Toxic Gossip.

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You know that famous quote “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people“? I think about that quote a lot, maybe more than normal, but I think it’s true. Not because everyone who talks about people are small minded, but because the action of talking about people slowly makes you more small minded. You begin to look for things to gossip about. You begin to feed on the drama.

I’ve noticed a few people in my life fall down this rabbit hole, or perhaps they were always in it and by hanging out with them I started to trip into it as well. Regardless I noticed the need to talk about people chip away at me. It was only one or two people, but the need was still there, and no matter how those people did me wrong, it wasn’t justifiable to talk about them, because I wasn’t hurting them, I was hurting me.

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Enjoy things you’re bad at.

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I’m one of those people who get frustrated when they don’t immediately become good at which ever hobby they pick up. I guess I didn’t used to be this way, because all the hobbies that I have now I was pretty bad at towards the start. But lets be real- at seven or nine I probably thought I was pretty good at things even when I was doing quite terrible at them.

I’ve struggled to pick up hobbies as an adult because of this though. I don’t like the idea of failure, even though it isn’t technically failure to be bad while you’re learning. It just feels that way. I get stuck in ruts because of it.

It’s different at work, because it’s required, but on my own free time I don’t want to deal with being bad at things. It’s been this way for a long time. But as I was singing in the shower the other day I remembered how awful of a singer I was, and I laughed, because I sing around people all the time. It doesn’t matter to me then that I’m always off tune and should never try to hit the high notes. I just do it, because it makes me happy. Music makes me happy and singing when the music stops makes me happy.

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Hard times create strong men.

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“Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times.”

― G. Michael Hopf, Those Who Remain

I came across this quote a while ago on Twitter. It struck a cord with me, because it’s true. We live in a constant cycle. I’ve talked about this in terms of mental health before, about how you have to stick through the bad and it’s terrible, but good always follows. There is a natural rhythm to life, some of it comes without outside help, but I think that a lot of it does come from the kind of things we indured.

We get lazy when things are good, we don’t work as hard, we don’t put our nose to the grindstone, we get comfortable and that comfort puts us at a disadvantage. The opposite is true for hard times. To survive we’ve got to give it everything we have and by doing that we tend to start an upswing. I know it’s not always this simple, but hardly anything in life is. This is a generalization,  but I think its a good one.

I also think that most people would agree with me when I state that right now we are in the middle of hard times. We have cities on fire, a global pandemic, economic collapse, rapid injustice, government overreach, massive unemployment, breaks in the supply chain. I could go on, but lets just stop and say that we aren’t doing so great right now, both as a nation and for most, as individuals. It’s hard to see an upside to this. There might not be an upside to the actual events, but there is one when it comes to how we grow through them.

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The balance in romantic relationships:

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I was having problems getting a new hard drive that my laptop warranty afforded me. They said it would be to me in two days. Three weeks later and three calls later it had been returned to the warehouse according to the tracker but not according to the company that sent it to me. I was beyond frustrated so I handed it over to my husband, who made one very stern and angry phone call and it was on my porch the next day. Magic! But also one of the reasons we work so well together.

He picks up on the areas I lack and I pick up on areas he lacks. I’ve talked about how all good relationships are partnerships, but it goes beyond that. It’s about finding a partner who can pick up were you let down. It’s magic when you can find someone who helps make your household more rounded. I’m not saying it should be your only goal in love, obviously there are a ton of factors that come into play when it comes to falling in love and getting married, but there is something to say about the dynamics between male and female, ying and yang, critical thinker and creative thinker.

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Using the pandemic as a tool to better ourselves after it ends:

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This whole pandemic came at a bad time. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by it, the kind of overwhelmed that makes you able to stare blankly at a wall for an hour. Yeah, you know the type.

I’ve been trying to combat it, in some ways I’m doing the things that I would do to try and fight of my depressive episodes, which is pulling out all of my coping mechanisms and making sure I’m doing the things that bring me joy, but this one has also included a lot of self reflection.

Obviously my short-term goals have changed, but not having anything to do has led me to think about what all I want to do and what is most important in my long-term plans. The change of routine has made me think that maybe my routine needs to be changed permanently. Not to this state of nothing, but to something different than it was before.

The fact is I liked the change at first, I liked being knocked off my rocker. I didn’t like the impending doom, but I thought that the change might bring something positive, and I think it still might. Certainly the pandemic itself is a negative, but there can always be a silver lining, and I think there is. I think the world as a whole is going to come out more thoughtful. We’ve been given so much time to think, we’ve been given so much time to care. I think we’re going to use both these things to our advantages.

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Being a “stan” is unhealthy.

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Fandoms can get us through some rough times, they can be our light when we have trouble finding one. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t enjoy things and enjoy them well, I’m just saying that there is a threshold people pass where it starts to get unhealthy fast.

Maybe it isn’t safe to say, but celebrities aren’t your friends, characters aren’t your friends, and honestly we’ve turned celebrities and characters into one of the same. I’m not saying that you can’t find refuge and comfort in them, but I am saying that you need to be focused on your outside life and outside relationships more than you focus on your fandoms. Being a fan isn’t bad for you, focusing all your energy on it instead of what’s going on in your actual life is.

The fact of the matter is we all get wrapped up in things that aren’t relevant to our daily lives, whether it be a fandom or marathoning too much reality TV, we get swept away in these universes. I get it, I’m a writer. I get swept up in my own universe often, but you need to be able to leave it behind and go about your day without it. You need to be able to function and be happy if a band breaks up or if the character dies in the last movie.

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Realigning your goals in the wake of everything:

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The world has shut down, so maybe some of your goals have been moved to the back burner, after all, how are you supposed to have monthly goals when you can’t even tell me what day of the week it is?

Life happens, and it happens without our permission. We don’t have a say in the matter but we do have a say in how we react and how we adjust. I said in a previous post that I think both the “rise and grind” tactic and the “panic and do nothing” tactic aren’t healthy in this pandemic, and I stand by that. You shouldn’t be trying to be the next big thing, you should be focusing on small amounts of progress so you don’t fall behind and you should add on goals that are made just with your mental health in mind and nothing else.

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On being a dependable force of goodness in a child’s life:

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Every now and then I read to much on current events and I feel the burning desire to save the children. A lot of them are doing good, but I’ve always felt a deep spot in my heart for children in situations they shouldn’t be in. It’s not because I’ve ever been in an abusive situation as a child. I had a wonderful childhood, it was tainted by some things, crippling separation anxiety in first grade, a bipolar diagnoses at the age of six, being bullied till I was suicidal in middle school, but really none of that stood a chance against how well loved and protected I was by my parents, family, and friends. My heart aches for children who don’t have that, or for adults who didn’t have that as a child, because that got me through all sorts of things.

That’s what I want to talk about, not how terrible it can be or how good it can be, but what a difference a stable source of good can make in a child’s life. It’s not a news flash, everyone knows that broken homes can do some serious damage, but as my friends start having babies and I work towards that age were I want to as well I’ve been thinking a lot about what you can protect kids from and what you can’t.

There is a ton that you have no control over whether you are the child or the adult looking after them. Bad things happen, to everyone, over and over again, but if we have enough good to counteract that bad we can get somewhere healthy and happy. It doesn’t matter if you are a parent, a family friend, a teacher, or an older sibling, being a stable source of dependability and goodness to a child can save their lives in more ways than one.

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