Thursday, June 11, 2015

Why "Adulting" Should Be Banned From Our Vocabularies

Today I paid a bill on time. That's so adult of me!
Look at me adulting, I went furniture shopping!
These clothes make me look so adult!

Growing up can feel surreal, and many times, the mundane duties in our daily lives can feel like they are taking over.  But that still does not fully explain why people feel the need to advertise the fact that they do simple, everyday tasks that most well-adjusted, responsible humans should do regularly and why they feel the need to applaud themselves as though these things are really something special.  

Why are people using the word "adult" as a verb, or as an adjective to describe anything and everything they do that smacks of responsibility?

When I was a kid, people typically used the word "adult" as an adjective to describe the following:
  • movies that were kept in a place where kids were not allowed to go
  • magazines and websites where people weren't wearing any clothes
  • alcoholic beverages or tobacco products
When I was a kid, the actual adults in my life used the word "adult" in verb form: NEVER.  I never once heard any of the real adults in my life say anything to the effect of, "look at me adulting!" Actually, I just tried to type "adulting" into this post and it keeps getting marked as misspelled because it's not actually a fucking word.

As I sit here in my late twenties, I picture the people I currently view as adults in my life: my coworkers, my older family members, my friends' parents.  I try and recall a single time anyone of them has referred to the things they do as "adulting" or spoken of a single time that they have pointed out the fact that they regularly pay bills, showed up to work, or bought themselves Kitchen Aid mixers and said something to the effect of "This is so adult of me!"  Not a single instance comes to my mind. 

So, this is a plea to my peers: stop abusing the word adult and remove "adulting" from your vocabulary, especially when describing the way you navigate life.  It's one thing to use the word adult as a noun when referencing yourself or someone else who is, in fact, an adult. If you are over the age of 18, you are legally an adult. Respect yourself by not begging for the spotlight to be placed on you for doing everyday tasks like paying the bills or fulfilling basic life responsibilities. When you call attention to yourself for doing such things you reveal yourself to be anything but an adult, and trivialize the fact that you are actually growing up and taking real steps toward becoming a mature and responsible member of society.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ultimate Pi Day/Erin Express T-Shirts

In just over 2 weeks, it will be Ultimate Pi day, meaning that twice in this particular day in a given time zone, it will be 3.14.15 9:26.53 

This day also happens to fall during Erin Express, which is a long-running bar crawl in Philadelphia that has been happening for 30+ years (you can learn more about it--->HERE)

Because this could be my last Erin Express in Philly, I am determined to have a custom shirt, and I thought Ultimate Pi Day would be my perfect chance to make something that isn't didn't say anything along the lines of:


Here is the shirt that I've designed:

Please help me realize my dream of getting a custom shirt for Pi Day/Erin Express and order one!  There is a link at the end of this post to order one for yourself!

I took orders until Sunday March 1st.  Shirts were just $15 each!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Youtube Deejay Sessions: I Can't Go For That

I haven't done one of these in awhile.  It's time.  I also felt like writing, but I don't have a lot of energy for writing all of the things I want to post, so this will have to do in the meantime. 

In the last few days, I had to write two very long lawyer-y complaints to resolve an issue.  I am hoping that I do not have to escalate the issue any further than I already have (if I do, you will definitely be getting a blog post detailing what happened) but in the meantime, it has sapped away my ability to write anything of substance because my mind feels like mush now. Conflict takes a lot out of me, but I won't stand for being taken advantage of.  But I digress.

I was in class on Friday and during the break I checked my email and found a message from Google that I could get a free album.  You know me and free stuff, especially legally obtained free music!!!  YEAH!  Google had a bunch of choices that were awesome from artists that I like a lot, and after much deliberation, I decided to go with Hall and Oates greatest hits album. 

I decided to feature the song "I Can't Go For That" on this Youtube Deejay post because:
  1. It is supposedly about to start snowing like a motherfucker and "I Can't Go For That" (ha ha ha...)
  2. Someone tried to cross me unjustly and "I Can't Go For That", either.  No can do.
What we should all do, however, is enjoy some Hall and Oates.  Yeah.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Job Searching is Like Dating, but Worse

Looking for a new job is rough, and so is dating.  I happen to currently be off the market as far as dating, but in light of completing my MBA in less than six months, I'm decidedly on the market for a job suited to someone who has shiny new extra letters after her name.

