving forward, studies have repeatedly shown that young people, especially those under 30, are significantly more amenable to interracial relationships than older adults, while college grads are more likely to have positive attitudes toward them than those with only a high school diploma. What does this mean for Millennials? As a population composed largely of over-educated 20-somethings, our generation is primed and expected to play a major role in populating this projected future America. That goes double if you live in a Western state, where people intermarry at higher rates; Hawaii is winning at the moment, with 4 of 10 new marriages identifying as interracial.

This doesn’t mean it’s all sunshine, rainbows and butterflies, however. Stark segregation still plagues many parts of the country. Poverty remains a barrier to social mobility and its consequent opportunities to interact with a diverse range of people. Sadly, the inequalities that shape American society as a whole are equally present in interracial relationship patterns. Time will tell if this holds for the long term.

But in the meantime, let us applaud these growing rates of intermixing for what they are: An encouraging symbol of a rapidly changing America. 2050 remains decades away, but if these images are any preview, it’s definitely a year worth waiting for.

[Source: Policymic.com]