Blogging is Exactly Like Farming

I drive by a farm everyday on my way to my day job. For the past couple of weeks, as winter slowly releases its death grip and relents to spring, I see people in the fields. It’s usually only a couple of people and I’m not really sure what they are doing. Maybe they are planting seeds, or cleaning debris from the ground. Maybe they are spreading cow manure.

Whatever they are doing, I get the same feeling of envy every day when I pass by. Envy isn’t quite it; longing is closer.

I hate dirt, outdoors, bugs and cow manure, so what could I be longing for when I see that couple in the field?

It’s that they are making something. They’re tending the ground that they will plant their seeds in. They will plant those seeds and fertilize the dirt and water the little plants and fuss over them until they grow and bear fruit. Or string beans. Or watermelons.

It dawned on me today how much like blogging the whole thing is.

I write about all kinds of topics at Lifestyle for Real Life, but I mostly write about making things. Making crafts, making a home, making food, making an outfit. There’s something about taking a jumble of separate things and assembling them into something you love that makes me feel useful and proud. Those are two good feelings to have.
But, also, the act of blogging itself, regardless of the topic you write about, is creative. You literally start with nothing, save for an idea, and create a little tidy piece of virtual farm land. Your ideas are your seeds and you plant them with care and nurture them until they grow and grow and end up feeding the world.
See, just like farming, right?
The other thing that keeps me craning my neck at those farmers in the field is that I know, somehow, I just know, that they are out in that field in the early morning of early spring when it still feels mostly just like winter, because they LOVE it.  They love playing with the dirt, they love watching the plants pop through the earth, they love making something that other people are going to want.
I think we’re made for making things.  I think it’s in our DNA.  I think we aren’t just made for making things, but we’re made for making things and then sharing those thing with others.  I think when we’re making something that is just our own, just a seed or an idea that started out small, but we toiled over it until it flourished; I think that’s when we’re at our best. That’s when we are the most human we will ever be.
It’s probably why, on the whole, humans make excellent parents. We love caring for and then sending out into the world, the things that we’ve made.
And it’s not just the creative process that correlates. It’s the ability to sustain yourself, and others, with what you’ve created.
That farm that I drive by every day has a farm stand, too. Right now the fields are just dirt, but all that fussing the farmers are doing now will eventually yield crops that will stock the farm stand. People will come and buy the food those farmers grew. They’ve got people depending on those crops, people that will pay hard earned money for the things they’ve grown and that’s how they feed their family.
It’s a humble kind of pride in that.
I think about that when I’m trying to come up with new ideas to write about on Lifestyle for Real Life. I think, “how will this topic be received by my audience?  Will they love it? Because if they love it, they will share it and if  they share it, I will get more page views and if I get more page views, I will make some money”.  And that money is for me and my family.
A lot of people in the blogging community don’t like that. They don’t like ads on their sites. I don’t really understand that. I know they can be annoying, but they are what sustains you, at least at the beginning. Of course there are other ways of monetizing, but ads are definitely a part of earning money with your blog.
I have no shame in my ads on Lifestyle for Real Life. They are how I pay myself for all of this work that I do and they are contributing to my family. The ads help sustain us, just like the farmer sells his vegetables to sustain his family.
And, like the farmer, bloggers WORK. Hard. And they keep terrible hours. If the farmer is up at dawn, perhaps the blogger is saying good night as they pass each other in the hallway. There, generally, isn’t much in the way of manual labor in blogging, though I’ve definitely broken a sweat trying to get the right pictures. But, don’t expect that because you aren’t out in a field at the crack of dawn that you aren’t going to expend a lot energy.
I’ve never put more effort into anything, ever.
So, yeah, I’ll pocket my ad revenue with pride, thank you very much.
Tomorrow when I drive by those farmers in the field, maybe I’ll look a little less longingly. Because I have my own little farm to go home to at night where I can nurture my little idea seedlings and watch them grow and grow.
If you want to learn more about blogging, you should join Billionaire Blog Club. If you want to learn more about Billionaire Blog Club, you should read these posts:

Open Letter to the Mother (Grandmother?) Who Yelled at Me In the School Parking Lot Today

Dear Psycho Mom (Grandma?  I’m not totally sure) Who Screamed at Me Today:

Guess what? I already knew I was in an illegal parking spot. You didn’t need to actually get out of your car, come over to my car and actually scream at me.

