Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Things I Hate About Swimming

This will be most entertaining if you're a swimmer and you can relate.
I'm on a swim team, and there are a lot of things that suck about this sport. They're mostly minor annoyances, but I thought it was worth ranting about. :)
  1. Goggles fogging up. I don't know if it's something with the way my face is shaped, but I've used three pairs of goggles recently and they all fogged up so it must not be the goggles. Between every set, I have to pull my goggles away from my face and wipe them with my finger.
  2. Looking like a garden gnome with your cap on. Enough said.
  3. Being forced to go bare-faced. Wearing makeup is one of the joys of life, and I'm deprived of it when I swim.
  4. Looking like a melting wax doll when you forget to take off your makeup or are too lazy to before swim practice.
  5. Being famished the second you step out of the water at the end of practice.
  6. Feeling exhausted after swim practice and casually skipping chores because you're too damn tired.
  7. Misjudging where the wall is during backstroke and accidentally smashing your head against the wall.
  8. Ruining perfectly good swimwear on Stucco pool walls.
  9. Running out of time for other things because swimming is such a time-consuming sport.
  10. Having brittle hair and dry, peeling skin because of the chlorine.
  11. Feeling the tampon slide down your vagina with the force of the water when you push off the wall.
  12. Feeling water absorb into your tampon while doing breaststroke.
  13. The panic when you forget your cap, goggles, swimsuit, or towel.
  14. Looking like an idiot when your form gets sloppy near the end of practice because you're exhausted and you just want to go home.
  15. Snapping at people unwillingly after a hard swim practice because you're just crabby and irritable after all that physical exertion.
But hey, you never have to buy expensive sneakers or sweat!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Self Improvement Summer: Happiness

I wrote a post a while back (almost a whole month ago!) about "My Summer Plans." I bet you didn't think I'd follow through, did you? I've been reading The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun by Gretchen Rubin, and I'm really enjoying it. I love the writing style, and Gretchen Rubin is such a smart woman. She cites different quotes and such, which I also love because I know I'm getting reliable advice. She inspired me to take on a mini happiness project of my own (although I was already sort of planning it, what with the "My Summer Plans" blog post. I just didn't know where to start or what to call it, so I'd just been calling it "my enlightening summer"). I'm calling it "my self improvement summer" because it won't be only about happiness. Even some of the stuff in this blog post (the following) is more self improvement-esque than centered around happiness. One of my goals for this Self Improvement Summer is to not feel obligated to label things, so I'm just giving this journey a broad name.

About the "My Summer Plans" blog post, here's an update: I was never planning on using my bullet points as a checklist, like Gretchen Rubin does in her book. I'm just trying to incorporate these things into my daily life. I have been enjoying nature more, going outside more, spending less time in my bed when I'm not sleeping (on my phone), and when I am outside, I remember to enjoy it and bask in the beautiful moment I'm having. I've been going to the library (yes, I did get my own library card!! I've already checked out two books and requested two more!) with friends and they showed me around and showed me how to use the Dewey Decimal System, and we spent a beautiful day going out to lunch then going to the library, checking out a few books, and reading it outside on the grass. We're planning on doing it again tomorrow! I haven't started on world history or current events yet (well hey, I'm taking Modern World History this year).

What I'm going to do for my personal mini happiness project portion of Self Improvement Summer is read and take notes on The Happiness Project (I'll post them here) and try to implement the bolded things into my daily life along with everything from my "My Summer Plans" blog post.
I'll include a big list of all these things plus some other things I need to work on in a later blog post, probably after I finish reading The Happiness Project.

