Friday, September 13, 2019

Stress Glorifying

Hard work is a virtue.

Yep, right up there with your Sunday offering and not talking in the movie theater, there's working your butt off.

Except when it's not.

I talk a lot about not working yourself to exhaustion. Heck, last week I talked about not overriding limitations that you'd rather not have, when you risk killing yourself in the process.

The weird thing? It seems like people REWARD becoming a human corpse.

Think about it:

"I'm so busy."

"I never have any time!"

"I'm so stressed."

"I haven't slept in three days!"

To which we all reply, "I understand! Keep going! You can do it! You work so hard! You're so inspiring!"

Guys, what the heck?!

 Since when is exhaustion and NOT SLEEPING inspiring? The answer is it's not.
People validate imbalance. Yeah, you're inspiring for neglecting happiness to move up in work. And I'm Jessica Alba.

Sneakiness, aside, don't fall into that trap. Especially Soldiers, because (myself included,) we work ourselves to the bone just to prove ourselves worthy of respect.

You don't need to prove yourself or validate yourself to anyone. Soldier or not.

The truth is, people stay in the busy cycle because they don't know what will happen if they get out. Will people reject them? What about their salary? And they become embittered when they see how much fun their friends are having on the weekends.

Don't find validation in what will cause you harm. Don't let false jealousy eat you alive.
Besides, you know while you're reading this you have that show or movie you want to watch this weekend.

Go watch it.

Yes, really.

Don't fall into the trap.

Your work will still be there.

Friday, September 6, 2019

You

Ever tried to do more than you knew you could?
Yeah, I'm right there with you. Guilty as charged. Sometimes any limitation I have feels like something to just ignore. It's like when you were a kid, and the definition of "cleaning your room" was taking all of your possessions and shoving them under the bed.
A recent observation of mine is that I as a soldier am very prone to the thing I like to call I-wish-I-were-normal-itis. Seventh grade track, learning theater choreography, or even wearing glasses, I wished I was normal.
Sorry to burst your normal bubble, but I've got a newsflash. Exhibit A, who said normal existed anyway? My parents may not be traditionally disabled, and yet my mom takes thyroid medication and my dad complains of a herniated disc. Even outside physical health this is apparent. To be normal is to have a few quirks. Heck, I rock out to Shania Twain in my bedroom, and I still have my stuffed teddy bear I received back in the ICU. Out. Clearly visible in my room. Not shoved in the corner of my closet.
See? We're all weird.
Exhibit B: I don't think when you say "normal," you mean normal. What you actually mean is "I wish I had what they had."
Full disclosure, this is not putting down feelings of being different. Not being able to go out for sports in the traditional sense because you're wheelchair-bound sucks. Period.
But sometimes in my experience I would say I wished I were normal when I was missing the value in my own talents. The cool gymnastics girl, people more advanced than me in equestrian sports, people with really nice handwriting, those are all examples.
Sometimes you just have to accept you for you. My life coach calls it "radical acceptance." You accept the reality you're in, and that's the way it is. You adapt instead of getting caught up in your own musings.
Yes, I wish I could get my math homework done in fifteen minutes, but let's face it, my ADD means it'll take me an hour. So I prepare for that, I make allotments in my schedule, and life goes on. And what everyone else can do in math, well, that's not my strength. But I can CRUSH in debate.
Remember your strengths when you're out of your element. Adapt to your weaknesses, and your strong points will show all the more.
The first step is acceptance over wishing and comparison.
To be a little more frank: You are you. Deal with it.


Friday, August 30, 2019

Hamster Wheel Pt. 2: Goals

So, you've made progress with making life more interesting. Maybe you've got a Scrabble Tournament going on your coffee break, or you've joined a pottery class, or just tried a new type of apple today. Hurrah! But your life still doesn't feel quite right.
Well, when was the last time you decided to do something and did it?
In other words, when was the last time you set a goal and just TRIED? Success is not always an attribute of a good goal. And having something to work toward can spice up your life immensely.
An example: I'm terrified of acting. I enjoy singing and I was in my school's musical last year. Acting? Nah. I go for singing solos.
Lo and behold, I decided to try out for the Fall Play yesterday. It's The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. If I'm cast as Owl Number 180, what could go wrong, right?
It helps to have goal supporters. Maybe even have someone do the goal with you. Start small, build up. But Soldiers, don't disqualify yourselves. See my past post on that. It's important. You get disqualified even without your input — that's not your fault or bad. It's just something to work with. You need to be empowering yourself. Not limiting yourself.
Most importantly, make it fun! Don't start art classes if you hate art. You'd be surprised how many people ignore this. Yes, you could run or lift weights if you want to exercise, but don't do it just because other people do it that way. Try running with the dog or playing tennis or rock climbing.
Get creative and make some small goals. You'll go from a hamster wheel to hamster ball, stagnant and stuck to progressing and free

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Hamster Wheel

You know, sometimes you just get in a rut.
Being a student, stress seems to worm its way in when you start school again. More than that, you suddenly get back into a routine. Sometimes that's a good and bad thing.
Okay, I know this sounds like my breaks, West Point, and pick-me-ups posts. This is yet another facet in a balanced Soldier life. Bear with me.
Routine is essential. Many Soldiers thrive on routine. Otherwise life has TOO much change in it, and we go crazy. Your chronic pain, ADD, autism, whatever, pretty much any Soldier thing requires a specific routine. If you stick to that routine, things are great! Yay! You manage your challenges and you thrive.

The danger, as in most anything, lies in going to extreme...
well, except for devotion to God. And Little Debbie snacks. But those are my opinion.

There are two extremes of routine: lack of it, or the more common. I call it Groundhog Day, or hamster wheel. Most people just call it a rut.

The trouble is, too much routine, and you seem to live the same day over and over. All too common when, taking longer to do pretty much any work, Soldiers hobbies fall by the wayside.

There are two ways, usually together, to combat this. I'll cover them in the next two weeks.

The first is this: Find little ways to make days more distinct. Have something to look forward to. Book outings, read a book a week, trying new food — any tiny thing can spice up your life and give you reason to get out of bed. You don't need much time or money, either. I'm a big believer in using what you have. Only have your lunch period? Bring a pack of cards and teach your friends crazy eights. Me? I recap my day in my journal, with lots of color and flare. And I read. One time I read The Tell-Tale Heart on a Sunday afternoon, just for kicks.

Man, I'm a nerd. ANYWAY, point two.

Skills and your "thing" can be immensely valuable here. Keep in mind, though, you can have MANY "things," and not all of them need to be used in this rut breaking way. Many can't, or even shouldn't, be used this way, because of the relearning curve, your schedule, your Soldier Things, or your finances. What you use as your "spice" in life does not have to be the thing you're good at or do for work. In fact, I discourage the latter. It just has to been something fun you want to do more of that would make life less like a hamster wheel.

That being said, has your "thing" been neglected recently? Do you want it back! Brilliant! Go for it, and while you're at it, do something new with it. I had to write a historical narrative for my English class today, and it totally got me thinking that I should write historical stuff every once in a while. I never do acrostics, and I did one for each of my parents this week. And a few weeks ago my friend and I were making up stories using emoji. This kind of experimentation? Can apply to any "thing," if you're not sick of it.

In summary: Life does not have to be the same day, every day. Pick up old interests, or try new things. Use the time and money you have, with the limits you have. Small attempts to switch things up can have a big impact. You'll be off your hamster wheel in no time. 


Cya in cyberspace,
Meredith

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Sharks

We all know that kid who’s in a hurry to grow up, right? Maybe you were that kid. I was. 
And we all know that co-worker who never takes a break. Likewise, we probably know that friend who never seems to get anything done.
I am a busybody. I hate to be idle. I must always be doing something, like that old myth that said if sharks stopped moving they would die.
I never seemed to be doing enough, and I was plagued with the feeling that I was wasting my life.
At seventeen? Wasting my life? You’re kidding me, right? I know. I knew I was irrational, but I couldn’t shake it.
Finally, over dinner one evening I confided in my mom. She’s got a few decades on me, after all.
Her two cents?
Waiting isn’t idle.
Mini-lesson for today: Sometimes you just keep trucking. You have things you’re doing, not a lot goes on. That’s okay. Being in a rhythm doesn’t mean you’re idle, lazy, wasting your life.
Now, if you want something, you don’t wait. You go after it. That’s bad waiting. But sometimes you want something but you don’t quite know what yet. Of course as a Protestant I’d already taken the Jesus route, but I felt I had something I needed to do that I couldn’t define.
That’s okay. That begets a time of explore options. That’s good waiting. Otherwise you get into the mindset you’ve missed something, and you swim in circles trying to figure it out.
It’s okay not to know.
Don’t be a shark. Those freak me out anyway.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Short Story Experiment!

As an experiment, here's a personal favorite short story I've written recently. I feel it's in a different style than my blogs but still conveys a lot of the same applicable themes. Expect normal posts to return next week, but maybe now I'll throw in a story every now and then!
Enjoy this! -Meredith

Dear Alien Exchange Student,

The world is a complex place, my interstellar friend. I suppose you may have had things thoroughly explained to you by another party. However, I want to to take the liberty just in case.
I'm just a girl, a humble one at that. I pass rows of brick homes, leave I am educated, I come home. This is the bulk of humanity's existence. The ones that live (many don't and die at birth or as children) have a life of cycles. Many feel they live the same day, ad nauseam.

All humans are different. We are also the same. Unfortunately, many of us fail to recognize the latter point. It makes me sad, as if all the hope is being sucked out of me.

The world is a selfish place. Most humans are not only bored and queer things, but also terribly ignorant of other people. We act on emotions and whims. We push, we shove, we steal, we lie. Some are so consumed with their own problems that they rashly attack others of their kind.

I say this to prepare you for what the world is like. It's a scary place out there. I don't know how fearless you or your tribe are, but I know you came here for a reason.

My advice?: As much as I warn you, not everything on Earth is worthy of such a warning. Although I FEEL hope being sucked out of me, that's very different from hope actually all but disappearing.

There is always hope. Everywhere. Be wary not of us doing what makes us feel hopeless, but the feeling of hopelessness itself. Every day a child does die, many, but many healthy and laughing children are also born. Every day a house burns, but one is also built. We lose and we find. We cry and we laugh. We hate and we love.

This is the most important cycle of Earth. The cycle of hope. Because although millions of humans commit heinous and selfish acts with every rise and set of the sun, millions also fight against the selfishness inside. They fight so hard they wound it almost to death inside their hearts. It will never truly die, but it can be injured enough that it's hardly even noticed.
Please remember this about Earth. It's imperative you don't forget it.
From, Meredith (your human pen pal.)


Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Approach

Sometimes I think we lose faith in it being a good day and just throw in the towel.
I’ve had a string of days like that recently. My travel by necessity has meant I’ve been doing lots of walking.
Walking excessively makes me feel like a living puddle. There comes a point where I can barely think and stare blankly into space, moving on autopilot. As I’ve said to my mother in the past, it’s like a Kohl’s sale — It’s the summer holiday sale! Now with twenty percent more FatigueCash!
My recent holiday forced me to question my initial approach. I have a habit of resigning myself to a bad situation instead of looking at it from a different angle. If you start looking for reasons to be grateful, or ways to be a fixer and not maker of problems, your outlook changes almost instantly.
Give yourself some hope, Soldiers. There’s no reason to not change what you can. Change can be external, your situation. More often it’s internal. You become a sort of heart Macguiver — you make something of what you’ve got lying around.
Sometimes what you make, inside yourself or out, can be pretty awesome.
Might as well ring out the towel instead.