Motivation, that elusive beast… until you find a friend at least!

Okay, can we take a moment to appreciate my rhyme in today’s blog post title before we continue? Motivation, that elusive beast, until you find a friend at least? I didn’t even plan for it to happen, it just did, and it works so well for what this post is about: using buddies to inspire you to finally get shit done! (Go me!)

Okay, moving on…

Motivation, that elusive beast... until you find a friend at least! | Five reasons friends are great when your thoughts on a task move from excitement to frustration | post and illustration by Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Friends who are as blind as I: click on the photo to be able to read/zoom the text.

Wanting to do it but lacking motivation

I feel like we’ve all been there – whether it’s as bloggers or creators or gym-goers. We have the things we need to get things done, we know we want to do it, and yet we just can’t get ourselves to actually put it in action. Somehow, what starts as motivation and excitement for what’s to come slowly drifts into this feeling of impossibility.

I mean, look at this blog. I’ve planned launching atypicalnarrative since… November of 2016? I had the design done, knew what content I wanted to create, had plenty of ideas, even had a stockpile of drawings to pull from. But for some reason I kept feeling like I couldn’t do it. I would have moments of inspiration where I would work of things, but then it would all fall away and I would end up putting it off for another day.

It took me four months to publish my first post and, I’ll be honest, my main motivation was the fact that my good friend Josette launched her blog: Made of Mint. I had one of those “shit, if she can do it so I can!” moments. (And here we are, two months later, already struggling to keep it up.)

But hey, you know what that made me realize? Sometimes the best way to get things done is to brings your friends along for the ride.

Friends to save the day

After I published my first blog post, I realized I needed something (or someone) to help me keep things on track. I took to Twitter to request a blogging buddy and Inge and Iris both volunteered. We came up with a set time, an hour or so on a certain weekday, and devoted that time to motivating each other, discussing our thoughts, and getting shit done.

And you know what? Best decision I ever made for this blog. While I did have a lapse in content this past month, I am finally back on track after reaching out to Iris once again for our weekly blogging sessions (we took a hiatus while Dave was here).

You see, having a “blogging buddy” (or writing buddy, exercising buddy, etc.) is great for so many reasons:

Motivation, that elusive beast... until you find a friend at least! | My current blog buddy and motivation trapper: Iris @ eattrainread.com | post and illustration by Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

my current blogging buddy: Iris @ Eat Train Read
(and her cat, Fury, of course)

  • Schedule: Setting aside a certain amount of time each week to dedicate towards what you want to do is so, so beneficial. Knowing that Iris and I are going to each devote a certain hour Mondays and Wednesdays towards blogging automatically puts me in the state of mind of getting things done.
  • Accountability: Of course, sometimes it’s tempting to just shrug your schedule off because you’re not feeling it. This is a lot harder to do if you have a buddy. Even if you can’t actually devote that hour as you intended because other things get in the way, it’s a lot harder to abandon it completely because you know the other person is counting on you. (For example, this week Iris had to work on an essay so couldn’t devote our hour to blogging, which was fine, but she still made herself available to chat with me which meant I still felt supported.)
  • Soundboard: Sometimes its nice to get feedback about a post before publishing it into the wild. Whether it’s struggling with what to write, worrying about a controversial or taboo subject, or just wanting someone to proofread, it can be great to have a buddy around. While Iris and myself don’t actually trade posts that often, we do often talk about the content we’re creating and share our general thoughts on the matter.
  • Motivation: Obviously this is a reason, otherwise this blog post wouldn’t make sense. Beyond the internal motivation that comes with having a buddy, you get external motivation as well. I love that when Iris and I are done with our hour we usually mention what we’ve accomplished and congratulate each other, even if we didn’t do all that we wanted. It helps you recognize your successes instead of obsessing on all the things left to do, which can sometimes be difficult depending on your state of mind.
  • Inspiration: I mean, geesh, without a blogging buddy I wouldn’t have this post, would I? haha. But no, even beyond that, you may find that your discussions with your friend may help you come up with something new that you hadn’t thought of.
  • Friendship: Lastly, and I think this is one of the best things, having a partner working with you towards your goals really helps build up a friendship. I considered Iris a friend prior to this blogging buddy business, but I feel it even more so now that we’ve worked together towards our goals. We devote two hours every week towards working together and I enjoy the chats that go with it – even when they go outside the blogging realm. ❤

I mean, I think you get the gist. Having a friend working with you towards accomplishing the same goal makes capturing the elusive beast of motivation so much easier. If there’s something on your list that you’ve wanted to get done but haven’t found the time/motivation, consider asking for a buddy online. I highly recommend it.

(And now, back to our regular schedule of nonsense content because this whole “tips/advice” post makes me a little squeamish. Since when do I feel able to recommend how to do things to others? I’m no role model!)

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What do you think? Has anyone else had success wrangling their motivation with the aid of a partner? What kinds of tasks do you feel you need help getting done? If anyone is looking for a yoga, C25K, or art partner, let me know. While I’m working on sticking to a daily schedule in which they’re included, I’ve been pretty hit or miss on my own so far. 

Watch out, this plant noob has started growing a succulent army.

Watch out, I have started growing a succulent army. || Illustration by Asti @ bit.l/yatypicalnarrative

Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, this plant noob has started growing a succulent army to take over the world. Oh, don’t run away just yet! It’ll take about 800 years before she can propagate enough to do anything so treacherous. Take a seat and read this post and all will be fine (for now).

