A Crescendo of Counsel: 2016’s Life Lessons (From Least to Most Important)

  1. With hard work, a little planning, and a lot of luck, it is possible to properly prepare for your period and avoid staining your clothing and/or furniture each month. Use one of the myriad available apps to track your cycle and when you begin to crave cheese and chocolate and/or tear up when someone raises their voice a decibel, that’s the time to stuff some tampons and pads in your purse and start wearing the old undies.
  2. It makes no sense to wash your car before a road trip. Even though you may be excited to show the world you are the responsible kind of person who (a) knows where to find the car wash (b) has a spare $10 to spend on a wax and buff and (c) takes pride in a shiny, happy junker, you’ll be throwing your money away on something you’ll have to pay for again at the end of your trip. So screw appearances and drive dirty.
  3. Also, don’t take a 24-hour road trip by yourself when you’re a young female with little to no muscle mass and an anxiety disorder that causes you to carry mace into every gas station and pull over to text your entire family every hour after sunset. It’s just not a vacation if you’re worrying about sexual assault at every rest stop.
  4. It is possible to survive job interviews without shaking out of the hot seat or sweating through your pantyhose. But I recommend preparing as much as possible beforehand. That includes getting enough sleep, eating well, and accepting that you have little control over the questions asked or the outcome. Also, be prepared with at least 5 questions to ask them and take notes during the interview. Treat it like a first date and keep in mind you’re interviewing them too. You don’t want to be stuck with a boss from hell for years of your life. Screen for them.
  5. Don’t make plans with people outside of your immediate family or close circle of friends on major holidays like Christmas day. It won’t work out and you’ll either feel like an asshole for making the plans at all or you’ll make the other person feel like an asshole for making room in their day of family fun for someone who was OK flaking  on them at the last minute.
  6. Back up your hard drive. Just do it. Right now. Before Microsoft or Apple or whoever has the chance to send out an update. Do it, and I’ll take some small comfort that my sacrifice was not in vain.
  7. Even hot rock gods like David Bowie and George Michael are mortal, so take the time to really appreciate their hotness and general awesomeness while you can.
  8. Any article or headline you see about Kanye West or Lena Dunham are not worth your time. Keep scrolling.
  9. Racism, sexism, class discrimination, violence, homophobia, general intolerance, ignorance (and even Nazis for crying out loud) are still present in our country and spreading messages of hate and fear. Combat this with kindness, compassion, and empathy with yourself and others.
  10. No matter how inconvenient your god-given personality may be to you at times, it isn’t realistic or wise to attempt to suppress it to make way for a false persona that you believe will be more accepted and/or financially secure. Financial catastrophe struck in my life, and in the lives of many of my loved ones, after my graduation from college in 2008.  I emerged from those struggles with the new belief that financial security and literacy was my new number one priority.Never again would I find myself sharing a tiny house with one coworker, one “traveling salesperson” who constantly had people in and out of the house exchanging cash, and their newborn son squalling his head off at all hours of the night while I ate Ramen noodles or set rat traps in my bedroom.  From 2009 to 2016, I climbed the little ladder of my small community bank and tried like hell to convince myself that I was practical, business-minded, and tough. And I made myself pretty miserable in the process.

    This was more convenient than admitting that I wanted to spend my days taking photographs, writing, and reading. I thought it was time to grow up. My mistake was thinking that meant giving up my interests and passions and burying my voice and myself in the back corner of a vault where no one would ever find me. This year I realized that growing up meant accepting myself and following my own goals and dreams, while also accepting the reality that in order to do so, I will need to serve my time performing less-than-thrilling tasks at a day job that comes with little pay or prestige. The necessities are taken care of and I have time for the inexpensive hobbies that give my life meaning. That’s worth a pay cut and even a second job.

Tuesday’s Top Ten: Job Search Songs

  1. Queen. Don’t Stop Me Now.

“I’m a shooting star leaping through the sky
Like a tiger defying the laws of gravity
I’m a racing car passing by like Lady Godiva
I’m gonna go go go
There’s no stopping me.”

2. Billy Joel. My Life.

“Said he couldn’t go on the American way
Closed the shop, sold the house
Bought a ticket to the West Coast
Now he gives them a stand-up routine in L.A.”

  1. Eminem. Lose Yourself.
“You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go…
You can do anything you set your mind to, man.”
4. Beyonce. Grown Woman.

“And they listen to me when I talk
‘Cause I ain’t pretendin’
It took a while, now I understand
Just where I’m going
I know the world and I know who I am
It’s ’bout time I show it.”

5. David Guetta featuring Sia. Titanium.

“I’m bulletproof, nothing to lose
Fire away, fire away
Ricochet, you take your aim
Fire away, fire away
You shoot me down but I won’t fall.”

6. The Roots. The Fire.

“Fuel to the flame that I train with and travel with
Something in my eyes says I’m so close to having the prize
I realize I’m supposed to reach for the skies
Never let somebody try to tell you otherwise
There’s something in your heart
And it’s in your eyes
It’s the fire
Inside you
Let it burn.”
7. Wicked Soundtrack- Idina Menzel and Kristen Chenoweth. Defying Gravity.
“Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules
Of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes and leap!”
8. Jimmy Eat World. Bleed American.
“Salt, sweat, sugar on the asphalt.
Our hearts littering the topsoil.
Sign up it’s the picket line or the parade.
Our lives.”
9. The Social Network Soundtrack by Trent Reznor& Atticus Ross. In Motion.
No lyrics. But the song just sounds like a challenge to go out and DO something. Is that just me? I recommend the whole album for your job hunt.
10. Lily Allen. Sheezus. Explicit.
“I’ll take the hits, roll with the punches
I’ll get back up, it’s not as if I’ve never done this
But then again, the game is changing
Can’t just come back, jump on the mic, and do the same thing
There goes the bell, I know that sound
I guess it’s time for me to go another round
Now wish me luck, I’m gonna need it
I’ll see you on the other side, if I’m still breathing.”