Good love is “boring”

Bad love is erratic


I just finished reading Samantha Irby’s “We Are Never Meeting In Real Life” (recommended, obvs), and in it she talks about her relationship by saying,

“I’m in love and it’s boring.”

Right on, sister.

Too often, we think love is supposed to be manic

People celebrate “losing themselves,” and “falling” for someone; they get tossed and turned like they have no say in the matter; they let themselves get pulled emotionally willy nilly and chalk it up as “passion.”

“Relationships take work,” we tell ourselves. But we’ve misconstrued what that “work” is supposed to mean.

“Boring” is better than “impassioned,” and while most great relationships have a blend of both, forced to choose, we should readily take the former.Consistently warm is far more hospitable than hot and cold for long-term emotional wellbeing.

Boring is beautiful

By “boring,” I mean stability, consistency, reliability. We can hang our hat on these things; we can only build on a solid, unwavering foundation.

Greatness is built with consistency

As true for relationships as it is for anything.

Weight loss happens with countless little daily decisions, not binging and purging. Building a company happens in the millions of micro-moments, not landing — and losing — That One Big Client. It’s a lot easier to engineer a solution around consistent variables — regardless of what they are.

When a partner (or the relationship) is up, down, hot, cold, ecstatic, pissed, etc., we spend far too much time managing their feelings and not enough time actually building the relationship.

I can’t do anything with an erratic partner. (I know this because I had one once — okay, twice — and it was simply unworkable.)

Greatness is built with agency and taking responsibility

Our partners are not here to keep us “entertained.”

If we approach love with healthy hearts, we don’t complain of “boredom” with our partners, because we understand that they are not here to amuse, distract, or otherwise entertain us. Their lives are not fuel for our amusement, they are not here simply to delight and distract.

We are responsible for our own emotional wellbeing.

Greatness is built with emotional health

Emotionally healthy people do not chase “romance” and put on exaggerated displays. Emotionally healthy people can lap at the edge of excess; they are satiated on healthy displays of love alone. They understand that real, healthy love is in the every day little shit — remembering the dry cleaning; a hug; a word of encouragement before the big meeting — and they don’t require, nor do they have any real appetite for, the showy shit that’s “shareable” on social media.

Greatness is built in the everyday, not the few exciting moments

Great relationships, like anything, are built in the everyday. They don’t simply endure the everyday to just get to the next vacation or fun outing, just like great work doesn’t simply endure the work week to get to the weekend.Relationships are built in the “white space” of life; they are the everyday. So what we do with that time makes or breaks us.

Every moment we spend with our loved one is precious and invaluable. That’s where the relationship lives or dies. And a lot of those everyday moments are, for the most part, boring.

That 80 year old couple holding hands in the park is sharing “boring.” They got there one day at a time.

Impassioned is dangerous

By “impassioned” I mean excitement, excess, extremes. Romantic hedonism — new restaurants, gifts, travel, grandiose displays or constant reassurance or lofty, poetic declarations of love. If you want great love, these should make you want to run.

Bustle put out an article on “17 things to do when you get bored in your relationship.”

I’ll save you a read, because there aren’t “17” things to do. There’s only one thing to do, and it’s: “take responsibility for your own life and understand that it’s not your partner’s job to entertain you.”

There is, of course, a real benefit of trying new things and going to new places as a couple — but only if done with a calm heart, and never with the anxious frenzy to “do something!”

When we chase romance and excitement, we do to “love” what porn does to sex.

I can appreciate a sentimental surprise as much as the next girl, but nothing turns me off more than empty romantic gestures for the sake of the gesture. Given the choice, I’d rather take a dude who never does anything “romantic”but is stable and emotionally-secure every day.

“Passion” is dangerous to hang our hearts on because it fades away. It must either be doggedly pursued and constantly refueled, or it runs the risk of exposing the realization that there’s nothing underneath. Love built on frenzied pursuits leaves us fatigued and washed up, looking at each other at the end of our ropes, frustrated that we “can’t come up with anything else to do.”