Let’s rewind a sec, shall we?

So the school parking lot? It’s a disaster, right? We can agree on that, I think. There are approximately 14 legal parking spots and about 80,000 people who pick up their kids every day. I saw you pointing at the spots on the street that people had lined up in, by the way. Guess what? Those spots are all illegal, too.

I picked the place I had my car in that day for a reason. I didn’t get out of my car and leave it parked there illegally. I was sitting in the car with it running, so that I could take one of the legal parking spots as soon as one became available and, hopefully, then safely get my child from school.

That’s all I was there to do.

You, clearly, were already annoyed at the world because you swung your car out of the spot like a bat out of hell and honestly, I panicked and gave you a honk because I thought you were going to either hit my car or run the little old lady over who was walking through the parking lot. Maybe you knew her? From Bingo, maybe?

So, I was actually doing my best to do the right thing. And when you screwed up your face and started screaming at me from your car, I was still trying to do the right thing by not engaging you and smiling while keeping my window up. I’m not about to get into it with a crazy (possible) grandma in the school parking lot. I mean, I’d look like the bully, right?  No one yells at almost grandma’s!

But, you, you feisty thing you, got OUT OF YOUR car, in the middle of the parking lot. You came over to my window!  You’ve got moxie, I’ll give you that.

At this point, out of morbid curiosity, really, I rolled the window down to see what you had to say. It was very yelly, I remember that. I really wasn’t entirely sure what to do with you, to be honest. So I smiled, rolled up the window and mouthed “I can’t hear you!” and waved you along.

Then I mouthed all of my favorite curses to myself, in the privacy of my illegally parked (waiting) car, like a proper lady.

You know what I wonder? I wonder what would have happened if I had gotten out of the car? I wonder what would have happened if I did start screaming back at you? We might have missesd an opportunity, in fact. We might have been Youtube sensations. My husband would have been so proud to see me in a tussle on World Star Hip Hop.

But, of course, I’m a grown woman with a clear head on my shoulders and I knew engaging with the likes of you would not end well.

But you know what? You’ve stuck in my craw. My heart rate is still up. I don’t even know why. I wonder if I’ll see you at pick up tomorrow? I wonder if I would even recognize you again, actually? I’ve kind of already started erasing your face from memory. I wonder what the hell you’re going to do with the video you took of my car as you drove away.

And speaking of the video you took of my car while driving away? That was probably far more illegal than me sitting in my running car waiting for a parking spot. And dangerous. I mean, driving through the school zone, while kids were getting out of school, window down, hand out the window, pointing your phone at my car while you stared at me?

Tsk, tsk, Nana. You could’ve killed someone.

Now, maybe you had a really bad day. Maybe you flew off the handle because you just got some bad news or because someone you love is sick. Or maybe you’ve been constipated for a week. Guess what?

I.

DON’T.

CARE.

It’s how we handle ourselves when we are at our worst that is what defines us. Grace under pressure?  Resilience through adversity? Humor with strife?

You failed there, friend.

And I won. You know why?  Cause it was hilarious when I rolled the window up and mouthed “I can’t hear you” through the window. That shit was funny!

Sports Are More Important Than School

I know what you’re thinking. That title is click bait. She doesn’t really think that sports are more important than school. That’s ridiculous.

Not true. For my kids, sports are actually more important than school. Here’s why.

I have a 13 daughter year old daughter, Sophia, who is a softball pitcher. If you saw that girl on a pitching mound,  you would say she is confident, mentally strong and able to persevere in a high stress situation.

You wouldn’t even recognize her from five years ago before she started pitching.

My daughter has anxiety. Debilitating anxiety. Looking back, I can recognize the signs of it in her even when she was a baby. She cried for no reason, incessantly. She couldn’t tolerate any type of sensory discomfort.  As a toddler she was painfully shy and skittish. When we decided to have her go to day care a couple of days a week to help her social skills, the day care lady promised us she would stop crying at drop off after a few days.

