Live Well: Sway, Sway, Sway

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By this time, I’m guessing that most of you have heard about the 6.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Napa early Sunday morning. In case you weren’t aware, the earthquake was very much felt here in San Francisco too, although there wasn’t any noticeable damage.

Since the experience is still on my mind, I figured I’d dedicate today’s blog post to my little earthquake story.

After going to bed super late on Saturday night (no, we weren’t out partying – we just spent the first part of the night sleeping on our couch with all the lights on after accidentally falling asleep while watching TV), I woke up at 3:25-ish CONVINCED that someone was trying to break into our apartment. This is the thing, y’all – earthquakes are loud (which was also my main takeaway from living through a hurricane five years ago. Clearly sound = bad).

When I woke up, what I thought I heard was someone slamming on the doors in our apartment hallway. What I most likely actually heard was the doors slamming into their own frames as the building swayed around them.

When I woke up, for a split second I did consider the fact that maybe it was an earthquake that had startled me out of sleep. But then I looked around and none of our light fixtures were swaying, so I ruled that option out immediately (note to self: check Twitter next time before closing the case). I then preceded to wake my husband up, make him go close our apartment windows, and dig my flashlight out of my nightstand to use as a weapon when the intruder came back. You know, the flashlight I keep in my nightstand in case of…earthquakes.

Luckily, the flashlight did not need to be called into service as either an anti-burglar device or as a post-earthquake necessity. When I woke up again at 8AM (and let me tell you – I’m surprised I even managed to fall asleep again after all this) I had an email from one of my coworkers checking to make sure everyone had made it through the earthquake okay. Ohhhhhhh….an earthquake. That made a LOT more sense than my thief-in-the-night theory.

All in all, I’m not so impressed with my and my husband’s survival skills when it comes to earthquakes – the first two I experienced (a mid-day earthquake and its aftershock a few hours later) I immediately assumed were shaking caused by a passing 18-wheeler. Not a truck? I should get under the table? Well, too late. The third earthquake we experienced we both slept straight through. It turns out it’s SUPER disconcerting to go to work in the morning where everyone’s talking about how they jolted awake last night and you’re like…why? Noisy neighbors? Oh, an earthquake? What earthquake? And the fourth one…well, I mistook it for an invisible marauder. But my plan for fighting that marauder off was solid, y’all.

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Per the (recent) usual, my blog posting will likely be inconsistent this week – I’m flying to Atlanta today for a work meeting, and then flying back Tuesday evening. I don’t foresee getting a lot of blogging time in between my two 9+ hour travel sessions. Oh well. I’m sure the meeting will be a good experience, and once it’s over it’s only a few days until Labor Day weekend! All in all, it can’t be too bad of a week, right?

Have a great Monday.

Live Well: Ira Glass on Life

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Two weeks ago, my husband sent me this Lifehacker interview with Ira Glass to cheer me up on a Monday. It worked. Not only did it confirm what I’ve believed for over a decade now (that Ira Glass is awesome), it gave me a new mantra.

While I think there are several interesting points in the article, by far my favorite piece was the last question/answer:

“Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers/fans?

I’d just say to aspiring journalists or writers—who I meet a lot of—do it now. Don’t wait for permission to make something that’s interesting or amusing to you. Just do it now. Don’t wait. Find a story idea, start making it, give yourself a deadline, show it to people who’ll give you notes to make it better. Don’t wait till you’re older, or in some better job than you have now. Don’t wait for anything. Don’t wait till some magical story idea drops into your lap. That’s not where ideas come from. Go looking for an idea and it’ll show up. Begin now. Be a f**king soldier about it and be tough.”

“Be a f**king soldier about it.” Forget the fact that this advice is aimed at those pursuing journalism – that’s the mantra we need for SO many things in life.

 I particularly loved that quote because it reflected my own attitude so perfectly in the early days of this blog. Back when I opened this little corner of the internet, I was dragging myself day in and day out to a job that I couldn’t stand. And it’s not just that it had some of the typical trappings of bad jobs – unpredictable hours, questionable management, and a WAY overinflated sense of importance – it was just boring. There were days where I would go hours without having anything to work on. I would say I exerted pretty minimal effort about 95% of the time.

