Friday, June 30, 2017

Book Review: "You Are a Badass" by Jen Sincero

Pretty recently, I have begun dabbling in the self help section of the book world. I have always silently (and sometimes not so silently) mocked the genre, but recently my thoughts have changed. I have watched YouTube videos that are essentially oral versions of a self help book in the form of TED Talks, or just videos of people I watch regularly. There were many book recommendations involved, and to be honest, I pretty much ignored them. It wasn't until friends began recommending certain titles I had heard of before that I paid any attention. After all, these women are educated, bright, socially well adjusted, and are not the "vision" of a self help book reader I had previously concocted in my mind.

The book You Are a Badass was not recommended to me by a human, but Amazon recommendations after I added a related book to my cart and to be honest, I liked the title. It was a worthwhile read, but overall, not life changing.

The Good: I really love the way Sincero speaks. I enjoy the casual conversation-like vibe, the swearing, and how realistic some of her examples really were. The kind of inner thoughts that NO ONE ever says out loud, and so you convince yourself you are the only one who has them. In that way, the book is very relateable. I believe the strategies around setting intentions are good, and setting appropriate goals, refusing to make excuses, are excellent.

 I may be guilty of secretly assuming my perfect man was a casualty of the good guy genocide. This page hit me home the strongest of any of the other pages!

I have not yet actually tried this strategy, but I plan to. Targeting the problem is one of the more difficult challenges in trying to change one's own thinking, in my opinion.

The Bad: This will not be bad for many, if not most, people, but there is a slight tone of religiousness that I personally very much dislike. Sincero makes it clear that when she refers to connecting to the "Universe" (for her, this would be God), it could be any sense of higher power one has. I think that is awesome, inclusive, and really great...if you have a belief in a higher power. I am agnostic but live in a rather atheistic way, and I do not personally connect at all with this idea. Unfortunately, a huge amount of the strategies in the book relying connecting to this "Source Energy" and relying on it's vibrations to give you answers. I am a more introspective person, and do not believe in vibrations. I personally would like strategies that I can implement that do not rely on religion or magic.

Sorry, not buying what is being sold here. Money isn't manifested, it is a product of working hard. If visualizing it is what a person needs to do in order to work hard, then this is great advice. However, to me it merely gives a chuckle.

In the end, it is all up to the Universe (code: God). Just manifest it with your thoughts (code: pray) and have faith. I don't need to elaborate on the issues a non religious person would have with this.

In all, this is a great book for a spiritual person. An atheist, or agnostic who is not searching for a deity in any way, might find this to be lacking. I would recommend it highly to a spiritual person actually, who is in need of some confidence boosting. So much so, I plan to pass this along to one of my closest friends, who is religious, and I hope will get a lot out of it. For me, it is a pass.

I am starting Daring Greatly soon, upon recommendation of an actual human I am friends with and who knows me. I am hoping that one will be more up my alley!

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Been Awhile!

Well, it has been quite a long time since my last post. As it tends to be with teaching, and moving, things were quite the whirlwind. Combined with my first teaching year being (predictably) overwhelming, things like this blog got away from me.

I am hoping to restart posting here regularly, but first I should do some catch up first.

Location: I am still living in Virginia. It took me over a year to furnish this apartment so it looked like a real (semi) adult lived here, but I finally did it! I enjoy this area, and could see myself staying long term. I live with a girl I lived with in college, and having her as a roommate has been awesome.

Work: I have loved being a third grade teacher the last two years. Third grade is really in my wheelhouse as a great age group, and I have worked with some amazing people. There have been some issues with some coworkers and certain students, but such is life. I am excited to start a new year with a fresh batch of kids this fall.

Dating: I have been casually dating a man here for about a year, it is not destined to go anywhere, as he is a certifiable train wreck. But we have fun, he is a lovely person, and he provides companionship as I periodically attempt dating elsewhere. So far, my attempts have been unsuccessful, but school tends to be all consuming. I make stronger attempts during summers.

Tea: The tea hoard is actually getting under control. School has prevented me from being as active on Steepster as I would like, but school also prevents me from justifying new tea purchases. I have slowly but surely been working on it. New count to come soon, as well as pictures of my awesome tea/coffee setup!

Cooking: I have really gotten my shit together on the cooking front. I am no master chef, but I have mastered quite a few super awesome dishes that I can't wait to post. They are seriously amazing. I've been making a variety of deliciousness, enough that aforementioned man I date has no idea I am not a natural born amazing cook! I am still striving to improve, as I still stick to mostly simple things. No shame in my game, but I don't like the idea of being intimidated by anything, let alone a recipe.

Weight Loss: On January 1 of this year, I rejoined Weight Watchers. Things were kind of stressful at school, I was tired of how I looked and felt, and decided to just get serious and take the plunge. I have lost about 35 pounds since then, and am feeling great! Things have not always gone super smoothly, but I have stuck with it, and have every intention of continuing. My goal for this calendar year is to have lost 65 pounds total, which I feel is doable. If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen, but I am a big believer in challenging but achievable and realistic goal setting.

Exercise: I have always loved walking, but beginning Weight Watchers spurred me to kick up my exercise into high gear. I bought an inexpensive stationary bike, and went from walking three miles a couple of times per week to walking 5-7 miles five or six times per week. With the summer heat, I have not been exercising nearly as much, but I know come fall I will be walking like it is going out of style again. Walking alone or with my roommate is truly therapeutic for me, and I know I can't stay away for too long!

Well, that is the update. In many ways, things are exactly the same. In so many more, things are very different. My confidence is higher, I am healthier, and more adventurous. I am hitting financial goals, dabbling in the world of podcasts, meditation, reading for pleasure consistently for the first time in too long, and I've decided to start brewing my own kombucha. It is summer, why not?

I have made a particular effort to focus on myself these last six months after spending a year and a half totally immersed in my work, and I am looking forward to continuing to do so even more intentionally!