October 2010

Keep a Dream Journal

Every time I try to keep a dream journal, I end up forgetting to write my dreams down, or misplacing loose leaf pages all over the place, or losing the little notebook by the bed… It’s sort of ridiculous, seeing as I write every single day in my journal (and dozens of other places). I don’t know why dream recording is so elusive to me; maybe I don’t really want to do it that much because I’m scared of what I might find!

My dreams are almost always complete, orchestrated films in my head with a beginning, middle, and ending. I didn’t say that they always make sense (not that they’re failed attempts at Inception or anything), but they are almost always something that would be worth writing a movie or novel about.

Nap More

Study after study shows it to be true: naps are good for you.  And doesn't your body want a nap? Doesn't it want a nap RIGHT NOW?  (Mine sure does.  I'm having trouble writing this, it keeps making me sleepy.)

That "2:30 feeling," as dubbed by the incredibly annoying energy drink commercial, is most likely a biological imperative.  Many people blame bad nutrition on the midafternoon slump - having eaten a lunch which was too big, or had too many carbs, or drinking too much coffee in the morning, or not drinking enough water, or what have you.

But the truth, according to Dr. Gregg D. Jacobs at Talk About Sleep, is that we are meant to nap in the afternoons.  Just look at what happens to people who have no pressing reason not to nap (i.e. small children and the elderly.)  They nap with great aplomb.

Procrastinate Better

Here's an intriguing concept: instead of berating yourself for procrastinating, why not accept that procrastination is part of life?  In fact, I recently read an article which lauded procrastination, as long as you're doing it right.

Software developer Paul Graham wrote about "Good and Bad Procrastination" in this 2005 article.  Graham is certainly in a position to know, being both a wildly successful software developer, entrepreneur, and painter. 

Graham contends that if you want to get the Big Things done, you have to procrastinate on a lot of the little things.  This rings true to me, particularly since I am one of those people who will cheerfully spend the entire day running errands instead of getting work done.

It's entirely possible to spend your whole life running meaningless errands.  Just ask anyone who works at home!  Errands are my Kryptonite, because they're small, easily accomplished, and lead to external approval. 

NaNoWriMo

Every October, thousands of people across the world start asking themselves, "Should I do NaNoWriMo this year?"  (For info on the basics of NaNoWriMo, check out sarajean's awesome post from last year.)  My answer to everyone is, unequivocally, "YES."

Basically, if you are asking yourself "Should I Do NaNoWriMo?" then the answer is obvious.  If you are even remotely considering it, then you should do it.  You should particularly do it if you have been "meaning to get around to it" for a few years.

Throw Away That Junk

"Declutter" is the word people usually trot out for this process.  But let's be honest, "clutter" is a little too mild.  "Clutter" sounds harmless, and it implies that the things have a useful purpose, they're just in the wrong place.

Clutter happens because your home is filled with junk.  So full of junk that you can't really put anything else away - and thus it turns into clutter.  Clutter is just the superficial manifestation of a deeper problem.

Don't feel bad - it's a problem we all have. Unless you live out of a backpack, you have a bunch of useless junk.  Everyone does.  I do, too.  And I'm even more ashamed about it, because I have been on a track of actively downsizing for several years now.

Things You Love Thursdays

Recently I stumbled across this marvelous blog called Gala Darling. It’s a “radical self-love” blog, and while much of it is about style, there is so much more. (If it were just a style blog, most people I know are aware that I would never follow it!) In fact, Gala herself says, “My real passion is in helping girls discover how to make that happen for them, & in encouraging them to be a valentine to the world every day! Why shouldn’t you be blissfully, delectably, head-over-heels in love with yourself?!” Why indeed!

Be Brave

After my daughter’s taekwondo and reading classes Wednesday night, we went out to dinner. This is a habit on Wednesdays, which we’re going to have to break, since A. it’s expensive and B. my daughter keeps asking for it, which I think it a little strange at her age.

While we were eating, I noticed a woman eating alone at one of the tables. She obviously wasn’t waiting for someone; she had one meal, was drinking fruit punch, and was older than I was—perhaps my mother’s age.

Take A Picture Every Day

Along the lines of starting an illustrated journal, taking a picture every day is a wonderful way to document your everyday life, and share it with others. 

There are a lot of benefits to a project like this: it can make you more mindful of your everyday life, or it can shake up your boring routine.  Whether you choose to photograph snapshots of your life or roam afield looking for beautiful subjects, your life will be the richer for it.

Project 365 is the most well-known inspiration for this, but there are several organizations dedicated to "picture a day."  It can be very helpful to join a group for inspiration, validation, and that sense of community. 

But don't get caught up on the organizational side.  Sometimes it can be easy to get so involved in forums and fiddling with your profile that it becomes a bigger time sink than benefit to your life!

10 Things to Do While Waiting for the OB/GYN

As I waited for my OB/GYN early Friday morning—still groggy and stumbling after a night up with an early rising preschooler and not much to show for it save for a few Halloween crafts—I came up with all kinds of interesting things to occupy my mind with. These are normal results of my addled, sleep-deprived state, and should only be followed with caution.

10. Figure out how all of the office art can be reworked into a vagina.

It seems like all of the gynecologist offices I’ve been in are only interested in floral art—which are pretty vaginal in nature to begin with. But if yours has different pictures—say, something by Ansel Adams—you’re in for an imaginative treat!

9. Mess with all of the magazines and literature.