Instant EVERYTHING.

One of my greatest fears is not being successful professionally. And it’s actually a legitimate fear to have. I think everyone longs to live a cushy lifestyle where you don’t have to worry about budgeting everything and not having what you want. My dream is to work for NPR. And I was thinking about it, and I wondered why NPR was so highly sought after to be my starting destination. As one of the nation’s leading public radio providers, why would I ever start there? It has dawned on me that maybe this is more of an ending place professionally.

In an age of instagrams, a lack of instagrahams, and the internet, everything is available to us at a click of a mouse. We really don’t have to wait for anything we want; even online shopping has two day delivery. So when I think about my career professionally I have just wanted to be successful right off the bat and the prospect of that not happening has kinda scared me. But I remember that people in creative careers build them.

Macklemore is currently the front runner in an age where hip hop artists are going without the help of record labels. And it’s easy to think that because he only has one album out he’s been instantly successful. But when you take a further look into him, you’ll realize that he’s been a rapper for thirteen years. It’s taken him 13 years of honing a craft and seemingly just getting by before making it big. And relatively, I still see him as young. In cases like this, I think it’s easy to think of time as life and death. You’ve either wasted it or pursued life to the maximum peak. But that isn’t always the case when you have to work hard to get recognition. As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Being a successful radio personality isn’t going to be an overnight process but wanting it so bad is probably a good thing.

Text Books and Other Things That Prove Life Isn’t Fair

It turns out with my new schedule that Friday’s are gonna be weird for seeing if I post a lot. But I’ll make sure to get a post in sometime over the weekend. You know how that whole ordeal goes.

Late January/Early February are inherently awkward times for any student. It’s the time of the year where you start a new semester but have to worry about the summer simultaneously. Preferably, you want to get a job now and keep up with your school work that way you can be all set before everyone is rushing for the same things you are. After spending the $300 in text books that I need to be successful I thought I would participate in the latter event and start filling out internship applications.

My friends call me hipster for wanting this, but I really want to intern at NPR. For those of you who don’t know, NPR is National Public Radio and is basically the best thing ever. At the current moment I think I might be actually eligible for the science desk position. But, with my economics background, I still have a part of my brain that is grounded in some reality. I know how competitive this internship is. Maybe hundreds of people will compete for the same position. That’s why I chose the science desk. Not only do I host my own science radio show, but it’s not going to be as competitive as the others I don’t think. Everyone and their mother loves All Things Considered and it’s counterpart, All Songs Considered. The science desk I think might be like the red-headed step child of the NPR world. And I think that’s fine. The idea of networking with all these great people is exciting. And because NPR has two locations I can apply for the same job in two awesome locations. I know this sounds just like some paid plug for NPR but I swear it isn’t. I’m just really passionate about radio. There are two other stations I’m applying for as well. WBEZ in Chicago and WNYC in New York are both fantastic stations with lots of networking capabilities as well.

But the application process has taught me something about myself that could be true about everyone. I’m totally terrified of failure. And one reason for that is -in my mind- I’ll never be successful if something isn’t perfect. And because I know something can never be completely perfect I don’t try. I tried to do the whole vlogging thing once and it didn’t work. I tried to make one vlog and A) seeing myself on camera was weird and B) I psyched myself out because the video quality was too low. I mean, come on Tyler. The video quality is too low?! Everyone has to start somewhere and low video quality is a fine place to start! It was a stupid reason to quit. Because of this, I’m naturally swayed to having an attitude where I’m procrastinating filling out the application. My application won’t be perfect, and therefore, I won’t get the job. This is ridiculous but I constantly stress about not taking enough opportunities to improve myself.

But I think the real solution to this problem is a self acceptance type deal. I’ll be the first one to admit that I don’t have confidence issues. But that isn’t to say that I can’t try harder in finding happiness in the work I do rather than from the things I do in an attempt to get happiness. Just once, find happiness in the end result as well without TOTALLY ripping my ego to shreds.

Vegetarianism! Almost! Kinda… Not Really.

I didn’t have a ride to the store today so my vegetarian two days a week thing has been put on hold. However, I did get my vegetarian meals for today put in. I had grilled ham and cheese and then eggs for dinner. If vegetarianism means breakfast for dinner I think I can do this. I mean why look at vegetarianism as a bleak meatless wasteland? I like to think it’s an all day every day breakfast party. That is… provided eggs are actually vegetarian. I think they are. Someone post in the comments if they are or not haha. ANYWYAYS I’d like to think I ate vegetarian today.