That being said, I've had a few interviews recently, and I've decided that looking for a job is a lot like dating in all of the worst ways.
  • Writing your resume is like writing an online dating profile.  You try to find ways to make yourself look really awesome in an effort to convince someone that you're more awesome than all the other profiles out there.  Pictures...meh, maybe too much?  Colors?  Creative use of paragraphs and bullet points?  Yes please.
  • You whore out that resume/profile and show it to anyone who will look at it and hope that someone likes it enough to call you back.  You tell people that you're looking so that way they know, just in case they hear of anyone else who might also be looking. Maybe you can...connect...
  • Waiting for a message back from a real, live person in HR feels as futile as waiting for someone on OKC to send you a more meaningful first message than "hey" "you have a pretty smile" or "nice tits."
  • When you finally get a call or message, the first response is something you didn't want, like a fully commission based sales job with no base pay, a pyramid scheme, a pervert, or a narcissist.
  • If you do finally score an interview you want, the in-person thing is delayed for as long as humanly possible.  A phone interview is to job hunting as texting is to dating: "I'm going to keep communicating with you in as detached a manner as possible so that I can keep you interested while I put in minimal effort and continue to keep my options open, just in case you're not actually what I'm looking for."
  • You agree to a real phone interview or partake of text exchanges, then proceed to over analyze every single word that was spoken or written out and wonder if it is any indication that something meaningful could come of any of it.  They keep texting you and might even ask for another phone interview.  But why haven't we met in person?  Could this be a thing? NAAAAHHHHH.
  • Why won't they make plans to meet me in person?!  Are they talking to other people?  Whatever, I'm way better, right?  Yes to both.
  • They said that you'd hear from them in a week, but it's been 9 business days and you haven't heard anything.  They must be really busy or something.
  • You finally hear from them and they tell you they want to see you in person.  Holy crap!  You forgive the delay shucks, they were busy, or out sick.
  • What the fuck should you wear?!  Time to try on every single piece of nice clothing you own and hope something fits looks right for the occasion! 
  • ALL MY CLOTHES ARE TOO SLUTTY FOR THIS!  Does that suit bring out your camel toe?  Guys, does your suit selfie need an #eggplantfriday hashtag? OH SHIT. SHIT SHIT SHIT.  I want to look like a professional professional, not like a "professional XXX!"
  • You get to the meeting place, and a choice of scenario plays out : 
    • 1) it's amazing! the conversation is easy and interesting and you lost track of time to the point where you went later than you expected and you can't wait to plan something else!
      • If it was amazing, you part ways and you wonder "will I ever hear from them again?" "they said I'd hear back soon, when is soon?" "what does 'we'll be in touch mean?!'"
    • 2) things aren't like what was described or seen in the profile you responded to.  You feel like you've been catfished by 5-year-old photographs, and the conversation is about as smooth as a boatride in a storm. (Obviously the possibilities are endless, but these are enough for our purposes).
      • If it was not so good, you part ways and you hope that you never hear from them again.  They might even try and keep you longer but you dream of escape.  You hope they lose your contact information or just don't talk to you again so you don't have to be the one to tell them to take a hike.
  • You're on your way back home and you find yourself thinking a little more about what just you send them a "thank you" message?  It was a nice time, but what if you come off too desperate or fake?  Or maybe it was an okay time, everyone paid for their own coffee, but if you don't send a message first, you might not hear from them again.  Or maybe you weren't really into it, you hope they weren't either, and so you skip the bullshit "thank you" and hope that you can ghost on each other.
  • You try and tell yourself none of it matters, these new people aren't important.  That might be true now.  It's not like these people will be paying for some of your meals and clothes at some point, writing your paycheck, helping you get through life, or introducing you to new people.
  • You get home and stop your thoughts after a few minutes.  You decide to go with your gut on that "thank you" message.  You did everything you could that was within your control for the moment.  The ball is in their court now.  You'll just have to wait and see what happens.  Until then, you're going to keep your options open, too.  Get back on that website, re-install that app, find out when that next fair or meeting is happening, and keep looking.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Food For Thought: On Turning Your Innermost Thoughts into Clickbait

