Before the Hometowns Bach Thoughts

All right- I had a lot of feelings watching the latest episode of The Bachelorette. Let’s go through them in the order of how they occurred. It was a long, wine-and-cake-filled evening.

It’s very difficult for me to find any joy in her relationship with Jed until these stories have been addressed. Obviously that can’t happen until the show ends, and I believe he is in the final two, if not the one she chooses. So I’m watching and wanting to feel happy for her because she’s opening up to him and clearly is falling for him (she literally says she is- which is unprecedentedly early to do so), but their relationship really is shadowed by the girlfriend’s story. So in the moments where we should be happy that she is feeling something strong for someone other than Luke, we can’t even truly thrive in that joy. It’s very frustrating.

Love Tyler. I thought it was hilarious that he was scared of horses and didn’t want to eat the herring. The whole date with the horses going in all different directions was just very funny. It would actually make a rather good metaphor for their relationship, though, because I don’t think they’re really on the same page. She’s just not as into him as she is Jed, Peter, & Luke. I truly cannot understand why. He’s deep, emotional, thoughtful, and the hottest man to ever be on the show. I don’t know if he’d make a great bachelor because I’d be afraid that the women would be blinded by his hotness and not develop deeper feelings. We’d have to see- I’m sure he’s America’s pick at this point.

Oh Connor. He knew the writing was on the wall when he didn’t get a one-on-one. I did feel kinda bad that Hannah was basically like “this is nice and all but I don’t have any feelings for you because you didn’t do this when I was still mildly interested” or something along those lines. That was the vibe anyway. I think he knew that already, though. To be fair, Luke has taken up so much of her time and energy that any guy who wasn’t a complete stand out had no chance of capturing her attention. He just wasn’t bold enough, but I think that bodes well for him in paradise because hopefully he learned his lesson and won’t let himself hold back and will be ready to take risks. He’s tall, handsome, and sweet, so hopefully in paradise he’ll meet a girl who will take the time to build a relationship and a foundation with him. I think the extended one-on-one time in paradise is exactly what he needs.

Oof. Mike’s goodbye just about put me over the edge. Mike is seriously the cutest. His smile lights up his whole face. I thought it was nice that Hannah respected him enough to say that she couldn’t look his family in the eye and tell them she could see herself with him if it wasn’t true. It was really just so sad. I truly hope he is the next bachelor because as Hannah said he “deserves fierce love”  and I believe he is going to make his future wife very happy. He’s such a stand up guy and an amazing listener. If America can’t get behind a guy like that for their next Bachelor, than I’m not sure who they can. He’s sincere, honest, reflective, positive, and kind. He never tried to taunt Luke, but instead was straight up and honest with him.

My feelings about Peter are a wee bit complicated. I know there are some rumors swirling around about Peter dumping his serious girlfriend to be on the show, and I’m sure he’s not 100% innocent in this matter, but until we know the timeline of this breakup I think we should accept what he says. On the show, Peter seems to be truly invested in Hannah and happy to be around her. I’m not sure if it’s all the guys being so anti-Luke that they jumped for joy when Peter got back, or if they just love Peter that much. Either way, he’s so cute, he seems very sincere, and I really feel like he and Hannah are a good match. I think they’re both silly and they want the same things. They clearly have physical chemistry, but I think it goes beyond that. We’ll have to wait and see.

The final person to be sent home this episode was Garrett. Honestly- his face annoys me. I feel like he’s super pretentious and his smile does not look genuine. Did he really love her? Maybe. But here’s what I know: he continuously stirred the pot with Luke, he has no chemistry with Hannah, and his whole vibe is privileged white boy in the most annoying way. I’m not saying he’s a bad guy or anything, but he’s not right for Hannah, and he’ll probably do fine being a player on paradise. Maybe he’ll find the one. Who knows. Either way, I’m not sad to see him go.

And then there was Luke. My goodness. He gets more and more manipulative each week. When he said “I know you’re gonna say I don’t know you” and she smiled at him like “yeah, you got me,” I was like oooohhhhh no. This is not good. She is under his spell and he knows it. He repeats everything that is said to him and is just trying to say everything that she wants to hear. He does it to the men too, but they are clearly over him and not charmed by him in the slightest. It’s hard to even feel bad for him being bullied by the group anymore because he is just the worst. Based on the previews, it’s clear that he makes it to the fantasy suite, but I really hope it ends there and that Hannah is able to move past it and find joy in whoever her final two may be.

