When You Have the Time

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I have time.

Today, I had to go in later for work for a late shift that someone in our department has to cover each month. I start a little before noon and leave around eight at night.  While I still have to work for eight hours today, this variation on my normal day shift has given something I feel like I don’t always have the luxury of during an average day.

Right now, I have time to kill.

Too often, it can feel like we have no time to get anything we think we need to get done completed. Work, family, friends, and other obligations can drain our time reserves dry, and it can seem like we don’t have enough time to get anything we need to complete done, especially things we need to do for ourselves. I know on a normal day, between work and any other extra side projects I am working on at the moment, I am bewildered to turn around and see the midnight hour. Nothing else will get done that day as I need to head off to bed so I am well rested enough for work. There doesn’t often feel like there is time for me to take care of me.

This morning, I was finally able to take a little time for myself before my day actually began.

Waking up to my preset alarm of 6:15AM, I got to take the time for an hour or two more of shuteye. I finally roused myself, only to settle back down in the warm embrace of a nice hot bubble bath. Hell, even when I finally had to start getting ready, I was allowed to take the time to actually make my make-up look like it was done by an adult and not like a sleep-deprived child, as it does normally.  I’m even getting a head start on today’s blog post and might even get it completed before 11:59pm. However, I see a new problem begin to emerge as I settle back into my bed to relax a bit more.

What do I do now?

I have spare time, and it’s driving me a bit mad right now. Time is a lot like silence in this regard; when there is nothing to fill the gaps, it can be overwhelming. Just like the ears with sound, we are meant to experience and use our time wisely. When it just sits there unused, it’s being wasted. It is even worse when we attempt to fill these temporal gaps with nothing but meaningless filler. Sure, I can sit here and write or read a book, but those aren’t doing anything important with the time I have been given. I should do more with the time I have been given.

I can feel like clock ticking, and its sound is taunting me.

Time is both our greatest gift and our biggest curse. When we have it to use, we are able to accomplish so much good in our lives. It allows us to experience and live in the world we find ourselves in. However, we are utterly bound by it. We can have too much of it and waste it, or we are constantly running out of it.

Use your time wisely, my friends.

You are Enough

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Hi Me,

Well, it looks like you have reached that point in your life again. It is another moment where life’s little roadblocks, the actions of others, and just your own general anxiety and stressors pile up and finally reached your boiling point. You can try and put on the bravest of faces during your day, but you know that it is getting a little harder to breathe easily these days.

You may think you are fine and give a good enough show to pretend that everything is perfectly good and well, but your threads are starting to come undone.

Let’s be honest, you know you’re beginning to crack a little. You literally sat in your bed and cried over having to reschedule a dentist appointment the other day. You cried for a solid ten minutes straight and felt sick to your stomach for the rest of the day…over a minor inconvenience in your schedule. You came undone over something so meaningless and minor and became a sobbing heap of a woman.

My dear, you are a mess.

You feel sometimes that you’ve lost your mind from all of the chaos. Everything you feel and experience just seems like it can and will crush you like a grape. You are lonely and don’t have a single clue how to connect right now to other humans for any sort of comfort against the storm of life right now. Every little mistake appears to you as though you have committed the greatest of failure of your life, and that you will never recover from your little life infractions.

Well, you need to stop this negative train you find yourself riding on. Sure, life is not exactly where you want it to be right now, and a lot of things are going quite wrong right now. You feel like you are the worst person in the world, but you have a fair amount going for you at this time if you take the time to look around at the world.

You are enough.

I know I don’t tell you this as often as I should, and for that, I’m sorry. I should always be your biggest cheerleader. I should be doing anything and everything in my power to raise you up and help you to realize that you matter and have worth in this world. I haven’t been doing a very good job at lifting you out of your very dark place.  I need to be kinder and nicer to the face I see every morning when I look in the mirror.

Let’s review the good instead of reflecting on the bad for once.

You are a college graduate, twice a college graduate. You didn’t just coast through those degrees; you earned them while working a part time and then a full time job. You are insanely knowledgeable about an encyclopedia of random trivia. You are/try to be kind to others. You have potential, and that should be enough for now.

