I Love Car Shopping

I love buying a new car.  It’s not the joy of having a new car (ok, it’s kind of that), and it’s certainly not having to shop around for car insurance rates, but it’s the process of buying it.  Car salesmen always assume that since I’m a woman, I don’t know much about cars, nor about how to buy one.  I walk into the dealership and I get attention right away.  There are a few types of salesmen:

The first kind is the overconfident guy who thinks he’s going to charm me into buying a car.  He’s flirtatious and makes too many jokes.  He’s more focused on trying to create a good vibe rather than actually answering my questions.  Few things irritate me more than when I ask a specific question and I don’t get a specific answer.

The second kind is the guy who doesn’t seem to be taking me seriously.  It’s like he’s going through the motions but doesn’t think I’m actually going to buy anything (you know, cuz it’s probably my boyfriend or husband who makes the final decision), so he brushes off most of my concerns and seems like he’s waiting for me to leave so he can go sell a car to a man.

Then there are what I call the “good” salesmen.  They’re not trying to impress me, they’re not trying to flirt with me, they’re just being friendly and showing me the different features and answering my questions.  This is the type of person that I buy from.

I’ve seen female car salesmen but I’ve never actually worked with one.  I bet that’s a hard job because it’s such a male dominated industry.  I wonder if they have trouble selling to men, and I wonder how they would deal with me.

So the salesmen always try to get me with extra fees and other nonsense when it comes time to deal.  We’ll be like $2,000 apart in price and after they “go talk to their manager” they will come back like $100 lower than their original price.  I’m like, did you not hear me?  I know what your cost is on this car.  I know about the stuff you add on to that price.  Meet my price or I’m leaving.

Sometimes they actually call my bluff and I leave.

I don’t care.  There are many other dealers who will be more than happy to get my business.  I’ll even tell them if I get better service than I did at the previous place.  “Hey, you know why I’m buying from you rather than from the place in the next town over?  Let me tell you.”

Doing More

I want to do more traveling.  As I approach middle age (depending on your definition of “middle age”) I realize that I’ve spent a lot of my life in “planning mode” and not so much time in “doing mode.”  Of course, that’s a results of my personality which is naturally to be cautious and not just jump into things.  I have friends who are kind of like that, though.  It simultaneously strikes me as exciting as well as kind of foolhardy.  I remember one of my friends in college was telling me about how she was at a concert and she met these cool guys who were on a road trip and she decided to go with them on their trip.  I was like “what?  You don’t even know these guys!  How was that even safe?!”  Not to mention the fact that I don’t think many people could just up and go on a road trip without making prior arrangements, you know, like letting people at your job know you’re not going to be there, packing some clothes, etc.

But she did it and had a good time, and that’s totally her personality.  She’s like a free spirit and just kind of does what she feels like in the moment.

The thought of doing that terrifies me, but more power to her if that’s her truth.

But I do want to travel.  I want to go to Indonesia and check out their markets, see their temples, eat some spicy satay, and visit their temples.  I want to visit all the main islands, stay in a hotel Bandung, have a meal with strangers, and learn to speak the local language.

I think I’m going to do that this summer.  Like I said, I always think about these things I want to do, but I always come up with a reason as to why I shouldn’t do them.  It’s either like I need to save money, or I can’t take the time off from work, or I’m not confident enough, or whatever.  But I’m getting to the point where I’m looking back and starting to regret some of the things that I didn’t do, so I want to go do more stuff so I don’t continue to feel this way as I get older.  I’ve always heard that you regret the stuff you didn’t do more than the stuff you did do, and I’m starting to see there may be some truth to that.


Is It Spring Yet?

I can’t believe how warm it has been recently.  Seriously, what is going on?  Last week it was 8 degree outside.  Single digits.  Freezing.  And then two days ago it was 56.  Fifty six!  And then today it’s 18 and snowing.  What is going on?

A few days ago it was awesome I went for a run outside and it seems everyone else was doing the same because I ran into like 3 of my neighbors.  It felt weird to be wearing shorts in January, but it was certainly warm enough!  Sometimes in the winter I’ll either go to the gym and run on an elliptical, or if it’s not too windy I’ll bundle up and still go for a run outside.  I don’t necessarily mind the cold because I can always wear layers and a scarf and that type of thing; what bothers me is the wind, especially when you’re running into it.

