Boring Adult Things, Lists

Social Media Detox

I expected that giving up Facebook for a month would be difficult. We hear so much about social media addiction and the constant need to be connected to our networks and phones. I have not been immune: mainly out of a sort of obsessive-compulsive habit, I was opening Facebook probably dozens of times a day. I don’t know what I thought I was missing, but just that quick flip calmed me – particularly in this age of near-constant changes in politics that feel life-changing at a moment’s notice.

I deactivated my Facebook and Instagram accounts the evening of 3/6 and removed the apps from my phone. I realized a few days in that I couldn’t fully deactivate Facebook without causing myself a bunch of grief with work and connected logins, so I allowed the platform to reopen my account (when I needed to check some numbers in an ad platform) but I never signed back in. I have to say – I haven’t missed it much at all.

The time I was spending flipping open that damn app icon is now devoted to reading, give or take, half an hour a day. I’m able to really focus and enjoy TV shows I’m watching rather than half-listening while scrolling through an endless feed of photos I’m not in and don’t honestly care about.

I miss the status updates from some of my groups – one woman in particular is going through a rough time in her family and I want to know how that’s unfolding and how she’s holding up. We’re only Facebook friends so when I cut out Facebook, I cut out her and everyone in that group.

I’m also slightly annoyed about random events – trying to figure out if it’s half priced wine night at some restaurant I like, or if trivia is still happening even though it’s snowing. Things like that. Facebook serves as the primary resource for that kind of information and I feel a little blind without it. But you know what? It hasn’t impacted my life all that much. And if it did, I would pick up a phone and actually (gasp!) call someone.

We went to a caboose cabin in Asheville, NC and hit Greenville, SC for business on the way up. I took pictures but forgot about looking to see if people had Liked them, because I didn’t post them. I enjoyed my time with my kid and husband. We saw goats and bison and chickens, we ate at my favorite childhood restaurant (J Arthur’s in Maggie Valley), and we cooked hot dogs and s’mores around the campfire. We went to a Brazilian steakhouse, hit the breweries, and had fun at Cameron’s 1-year photo shoot with our friend Cami.

And we didn’t need to announce all of that in real time to my social network because frankly – nobody else cares that much!

I’m about halfway through this social media detox and I may just continue for a while. I thought this would be an insanely hard transition but it’s actually just been a breath of fresh air. If Trump does something so insane our lives are in danger, we’re probably all screwed anyway. And if he doesn’t, I’ll just hope I hear through a longer grapevine about his impending impeachment.

So I hope all of you guys are doing well. I hope you’re still loving being vegan, getting lots of baby giggles, enjoying the single life, bitching about the latest political outrage (I stand in solidarity with you and have not stopped my offline activism!), crafting, cooking, singing, photographing, running, and traveling. I still love you. But I don’t miss your online profile. And I’m willing to bet you don’t miss mine.

———–

Books I’m reading with all my extra time!

*Janesville – REALLY well-written. Empathy-inspiring. Although not as much as…

*How To Kill a City – holy CRAP have we been awful to People of Color in this country. A study of Gentrification 101 in some of America’s key cities. (Detroit will BLOW YOUR MIND.)

*What Happened by Hillary Clinton – it took a long time to dry my liberal snowflake tears and open this book again. But I’m in the home stretch. It’s okay. It’s infuriating. It’s a little pandering. But it has one of the best quotes I’ve seen that sums up all of the books above:

“There’s been so much said and written about the economic hardships and declining life expectancy of the working class whites who embraced Donald Trump. But why should they be more angry and resentful than the millions of blacks and Latinos who are poorer, die younger, and have to contend every day with entrenched discrimination?

…After studying the French Revolution, (de Tocqueville) wrote that revolts tend to start not in the places where conditions are worst, but in places where the expectations are most unmet. So if you’ve been raised to believe your life will unfold a certain way – say, with a steady union job that doesn’t require a college degree but does provide a middle-class income, with traditional gender roles intact and everyone speaking English – and then things don’t work out the way you expected, that’s when you get angry. It’s about loss. It’s about the sense that the future is going to be harder than the past.”

*And I mean, of course I read Fire and Fury… which was fascinating, but really, it’s more like a 20/20 exposé than a real book.

