Where and how do you run?

This is one of those sort of doomsday/apocalypse kind of thoughts. But due to some of the story in Jessica Jones, I’ve been thinking about how and where I would run if the worst happened. Like if you ABSOLUTELY have to go somewhere because your personal FBI guy decides to turn you in or you commit a crime you want to get away from or there’s a super-villain after you (or a superhero, who am I to dictate what kind of super you want to be)…. whatever, we all have our reasons.

Specifically, I’m talking about the sort of running where technology works against you and where continuing to use your own identity is not an option.
Where do you go and how do you get there? I’m pretty much of the thought that in this day and age, the average joe has no real choice but the streets in a major metropolitan city. I mean, it’s sort of the sad conclusion of modern society that it’s easiest to hide in a crowd of people that people actively look away from. 
There’s someone in season two of Jessica Jones that she goes to for fake identification more than once and I couldn’t help but think how unrealistic that is. I don’t know, maybe in New York City everyone knows someone who knows a guy that can get you a new identity. But that’s not the case in the suburbs, or for normal people. Not too mention, even if that is a plausible option because somehow you know someone, unless they owe you a really big favor that shit isn’t cheap. And if you’re about to run, every cent counts. 
You can’t rent rooms anywhere without id, or travel and even buying things in cash is a tricky proposition if it’s expensive enough. And then, for funsies, pretend you’re starting this new life with no cash whatsoever. For whatever reason you can’t grab any before you leave, there’s nothing left to take, or you didn’t have any to begin with. Maybe you can scrounge up a few dollars but that’s not going to last long. 
With some time maybe you can grab things to sell before you leave. Or maybe there’s something on you worth selling. Chances of having something expensive enough to sell on me at any given time is pretty low. Unless pawn shops have started dealing in lipstick (because usually that’s all I have on me at any time of any value), I’m sort of out of luck.
These thoughts haven’t really gone anywhere — I live the sort of life where I’m more likely to need to run from a zombie apocalypse than some sort of hitman, but it’s an interesting thought experiment anyway. And not completely without its uses. Knowing where the nearest libraries, soup kitchens, domestic shelters or homeless shelters are in your town or city is pretty useful. In cities where public transportation isn’t a priority for suburban neighborhoods figuring out where the nearest bus stops are and what it costs, is also good information. 
My neighborhood for instance has a bus stop but it would take me a bunch of stops and changes to get anywhere useful, I’d have better luck walking toward downtown. But then I’d have to consider the best time to make that walk, on flat land anyone walking on the road is easily spotted… I’d be better served trying to float down the river and that has its own host of issues. 
No plan is perfect. But I’m curious what other people have come up with, if anything. Have you ever considered what it would take for you to run without money or technology? And where would you go?

Working Though It; making list of small gratitudes

At work I tend to listen to a lot of podcasts, it’s a good way to get through the day and really helpful for a few good laughs. Lately though, I’ve had a lot of trouble focusing both at work and at home with all the writing projects I want to be working on. I’ve switched back over to favoring music both in the car (instead of audiobooks like normal). Even then choosing something I want to listen to has been difficult also, mostly because I want stuff that’s going to pump me up or at least make me feel good. 