So anyway, 56 degrees in January is nuts, although it did make me feel like summer was almost here and kind of served as reminder of how much I want to get into shape this summer.  In addition to running (which I’ve been very good about keeping up with so far), I’m considering changing my diet around a bit and maybe even using some supplements.  I’ve been reading about the paleo diet which basically says you’re supposed to eat like how a caveman would’ve eaten.  Lots of meat and veggies and not many processed foods, wheats, or that type of thing.  I mean, I think it does kind of make sense, at least as far as avoiding processed foods.  But I do like some of the things you’re not supposed to eat, though, like grains.  We’ll see.  I’ve also thought about trying green coffee bean extract, not as like a crazy weight loss drug, but just for a little extra help in the short term getting myself ready for the summer.  It’s made from coffee beans while they’re still green (before they’re roasted).  I just always assumed they were dark since that’s how you always see them in the store.

So that’s what’s new with me.  I’m pretty excited for summer to get here so I can put all my winter coats in storage and bust out my flip flops.  Maybe I’ll even buy a convertible.  Just kidding.  I actually don’t like riding in convertibles because all the wind messes up my hair.

A Date With The Courthouse

I don’t have many regrets in my life but what happened last weekend to me would definitely be one of them. I’m a little embarrassed to even mention it here.  I was out with some friends and on my way home I got pulled over and was charged with a DUI. I never in my life have been in trouble with the law before which makes this whole thing even worse. What also makes it worse was I almost didn’t go out to begin with. I got home from work that day and was all intent on just taking it easy at home by myself. I had bought a new PlayStation 3 game on Amazon and it came in the mail that day and I was going to play that and just chill.  Around 8:00 my phone rang and it was my friend Tyler telling me I had to come out with him and some other people. I hesitated and thought about it and a large part of me wanted to say no but for some reason I said yes and the rest as they say is history.

There aren’t many good things about this but I at least was let go the same night because I was so cooperative and not hostile like I’m sure a lot of drunk drivers are. I had to pay for a cab and the next day had to pay to get my car out of an impound lot which wasn’t cheap. I know this whole thing is going to cost me a lot but I hope by retaining a good DUI attorney in Sarasota I can get some leniency by the judge. I have asked a few people that I know have been in my situation and they all told me that the first one while bad isn’t too bad. They all also told me never to get a second one as then I’m probably looking at some jail time and losing my license for years on end.

Anyways that is pretty much what I’m dealing with in my life at the moment. I wish I could have written about something much happier but that isn’t the case. I plan on updating this as much as I can so check back and I will let you know how things turned out. My first court date isn’t until the middle of next month so I have a lot of worrying to do before it gets here.

Inner Outer Synergy

As you know I am interested in making some positive changes in my life, including not only inner changes (such as mindset), but also outer changes (such as productivity).

I’ve seen some discussion relating to whether these changes should start from the inside and manifest outward, or start from external changes and be brought inward.  The latter kind of sounds like “faking it til you make it.”  The thinking is that if you are doing good things in your life, if you are taking the proper steps for success, your life will improve and as a result, your happiness and outlook on life will improve.

But then I kind of think about all those rich people who aren’t happy.  They have success.  They have money.  But they aren’t happy.  Why not?  Why doesn’t it come from the outside in for them?

Then I think about going from the inside out.  If you are feeling good you are probably going to approach situations from a different viewpoint and make choices that will allow you to continue to experience positivity.

Let me give you some examples from my life.

In the past I never really used to pay that much attention to my finances.  I mean, I had a general idea of how much money was in my bank account, but I would pretty much buy whatever I wanted, I didn’t set aside money specifically for saving, and I wasn’t really aware of how much little purchases can add up (like getting coffee every morning, for example).  My mindset was kind of “whatever.”  I read a book that kind of changed my thinking about it, though, and sort of made me start thinking about it all in a different way.  I thought to myself, I’m trying to be more positive and bring good things into my life, and wouldn’t my finances fall into that category?  Would having better control and understanding of my money in turn lead to more positivity in other areas of my life?

Absolutely it would.

So I began to practice more conservative spending habits, and made sure to reinforce them in my mind so I saw them as a good thing, a positive direction, rather than viewing them as “missing out.”  When I don’t buy coffee in the morning, I don’t think “this sucks, I’m not getting my coffee.”  That’s the wrong mindset and it would bring me down.  Instead, I think something more along the lines of “this coffee is overpriced, and I can make my own for much cheaper which means I can save money.”  Of course, saying that and actually believing it are two different things, but it’s to the point now where I really don’t want to spend money on frivolous stuff like that.  I met with an accountant to make sure I’m not missing anything when it comes to my property taxes, and I keep a spreadsheet of all my expenses so nothing gets too out of control without me realizing it.