Lists

15k, Over and Out

I knocked out the 15k on Saturday. About mile 2, I had the sinking feeling I’d made a terrible mistake. Another girl jogged up next to me and asked, “What’s your strategy?” I looked at her like she had two heads. My first thought was, “My strategy is not to die.” I more kindly answered, “Walk when I’m tired. Run downhill.” Apparently, that was her strategy, too. Call be a dum-dum but I didn’t know people went into these things with strategies.

It was hilly. Very hilly. Which was nice on the down-slope but murder going up. And as much as I love running to podcasts because they’re long-form entertainment, I realized I can run more predictably to music. I also hurt a lot more than last time… chafing, soreness, the works. But it was overall a good pain – it reminded me I worked hard, that as I approach 31 and am post pregnancy, I’m still doing good things for my body, and that I knocked the first big task off my latest bucket list.

And get this… after the last 15k I ran a few years ago, I said, “That’s it.” I had no plan to do another one, much less anything more strenuous. But after this one… I think I can train for a half marathon. I really think I can. And I just might.

So EAT THAT!

Also… I’m giving up social media for the next 30 days.

So maybe that will leave me more time for training.

WHAT AM I DOING TO MYSELF?

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Boring Adult Things, Lists

Rage

Today, I woke up angry.

Not grumpy, but angry.

Brandon had fallen asleep on the couch and left the door unlocked all night after he came home from a gas station run. He was the first to get the wrath.

Next was the stray cat who thinks he’s invited into our house for breakfast – how did you get in here?! Scram!

Next was the Bank of America automated phone message, who refused to get me to a representative.

I don’t know why I was so angry today. Maybe it was because I had to get up for work while Brandon got the day off. Maybe it was because he fell asleep on the couch, again, and left me to sleep alone in the bedroom. Maybe it was because of hormones.

I think it really had to do with me frittering away my last true break before the baby and realizing this morning what I’d done.

We both spent the week between Christmas and New Year’s working nonstop: me putting in hours for my jobs, him putting in endless hours to finish our bathroom renovation, both of us making 5+ runs to Home Depot, cleaning the house from top to bottom, hiring a handyman to fix things around the house, organizing the office, making meals to freeze for postpartum time, getting our latest wills notarized, buying rugs for every room in the house, getting a new TV stand. Even in the moments we had available to chill, we couldn’t do it. We’d get cabin fever and venture out on another errand. I’d end up getting pinged for work. We missed the ball drop on New Year’s because we were cleaning our bathroom. Apropos end to 2016.

I am so over living under this kind of duress, and now it’s permeated into Brandon’s psyche. My once calm husband is now his own little whirling dervish of activity.

I don’t know what to do to break this cycle of panic before this child enters our lives. I pictured myself screaming at Cameron the way I did at the stray cat this morning. “Joey, get the FUCK out of my house! Next time you walk your ass in here, it’s going to the pound!” Not a healthy environment for a baby.

I’m angry, and sad, and tired, and restless. You’re supposed to feel rejuvenated after a long period of a break, right? So why are we headed into 2017 feeling more tired than we were before Christmas? And will the To Do list, once a Bucket List and now a haunting Honey Do list, ever really be Done?

Lists

Oh Hai.

Been a while since I posted here. And unlike my other failed blog attempts, this break was intentional. I needed a mental chill pill for a while as I dealt with some personal stuff, including moving on from a long-term bout of professional stress and starting my own thing. It’s always been a dream and there’s no time like the present: pre-kids, pre-30, post-experience, post-building a professional network.

There’s also no time like the present to pick back up on my journey of initiatives before turning 30. As you could probably calculate, I’ve recently turned 29 (OH GOD). I’m about to embark on my mountain climbing trip with my dad tomorrow (Father’s Day!), and I type this from our hotel room in Colorado. I’m doing my best to appreciate this time with him rather than dread the 4.4 mile trek up the snowy mountain, which I admittedly didn’t prepare well enough for. Fingers crossed all goes okay…

In the meantime, I thought, hey, let’s update the list. I haven’t been actively pursuing any of the goals, and I’m probably going to have a moratorium on travel for a while as I start my business, but nevertheless, I think I’ll wind this baby down with most of my goals accomplished. Not half bad.

 

30. Climb a mountain.

Uhhh we’ll see how this goes.

29. Run a 10k.

28. Nail a handstand in yoga.

27. Get spiritual.

Who am I kidding on this one?

 

EDUCATION

26. Learn a language.

25. Master a skill.

Knitting!

