All Articles Tagged "Living"
Those 24-hour days beg for a few more, in order to cater to our back-breaking list of duties, obligations and responsibilities. The lives that we lead are busy and complex. Most of us are so caught up in the fray that we don’t take the time to eat properly, keep our homes tidy, exercise our exhausted bodies, or tend to our mental health. The simple fact is that the complete 24 hours of living, nonstop media consumption, and constant interactions with others –particularly negative interactions, can be dangerous to us. The mind, unique in its ability to cope, adapt, thrive and surprise, still needs positive conditioning even in spite of its miraculous nature. The ingestion of stress, hard living, mistreatment and sleep deprivation can cause the mind to shatter or break – evident when people have breakdowns that others slowly saw coming.
Some advice: choose sanity above all else. Switch off the television, computer, or cell phone; dump your hostile significant other; distance yourself from your gossipy co-worker; cut your work hours when they’re well above the required amount; move to a home that has less maintenance; hire a babysitter for some alone time; read a book; take a vacation; listen to a new artist; become an artist; eat new food; feed your soul; write a poem; write a song; go to the beach–basically, make some time for yourself. This concept isn’t about irresponsibility but about examining the things that we decide are most important in our lives, the things that we’ve decided to deposit most of our energy in –which are usually things that are a bit disabling. Tending to these seemingly important matters will means nothing if it becomes detrimental to your health.
The effect of stress on our sanity and even our physical health is unbelievable –heart attacks, strokes, etc. Anxiety, lack of sleep, and anything in the surrounding category affects our immune system, leaving us exposed and vulnerable to diseases and viruses. Stress also makes vices such as alcoholism, drug abuse, and other risky behaviors more attractive, seen as a relief to the pressures in our lives. Placing sanity above all other obligations is a lifestyle choice, one that can mean the difference between life and death for some. Introducing mind and heart healthy habits are beneficial (i.e., taking a few extra moments out of our day to take a break when feeling overwhelmed). Decide that it’s important for your health to put some of the “big” things that trouble you on the backburner, even if it means that you’re spending a little less time being social or taking care of business. Obligations will always be there, why not take the time to take care of yourself so that every waking moment isn’t filled with anxiety?
Every hair in the shower drain, every crumb on the kitchen counter, and every spec of descended fur from your roommate’s pair of moody cats echoes that it’s time for you to get the hell out of your living situation and find a new spot. Sometimes, the breaking point is long approaching, and sometimes you’re just one fake conversation away from putting everything you own in a comforter, and dropping it out of your window. Most of us know how to grin and bear it, how to keep the polite attitude long enough to not lash out. But having to suffer through the daily agony of withstanding an uncomfortable living situation truly does suck.
While the promise of having a perfect roommate (even when boarding with a friend) is a promise guaranteed to be left unfulfilled, there are some challenges that you shouldn’t have to face when living with another person. When you feel like you’re being managed or that you can’t be yourself in your own home; when you feel like your things aren’t safe or will be consumed and/or used in your absence; or, if the roomie just irritates the s**t out of you for an undisclosed number of reasons, then it’s time to start browsing Craigslist for a ‘spacey 1br with closet’. That is, if you’re trying to duck and dodge most broker’s fees. Also, if you’re made to feel uncomfortable or you’re forced to make plans just to keep busy, stay absent or otherwise distracted from your roommate, and you’re forced to slink from the front door to your bedroom like a trollop in order not to rouse the roommate’s attention, that’s another sign written in red. It’s unfair, particularly because you’re forking over a sizable chunk of your pay every month for rent and utilities. Beyond paying for a place to sleep, eat, and brush your teeth, you’re also paying for comfort.
For me, some decisions come on like a cold, a sudden moment of knowing; the sound of a person hacking up mucus, clipping finger nails, or moaning loudly can make the decision for me. The chatty, omnipresent, unemployed boyfriend of a roommate who meets me at every turn can be the deciding factor as well, especially after witnessing him spit into the kitchen sink. But retentiveness aside, if small things happen to be the determining factors, then it’s possible that there are larger dormant issues that have yet to be addressed, which you may or may not want to admit or recognize. Once, in a shared dorm, I had a roommate who would hit her ‘snooze’ button from the hours of 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and another who had a slumbering boyfriend who was doing a permanent crash. While my issues with the two seem apparent, I later realized that fundamentally, these women were dissimilar to me in every way, and that exaggerated each fault of theirs in my mind. Both were privileged white women, with no awareness of personal politics or of their white privilege, and were both afforded the luxury of being overtly relaxed when it came to class attendance, finances, and responsibilities. It’s important to have a complete understanding of why you’re leaving a place, even it is simply about your roommate inviting herself into your room too often. But you should make sure you understand what the move is about so you know what to avoid when seeking future roommates.
