Little Rituals

Just Another Day

Today’s prompt is from The Daily Post.

Our days our organized around numerous small actions we repeat over and over. What’s your favorite daily ritual?

Lately, my favorite ritual is listening to an audiobook first thing in the morning. I used to watch the news or morning shows as I got ready for work, but I’ve quit doing that. It just put me in a really somber mood before I went to work.

Maybe I’m burying my head in the sand by avoiding the news now, but I kind of like it that way. I still read news online or sometimes catch the evening news on TV, but I no longer immerse myself in those shows the way that I used to.

And on the bright side, I’ve managed to get a ton of reading done in recent weeks, thanks to my audiobook ritual.

Get Busy Living

Quote Me

Today’s prompt is from The Daily Post.

Do you have a favorite quote that you return to again and again? What is it, and why does it move you?

One of my favorite quotes is from the movie The Shawshank Redemption, which is probably one of my top 10 favorite movies ever.

Get busy living, or get busy dying.

It moves me because it’s such a sparse, simple statement, but it really packs a punch with meaning. Especially when combined with Tim Robbins’s amazing line delivery.

Whenever I stop and think about what the quote is really saying, it makes me feel hopeful.

The Bucket List

Kick It
Today’s prompt is from The Daily Post.

What’s the 11th item on your bucket list?

Many years ago, I used to have a list on my old blog called Things I Want To Do Before I Die. I’m pretty sure this was before people started calling them bucket lists. A lot of the things on my list were whimsical, while others were things just not likely to happen anytime soon–things like, “visit Scotland,” “learn to spin yarn,” and “ride a horse.” By the way, those are things I still haven’t done. It’s not that they’re impossible–they’re just not possible at the moment (travel) or not prudent to pursue right now (spinning) or just something I haven’t gotten around to (horseback riding).

I guess these are all things that would be nice, but obviously if I truly wanted to do them, I probably would have by now. So, this is a roundabout way of saying that I don’t have a true bucket list anymore–more like a Things I’d Like To Do Someday (But It’s Ok If I Don’t) List. Blame it on the procrastinator in me.

Master of Anything

I Got Skills

Today’s prompt is from 365 Days of Writing Prompts.

If you could choose to be a master (or mistress) of any skill in the world, which skill would you pick?

The noble answer would be “brain surgery” or something, but if I’m being purely selfish, I always wanted to master guitar. But to master something, you have to actually be somewhat competent at it, which I’m not. I briefly took guitar lessons for less than a year–this was over a decade ago–but I just didn’t get the hang of it. I didn’t have a natural knack for the instrument, so I got frustrated and gave up.

I think if I tried it again now, I might have a little more success, but it’s one of those bucket list things that has been shelved for the time being.

Entertain Us

Yawn

Today’s prompt is from The Daily Post.

What bores you?

Such a broad question! Since one of my main hobbies is reading and I spend several hours a day doing it, I’m going to tell you what bores me in a book.

I read primarily romance and a ton of it. There’s a handful of things that will cause me to abandon a book without finishing:

  • Flat characters who aren’t likable or relatable.
  • Ridiculous plot lines that could never actually happen in life.*
  • Unbelievable relationship between the main characters (insta-love with no other contributing factors, that kind of thing).

There are some cases when I’ll stick with a book and try to finish, but if it falls into one of the above categories, chances are it’ll lose my attention.

*There have been instances when the writing was so good that the story held my attention regardless of my usual qualms, but that’s a rarity.

I have a pretty short attention span in general and that definitely shows in my reading habits. I have no problem putting a book down and moving on if it bores me.

My Unbearable Self

Can't Stand Me

Today’s prompt is from The Daily Post.

What do you find more unbearable: watching a video of yourself, or listening to a recording of your voice? Why?

A video is definitely way worse. At least with an audio recording, it’s only sound. But video plus audio? No thanks.

I’m not crazy about the sound of my voice, but I really dislike being filmed and will avoid it if at all possible. I just get really self-conscious and fidgety and can’t relax. Good thing I didn’t pursue those childhood dreams of being an actress.

Talk To Me

The Friday Five: Talk To Me
Today’s prompt is from The Friday Five. (Remember when these used to be called memes? That word has changed a bit over time.)

1. What makes it easy to talk to someone? It’s easy for me to talk to someone if they make eye contact with me and seem genuinely interested in our conversation, as opposed to half-heartedly listening. It also helps when they have a good sense of humor since that makes the conversation feel more comfortable.

