New perspectives

It’s been hot and sunny all week in Seattle, and those of us with allergies have been a bit of a cranky lot. Sinus headaches do not pair well with stifling heat (or with anything, really). While there are some here who enjoy high temperatures and bright sun, many of us move here to enjoy the damp grey beauty of the place.

I have this new allergy app on my phone and I like it because I can look to see what the levels are for various allergens in my city. Since I’ve been feeling awful this week and the levels were very high for “dust and dander”, I now know that’s something my body doesn’t really care for. It’s a helpful diagnostic tool.

I can’t do much about the city of Seattle, but I’ve spent the weekend vacuuming up extra dust from my apartment. I know my lungs will thank me. I’ve also been rearranging my furniture and moving other things around. It’s nice to get a new perspective on things. I always feel cheered when I move things about a bit.  It’s cheaper than retail therapy and often even more beneficial.

I also decided to indulge myself by doing a fun little project. I have a lot of books. I love them, but I’m sometimes distressed by the visual clutter they can represent, even on a bookcase. I’ve been toying with the idea of arranging them by color to cut down on the clutter, and today I rearranged the cookbooks and all the books in one room. I don’t have so many that it will make it really hard to find what I need, and just looking at them now feels very calming. It may seem odd to other people, but I figure I have to live here, so I should pick a system that works for me. Besides, I look at them often as a whole and only need to find particular volumes a few times a day. I couldn’t be more excited by the change.

Home is a work in progress and I’m going to keep adapting it to be the best sanctuary it can be. Small changes at home can make big changes in my mood. Here’s hoping for a cool and restful week. I’ve done my part.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:
252. How might you change the energy of your home? How long has it been since you’ve rearranged the furniture or put up new artwork? Perhaps it’s time to see things from a new perspective.

Seeking the Goldilocks solution

Like many of you, I am a modern busy person with a smart phone and a lot of online connections and responsibilities. I finally conceded to friends a few years ago and joined Facebook, and I love being able to reconnect with people who are far away and keep in touch with people I rarely see. I enjoy the shared experiences we have on the virtual walls of the program. I’ve got some frustrations, but I find it enriches my life. I haven’t yet joined other social networks because I don’t want to spend all my time online, although I may start tweeting because I think it would be a helpful skill to have for some of my business writing.

Of course I’ve got email, and I maintain several blogs. I engage in an online writing community of haiku poets called Carpe Diem. I look forward to the time I spend writing the prompts and reading what others have written. We comment back and forth on each other’s posts, and get to know each other as writers and people (since so much writing is personal).

Why am I giving you a laundry list of my digital life? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I carefully pick and choose my online presence, but even so sometimes things get to be too much. When we are always connected to everything we lose connection to ourselves. I find myself looking down at my phone far too often to check out the online world when I could be looking up and looking around me. I compulsively read certain blogs and sometimes scroll through others I don’t even care about just to be staring at a screen. I probably have far too many games on my phone. It becomes addictive.

I’m not planning to give any of this up, but I am thinking about how I can create more balance in my life. I am asking myself what adds and what detracts. Blogging is definitely an energizer for me, and the more I write, the better I write. On the other hand, do I really need to read and respond to every cute cat item on Facebook? Can I check my email a little less frequently? Do I need to play computer games on my phone when I have five spare minutes, or should I take a deep breath and appreciate the lull?

I am also finding that I sleep better when I turn of the computer a few hours before bed and stop looking at things online or on the phone. Unless I am under deadline, most things can wait for tomorrow. If they can’t, someone will give me a call. I can slow my brain down a little before I drift off to sleep instead of trying to slam on the brakes and go right to bed. It is good. Sometimes you cannot find an answer until you realize you have questions. It’s a place to start.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:
251. Ask yourself some questions about your digital life. Are your online interactions satisfying? Why or why not? What is really working for you and what isn’t? Try implementing some changes and see how you feel.

We offer more than fashion tips

This weekend we’ll be having the big gay pride celebrations here in Seattle, and the Supreme Court has made them extra special. If you’ve been reading my blog you most likely know this, but for the record I’m out and proud as a dyke, a queer, and a lesbian. Today I’m going to share a few secrets of happiness with you from our community to yours (however you yourself identify). Like many of us, I’ve learned some of these the hard way.

  • Be who you are, no matter what. Others may not understand you, but you’re only going to be happy being you. Trying to fit into a model or a pattern set by someone else just makes you unhappy. I used to try to make myself girly because I felt it would get me more temp work (which I hated anyway) and because I believed what I had been told–that if I didn’t do this I was “letting myself go”. Because I only wear makeup for drag and don’t do the frilly stuff, I was told I needed to “fix myself up”. Hogwash! I am me being me. It’s really what I’m best at, and joy is the best cosmetic out there.
  • You are not the only one. These days there are more openly gay celebrities, so I think that fewer gay kids grow up thinking that they are the only gay person in the world. I am so grateful for this. No matter who you are, there are other people like you, and you will discover them. Just this evening at square dancing I had a lovely discussion with fellow dancers and found out they love to talk about Shakespeare as much as I do. Embrace your passions, and know that you can find your tribe.
  • Be proud of who you are. Most people do not realize how fabulous they are, and our complexities make us all the more beautiful. You may have walked a rough path to get to this moment in time and you may not yet have achieved even a fraction of what you plan to do. You may have even made mistakes or done something wrong. Odds are you’re doing your best. Hold your head up high and let people know who you are. If you’re not proud of yourself because you’re hurting yourself or others, know that you can change your direction at any time.
  • No matter what you do, some people are going to love you and some are going to hate you. This may sound pessimistic, but it actually gives you so much freedom. People are really random, and no matter what you do, no matter what rules you follow, some of them are just not going to like you. You may as well be yourself, and have people understand who you truly are. Odds are, they’ll be enchanted–if they’re not, you don’t need them in your life.

The older I get, the more I understand these things. This is my gift to you at Pride. Get out there and be you–the world is waiting.

Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:
248. What can you do to be more fully you? Take a step in that direction, or even better, a giant leap.