Me, I know it’s hard to find the match right now when everything is getting darker and darker by the minute. Just don’t give up just yet. Be well.

Love,

Me.

While The Rest of the World Is Talking

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I have a challenge for you all.

Just for one day, say nothing. Spend the day without vocally expressing a single sound if you can. Don’t talk to another soul. Just stand back and watch the day go by. Actually, stand back and listen to the world around you. Pay attention to your surroundings. Does the world seem different than it did when you participated actively in it? Likely, it will seem like another reality for you.

You’ll notice a lot more when you play the part of the third person omniscient narrator in someone else’s novel rather than a character or even worse, the protagonist. When you stop to listen and experience instead of participating, you are given the rare opportunity to see the world for what it is instead of your perception of it. It’s easier to see the world when you don’t have to be in the world.

I hate it when life’s author gives me dialogue or things to do in the world. Hey life, let me read the story a little bit instead. I want to be a part of the audience, not a character for once in my life.

I’m a quiet soul. I love sound and speech, but I just don’t like creating them. During the day, if I don’t have to employ my vocal cords to communicate a thought or a need, sounds will not likely escape my throat. Waves of chatter from co-workers and other people who pass me by wash over me as I sit in my chair at my desk and type up my various work tasks. While a lot of people will describe me as someone who doesn’t talk, it is just because I’m trying to take everything in. I may not engage actively in constant conversation with others, but I listen to the conversations they have. I know their stories because I listen.

Most people call me shy or quiet, but in reality, I’m just taking the world in without playing a particular part in it. You could say I’m reading the world.

However, while my desire to observe the world is probably the biggest factor in my lack of speech, it isn’t the only reason.

A lot of my lack of speech comes from my belief in my words having worth or authority in the current conversation. I’ve yet to fully establish why people should listen to nothing  of actual substance. I absolutely need something to say that scratches more than just the surface. I love language, and I am heartbroken when it is taken for granted with meaningless vocalizations. Words matter. They shouldn’t just be used to blandly discuss the atmospheric conditions of the day.

Fear, however, seems to play one of the loudest role in my silence.

People spook me. Call it social anxiety or whatever, but I get nervous to use my voice in the crowd. I don’t have the confidence in my own voice or myself to feel like people should listen to me or care what I have to say when I vocalize something. I’m still trying to figure that part of me out.

Well anyway, the bottom line is listen as much as you talk. Speaking our minds is important, but hearing the

Don’t just hear the sounds of the world. Listen.

Pink Suit

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Wear a black suit. Keep your hair pulled back and out of your face. No dangly or flashy jewelry. Make sure your makeup is simple and understated. Look the part of the clean, pristine professional. Well, at least, that’s what my friends and family told me to do when I began my pursuit to further my career once I earned my degree.

I didn’t know how to apply for a job, so I listened to the words of others. While some of the advice was quite applicable and valuable in my professional pursuits, I started to realize something that was a little frightening to me.

I was interviewing as a person who wasn’t me. Why was I selling a version of me that wasn’t me? Why was I asking people to accept me as someone I wasn’t?

When I graduated college with my undergraduate degree, I relied heavily on the advice of others in order to succeed in gaining an interview and hopefully a job. I did not have a single idea as to what the professional world wanted and needed guidance of those who either had been through the hiring process before or work in hiring themselves. I followed their advice perfectly. Anything and everything I was told to do, I did without question.

Funny thing was, I forgot how to be me in the process.

Now, after working in the professional world and having gone on multiple interviews for various jobs, I’m starting to better understand the working world, and I am starting to better understand myself as well.

Looking back on all of the advice I was given, I realize that I was given advice that, while practical, would create a stranger staring back at me. Wear a black suit, they told me. Your hair should be pulled back and neat. Be perfectly professional. However, I wasn’t ever able to fully sell myself to a stranger for the job I was interviewing for because it became everything I wasn’t.

A professional, adult stranger was my apparent reflection, even when I felt like a wild child on the inside.

I would go into interviews and sell a version of myself I invented based on the way others had found success.  While it may have worked for them in their own disciplines and experiences, I’ve finally realized that some of the advice I was given isn’t exact.y what best portrays me.

