Zen Habits: New Year, New Now

94150-live-in-the-now-gif-Waynes-Wor-dW2TI am not the type of person who dwells in the past. I don’t hold on to my successes or failures as badges of honour or disgrace. I just try to keep moving forward. The end of the year is always a tempting time to look back and take stock of where you are and what you’ve done. And that’s fine I guess, as long as you don’t dwell on it. Looking at what you have done is not the same as doing something. I like to look forward.

Choosing to live in the past only robs you of today. I know that sounds all “New Age”, but it isn’t. It’s really simple. The ONLY important moment is the present moment. You cannot undo the past, and you certainly cannot mold the future, therefore the only thing that truly matters is…NOW!

The idea here is to enjoy the moment. I could easily do a recount of my year and look back at all I’ve done and seen. It was a huge year and I did a lot. But looking back does nothing. Instead I want to enjoy the fruits of my labors, which is the now. I’m here in beautiful Seattle with my fella. I have a great job and I’m pretty happy. My right now is pretty great, and it would be a shame for me to waste it by looking back, or worrying about the future. A life lived in perpetual planning is not really a life. I’ve known people plan for futures that they were nowhere near to achieving. Why live a fantasy life in your head when you could live your real life instead? Hey, that rhymed!

Where ever you are in this coming year, I challenge you to live in the moment. Enjoy yourself where ever you are. Sure, you might get sick or have to do things that are not enjoyable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fully appreciate the small moments a day holds. Sights, sounds, smells, emotions even triumphs and tragedies, all of these things are worth noticing and living through. When I am having a bad day, I ask myself How can I enjoy this? Just asking the question has a calming effect and grounds me in the now.

You only have one shot at each day so try to make the most of it. Don’t dwell on the past – good or bad. Don’t worry about the future, it is coming no matter what you do. There will always be unknowns, and for me the unknown is the fun part. I guess good ol’ Sophocles said it best, “Tomorrow is tomorrow. Future cares have future cures, And we must mind today.”

Buddhism is Hard Work

SN858103I’m heading toward the end of my first week at Ratna Ling. It was touch and go there for a couple of days, but I think it might work out. Before I get into all the deep, mental shit I’ve been dealing with, let me explain a little about the place.

First off, it is beautiful up here. We are tucked away on something like 25 acres of land. We are surrounded by trees and all sorts of critters. It’s pretty rad. We (my boyfriend and I) have a nice little cabin all to ourselves, and it even has a fireplace. The staff cabins are a five-minute walk from the main lodge where we eat our meals, and about an eight minute walk for me to get to “work” each day.

The critters: So far I have seen quail, ducks, coots, squirrels, mini horses, deer, jack rabbits, peahens, eagles, and even a couple of cats.

I work in here

I work in here

My job: Ratna Ling has an on-site book bindery. I had no idea what that meant until I was thrust into working there. It’s no joke. I’d show you pictures, but they don’t allow photographs inside because we produce sacred texts. The books are made on-sight from beginning to end. There are huge machines that do everything: cut, collate, aerate, trim, ect. We hand stamp the cardboard covers and hand wrap them in traditional Tibetan style. It is a LOT of hard work. I cried a little.

We have various projects, but right now we are working on the 200+ volumes of a traditional Tibetan book. Non Western style. That means the book is long and rectangular and it is not bound. It is banded together. I know because I banded them together for 10 hours today. These are sacred texts, so there are certain things that must be done. For instance – if a page of text falls on the floor we must pick it up and touch it to our forehead. If a page rips in a machine it is not thrown out, we hand tape it together. We chant before and after work, (in Tibetan) and we are encouraged to stop and stretch.

SN858098We also practice “essential speech” while at work. That means no idle chatter. It’s not a strict thing, but we don’t talk a lot at work. And you couldn’t anyway. It’s too loud. The machines are LOUD. I wear earplugs all day. Which means 8am – 6pm with an hour for lunch, and two, thirty minute breaks. And we work 6 days a week.