All in all, I’d say it was quite an emotional week. Hopefully it won’t take too much wine to get me through to the end of all of this.

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BB 21 Begins!

***Spoiler Alert! This post will discuss the first three episodes of Big Brother 21.***

Big Brother is here! For fans of the show, it’s incredibly exciting when a new season begins because it only happens once a year, plus it’s live, and it’s 3 days a week. That makes Big Brother a distinct marker of summertime and gives me a reason to connect with my fellow watchers who I may not be able to see as much. For example, I’ll talk about it with my cousin who lives in Florida, which keeps us connected, as well as some of the people I work with who I don’t see during the summer because we’re off. It’s a conversation starter- and with 16 crazy people trapped in a house together there is no shortage of things to discuss.

So, let’s discuss these “expect the unexpected” twists. The twist of BB Camp Director is an awesome way to start off the season and ignite some drama immediately. There is really no such thing as “laying low” because a quarter of the players are going to have to fight for their lives right away at the hands of one person- who they voted for. I love it! Jackson chooses Cliff, Kemi, Jessica, & David. It was not lost on me that he nominated 3 people of color..more on that in the following paragraph. I was truly sad that David’s game came to an end so quickly. We really didn’t get a chance to get to know him. He’s a 29 year old photographer from Atlanta with really pretty eyes and a sweet demeanor from what we’ve seen.

The other twist, Whacktivity Competitions, are awesome. I love that the House Guests all have an equal opportunity to earn a special power, and that they actually have to earn it! I think that’s way better than the secret America’s vote or the top trending player. Besides, we’d all rather see another competition instead of watching a bunch of people hope they get the power and then be bummed when they don’t. I’m glad that Ovi got the power because I have a feeling he’ll need it. Plus- the concept of it is super cool! Waking everyone up in the middle of the night for a nomination ceremony that no one is expecting or will have time to prepare for? I love it and I hope we get to see it used!

At first instinct, I am most annoyed by Jackson. I mean, he’s cute, which complicates my emotions, but I was so disappointed when he was like “I’m Southern but I’m not a redneck.” Like, cool? What’s so bad about being a redneck? And why do you think you’re better than them? It just gave me some serious white-and-probably-rich privilege vibes and I’m just not about that. Especially how he continued to say “I didn’t want it but somebody has to do it.” Like yeah- three other people said they would do it so if you don’t want it shut up. He confirmed those vibes in getting the majority of votes to become the Camp Director and then subsequently choosing the one old guy and then Jessica, Kemi, and David to be banished from the house and forced to compete. Ah, well. There’s gotta be one, right? All I can do is hope he doesn’t take Jack and Nick down with him, both of whom are currently skyrocketing up to the top of my favorites list. Though the initial “power alliance” usually crumbles pretty quickly. It didn’t last season, but only because Tyler was so expertly playing both sides of the house. And because the FOUTTE/Hive crew all participated in destroying themselves. Oof- truly terrible at the game. Anyway, in this house the power alliance started with 6, which is a solid number (just take a look at the success of last season’s Level 6), and then added 2 more, which is where the problems are going to start because now mini alliances within the 8 are going to start, and they’ll splinter off. The paranoia is on it’s way…

I do love that Cliff is super aware of the typical “old guy” trajectory in the house because at least he knows it’s coming (ahem, Steve of BB20, Glenn of BB18, & of Jodi BB14 were all out first). His only chance is if he endears himself to the younger players, like Kevin of BB19 and Donny of BB16. Those two made it far on charm and friendship and the fact that they were non-threatening as competitive players (Kevin didn’t win any competitions).

But, come on, the real tea here is the Tommy/Christy connection! Most viewers already knew about it, but watching them realize it in real time was crazy! Also- I didn’t realize just how long Christy had been dating Tommy’s “family member” because 7 years is a significant amount of time. I mean, it’s literally a quarter of her life so far. They pretend not to know each other in front of the others and then secretly have each others backs, but I really can’t wait to see how this plays out. Tommy was cracking me up saying that his strategy was not letting anyone know he’s a super fan and then quoting “expect the unexpected” with Julie as she said it…not too discreet. I also think it’s awesome that Christy won the first HOH competition…the last time a woman won the first HOH of the season was Nicole- who then won the season!

