Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

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Quarter-life crisis? Perhaps

November 24, 2010

As I stated in a recent post, I’ve had a sort of mental funk overtake my world lately and I couldn’t figure out why or what to do to get rid of it. It turns out, I’m not alone.

I started wondering if this was some sort of quarter-life crisis. Since I wasn’t exactly sure what the term entailed, I began my web search. Of course, it all begins with the Wikipedia entry. Many of the emotional aspects mentioned in that post rang true for me, which I find oddly encouraging.

In 2005, ABCNews posted an article talking about the growing occurrence of the quarter-life crisis. The Huffington Post chimed in just over a year ago with a quiz to see if you were a QLC victim. Hatch Magazine even came up with a suggested soundtrack to get someone through this time in their lives. It seems many people are thinking about this topic, and that I’m not alone in this. Thank goodness!

The question now is what do I do to get out of a quarter-life crisis? There are many books on the subject, for anyone interested. For now, I’ll pull from a Suite101.com article and an EzineArticles.com post.

These articles suggest that I stop putting pressure on myself to know exactly what I want to be doing with my life. I should accept that these things take time, that I have plenty of time to sort it all out and that I just need to aim for shorter-term goals that are more accessible. They also say that I need to keep an open mind for new opportunities, and that all of my hobbies are important to expressing who I am. It’s nice to know that I don’t have to feel bad about wanting to do so many different things!

The best thing I got out of my research was that I should not compare myself to anyone else. Everyone goes through this time in their lives in their own way. Some people know exactly what they want to do and are fortunate enough to find it right out of school. Others need to get out in the world and test the waters before they find their fit.

My cousin Jennifer recently started her own flower business, following a personal passion and making her dream a reality. She’s only a year older than me, and creates truly beautiful floral arrangements. Seeing her drive and success both inspires and terrifies me. On the one hand, I think, “If she can make her dream come true, then I can, too!” On the other hand, I wonder, “But, what is my dream? And how in the world can I do it?”

I need to keep telling myself that it’s just not my time yet to fully bloom (flower pun intended). And that it’s okay. No small thing to keep in mind, but I have to if I’m going to keep my sanity.

As long as I keep chugging forward and being honest with myself, my current frustration and funk will pass and I’ll come out of this quarter-life crisis better than when I went into it. I just have to be patient with myself. Any advice you might have on how to do that would be greatly appreciated.

Did you experience (or are you currently experiencing) a quarter-life crisis? What steps did you take to get through it? If you’ve gone through it already, what did you learn from the experience?

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Digital dependence: Is it a good thing?

November 22, 2010

Everything in our lives today revolves around technology. We’re lost without our cell phones. We check email countless times a day. Our iPods are constantly playing, our Blackberries always surfing the web, our GPS continually spewing directions. These things are so ingrained in our daily lives that we hardly even notice them when they work correctly.

It’s when our connections are disrupted that we get in a tizzy. Undoubtedly, you have been at work when the Internet goes down. Frustrated, you refresh your browser and email repeatedly feeling lost without your link to the digital world. How did we let ourselves become so attached to our gadgets?

In October, CNET ran a piece about the symptoms experienced by a group of first-year college students after a day not being plugged in. They had a very difficult time without technology and experienced withdrawal (much like someone beginning a drug rehabilitation program). And this was after just one day!

Growing up with all of these tech advances is changing the living and working habits of the current youth generation. The NYTimes explained how the ease and accessibility of online videos, games, phones/texting/etc. has directly influenced the ability of young people to focus on a single task. Some colleges are now trying to incorporate handheld devices into courses and lesson plans in an effort to connect to their otherwise disengaged students.

Even though we had a Commodore 64 when I was younger, my family didn’t get its first, real PC until I was in seventh grade (Christmas ’96). Today’s college freshman were mostly born in 1992. They’ve grown up with PCs (do they even know what dial-up is?), probably bypassed Walkmans for Discmans, and never knew a world without video games. My sister got our first Gameboy about 2 years after these freshmen were born when she was 13 (her son, my nephew, just got a Nintendo DS… for his fifth birthday).

It’s astounding how dramatically life has changed for us is such a short span of time. I really do love technology, for many reasons. I mean, I wouldn’t have a job otherwise, so right there is a huge thank you to the tech gods. But I do worry that all of these gadgets and gizmos, along with our need to be in constant contact and our general lack of attention span, could be causing a general dumbing down of our society as a whole.

Maybe we should all try a day or two without our devices, just to remember simpler times. We could read books, play board games, look through photo albums, talk with old friends…

Or we could just fire up our laptops and do all of those things at the same time from the comfort of our couches. Ah, progress!

What’s your take on all of this?

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Angry and disgusted

July 20, 2010

Every so often, I read a story about someone that really makes me question humanity as a whole. Yesterday, one such story angered me so much that I need to share it.

While poking around AOL News, I found a story on a special-education teacher in Pennsylvania who claimed to have brain cancer. She missed plenty of work, saying she had to undergo chemotherapy treatments. Folks around her were extremely supportive and generous towards what they thought was an ill coworker. When more than a decade of this passed and the teacher had yet to exhibit symptoms, an investigation uncovered a trail of lies.

