Lowering the Bar for 2018

 

Let me just say that I’m super proud of you, Daniel. You did so many cool things this past year and listening to you talk about everything you achieved inspires me to do more with my time.

While you did achieve a lot of what you wanted to do this past year, I feel like I barely did anything. I had some lofty goals at the beginning of 2017, including running a half marathon and teaching myself calligraphy. Did any of that happen? Well, I did read forty books, which is pretty cool. Still feel like I could’ve done more, ya know?

This year I’m going to set goals for myself again, but instead of creating incredibly lofty goals, I think I’m going to keep mine simple. Some may call this lowering the bar, I call this celebrating the little steps I can take to help me reach my incredibly lofty goals.

Here are my incredibly simple, straightforward goals for 2018.

Read more books.

This past year I read a lot and I’ve told myself a couple times that, in 2018, I’ll push myself and read 60 books. Well, we’re only five days into 2018 and I already feel like that goal is too high. I feel like I’m setting myself up for failure by dedicating myself to five books a month.

So, instead, my goal is just to read more. I’d like to read 50 books, but as long as I match what I read last year, I’ll be happy.

I also want to read more horror novels by women and people of color. I realized over this last year that a lot of my favorite authors are white guys, which is just sad. I’m not saying Stephen King and Jack Ketchum and Joe Hill aren’t good writers, I just want there to be more diversity in the books I read. And the only way to make things more diverse is to actively try to make it so. I can’t just hope more women and people of color get popular, I need to work for it. If I just keep reading horror novels with great reviews, I’m going to read a lot of stuff by white guys. I want to give other people a chance.

Watch less Netflix.

Now when I say watch less Netflix, what I actually mean is I need to stop using streaming services to “fill time.” More often than not, I’ll spend a few hours on the couch watching something I’ve seen a million times just because it’s comfortable. It’s safe, in a way.

My goal for 2018 is to do that less. I don’t just want to fill time, I want to enjoy my time and I can do that by only using Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and Youtube to watch things that I actually want to watch. Stop re-watching the same things over and over and broaden my viewing horizons a bit. There are thousands of horror movies I haven’t seen and yet I’m re-watching Roseanne. Sad. 

Save money.

This has literally been goal of mine since I graduated college. I just need to save more money so I don’t end up going into debt every time a big bill hits. To help me achieve this goal, I’m going to try to do less retail therapy. I need to stop spending money on things just because I can. Now, I can still buy things I want, but only if I really want them and not because I need to “treat myself.”

I also want to spend less money on beer that’s just for me. I like craft beer because it’s something I can share with my friends. It’s an experience! Well, it’s not an experience when I’m sitting at home watching a movie by myself and drinking a beer I’ve had millions of times before. Basically, I sometimes treat beer like I treat Netflix. I spend my money on beer I’ve had before because it’s safe, not because I’m enjoying it. Of course, I’ll still buy beer for myself once in a while, but I don’t need to be spending $60 a month on Black Butte Porter. I could be spending that on stuff I’ve never had before!

Write more.

Again, this is literally a goal I’ve had since the dawn of time. I just want to write more.

In middle school, I wrote every single day and I had notebooks full of fanfictions and funny stories and poetry. Nowadays, I write like once a week and it’s not because I’m passionate about something, it’s more because I feel obligated.

Well, guess what, if obligation is what gets me writing then I’m going to need more of it.

What I specifically want to do is set up a writing schedule for myself and stick to it. No more of this waiting for inspiration or to feel passionate about it bull crap. That doesn’t work anymore. I need to change up my tactics.

Now, my goal is to write a novella and maybe a book of poetry by the end of the year, but that goal comes later. Right now, my goal is just to write more than once a week and to start writing things for myself rather than for work.

Take time for education.

Like I said in my last post, I work at an institution that gives its employees access to college level courses for $5 and yet I’ve only taken advantage of that a couple of times.

Of course, I have big, lofty goals for my education like going back to grad school and becoming a certified cicerone, but for now I’m going to start simple. I just want to make more time for my education, take more time to learn new things because it’s fun.

There are so many free online resources I can take advantage of. Last year, I was enrolled in a introduction to law course and a course on HTML coding for free through Coursera. Did I finish either class? Nope!

That just means I need to make more time for it.

Do more things with my time.

And to wrap up my 2018 goals, I just want to do more things with my time. Right now my free time is taken up mostly by Netflix, reading, crocheting, and work, which means I’m incredibly boring. I want to change that. I want to do more.

