Sometimes, We Create Our Own Box


It’s been a while since I’ve written, and it feels a bit strange to be tapping away at the keyboard again, but I want to make sure that this blog stays relevant and updated as much as possible–and plus, I know that you guys must miss me terribly. ;o)

There are so many things that I could discuss right now, but something that has been on my mind today has been the concept of staying inside the box–coloring inside the lines–following the recipe exactly.  No matter how you say it, the concept of keeping up with society’s expectations has forever been a a sticking point with free spirits and a never-ending hamster wheel for devotees.

Yes, as I have realized the past couple of weeks, sometimes it’s not society’s expectations that are keeping you prisoner, but your own.

For example, I never felt like I had pressures on me to go to college or get a high-paying career from anyone around me (which obviously worked as I chose teaching as my profession–the big bucks called me).  However, now that I have chosen my career, I simply cannot see myself doing anything else.  Not just because I love my job (which I do–most of the time), but because the thought of trying something new is legitimately terrifying.

A couple of weeks ago, I tagged along with a friend to a meeting with a big time producer about a movie that he wants to have created.  I was introduced as his assistant, and I turned out to be the person the producer talked to the most, giving notes and pointers, and calling me the “MVP” since I was so organized and on top of it (shameless self-promotion).

That experience made me think–I could be damn good at producing.  Or at event planning.  Or at representing people.  Or any other myriad of careers where organization and communication skills and not being an asshole allow you to shine.

The point is, I have simply never allowed myself to think about other career options because I had stuck myself in a teacher box.  I went to school for education, therefore I must stay in education, and I couldn’t possibly do anything other than teach children.  Yet I am the only one who is keeping me in that realm of thought.

A second example of this is also fairly recent; I used to go the to gym faithfully, after school, at least 4 days a week.  The past three months I have stepped in the gym perhaps four times, focusing instead on going on runs or walks.  I have been enjoying this immensely.  Yet there is a part of me that is insisting that I return to my previous habits, as I am a GYM PERSON.  I don’t do endless amounts of cardio-I am a WEIGHTLIFTER!

Again, however, this is only me talking to me.  No one else gives a shit (pardon my french) whether I lift weights once a day or once a month.  And perhaps it IS time to switch up my routine–change is always good for the soul.

Sometimes, the things that we tell ourselves that define us are good things, such as being a caring person, or a good friend, or a responsible adult.  But if we have a part of ourselves that could possibly be changed or opened up to new and exciting possibilities, don’t keep that experience from yourself simply because you have erected the cardboard walls around you all on your own.  Boxes have their moment of usefulness, but they certainly shouldn’t stay around after that moment has passed.

For me, one area that I have been stubbornly seeing cardboard on is this blog.  I have a pattern that I follow: publish once a week, make sure that the posts are around 1000 words, and make sure that it always includes a life lesson.

However…it’s been 2 1/2 weeks since my last post, and no one has died…no one has commented about it….no one really seems to care.  And the 1000 word goal is only a goal in my head; everyone else would probably be happier, honestly, if I wrote less so they could read it faster.  And as far as the life lesson?  I still like that aspect of my writing but would anyone really care if I peppered in a humorous piece here or there?  Or practiced my fiction skills with a short story?  Or simply vented about my day?

This is my blog, but it doesn’t need to fit into a box.  And with that declaration, I am going to stop writing with only (gasp!) 800 something words on the page, and I’m going to tell myself that it’s alright.

What about you?  What boxes can you break today?  Grab that hammer and go to town–I promise you, not only is it not as scary as you always imagined, but it’s completely liberating.  You got this!

Fear: The Coward’s Choice


For those of you who know me well, you know that my life is never boring.  Spending my days with pre-pubescent children and my nights flitting around to football, kickball, trivia, friends’ hangouts, beach walks, and pretty much anything but sitting on my ass watching TV makes for a full and active life.

Usually when I tell people what I’m involved in, they invariably respond with “oh my god, you’re SO busy” or “I could NOT do all of that.”  Which isn’t a lie-the first part, anyways-there is rarely a night where I can just sit and relax.  Yet I wouldn’t have it any other way.  When I observe people around me who aren’t involved in hardly any activities, their life seems so very boring and monotonous-come home, make dinner, watch TV, bed.  Every. Single. Night.

