Live for yourself

Do you crave pleasing others? Do you care what others think? Or are you out for your own success? It all depends on what drives you. Sometimes I think we get a bit conflicted as to who we make our decisions for, many times bending over backwards to make someone happy. Do we do it for them? Do we do it to impress someone else? Or, do we do it for ourselves?

I am someone who craves excellence. I have extremely high expectations and think there is always room for improvement. Do I do it for others? Not really. I want it to be the best because I see the vision of where it can go. So often I think individuals get lazy, quit, or just decide that something is not important. Not me. I want to evolve things so life can be better for me and everyone else. Many call me relentless and it is true. I am relentless. I recently came across this quote:

“When you work to please others you can’t succeed, but the things you do to satisfy yourself stand a chance of catching someone’s interest.”

-Marcel Proust, Pastiches Et Melanges

I thought this quote was interesting. How often do we try to please others? How often do we realize that we are never going to make others happy? I love thinking of the idea that if I am satisfying myself, then that is actually when I am interesting. It is true. We are most fascinating and most interesting when we are living for ourselves and no one else. It is a hard dilemma. How often we make decisions because we are making someone else happy, than doing something because it makes ourselves happy.

Live for yourself and what you want to do.

Being Seen

Happy 2015! It is a new year, a new day, a new perspective. I have started this year off in a mellow way. For some reason (maybe having the flu) I have a very laid back view on this year, and maybe my engine just has not revved up yet.

I have been reading and just finished a book: “The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help” by Amanda Palmer. An interesting book for me, as I hate asking for help from others. Yes. I am more of the do-it-myself variety. Asking for help means I have to trust others, and from past experience “others” can let you down, and not be there with what they said they would do. So I rarely ask. I am a product of my childhood where individuals often did not come through for me. Alas, I do not often ask. So I thought this book would be a good one for me to read.

I had an aha moment. Asking and being seen. One of my life pet peeves is not being seen. Somehow feeling invisible for much of my life (remember my dad felt that children should be seen and not heard) has been a pain point for me. I want to be seen and heard. Thus this ideas from Palmer especially resonated with me:

“There’s a difference between wanting to be looked at and wanting to be seen. When you are looked at, your eyes can stay blissfully closed. You suck energy, you steal the spotlight. When you are seen, your eyes must be open, as you are seeing and recognizing your witness. You accept energy and you generate energy. You create light. One is exhibitionism, the other is connection. Not everybody wants to be looked at. Everybody wants to be seen.” Page 201

I crave connection. To me there is no point in a relationship if there is no connection. While I have not told you much about Palmer’s book, I highly recommend her story. It is a long read, but she takes you through her triumphs and setbacks as a street performer, musician, wife, and friend. She easily is able to ask total strangers to crash at their home, but has a hard time asking her husband for money. I am the complete opposite. I can ask Chris for almost anything, and have a hard time asking friends, colleagues, and strangers for help. I know that 9 times out of 10, Chris will be there for me (no one is perfect). Yet, I do not know if I have those odds with everyone else in my life. Sad I know, but it is how I feel after being burned.

What do you want most? I do not want to be looked at, I want to be seen.

The real reason summer is over

Summer is over. You might think I am crazy, that the weather is still warm out, but I will give you a few reasons why I am bummed that another summer is over. Sure, I could tell you that schools are back in session which means the time of my commute has just increased by another 10-15 minutes, which means I have to get out of bed earlier. I could also tell you that my company has summer half day Fridays, which the last one occurs for the summer on the Friday before Labor Day. I could tell you that the sun in my backyard is getting rarer and rarer each day. I could tell you that sunsets are getting earlier and earlier and the days are darker and shorter.

All of these things make me crave for life to slow down so I can enjoy things a bit more. Or maybe, I just need to slow down. The real reason I know summer is definitely over has nothing to do with the sun, schools, or light and everything to do with a Pumpkin Spice Latte. I am addicted. Every Spring I get excited for Summer and my avid excitement for iced coffee and every Fall I get giddy over a few months of joy and the ever sweet and addicting Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. I usually do not like to drink Starbucks. I am one who drinks my coffee black, and prefers to truly savor the flavor and, because of that, I think Starbucks coffee is disgusting. Except for the Pumpkin Spice Latte. You cannot taste the coffee anyways, so what does it matter? I am all about all things pumpkin. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, basically I want anything spiced, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin for the next few months.

September 2 is the launch of the Pumpkin Spice Latte for Starbucks. It seems that each year they launch it earlier and earlier, but I am not complaining. I drink them all throughout fall, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, until a random day in early January when we walk into a Starbucks and order a Pumpkin Spice Latte, and they say they are out. I am then a hopeless wanderer for five months until the days begin to get warm and my iced coffee glee starts all over again.

Go get a Pumpkin Spice Latte today for me.

No Sugar For A Year?

Can you imagine a year with no sugar? I cannot. Not that I have a sugar tooth, because I do not. I crave and want salt all day long. That does not mean, however, that I do not have sugar all the time. I will tell you why.

I just finished reading: “Year of No Sugar” by Eve Schaub. An interesting read. Schaub decides to have her and her family go an entire year and not eat sugar. The thing is – sugar is in everything. Of course desserts, breads, and sweets, but also ketchup, sauces, and mayonnaise. Literally everything has some amount of sugar. Even if the ingredient list does not say sugar, companies have found ways to break down the ingredient list into fructose, glucose, etc to make sure it’s not the top ingredient because it is broken into three smaller ingredients. Clever, but dishonest too. Schaub and her family are not 100% hardcore. She has two kids and so over the course of a year they decide that they will have one “sugar-filled” dessert a month and if it is your birthday month you get to select the dessert.

After many months on their adventure, and digging into a monthly “sugar-filled” dessert, Schaub states:

“But now what struck me perhaps most of all was the fact that when I would give in and have something that I wanted, or thought I wanted, or somebody else thought I should want, often it failed to be enjoyable at all. This was newly noticeable–a disconnect between what my brain thought I’d enjoy and what my body actually did enjoy.” page 256

Interesting, is it not? What we think we want is not always what our body wants and what we think we want does not always taste good. I think that is true for a lot of bad foods, bad relationships, and bad jobs. Sometimes we are just good at telling ourselves what we think we want, and maybe it is not at all what we need, or what is good for us.

Yesterday at work I opened a bag of mixed fun size candy bars from Costco. Of course because of just reading Schaub’s book I was very curious about the sugar amounts. You’ll have to click the photo to be able to read the packaging, but in order to truly know how many grams of sugar was in each serving size you have to take the number of candy bars per serving size and divide it by total number of sugar calories.

So the Milky Way has the most calories at 2 bars per serving size, for a total of 20g, which means 10g if you eat one bar, and Nestle Crunch being the best for you at 22g for 4 mini candy bars, so 5.5g if you just have one. GROSS – all that sugar! But they sure do not make it easy to figure out the true number of grams of sugar.

I love how Schaub ends “Year of No Sugar” with such an appropriate quote:

“We save actual sugar for the ‘worth it’ stuff, stuff that is truly meaningful–for birthdays, at special occasions, that wonderful piece of chocolate after a meal. Who knows? Maybe a perfect, shining piece of Napoleon will one day come my way. If it does, I don’t want to be sated with Cocoa Puffs and Snapple–I want to be ready.” page 272

That is how I roll. Make the best of the sugar you have each day. Make it count. Be ready for the good stuff. The homemade cupcakes and damn good desserts. Do not give away your sugar allotment for crappy, processed, shitty food. Hold out for things that matter.