While experiencing all this, I constantly felt like a complete waste of space. The type of stress I encountered was of the deep-seated, gnawing variety – I wondered incessantly where my life was going, if I was going to be stuck in this professional rut forever, if I was just a thoroughly average, boring person.

And then I decided to do something about it.

I committed to writing this blog five days a week, every week. For an entire year, I wrote on Christmas, on vacation, in the middle of the night when I came home from work (or parties) late. I realized that doing that kind of work is what made me feel worthwhile. It gave me a purpose, of sorts.

I didn’t start this blog to become a famous blogger. Let’s face it, that was never in the cards. But I started writing it to get me somewhere, and that somewhere arrived when I interviewed and landed my job at shopkick, a job that I love and that teaches me something new every day.

You would think all of these things would make me sad and embarrassed about the current state of this blog. My posting frequency has tapered off to being inconsistent at best. Even when I do post, I frequently forget to share it on Facebook…so hardly anybody sees it.

But honestly, I don’t feel bad.

This blog was, other than my marriage, my lifeblood for well over a year. So much work went into these pages. But I’ve realized that life isn’t about being a soldier at one thing all the time. It’s about being a soldier at AT LEAST one thing at all times. For awhile, that thing was this blog. These days, that thing is my job, going to the gym regularly, spending more time with friends, and, most importantly, taking time every night to relax and spend time with my husband. All of these things calm me down and make me happy. And I’ve reached the point where writing this blog can be the happy filler in between those happy activities.

Someday, writing posts every day may make an ascent back up my list of priorities. That’s a definite possibility. But for now, if it’s okay with you, I’m not going to let this blog be a source of guilt. I’m going to continue to write only when I have something to say. I know that’s the best way to keep it as one of the most unexpected sources of joy in my life – the place where I’ve gotten so much closer to all of you who read what I write here. I cherish that more than anything.

Is there a part of your life that you currently find unsatisfying? If so, I suggest you take the Ira Glass approach – find what you love, and be a f**king soldier about it. You won’t regret it.

Live Well: BRB, Watching True Detective…

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Hey guys – I know I’ve been a terribly inconsistent blogger as of late.

And to be honest, I don’t have a great excuse for that inconsistency. I mean, yes, I am dealing with crazy work schedules/social events/a desire to regularly attend the gym, all of which cut into my blogging time. But really I’ve been so bad so far this week because we finally, FINALLY got around to watching True Detective

To be honest, I was a bit hesitant to start watching the show – a few things I had read/heard suggested that maybe it wasn’t all that enjoyable. They. Were. Wrong. In retrospect, the fact that I didn’t immediately jump on the bandwagon for this show is completely perplexing for three simple reasons:

Exhibit A: Matthew McConaughey

Exhibit B: Filmed in the South

Exhibit C: It’s a murder mystery

And (bonus) Exhibit D: Getting to watch Woody Harrelson be charming on screen for the first time since I was obsessed with Cheers in middle school

I mean, seriously…how did I not realize that this show was custom-made for my enjoyment? Detective books have always been my thing: when I was a kid, I LOVED Nancy Drew. Later on, I graduated to Agatha Christie’s body of work, and recently have been a major fan of Tana French. True Detective is the best television extension of those types of books that I have ever seen.

Additionally, I have to once again hand it to Matthew McConaughey for doing an incredible job transforming himself and being an integral part of yet another interesting work about life in the South. Thanks to all the astounding work he’s done recently in BernieMudDallas Buyers Club, and now True Detective (and even Magic Mike!), I will go see ANYTHING that he’s in (a level of fandom that I don’t give our lightly). This performance has me hoping that he’ll beat out Bryan Cranston for the Emmy win…but let’s keep that a secret, lest the Breaking Bad uber fans decide to come after me :)

If you’ve been on the fence about watching True Detective, I urge you to give it a shot. It’s thoughtful, suspenseful, beautifully shot, and only requires eight hours of your time, all in. Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson are both spectacular in it. And while the mystery’s subject matter can be tough (the murder of women and children) they manage to approach it in a way that never makes you feel like you’re watching a movie based on a Stephen King novel.

We finished the last episode of the series late last night. I wish that meant that I will be immediately back on the blogging bandwagon, but I’m going to be at an overnight company retreat tomorrow and Friday sans internet access, so you won’t be hearing from me the rest of this week! I’ll be back next week – I promise!