In good love, there’s nothing “to do” except love one another. Every day. And it doesn’t depend on how we feel, because good, healthy love doesn’t hinge on our feelings; it’s a choice. Every day.

Good love looks and feels “boring”

Real, healthy love is quiet, not loud. It is calm, not frenzied. It is solid and stable, not flighty or fickle.

As Irby wrote,

“Real love… it’s not a game you don’t understand the rules of, or a test you never got the materials to study for. It never leaves you wondering… what you could possibly do to make it come home and stay there. It’s fucking boring, dude. I don’t walk around mired in uneasiness, waiting for the other shoe to drop… This feels safe and steadfast and predictable and secure. It’s boring as shit. And it’s easily the best thing I’ve ever felt.”

Good love is just the everyday — every day.

Professions I Couldn’t Date

A working list of professions I probably wouldn’t jive with:

Designers

Look, I love what they put out, but I really can’t do more than brief periods of time together. There’s just a way of “thinking” – being – that makes for a designer, and that’s not me.

In software, I have found that most managers are either biased toward designers or biased toward developers, and I am definitely the latter.

Fine artists

And I don’t mean fiiiiiine artists, though frankly those aren’t my type, either.

The idea of standing around at gallery openings bores me to tears.

Other writers

lol, no. There’s only enough for one of us to have silly little idiosyncrasies such as these, and frankly I need someone thoroughly rooted to The Real World to keep my conversations from getting too lofty.

Also, I hate talking about the craft.

I hate talking about “The Process” even more.

Doctors

Left to my devices, I easily slip into “hypochondria” territory. If I had a doctor around 24/7, I would drive him crazy with questions.

Lawyers

Mostly because I could never date an SJ (Myers Briggs “guardians,” both “sensor” and “judging”), and these are some real SJ mothafuckers.

Also, I heard that lawyers are some of the unhappiest people, because they’ve trained their brains to look for faults, and then fault-finding seeps into their real life. And as someone dating a race engineer who periodically forgets that I am not also a race car to optimize, I believe it.

Why They Don’t “Just Say What They Want”

It goes much deeper than “playing coy”


I recently found a post that asked,

“What’s the most annoying thing your partner does?”

One of the top comments was:

“When they don’t tell me what they want! I have to all but sit them down and force them!”

I get it. It’s annoying.

My partner and I are both the “I don’t care where we eat” sort — and to make matters worse, we’re both the type to sort of neglect to eat altogether, especially if nothing is jumping out at us (it just kinda isn’t worth the hassle sometimes.) So I hear you.

Not everyone struggles with what they want, but those who do do it across their lives

They don’t know where they want to eat. They don’t know what they want to drink. They don’t know what they want in a relationship. They don’t know what they want regarding a lot of shit.


I see this as a bartender all the time — people come in, sit down, and then look around dumbfounded like they’ve never seen a bar before. Maybe they’ll reach for a cocktail list only to flip it over a few times like they can’t read. They’ll look at the draft list like it’s a work of abstract art. They’ll scan the bottles too fast to actually be registering what’s there.

“What can I get for you?” I’ll ask, already dreading the answer that comes with this stupefied thing they’re doing.

“I don’t know,” they’ll say, then ask: “What do you recommend?” Or: “what’s good?” Or, simply: “surprise me!”

And I think to myself, “I recommend that you make your own decisions. That’s ‘what’s good.’ How’s that for a surprise?”

People who do this aren’t doing it to be coy. And they’re not doing it because they’re afraid of being seen as “wanting a drink.” Like, I know you want a drink — you’re in a bar. It’s a deeper problem, of:

  • Literally not knowing what we want, and
  • Not wanting to figure it out and choose

WHY people “can’t decide”

Sometimes people don’t seem to understand: we are not machines with missing instructions. Things aren’t always black and white.

Maybe they’re out of touch with options

Maybe they don’t categorize experiences as a series of fool-proof “if, then’s.

Or maybe they’re out of touch with themselves.

Highly likely; almost always part of the problem. But this isn’t something that’s settled by shouting or demanding an answer (of ourselves or others.)

