October Birthdays Rock

As you know, my birthday is this week. According to the internet, after twenty five your cells begin to die off faster than they regenerate so, guess what. At 26, I’ve officially started dying. Happy birthday to me! I’ll be honest, I’m already looking forward to being retired and drinking whenever I want. That sounds pretty awesome.

Did you know your license expires after five years? I got mine on my 21st birthday and now I get to make a birthday trip to the DMV. Hooray!

Anyway, I absolutely love having a birthday this close to Halloween. As I mentioned in my previous post about horror, I’m a huge fan of spooky things like jack-o-lanterns, bats, and skeletons. I feel like I’ve always been drawn to that stuff, but maybe that’s because I associate spooky things with my birthday. Maybe I was drawn to my first Goosebumps book because the cover reminded me of a haunted house and thus my birthday? I have no idea. Trying to assign motive to things I did when I was five probably isn’t the most logical thing to do.

One of my coworkers recently welcomed his first child about five weeks earlier than planned. The baby is healthy, happy, and now officially an October baby. When I heard the news, I congratulated him of course and then started telling him about how much FUN it is to have birthday parties in October.I had the best spooky cakes and decorations when I was little and he gets to do that for his daughter. How fun!

Also, if you HAVE to have a birthday near a holiday, Halloween is by far the best in my opinion. My opinion is biased, of course, but hear me out. Christmas is of course the worst holiday to have your birthday near because your birthday presents and Christmas presents overlap. You get half the presents any other child would get and it sucks! I feel like Thanksgiving falls into the same vein, not in the sense of presents, but it definitely overshadows your birthday. I wonder how many Thanksgiving babies have heard “oh, we have to go to grandma’s house. We can just have your party there.” No kid wants a party at grandma’s house.

I feel like Easter would be the second best holiday to have a birthday near. Yeah, you might end roped into a church service or Easter party, but you get lots of extra candy on top of your presents. That’s pretty cool! However, it doesn’t come in first because the only birthday decorations you get are pastel. Pastels are so boring.

Halloween is by far the best because you get free candy on top of your presents and you get to have really cool, spooky decorations. You also have an AWESOME excuse to have a costume party and people will actually participate. Try asking someone in the middle of June to dress up and they’ll look at you like you’re stupid. You can also do really fun things at your party, like carve pumpkins. Who wouldn’t want an October birthday?

Now that I’m older, the spookiness of my birthday has definitely diminished. I usually have to work on my birthday and, as a responsible adult, I can’t exactly justify splurging on a ton of spooky decorations. The kid in me definitely wants to spend all the grocery money on candy, but the adult in me keeps telling me no.

Being an adult sucks. But hey, after I get my license renewed I can go buy alcohol. That’s a pretty nice perk!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to get some free birthday ice cream. Peace!


My Quarter Life Crisis

I am a firm believer that brevity is the soul of wit. Most of my writing is short, sweet, and to the point. However, last week’s was a little too short even in my opinion because I didn’t write anything. Technically, I did end up writing something, but I completely missed the deadline therefore I will accept my punishment. I will use my wit to slay brevity and write a post that is 1,800 words or more.

Here we go.

Happy Birthday to Me

To write a long piece you have to pick a big topic and the biggest topic on my mind right now is my age. I turned 25 on Tuesday and have been joking with my coworkers for the last month that I have to gear up for my “quarter life crisis.” Of course it’s silly to think that I was going to have some type of crisis after turning 25. Nothing would change. I would feel exactly the same as I did when I was 24 and even if I was suddenly hit with this gut feeling that something needed to change, I’m young enough that it wouldn’t be entirely impossible. Quarter life crisis, what a silly idea!

Then my birthday actually came around and maybe it wasn’t such a silly idea anymore.

I wouldn’t call it a “crisis” by any means. I didn’t panic or feel trapped or scared, but I did realize that maybe it was time to start thinking about what I wanted to change in my life and where I wanted to go. It was the same level of consideration one would give to a New Year’s resolution, so don’t think I’m about to go out, buy a speed boat, and start dating people ten years younger than me. I don’t have the money for a speed boat and dating 15 year olds isn’t the best idea.

Speaking of New Year’s resolutions, I think it was a combination of turning 25 and my newfound obsession with social media celebrity, Big Cat Derek, that prompted this change. Big Cat Derek is the operations manager for the Center for Animal Rescue and Education (CARE) down in Texas and he regularly posts photos and videos of the tigers, lions, leopards, cougars, and bob cats that live at the Center. In one of his videos he was asked what his New Year’s resolution was and he said something along the lines of “I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. If I want to change something about myself, I just do it.”

His attitude about life is just one of the many reasons I am so obsessed with his social media accounts. That and the adorable noises big cats make.

Big Cat Derek’s statement, coupled with my already existing thoughts about turning 25, spurred me to really start thinking about my goals over the next year. Like I said, this is far from a crisis though so maybe a better way to describe this would be my “Year-Long Birthday Celebration.”

Let’s kick off my 25th year on this planet right.

The Plan

I’m a project manager at heart and by trade. Despite the fact my working title is science writer, I actually do a lot more than writing. I manage websites, coordinate meetings with clients, help plan events, and more. To do so much you need to be organized, which means you need a plan.

I love making plans. I adore spreadsheets, checklists, white boards, and anything else that helps you keep your thoughts in order. So of course I had to make a plan for my Year-Long Birthday Celebration.

The first step in making a plan is identifying your goals. More often than not goals aren’t measurable or actually tangible, they’re more abstract ideas that you would like to make a reality.

My goals for my 25th year are:

Be happier.

