Do Millennials actually suck? A message to ALL generations

“Mil-lin-nia-l. Gotta love Millennials”

It’s hard not to take notice of the many ‘why-millennials-suck’ videos that have been circulating the internet. (The quote above is from one of them if you have not seen it.) As a millennial I have consistently found myself wanting to speak up on this and even fight back with many “that’s not true” sentiments. Perhaps the salty taste in my mouth is actually a blood stream from biting my tongue so hard.

And some millennials reading this might already be applauding me. But I encourage you to hold on for a second and wait for this, because I have a feeling that no one is about to like what I’m about to say:

Millennials can suck. Boomers can suck. Gen X can suck. 

But the last time I checked this was a factor of our human nature. People suck. A lot. We get selfish, greedy, entitled, and lazy. We are often times self-seeking, we are rude, we say things without thinking. We don’t have it together and we never have.

I’d like to preface all of this by saying, I understand each side of the coin. I understand why Boomers/other generations become so frustrated with the upcoming generation of Millennials and I understand the pushback to these frustrations. We are all trying to navigate a space that is really foreign to all of us. Millennials are the first generation to (almost) entirely interact with technology for most of their conscious lives. And with these innovations, came a slew of new ideas and behaviors that none of us were prepared for: even Millennials. But most importantly this technological boom generated a spike in neoliberal ideologies, which really boils down to: Am I good enough? Are WE good enough? Is society deteriorating? 

And the answer is no, no, and yes. But this has always been the case.

If we look solely at American history, we can see this trend. We can note the mistreatment of human beings throughout our entire history (i.e. Native Americans, people of Color, Women). We can recognize consistent economic disparities and homelessness rates. We can remember our lack of involvement in international genocides. And even though we’re just looking through the lens of American history, these problems are pervasive even world-wide, and always have been. What’s happening today isn’t new. It is a battle that has been ongoing since the dawn of time. People suck.

And while the above is true, it is still important to recognize that there are worsening aspects of our world. It seems as though so much of what we hear on the news wreaks of violence and hatred. The world has become so much more frightening and insecure than ever before. And I truly believe that that is where our discomfort lies– not in one specific generation.

But while we are on the topic of Millennials, perhaps I’ll add my two-cents on my own generation:

I have had the privilege of knowing some of the most kind-hearted, spiritual, selfless, caring, and loving Millennials. Lots of them. Many of whom have aspirations of sacrificing many parts of their own lives to provide for and support others. I’ve had the honor of knowing so many individuals that go above and beyond to ensure that their families are taken care of; that their children will be loving and respectful. I’ve known so many that do not wish to seek public recognition for their acts of kindness but rather take away the satisfaction of knowing that their efforts meant something. 

So many of my peers seem to be rejecting problematic aspects of media and technology. They are consistently skeptical of mainstream trends and whether or not they serve as a benefit to us all. They critique and dream and plan because their dream of a greater and better world is just as alive as the dreams of Boomers and Gen X.

And it’s not easy. 

This newly born space has brought with it a series of great consequences. Technology is expensive. An education is expensive. Living is expensive. The job market is dismal. A college degree is required for almost every position (despite the fact that a degree is not necessarily obtainable or desired by the individual). Millennials have a great series of hurdles that we’re all jumping whether we’d like to admit it or not. And we’re not looking for a participation ribbon, I promise. We just want to make it to the finish line.

So while there may be many Millennials that fit every single one of the proposed stereotypes, remember that this has always been true. Remember that this generalization is just that: a generalization. And we’ll try to remember not to generalize you too.

We’re all in this together. We all want a great world. And while we will always fall short, together we can at least aim for it every single day.

