Tuesday, September 24

Learning to Say No

I'm proud to say that I have successfully turned down two things. That's right: I just said NO. It's difficult to say no. It's hard to turn something down. You know the movie "Yes Man"? Jim Carrey was, in my opinion, very brave to say no and no and no. 

Because in general, I'm an easy going person so it doesn't feel like pushoverness to be agreeable (for the most part.) But recently I was faced with two dilemmas: a job opportunity and a friendship.

The Opportunity

As you know, I completed my MBA this summer and have been on the search for jobs. About a month ago -- almost the week after I officially graduated -- my career counselor showed me a manager position for a processing company. A fellow classmate worked at the company and recommended me. Long story short, three weeks later the lengthy interview process was over and I had a job offer on my hands. Eek. 

The job paid more money. The benefits were nearly identical. The hours were shit. The company didn't have a lot of potential. My official title would advance. What to do!? I agonized as I progressed at each step of the hiring process, up until they offered me the position. And you know what? I know that at some point in my decision making crisis, I actually was a YES for the job. I rationalized that I would only stay for a year so the shitty hours would only be for a year so I could move on with a higher current salary and position. 

However, being a risk averse human and overly cautious individual, I took my time. I asked for advice from friends and family. And then I listened very very carefully to my insides, to my heart, to my own destiny.

And my self said NO. 

This is my chance to enter a field and company that I am passionate about, so that I can lend my tremendous strengths to the success of everyone around me. I am thrilled at the idea of moving on to a career, not just a job. So I turned it down and I feel great about it.

The Friendship

It's pretty rare that I lose a friend. As stated earlier, I'm an easygoing person and while it may take me a bit to initially warm up to someone, once I like you, I am a friend for life. I forgive easily and I don't ask a lot of my friends because my life is fairly drama free. Actually, most of my drama comes from my friends' lives ...

Which is exactly what happened recently. Me and my friend had been very close for a couple of years. We met randomly at a cooking party and then just hit it off. We went shopping together, watched movies, and attended lots of the same social events. My friends became her friends and vice versa. 

Unfortunately, about a year ago my friend started having problems in her personal life. I tried my best to support her -- even though I didn't morally agree with some of her choices. Our friendship began to change. We used to message every day and now it was just once or twice a week. We didn't really open up about anything real going on. Just niceties. I had been honest with her about my feelings about her choices because I thought we were good enough friends for that.

Guess not.

About a week ago I noticed that she and I were no longer friends on Facebook and she wasn't responding to my messages. I called her but no answer, no call back. She said that she would email me. And I received one of the most frustrating emails of my life.

She accused me of over-involving myself in her personal choices/affairs/life/whatever by telling the secrets she had revealed to me. This, of course, was not true. I immediately began composing a rant email in return -- citing all the reasons why she should believe that I hadn't betrayed her, why I was worthy of her friendship, why I still wanted to be her friend -- and then I realized, I didn't want to be her friend anymore.

I was sad. I cried and I still think of her often. But I decided to just say NO to being her friend. Why would I waste my time trying to salvage a friendship with someone who accuses me without cause of things that are completely not in my character to do? Honestly, if at some time in the future she regains her senses and wants us to be friends as before, I might be open to it. But in the meantime: NO, I don't want to be your friend.

So there it is -- my growth into the world of NO. It's a beautiful thing, people.

Monday, July 22

Upon the Completion of My MBA

I've been looking forward to this for months -- so imagine my surprise when I could not contain my tears.

I had just finished my final (FINAL) exam, the project was already turned in, and as I packed up my laptop (slipped into my soon-to-die Hello kitty case), I was feeling odd. I thought I would feel immense relief and joy at my accomplishments over the past two years; hard work pays off. Instead my feelings are so mixed, I find myself sitting here -- thirty minutes later -- still crying.

What the fuck is wrong with me?

Oh wait, I know.

  1. I am now a grown up. Ahead of me I have endless possibilities. I suppose my education has been a stop gap for the inevitable risks and fears the future holds, as well as a stepping stone into a brighter future. Learning is so solid, so structured. Something I love. I can feel the pressure of "success" and finding a high paying job weighing down on me so heavily, it's a wonder I haven't had a panic attack. Now that I have an MBA, I have no excuses to not succeed, therefore, I MUST succeed or I'll be a failure.
  2. I will miss all my classmates. I had a team of four guys that were my saving grace. They helped me, or carried me, through a couple of my classes. Without them, I would have either sunk or killed myself through the technical courses. I will miss the classroom itself. A place where we all come to learn and unwind from work. Snack night. Cracking a Diet Coke mid class to stay awake. Sharing the markers in economics for the graphs. Studying on Sundays. I will miss the professors. I've never had teachers and students work together so well to enhance the learning experience. 
  3. I will miss the school work. I have a love/hate relationship with homework. I love to be lazy, but I can't stand it. And I love to work hard -- but only after I've delayed as long as possible. School work is not like work work. You can procrastinate and procrastinate and then feel the biggest satisfaction when it comes back: A. I will miss writing papers with a cocktail. 
But the future is bright, friends. And my tears are just a manifestation of the immense promise ahead.

I am learning French. I will be fluent someday.
I will learn to play the cello.
Someday I'll have a couple beautiful babies.
I will write the next great American novel.

Besides, (sniff sniff) my husband is still in school so I can live vicariously through him. 

Tuesday, June 4

Habit Journal Entry #3

So bag going to the gym in the afternoon. I thought it would help to lose the excuse of being "too tired" to go but instead I find it makes my experience horrible. Here are my grievances:
  1. It's too crowded
  2. Waaaaay too many bros
  3. I can't do my workout in the order I want because equipment is occupied
  4. Sweaty people
  5. Tired, even though it's the middle of the day!
  6. Hungry -- but can't eat because I don't like to workout with food in my tummy
  7. Unnecessary distractions: I literally watched a man with tiny tiny legs, like ANT legs, do bicep curls for 20 minutes. His upper body was enormous! He looked physically deformed ... except he did it to himself. 
  8. I like to be completely selfish at the gym. Focus completely on myself. I want to be able to look in the mirror and not feel bad/weird/vain. 
  9. I don't want to feel self conscious about how weak I am or how old and gross my workout clothes are. 
  10. The girls that go to the gym in makeup and perfume -- because I hate them and seeing/smelling them makes me completely irate, and that's energy I could be using on an effective workout.
I just don't need these kinds of distractions while I'm at the gym. 

Hence why I am returning to the 4AM gym time.
The quiet gym time.
The private gym.
The not-hungry-yet-because-it's-too-early-to-be-hungry time.
You wake up and go to the gym and it's like a dream, like it never happened.
Nothing ever distracts you because nothing is going on at four in the morning.

Tuesday, May 28

Habit Journal Entry #2

Success! I went to the gym twice. I packed up my clothes in the morning and then before I left the building, I was dressed and ready to work out. I even had a successful workout after a trip to Target. (True commitment, friends. You know how much I love Target and how easy it is for me to spend hours and hours there.) Twice is nice, but for the upcoming week I really need to hit five times. Especially when you take into account my weak ass status. Gotta ramp up. The weekend actually was much harder to tackle. I didn't go at all over the looong holiday weekend. Not one time. No bueno.

Where I am struggling the most is the whole not-sitting-more-than-twenty-minutes-at-home thing. This is SUPER difficult. I've decided that I must must must set an alarm. Otherwise, I just veg out, mind and body, and lose all sense of time and ambition. We have so much quality (and not so quality) television to catch up on. The summer season is full steam ahead, regardless of school or our vacation to Vegas. We've got four episodes of Mad Men, a two hour Hell's Kitchen, SYTYCD, and -- cream of the crop -- Game of Thrones. All this TV means I have (HAVE) to sit. So I'm going to try the alarm thing this week and see how it goes.

Wish me luck.
My next report should have lots of successes. Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, May 21

Habit Journal Entry #1

For my business turnarounds class we have to write weekly habit journal entries, evaluating our process and success or failure to either establish or change a habit. I chose to establish the habit of increasing my everyday level of physical activity. In other words, less sitting on my ass.

I prepared a hilarious journal write up only to re-read the assignment and discover that it had to be 200 words or less. Therefore, I have decided to compose two journal entries: a short and sweet one for class and a more detailed, super funny and awesome one here.

So please, enjoy my journey to establishing a new habit. Expect at least a weekly update ... because that is what the assignment is.


Habit to establish: increase physical activity. This will be accomplished in three ways.
                1. Go to the gym more often
                2. Walk more at work
                3. Sit less at home

Attempts during the week: one. I attempted to go to the gym on Sunday but was distracted by helping my father-in-law buy a television at Costco.

The opportunity to change or establish a new habit is coming at a fortuitous time. I am rapidly approaching the end of my graduate schooling and am ready to focus on other aspects of my life. I recently turned thirty and it propelled me into a fit of feelings of inadequacy and oldness.

Thirty is not old.

However, I have been feeling the need to make changes to my everyday lifestyle – not a temporary change – but a permanent, lasting adjustment to my habits; hence why this assignment is coming at an opportune time.

There are several obstacles standing in my way to increase my level of physical activity. I am busy so I will delay/postpone inevitably gym time. I love television. I love to read. By nature, I am a home body. Outings are usually things like going to a restaurant or going to a movie. In other words, I tend to be inactive for many hours of the day. That said, last year I modified my desk at work so I stand the entire work week. Bonus for me. (Sitting is a serious killer – I presented on the dangers of sitting last year so ask me if you want to know more about how you’re hacking years off your life every day at work.)

I want to establish cues to trigger the new behavior of being more active. For instance, I believe it will be easiest for me to go to the gym on the way home from work. This way I’m not distracted by anything else; the gym is simply an extension of my workday. Another cue I will work on is the twenty-minute rule. At home, I must not sit longer than twenty minutes without getting up and doing some jumping jacks. Sounds ridiculous, I know, but it actually is really supposed to help.

If I can begin to enact this new behavior I can gain the benefits of increased energy and overall better health. As physical exercise and well-being contribute to long life, I look forward to knowing that I will not die at thirty-one and will hopefully still be able to do the splits (both sides) when I’m eighty-seven.

So why did I only attempt to add all this great activity to my life ONCE this week? The undesired behavior was positively reinforced by several things.
  1. Game of Thrones is an hour long show without any commercial breaks. It would absolutely disrupt the “mood” of the program if I were to get up twice to perform jumping jacks.
  2.  School started and I am forced to sit in the classroom until the teacher designates a break – which is most definitely NOT every twenty minutes. I am being lazy and sitting around like my fellow classmates because it’s much easier and less disruptive. Plus, I’m tired from standing at work all day so the chair feels nice and cozy.
  3.  I had to celebrate Mother’s Day with my mother on Saturday which meant I had a reason not to go to the gym. The positive reinforcement was breadsticks and the playing of Phase 10.
  4.  I did not take my gym clothes with me to work because it is much more enjoyable to shop or read or play Candy Crush at home and unwind from work.
  5. I did not walk more at work because it rained and I was rewarded by staying dry and inside. Or, it was sunny and I was rewarded by staying inside away from harmful UV rays.
As you can see, I have several ways my low activity level is being reinforced – strongest of all: habit. Sitting around is old hat to me and, needless to say, very comfortable.


This is a chance to make the change I want. I must establish the cues to trigger more physical activity. So, to sum up: take gym clothes with me to work and go there straight away, don’t sit at home for longer than twenty minutes without jumping jacks, and walk more at work.


Wasn't that way better than 200 words or less? I mean, how can you know what's really going on, to what extent my laziness really went, if I don't describe it for you in detail?