Rachel Discovers Happiness

my life and road to happiness

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New for Now – Profound Words from Seth Godin

A coworker recently turned me on to Seth Godin’s blog. As a combination of marketing advice and general worldly insight, it’s perfect for me. 

This post from September 1 really stuck with me: 

New for now

That’s the only kind of new there is.

Unlike used, old, established, tested, discarded or broken, new is always temporary.

Tomorrow, we start over and you get another opportunity to do something new if you choose to.

Is there any other market that open?

This made me smile – and think of all the possibilities that are open to me… today, tomorrow, any day I choose. 

What new things will you do? 

You’re a shoe

This is how I’m feeling today… and not in a bad way 🙂

where I am right now

where I am right now

I saw this picture on a friend’s Facebook today – it just spoke to me. It’s originally from the website “Not Salmon” (click on photo to visit site.)

I Believe in You

I have been reading Thought Catalog for years, but recently it has felt a little… stale I guess. That is, until tonight. I found a couple that really spoke to me, but none so much as the one here.

There is so much truth in it; I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

It’s called “I Believe In You,” by Gabby Dunn:

Hey.

I believe in you.

Maybe you think no one does. Maybe you’ve been a disappointment so long you don’t even remember what it was like to look up and see a light ahead, indicating a future full of love, happiness and goals. It’s a never-ending spiral — you made a mistake, people stopped believing in you, and then you resigned yourself to being a perpetual mess and stopped trying. You think no one believes in you or that you don’t need someone to step up to the plate for you because you reject them before they can reject you. You don’t need them, you think, but it’s a reaction to feeling unneeded by others. You brush it off, laugh at the platitudes, steel yourself against anyone trying to breach the gates.

Everybody needs someone else to believe in them. You think you don’t because you’ve been hurt before, because you left yourself open to wounding when you asked someone to believe in you. So you stopped and built a wall. You decided you needed no one. But it still hurts, doesn’t it?

You’re not happy. There are things you want that you don’t pursue. You’d rather come up with excuses, or sabotage, or not try at all than try and fail, than to prove right what you think everyone believes about you and so what you believe about yourself. God forbid, you go out on another limb to move forward in life and it backfires. You don’t think you’d be able to take it. It would only solidify what you think you already know about yourself: that you are worthless and nothing, that you’ll never be the person you want to be.

You’re wrong. You’re so, so wrong. Whatever it is you want, you should go for it. You can do it. You’ll face pitfalls and rejection, but I have no doubt you can accomplish whatever it is. Maybe you’ll take some detours, but that’s just life. That’s what everyone has to do. Nothing is ever set in stone, as they say. Don’t make excuses based on age or income or gender. Don’t place limits on yourself and then wallow in self-pity for things that are out of your control. Focus on what you do have power over. Use that to reach your goals.

And if not me, some stranger on the Internet, how about you let someone in? Let that person who wants to love and believe in you break down your barriers. The comedian Mike Birbiglia describes “love” as when someone else recognizes that special part of you that, no matter how low your self-esteem, still desperately hopes is there. When someone else see that in you, you feel invincible. But you can also be let down. Don’t be afraid of letting someone believe in you. They must see something you don’t quite yet see.

Or believe in yourself. If you don’t think other people have faith in you, don’t let it convince you that you are nothing. Have immense faith in yourself. Don’t invent patterns where there aren’t any. Don’t lose hope that things can change at any moment. Don’t resign yourself because others haven’t believed in you or because you just haven’t found what is it you’re looking for. Especially if you’re young. It’s wasteful to start thinking like life is over before it’s even really begun.

So there’s some food for thought. And even if you don’t need it, I’ll tell you: Someone believes in you. I believe in you.

New Day, New Year, New Possibilities – Happy 2013

Does anybody besides me find that there is a lot of pressure associated with New Year’s Eve? I always tend to struggle with it. 

Last night was no exception. 

I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time explaining why last night was tough for me (believe me, it would be much longer than you want to read right now), but I will say that it actually ended up okay. No champagne, no crazy NYE kiss with a handsome man I just met (or even one that I’ve known forever). Nope, just good friends, card games, and great conversation. 

Maybe that makes me lame – but I’m okay with that. 

I’m ready for 2013 and the promise of new beginnings. Of course, I’m not saying that I expect everything to be wonderful just because a new year is suddenly upon us. No, what I’m saying is that I have turned a new page in my own book – I am the one who is going to make this year as great as it possibly can be.

The road isn’t going to be an easy one, and yeah, I’m going to stumble, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t succeed at everything I set my mind to. Like that Japanese proverb says,

Fall seven times, get up eight.