When I invite some people to participate in some of the stuff I’m involved in (mostly the sports), I’m usually hit with “ohhh, I’m not good at sports” or “I just don’t want to commit to an every week thing.”  Yet they keep their daily couch commitment with no hesitation.

If you really break it down, all of their responses are ruled by fear: fear of looking stupid, fear of being bad at something, fear of commitment.  Yet it has been proven time and time again that you have to actively choose against your fear in order to make any headway in this world.

I know I’ve written about it before but holding yourself back solely based on fear is not only stupid (unless it’s the fear of dying keeping you jumping off a building-maybe listen to that fear) but it is SO limiting.  The best decisions that I have made have been spur-of-the-moment, and I have rarely wasted time weighing the pros and cons-I just jumped.

(This, of course, does not apply to what to order for dinner–I WILL make a Venn Diagram if need be).

However, lately I have been realizing that I’ve been holding myself back subconsciously from a couple of different things based on fears that I wasn’t allowing myself to acknowledge.  One of them being taking my writing to the next level: I have several novel and screenplay ideas that I want to see come to fruition, but I have yet to take the first step in actually writing them.  Another area is dating; when I find someone I actually like/talk to for more than a week, I always hold back a part of myself juuuuust in case he doesn’t actually feel the same way.

Yet in both cases, there is no real scenario where I would lose by going balls out.  What happens if I write a book and it never sells?  Or everyone who reads it thinks it’s shitty?  Absolutely nothing.  In fact, it will if nothing else hone my skills AND I can say I’ve written a book–which is totally bad-ass.

As far as dating, what would happen if I completely allowed myself to fall for someone?  If they don’t feel the same way back, the worst that will happen is I feel crappy for a few days or maaaybe weeks and then *poof* I’ll be back to normal.

Those “reasons” are hardly enough to keep me from going for it.  And think of the payoff!  I could write the next national best seller, or have a hand in the next blockbuster movie.  I could find the love of my life and spend the rest of my days ecstatically happy.  Just going for it is the obvious choice.

So many of our fears are lions in our heads in and mice in reality.  Unless there is a real chance that someone will die or that you will lose your livelihood, you should never, ever make your decision based on fear.

Think about this: when you decide on a career, you *usually* decide based on what you enjoy doing.  If this is indeed the case, the probability of enjoying your job is quite high.  However, if you choose your career based on fear-fear of not having enough money, fear of having a ‘lower’ career, fear of going off the beaten family path-you will most likely end up hating your job and consequently most of the hours in your day.

Making a decision based on what negative things COULD happen should never enter into your reality.  Think about what you love.  Think about what makes you happy.  Think about the possibilities of POSITIVITY.

If you’re ever tempted to hold back or shy away from an opportunity or just stay in the status quo simply because of what you’re afraid might happen, take a moment to give yourself a pep talk.  We only live life once, and there may not be a second chance to face your fears.

Go forth with courage, and make it a habit to choose out of love.  Love for yourself, love for the people in your life, love for the joy of living!

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…let’s live.

Stronger Together


Earlier this month, I was invited to “like” a blogging page on Facebook from a former roommate and two of her friends.  I had been close with this girl for a bit early on in college, but we both drifted away and haven’t had any contact since (no animosity, just life).

When I glanced through the blog prior to hitting the thumbs up (my likes are precious, can’t just give them out like candy), I was surprised by how awesome it was.  The title of the blog is ’30 Day Gals’, and the premise is in their tagline: Inspiring Growth Through 30 Day Challenges.  Their blog has been live since November, and their January challenge is to face their fears; their posts this month have been both entertaining and inspiring.

I am ashamed to admit, however, that I felt a pang of jealousy when I was browsing.  Their blog is so much cooler than mine.  Wow, that’s such an awesome concept-why didn’t I think of that?  They have more followers than me.  This is really good…dammit.  Instead of being excited for them and happy that fellow female bloggers in roughly the same genre of blogging were doing well, I was twinging on the inside with envy.