Putting together the two schwarmerei playlists [one, two] earlier this month was actually really helpful, I had to think about the sort of music that was honestly going to be a good way to alter my mood for something good. Currently I’ve got all these projects I want to work on but can’t seem to get myself to pick them up. 
Most of the things in my life are pretty good at the moment. I finally got the promotion I’ve been waiting for and a nice bonus along with it. But, we also just found out our oldest dog, Piper, has metastasized cancer in her lungs. We’ve had her almost exactly ten years, making her fifteen (maybe a year or two older, they weren’t sure of her age when we rescued her). But two years ago we lost one of the greatest doggie loves of my life, Jazz, and I’m missing him a lot as I look at the way Piper is declining. They were pretty good puppy friends and I feel like I can see him next to her some days, sitting or laying nearby one another like they used to. 
We’ve been expecting for so long that we’d eventually have to watch Piper pass, but now that we’re watching her last few weeks, maybe month, I’m not ready for it. 
I don’t want to make this a completely sad post about Piper’s decline, no one really wants to read that anyway. But it’s definitely a weight I’m carrying around and even if I’m not actively thinking about it, it’s there in the back of my mind taking up space I’m usually using on something else. 
So, like a lot of times in my life, I’m turning to music to help shift my mood. For a week or two I found myself just binging all those episodes of Supergirl. It’s easy to hide in long television binges. I had to tear myself away from it this week (made a little easier by the fact that I was definitely losing interest in the second season’s plots — more on that another day). Instead, I’ve been playing some Overwatch, which I find kickstarts my brain a little, and this weekend I actually sat down with something more than this blog to write on. 
TBH writing blog posts every day is helpful, even when they’re small. I feel like they’re little bits of gratitude, little reminders for myself of things I am honestly enjoying. 
So let me mention a few things that are really helping me at the moment. 
  • The first IS a podcast: Good Christian Fun — I’ve mentioned this one before and it’s still great. I laugh at every episode and the 2nd service episodes have been both fun and informational, getting me thinking about stuff. (Kevin’s love for the Paddington movies also made me watch Paddington for the first time, and I can confirm it’s an earnestly adorable and light-hearted good time.)
  • The song “Good as Hell” by Lizzo (which I put on my first playlist up there)
  • The song “Two Fux” by Adam Lambert (which is on my second playlist linked up there)
  • Old and new episodes of Critical Role — I just finished episode 75 of the first campaign and I laughed through the whole thing. Those nerds really make me happy. 
  • The new show by Polygon on YouTube — Overboard, where members of the staff of Polygon.com play board games.
  • The new song by Janelle Monae “Make Me Feel”, because hell yes & the video for this is a bisexual’s happy place. It’s amazing. 
  • This isn’t a thing, but it’s important to me: with my work bonus I was able to pay down my student loan quite a bit. By the end of the year I might have that paid off and that’s such a weight off. 
If you’re struggling right now, I highly recommend finding some songs or some shows that’ll make you laugh or dance, at least draw your focus for a little bit. Getting your brain a little kickstart with something that triggers a happy thought gives it something to focus on whatever you don’t have the energy for right now. Plus, if you’re like me, making a list of 5+ things is always a good time.

Trying for Joyful; I’ve Got This Round by Mamrie Hart

Recently I finished reading I’ve Got This Round by Mamrie Hart, a popular YouTuber. This is her second book and in both her first one, You Deserve a Drink and this one, she shares humorous personal stories about her life. In her first book many of her wacky adventures can be written off by her youth, or her drinking, or both. In the second, the stories all take place within the two years since her previous book. So she’s older and more successful than before but her stories don’t feel that different. She’s still telling stories about wacky adventures that don’t sound much like she’s changed.

But really this isn’t a review for her book. (Or it kind of is, and it’s kind of more.)

I mean, if you like her or her humor, read it. She’s an engaging writer and you’ll find her new round of stories fun and on-brand. I just don’t think it’s for everyone, which I’m sure even she understands.

However, reading it did get me thinking. Mostly because I recognize how strange it can be to read the stories of people that have more money or time or influence. When they do crazy things like purchasing tickets to Paris, or going on a cruise all on a whim, it’s hard to imagine yourself in their place.

Mamrie is a person in a uncommon position of privilege. Her status as an influencer and as a YouTuber personality grants her opportunities the rest of us don’t get. So connecting to stories about being fabulous places where she can drink and have fun adventures, is difficult.

Here though, is where I started thinking about what else her stories have in common, and where it’s not necessary to read her book to grasp the concept.

This about finding the joy in things. What she does is say “yes” to new opportunities. She reaches out to friends and loved ones to share in her adventures. Sometimes, when life is hard or we don’t feel good, this is the sort of thing it’s hard to do.

I find it difficult to lean in to new experiences.

And that’s the thing I found most often in her stories. Sometimes there would be a turning point… that moment where it’d be really easy to kick back. Sure, I find a day at home with video games or movies enjoyable. I’m a homebody and an introvert and once I’m in comfy clothes it’s hard to get me out of the house. But this isn’t just about getting out of the house. This is about getting out of a comfort zone.

Sort of like I talked about in my post about going to Omaha recently. I was there for a purpose – to see my favorite poet. But several times I tried to talk myself out of it. I tried to avoid going by myself somewhere fancy for dinner. In the end, I had an extremely enjoyable dinner and saw a great show.

I think reading this book was a little reminder that it’s worth it sometimes to push yourself a little more. And it’s doesn’t have to be big moments either. It could be saying yes to little things, like singing loudly in your car, or inviting someone to have lunch with you at work. I’ve also been considering how easy it is to hide the things we’re passionate about.