She was wrong. She cried every day we brought her until it was time for her to go preschool where she continued to cry every day and so on through kindergarten, first grade, second and on and on for years. She had trouble making friends. She didn’t advocate for herself at school. What we thought were tantrums, we began to realize were panic attacks.

We had her seeing the school psychologist at the suggestion of her pediatrician and going into fifth grade we took her to see a psychologist at a premiere anxiety disorder center in Boston once a week.

I don’t want to diminish what the anxiety disorder center did for her. It was immensely helpful and she learned many strategies to deal with her anxiety. But it didn’t give her an oasis where there was no anxiety.

Pitching did that.

We had enrolled her in all of the things kids love, soccer, gymnastics, Girl Scouts. They were all torturous as we’d spend the entire time prodding her, cajoling her, bribing her into participating. She ended up sticking  with Girl Scouts (because I was the troop leader) and softball (because daddy was the coach).

Girl Scouts was at our house with 6 girls she knew from school with me as the leader and still it was painful to get her to participate. Softball was the same for the most part. Except for one thing. She was kind of good at softball. That is,  when she wasn’t second guessing herself or crying before going up to bat. That anxiety was still there, always lurking in the recesses of her mind, ready to ruin the one thing she was growing to love.

Then, in fifth grade, her team ended up without a single player who could pitch. Her dad was the coach and said, “Soph, you’re going to have to learn to pitch”. I thought he was crazy. The anxiety was more under control with the help of her therapist, but I don’t think there is a more anxiety inducing position to play in any sport than pitcher. Maybe quarterback. But with pitching, it’s all eyes on you. You can’t “hide” at pitcher. You throw strikes, or you don’t.

But, of course, and thankfully, Dad didn’t listen to me and started working with her on learning to pitch. It’s fun to look back at where she was in fifth grade to where she is now, but right from the start, she showed an affinity for it.

I’m not going to tell you that she worked really hard and slowly got better and better and it built her confidence and NOW SHE’S CURED! She does work really hard at it and she has gotten MUCH better and she did build her confidence. But she still has anxiety.  Everyday it’s there, not as strong as it used to be, but she battles it every day.

Except when she’s pitching.

As a mother of a daughter who has anxiety, I get super anxious about her getting anxious. So, this is what happens every time she pitches in a game. I find a spot, out of her view. to stand and I either cheer every strike or I quietly curse every ball or hit. Also the umpire. I have whispered every swear in the book about the umpires. I’m never within earshot of anyone and especially not my daughter so she only hears my positive “great pitch” from somewhere in left field. At the end of every inning, I go sit back down with the other softball parents (who totally understand my ritual and are completely non-judgmental) and let my heart rate come back down until she’s up again. Then I’m back to my spot.

That’s how anxious I get when she’s pitching. It stands to reason, then, that a kid with severe anxiety would be a puddle on that mound, right? Well, you should see her. It makes me want to cry tears of relief to see my kid, in charge. In charge of that ball, the game and her team in those moments. She stands tall, walks the mound with confidence and hurls that ball. The most impressive is when she’s a little off, has fallen behind in a count and then comes back to strike a girl out. And she does it like it’s no big deal. Like every eye isn’t on her. Like her team isn’t COUNTING on her.

This is the same kid that still doesn’t want to ask her teachers for the bathroom pass.

I asked her once, why isn’t she nervous when she’s pitching? She says when she is on the mound, she is in control.  Whether it’s the hours of practice she puts in (and it’s HOURS of time spent every week perfecting this. And her dad is her catcher.  I can’t let this post go without mentioning that if it’s not game time, he’s catching EVERY.SINGLE.PITCH) or her belief in her own ability, something clicks for her when she’s on that mound.  She owns that spot and she is in control.

She doesn’t get that feeling from school.  She does a little better than average in school, but her anxiety has held her back, I think, from reaching her potential because it does take her so long to get comfortable enough to really connect with her teachers. She doesn’t have that “in control” feeling when she’s sitting at her desk. Maybe it’s because she’s surrounded by other kids clamoring for attention and she’s never going to be the squeakiest wheel.