Twelve Commandments (adapted from page 10)
  1. Be yourself.
  2. Let it go.
  3. Act the way you want to feel.
  4. Do it now.
  5. Be polite and fair.
  6. Enjoy the process.
  7. Spend out.
  8. Identify the problem.
  9. Lighten up. (this one will be hard for me to balance, because I need to take offense to some things because of my blog.)
  10. Do what ought to be done.
  11. No calculation. (?)
  12. There is only love.
Secrets of Adulthood (Rubin, 11)
  • People don't notice your mistakes as much as you think.
  • It's okay to ask for help.
  • Most decisions don't require extensive research. (Just make a decision, don't make a big deal out of it.)
  • Do good, feel good.
  • It's important to be nice to everyone.
  • Bring a sweater.
  • By doing a little bit each day, you can get a lot accomplished.
  • Soap and water remove most stains.
  • Turning the computer on and off a few times often fixes a glitch.
  • If you can't find something, clean up.
  • You can choose what you do; you can't choose what you like to do.
  • Happiness doesn't always make you feel happy.
  • What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.
  • You don't have to be good at everything.
  • If you're not failing, you're not trying hard enough. (?)
  • Over-the-counter medicines are very effective.
  • Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.
  • What's fun for other people may not be fun for you--and vice versa.
  • People actually prefer that you buy wedding gifts off their registry.
  • You can't profoundly change your children's natures by nagging them or signing them up for classes.
  • No deposit, no return.
Quotes & Notes
  • "'I am happy--but I'm not as happy as I should be. I have such a good life, I want to appreciate it more--and live up to it better. ... I complain too much, I get annoyed more than I should. I should be more grateful. I think if I felt happier, I'd behave better'" (13).
  • "Another study suggested that getting one extra hour of sleep each night would do more for a person's daily happiness than getting a $60,000 raise" (19).
  • "My new... resolution for getting more sleep was to turn off the light. Too often I stayed up to read, answer e-mails, watch TV, pay bills, or whatever, instead of going to bed" (19).
  • "'Near your bedtime, don't do any work that requires alert thinking. Keep your bedroom slightly chilly. Do a few prebed stretches. Also--this is important--because light confuses the body's circadian clock, keep the lights low around bedtime, say, if you go to the bathroom. Also, make sure your room is very dark when the lights are out. Like a hotel room'" (20).
  • "'I read that even a tiny light from a digital alarm clock can disrupt a sleep cycle'" (20).
  • "Once I started running, I found that I didn't mind exercising, I just didn't like sports" (22).
  • The types of clutter are: nostalgic clutter, conservation clutter, freebie clutter, crutch clutter (the things you use but know you shouldn't, like ratty old clothes), aspirational clutter (things you plan to use but don't), and buyer's remorse clutter.
  • "'It is by studying the little things... that we attain the great art of having as little misery, and as much happiness as possible'" (37).
  • Anti-nagging techniques:
    • One-word reminders, such as "camera!" instead of "remember to figure out what's wrong with the camera before we go to the park!"
    • Tasks don't need to be done according to your schedule.
    • Just stop with the "it's for your own good" nagging (at least for other adults). They can take care of themselves.
    • Do it yourself.
    • Don't assign. Just do what needs to be done, and your partner will do the same. You will both pitch in.
  • Don't expect a gold star whenever you do something nice.
  • Lighten up. Don't take offense all the time.
  • "Like the old joke about the restaurant: 'The food is terrible!' 'Yes, and the portions are so small'" (50). I don't fully understand what they're trying to say, but I still like the joke.
  • Don't snap at people for no reason. I (myself, not the author) have been really trying to do this lately. It's kind of in my nature right now though, simply because I'm a teenager. It's easy to slip into this habit when I'm feeling tired or I had a long day.
  • "Although men and women agree that sharing activities and self-disclosure are important, women's idea of an intimate moment is a face-to-face conversation, while men feel close when they work or play sitting alongside someone" (54).
  • "The most reliable predictor of not being lonely is the amount of contact with women. Time spent with men doesn't make a difference" (52). This is interesting to me because on one of those "lesbian fanfic writing advice" Tumblr posts, I read that good lesbian fanfics (smut in particular) revolve more around emotions compared to straight or gay fanfics.
  • "Men and women both turn to women for understanding" (53).
  • "Hearing someone complain is tiresome whether or not you're in a good mood or a bad one and whether or not the complaining is justified" (55).
  • "I would bring up my worries if I really needed Jamie's counsel or support, but I wouldn't dump my minor troubles on him" (54).
  • "Whatever love I might feel in my heart, others will only see in my actions" (55).
  • "We hugged--for at least six seconds, which, I happen to know from my research is the minimum time necessary to promote the flow of oxytocin and serotonin, mind-boosting chemicals that promote bonding" (29).
  • "Hugging relieves stress, boosts feelings of closeness, and even squelches pain. In one study, people assigned to give five hugs each day for a  month, aiming to hug as many different people as they could, became happier" (40).
Chapters & Sub-sections
  • January (boost energy - vitality) (17)
    • Go to sleep earlier.
    • Exercise better.
    • Toss, restore, organize.
    • Tackle a nagging task. (I don't have any nagging tasks right now because it's summer & I have no school.)
    • Act more energetic.
  • February (remember love - marriage) (38)
    • Quit nagging.
    • Don't expect praise or appreciation.
    • Fight right.
    • No dumping.
    • Give proofs of love.
  • March (aim higher - work) (69)
    • Launch a blog. (ha ha)
    • Enjoy the fun of failure.
    • Ask for help.
    • Work smart.
    • Enjoy now.