The Rhythm of a Short Week

Never underestimate amount of bliss contained within the four-day workweek that follows a three-day weekend. Who doesn’t love Faux Monday falling on Tuesday, and a Friday that takes no time to arrive? It’s all such a carefree flurry breezing through humdrum life, not unlike bygone days of early dismissal in grade school. 

But mind thy calendar, for as quickly as you wished for it, we’re now back to your regularly scheduled two-day weekend. And once its over, what’s left is the five-day workweek of weeks past — complete with Real Monday, and perhaps a sour gut feeling as if nothing noteworthy ever happened, nor will happen again. 

C’est la vie. Such is life. Every day is, in fact, a gift, and yet:

“Time keeps on slipping into the future.” — Fly Like an Eagle, Steve Miller Band

Just like that. 

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Writing Tips from Someone Who Doesn’t Know What They’re Doing

Before starting this blog back in June, I had gone through a solid five-year post-college hiatus from writing. As a creative writing major, the last semester at school was taxing to the point where it was no longer enjoyable. Engaging in discussions of history and theory, participating in workshops, and joining in with the university community was a truly unique experience. But the pressure really wore on my drive and imagination. 

After graduation, I lost all nerve to put ideas to paper. It even came to the point that saying that I was a writer felt like a lie.

Thankfully I don’t feel that way anymore. But looking back at it now, I realize that my biggest hang up was getting started. Even today, getting this post started was a challenge, but then I remembered one of my favorite quotes (simple enough and probably overused, but no less true):

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” — Mark Twain

Everyone has their own approach to writing, but sometimes it just boils down to the basics. It doesn’t matter how you do it — using an app, typing on a laptop, or jotting a blurb on a napkin — getting something down is the most important step, followed naturally by revision, then editing.

Revision and I weren’t always good friends, but we’ve worked through our differences, especially since I’ve realized it’s always had my best interests at heart. Looking at the word itself, “revision” implies the re-seeing of something, often through the eyes of someone or something else. Paired with editing, back and forth is to be expected, but is well worth the outcome. Drafting, extracting, and reworking not only improves the concept at hand, but can breed multiple ideas from one initial idea, therefore lessening writer’s block. Total win-win.

Making sense out of an idea can be a long and demanding process, but like a sculptor molding a likeness out of clay, forming abstraction into relatable experience is a meritorious undertaking. I definitely have a long way to go, and don’t always know what I’m doing, but will forever stand by getting started as the most important part of the process. 

Updating My Operating System (Er, My Brain)

Sometimes I feel like my brain is in my hands instead of my head where it should be. 

Like most of the population, I’ve grown very attached to smart technology. To a great extent, I trust these devices to store, process, and make information available when I need it. That’s not an unreasonable expectation. That’s their intended function. However, an issue lies with me, in that I have allowed my intended function — my natural intelligence — to be greatly reduced.

Does that make me brain dead?

When I was a kid, my parents made sure that I’d memorized our home address, our home phone number, their respective work numbers, my social security number, and a few emergency contact phone numbers. 

These days I still know my parents’ phone numbers, as well as those of my younger brother and boyfriend. I’ve memorized my home and work address, my work and mobile number, but I’d be hard-pressed to know the same of my friends off the top of my head. 

A month or so ago, I was visiting my sister and we reminisced over photo albums from our teenaged days. As we went through them, I felt myself struggling to piece together certain places and times and faces. Thankfully she could remember them for me, but I was surprised that whole parts of my life had pushed back to the point of nearly being forgotten completely. 

I can’t help but wonder how much more I may have tuned out and forgotten by letting technology do the thinking for me. Will I, too, be forgotten in the process?

Exactly how much I have underused my brain? How many times have I been so focused on documenting the perfect moment instead of fully absorbing the feeling, or taking in an image through my eyes, developing it with my very own operating system? 

I was born with the most complex technology available, surely the most priceless. It’s time to use it. All else is merely supplemental.

Which came first: the human brain, or smart device? 

I know the answer — do you?