Of the New Jersey crew (Christy, Isabella, and Nick) I am 100% on #TeamNick and I hope he doesn’t turn out to be a huge jerk, but it’s too early to tell. His voice was not as abrasive as I was preparing for (unlike Sam Smith’s voice- which is killing me)…and that just may be a sign that I’ve been living in South Jersey a little too long.

However, the real winner of the first few episodes is the voiceover guy that does the intro package and whoever pieces together the diary room clips and the footage of the houseguests. I was cracking up at the way they used Jessica saying “I’m so glad Jackson didn’t pick me!” and then cutting her off mid-word to show the squirrel carting her off. Too funny. After everything, I’m just so pumped that Big Brother is back and kicking off the season with some serious twists!

All of Adichie

After finishing Half of a Yellow Sun in January, I decided to make it my mission to read all of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s books. It was not a disappointing mission in the slightest. My first time reading Adichie’s work was Americanah. I cannot even remember what made me pick up, but I finished it in November 2016. I only remember being completely enchanted with Adichie’s writing. The story she was telling was meaningful on so many levels. When she writes “I became black when I came to America,” I felt the power of that statement. The privileged life I lead often hides reality from me, despite my best attempts to overcome my gaps of knowledge and overall ignorance when it comes to inequality. I know I will never understand, and that sentence hit me with privileges I wasn’t even aware of yet. Throughout college I had a mentor who was always pushing me to see my privilege and understand it, and Adichie’s words brought to the forefront the idea he had been trying to get me to understand all along: I don’t have to think about being white. That’s the privilege of it all. I am rarely the minority, and even if I’m not, I live in a country that supports me just because of my skin color. I hardly need any other qualifications. I don’t have to think about being white because everything in society affirms that my whiteness is safe and appropriate and accepted. Not only was Adichie opening my eyes to my own life, she showed me the way into Nigeria as well. And she did it all while including a couple of love stories, which is all this Bachelor-loving girl is ever really looking for.

Anyone who knows me is well aware of my serious lack of understanding when it comes to historical knowledge. I’m a pretty smart human, so I really don’t know what the issue is here. Why can I recite random lines of Romeo and Juliet but can’t remember the basics of American history, let alone world history? It will be my downfall…but I’m always learning. Adichie brought the history of Nigeria into my life with Half of a Yellow Sun. In the weeks after finishing it, I found myself obsessed with learning about Biafra. I even bought and read Chinua Achebe’s memoir There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra, which was incredibly interesting, though not as compelling as the familial and romantic trials that accompanied Adichie’s novel.

I devoured The Thing Around Your Neck, We Should All Be Feminists, and Dear Ijeawele quickly. The stories in her collection only serve as proof of her superior ability to develop characters in both short and extended works. The feminist essay and letter was not as eye-opening as it was empowering. A reminder that I should not settle, that I am great as I am, and that I am worthy. I found myself wondering how I could incorporate parts of all three of these works into my lesson plans for next year. In particular, I’d like to showcase the importance of understanding where we’ve come from in shaping where we go, and the necessity of never compromising our morals for another human being- no matter what that human being may be offering. I hope I can do her work justice.

By the time I was reading the last of Adichie’s work left on my reading list, Purple Hibiscus, I felt like I knew Nsukka and the teaching strike was not unfamiliar to me. Although Half of a Yellow Sun was about war and complete loss, I found myself crying throughout Purple Hibiscus. Kambili is such a deep character with such a simple desire that I could not contain my emotions. I wanted so badly for her to break out of the shell her father placed her in and to embrace the girl she could become if she was able to live fearlessly with her aunt and cousins. Perhaps it was because her growth was steady and quiet, unlike Jaja, who somewhat quickly morphed into a new person upon the influence of his extended family, finding it easier to lie to his father and immerse himself in the traditions he was denied for so long. Kambili was growing and changing, but she could barely even announce it to herself, let alone the reader. The ending, much like that of Half of a Yellow Sun, was so realistic and disappointing that it actually affirmed Adichie’s greatness for me. She is unwilling to compromise her characters, her thematic morals, or her setting to “make it all okay” for the reader. This is not a dystopian YA novel. It’s a story about humanity. Her ending made it all the more real for me, and I cried and cried at the end. Not just for the characters, but for everyone who suffers in silence, for everyone who deals with their situation and cannot simply be “saved” by a happy ending. Happy endings do not come simply because we deserve them.

