Nov 29, 2016

Gifts as a Love Language

I've had trouble explaining to people why I don't want gifts for various life occasions.  For example, even before we decided to elope, I was determined to tell our guests, "NO GIFTS."  And we're talking about having a baby party in January (not a shower, because, again, "NO GIFTS").  Someone asked me, "Is it because you want what you want and not what other people will get you?"

That made me feel bad.  Like I think I'm too good for other people's gifts or something, and it's not that at all (heck, at this point most of our baby stuff is secondhand).  I don't want gifts because it feels materialistic and contrived to me.  Gifts is the love language that means the least to me and while I'm happy to accept them from people who I spend a lot of time with and express affection in other ways as well, I don't want to ask for gifts from people who I don't know as well.

I think it feels fake to me because my primary love language is acts of service (and probably 2nd would be quality time).  So if you don't spend time with me and you're not willing to do favors for me, a physical gift just feels pretty meaningless.  And I'm not a huge fan of gifting things to other people for the same reason.  I don't feel like we're "friends" unless we spend some time together.  So how can I ask you to show up to this party and give me shit?  And are you asking me to come to your party/shower/whatever because you want to spend time with me or just because you want my money?

I'm self aware enough to realize this mindset is just mine and not everyone shares it and not everyone has gifts as the last on their list of ways to express affection.  And I'm trying to be open-minded to the idea that to other people, not giving a card for special occasions can be a big deal or that Christmas gifts are expected rather than a perk to an already special day.

But I still can't bring myself to make a registry and then share it with everyone.  Sorry, gift-givers!  It's not you, it's me.

That being said, here's a list of "gifts" I'd really appreciate:

  • An offer to babysit sometime next year
  • Hang out with me AND the baby after it comes so that I don't have to find a babysitter
  • Plan an outing so I don't have to (I get so sick of the endless "What should we do?  Where should we eat?  Does anyone have any ideas?" that inevitably follows a suggestion for a group hangout.  Either contribute an idea, vote for your favorite, or don't say anything. It's like the "yes and..." rule for improv actors.)
  • Spring cleaning.  Do you ever just want to talk to someone while you clean?  I do.  Even if they sit there and don't help, it makes the chores go by so much faster.  I seriously used to cajole Sister3 into sitting on my bed while I tidied my room back in high school so I could chat with someone.
  • Talk books with me.  Super extra bonus credit: read a book at the same time so we can compare notes the whole way.
  • Talk to me about something I posted on the blog.  Far more of my IRL friends and family read than I realize and it always means a lot when someone mentions a blog post.  Plus, a lot of the topics on here are things I'm really interested in or feel strongly about and don't necessarily get to talk about in everyday life.

Notice a pattern there?

And even with physical gifts, there's always going to be some I treasure more than others.  Did you spend time making something with your own hands?  Sure, that's a "gift" but it's also an act of service.  You're speaking my language.  Is it a gift based on an inside joke or something we talked about previously?  There's a tenuous link there to quality time, which adds a whole layer of meaning for me.

I've actually been asking friends and family about their respective love languages, so I can be more thoughtful when I do want to do something nice for them.  If their language is gifts, I'll try to think of something appropriate to buy, if it's quality time then I want to spend more time with them or make more of an effort to chat on the phone, and so on.

Some people just don't know and then I'm stumped (like Sister3, whom I have decided has her own unique love language of food photos).  And some of the languages are harder than others.  Like someone whose primary love language is physical touch?  What do I do with that???  "My gift to you is this hug."  Bahahaha!

Anyway, I'm starting to ramble so I'll cut myself off, but what do you think?

Is it easy for you to accept gifts or do you prefer non-tangible gifts?  Does your love language have an impact on how comfortable you feel giving gifts?  Do you know what your primary love language is?


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Nov 23, 2016

What I Hope People Receive From Me

This was supposed to be posted during Alyssa's challenge, but I got a little, erm, distracted (cough, abolish the electoral college!).  But I still like it and I'm posting it now.

..............................

There are a lot of things I wish I was and a lot of things I'm trying to be, but I know I haven't achieved all of the latter, and I'm not the best person to gauge the former, so I'm adding caveats to my answers for this.

I hope that...


...while I can't always match your level of enthusiasm, I do provide some stability when you need a calm force to rely on.

...while I don't always know whether you want support or advice, I provide thoughtful, helpful measures of either when it's made clear to me which you'd prefer.

...while I don't join in on alcohol-fueled fun anymore, my presence is still enjoyable to be around (and the DD services are useful).

...while my emotions sometimes run away with me, I can tell the difference between logic and emotion and let you know when I need space to let irrationality run its course.

...while I do have strong opinions, I can handle dissenting opinions from other people and that you aren't afraid to speak your mind around me.

...while I can be a crabby, judgmental jerk in my own head, I manage to set that aside and treat people fairly.

...while my self help books can be a dull topic for everyone else, I'm becoming a more well-rounded and generally better person every day.

...while I've made my fair share of mistakes and we have our differences of opinion, my parents are proud of me.

...while I'm not perfect and I've got plenty of mistakes left to make, I provide a good role model for my child.

...while Ryan and I are somewhat set in our ways, we will provide a fair explanation of all the options that are out there and not force our child to conform to our standards.

...while this introvert needs some personal space, I manage to be there when it matters most.

...while I tend to babble on about myself too frequently, some of the things I say are useful or entertaining.

What do you hope you are to other people?


Linking up with Alyssa's Back to Blogging challenge.

alyssagoesbang

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Nov 22, 2016

A Letter to the Mysterious People Who Comprise Our Electoral College

Since the election, my attention has been pretty firmly riveted on abolishing the electoral college altogether, but I've talked to a few people about the possibility of the electoral college NOT voting with their states.  "Faithless Electors" if you will.

I thought going against the state majority was contrary to the reason the electoral college was set up, but there is some evidence that that's what at least some of our founding fathers had in mind when they set up the electoral college.  To prevent the average, uneducated American from making horrible mistakes (which at one time I would have said sarcastically, but my opinion of our country and its inhabitants isn't what it once was).

I've never been one to use custom or "what some dead guys thought about this" as the reason to do things a certain way, but I think we're reaching a point where any option available to prevent this outcome should be examined and attempted.  Especially as Trump continues to add people to his administration that are racist, xenophobic, and outspoken white nationalists.  As he builds his tax plan that benefits the wealthy and hurts the lowest income brackets, contrary to all his promises.  As he surrounds himself with the very lobbyists he was promising to clear out.