3 Things I Learned from Interviewing Miley Cyrus 

I just woke up from a very realistic dream where I had the opportunity to interview Miley Cyrus in promotion of her latest single, “Younger Now”, and overall upcoming era of music.

We met in the early afternoon at a hybrid Four Seasons/school auditorium-meets-my-bedroom-floor type of setting (a meaning I couldn’t even begin to interpret so early in the morning). I wore a maroon, 90’s-era sweater dress, and had my trusty notepad and audio recorder in tow. Miley wore a tan fedora over blonde and honey-brown locks, a sky blue t-shirt, distressed jeans, and boho bangles. I didn’t notice her shoes.

Anyway, this is what I learned during our dream-interview:

1. If the answer can’t be found out via Google search, don’t ask the question. For some reason, the interview setting was semi-one-on-one versus roundtable, so I followed an interviewer who asked Miley some really good questions, which  meant that I was left with  asking some pretty obnoxious questions. “How did you know that you wanted to be a singer?” “What do you think of your career trajectory?” Embarrassment dripped from my corner my mouth, while Miley’s eyes bored into me in mildly repressed irritation. She, of course, left the room shortly thereafter. I don’t blame her.

I learned very quickly that if you ever get the chance to dream-interview an international celebrity, don’t be like me. When in doubt, it’s far better to ask someone how they’re doing or what they’ll be doing when they’re in town. The chance at segue is far more possible.

2. As much as you think you know someone, check yourself, because you don’t. Especially celebrity, as well as us anons. People change with time and experience. Or they don’t. You only know what they choose to show you. Take that as some version of the truth. Maya Angelou is quoted as saying — paraphrased — that when someone shows you who they are, believe them. And to that, I’ll add: be appreciative of the time while you have it. You may never get it back.

3. Be happy with your existence, at all stages. Ours was a painfully brief exchange, but I couldn’t help but notice that on the back of the lightly worn, sky blue shirt she was wearing was an image of Hannah Montana.

Every now and then you may hear someone say – with a hint of chagrin – that they were such a super fan during a  very glittery, countrified, hot pink time in life, having since grown up and out of it. But I’d bet money that if “See You Again” came on the radio, they’d be back in that mode like no time had passed. 

All of life’s stages are gone through for a reason and are worthy of acknowledgement, as they still exist with us. Dream-Miley’s recognition of herself — she used to be, who she is now, and who she will be — is to be admired.

If you haven’t yet seen the music video for “Younger Now”, check it out below as well as her performance at the 2017 MTV VMAs this past Sunday:

photo via wikimedia.org

Impromptu Naked Yoga

Sometimes clothes feel like a complete waste of time, which how I felt when heading to one of my favorite spas in Koreatown the other day.

Visiting a Korean spa for the first time can be a  bit of a different experience than visiting a traditional spa. While it absolutely bodes well that one wlll leave refreshed, there may be certain challenges one has to go through to get there — this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. 

For one, nudity is a requirement in the sauna and bath/shower areas. Also, the temperatures of the dry and steam saunas are a lot more extreme than standard, so listening to one’s body, taking breaks and drinking water is a must, too.

(But seriously, Life Pro Tip: If really concerned about being naked in front of others, you will learn really quickly that no one cares — largely because they, too, are in the same state of undress as you are. It’s very a freeing thought once it sinks in.)

All in all, it always ends up being such a cathartic, refreshing experience. Fast-foward to me in the dry sauna, though, remembering that I forgot to do any sort of stretching or pose holds during my workout earlier in the day. 

Then I thought: well, why not do a few poses? People have surely done stranger things. 

So I grabbed my towel, laid it on the floor, and eased into a few variations of seated split stretch. I sat cross-legged and pushed my legs down at the knees, did a few neck stretches and seated supine twist. I also practiced pigeon pose and finally goddess pose, melting into unintended savasana for the rest of my visit. 

Turns out it wasn’t at all awkward or uncomfortable as I thought it’d be. Working with a body uninhibited by waistbands or give of fabric drew my attention away from my thighs and stomach to release of interal and perceived external tension, both rooting myself in the moment, and in relation to circumstances outside of myself. 