“Want” is a complicated thing, because many decisions have at least two variables — short vs. long term satisfaction.

Here’s everything that goes through my head when I’m deciding on what to eat: I like salads — good salads. I’m craving something cheesy, but “tomorrow me” doesn’t want something cheesy. “Want” isn’t black and white.

To the loved ones of “people who can’t decide:”

You have a few options:

  • Mill about trying to “force” them to choose
  • Choose for or without them
  • Reframe the decision to help them to choose

If it doesn’t matter that much, just decide. If you’re getting hangry, just decide. If you’re short on time, just decide. If it’s what color to paint the guest bedroom walls, just decide.

My mother’s idea of a “perfect vacation” is one where she plans and decides absolutely nothing, and gets to enjoy it passively like a child in a little red wagon, tugged along and fed snack packs at regular intervals. I know this, so I just decide. If I didn’t, she’d just go ask Rick Steves what she should want to do. So I save us both time by just deciding.

When it comes to something that only involves them, however, I will often force them to choose. At the bar, I will very rarely pick for someone, unless they’re “playing the game” (i.e., “I’m curious to see what you recommend, as a fellow whiskey drinker” rather than “I’m too overwhelmed.”) But other than that, if someone isn’t picking, I’ll leave and come back as many times as it takes for them to get their shit together and live their own lives. (And buddy, I’ve got all night.)

And sometimes, I just move on. I have one friend in particular who is notorious for being unable to decide what she wants to eat. When we go out and I get hungry, I just get food — something quick. I don’t pussyfoot or get hangry waiting for her to decide, like it’s The Last Meal She’ll Ever Have. I feed myself, and she doesn’t get offended. And when she’s finally ready to decide, we simply stop again.

With my partner, we have two tools that work 99% of the time for us:

  • Rank options -5 to 5, -5 being “I will die if I have to do this,” 0 being “I literally do not care,” and 5 being “I will die if I don’t.” If we’re sort of wishy washy on something but both our scores together are positive, and lower than other immediate options, that’s the winner.
  • Take turns picking. You know that old parenting trick to keep kids from fighting over “what’s fair” — one kid divides something (a sandwich, whatever) into half, and the other kid gets to choose which “half” he or she wants. Done. Here’s how it works for deciding: one person throws out 3 options. Usually as they’re saying them, they’ve already eliminated one, or picked a favorite. Great. But say 3.) Make the other person either eliminate one, or rank them (see above — does this sound convoluted? It probably does. BUT IT GOES MUCH FASTER THAN THE “I DON’T KNOW” GAME IRL.) Once they’ve eliminated one and/or ranked them, the other person picks from those two, or ranks in response. So easy. So fast.

To “people who can’t decide:”

Start living your life, babe.

We spend all this time pinning inspirational and aspirational shit, but then we can’t even commit to where to eat or what to drink. I know it’s nice to dream of a world where everything’s handled and Prince Charming or some other hero makes all of our decisions in exactly the way we want them made, but the reality is that we are responsible for our own emotional wellbeing, and our own everyday lives.

Pick a drink. Pick a meal. Pick a partner. Pick a vocation.

Take some level of accountability. And start living your own life.

Fuck “Finding Your Passion”

It’s not the thing we think

“I Was A Botox Junkie,” LA Arts District, artist Tristan Eato

Note: this was originally part of “The 1 Most Important Thing To Be Successful.” I broke it out, as it seemed to warrant a stand-alone post, but if you already read it there, you may not need/want to read it again here.

Too many people don’t pursue anything because they’re “finding their passion.”

And to these people I just want to say:

You don’t need passion.

At least not in the grossly oversimplified way we define it — as “interests” — and definitely not as a standalone thing.

If you’re already passionate…

Great — keep on keeping on. This message isn’t for you. Skip ahead.

This message is for everyone “trying to find their passion,” i.e., expecting the universe to hand it to them. It’s for those sitting around waiting for “inspiration” and using a lack of it as an excuse to do nothing. It’s even for people who consider themselves “passionate” but allow it to dictate their effort levels, which ebbs and flows day to day. (And many of us are guilty of this.)