I can't help but notice lately that my Facebook feed is largely comprised of clickbait written by young twentysomethings like myself, and it seems like the most viral stuff tends to involve life advice in the form of Thought Catalog, Elite Daily, Buzzfeed, or some random website of questionable authority or origin that peddles thoughts riddled with ads in list or slideshow format.  In an effort to work through my feelings about the state of blogging and consuming online content, I decided I'd write about it on my own blog.

I enjoy lists as much as the next person, and I clearly enjoy sharing my thoughts about life (why I started this blog), but some of the stuff I come across online, especially on blogs that are not owned by the people who write for them, leaves me feeling uneasy for any number of reasons.  I wonder if other writers really think about just how many people have access to and are reading their thoughts (this is something I've talked about before).  I see essays, preachy lists of do's and don'ts, and other musings written by people who are just trying to figure out their lives, and sometimes I wonder if the exceptionally mean lists are simply reflections of these authors' insecurities or fears.  (HERE is an example, and of course this is simply my opinion).  I wonder if people are really thinking about what it means to hit that "Publish" button, and that once the thoughts are out there, they may be out there indefinitely, and for all to see.

There is a power that comes from writing things down.  At least it's true for me.  Writing out every thought is the one means we all have of saying what we need to say without being interrupted mid-sentence or mid-thought.  But when you write things for another site, depending on the terms, you may give up the power of ownership.  Once you submit your work to another site, you put yourself at the mercy of that site's terms.  You may not be able to take your work down, even if you want to.  Thoughts that you might not stand behind anymore, or that no longer reflect who you are can linger in the ether of the internet, on another person's website, to be accessed at any time, simply because you gave up the right to take it down.  You may not even be able to re-post on your own blog without giving attribution to the site that you contributed your work to in the first place.  In some cases, you may not be able to see the ad revenue that your work (which you gave up for free) has generated for someone else. 

Even if you manage to have something taken down or if you only posted on your own site to being with, there is the chance that it may be cached for awhile or that the wayback machine might have archived it.  There's also the consideration that someone may just take your work from your blog, post it on theirs, link back to you in tiny hard-to-find letters, like what did to Cholafied in this example, take the ad revenue and run.

That leads me to ask:
  • Is the idea of getting lots of clicks (exposure) by submitting your work to someone else's website worth relinquishing rights to your work?  
  • How is it any different (if it is at all) from just publishing your work in a more traditional manner and losing track of whose eyes may come across it?  
  • Is it a good, bad, or neutral that the act of blogging or editorializing our lives through short essays may be turning us into mass producers of clickbait?
  • Finally, does phrasing our thoughts and work in a way that will "make" people click or read them cheapen our thoughts and work? 
I don't know what the answers are here, but I certainly am thinking about the possibilities.  If anyone does happen to read this, feel free to comment.  I'll leave you with this thought, a Jewish proverb: "A bird that you set free may be caught again, but a word that escapes your lips will not return."

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Some Final Thoughts From 2014

I'm taking advantage of the returning clarity that regular sleep has begun to restore to take a moment (and by moment, I mean hour) to catalog a few of the lessons that I've either learned or lost sight of and re-learned in 2014.

This is not to be construed as life advice, but I hope that the insight I've gained regarding the events of my life on my own and with the help of friends along the way can prove helpful, or at least an inspiration to collect your thoughts as well before 2015 goes into full-swing.

1. Embrace the drive to "do it all" but recognize your limitations.  I've always been one of those people who is always busy, going, and trying to do everything I want to do.  Someone I work with recently told me: "You're really good at putting a lot of things on your plate."  It's true.  I have a lot of things that I'm interested in and my mind wants the time to get into all of it.  Unfortunately, we don't have infinite time.  I don't have infinite time.  I always want to be all in on everything, to prove to myself that I can, in fact, do literally everything I've set my mind out to do.  The thing is, it's not sustainable.  I know what my limitations are, but there is no sense anymore in forcing myself past them to the point of exhaustion. I don't need to do it all at once.