24. Read some books that actually mean something.

23. Develop some knowledge about cars.

Car club, holla!

 

TRAVEL

22. Visit Thailand.

21. Take a trip with my Dad.

20. See a Wonder of the World.

19. Take a cross-country road trip with Brandon.

I hoped to do this in 2016 but it may not happen that soon. Either way, it’s the next trip we’ll take together.

 

LIFE CHANGES

18. Volunteer regularly somewhere for at least 6 months.

17. Turn off the T.V. for a week.

16. Finish my book.

 

MONEY MATTERS

15. Invest in 5 diversified stocks.

One of them was Chipotle. I’ll let you chew on that one for a sec. (head shaking)

14. Build retirement fund.

I’m counting this even though I do wish it was larger. I’ve significantly increased it and really worked to consistently invest. It may not grow as rapidly during this time of professional transition for me, but I’m feeling good about where I am for my age.

13. Own a second home.

Unlikely at this point, given where I am with work, but it’s still an ultimate goal to help us continue to build our net!

 

EVOLVE MY RELATIONSHIPS

12. Get closer with my sister.

I need to continue to do this but I think we have a better relationship – I know we had a great time at Serenbe!

11. Go on a walk at least once a week with Brandon.

Still working on this one, but definitely spending more quality time together. 🙂

10. Try something more sexually adventurous than usual.

9. Be a good in-law.

8. Send a real letter to a friend every month for a year.

 

TEST MY LIMITS

7. Zip line.

6. Participate in a big cultural event like a music festival or Oktoberfest.

5. Swim with a shark. Or at least sting rays.

4. Learn to surf. Or at least try.

3. Be personally responsible for winning a big piece of business.

2. Perform in a play or musical.

I performed in the work band at the Christmas party and solo’ed 2 songs – including HELLO by Adele. I’m freaking counting this!

 

My husband isn’t the best cameraman, but if you want to endure the shakiness and crane your head to see me behind a pole, you can check out the performance.

PERSONAL SATISFACTION

1. Learn to be happy just as I am.

Getting there. Day by day.

Lists

#Basic

I was drifting off to sleep when I realized something key about myself that gave me heart palpitations: I think I might be a #basic person.

For those unfamiliar with the term, these are (typically) women who take humblebrag selfies and drink Pumpkin Spiced Lattes. They are characterized by superficiality wrapped in a mask of humility. These are not likable creatures. They represent something that sucks about Western civilization: we are insanely shallow.

So I started thinking… these elements of “basicness” I know I possess… do I have the necessary counterbalance? Here’s where I’ve landed.

  • I spent an hour doing my nails tonight, but will likely bite them all off later this week.
  • I am getting laser hair removal on my legs, but mainly because I am too lazy to shave.
  • When the time comes, I’ll get Botox, but will probably tell other people because I have no shame and will want them to know how much it hurt, and that I was brave.
  • I enjoy a pumpkin spice item but rarely buy one. Hello, one of those lattes is, like, $5.
  • I use coconut oil as a lotion, which I tried because it was trendy but continued to do because it’s a freaking awesome facial moisturizer.
  • I take selfies with my cats and dogs… okay, there’s no counterbalance here. It just is what it is.
  • I own some designer goods but whenever someone comments on them, I announce how I found them on sale or at Goodwill.
  • I get a blowout every once in a while for a wedding but most days I’m lucky if I brush my hair.
  • I bike to work but I’m so poor at it I ride on the sidewalks for fear I will be killed.
  • I work at a hipster haven-style market but have never been to 80% of its stores, or gone there on the weekend.
  • I enjoy Adele but recognize most of her songs sound the same, and are about the same topic.
  • I’m making homemade dog food, but it’s mostly because I like to cook, and I’m cheap.
  • I watch makeup videos on Youtube but most days, I just wear mascara and lip gloss (then sweat it all off anyway).
  • I travel a lot but sleep on floors in Brooklyn to afford the privilege.
  • I keep a bucket list blog but have done so since before “basic” was even a thing.

So I wonder if every #basic woman feels this way: that although they possess some of those heinous, first-world-style qualities, they have other redeeming elements that somehow exempt them from the stereotype?

I guess for now I’m just going to own my basic-ness and hope that somehow offers me a slight moral high ground over the whole thing.

Lists

A New Leaf

I’m always turning over leaves.