Food: Well, of course it’s vegetarian. That’s fine. But I have to be honest. I am a little more than disappointed in the food. Basically, we are on our own for breakfast. We raid the fridge for yogurt and fruit. SN858101Yes, there is coffee. Lunch is made for us by the kitchen staff and we get the food buffet style. And dinner is usually leftover lunch. And here is my problem. If you have a full-time cook and kitchen staff (I refuse to call him a Chef) then wouldn’t you expect them to cook? So far we have been offered a shit-ton of various salad, couscous, and tofu in different sauces. Seriously. None of that requires actual cooking. What do they do all day in the kitchen? I know how long it takes to prep a salad and that leaves them approximately 4.5 hours to come up with something better. Like… pasta!

These are what the books I'm making look like

These are what the books I’m making look like

People: There are a lot of different people living and working here. About thirty, I think. We are the newest people here, so it’s a little like the first week at a new school. There are a few people who act like the douche seniors on campus, but for the most part folks here have been really nice. Some of the other volunteers have been here for ten years or more. That’s a long time to be at a place like this. But once I started thinking about it, it made sense. Living here takes all of the guess work out of life. It takes all of the decisions out of life. There is no looking for work, or friends with a common interest. You don’t have to shop or worry about food. There is a schedule for every day, with exercise and meditation built in. One girl I met has been here three years and she’s only 24 years old. She hasn’t lived in the real world at all. And as hard as you work up here (and you work hard) this is not the real world. It’s a different world. A separate world.

So, that’s it for now. It’s 7:45 and I’m beat. It was a long day. It’s getting a little easier being here each day. Hopefully by the next post I’ll have attended some classes and I can give you all a little more information on Kum nye yoga and skillful means. That’s also part of what we do up here. But again, I’m too tired to write anymore.

Until next time…

What Do You Do?

you-are-more-than-what-you-doHow many times have you been asked “What do you do?” How many times have you asked it? I made a personal rule for myself a long time ago: Never ask someone what they do. Why? I don’t give a shit what you do for a living.

On the surface it seems like a perfectly harmless question, an icebreaker to get conversation moving along. People answer this question with a pre-made, canned answer they can repeat at will without even thinking about it. Easy answers to stupid questions. Let me clue you in – No one cares if you are the Senior Manager at Whereeverthefuck. Good for you. We all have a job. We are all cogs in the machine just like everyone else. Mostly. Even if you have a fantastic job that you love going to, I certainly hope that your life has more to it than your job.

People do many things throughout the day.We drive, cook, clean, shop, play games, all sorts of interesting things… so why focus on work? I’d rather talk about anything than my job – or yours. Is talking about work really the best way to get to know someone? A job is a means to an end, a necessity for living in society, but It doesn’t have to define who you are. Asking, “What do you do?” is a euphemism  for, “So, how much do you make?” Your socioeconomic status isn’t fodder for parties. It is your own private business.

These days when I encounter that question, I answer as honestly as possible. The conversation goes like this:

“So, what do you do?”

“Lately I have been really into sketching and drawing. I have a blog and I’m getting ready to volunteer at a Buddhist work study program. Should be cool. What are you into?”

People are usually taken aback with that answer. They didn’t get what they were looking for, and now the ball is in their court. Now they have to think – repeating your job title and duties is easy, telling a stranger about your interests actually requires thought. I pursue my dreams and my passions every day. I’d rather discuss the exciting, fun, interesting things I do than talk about my job. If you want to know how I make money, then you should ask that question. But you won’t. Because deep down you know it isn’t any of your business in the first place.

Here are some questions you can ask instead:

What are you reading? Seen any good movies lately? What did you think of congress shutting down? Don’t you just love kittens? How do you feel about the last season of Breaking Bad? Where can you get good Phó around here?

You get the picture. If you are really interested in someone look past their paycheck. Look for clues to their real passions and interests. You might find you have a few things in common, and you might even make a new friend.

