Why I have mixed feelings about New Year’s resolutions:

Most folks (nearly everyone?) comes up with a resolution every New Year’s Eve, whether it’s to lose weight, or be nice to their jerk neighbor, or better themselves in some other way. My news feed on Facebook the past three days has been absolutely LITTERED with New Year’s resolution status updates. I saw one person post something like “Facebook should come up with technology to show everyone your New Year’s resolution post at the end of the year so you have to defend why you didn’t end up doing it.” (That may not be the exact phraseology, but it is the general point, and I can’t seem to find the original post.)

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My main peeve with resolutions is this: why does self-betterment have to revolve around the changing of the year? Can’t you, at any point in time, make a resolution (which is, in essence, a pact with yourself, for yourself, and no one else’s business) to change? For instance, in November I started posting on this blog again. Not because it was the new year, but because I realize that writing helps me feel better about myself, and that even publishing a few posts a month was one way to get myself back into my craft of writing. 

Changing yourself for the better is great, and even highly encouraged. No one likes to watch the years go by and never see themselves get any better. All I’m saying is that I think New Year’s resolutions are frequently broken because they feel like an obligation. “Well, it’s New Year’s day. Better choose a resolution out of a hat.” If you don’t have any serious attachment to a resolution, or you feel like you just made one because you were “supposed to,” it’s not going to mean anything and of course you’re not going to follow through.

The point of all of this, I suppose, is this: if you are unhappy with something about the way you are living your life, FIX IT. Do whatever you need to do to enact positive change, no matter what time of the year it is. Don’t let self-betterment hinge on an obligation you’re going to resent.

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Why I think gift cards get a bad rap:

Well hey there, folks. I’ve been lacking wifi for my computer for a little while, but I have returned! Since it’s Christmas Eve and all that, I figured I’d go ahead and make a brief post defending gift cards.

Why? Because gift cards are like the awkward kid who stands at the corner of the basketball court waiting to catch a pass while everybody else calls them names. Gift cards often get called “thoughtless” or “the easy way out,” and I think it’s unfair.

Personally, I freaking love getting gift cards. While it’s true that maybe gift cards are sometimes picked up as a last minute gift, the fact remains that that person IS GETTING A GIFT, and not just getting left off the list entirely. A gift card says, “Hey. I know some personal stuff about you and where you like to spend your money,” or at the very least “You told me about something you wanted from this store but I just can’t remember what it is, and I want you to have it.”

Gift cards save gift-givers from giving bad gifts, and gift-getters from having to pretend to like bad gifts. Gift cards save retail workers time because they don’t have to process a hundred thousand returns for bad gifts on the day after Christmas.

The REAL impersonal gift in my opinion (at any time of year, not just the holidays) is money slapped in a card. Don’t get me wrong–I love money. I love opening cards and finding out there’s a check in there. It’s great, especially as a recent grad who doesn’t make a lot of money and every dollar counts. But when I get cash I start thinking to myself, “You know Amber, you should use this money productively. You could use it to pay off some bills, or buy something that you really need.” And I’m not so grown-up yet that I like doing that. I like my birthday and Christmas presents, okay? I want to buy things for myself, and I may not even be buying something frilly or unnecessary with my gift card, but it makes me feel better.

When you give a gift card you are telling someone, “Hey. You. Go buy something nice for yourself that you want, and don’t just add this money to your bank account so that it will get spent on other stuff. This is a present. Deal with it.”

And I think that’s nice.

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Why I don’t agree with the introvert/extrovert dichotomy:

I’ve been in a peculiar mood today–and by that I mean “productive, oddly enthusiastic, and outgoing,” so I’m going to tackle something that crosses my mind periodically.

Nearly everyone’s heard of (and probably taken one of) those Briggs-Meyers type of personality tests where you’re assigned a four letter code that supposedly describes who you are.

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You know you’ve seen these codes at least once…

Since I was a kid and first discovered this test, I’ve been scoring an ENTP (extrovert, iNtuition, thinking, perceiving) code. And, while sometimes I find these things accurate, there is never a moment when I don’t think, “well, some of the characteristics on the other side describe me too…”

Take a look at it–I bet you’ll think the same thing. Now I know that personality tests are not the end-game explanation for why and how we are who we are as humans. But, although in the past I have classified myself as an extrovert, I have gained more introverted tendencies as I’ve gotten older. Not so many that I feel the need to call myself an introvert, but enough that I don’t always feel confident calling myself an extrovert.

I get easily frustrated in large crowds of people–but not always. I can carry on multiple conversations during social events–but sometimes that desire disappears and I feel like I’d rather read a book. And I know I can’t be the only one. So where do I, and people like me, fit in?

Because that’s the problem with dichotomies. You’re either A, or you’re B, and if you fall into any kind of in-between or outside category, you’re pretty much screwed. Plus, the types of absolutes found in dichotomy-oriented thinking are often harmful (see: virgin/whore dichotomy). People that don’t fall into either category feel isolated, marginalized, and alone. And, in a world with over 7 billion people, alone is the last thing that anyone is. It’s important for us to remember that, no matter what our quirks, eccentricities, or obscure preferences, somebody out there shares your opinion.

As of this moment, there’s not anything I can personally do on my own to rectify this situation. But I would be interested in hearing what thoughts others have on the subject. So please, let’s see if we can find a seat for all us “in-betweeners” somewhere comfy off the dichotomy bandwagon.