Basically, the outlook continues to bleaken (not a word but it should be so I'm leaving it), and we need to utilize any solution we can to end this ridiculousness.  Sister2 is currently involved in her own letter-writing campaign to the members of the electoral college and I found her letter immensely compelling, so I'm sharing it here:

.............................................................................................

Dear Electoral College Member,

I would like to personally thank you for your service to our country in this essential role. We as a nation are grateful to you for accepting this weighty responsibility.

In the words of Alexander Hamilton, the Electoral College was designed to ensure that “the office of the president will never fall to the lot of any man who is not in an eminent degree endowed with the requisite qualifications.” The founding fathers foresaw the results of this election and created a fail-safe to protect our nation: You.

The presumed president-elect is unfit to lead our nation. He has neither government nor military experience, which proves dangerous to our national security. One hundred and twenty two GOP National Security Leaders wrote an open letter “united in our opposition to a Donald Trump presidency,” which cited his “swings from isolationism to military adventurism within the space of one sentence,” among other concerns. Leading economists predict that his proposed tariff policies on China and Mexico will spur a recession in the United States and cost Americans 4.8 million jobs. He has promised to use torture on prisoners and civil liability to attack the free press, both in violation of the Constitution. Before the election, unprecedented numbers of Republicans were dropping support for Trump, and not a single living President endorsed him.

Donald Trump emerged from this election to a deeply divided country. Given his inexperience, it would have been prudent to surround himself with wise and broad-minded advisors. Instead he has appointed alt-right extremists and lobbyists to high advisory positions. Donald Trump is not capable of governing this country fairly or wisely. He is not capable of uniting a divided nation.

The American people call upon you in this unprecedented time to do what is right for our great nation. This situation is precisely what our founding fathers foresaw and created the Electoral College in order to prevent. NOW is your time.

YOU have the power to save America. Choose not to vote for Donald Trump. You can place your vote for a qualified Republican; you can vote for Secretary Clinton; you can abstain. Do what feels right, but you must vote your conscience!

If the Electoral College was intended to solely vote the way of the state’s popular vote every time, then we would simply tally the numbers based on state popular votes and call the election. This is not the case. Instead, our founding fathers purposefully placed living breathing humans with free will in this role. Not only do you have a choice, but you have a duty to the American people.

You have a chance to take a bold and principled stance and change history for the better. This will be your legacy: you saw a clear and present danger to America and you stood up to protect our great nation. We are forever indebted to your service.


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Nov 21, 2016

30 Week Pregnancy Update & Thoughts

What's this?  A non-political post?  Yes, friends, I have finally succeeded in thinking about something else.  I know, quite the accomplishment.

So you know what else is crazy?  I'm 3/4 of the way done!  Definitely starting to get excited now and definitely feeling pregnant.  We've had baby movement since about week 22, which makes it both more real and surreal at the same time.  I've had a few of these moments, "Whoahhhh, my body is, like, growing another body."


Clothes

I like my pregnancy clothes and I like looking pregnant (though I feel cheated by my lack of pregnancy boobs - I was quite looking forward to that particular physical change).  I remember the first couple months when I was so sure that I wouldn't be showing up until the end and now I laugh at that naivete.  What did I know?  (For the record, I am 100% sure that the entire process of parenting will include more laughing at my past misconceptions.)

Cravings

There was a solid week where I wanted olives all the time.  I'd eat them first thing in the morning right before starting my breakfast smoothie.  Delicious.  Another week I came home with old bay boiled shrimp even though I normally hate the stuff (old bay, not shrimp).  Ate it right from the package.

What it's Like

Physically I mean.  I'm sure everyone's so different emotionally that there's no point in describing that part.  Mostly I don't feel too much different.  As excited as I was to feel the first few movements, you adjust to that pretty quickly and I mostly don't even notice anymore unless the baby does something weird.  Like every once in a while it'll roll over (or somersault or something) and that kind of feels like someone's shoving a giant marble against my stomach and turning it.  There's other days where I'm achy, inside and out.  Sometimes my skin hurts or is itchy and sometimes my insides feel hollow or scraped out, kind of the way you might feel after a bad period or after puking all night long.  Which is kind of funny considering I'm the opposite of empty!

None of which is to complain.  I realize I've gotten off really (really, really) lightly with the symptoms so far and I am immensely grateful for that (knock on wood that the sciatic pain doesn't resume immediately after writing this).

The Serious Stuff

In another vein entirely, I've noticed that even as I feel "more pregnant," I find my brain moving onto or back and forth between different topics more easily.  It's become more a fact of life than something that needs to be discussed and pondered over.  I've been keeping busy with my happiness project and business projects and generally running my butt into the ground at a time when other people might advise me to relax, enjoy the last few months of non-parenthood, take a babymoon with my husband, etc.

That sounds nice and all, but something's driving me to keep picking up the pace.  I think it's partially an irrational feeling that I need to get as much "done" as possible before the baby comes, since I don't know what life will be like at that point, but I think the other part stems from a fear I've always had about being a parent.

I don't want to lose who I am.

I told my mom this and she laughed at me and I've since (mostly) made my peace with it.  Yeah, my blog might change, yeah I might be a dull conversationalist for a while, and yeah, I'll probably be obnoxious on Facebook with 20 versions of the same picture that I think are all exquisitely unique and special.  But I still don't want to stop living.

I recently needed a photographer for a client.  I'd taken photos for him in the past and, frankly, it was subpar work and I don't want to be responsible for (and charging people for!) work that I'm embarrassed by.  "No problem!" I thought.  I know tons of photographers - previous classmates who'd built their own freelance businesses.  I messaged around and I could not find a one to take on this client, because they'd all gotten married and had kids and didn't have the time.

Now I'm not here to denigrate anyone's choice to stay home with their child (or cut back on their workload), but it still shocked me.  These women chose a field that they loved (or so I thought - I could be wrong) and they poured their hearts into these businesses, and then to give it all up?  I love my business, and I can't imagine myself without it.  I want to think I have room in my heart and schedule for work and a baby.

It reminded me of one of Sheryl Sandberg's points in Lean In.  She talks about women leaning back to make room for family before they even have a kid.  She mentions how incredibly difficult it can be to leave your child to go back to work and if you've leaned back and missed out on opportunities, then there's not a whole lot to entice you to return to a job that is probably less satisfying than it would have been if you'd stayed fully engaged.  She advises you to instead "lean in."

So I guess that's what I've been doing.  Leaning in to life and work and trying to make sure that there's plenty of both still waiting for me on the other side of motherhood.  Both for me and my child, because I want to provide a multi-faceted role model for him/her.

If you've been pregnant, what weird symptoms/cravings/aversions did you have?  If you haven't, is there anything about pregnancy you're curious about?  AMA!


