What I’ve been up to

Hello everyone! Long time no talk. Just wanted to give you guys an update on what I’ve been doing lately.

As many of you know, I took a hiatus from Facebook. I did this for a few reasons:

1. I was sick of all the political ranting.

Yes, Trump was elected, and we all pretty much hate him as a human being. Some people like his politics but not his personality, while other people just despise him in general. But either way, ranting about something you can’t change is not a productive use of your time or energy. There are much better things to do with your time than to be setting up a wall of negativity for your network to look at every time they sign in. You may not be able to change who the President is, but at least you can change your own world by maintaining your own positivity.

2. Facebook has become impersonal.

I think Facebook started out with great intentions, but it seems to me that it has just become a gigantic time-sucking mechanism. It was created to keep in touch with your network and to see how your friends and family are doing, but it seems like it has just become about political ranting, memes, and pictures of food. For some reason, people are afraid to post actual real posts about their lives, which I think is a shame. In any case, I find that there’s nothing actually real, substantial, or worthwhile on Facebook anymore.

3. I have been using my time more productively.

Mainly, I’ve been hard at work building my future for my music and writing. I’ve been focusing on building my music studio to teach more music lessons, as well as preparing for my piano recital down the line. I’ve been polishing up more of my novel, as well as gearing up to be a reviewer for a geothermal FOA next month.

Furthermore, I’ve been working on my own time management for my daily life. I’m trying to wake up earlier so that I can prioritize the most important things before work. Being a night owl, this is proving to be very difficult. But, I’ve made great progress so far, so it’s only a matter of time before I succeed.

4. I’ve been rediscovering myself.

Somewhere along the line, I lost pretty much all of myself and all of my hobbies. (More specifically, that line would be the “go-to-school, get-an-education, get-a-job, study-geology, be-a-logic-person, have-a-high-paying-geothermal job” line). Somewhere in all of that, I lost everything true to myself and forgot who I was: a very, very, VERY creative person. To correct this problem, I made some dream boards for myself as well as wrote a book of affirmations for myself that I can reference when I forget what I like and forget what I’m all about. I learned that I LOVE swing dancing and jazz, so recently I’ve been attending free swing dancing classes and jazz concerts to really cultivate those interests.

I was really rusty at swing dancing, but everyone at the class was so nice and helped me to refresh my memory on the footing for West Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, and Charleston. I even danced with someone who knew how to do The Pretzel (!!!!!!!!!!!) aka the best move ever. I was literally so happy and so fulfilled after this event that I almost started crying out of excitement. I had just done an activity that I used to love so much, but had not done in about 7 years.

Also, I re-activated my love for arts and crafts. When I was at my Dad’s house for Thanksgiving, I found some of my old half-finished art projects and took them back with me. I’m currently in the process of finishing them. Interestingly, I learned that I used to sew my own pillows and make all sorts of cool bead animals, clocks, etc.

I also used to love sports and adventuring. I used to play basketball and soccer and go rollerblading. I want to do these things again and I want to become better at swimming and playing tennis. I want to learn how to skateboard, surf, and play squash. I want to take Zumba classes and Pilates classes and go kayaking and canoeing. I want to go paragliding and parasailing and zip lining and white-water rafting.

I have so many cool interests and there are so many parts of myself that I neglected these years, forced into being a logic person pursuing a steady paycheck.

5. I have been improving myself.

I have been reading many books about time management, relationships, and spirituality. I did a lot of deep healing into myself and am working every day on becoming a better person. I learned that there is a different thing called “spirituality” and “faith” that is very different from the “religion” that I had been shown all my life and had always boycotted. I like this “faith relationship” and have been developing and deepening that each day. I have been starting my mornings by meditating and praying and reading the Bible. I have been ending each day by reading books on how I can improve myself further.

6. I have been curing myself of illness.

I started seeing a homeopathic doctor who is going to cure me of Crohn’s disease and lupus. She changed my entire diet, so now I eat vegan in addition to eating gluten free. This was a serious shock to my system, but I’m getting more used to it every day. I already feel very, very good on this diet and have already weaned off my medication. She said at my last visit that I could be just 6-months away from full health!

7. I have been making new friends and going out of my way to add value to others each day.

And there’s nothing wrong with that!

So, that’s it. I’m very happy with my results so far, but I still do miss my network of friends spread out across the country. I’ve been dipping back into Facebook every now and then to see how everyone’s doing, but that’s pretty much it.

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Dilution

Ok, so let me start out by saying that my computer just died a premature death 😦 It was doing Windows updates last night and acting funny; then when I had time to dedicate towards looking at it this evening, it died when I tried to log in.

