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A Vote for Positivity- and Fun!

A Vote for Positivity- and Fun!

“No one looks stupid when they're having fun.” I saw this phrase a while ago on a post by Amy Poehler. It stuck with me for two reasons:

  1. It's been a long time since I've had so much fun that I felt in danger of looking stupid.
  2. I've definitely observed the enjoyment (or silliness) of others and with a slightly perturbed look on my face thought, “you should really calm down." 

After giving these realizations a little thought, both hold deeper significance.

Let’s back up to #1. At first glance it could seem that I have less fun than I used to. I think it's true that I have different types of fun than I did when I was a kid, but I still enjoy life and try to make a habit of enjoying it as often as possible. What I think changed for me is my concern with judgement. Don't get me wrong, I've been known to stay awake all night fretting over one verbal slip up in a conversation. I'm not proud of it, but by no means am I the super confident, your-opinions-mean-nothing-to-me type. But when it comes to having a good time? To hell with anyone who would judge me for that. (This is not an endorsement for reckless abandon. This is an endorsement for good clean fun.) I worry about plenty of other things that (as mentioned above) keep me up at night. I refuse to worry about someone's opinion that my fun is somehow annoying or out of place. 

Moving on to #2. I have looked at others and wondered why their particular form of enjoyment works for them. Before you call me a hypocrite I would like to point out that, that was the past version of me. Now I look at these scenarios and force a smile even if I don't immediately mean it. The best thing about someone enjoying themselves is that they give off positive energy. I realized by my unnecessary judgement I was blocking this energy and even morphing it into negative energy sometimes. Why would I do that? Because there's just too much happiness in the world and I need to zap some of it out? Um, no. Incorrect.

My judgement is basically always irrelevant when it comes to others’ actions. And if their actions give them joy, provided those actions are harmless to others, it is my duty to allow that joy to live and flourish.  

"No one looks stupid when they're having fun" may seem insignificant, but the phrase is powerful. It's a PSA of sorts. When you’re enjoying yourself, really soak it in. Enjoy it! When you observe others having a good time, even if you don’t understand it, combat the urge to roll your eyes because fun isn’t stupid.

Have fun, let others have fun, and the world will be a more fun place to live!

Embracing Change: Some Raw Notes

Embracing Change: Some Raw Notes

Tomorrow I move from the only home I’ve lived in since moving to a new city three and a half years ago. It is the house where I started Noya which also has a big day tomorrow. Noya turns one year old tomorrow. Tomorrow is only tomorrow, but it feels a world away. It feels uncomfortable, like a stranger that I’m going to have to talk to whether we find commonalities or not. It feels surreal and its impending reality feels heavy, like a weight I may not be able to bear.

I have been in situations over the past several years where I’ve stepped into change. I’ve had new roles and responsibilities, but it’s never felt this big to me. Those were smooth shifts as I took on something new and figured it out as I went. I was presented with an option and I chose to move. Today feels different. It feels scarier. This time there are no options. Time itself is moving the needle forward. I can’t stop it.

It reminds me of my first year at college. That was a tough change. When I went home over winter break I seriously contemplated transferring to a school down the road from my hometown. I was overwhelmed and vulnerable and felt utterly unprepared for life away from my family and friends. After a teary-eyed conversation with my mother, she convinced me to try one more semester and reevaluate in the spring.

I went back to school in January and after that, I never blinked an eye at my decision to move away for college. I freaking loved college! Those years in Austin were some of the best of my life. I’m so glad I didn’t crawl back into my hole of comfort. My life would be so different.

When I made the decision to push through the uncomfortable parts of change, I learned a lot about myself. My views, my passions, even the way I treated others drastically changed. Throughout college I was fortunate to experience change over and over again. I learned what it meant to have an open mind. I learned what it meant to live in a bubble and how even with an open mind it is sometimes hard to see past that bubble. I learned that different backgrounds and different upbringings are beautiful sources of a deeper understanding of life. And I learned to embrace change because every time I allowed myself to experience change, something good came from it. Even when I thought a change could bring no positive repercussions, with time it always did.