Zen Living: 6 Ways to Live a Creative Life

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Pablo Picasso said, “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up”. Sometimes “being creative” sounds like a task or chore, like the dishes or laundry. Sometimes artistic expression and life itself feel like they are at odds with each other. We juggle work, life, relationships, hobbies; and often our pursuit of a creative life gets shoved aside. The trick is to make creativity part of your daily life. Like Picasso said, kids are all artists. They make art every day and they don’t judge their work. They are just naturally creative. But so are you. Here’s how to rekindle that creative side and keep the proverbial fire stoked.

  1. Find your own space. Virginia Woolf famously said that in order to create, a woman must have money and a room of one’s own. Although times have changed and women are not in the same struggle of patriarchy as Virginia was, the idea still holds water. Having personal freedom is necessary in order to live a creative life. You need a place where it feels safe to create, a place of your own. Whether you convert your basement into a studio, or use a public park or garden – make the place yours. Choose a place that is inspiring to you. Some people find nature inspiring, others find a desk in a quite place is all they need. Finding your own space can be as simple as having a notebook or sketchbook where you can safely put down your thoughts and ideas. Daily.
  2. Say NO more often. A lot of us would have plenty of time to nurture our creative side if we simply stop saying yes to every event and favor that comes our way. It isn’t your job to make sure the rest of the world is happy. It is your job to make sure YOU are happy. The rest will flow from there. Start making time for yourself by saying no to invitations and projects that don’t interest you. Say NO to feeling guilty or disappointing others. Find your way back to making time for the one person in the world who your time will truly benefit: Yourself.
  3. Create ritual or routine. I write and/or draw every day. Sometimes I do both. I also read (a book) every day. Take joy in the doing and start to focus less on the finished product. While getting mounds of adoration for a finished project might feel great, the idea is to make the process of creativity part of your daily life. Focus on the doing. Focus on the moment. How do you feel when you are painting? How does it make you feel when you start writing a new chapter? Good right? You can have that feeling every single day if you just give yourself the time and space to do it.
  4. Be bold. Living a creative life is all about taking risks and seeing what happens. New thoughts or ideas can be intimidating, but don’t run scared. Dive in head first and see what happens. The worst you will do is make a mistake. The best you will do is create something new. Your new creation might not be perfect, but it isn’t supposed to be. Chasing perfection is the opposite of being bold. Draw something that scares you. Write a poem. Taking creative risks is the key to unlocking new territory. Your creativity will mature and grow as you evolve into the artist you were meant to be.
  5. Have fun! Creating is supposed to be fun. If it isn’t, then maybe you are doing it wrong. Do only what appeals to you and don’t bother with what doesn’t. There are no rules, no right way of being creative -it should be fun – whatever it is. Don’t let your inner editor inside your creative space. There is a time and place for editing, but that place is not your safe place. Let your guard down, have fun, and create. Nobody will see it, taste it, read it – unless you invite them to do so. The only person judging you is you.
  6. Understand Balance. Our modern world encourages multiplicity rather than simplicity. Each day we are offered opportunities to do more, see more, and try new things. You must evaluate your life and and find which areas you are willing to downsize in order to focus on your creativity. It sounds a little scary, but it doesn’t have to be. I know I am not happy when I trade my creative time for other endeavors. When I go a few days without writing or drawing I begin to feel a nagging or tugging from deep inside. I know what that means. I don’t write to be read. I don’t draw or paint so that I may have my art reviewed. I do it because it keeps me sane, and it is part of my life. Creativity is as much a part of my daily life as breathing. My life is fuller and richer since I allowed myself the time and space to life a creative life.

Zen Habits: 10 Ways to be a Better Person

betterforblogMy guess is that we all think we are pretty good people. We say “Please” and “Thank you”. We open the door for old ladies or folks with their hands full. These are good things to do, but let’s face it – you could do more.

Being a “good person” is a state of being, not a culmination of the things you do for others. It starts with your attitude towards yourself and trickles down to each person you encounter throughout your day. When you get mad at the waitress who forgot to place your order, you are changing the rest of her day, and yours as well.