If you’re wondering about what I plan to do about that vegetarian thing in the future I’m going to be eating a lot of pasta I think. I once went on a trip to Japan and I absolutely loved the soba noodles there. If you have no idea what soba is it’s like buckwheat noodles with various things put on top of them. China has ramen; Japan has soba. But it’s flavor is hearty and smooth. It’s an odd combination, but when I get nervous about healthy I remember that trip. I walked everywhere and ate healthy because I had no other choice but to. This trip is serving a big inspiration to me as I try to be healthy. I just have to live like I did on vacation. No big deal.

A Post on Keeping Promises You Make to Yourself

Sorry about not posting yesterday guys! With MLK day I kinda forgot it was Monday… oops.

I’m pretty sure I could end this post right after that title. Keeping resolutions, or any promise you make to change habits is really hard. While this blog was my first step in keeping myself accountable, I no longer have any excuses to keep myself from achieving my goals. I’m back at my apartment, the school year has started, the gym and rec center facilities are open. I’m actually going to start doing stuff. Or so I say.

Even scientifically, habits suck. Habits start as psychological patterns called -crazily enough- habit loops. The first step is the cue. Simply, this is just your brain telling you to kick it into auto-pilot and just let your routine kick in. Then there’s the actual routine itself. This is just what you’ve been trained to do. If you’re a narcoleptic alcoholic (which I am not) that routine may be falling asleep at bars and waking up the next morning finding the bartender pickpocketed your wallet. Whatever your routine is, it has become routine because of the reward your brain gives you for completing the action.

Neuroscientists have traced our habit-making behaviors to a part of the brain called the basal ganglia. This part of the brain is also responsible for the development of emotions, memories, and pattern recognition. The decision making part of habits is controlled by the part of your brain called the prefrontal cortex. As soon as a behavior becomes automatic, the decision making part of our brains hibernate. Your brain thinks this is awesome because it leaves so much more room for activities! This is why I can drive my car and listen to NPR at the same time. But this is really bad if you’re making the decision to do something different. If you’re an almost 20 year old trying to change, this makes your whole childhood a series of unfortunate events that were just designed to screw over your adult life. For almost two decades I’ve trained my brain not to work out, not to eat all my fruits and vegetables, and tons of other stuff. And the part of my brain that would make the decision to tell me to change isn’t even working.

That what I got from the book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. And like art in the last post, understanding my cues and appreciating the structure of habits will make it easier to change. This takes some self analysis when you’re trying to correct a bad habit and not form a new one. So the next time I shop at the store I’m going to analyze what causes me to choose what I eat. And then think about the reward for that. Andddd maybe things will change? theoretically that is how things work. I’m going shopping tonight so I’ll tell you how it goes tomorrow! Be good people do good things!

Working Out

Well it seems we have another philosophical post. This blog will end up mirroring my experience figuring out what it means to be twenty. And I guess a lot of that is philosophical questions and deep thinking. Oops. Hopefully, dear readers- if anyone does actually read this- you will not mind too terribly much. Maybe my philosophical quandaries will actually be amusing. Anyhow, on with the post.

I spent a decent time in my childhood in art museums and galleries. My parents would love to look at western art and, not wanting to get a babysitter, would bring my brother and I along. Though I don’t have many memories of those early years, I’m sure I thought it was tedious. Just looking at art, standing what seemed like forever, and being told by every single paranoid adult there, “no touching”. But I’m proud to say my parents raised me on the principle that if you didn’t like something and couldn’t change your situation, you could always change your outlook. And I think that advice might’ve worked.

I recently found myself at the Passport to Paris exhibit at the Denver Art Museum just an hour away and I loved it. The exhibit featured expressionist artists like Monet, Manet, Degas, and Picasso. Pretty big names in the art world but I’ve never appreciated their expressionist work. What is expressionism anyways? It’s like painting with feelings and emotions and lacking technical skill. Sure, it produced Starry Night -arguably one of Van Gogh’s best works. But still, it’s … imprecise. But that was exactly the point of expressionism it turns out. Expressionism is a big deal because its the first time anyone painted with emotion and expression period. It’s the triumph of revolution in French cultural and political movements.

