Sunday, January 26, 2014

Thought of the Day: Burning Bridges a.k.a. I Don't Want to Know You Anymore

I had a dream where I was trying to convince someone it was ok to burn bridges. I asked my Facebook peoples if they felt that to be true and received a variety of answers, all good ones. 

There is the finality aspect of burning bridges that scares people. The part where you tell another person directly or indirectly that you do not want to see them or speak to them again. Like, ever. What happens if you meet that person down the road or inexplicably, need a favor from them? 

In my perfect world, the people who I do not care to see or do business with ever again, I hope I would never see or God forbid, need a favor from in the future!

Why would I want someone like that linked to me in any way? If they did not contribute to my success or happiness before, how would they in the future? If I did not trust that person, why would I go against my beliefs (the belief that people should not be a-holes) to reach out to them in a time of need? 

I do understand that work-wise, in certain industries, it's not always smart to burn bridges completely. But I feel that I have a good grasp of who I will see again and whose time in charge was short-lived and it is highly unlikely that their view of me would harm my reputation. I don't even think that's how it works, especially for writers. What's someone going to say about me -- she's a shitty writer? I mean that criticism is just a given with the job. 

I think the definitive part is what makes it so incredible. Why would you want to have a hanger on? If a person is not providing a positive presence in your life, why wouldn't you just scoot away? Maybe not burn the bridge necessarily, but leave them on it.

Is there a time where you've burned a bridge you wish you hadn't? Is there a time where you wish you would've let go sooner than you did? When it comes to burning bridges, what is your final answer? 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

50/50 Challenge PLUS -- Is 2014 My Year?!

This is my official third year trying to meet the 50/50 goal. I don't think meeting the movie goal is going to be a problem, but the book goal always trips me up. I am starting out strong with already three books under my belt. At this pace, I should get to 50 by the end of the year, no problem!

This kind of confidence is so easy to have a few weeks in. Come September, you might be hearing me sing a different tune.

The second book I read this year was the popular "Divergent" by Veronica Roth mostly because I want to see the movie this spring, and everyone knows it's better to read the book first. This was actually my third attempt to read the book because I expected it to take right off just like "The Hunger Games." "The Hunger Games" it is not. It is a good book, just not the great one I had hoped for. The premise is fantastic, but the language and story lost me a little and I felt myself skimming over a few pages to get to the next good part.

The third book I read is "The Husband's Secret" by Liane Moriarty. I read this for one of the millions of book clubs I am part of and also because it's been highly recommended by all the fashion magazines I read. Again, I appreciate the premise of this book, but the story was muddled by all the different characters to keep track of, which is part of which makes the story fascinating. I liked it, but didn't love it.

When it comes to movies, I dove right in and saw two in one week. "Ride Along" with my favorite comedian, Kevin Hart was just as funny as I thought it'd be. It's not the kind of movie you're just raving about for weeks, but it is the kind of movie that you're laughing with throughout the 90-plus minutes its running. Kevin Hart is hilarious. That's it. I love him. I would love to meet him. 

"Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" was a good action flick with an aging Kevin Costner, boring Keira Knightley, and an sit-up-and-notice performance from Chris Pine. 

The third movie was a documentary that I watched as part of a project I'm on. "Hot Coffee" highlights the "lady who sued McDonald's after being burned by hot coffee" but really it's so much more than that. It covers tort reform (a term I had never known about) and employee arbitration (pay attention to what you sign!) in an interesting, appealing, and empathetic way, just as most good documentaries do.

So...I'm off to a great start! Up on high horse, pat on back, here I go!

Book #2: Divergent by Veronica Roth
Book #3: The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

Movie #1: Ride Along
Movie #2: Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Movie #3: Hot Coffee

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Thought of the Day: No Time for Negativity

They say you're supposed to eliminate all the negative energy/people from your life to make room for all the positive. I don't really know who "they" are, but they're right. 

Do you hang onto things longer because you feel like you can solve the problem? Do you feel that whatever is causing you anguish is somehow within your control and that if you stick it out, you will receive some great prize at the end for toughing it out - like a unicorn or pot of gold?

The thing is that sometimes problems that affect you actually aren't caused by you. This often comes into play in work life, relationship life, friend life - a lot in life. And you feel that since you are indirectly part of the problem, then you should help find a solution. 

