Have you checked this out?

As I continue to grow my presence across various platforms, I make sure to keep everyone updated on my various creative endeavors. I’m working really hard on my YouTube channel lately and I’d love if you’d check it out. Perhaps you found me through my writing or photography, or we’ve had the pleasure of meeting in real life! Regardless, I invite you to come and spend some time with me in the video realm. If you’re looking to support the channel, don’t forget to like and subscribe.

Latest video here:

NEW VIDEO:

6 Tips and Tricks for Dealing with OCD | OCD in the Time of COVID-19

Watch it here.

Hey friends! Today we’re confronting scary fears about scary things and trying to cope as best as we can. I want to share all my useful tips for dealing with OCD and Anxiety. I’ll be leaving all the helpful links in this description, and my socials so you can contact me if you need anything else. I really hope this helps. Stay safe! Also sorry about my neighbors dogs and the constant looking down at my script and the nervous laughter. I am learning.

Colorful Company: Artists to Check Out During Self-Isolation

I’d be remiss not to mention that things are scary right now, but I find no point in continuing to talk about something that already brings us all a great deal of anxiety. Stay home, wash your hands, text your friends and family that you love them.

I’m coping with my usual suspects: visual art, writing, and music. I wanted to round up my favorite people right now and share who is keeping me company during the quarantine. This list will be a mix of old and new, next door and globally recognized. I’ll do my best to categorize, but you might find your favorite writer in the art section and vice versa. Who knows.

Visual Artists/Photographers

Jessie White (@j.li) – Anyone who has ever seen my website or social media knows that I consider Jessie a goddess of photography. I have a particular love for portrait and fashion photographers, and Jessie is a deft one that’s always trying new things and improving.

Hannah Kline (@hklineart) – Hannah’s work is lively, colorful, and feminine. I wish I had more astute things to say other than “it makes me feel things”. She also runs a blog called The Tall Creative, where she features women in the art world.

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Pre-ceremony. #MyFujifilm #XE2s #FujiXPhotographer

A post shared by Michael Lozano (@_michaellozano) on

Michael Lozano (@_michaellozano) – Michael is the personification of passion for filmmaking and photography. Every picture carries its own narrative. Also, he really loves taking pictures of chairs.

Christine Hahn (@christinehahn) – Christine Hahn has revitalized my interest in funky editorial/commercial photography, recently shooting for Teen Vogue and Haus Labs. Her recent shots of Xin Xie are my current favorites.

Camilla Akrans (@studioakrans) – Camilla Akrans is another favorite photographer of mine in the portrait/fashion/editorial realm. I’m currently obsessed with her Vogue China shoot with Vilma Sjöberg and anything she has ever shot with Birgit Kos.

Mark Morchel – Mark unfortunately doesn’t have a large online presence, but he’s part of an artisan’s guild here in Gainesville. His art is primitive, striking, and honest. Please donate to my “have his entire body of work on my walls” fund.

Writers

Patrick Rothfuss – I’m not the biggest fantasy person, as my bookshelf is firmly packed with nonfiction. Patrick Rothfuss’s prose is warm and accessible, lending itself to escapist reads that still touch on important socioeconomic realities. I’m currently reading The Name of the Wind.

Musicians

Ras’bry – Ras’bry is still in its nascent stages, but the Soundcloud demos are enough to get me excited for what’s next. I’m currently listening to their demo of their song World on Fire.

Sammy Rae – If you haven’t listened to Sammy Rae’s 2018 album The Good Life, you haven’t heard some of my favorite songs for the past half year. Sammy Rae is quite possibly the peak of my vocalist goals. Listen to my favorite song off the album here.

Allison Young – I’ve been following Allison Young for a while, so I was super excited to see that she recently sang a slowed down version of Mr. Blue Sky with Postmodern Jukebox.

Nate Smith – Pocket Change is one of my favorite albums from the last few years, and if you have 30 minutes, give it a listen! It’s a scientifically proven fact that drumset solo albums are the best thing to write to. Check out his full Gaslight Session here.

