Yeah okay not really—we’re all going to die whether we pursue our passions or not. Tough nuggets. But it’s easy to get caught up in the rat race of bouncing from class to class, or from 9 to 5, or kids to soccer, or whatever stage of life you happen to be in. Time flies by so fast, one minute you’re upside down doing a keg stand at a white-trash themed rager and the next you’re sitting in your cubicle with a framed picture of your cat drinking one of those nasty Kombucha teas thinking, Where the F*ck Am I? And what does this all mean, and why does it matter? What did I contribute? It’s enough to make even the happiest of us feel a little bluesy on the days when we wonder what we are really accomplishing.

I remember when Steve Jobs died and my boss gathered us together to give us a speech about following your dreams—especially the ones that make you look batshit crazy. I don’t think we all need to up and quit our jobs to start knitting penis finger puppets to sell on Etsy (imagine what my Google search history looks like, people…) but,please, I beg you–if your work is not fulfilling then at least make sure you have a passion project. Give yourself a concrete goal and work toward it daily.

At the end of the week—scratch that—the end of the day, look back and ask yourself what you did that you are really, truly passionate about. This doesn’t always have to mean tackling your Big Passion Project (writing a novel, completing a marathon, or whatever) but can be as simple as cooking a meal with real food that nourishes your body, having a stimulating conversation about something that matters to you, or spending time with the people that are important. Fill your life with activity and people, not things, and I guarantee that you will feel a lot more fulfilled.

What are my passion projects? Well you’re reading one, right now…this is my hobby that pays in lube!

I also have a few more top secret projects up my nutty sleeves, and when I am not hunched over my computer working on one of my zillion writing projects, or knee deep in lube, I also love spending my hard-earned greenery on high quality food, live music, and travel. My most recent bizarro trip was to the Poconos to compete in a Tough Mudder with a handful of my closest friends, most of them who date back to (gasp!) high school. One of my team-mates broke his tail bone, and managed to finish the course anyways because he is BAD ASS all caps. Stay tuned for more about this adventure in the next week or so on XOJane.com. Oh and while you’re at it, read about how I love my boyfriend’s armpits.

America! Where we put ourselves in horribly strenuous situations "for fun"

America! Where we pay lots of money to roll in mud and hurdle over walls...

Now watch this inspiring video featuring my girl Kristin Lajeunesse, Founder of Will Travel for Vegan Food, who crashed on my couch a few months back during her epic journey! Kristin followed her passion out of a 9-5 and into a decked out vegan mobile that travels around the country. Hear her roar—try not to be distracted by how foxy she is.

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In March, I hit my one year mark of being a productive, 9 to 5 office warrior with my very own cube and an out-dated PC that feels like it has been injected with animal tranquilizers. For the year before this job, I had another full-time position that allowed me to work from home in my pajamas. This may seem like a writer’s dream, but in actuality it sucked all sorts of sloppy. For one, because I could work in my pajamas, I often DID work in my pajamas, and sometimes three days would go by and I would realize that—aside from my daily run and the canoodling I did with cat and my then live-in, now ex boyfriend—I would see no one! And had been wearing the same pajamas for days. During the cold winter months, I constantly had a microwaved Bed Buddy wrapped around my neck, to the point no matter how much I bathed I still smelled like the burnt rice that filled the thing. Mmmmn. I was a hermit, and I stopped wanting to go out. Although I was in terrific shape because I scheduled my day around long runs and yoga. Woo!

So, I am actually crazy about coming into an office every day, and appreciate it in a way I would not had I not spent the previous 12 months hermited in my dark home office, smelling like my cat and burnt rice. I love the people I work with, too, and some of them I would even choose to hang out with if we didn’t work together. However, I have noticed that topics that have been deemed “office appropriate” are minimal, and we talk about the same things every day. They are as follows:

Food
Everyone likes to tease me about my veganism, and that’s cool, because I know I will probably live longer than the rest of them. Uhh what? But also we like to talk about healthy eating and our love for hot sauce—Sriracha fo’ lyfe! One of my co-workers (Whaddup, Nick!?!) is currently doing the “Paleo Diet” which amuses and intrigues me on the reg. It’s almost healthy! Except for, you know…the gobs and gobs of tempered flesh. Blech-o!

Music
A handful of us are pretty into music and like to talk about our favorite artists. We trade music, burn cds as holiday gifts (okay that happened once…) and talk about all the ways we plan to piss away our paychecks on live music. I have spent more on live music this year than on groceries. Real talk. I think TV also falls into this category but I don’t ever understand the references, since I don’t watch TV, so I just grunt and nod dumbly.

Coffee
We compare our days to the number of cups of coffee consumed. You know it’s gonna be a rough day for me if I’ve had three cups before eleven, and when a co-worker goes back for more java around 4, we all commiserate together.

Weather
When it’s raining, we complain about the rain. When it’s cold, we complain about the cold. When it’s gorgeous, we complain about having to be inside. A sample conversation goes like this:

Co worker: “Oh hey, Zoe, how you doin?”
Me: “Oh, great, except for all of the rain….makes me want to stay in bed…hate all that rain…gonna be good for the garden…yep…rain.”