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Nov 20, 2016

Weekly Wins!

Another meh week so rereading the positives is nice.

The Wins!


Biznass

  • Forced myself to go to a networking event, even though I really, really wasn't feeling it.  It was fine once I got there.  It's not like I made amazing new contacts, but I gave out a couple cards and got some practice at this whole chatting with strangers thing.

Health

  • Made real meals!  We have been hardcore slacking in House Wellson these last few weeks, so even cooking frozen pre-prepared fish with rice and beans was a win for us.
  • Managed to get in some morning workouts and (with one exception) workouts were all 15+ minutes.  Looking to keep increasing that number over the next couple weeks (I had to start small to get myself to do it at all).
  • Got some workout pants that fit!  I've been resorting to pulling waistbands below my belly, which isn't great for mobility and, uh, pants staying on.

Happiness Project

  • Nada.  I dunno.  Either the election drove this thoroughly from my mind, or what I'm learning this month is that I don't care about my personal projects.

Personal



  • Ryan's aunt shared this image on Facebook and it might have been what I needed to hear about now.  So I pulled my head out of my ass and actually wrote some non-political blog posts for next week.
  • We left Toast out for 6 whole hours while we were gone and she didn't pee in the house!  She's, like, a grown-up dog now.  She's also been doing this thing where she follows me to the kitchen or closet or whatever closed in space and then sits with her back to me facing the open area.  I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be protecting her back or if she's guarding me, but it's oddly endearing.
  • Called my state senators to let them know my stance on the electoral college, Bannon, and Trump's other latest appointees.  (Here's an article about how to get your legislators' attention, if you haven't seen it already.)  I was weirdly scared to do this so I'm proud of myself for getting over it and calling.

Thoughts and Plans for Next Week

  • WordPress class/meetup and then food and family and not worrying about accomplishing anything!

What victories did you have last week?  What's in the works for the upcoming week?


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Nov 17, 2016

Oh, To Be "Great" Again

"Make America Great Again!"  People chant, murmur, and repeat this reverently, but what does it even mean?

I was trying to make a joke about this with a family member, pointing out that "great" can mean good or it can mean a large quantity of something, good or bad.

But to a lot of people "great" seems to be a quantifiable measure of something that our country is apparently lacking and can be given back.

According to Trump, our country was last "great" in the 1950s, which is fantastic news for his favorite demographic: older white males.  Not so much for the rest of us, if we women don't wish to return to the kitchen and minorities do not wish to return to "separate but equal."

I've also heard that great means "not being a joke like we have been for the last 8 years."  Are we a "joke"?  What does THAT mean?  That other countries laugh at us?

Who fucking cares???  Is our country at the core just a bunch of middle school students who are afraid of what other people think of us?

Yes, it would be ideal to have a strong economy.  Jobs = improved quality of life for everyone.  Having the respect of other nations is useful if it means we're safe from attack, but as I recall the last time we were officially attacked was prior to this 8 year period during which we have apparently been considered a joke.

The promise to make America "great" is just hype.  A bullshit promise that will provide a great fallback when the more concrete (but equally ridiculous) promises fall through.

"Sorry that wall isn't actually logistically possible and I can't actually force another nation to pay for it, but hey!  We're making America great again, so it doesn't matter!"

"Oh, what, my new tax plan actually hurts middle and lower class and helps the upper class?  Well that's unfortunate, but don't you worry.  It's all a part of the plan to make America great again!"

I don't know what your definition of "great" is, but if it's "of ability, quality, or eminence above the normal or average" that's not something we can just vote or petition for.  We have to decide what qualities qualify us for greatness and actually work towards obtaining them.

And maybe instead of spending so much time worrying about who might be coming into our country, we should focus more on having a country that's worth entering in the first place.  Why don't we aim to be "great" in things like overall happiness of our citizens (Bhutan)?  Why not most stable economy (Switzerland)?  Lowest unemployment rate (Japan, if we're just counting first-world countries)?  Most peaceful (New Zealand)?

How about just a president who doesn't outright lie to us, or worse, not realize that he's lying because he doesn't even know what a president is capable of?

But no, silly me, obviously not being laughed at is the primary goal.

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Nov 16, 2016

Electoral College History and Our Impact On Its Future

As much as I'd like to return to business as usual, I don't seem to be capable yet.  Other people keep themselves busy or immerse themselves in positivity to handle grief - I problem solve.  Although, when I finally get my head on straight, I absolutely plan on telling you about Year of Yes, which was an amazing read/listen and talks about various issues that are relevant at this particular moment.

My excessive sharing of various petitions about abolishing the electoral college mostly met with approval (or silence, which is fine).  But on Facebook an interesting conversation emerged that gave me pause for thought.

A couple people pointed out the basis for the electoral college.  To prevent small, rural states from being completely overrun by the cities, who had/have little to no understanding of the needs or culture of those communities.

At first glance, this made sense to me.  They are very different worlds and, a fact I was highly unaware of, about 80% of the population lives in urban areas vs only 20% in the rural ones.  So we have to give the rural states something to help them balance this inequity, right?

I was thinking in terms of land usage, and economic factors and things that would directly affect localized areas.

But another commenter reminded us that there are tons of different minority groups, and tons of ways to "split up" the country.  Why was this one group being given an extra say and not any of the other minority groups?  And that reminded me, "Oh, duh.  It's not about just land use.  It's not just about protecting one group's homes or culture.  It's about the rules that govern ALL of us and determine what our personal liberties will be."

Why should the minority decide for the majority who they're allowed to marry, whether sex ed or religion should be taught in schools, who is allowed to enter the country, what rights a woman has to her body, and on, and on, and on.  These are issues that affect all of us, not just one minority group or another.

The only way to be truly fair is to give every single individual one voice and to do our best to not silence any of them.  And the electoral college simply does not accomplish either of those goals.

And honestly, I still have trouble seeing how the electoral college truly gives more power back to those rural communities and small states.  Sure, everyone is guaranteed 2 votes, but after that it's determined by population anyway.  AND THEN you effectively silence up to 49.9% of the voters within that state by forcing the entire state to vote one way or the other.

Delaware's got 3 votes and we're a "blue state."  No conservative voice here matters and no presidential candidate is going to waste their time on our local issues.  Wyoming also has 3 and is a determinedly "red state."  Same goes for them.

All the electoral college does is give power to the "swing states."  How is that a better solution?  Why are we ok with silencing all the conservative voices in California and New York and all the liberal voices in Idaho, Kansas, and Nebraska?

