"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.
Weekly small change challengesWeek 1 - Another 15 minutes
How often do you hit the “snooze” button on your alarm clock? Or think, “Ugh, I wish I had another 15 minutes.” Make it happen.
So many of us tend to run at top speed, collapse into bed in sheer exhaustion, and then drag ourselves up and out to do it all again. The more we do this, the more we hate it, and the more hopeless it all feels.
Downsize your hobbies, con your kids by changing every clock in the house, negotiate with your spouse around chores – in short, do whatever you have to do, but challenge yourself to go to bed 15 minutes early. With time, discipline, and structure, your organism will happily accept this small gift and become accustomed to making itself ready for rest, which means you’ll fall asleep easier, sleep better, and wake up the next morning more refreshed and less stressed.
Week 2 - Glamorize the ordinary
There are few things more commonplace than getting out of bed and getting ready every morning. Unless you are Batman suiting up to save Gotham City, Sir Lancelot preparing for the jousts, or Sauri getting ready for her initiation as a maiko. Then it’s no longer ordinary – then it’s cool.
We do this very well as children – transform ordinary events of the day into adventures. I have no idea why we give up on it as adults. We really shouldn’t. Sure it may seem ridiculous – but who cares? Nobody knows what goes on in your head when your brush your teeth or drive off to get groceries. If having Eye of the Tiger playing in your head (or in your headphones) helps you start your day better – then play it. If you want to button your buttons, tie your shoe laces, and buckle your belt like Aragorn before the Battle of Morannon – then do so.
So many things have gotten so pragmatic, so analyzed and practical these days. There is nothing wrong if you decide to add some fun to life through effective use of your imagination and sense of humor.
Week 3 - Use your turn signal.
Yes, I know – there are areas where using your turn signal is just begging to be treated like crap on the road. And that is precisely what we are trying to overturn here. Many accidents take place every year because someone failed to communicate which way they were going. Many more are just barely averted, because another driver has split-second reaction and really good anti-lock brakes.
I have no idea, how using your turn signal suddenly became uncool or weak, and why doing so means having a harder time making lane changes or being allowed into a parking spot. In the spirit of big change by way of small change, let us all start using our turn signals. The more of us do so, the more people will take notice and start doing the same.
Week 4 - What works for you may not work for others
Finding any job can be tough these days, let alone one's dream job. For those of you who managed this feat and found your perfect employment: congratulations! I am happy and proud of you. Have fantastic fun at work – you'll be awesome.
My current job is only half my dream job. It is in the sense that I LOVE being an analyst. I eat, drink, sleep, and breathe numbers, and that is fantastic. I don't care if the rest of the world thinks my job is boring – I love what I do. It is not quite as dreamy, because of being a part of a corporate workplace, complete with the pompousness, and politics, and other traits thereof that make it less than palatable at times. All things considered, most time, the love of what I do and the benefits (such as the ability to work from home) vastly outweigh the issues.
That said, while I might ask people whether they have considered a career as an analyst, I am certainly not going to insist that it's the best thing since sliced bread if they show no natural inclination for it. The same goes for any other job. Much as you may love your career in programming, or life insurance, or real estate, or online marketing – or anything else – recognize that it is YOUR dream job. It works for you. It might not work for others. It seems easy, pleasant and rewarding to YOU. But it may not appear the same way to others.
If you tell other people about your job, try to recruit them into the same field, and feel pushback from them, don't get offended and, more importantly, don't get snooty as in, "Fine, I'll collect my paycheck and yours while I am at it."
There is a reason why there is such a vast multitude of various professions in the world. Many things need to be done, and many different people get to do them. We can't all be astronauts, or writers, or ballet dancers, or college professors. There are jobs out there for all of us.
Big Little Stories
I've been taking herb bundles to work lately - freshly-cut herbs from the deck garden. I cut several different kinds and took them to work in glass bottles I saved up from various sauces and such. It's amazing how something so small brighten's people's day. It's like giving them flowers, except with the herb bundle bouquet - you can eat it too! :-)
- Mini-farm at one's front lawn - brilliant!
- If we are going to litter - let's at least do this with biodegradable materials.
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