When I brought it to BestBuy, they told me that they will have to do a factory reset on it. Apparently I will have to pay to buy Windows 10 again, because I have a new computer and they stopped providing copies of Windows to customers who buy their computers these days >_<

What’s more, it had been awhile since my last full backup. So I could pay them to extract my files before the reset, or instead just lose some files >_<

It really frustrates me when my technology isn’t working properly. But anyway, I’m trying to see the silver lining here:

  • This happened AFTER my article was already accepted for publication. Thank fuck. I’m not sure that I would have been able to finish that article without all the files on my computer from my master’s thesis. It was hard enough revising the maps after my software expired… just think about trying to finish the article after the computer died. *shudders*
  • I have MOST important files already on my Flashdrive. So at least there’s that.
  • I’m going to get creative in finishing my fliers I was working on for my music lessons, writing/editing services, and English tutoring (that was my current project). I was using Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop to do this, but I’m going to get creative and do it in Powerpoint. Cuz fucked if this will stop me.
  • I have my full array of music still on my iPod. This is all the music that I had before I had a computer problem a few years ago that wiped a lot of my songs. I had never had the heart to sync my iPod again afterward because I didn’t want to lose all my music (so glad I didn’t!)
  • I got my other iPod working again a few weeks ago and had already filled it with motivational audios to listen to.
  • My Surface is still alive and well. This post is courtesy of yours truly.

Aside from computer issues, there’s a lot to be thankful for 🙂 Before this happened, I had actually been planning out a gratitude post. So here goes!

I’ve been working hard lately to dilute negative memories from my past with positive ones. I’ve made great progress in my musical dilution, now listening to full symphonies, concertos, ballets, and sonatas every day. Once I started listening to my favorite pieces, I kept remembering a bunch of other ones that I had really enjoyed playing. Then I listened to those ones too, which reminded me of even MORE songs I had really enjoyed playing.

My go-to list:

  • Shostakovich 10
  • Shostakovich 9
  • Swan Lake full ballet
  • Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet Suite “Romeo at the Tomb of Juliet” and “Montagues and Capulets”
  • Jacqueline du Pre recording of the Elgar Cello Concerto in e minor
  • Holst “The Planets” “Neptune”
  • Bernstein “On the Town”

Then I got more into piano music! My list:

  • Gottschalk Souvenir de Porto Rico (obviously)
  • More Gottschalk (this dude is legit!) Souvenir de Havanna and Bamboula
  • Beethoven Moonlight Sonata and Pathetique Sonata
  • Satie Gymnopedie No. 1
  • Debussy Arabesque No. 1, Reverie, Girl With the Flaxen Hair

And now? I HAVE JUST REDISCOVERD MUSICAL MUSIC. THANK FUCK I STILL HAVE MY IPOD.

  • Miss Saigon
  • Tommy
  • Aida
  • Chicago

The result of all of this is that I’m now fully excited by music again. Instead of thinking about my failures in the past, I’m thinking about my excitement and goals I will achieve in music in the future.

These goals:

  1. Full piano recital
  2. Full viola recital
  3. SWAN LAKE BALLET
  4. BACK IN THE PIT FOR MORE MUSICALSSSSS

I’m also thinking about my past music experiences with fondness. There are a few people who I would like to send thank-you cards who have done so much for me and my musical journey along the way.

I remember my orchestra conductor with fondness from college. He really instilled in me a great love of orchestral works. I also got to perform, among other places, in Carnegie Hall. That was such a great orchestra 😀 😀 😀

My former piano teacher! Now that I am a piano teacher myself, I am emulating my former teacher’s style. It’s so on-point! It’s just brilliant. I’m so happy that her teaching style brought me my lifelong love of piano. Now I’m instilling that same love of piano in my students!

I remember in high-school, playing in the pit orchestras for Tommy and Miss Saigon. I remember how much fun I had and how much I enjoyed myself doing it. I loved how a lot of my friends did it with me. I also met many great people from doing it!!!

As you see here, the best way to overcome negativity is to dilute it. I listen to all those pieces at work and I get so lit about my past, my present, and my future in music.

Completely Different

Now that I’m ENFJ personality, I feel like almost a completely different person. Especially now that I’m also transitioning E to I. It’s a little bit strange, to say the least.

Earlier today, I went to my friend’s bridal shower. Instead of being the life of the party / center of attention, I was more quiet and observant. I made sure to compliment the bride a lot and gave her my attention to make her feel special on her special day.