Another blogger pointed out to me that because of all the silenced voices and people not bothering to vote, the cumulative impact of eliminating the electoral college might not even be a shift to the left side, because more people would come out to vote.  I don't think that's a bad thing!  Everyone should want to vote.  Everyone should feel like their voice matters.

There are other possible solutions.  Young Turks gives a pretty comprehensive overview of the situation and (in my opinion) covers the issue from all sides.  By simply splitting the electoral votes so that they don't have to all go to one party, we allow everyone within a state to have more input.

But I still believe the electoral college, in any form, is outdated and unjust.  I almost feel like the petition to have the electoral college vote for Hillary despite Trump "winning" their votes is cheating the system and the real answer is to change the system BUT it would accomplish 2 very excellent things: 1) The electoral vote would actually represent the popular vote and what the majority of people in this country want and 2) It would make Republicans angry and they would finally agree with us that the electoral college needs to go.

Even if the electoral college by some miracle caves and accedes to the popular vote, it still needs to go.  As Slate.com refers to it, this "watered down Democracy" is an outdated institution that sticks around only because of the support of those who are given unfair advantage by it and apathy of those who ought to do more to oppose it.

There's a lot of anger and discussion and social media attention to the issue right now, but if we really want change, we have to keep on this issue even after Trump becomes president.  Even if the electoral college changes its mind and elects Hillary instead.  We have to do more than just send out angry tweets and we have to do more than just sign petitions (although I personally think that's a fantastic starting place and you can do that on Change and MoveOn if you haven't already).

So what's next?  I wish I had a more inspiring, exciting answer that would thrill you into action, but I don't.  We write.  We email.  We call.  We tell our legislators what we want and we hope that after they've heard from enough of us that they do something about it.

National Popular Vote makes the email portion of it fairly easy.  Just fill out their form and hit send.

Last week I asked you for 15 seconds of time.  This week I'm asking for a whole minute.

Email for change?

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P.S. I wasn't a huge fan of the form letter options National Popular Vote provides, so here's what I wrote:

Subject: National Popular Vote Should Determine President

"The system we currently have in place gives an unfair consideration to the voices of rural, white communities. Considering the sheer number of other minority populations, it seems unjust that one group would be raised above another and their voices given more consideration. In addition to that inequity, the all-or-nothing system for allocating electoral college votes effectively silences up to half of each state's population.

Everyone should have the right to make their voice heard. The only way to do that is with a national popular vote."

Nov 15, 2016

Trump's America - the Rationale Behind the Fear

This post isn't for my blogger friends, or my immediate family.  This post is for anyone who might happen to read this who doesn't understand the strong negative reactions to Trump's victory.  Who thinks Democrats are being ridiculous and all this fear-talk is a bunch of bullshit or whining.  Who wants to talk about the hypocrisy of riots breaking out by the people who "supposedly want love, not hate."

Dear Trump-Supporter,


I'm doing my best to understand you.  You could have voted for Trump for any number of reasons on a sliding scale of distastefulness to me.  You may have voted out of fear of the Democratic candidate, over desperation that your own needs weren't being met, or out of the hope that change, any change is needed for our country.  You might have wanted to "shake things up" or you might be in favor of a businessman who will, in all likelihood, make laws that favor other wealthy businessmen.

It might take some time, but I'll keep trying to understand why you feel the way you do.  So I hope you'll take the time to understand why those of us who are upset by this turn of events feel the way we do.

I'm Afraid of the Things Trump Will Do


I know an illegal immigrant.  Actually, I know and have known quite a few, but for this post's purposes, I'm just going to discuss the one I know best.  You see, he's married to one of my best friends.

I'm afraid for both their sakes.  I'm afraid for their daughter who might shortly be losing her father.  I'm afraid for my friend who might soon be facing the difficult decision of losing her husband, or taking her daughter to Mexico, where her education will be set back years by her inability to speak Spanish and her opportunities will be minimal.

You might be saying to yourself, "Well, if he hadn't broken the law to come here, that wouldn't be a problem."  And yeah, that's true.  But he did and he's here and he's working 70 hours a week at a crap job for crap pay that no American would stand for in order to support his family.

"Why didn't he just stay in Mexico?"  There's an article on Cracked that talks about the desperation in poor, white, rural areas.  That's hardly a unique kind of desperation.  I would argue that the US is largely responsible for Mexico's decline in economy and rise in unemployment, thanks to NAFTA.  But even if you disagree, what would you do in that situation?  Just sit and accept your quiet despair?  Accept that your life will never get any better?  Or take action, any action, that offers hope to you and your family, even if that action happens to be illegal?

"He should have just gotten a work visa."  Yes, wouldn't that be nice?  But if you think that's a thing that's easy, or even possible, for an impoverished Mexican worker to acquire, you've forgotten how privileged American citizens are.  We can go pretty much anywhere with just a standard passport.  But people wanting to come in here?  The rules are just a tad bit different.

Similarly, the difficulties in acquiring a greencard (one of the first steps towards citizenship) are prohibitively difficult even after marrying a US citizen.  He would have to leave our country for an undetermined period of time while his spouse proved her ability to provide financial support and the simple fact is she can't.  They need both salaries just to get by.  And if it was ever discovered that he'd been in this country illegally, or some other factor negated his eligibility, there's a good chance he'd never get be able to return, by any means.  Coming over here illegally is not a piece of cake.  It's an expensive and dangerous process that people undertake out of the desperate hope for a new life.

And all the should haves and would haves in the world really don't matter when it comes down to the facts: he is here, he has a wife and child, and he is supporting them.  Remove him from the picture and you have a broken family without a father who will, in all likelihood, be reliant upon government assistance in order to survive.

Tell me how that's better.  Tell me who's going to fill in that less-than-minimum wage, maximum hour job.  And tell me how many restaurants won't simply go out of business because their profit margins aren't too low to pay minimum wage.

That's a personal example and I'm sure you don't feel their pain.  You don't know them.

You may not know any immigrants, legal or otherwise.

You may not know anyone who is afraid of having their marriage nullified and illegitimized, simply because they fell in love with the "wrong" gender.

You may not know anyone who is afraid that they may soon be put on a registry based on their faith.

But I hope you know someone who's different from you.  I hope there's some diversity in your life.  Both for your own sake and so that you can understand and empathize with the other side.  Because that will help you understand my next point.

I'm Afraid of the Things Trump's Presidency Encourages


I don't think anyone can deny that Trump has said many, many pointed things, vilifying various minority and ethnic groups.  He has degraded and minimized women and immigrants and minority groups and Muslims and, honestly, I'm not even sure who else because I've been doing my best to ignore his campaign for the last year.  Chalking it up to celebrity gossip about a man who could never possibly be elected.