2. What percent of the day do you spend talking? During a work day, I spend about 85% of the day talking. I work with the public, so I’m always talking to customers (in person and on the phone) as well as coworkers. On my days off from work, I tend to be a hermit and might not leave the house all day. So on those days, I talk quite a bit less.

3. Who, in your opinion, communicates better: men or women? Neither. Everyone is different, and I’ve met good communicators as well as poor communicators amongst both men and women.

4. What topics do you avoid when talking to a stranger? The standards: politics and religion. If a stranger brings up these topics with me, my hackles go up and I get very uncomfortable.

5. Do you like to eavesdrop on other people’s conversations? Yes. Since I’m surrounded by people all day, it’s interesting to see the variety of interactions that they have–both positive and negative.

A Daily Addiction

Can't Keep Checking My Phone

Today’s prompt is from BlogHer Writing Lab.

How many times do you think you check your phone during the day?

This prompt suggested I should make a tally of every time I checked my phone throughout the day, but even I’m not obsessive enough to do that. Also, I suspect I’d be somewhat horrified to see the actual number.

This is purely a guess, but I’d say that I check my phone at least 30 times a day. I check email and texts after I get out of bed, then I play an audiobook (or podcast) while I’m in the shower and while I’m feeding our dog. Sometimes I check email, Twitter, and/or Instagram while I’m having breakfast. Then I put my audiobook/podcast back on while I’m doing my makeup, getting dressed for work, and driving to work.

I check my messages one more time before putting my phone away for the morning. At lunch, I check messages again as well as Twitter and Instagram, if I have time.

After work, I check messages yet again. (I’m seeing a pattern here.) I play my audiobook/podcast in the car during my drive home. After dinner, I update this blog, which I also do using my phone.

I usually read and knit in the evenings, so if I’m reading an audiobook, I’ll play that while I knit. If I’m reading on my Kindle, my phone gets a break–unless I get emails or texts, which I check as I receive them.

In addition to all of this, I also use various apps that I update throughout the day like Fitbit and MyFitnessPal. And I’m sure there are others that I check every day that I’m forgetting about, plus random notifications from my reminders app, calendar app, breaking news, and other apps that pop up.

Something I have managed to get rid of is Facebook. I still have an account, but I rarely update it and don’t check it every day. I deleted the app, which was such a relief. I just really hate Facebook, so that was an easy one to quit.

I realize that this is pretty excessive and I shouldn’t constantly be on my phone. I guess I’m one of those annoying people who’s always got their head down in public, glued to their screen. When I’m spending time with my family, I try not to be on it constantly. When I’m by myself, I think that’s when I’m on it the most.

I definitely can’t keep checking my phone as much as I do. Now that I’ve listed how much I look at it throughout the day, it feels very much like an addiction. If I didn’t have my phone for a day, I’d probably feel a little crazy. But I could certainly benefit from using it just a little less.

No Alarms and No Surprises

If I Could Turn Back Time
Today’s prompt is from The Daily Post.

If you could return to the past to relive a part of your life, either to experience the wonderful bits again, or to do something over, which part of your life would you return to? Why?

I’d like to say that I live my life with no regrets, but that’s simply not true. If I could go back into the past and relive something, I would change the moments when I embarrassed myself quite badly, both at work but also in my personal life. There are a few incidents I have in mind, but I’m being purposely vague because just the memory of these events is mortifying! Sometimes when I think about my past mistakes, I just cringe. Suffice it to say that I wish I had the power to go back into the past so that I could undo those moments of stupidity.

Boy Bands Forever

Teenage Idol
Today’s prompt is from The Daily Post.

Who did you idolize as a teenager? Did you go crazy for the Beatles? Ga-ga over Duran Duran? In love with Justin Bieber? Did you think Elvis was the livin’ end?

As a teenager, I was all about the boy bands. One of my sisters was obsessed with New Kids on the Block, so I liked them by default. (Jordan was my favorite.) When ‘NSYNC and Backstreet Boys came out, I liked them both–and still like their music today. (JC was my favorite from ‘NSYNC; Nick was my favorite from BSB, though I’ve since chosen Kevin as my favorite since Nick was kind of a mess for a while.)

I also liked the lesser-known boy bands, like 98 Degrees. While their singing and dancing abilities weren’t as good as the other bands, I still appreciated the effort.

Something I’m not into is the more recent crop of bands, like One Direction. I admit that I don’t see the appeal of them. That makes me feel old, but I guess I’m more into the nostalgia of the groups I grew up listening to and loving.