Not true, my friend. 

In order to eliminate the negative you have to identify it. You have to be honest about it and not excuse it away. If you do have some responsibility for it, then you have to own that as well so you can change it.

When you discover who or what is the source of your misery or at least the source of you not being as happy as you believe you could be, then take the proper steps to get rid of it. This may be something that takes time like if you are in a job you don't like. Sure it'd be great to stick it to your boss or whomever is driving you nuts, but that thing called a paycheck is still important. It's not worth your sanity, but it is still something to consider.

In other cases, you might just have to solve the problem like ripping off a band-aid. Wait, that doesn't really resonate with me. Ripping off a band-aid doesn't hurt all that much, especially if it is wet. It can just slide right off. You know what hurts? Chapped lips. Really chapped lips and you have skin that you just want to rip off so you can slough them properly and add Vaseline.

So rip off the dead, chapped skin and know that healing is on its way. This method is usually more effective when it comes to friendships or relationships. If you have someone who is causing a negative cloud over your life, then it's not typically something that just appears out of nowhere. You've probably convinced yourself that tough times are bound to happen or that it's your fault somehow because you're not being supportive. Whatever it is, identify it and think to yourself, would I be happier without this person in my life? Be honest. Then, you know what to do.

Anyway, the whole point of my thought of the day is that I finally have become better at eliminating negative energy from life. Not that it's smooth sailing all the time every day, but the things I can control, I do. It feels very liberating and freeing and peaceful.

Try it. Take baby steps. Don't feel like you always have to be the solution or find the solution or have a solution. Walking away, removing yourself form a situation, sometimes it is the best thing to do.

Monday, January 6, 2014

New Year, New Chance to Read More Books

2014 is here! I didn't feel quite the same excitement for 2014 as I have for ushering in new years past, but maybe it's because 2013 was so darn great. Actually, there were a lot of parts about 2013 that weren't that hunky dory, but I choose to sidestep those moments.

As you know, I did not meet my 50/50 Challenge since I only read half of the required 50 books, but I'm off to a good start in 2014 with a grand total of: 1!

The Circle by Dave Eggers might possibly make you never want to post on social media again. Or, like me, you might smugly think to yourself, that would so not happen to me. I would never get sucked into such a cult-like vortex where all my validation comes in the form of 'likes' and other such made up online communication. Would I?

I'm not a conspiracy theorist and rarely think about all the things the NSA has access to regarding my life, although I know I should be more wary of it, but what do I have to share that is that exciting?

One of the creepiest parts of the book is the transparency issue. Like would you do certain things if you were watched at every moment? I know I wouldn't. Sure, I don't have much to hide but damn, a girl likes to blow her nose in peace. Maybe scratch her ass or make a mistake in private. That level of breached security, me no likey.

But, hey, that's fiction. Fiction that hits a little too close to home, but fiction nonetheless. I shall read 50 books this year! After all, I only have 49 left.

Book #1: The Circle by Dave Eggers

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Freelancing in Fuzzy Socks

Cornflakes and turkey bacon to start my day
I have been purely freelance for approximately a whole 60 hours, so to say that I am an expert or know the ins and outs of how it's going to be long-term would be a bit of a stretch lie. However, what I do know is this:

I wake up to my alarm an hour later. I used to get up at 5:40 a.m., hit snooze three times and then roll out of bed and rush out the door, maybe having breakfast, often times not. Now, I set my alarm for 6:40 and am ready to get out of bed. I still get ready as if I am going to a desk job; when really I am headed to the makeshift office my boyfriend helped me set up in the dining room. I have time to make him eggs and time to enjoy a bowl of cornflakes while I check emails and plan my day. I still have a schedule, but this one is so much more my pace. And yes, I am wearing fuzzy socks.

I feel excited about writing again. For all my fellow writers who have balanced "real jobs" with their writing passion know what it's like to fit in writing over lunch breaks and after work only to feel exhausted and uninspired. To be a writer, you have to know from the beginning that as far as income, most likely, you aren't going to make shit. If you are in it for the money, you've already failed. If you are in it for instant gratification, you are in for some sore surprises. But now that I can segment my time, because all day long I'm writing, and give proper dedication to what I want to write about. Those creativity breaks have already helped spark better production in my professional writing as well.