But now he has, and with a platform like that, what kind of message does that send to our country?  Obviously Trump has no control over what his followers do, but when he responds to violent incidents by referring to the instigator as "passionate" or the victim as "deserving" what message does that send?  He can't help that the KKK has chosen to endorse him, but what does it mean when he ignores all opportunities to renounce the group?

To me, and to a good portion of Americans, it feels like Trump has been deliberately cultivating hate during his campaign.  Strong feelings are the best way to recruit people.  Passionate, angry, hate-filled people don't always make the most logical decisions.

So now that he's won, it's done 2 things: 1) Told minorities, immigrants, and women that the country cares more about... I'm still not sure what, than it does about their safety or welfare and 2) Showed the worst of Trump's supporters that that behavior really is ok and endorsed by America.

That was probably not your intent.  If you're reading this and haven't already left a nasty comment, you're probably not some hate-fueled monster who's hoping for a return to the 1800s and white, male America.  But can you at least see how that feels to other people?

Hate crimes are up.  Many of them directly reference Trump's victory.  Regardless of how you or I feel about, there are people who have fed into Trump's platform of literal and implied bigotry and who now feel that his presidency gives them free rein to exercise that hatred.

"But the protesters are doing violent things too!"  Yes, I know.  There are protests all over the place and some of them have turned violent (3 that I know of, but possibly more).  I'm not condoning that, in any way, shape or form.

Hate is a natural response to hate and it's very easy to get carried away with fear.  I don't condone the riots and I don't think they accomplish anything, but I can at least understand the emotions that led to them.

The hate crimes I don't understand and I never will.  And they scare me far more, because at the end of the day, the rioters will be arrested or go home and settle down and once again become normal people you can reason with.  The racists, the white supremacists, the bigots?  Not so much.

I hope, I sincerely and perhaps naively hope, that this, like the riots, is temporary.  That it's all a short-term response to a highly-charged, emotional election.  That the police and government will crack down and show everyone that the change of president has not changed the standards by which we live.

But so far it's not something Trump has cared to address.  And in this case, as in much of his campaign, silence is as good as endorsement.

So yeah, that scares me.

I am white, from a white, privileged family (although my father might argue that he had to fight to get to where he is now, but I certainly didn't) and there's a good likelihood that none of this will personally affect me.  But I am terrified for everyone who is at the whim of this man, and his followers, endorsed by him or not.  I am terrified to live in an America where this is the norm and I feel utterly helpless to do anything about it.

I am grasping at straws for one useful thing to do or say and I'm coming up short.

Like everyone else in our country, I just have to wait and see.

And that scares me.

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Nov 13, 2016

Weekly Wins

I was tempted to skip this post this week and pout and say, "There were no wins this week."  But, like I posted on Thursday, we do need to move forward and to work on being better and making better things happen in the future.  And, seriously, we need to focus on and look for positive things now more than ever.

The Wins!


Biznass

  • First income through Waves!  Omg, it was so smooth and beautiful and I love this website so much.
  • Uhhh... yeah that was about it.  Not my most productive week.

Health

  • New (and far more strict) accountabilibuddy!  Kristen is awesome and signed on for this and messages me with grim, teeth-baring emojis and motivational messages even on the days that she doesn't work out.  It's been awesome.
  • Cardio this week! (not a ton but something!)  And grocery shopping.  And just a lot of things that really fell to the wayside the last week or two.

Happiness Project

  • I decided to let go of my book project.  This feels almost like a loss, but I think it's good to be honest with myself and admit that if it's not important enough to make time for now, it never will be.  Plus brain space freed up to focus on other things.

Personal

  • Only cried for 2 or 3 hours Wednesday morning.  Ha...  Yeah, I know.  It was a rough day.  But I feel good about finding personal causes and takeaways instead of just sitting back and letting it devastate me.
  • On that note, some of the discussions that have come out of the election hype have been good ones.  Both for my edification, and helpful ways to move forward and support those groups who have been and, in all likelihood, will be even more marginalized under our new leadership.  (Jezebal has a good list of causes to support - I chose immigration reform and women leadership.)

Thoughts and Plans for Next Week

  • NOT get into any political discussions at work tomorrow.  We're all friends on social media anyway, so we might as well have our terse, unpleasant conversations via digital means.

What victories did you have last week?  What's in the works for the upcoming week?


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Nov 10, 2016

What Now? How to Reunify

I was reluctant to return to business as usual today.  It felt... wrong.  I wasn't ready for the discussions to end, for us to just return to our regular lives and pretend that this massive thing hadn't just been dropped on us.

Settling back into a normal routine felt wrong, so I looked around for things I could do moving forward and, as is so frequently the case, someone wrote this article before I could.  Yes and Yes posted 9 Real, Actionable Things We Can Do About Trump.

Ignoring all political affiliation, it's a great article because the author focuses on how to weather the storm that is not just a president you may disapprove of, but the general political turmoil our country has found itself in and the deep rift we're feeling between each other.

In my post yesterday, I talked about feeling bewildered and shocked and saddened by the idea that so many people voted for hatred.  And surely some of them did.  But maybe, just maybe, some of the Trump supporters voted the way they did because they have felt misrepresented.  Because deep down, they were as scared of the Democratic candidate as Democrats are of our new president.

Ryan and I were joking about the kind of dystopic futures we could potentially be facing with each leader (Trump's was basically a return to white male America and Hillary's was big brother-esque).  For us it was a joke, but maybe the fear guiding the votes for this election were very real and maybe people were voting against the candidate they were most afraid of since they didn't have one who actually represented what they wanted or hoped for.  Maybe they were imagining those dystopias and trying to avoid them at all costs.

It's what I'll keep telling myself anyway.  Stephen Colbert talks about that fear.  He talks about the fact that 55% of Democrats are afraid of the Republican party and 49% of Republicans feel the same way about the Democrat side.  He talks about spending less time on politics and more time on the things we do have in common.  And he ends with a plea to make sure we never have another election like this one.

I've seen people share posts on Facebook commenting that unfollowing and unfriending each other isn't going to accomplish anything and just deepens the divide.  And I agree, to some extent.  Obviously I don't think you should stay friends with people who are actively spreading hatred and prejudice and that's not something I plan on tolerating either.

But if someone has some reason for voting Trump that is legitimate in their mind and it doesn't have to do with the various minority groups they dislike or the individual human rights they want to suppress, then I will do my best to be tolerant of that.  To respond with understanding instead of judgement.  Obviously love would be better, but I'm only human and I have to work with my limited capabilities.