If you’re “looking for your passion”

Get over yourself — you’re overcomplicating.

As Tim Grover, personal trainer to a number of top professional basketball players, including fifteen years with Michael Jordan, says,

“You know what passion is? Passion is an emotion. It’s an emotion without an action. Passion will get you nowhere. Inner drive will get you nowhere unless you act on it. You have to act on your passion. You have to act on your inner drive. Don’t let those feelings stay inside you. You gotta know what to do with them. You gotta know how to make them work to get what you want.”

You already have everything you need

Because “passion” is not what we think it is.

I read a shit-ton of biographies, autobiographies, and memoirs, and here’s something a remarkable number of people have in common:

Many successful people didn’t choose their “thing.”

Barbe-Nicole Ponsardin of Veuve Clicquot only came into the champagne business through her husband, who inherited it from his father and then died early on in the marriage. It was a just a few struggling vineyards when Barbe-Nicole took it on, but over her life she not only built what is still today one of the leading champagne empires, but she completely re-engineered the way champagne was produced, shipped and marketed, revolutionizing the industry forever. All of this from someone who, before her husband’s death, had probably never even considered getting into champagne.

Howard Schultz and Ray Kroc (the recognized founders of Starbucks and McDonalds, respectively) were restaurant supply salesmen who bumped into single-location shops (coffee and burgers), saw how good the products were, and blew them out. Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran was introduced to the commercial real estate business where she made her millions through her boyfriend at the time.

Andre Agassi, widely considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time, admitted in his autobiography that he hates tennis “with a dark and secret passion.”

Plenty of people succeed having spent exactly zero time pondering what interests me? Not because they were “accidental entrepreneurs,” or “just got lucky,” because they sure as hell still worked — hard. They just didn’t sit around waiting for the perfect opportunity or “interest” to fall into their lap.

They directed their energy at what was in front of them.

It kinda reminds of the scene between Buddy and the store manager in the 2003 film Elf,

Buddy: “I just like to smile — smiling’s my favorite!”

Store Manager: “Make work your favorite — that’s your favorite, okay? Work is your new favorite.”

Now, obviously there are of course plenty of founders who chase intrinsic, tangible interests — Elon Musk, Coco Chanel, Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Chouinard (Patagonia) and Ford — but if you do not already have a natural inclination toward a specific system (and you would know by now — we’re grown-ass adults), it’s because your passion is actually aligned elsewhere.

Because: you can be passionate about things, sure. But you can also be passionate about other areas: people, ideas, experimentation, insight, structure, etc. And you already have these.

Create Energy

How do you want to feel? Recall times you felt the closest to it.

What raised your body temperature? What made you feel alert and alive? It might not have been something as literal as “playing basketball” or “learning Latin.” It might have been something less discrete, like “helping people” or “high energy environments,” or, simply: “winning.”

You already have something, somewhere — you just undervalue it.

A lot of people are going to read this section and come away thinking: “yeah, see?! So I still need to ‘find my passion.’” No. It takes 5 seconds to answer the question: when in your life have you felt most alive, most fired up, most powerful? Name 2 or 3, then say why. That’s all you need to chase.

My passion is people.

My happiest and most energizing roles are simply those where I am:

  • Working very closely with others. That bartender life, just for example, does right by me — there’s nothing quite like the sexy-ass zen feeling of being totally aware and in sync with the other bartender(s) movements behind the bar on a slammed Saturday night. You’d maybe think this would be lower, being an introvert (and a writer) and all. And it’s true that I hate stupid shit like “group projects” and “brainstorming sessions,” but I do love me a good group-tackle on a singular objective.
  • Solving others’ pain points —directly. Every job I’ve ever loved, from high school to today, was interfacing with the customers or clients. Every job I’ve hated were those I was abstracted from them.
  • In a high energy environment. (See: bar. Also: software.)