I’m Not a Runner — Fatties on the Run

here’s a post from my running blog– I’ll try to share these here (you know, so I can get internet famous and all) We’ll see! If you see a Fatties on the Run post in the future, though, you’ll know that it came from me 🙂

But regardless… [ENTER FATTY ON THE RUN ROUND TWO] I remember when John and I started this blog (lol to the sentiments as if this happened 300 years ago) and I remember when his mom asked me to run a 5k with her. I remember thinking she was crazy. I remember flashing back to the […]

via I’m Not a Runner — Fatties on the Run

Who are we pointing our fingers towards? A response to Paris and Beirut

I know this topic is circulating quite a bit right now. With Facebook profile pictures featuring the French flag, and numerous articles circulating talking about the absolute horror that were these attacks in Paris and Beirut, it’s really a difficult topic to ignore.

And sure, it’s a human reaction to want to pick up our pitchforks and point fingers and exclaim, “this is YOUR fault.” People were killed. Fear was inflicted on families and entire communities, and frankly the entire world. Many of us Americans are experiencing flashbacks of 9/11 and want to rally around these people as was done for us. And as we should.

But amongst this horror and sadness, I’ve been witnessing a series of posts and commentary on the Muslim community and how “they’re violent” and “they don’t care about their women” etc.

I’m sorry, but when did this become an issue exclusive to Islam? How many health clinics have been blown to pieces in the name of Christianity? How many women have been told, “Paul says to be silent in the church and that I’m the head of the household” by CHRISTIAN men? Why are we pointing fingers at a flaw of humanity and attributing it to religion? Your mouths run, but your hands are dirty.
And by no means am I condoning what has happened. I’m just as angry as you are. But as Christians, we’re so quick to point fingers and slip the crimes of our own under the rug. Our God speaks of love, yes. But his people don’t always. His people mess it up just as much as anyone else. And while sometimes they get it right, I really feel that right now, so many of us are getting it very, VERY wrong.

It’s disheartening to read about suggested attacks on American Muslims. It’s saddening to read about the hatred aimed towards the people that had nothing to do with the events that happened this week. And I can’t help but question why we’re able to separate the crimes of extremist Christians (who do not exemplify the Christian faith in the slightest) with the rest of the Christian population and not extend the same to others.

Guess what? This is an issue of the human race. And by suggesting that all Muslims should be eradicated, you’re doing the same thing those criminals have been doing in France, Beirut, and everywhere else. You’re not looking solely at the actual inflictors of pain, which should be done, but generalizing it to an entire group of innocent people. And that’s not. okay.

God is the ultimate judge. And in the end, the actions of those involved will not be overlooked. Justice will be served to the correct people. But in the meantime, we can make sure we’re fighting the correct fight.We can make sure we’re running towards the real criminals, here. While the terror that has been inflicted on hundreds of people will not be excused, we need to make sure that the innocent ones will be remain unharmed.

Our hands are dirty. None of us have lived the way we should have. But I urge the Christian community in this time to demonstrate love to not only the families affected by these incidents, but also to the families that have watched, cried, and felt the weight of what has happened just as much as we have. Because that’s what being a Christian means.

We stand with you

Can we stop with Starbucks’ ‘War On Christmas’?

Guys. Stop it.

In light of the circulating videos and social media posts on the Starbucks seasonal red cup design, I’ve decided to add just a bit of commentary. And I have a feeling that many  will not like it. But when have I ever been one to not utilize my voice in the face of controversy? Never. So I’m here to say, “STOP IT.”

Look, I get it. I really do. There’s been a cultural shift on how we, as a society, interact and move through the holiday season. “Merry Christmas” is seldom used in a business setting, corporations have moved from phrasing on products that resemble a more inclusive product, and much of holiday decorating includes snowflakes and Santa Claus than the manger. As a Christian, especially one that wishes to see the world know and love Jesus just as much as I do, I really get why this cultural shift generates a bit of frustration.

But with this in mind, I ask that we all take a second and really try to understand what’s happening here. We, as Christian consumers, are causing an upset. We’re angry. “How could Starbucks take away the decorating on their cups? How can they not say Merry Christmas to me as I walk out the door? This is outrageous.” Blah Blah you get the point.

But when we throw our cups, and demand that we’re ‘taking our money elsewhere’ and we post videos and tweets, and Facebook statuses about the evil that is the Starbucks corporation, we’re sending the message that nothing but us matters. We are the only worthy consumers. Christians. If you’d like to buy that mocha latte on your morning commute, then you’d better enjoy drinking out of a cup that symbolizes the beliefs that you may not necessarily agree with.

And this isn’t to say that I’m against particular merchandise and products featuring Christmas symbols. But I’m saying that not everyone feels the same joy I feel when thinking about the birth of Jesus. Not everyone knows that joy. But it is my calling to let others know of that joy in any way that I can. And I’m just not sure if I can do that when I’m stomping my feet over a plain red cup.

An even bigger question I ask myself with this ‘controversy’ in mind is, Why isn’t this emotion being utilized for something good? 

If the point of these narratives are to bring awareness to the meaning of Christmas, or even the sheer celebration of Christmas, then why can’t we channel it to REALLY celebrate? Where’s our anger when it comes to the man laying out on the street that’s hungry and homeless? Where’s our passion when it comes to the literacy rates and graduation rates at high schools located no more than a hour or two away from us? If we’re putting the issues of the world in perspective, does a red cup really matter? Probably not.

So maybe instead of spending so much time ranting and raving about a $5 paper cup that we’ll just end up trashing anyway, perhaps our energy would be better spent ministering to others, helping others, and showing this nation the love given to us in a manger years ago. Because that is what matters. That is Christmas.

It's Just Coffee

These Are a Few of My Favorite Things… But I Forgot.

I realized that a daily blog post just isn’t in the cards for me. I actually did the math on this one: with classes, studying, and work, I’m already at a 55 hour work week. And unfortunately, at the end of most of those days, my brain needs a serious factory reset. So a weekly post will have to do.

And in all honesty, I’ve been really rough on myself. I can’t remember when I last got a full night’s sleep. And when you’re not sleeping, it’s that much harder to look at the daily happenings of your life through rose-colored glasses. But I’m working on it, I promise.

I ended my last post feeling alive, and sure, and ready to take on a brand new perspective. I closed my laptop, took the last sip of coffee, and got ready to face the day. But then I got in my car and life hit again. And in the midst of this attack, I found myself, once again, gripping onto the tips of my hair fighting the urge to just rip it out, piece by piece. And that carried on through the majority of the week.

By Thursday, I was done. I was done thinking about what reading I had or had not bothered to complete, or if I had enough money to put gas in my car, or if I could find the time to get all of my work done, or if I would need to find a tutor for my math class. By the afternoon, I decided to stop by home to pick up a few of my books in order to head out to yet another study session. I half considered skipping in order to crawl in bed and remain stagnant until the end of time. But instead, I grabbed my books, and headed back out to my car. And in that 20 second walk, a gust of October wind blew through my hair and I noticed the freshly fallen leaves crunching beneath my boots.

It’s fall.

I promise, I’m not trying to get all stereotypical pumpkin-spice-is-everything-give-me-my-ugg-boots-white-girl here, but seriously, there’s something about fall.

I wish I could pinpoint it exactly. I wish I could say, “these are the reasons I felt better in this moment.” But I really can’t. There’s just something about fall. And I knew that in that very moment, it was near impossible to love my crazy, jam-packed life any more.

Maybe it’s the little things, like the weather getting slightly colder, and the leaves falling; or maybe it’s the idea that things are really changing. It’s the idea that eventually fall will turn into winter. But then winter turns into spring. And that is my life. My life is fall. It is the change before spring. And there’s a lot of hope in that. A heck of a lot.

55 hour weeks will eventually dwindle down into 40. I will graduate. I’ll start my career. I’ll make some really great strides, and hit a few bumps. The leaves will change, and then they’ll return. And that is okay. I’ve spent so much time waiting for the leaves to return that I haven’t enjoyed the process.

I forgot to enjoy the little things. I forgot that these things are actually my favorite things. I forgot that I even had favorite things, because I never bothered to remember.

So that is my challenge this week. To remember my favorite things. To remember to take in the fall air and know that it is only temporary. And to remember that even what is temporary and (sometimes) burdensome, is actually quite beautiful.

Positivity and Contentment (Do I really have to?)

Well, I missed the 100 day mark. Whoops. But with 91 days left of 2015, I still think that there’s no better time than now to start this up.

A couple friends of mine have been posting one happy thing about their day everyday for 100 days. And while I’m no fan of Facebook status trends, (unless it pertains to cats, coffee, or feminist debate), I can’t help but fixate on this one. There is something about this trend that is meant for me. And I just couldn’t figure it out… until today.

Lately, God has put Philippians 4:12 on my heart. In this verse, Paul talks specifically about contentment and being content in every situation. And I realize I’ve talked about this one a lot on social media and in real life, but I don’t think I have really put it into practice. And maybe that’s because I really don’t want to.

I am a professional complainer. When things go wrong, or even have the potential to go wrong, I often find myself ranting to those closest to me, or even resorting to quiet mumbles underneath my breath when those closest to me are fed up with listening. When things go wrong, I complain. When things are right but maybe not how I had expected, I complain.  Woe. Is. Me.

(Okay, maybe I don’t complain ALL the time. If that were the case, I’m sure I wouldn’t have any friends. But I spend much more time on complaining than I really should.)

And maybe this is bold, but I don’t think I’m alone here. When you’re a goal-driven, extremely motivated, perfectionist, it’s difficult to separate yourself from the happenings in your own life to realize that things are actually pretty freaking okay. And in actuality, they’re beyond okay. They’re really really awesome.

I think that’s the biggest reason why Paul touches on this. Be Content. Be satisfied. It really shouldn’t be this hard to be content. After all, isn’t that what we all want?

I think one of the biggest reasons, for me, why I can’t find daily contentment is because I spend so much of my free time looking at what is wrong. Or what could go wrong. I worry. I obsess. I over-analyze and over-work to fix the minor details. I clench onto the reigns until my knuckles turn white when I should be handing them over to God.

And that is why this challenge sticks with me.

This challenge forces me to take a hard look at my day, and a hard look at myself and choose to rejoice in the details of my day that I have chosen to overlook. It forces me to actually thank God for the things I took for granted.

So I know that this space may not actually have been intended for that, but I am choosing to do my own 100 day (well, I guess 90 day) positivity challenge right here. That way I have the freedom to expand or not without character count limitations, and without bombarding others with the happenings of my daily life unwillingly. If you choose to click the link, cool. If you choose not to, that’s cool too.

And intermixed with that will be other content that comes to mind, that I deem share worthy. So here’s to the most free-formed blog to ever exist.

And maybe you’ll take up the challenge with me. We’ll see where this goes and we’ll see what God decides to do with my heart. I’m excited.

Thoughts and Words and Feelings and Things: The Closing Chapter

It’s been a long week. And while Sunday might be the technical beginning of a new week, it sure feels like the end. And good riddance. Seriously.

Last week began with a phone call from a prosecutor. I was at work, only minutes away from taking my lunch break. And my phone rang. The woman that hit me while intoxicated almost two years ago would be sentenced. And I was invited to give a statement at the sentencing. (the word “invited” makes me uncomfortable. Like, is this a party? No. But how else do you describe it? So you’ll have to excuse the inappropriate use of the word, I guess). 

I went. It happened. It’s over. I’m okay. That’s the most important thing: I. Am. Okay. But once it was over, I fully expected to carry on with my life. I have made huge strides in the past two years. I fully recovered (or at least to the point of me being able to function at a semi-normal rate), I went back to school, I went back to work, I made new friends, I picked my life back up and I moved on. This was only a bump. And I was determined to see it as just that: a bump.