It was actually quite nice.

ttfn~

Stay In or Go Out?

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Maybe it’s just the way it’s filmed, but the first time I watched Sex & the City, I thought that the girls went out all the time. Rewatching the series over the years (and now being a woman in her 30s) I’ve realized that, while not impossible, that just wasn’t the case for them, for myself, or anyone else I know (that I know of).

It wasn’t long ago that I’d rush home from work to head down to happy hour and get the weekend started — but as I’m writing this, it’s just after 10pm on a Saturday night and I am in my pajamas getting ready for bed.

I’ve actually been quite socially active — camping in Big Bear, attending rock and acoustic shows, gallery showcases and birthday parties. And while I’m not the biggest club goer these days, sometimes there’s just no better feeling than when the beat drops while you’re in the middle of the dance floor, and euphoria rushes like sprites in all directions through your bloodstream. Knowing what that feels like, it’s only natural to feel that if you’re not out, you’re missing out.

The other day I posted a series of tweets with the #selfcare / #selflove hashtags that ended up running along the vein of knowing your limits and not forcing things:

So to the above, I’d like to add that self-care is letting yourself stay in, which in my experience can take the same effort it takes to go out. Sure, going out can mean trading a security blanket for a pair of social butterfly wings, but staying in can mean pushing aside fear of missing out, or perceptions of what other people — or you yourself — may think.

Allow room for both as you see fit. Sometimes it’s okay to do nothing. It’s probably the biggest something you can do for yourself.

ttfn~

photo via Pixabay

It’s Not You, It’s Me (The Truth About Blogging)

The idea of this blog came while travelling with my laptop in Denmark this past June. Being halfway around the world, I was reminded just how engaged the global online community is, and knew that if I just pushed myself, somehow I could find a place in it again.

Yes, again. Seven years or so ago, I had a blog called “Adventures of a Car-Less Valley Girl in Los Angeles” — a place where I commented on goings-on and personal forays in the cycling and public transportation world. Looking back on it now, I can see the interest and passion that went into it. Living car-free in a city where one’s car is considered a measure of status, it was basically my whole life. Not so much anymore, as I’ve had a car for a good three years now, although the issue of infrastructure and community still very much concern and affect me.

So what is my life now? What exactly do I want to share here?

1. Adventures in yoga. Everything about yoga is ultimate goals to me, but I’ve yet to put it into regular practice. It’s time. Over the next two weeks, I plan on making yoga a focus — practicing sun salutations A and B to the point of memory, adding some targeted stretches, and enjoying the hell out of savasana. (I’m really good at savasana.) I’ll also do some targeted conditioning work and maybe 10 minutes of HIIT cardio per session — but it’s time to switch gears and take a different route.

2. Random commentary (world events, hot topics, trends, etc.). There are maybe three YouTube drama commentators that I watch semi-regularly, but every time I do, I’m quickly reminded of this likely mis-quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”

Do I want to be that person on this platform? Not really. I’ve many viewpoints on things, but not necessarily on what is being gossipped about concerning social media personalities. Millions of others care enough without my input, and I don’t want to expend so much energy just to be in-the-know about someone’s drama that doesn’t serve me. I will, however, cover topics of note that inform, notify, and perhaps encourage to thought and action. We’ll just see.

3. Creative works. Think poetry, prose, short passages. I’ve an idea for a series involving mental health, and just existing, and will feature it here as it develops. It would be nice to write about writing, so look out for that as well. It might not always be pretty, but it might be what’s needed.

4. And finally, how bizarre life is. My colleague and I were talking yesterday about how life is just too much sometimes, but that no one can seem to tell from the outside. As we were talking, I could feel the stress settling in my neck and trace anxiety from making genuine eye contact. Balance between family, work, and passion is an ongoing process, and all the joy I can feel in one instance is met with fighting the urge to not cry in another. I’d like to touch on horrible and wonderful in every moment because right now, that is my life (and likely many others… we just don’t talk about it).

So there you have it — my intended direction for this blog at this time. Should I ever retract, just remember that the internet is forever, and there will always be some cached version available for viewing somewhere.

ttfn~