And the point here is: I don’t give a fuck about the product — as long as my customers care about the product. Some of my happiest roles were supporting products that I had never used, would never use, would never want to use, and in some cases could never use, but I didn’t care.

In fact, even when I had my own business, I wasn’t really “passionate” about that product in and of itself either. But it didn’t matter, because I was instead a.) passionate about the customer I was serving and b.) pissed about their pain point. I didn’t need to be passionate about what the solution looked like, just like I don’t need to personally like every drink I pour. Or every software solution I touch. I just need to care enough about people and what they want out of it.

It just needs to work.

You just need to find the one piece you need and once you find it, you just commit to and jump in on the rest.


Join my email list, champ!

(Pro tip: you can also reach me through that link.)

The Number 1 Reason Your Life Sucks

And the number 1 way to turn it around


If you think your life sucks, it probably does. But if you think it’s primarily due to any external factor, you’re wrong.

Across the board, there is one consistent, yawning, drowning reason that keeps us from achieving things, and it’s:

You Make Excuses

Instead of finding solutions.

In fact, many of you are making an excuse right NOW as you’re reading this!

Like,

  • or I don’t make excuses — I have ADHD!”
  • or “it’s not my fault — I have health issues!”
  • or “I was raised to believe — ”
  • or “I’m not as smart”
  • or “I didn’t have rich parents” (news flash: many successful people didn’t, either)

Or maybe they sound more like:

  • “I do work hard on my business — this is just the ‘research phase!’” (lol gtfo here with that and come back when you’re ready to join the real world)
  • or “I need to make a plan first
  • or “I need more information”
  • or “I don’t know what I want to do” (no shit — see below)
  • or “my market is hard”
  • or “nobody will help me”
  • or “I’m doing everything right!” (lol, clearly not.)

Or perhaps my (least) favorite,

  • “I know! I just need to get motivated!” (Look, bud. “Motivation” is bullshit. Successful people didn’t have more sparkle juice for breakfast — they just wanted it more than you do, and were willing to endure more setbacks to get it.)

We all have something we come back to. (My own favorite excuse that I use? Nothing is “quite right” enough — I’m critical, I hang back, I reject. And it’s probably interesting to note that the exception here is my relationship. The only reason I find “relationships” so easy is because I eliminate all of the judgment and “checklists” and only look for 3 things. And now that I’ve found them, all I worry about is committing each and every day.)

Anyway, to anyone thinking any of these or anything else — and we all have something we go back to — these are all examples of shit that the sort of people you admire overcame.

The one most important thing to be successful is: perseverance

Psychologist Angela Duckworth calls it “grit.”

Mega pro-basketball trainer Tim Grover calls it “relentlessness.”

Gary Vaynerchuk calls it “hustle,” sure — but he also calls it patience,” i.e., hustling over the long haul, not just sometimes.

Will Smith calls it “being willing to die on the treadmill.”

Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, calls it “working like a mule.”

Some call it “creating possibilities” — “by looking beyond what you think is available, and… focusing on what you can offer.” i.e., finding workarounds.

One CEO (and founder!) of a billion-dollar publicly-traded company chalks his success to only two things: (1) never run out of money. And after that? (2) When it gets hard — “and it will get hard!” he emphasizes — don’t stop. (Just for context: his company was in the red for ten years before they saw a profit.)

I read a shit-ton of biographies, autobiographies and memoirs, and one of the biggest commonalities I’ve noticed across all of these amazing people? When they experienced remarkable setbacks — situations where most people would fold — they kept going.

Some of them lost their entire inventory. Or they got fucked over by a partner. Or a vendor. They lost their right-hand product person. They went bankrupt. They were revolutionizing the champagne industry in the 19th Century and struggled to figure out how to get bottles around Europe without them a.) going bad or b.) breaking. Whatever.

The difference with successful people isn’t that they never experienced setbacks — it’s that they didn’t stop.

And those who don’t see the success are all the ones who did.

Why Do We Make Excuses?

Any number of reasons… maybe it’s because “inertia” — a body at rest will stay at rest. Or because “self esteem.” Because it’s socially acceptable.