I am unique.

Maybe, I should start trying to promote me instead of what I want them to see because they are going to be hiring me and not every other person who has given me advice over the years.

It all starts with appearance.

I bought a pink suit. It isn’t an obnoxious hot pink. It’s a light, pale pink. Nothing too flashy, but it is different enough. I am sick and tired of blending in with every other potential job candidate. I am an eccentric weirdo, and that’s why you should hire me.I am unique and will create something that hasn’t been seen before.

Pink is me…

…and I want you to hire me.

Recipe to Relax

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Step 1: Find a cookbook

I am no world class chef. I will probably never compose a cookbook or have a cooking show on the Food Network ever in my life time. However, in the past few years, I have become a sort of amateur cook due to lifestyle changes and a variety of circumstances. Like I said, I’m not perfect at the art of cooking, but I’ve learned to fall in love with crafting something through preparation and combination that I can later consumer for nourishment.

Cooking has become a sort of therapy. I honestly think I enjoy making the food more than I like eating it. The joy is in the preparation of the dish. Well, it’s supposed to be anyway.

Of course, I’m also the type of person who will make a snack while cooking dinner, but that is beside the point.

Step 2: Gather your ingredients that you will need to make your meal or dessert.

I am most definitely a foodie. I’m not at all someone who only sees food as fuel; I enjoy and take pleasure in creating and consuming works of culinary art. I love any and all types of fruits and veggies, even before I decided that was the only thing I was going to consume in my diet. I’m a carb queen and believe fats and sugars should be in every single thing you eat. Basically, I love food, a lot.

How I’m skinny is a bit of a mystery, but whatever. I eat, and it doesn’t really affect my appearance. I got lucky in that department.

Step 3: Get out your measuring cups and spoons for accurate measurements.

The goal of cooking is to make something edible because we as living beings need nourishment in order to survive in life.  You are making something that can and, hopefully, will be consumed by you and other people. Well, in my case, just I will consume. I became vegan about six years ago and learned quickly that if I wanted to consume food that did not involve the harm or exploitation of an animal, I would have to learn to make it myself.

Hell, most people considered it a phase for two years and assumed I would go back to meat and cheese. Spoiler alert: I didn’t. Through my pursuit for better health and a more moral diet, I developed a great love for cooking. I liked being able to create a dish with my own two hands. It made me more independent, curious, and creative in my own nutrition.

Step 4: Pour the ingredients together and mix them up until they are combined.

There is something so meditative about cooking, baking, or making any sort of edible creation. I do not have to worry about anything except making sure the ingredients are added in the right order with the right measurements. You can just sit back, mix up the ingredients, and just relax.

Nothing else matters except the mixing bowl.

Step 5: Bake or let your creation sit for however long it takes for what you are making to finish cooking.

When you cook or bake, you will inevitably reach a point where you have to sit back and wait. This can usually be a boring time in the culinary process, but it also allows you to pause. You now get to reflect on you own little achievements in the process of culinary creation. You don’t care if the finished product comes out perfect; you’re just glad and proud of what you have completed.

Step 6: Serve and enjoy

Nothing But Breathing

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When I woke up this morning, I lingered for a few minutes in the embrace of my blankets and pillows before putting one foot after another on my carpet and walking out of my bedroom. I eventually, after a cup of coffee, went to the mall to pick up a few things and came home for lunch.

That is about as much as I actually got done today.  These were my accomplishments for the day, only these things and nothing more. I probably should have done more with my day off, but I really didn’t do much.

We all want to feel accomplished in our own lives.

Accomplishments are basically tasks we are given, either voluntarily or otherwise, that reach their completion and conclusion in some way, shape, or form. Our days are defined by what we accomplish in the hours we have been given. Sometimes, we accomplish amazing, grand things in less than a day. After working tirelessly, we are able to achieve goals and overcome obstacles we thought was absolutely impossible. Other times, our accomplishments are as simple as making it to work on time without crashing our car from sleeplessness or aggravation triggered by the morning traffic.

These daily accomplishments vary in their grandness, you know?