Obviously, that isn’t cool.  There is more than enough room for more than one person to be successful, and the more people who are putting out positive vibes and demonstrating a growth mindset, the better!

And so, rather than sit here and wallow in those stupid feelings, I figured I’d link all of my readers to them so that they can check it out for themselves–it IS pretty cool, otherwise my initial reaction would have been more smug.

Taking a step back from my pettiness, I wonder what would happen if more people helped elevate their “competition” rather than try to force them down?  Obviously, if this were a business setting, I wouldn’t be telling my customers to go to ‘the other guy’ down the street because he’s so awesome, but when it’s just people sharing their passions, why is it so hard to lend our weight behind someone else who is also doing wonderful things?

As I’ve mentioned before in my blog, I like to listen to Andy Frisella’s podcast off and on.  One thing that he consistently mentions is how truly successful people like to see other people succeed as well.  It’s not about just ONE person winning, it’s about EVERYONE winning.

For some reason, whether it be hidden personal insecurities or jealousy or a lack of confidence in my own abilities, I have always struggled with being happy with other people’s success.  This is not something that I am proud of in the least-I want to be one of those people who cheers the loudest when someone else wins.  I want to be the person who is the first to say a sincere congratulations.  I want to be the person who gets excited by other people’s success because it means that I can be successful, too.

There is absolutely nothing to gain by putting yourself into a box and not allowing anyone else into your space.  All you are accomplishing is blocking your own view into what could be the catalyst for your own success.  If there is anything that my 28 years have taught me, it is that there is nothing that can be achieved 100% on your own.  Even if you are the only one doing the work, there are people there to be your sounding board, or to help you relax when you need to, or to simply provide inspiration for the final push.

So many times we let pride get in the way of our progress.  I remember during my childhood and high school years, I would not like my siblings see one ounce of vulnerability; I was the eldest child and therefore the example, unbreakable, constantly strong, and never needing any sort of emotional support.  While I thought that I was doing them a favor at the time, I was actually doing us both a disservice; it is only when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable that our relationships with one another can blossom into something fruitful.

Since I have made the (slow, still on-going) switch to letting my siblings see my inner weaknesses, mistakes, and honest feelings, I feel much closer to each of them.  There is something so freeing about finally letting people see the real you, no matter what their reaction may be.  Even if they reject you, it is at least a decision made from a place of authenticity.

As John Donne famously said, “No man is an island.”  An island looks pretty and enviable from the outside, but when you get closer you can see the blowing sand and lonely palm tree struggling to cling to the semblance of being picture perfect.  Yet when that one tree finally gives way, there is no other to take its place.

If you have a network, however, you have infinite resources from which to draw when your own reserves are low.  I feel that sometimes, we don’t utilize these resources enough.  Allow yourself the luxury of crying into someone’s shoulder.  Permit yourself to ask those experiencing success for advice and help.  Grant yourself permission to share what you’re really feeling.

All in all, we are stronger when we’re pulling in the same direction; if you try to pull against someone else, you’re really just holding yourself back.  As Jack Johnson so eloquently puts it, “yeah, it’s always better when we’re together.”  There is no glory in being the person who stepped on the most bodies on their way to the top.

Celebrate everyone’s wins.  Share others’ success.  Lend a helping hand even when unasked.  To leave you with one more quote from the beloved classic High School Musical, “we’re all in this together/and it shows/when we stand/hand in hand/make our dreams come true.”

Let’s roll, Wildcats; together!


The Paradox of “Breaks”


As I prepared to write this post, I commented to my friend that “I don’t even know what I want to write about…I’m mentally exhausted.” And then, with a self-deprecating tone, followed up with: “…..from break.  I’m mentally exhausted from winter break.  What the fuck.”

It sounds ridiculous.  Yet it’s very true–I have had two glorious weeks off of my routine; gallivanting around during the weekdays, visiting friends, indulging in way too many adult beverages, sleeping in past 6am EVERY day, and generally being the most productively unproductive that I could be each and every day.

I know for an absolute fact, however, that I could not live my Winter Break lifestyle on a regular basis.  Don’t get me wrong, it was amazing to be able to do whatever I wanted for the last fortnight, but there is a part of me that is really excited to get back to my routine.