School is going to teach her to think critically and write well and do a little math. It will teach her about working with others and organizational skills and will feed her curiosity. She loves school, actually. She is a very avid reader and loves to write fiction.When she finally starts to feel comfortable, she usually forms strong bonds with her teachers. I love that school offers her all of that and I do believe it is very important.

But, for Sophia, it’s second to sports.

Softball has given Sophia something nothing else has. And it’s not “teamwork!” or “practice hard, win easy!” or “defense wins championships!” or any of the other sports cliches that don’t really quite sum up what sports can do for a person. It has taught her a stronger work ethic (although she can still be a lazy teenager) and how to be a good teammate and how to lose with grace. But none of that makes it the most important thing in her life.

It’s the most important thing because it has given her that peace that nothing else has.

It has given her an oasis where she is finally free from anxiety. And that feeling has started to creep into the rest of her life. There is a definite quiet confidence that is battling that anxiety. The anxiety is still there, but it’s like she has this reserve of calm that she can use to battle it back.  I have to believe that a large part of that reserve is built on the mound.

What I’ve learned from watching my kid grow and struggle and thrive every day is that the most important thing you can do for your kid is to find that thing that gives them that inner peace.

Find one thing that makes them feel good about themselves.

Try everything until they find it. Maybe it’s drama or painting or karate or cooking or rock climbing. That thing might actually be school for your kid and if so, then go *all* out for school.

Put everything into it.

Let them have that feeling of being in control.

See what it does for their confidence and see how it makes you feel when you know that that confidence will be with them for their whole life. Because they excelled at something and now they know that they are capable of excellence. It’s now something they can expect from themselves. Then come back and tell me that I’m wrong and sports aren’t more important than school.

And if you still don’t believe me, I’ll tell you the story of my son with ADD and apraxia and what basketball has done for him.

5 Reasons Why You Should Start Dropping People From Your Life

I don’t like when people try to use the world selfish against me.

It’s become sort of an attack on someone to make them feel bad when they really shouldn’t feel bad at all.

If I order some fries and you want some and I don’t give you any, then I’m being selfish. That I can understand.

However, if you’re in my life and you’re making my life worse and I don’t want you in my life anymore then I’m not being selfish. I’m taking care of my best interests.

I wish more people understood the concept that they are in control of their happiness. If nobody else was around and you had nobody to influence you in a positive or negative way, how do you think you would feel?

There would be nobody to compare yourself to. Nobody to judge you.

You would be just you.

How do you think you would feel?

You might think that you would still be in the same state of mind that you’re in now but then you have to think what has put you in that state of mind?

It’s one thing to take actions in your life that cause you stress and it’s another thing to allow others to come into your life and cause that stress.

Sometimes you can’t help it when you get sick or you hit a financial crisis. However, you can control who you let into your life.

I see too many people keep people around that don’t make their lives better.

Only keep true friends in your life. Drop the rest.

Call me selfish if you want, but if you don’t make my life better in some way then there isn’t much point in keeping you around.

What I mean by this is that if I’m not happier when I’m around you or feel as though I’m getting fulfillment then what’s the point?

If being around you makes me angry, sad, confused, annoyed, or stressed, then why would I want to keep that in my life?

I only have one shot on this planet so what is wrong with me wanting to have as many happy moments as possible?

But what about family? You have to keep them around, right?

Nope.

Family might get more strikes at the plate than everybody else but the same rules apply.

Are They Friends?

I used to be the guy that would treat my friends to drinks whenever we’d go out. I wouldn’t buy all of the drinks but my friends were never lacking because of me.

When I didn’t have any money left to buy them drinks you already know what happened.

They weren’t around anymore.

It’s easy to look back and say they weren’t real friends but that doesn’t make the realization hurt any less.

That was the moment when I decided that people that don’t make my life better don’t need to be in my life.

If that makes me selfish then I guess I’m the most selfish son of a bitch around.

Reasons Why You Need to Kick People Out of Your Life

When I tell people that this is my philosophy on life some of them act shocked and call me cold, but when I ask why they can’t really give an answer. It’s like they just assume that it’s a given you are supposed to have some shitty people in your life.

