The (Simple) Secret Behind Meaningful Living

Everyone and their mother has advice on how you can live more meaningfully — just Google the term to see upwards of 116 MILLION articles on the subject. There are thousands of blogs dedicated to it. To further complicate the issue, everyone suggests different methods to add meaning to your life: find your purpose, follow your passion, get rid of your stuff, volunteer, simplify your life, set (and meet) goals, read more, start a gratitude journal, meet new people…but don’t forget to work and sleep and eat healthy and socialize and stay connected with your family and current friends. Got all that?

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have that kind of time.

Screen capture of Google search "meaningful living" -- returns 116 million results

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Harvest Moon: An Exploration of Gender Stereotypes

“Video games of varying genres shaped my childhood, but none more so than the Harvest Moon series – which (accidentally) introduced me to characters that broke the gender norms I’d come to accept as facts.”

Check out my recent publication at Pop Culture Uncovered!

Pop Culture Uncovered

Scientific studies laud video games for the variety of real-world benefits they offer players, ranging from neurologically combatting depression to restructuring the way we think. When it comes to gender, though, we rarely hear good news; it’s easy to find discussions on the sexualization of female characters and the harassment faced by cosplayers who dress as these characters.
But that doesn’t mean that there are only negative stories. Video games of varying genres shaped my childhood, but none more so than the Harvest Moon series – which (accidentally) introduced me to characters that broke the gender norms I’d come to accept as facts.

Girls and Flowers
Also known as Story of Seasons, Harvest Moon is a franchise built on a simple premise: your character has decided to revive a derelict farm. Your main goals consist of planting and watering crops, caring for livestock, and creating a life in…

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Ruminations: Are Labels Violent?

In a recent post, I argued that labels can create a sense of community — and are therefore beneficial in some ways. Stereotypes, on the other hand, are problematic, because they restrict how we behave (girls have to be feminine, boys must like sports, etc.).

I’m a firm believer in questioning my opinions on a regular basis — and re-thinking them, if need be. The following is a quote from writer and philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti, who most definitely disagrees with me on labels:

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Comfort Zones

Everyone has a comfort zone. Some of us feel at ease on the dance floor, others on a sports field, and others yet in a classroom or library. Some prefer solitude while others hang out in crowded cafes. Though each of us relax in different ways, we can all agree on one thing: our comfort zones are, well, comfortable. And the happiness and security we feel within that comfort zone are great.

Unless, of course, you’re too scared to step out of it.

Life provides us a million opportunities to push ourselves — sometimes these challenges appear as something relevant to our passion, like a local writing contest or community talent show, and sometimes they appear as risks we want to take, like karaoke night at your favorite bar or an empty spot on the dance floor at a wedding.

Other times, you have to make your own opportunities. Maybe dress up as a cyclops.

Sometimes life is funny like that.

Natalie dressed as Turanga Leela

Futurama, anyone?

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