There’s a story Mamrie tells about going on the Backstreet Boys cruise. And I couldn’t help but admire the joy in that story. Not only do she and her friend just completely lean in to enjoy the shit out of that cruise as best they can, but there’s a whole cruise ship full of women doing the same thing. Sure, maybe their all there for different reasons but if you’re buying tickets to the Backstreet Boys cruise, you’ve really embraced your love for that band. And I kind of love that.

We talk a lot about this kind of idea in fandom circles; how not to yuck someone else’s yum, and letting people enjoy the things they enjoy whether it be a certain type of story or character or art. I think there’s more to that we can apply to just every day life. Being present for the things we love and opening ourselves up to opportunities to love more stuff.

Really it’s part of why I wanted to do this blog, or any blog again. I’m a huge fan of video games, comics, music… and it’s fun to be able to talk about them more, or share them to people who might not otherwise know about them. So, I’m really trying to embrace that whole concept of being present for the joy I have in the things and people I love, and being open or confident enough to do it even more.

NOT a Midlife Crisis: Living for Friday

Today while I was chatting with a friend/co-worker in the office and we were sort of both joking about doing just the most basic work because it was Friday, I kind of wondered why we feel like we have to pretend that it’s a joke. Was it Friday? Yeah. Did that mean we were going to put less effort into our work? Not really. Maybe some people have jobs where that works for them, but I don’t. What we do have the ability to do, is be a little more playful at work… but we only feel like that works on Fridays. Because it’s the last day of the week.

It’s such an ephemeral thing, too. Like, yes we’re about to stay home for two days. That doesn’t mean Monday is going to be any different and honestly, Monday is when we should be having more fun.

Monday is when we need fun at work the most.

This is how they get us though. The ever-present “man” keeps us working for a weekend, so we shop and spend and try to forget that we’ve got to go back on Monday. Then, on Monday, we’re so conditioned to think about how awful it is. We’re away from our house, kids, pets, or whatever it is you’re missing when you’re at work. And it’s only the start of several days in a row where we’re going to feel that way.

Only not quite.

See Monday is the worst. And everything in pop culture about work life informs us of the awfulness of Mondays.

Tuesday is Monday, part two.

Wednesday is like our half-birthday. It’s a nothing day in the middle of the week. Yet it has a fun name like ‘hump day’ to remind us that the work week is a hill. It starts sucky and Wednesday is when it can’t possibly be worse. It’s the weekly climax of shitty days. It serves only to remind us that Friday is on its way.

Thursday is Monday, part three. Or, as most people prefer: pre-Friday.
We remind ourselves on Thursdays that we can do anything for another day. Especially when the next day is Friday.

And Friday. Well, that’s what got me here in the first place.

Friday sets us up for a weekend of indulgence and freedom. It’s why we do the other four days. So we can flip the bird as we exit at five p.m. and forget we have a job for two days.

Oh, we don’t all do that?

Of course not. One — especially if you have a long-term employer — you likely want to keep, or need to keep that job for one reason or another. And Two — well, we don’t all hate our jobs.

So if you can’t be lucky enough to be part of the group in the second point, then what do you do?

Pretty sure this is where media has made sure to show us how in their late-forties that most middle-aged white cis-gendered men have the dreaded so-called “midlife crisis”.

See, back in the day of my parents and their parents, you might only have just ONE job for…ever. And if you think of the work week in this sort of traditional cycle of boredom and duty, then boy howdy is it gonna suck. Of course you’re going to hate it. You get to your forties and it’s like the Wednesday of your whole life.

These days we’re far more likely to break-down long before we’re forty. Because we have shit politicians or assloads of debt or because everywhere we look we’re not: smart/experienced/good-looking/rich enough. Pretty sure as much as our parents wanted us to be rewarded for everything ever, we’ve learned quickly how to deal with disappointment. Not too mention, the definition of a full-time job or long-term employment is changing rapidly. Jobs like mine won’t exist forever. Kids are learning to become entrepreneurs at eleven and twelve. Hell, there’s a four year old on YouTube making money hand over fist. (Godspeed to his parents.)

What I’m getting at here is that there’s something to this whole work week perception. Whether you work Monday-Friday, full-time, part-time, for someone else or for yourself.

Perception is everything. Instead of living for Friday, living for those precious few minutes we get to indulge, maybe we just live. We don’t all have to love our jobs. But we should see them for what they are: a means to an end.

Go in happy.
Leave happy.

Just make sure to define (realistically) what happy means to you, and work to make it happen.