Book Bants: Playing the Whore

Book Bants is a series on my blog of short book reviews and the positive impact of literature.

First off, take a second to clutch your pearls at the dirty word in the title. Okay, ready?

In 132 pages, Melissa Gira Grant manages to demystify and legitimize the ever growing conversation around sex work. Her wit is immeasurable, pointing out the countless logical fallacies and underlying biases that creep into the decriminalization discourse. Sex work is a tricky enough subject, and the proliferation of “online red light districts” are making the industry and its problems more accessible to everyone. Anyone who spends enough time on Twitter or Instagram has seen memes about selling pictures to pay for tuition, which is probably a more harrowing indication of the economy that I’m not ready to touch on yet.

Grant approaches topics of feminism, sex, and labor rights with nuance and empathy. She forces the reader to confront the uncomfortable facts of who gets profiled as a sex worker, and how violent the policing meant to protect workers can get. She questions who is benefitting from the savior complex that compels us to conflate human trafficking with the whole adult industry. She asks us to consider sex work not as sexual deviance, but as service work similar to other prominent industries. She places sex work alongside luxuries like beauty and entertainment, that we “don’t feel we have to judge as better or worse than their noncommercial counterparts before coming to an analysis of their value”. Labor rights are at the forefront of my politics. I clicked with the analysis of how escorts sell emotional labor and an experience in the same way your local barista does. In deconstructing the opposition, she backs things up with seminal pieces of activist literature, anecdotes, and cold, hard facts.

Grant’s Playing the Whore is not necessarily a one stop shop. The book itselfs only zeroes in on prostituition, the illegal aspect of an industry with plenty of legal outlets. The adult industry is complex, especially as it now sports a virtual arm. Grant’s brilliance lies in the dexterity of presenting a satisfying argument but creating an urge to continue learning.

My goal this year, as obvious as it sounds, is to stop having opinions on things I don’t know anything about. I think we’re all guilty of letting our critical thinking falter, especially when it feels like there are a million things to think about. I’m looking forward to reading more about the issues I champion, and to admit my ignorance and ask for help when necessary.

What are you reading?

Book Bants: The Language of Food

Book Bants is a series on my blog of short book reviews and the positive impact of literature.

There are many things I like to mention every five minutes: I’m Argentinian, I’m bisexual, I have OCD and I’m hungry. These are the four pillars of my identity. Okay, not really, but that last one is really important. I’ve learned in life that there are people who view food as sustenance (the “we have food at home” folk) and people who view food as an Experience (the children in the backseat chanting McDonald’s). However, aside from a brief baking phase, I was never the type to step in the kitchen. I picked up The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu by Dan Jurafsky on a whim at a secondhand store. Lingustics and nonfiction are my love languages, but I wasn’t sure if a book about food would appeal to me. Maybe it would be too technical or the topic would get stale. Thankfully, Jurafsky’s book is an enlightening reminder of why our relationship with food is connected to some of the very things that make us human.
Lingustics books are always a wildcard, because language often dips its hands into history, anthropology, science, economics, and pop culture. Within the first few chapters of Jurafsky’s book, food is a bridge to discuss everything from class distinctions in marketing to the effects of imperialism on your favorite dishes. Everything is weaved together by Jurafsky’s vignettes of the food scene in San Francisco, where he resides. I’m reminded of my many food memories made in Miami, where you can find arepas being sold 0.5 miles down the street from baklava.
As he closes out the book, he reveals that he met his wife at a breakfast-for-dinner themed cooking party. He discusses the booming popularity of the communal cooking scene in San Sebastian, Spain. I picture my dad, uncle, and his friends outside cooking asado. I think of the communal holidays dinners that, in the words of Sidney W. Mintz, “often preserve what the everyday loses.” And as Gainesville weather falls below 60, 4 days before Christmas Eve, I find myself emotional over a book that spends a solid chunk of text discussing how potato chips are marketed.

Cool extra fun fact: This book was a finalist for the James Beard Award! That’s apparently a Big Deal in the culinary world. Additionally, it was recommended reading for a friend that studied at the Culinary Institute of America. I guess what I’m saying is, kill two birds with one stone by reading this book and impressing the linguists and chefs in your life.