I want to work harder. Some people like to equate freelance to being unemployed, and maybe had I tried this right out of college or even a few years ago, I wouldn't have the proper discipline to be successful. Maybe I'd wake up closer to ten o'clock, write a blog, and call it a day. Since freelance means that today you could be cruising on easy street and tomorrow your luck could dry up, I take every project I'm on seriously. I put 100% effort into everything I do, every writing assignment I submit. A former employee of mine went to a seminar once and came back with this: "What do you give your most valuable employees?" A raise? A vacation? Nope, my friend, you give them more work. I know now my hard work will be met with reward rather than more meaningless work. It makes me strive for more.

I get to decide what is the most effective strategy for success. I get to schedule time off without having to worry about if I have enough vacation built up. I get to choose to put in long days, knowing it is building something up for me in the end. I know I will be valued because I am my own boss. 

I get to feed my soul. I'd be lying if I said that everything I've ever written is interesting, exciting, or even that original. Sometimes the copy is meant to be more factual and therefore may seem dry. Sometimes the topic is flat out boring. But I get to feed my soul knowing I did a damn good job. I can be proud of my effort. When I turn my work over to someone, I know they can use that to help their business grow. When I meet my goals, I've helped others meet theirs, too.

I could go on and on about what I know when there are people who question what I don't. I don't know if it will work out. I don't know if this will be profitable for me in the long run. I don't know how to answer the questions that people ask someone who has to decided to give up a steady job for potentially unsteady work.

I've bet it all on the belief of creating a happy life. You can't possibly do that worrying about stuff you "don't know" and ignoring all the incredible things you do.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

50/50 Challenge 2013: I Came, I Saw, I Conquered Kinda Sorta

So true. Give me a book and a carton of chocolate milk and I'm golden.
Another year and another shot at the 50/50 Challenge. For those unfamiliar, the 50/50 Challenge is the quest to read 50 new books and watch 50 new movies in one calendar year. No, there is no prize for meeting the challenge (much to my dismay in the first year), just the satisfaction of expanding your mind and/or your status as a couch potato.

As a whole, I surpassed the 100 mark (at least that I recorded in this blog) by watching 78 movies and reading 26 books, and I have to say, I'm pretty damn proud.

Did you know there are people out there that don't actually read? At all?! I averaged a book every two weeks, not too shabby. Currently, I am reading Divergent in anticipation for the movie and have a list at hold at the library, another list recorded on a note taking app on my phone. 

I know it sounds weird to the majority of the population who don't find reading to be enjoyable, but I am excited when I get library alerts saying a book I've been waiting for is in. A great gift to me is a book. Even if I have no interest in the book or don't know the author, the book itself is a gift. Someone else picked it up and thought, she might like reading this. I think that's nice.

I dated a guy once who bought me books within our first few weeks of dating, which gave me high hopes for a relationship. Let me just say, the books lasted much, much longer. He gave me two Elizabeth Wurtzel books though, so I don't know if that was a choice based off a reflection of him or of me. 

Sadly, I have to report that I didn't love a lot of the books I read this year. I liked some, hated others, but as for love, I have to reserve that for The Fault in Our Stars (anxiously awaiting this movie as well) and I liked Wild (movie also to come) and Inferno (movie should be; whatever happened to making one for The Lost Symbol?). 

One book I read - Defending Jacob - I read near the first of the year for book club and didn't like the ending. Then, I read it again near the middle of the year for another book club and liked it. Odd.

As for movies, fuggedabouit! Had I really tried, I could've reached 100. Lucky for me, I get to see new releases for free, but I also saw some other older ones that I had never seen before such as "The Usual Suspects." I figured that movie out before it ended, which inexplicably infuriated my old co-worker. He claimed there was no way I could and that if I did it's because of all the movies that have come after with a similar twist. Who cares? He's probably right. Or, maybe I'm a genius.

There were some big letdowns this year, but also some great triumphs. I never like to read movie reviews until I write my own, but I have realized that a lot of what I like others do not. But hey, that's what makes the world go 'round.

I have tried and failed before and I will try and most likely fail again. What it is they say though? It's not the destination, but the journey?

Cheers to more books and movies in 2014!