Chinua Achebe might be the most well-known African author, but Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie will make her mark in literary history.

Another GoT Opinion.

At this point I’ve had ample time to discuss the Game of Thrones finale at length with my friends and colleagues. I’m actually not sure what we’re going to talk about now that it’s over since that was a major talking point for the past 6 weeks. Unfortunately, what started as riveting and thorough discussions eventually dropped off into understanding shrugs and a general lack of interest.

My overall opinion is that by the end of the season, I was no longer emotionally invested in the characters. They were not the dynamic personalities I had grown to love. They did not seem to grapple with their decision-making or show any of their usual human nuance that typically accompanied their actions. I mean, it was fine. I wasn’t angry or happy at the end. It was just fine.

However, there were plenty of things I thought were stupid. Like- Bran is the king? Seriously? He should be reforming schools and advising leaders on their actions to cultivate a more peaceful society, not just automatically be in charge. I mean, I kind of thought they would have figured out that having a king or queen was not in their best interest. Even the dragon realized the toxicity of a monarchy. Plus- is Tyrion serious? Bran’s story is not as impressive as Jon’s. He was the one that united everyone to fight a common enemy. He is the reason that the Night King was unsuccessful. He literally died for his beliefs and trying to do the right thing. For what? To just end up back where he started? Maybe this is the lesson of Game of Thrones. No matter what you do, it’s not going to make a difference. No matter who you support on the throne, there will be no change.

If one good thing comes out of it all, it’s this: people are actually starting to say the book is better than the show. And I am all for a resurgence of the love of reading. Also- I was originally planning on re-watching all of the seasons, but now I’m so annoyed with the ending that I’m not interested in their stories anymore. I cannot become invested in Daenerys or Jon or Arya or Sansa or Tyrion or Jaime again just to watch it end like that. To see Jaime return to Kings Landing, having learned nothing from being a “good guy” for once. To see Daenerys let her anger destroy her, having learned nothing from the conquerors she has defeated. To see Arya just sail away, having no use (other than killing the Night King) for what she learned in the end. To see Tyrion with as little respect as he had in the beginning, having barely risen in the eyes of others despite all that he has done and seen. To see Sansa as Queen in the North, having no family around her, which is all we wanted for her throughout the entire series. To see Jon return to the Night’s Watch with his tail between his legs, having nothing to show for everything he did to save humanity from the White Walkers, Cersei, and then Daenerys. The only semi-successful story was Sansa’s, which was probably the only reason I wasn’t angry at the end.

Anyway, I’m ready to pour all of my energy into something else now. I just hope there will come a show that is so widely watched I can chat with just about anyone about it. I’ll definitely miss the “What’d you think of Game of Thrones?” question that could liven up any conversation.

From Hannah B to Just Hannah

Blog Post

Hannah B is on a mission this season: find love, and show the world how a regular girl can be a bachelorette. It’s intended to showcase how Hannah is changing from the perfection of being a beauty queen to accepting herself and her flaws. It’s endearing, and ABC’s ability to get us to believe that Hannah truly represents “regular” girls is impressive, considering she’s Miss Alabama. I don’t know many “regular” girls who can say that. However, I can appreciate that she is being “real,” which is a change for her own life and for the bachelor/bachelorettes who have come before her, as we can assume that this will mean she is less polished. I believe we’re in for a season that will be full of drama and raw emotion. Hopefully, I’m right.

Going into the night, I bet that the following would be the men that Hannah moved forward with, based solely on their cast bios on ABC’s website: Brian, Cam, Chasen, Connor S, Devin, Dustin, Dylan, Garrett, Hunter, Jed, Joe, Joey, John Paul Jones, Jonathan, Luke P, Luke S, Matt D, Matteo, Matthew, Mike, Peter, Tyler C. Clearly, I got 5 wrong, but I stand by my selections and firmly believe that it would be a better season with them on it! The only exception to this would be Connor J. Oh well- I guess we’ll just have to see how things play out with the rest of them.