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Why I think the “American Dream” is a misnomer:

I feel pretty confident in saying that the majority of people have heard the old saying (now trite, in my opinion, but we’ll get to that) “The American Dream.” Seriously–I don’t know when it was created, or who came up with it, but every time I hear it I feel like Inigo Montoya from “The Princess Bride.”

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Because here’s the deal: when use of “The American Dream” was at its’ height, the phrase meant something along these lines:

  1. Find person to marry.
  2. Marry that person, and move out of your parents’ house.
  3. Have a job that gives you enough money to buy a beautiful, picturesque house, and make lots of babies to fill said house.
  4. Repeat money- and baby-making until dead.

This is a very short, slightly over-exaggerated, sarcastic list, yes. But the point is that not everyone thinks like that anymore. Hell, not everyone thought like that back when that was the “ideal American life.”

The problem is, “The American Dream” means something different to everyone. Some people may have similar ideas and goals for their lives and own personal dreams, and those people end up being friends, more often than not. Personally, I’d love to be able to write all day every day, get paid to do it, and be able to move into a beautiful/cute/unique little house with my woman and our pets. I can’t do that right now because I’m a recent grad barely making enough money to pay rent as it is, but I can dream about it. That’s my “American Dream.” Yours, I’m sure, is probably quite different.

And that’s okay. I just wish that we could stop generalizing, and accept that everyone has different goals. And just, be cool, guys. Be cool.

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Why I’m not ashamed to say I don’t know what I’m doing:

Part of me feels like I should introduce myself, since it’s been so long since I have published a post. However, I will instead redirect you to my recently edited “Why This Blog Exists” page.

That being said, I owe an explanation for my two-year disappearance. Unfortunately, I don’t have a great one. I’ve been busy with school, getting into roller derby, and trying to figure out what to do with my life. That’s it. Nothing better. But trying to figure out what you’re doing with your life is a full-time job in itself.

The “trying to figure things out” portion of my life in the past couple of years has so far included:

  • joining a roller derby league and subsequently getting the crap beat out of me a multitude of times before figuring out how to lay decent hits of my own
  • finding the love of my life and subsequently stepping out of the closet to my family, a journey which deserves its own post and has gone infinitely better than I expected
  • discovering that while a relationship is the relationship you want to stay in for the rest of your life, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy–and that’s what makes it worth it
  • floundering about in the “real world” for several months and finally deciding that honesty is the best policy and I should just admit that while I don’t have a clue what I’m doing, I’m trying to have fun and make the best of it.

So, what’s the point? The point, dear readers, is this: stop thinking your life is going to magically come together. It’s not. Stick close to your friends, your family, and whatever makes you happy. Because life after graduation is difficult (for most of us) and staying close to what makes you happy is what will help keep you sane. And, as far as writing goes, I haven’t done the best job of staying close–and I’ve gone a little insane. Consider this my next baby step of trying to get back to what makes me, “Me,” and nobody else: writing, being snarky, and enjoying every minute of it.

Nobody can do it alone, and there’s no shame in that. So, fellow recent grads, I hope you know there are many others just as lost as you are. I think it’s time to start having a good time on the journey out of the confusing post-grad woods. Who’s with me?

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Indefinite Hiatus.

I’ve been on one, and I probably will continue to be for a while. Things are just crazy, but I’ll be back. Eventually.

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Why I Don’t Like Rompers.

One-pieces,  jumpsuits, a romper by any other name would be just as uncomfortable.

I’m not saying that rompers are always a fashion-don’t, some people pull them off nicely.  (Sadly, usually very thin people.  A downside to rompers is they don’t possess much in the way of covering ability.)  Rompers are not all that flattering in my opinion but sometimes I’m proven wrong.  (Shocking, right?)  I just find them very uncomfortable, awkward and difficult for a variety of reasons.  Here’s some examples:

These Rompers are from Sheckys.com.

Romper 1, top left corner:  Made out of what looks like really thin sweatpants material.  I think it makes her boobs look saggy or nonexistent, although I do like the belt.

Romper 2: The flower sack.  Every curve is camouflaged by something that looks like my grandmother’s bedspread.  If you have a smaller chest like I do, the last thing you want to do is hide it, and if you have a big enough chest to fill the top out a little more, you probably wouldn’t be comfortable wearing a strapless bra.

Romper 3:  The gray one in the back.  I wish I could see the front of it, because I actually like this one.  It’s a nice color, and the fabric looks decent.  It looks like a nice out-and-about outfit.  It’s one of the only exceptions I’ve seen though.

Romper 4:  The jeans.  I really feel like this comment should be common sense:  it looks trashy.  Jean rompers and jumpsuits don’t do anything, for anybody.  Just.  Say.  No.

The other bone I have to pick with the romper that seems to be popping up everywhere now that warmer temperatures are arriving (well, down south at least) is the constant threat of wedgie.  When something that covers your bum also covers your boobs (and it’s not a dress, which allows for nice breezes) you run the risk of giving yourself the world’s most horrible wedgie, and also of having issues keeping each half of the outfit in place when sitting or standing.

While they may be fine for around the house and sometimes acceptable (see: Gray romper, above,) rompers just aren’t a bandwagon that I can get on.

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