And the thing is, the very word “break” conotates that it is temporary.  If you are ‘breaking’, you are not fully stopping whatever journey you are on, you are simply taking a pause.

Taking a break from the regular makes you appreciate the day-to-day sameness that much more.  Right now, I am actually looking forward to get my gym time in at 5am every day.  I’m looking forward to my football and kickball games in the evenings.  I’m looking forward to having the school day structure when I can eat and (more importantly) when I can’t.

Before break, the routine was good, but it was getting old, which is why it’s so important to take the chances you get to go completely off-book: it helps you appreciate the playwright’s genius that much more.

It makes me curious, though, why having complete freedom for an extended period of time leaves you feeling crappier than restricted freedom?  Being held to a certain schedule, in theory, would be more aggravating than being able to choose from limitless options every minute of the day, yet I can say with certainty that it is not.

Personally, I think that routine is not the enemy, and is in fact our greatest asset.  I highly doubt any person who has accomplished anything of note wakes up every day and chooses their schedule willy-nilly.  The times that I have been most successful are when I had a strict routine and was actually pretty busy with multiple things in my life.  As the saying goes “if you want something done, give it to a busy person.”

More evidence for this fact comes from this break; I had a list of 3 major things I wanted to cross off my list because I had SO MUCH free time.  Guess how many of them I got done?  If you guessed all of them, you would be off by three. *slow head shaking*

However, I am actually glad that I was unproductive over winter recess, as I feel like it truly allowed me to actually TAKE. A. BREAK. and give my brain a chance to rest.  Now that I am staring down the barrel of a regular, routine-filled week, I am excited to fit in more of my goal-oriented tasks along with my must-do’s; it doesn’t feel forced, and it doesn’t feel overwhelming.  I’m good to go.

On a related note, I’ve also been thinking a lot about resting on a more minor, daily scale.  Purposeful breaks like meditation, reflection, mental preparation.  There are many times when I have 10 or 20 minutes here or there, and instead of viewing it as time I could use productively, I simply scroll through my Instagram, catch up on Facebook, or mindlessly swipe on Bumble.  Those things may be a ‘break’ in theory, and they are definitely not bad some of the time, but they should not be the go-to’s.

It is so important to give our minds a productive respite when we get really busy.  It’s easy to run on ambition for days or even weeks at a time, but to make continual, steady progress it is critical to refuel.

For some reason, however, it is quite hard to take these long and/or short breaks without feeling guilty if you are a person who prides themself on being productive.  It took me almost all of winter break to relax into the idea that it was ok to watch TV for the night, or to sleep in until 8, or to just go on a run instead of driving to the gym.  Yet because I did finally embrace it, I got to actually enjoy it AND I’m excited to start up the grind again.

There is no shame in shoving everything to the back burner for a period of time (key word: ‘period of’, not, ‘the rest of’).  If you get the opportunity to do so, sink into it wholeheartedly.  And if you aren’t lucky enough to be a teacher, make sure that you are taking your vacation days seriously as well as building in other breaks into your week so that you can fully take advantage of the days that you have to be ON with a full throttle.

In a nutshell, milk every part of life for everything it’s got; be FULLY lazy when you can be, be FULLY engaged when you need to be, be FULLY productive when you should be, and be FULLY happy in every moment.  We are only given so many minutes in a day, and while there is no magic ratio of how to spend them on certain tasks, make sure that you get the most out of each one.


2017 Reflections


This, my 79th blog post, will be the last addition to the blog in 2017.  It’s hard to believe that I started this blog a full YEAR ago, publishing my first 432 words on January 2nd, 2017. As I was re-reading that first post, “The Optimization Operation“, I was struck by how much my simple site has evolved over the past year.

Since its inception, this project of mine has gone from “The Optimization Operation” to simply “Hannah Elizabeth.”  I’ve gone from 500 word posts to a standard 1000 words.  I have attended the BlogHer conference and gained a lot of interesting and useful knowledge.  My struggle for two weekly updates has settled into one.  My posts have been viewed as little as 8 times and as much as 165 times.  I’ve gained 71 followers.  I’ve received numerous compliments on my writing. Most of all, I’ve created something that I’m proud of.