The one constant in my life over the last 10 years has been my husband; someone who recognizes my quirks, impatience, and constant need for change better than anyone. He’s stood by me through countless transformations, hobbies, interests, jobs, and emotions. And now he’ll see me through this one. I am a woman in motion.

I’m 26-and-a-half. Ish. It wasn’t long ago I thought that was ancient: one foot in the grave, or at least both feet depleted of youth. I rushed like a bullet to become an adult and skidded to a halt, terrified, as I reached home base. “Woah, there, buddy – I wasn’t ready for ‘late twenties.'”

I’m not a normal 20-something these days. Married, pets for children, homeowner, career woman. I’m regularly called “ma’am” – and not in a Southern way.  As someone who was always the youngest in her friend group, this is disconcerting. I feel like I’m losing a vital part of the youth experience. I straddle the dire desire to squeeze the last moments out of my carefree twenties and the things all my older friends are doing: having babies, nesting, moving to the ‘burbs. My ovaries are knocking but my brain isn’t responding. There’s so much still to DO.

And thus, my bucket list begins: 30 things I need to accomplish before 30. I write this list independent of children. For so long, I’ve looked at having babies as the end of my life: I can’t do it until I’m willing to sacrifice all semblance of myself. I have to stop looking at kids this way or I’ll either never have them or I’ll resent the ones I do have. Life should be richer with children, not over. So I’ll try to navigate my goals practically, but with the understanding that kids may come into the mix at some point, and that’s okay. Just not right now.

 

PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH

30. Climb a mountain.

Like, a real mountain. Think Rainier, not Stone Mountain. I want to train for it and see the world from a crazy high vantage point. I want to flip my perspective and accomplish the impossible.

29. Run a 10k.

I can barely run 5k these days. And this is some of the best shape I’ve ever been in. Time for an evolution.

28. Nail a handstand in yoga.

NAIL IT. Not get into a handstand – stick it, purely with core strength.

27. Get spiritual.

Find some peace with the Almighty. Even if it’s not a Christian peace.

 

EDUCATION

26. Learn a language.

I can’t expect to be fluent. Languages are challenging for me. But I’d like to speak some passable Spanish in a pinch.

25. Master a skill.

Knitting, basket weaving, welding, whatever. I want to be able to do something, capably, with my hands beyond typing on a keyboard.

24. Read some books that actually mean something.

Chick lit is a nice escape. The classics are important.

23. Develop some knowledge about cars.

Change a tire, learn how to change my own oil, and try to have a better understanding of when someone’s trying to rip me off.

 

TRAVEL

22. Visit Thailand.

I’ve always wanted to.

21. Take a trip with my Dad.

A love of traveling to foreign lands is something we’ve always shared. I want to take advantage of that while I can.

20. See a Wonder of the World.

I’ve seen the Colosseum. I’d like to see another Wonder, and maybe one of the Natural Wonders as well.

19. Take a cross-country road trip with Brandon.

I think it will be amazing what we learn about ourselves and each other.

 

LIFE CHANGES

18. Volunteer regularly somewhere for at least 6 months.

Mentor a kid, feed the homeless, live in someone else’s shoes.

17. Turn off the T.V. for a week.

It’s a crazy drug. I need to detox.

16. Finish my book.

I am sick at how long it has taken to finish writing my book. Get the fuck on it, Alexis.

 

MONEY MATTERS

15. Invest in 5 diversified stocks.

Doesn’t count retirement.

14. Build retirement fund.

I want to quadruple it by the time I’m 30, interest growth aside.

13. Own a second home.

A cabin to rent out, a place generating rental income, whatever.

 

EVOLVE MY RELATIONSHIPS

12. Get closer with my sister.

Enough said.

11. Go on a walk at least once a week with Brandon.

Even 10 minutes counts.

10. Try something more sexually adventurous than usual.

Let’s just caveat that I also mean “with Brandon” here.

9. Be a good in-law.

Remember every birthday, even when Brandon doesn’t!

8. Send a real letter to a friend every month for a year.

A postcard or an article from a magazine (Grandpa-style) – whatever it might be, everyone loves a handwritten note.

 

TEST MY LIMITS

7. Zip line.

6. Participate in a big cultural event like a music festival or Oktoberfest.

5. Swim with a shark. Or at least sting rays.

4. Learn to surf. Or at least try.

3. Be personally responsible for winning a big piece of business.

2. Perform in a play or musical.

 

PERSONAL SATISFACTION

1. Learn to be happy just as I am.