So here I sit, at the intersection of old and new and I am again resistant. I love the life I have right now and change seems unnecessary. But I have a sneaking suspicion that when change begins to feel unnecessary that’s the exact time when it’s abundantly necessary. Because change is revealing. It removes all the walls we hide behind and strips away the safety blankets we create in other people, objects, and places. We are vulnerable in times of change and our true selves shine through. Our weaknesses are exposed—which is good. After all, how do we strengthen areas if we do not know how weak they’ve become? Our strengths also shine through in times of change and help us move through the tumultuous transition period. This awareness alone is worth the sting of discomfort.

Right now I feel sad and anxious. I don’t know what a new home will be like and I have no idea what challenges a second year of business will bring, but I’m excited to learn from what’s in store. I’m excited for the opportunities that this shift will create and to find growth along the way.

When it comes down to it, living without change eventually ceases to be living at all. Living is like being in an ocean. Sometimes you swim forward with purpose and strength. Sometimes the current will be so strong that you’ll struggle and be pushed back. Sometimes it will be all you can do to tread water. And sometimes you’ll float on the surface with comfort and ease. But to remain rigid and stagnant is certain death. To remain in one place is the opposite of living.

While many agree that change is good, I believe that change is life. Though it is scary and I feel resistant, I’m grateful that time has given me a push toward the unknown. It’s not every day that I have the opportunity to change. It’s not easy now, but it will be good later.

When life pushes you out of your comfort zone, find your calm, open your mind and eyes wide, and find opportunities for growth. But don’t you dare resist.

 

Don't Let Social Media Bring You Down

Don't Let Social Media Bring You Down

Recently I’ve been in a bit of a slump. There’s so much negativity in the news, on social media, and even in casual conversations. I’ve been bummed out by everything in my daily life. I didn’t want to give into the negativity, but it was almost an obsession like, “let’s see what horrible things are going to depress me on social media today,” and away I would scroll! --Becoming more and more upset by every post I saw.

Every day I would wake up and read terrible things. I would see the blogs my like-minded peers would post about how terrifying the world is and how much more awful it would soon become. I would notice which of my “friends” were liking something that offended me. I would show up to work and just go through the motions, feeling powerless and sad. I would look around at all the people I interacted with and wonder if they were hateful and angry the way so many people were portrayed on the news.

One day I called my sister for a brief five minute conversation. I told her I might have to quit social media all together because it was bothering me so much. After that quick call, I realized I was being ridiculous. Sure, a social media detox might help for a bit, but inevitably it’s my mindset I need to change. Yes, there’s some upsetting news out there, but it’s not going to help for me to think about it obsessively. It’s not going to help for me to mope around because everyone hates everyone. So, I decided that I’m no longer going to let the weight of the news burden me. When I see things that outrage me, I will speak out and do what I can to help, but I’m not going to go down the rabbit hole of what a terrible world this is, because I realized something after that phone call.

There are good people in this world and I’m one of them!

There are SO many people out there who are caring, wonderful humans and I’m lucky enough to have several of them in my life and I’m lucky enough to BE one of them. Too often we don’t allow ourselves to recognize how awesome we are. There’s a stigma to acknowledging your own positive attributes. We’re afraid of what others might say if they knew we thought highly of ourselves or maybe we’re afraid to admit the good things about us because we’re worried that we’ll lose humility. There’s a huge difference in recognizing that you are a good person versus thinking you’re better than everyone else.

When you view yourself in a positive light you’re able to grow. You open yourself up to even more potential. Have you ever met someone and even if it was just a single interaction with them, your day was uplifted because of how kind and positive they were? I want to be that person and I want to be that person every day.

So that’s it. It’s that simple. I’m going to continue to be a good person. I’m not going to let things get me down, especially when I have no control over them.  I’m going to stand up for the things I believe in, but I’m also going to continue to treat everyone I meet with respect and kindness, even if I don’t see eye to eye with them. I’m going to show the world that there are good people out there.

There’s no inspiration in being constantly dragged down by negative thoughts and ideas. If I want to contribute to the world I have to push past the negativity that it often offers. So if you’re like me and have felt a bit hardened lately, I want you to look inward. Are you a good person? I bet you are. Acknowledge it. Give yourself a high-five! Now remind yourself that while you’re a unique individual, your goodness is not a phenomenon. You are one of many. Draw inspiration from that and let your positivity shine! When you think about how many good, decent people there are, it’s not hard to be positive. If we can remind ourselves of this daily, our positivity will become infectious and we will truly make a difference.