When I first started this blog, I was determined to change my life around at a rapid-fire pace.  The idea of “optimization” seemed like something that would be noble to strive for, kicking me into high gear as I raced towards this always-out-of-reach goal of greatness.

However, it has morphed into more of a reflection space, a place where I can sort out what I think about certain things in my life and in the world, and hopefully help other people sort out what they think too.

As I look back on where I started the year, I’m honestly a little bit disappointed at where I ended up.  I feel like my projections of grandeur have dissolved into simple, ordinary life with no proof of concept.  I reached for the moon, and when I missed, I plummeted past the stars and slammed into Arkansas, and then built a hut and lived there whilst muttering about how the stars don’t shine that brightly anyways.

A bit of an exaggeration to be sure, but after re-reading how fresh and eager I was at the beginning of the year, I can’t help but be a bit disappointed in what little results I feel that I’ve produced.

A couple of days ago, I sat down with my notebook and wrote notes on every aspect of my life—teaching, fitness, dating, personal—and thought about what I have done well and what I have sucked at.  What I realized is, that this sort of activity should take place at least once a week because HOLY COW it was incredibly useful.

It’s amazing to me how much we put off creating habits that will benefit us.  Hmmm, I have ten minutes to spare…I could think about my day and pre-think through some things, or I can just scroll through Instagram…yeah, I need to catch up on puppy memes.  I find myself mindlessly doing shit like that ALL. THE. TIME.  And honestly, it’s not even a struggle because the thought of being productive for a spare 10-20 minutes doesn’t even usually cross my mind.  Which is completely sad…and completely normal for most people in the world.

Even though I am not religious anymore, as I try to steer myself towards a place of productivity and growth, I can see the benefits of religious practices: finding a daily quiet place for reflection and prayer/meditation, focusing on things of a higher nature both morning and night, living for a higher purpose….all of these things lead to a deep, calming centeredness and sure, steady steps towards the end goal.

With the realization that you cannot keep your engine turbo charged at all times without stopping to clean and rest and rebuild, my focus moving towards 2018 is going to be one of deliberate reflection, renewal, and movement:

  1. I will meditate for 10 minutes a day.
  2. I will set aside time every week for reflection on all aspects of my life.
  3. I will create a mantra for myself that I put on my bathroom mirror and repeat every morning and every night.
  4. I will take the time to create a vision board.
  5. I will utilize the Power List created by Andy Frisella (if you don’t listen to his podcast, check it out!)

This list contains only 5 things.  But they are ALL new habits.  And as easy as bad habits are to form, good habits are like sparks if you don’t have the proper plan: bright for a second and vanishing fast.

And so, I need a plan:

  1. Meditation:  I will set a reminder on my phone at 4pm, the time I usually arrive home from school.  I will do my utmost to not allow myself to do anything else until I have meditated.
  2. Reflection.  I will write this into my calendar (which I use on a daily basis).  I will also purchase a notebook to be used only for these weekly reflections.
  3. Mantra: I will put time and thought into creating these words that I will tell myself.  They will be put on the mirror where my face usually goes when I open the door.
  4. Vision Board:  I will go to Barnes and Noble and purchase several magazines that contain the message I want to send myself.  I will pin them to the bulletin board I already own.
  5. Power List:  Starting January first (basic, I know), I will utilize my reflection notebook for creating my daily power lists.  I will also put the first three items from this list onto my power list until they become habits.

If you notice, my plan for action includes things that will ENCOURAGE and make it EASIER for me to complete these daily habits.  They are in no way a GUARANTEE of success.  What this means is that it all comes down to me.  How bad do I want to improve?  How much do I want to succeed?  How many times am I willing to fail and give it another try tomorrow?  How long am I willing to struggle with it until it becomes easy?

There is no one path to success.  We are all just trying to figure it out, one messy step at a time.  But the armies who have a plan ultimately triumph over fools who grab a torch and run screaming into battle.

Last year, I was the fool.  This year, I will be the victor.

What about you?

Growth Opportunities (Alt. Title: F*CKING UP)


Last week was a WEEK.  I had a mix-up with my car servicing on Tuesday, my car got broken into on Wednesday AND I got a parking ticket that same night, and to top it off I got a talking-to at work on Thursday.  Needless to say, I was pretty much a mess by the time Friday rolled around.