Like the force needs to be balanced.

Screw that.

You don’t go around keeping the food you hate in the kitchen just so there is a balance to the good food.

You don’t keep clothes you hate just so you can sometimes feel miserable in your outfits.

It’s my life and I keep who I want in it.

Since I have this philosophy I figured it would be best if I codified it somehow. Maybe if I could come up with a list of reasons why I feel this way then more people would understand.

Maybe they would even apply to their lives.

1. You Have One Life to Live

You might be a part of a religion that believes in reincarnation and that’s cool. However, this experience that you’re having right now is the one you’re living. You can’t plan on the next one being better.

You don’t know when your last day is and I’m sure you love the quote Live every day like it’s your last but you don’t really follow it.

It’s bad enough that you have to work at a soul-sucking job or sit in classes that make you want to sleep. Life itself will present enough terrible situations that make life not as enjoyable as you want it to be so why make it worse by allowing shitty people into it?

This might sound weird but it’s actually okay to DO YOU.

Some people feel guilty thinking this way because it’s selfish. Nobody is telling you to ignore the people that you love AND deserve your awesomeness. Give them all of your goodness but make sure they earn it.

2. Some People Don’t Deserve You

I don’t know you but I know you’re awesome.

Seriously. You. Are. Awesome.

If you don’t believe that then that’s okay because I believe it.

There might be some people in your life that don’t believe that and guess what? They don’t deserve you.

It’s not easy facing the fact that some people just don’t appreciate you in their lives. It’s a tough pill to swallow but it happens.

Screw them.

There are others that do deserve you so focus your energy on them.

Do you boo, do you.

3. You Don’t Have Enough Energy to Waste Energy

Everybody has goals and achieving these goals requires energy.

If you keep people around that suck that energy from you then they are keeping you from your goals.

10 years from now are you going to be proud of yourself for dealing with these people and not achieving your goals?

Probably not.

Every day you wake up with a specific amount of energy. Throughout the day you expend that energy until it’s gone.

It’s why some of us poor a drink at 11:30 am. The energy is already gone.

If you know you need a certain amount of energy to achieve your goals then it makes sense not to waste the energy on people that don’t help with that cause.

4. Good People Deserve You More

There are people in your life that love you. They treat you right and really want the best for you.

When you’re not happy they aren’t happy.

If you’re not happy because of someone in your life then the people that care about you aren’t having the best lives either.

But when you’re happy? Their world is great.

If you want them to have the best lives possible then you need to take care of yourself so you can be happy.

That doesn’t sound very selfish at all.

5. It’s Your Damn Life

Seriously. This is all that matters.

It’s your life. Be selfish for you. Not about materialistic things like those fries. Be selfish about wanting a happy life.

Everyone deserves that.

You deserve this.

I’m not sure what’s happening in the image above but I do know that’s what you deserve in life. Someone where you can try to wrap yourself around in an uncomfortable position in a poorly lit room with dead flower petals falling from somewhere.

Who is going to clean all of this shit up?

It doesn’t matter because you’re happy.

It’s Not Easy

I know I make it sound so easy to just drop people. Some people you have a close attachment to because you think of one happy memory or maybe you feel like you owe them.

I can understand that but I promise you that you’ll only sting a little bit when you drop them.

The next day?

You’ll wonder why life is just a little bit easier.

Do you boo, do you.

13 Dumb Motivational Quotes That You Can Ignore

When you need some motivation it can help to go looking for some motivational quotes.

They get you so fired up and make you feel inspired for the 30 seconds that you keep them in your head.

But if you take a step back and look at some of these quotes you’ll realize that they don’t make any damn sense.

I want to take a look at some popular motivational quotes and just point out how silly they really are.

Motivational Quotes That Don’t Make Any Sense

1. Don’t Talk…

don't talk, just act. terrible motivational quote

I understand what this quote is trying to say. It’s for the people that are all talk but what if you aren’t that person. What if you’re a person that needs to talk to get something out.

If you just act then the people around you might not know what the hell you are doing. Why? Because you don’t talk.