Bad or unsuitable roommates aren’t the only reason we’re provoked to move. Let’s see, there are awful neighbors, lousy landlords, dodgy neighborhoods, noisy construction going on, and tiny living spaces are frequent reasons as well. Perhaps you have a landlord who won’t come and fix the random holes in the walls in your apartment, despite repeated requests. Or perhaps you live next door to a bar that blasts music from a.m. to p.m. Or maybe, just maybe, your upstairs neighbors do the ‘Insanity’ workout every morning, dead set on driving you insane. No matter the case, there’s a limit to how much you should have to rightly tolerate.
So, if you are planning on moving out, remember to give him/her notice (out of courtesy), and try to leave under good terms. While they might be a terrible roommate, there’s no reason to burn bridges. But when it’s time to go, do yourself a favor (and your sanity), and take the steps necessary to be able to hit the road…jack.
If you’re hip to the lingo, you’ve probably heard the term “basic” being applied to women who make irresponsible life decisions or place value on the shallow or superficial. Typically, when the word basic is used it’s followed by another b word. But since we don’t want to offend or appear basic ourselves, we’re going to use chick for the purposes of this post. While none of us is “too good” to have moments of basic chick-ness; stuff happens and you may occasionally step out of your character. But if you consistently find yourself subscribing to these dysfunctional schools of thought, then this is a wake up call, a plea to do better. See what I mean.
Mary Mary is known for spreading lots of positive light to their fans through their music and through their reality TV show, but the ladies are going a bit deeper these days.
They define a good woman as someone who “is proud of herself. Respects herself and others. She is aware of who she is. She neither seeks definition from the person she is with, nor does she expect them to read her mind. She is quite capable of articulating her needs. A good woman has a dash of inspiration, a dabble of endurance. She knows that she will at times, have to inspire others to reach the potential God gave them.”
The duo didn’t stop there; to check out Mary Mary’s full definition of a “good” woman, head to Essence.
Do you agree with them? What’s your definition of a “good woman?
It’s Too Cold To Do A Damn Thing: Ways To Avoid Anti-Social Winter Behavior And Have Fun Even When It’s Freezing Out
Like the song, “Let It Snow” mentions, “the weather outside is frightful.” And, while there hasn’t been much snow as of late, the air outside is still rather frigid. This chilly weather keeps some of us in our apartments, and a good number of us stay tucked away in our beds, even during waking hours. This lack of motivation to get up and do things keeps us from being productive, making it easy for us to be anti-social and keeping us from enjoying the many events and attractions that the world around us has to offer. So it’s time for us to strap on some boots, put on some layers, and put the anti-social and anti-active behavior to bed.
Incentives: Steering clear of friends is one thing when its cold outside, but steering clear of other important responsibilities like going to the gym is simply that much easier. And we all know that when you miss one trip to the gym, it’s easy to fall off the wagon. The key here is bating yourself out the house, and this can be done by making yourself small promises. If you go to the gym or go far to visit a good friend, then you should reward yourself with a micro-shopping spree or a treat from your favorite bakery or confectionery spot.
Search: Don’t settle for places to go. Do some Internet research and find somewhere you’d REALLY like to be –otherwise you will bail and stay home. Check to see who has upcoming performances at big venues or smaller concert halls, search Groupon or similar sites for deals on events, and find out where folks are going and hitch your wagon onto the most interesting plans for the evening. Try to make a game out of seeing how many fun places you find to enjoy.
Small Soiree or House Party: You’re sick of not seeing people because you don’t want to leave your house? Natural solution: invite people over. It’s simple nowadays, you just send out a quick Facebook message or a text, and you can plan an evening in with friends. It must be kept in mind, however, there are a few downfalls to having people in your home, mainly that as the host you’re normally the one footing the bill for food and libations and cleaning things up. But well-planned potlucks and BYOB invitations are always a good idea as well. And if you want to avoid too much noise or mess, simple movie nights with a bowl of popcorn, some other small snacks and wine will do too.
Loiter: There are plenty of warm, interesting public places where you can visit for free and hang around for hours while being entertained or mentally stimulated. These places include, but are not limited to art galleries, museums, libraries, coffee shops (take a friend and catch up!) and more. In fact, you can often find free classes, free attractions, free club nights, free museums and free festivals that are available to all, especially if you’re living in a big city like New York.
Graduation, Marriage, Babies, Grandbabies…And Then What? How I Learned To Stop Rushing Life And Enjoy The Moment
I’ve always been a person who is guilty of living for the next moment, instead of slowing down to fully embrace and appreciate the current. As a kid, I couldn’t wait to grow up. I literally fantasized about my teenage and high school years. In high school, I couldn’t wait to get to college. In undergrad, I practically sprinted through my major’s curriculum, taking three-week speed courses and summer classes as if there was some grand prize for finishing early. Now, here I am at 22 years old and six months away from receiving my Master’s degree, asking myself why I was in such a rush and wondering what my next move will be.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being ambitious or anticipating what lies ahead, but there’s a huge downside to not fully appreciating the now. It took me a while, but I began noticing a strange pattern. Once I got to college, I missed high school. Sure, I liked college, but I realized that high school was a time in my life that I’d never see again. Once I got to graduate school, I missed undergrad. Why? Because again, it took that season of my life being over for me to realize that I would never see it again.