But at the end of the day, it’s really because:

  • You either don’t actually know what you want
  • Or you don’t want it badly enough

People who know exactly what they want — and want it with a blinding desire — don’t make excuses.

How To Stop Making Excuses

It’s simple:

1.) Take ownership of your own life

Nobody is here to rescue you, Charles. Nothing outside of you matters as much as your reaction to it, and countless people have achieved more with less. Use what you have — and know that your biggest asset is your mind.

2.) Decide — specifically — what you want

“Build a business” is not specific. Fuck off with that shit. Be specific. And it’s not about “having a plan,” but it is understanding the difference between “get in shape” and “lose 20 pounds.” “Build a business” is not the specific goal — “sell x amount of x product to x people” is. Then you build the business around that, to support it.

3.) Want it badly enough

Want it enough that you’re willing to make sacrifices (lifestyle, relationships, other opportunities, credit, etc.) and you’re willing to push through when your shit sandwich is more shit than sandwich.


Take Ownership

Too many people think “work ethic” or “trying” means “only when it’s easy,” but trying when it’s not easy is the entire point. The universe doesn’t hand out special awards for people who can carry on in clear skies and sunshine. The universe favors those who are out there sloughing in rain and snow and hurricanes. (Metaphorically speaking. Unless it’s not for you…?)

The only thing holding you back from what you want is you. And the excuses you make — like what you incorrectly assign to other things.

You are not a victim of your own life

If you think the world is out to get you, it’s because you’ve victimize yourself and it rushes in to fill that energy void, receiving your negative energy with negative energy. You see negative because negative is what you put out.

You will never achieve what you want if you spend your life as a victim — if you do the same mediocre, hapless thing but expect great things to happen.

If you never get what you want, that is no one’s fault but your own. You are the only one who is standing in the way.

Life doesn’t owe you anything

If you want something you have to work hard for it — not make excuses as to why you don’t have it, or whine and complain.

One of my good friends is a dude now in his mid-30’s whose primary goal in life is to find his wife. He’s tall, has a fantastic job, dresses well, owns his own place, and — most importantly — has a heart of gold. In other words, has tons of the shit most people look for on paper. But the dude can’t find a partner.

But he also refuses to do anything differently. I’ve known him for over five years and he still goes to the same bars and uses the same sites. I hired aninterpersonal coach to help me with sales after a few months of running my business — a woman whose primary business is actually dating coaching: helping people find their spouse. I referred him to her, but he never called. He makes enough money — he just doesn’t want to try.

I have another friend who — same thing — also wants to find a husband. And again, she thinks she’s trying — she puts in effort for dates, she “puts love out there” right away, and when each one doesn’t work, she always asks me: “what am I doing wrong??” But the problem is that she doesn’t actually want to be doing anything wrong. She doesn’t actually want to change. She doesn’t actually want to hear the answers. What she actually wants is to keep going into these relationships doing exactly what she’s always done and for that to magically work. And I’m not saying it won’t work out for her because I’m sure it will, but it might help the process along a little bit if she actually tried a bit, too, rather than only thinking she was.

People will say you have to “work you ass off” and “work really hard” to get what you want. And yeah, that certainly helps. But so many people aren’t trying at all! They think they’re trying but they’re off in left field, doing things that don’t work and too consumed with making excuses to ask questions and experiment — and take responsibility for the outcome.

Commit to your own life

Don’t pretend your life is someone else’s job — or at the hands of the universe. Quit making it about anything that isn’t “you.”

If you want your life to get better then start, living like it. Start doing something positive in the right direction and don’t stop until you get there, and keep going even once you do.


Join my email list, champ!

(Pro tip: you can also reach me through that link.)

Nothing External Matters, Only Our Reaction To It

It’s the only thing we actually control


External events do not harm us — only our responses to them can

It may sound counterintuitive — “of course external events can harm us!” we might protest, “I can get hit by a bus, or my partner might leave me!”