Best Limo Exits

  • Connor S- Jumping over a fence was definitely a sweet gesture, and Hannah appreciated it. Was it cliche? Perhaps. But there’s always someone who brings up the leads previous season. And at least it wasn’t a cardboard cutout…(lookin’ at you, Mike from Becca’s season).
  • Peter- I thought giving her the second pair of wings was adorable. I liked that he explained their purpose and ended it with a classic pun of the two of them flying off together at the end of the journey (thereby symbolically starting their own). Bonus points for wearing his uniform, which Hannah clearly liked.
  • Matt D- Loved the tractor and the song. Great way for her to remember your name! As long as you don’t test her on it later…. (lookin’ at you…Erika McNutt from Colton’s season). I thought he was sweet and playful.
  • Joey- He brought out a baby carrier with a blanket over the top and talked about being ready to get started on his future, but firsttttttt *reveals what’s under the blanket* wants to start the night! Loved that there was champagne- I thought it showed cleverness, seriousness, and indicated that he is aware of the appropriate timeline for their relationship. A little cheesy, but overall fun and thoughtful. I can’t believe no one has done this before.

Best Impression

  • Hannah- For the girl who couldn’t even string a sentence together in the past, she came off as sweet and sincere in her quest to find love, explaining that she knew it would not be perfect, but that she would have to accept it. Plus, she was sure of herself and didn’t take any bullshit from Scott and then openly admitted her fears to the men.
  • Matt D- I thought he was so sweet and adorable. Absolutely loved him. Was crushed Hannah didn’t choose him. Might have fallen in love with the man on the spot. Currently telling everyone I know that I’m so sad Hannah sent him home. Need I say more?
  • Luke P- Soooo there a lot of red flags with this guy (knows how hot he is, took advantage of it, met god in the shower, said he was the king looking for his queen, was the first to steal her away, did not offer her his jacket when she said she was cold, the list goes on…). BUT. Did you see how hot their kiss was? He’s clearly a frontrunner at this point. She appreciated him coming to talk to her to get her back into the swing of things after Scott. Reminds me a little of how Andi felt about Josh Murray (and we all know how that turned out).
  • Jed- Could he just be triyng to promote his career as a singer? Perhaps. But as of yet all we’ve seen is him being so sweet and cute. Plus, I love a guy who can play guitar. She seems into him as well.
  • Connor S– I thought these two had an easy chemistry. Even though he looks a little young and as if he may be a stereotype of a human, he definitely has potential.
  • Mike- He seemed very thoughtful and when he asked her more questions about herself and said he was curious, it showed that he truly listened to her and was invested in her story. Very nice guy. Next bachelor? I’m here for it.

Biggest Fails

  • Scott- I mean, the man started the night looking like he was on cocaine, which I chalked up to nerves…and was clearly correct since the man did not have sincere intentions. How about you don’t come on with a girlfriend and also definitely don’t compare it to Hannah being on The Bachelor and dating Colton. It’s not the same, we all know it, and Bachelor Nation hates people who use the show, the lead, and themselves for fame. Get lost.
  • Joe the Box King- Initial reaction: What. Is. Wrong. With. You. Also- hated that he was trying to give Grocery Store Joe vibes because Joe was sweet and nervous and this guy was just insane. His smile made me afraid, which is probably why Hannah sent him home. However, I stand by the fact that if he had stayed he would make great television.
  • Grant- A sausage party is a gross concept and his bio is terrible which leads me to believe only negative things about him. Maybe I’m wrong. Probably I’m not.
  • Chasen- The editing expertise was not lost on me when he walked out as a pilot and stated how women love a man in uniform, and then they show Peter walk out in uniform and Hannah confirms that she does, in fact, love a man in uniform. Chasen- you knew this, but you didn’t do it! Also stand by the idea that he should have stayed and maybe been the last rose…could have created some pilot vs. pilot tension later on. Ah well.
  • Hannah sending Matt D home- I don’t believe I need to further explain my feelings about Matt D, but just in case: I love him. I can’t believe she sent him home and I am NOT OKAY with it.
  • Always Be Cam- Just ask Whabooom (Lucas? From Rachel’s season)… a catchphrase is never a good thing. Unless you’re Becca. In that case- do the damn thing. But actually- don’t, because it’s terribly annoying and says a lot about who you think you are.