Aside from my interactions at parties, I’m trying to get more situated into my own J-ness. One thing I’m trying to do is become better at figuring out how much time things take. I tend to underestimate the amount of time that it takes to do stuff, which leads to over-scheduling stuff, and then not accomplishing some stuff. If I know how long things take, it will become easier to time-block my schedule.

Also, I guess there are 2 different ways of time-blocking:

  1. Lumping
  2. Splitting

In the lumping category, you take something like cleaning and do everything all at once in one large chunk. My roommate and I did this on Saturday to our house; it took maybe 5 hours to clean everything. The pro of doing it this way is that you don’t have to think about doing it for the whole rest of the week. The con of doing it this way is that you have to spend a good 5 hours doing it at once.

In the splitting category, you clean something every day so that the house cumulatively gets clean. The pro of doing it this way is that you’re not spending a large chunk of time doing it all at once. The con of doing it this way is that you have to keep continually thinking about cleaning for the whole week.

Which is better? I’m not really sure. But this isn’t just for cleaning, it also applies to cooking, planning, etc. a lot of things.

Once I decide which one I like better, that will make it easier for me to get on a schedule. I tried splitting up the cooking last week, which seemed to work a lot better than lumping it. I’m thinking of splitting the cleaning up between Saturday and Sunday, doing half on each, so that it’s more manageable. We’ll see.

I feel like I also need to schedule time for just planning. Planning for my future, planning for the coming week, and planning for the coming day. If you run on a schedule, then you need time scheduled to schedule everything.

Finally, in becoming more J, I realized that I do not really respect my own time. I respect other people’s time, but not my own. What I mean by that is that if I put something on my own schedule, such as going to the gym at 8 pm, I will easily cancel it if something comes up, if somebody needs me to do something for them, or if I don’t feel like doing it when the time comes. On the other hand, if I’m supposed to meet up with somebody or go to an event, I’m there. I’m somebody who RSVP’s in advance and does not cancel. I wish more people were like that.

Anyway, that’s the other thing I’m working on right now. I’m learning how to prioritize my priorities in life and respect my own time, so that I make time to get all the important things done.

“J”-Ness

So it’s officially the sign of the apocalypse:  I have made the switch over from P person to J person. If you had asked me a year ago (or even 6 months ago) how I felt about J people, I would have told you that they are “extremely controlling,” “love reporting people,” “think they’re better than everyone else,” and that they can all “go fuck themselves.” (LOL… there’s still nothing quite as satisfying as telling people to go fuck themselves. Except saying it in a Boston accent: go FAHCK yahself).

Now, I’m a J person myself. My journey there was an interesting one.

It all started when I started standing up for myself and developing my personal confidence. The attitude that I began to cultivate was, “nobody else has the right to tell me what to do with myself or how I should live my life. Anybody who does this is actually telling me that they think they’re better than I am.” So first, I became more P in a kind-of J sort-of way, because I really started owning the fact that being a P person was valid.

For those of you who don’t really know what I’m talking about, I mean that I validified my natural tendency towards being an unstructured, flexible, and spontaneous sort of person. All my life, I felt like people were telling me that being an unstructured person was invalid and that the only way to be a valid person was to plan outings 10 years in advance (even small ones, like grabbing a cup of coffee) and to continually have a stick up my ass.

Then I became crazy-busy. I started time-blocking my schedule so that I could “trim the fat” and get everything done that I needed to get done each day. I also became more cleanly and organized to enhance my productivity. I started using a planner (actually, 2 different planners) to keep myself on-track with appointments.

Thus I didn’t switch over to J because I think that P is invalid, but rather I switched over because I had a high volume of things that I needed to accomplish every day and the best way to make sure that I did all of them was to become highly organized and compartmentalized.

Another part of it was that I started to think more about respect. All my life, I just wanted people to like me and so I didn’t really care about being respected. In fact, it didn’t even occur to me that the two were related. I don’t know why, but if you don’t tell other people what to do, then other people just think that you’re a pushover and then they begin to disrespect you. Now I know that in order to be respected, I have to be constantly standing up for myself and I have to be willing to tell other people what to do.

I even started reporting other people on occasion. I didn’t report them for fun, but rather I reported them if they did something that made me feel uncomfortable or if something they did hindered my progress.

Other people don’t like it when I report them or even when I stand up for myself, but I have decided that I would rather be respected than liked.

Anyway, that’s my story of how I transitioned from P to J. I think I’m almost done transitioning; I started as ESFP, transitioned to ENFP, and now I’m ENFJ. I expect to transition over from E to I at some point as well, but that’s probably it. I’m pretty close on that one, having only 3% tendency now towards extroversion. I don’t really expect to ever transition over from F to T, but you never know.

