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3 Real Tips For Making This Year (or any year) Suck Less

It’s just after 5:00pm in New York City on the first day of 2013 and if you’ve turned on your television, checked your emails, gone online or been to a store today you’ve already heard about people making resolutions or received offers for things to help you with yours. My gmail contained discounts on workout clothes, gym memberships, etc. My Facebook stream was full of declarations, jokes, and questions asking about resolutions. I was even quoted in an article about this topic completely by surprise today! So, I figured, it’s about time I give you my not-a-guru take on it all. It’s full of my usual blatant honesty. Poke fun at me.

I prepared southern slow cooker pork tenderloin and baked brown butter toffee chocolate chip cookies today and I’m making sauteed kale and spinach later to go with it. True story. If you’re like me, you’re not really all that domestic. Er, okay…I just hate cooking. I live in a city and browsing seamless web for takeout options is my equivalent of searching a cookbook for recipes. I do cook (not as often as I should) and bake (for some reason, only near the holidays) but yet I don’t find a lot of bliss or enjoyment in it. Sometimes I burn things. Sometimes I curse. However, I usually feel quite accomplished afterwards and there is a certain real joy in that. I’m patting myself on the back over the stove, and suddenly…what is this…I’m smiling?!

So, before you all fall asleep reading the lead up to this first tip, here it is: Do something that makes you feel accomplished. Saying you want to be happier, feel joy or find “happiness” this year is just too damn vague. (There I go with the cursing again). Try knocking things off your to do list, starting a project, destroying mundane tasks that needed to get done 6 months ago, or learning something new that may or may not bore you to the brink of insanity and then…boom! There is a good chance joy will find you just when you’re finally feelin’ proud of yourself. If not, at least you’ve got pork and cookies.

Second tip: Ignore everyone. You just have to. You must tune out the endless stream of chatter that’s coming your way every day from every one. I was having a conversation with a friend of a friend once and somehow we got on weight loss (ugh) and she said to me, “Oh my God, it is SO easy to lose 10 pounds, it really really is.” Even though I liked her hair I wanted to punch her in the face. It doesn’t matter if what people say to you is true or not, you just have to disconnect some times. How is up to you. Read, meditate, nap,  write “Today is awesome and I’m so pretty” over and over on a sheet of paper if you have to. (What? I’ve always never done that.) Whatever you do, just tune every one out for a while and see how much better you’ll feel almost instantly. This tip is like magic.

For the third and final tip, let’s get even more simple. Stop being so selfish. Yes, you. Even the most warm, giving, altruistic person usually leaves someone out. That person is usually themselves. If you help people all the time (this can be as simple as opening doors for strangers, picking up something someone dropped and giving directions to volunteering in shelters and joining the Peace Corps – you saints!) then you may be neglecting yourself a bit. How to fix this? Example: Listen to everyone’s woes? Find someone to tell yours to. The end. If you don’t frequently help your friends, family or strangers but do focus on yourself, maybe it’s time you give a little more of your goodness away. We’re pretty infinite and there is enough time in the day to send a kind text or tell one of your oldest friends how funny, gorgeous, wise and talented you think they are. (Eh hem. *cough cough*) It doesn’t take a scientific study to explain that you’ll feel good when you help someone else feel good. Do it.

I hope you’re feeling more hopeful about 2013 already. If not, here is a photo of me and Jason B.  performing as The Parodivas and pretending to be The Grumpy Cat and Friend. Comment, tweet and share this entry if you’re digging these tips, or at least this photo, as much as I am.

Grumpy Cat, Nailed it!

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Do What You’re Good At, Damn it.

I work from home on both Monday’s and Friday’s. That is how my company is set up. On these days it is just me, the cat, and my company-provided macbook pro, sitting at my table or in the comfy chair that’s too close to the TV, typing away. Sometimes I take Zumba in the morning or head to an audition in the afternoon and answer emails before and after. I glance at my blackberry and respond as needed. When I am in the office, I have my own office. My boss and co-workers are extremely smart and friendly. The kitchen is stocked with healthy snacks and my commute for the 3 days a week in the office is under 30 minutes with no subway transfers. My hours are around 10am-6pm. I’m also pretty damn good at what I do.

A lot of performers in this city insist that you cannot have a dayjob and still pursue a performance career. Um, yes you can. I audition all the time and submit myself for projects daily. I was upfront about being an actress/voice over talent/musical comedian in my interview. I was also upfront about how much I kick ass as an Executive Assistant and had the resume’ and references to prove it. My company gave me 4 weeks of vacation time my first year in order to, in their words, “pursue my creative goals outside of the office.” Before this, I spent a few too many long and torturous years in jobs where I didn’t belong and wasn’t respected until seeking out this dream position. It didn’t fall into my lap. I searched for it, interviewed 5 hours for it, and negotiated it before accepting. I have to respect their needs and get my work done, but that’s a give-in. I don’t need to lie to or try and take advantage of a company that is actually supporting me. I just do what I’m good at, and I’m good at this job.

Is it going to be hard to leave here it if my acting career takes off and I can no longer do both? Of course! It’s awesome here! Did I mention the snacks? However, if my prime time comedy sitcom debut comes calling (hint hint: Modern Family), I’ll answer. But right now this job is going to allow me to pay off my NYC-in-my-20’s debt, hold up my half of the bills, afford fantastic classes to further my acting skills and produce my own work. Long story short: Do what you’re good at. If you think you’d be an amazing receptionist/waiter/bartender/yoga instructor/nanny/teacher/chef /whatever go do it and make some money already. We don’t all have to be starving just to be artists. Having money in your savings account is not going to turn you into a greedy monster with dollar signs for eyes. If you’re an actor, you already know new headshots and improv classes can be expensive, so get a move on and hit the pavement (craigslist/monster/mediabistro/recruitment firms/actual pavement.) Don’t spend too much time on the “what’s if’s” about the future and especially the “what others say” either and pave your own path, damn it. We’re not getting any younger.

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