  1. Relax. This is temporary. – Whatever situation you are in just remember – it is temporary. Whether you are stuck in traffic or going through a divorce – it is temporary. Remembering to take a deep breath and tell myself “This isn’t forever” is the only way I got through this last year in Austin.
  2. Don’t take your anger out on others. It’s ok to get angry, but you must learn to control it. Don’t let anger be a part of your decision making process. Calm your mind and body before making any decisions, phone calls, emails, or anything else that could make your situation worse. Work out. Talk a walk. Meditate… but don’t yell at people. It isn’t nice.
  3. Do the right thing. You have a choice to do the right thing or not. That means you can decide to be a good person all day long. There are little things you can do throughout your day that are helpful and kind. Return your shopping cart. Make more coffee if you take the last cup. Pick up trash if you see it. Leave a tip.
  4. Be honest. Sometimes it seems easier to tell a little white lie than to tell the truth. I’m guilty of that myself. But in the long run being honest is far easier and more helpful to others. If you ask for my opinion about something, you will not get a watered down version of the truth. You will get my honest opinion. I’ll tell you if you look fat in those pants. I’ll tell you what I think about politics, parenting, travel… anything. Being honest cuts the bullshit and let’s you get on with your day. Just try to be kind and honest at the same time.
  5. Listen. Have you ever had a conversation with someone who was just waiting for their tun to talk? It sucks, right? Give whoever is speaking the courtesy of being a good listener. Taking the time to listen to other people might give you a new perspective, or teach you something you didn’t know about yourself. It also shows that you care about other folks and what they have to say.
  6. healthierforblogBe kind to yourself. Make sure your inner dialogue is kind. Stop beating yourself up. Don’t call yourself fat, stupid, ugly or anything else unkind. When you tell yourself that you are fat or ugly – that becomes your truth whether or not it is actually true. Think of positive things about yourself and focus on those. The flaws will still be there but you will be better able to deal with them if you are coming at them from a place of kindness.
  7. Don’t be rude. In this day and age rudeness has become quite acceptable. People feel they have a right to say rude things to others via the internet and in person. Saying that you’ve had a hard day and you are going to “slap a bitch” isn’t just rude – it’s ugly. It might be “funny” but it is also pretty low class. Use other peoples rudeness as a reminder to yourself not to do it. If someone cuts you off on the freeway, take a deep breath and make sure to let the next person in. Being nice will serve you better in the long run.
  8. Ask questions. If you don’t understand something, ask questions. Don’t let a conversation, or a work project move forward without you because you were too embarrassed to ask questions. Smart people ask questions and are eager to learn. It also shows you are listening, interested and committed.
  9. Stop with the excuses already! If you have read my blog for any length of time you know how I feel about excuses. They are lame. If there is something you want to do, then just do it. I absolutely despise where I live, so I am moving. When I was overweight I changed my diet and started exercising. Only you have the power to change your situation. Making excuses for your weight, finances, your kids behavior won’t help change any of it. Change starts with you.
  10. Be flexible. Being flexible and open to change is one of the most important things you can do. Being adaptable to new people and environments shows your willingness to learn and engage with others. People who always have to be in control, or have a rigid schedule for themselves (and sometimes their family!) are usually living out of fear. Rigidity is a sign of weakness and fear. Being flexible and adaptable opens you up to more experiences, happiness, and love. Bend with the wind rather than break. You’ll be less stressed and more happy. Is having things done your way worth the stress? Probably not.

Life Hacks: How to Be Interesting

interesting_lifeWhat makes one person more interesting than another? While “being interesting” might be a little subjective, I think that we can all agree that Twelfth Night is more interesting than Twilight. We know interesting when we see it. In my years wandering this earth I have met a ton of interesting people, and about two tons of uninteresting people. These folks are not bad people, just a little on the dull side. If all you have to talk about is how annoying your co-worker is, how cute your kid/dog/cat is, or your new high score on Angry Birds (guilty) – you might be uninteresting. Here’s how to fix it.