So it’s kind of a combination of inner and outer changes reinforcing each other.

Physical and Mental Positivity

I just realized the other day that amidst all my self improvement, positive energy type stuff that has been going on recently, I’ve actually been neglecting to work on any real physical improvement.

In the past I was really into working out and went to the gym a few times a week.  I wasn’t really in a happy place in my life for much of that time, and really the only thing I had going for me at that time, in terms of what was making me happy, was my consistent workouts.  I was getting a bit of a confidence boost as a result.  It was part of my identity.  Working out wasn’t just something that I did, it was part of who I was.  And of course, it made me feel good because of the endorphins that are released during exercise.  But more importantly, I had the identity of someone who exercised.

As it always goes, I ended up getting busy with life.  Work, travel, personal stuff, and the gym eventually gets put on hold.  I’d miss a workout here and there and think “oh, it’s not that big of a deal,” and it got to the point where missing workouts almost became a normal thing.  After all, when you travel, you can’t always find a gym.  And if you’re staying late at work one night you might have to miss the gym.  These things happen.

Unfortunately for me, they started to become regular occurrences.  Eventually a month went by where I hadn’t even been to the gym once, and it didn’t even bother me.

I had lost the spark, and I knew something was missing from my life.

Around this time I began my inner transformation so to speak (positivity and such).  I found that I was becoming a happier, more confident person.

But recently, the urge to get back in the gym has struck.  It’s almost like my body was telling me “hey, you need to wait until your mind has caught up and is in a healthy place.”  And I really feel that way, now.  I used to be negative, then go to the gym and feel a bit better, and then go back to being negative.  But I don’t feel that way anymore, and I think beginning to work out again will only provide a further boost both to my mood and as well as my overall well-being.  So I ordered a pair of cheap trainers that you can see online if you click here and am going to start hitting the gym again.

It’s amazing how over the last year or so, while attempting to be more positive, I’ve become more sensitive to negative people, sometimes even to the point that I can’t even stand to be around them.  But that’s a whole other story!

Making Changes

Over the past year or two I’ve increasingly wanted to change some things about myself. To name a few, I’d like to be more forgiving of people who do wrong by me; more emotionally self-reliant (not needing other people to be happy and instead having my happiness come from myself); less prone to over-thinking and worrying (things I do a lot right now); and have lower expectations out of life and other people.

I feel like these things are all linked together, and all sort of come from a mindset of insecurity and such-like. I used to have anxiety attacks and I’m aware that many of the traits I’ve listed are negative thinking habits that contribute to anxiety issues

This isn’t the most coherent post ever from me.  My basic question is, how can one change such thought patterns? Especially when, as I feel, they’re rooted pretty deep in my personality? How can I go from being over-thinking and having overly high expectations to being more laid back? Sometimes I feel like I have a grasp on who I am now, and what I want to change to improve myself, but very little idea of how to go about doing that.

Anyways, I’d really appreciate any advice on this. Who knows?  Maybe I’ll get lucky and someone here can relate to this!

Perspective From a Guy

I don’t usually do this, but here is something one of my male friends wrote about going out alone as a guy.   I’ll post my response later, I just want to let this churn for a while right now.

Yeah, it’s hard to get past. I”m still pretty self-conscious about it if it’s a new place I haven’t been. I feel like the “creepy guy” and it messes with my head. But if I’m there with friends, it’s not like that at all.

Being with friends gives you a “home base” to return to when you need comfort. Go open a chick, she laughs at you and walks away, who cares, just go back to your friends and chill with them for a bit. No harm done, you’re still cool.

