It's a hazy, lazy day today. I'm in my pajamas yawning, groggy, and still really tired. Out of habit, I woke up at 6AM. I really should just sleep in, but I'm not wired that way right now. Ugh.
I'm constantly thinking about the year ahead. I'll be promoting the new album, doing shows, traveling, and being as busy as humanly possible. I'm trying to remember to try to be happy and have fun through it all.
In this context, what I mean by "Happy" would be stress-free, physically healthy, and full of enjoyment. There are certain key elements that I am thinking of in order to accomplish this. I've been thinking a lot lately about how to keep my life simple in spite of the madness of being a musician in the music business. Here are the thoughts in my head thus far:
1. Excercise regularly.
Yup. I'd like to stay as thin as I have always been. I still fit in clothes that I wore in highschool and even just ten years ago. Besides, this helps me reduce stress. Going to the gym is also one of the few times in the week that I allow myself to watch TV. When I'm on the ellyptical at the YMCA down the road from my house, I plug in my headphones and watch HGTV (my current favorite network) on the attached monitor. I sip my coffee and walk about 3 miles. It's so much fun watching homes transform as I exercise. I love it.
2. No more stuff-itis
In America at least, we are a capitalist, consumer-driven society. Everywhere you look, you are encouraged and coaxed into buying something. There are billboards out on highways selling cars. Quirky tv commercials touting big sales for the holidays. At the check-out aisle, there are rows of odds and ends encouraging you to buy something on impulse. You turn on the radio, and there's a song that you find out is available on i-tunes. When you log on to your myspace account, there are adds for weight-loss programs. All of it is inescapable.
Now, mind you, I love to shop just like anyone else, but I've lately become much more selective about what I buy. I've come to a personal understanding that as a consumer I'm really just accumulating a bunch of stuff--most of which is really quite unnecessary. Conveniently, because I've been saving up money to pay for my album, I've sort of forced myself only to buy what I know I really need (along with an occasional treat once in blue crescent moon). This set of circumstances has lead to a few personal decisions.
--From now on, I will only buy what I need and what is really useful and practical. This helps me majorly cut down on stuff-itis (the desire to want and buy too much useless crap).
--From now on, I will make sure I save money before I spend money. I'd rather have the piece of mind in knowing that I have savings in case of an emergency or to get me something expensive that I REALLY want. This is a better alternative to having a bunch of useless nicknacks.
3. Live on a budget
This might sound like a depressing notion, but I've been doing some research lately. Budgets don't have to be oppressive. If anything, it is a really useful tool to help you manage the way you spend money. I have a lot of goals that I want to accomplish in my life. This is a major step towards that end. Besides, there will be a "fun fund" in the budget. This is a small allowance of money spent only to reward myself for sticking to my budget. This is all a work in progress.
4. Stop eating so damn much!!!
It may not look terribly obvious about me, but I eat a lot!!! Fortunately, I'm a very active person and somehow all of it dissipates instead of congealing into a role of bodily blubber fat. After doing the math, I spend more than I should on food. Those damn impulse buys get me every time--a small and oh-so-tasty little bag of Doritos, a yummy slim jim, those new flavored water drinks, gum, an espresso at Starbucks, those heavenly white chocolate/macadamia nut cookies at Subway, FREAKING SUSHI (!!!!!!!!!), a decadent Mcgriddle from McDonalds, the ENTIRE menu at dirt cheap Taco Bell, divine chicken nuggets and Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers from Wendy's, Oreo cookie shakes from Jack in the Box (THE BOMB, by the way!!), breakfast bacon burritos from Sonic------------------OH MY GOD!!! I'm getting hungry!!!!!!!!!!!
Well, okay, I love food--maybe too much. So, yes, I must be more selective about what I eat. Not only will I save money, but I will also be much more healthy. Bacon McGriddles be damned!!!!!!
By the way, I just ran downstairs to the kitchen to get a snack. How much do I suck? Eat less? Me? Oh, we'll just have to see.
5. No more TV!!
This is actually something I've been practicing for a while now. It depresses me completely to think that millions of people sit in front of a tv screen for countless hours watching other people make something out of their lives. It numbs the mind and makes thinking much easier than it should be.