Some things I’m planning to do more of this year, mostly because it will give me things to do during the time I’m usually re-watching Gilmore Girls, are play more video games, get back into drawing and painting, listen to more podcasts, and try out different types of exercise besides running. I want to be an interesting person and right now all I can list under the hobbies section are reading and crocheting.

So there you go, those are my goals for this coming year. Yep, I pulled the bar way down for this year, but it’s worth it if in January 2019 I can look back and feel like I accomplished something. Setting myself up for failure isn’t a good thing. 

-EMS

 

What a Terrible Week

Obviously my post this week is going up late. I wish I had a decent excuse as to why, but it really all comes down to the fact that I’ve had a crappy week.

It all started on Monday when I was dropped off at the airport.

The morning had been pretty easy. I got up, packed the few things I would need for my work trip, and then had a friend drop me off at the airport. We left about thirty minutes earlier than we needed to because I wanted to buy him a cup of coffee as a ‘thank you’ for driving me to the airport. Michael had a pretty nasty cold so he didn’t want to get up early and take me, which was fine. However, that side trip to the coffee shop took about a third of the time I had thought it would, so I ended up at the airport an hour and a half before my flight.

Now, you might say, “An hour and a half? That’s barely enough time to get through security!” Well, that is one of the many benefits of living in a small town like mine. Our airport has only one security gate and it takes like five minutes to get through it. You could get to the airport thirty minutes before your flight and still have time to use the restroom and get a snack.

Anyway, I wasn’t too worried about it. Being early is better than being late, right? And that just gave me more time to work on my laptop. No big deal.

Well, the WiFi wasn’t working and I did have a few urgent emails to send before we got to our destination. I thought to myself, “well that’s crappy, but oh well. I can work when we get to our first layover.” Little did I know that the day was only going to go downhill from there.

About twenty minutes after I arrived, I found out the flight was delayed by an hour so I was actually almost three hours early to an airport that had a grand total of two gates. Did I also mention that you walk directly out onto the tarmac to get to your flight? That tiny.

So I settled in to do some reading while I waited on my flight and then noticed something interesting on my flight itinerary. My first layover was only about forty five minutes, which meant that this hour delay in my first flight was going to make me miss my connection.

Well fuck.

After some finagling, the flight agent managed to find me another connection down in San Francisco. However, the flight was a red eye and I would be getting to my destination at 6 a.m. the next morning. My meeting started at 8 a.m. the next morning so, if everything went as planned, I would get a grand total of two hours to get to the hotel, shower, change, drink as much coffee as humanly possible, and then head right to my ten hour meeting.

Well fuck.

Everything did end up going as planned from there, but I’m not going to lie and say Tuesday was a good day. It sucked. It sucked so much. I was able to sit through my all day meeting, but I had to get up and move around every twenty minutes or so to make sure I didn’t fall asleep where I was sitting. I also hadn’t thought my wardrobe through and brought heels to wear to my meeting. Thankfully, I did not fall on my face.

The meeting was two days, so I did manage to get a decent night’s sleep at the hotel. However, the next day I had to pack up and head the airport right after the meeting because I had another late evening flight to catch. If I had known I was going to end up taking a red eye in the first place, I would have never agreed to such a late flight.

So, in conclusion, I got to my destination at 6 in the morning and spent a grand total of about thirty six hours there before I had to fly home.

Well fuck.

So I got home and slept for about ten hours before heading into work to catch up on emails and check in on a few projects. During my very brief day, I got a phone call saying I had been denied on a very awesome opportunity, which I will tell you about later, Daniel. After that I went home, opened a beer, and climbed into bed to rewatch Gilmore Girls for the hundredth time because when you’re depressed, there’s not much else you can do.

After a few episodes, Michael managed to cheer me up and I finally felt energized enough to write my post. And then, boom. I got hit by a migraine.

Well fuck.

After taking aspirin and sleeping for another ten hours, I was able to get out of bed and go to work this morning, where I frantically tried to catch up a project I missed before I was kicked out of my office for an event. Still have a bit of a headache, but at least it’s manageable, right?

Right.

Anyway, here’s my post. It’s a little pointless and has no deeper meaning, but at least I got to bitch about my weekend. Maybe next time I’ll have something meaningful to write about.