GATOR GUIDE: Vegan + Vegetarian Friendly Spots in Gainesville

I’ve recently made the transition to a meat free diet, and while it came with plenty of benefits, I can admit that I’ve whined about the lack of convienence. Gone were my days of a habitual trip to the drive through for nuggets. What was I supposed to eat at restaurants? Water and side salad?

Okay, I’m exagerrating. I’m still grieiving my loss of nuggets. Either way, I adapted pretty quickly. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite vegan and vegetarian friendly spots in Gainesville, FL. Whether you’re a local resident or just visiting for the weekend, these restaurants were chosen based on variety, price, and availability to satifsy even the pickiest of vegetarians.

Honorable Mention: Union Street Farmer’s Market
Before I get into the establishments up and running 7 days a week, I wanted to tip my hat towards the Farmer’s Market in Bo Diddley Plaza. Every Wednesday from 4-7, the plaza is filled with vendors selling everything from vegan tacos to fresh produce. While the market leans pricey, especially when I’m shelling out $6 for a small but fresh jar of pecan butter, it’s well worth treating myself at least once a month to fresh, locally made food that caters to every diet.

For the Cafe Lover: Karma Cream
Karma Cream isn’t just vegan friendly, it’s vegan oriented. It derives its name from their organic dairy and vegan ice cream, but they’re also a fantastic place to hang out and get work done while eating your typical baked goods and coffee.

For Diner People: East End Eatery
East End Eatery is the kind of place you don’t expect to wow you from the outside. The white and light blue facade is worn and dated, but the second you step in you feel like you’re in any modern cafe with a laidback feel. East End Eatery not only offers tofu eggs and vegan cheese as a substitute, but I was also asked upfront if I wanted my Huevos Rancheros with them or not. I hate asking for substitutions and vegan/vegetarian options due to some weird embarassment, so it’s nice when a place treats the question as common as “Would you like fries with that?”. They also focus on offering delicious gluten-free options, like their blueberry waffles. Their drinks are standard fare for casual American dining, but they do offer almond and soy milk. I’m hoping for the oat milk wave to reach them soon. Also, their patio (and staff) is very dog friendly and they’ll bring your furry pal a bowl of water.

For Aesthetic Kings and Queens: Vale Food Co.
Ever heard that a healthy plate is a colorful one? While I can’t verify the health benefits of putting sunflower seed butter and dark chocolate chips on your acai bowl, it’s definitely pleasing to the eye. Vale specializes in acai bowls, dragonfruit bowls, poke bowls, and variations on nut and avocado toasts. It’s the kind of food I’ve dubbed “vegetarian 101” (sans poke), and it’s a main staple of my diet. They also offer acai and dragonfruit smoothies, if you’re like me and try to get all your nutrients from liquified meals because you like straws a little too much. Don’t worry, I use reusables ones.

For Build-Your-Own Fanatics: Anybody that eats out more than twice a year knows about some place that’s “like Chipotle, but _____”. Build-Your-Own Meal restaurants have been exploding in popularity for a while, and Bolay is my go-to “like Chipotle, but not awful for you”. Bolay does the assembly line with superfoods like kale salad and vegan friendly options like miso glazed tofu. You can customize a small, large, or kids “bol”, or order a premade “Chef’s bol”. Bonus point for the Vegan Bol already on that list. Unfortunately, they only offer tofu as of right now, and as ridiculously good as it is, it would be nice to have an extra option like a seasoned black bean tempeh.