The day of the week
Our editorial department loves to talk about our loathing of Tuesday. You see, Monday is expected to be brutal because you know you have a long week ahead of you. Unless you are you still running on your glorious relaxed weekend high, you know Monday will suck. Maybe you had a really busy boozy weekend and you’re recovering. Then Monday will suck even more. Wednesday is a great happy hour day, plus it marks the mid-week and allows me to make jokes (to myself…) about Hump Day. Thursday is fantastic because I can still count it as a legit drinking day since I am only a few years out of college…Usually I don’t drink on Thursdays but for some reason they still remind me of a weekend pre-game. Sort of like muscle memory. My body knows Thursday is for kickin’ back. Friday is awesome because, duh, it’s Friday, and you can spend the whole day saying TGIF!!! (lots of exclamations) and talking about weekend plans.

So…that just leaves Tuesday…You have no real purpose, Tuesday, other than to serve as a marker between the abominable Monday and Wednesday’s happy hour. Because we don’t expect you to be as terrible as Monday, every time you rear your fugly head, it is shocking. Like when you switch grocery lines last minute to a shorter, more promising line, and then the person in front of you needs a price check on their marked-down produce and then goes to their car to get their reusable bags. DAMN YOU! Tuesday, you are just monday with a trench coat and glasses.

Yep. We spend a lot of time bitching about Tuesday.

Your cat
My coworkers who are under 30 all own cats. And we all like to talk about our cats, and trade funny cat stories, and make fun of ourselves for being weird cat people. Basically, it is training for talking about our children (which everyone over 30 who happen to be wifeyed and nuggeted does on the regular). We all know each other’s cats on a first-name basis, and know whose cat loves to chew on cords and headphones, and whose is completely bat-shit crazy and likes to parkour off all the walls and drive your room-mates nuts. (Cough. Not mine!)

Drinking
For some reason, talking about WANTING to drink is okay. “Is it 5 yet?” “Is it Happy Hour yet?” “Who wants to ditch early and go get beer….ha ha ha ha…” As a joke, our boss put a sign on the desk of our elderly secretary that reads “Alice’s Wine Bar.” Sometimes on a Friday we crack open beer and wine and drink around it. It’s all very amusing to us, because poor Alice doesn’t drink and seems to be upset by the situation.

5 Things You Can’t Talk About at Work


Drinking

It’s funny to talk about wanting to drink, and having a rough day, and wanting a beer. But it is NOT funny to talk about how hammered you got last night, or why your office cube has the unmistakable aroma of tequila and vomit…or is that urine? The idea of being driven to drink is funny…but the actuality of it is apparently not so much.

Sex
Obviously. No one wants to know! Especially because I am the only one in the office who isn’t some sort of wifeyed. Even my cat-chatting twenty-something co-workers have live-in others. My short-distance, weekend visiting boyfriend looks pithy in comparison.

Your Food/Sex Blog
I have one co-worker who secretly reads SexyTofu. I am sure everyone is aware of its existence because….well…they had to Google my name during the interview process. But my little passion project is like your weird drug-addled cousin. Everyone is aware it exists but (whisper) no one likes to talk about it.

My Lunch Naps
I like to sleep on my lunch break. If it’s nice out, I sleep on the green across from my building with no shoes on. I come back refreshed and with a bit of grass in my hair. If it’s not nice I sleep in my car….which is sometimes still parked in the office lot. A 20 minute nap makes me feel glorious! I am sure everyone has seen me doing this. We don’t talk about it.

SO what do you talk about at work? Do you hate Tuesday? Is it normal that, even though I really enjoy my job, my coworkers and I spend a lot of time complaining? What IS it with Americans and our passion for whining. Sheeeeesh.

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Celebrate Friday with Things That Don’t Suck

I’m a pretty positive person, but this week was particularly hellish. To keep our spirits up, and anticipate all the great things we have to look forward to, my friend C and I exchanged a series of emails of Things That Don’t Suck. Here are some things we came up with. Feel free to add some more in the comments section! And happy Friday!

  1. Tough Mudder
  2. Virginia Roadtrip, Part 4: The Passion of the Gaga
  3. Screaming as loud as you can
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  4. Bonnaroo
  5. Summer is coming, and my car roof is staying off
  6. Tequila tastes better in the sun
  7. Zucchini the cat
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  8. Planning big life moves
  9. Dogs hanging out of car windows
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  10. Manparts
  11. Toes in grass
  12. Toes in sand
  13. Toes anywhere but shoved in uncomfy work shoes
  14. A too-much-sun-and-booze induced coma
  15. More tattoos
  16. CAKE the band…but also CAKE the pastry…
  17. Making cookies and eating dough while they bake #instant gratification
  18. Snuggling
  19. Puppy breath in my face
  20. Planning vacations
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  21. Tax return money
  22. Whiskey tea
  23. A big blue sky
  24. Silly voicemails
  25. Spending a grossly irresponsible amount of money on live music
  26. Laughing until liquids come out of your nose
  27. Staying up to see the sunrise
  28. My favorite fire escape in Brooklyn
  29. A full belly
  30. A sweat inducing dance party
  31. A cup of coffee on a lazy sunday
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  32. A rainy day and a book
  33. Cookie dough by the pint OMNOMNOM
  34. A post-run high
  35. Hiking Mt Washington!!
  36. Daydreams
  37. Real dreams
  38. The smell of library books
  39. Shenanigans
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  40. Love, which is lovely
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