How to stay happy.

Recently, I’ve done some personal delving into expanding my internal locus of control.

Mainly, I take any and all social situations, whether it be a party, a gathering or just walking down the street, and instead of waiting for things to happen, or paralyzing myself with doubts and fear, I just act on my instincts and better judgment. I remind myself that I alone am in control of the situation, and how I feel about it. I tell myself that I know I am interesting and confident and beautiful and I find that many of my goals can be achieved faster and with more intelligent results.

For example, if I walk into a party where there is a guy who I like, and I say hello to him, but he instantly leaves me to go flirt with someone else, I do not spend the entire night trying to gain his attention, or pining over my inability to get him. Since I am clearly an intelligent, attractive and funny woman, he is the one who has made the choice to go a different direction, and I am free to move on by myself, without any links to the situation.

However, I never refuse an opportunity to try something new, step outside the box or go with my own opinion. I should not feel obligated to stay at events where no one really has any expectation of my attendance. I assume that the men around me find me fascinating because this means that I act with confidence and playfulness, instead of oppressive seriousness and drive.

Once I remind myself that I am in control of my situation, my emotions and my life, that I alone make the decisions as to what happens to me, and minimize, as much as possible, the power of dumb luck and random chance, I know that my future is dependent on only myself, and my involvement in it.

Which means I can make my world any way I want it.

And that’s how I stay happy.

Spring Break/Jazz Tourture

When people think of the stereotypical Spring Break, it’s hanging out with friends, having a grand old time on the beach and getting wasted, am I right? Well, my 21st birthday was the first day of spring break. But did I have friends to party with or big plans? Oh no, because I had to go back to school on that Wednesday, so I spent the first half of break at home spending time with my parents… who are awesome, but are my parents… and the Internet.

I did get a car for my birthday, and most of the three days I had were spent searching for the best deal and settling on a Mazda 626 with a broken oxygen sensor. Using this car, I drove home to start the grueling jazz tour.

We had to wake up at 4 am to get on the bus, and ended up just driving to two high schools, singing like crap and then got stuck in traffic for about 3 hours. When we finally got to the hotel, we had about 30 minutes to get ready for the next performance, which actually went pretty well. It was located at a country club and had free desserts and coffee, so I was sated for an hour or so.
That night, we went to a piano bar after which the whole group partied in one of the hotel rooms and played dirty games. I ended up getting to my bed by about 3 in the morning.
The next morning we rose early to go on the next leg of the tour. This was about a 4 hour trip, during which we mostly just played Mafia. At this point, we’re all sore and tired, so we just go have pizza and then party again til 2am. I know it’s not smart, but it felt like a good idea at the time.
The final morning, we wake up early to sing and then are forced to sit through atrocious renditions of jazz standards by high school groups. There were maybe four decent groups, and we were two of them.

The trip home mostly was just all of us sleeping on the bus, then crawling home.

Now, I love singing in jazz ensemble. The people are great, the songs are fun and there’s hardly ever a dull moment, but spending 3 straight days with almost no sleep, constantly on a bus with crappy food and partying every night and singing every day is enough to cause anyone to feel like crap. This is making me think that being a pro musician may not be the greatest idea. I could never handle so much time stuck in a bus.

A Cappella Beat Down

On public television, there isn’t a large amount of viewers. So, to boost their numbers for one night WILL public tv organized an A Capella competition between local singing groups. There were eight groups competing for the “coveted” prize – a trophy and some studio time.
As one of two people who was certified to drive school vans, I was given the responsibility of driving 12 people an hour there and back. Now, I haven’t driven a car in a year, let alone a top heavy van filled with people, so I was understandably pretty nervous. If not for my friend Alex, I might not have made it back. But I digress.
The competition took up most of Monday night, involving a carousel of rounds and waiting and strangers and free water. There were actually a lot of cool groups there, and BluBop traveled with the Tone Rangers, who are from our school’s mens choir, so we weren’t fighting alone. As predicted, we did not win, although Tone Rangers were in first for a while on the online and phone votes.
On the way home, at 10 at night, in the dark and foggy streets of Champaign, we started to get lost. It was like traveling with 12 navigators, all yelling to turn left, or right, when you can barely see ten feet in front of you.

Imagine this... but at night.


Even when we finally found the freeway, I had no idea where the road was going. I was driving blind at 65 miles an hour while the van partied behind me. The mist completely shielded any view further than 15 feet, making me feel brief moments of panic, and occasionally convincing myself that we had driven nowhere at all, and that we would drive on this road forever, in purgatory.

Ok… so we made it home alright, although I left my phone in the van, and Safety and Secutriy had to go and grab it for me. Everyone had a chance to bond in the back seat, and I survived the night. I guess thats the best I can hope for.

Selfish World – a new/old philosophy

The absolute true nature of humanity is this – self interest and personal satisfaction. Every self help book will likely remind you, at one time or another, that people inherently don’t think about anyone other than themselves. Every conversation must relate to us in some capacity or we aren’t interested. Every other person on the planet should be considerate of our needs and rights and should do their utmost to make us happy. Never mind their wants or needs as long as we get what we want.

I would like to disprove this theory. I would like to be able to say that people out there really do give a crap about others, but as far as I can see, even the most kind, considerate person still receives a level of selfish pleasure and accomplishment from helping others in some small way. Most people who claim to be unselfish actually end up showing more selfishness than the average clueless person. Many can justify their unselfishness through small meaningless gestures that ask for nothing but minimal effort.

Life therefore presents a challenge. What if you could consider other people’s goals and needs before your own, consider their problems before whining about your own? Maybe you would still be acting selfishly, but in a selfish world, the considerate people can cheat the system. Maybe if we stopped fighting for prestige and power and recognition and tried to help others achieve it, we could make the world just a little bit of a better place… or maybe not. Either way, none of us can consider ourselves good people if we are not willing to at least try. In the land of men, the servant is king.

So the rules (guidelines) are as follows:

PRINCIPLE 1: Do not criticize, condemn or complain

PRINCIPLE 2: Give honest and sincere appreciation

PRINCIPLE 3: Arouse in other people an eager want

PRINCIPLE 4: Become genuinely interested in other people

PRINCIPLE 5: Smile

PRINCIPLE 6: Remember people’s names

PRINCIPLE 7: Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves

PRINCIPLE 8: Talk in the term of the other’s interest

PRINCIPLE 9: Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely