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? No? Cool! Drop it, find something awesome! Yes? 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. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019


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 exploring 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.
I mean, please actually look. Don't just literally wait in your mom's basement. But in the process of looking, 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.)