Motivation

Motivation is rather like a double edged sword. On one side, it can metaphorically cut through all of the hardships thus propelling you towards reaching your goals, but on the other side, motivation is hard to find, and frankly impossible to keep.

National Motivation Day falls on the 1st July each year- the perfect time for such an event in my opinion. The first of July is near enough the midpoint of the year, and everyone knows that it is in the middle of a project when the participants start to flounder. Approximately 45% of people set New Years resolutions, me included, and by this time in the year, 88% of these people have failed at keeping them.

Motivation is something that we all need, and evidently something that I struggle with. It has taken me 12 days to even write this post! So, after all this rambling, how do we find ourselves packed full of motivation? Beats me. Henceforth to the Internet!

Okay, maybe the Internet wasn’t the best idea. After spending a considerable amount of procrastination time and finding myself being directed to exercise blogs and websites harping on about ‘ebb and flow'(yeah, um what?). I have decided that I will have to tackle motivation my own way, which kind of sucks. It sucks because if I know that I know how to be motivated, then it makes me feel like a bit of a loser when I see myself, entirely unmotivated. Therefore I propose a toast, no, wait, sorry, it’s just such a classic line, you know? I meant, I propose a plan of public humiliation. By admitting that I am an unmotivated loser on the Internet, I am putting myself in a position that forces me to become motivated, otherwise I just look like a bit of a tit. So, that’s rule one – tell people about you motivation plan, so that they can ridicule you until you actually do something motivated.

Writing lists is one of those wholly underrated activities. It brings me such joy when I can cross off something on my list. I make lists even if I’m just popping to the library(what a cool life I lead). I find that list making is one of those essential tasks when one finds the self on a quest for motivation. By writing something down, you can clearly see where you want to be, and breaking a task down into a simple, five-point to-do-list makes it so much easier to achieve.

Again, I look shamefully upon the Internet, for in my search for motivational songs, I and across a top ten list which featured not only Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ but also R Kelly’s I Believe I Can Fly. Oh hell no. I mean, after all that, my all time favourite motivational song just has to be Five’s Keep On Movin’ doesn’t it? Motivational music is such a great tool to have in your arsenal of self-inspiration. What’s more motivating than belting out a chorus or two of your favourite tune(p.s. I Just Had Sex by Lonely Island does not count).

If all else fails, and you find yourself wavering dangerously close to Tumblr. just have a stop, and think. Sit in a park, in your house, on your terrace, anywhere alone, and think about what you want your future to be like, and will moping around help you get there? Just, whatever you do, don’t go onTumblr. Before you realise it, you’ll be neck deep in ‘inspirational quotes’ filled with such profound wisdom(ahem), that you will almost definitely wriggle an arm free to drown your sorrows in Bulmers.

Good Luck.

LGBT Pride

The 28th June 1969(isn’t that ironic?) saw the beginning of the Christopher Street Liberation Day tradition. This street has become renowned due to the riot for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender cause back in 1969. The riot followed a police raid on a gay bar at 43 Christopher Street, New York City, New York. This watershed moment for the LGBT community was probably one of the first times that being gay was publicised, and more importantly, publicly supported by the protesters. This day, 44 years later, London’s people (and people in many other places across the world) celebrated gay pride. Naming themselves ‘London LGBT+ Community Pride’ they hosted a more inclusive event than previous years. The theme of this year’s main event was ‘Love and Marriage’, featuring a parade from Baker Street to Trafalgar Square. It does impress me that we are now having parades rather than protests about being gay, but 44 years later? Really?

Back in 2013, gay marriage is still very much on the table for discussion, whether it be about the governments plans to support/not support gay marriage, or about whether religion condones it, or about everyone’s personal views. Today, logging into YouTube in the morning, I noticed something different about the little red logo at the top of the site: it was accompanied by a rainbow heart. My curious nature compelled me to click on this little icon, and I soon found my self on YouTubeUK’s channel, watching videos about gay pride. I must say, the Show Your Pride, Share Your Love video was incredibly touching, and it honestly brightened my day. It brightened my day knowing that not everyone in the world is as ignorant as I expect them to be.

Why should it be hard to ‘come out’ to your friends and family? Why should people not love you for who you are, and support the choices of the individual?

This is the freaking 21st century, and we should still not be hung up over people being homosexual, and yet we are still having this debate. It was only two years ago that the don’t Ask, Don’t Tell scheme in America was dismissed. Why is this? Well, I don’t know if it’s parental influence, your culture or peer pressure that makes people feel that being gay is something to be punished, but I wish it wasn’t the case. I bet by writing this, certainly a proportion of the people reading will be thinking that I’m gay also. But I’m not. It’s the initial reaction, isn’t it? The old ‘you support gay rights, so you must he a bender’, but, um, no. I support a group of equal human beings that I believe have as much a right to be happy as everyone else.