But if you’re alone and you open a chick and she laughs at you and walks away, lol, now everyone sees you get laughed at AND that you have no friends It’s like, reverse pre-selection. Anti-selection? It’s like, you can get hot chicks interested in you simply because they see you with other hot chicks. This is the opposite of that. When chicks see you alone and getting rejected by other chicks, they pre-reject you and you have even less of a chance

Sadly, that’s how it works a lot of the time. Not always, but a lot of the time. There are exceptions to everything, however. A lot of it is in your head, I think. If you go out alone and think you’re awesome, you’ll have better luck. But you have to actually think you’re awesome, not just pretend like it, because then that comes off as fake, and that can be worse than just being the quiet alone guy who sits in the corner with his beer and doesn’t say anything. But if you believe you’re awesome and you’re congruent with it, then you’ll have better success. In those rare situations when I’m confident, things tend to go well. When I’m faking it (deep down inside I know if it’s fake or not), they tend to not go as well. lol, I have had nights where I was such a nervous wreck and not having any fun because I was trying so hard to look like I was having fun Fake it til you make it Gotta sit a certain way, posture, body language, expression, do this, do that, slow movements, am I leaning back far enough? Am I drinking too fast? Gotta look like I’m a cool confident guy who’s having fun. But I wasn’t, my mind was going non stop But when you’re actually having fun, you usually do all that stuff subconsciously anyway so you don’t even have to worry about it. I hope that made sense. But again, that’s all better than sitting hunched up in the corner seat of the bar by yourself being afraid to talk to anyone. And even that is better than staying inside being afraid to go out.

So it’s like, going out alone can help your confidence, or it can further damage your confidence if you have a bad night and let it bother you and rationalize it as “well obviously I had a bad night, because I suck.” On those types of nights, I tried to look at it more as “well, ok it sucked, but I give myself props for going out alone and pushing myself out of my comfort zone.” So sometimes it’s just like little baby steps of progress like that. Even if you don’t talk to anyone (dudes or chicks), whether because you’re afraid to open anyone, or because no one wants to talk to you, at least you did it. Trying and failing is 10 times better than not trying and rationalizing. It leads to personal growth, I think. Seriously, some nights literally all I could do was just to cheers the dude next to me at the bar. I was nervous as heck to actually open anyone. I’d get there, excited, pumped up and ready to rock, and then it’s like BOOM lol i’m here by myself, everyone thinks I’m a loser, no one wants to talk to me, I’m just gonna go take my place at the bar and not bother anyone. So in that case, just cheersing someone was progress. Other nights, it’s like, I forget I’m by myself cuz I’m having such a good time. Progress doesn’t seem to be linear. Some of my best nights were followed by streaks of bad nights. You just gotta keep trying to make progress.

So it’s like… I’m way more conservative when I’m out alone. And I recognize that this is an ego defense mechanism.

And it’s all because I still care what other people think, although less than before. It’s hard to overcome.

Avoiding Negativity

Just to be clear, do not try to derive happiness and positive energy from your relationships (well, at least not romantic relationships). Doing that is a quick fix but will not work in the long run, and will make you dependent.

But you will find that relationships will be much better when you are a positive person.

It’s something I’ve been working on myself for the last few years.

As much as it makes me sound like a hippie, I’m kind of at a point now where negative people turn me off. Like I don’t even want to associate with them because they’re just bad energy. Even a super hot guy, if he’s just one of those negative people, it’s like… you’re bad vibes, get away.

And it’s not even a conscious choice, it’s like I actually don’t even want to be around those kinds of people.

Just to be clear, I’m a bit of a cynic. Cynicism isn’t the same as negativity. When I say negativity, I mean just like bad people, people who are in bad moods all the time and spread their bad moods to others.  People who after you interact with them, you’re in a worse mood than you were before. It’s just like ugh, I don’t even want to deal with that person right now.

It’s actually kind of hard to explain and I don’t think I’m doing a very good job. Hopefully you know what I mean.

Cynicism can actually bring good feelings if you frame it as a joke. That’s not what I mean.

Focus Your Efforts on the Positive

I think that we have a negative emotional center and a positive emotional center. Some people have a lot of energy invested in negative emotions, like anger, hatred, and so forth. Other people are merry, jolly, cheery, etc because they have chosen to invest in positive emotions. These are the people that you will be able to stand being around in the long term, you tend to just float along when you are around them. The others who operate in the negative emotional sphere tend to drag you down, make you focus on very small issues as if it was a big deal, make you exert extraneous efforts just to appease them. Get off the sinking ship, if the boat won’t float then don’t dry to fix it. Get out there with positive people and add your positivity, so you don’t end up with emotional deficits.

That being said, there will always be that one thing that goes wrong. We all have a tendency in completely demonizing someone just because they denied us one little thing and it didn’t go our way. We need to be careful and take the good with the bad in stride, to get past it and realize that they are doing a lot of good for us, more good than bad.