Lately, I’ve been anticipating leaving my parents’ house, seeing my career take off, getting married, having children and all of the other many wonderful things that adult life has to offer. But, then it dawned on me one day that once this season of my life is over, I will never see it again. Never again will I be the eager 22-year-old with big dreams, not knowing for sure what lies ahead, but assured that whatever it is, it’s something wonderful. Something beyond my wildest dreams. I thought about what a tragedy it would be to reach the end of my life when I’m old and gray only to realize that I never fully enjoyed anything because I rushed through everything. Having come to this realization, I made up my mind that I refuse to miss out on the beauty of the current moment or season that I’m in by too eagerly anticipating the next one.
I currently live with my parents and my younger brother. Although we have our differences at times, we have an amazing bond. I love being able pop into my brother’s room and tease him just because I can, or do a running leap, landing into the middle of my parents’ bed while they’re watching a movie. I realized that once “adult life” really takes off for my brother and I, we will probably never all live under the same roof again, or be as close.
While I desire to have my own place, I’m determined to take full advantage of all of the privileges and quality time that living at home still has to offer. While, graduation may be six months away and I do anticipate finishing and moving into the next phase of my life, I realize that this could be the last six months that I ever spend on a college campus. It could be the last six months I ever spend as a student. While marriage seems wonderful, I don’t want to miss out on what unmarried adult life has to offer by being so focused on racing down the aisle to say “I do.” There’s still so much that I am still learning about myself. And while being a parent seems like a beautiful and rewarding experience, I will totally enjoy this time that I have to focus on me and the goals, aspirations and desires that I am not even aware that I have yet.
I guess what I really learned is that in life there’s a time and a season for everything and it would be foolish not to enjoy each season to its maximum potential. So I will yield to God’s perfect plan and order for my life. I will savor each passing moment instead of rushing into the next. I will breathe deeply and embrace each moment, each season, each phase of my life as a gift, because that’s exactly what they are.
Follow Jazmine Denise on Twitter @jazminedenise
All photos are courtesy of Shutterstock
It’s a question that we’ve all asked ourselves on more than one occasion and during different phases in our lives. Even if we don’t use those same words or don’t verbalize the question out loud, our actions, choices and doubts are fueled by this quest to answer this broad question. We pretty much start wondering this from the time we awkwardly enter the school cafeteria and look for a table where we belong. Trying to figure this out can make us style our hair a certain way, date that boy, break that rule, join that club or pursue that degree. It can ultimately take us to the life we have now.
Even as grown women, we still ask it. We just swap the cafeteria for adult circles amongst our friends, colleagues, co-workers and society at large. No matter how many years go by, we still ask: “Who am I, really?” And until we can answer that question, it’s impossible to believe we’re amazing.
As women, we are moms, wives, sisters, friends and confidants, but we sometimes feel guilty for not knowing more about ourselves. As women we are expected to be selfless and to focus on others.
Read the rest of their inspiring piece on ESSENCE.
Do you ever feel selfish by taking a moment to give back to yourself?
Maybe you don’t have the luxury of your own apartment or home at the moment, especially with the economy’s job market and the rising living costs in many metropolitan cities. Even in college, many of us have lived in a roommate situation, where things like space, bills, and finances are shared amongst two, three or even four other people.
If you are preparing yourself to live in a roommate-style situation or already found yourself living with others, make sure you keep in mind a few tips on how to handle the finances of this tricky living situation.
So exactly what is a good friend? One who’s always there for you no matter what? One who always makes you feel good about yourself? Someone who is constantly re-assuring your insecurities? Sorry, but that’s not a good friend, that’s just a fake one. Let’s be real, there is no way that you always agree with the things your friends do. So exactly why do we often make it seem like we do agree with them? Is it because we don’t want to hurt their feelings? Or because we’re afraid of an argument? Either way, friends do it a lot! Here are some of the most common lies we tell our friends just to keep the peace:
You look great in that outfit
Hmmm, how do I put this nicely? Even though your flab is hanging out all over the place, and that color makes you look like a giant balloon, you look great! In a fantasy world, you could just say that outfit makes you look fat…but not in the real world where people actually have feelings and insecurities. Who wants to be that friend who destroys their friend’s confidence?
Awkward Silences Aren’t Really That Awkward: 9 Things You Should Do Besides Start Talking To Someone
I don’t know about you, but I find nothing awkward about silences when I’m in the presence of another human being. In fact, I enjoy those moments. Small talk tends to annoy me, particularly when it never goes beyond those random default topics like the weather — and particularly when it’s a stranger I have no interest in knowing further. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t see things that way, and when the conversation between them and another person runs dry, they feel the need to start rambling just to fill the empty airspace. Sigh.
Since these people don’t seem to know what to do with themselves during these so-called awkward silences, allow me to put forth a few suggestions.