Liam Holyoak

This is where I write things.

Professional Reader

I’d like my career to be that of a professional reader.

I don’t want to do anything all day except read.

In the book I’m reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamont she is talking about the things she says to her students.

She says,

“We are going to concentrate on writing itself, on how to become a better writer, because, for one thing, becoming a better writer is going to help you become a better reader, and that is the real payoff.”

Later in that same chapter she describes books,  

“For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”

And then she says of her students,

 “This is why they are here: they love to read, they love good writing, they want to do it, too.” And that is why I am here. I love to read. I love to write. I hope someday I can be decent at it.

I may never get to a point where my writing can fund my dreams career of reading.

But for now, I’ll make sure I do both in all the moments I can find. It contributes nothing to the bottom line, but it in regards to life points it’s worth millions to me.

Cuddle Bugs.

There hasn’t been a time in the last two years when I’ve been home, and a creature hasn’t been touching me.

That’s the thing about pets, at least the ones I have.

They are all up in my business.

The other night though my pup decided to cuddle up next to my fiance’s leg rather than mine in our bed.

I know, I’m a terrible person for letting my dog sleep with me.

But when he was cuddled up next to her, that is when I realized this. I am always in contact with an animal, and I stayed there awake until he moved over an leaned against my leg.

I’m not quite sure what this says about anything. Or if it does.

Maybe that’s why I have absolutely no requirement for physical touch by the humans in my life. My quota is always being filled by a dog or a cat. Funny how that happens.

A Perfect Cycle

I have a love hate relationship with weekends.

I love them.

I like getting things done around house. Seeing family and friends. Having extra sleep time.

But I hate them.

The routine and structure that the work day requires isn’t there so it’s easy to slack off and not stick to my goals.

Which then has me looking forward to Monday, rather than dreading it.

When you look at it that way maybe that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be.

Propagating Succulents.

When I was younger my parents had a garden, one of the weekly chores was weeding. I don’t think I ever did much of it because I hated this chore.

I was a bit of a bum in my younger years. I’m sure I complained the whole time.

Needless to say I wasn’t a fan, and those early memories have sort of soured the whole growing things experiment for me for a while.

However, today I spent the day gardening. Propagating succulents to be more specific, and it was a blast. My brother who is a master gardener lead my fiance and I through the whole thing, and it was a lot of fun. I am really excited to see the progress of our plants. Maybe someday I’ll take to enjoying weeding. Who knows.

Jumping to Your Own Defenses

I had an exchange with a coworker earlier today, it was an email exchange as the company I work for is global, and she works in a different state. She is a manager over a department I interact with on the phone and through email almost everyday.

A little over a month ago my name was legally changed. After that I got things sent over to HR to have it processed in the system. Being an IT employee I know how much of a pain name changes are, specifically when the email needs to be changed. So my name hasn’t been changed yet on my email, but it has pretty much everywhere else. When this person addressed me by by email with my incorrect name I figured no big deal, I hit reply and politely asked that going forward she use the correct one.

Rather than a simple reply saying, “My bad, I’ll do that next time” she proceeded to explain to me why she was  justified in using the wrong name because of all these circumstances.

Which sure, I get it.

I recognize that my actual email address is incorrect, but the search function isn’t, and while I wasn’t mad about it initially. I was mad about her reply, or frustrated rather.

It’s a simple ask. I wasn’t requesting she change her past actions, or even explain them to me. Just asked that in the future she call me by the correct name.

This exchange got me thinking though, why do we do that.

Why is the immediate response to jump to our own defenses. Rather than just accepting we might have done something wrong, even though in this specific scenario she did nothing wrong it was just a simple mistake.

It got me thinking about the ways in which I do this same thing. It happens all the time. I just need to make a point to be more aware of it, sometimes sitting with something and saying sorry is a better reaction than jumping to your own defenses.

It’s okay to lose sometimes, it’s okay to be incorrect. It doesn’t’ make you any less of a person.

Dismissing Ideas.

Do we dismiss ideas because they’re actually bad ideas?

Or because we are scared to pursue them. Scared of what will come if we go all in. Put your heart and soul into something and fail?

I don’t know.

I’ve been sitting here for over twenty minutes dismissing ideas. It’s a pretty small failure if a blog post doesn’t do well. Just about the only people that read this are my Mom and Fiance.

I mean beyond that, ideas about careers. Ideas about the type of person you want to be. What you want to spend the next six months of your life dedicating yourself to see if it’s really the right fit.

Those are the ones I mean, the ones we just dismiss as a pipe dream.

Is it really? Or are you just scared to leap.

Lonely Work in Crowded Places.

How do people do it? Write in coffee shops? Or crowded airports? Where the conversation of the person next to you is filling your brain and you can’t help but think about why Sally broke up with Johnny because it’s obviously more important than what you’re trying to do at the moment.

I don’t get how people can do it. And not feel like everyone out in the world is trying to distract them. Or worse, trying to be annoying. When really they are just living their lives, exactly like you are.

How do you turn that off?

The mean part, that thinks the actions of others are aggravating. At least they can be, when you’re trying to do something. I know I’m that person, the annoying one to people around me. But when you’re in that moment and slowly losing your mind trying to keep your cool. It’s hard to just stop. Stop and realize we are all on the same merry go round just trying to get by. They want the same things you do. They aren’t trying to get in the way, you’re just perceiving it as that.

Maybe it’s time you just took a few deep breaths, smile, and find somewhere else to sit for a little while.

Roll with the Punches

Plans change. Days don’t always go how you want them. You don’t always finish work on time. Or get to bed on time.

But you can’t let these be excuses. If you let these become excuses you’ll find yourself getting knocked off course constantly.

I’m terrible at being malleable. I do things at a specific time pretty much each day and if it doesn’t get done in that time frame I have a very hard time getting myself to do it.

So this is a lesson I need.

If you want to get something done, if you want to be something.

You do the work. No matter what. You roll with the punches.

Practice Makes Perfect

For Christmas my friends got me this 3D puzzle ball. Your goal is to get this little metal ball through the obstacle course. You start at one and attempt to make it to 100. It’s simple at first, but it quickly gets a lot harder. I’ve spent time here and there the last couple of days attempting to master it.

Perplexus Puzzle Ball

In the past, I’ve been known as a quitter. Self labeled, that isn’t something most people would say to your face. A few years ago I would have said thanks for the gift, than never got around to actually solving it because it got a little too difficult.

Just a moment ago I started the puzzle over, after falling off the track at the same place for the fourteenth time. It struck me how much I have changed. How I’ve managed to finally make sense of the idiom Practice Makes Perfect. In an actionable sense. I’ve always known what it’s meant, but within the last year I’ve Known it. That must be why people say you can learn a lot of things. But you don’t know them until you’ve put them into action. Even if the action is a silly thing like solving a puzzle.

Self-Sabotage

Why do we self-sabotage?

One minute everything is going great, you’re sticking to good habits. You’re being kind. Making good financial decisions. Then, well, you mess it up.

You drink too much, stay up too late, eat some junk food. The next day things aren’t going so great. The slight hangover or the lack of sleep make it that much harder to stick to your commitments. Things start to go down hill.

Next thing you know you’re at the bottom of the hill, it’s time to start the cycle all over again.

How about instead of that, instead of this endless cycle how do you stop it in its tracks.

How do you get to a point where your worth isn’t tied into the things you do on a daily basis but rather who you are? How do you get to a point where you can forgive yourself and just keep going, instead of throwing everything away when you make a small mistake.

I’m not sure how, I’d sure like to start sorting it out though.

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