In a world where racists, fascists and ignorant twats are free to be with whomever they like, why should the LGBT community be stopped from sharing their love.

Be proud to love. You deserve it, and so does the world around you.

Prom Dress Massacre

Prom season has arrived!

It’s early, around nine AM. Your in the shop, alone except for your Mum,who’s armed with her credit card, and has got her arms outstretched to hold your endless options for the dressing room.

And what drove you to this? That question from that annoying girl in the other class; ‘So, have you got your prom dress yet, or what?

With prom coming up for most people in their final years of school life, the prom-dress-rush is something that most girls will experience. Not only is it the attempt to buy a dress hard, but it is the added pressure of the getting the accessories coordinated, and all in time for the day.

Lets start with the dress. Personally, I find it a bit too ‘keen’ for people to wear the massive, big-fat-gypsy-wedding-esque  dresses to prom, thus leaving you with the option of buying a dress off the rack, or making it yourself. And, who am I kidding? We are not Amish. One does not simply make their own prom dress. As a consequence, we are left to buy dresses from the likes of department and fashion stores(oh, woe is me).

I think that we all know what that means; an eternity of snobby shop assistants, busy people and crowded shops, and the worst nightmare- someone wearing the same dress as you. Generally, I don’t know many people that don’t love a game of ‘Who wore it better?’, especially when its between prune-like Madonna and the gorgeous Nina Dobrev, for example. However, I doubt it is something that hormonal emotional teenagers want to be playing, especially if your comparison person is far more popular than you. That would only leave you feeling confused: not knowing whether to be proud that someone so popular validated the ‘cool’ status of the dress, or to cry because they clearly ‘wore it better’.

Who could think of a better way to choose a prom dress than to instagram a picture of yourself(ahem, posing) in it, because obviously there isn’t enough pictures of you, and of prom dresses all over the internet. The thirst for appreciation of the prom dress by friends is one that can clearly only be quenched by getting 50 likes on a picture, even though your Mum declared you beautiful in the dress three hours ago. Enough already, there is never a time nor place for selfies.

So, you’ve survived the shop, but somehow managed to leave sans a dress(despite the numerous Twit-pic retweets and Facebook likes). It’s not like you were having a breakdown about ‘how big your bum looked in this’ in the cubicle, thus forcing your Mum to leave the shop in a flurry of concern, trying to console you, to no fruition, or anything weird. The quest continues into the next shop, and the next one, until you find that one dress that looks so perfect in the window display that a force like no other is pulling you face to face with the shop assistant, begging her to ‘go downstairs and check for that larger size’ because your boobs are getting a bit bigger that you thought. At this point, it is unclear whether you feel blessed for the bigger bust or cursed.

After all that struggle, what have you achieved apart from a stonking headache, and a strong desire to start shopping online instead. Which leaves me with one burning question for when I inevitably have to brave the shops: is there a right way to go prom dress shopping?

 

Don’t worry, whatever you do, nothing will be as bad as this.

 

How To Be Happy

The meaning of life. The meaning of life has been a topic for debate since long before I was born, and probably for long after I die. Who gets to decide the meaning of life, and when they decide, what is it?

The well weathered debate normally goes as follows. A religious person would argue that to follow God is the meaning of life. A romantic person would argue to find your soulmate. A realistic person would argue that to get a good job, earn money and to have a comfortable life is life’s meaning. A scientist could argue two ways; we should either try a reproduce as much as we can to repopulate the Earth, or we are just going to die anyway, so what’s the point.

I like to see myself as a dreamer with a realistic conscience. To me, life’s meaning is to be happy. I want to be able to look back at my life from my rocking chair on the ranch porch at a ripe old age and think ‘yeah, that was pretty good’ about my life.

The dreamer part of me knows that happiness is something of a goal to achieve in my life. Happiness is to me what enlightenment is to Buddhists. It could set me free from the cycle of endlessness mundane. It seems simple enough, but don’t be deluded. Happiness is a feeling that can take years to develop, but positivity and meditation will help nurture your inner happiness- ahem…who am I kidding? Here’s some things NOT to do if you wish to have a happy and fulfilling life.

Step one, fill your life with clutter like you would a pre-paid pick’n’mix cup at WHSmiths- to the brim. Being happy is about taking on too many commitments and virtually piling them on top of each other on a teetering stack in your mind. Who needs to ‘get their crap together and be more organised’ when they could be disorientated, stressed and mentally crying? These are the keys to opening the door to a happy life.

Step two, once the door is open, make sure to jam it open with the doorstop of letting everything affect you deep into your soul (if you believe in that crap). ‘Letting it go’ is not a phrase that can be allowed in your new, happy regime. Prove that you’ve got emotions by swearing at an annoying TV advert, and crying when, as a result of a casual Facebook stalk, you find out that your ex from aged 13 is dating someone else. Happiness is about feeling emotions years after an event has passed, or feeling them about the simple, worthless things in life. At least you can appreciate that small, useless things matter, and they matter the MOST.

