Monthly Archives: March 2010

Happiness made easy

Everyone’s been abuzz about this op-ed.  I love this article because it’s what we’ve always known, but now it’s framed in a way that totally gets people (and with data!).

The answer to happiness isn’t difficult.  Do what makes you feel good, surround yourself with people who you care about and care about you in return and don’t get bogged down with inconsequential things.  The problem is that society has evolved to value the things that don’t necessarily equate to happiness.  We go to school not really to learn but to get good grades, be involved in loads of extracurriculars, score high on standardized tests – all so we can get into good colleges.  Once in said college our goal becomes to, once again, excel academically, pile on internships and eventually land a sweet paying job.  This is what’s been drilled into our heads since we were little.  And the lucky ones learn along the way that most of that doesn’t matter, it’s the social interaction you have and the trust you build with your peers that sustains you.

Why, then, do we continue to delude ourselves by partaking in all the frivolous crap that makes us unhappy in the end?  Are we all just a bunch of drama queens?  Unlikely.  Changing generations of thinking and acting takes time.  But it’s refreshing to see more attention being paid to the matter.

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Career or hobby?

My mom sent me this link a while ago and it’s something that has been coming a lot lately.

Unfortunately I fall into the generation that requires vast amounts of satisfaction from my job.  Not only do I want to like what I do, I want to like what the company does and stands for and also the people I work with.  Gone are the days of people getting a job after graduation and staying there until retirement.  An entirely new perspective, it seems, has taken hold of my peers.  And I’m completely wrapped up in it.

I do think that the naivete needs to be broken at some point and I do need to settle, since we are talking about real life and not make believe anymore.  But  I’m finding more and more that people in my generation, including me, are trying to make the huge gray area on the career/hobby spectrum smaller.  The idea of sitting all day pushing paper in a job that is slowly sucking your soul is just so mind numbing that I don’t think anyone wants to subject themselves to that anymore.  The problem, though, is that the competition is stiff, it was before, and now it’s even worse with the economy to get into one of these line blurring companies.  So how does a person that still has an idealistic view of work/life reconcile?  I’ll let you know once I finally figure it out…

Two sides, people

For better or for worse I work in a mall. Not just any mall, a huge behemoth downtown. Being centrally located we get a lot of tourists through here. Which is why I’m so surprised (and still annoyed) at the escalator problem. Everywhere else in the world I’ve been it’s customary to stand on one side of the escalator and allow people to walk up the other. Not so here. People just hog the whole thing for themselves and I’m forced to repeat, as politely as I can muster when faced with crowds, “excuse me” a million times before reaching my store on the second floor. It’s just frustrating that people thinks it’s any different here than back home, where they’re from.

Non-traditional schooling

I read this article the other day in the New York Times magazine about senior year in high school and I completely agree. Without getting into how flawed the American education system is, I think that it would only do good to have an alternative to senior year be much less taboo. Whether it be going to college early or shipping off over seas to study a year in a different culture, American students would only benefit.

At 18 no one knows what they want to do, thus being given the opportunity to explore outside of school would only serve to jump-start their ability to sort things out. I know that had I been given the opportunity to take my senior year abroad, or to work somewhere between high school and college, or hell, even go to college early, all the mucking around I did after college would have been cut short and saved my parents a whole  lot of angst.

One day at a time

I’ve been finding lately that trying to plan ahead is absolutely futile.  My life right now is so unpredictable that trying to say in a month I’ll be here and in 6 I’ll be there.  And for me, type a list maker, it’s very difficult to just take a step back and take it one day at a time.

But there is a certain beauty in it as well.  When I was traveling I could hardly tell you were I would be sleeping tomorrow night let along what country I would be in in a week.  But that’s the vacation world.  In the real world I feels like life needs to have a definitive plan.  Many interviews that I go on often bring up the 1 year, 5 year and 10 year plan question.  It’s a little daunting, needless to say.

So I suppose this is a valuable lesson: giving up control and trusting that life won’t do me wrong.  I do believe I’ve had enough bad stuff happen in the last few months that I’m overdue for some good stuff.

Fingers crossed!

Lazy greensters

Living in the Bay Area, one is acutely aware of the green scene.  Everyone here seems to have an opinion and certainly consider themselves to be saving the world.

Y0u can get a bank account with a sustainable bank, a cell phone plan with a green provider, wear vegan clothes, and eat all the proper food.  You compost, you know how to recycle, you vote liberal.  All the right things to ensure that global warming doesn’t win.

But I feel like just with green washing in marketing, there are people that leech off of this and take the easy way out.  As if this is just the latest fad.  At the end of the day you’re really only using your spending power to do what you think will affect change.  And while that,  in and of itself, is a very powerful thing, to me it just doesn’t feel like enough.  Maybe it’s because I know enough people that are actively working to change our predicted future devastation.  Or that I still have a very idealistic view of the world and feel people should really work for what they believe.  Or the fact that I just generally dislike hipsters.  Probably all of the above.  To me I guess it’s just a matter of shutting up and doing it not just wearing a t-shirt that says it.

Once is enough

A friend posted this on Facebook the other day and it really struck me.  I suppose I already know all this but to see it in writing, for me, is always helpful.  However, the “step” that spoke to me the most was to stop telling the story.  The way that I work through difficult situations is by writing in my journal and talking to my friends.  But the thing here is that I hadn’t seen any of my friends in months because of my trip.  So every time I went out with someone to reconnect and catch up I would have to explain the circumstances of my break up all over again.  Certainly talking about it helps, but there is a difference in retelling the story and talking to work through it.  The latter of which being the healthier option.  But I also think after a certain point enough is enough.  You’ve grieved, you’ve subjected your girlfriends to hours of over-analyzing and in the end you are still in the same position.  So it’s best to just accept it and move on.  So this is me accepting it and moving on.