How to close a chapter of life: Just make sure everything’s clean.

I’ve definitely been busy all day, but when I look back over the past several hours, I can point to exactly two things that have gotten done: article prep and laundry.

The laundry is self-explanatory, and the article prep just means I did a lot of the preliminary internet research necessary to write a bunch of articles. That way, when I’m on a plane or in some exotic locale sans internet access, I can still get some work done. They are two big, important things, to be sure, but there’s still SO much to do before I leave Raleigh on Sunday.

Most notably, I have to pack. The laundry was obviously a big prerequisite for that. I started laying out the things I want to take last night. So now that my clothes are all clean, I need to finish that job and then decide which things I don’t need after all. I’ve gotten a lot of good advice on packing, but the best for me is this: Decide what you want to take, and then put half of it back. You don’t need all those shoes or dresses or socks. The only thing you’re allowed to take too much of is underwear because apart from the obvious, it rolls up so small that it hardly counts.

Once everything is packed, I have to find a place to put the rest of the crap that is on my bedroom floor – crap that never found a home when I moved. Crap that is still in a box. Crap I probably don’t need and should just throw out. There. Trash can. Home found. Done.

Then I have to clean out my car so that an Australian doesn’t have to haul around Old Nasty and a bunch of ESL materials for three months.

Then I have to party down. It’s tough work, I tell you, but so worth it in the end. And the party is going to be FUN. My sister and I have worked up a little something special, and I hate to disappoint, but no, it does not involve me singing and dancing. But don’t worry. I’ll make up for it.

It doesn’t sound like that much stuff, but for some reason, it really feels like it, I think mostly because in the midst of all the practical things and professional things I have to do, there’s also a LOT of socializing to be done. Like I’m doing a lot more of the things I might normally turn down just to see everybody one more time before I go.

Ok, enough talking about what I have to do. Time to fold laundry. I’m on a mission.

Beatles Rock Band

Play it. Play it now. If you have the means and even an inkling of desire, you will not be disappointed. I am not at all ashamed to admit that I played that joker for at least three hours (probably longer) today, and I would have kept going if the other members of the band hadn’t had to go to bed so they could get up and go to their lame-o jobs tomorrow.

And speaking of lame-o jobs, I DON’T HAVE ONE!! I just have one, super-awesome job that I can do whenever and wherever I please. That’s right, I’m putting the FREEEEE in freelancing, as in BOOOOOORRRRRRNNNNN FREEEEEEEEE!!!!

In fact, I’m going to go finish an article right now. And then tomorrow, I’m going to do another one. And then I’m going to start packing for Italy! Stay tuned for exciting coverage of THAT!

Money Haikus

I get paid each month.
Where does all my money go?
Urban Outfitters.

Paying off my debts.
Do I owe you some money?
I’ll pay you back soon.

Dearest Sallie Mae,
I’d like to break up with you.
Sigh. Three more years. Sigh.

I was over-paid.
Indentured servitude sucks,
But now it’s finished.

Ten bucks in iTunes.
Any recommendations?
What should I buy? Hmmm…

I’m waiting, waiting,
Waiting, waiting, waiting, wait-
Ing for my paycheck.

The love of money
Is the root of all kinds of
Evil. Please beware.

Autonomy Is Hard Work

Everything has its pros and cons. For example, I’m not teaching any more, which means I woke up at 10:00 this morning, and I still don’t have a face on. I didn’t intend to sleep until 10. Apparently my body just needed it, and for that reason, I’m glad I had the opportunity to give it what it needed. On the other hand, I feel like I don’t get much done a lot of days, mostly because I have no idea what it is that I’m supposed to be doing with all this time of mine.

When I was working (and working a lot), I planned out my days with to-do lists, and even though I almost never got through all the items on my daily list, it at least gave me a rough guide for the day. In typing that just now, I envisioned one day having a burly, bearded, mountain man for a personal assistant to usher me to and from all my very important appointments – a rough guide for the day.

