In the second leg of my #seaPDXsfo trip, I rode into Portland on a cheap bus ticket. Nearly immediately after I went from one bus stop to wait for the city bus, it began hailing. Yes, hail. I thought, in April, that I had escaped hail. After all, I had left Chicago in search for warmer parts.
Someone asked me this week if I plan my writing out in my blog.
To this, I took a 12-hour break after writing that first sentence.
And then, I took a 48-hour break after writing the second sentence.
This is a philosophy I’m trying to wholeheartedly embrace, not just for 2015, but for a general life motto.
2014 was a year full of surprises. I believe I achieved beyond my plans in my personal life, work life, and general philosophy of life. And to be honest, most of it was unplanned.
In April, I embarked on my first vacation in two years. I happened to have a free ticket to SCAA Expo, courtesy of Coffee Kind, so I decided to extend it to a week and half of vacation time. I prepped for this vacation like most of my vacations of late- a few hours of research and places to stay. Since SCAA Expo is such an enormous conference, I made sure to study and plan my lecture schedules, while leaving time to explore Seattle.
I know I said that I’d post every week in 2014. Well, it’s the 3rd week and I’ve yet to write a second post. Whoops! That’s why it’s a goal, right?
It’s been busy, I won’t lie. I’m trying to work smarter (and not longer), but that’s a struggle. There are days when all I want to do is just lie down on the couch and Netflix-binge.
But, in case you’re curious, I have been writing, just elsewhere.
2013 has flown by. In the past year, I have:
- Made it into the Chicagoist, AAA Living magazine, and the Zagat blog
- Took on a social media freelance opportunity
- Ran my first 5K
- Bought this domain name & launched the site
- Ate at many amazing restaurants, including Next (which I still have to write about)
- Traveled through Michigan in 12 coffee shops
- Was invited to Coffee Con as a VIP blogger
- Was recruited into my dream job
- Wrote my first guest blog post
I’m not the type of person to surround myself with crowds of people so the people I choose to surround myself with are chosen with care. As life progresses on, I’ve realized that in order to move yourself forward, you need to be surrounding yourself with those who also move forward. This realization was especially significant last year when I was taking a large career turn and floundering around. I needed to see that people were chasing after dreams, achieving their goals, and doing things that made them happy.
When I’m introduced to people and we start in on the topic of our careers, I often ask people, “Do you like what you do?” Regardless of how interesting I find their job, it is always more interesting when they speak about it with a passionate tone of voice or a few sounds of excitement. If someone answers with a “no,” then I ask, “Why not?” Sometimes the conversation continues in a serious strain, sometimes it doesn’t. If it continues seriously and they look so absurdly unhappy with their life, my usual advice is “Quit.” I don’t know when the notion was that work does not equal pleasure. You work in an office and then you return home to do things you love. Why not spend what is most of your waking hours doing things you love instead of tirelessly working in a job you hate?
In the same vein, there’s the idea of having a “stagnant life.” An example of living a stagnant life is never, ever going out of your comfort zone. You do your 9-5, you have the same dinner everyday, you go to the same movie theater, your career goals involve staying at your job, you play tennis with the same couple every weekend, and you only hang out with the same people. You have no personal goals, nothing to get you out of your comfort zone, and you’re just existing. This is not living life, this is life living you.
There’s also the idea of a “stagnant business,” which I’m currently struggling with, but that’s for another day. When someone lives life, they take actions on items they care about. This can range anywhere from getting involved with their community to finishing a book they’ve been working on. When you have goals, you’re attractive, and that makes people want to be friends with you. Attraction here is beyond physical; it’s a spiritual, influential attraction. In essence, it’s a positive aura and it is beautiful.
And so, in my plans of moving forward with life and constantly meeting new people, I don’t have time for negativity. Negative people bring me down, take out my energy, and never really give back in a friendship. This is harsh, but true. I am not a bouncing bundle of joy all the time, believe me. But I’m happy with my life so far and I’ll continue to build up goals to keep on living life. My friends push me to finish projects and I’ll push them in the same way.
I use the word “positive,” loosely. As I said before, I’m not a bundle of joy all the time. But in the general scale of emotions, I am more often happy than depressed. By positive people, I often mean any of the following:
- Have a passion and are pursuing it in work or as a hobby
- Have a goal, small or large, and are actively working to achieve it
- Doesn’t look at life with a “woe is me” attitude, but a “how can I make this better” attitude
- In work, are chasing after something challenging: whether that’s a new project or a promotion
There are so many articles out there that talk about being positive and its influence on you and those around you. This one sums up moving toward a positive future in a few steps:
Step One: Believe a Positive Attitude is a Choice
Step Two: Rid Your Life of Negativity
Step Three: Look For the Positive in Life
Step Four: Reinforce Positivity in Yourself
Step Five: Share Positivity with Others
And to end, here’s an inspirational story for you. My friend recently decided to go on his life dream of a Pan-American ride. For a year, he saved up his money and even moved back home. Then, he quit his job and is now off tackling the dream. He and a friend are biking from Alaska to Argentina. While I would never do this, I have been so happy watching him go through his travels and overcoming the difficulties. If you’d like to follow along, Bike to Read is where you’ll find him.
Another week passed by and I have yet to write anything since last Friday. To be fair (maybe), I did work late into the night a few times this week. Anytime I do that and not get enough sleep, I tend to lose out on creative juices. Here are some of my favorite reads from the past week. Not as much happened on the coffee front, but the other categories were great.Read More
About Jenn Chen
I'm a San Francisco-based coffee marketer: digital strategist, writer & photographer. On the side, I munch on donuts & think of new ways to make you look stunning online.
You can reach me here or on Twitter.
eat / drink coffee / write / travel
>>>> all in one.