But when you get a phone call like that, when you experience something like that, how are you supposed to just get back up and go back to forgetting that that bump ever happened? How can you just shrug your shoulders and say, “It’s the closing of a chapter of my life” without any emotion attached? You can’t.

But I’m trying. I really am.

When she walked in, I was hesitant to look at her. I was afraid of knowing what she looked like. I was afraid of what I would do. I was afraid of how I would feel. I kept my eyes peeled to the front of the courtroom for what seemed like an eternity. But for some reason I felt myself been drawn to look at her. When I finally mustered up the ability to turn my head, I saw a woman. Alone. Looking at a man sitting by himself directly behind me.

Who is she looking at? Is this the only person that came to see her? Where is her family? Does she have friends? Is this man her friend? (Insert array of other emotional thoughts here).

I don’t even think I understood the weight of this moment, though, until now. When I got home tonight and plopped myself on my bed with every intention of having a relaxing remainder of my evening. When I, instead, got hit with a wave of unexplained anxiety, and felt the need to just write about it. 

That woman could’ve been me. 

And while, I don’t drive drunk, I don’t break the law, and have followed the rules (for the most part) I find myself relating to this woman more than ever. Which makes me so INCREDIBLY uneasy. How could I possibly relate to someone who nearly took my life? How could I possibly see myself in someone like that?

Because, although I wasn’t the one driving drunk that evening. While I was the one obeying any and all traffic laws, I saw the mistake that almost cost both of us our lives. I saw how this mistake, while much more extreme, parallels mistakes I’ve made.

And while I could say that the mistakes I’ve made haven’t been nearly as costly, they’re mistakes nonetheless. They’re things that could’ve turned into costly mistakes had I been unable to navigate them. And sometimes they have turned costly. I’ve lost friends, I’ve burned bridges, I have made irreparable damage. By the words I’ve spoken, by the way I’ve responded to conflict, by circumstances that were within and beyond the realm of my control. And there are regrets paired with that.

Don’t get me wrong, there are definite legal differences between the mistakes I have made and the mistakes of the woman sitting in that courtroom. But the biggest, and most shocking takeaway was that the woman that sat just 20 feet away from me was human. Just like me. That’s not something I ever wanted to feel.

It’s much easier to sit back and be angry and think about the wrong this woman has caused me and my family. And while this realization doesn’t necessarily take away from that, it makes the processing much different. It changes the feelings of “I want this woman to rot in prison” to “I want her to heal.” It changes my bitterness to hope. But no longer just hope for myself. But for someone that truly wronged me.

I looked at her and coupled with the reminder of this event, I felt pain FOR her. I wondered why she was alone. I wondered who was in her corner rooting for her to get better.

Even with the dumb choices I’ve made, I always had people in my corner. I had people that patted me on the back and say, “That probably wasn’t the brightest decision. But you learned something. And I’m here for you while you reap the consequences.” Who was there to say those things to this woman? Was it this one man? Or was it no one at all?

I laid down on my bed tonight and felt the loneliness she might have felt. I felt it. And it was rough. And it was heartbreaking. And it was the most human experience I’ve had in a long time.

And that is what we are. We’re two humans. Going through thoughts, and words, and feelings, and things. All while reaping the consequences of our own mistakes and others’.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV.

I never understood scripture like this until now. And frankly, I’m not sure if I can say that I understand completely. I always knew that these were things that I was SUPPOSED to do… but why? Why should I forgive someone that has hurt me so tremendously. And more importantly HOW…?

… By realizing that the person is human. That Jesus died for the sins of not ONLY me, but for her too. That if all sin is equal in God’s eyes, the bitterness and anger that I’ve been holding onto for the last two years is just the same as driving intoxicated. And that if Jesus cleansed me of those sins than he can cleanse her of those sins too.

