Advice to Myself

Look. Y’all don’t have to read this one but I figure if I don’t put this in a very public space, I’ll never commit or apply any of the advice I’m about to give to myself. You’re welcome to take it as well, but I won’t be offended if you don’t (secret: I won’t even know. Computer screens are funny that way). 

But some story time first:

In case if you haven’t gathered from the lack of blog posts, I am busy. All of the time. I’ve had more free time in the last week than I have in the last eight months.

8. MONTHS.

People get more vacation time than that when they work regular jobs. So why am I keeping myself so busy? 

It’s a combination of a lot of things: I’m a motivated human bean. I have a fear of being useless to society. I was raised to desire working and to desire the satisfaction of success and growth. 

But let’s jump back to that second one I slid in the last sentence ever so casually:

“I have a fear of being useless to society.”

I’ll be honest about it that is absolutely why I created this blog in the first place. I got cancer. I had to pull myself out of society and therefore became useless.

Now I know, I know. You’re going to say, “But Dana! You talked about this in your last blog post, A Year In Review. Give us some new content!”

I will. Promise. But I gotta finish this thought first.

Yes. I don’t mind being busy, but I’ve never considered why I keep myself busy. Maybe it’s my Type A personality barging into my life. Perhaps it’s because I don’t know how to say no to people. It could be my motivation trying to get me to do everything all at once. Maybe I really do have a fear of being useless to society.

All of these are true. Guilty. 

More than all of these, I think I have an unspoken fear of running out of time.

(This is the part where you gasp and say “This mid-life crisis fear hitting a 22-year-old! How unreasonable!”)

Not exactly. In case if we all forgot the reason why I started this blog (*cough* cancer), mortality is a lot closer to me than most young adults.

I should have this idiotic idea that I’m invincible as a 20-something-year-old and can drink all the alcohol, do all the stupid things and live.

And I do all of those dumb things, but mainly because I’m trying to get back normal life, not because of some insane complex society allows college kids to live by before they’re struck in the face by the metal baseball bat that is life.

 But while I’m doing these ridiculously fun and menial things, there’s always something in the back of my brain going: this is pointless. Be useful why don’t you? You don’t have time like everyone else. 

WHICH IS INSANE and self-centered! But here we are in the depths of my brain (quite the wild ride. We won’t delve too deep there).

So in this weird place titled “Dana’s Brain,” I have convinced myself that I must do all of the things this instant or I will run out of time and not be able to do all of the things because I’m running out of time.

I can’t explain it and I’m not going to try to. Instead, this is what I am telling myself:

  1. Knock it off. I love you and you’ve got time. More than that, you need to give yourself the time to exist. You’ll have time to be stressed out and busy later in life when you’re 40 with a full-time job and responsibilities.
  2. All those things you’re avoiding by being busy? You should address that stuff. It’s important too. No one dies saying “I’m really glad I’m kicking the can with all this stress on my back.”
  3. You’re okay. Really truly. Breathe. Learn to do some things for you and if you can’t, find someone to show you.
  4. Take more trips. That featured image you put at the top of this post of some cool mountains you saw in Colorado? You don’t have nearly enough photos of that. You definitely need more. 🙂
  5. Make sure you’re busy doing things you like. Otherwise, you’re going to hate everything.


Life is crazy and confusing. You know it. I know it. We’re all pretty honest here. So let’s have some fun in 2019 and remind ourselves of what’s really important.


Thanks for listening.



Until Next Time,


Dana

A Year in Review

My last post title is so funny looking back at it. I’m back? HAH.

I just check to see when I last posted and the time stamp says AUGUST 2017.

THAT’S A YEAR AND FOUR MONTHS SINCE MY LAST POST.

I’d apologize for not writing more, but the truth is, I’m not. I’ve been out living a little instead of writing. However, I am sorry if reading my blog was something you regularly enjoyed reading (hi mom).