This is Your Home

Lately, I can’t stop thinking about climate change. I used to be the type of person that dreaded going outside, loved meat and long car rides, and didn’t care about recycling. I never denied the science behind climate change, but I didn’t want to acknowledge it either.
When I was about 8, my elementary school started introducing environmental awareness into the cirriculum. I remember it focusing on water waste. I’m fuzzy on the facts, but all I know is that they told a group of wide-eyed 3rd graders that the amount of fresh water on the planet was running out and we were all going to die, or something. Truthfully, I don’t remember the exact facts or outcomes because telling 8 year olds that they’re going to die isn’t an effective call to action. It’s too much to proccess. Besides, what were we supposed to do? How are children meant to clean up the messes of giants?
Well, I’m trying. Two changes down, plenty to go.
Anyone who knows me knows I mention that I’m Argentinian once every hour. That means I come from a culture of red meat lovers. My dad loves to host weekly dinners with a large spread of chorizo, carne, and morcillo served to 10-15 guests. It’s a beautiful tradition in itself, but it also subconciously taught me that meals must be built around meat. That attitude is hurting us and the planet.
Greenpeace says that the livestock industry “generates as much greenhouse gas emissions as all cars, trucks and automobiles combined.” It’s also led to the decimation of areas of natural carbon absorption, like forests. The mass production of meat isn’t just bad for our planet though. Meat heavy diets increase the risk of obesity, cancer, and heart disease. The food used to feed livestock could feed plenty of starving people. I had the pleasure of speaking with Plamena Slavcheva, Product Manager at The Darwin Challenge. The Darwin Challenge is an app that lets you log your meatless days, and shows you the impact of each meatless day on yourself, other people and animals, and the planet. She asked me what features I like about the app. I told her that as much as we don’t like to admit it, it’s easier to do things when they feel beneficial to us. The app does a great job of emphasizes the personal benefits of meatless days. In the “Loving myself” section of the app, it highlights that cutting out meat for just one day adds 93 cents to your wallet and 45 minutes to your lifespan.
I always felt like vegetarians were asking me to drop meat cold turkey (excuse the pun). I started slowly, and now I treat meat the way we should all treat alcohol or dessert. Something special to be enjoyed in moderation. I’ve gone from chicken nuggets almost ever meal to having chicken twice in the past few months and barely noticing.
I’m not going to pretend moderation is something I’m an expert at. Trying to contribute to the health of planet made me realize how much of my life I live in excess. I cope in extremes. I try to fix a bad day by getting in my car and driving until I don’t know where I am. I’m not sure if it’s a matter of escapism or boredom. Sometimes I just don’t want to go home. No matter what, driving aimlessly is not good for the planet.
Walking is good for your body (and your wallet, if you use apps like Sweatcoin or Walgreens Balance Rewards). Biking is even better, and you look super cool in a Hello Kitty helmet. Public transit is one big carpool, and it’s nice to let go of the wheel sometimes and let yourself relax for a while. Plus, if you’re like me and constantly miss your stop, you can frame it as “exploring your city”.
I wonder sometimes if just partaking in outdoor activities would’ve curbed that urge to drive when I needed to deal with my problems. I’ve defintely reached for my keys less since I’ve started gardening and exploring Gainesville with my dog, on foot.
I know I could be doing more. My plastic use is embarassing, and I’m a bit of a shower and power hog. There are people who are sustainable to the max. I never even thought I’d be here though. Knowing I can readjust a little bit at a time gives me hope when my life or my planet feels hopeless.
The more I hear about the scale of climate change and it’s effects on humanity, the more I feel like I’m 8 years old again. I’m scared and I feel too small to fix such a big world. I can’t turn the tides of entire populations. I’m just one person. However, the lesson I continue to learn in life is that you can’t approach every problem with an all or nothing attitude. You can’t refuse to change a little because you feel like it won’t change a lot. There are steps that you can take today to affect the world in real time, and for one small person, that’s pretty damn powerful.

Links are for informative purposes, with the exception of the Sweatcoin link, which is affiliate code.

A Short Birthday Greeting

If you’re reading this, congratulations. We are both alive today, on the same damp rock. I have officially orbited the sun 21 times, and let me tell you: it’s been a wild ride.

I have spent 21 years in a squishy body. I’ve used it to play my friends the guitar, hug a grieving family member, and kiss my love on the forehead when he’s asleep. I don’t know how many years you’ve spent on this planet, but I hope you’ve packed some forehead kisses in there too. They’re incredible. If you’re struggling to make it to my next orbit anniversary, know that I’m proud of you for every day you’re here. Also, I expect you to bring the cake to the party.