Society may look at this woman as a delinquent, and someone that is unable to be saved. But Jesus looks at her the way He looks at me. And while there may be a part of me that isn’t necessarily holding my breath, I will continue to pray for her redemption. For her to know that she is healed, cleansed, and not alone. Just like the rest of us.

So while this may be a closing chapter of life for me, this might be the beginning of a new one for her. And that helps me rest a bit easier.

An Open Letter to My Dad on Father’s Day

**Disclaimer to anyone reading this: (If anyone is actually reading this. This blog hasn’t been getting much traffic lately and that’s why I feel that its safer to post this here) This post serves as a coping mechanism for me today. Father’s day is a difficult day for me due to my strained relationship with my own Father and I felt that it would be best for me to get some of these thoughts out of my head and on ‘paper.’ I chose to publish this letter here because maybe someone else might stumble upon it and relate. Sometimes we don’t need someone to tell us what to do in situations such as these. Sometimes we just need to know that someone else understands.

Dad,

I got home tonight and I sat in my car for 30 minutes. I let the car run. I didn’t even unbuckle my seatbelt. I sat there, faced forward, blasting the music that I used to play in my iPod headphones right around the time when you left.

The song that I played on repeat tonight wasn’t even one of sadness, nor was it of happiness. Or maybe it was. I don’t really know. I wasn’t listening.

I’m not sad, if that’s what you’re thinking. I’m not clutching onto the memory of you. I know that you leaving was not entirely your doing. I know that Mom played her part in your marriage and divorce. I don’t want you to think for a second that I’m sitting here thinking the physical act of you walking out the door six years ago has been a factor of this ‘breakdown.’ Its not. Honestly, I’m glad you left. It was what was best for our family at the time. None of us could live like that any longer, and you did what you had to do in that moment. I’m glad you did it.

I heard that song come on the radio tonight, though, and I immediately resorted to my fifteen year old self. I felt lost, confused, unsure, afraid, and most importantly angry. 

And I’m not gonna waste this space discussing why I was angry at that time. Because deep down, I’m pretty sure you know. But I just want you to know that I don’t hold onto it anymore. I’m okay. I wake up every morning with a goal in mind, a purpose, a drive, and a heavenly father that leads me where I need to go. That’s all I need.

It’s only around this time of year when 15 year old Allison pops back into my head. It’s only around this time of year when I begin to feel that disappointment and pain again. Because with the incessant posting of photos of peers with their dads, I’m left wondering to myself: What about me? Where are you, Dad? 

I know that I chose to cut ties. I know that aspects of this situation are based upon things that I contributed to. And honestly, I’m really okay with the way things are. But with the sentiments flooding my consciousness today, I can’t help but be sad about the way I wanted things to be.

I wanted a Dad that would be present. One that would force me to get red in the face after berating my high school boyfriend taking me on a date. One that would hold me as I cried over that failed relationship and tell me that I deserved better, not because I was pretty, but because I was valuable. I wanted a Dad that would sit front row when I landed a lead role in one of the drama productions. Or the Dad that would clap the loudest at my band concerts. And not because it showed you that you were able to raise a successful human being, but because you were genuinely proud of me. Because you truly thought I was capable of achieving things. Because you believed that there was more to me than just good grades and titles.

And maybe at times these things were true. And maybe I really didn’t understand you then. But I never knew. And I still don’t know. I’m not sure if I ever will.

But what I do know, is that aside from the mess that is our father-daughter relationship, I did learn a few things from you. You taught me to tie my shoes and how to do long division. You taught me the importance of a strong work ethic. But most importantly, you gave me the tough exterior needed to face this world. While the method by which I learned this was less than ideal, it was a necessary lesson. So, thank you for that.

I hope you don’t see this letter (if you ever read it) as a way of opening old wounds. The purpose of this was to say that while we aren’t speaking, and while the past (and even present occurrences), are painful, I appreciate you in a semi-dysfunctional sort of way.  I wish things were different both past and presently, and know that these things (especially considering recent events) can not change. I just wanted you to know that theres a part of me that loves you anyway.