Rose Order:

  1. Cam: 30, Houston, Texas; Software Sales (After the Final Rose Special)
  2. Luke P: 24, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida; Import/Export Manager (First Impression Rose)
  3. Mike: 31, Grand Prairie, Texas; Portfolio Manger
  4. Connor S: 24, Chicago, Illinois; Investment Analyst
  5. Matthew: 23, Mira Loma, California; Car Bid Spotter
  6. Connor J: 28, Chicago, Illinois; Sales Manager
  7. Jed: 25, Sevierville, Tennessee; Singer/Songwriter
  8. Dustin: 30, Real Estate Broker
  9. Joey: 33, Potomac, Maryland; Finance Manager
  10. Devin: 27, San Francisco, California; Talent Manager
  11. Peter: 27, Westlake Village, California; Pilot
  12. Dylan: 24, Tech Entrepreneur
  13. Matteo: 25, Atlanta, Georgia; Management Consultant
  14. Jonathan: 27, Los Angeles, California; Server
  15. Tyler C: 25, Jupiter, Florida; General Contractor
  16. Tyler G: 28, Greenwich, Connecticut; Psychology Graduate Student
  17. Daron: 25, Atlanta, Georgia; IT Consultant
  18. Luke S: 29, Marion, Massachusetts; Political Consultant
  19. Garrett: 27, Birmingham, Alabama; Golf Pro
  20. Grant: 30, San Clemente, California; Unemployed
  21. Kevin: 27, Orange County, California; Behavioral Health Specialist
  22. John Paul Jones: 24, Saint Michaels, Maryland; John Paul Jones..?

Predictions

So, clearly I got 5 wrong last week, but I’m still shooting for the stars here! So, my predictions for who she’ll send home are: Grant, Daron, Tyler G, & Jonathan

Yoga Mind Journey

Recently, I read Suzan Colon’s novel, Yoga Mind. It was intended to be a 30 day journey, but it took me a little longer to get through it. Also, I didn’t really do it the right way, but maybe that’s the point. We’re all on our own journey. I’m not sure if it changed me or anything like that, but I did learn some valuable tools along the way.

Asteya (ASH-tay-ah)- “Not stealing; resisting the desire to take something that doesn’t belong to us” (129). This is not necessarily just about not taking physical objects that do not belong to us, but to be aware of other things you may be stealing: joy, peace, a stress-free mind, growth, etc. For me, I realized that I was stealing from myself in a variety of ways. The most notable being that I was actually starting my day with a stressful approach. That was basically setting myself up for failure! I’d be stressed, then I’d feel tired, it would make me crave a sweet snack, and then I’d be cranky and crash and end up not going to the gym. All I had to do was stop stealing my own chance for a peaceful morning. And, truly, it was not that difficult once my mindset changed. I just committed to not starting a new episode of TV past 10pm (or not watch at all and read or write!), preparing for work as much as possible the night before (packing my gym bag, filling my water bottles, filling the tea pot, etc.), and then waking up with the reminder that not getting out of bed right away was creating stress and stealing my peaceful morning away from me. This was compounded with the idea that my being stressed led to me being crankier with my students, which helped me to kick my butt into gear faster. I didn’t want to be the reason that they were upset at school, so I took my sleep and rushing around in the morning into account and did what I could to change it. Just one realization brought so much positive change into my life!

Mudita (moo-DEE-tah)- “Selfless joy for others” (241). This tool seems easy, and I immediately thought to myself “I do this already, check!” But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how often I let my jealousy get the best of me. I would first feel bad about myself for not being able to accomplish whatever it may have been, and then I would think about the negative qualities of the other person and think “well- at least I’m not dealing with that.” I’m not sure how much progress I’ve made here, or if I’ve managed to be truly happy for another person without feeling badly about myself in the process, but I’m more conscious of it. I think the more mindful I am about my negative thoughts and the more attention I give to being happy for others without judging them, the easier this tool will be for me.

Saucha (SOW-cha)- “Cleanliness; purity” (113). I already had “clean out the closet” on my 19 for 2019 list, but saucha helped me to make it happen. The thought of finding peace through needing and having less was very appealing. I realized that it would take me less time to get ready to go somewhere if I was only looking at/considering clothes that made me feel confident because I’d know I look good in them. By clearing out everything I no longer needed or wanted, or that no longer fit into my life despite their sentimental value, I brought some clarity into my life. Less clutter and “stuff” to deal with forever. The next time that I move or clean, I won’t just be moving around piles of stuff and finding places for them to be because I’ll only have things that I actually use, want, and wear. It was liberating.