If you’re reading this, congratulations. We’ve made it this far.

Signed,

Laura Torlaschi
Birthday Girl

Talking Clocks

In the beginning of May 2018, my life reached an apex I hadn’t experienced before. It was my last semester of community college. I maintained a 3.9 GPA, had several leadership positions, and was looking countless academics opportunities straight in the eye. I was stressed and overworked, but I finally felt like I had full control over my life. It felt good to know that even though my OCD eventually lead to dropping out of high school, I was able to pick myself up and keep going.

However, you never realize the fragility of your status quo until you have a panic attack at a gas station and call 911 in an act of desperation. Earlier that day, I took a Chemistry final and spent time with my boyfriend. He was filling up the tank and I was lazily scrolling through my texts when all of a sudden, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Alejandro insisted I hold off on calling the paramedics, but they showed up and told me my oxygen saturation levels were at 98%. As much as that reassurance helped in the moment, that night ended with a lot of attempts to soothe and distract. This one panic attack, the strongest I’d had in years, set off one of the worst periods in my life. The following week, I was continuously convinced my lungs would just stop working at any given moment. My stepmother and boyfriend were by my side constantly, and I felt a distinct sense of shame. I was so used to driving myself all over South Florida until midnight approached, taking care of everyone’s needs, and being available no matter what. I was angry that I had to depend on others for basic functioning.

Pictured: My two best friends when Alejandro was at work.

My boyfriend drove me to school for one of my last final exams, and I struggled to stay calm. I shook and hyperventilated as quietly as possible in that classroom, hoping I could get through the problems quickly. When Alejandro picked me up, I got in the car and took note of the time. I had a mild compulsion. Look at the time, then swallow six times while thinking about it. But then the next minute came. And the next minute. I learned, as any normal person does, that it’s very hard to swallow 6 times in one minute. I was stuck in a game of catch up, and I’d had enough. In a rare moment where frustration and anger fear, I stopped swallowing and ignored the time. However, I paid for it later that night. I was fluxuating in and out of panic for hours, fearing that I’d have to catch up for the compulsions I deliberately missed. I was convinced I’d lose control eventually, and give into this arbitrary source of comfort forever. The rest of my life spent swallowing until a descent into suicide.

For the next month or so, my family and I engaged in extreme avoidance. No one was to mention the time, use their phones, or wear their watches around me. I stopped using my phone and computer, becoming increasingly isolated from the friends I valued most in the world. You never realize how far OCD’s tendrils can reach until you’re accustomed to backwards digital clocks and post it notes covering car radios. Between these macabre scenes were beautiful displays of love. Friends arranging to come over through my boyfriend, everyone putting their phones away for a birthday gathering, and my best friend sending postcards through the mail signaling that the outside world was just fine. I even found new hobbies due to a lack of schoolwork and technology taking up my days. I picked up my guitar again, wrote more than ever, and started learning piano. It was a side of myself struggling to break out under the weight of club meetings and school projects and college applications.

Regardless of finding little workarounds, I still wanted my life back. I started intensive therapy around mid-May, and to the relief of my dad and stepmom, showed small improvements. There were plenty of nights of doubt and taking two steps back, but there was an overarching pattern of improvement. Slowly but surely, I could go into the kitchen with the incorrect oven clock and not bat an eye. I let myself look up in restaurants and stare those clocks on the ceiling down.

I still lament the loss of independence and the fact that I missed celebrating my end of semester achievements. With my newfound ability to use my phone again, I took to social media and talked about graduating, getting published, admission into the University of Florida, receiving an award, and facing therapy head on. At the very least, I could tell my friends that things are turning out alright. Messages of support poured in from close friends, peers, and even my old English teacher. The best message was one I opened a few mornings ago. A total stranger told me my posts ended up on their feed. They were also struggling with OCD and wanted to go back to school. They asked for my advice on finding treatment and I enthusiastically messaged them back with all the advice I could give. I spent a lot of May and June asking myself why this was happening to me. I’m not one for believing in signs, but I do believe in meaning. The worst period of my life brought me the realization that my friends, helping people, and indulging in my creative side were astronomically more important than the perfect academic career. OCD forced me to learn that I am worth taking care of.