  1. Do something. Anything. – The first thing you notice about interesting people is that they are doers. So get off your ass and go do something! Take a walk. Ride a bike. Dance. Sing. Draw. Knit clothes for your cat. Volunteer. Clean. And by the way, discussing the moral ramifications of last night’s of True Blood doesn’t count as doing something.
  2. Go out and explore – I’m not saying you have to take a trip to China, I’m saying go forth and discover new things. Read books by authors you have never read. Talk to people who have different opinions than you. Live in a new city, or country. Boring people stay stagnant. Don’t be that guy.
  3. Take risks – T.S. Elliot once said, “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” I couldn’t agree more. If your idea of taking a risk is ordering beef instead of chicken, then you need to ask yourself when you became so… blah. I bet you used to be an adventurous person, someone who enjoyed roller-coasters and skinny dipping. What happened? Stop playing it safe and get out there. 
  4. Share your adventures – Interesting people are interesting in part because they tell great stories. Not everybody can go out exploring with you, so it is up to you to share your adventures. Sharing lets people know you a little better and it helps you become a better story-teller, photographer or even writer!
  5. Let your freak flag fly!be-brave-ribbonI’m weird. I know and understand that. It doesn’t bother me in the least bit. I don’t think anyone is normal, so why not celebrate your weirdness and individuality? The quirky things about you are the exact same things that make you interesting. So go ahead and make that bracelet out of bottle caps. Paint poodles. Embrace your weird.
  6. Show your passion – Interesting people care about others. Let people know what matters to you and then back it up with action. I am a big supporter of women’s rights & gay rights. I march in parades and I write letters to congress people. I am as active as I can be in Texas.
  7. Don’t be a dick – Right. So you have a super awesome life and you do amazing things daily. You poop rainbows and your farts smell like roses. Do you have to be a dick about it? Remember that the ego gets in the way of what really matters – people and ideas. Share the great things in your life when people are open to hearing about it.
  8. Leave your comfort zone – One way to become a more interesting person is to get out of your comfort zone. Moving from the US to The Czech Republic was a huge step for me. Leaving the Czech Republic for Mexico was even harder. Leaving Prague for Texas was the hardest of all. Getting out of your comfort zone is good for you, and it is the only way to grow.
  9. Don’t be a sheep – If you are just now hopping on the proverbial Bandwagon, then you are already late to the party. Interesting people don’t follow the crowd, they do their own thing. Be yourself and maybe folks will hop on your bandwagon. It’s always more fun (and more interesting) to lead than follow.
  10. BE BRAVE – If you want to live life by your own terms then you need to be courageous. If you are not brave, you’ll be hanging around with your friends talking about the woman who actually is. That could be you.

People I find interesting: Julia Child, Mark Twain, Hedy Lamar, Richard Feynman, Vincent Van Gogh, Amelia Earhart, Lucille Ball, Elizabeth Taylor, Steve Martin, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, Prince, Elvis Costello.

People I find less than interesting: Kirsten Dunst, Lena Dunham, Mitt Romney, Brett Ratner, Lady Gaga, Michael Bublè, Glenn Rush Bill Beck Limbaugh O’Reilly.

What I’ve learned: Life Hacks

002564a5d684112547f34aI could easily write a list of awesome badass “Life Hacks”. A “Life Hack” is a time-saving, money-saving, productivity inducing, or just sanity giving “tip” to help you live your life better. These are usually tips that you already know but have no actual interest in implementing. For example, you already know that spending oodles of time on FaceBook is lame, useless, and bad for your soul – but you do it anyway. You already know that drinking pop (even diet) is bad for you, but you drink it anyway. You are well aware that you could save money (and time and your soul) buy not stopping at Starbucks for your morning latte-chino, but you do it anyway. And, you already know that television is shit, that cable companies gouge your pockets and rob you blind, but you still insist on keeping 1-4 T.V.’s in your home equipped with all the HD bells and whistles.