Well, I’ve gotten up every time I’ve fallen down in the past and I’m planning on continuing that in 2013. I’ve got great friends, a wonderful family, and countless opportunities to succeed at work – I’ve just got to keep my head up!

I’m looking forward to it. (In a few days when I’m upset over something or feeling down about not having an apartment or something else is frustrating, remind me that positivity can get me a long way.)

Love, and happy 2013!!!

Some Wise Words about People

The ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee and I will pay more for that ability than for any other under the sun.

-John D. Rockefeller

Love over Anger

My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. – Jack Layton

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

You want to know how I know I’m a grown-up?

photo from poundingtherock.com

Because I can’t afford to buy shampoo that I actually like.

When I was living at home my parents always bought whatever shampoo and conditioner we wanted, even if this meant buying three different types of hair products because we all had different tastes. I never realized how expensive that is until I moved in to my own apartment… that is, two and a half months ago.

In an effort to be environmentally and fiscally friendly, I decided to try a different type* of shampoo – a type that claims to be 94 percent biodegradable and also happened to be one of the cheapest ones on the shelf per fluid ounce. I’ve used this brand before and liked how it made my hair feel so I figured this would be fine.

I was wrong.

I feel a bit like this sloth (photo from memegenerator.net)

The first time I used it I noticed that my hair looked and felt dirty about half way through the day. I figured I didn’t rinse well enough.

The second, third and fourth times I used it, I noticed the same thing.

When I decided I didn’t want to use the shampoo anymore, I realized that I couldn’t just stop using it… I’d spent $4 on each of those bottles – that’s $8 of my hard earned money and there is no way I was going to just waste it!

Instead of wasting it, I had to figure out a way to make it work for me. I figured out that if I wash my hair with shampoo, then use conditioner and then use the shampoo again, it ends up faring pretty well. Plus, if I shampoo twice every day, the bottle will run out quicker.

How pathetic am I? Have you had any experiences like that – the type that really opens your eyes to the fact that you are a grown-up living on your own?

photo from animal-space.net

Some day I will be able to afford the kind of shampoo I like to use. Until then, I will continue to lather, rinse, condition, rinse, lather, rinse.

*I purposefully left out the brand of not only the brand I am using now, but also the brand I prefer. My hair is weird and gets oily really quickly which means I have to wash it every day. It also reacts weirdly to certain types of shampoo/conditioners as you can probably tell from this post. I don’t want to put anybody off of purchasing any type of shampoo because it didn’t work for me. I hope that the biodegradable shampoo works for somebody because I believe that sustainability and eco-friendly products are very important.

Nerd-fest 2012: The Waiting Game

AKA South by Southwest Interactive 2012 or Southby or SXSWi from hereon out.

In case you are lame and didn’t read my previous post about this, I recently won a ticket to SXSWi on Twitter. Those tickets go for over $900, are completely sold out, and are the gateway to a wonderful week of networking, start-ups, technology, and mingling with nerds. Nerds just like me!

Looking at me you wouldn’t think I was a nerd – I like to think of myself as a closet nerd and this upcoming SXSWi experience as my Nerd Coming Out Party. (Is that a politically appropriate analogy?)

Anyway, I struggled a lot with whether to go to SXSWi or not. I was nervous for a lot of reasons – money, going out of my comfort zone, being alone, not fitting in, not being nerdy enough (weird fear, right? but totally valid!), etc. but I decided, after 99.9% support from friends, family and strangers, that I would attend. I fretted over the cost of the plane ticket, but thank goodness for Southwest airlines (fitting, isn’t it?) and its low fare calendar, because of that I was able to get tickets to Austin for a fraction of the cost from other airlines. Whew.

I talked to my mom about it a lot – she brought up the cliché “do one thing each day that scares you.” She then told me that, if I went to SXSWi like she thought I should, I would rack up about a month’s worth of “things that scare me” and hopefully get over some of my anxiety and debilitating fears (there are so many that I’m staring down right now that I’m not even going to get into all of them). But okay Mom, you’re right, I should go. I even got an e-mail from her this morning saying:

South by Southwest has been getting HUGE press in the SF Chron business pages – articles yesterday AND today.  You can google that if you are interested and/or have time before you leave today.  It should be an amazing experience.  I am so proud of you for grabbing this opportunity!

Thanks Mom. I really appreciate the support. Really. Now can you pay for the flight? Kidding. Kinda…

I have spent a lot of time this past week talking to just about everybody about what SXSWi is going to be like, what I should do while I’m there, etc. I have been actively posting on Twitter, Facebook, other people’s blogs and just about every other social media site I could think of in order to prepare myself.