If you’re showing people something they won’t understand. Why? Because you don’t say.

As for the don’t promise part, I can get behind that. Stop making promises people! Just prove.

Just prove.

2. Stop Being Afraid…

Another dumb motivational quote but I guess it works for some people.

Fear is natural. You shouldn’t let fear stop you but to simply say you need to stop being afraid is silly.

You can’t just stop being afraid. If you’re scared then you’re scared.

It doesn’t mean you still can’t do what you need to do. It just means you might shit your pants while doing it.

And that’s okay.

Be afraid but take action.

Be scared but keep pushing forward.

3. Never Stop…

Never stop doing great just because someone doesn’t give you credit motivational quote

If I’m being honest then I must say that my first response to reading this quote was “no shit”.

Of course, I’m not going to stop giving my best just because I’m not getting credit from someone.

That is unless I’m at a job where nobody is getting credit and others are getting rich off of my hard work.

Then we’re going to have some issues.

I’ll definitely stop then.

4. Work While…

Work while they sleep. Learn while they party. Save while they spend. Live like they dream

I must say this life sounds kind of miserable.

While I agree that you need to work harder than others to achieve your goals that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun and treat yourself along the way.

What happens when you’re 60 and you’ve finally made your dreams come true? What did you miss out on because you didn’t want to go out and party from time to time?

And what about the lack of sleep?!

You’re working hard while everybody else is getting rest to tackle tomorrow. Your body is going to eventually crash and you’re going to be useless. You’ll end up sleeping anyways.

Get your sleep. It’s important.

5. The Key…

The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire not things we fear

To be honest I think this one is dumb just because I have no idea what it means.

Better off saying:

The key to success is to be born rich.

6. Never Apologize…

Never apologize for having high standards, people who really want to be in your life will rise to meet them.

This is something a snobby dickhead would say as an excuse for being a snobby dickhead.

Don’t be a snobby dickhead. Apologize.

7. You Attract…

Most of us don’t know what the hell we are so who knows what we’re attracting.

But sure, I’m going off to be great.

I hope I attract great soon because my rent is due.

8. A Hill…

A hill is just another opportunity to leave your competition behind

What if I’m just as tired as the competition?

What if I’m more tired than the competition? Then they are going to leave me behind!

Oh god, now I’m afraid of hills.

9. Do What…

Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do

Tell that to the dude working at McDonald’s just trying to make rent.

10. You Can’t…

You can’t get rich thinking poor

Want to know why some people stay in debt?

Because they spend like they’re rich.

How are you supposed to know how rich people think if you’ve never been rich.

You can’t get rich if you don’t understand what the hell this quote means.

11. If You…

If you can’t stress, you won’t manage success

These quotes are starting to make me feel like success isn’t worth it.

I think I could handle success just fine without being able to handle stress.

If I’m successful I can pay someone else to handle the stress.

That’s how you manage.

12. Don’t Mistake

Don’t mistake silence for weakness. Smart people don’t plan big moves out loud.

Whoever made the mistake of calling silence a weakness? Also, a lot of smart people won’t shut the hell up.

All they can talk about is their big moves.

Shut the hell up and go make your big move.

13. Count Money

If you can count your money, work harder.

I saved the dumbest one for last.

Ain’t nobody keeping money under the mattress anymore. Open up the app on your phone and read the number on the screen.

Maybe it should be:

If you own a phone that doesn’t allow you to install banking apps on it then you need to work harder.

That one makes more sense.

Looking for Motivation?

If you’re really looking for motivation then just look in the mirror and tell yourself you want better.

You don’t need a quote made by someone that might not even be true. Do you know how many quotes are attributed to Mark Twain who never said any of them?

Seriously.

How many great quotes have you come up with at the bar while sipping on your 5th spicy margarita? I know I’ve come up with at least 1,537 and that’s the low count.

But you know what? I don’t remember any of them and I’m still pretty motivated to get more in life.

In fact, it’s more important to keep awesome people in your life that will help push you further. Don’t keep around the people that are holding you back. Too bad there aren’t motivational posters that say that.

Instead, read about the Reasons Why You Need to Remove Some People From Your Life.