I'm not quite with Colbert on putting down all the election talk and going back to regular life.  I think things need to actively change to avoid future elections like this one.  I think we all need to educate ourselves and be more involved in the primaries.  How are we supposed to have better options if we don't get out there and tell the government and the stupid two-party system which options we prefer?  Obviously they're not capable of making good decisions by themselves.

I have no idea how to go about changing the two party system.  But I do have a gripe with another political institution that I think is antiquated and unnecessary.

Abolish the Electoral College

I know several people who said, "It doesn't really matter."  In reference to their vote.  Because it doesn't!  Our individual votes do not matter and this year, as in past elections, the popular vote did not choose who our next leader would be.

If you wanted Trump as president you might be wondering what's in it for you.  But I honestly think this is an issue that every single person who bothered to vote should agree on.

Our votes should matter.

We do not need an electoral college to vote for us.  We live in a digital age with information readily available at all times.  We are capable of researching and making decisions for ourselves.  The electoral college was formed to prevent the large states from completely dominating the small ones.  But has it?  The number of electoral votes per state is based on the population anyway BUT unlike a population of individuals, the electoral votes all have to go one way or the other.

What is that about?  Not everyone within each state agrees, and if you happen to live in a "blue state" or a "red state" this effectively negates you.  Republicans votes in a Delaware election do not matter.  Democrat votes in Kansas do not matter.

This strikes me as incredibly wrong.  An idea based on positive values that has gone horribly wrong and that we keep around simply because change is too much effort.  Trying to figure out how to change it is too much effort.  Doing anything is too much effort.

If this election and our current political atmosphere has taught us anything, it should be that the cost of our inaction is now too high.  Yes, effort.  It sucks.  But we need it, from you, from me, from everyone.

And this is part of the reason I don't want to shut out all my Republican friends.  Because I need you and there are still things we have in common.  This is one of them.

Petition for Change?

That's the question I've been asking people on Twitter who have used the hashtag "#AbolishElectoralCollege".  Some of them have even responded, which is nice.  More importantly, the Change.org petition has jumped over 10,000 votes since last night (which I would of course like to attribute to my own efforts, but I'm sure other people had the same thought and found the petition at the same time I did).

There are 3 petitions that I know of.  Change.org has the most votes currently.  It takes about 15 seconds per petition to sign.

Do Petitions Even Work?

Honestly?  I have no clue.  I'd love to believe that they do.  But, as a friend pointed out on Facebook, we've tried this before and nothing came of it.  But you know what else?  Doing nothing will always result in nothing, so I don't see the harm in trying.

It takes 15 seconds.

Petition for change?

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Nov 9, 2016

Apathy & Hate - Deciding How to Respond


I don't think I have anything that has already been said, and probably better, by someone else. But after months of saying, "It'll all be fine" I guess I can't stand the idea of sitting around and continuing to pretend everything is ok. I feel incredibly naive for my opinion up until I awoke on Wednesday morning, because I truly believed that this was not a possibility.

I believed that the fact that Trump had come so far was because no one thought he could make it and they weren't taking it seriously. I thought when the time came to vote, people would wake up and he'd lose in a massive landslide that proved he never should have been there all along.

I believed that third party votes would be at an all-time high. I don't necessarily agree with all the criticism of Clinton, but it's an opinion I can understand and respect, and if you'd rather vote third party, I'm all for it. Show the government that we want more options and that the two party system is broken!

But that's not what happened. Not at all. Third parties combined took maybe 4%. So all these people whining about, "We don't have any good options" did what exactly? Just didn't choose anyone? Wrote in bullshit Internet memes. As Alyssa put it, "spat on the right to participate in democracy that not 100 years ago women were being jailed in their fight for."

I understand that people were upset. I understand the desire to protest what you feel weren't good options. But sitting by and doing nothing and allowing this to happen? Yeah, I'm sad and more than a little disgusted that that was how people chose to deal with the situation. "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing."

I'm also astounded at the sheer number of people who actively voted for hate.  Who listened to Trump's platform of misogyny, xenophobia, and racism and thought, "Yeah, that's what I want for our country."  Who listened to bullshit promises about building a wall that Mexico will pay for, and thought that not only was that a good idea, but that he has/will have any power to deliver on that promise.

I shouldn't have to explain to anyone why Trump is not a good candidate. I seriously thought he was making that perfectly clear all by himself over the last year.  But obviously there are a significant portion of Americans who look at all this hatred, this incompetence, and this fountain of empty promises and think, "Well, at least it's not a woman."  People who legitimately think that an email scandal is the equivalent of or worse than sexual assault charges, and that experience ranks less highly than "speaking your mind."

As a woman, it feels like a personal blow to me, even though I'm sure that's not what was running through people's heads when they were voting for Trump (with the possible exception of his KKK endorsers).  I'm sure everyone who happens to be a minority, immigrant, and/or Muslim feels the same way.

I've been reading posts like Jana's about what this means to their children. People with biracial or minority children who have to explain the logic that went into this man getting elected. How to explain that the bully won, and that our country chose him. I saw a news clip from last night that said, "This is white supremacy at work."  And you know what?  I don't disagree.  She points out Trump's winning strategy: finding all the pockets of hate and fear in our country and whipping them into a frenzy.  Our mistake?  Underestimating how many and how large those pockets are.  Trump's slogan should not be "make American great again" it should be "make white male America great again." But only if you don't happen to be a contractor or small business owner, because then he'll skin you alive to make a quick buck.

I'm trying not to be bitter.  Sad yes, and bewildered, and scared.  But I know bitterness and anger, disgust and more hatred aren't going to help.  I was prepared to bury my head in the sand and pretend this wasn't happening, for the next 4 years if need be. But then I saw a few people's rallying cry. Yes, it's a huge blow, but we need love more than ever. We need each other more than ever. Michael shared a great tweet at the end of her post, "Often our greatest courage is just getting up after a long night & persisting in doing good for others, serving, helping & never giving up." Audrey Louise reminded us that Trump's America isn't hers and extended her love to all those who might be feeling the lack right now.

My favorite post is my sister's, which I've screen captured to give her some semblance of privacy.


I'm a little ashamed that my first impulse was to run and hide but now, reluctantly, and perhaps begrudgingly, I'm admitting these people are right. Giving up on our country, escaping to Canada, or burying our heads in the sand for the next 4 years aren't going to help anything.

As hard as it is right now, I'm not deleting my news feeds or social media accounts. I might refuse to discuss politics in person but I am sure as hell going to keep educating myself on the issues and voting, even when it feels pointless. I'm going to research until I figure out how the primaries work and what I have to do to be allowed to vote in them, even though sometimes it feels like the government is purposely obfuscating information about our election process. And if you're a vote-abstainer, I am going to give you shit until you go get registered.