Even in our own average jobs, we accomplish goals big and small that help define our days. Day to day, we are asked to accomplish different goals During an average work day, I try to perform and complete the various tasks I am asked to complete by my manager and supervisors as quickly and accurately as possible. Depending on my place on the schedule of my department, I have to be prepared in the skills of both my education and experience in my job to accurately and quickly complete what I need to finish on a day to day business.  Unfortunately, I cannot account for every little nuanced difference in the difficulty of each task given. One day, I can get through a hundred different but easy types of one particular task, while another day can see me struck on one of the same task for much longer and result in only a dozen of that task getting finished. While this should still be seen as an accomplishment, the numbers still matter to me.

If we don’t do a lot in our days, it can seem like we have done nothing at all, and this can make us feel like we have completely failed in our lives if we do not accomplish a high volume of tasks, whether or not these tasks are of high quality or not. Even if I do accomplish at least something in my day, if the quantity of what I completed is low, I might as well have completed nothing. I could finish one amazing feet, but if it is only one, I failed in my day.

I know. It seems like I’m being too tough on myself. As always, I need to learn to be a lot kinder to the face in the mirror.

I’m not saying I shouldn’t push myself to accomplish things in life. I’m just saying that sometimes it’s hard enough to will oneself to get out of bed despite every internal instinct to curl up inside the blankets and never leave the bed.

Sometimes, the only thing I accomplish is that I keep breathing…

…and that’s enough.

Can I/May I Help You?

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Can I help you?

Normally, someone might correct you when you ask “can” instead of “may” in regards to offering assistance, but I might argue that “can” is the correct word to use in this case. You don’t actually know if the person you propose this inquiry to is going to need help or if you actually have the power to officer assistance to fix their problem. So, while “May I help you?” is considered more appropriate, “Can I help you?” is probably much more accurate in answering somebody’s call for something we all need at some point in our lives.

Help.

We are not alone in this world, and we cannot do everything that needs to be done in our lives and the world on our own. We need help and to help others in order to progress and move on in this world. They are also necessary for our own personal and professional growth. However, helping and asking for help are not always as easy as they may seem.

Offering help is pretty simple, though.

We should always strive to be a little kinder in this world. Too often are we trapped in our own selfish bubble that we forget that others are not as fortunate as we may be. People need other people to help lift them up and carry them through the rough times in their lives. Helping others is just being a good citizen of the world.

Being helpful is also a very employable skill to have in one’s arsenal.

As soon as you enter the working world, it’s very likely you have to answer questions such as “May I help you?” or “Can I take your order?” in a job for whatever company deems your lack of experience worthy of a first time employment. It prepares you for a lot in life because it asks you to be prepared in the knowledge of whatever career you find yourself in. When a customer approaches you with an inquiry or if you notice someone needs help, you must learn to have the appropriate knowledge to best assist them. You must also learn how to help sometime kindly and without punching them the face when they are screaming in you.

Customer Service: the most educational career for learn how to deal with mean people without getting arrested.

Learning how to be helpful is absolutely important for a number of reasons, both professionally and personally, but learning to ask for help is equally as imperative for growth and a hell of a lot harder a skill to master.

Asking for help is admitting fault and ignorance. Seeming weak is something most people will do anything to avoid. No human is perfect, so we shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for help in doing something we are struggling with.

Still, we do not have as easy of a time asking help as we do offering it.

Unfortunately, I am one of the worst at admitting when I need help with any given task, professionally or personally. For me, it’s a mixture of independence, social anxiety, and perfectionism that typically keep me from admitting defeat in my own ability to do a job. I’m a perfectionist. I love feeling confident in becoming an expert in whatever job I have. However, I know perfection is an ideal that isn’t a real thing.  Everyone struggles with something, and we need to remember that when asking and offering help in the things we have to do in our lives.

So, here is my attempt at opening up and asking for help.

I need help in being willing to ask for help. I need help in learning how to be okay with admitting any sort of fault in my ability to complete a task without some sort of guidance. I need to ask for assistance when I’m not skilled enough to overcome an obstacle on my own.

I need help.