Besides, I really just don't have the time. I would not have ever finished my album if I watched tv all day.
I do make a couple of exceptions. Thanks to the cultural phenomenon that is Tivo, I am able to make the time to catch up on "Heroes". This is probably my favorite tv show right now. It's essentially a show about people who act upon the goodness and the greatness within themselves. It's purely brilliant.
Then, there's the entire HGTV network. If anything has the power to get me to veg out for a day, it is HGTV!!! They should just rename the network. It should be called "FABULOUS!!!".
Naturally, who could resist the occasional episode of the Golden Girls? I grew up on these seemingly harmless older women, but boy do they have sass!!! Everyone should have an Italian Grandma like Sophia.
Aside from these glowing exceptions, no tv, period. I'm actually quite happy without it.
6. Finally, give myself time to relax.
I suspect that I am a bit of a workaholic. I'll have to look up what constitutes workaholism, but I think I might fit the bill. In any case, I have a hard time getting myself to do nothing. I need to get better at this once in a while--just to frolic, hang with friends, have lunch with family/friends (okay, maybe not lunch!!), take Oreo and Buttercup out to the park. Oh well, we'll see. This, along with food, will be the biggest challenges.
I think this covers the thoughts in my head about trying to simplify my life and enjoy it more. I think it helps most that I am at least aware of these things.
In any case, I hope to have one of the best years of my life.
Have a flower . . .
Please have yourselves a lovely week and stay away from those McGriddles!! They'll get you every time.
I've been focusing lately on trying have a little bit of something joyous every day. Now I don't mean anything extravagant necessarily, but basically, something that I derive great joy out of doing. Life often presents enough challenges that are tough and disappointing. I blogged recently about taking responsibility for my own happiness. I'm try to do more of this each day. Occasionally this might mean eating something decadently sweet and delicious like ice cream, or it could be listening to my favorite song in my car. Lately, I've been incorporating various little joyous things into my daily life. Here are a few:---Reading a chapter of a book in bed before falling a sleep at night. I love reading in bed. It's one of my favorite things to do especially on an overcast and cloudy day. I've been doing this every night for the past few weeks.---A cup of warm coffee in the morning. I think I just love drinking something warm to start off my day. This is extremely comforting.---Watching HGTV, especially my favorite show "House Hunters" (and "House Hunters International"). Television is a luxury I don't often allow myself. I consciously try to live more of an active life than a passive one. However, I watch HGTV on the ellyptical machine when I go to the gym. This makes exercising so much more fun. I LOVE HGTV!!! It is my tv drug of choice, but I only watch it at the gym as kind of a gift to myself for working out. Whoever came up with the bright idea to attach tv screens to cardio exercise machines was a genius!!---Blogging I've only been blogging over the last year, but it gives me a chance to do some actual writing. At my core, I've always been a writer of words and a poet before anything else. It is also a way to keep an ongoing record of what is happening in my life.---Hanging out with my family I get to do a whole lot of this now that I live in the Nashville area. As I get older, I am becoming increasingly aware of how impermanent all things in life are. I treasure the many meals, conversations, laughter, and fun shared with my sisters, nephews, niece, in-laws, and my mom. These are joyous moments that I don't take for granted. Overall, I don't consider myself an extravagant person. I only allow myself to splurge on something once in a while. I've learned not to depend on other people or physical objects to make me happy. Joy has to be cultivated from within. I pay great attention to this now more than ever. Have a flower. -g
There's been a lot of chatter on the comments recently about me not following through, most of it deserved. Throughout my life one of my struggles has been to focus on one thing and follow it through. I used to be totally incapable of it, but over the years have gotten better. There are a lot of things that I have followed through with (my diet, writing this blog, etc.) as well as plenty that I haven't.
Once in a while I feel, for whatever reason, that I've conquered it, and I announce it to the world. While I'm on the topic of admitting faults, another is that I tend to prematurely announce things sometimes. As a reader, you already know that.
I understand your frustration when you read about something I say I'm going to do, get excited about seeing it happen, and then it falls off the radar. If it's any consolation, I'm acutely aware of these things and am similarly frustrated.