2. It's okay to say no, especially if something is further in advance than you can effectively plan for.  I've never liked to say no.  I don't think anyone really likes saying no.  Sometimes, my love of planning far ahead can get me into situations where circumstances change and I find that I've inadvertently taken on more responsibility than I would like or have time for. While I fear that I will lose friends over reduced willingness to comply with all requests that are made of me, I also won't have anything left if I continue to give too much.

3. It's also okay to take the time to think when you are not ready to make an immediate decision. Making impulsive decisions without taking the time to think about the implications can result in troubles down the road.  Setting reasonable (key word being reasonable) deadlines for yourself to collect your thoughts and take your time is an okay thing to do.

4. People will judge you (usually incorrectly) and compare themselves and others on social media and it's silly.  I had multiple people tell me the following in 2014: "You always look like you're having fun going out all the time!"  "You must party all the time, I keep seeing all these pictures on Facebook!"  I do have fun on occasion, as most well-adjusted people should  do in order to remain well-adjusted.  I don't see how a few happy photos of a night out on Facebook translates to "party all the time."  The reality is, I may have only posted on social media because I was on my downtime.  All of those other times during which I was studying, filling out countless job applications, doing household chores, or eating sad leftovers were times I was decidedly not thinking about posting on social media. 

Thoughts on the cutting room floor likely include: "So, today I got an F on the exam that I spent many long hours and days studying for." "today I ate cold leftover Chinese food from a container because I was so hungry when I got home after my 14 hour day of work and school that I could not walk the extra five steps between the fridge and the microwave and wait two minutes for it to heat up".  Shit, I barely wanted to be living it while it was happening.

5. Gender bias exists and you can either change yourself in a (futile attempt) avoid it, or you can stay true to yourself in protest.  I got called "a girly girl" in a professional setting as though it were a bad thing.  I'm honestly not sure where the person who said it got that impression and, quite honestly, what does that actually mean?!  I knew it definitely wasn't something I wanted to be labeled as.  My response to them in the moment was "You don't know me very well, do you?"  I tried to rack my brain as to why they came to this conclusion: is it because I wear my hair long? wear makeup? wear colors? wear dresses? carry nice purses? wear uggs? use nail polish? ballet flats?  I DON'T KNOW.  Perhaps if I changed my manner of dressing, cut my hair, or stopped doing anything remotely feminine, I could shake this new label?
NO.  I actively made the choice to continue to be myself and do my job because this person's incorrect assessment of who I am has no bearing on the quality of my work.  The thing is, people who are going to judge people based on gender will not respond to anything I change about myself, lest I go back in time and be born a man instead.  There's a difference between choosing to ignore that gender bias exists, and choosing to stand up to it by continuing to work and not coming up with a futile "work-around" that betrays my sense of self - I'll opt for the latter.

6. Recognize the difference between apologizing in solidarity, apologizing for actual wrongdoing, apologizing to save face, or apologizing for being yourself.  Do the best you can. 
  • Apologizing in solidarity: "I'm sorry that ____ bad thing happened to you."  This happens when you feel that someone has come upon hard times or an unfair situation. You realize that you personally have nothing to do with their misfortune, but their misfortune brings you bad feelings, or perhaps, sorrow, so you try and say something comforting.  It may be unhelpful, but the intention is good.
  • Apologizing for actual wrongdoing: "I'm sorry I did _____ offensive/bad thing to you, I'll never do it again".  If you do something bad and you wish you hadn't done it and will actually make every effort possible not do it again, this is when you apologize for your offense.  This may also be unhelpful, but the intention should also be good.
  • Apologizing to save face: "I'm sorry you feel offended by what I did." This is one of those times where people say sorry but may not understand the problem their actions resulted in.  This does not make you a bad person, but if you're not actually sorry for an action, then just know that you saying this may not be taken seriously.  Saying so may be better than saying nothing but it may still be negatively interpreted and possibly taken as an offense in its own right, and you may need to explain yourself further.
  • Apologizing for being yourself:  "I'm sorry that I did a good job at ____ and it made people jealous" "I'm sorry my vagina is so sensitive".  WASTE OF TIME.  BYE.  