Nature1The fact of the matter is: You only make a change when you have too. Or, at least I hope you do. Some people can’t even do that. They live their lives day-to-day thinking that they can’t change. Or, it’s too hard. They think that change isn’t possible for them because of … whatever excuse is handy at the moment. When I made the decision to move to Prague people often said to me, “That sounds awesome. I wish I could do that!” My response was always the same. YOU CAN. To this I would inevitably hear a stream of excuses as long as the Rio Grande. (I have kids. I have a job. I don’t have enough money. I don’t speak Czech…) I usually tuned out after the first one. If you want something bad enough, you will figure out how to do it.

So, I’m not going to give you time and money-saving tips. You probably won’t use them anyway. Instead, I am going to give you the most important life lessons I have learned in my 39 years on this planet. My very own Life Hacks. Take what you will from it. Or don’t. It’s YOUR life.

  1. You teach people how to treat you. I know, Dr. Phil said it, but I totally agree with it. You either teach people to treat you with compassion, dignity and respect, or you don’t. It’s up to you. If the people in your life are treating you like crap it is probably because you allowed them to do it.
  2. Take responsibility for your own actions. You ALWAYS have a choice. Sure, sometimes the choices suck, but you still have them. Everything you do in your daily life – from picking out food at the store, to choosing a mate, to deciding whether or not to get angry at that asshole who cut you off – is totally up to you. If you made bad decisions or good ones – own them.
  3. Go with your gut – it knows whats up. Your heart? Well, like Roxette said, listen to it. But still go with your gut.
  4. Stop trying to please people. It’s a waste of time and energy. Please yourself and the rest will fall into place.
  5. Learn forgiveness. It’s a lifesaver.
  6. Everything you own should be something you love with all of your heart, or use at least once a year.
  7. You will never regret working less and traveling more. You will likely regret working more and traveling less.
  8. Be honest. Even when it hurts.
  9. If it doesn’t feel right – don’t do it.
  10. Read books. Read more books! Reading books is great for getting that waining attention span back in order. Reading internet articles doesn’t count since it usually leads down a rabbit hole ending on a Wiki page. READ. MORE. BOOKS. And “I wish I had the time” is a pretty lame excuse. Just sayin’.
  11. When you tell yourself “I’m not sure what to do” you probably are. You just don’t like the answer.
  12. Eat right and exercise most of the time.
  13. Don’t call, email, post status updates, or text when you are angry. Wait 2 or 3 days and then see if you still think it’s a good idea. Remember, there are people in the world who will see (or hear) your words. What they see will affect the way they see you.
  14. Stop blaming other people. You sound like a jackass.
  15. Pursue multiple interests. Become that person you would want to talk to at a party. Because, who wants to talk to the person who can ONLY talk about sports? Or their kids? Or their job? Read biographies. Learn a new skill. Take a class. Cultivate yourself.
  16. Write “Thank You” notes. By hand.
  17. Children do not “owe” their parents anything, except love. In most cases. You own your own life. Your parents don’t. And parents shouldn’t expect “to be taken care of” by their kids. It’s selfish. You wanted to have kids, they didn’t ask to have you.
  18. When you love someone, treat them with kindness everyday.
  19. When you talk behind someones back, they’ll eventually turn around.
  20. Practice being alone. You’ll need that skill someday.
  21. Say “NO”. It’s ok. Doing things you don’t want to only make you bitter and unhappy.
  22. Comparing yourself to other people is silly.
  23. Karma is a real bitch.
  24. Don’t take anything personally. Nothing other people do or say is about you. Not really. It’s just a reflection of how they feel inside. Let it go.
  25. Everything is perception. Everything.
  26. Live in the present. The past is over and unchangeable. The future is only full of “what if’ and “I wonder” So, live in the NOW. Now is something you can manage. Now is here!
  27. Always do your best.
  28. Dancing will make you feel better.
  29. Freedom is simplicity.
  30. If you don’t like something in your life, it’s up to you to change it.