However, even though almost everything that happened to me cost me quite a bit of money, the thing that upset me the most was getting talked to at work.

A bit of backstory:  I transferred to my current school this year because I wanted to move up to a high school and I wanted to get IB trained.  I ended up getting assigned 7th, 8th, and 9th grade (not really the high school grade levels I was envisioning) and getting misinformation that I WAS going to be trained, but then ultimately being told that I was not.  While I have fallen in love with my kids, I have been pretty grumpy about not being trained in IB since I had made up my mind that that’s what I wanted to do, had asked (and been told yes) several times, and was watching one of my friends prepare to go to training even though I had asked to be put in her position initially.

Needless to say, I am not a quiet person, and so whenever the subject came up I tended to voice my disappointment.  This came across as negative to a member of my department, who discussed it with my AP, who then came and discussed it with me.

Now, I am the first to get pissed off when I am approached about something that I don’t feel is right.  However, the reason I got so upset is because I knew that this person was actually correct.  I HAD been negative.  I HAD been dwelling.  I HAD made my friend feel bad (who had had no hand in assigning training).  I was in the wrong.

This, my friends, is the absolute worst realization ever.  I was wrong.  I fucked up.  I deserved to get a talking-to.

I was a wreck for the rest of the day after that discussion.  The silver lining that came out of it was my kids were super concerned about me, and I even got a note from one of them telling me how awesome I was and how sorry she was that I was “in pain” (#thesweetest).

Unfortunately, I can’t go back in the past and unsay everything I said.  I can’t go into people’s brains and change whatever impression they may have of me now.  I can, however, look at this whole experience as a growth opportunity, and take steps to learn and apply as much as I can.

First, I need to change what I can change.  I cannot change the already spoken words, but I can definitely change my attitude and my words that I choose to release in the future.  I also already made sure that I apologized to my friend so that I could undo some of the damage my careless words caused.  Realizing when you’re wrong sucks SO BAD, but the more important thing is making sure that you go forward armed with the new knowledge and not burdened by it.

Second, I need to apply the lesson to other areas of my life.  In this particular instance, I was dwelling on something that I couldn’t change.  Are there other areas of my life in which I’m dwelling?  Do I know that something is hopeless or not really in the cards and yet I am still ruminating on it and keeping it in my mind?  If so, I know that the potential results of that are at the least not promising and the most, disastrous.

Finally, I need to be thankful for the fuckup.  This, for me, is the absolute hardest one out of the three.  I pride myself on my ability to navigate life with grace and wisdom.  And most of the time, I do a fairly decent job.  However, this means that rather than a myriad of little stumblings, I have a handful of epic whoppers that bring me to my knees.  And yet, these catastrophic episodes of tumbling to the ground teach me so. freaking. much.  I can’t waste too much time crying about them, because they are a virtual goldmine of information that I can use to twirl my way through the next span of time (until I once again crash to the ground).

In reality, not one of us will get through life without some sort of fuck-up.  And truthfully, the bigger the fuck-up, the more valuable the lesson AND the more likely it is that you are trying to do something great.  If you stay in your comfort zone, you will not make mistakes that often.  Which feels great-who doesn’t like to be the master of something?  But the longer you stay in your area of expertise, the less likely it is that you will keep accomplishing at the rate that you had been previously.

Now, I’m not advocating for you to go try to screw up royally on purpose.  But I AM encouraging you to spread your wings and take a risk or two.  Don’t beat yourself up when you fail–that is my lesson that I’m still learning.  I tell my students all the time that “It’s ok to fail, but it’s not ok not to try”.  Honestly, I need to take my own advice.

Try something difficult.  Try something new.  Try SOMETHING.  And when you fail (and you will fail), be grateful for the lesson that it brings.  Adjust.  Grow.  And then, TRY AGAIN.

Taking Back the Spirit of Halloween


Tonight is, for the majority of ‘of-age’ America, the night where the Halloween celebrations go down.  Parties, bar crawls, shenanigans, pranks, all performed with the extra spice of some creative, hilarious, and/or slutty costume.