I’m really a succulent noob.

Let’s just get this out-of-the-way: I’m a succulent plant noob. My family has never been the kind to have plants around the house and I’ve always preferred to dedicate my nurturing skills towards raising my blind bitch and handsome snot dog instead. I figured animals are okay because they can tell you when you’re doing a bad job. A plant though? Once I received the “you’re a bad mom” memo they’d be dead.

It wasn’t until my mom bought me a couple of succulents that I transformed into this plant-moving Poison Ivy monster.

What started as three little innocent succulent plants in tiny two pots turned into a massive propagation experiment in which I googled all the things, impulsively bought many succulents, and obsessively watched all the detached leaves for any sign that a new plant was forming. That illustration above? I wouldn’t say it’s that much of an exaggeration. Every morning I would literally go upstairs and just stare at these suckers waiting for something to happen and if I saw the slightest hint of growth I would take a picture and praise the plant gods and do a little plant happy dance.

Noobness = life and death.

There’s just something so fascinating about watching a plant come to life. There’s beauty in the way that a succulent can be ruined by over-watering or lack of sunlight and yet still persevere if separated from that toxicity and given a chance. I don’t know if it’s just my experience with depression that makes me value these little guys so much, but boy do I root for every little leaf to grow into its own beautiful plant.

That being said, there have been a few casualties in my succulent army. I’d say only half of the adult plants I’ve started with are actually still alive today because most have rotten to death thanks to my inability to conquer proper watering. It’s gotten to the point where I even have a cemetery bowl next to my army where my poor over-watered plants are placed once I realized the harm I’ve done. RIP my over-watered friends. The sacrifice you made to educate me about succulents’ thirst has not gone unnoticed.

Oh, and that army thing.

Today, I now have over 50 succulent plants I’m trying to take care of and I’m really excited to see how they’ll look when August comes around. Why? Well, while I may have claimed that this succulent army is destined to take over the world, in reality its main purpose is to take part in my wedding. I will be using these little guys to decorate the reception and, if any are big enough, to create my bouquet. (I may even have them available as favors, though that’d be more likely for the big family celebration as most of our wedding guests are from London and it’d be a bit complicated to fly them back.) I’m really excited because my little army adds another personal touch to the wedding and, dammit, they’re just so cute. Let’s hope they all survive the plant cemetery until then…

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Your turn! Anyone else a succulent lover? Have you ever tried taking care of any on your own? Or even a different type of plant? I’d love to hear if anyone else has experience with obsessively stalking their growth or mourning a plant cemetery.

When your future mother-in-law uses your toothbrush to clean the bird cage.

Looking for your toothbrush? Maybe check to see if your future mother-in-law is using it to clean the bird cage. || Illustration by Asti @ bit.ly/atypicalnarrative

Illustration based on a true incident the last time I visited Dave in London. Because my life is blessed like that.

Alright boys and girls, gather around. Today I’m going to talk about that time when my future mother-in-law used my toothbrush to clean the bird-cage. (Yup, that definitely happened.)

It all took place during my last visit to London in September. As I have lived with Dave’s family in the past, I am always quick to make myself at home once I arrive. I put my toiletries in their bathroom, unpack all my belongings into Dave’s room, and slip into my pajamas as that’s my favorite look to rock around the house. (If his family was hoping for some stylish put-together girl for him to marry, they must be quite sad because comfort ftw.)

And that was fine. I did all those things as usual and thought nothing of it. Things went smoothly for that first week, as they usually do.

And then… my toothbrush went missing.

Do you know how confusing it is to be confident in the location of your belongings but for them to not actually be there? Like, since when do your things just get up and walk the heck away? I know my dental hygiene has had its moments in the past (damn irresponsible younger self), but I swear I’m on top of it these days so there is no real reason for my toothbrush to just bail on me like that.

So after checking, and double checking, and triple checking that my toothbrush wasn’t in any logical place where it should be, I yelled at Dave to find out what the heck was going on. He also had no clue what happened to my toothbrush. He asked me what it looked like, checked the toothbrush holder one more time (because obviously my glasses show that I am a blind fool that requires double-checking) and then went to ask his family if they had seen it.

And guess what? His mother had. Because it was in her hands. And she was using it. To scrub bird shit. Off the bird-cage.

Wow, thanks mother-in-law.

Of course she apologized once she realized her mistake and assured me it was unintentional. She claimed that she went through the toothbrushes in the cup and with some sort of deductive reasoning involving its color, size, and other such nonsense determined that my toothbrush was the unused one that was up for the job of cleaning the bird-cage. (Erm, thanks?)

She didn’t even think to ask if it was mine because what sort of reasonable person does that?

Luckily there was another unused packaged toothbrush in their cupboard so I was still able to brush my teeth the rest of that trip, but boy did I learn a few lessons from that experience:

  1. Don’t get too comfortable in other people’s homes. It may backfire. In a very unpleasant way.
  2. Maybe Dave’s mom doesn’t love me as much as she claims.
  3. The toothbrushes I prefer are great for cleaning shitty bird cages.

And there you have it, that one time my future mother-in-law used my toothbrush to clean her bird’s cage. Because that’s my life.

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Alright, does anyone have any sort of similar experience they want to share to make me feel better? Something where a family member has stolen something, whether intentional or not, and used it for less-than-lovely purposes? If not, could you at least spare some pity for me because these kind of things are my unavoidable reality? I’d greatly appreciate it.