Since it’s been such a long time, let me bring you up to speed on my life:

  1. I’m a super senior in college getting ready to graduate in May (No. I don’t have a plan yet. Please don’t ask.)
  2. I’ve stage-managed three productions, house managed for two, artistic directed a Fringe Festival, assistant directed for a main stage production and created my first lighting design.
  3. I have a billion things on my to do list before the end of the semester.
  4. Number three is a lie, but I still have a lot on my list.
  5. I took a spring break trip to Colorado it was life changing.
  6. I performed for the first time in two years this summer and it was my own writing.
  7. I’ve had five or six oncology appointments since the last time we’ve chatted and I am better than ever. My oncologist told me in my last appointment that it was like the cancer wasn’t there in the first place.
  8. I can put my hair into a half pony tail now!
  9.  I am working in the scene shop at my university and it is by far the best job I’ve ever had.
  10. I had to put down two of my doggos this past month, so I’ve been pretty sad. But they’re in a better place so it’s okay.
  11. I’ll be getting to work as a Props Artisan on a professional show in January.

And this is just a small version of what I’ve done in the last year and a half. There have been really big ups and downs across the board, but that’s just life. My time has been filled to the brim and since this blog is something I do for fun, there hasn’t been any time for it.

I didn’t realize how much time I had to myself to be creative when I was undergoing treatment. I had time to heal, write and be creative as I could in my waking hours. However, the real world doesn’t work like that. You don’t always get that kind of time to pause and reflect. Even now, I don’t have time. I have four projects and a show I should be working on, but I wanted to give myself a moment to pause and talk with you.

I’m okay with being busy. I’d rather not have time. When I was undergoing treatment, it was like my whole life was on pause and the only way to make it move forward was if I filled it with something because I was forced to stop doing all the things I loved. It was infuriating to say the least.

And because I wasn’t doing anything, I saw the world was still moving without me. It was hard to watch. I felt like I wasn’t needed.  I know I’m wanted, but I felt as though I wasn’t needed and that was one of the most difficult sensations to overcome. But my dad reminded me of something that his teacher once asked him:

What are all the things you want to accomplish in your time on this earth?

Of course I have a list for that: write a play, direct, love, explore, travel, do all the other things every blogger on this platform talks about.

But then my dad’s teacher asked another question:

What would this world be missing without you in it?

The cynic in me says nothing would be missing. The world would keep moving as it does and eventually someone else would come up with whatever I created or contributed to society.

But that’s not true. If I weren’t here, the world would be missing an optimist. A writer. A lover. A friend. A sister. An explorer. And everything I am to become. Look at what I’ve done in the last 22 years alone! Who knows what I can do next! Without me in the world, we would never know! That’s one “What If” I don’t want to live with.

So now my life has been un-paused and it feels like it’s fast forwarding to make up for lost time. And I have a lot left to do. Get ready!

I’m hoping to write a little more than before, but I can’t guarantee anything. If it’s been a while, just know that I’m out living to bring back stories for you!

Thank you for waiting for me to live a little.

 

Until Next Time,

Dana Qualy

 

Summer in Wisconsin for the College Kid

It’s done. You’ve struggled. You’ve stressed. You’ve probably cried. You’ve most likely been living off of energy drinks and coffee for the last few weeks. But it’s done and it’s time to relax because summer is here!

But now what?

If you’re anything like me, this is always the tricky part. You spend all of spring semester daydreaming about the glories of summer. However, by the time summer does show up, you haven’t planned anything. Well, I’m going to be honest. I did that again. To counteract it, I’ve made a list of some things to do in Wisconsin over the summer and I wanted to share it with all of you! If you’re not from the Wisconsin area, I’m sure most of these can be tailored for your location.

Go to a drum corps show

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See a show at one of the several outdoor Wisconsin theatres (American Players Theatre, Peninsula Players, etc.)

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Go to the beach and soak up some sun (on the days when it’s not pouring rain)

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Get employed and earn some extra cash

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Enjoy the natural Wisconsin scenery at places like Copper Falls or Devil’s Lake

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Spend a day being a tourist in your own state by going to Door County

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Take an adventure to a bigger city and go to a museum (I’m a personal fan of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago)

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Floating down the River in Eau Claire

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Binge watch that Netflix show (you’ve earned it)

If you need a recommendation, go take a look at 8 Shows to Binge this Summer

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And a bonus one that people normally think of when they’re in Wisconsin:

Head to Wisconsin Dells: the water park capital of the world

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Until Next Time,

Dana