7. Many, if not most, people don't actually read.  They don't read your emails, they don't research questionable clickbait they find online, they don't fully read articles, and they don't read most things unless they're short, and in the form of a list or bullet points. And even then, they still might not read that.  This can be frustrating.  You can handle it by either:
  1. Not bothering to write anything down anymore
  2. Writing everything down anyway and hoping that you can force people to care
  3. Trying to write in such a way that people will hopefully read it
In summary, the underlying theme I see in what I observed over the past year is that people are going to be as they are and there is not much you can do to change them.  You may feel that they exert some influence on your life, and to fail to admit that they do is a mistake.  The only person whose actions you have control over are your own.  Do your best to understand the viewpoints, feelings, and motives of others, and help others when you can, but always actively make the effort to make positive and thoughtful decisions for yourself that avoid compromising your own well-being and sense of self.

Here's to a great 2015 filled with positivity, understanding, and success.

Monday, December 29, 2014

A Survey of 2014

2014 is almost over, and since Facebook is doing their little summary of the year in pictures, I figured now is as good a time as any to reflect on the year.

I started last year's survey this way:

I used to work with a woman who always used to say "Time goes by faster as you get closer to the end."  While I tend not to be as fatalistic as my former co-worker, I definitely have a better understanding of why she used to say that so often than I did five years ago when I first heard her say it.  I know that, in reality, the seconds, minutes, and hours do not pass by any faster than they ever have, but there's no denying that it certainly seems that way.  Time perception is complicated.  I could put together a whole other post about it, but fortunately, someone else already did.
I feel as though time went by even faster than it did last year, though I know that isn't really the case.  This year has been filled with so many things.  Almost too many things, honestly.  Instead of just starting from the top, I'll go ahead and answer what may become my annual survey of the year.

1. What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before?
I did a lot this past year.  As far as firsts go...........I ran my first 10 miler (Broad Street Run), visited the Grand Canyon, went to some states I hadn't been to before (NM, TX, OK, MO, WV), I learned how to crochet some new items, and went to a friend's baby shower.

2. Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions and will you make more for next year?
Like the year before, I don't remember having made any resolutions, so it's safe to say I didn't keep any.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not yet, but in 2015 this answer will be different!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
I'm sorry to say that two family members passed this year (my paternal grandmother, and my great aunt).  While I unfortunately was never able to be as close to them as I would have liked (complicated reasons; thousands of miles of distance, respectively) it was very sad news.  One of my coworkers also passed away suddenly, which was also very sad.

5.  What countries did you visit?
I did not leave the US this year.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you didn't have in 2014?
More sleep, more time, fewer unexpected expenses.

7. What date from 2014 will remain etched in your memory and why?
January 25th.  Because reasons.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Successfully recording a full length studio album with the a cappella group I am in.  You should get a copy if you haven't already.

9. What was your biggest failure?
My grades slipped slightly for two quarters - I was off my game. My GPA is still good, but I still am disappointed in myself for letting outside things interfere with my grades.

10. Did you suffer any illness or injury?
I was having major issues with my singing voice in which I could not sing consistently above C5 without pain.  I visited an ENT and discovered that it was largely a result of severe allergies, acid reflux, and exhaustion.  I also found out that I have paralysis in my left vocal cord, which isn't doing me any favors either.

The good news is that all of this is getting treated and my high notes are starting to return and it does not hurt when I try to sing.  I'll be back in full force shattering windows and imitating car alarms with my high notes soon enough.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I'd say the best things I bought were my running shoes, which I wore when I trained for and completed the Broad Street Run. I had noticed that my feet were going numb on longer workout days and I suspected it had something to do with my footwear.  After getting my feet sized, we determined that I was a full shoe size off from what I was supposed to be wearing.  Good thing I bought those new shoes early in my training!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
I don't like to name people on this blog, but I have great friends and they know who they are.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and/or depressed?
It's all water under the bridge and what is done cannot be changed. I am forgiving, perhaps to a fault.