But the reality is that the story doesn’t actually end with the external occurrence, even though so many people think it does. We perceive and talk about these events as though they are the defining moment, and sort of gloss over everything available to us afterwards.

These events only have the power that we choose to give them. They only destroy us because we think they are destructive, and allow them to run our lives.

Eleanor Roosevelt famously said,

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

And the same is true with anything external — not just other people.

If our judgement about any event is that it is horrible, then we allow ourselves to dwell in the belief that we are far worse off if they happen. But if we strip external events of their power, and reclaim our internal power to decide, gage, and assign value, we maintain control of our lives — and happiness.

Because our internal judgements are independent of external events, the occurrence of a bad event does not necessarily have to result in sadness.

If we lose something dear to us and get down ourselves, the problem is not the loss, but our outlook on it.

Life results in loss. Loss will happen. It’s part of being alive. And while loss looks different from person to person and we may experience different things, to go through life allowing any loss to bully us or push us around emotionally in any direction that it chooses is to surrender our control — and wellbeing.

We assign too much power to internal emotions as well

And not nearly enough to reason and balance; to reclaiming control rather than allowing ourselves to be rocked by what we feel.

Roman politician and lawyer Cicero said,

“When misfortunes appear on the horizon, we exaggerate then once more, because of the pain they are causing us. These feelings compel us to put blame on the circumstances when what we ought to be blaming is a deficiency in our own character.”

Obviously, most of us are not immune to external events. Most of us are going to feel negative emotions — anger, sadness, heartbreak, etc. — over negative things happening.

But recognizing that there is an inner core that is free no matter the circumstances, and recognizing that our mindset is not at the mercy of external events — or our immediate emotional response to it — but rather something that is under our own control can go a long way in fostering a healthier, happier outlook.

And it can help us maintain emotional wellbeing when things do go wrong — which they will.

All of us will experience setbacks and loss. But it is only our assessment of the loss and how much power we choose to give it, especially through emotion — that makes us sad. And our wellbeing, conversely, is also entirely in our own control — should we only choose.


Join my email list, champ!

(Pro tip: you can also reach me through that link.)

Los Angeles Is For Lovers

I’m in California right now, so here are my thoughts on LA


Okay, huge disclaimer: I have spent about 1 week total in LA in my life. Between this trip and the trip previously, both of which together reflect the entirely of my time here, I understand that I’m not the most qualified reviewer. That being said, it’s just, like, my opinion, man.

TL;DR — I could live in LA, pretty sure. Maybe everyone says that but I doubt it, because even though my mom seemed to think so when I told her this, I have a hard time believing that everyone (and their mom) is cut out for any kind of “city,” LA or not. (Maybe she thought I meant “California?” No idea.)

That all aside: I dig LA okay. There are pros and cons, of course — things I like and things I don’t — but for the most part, I certainly like it more than lame-ass Chicago (which I hated from the very first weekend I ever spent there, after which I boarded my plane home thinking, “I could never, ever live here” — even though I later went on to do just that for five years.)

Here’s my breakdown:

The LA I like:

“LA Weather”

I mean, duh. Unless you’re one of those sad souls who prefers wet overcast weather or year-round winters, you obviously like southern California weather. And no, it’s no humidity (which I love), but clearly it’s nice enough, and I’m pretty sure this is 99% of what my mom meant when she said “everyone wants to live there.”

“Fresh AF LA”

I’ve never lived in NYC, but I’ve been to both cities. And while I could live in either one (especially since it seems every writer somehow lives in NY), NY always has this sad, obsolete feel to it, like everyone’s still pretending it’s the 70s or 90s (fashion or banking, respectively), and nobody’s ready to move on.

LA has not only moved on, but they’re compulsively “rightthefucknow.”

“Day Trip LA”

Not that I’ve taken any, but I can Google Maps.

“Motorcycle LA”

I mean, of course. As a “commuter rider” myself, who rides daily back and forth to work and whose only vehicle is my bike, these people are my people.

“Hipster health food LA”

Awww yiss… mothafukkin health food! As I’ve said, I could easily eat a salad twice a day for the rest of my life and be so happy, and if you can keep me ever-impressed with new salad shit, I definitely wouldn’t tell you no.

“Gritty-ass LA”

I stayed in the Arts District last night and went full “privileged romanticization” on that shit — all the industrial lofts and street art (duh.) I want to eat the Arts District, and my airbnb was the stuff of grittiness dreams.

And again, maybe everyone says that, but I doubt it, because if half the reviews left on the airbnb are any indication, it’s clear not everyone is “down home” with “rough around the edges.”

“Creativity LA”

Hells yeah, lemme see what you can do.

I’d never want to be a visual artist / designer myself, and I like to keep my time with them to strict, pre-defined 10-minute blcoks, but I’d be lying if I said they don’t manage to put out the coolest shit. (Of course.)

“Latin LA”

Oh, the laid-back masculinity of the Latin influence! Not just Mexican food (which I’m sure is fantastic, if I ate it) but an overall cultural and architectural influence that’s thoroughly delightful.

“Little Ethiopia LA”

Dudes, I love me some Ethiopian food — the way it tastes; the way it’s eaten; its simplicity and consistency around the world. 100% my jam, and definitely my favorite of “the world’s” cuisines options.

The LA I’m neutral on:

“LA Traffic”

Call me crazy, but idgaf about traffic — in fact, I find it kinda zen. (And I know, I know — true lunatic over here. Clearly I wasn’t hugged enough as a child or something. I don’t know.)

“Sprawl LA”

Where does LA even end, bro? No idea. Not even sure LA knows. It’s all LA.

“The Beach (?)”

Imma be real honest — I don’t really care. You’ll never see this chick fighting you for space on the sand or chugging salt water or whatever it is you people do out there.

The LA I could do without:

“Tourism LA”

One of my favorite parts about living where I do in the south is the utterly laughable lack of tourist options. (Seriously, they have “the airport” listed in the top five hot spots for visitors, and when my mom came to visit I had to drive her several hours to find something halfway interesting for her besides the mall.) And I love this. I love the “boringness” of the area. Keep away, everyone — nothing to see here!

And the opposite was true when I lived in Chicago — some days, it was just so clean and sparkly and checklisty and lame.

I bet if I lived here, I’d never once make it to see Hollywood, and I sure as hell wouldn’t be caught dead on some “celebrity sighting” tourbus like a twat.

“Superficiality LA”

I mean, not just Beverly Hills or whatnot, but the overall prissiness of it sometimes.

Yesterday I saw a porcelain-skinned chick (I mean, #skingoals, obvs, but that aside) with primped fingernails that were so long she could scarcely eat, and I thought “you’re probably wonderful, but I’m sorry, we could never be friends.”

Related: “Sensor LA”

On the Myers Briggs scales, LA is, overall, so loudly and unapologetically “sensor” (ATTRACTIVE!! FILM!! SPORTS!! SPORTS CARS!!!! MONEYS!!) that it goes full circle and is sort of adorable

“Old-Bro LA”

Dude, the amount of west coast skater bros (with long unwashed hair, big ole bro sunglasses and saggy pants) who are pushing 40 (or more??) is too damn high.

To be fair, this dude ain’t my type regardless of age. But it’s eerie and makes me feel sad a little.

“Elitist hipster LA”

I wish I could just eat all their food without enduring their stupid menu item names and overall way of life’ing.

“Asian Food LA”

Does this make me a dick? I don’t know why it should. I don’t think the Asian food industry is so hard-up for validation that they can’t afford an alternative opinion.

I’m just not that into Asian food. I don’t eat fish and all pasta / noodles bores me to tears. So…

“Donut LA”

Apparently they’re a thing here? Sadly, I think I’ve thrown down on like 3 donuts my entire life, and definitely never any of these overly-sugared monstrosities that all the cool kids are noshing on these days.

I’m not moving to LA

Mostly because I live in the South, have a good thing going, and have no real reason to leave.

But hypothetically. I like it more than most other US cities.


Join my email list, champ!

(Pro tip: you can also reach me through that link.)