From the outside, Halloween is simply another excuse for adults to get drunk and for kids to get hyper.  Let’s be honest, pretty much every American holiday looks that way from the outside.  But for me as an adult, growing up in a family that didn’t celebrate Halloween, it has always been about getting to show off my creative side both in ideas and in manifestation.

While most of my friends are quite content to be sexy cops, sexy maids, or the infamous sexy cat, I refuse to touch such cliches with a ten-foot pole.  Not that there is anything wrong with sexy cat, I just have thus far fiercely clung to my ideals of originality and home-made ensembles, and I don’t see myself changing that anytime soon.

Last year, I was quite proud of my American Beauty idea, and made a costume that was simple yet pretty awesome in my humble opinion (pictured above).

This year, I sit with 12 hours between me and the time when I step out into the world to display my creation, and I have nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.

Considering that I was always ready for Halloween pretty early in the past, I find myself wondering what the change is.  Why am I not ready for this?

Part of it is the fact that I don’t feel like my body is something to show off right now, and sexy female costumes are the bread and butter of this holiday, which certainly puts a damper on things.  But mostly, as I look back on the past weeks and months, I have simply not been putting a priority on creativity.

Instead, I’ve been focusing on work, working out, sloooowwwwly reading my real estate books along with other self-improvement literature, and running around like a chicken with my head cut off to this appointment or that scheduled event.  Creating a Halloween costume has not been on the top list of my priorities.

All of this focus on productivity has been good, but it also has taken a toll.  My face has decided to sprout some ‘friends’, my extra lbs are stubbornly clinging to the areas I most certainly do not want them to cling, and to top everything off I caught a cold last week (getting sick is a rare, sad occasion for me).

What would happen, I wonder, if I simply embraced the spirit of Halloween more in everyday life?  What if, instead of worrying about spending ALL of my time in productive mode, I allowed myself a bit of creative time, just because?

Maybe taking some time to stop and paint the roses wouldn’t actually be holding me back.  Maybe, just maybe, it might actually spur more of the productivity that I want to see.

Let me give you some examples.

I have been wanting to make a vision board for quite a while, but because it’s not immediately productive, I keep putting it off.  Yet, whenever I hear successful people talk, they always refer to their vision board and how it keeps them on track.

What if I allowed myself an afternoon of unfettered cutting and gluing, of humming along to some Lana Del Rey or Angels and Airwaves, and really thinking about what I want to put on my vision board and how I want the final product to look.  How powerful would it be to have my dreams be on display in color every single day?

When you look at it that way, it seems incredibly silly to have waited this long.

Or how about the fact that I want to write several different books and perhaps even some screenplays, yet I never allow myself to indulge in a good fiction book binge-sesh, opting instead for more non-fiction reading that encourages self-reflection and hopefully spurs mental growth.  All great reads, by the way.

Yet, what if I picked up a book at the bookstore, gave myself an evening to dig in, and discovered that the way that author writes is amazing, and it turbo-charges my desire to create my own kick-ass protagonist?  AKA, actually push my ideas into fruition. Why the hell haven’t I been doing this on a regular basis?

Creativity is literally the fountain of life.  We as humans are created out of two people’s love for one another (or should be in an ideal world).  We are born of creation, and therefore we are born to create.

Why, then, do I and so many others inadvertently spurn the soft fields of creativity and hail the cold concrete of production?  We are in essence cutting off our nose to spite our face.

When it comes to Christmas time, everyone agrees that we should have more of the spirit of Christmas in our hearts year round—giving, loving, caring about our fellow man.  And I agree.  But I also vote that we should have the spirit of Halloween year-round, too—fun and creativity.

If we embraced those traits in our daily lives, all of us would be happier.  And just think of everything cool that would come from those hours embodying fun and creativity!  All things amazing and awe-inspiring and and epic originally came from an idea-an idea that was given the space and light to germinate, unfurl, and finally blossom.

So, if you’ll excuse me, I now have 11 hours left to put together the perfect blend of innovation and sex appeal…and I now know just what I’m going to do.

I’m putting creativity back on the priority list.  I suggest you do the same.

Happy innovating!