Quality Conversation

Hi everyone! It’s been awhile, so I hope everyone is doing well. I’m reading a great book right now called The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman; you guys should all check it out when you get the chance.

According to this book, there are 5 different love languages that a person can have:

  • Words of Affirmation
  • Quality Time
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Acts of Service
  • Physical Touch

I’m not all the way through this book yet, but I just got to the part where they talk about my love language: quality conversation. My love language of quality conversation falls into the broader category of quality time. Chapman actually called quality conversation a “dialect” of quality time.

All my life, I have seeked emotional attention from others. I would share my feelings and emotions with family members, friends, and significant others just hoping that someone somewhere would listen to what I was saying and offer me support and sympathy.

Luckily, I have found a few people who understand my love language and who know that all I need from them is just some quality conversation to “keep my love tank full.”

Unfortunately, many, MANY people just do not understand this concept of emotional attention / quality conversation. For some reason, people just don’t get it, especially men. I’ve had people tell me that I’m selfish or wrong for wanting quality conversation from them. I’ve had people tell me that I’m “oversharing” information with others when engaging in quality conversation. I’ve had people tell me that I have “unrealistic expectations” of others when I want them to engage in quality conversation with me (especially boyfriends).

I’ve dated many guys who apparently think that the fact that I need quality conversation is “controlling” and “unreasonable” (yeah, I’ve dated some real gems).  They think about it like this because for some reason, they are unable to separate emotional attention from physical attention. Personally, I don’t really care if I’m physically with you or not in person; all I care about is that you listen to me and give me your emotional attention. Go out with the dudes for pizza and beers, I don’t care, I don’t want to be joined at your hip 24/7 anyway. All I care about is that you consistently give me your emotional attention through quality conversation.

I also care about spending time with people who reciprocate and give me quality conversation back. What good is it if I’m the only one constantly sharing myself with you, when you don’t even care enough to reciprocate and share yourself back with me? This is one thing that has bothered me in the past about some people. It has also made me feel like those people didn’t care enough about me to open up to me or to engage in quality conversation back with me.

Really, I guess that those people just have a different love language than I do and don’t really care about having quality conversation. That being said, I really don’t appreciate that they told me that I was invalid for having the love language that I do. Just like with Myers-Briggs personality types, no one love language is better than the other. The point is that we try our best to speak in someone else’s primary love language if we care about them enough.

Healthy Eating Tips

Good morning everyone! Thought I would take a moment and share some of my healthy eating tips with you. As someone who lost 30 lbs and is trying to keep it off, as well as trying to lose 10 more, this is my strategy:

  1. Eat healthy

I eat a very clean diet. That means that I eat mostly raw fruits and vegetables, stuff I don’t have to cook (lol). I do cook lean meats to eat as well, like chicken, ground beef (>96% lean), and shrimp. I also get my (nonfat) milk with my coffee, as I drink lattes.

Note #1: Eating salad to be healthy doesn’t count if you load up on salad dressing. I eat my salads plain.

Note #2: Drinking lattes to get calcium from the milk doesn’t count if you load up on whipped cream and shots of flavor. When I go to Starbucks, I ask them to only put in 1 pump of syrup in my drink. Typically a grande comes with 4 shots of flavor, which is beyond me because it’s both a sweetness and calorie overload.

2. Eat less

When you are spending your money on good-quality (ie healthy) groceries, this tends to cost more than if you were to stock up on Ramen and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. The way to offset this extra cost is to actually eat less.

Not only will eating less save you money on groceries, but it will also help you with your weight loss goals. The best way to lose weight is to eat less. If you’re eating less, you should eat more efficiently using the tips shared in #1 to get all the nutrition requirements.

3. Eat smaller meals more frequently

As somebody with a very low metabolism, I found that it works best if I eat a bunch of small meals in the day that are only 200-300 calories. Because I get hungry so often, this helps me if I’m allowed to constantly eat every few hours.

4. Eat more protein

Over 6 months, I lost 30 lbs doing the first 3 steps alone. Maintaining weight loss requires a few additional steps, but the key is to eat more protein.

I’ve just recently gotten into eating meal replacement bars and protein shakes that are loaded with protein. I’ve found that the following system works best:

  1. Small meal (400 calories)
  2. Protein shake (200 calories)
  3. Small meal (300-400 calories)
  4. Meal replacement bar (200 calories)
  5. Small meal (200-300 calories)

I feel so full doing this! Not to mention, very energetic. Everyone should try it!