Happy Father’s Day.

Allison

New Years Resolutions are for Wusses

Cue obligatory “New Year” ramblings.

Except, not really. It’s January 4th. And since I am the master procrastinator, I’ve chosen today to muse over the events of 2014 as well as future plans of 2015. With the help and inspiration from the obnoxious number of Facebook/Buzzfeed posts on New Year’s Resolutions that happen to be clouding my web history, of course.

Which, mind you, I find completely irritating. If I see one more person bragging about their new gym membership, I might actually lose it. Not because I’m some sort of demented, cynical, person that opposes healthy lifestyle choices, but come on people, if you’re gonna jump on the bandwagon, lets at least get a little creative. (Also, I won’t mention how this irritation might be rooted in jealousy of your future bikini ready bods. That’s not important.)

Anyway, in reading these posts I have found that I, too, would find a new years resolution. And with that, I have decided to not make a resolution for 2015.

Oh, shocker, Allison. What a game changer you are. A revolutionary of sorts. Please, tell me more.

Okay, maybe that’s a lie. To not set any goals/make any plans is kind of self-defeating, but new year’s resolutions are meant to be broken, yeah? But there is a huge part of me that wants nothing to do with the bandwagon fan club of new years plan makers. Because conventionality has never been a part of my character, and I like being combative. So as of now, I’m reverting back to 17 year old Allison mentality in saying, “Man, I ain’t a part of your system.” (Alright, I need to simmer down. Sorry.)

Except, that’s exactly it. I don’t want to be a part of that system. I don’t want to contribute to the idea that one day is somehow more magical than the 364 remaining days. That this day is the blank slate we’ve all been searching for. That if we can just chug through to the following year, then maybe we’ll get another chance to “start over.” I don’t want to live my life like that.

I want to open my eyes every morning and feel like I have started a new year. I want to stretch my arms and release the mistakes of the prior day because they do not matter. I want to make a resolution every day. New Year’s resolutions are meant to be broken because we are human and the things that we know are good for us never seem to last consistently. I want to take the opportunity that God has given me to start anew everyday. I am imperfect. My resolutions are imperfect. But each day I get to start over. And that’s okay. So long as I try to be better than I was yesterday, I am okay. My mistakes suck. They hold me back. But they do not make me a holistically bad person. They make me human. And. That. Is. Okay.

I might go to the gym tomorrow. I might start learning how to play the Piano. I might read a book that I may have never read before. I may call someone and tell them that I love them when I should have done it yesterday. And then next week, I might eat more fruits and vegetables. Or maybe I’ll just buy a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked. Whatever happens, happens. It’s only up from here.

A friend and mentor of mine posted the other day, “Baby steps are better than no steps.” I’m not sure if anything else could be so spot on. If you did something, even if it’s small, it counts.

And if you didn’t do anything, then you are still a good person. And you’ll just try again tomorrow.

Here’s to 2015. A year full of many successes and failures. I’m super pumped.

Four reasons why reading about relationships is a stupid pastime

List articles are the bane of my existence. Especially ones about relationships. If it weren’t enough that our culture has resorted to skipping the core of a good piece of writing to discover the insignificant main points, let’s go ahead and add superficial “advice column” commentary to the mix.

And I say this while being mindful of the fact that I am just as guilty of indulging in some of the most irrelevant internet content in existence. I watch cat videos in my spare time. If that’s not a cry of desperation, I’m not exactly sure what is.

But every so often, (scratch that, “every day”) I come across another list article urging me to take note of the signs of an unhealthy relationship or even the “12 ways you know He loves your giggly clown laugh”

Ugh, can we not?

Not only am I beyond annoyed with the idea that an entire article can be written about such things, I’m also irritated with the fact that there are people that take these things seriously. As if their entire livlihood rested in the sweet words of the aforementioned list article.