Step three, give up, is a step that is going to help everyone step through the door and walk right into their happy life. Where would we be if everyone had tried again when they didn’t succeed? Nowhere, that’s where. Giving up is perhaps the most crucial stage when following the route to being happy. Obviously, you should let yourself wallow in self-pity for as long as you need after your emerging has undoubtedly failed. It’s OK. Give up. You never know, next time it could go worse; it’s best to quit while you’re ahead.

Step four is an obvious one; always look on the dark side of life. Pessimism is the to happiness what water is to plants: it helps a person grow. Having a half-empty glass doesn’t make you a bad person, it just means that you have a particular fondness of scientific measures. Pessimists are the favourites of society- if you are not one yet, try and surround yourself with them. Not only will their pessimism rub-off on you, but you could learn some tips for leading your own happy life.

Step five, sadly the last step before you reach the ultimate, three-year-old-with-a-bunny-rabbit/heavenly state of happiness (children are unbelievably peppy, aren’t they?), is to tie your hair up. That’s right. Tie your hair, secure with about one million bobby-pins, wheelbarrows full of hairspray, and ever let it down. There will be none of that ‘Rapunzel, Rapunzel’ crap in your life. Obviously, that was a metaphor, and we are actually talking about being serious. Seriousness is seriously underrated. Everyone loves a pessimist, but everyone loves a serious twat more. Don’t go on that karaoke machine in Vegas, in fact, don’t go to Vegas. Your path of happiness will benefit from your life of eternal serious business and uptight attitude.

There you have it; my ultimate guide to being happy.

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P.S I am not qualified to give good advice. Also, this is a guide of how NOT to be happy, so try reading the tips in reverse, and see how it goes.

15 Years and Counting

15 Kids and Counting sounds like the bad name of a family where the parents seriously need to invest in contraception. But what about 15 Years and Counting. ‘You should never ask a woman her age’ is one of those common tales that a man is typically told in his younger years. Confession time; I’m 15. I don’t necessarily agree with the declaration above, but I do find my birthday a bit of a downer. Cake and presents are nice, but you will only be getting older.

Many people measure milestones in their life. This could be through celebratory meals, or just endless photos on an embarrassing Facebook photo album that you are trying to hide. The most common milestone celebration, in my opinion, is birthdays. MTV seem to have captured the epitome of birthdays with the likes of Sweet Sixteen clearly showing all teenagers that you need to have a lavish party and get a car that you can’t even legally drive in order to be cool(ahem…no.)

Sixteen is that limbo age. You are old enough to have sex (haha- that won’t be happening for a while), smoke (that either), get a student card, and pilot a glider plane (?!). However, you are too old to buy a child ticket at the train station, for it to be socially acceptable to go trick-or-treating at Halloween, and to have no worries.  Sixteen is an age that often gets overshadowed by the likes of 18th and 21st birthdays, but it marks one of the most prominent occasions in a teen’s life- the first time that they will get drunk at a party. LOL, joke. Sixteen is the year of GCSE’s, the year of first boyfriends (at an all girl’s school? Yeah right), and the year of decisions.

I don’t want to be a total downer, but we are all going to die, aren’t we? We only have one life to live, and every minute of the day we will not get back, once it’s passed. I realised this almost a year ago, and it made my birthday last year really miserable. My birthday is coming up in a few weeks, and I don’t know whether to be excited or nervous. I think that it is because I have built up so much fear in my mind about what comes past aged 15 and that once I turn sixteen, I will not know how to deal with the pressure of exams, and life in general. But is the anticipation of fear worse than the actual outcome? Yes. We are not supposed to think of any danger before it actually comes. I mean, we should not anticipate negative things in advance before they have happened. It is a way of pessimism, but we are all guilty of it.

To me it seems that on the midnight of my 15-16 birthday, my life will change so dramatically. But it won’t.  It’s not like I will suddenly grow wrinkles all over my face and become some weirdo hag woman. But it won’t. I know that now, after a year of worrying. To me, each day is something which should not be wasted, which makes y birthday all the more painful. However, if I was following my own advice, I would have realised by now that each day that I spend being miserable about my upcoming birthday, is one more day that I have wasted being miserable, and working myself up. And over what? The fact that I have to make choices and pass exams?

People also seem to measure their life by their achievements. Just the other day my sister wrote ‘Congratulations, your 80’ on a card for my Grandma. I think that we all need to realise just how quickly the time between the years will pass, and live each day sans worrying about problems that may never happen.

Cake and presents are nice, but you will only be getting older; you will have so many more opportunities to come, so enjoy them when they come, and celebrate the amazing year you’ve had rather than the fact that you are getting old.