10 Things You Should Give Up to Be Happy

A friend of mine posted a link to FaceBook for an article called “15 Things You Should Give Up to Be Happy”. I clicked on it and found one of those fluffy, hippy dippy  lists that included things like ‘Give up your need to always be right’,  ‘Give up your need to impress others’, ‘Give up your resistance to change’. Ugh. The solution to all of those issues is simple – move to a new country and stay there. Want to feel a loss of control? Just try to get a Visa in a foreign country. As for the need to impress others, I have never understood that. People should feel the need to impress me, not the other way around. I am THAT awesome.  Anyway, that list was lame and totally unhelpful. But it did inspire me to make my own list of things you should give up in order to have a happier life. I only have 10 because lists of 10 are better than lists of 15.

  1. Give up your job – Wouldn’t more time in your day be great? Wouldn’t waking up every morning naturally be fantastic? I would love to have time to workout when I wanted, take a walk to the Farmer’s Market and buy some fresh veggies and then maybe read for a while before cooking a beautiful dinner. I am sure not working at my stupid job would make me happier. That’s why I sent in my notice.
  2. Give up watching the news – I honestly can’t believe there is still network news. It’s full of silly stories designed to scare you, or full of blatant lies. (FOX News, I’m talking to you.) If you really want to be happy, turn off the news and just watch The Daily Show. You’ll still get news, but it will be entertaining, funny and have actual facts involved.
  3. Give up your cable TV – Why do people still pay for this service? Everything you need is online now from television to movies. Cancel your cable, save some money and feel the happy flow over you.
  4. speaking of TV… Give up watching True Blood – It’s bloody awful. No pun intended. I can think of dozens of things more worth your time than that crappy show. Maybe read a book or get a root canal? Both of those things would make you happier than watching bad actors recite bad dialogue in really bad costumes.
  5. Give up Crocs – First off, let me state the obvious – Crocs are ugly. They are the shoe equivalent of a moomoo. Why not just put on a house coat, put your hair up in sponge curlers and finish the look? I don’t care if they are comfortable. Wearing Crocs tells the world “I have given up on myself”.
  6. Give up knowing people who use the word “bro” while wearing khakis & a button-up – These people are trouble. “Bros” don’t make anyone happier, they make people miserable. These guys are a Bud Light away from starting a fight at any given time. If you know anyone that fits this description terminate relationship ASAP. If you are married to, or dating one of them  – you have bigger issues.
  7. Give up shopping at major chain grocery stores – Big grocery stores are full of processed food containing high fructose corn syrup. And that shit is bad for you. Really bad. If you get your beef or chicken from there you are probably eating about 100 different cows all mashed up together and soaked in bleach, and chickens that have been fed antibiotics, other chickens and poop. Gross. If you want to be happy, be healthy. Take the time to find a Farmer’s Market that sells local fruits and veggies or plant a garden. A healthy you is a happy you.
  8. Give up trying to be perfect – This one should be easy. You are not perfect. – nobody is.  There is no such thing as a perfect body, or perfect hair, or a perfect man or even a perfect outfit. Perfection is an illusion, so give it up. You’ll feel happier when you realize how badass you are. 
  9. Give up smoking – Seriously. It’s gross and super bad for you, and so totally over and passé. Nobody smokes anymore. Unless of course you happen to be in Europe. Then everybody and their grandmother still smokes. But, it’s also the equivalent of 1983 in some parts of Europe, so I guess its ok.
  10. Give up making excuses – If there is one thing that I have learned from watching ‘The Biggest Loser’ its that excuses are for losers. You can do whatever you put your tiny little mind to. You are not fat because of stress in your life, or you don’t have time, or the kids make you so darned tired – you are fat because you eat too much and you don’t exercise. The reason you haven’t had that talk with your boss or your wife is because you are scared, not because you are just “waiting for the right moment.” The right moment is always now. Stop whining and just get ‘er done.