And that’s like working out?! Right?

… wrong.

Art and working out don’t have a lot of over lapse. First off, I love art and don’t really feel up to working out. However, if I teach myself to appreciate art, I can teach myself to appreciate working out. It’s hard. And it’ll kick my ass. And I’m really not looking forward to that burning feeling. But I know there is a lot about my body that I don’t know. And that the further I get the more I’ll learn to appreciate what I’m trying to do. And then eventually I’ll convince myself it’s worth it. Happy Friday all. Be good people do good things.

Beginnings

You know, I’ve always fancied myself as more of a middle person. I’m really good at keeping the inertia of a project once its been started. And now that I’ll be turning 20 in April… I’m at another beginning. I’m just now coming to the point where I’ll be making decisions that will effect me the rest of my life. At what point do I worry about 401ks? What the hell is an IRA?!

What is it about beginnings that are so hard? I think beginnings are hard because you haven’t made any mistakes to learn from. Think about it kind of like driving. Driving at first is really hard because we literally have no experience doing it. However, when we make a lot of mistakes driving -often at the cost of our own mother’s sanity- then driving is really no big deal. This is good and bad for several reasons. It’s good for the fact that I still have time to make mistakes. I’m not 30 with literally no idea what I’m doing. However, it’s bad because I won’t be able to avoid some of life’s bigger mistakes until it may be too late.(does anyone else stress about not being successful?!) At first this seems a little life and death. But you just have to breath and remember it won’t happen all at once. And if you start off right, then your ability to make mistakes is reduced. AND when life throws you things that are out of your control you can just roll with the punches. So for a good start on my year being healthy I’m doing a lot of planning. A lot of looking at vegetarian buzz feed articles and drinking water and doing my usual running thing.

Hopefully, this will be my last post in a while about existential stuff. Next week I’ll be moved into my own apartment and things will actually be happening to me. At the moment I’m cooped up at home which just begs me to dwell in my own mini-existential crisis. I’ll post again Friday! Be good people. Do good things.

Origin Story

Fact #1: This is the second time I’ve written this post.

Fact #2: I’m terrible at keeping to New Year’s resolutions.

If you guessed I’m currently battling New Year’s resolutions you would be correct. Originally, I didn’t make any resolutions. This makes it easier to avoid my annual plummeting nose dive when I’m overwhelmed by the end of winter break a week later. During my New Year’s resolution process I experience what I imagine a labrador retriever goes through when he ends up realizing that his owner never actually threw the stick. Blinding enthusiasm and then crushing emotional heartbreak. But it lasts just for a second, because I’m distracted by a different tennis ball being thrown ten seconds later.

And the reason it’s so hard to keep resolutions is that I’m secretly a perfectionist.  

To anyone who knows me, this is a shock. I’m not known for doing the dishes consistently, I struggle cleaning my room, and my laid back attitude is famous for killing previous attempts to get in shape with the thought, “I tried my best”. To the untrained eye this looks like laziness. When paired with anxiety and ADD, you get a boy who starts enthusiastically but gets distracted by other things and then stresses out that he’s avoiding his goals and will never do anything perfectly. And all it takes is one week for this whole process to happen.

This is what my current list of resolutions look like:

1. Increase my online presence through a blog.
2. Actually cook for yourself and eat better than salad and grilled cheese on a daily basis.
3. Read books.
4. Become sophisticated and well rounded.
5. Become educated in how movies are critiqued
6. TRY to exercise

Just writing out this list stresses me out. And seeing six goals makes me feel overwhelmed already. So to reduce the anxiety of the possibility of failure and eliminate my perfectionist tendencies I’m not going to be setting any specific measure for my goals this year. Instead, I’m going to be mashing them all together. That makes six goals one goal. That’s a little less scary. I’ve decided I’m just going to be healthy. That’s it. And I’ll achieve healthy by doing all of these things I listed. This doesn’t mean I’m going to be perfect. It means that the whole idea behind New Year’s resolutions is more a journey through self-improvement and not an every day life and death struggle.

I hope you join me and keep reading! I plan on posting Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. So hopefully you’ll find my awkward experiences achieving my goals as entertaining as I do.