4 Iconic Vacations

In honor of Spring Break, I did a piece for The Daily Muse. You can 4 Iconic Vacations Around the World here if you haven’t already (though I suspect its why you’re here.)

After I finish school (2 more weeks!) and take a break (2 additional weeks), I will resume my bimonthly column with The Daily Muse and start blogging here as well.

Thanks for checking in! Check back in April for my wanderlusty musings.

The Forced Self

“Competency is for suckers” –Danielle LaPorte.

This is my new favorite quote of all time. Adding it to Facebook right freaking now. After I answer the Burning Question:

Where are you forcing yourself to be better?
It’s a great question, I love being provoked like that. I don’t have all day to list all the areas, but as I moved through my day I started thinking of all the areas I try to be perfect. I try to be a better cook at home.. I’m not so bad, really. I try to be better at dieting. I kinda suck at it but I am also so sick of it. Changing my eating habits and moving on now. I try to be a better mom. I’m good most of the time, I’m better than most and I’ve done a lot more than the average mom has had to do. I’ll let it be now. I try to be a better housemate (I’m kinda messy and my husband is very tidy… not a good combination but I think he loves me anyway). I try to be a better budgeter… it has been a while since I had to ask for money from my parents because I wasn’t paying attention… and a better student, thinking it will get me a scholarship somewhere somehow. I can make 80s without batting an eyelash, so why am I batting an eyelash to make 95s?.  Oh… because I need bragging rights! Still trying to be better than someone, I suppose.

I try to be better at writing about email marketing (I hate the topic, its never going to freaking happen, and I only get paid $12.50 to write that shit… who pays a staff writer that crap?!). I try to be better at marketing products I don’t believe in through methods I don’t believe in to people who don’t freaking listen. ERG! WHY do I waste my energy on them?!

Danielle says “This about becoming better at what you’re best at. Stop rounding off your edges, stop trying to please people and stretching…its a drag.”  You’ve got that right!

You know what is dangerous? I used to try and be a better wife (ook, still a little guilty of this… though I say I’m pretty good at it anyway). I did this to the detriment of myself in an abusive relationship — and it was a constant reinforcement that no matter how hard I tried, I wasn’t good enough to stop the abuse. I eventually left, and then I had to learn to walk and talk all over again (figuratively, people). “Would you rather be leading edge or well-rounded?” Oh I’m a leader, ma’am. I know this about myself, I don’t have to try for it. Thank you. It sure doesn’t seem like it now that I’ve had this talk with myself… so what’s next? Quit my job and move to… *spins the globe* India. Ok.

This has been part of my answers to Burning Questions. Read why I’m doing these here. Find out what they are, here. Join the festivities here.

How to Make New Friends When You Move

Moving to a new town is a great big adventure. New places do not come pre-installed with new friends – any military brat can tell you that (and one just did). The older you get, the more of a challenge it is to make new friends or so it would seem. Here are a few ways to make new friends; we’re skipping clichés and going right for the real goods.

1. Grab a cause. Forgo the soup kitchen unless that is your cause. Go to the cause that you adore the most and volunteer for the organization doing it in your town. If there isn’t one then you might be ambitious enough to start one.

2. Get a job. Hopefully you already thought of this before you moved, but maybe not. Perhaps you work for yourself or you are a stay-home parent. Regardless, getting a part-time job that you enjoy is a great way to have fun with new people – which is fundamental to making friends.

3. Please don’t be shy. If you are a wallflower, or even just mildly introverted like my alter ego, then making new friends will be even more of a challenge. Be warm, smile, shake hands and have a few “go-to” topics to start a conversation. If the weather is one of them then you’re fired.

4. Get invited. Ok, no party crashing, alright? If you want to get invited to new social gatherings or events, make mention of the fact that you are new to town and looking to meet new people. If they don’t take the hint, you might go for the more direct approach, “Do you know where I might meet some cool people?” Most people with think that you must think they are cool, and they will take the cue. If not, move on. You don’t want them to think you’re creepy.

5. Go on dates. They don’t even have to be romantic dates. Meet someone new, ask them out for coffee – you can preface it with, “hey, I’m looking to get the lay of the land – mind if we grab a coffee so I can pick your brain?” People aren’t going to think you’re weird just for that – unless your eyes are googly. I can’t help you there.

6. Stop trying so hard. Seriously, if you’re still reading this post looking desperately for the answer to getting a new friend, quit it. Go find something enjoyable to do with your time and you will meet people. Friends will happen as long as you get out of the house and have fun.

7. Don’t be so picky.
You can’t rely on your first impression 100% of the time. If someone seems pretty nice but you don’t know how much you have in common – give it a try anyway. The worst that could happen is no worse than a hangover.

Forgiveness

We’ve all had people in our lives that have hurt us, deceived us, used us or maligned us, and chances are there is someone who you’ve sworn you’d never forgive. Unfortunately, research demonstrates that holding grudges is dangerous for our health. The hostilities we let occupy us will only contribute to feelings of stress and anxiety, which wreaks havoc on the body. Forgiving others can help reduce the risk of heart attack, slow the spread of cancer and impede the development of diseases such as HIV. By refusing to forgive someone, we are really only hurting ourselves.

Regardless of how painful the injury, or whether the person apologized for their transgressions, the time has come for you to take control of your life and forgive them. Here are some ways that you can lay your grievances to rest and get on with a healthy, happy life:

Blast them. Write a note, or type an email spelling out how the situation made you feel and let loose on them. Caution: don’t send it! The chance to tell them what you really think (but would never dare to say to any living creature) will give you reprieve. And knowing you’re never going to send it will empower you to be completely honest. Sending it will only create further drama and cause you more hurt. When you’re done, burn it or trash it.

Learn your lessons. Learning why you got scorched at someone else’s hands will allow you to learn from the experience and grow as a result. You can then be thankful for the learning experience.

Employ empathy. We are all victims of victims. To help us let go of vindictive feelings and animosity, we can chose to be more compassionate in our view of the person that has hurt us. What have they been through in their life that makes them the way they are? What do their patterns of behavior mean for their future? Life looks pretty good from where you are sitting now, doesn’t it?

Feel your power. You are only a victim as long as you chose to be. Acknowledge that something bad happened to you and chose how to respond to it. Check your thoughts – and embrace forgiving thoughts. It’s the most empowering thing you can do.

Forgiveness is not about getting the other person to admit that they were wrong, rather it is a method for each of us to reclaim our health and wellbeing, and decide that we don’t need to live in the unthinkable past any longer.