Why you should change the world on a small scale instead of trying to on a big scale.

We all like the idea of being that woman or man who changes the world, who goes down in history, or at least, we do a kids, when our dreams aren’t weighed down by the reality of everything. That kid like state often follows people through college, which is why I think college campuses are so activist centered. At that stage I think we part from wanting to be the one that goes down into history and instead want to be part of the group that goes down in history.

It’s a cool notion, but I don’t really think that’s the best way to change the world.

Trying to change things on the big scale doesn’t normally work like it should, and when it does work it’s only because their are a *ton* of people doing the same work on a smaller scale. Without changing daily habits and lives the big scale picture never comes together, because people either resent it or they fall back into their old habits.

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Striking the balance between overloading people and suffering in silence:

It is very hard to tell people about the hardships you are going through without being an overall mood crusher. It’s why a lot of people suffer in silence- without support. They are afraid of being turned away. They are afraid of the texts coming in less and less, especially those who suffer from chronic depression. At some point people want and expect a different answer when they ask you how you are doing and start pulling back when they don’t because they can’t handle it.

It is easy to blame this all on bad friends, they don’t love us unconditionally! They should, at least we feel so, but we also have to know that talking about our depression all the time can drag other peoples mood down too making it harder for them to support us and also harder for them to cope.

Hoping to find a balance? It’s possible though, like most things with mental health it is also very difficult.

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Peace in the unsettled:

Well, we’re a month in and I don’t think 2021 is going to be less weird than 2020.

It might be a “different brand” of weird, but I still think it’s going to be weird, I still think the news is going to be stressful, I think we’re still going to get current events that make us collectively go “wtf”. I mean, did you see the Gamestop verses Wall street news of last week? Oh, we aren’t done. I don’t think it’s going to be a forever thing, but times of unrest don’t magically go away, government doesn’t magically change, pandemics take a long time to wrap up. We are still in the trenches- and that is surprisingly starting to stress me out less.

Maybe I’m adapting to my environment. Maybe this is the new normal everyone talked about. I don’t know. I don’t love it, I’m not going to pretend I do, but my heart is starting to rejoice in the things I can control. It is slowly but surely finding it’s new true north and helping me work through the rest. I’m finding my peace not reliant on the worlds peace.

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Creating goals for 2021 and reflecting on those from 2020:

It’s been a year man, I don’t think you should be to hard on yourself if you didn’t knock out all your 2020 goals, after all who thought 2020 would look anything like this in January? We were so hopeful, but life had other plans for us.

I did manage to get through some of my goals though, and I am proud of that, so lets look back on the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year:

  • Get back into photography: I’ve worked on this but I haven’t perfected it! I still need to spend a lot more time with my camera than I do, but I have been picking it up more than last year, mainly thanks to my husband, but hey, we’re not all perfect.
  • Refocus on budgeting: I picked a bad year to focus on budgeting. Prices have gone up and the economy has crashed, but all in all, I have been a lot more mindful about how I’m spending, so I kinda succeeded, though 2020 threw a lot of curve balls at us.
  • Journal more: Check! I’ve been journaling all the time! In fact I was journaled today. It makes a big difference in how I’m processing my emotions, so I’m really glad I’ve returned to this habit.
  • Become a better cook/baker: Check! While the pandemic was bad for budgeting, it was great for cooking and baking. I’ve done a lot of it and I’ve tried a lot of new recipes as well. I feel like I’m finally comfortable in the kitchen in ways I really wasn’t before.
  • Read more than fifty books: Well, I read 117. So check! I know the biggest gift to this was audiobooks from the library, but they are still books so they count. I really poured myself into stories over all the forced down time in 2020, so it was pretty easy to double my goal. I feel great about it!
  • Lose weight: Hahaha, about that. Yeah, that didn’t even come close to happening, but hey, I’m the same pant size I started the year with, so at least I didn’t gain any?

Now lets talk about 2021. It feels weird making goals for the next year after a year like this one. I feel like I have no right to try to figure out what the year should hold not knowing what it will hold. But I guess to a certain degree, that’s every year. So here we go!

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An amateur in many hobbies instead of an expert in one:

I’m good at my hobbies, in some cases I’m great at them, but I’ve always felt like my long held hobbies are somehow less than they are. I know why I feel that way, it’s because from a young age we are told to pour everything we have into something we love.

Those who are good at basketball in school are taught to eat, sleep, and breathe basketball when they aren’t studying. It’s gotten to a point that doctors say the increase in school aged children getting sports injuries has sky rocketed, because a child that used to swim in the summer and play football in the fall now plays football year round, so instead of switching where the wear and tear on your body is occurring it’s the same 24/7.

I know why, sports scholarships are a big deal. Children who are good at a skill can do great things with it if it’s their main focus for most their lives. Children with musical abilities that are nurtured can far surpass someone who picked it up in college or as an adult.

But the side effect of this highly focused approach to hobbies is that people like me who have a selection of favorite hobbies, feels like they’re failing at all of them because they are not only pouring all their time and energy into “the one”.

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The biggest lesson of this hard year:

Out of everyone I know only two people have had a good 2020, and honestly good for them, someone should have enjoyed it. The pandemic is the heart of the bad year, but lets be honest, everyone has a different list of hardships from this year. Whether it be isolation, job loss, sickness, or other terrible things, its been a year- and not one that you’re going to commemorate with a 2020 Christmas tree ornament.

And while I spent the spring and summer struggling with our series of unfortunate events, I’ve spent this fall and winter on something else, all the blessings I have despite all the bad.

It’s easy to get carried away with the mess when one thing goes wrong after another. It’s easy to let the darkness consume you, and many bad years, I’ve let it. I’ve let the darkness win. I’ve let myself sink into depression- whether warrantied or not. And honestly no one would blame you if 2020 has left you that way. We’re in a pandemic with COVID but also with depression. We have sky high suicide rates right now. It’s been a very easy year to get lost in the darkness. If you have, you aren’t alone.

But, the message that I have is that there are still things going on to be happy about. There are still things to find joy in. The reason you can see all the shadows is because their is some form of light that is casting them.

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Make small changes, take big steps.

Do you know that people with dogs tend to be healthier than people without? Simply because most people walk their dogs, and that additional exercise a day boosts their physical health.

It makes you realize how big those little changes are. That twenty minute walk a day can change your health. So can changing one meal a day. You can change your mental health by spending more time in the sun or simply seeing a friend once a week. By setting a timer and cleaning for only 30 minutes a day, you can change the constant state of your house.

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