Anyhoe, I’ve gotten out of the habit of making to-do lists, which means that my days are mostly spent chatting online, refreshing twitter every five seconds and watching “What Not to Wear.” This is no good.

So friends, I’m bringing back the to-do list, and I’m making today’s public. I think you’ll notice that it’s important to incorporate both business and pleasure into your daily routine. Feel free to use this list as a template for your own day:

  • sleep in
  • chat online
  • begin process to end indentured servitude once and for all
  • refresh twitter
  • confirm subbing tonight
  • blog
  • refresh twitter
  • blog again
  • eat lunch
  • put on face
  • refresh twitter
  • write an article
  • chat online
  • refresh twitter
  • eat dinner
  • teach foreigners how to play Big Booty (If you do not know how to play Big Booty, let me know, and I’ll teach you too.)
  • refresh twitter
  • attempt to go to sleep at a reasonable hour so that I can wake up at 7:45 tomorrow ready for an exciting day of registration

I’ve crossed off the items that have already been completed (or will be within two seconds of publishing), and as you can see, I’m making great progress so far. I hope you are too.

I’M NOT DEAD!!!

First of all, speaking of not being dead, today is the anniversary of my friend SkoHoe’s birth. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HOE!!! Ok, I think I’ve now wished her a happy birthday on gchat, facebook, blog and two twitter accounts. She’s covered.

Now, wha’ ha’ happened was that I was either completely busy or completely brain dead for several (very good) days. Honestly, I’m still recovering, but I didn’t want to neglect you fine folks any longer. I also wanted to share with you a tidbit of wisdom I’ve been picking up over the last couple of weeks. And this can be applied to anyone, even if it’s not writing that you love.

If you and I have ever had a conversation about what you do for a living and whether or not you really love it, you will be well aware that I encourage everyone to follow their dreams and passions, no matter how crazy they are or how seemingly impossible it would be to make a living out of them. I just truly believe that we are not meant to spend such huge chunks of our lives doing things that make us feel like cubicle zombies or pawns in some sick corporate game. And I’ll say this now for anyone who wants a kick in the pants: If your job makes you feel dead inside, please quit today.

You also may already know that there are two (lucrative) things I really love doing: teaching and writing. And bless my soul, I am lucky enough to get to do both. (I also love sleeping and chatting online, of course, but I hardly think those are worth pursuing as career paths.) I’m in the last few weeks of working for Wake Tech’s ESL department, though, before I run off to Italy to write for three months, and I’m in transition all around.

I’m not teaching any more (I’m just doing registration), but I’m writing a LOT. And I’m getting paid for it, which is great, but writing as a hobby and writing as a job are two very different things. I don’t love it any less now that I’m getting paid for it. It’s just that it’s not as leisurely.

When you do what you love as a hobby, you can do it whenever you feel like it and have the time. Sometimes you carve out time for it because you just love it so much that you don’t feel normal unless you’re doing it, and sometimes you feel very strongly that you must do it or you’ll explode. And it is for that reason that I always have a pen and paper with me.

But when you aren’t inspired, when you just have nothing to say, or when you’re busy and/or brain dead for four days, you don’t have to work on a hobby. Nobody really cares.

When someone’s paying you to write, though, you have to write. You have to write for hours and hours, and sometimes you have to just sit and stare at the blank screen, willing the words to type themselves because you have no idea what to say. You have to force yourself to do it just like you have to force yourself to get out of bed when the alarm goes off in the morning because it is your job. And as nice as hobbies are, they don’t make your loan payments for you.

Like I said, I don’t love it any less. I’m just working on building up the stamina it requires to write this much every day and the speed required to do the amount of work I have. And I’m getting there. I’m working on a bunch of articles for this website, and in the beginning, one article took me two or three days to do from start to finish. I can do one now in three to five hours, depending on the topic. I just have to get used to doing them every day.

So here’s my wisdom/advice: Keep following your dreams even if, when you catch up to them, they punch you in the neck and run off again. They’re just trying to toughen you up so you’ll be able to keep up as they get even bigger and better.