Inaction and apathy are the two things our country really can't take any more of right now.

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Nov 8, 2016

Book Gifs Be Seriously Lacking

During my accidental book swap hosting, I was trying to find a book gif to liven up the Facebook post and other than the ones with Belle, I was kind of disappointed in the selection.  I don't know what I wanted, but I feel like there should at least be books explosions, or books in space, or a mountain of books, or someone happily rolling in a swimming pool of books.  Seriously, not a specific vision at all...

Anyway, I started the month off with some duds and then struggled a bit to get back into it.  I was also trying to force myself to only read productively and I started to get a bit burned out with it, so I ended up rereading the Percy Jackson series when I needed a break.

♥♥♥♥♥ - Loved!



Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World by Lisa Bloom

I started reviewing this and realized I needed to talk a lot more about it.  Full review here, but basically this WILL make you think.  It's not necessarily fun to read but I highly recommend because the vast majority of us could use a reminder to educate ourselves about the world we live in and not get distracted by the petty bullshit that dominates American culture.  Even if you're thinking to yourself, "Oh, I already do that" still read it.  There'll be something you didn't know and she has a ton of great resources at the end.


The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler

Sooo good.  I do feel like a lot of the tips are better geared towards families with non-babies (as in old enough to talk and think vs my little fetus) because they involve things like forging your family identity and letting the kids have a say in their chores and discipline and so on, but I discussed almost every idea with Ryan and I fully intend on rereading this in 4 years or so.  I LOVE the idea of using business organization tactics at home and I also love that everything the author talks about is based on research (including his own, anecdotes from other successful families, and scientific studies).  I also appreciate the author's attitude - he's very humble and has more of a "pick and choose what works for you" approach than a "one size fits all."

♥♥♥♥ - Liked



Superfreakonomics by Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner

Fun facts and an interesting take on various social/cultural issues.  I was surprised how interesting they managed to make trivia and I'm glad to know more of the science behind global warming (I feel like normally people take a political approach when they discuss it instead of explaining the research).  I was also fascinated by the economics of prostitution.  :P

♥♥♥ - Ambivalent-ed



100 Habits of Successful Freelance Designers by Steve Gordon Jr.

Not much to say about this one.  It was pretty, had lots of imagery and easy to scan, bulleted information.  It read more like an Internet article than a book, which was great because I had too many books and needed to get rid of some quickly.  But I also didn't feel like it was anything I couldn't have gotten from searching the Internet.  So... meh.

♥♥ - Mildly Disliked


None!


 - Did Not Finish or Wanted to Burn in a Fire



MFW Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche

I will concede that there is a small possibility that this book redeemed itself by the end.  However, the author enraged me so much in the first 30 pages that I could not continue.  The author seemed so immature, and judgmental, and had no self awareness that I could detect.  Whining about your lack of friends, and then jumping to snap decisions about people and "playing hard to get" or thinking someone else is weird for inviting you out again because it's "too soon."  Nope, nuh uh, just not my cup of tea.  I do understand wimping out or feeling awkward, but at least I know it's my own damn fault when that happens.  And even if the author does learn to be a better person by the end, I don't need to read a whole book to figure out how to be nice to people and put myself out there.

Currently...

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast for a nice change o' pace, and then Year of Yes for my "while being productive" audiobook.

Challenge Updates


Erin 5.0

Finally complete!  And just in time for the end of the challenge (ran until the end of October so... yeah I cut it close).  Challenge book this month: Happy Families.

Jenn Self Book Challenge

I could cheat and count a couple of these, but they were all completed well before I started my personal challenge, so I'll start counting next month.

What have you been reading?  Have you read anything from my list and what did you think?


Linking up with Steph and Jana
Life According to Steph

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Nov 6, 2016

Weekly Wins!

Some ups and downs this week.  I'll just skip the downs, because positivity!  Huzzah!!!

The Wins!


Biznass

  • Got my new bank account set up (goodbye minimum balance requirement and mobile deposit fees!) and sent my first invoice through Wave, which was beautifully simple and I will try to ignore the loss of control I have over the design of the invoice which is really not that important in the long run.
  • Oh!  Sent my first enewsletter!!!  Nothing special and I don't have any real subscribers yet, but it was still kind of exciting.  (Want to see what super exciting stuff I send out once a month and give me a heart attack from joy at the same time?  You can subscribe here.)
  • All kinds of client goodness.  Finished my first full WordPress website, helped design (and conceptualize) a bunch of social media graphics for a campaign, and designed a cookbook.  :P

Health

  • Baby's hanging out on my sciatic nerve and I'm generally feeling achy and crappy (ah, the 3rd trimester everyone's been telling me about...) so this was actually a pretty big win though it sounds small.  I started doing 5 minute workouts every day (snapping them to my accountabilibuddies, naturally), with the intention to form the habit and knowing that I'm more likely to continue working out once I get warmed up and started.
  • On that note, no offense to the ones I already have, but does anyone else need an accountability partner for working out?  Mine forget to give me shit when I don't send pictures so the accountability part is a bit lacking.

Happiness Project

  • Started the month off sorting some old photos!  I have found I have a much higher tolerance for flipping through pictures of the dogs (it's like a flip book of them playing!), so I didn't purge those as heavily, but I'm getting rid of the hundreds of sunsets, flowers, and duplicate poses of people to try to get it down to a number that's fun to look at instead of overwhelming.

Personal

  • After feeling pretty sorry for myself earlier in the week (did I mention sciatic pain?) I rallied and got back to work, both legit work and putting the house to rights (it was still a mess from the party).
  • Planned about 1 social event per week for the rest of November, which is about the right amount to be out there but not overwhelmed.

Thoughts and Plans for Next Week

  • Looking forward to voting and the election being over!  Also I need to put quite a bit more effort into my happiness project since this first week was underwhelming.

What victories did you have last week?  What's in the works for the upcoming week?


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Nov 3, 2016

Who I Admire

I feel like we had this prompt in high school and I had to google someone who was admiration-worthy because nothing came to mind.  Now, as an adult who actually cares about the world and has educated herself, the question is just as hard to answer because there are so many.  It's a little like, "What's your favorite book?"

I Admire...


...people who stand up for their beliefs and who change the world like Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Malala Yousafzai.

...authors whose work has had an impact on my life, like John Gray, Ayn Rand, Gretchen Rubin, Sheryl Sandberg, and Devorah Zack.

...Marie Kondo for having so much passion that she comes across as just a little bit crazy.

...people who are authentically themselves, like Steph, and Stephanie, and Kelli.

...people who are still finding themselves, and who are willing to work towards the future and the self they want to be.