I have come to the conclusion that no amount of blog posts, Twitter hash tag chats/follows or conversations about how amazing it’s going to be can prepare me for what I will experience over the next four days.

Although I don’t think all of my research can adequately prepare me for this (what I believe to be) life-changing event, here are the conclusions I’ve come to out of all of my anxious energy/excitement:

  • In going to SXSWi I am reaching so ridiculously far out of my comfort zone it isn’t even funny. I only won one ticket to the conference, which means I will be attending things, gasp!, alone! On the plus side, according to every single person I’ve talked to who has been, that’s the best way to do it! It forces you to get to know people and network. Apparently, going out of your comfort zone is what SXSWi is unofficially all about – who woulda thought!
  • I had no idea what to wear – does it matter? I’m such an over-packer and this event is definitely no exception. Also, I’ve never been to Austin, or even Texas, so I don’t know what the culture is like. If I brought my cowboy boots would people think I was a crazy poser? Since I had no idea what to wear and from convos with a good friend of mine, I just decided to pack everything I could think of. Maybe I’m stupid, but Swouthwest allows you to check one bag free of charge, so I’m golden.*
  • I have no idea what panels/presentations/events to go to because all of this happened so fast and I haven’t had time to research everything. But you know what, that is just part of the experience!
  • I’m not nerdy enough for this event. One of my major fears. Which is complete BS because I am a super nerd and technology and startups and electronics and design and HTML and CSS do interest and excite me. Maybe I’m not an expert like a lot of other people will be, but so what!
  • I never do anything spontaneous which means that this better be good. It could probably make or break my spontaneous side. Kidding (and this time I really am). I’m really excited that I’m being so spontaneous! It is a quality that I always see in other people and really admire, so I guess this is my turn to develop that same quality in myself and hopefully I’ll inspire somebody else who is scared of spontaneity and not having a plan.
  • WHERE WILL I STAY?! Okay well lucky for me, my friend Nikol over at Who’s Austin moved to Austin a few months ago (hence the blog title) and has a floor (or couch?) I can sleep on while I’m there. This means that a) I don’t have to pay for a hotel room (much less find a hotel room since they are all sold out) and b) I get to spend some quality time at presentations, networking events and parties with an old friend (Nikol and I lived on the same floor freshman year of college)
  • Similar to the previous thought, when will I sleep? I’m pretty sure those who go to SXSW don’t get very much sleep. At all. Like, maybe 3 hours a night. I barely survive when I only get 6 hours of sleep a night, so I’m basically planning on being exhausted and getting sick for 2.5 weeks after this event. But hey, that’s all part of the adventure, right? Right?!

My motto over the past few months has been “Be Brave” and that’s exactly what I’m going to be over the next few days (and beyond!)

I know I sound ridiculous, but I’m nervous! So cut me some slack.

Now, as per the title of this post, the waiting game starts. I am currently sitting in those uncomfortable airport chairs at the San Francisco airport waiting for my flight to Austin via Las Vegas (yay slot machines!) We were supposed to leave around now, but the flight was delayed. So i’m just sitting here. Hanging out. Researching SXSWi.

Life could be worse.

P.S. Thanks to Brad King (The Bradpocolypse or @TheBradKing) and everybody else who has written articles/blog posts about how to survive SXSWi – you have been the main instruments responsible for maintaining my sanity over the past 48 hours.

P.P.S. Thank you to everybody who commented on my previous post, everybody on Twitter, all my friends and everybody at work for encouraging me to go – and not really leaving me a choice 🙂

P.P.P.S. If you are going to be at SXSW, let’s meet up! Comment on here or find me on Twitter (@rockegan). Let me know what your favorite part of SXSWi has been and share any advice you have! Looking forward to meeting you 🙂

*I read in a few blogs about what I should and shouln’t pack – t-shirts were on the “no pack” list because apparently there are free t-shirts just about everywhere. I didn’t listen to this. I shamefully packed two t-shirts into my suitcase. Two t-shirts that are probably taking up space from all the other t-shirts I will receive while I’m there. Oops.

You are you. Now isn’t that pleasant?

Isn’t it nice when you get to work, check your email, and see that you have a happy email rather than a long to do list of things that need to be finished before 5 (or 7, or 9… depending on when you leave the office which, in the PR world, could be any time)?

That’s how I felt today. I got to work, checked my email, and had an email from my best friend/roomie with a visual presentation of Dr. Seuss quotes. I liked it so much that I thought I’d share it with you 🙂

A little note about Roomie: she is so NOT touchy-feely, warm-and-fuzzy or drawn to inspirational stuff at all, but she knows I am; whenever she sees something like this that she thinks I would like she sends it along. And let me tell you , she finds some pretty awesome stuff!

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