5. Eat more earlier in the day and stop eating in the late afternoon/early evening

Along with step #4, it also helps to eat more calories earlier in the day and less calories later in the day. Not only that, but I’ve found that I have the best results keeping off the pounds if I stop eating around 5 or 6 pm. Doing this gives my body more than enough time to digest all the food I ate before I go to sleep.

6. Drink more water

When I was doing personal training, my personal trainer told me that I was dehydrated and needed to drink more water. I thought this was strange, because I pretty much only drink water (unless I’m drinking coffee). Then it occurred to me that I live in the desert, so I need to drink more water than usual.

I started drinking these water vitamins that help with this. There are a few different varieties: ones that are a day’s serving of fruits/vegetables, ones that help with your joints, ones that make you feel better, ones that energize you, etc. So it’s awesome because you can just shoot the vitamin into the water, drink it, and then voila! You’re drinking more water as well as drinking a useful vitamin. Plus, it tastes amazing!

This helps with weight loss because drinking water will also help keep you feeling full. Especially if that water tastes amazing, you don’t feel compelled to start snacking on stuff.

7. Take more vitamins/supplements

I recently started taking a bunch of vitamins and supplements. Before, I took slow-release iron tablets for my Crohn’s disease. I’ve recently added a few more digestive supplements so that I can try to wane off my medicine.

In addition, I started taking a hair/skin/nail supplement and a joint health supplement for my lupus. I’ve already noticed a HUGE difference! My hair is already starting to get thicker again, which is awesome.

Next, I’m taking an omega vitamin because I don’t like eating seafood. Finally, I now take a multivitamin.

In general, I feel much healthier now that I’ve started taking more vitamins and supplements.

 

That’s it for now! Hope that helps you guys with your health/nutrition/weight loss goals.

 

Crazy Busy

Hey guys, it’s been awhile. I have been crazy busy over the past month or so.

I have finally found my people here in Vegas, which is great! I finally found people who think about life the same way I do. I feel like I’m such an oddball; I’ve never really fit in with most people. Because my personality and my way of life– not to mention my ideals and goals– are so different than most other people’s, it’s so hard for me to find other people who are actually similar to me and who actually think similarly to me about life in general. But I finally found them, and they live here in Vegas!

Anyway, I’ve been spending lots of time talking to them and learning from them. Every day, I work hard to improve myself and become a better person than I was yesterday. I’ve been working hard to streamline my finances and make better financial decisions. I’ve also been making my health a priority, both mental and physical.

For the mental health, this means talking to my like-minded people, listening to inspirational audios, reading motivational books, every day. It means going out there and being social trying to meet more people who are like me. It means playing my piano and viola, doing editing and writing. It means making time to help my friends when they need me.

For the physical health, this means actually implementing my plan of exercising both before and after work. It means trying to stand more at my desk (I can either stand at it or sit at it). It means actually making doctor’s appointments and dealing with all that stuff.

On top of all that, I have been kind of discombobulated because I got into a car accident a few weeks ago. I’ve been working overtime trying to make up points that I lost at work from dealing with the aftermath… I need my high bonus to fund my new financial plan. Luckily I was able to come in last Saturday and make it up, so I’m back on track.

In addition to that, I had to scramble to make a decision about moving vs. not moving, because I had to put in a 30-days to vacate notice at my current apartment. Luckily my friend just bought a house, very close to work, and was looking for someone to rent a room. That’s me! I’m moving in early next month and I will be within long walking distance 😀

So now I’m dealing with planning moving day, cancelling services, etc., associated with the move.

It’s so funny, my new friends I just met all think that I’m this like long-term planner extraordinaire and that I’m really structured. Hahahahaha! I told them yesterday that this used to be my very WORST quality. Now, it’s apparently my great strength?

I think that from studying the personality types, and thinking about the positive vs. negative sides of the coin, I really came out ahead. What I did was take the positive sides of the coin from the opposite personality type to mine (INTJ) and become better at those positive things. I also looked at the negative sides of the coin from my personality type (ESFP) and did my best to fix or eliminate them.

Progress here also:

  1. Second set of revisions came back for my scientific article. Still need to figure out when I can work on it…
  2. I finally have a piano student!!! I’m so excited. Our first lesson is this Friday!!!

To summarize, basically my whole life is changing but it’s for the better! Sometimes the pain and sadness creeps back in from this… but making positive changes in my life is the only way I know how to deal with it. Otherwise I probably would have ceased to function, to be honest.