For a full gallery of my summer documented, click here.

The Discipline of Baby Steps

At least once a week, I make the mistake of going on Pinterest. While I hold no actual contempt for the 40-year-old mom wonderland, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed when that insufferable interlocking grid layout finally loads.

10 steps to minimalism in 10 minutes!

5 easy ways to eat healthier meals at home

The 6 principles of Buddhism we should all follow

Look, we all know surface level listicles are a scourge of internet age writing. I also know that I’m going to turn this post into a para-listicle in a few paragraphs. Please hold on to your pitchforks and jeers until then. I swear I’ll throw in actual research and some science words. Despite endlessly knocking reductive articles that act as a guide map to a better life, I understand where they come from. PBS’s video on The Psychology of Listicles touches on the biggest draw of the listicle: ease. The video mentions that our daily consumption of information has grown exponentially in the course of almost 50 years. The concurrent growth of outlets from which to send and receive information means we’re spending way too much time distracted and overloaded.

Unsurprisingly, the field of psychology is fascinated by “cognitive fluency” lately. It’s a concept that seems obvious (hindsight bias is 20/20). Frankly, it’s so obvious that we don’t even notice it working in tandem with something as harmless as a Buzzfeed article. Maybe not so harmless to the field of journalism, but I digress.

The foundation of cognitive fluency is the idea that people prefer things that are easy to think about. The human brain has a penchant for efficiency, and this rears its head in our tendency to gravitate towards linearity and compartmentalization. This is where the beauty of the listicle lies. Of course we want a clear and definitive ranking of the last 20 years of sitcoms! What else would we do? Weigh the nuances of each television show, assess the ensuing social implications, and consider the artistic merit of the comedy in it?

Who has that kind of time? I’ve already read 5 articles on the best burger restaurants since I started asking that rhetorical question!

You can’t blame the brain for what it likes, but it’s important to recognize that just because it’s easy to read a 10 step guide to pursuing a more conscientious lifestyle, doesn’t mean it’s easy to integrate into everyday life. It’s the same fallacy underlying every failed diet. Plenty of diets are unsustainable because of the idea that instant deprivation is built to last. Not many people hold out past two weeks of cutting out all sugar before diving into a bag of expired Halloween candy. You can try to argue that it’s a matter of discipline, but there’s no discipline in short-term solutions.

I advocate for baby steps. Changing my eating habits started with a pledge to drink water instead of soda at least once a day, and a year or two later of incremental changes like that have had long-term effects. I lost and kept off 50 pounds, and I no longer hyperventilate after one flight of stairs (every time). I’m far from as healthy and mindful as I’d like to be, though. No amount of healthy eating or walks around the neighborhood will singlehandedly cure my OCD, but I’d like to take some of the weight off an already exhausted brain. The fact is, I rarely eat at home, I don’t really exercise, and I can sometimes feel the life being drained out of me after 6 hours of playing Farm Heroes Saga on my phone. I also know I can’t tackle all of these at once. Resolving to go from the girl that skipped gym class every day to Serena Williams isn’t going to work. The fallacy of diets teaches us that much. So I made a calendar. Maybe you can pick one of the days, maybe you can pick 3, maybe the whole week. The point is, every day of the week targets a different facet of unhealthy behaviors. The beauty of a diverse Monday through Sunday approach is that it targets our love of categorization, without forcing us to go from 0 to 60.

Laura’s Well-Meaning Listicle (alternatively, The Conscientious Calendar):

Meatless Mondays:

This international campaign has been around for a while. It advocates for a once-a-week approach to a practice that is better for animals, your health, and the environment. It’s a slow and simple way to add vegetarian meals to your dietary roster without having to instantly go from knowing everyone at McDonald’s to knowing everyone at Whole Foods.

I’ll miss you, Andrea. You always got my order right. See you on Tuesday.