-EMS

 

I’m Never Prepared

Dude, I feel like I’m never prepared to write for SDoS. No matter how well I plan out my week, I always end up writing my post during my lunch break at work, struggling to brainstorm a topic in between my meetings and work projects. Logically, I know that if I just take a few hours to brainstorm and outline my thoughts, my SDoS posts would be so much better, but it’s hard sometimes to find the motivation to put a lot of effort into something when I’m not feeling particularly inspired.

I think that’s the root of my problem. I think I’m in the same place that you are, Daniel. I’ve run out of ideas and it’s hard to find more things to write about when all I do is work, crochet, and chill at home. I’ve written about all of those things. I need something new.

Earlier this week you asked me to teach you how to be inspired and I jokingly said you need to stand on your head and drink kombucha, neither of which I will willingly do. But the more I think about it, the more I like the analogy. Finding inspiration is like standing on your head and drinking kombucha: physically tasking and not appealing at all.

A lot of people seem to think that I’m a creative or inspired person, but in reality I rarely feel “inspired” anymore. Yes, I crochet and I write and I sometimes craft things, but in reality all of the things I create don’t magically appear, conjured by a flash of magic inspiration. In reality, I crochet things I see on Pinterest, write things based on parameters given to me by my boss or a writing prompt, and make things to fill a need in my life rather than to satisfy a whim.

My creativity isn’t spontaneous, romantic thing that sweeps me off my feet, it’s more like a task on a to do list that takes time and energy.

Inspiration is like standing on your head and drinking kombucha. You’ve got to take some time and get yourself into a headstand and then you have to force yourself to do something you really don’t want to do, like drink gross kombucha or write a bunch of garbage until something wonderful happens.

There’s a quote from Stephen King that always comes to mind when I finally force myself to sit down and write my SDoS post:  “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

Sometimes I wish Stephen King could just follow me around, poking me with a ruler and reminding me over and over that if I want to write I just have to sit down and do it. Don’t loggy gag, don’t sit around and use the “I don’t have any ideas” excuse.

Obviously this post is more a reminder for me than it is for you, Daniel. You are a very inspired person and just listening to the way you talk about the blogs and your roleplaying campaigns, I know that you’re a way better writer than me. I really should be asking you to teach me to be inspired, not the other way around.

I guess I’ll end this post with another reminder to myself and any other writers out there on the internet who stumble upon this post. It doesn’t matter how good your writing is, what matters is you wrote something.

Writing is like going for a run. It doesn’t matter how fast you go or how long you run for, what matters is that you went for a run. Same goes for writing. I hated my last three SDoS posts and my last two WMR posts, but at least I sat down and wrote them.

-EMS

 

I’d Like to Call this my Rebellious Phase

As you know, Daniel, a few weeks ago I finally did something I’ve been wanting to do since I was a teenager.

I finally got my lip pierced.

When I was in middle school I wanted to be a cool punk kid so bad. I wanted to be dark and mysterious. I wanted to wear all black and die my hair a funky color and pierce my face, but a lack of money and fear of authority kept me from living my dream. The closest I got to being a rebellious teenager was getting a ‘C’ in a science class and piercing my ears twice. Not the most effective way to show that I’m edgy and cool. After a few years of trying, I gave up and went back to being a nerdy, advanced placement student with perfect grades and glasses.

Well despite the fact it’s been more than a decade since middle school and I spent all of college as the same nerdy girl, I still dream of being a cool and edgy person.

Of course, over the years the dream has changed a little bit. My ideal self wears less black and no longer has an eyebrow or nose bridge piercing, but the idea is still the same. Basically, I want to stand out. I’ve spent most of my life trying desperately to fade into the background for fear of ruining my life. The idea that my appearance could keep me from getting jobs or making friends loomed over my head and kept me in place.

Well now I’m ready to be seen for who I am. And I’m ready in every sense of the word.

Now that I’m an adult, with a stable career and now parental supervision, I can do whatever I want. I cut my hair short, I pierced my nose, I got more tattoos, and I finally pierce my lip. I still worry a little about my work superiors getting upset about my appearance, but I’m also confident enough now in my professional abilities to know that it would take more than a lip stud to get me fired.

Anyway, I feel like piercing my lip was the start of my second rebellious phase. I had a very mild one in middle school and now I’m really going at it in my late twenties. Took me fourteen years to get my shit together, but I finally did and now I’m trying to make my middle school self proud.

If I met my thirteen-year-old self, she would either be very impressed or very intimidated by the way I look now, which is exactly what I’m going for.

Now I just have to wait for it to heal up so I can drink beer again. It’s tough being this cool. Sacrifices have to be made for the sake of looking punk.

Sorry for the short post, Dan. Been a busy week.

-EMS

 

I Need a Back Up Plan

A few weeks ago I talked about my slow descent into bro-dom. I was training for a half marathon, I was drinking daily protein shakes, and I was tracking my nutrient intake. I was so excited and ready to take on the world.

Well, the descent has stopped. Last week, I injured my shoulder and upper back. No, I didn’t hurt myself during a workout or on a run. I am pretty sure I slept on my neck wrong, which makes this infinitely more infuriating.

Anyway, I went to the doctor to get some painkillers so I could actually sleep and she told me I should take it easy for a while. If I kept working out, I might just hurt myself worse.

I was on the verge of having a toddler-esque tantrum when she said that. I didn’t want to stop running and working out. I was just starting to get into a good rhythm with my running schedule and suddenly I have to stop because I accidentally slept the wrong way.

This fucking sucks.

Since I got the news I’ve been complaining a lot to my friends. Most of my friends are sympathetic, but a few have said things like, “Look on the bright side! You get a break from running!”

No, shut up. There is no bright side to this.

Of course I understand they’re trying to lift my spirits, but it’s obvious that they don’t understand why I run. Yes, I run to maintain my weight and stay healthy, but underneath all of that my real reason for running is because it helps me cope with my anxiety.

I am an incredibly anxious and controlling person. I constantly worry about the future, what I’ve done in the past, and everything in between. I’m also the kind of person that will completely take over a project because someone else isn’t doing it right. It’s my way or the highway. Yeah, I’m that asshole.

b51e77d55d22be79491f98404e6d1989Over the past few years, I’ve been getting much better at handling my anxiety because I’ve found a healthy way to work off my nervous energy: running. I like to run because it redirects all of the energy I put towards worrying towards something mindless and calming. When I’m working out, all I’m thinking about is how my body feels and moves. For a few hours, I’m not thinking about all of the things in the world I can’t control.

Well, now I can’t run and I feel like a volcano that’s about to erupt and spew crazy all over the people in my life.

Yesterday I had a crazy day. I had a lot to do at work and I had to take our ferrets into the vet and it just felt like everything was against me. I could feel myself getting tense and panicky and I couldn’t do anything about it. Michael tried to calm me down, but I wasn’t having it. All I wanted to do was go out and run or lift up heavy things or climb something, but I couldn’t.

Did I say this fucking sucks?

Yesterday evening, I kept trying to think of other things I could do to redirect my nervous energy and kept coming up blank. I’ve tried crocheting, cleaning, reading, and yoga, but nothing seems to be working. I need a back up and I don’t have one.

a4a952aa79bd0e37775e715541bd93efBasically, I just want to feel normal again. I want to go back to my normal routine. I’m tired of people telling me that I need to take care of myself. I was taking care of myself! What do they think I was doing when I was out on my runs? I was taking care of my mental state and now I can’t do that anymore because I have to take care of my body.

This sucks!

So my plan for the next few weeks is to look for something I can do that will help me take care of my mind and body. I need something that will help me work off my anxiety while not tying more knots into my back muscles.

I just want to go for a run.

-EMS

 

Who I Want to Be When I Grow Up

I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen Parks and Rec, Daniel. If you haven’t, I highly recommend it. The characters are genuine, the humor is funny without being offensive, and somehow the story is both hilarious and deeply moving. I am not exaggerating when I say that watching this show has changed my life. This show taught me how to love myself and how to love the people around me.

It also gave me a new role model. When I grow up, I want to be just like Leslie Knope.

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Leslie Knope is a wonderful woman who spends her energy trying to make the world a better place for the people around her. She’s kind, she’s supportive, she’s ambitious, and she’s always excited about her next adventure.

I know I’ll never be exactly like Leslie because I don’t have an endless reservoir of bubbliness inside me and I’m definitely not assertive enough to be a leader. But I can be generous and ambitious in my own way.

Recently, I’ve been planning out elaborate parties and making things for the people around me just because. I’ve been crocheting afghans, planning surprise parties, and buying tiny gifts for my friends because I want to see them smile. While I’m still nowhere near Leslie’s level of generosity in the show, I feel like she would be proud of me because instead of focusing on myself, I’m thinking of the people in my life. I’m showing them that I care about them without being ashamed of my love.

I’m also continuing to push myself to try new things every day. I know that I can sometimes get complacent, especially now that I have my degree and a comfortable job. It’s so easy to lose focus sometimes or forget that there are still things to work for. So everyday I remind myself that Leslie never lost focus. Everything she did, she did to reach a goal and that’s how I want to live my life.

As you know, I’m training for a half marathon right now. Lots of people have wished me luck. Others have asked me why I would do this to myself. I’m doing this because I want to be able to say I ran a half marathon. That’s it, that’s the reason I’m working so hard. Sometimes people won’t understand why you’re working for something and Leslie Knope taught me that, despite what they say, you keep going. Don’t give up.

tenorOf course, Leslie does have her faults. Except, instead of being ashamed of her faults she embraces them. Instead of stubbornly ignoring her flaws, she understands that sometimes she needs help and she reaches out to her loved ones for it rather than pretending she’s perfect. Leslie can be controlling, anxious, obsessive, and self-centered, but none of these things make her an unlovable person because she works every day to make sure they don’t define her.

Damn. Talk about #goals, am I right?

I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to be perfect. I rarely challenge myself because I’m afraid of failing and I never talk about my fears with the people around me because that would mean I’m flawed. For a majority of my life, I’ve equated being flawed with being unlovable.

giphy1Watching Parks and Rec helped me realize that wasn’t the case. Seeing Leslie Knope struggle with her own flaws and still succeed helped me realize that I can still be a good person without being perfect 100 percent of the time.

Basically, what I learned from Leslie Knope is that sometimes it’s better to be remembered as a fun, generous person rather than a perfect human being who can do no wrong. I want my friends and family to think of me and smile or be inspired or just feel warm and fuzzy rather than remember how skilled or smart I am.

When I grow up, I want to be Leslie Knope.

-EMS

 

My Slow Descent into Bro-dom

I have some very, very bad news to share with you today, Daniel. Something terrible has happened to me and I just realized the gravity of the situation earlier this week. I don’t know how this happened, but it has, and it’s time for me to admit it to the world. I must also say farewell to my spare cash and spare time.

This week, I realized I am slowly becoming athletic.

I know you must be very shocked. How could this have happened? I was so careful!

As a child, I took all the necessary precautions to avoid this horrible fate. I cheated on the mile tests in gym class, I waived all of my physical education requirements in high school, and I even went so far as to avoid the outdoors as much as possible.

But I caught it. I caught athleticism and now there’s no turning back.

I just realized my fate this week, but looking back this really started after college. I was looking for new hobbies to fill the void that school had left in my life and I foolishly decided to sign up for a 5k run. After I crossed that finish line, I placed myself on a very slippery slope to being a true bro.

Over the years, my urge to be athletic has come and gone. I’ve run 5ks, 10ks, 12ks, and regretfully one sprint triathlon, but up until this past month it had been very casual. I was a jogger at best, nothing more.

Well last month I ran a 5k and at the end I was given a flyer for a half marathon in October. I don’t know what came over me! Suddenly, I had signed up for it! I had plugged a half marathon into my new Nike training app!

I was training for a half marathon.

*cue dramatic music*

It got even worse this week. This week I ran 3.75 miles as part of my training program and afterwards I felt very tired and sore. I decided something had to be done, so I went to my friend who has been afflicted with bro-dom for some time now and asked for advice. She suggested looking into protein supplements.

Instead of scoffing and telling her I didn’t need anything like that, I agreed. I went out a bought a blender bottle. I’ve purchased samples of protein powder in multiple flavors. I have done a ton of research into runner supplements and the proper way to recover from a long run.

This was the final nail in my coffin, Daniel. I am officially an athlete. I am officially a bro.

Soon things will begin to change. The transformation into a true bro will start. I will start wearing snap-backs and baggy tank tops that show off my arms. I will start lifting weights and planning out my week based on what part of my body I need to work on. I will never again be able to skip leg day.

Let my story be a cautionary tale to all. Never exercise, never go outside, never let a protein shake touch your lips otherwise you will fall victim to the same fate I have. My spare time and spare cash are gone, devoured by my affliction. I will spend my days chasing that next endorphin high and the perfect running form.

There’s no hope for me now, Daniel. All I ask is that you think of me while you’re enjoying a nice movie or video game from the comfort of your own home. While you’re relaxing, I’ll be out there somewhere sampling new athletic supplements and buying fancy runners’ socks.

What a terrible, terrible fate.

-EMS

 

Serious Adulting Happened

Nowadays, everyone makes jokes about adulting.

Basically, adulting is a verb used to describe any action that fulfills an adult responsibility, like paying bills, cleaning the house, or doing yard work.

“I wrote out my monthly budget today. I did so much adulting.”

“I had to schedule a bunch of doctor’s appointment. Going to pat myself on the back for such good adulting.”

“I actually planned out my meals for the week. Look at me adulting all over the place!”

I make jokes all the time about adulting and about how good I am at it. I pay my bills, I drink eight glasses of water a day, and I get up using only three alarms. I’m such a good adult.

Well, some top tier adulting happened in my life this past Monday and it wasn’t a joking matter. I’m talking first degree, premeditated adulting.

On Monday, I drove up to Spokane and bought a car.

Two weeks ago, while Michael was coming back from Moscow, someone at a stop light threw their car in reverse and backed right into our 1997 Crown Victoria. The other driver managed to take out our entire left headlight, and when I say take out I mean you could see right through the hood of the car into the engine and out the bottom. I could see the blacktop through the hood of the car. It was bad.

Thankfully, the driver was very kind and admitted fault so we got a full insurance payout for the accident. We just had to wait to hear how much we were getting before we could do anything.

Well, Michael and I both considered repairing the Vic. We could probably find an old Crown Vic in a junkyard and pull the headlight for cheap, but fixing the body damage was going to be expensive. We thought it might be better to invest in a new car. Something actually made in this century.

Looking back, this is when we started doing the premeditating I mentioned before.

Two weeks went by and we hadn’t heard anything from our insurance. Finally, on Monday, they called back and said “We’re going to take the car and give you enough money for a down payment on something else. We’ll pay for a rental for five days.”

Well shit, we thought. Time to kick this into high gear. We grabbed our rental, a car that was so fancy I felt uncomfortable being in it, and drove to Spokane to find ourselves a used Prius.

Before heading out, Michael and I had discussed our requirements for our new car. We wanted something made in the last ten years, we wanted it to have cruise control, we wanted it to have less than 100k miles on it, and we wanted it to have no accidents on its record.

Phew, I need to take a minute. Even writing out all of our requirements is a lot of adulting. I need to take a break and go eat a pint of ice cream because no one can tell me not to. Have to remind myself that adulting can also be fun.

Long story short, we found the perfect car. A 2010 Prius for a reasonable price with low mileage. Score.

Since we brought our new car home, I’ve felt giddy. Every time I look out the window, I see our new car and I smile. I feel so cool and so very adult.

On the other hand, I feel light-headed. Looking back we went out, found a car, and agreed to pay for it for the next five years. What have we done? We had no idea what we were doing. What if we screwed up big time? Will anyone tell us if we did?

I joke every single day about how much of an adult I am, but this week I’ve never felt like more of a child. I feel like a five-year-old playing house who just mimics whatever she hears her parents say about buying cars.

Do I even properly understand cars? What does “low mileage” really mean? What exactly is a car loan? Do I even really understand any of this?

I feel like I’m the victim of a very long, elaborate prank. I feel like someone’s going to jump out and say “got you!” I have no idea what I’m doing and I feel like I shouldn’t be held responsible for my actions because, like I said, I have no idea what I’m doing.

I guess that’s the true definition of adulting. Bumbling around, bumping into things, and hoping for the best.

-EMS

Making my Own Opportunities

“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

There is some controversy about where this quote comes from. It has been attributed to a Roman philosopher named Seneca, to the football player Darrell Royal, and an American insurance salesman and writer named Elmer Letterman.

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You gotta read this, Daniel. So good!

Before you start imagining me, sitting at my desk, reading classic literature and smoking a pipe, let me tell you where I actually found this quote. I found it in the wonderful novelist Nick Offerman’s book, Gumption.

Not quite as regal sounding as a Roman philosopher or great American writer, huh?

When I read this quote, it really resonated with me. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard it or some iteration of it before, especially since it goes hand in hand with things like “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” and “you better work, bitch.” However, I think it stuck with me because it doesn’t attribute success to just hard work. Yes, hard work is essential to accomplishing your goals, but in this day and age you could be the hardest worker and still get nowhere.

As a fellow millennial, Daniel, I’m sure you’ve heard all the terrible things people say about our generation. We’re all selfish and entitled and don’t know the meaning of hard work. As a fellow millennial, you probably also know that this is complete and utter bullshit.

It seems like every person I know who’s close to my age works their ass off. All of my friends work forty or more hours a week, find odd jobs around town to make extra cash, and still need to pinch pennies every single week. You can just glance at the news to see that people our age are having a hard time finding steady work, even with college degrees, and yet for some reason lots of people seem to think it’s our fault.

We’ve been preparing all our lives for our lucky break. Now we just need the opportunity.

After reading this quote, I’ve been thinking a lot about my own goals. Some of them I have been actively working towards, like running a half marathon. However, I realized for some of them I’m just sitting around waiting for the opportunity rather than using my time to prepare for when that opportunity arises.

Maybe the previous generation was right about me. Maybe I am just a lazy, entitled millennial.

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Me after a long run. 

One goal I’ve had since I picked up a pen was to write a novel. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was in elementary school and I would love, love, love to publish one of my stories for the world to enjoy.

Except, in the last four years, I haven’t been preparing for it at all. I have written three, maybe four short stories in the past four years. That might sound like a lot, but that’s definitely not enough to prepare to be a writer. I’ve been sitting around, waiting for something to strike suddenly and change my life rather than getting up and changing my life myself.

I feel like I also sit around waiting for easy opportunities rather than taking advantage of the tools at my fingertips. Yes, it would be so much easier to get picked up by some big publishing company and have them edit and promote my work, but that won’t happen until I get my name out there. And how can I do that? Well, in this magical age of the internet, I can self publish. No one’s stopping me from writing my stories and posting them somewhere. Maybe even on a WordPress blog. What a concept!

This is where I subtly work in our new blog, Write Makes Right. See how I did that? I’m a marketer.

But there’s more to it than just posting what you’ve created on the internet and hoping people will stumble upon it. If I want to make my writing dreams come true I have to be my own editor, promoter, and manager.

Terrifying? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.

Sorry for this one being a bit rambly, Daniel. Nick Offerman talks so much about creativity and hard work in his novel that, once I finished it, I was eager to get out and just do something. Anything! I just felt the urge to create and write and this blog post is a product of that passion.

This is also an example of how I need to hone my skills if I’m going to be my own editor.

See you next week on Write Makes Right!

–EMS

I Fell Down a Hole

I have always considered myself an organized and responsible person. In college I never missed an assignment or flunked a test. After graduation, I worked diligently until I found a job and had a steady income. Nowadays, I rarely miss work deadlines, show up at least five minutes early to everything, and never run out of clean underwear.

I have also always believed that life is all about balance. No one can be organized and regimented all the time, me included. I am very responsible when it comes to work, exercise, and other household chores, but I am definitely not organized when it comes to my hobbies.

When it comes to my main hobbies, like reading, writing, crocheting, and horror movies, there is absolutely no gray zone. I swing between being completely obsessed with a book or project for days at a time and having zero interest in even thinking about it.

I recently came up with a name for my habit. I call it falling down a hole. giphy
A few weeks ago I was sitting with my coworkers outside, enjoying the sunshine and talking about books. We were talking about our favorite genres and, of course, I brought up my obsession with scary stories.

My coworkers, Stephen and Meredith, said that they had read some Stephen King, but can’t read a whole lot of his work. For every book of his they read, they have to read something light-hearted to “recover.”

In my entire life, I’ve never had to do that. When I finish a scary story, I don’t try to find some way to escape from my terror, I revel in it. I finish a scary story and then immediately search out the next scary story I can find. I can’t get enough. I need more, more, more. A few years ago I read my first novel by Jack Ketchum. It was gruesome and terrifying and stomach-turning and I immediately wanted more.

Can’t stop, won’t stop. That’s basically my policy when it comes to my hobbies.
Well, it is until the switch in my brain is suddenly flipped off and I lose all interest. And when I say a switch if flipping, I’m being very serious. It’s not a gradual thing. I put something down and then just don’t pick it up for months and months.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll finish a book if I start it and if I’m crocheting something for a friend I’ll always finish it. But if it’s something I’m just goofing around with then there’s a good chance I’ll put it on a shelf and just forget about it. I have so many partially finished novels and crochet projects just laying around.

You’d think for being the most organized person in my office I’d be more organized when it comes to my own hobbies, but nope! Apparently all of the energy I use to stay on track I use at work.

Fuck everything else in my life I guess.

-EMS