I hate that this answer didn't change much from last year although this year I refer to an entirely different thing which I'm still struggling with and probably will be for some time.

14. Where did most of your money go?
It went toward bills, living expenses, good food, weddings, and vet bills when my cat went to the ER (twice).

15. What did you get really, really excited about?
There was the cross country road trip I took with my friend in August and it was really awesome :-)  There were also the weddings I was in this year and the associated festivities (rehearsal dinners and bachelorette parties) which were a lot of fun.

This is going to sound kind of sad, but too many of the things that I had to be excited about this year became tainted in some way such that it dimmed the excitement.  I did have a lot of things to be really excited about, and thankfully it wasn't all of them that got fucked up!  YAY!

16.  What song will always remind you of 2014?
I'll have to think about that.

17. Compared to this time last year are you:

  • happier or sadder?  happier
  • thinner or fatter?  thinner
  • richer or poorer?  poorer (financially only)
18. What do you wish you'd done more of? 
Sleeping.  Exhaustion and sleep deprivation can be a catalyst for negativity.

19.  What do you wish you'd done less of?
Buying prepared foods.  They're costly both physically and financially.

20.  How will you be spending New Year's Eve?
I will likely be staying in with family, drinking Martinelli's, eating tamales, and watching New Year's Rockin' eve.

21. Did you fall in love in 2014?
This is a public forum, please refer to:

23. What was your favorite TV show?
I watched limited amounts of Netflix.  Mostly random stand-up, documentaries, and rom coms.

24. Do you hate anyone now who you didn't hate this time last year?
Hate is a strong word.  I don't hate people because that implies that I care too much.  I tend to prefer indifference.  Fortunately, I haven't been compelled to feel indifferent toward anyone new this year.

25. What was the last book you read?
Catherine Called Birdy.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I don't know, I can't think of anything that really stood out this year.

27.  What did you want and get?
I wanted to make through the Broad Street Run in one piece.  I did. 

28.  What did you want and not get?
A 4.0 for the fall term.  Dishonorable mention: the big internship I applied for and nearly got hired for fell through.  I was pretty excited about it, so it's a bummer things didn't work out.

29.  What was your favorite film of the year?
I had been really excited about seeing The Giver in theaters, but I was really disappointed with the bastardization of one of my all-time favorite books.

I did enjoy the Lego Movie and Big Hero 6.

30.  What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
I turned 27.  I went to work, then came home and had a party.  I hate to say this, and very few people actually realized this who were there, but I had kind of a sad night because a lot went wrong.  However, a lot went very right and it was great seeing so many friends, and being able to get everyone together in the same place with less than two weeks' notice.  I had no idea that I was going to have so many people come and celebrate with me, which was such an amazing thing, and I feel so grateful for it.

31.  What one thing would have made your year immeasurably satisfying?
Overall, I'd say I had a difficult but satisfying year.  It might have been immeasurably satisfying had it not been so difficult.

32.  How would you describe you personal fashion in 2014?
Easier to achieve.  It's easier to dress yourself when things fit you correctly (yeah weight loss).

33.  What kept you grounded?
Lack of sleep.  That will keep everyone grounded, and by grounded I actually mean in bed sleeping whenever possible.

34.  Who was your celebrity crush?
I guess I wasn't crushing that hard if I can't remember who it is.  Whoops.  Maybe there wasn't a celebrity crush this year, or maybe it was the same one from last year?  Shit, I don't even know. 

35.  What political issue stirred you the most?
There was a lot of really fucked up shit that happened this year (law enforcement issues, women's rights issues, financial issues...enough).

36. Who did you miss?
The usual people.  Friends, family, c'est la vie.

37.  Who was the best new person you met?
I can never really pick favorites among anyone or anything.

38.  What is a valuable lesson that you learned in 2014?
Trust your gut. 

39.  Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
I just want it to be perfect, to believe it's all been worth the fight.
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