Friends, family, and loyal readers know of my deep connection to this disease. I find it difficult to fully express my disdain for this woman as she used such a horrific illness as a cover for her deceit. I would love to visit her jail cell and explain to her the deeper severity of what she’s done. Did her family watch her suffer through surgeries, treatments and their side effects? Did she have to endure the pain, anguish and frustration that real cancer patients deal with daily?

What kind of person wakes up one morning and decides to feign a devastating sickness for their own personal gain? She played on people’s sympathies and emotions, receiving acts of kindness and generosity that should have benefitted someone who actually needed them. What’s perhaps more disturbing is that she was a special-education teacher, in charge of children with varying situations that require patience, understanding and compassion. My heart goes out to the children in her classes, as they were under the care of a mentally sick individual with no regard for others.

Jail time would not be enough for this woman. She should have to work without pay in cancer treatment centers, witnessing the struggles and the extreme courage of the people who are really fighting this disease. Maybe then she could begin to understand what a terrible person she is for making those claims.

Have you heard about this woman? Are you aware of other people who have made similar claims? How do you feel after reading something like this?

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Prince of Darkness 101

June 16, 2010

Even though I’m not proud of this fact, I will admit it – I didn’t become a fan of Ozzy Osbourne until MTV put his family on the air. I knew who he was, but didn’t start getting into his tunes until I saw the show. I watched The Osbournes every week, and even purchased the show’s soundtrack album (which has some great tunes on it, so check it out before you judge me!).

Here’s a clip that always makes me laugh. Ozzy and Sharon are checking out the stage setup for his upcoming tour, and the he’s not altogether pleased with what he sees. The video quality is terrible and it has German subtitles, but it gets the point across. WARNING: there are multiple “f”-bombs, so adjust your volume accordingly.

Soon after the show debuted, I learned more about the Prince of Darkness. Like many rockers, he was not kind to his body. All kinds of drugs (and mammals) entered his system for decades, and he continued to struggle with medications during and following the TV show’s run. Incredibly, he is still around and rocking the house.

He’s a fascinating man… and apparently, I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Scientists are now planning to study Ozzy’s genetic makeup in an effort to understand how the human body is able to withstand intense abuse. I’d love to see the results when they’re finished.

While they’re at it, maybe these scientists should also put in requests to Keith Richards and Scott Weiland. They would be likely also be interesting case studies.

Do you have any other suggestions for whom these scientists should bust out a Petri dish?

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Hairy situation

May 31, 2010

I mentioned last post that there was one good thing that happened last week. I’m happy to share that news with you now.

Over the past 6 years, I’ve had the honor to participate in Locks of Love. If you haven’t heard of this wonderful organization before, please check it out. It takes about two years for me to grow out the 10 inches or so to donate, and I had been planning on making this chop for a while now. After what happened on Sunday, I knew that Monday was the day.

I’d asked Jesse to take a before shot the previous week, and I took the after shot earlier today. I’ll be sending off the ponytail later this week, but wanted to show you what it looks like to snip off almost half of your hair.

Locks of Love Hair Chop 2010

Locks of Love Hair Chop 2010

This is truly the easiest thing I could do to help children in need, and I am beyond honored to be a small part of it. This is the third time I have done this, and I plan to continue doing it for as long as I am able.

After so much sadness, it really warms my heart to know that this small gesture can make a child happy.

Have you ever participated in Locks of Love, either as a donor or as a recipient? If you haven’t personally, do you know someone who has?

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Relay for Life fundraiser – Ribbon Roses!

March 23, 2010

I wanted to share a fundraiser that I am working on to raise money for Relay for Life. I will be making ribbon roses, and donating all of the profits on orders placed by May 31 to my Relay total (donations can be added up until a few months after the event). Here is the flyer for the fundraising campaign (click to open larger):

Roses for Relay ad

Roses for Relay ad

And here is are the color options:

Cancer Awareness Ribbon Colors

Cancer Awareness Ribbon Colors

Please consider participating in this fundraiser for a very worthy cause, and kindly forward this post to anyone you think may wish to participate. Thank you very much!

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Row, row, row her boat

March 18, 2010

If I didn’t already feel bad about myself for lack of drive to exercise, this woman just sent me reeling.

Katie Spotz, 22, rowed across the Atlantic Ocean by herself in just 70 days, 5 hours and 22 minutes. Say WHAT?!

When I was 22 (yes, I know, all those long 3 years ago), I was trying to figure out how I could get the closest parking spot to work so I had less to walk after my shift. Spotz decided to take on an entire ocean!

For anywhere from 8-10 hours a day, she rowed through rough waters towards her goal. For that same time frame, I sit on my butt and stare at a computer screen. I knew I was sedentary, but now I just feel like a blob.

Katie, I really hope you will inspire me. I’m working on a schedule to incorporate my full-time job, my freelance work, my homework and my life. Within that schedule, I am going to make a real conscious effort to include exercise time for the first time in my life. I have two weddings to attend this summer and damnit, I want to wear fun dresses!

But here’s the million dollar question – will my lazy tush really do any of this?

What do you think of Katie Spotz accomplishment? Have you ever completed such a grand endeavor? And who will motivate me to follow through with an exercise regimen? Anyone? Please??