Before I elaborate further, however, allow me to place this in a format we can better understand. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the four reasons why reading about relationships is a stupid pastime. (Hopefully I don’t choke on my own “I’m-disgusted-with-myself-for-writing-a-list-article” vomit)

1. Bloggers aren’t experts

Sure, it takes some common knowledge or even more extensive knowledge on the topic in which one is writing, but in all reality, who made Sally Smith the expert on the reasons why you know it’s time to end the relationship? Because she just recently went through a bad break-up? Or because she watches lots of Matthew McConaughey movies? Regardless, she does not define your relationship. She merely listed off the warning signs that pertain to what she deems as intolerable. This is how advice works. There’s no right or wrong answer. So, relax. The world is not ending. And your relationship might not be ending either.

2. Relationships are complex and do not fit into a black/white schema

This should have been the number one reason. Many times, we look at these articles and think, “Oh yes, I’m in the clear.” or “Oh no, perhaps it really is time to break up. Or “Thank goodness. I think he might actually like my crackly laugh, after all.” But the trouble with this is that by maintaining this mindset, we’re only promoting the idea that there is one type of relationship… that there is ONE way, and there is ONE set of behaviors that are acceptable within said relationship.

With time, I have come to believe that relationships vary. While honing in on the unique aspects of ourselves individually, we can find that our relationships tend to be just as unique. Each one is special in its own way. What one person may find as absolutely infuriating, another might find endearing. What one couple may deem as an effective way to communicate, another might see it as destructive or ineffective. Similar to how it is difficult to group individuals in the same framework, it is difficult to place every relationship in one framework. There are many other aspects at play and there’s a lot of grey area.

*Disclaimer– there are probably some exceptions, here. I’d assume that the generalizations found in list articles that would apply to ALL relationships would be blatantly obvious, though. Thus ridding the need for the article. But I digress.

3. Embedded Instagram photos of cuddling, kissing, and other PDA are used as a supplement to the written content.

This one is self explanatory. I’m uncomfortable just thinking about it. Stop it, please.

4.They distract from more important topics of conversation
Talking about relationships is fun. And more importantly, talking about relationships is important. Talking with friends, family, etc. about the details, struggles, and joys are not only emotionally rewarding, but necessary to understand yourself and the way you operate within that relationship. However, I can’t help but question whether or not this topic’s flooding of the internet is necessary. If we are experiencing an age of “quick information,” then why do we waste this precious space on topics that we can discuss within our ACTUAL social circles? The internet could be a vehicle for social change. It could be a vehicle for political reform. For artistic expression. For readily available information that was not as accessible in past years. Although I do see the internet being used for these things, all too often I see list articles not only telling me that I might be addicted to Taco Bell, but also telling me how to function within my relationship. These things, which may pique my interest, serve no constructive purpose.

And I may be the world’s biggest hypocrite here. I, too, find myself scrolling through, eagerly matching up the bolded content to my own personal life. It’s entertaining. It’s interesting. And somehow it really supplements the support I get from my friends and family. Pastimes are stupid. But they serve a purpose.

What I would like to see, though, is an internet world where these things do exist, but in smaller quantities. I’d like to see less emphasis on bloggers telling us how to live and more emphasis of finding these answers within our ACTUAL lives, in our ACTUAL friends, in our ACTUAL God. (Because, lets face it, some of us may actually worship these writings as if they were actual bits of scripture. And again, I’m just as guilty.) But I guess this wish is just a contradiction in itself, right? I can’t tell you how to live. I can only mandate my own personal choices. I can choose to slip by these articles as if they were “another bit of fluff” but I can not make you do the same. I can make remarks on the sheer stupidity of discussing relationships with mass audiences, but that doesn’t mean you have to agree. That’s the beauty in real blogging though. There’s room for disagreement. But for the purpose of this “list article” we can leave it at that.

And in conclusion, Stop it with the relationship list articles, please. It really is just nauseating.

And to combat my discomfort with such serious writing, I give you a cat video: