You know it’s time to quit your job when…..

The last few months I’ve lost my drive to go to work and do what I do. Granted being a server is one of the worst jobs in the world, but that’s a whole separate rant! I’ve put off leaving to go to work until the very last moment and can’t get out of work fast enough. Even though I still have bills to pay I’ve been getting rid of shifts and overall spending less time at work.

It’s more than just being sick of the job, it’s that I want to move on to my career. My job offers me more flexibility than a career would to do the things I want to do in life, like travel and relax and spend time with my family and friends, but it’s not enough anymore. I want my career to start so I can start making a difference!

I want to love going to work and I want to want to go to work, and I know that will come once I find a career that I love and that feels like i’m doing something worthwhile with my life. As a server, I basically help people get fat…. That’s not something to look forward to. I want to help save the planet – that is something definitely worthwhile and enjoyable.

So now what? Well i’m already going to graduate school to further my dream of being able to make a difference. I’m constantly meeting new people and creating contacts that will hopefully be people I can reach out to in the future or can help me meet other people. Networking is so crucial these days!

I’ve also been constantly applying for careers for at least the last 3 months and I will continue to do so. It is hard to continue applying though when I haven’t even gotten a single call back, yikes! So I updated my resume and have done some research into creating a phenomenal cover letter (because I absolutely hate writing cover letters!) So hopefully changing these two components will make a difference.

As for my job, I’ll continue to go because bills do need to be paid. But I need to find a way to be happy at work because my job is draining the life out of me and that’s just not good.

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My new love of thrift stores

I recently decided I needed some wall decor for a large, blank wall in my room. I wanted to put up a ton of pictures – but needed to find some cheap frames since in essence I was going to be ‘destroying’ the frames by spray painting them. I found a few cheap frames at Walmart, but all the frames were the same – I wanted some that were unique and fun and unexpected, so I hit up Goodwill. I’ve shopped at Goodwill in the past for costumes and miscellaneous items over the years but what I found at Goodwill in the pictures section was just amazing! I found about 40 frames at Goodwill, Arc, and Habitat for Humanity and I only paid $30 – that’s mind-blowing savings. The best part is that the frames I got are unique and fun and unexpected!! My completed wall mural is going to be banging!

This little adventure got me thinking about ways I can re-purpose other items found at thrift stores and the wealth of things that can be found at a local thrift store. First, it cuts down on consumerism and the overabundance of resources used to create new products every day. Second, by buying used goods I can experiment with painting techniques and things found on Pinterest. Third, it was a blast to shop at a thrift store and see all the cool and unique things that were there -plus,  there was brand new products still in their packaging, like dishes, glasses, clothes, and so on. Why pay $50 for a new set of dishes when you can pay $10?! Fourth, for people who like to change it up frequently this is a great way to do so without breaking the bank every few months.

I don’t mean to come off as a snob or anything, but I guess I was truly naive to what could be found at a thrift store. And since I’m currently anti-consumerism, reusing goods is a great way to still find the things I want without contributing to the over-usage of resources. Me = love, love, love thrift stores!

Growth does not equal Prosperity

I feel compelled to share the most interesting, shocking, and life-changing information that I learn while in graduate school because I feel that education is a very powerful tool. The most life-changing-stop-and-think-another-way thing I have learned this last week in school is that growth does not equal prosperity. Take a moment to think about that….. In my mind, and I would say in most people’s minds, growth and prosperity are synonyms or at the very least one does equal the other. The following video says otherwise: Growth vs. Prosperity. I strongly recommend spending less than 4 minutes to watch this video because Chris Martenson does a much better job explaining this process than I probably will, but here’s what I took away from this video:

Martenson explains people get in trouble and problems when they think that growth and prosperity go hand-in-hand. Martenson says that IN FACT, surplus leads to growth and surplus leads to prosperity, but you can’t have both. He gives an excellent example about a family with a set financial situation and then one year they earn a little more; the family can choose to reproduce (growth) or go on a family vacation (prosperity), but the family can’t do both because they don’t have that much extra/surplus money. After watching the video, I sat in class, just absolutely stunned. I think Martenson is right, people get in trouble when they think they can have growth and prosperity with the same surplus or the fact that they have to have both and think they don’t have the option to choose between which road they take. Can a business not have prosperity without employing additional people? Well the truth is they can and probably should. Why not boost prosperity for a substantial amount of time before thinking about growth? Wouldn’t families and businesses alike benefit from prosperous growth, whether that be additional trainings, travel, learning a new skill or just overall life better-ment without additional stress?! I think more people, families, and businesses should pursue prosperity without growth. I think this could lead to happier and healthier lives for every aspect of a person’s life.

Martenson has his whole website dedicated to economic growth by not being stupid. I went on to watch the remaining videos in his series, called The Crash Course. The remainder of his videos talk about overpopulation and the value of a dollar. All his videos are straightforward and pretty simple to understand so I’m definitely a new fan of Chris Martenson. But remember Growth does not equal Prosperity! Let that sink in for a few days before making your own conclusion about this statement because it took me a few days to see the genious-ness of Martenson’s statement.

Cleaning up my life

Traveling to Costa Rica changed my life in ways I cannot even articulate yet. However, the most striking thing I noticed and learned while I was there, was how much people didn’t have, yet everyone was happy, calm, and seemed at peace. Once I got back to the United States I started looking around my life and noticed a lot of things that I had but didn’t need or hadn’t used in over a year – so I went to work cleaning up my life.

First, I started with my room. I had so much clutter and junk in my room, I could very clearly see why I had a hard time studying for school in my room – I was too distracted by the stuff that served no purpose. I went through my closet and donated a few things. I went through my bookshelves and either put the books for sale on Amazon or put them in a box in the basement to be used at later points in my life when I’m a “grown up.”

After I had finished with my room I cleaned out my car and my possessions in the basement and then started helping my parents clean up their lives too. This whole process took about two weeks to diligently clean all aspects of my life. Along the way I learned a few things about myself too. First, I really enjoy my spaces now that there isn’t so much chaos and clutter and I definitely feel more calm in my spaces. Also, I’m just as happy, if not more happy, now that I’ve donated a bunch of things. Costa Ricans have this happiness without all the junk weighing them down, and now I can totally see why. Who knew something so simple as cleaning and organizing could make such a significant difference in someone’s life?! The trick now for me will be to maintain this peace and serenity in my spaces….

Recycling Giftcards

As part of finding Pura Vida in my life I’ve been trying to simplify my life – cleaning out my car, my wallet, my closet and getting rid of unnecessary clutter and junk. When I was cleaning out my wallet though, I found a stack of old gift cards and loyalty cards and couldn’t convince myself it was a good idea to throw away all these cards. Surely somehow I could recycle them all, right?

I started a Google search in an attempt to figure out what to do with this stack of gift cards and found quite a few websites that recycle old gift cards!! Hallelujah, I don’t have to throw all of these cards away that will ultimately sit in a landfill for centuries. These cards can be recycled into other cards and other merchandise. Here’s a what I found:

Earthworks – I think this will be the company that I send my used gift cards to because this company seems legit and is recommended by almost every recycling or environmental website I could find! What I like about there process is that the cards are shredded for security and then all melted together to form new PVC sheets and eventually new gift cards and loyalty cards for people. The one immediate problem I have with this website is that it’s “under construction” and I cannot find a consistent address to send the gift cards. In looking long term, I’m sure while they fix their website I can find a dozen or so more cards to recycle and send them all at once.

Gift Card Recycler – This website seems a bit outdated and to be honest I couldn’t find info if they were still in business but it’s worth a shot because this company gives you points for sending in old gift cards. The points can then be redeemed for other stuff (note: I don’t know what that other stuff is because I think you have to create an account with the website to get full details). I do like the external motivation of encouraging people to recycle.

In addition, I also found a few websites that you can donate the last few cents or dollars of a gift card to and they will use that money for charitable purposes. I thought this was a pretty cool idea because at work I hear guests say to me that I can throw away a card because it only has 3 cents left on it. Now people can put that 3 cents to good use. That money may not make a huge difference on a tab of $20 but if everyone donated 3 cents of a left over gift card to a charity, well I feel like that would make a substantial impact on charities over time.

In this process it did take considerable time to figure out if any of the cards had any balances on them and putting all the loyalty cards onto an app on my iPhone. Sometimes I had to call customer service because the card was too old or needed to have my personal information verified, which again took up some time. However, I did discover I have almost $500 worth of gift cards just sitting in my wallet that weren’t being used. I would say that’s pretty successful! I also found a number of cards that were way over 5 years old and not only did they not have any value on the gift cards but some of the stores and restaurants weren’t even open anymore. Yikes!

The last downside I see to recycling cards is that you need to take the time and effort to collect all these cards and then send them off to be recycled. They cannot just be placed in the normal plastic recycling bin due to the chemicals on the card and the magnetic strip. I can see where some people would think this is unnecessary and just throw the cards away, again this is where external motivation can be powerful. I can see where going through the effort to recycle the cards can be tedious, however, in looking at my stack of cards there was no way I could throw 30+ gift cards and loyalty cards away so I started a recycling bin of old cards in my house. Not only can my family contribute but I’ll start taking old gift cards from work and add them to my pile to make an even bigger impact!

Yoga on Coco Beach

Since I’ve been back in the States I can’t stop thinking about opening up a yoga studio on Coco Beach in Costa Rica. This goes right in line with the Pura Vida concept I’ve been working on. Granted there are some technicalities that need to be worked out, but the thought alone calms me.

Doing yoga on the beach, at 6am with the sun rising and the sounds of nature in the background; well could anything be more relaxing?! I don’t think so. I feel like tourists and locals alike would be on board with this business, because who couldn’t use a little more relaxation in their life? I feel like most people, myself included, get so bogged down in the hustle and bustle of life that we all forget to stop and smell the roses or listen to bird. In reflecting on my life, the most at ease I’ve ever been was when I was able to disconnect and spend some time in nature. Sounds cheesy but until you’ve done this it’s hard to understand.

Granted I’m not certified in yoga, nor do I have any business background, but it’s still a dream that can be attained. Many people have opened businesses with no experience and only passion, sometimes that’s more than enough. There’s a local yoga studio that does a 10 week, 200 hour certification program that costs as much as one graduate class. The cost might seem pretty pricey, but at the end of the program I would be a certified yoga instructor and could run my own classes at the studio that taught me. I like this practical application of knowledge and skills.

Even if I never make it back to Coco Beach, I still see many benefits of having my yoga certification. Especially since I’ve been going to yoga classes for a few years, I already have some basic knowledge. Yoga has many benefits including increased flexibility, strength, and balance, as well as improved posture, better sleep, and an overall sense of calmness and relaxation. This calmness is what I remember most about my yoga experiences and would be something I would like to pass on to tourists and locals in Coco Beach.

Pura Vida

2013-08-23 18.03.05Coming back from Costa Rica was probably one of the most difficult things I’ve had to do. Poor me, I know! But living on the beach has a certain cache than going back to the hustle and bustle of “real life.” Going back to the mundane schedule where each day passes slowly but the year passes quickly feels like I’m not fulfilling each and every day. Or at least I thought I was fulfilling my days before my trip; I don’t really feel like that anymore. It’s amazing how one experience can change a perspective that much!

Pura Vida was a phrase that I frequently heard in Costa Rica. I’m going to attempt to explain what Pura Vida is, but the truth of the matter is, people will need to visit Costa Rica before they will truly understand Pura Vida. P.s. the America way to say this phrase is as is – with an R – the Spanish way to say this is where you roll the R so much it turns into a D – so phonetically it’s Puda Vida.

Pura Vida is a phrase, a greeting, a feeling, and a way of life. I guess the literal translation is Good Life, but I also took it to mean ‘chill out,’ ‘calm down,’ and ‘don’t worry or stress.’ Pura Vida was how people said ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ to one another, similar to ‘aloha’ for Hawaiians. People also lived with this stress-less outlook on their lives – people didn’t really seem to get bogged down with the little annoyances that happen in a day. It was a wonderful sensation to live by this concept because I literally took life in a more positive stride my whole trip there. This is something I want to continue now that I’m back in the States and I’m slowly trying to figure this out.

Pura Vida is also easier to live by when you’re living on the beach or in the rainforest, and not in a city. In San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital city, people still said Pura Vida to one another but it did not appear that people lived in the same Pura Vida style as those people on the beach. I’m sure it’s very easy to see why – in the city there’s deadlines, traffic, and stress, or at least that’s how I feel about major cities.

Until I can get back to Costa Rica I’m going to try to find my own Pura Vida. I’m going to attempt to blend my life with Pura Vida. We’ll see how this goes but the ultimate goal is still to achieve my aspirations while being less stressed and enjoying the process more.

Pura Vida!