Samskaras (sahm-SKAR-as)- “Repeating cycles of behaviors” (175). This tool is probably one of the more life-changing ones because it’s all about recognizing what you’re doing that may be bringing you pain. Once you can recognize a cycle, you can start taking steps in order to change the outcome. Recognizing the cycle itself can be truly difficult. For my own progress, I started thinking about the things that bring me joy and the causes of my pain. I thought about my goals in life and the path that I want to be on. Eventually, I was led to the realization that I was allowing others to have power over both my emotions and the way I felt about myself, so it was up to me to release myself from that cycle. I started to focus more on myself and came to the realization that the point I’m at in my life right now is not forever. So, I tried to stop the cycles that were bringing me pain and disappointment. It obviously has not had perfect results, but awareness of the issue is the first step to solving it, and this tool helped me to achieve that.

There were so many more suggestions that can be helpful for anyone at any point in their life. While I didn’t actually start meditating or following her directions, the knowledge from the book is slowly seeping into my everyday life. This is the kind of book that’s worth a reread every now and then. Now that I know the tools, once I start meditating (who knows, maybe I’ll start today!) I think I can make a difference in my own life.

Does Happiness come from Goals?

Now that we’re 1/3 of the way through the year (already?!) I thought it might be time for a little goal check-in. As a reminder (mostly for myself), here are the 19 things I wanted to do in 2019:

  1. Switch to a local dentist
  2. Make a gynecologist appointment
  3. Go to a pro sports game
  4. Travel to a new place
  5. Go on a hike
  6. Run in a race
  7. Clean out old clothes from closet
  8. Read 23 books
  9. Volunteer
  10. Plan something cool for my 25th birthday
  11. Eat vegan once a month
  12. Blog once a month
  13. One self-care day a month
  14. Use reusable bags when shopping
  15. Do shopping at a farmer’s market from May-Nov
  16. Budget
  17. Reduce tea bag use
  18. Take vitamins daily
  19. Clean the kitchen every night

I thought that some of these would be fairly easy to accomplish, but alas, I have yet to be successful in many of these goals. Hopefully this little check-in will keep my eye on the prize for at least a little while longer, and I can check a few more off of my list… we’ll see. I originally broke these down into smaller categories: one and done, monthly, and daily.

As far as the one and done items go, I assumed these would be the easiest since I could just do it and it would be over. I must have forgotten that that would require me actually doing it…so perhaps that’s where I went wrong. I’ve actually done 3 of 10, and I’m more than halfway to the 4th, which is an accomplishment I’m counting as a win so far, even if they are (mostly) all of the fun ones. I’ve been to a pro sports game, traveled to a new place, and cleaned out my closet. I just finished my 11th book of the year, so I only have 12 to go before I reach my goal! I really need to make numbers 1 & 2 happen, since they are probably the easiest goals to accomplish. It’s literally a phone call. Ugh. A few of them are slightly dependent on the weather/time of year, and then “volunteer” is a little vague. I have technically volunteered and donated this year, but I think the true definition of volunteering is doing something without getting anything in return. Being selfless. So, we’ll see what I end up doing.

The monthly and daily items are similarly hit or miss. To my knowledge, I have not eaten vegan once a month. Perhaps I’ll start a plan where I say “The second Monday of each month will be vegan,” and once it’s planned it’ll be easier? I’m not sure. I’ve been fairly successful with blogging once a month, in fact it’s been way more frequent than that, which is great. Self-care has basically been non-existent…which is a conversation for another day. I’ve used reusable shopping bags a few times, but not nearly as consistently as I’d like. I don’t know if I’ve been budgeting so much as I’ve been tracking my spending, but…progress? I have definitely reduced my tea bag use and even found a grocery store that sells loose tea, so I’ve just been buying it there. I’ve been fairly regular with taking my vitamins, and less than regular with cleaning the kitchen.

Overall, I’d say I’m basically accomplishing 8/19 of the goals on the list. Some are ongoing, so I can’t say I’ve “done” them, but I’ve been consistent enough that they’ve become part of my habits. The checked-off items I’m most proud of are the closet clean-out and the tea bag reduction. They bring me joy, which has been in short-supply lately. Maybe that’s the function of a goal: to bring joy in accomplishing it. If that’s true and our goals have that much power, maybe I need to be more careful when crafting my list. Or, maybe I was, and I’m not taking that power seriously enough. If I was thinking far enough ahead to know what would have an impact on my happiness, then I should probably be reflecting on these goals more often. Then, accomplishing them would not be the goal, but finding the joy in whatever I’m doing would be. I suppose they go hand in hand.