I like to think of myself as a happy person. I have a job I love, I’m happily married, I have friends I adore, and I’m financially stable. When I say I want to be happier, what I mean is be happier day-to-day. I want to easily bounce back from stressful days at work, arguments with my husband, or hard financial decisions. Carrying that stuff around with me for days can be exhausting and it’s time to change.

Be healthier.

I would not consider myself a healthy person. Yes, I run three times a week, but there’s more to being healthy than just exercise. I run, but I also skip meals, drink too much coffee, stay up too late, and go to work despite feeling sick. This is something I definitely need to work on and it will help me achieve goal one. Being happy means being healthy.

Be more ambitious.

Ever since I graduated from college I haven’t been as ambitious as I used to be. I kicked ass during my last semester of college, handling a full course load, working part-time, interning with the university communications department, and helping lead an on-campus club. As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that being busy doesn’t mean you’re being productive and that you can challenge yourself without killing yourself. I want to be more ambitious this coming year, but not at the expense of goals one or two. I’ll need to work on that.

So there’s my motto for the coming year: Be happier. Be healthier. Be more ambitious.

Now, after you figure out your goals next is your actual tactics. Tactics are the measurable parts of your plan, the tangible accomplishments. I can measure my happiness or my ambition, but I can measure the steps I take to get there.

The question is, what steps should I take? I guess it all depends on what makes me happy, healthy, and ambitious.

The Things that Make Me Happy

Lots of things make me happy: reading, writing, crocheting, baking, running. playing video games, and more. However, what I want to focus on is being a happier person in general, not just how to make myself happy for an hour or two. So I have to think bigger, broader. I have to think of things like:

Stop relying on others for the things you want.

Like I said in my post about how being selfish can be selfless, sometimes you have to put yourself first. You can’t be happy if you give all of your happiness to other people. I can talk the talk when it comes to being selfish, but I just can’t seem to walk the walk. What I want to work on this year is doing more things for myself instead of waiting for people to give me things, if that makes sense. To put it in super simple terms if I want some candy, I’m going to go buy myself some candy instead of waiting for someone to decide I deserve candy. I need to start treating myself like I want to be treated.

Be more positive about my life.

It’s okay to complain about your life. If anyone ever tries to tell you to stop complaining or tries to make you feel bad by saying other people have it worse than you, you tell that person to go fuck themselves. Everyone has problems and they all suck. On the other hand being down about your life all the time can be draining and keep you from enjoying the good moments. I want to be a happier person overall so over the next year I’m going to be more mindful of how often I complain. Happier thoughts mean a happier person.

Spoil my friends and family more.

I’ve always been a giver. I like to spoil people and make them feel appreciated, but in the last few years I’ve kind of let that habit slide a bit. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in your own life and miss birthdays or anniversaries or just forget to show someone you care once in awhile. So I’ve decided over the next year I’m going to be more proactive about making the special people in my life feel special.

The Things that Make Me Healthier

Most people when they come up with the idea to be healthier immediately jump to exercising. I, however, already exercise on a fairly regular basis, so what can I do to be healthier? Maybe things like:

Drink more water during the day and less coffee.

Being dehydrated sucks and it makes functioning throughout the day difficult. Time to start drinking more water.

Go to bed earlier.

I haven’t had a regular bedtime since elementary school and I miss it. I want to feel well rested again.

Eat healthier and more often.

I need to stop skipping meals and eat healthier meals when I do eat. Having a donut for breakfast is okay once in awhile, but man I fall back on that option more than I care to admit.

Expand your exercise routine.

I like to run, but there’s more to the exercising world than running. I want to start lifting weights and trying different types of cardio and now’s the time to start exploring.

The Things that Make Me More Ambitious

As I said earlier being busy doesn’t equal being ambitious. Being ambitious means challenging yourself to go farther and believing that there are better things out there for you, you just have to keep looking. I want to be more ambitious about my career, about my health, and about my life in general. So to feel more ambitious I am going to:

Set running goals for myself.

Right now I can run about 5 miles without stopping. I’d like to continue to push myself and see how far I can go. Who knows, maybe there’s a marathon in my future.

Craft more.

Making things, whether it be crochet, origami, or painting, is a surefire way to feel more productive and maybe spur your creative juices.

Less time online, more time reading.

I waste way too much time on Facebook, Reddit, and Tumblr. I’d like to read more and all the time I waste on the internet would be better spent finishing my reading list.

Try more baking recipes.

I used to hate baking when I was younger. Now that I’m older I find baking to be relaxing and very productive. It falls into the same category as crafting more. It just makes you feel productive.

Look for more avenues to continue my education.

As I said I’m happy with my job, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more out there for me. There are so many doors left for me to open and one way to begin opening doors is to continue my education. And there’s no better time to start than now. I don’t have any children and I work for a university that will give me a tuition discount. Better get on this now before it’s too late!

So there you go, those are my goals for my 25th year on this planet. I’ve spent a quarter of a century on this planet and would like to make some changes now before I’m halfway through this century and actually have a midlife crisis. It’s hard to suddenly realize you want things to change if you’ve been addressing your wants all along. Who knows, maybe I’ll do a Year-Long Birthday Celebration plan every year. Then again, I don’t need to use my birthday as an excuse to make changes so maybe this plan with turn into a living document that changes and updates with me. My own personal constitution.

Wow! Where in the world did my train of thought go? See? This is why I enjoy brief posts, this one turned into a ramble pretty quickly. I started out beautiful a poetic and ended up blabbering about baking an exercise. But there you go Daniel, I used my wit to slay brevity and ended up well over the requested 1,800.

Enjoy reading this 2,000 word post.