Sunday, January 26, 2014

Year 25: Tactful Avoidance (With an intro about First World Problems)

I'm a huge fan of #FirstWorldProblems. If you search the hashtag on Twitter you get an amazing look at all the menial things people of privilege (aka, anyone in the US, UK, or other Middle-to-Upper-Middle-Class Countries), are dealing with on a daily basis. For example: 
Jan 23The heated leather seats in this rental car take, like, four minutes to warm up my backside.
Jan 22Had to cut bagels in half myself because they didn't come pre-sliced.
Jan 22My snowblower won't start.

Ok, so maybe that last one is actually a big deal if you're living in the North East right now. But I'm looking at all the people right here in State College who have bigger issues than I do. The homeless wanderers, the stranger guy at the cafe who approached me the other morning, who I will blog about's just heartbreaking.

It's also heartbreaking because I'm not woman enough to face my own problems. Anytime I'm hit with confrontation or conflict, my instinct is to run, hide, and avoid. Sweeping things under the rug should be my Olympic sport.

Tactful Avoidance is easy. But it's not always the best thing for us...for me. I prefer to distract myself from the bigger issues in life by trying to figure out trivial ones. For example, I'm sad to be missing Sean and Catherine's wedding tonight, (You know, the couple from last year's season of The Bachelor...!), but really I should be sad that I feel emotionally drained from a situation that probably wasn't a big deal to begin with. But it's easier to focus on the things that provide us an escape from reality.

Sometimes an escape is good, healthy even. But when all we're doing is escaping, we can lose sight of the important things directly affecting the people we love, and the world around us. My challenge to you, and to myself this week is to take time to focus on just one thing that you've been avoiding. It might be confrontation, it might be cleaning your room (whoops...), or it might be figuring out whether or not to accept/turn down/think about that big job offer you just got. Whatever it it, set aside sometime to think, meditate, and pray about the situation. I will join you in doing this as well.
Because running from problems is exhausting, and I'm getting worn out.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Year 25: New Year's Edition

Here we are. January 1st. My News Feed and Twitter Timeline is full of people saying good riddance to 2013. Some nicely...some harshly. I don't know everyone's story from this past year, but as I'm getting older, I see more and more people spewing malice at the past 364.75 days. Honestly, I don't get it. Now, that's not to discredit anyone's tragedy, or loss, or extreme challenge; but instead of focusing on how terrible the past year was, shouldn't we be thankful that God saw us through all of our tough times? Sure, it's nice to bury the past and move on, but it's our past that shapes how we approach the future. So as you continue your toast to 2014, remember to take the things that make you say "Sayonara, 2013!" and turn them into applicable life lessons for 2014!

I've seen this quote from Steve Jobs floating around, and I really think it's a good reminder:

As for me, this past year was about growth as a daughter, a girlfriend, a theatre practitioner and a student. I'm not in the habit of making resolutions, but here is the start (and partial continuation) of my Year 25 Active Challenges List:

  1. Instead of resolving to hit the gym twice a week, I challenge myself to treat my body as my instrument. I challenge myself to look beyond the things I can't physically overhaul, and focus on the things that are easily modified. 
  2. I challenge myself to show more thoughtfulness and gratitude towards those I love. 
  3. I challenge myself to approach every audition (4 in the next month and a half!!) as a learning experience. 
    • 3a: I will NOT put myself down after an audition. I will learn from my mistakes and correct them for the next time. 
  4. I challenge myself to gracefully say "no" to things I know will not be good for my mental stability. 
  5. I challenge myself to stop drinking coffee. Completely. 
    • 5a: I also challenge myself, to stop indulging in food that I know makes me feel sub-par. 
So those are 5, non-overwhelming things I'm going to challenge myself to do this year. I have many more, but I think 5 was a good place to start. 

What about you? Are you happy to see the New Year, or is January 1st just another day? What are some of our resolutions or challenges? Share them in the comments below!