To-Do Tuesdays:

Not everyone has a planner with a color-coding system that they stick to religiously. I’m here to announce that I do, and I still procrastinate. Evidently, writing down your intention to do something doesn’t “actually count as doing it”. I’m also really tired of feeling like every day is an endless trudge through a to-do list that never gets smaller. Obviously, I’m going to put off the “least essential items” (see: my writing, my music, my happiness) for months. If you’re a workhorse that never gives yourself time for your non-deadlined pursuits, use Tuesday to make sure you work on a passion project. If there are some things you keep putting off because you absolutely dread them, only torture yourself once a week. Either way, it gets done and you get a break.

Weed-y Wednesdays:

(Marijuana optional.)

For someone who doesn’t go outside unless it’s absolutely necessary, I talk about my urge to learn about nature a lot. Dedicate your Wednesdays to cultivating your garden, going to a dog park, or seeing a butterfly garden. Go outside and find plants that you like. Name one. Name it Marty. Greet Marty whenever you pass him by on the way to your car. Find a nearby hiking trail, drive to a lake, go to a museum and learn about bugs.

It looks cool on your 40″, go see it for real.

(No) Throwaway Thursdays:

Thursday should be a day of refurbishing, upcycling, and recycling. If you’ve purged your closet to the bone, or you’re not the crafty type, dedicate today to curbing impulse buys. Let that $5 sweater or those clearance string lights wait for 24 hours. My favorite part is realizing that I usually dodged an impulsive bullet.

Fitness Fridays:

My income, studies, and hobbies are all chained to desktops (both digital and wooden). I don’t like sports. I don’t know any exercise that isn’t a squat or a hip bridge. I have a short left tendon that forces me to tip-toe everywhere, which isn’t particularly conducive to running or even walking. Reframing fitness helps, though. I love to dance, whether it’s with tap shoes or on my bed. Walking my dog is a small dose of movement that kills several birds with one stone. Cleaning is a sport? Okay, that’s a stretch. We’re built to move. You don’t need a gym membership or an encyclopedic knowledge of exercise names to dedicate your Fridays to taking the stairs and stretching some limbs.

Side note: Can someone please explain what a Farmer’s Carry is?

Spread the Love Saturdays:

I’ve normalized displays of love in my friend groups, as have they. I’m not so sure everyone else does the same. Take today to remind a friend that you love them. I want to take Saturdays to pass my friends a note over text and tell them uplifting things. Take a family member out for ice cream. Do something your partner loves. Donate money to a stranger or volunteer. Saturdays should be about resting exhausted feet and brains and spending some time with your heart and soul.

Screen-Free Sunday:

I recognize the irony of preaching anti-tech rhetoric on my personal website. After I publish this post, I will post it to my Instagram. Then, I’ll open Twitter for no reason. Then I’ll put Youtube on my smart TV and play Farm Heroes Saga on my phone. After a few hours of the YouTube and mobile game combination, I feel a familiar emptiness setting in. I try to rectify it by opening up my laptop and working. Then the weight of all my obligations triggers panic attacks.

My OCD often attacks my fear of mortality, decision making, and time. A lack of productivity and hours in bed brings me into a state of hopelessness. Switching to overworking myself makes me feel like there’s nothing more to life than this never-ending cycle. Maybe putting down the phone, turning off the TV, and stowing my laptop would force me to redefine what it means to make valuable use of my time. If both my methods of relaxation and productivity are tied to the same devices, what can I do when I put those devices away?

I know I’ll always love the prospect of quick, categorical fixes. I want a checklist so I can easily measure my successes and failures. That’s not a long-term fix though. Checklists only have so many items, and what do you do when you’ve checked off the last item? Are you any better after following 10 steps? Did you even get to number 6? I know I don’t. I can recognize my limits, and overhauling my entire lifestyle and mentality in a few days is a big one.

To modify an old cliche: Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I’m sure people wouldn’t have been as proud of a city built in just 10 easy steps.

Featured image shot by Alejandro Nuñez on a Canon AE-1 Program, on Kodak Gold 200.