...my mom, for being such a strong, good person and managing to put up with my dad and us and still somehow raise us to be decent people.

...my sisters for their incredible work ethic and the lives they've built for themselves.  I admire Sister3's willingness to live outside the bounds of convention and Sister2's compassion for other human beings.

...everyone who's ever published a book, or built a business, or run a marathon, or worked their butt off to reach a goal.

...everyone who's ever jumped out of a plane, faced one of their fears, or done something spontaneous.

I actually had a conversation with my mom not too long ago when I was feeling despondent and I said, "I used to think there were good people.  I don't believe in that anymore.  I think everyone has the potential to do horrible things."

She said, "Well, if that was the case, wouldn't that make the good things everyone does more admirable, because they have to really try to do them?"

Yes, yes it would.  So somehow that whiny little, "Meh the world is terrible" moment became something that is actually rather inspiring and when I have to answer the question of who I admire, it's damn near everyone.

Who do you admire?  What traits or actions do you find particularly admirable?

alyssagoesbang

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Nov 2, 2016

Jenn's Self Book Challenge

Now that I've completed Erin's book challenge ('bout damn time), I thought I'd take a shot at making a challenge of my own.  I'm too lazy to organize something and try to get people to link up, so I figured I'd go a very personal route and incorporate some categories that work with my happiness project.

Jenn's Personalized Book Challenge

  • 5 points: Genre Pioneer (first dystopian, romance, etc)
  • 10 points: Career Development (anything business-based)
  • 10 points: Social (a book for a book club or a book about friendships/making friends)
  • 10 points: Self Actualization (advances the self actualization goals I choose for that month)
  • 10 points: Fun (hobby based or how to incorporate more fun into daily life)
  • 10 points: Mindset (about inner calm or anything baby/labor prep related)
  • 20 points: Recommendation from Someone Who Reads my Genre
  • 20 points: Recommendation from Someone Who Doesn't
  • 20 points: Title That Could Describe Me (this one is just silly fun)
  • 25 points: Genre I Don't Normally Read
  • 35 points: Book I've Been Putting Off

I was considering cheating and counting the books I've already read for my happiness project, but too much time has gone by so I'll start fresh.  No real rules, since it's a challenge for and with myself only, but I'm allowing the happiness project categories to count multiple times if I read several books for that particular topic, while the others only count once.

I'll continue to talk about my monthly reads in Show Us Your Books, and I'll give updates on this challenge there, like I've been doing with Erin 5.0.

What would your personalized challenge categories be?


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Nov 1, 2016

Happiness Project Month 3: Self Actualization (and Social Updates)

My social month was such a blast!  I expected it to be a lot more draining than it was (especially with how introverted I measured last time I took the Briggs-Meyers test) but I think my first couple of social successes rocketed me back to extrovert land and I mostly reveled in it (with a few small sanity breaks).

Month 2 Update: Social.



Affirmations

I had 3, I said them maybe half the time, I'm not convinced saying them did much, BUT I feel like they helped set the tone for the month so I'll keep doing them for now.

Resolutions

These... well I forgot about them, to put it bluntly (notice the lack of check marks).  I'm much better at to do lists than resolutions, which I'm keeping in mind for next month.
  1. Avoid Gossip - Newp.  I mean, it's easy when you're not around people but there was definitely a time or two that I indulged and one weird one where I didn't like the gossip that was happening but I didn't know how to handle it or what to say so I just let it happen.  I'm still a little embarrassed by my passivity in that one but hopefully thinking about it will help me be prepared for next time.
  2. Read Friend Books - I tried!  But MFW Seeking BFF turned out to be too bad to be palatable and then I didn't pick up The DUFF in time and they returned it to its original library.  :'(
  3. Compliment Someone - Um, I mean... I did a couple times but I didn't go out of my way to do this.  I actually remember complimenting someone's hair and then getting annoyed when, instead of just saying thank you, she had to turn around and say why my hair was amazing.  Thanks, but just accept the damn compliment!
  4. Empathize Instead of Judging - Meh.
  5. Say Yes to Favors - My only real opportunity to do this was helping Melisandre with the kid sleepover at the very beginning of the month, but I did offer to help someone unpack boxes, and to host a legit book swap after people didn't like the idea of the FB chain one.

To Do

1. Commit to 1 social event per week - Check!  I rocked this.  I think I had one week with only 1 social event and the rest were 3-5.  (5 in one week!)
2. Have a conversation or spend time with each friend I have - Check!  A conveniently timed wedding and our Halloween party made this quite simple, but I also spent time with a few people outside those 2 circles.
3. Reach out to one new potential friend - Check!  We brunched like a couple of champs and then she was awesome enough to invite me to another outing with some other friends (other graphic designers!!!)

Other Stuff

I found a Meetup group that I really, really like.  They do a lot of classes, but not only was the class awesome (it was social media, which was excellent timing for me learning to market my business) the other students were friendly.  The second event was pretty good too, with more small-talk and I just so happened to meet the organizer for a local WordPress meetup, which you can bet I'm joining!  So tons of leads for people to commune with.

I'm also really enjoying the FB groups I joined.  Yes, they're for business, but they're so friendly and chatty and it's nice to be able to talk business with other interested parties (as opposed to Ryan's encouraging but empty smile and, "Uh huh, uh huh, huh...").

Month 3 Goals: Self Actualization

Originally I was planning on making this be my "finally finish that book" month but now... I don't know.  I'm feeling less inspired by it (according to Elizabeth Gilbert, my idea has probably floated away to find someone else who will actualize it).  So I think I'm going to make this the month of finishing up personal projects, focusing on 3 main areas: 1) Photos/Memorabilia 2) Passive Income 3) The Book.

Affirmations

  1. I am well-rounded and pursue hobbies in addition to my work
  2. When it's important, I stick to goals and get them done
  3. When it's not, I am able to let go

Resolutions

  1. 15 minutes a day devoted to one of these projects

To Do

  1. Sort and purge old photos (digital and physical)
  2. Decide on a system for memory keeping (research website for photo printing and make a schedule for adding/updating scrapbook) and start
  3. Choose a passive income project (probably website templates) and make a step-by-step plan for getting them created
  4. Set up Etsy or another ecommerce shop and profit!
  5. Take a good, long think on the book idea.  If it's really still worth doing, make a plan, otherwise, let it go.

Keeping it light on the resolutions because I really want to focus on getting projects completed and mapped out for the future.  I'm basically decluttering, but it's the mental kind.  Just a couple fewer things I have to devote brain power to in the upcoming year.

What activities would you consider self actualizing?  Got any ongoing goals or mental clutter?


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