Self

Nobody Likes A Negative Nancy

Six months ago, the company I work for [a small, boutique benefits broker in Sacramento] was purchased by a huge corporate conglomerate. When the purchase initially happened, I was extremely apprehensive on how the merger would go. All of my colleagues and myself had grown accustomed to the close-knit family vibe that had kept us all together for so long. How would becoming a corporation change us?

Being the stress ball that I am, I of course over analyzed the entire situation – made assumptions about the company because of all of the horror stories I’d heard from other companies who had gone from small and family-owned to corporate. Turns out, I had absolutely no reason to be anxious. The merger has gone pretty stinkin’ well [with the exception of the technology upgrade, which caused all of us a month of unnecessary panic during an extremely busy time of year], and has actually opened a lot of new doors for our company and the industry that we’re in.

A recent implementation that was released a couple of weeks ago is something called “Every Monday Matters.” The premise of it is to change the philosophy of a Monday. Most of us hate Mondays because it means we have a full work week ahead. Five grueling days of stress, spreading ourselves thin, and anxiously awaiting Friday afternoon at 5:00. My company wants to change how we look at our week – instead of seeing it as daunting and exhausting, they are encouraging us to see the positives and the opportunities that lie ahead of us every Monday. This week’s EMM is totally up my alley – it’s called “Flip the Script.” Turn that frown upside down. Make something negative into a positive.

We all know somebody who struggles to see the world in a positive way. These people always seem to be ill, injured, or down on their luck – as the article refers to them, people who always see the glass as half empty. I have a friend like this. I love her because she’s my friend, and when she’s actually able to see the positive in life, she’s such a fun person to be around. But I have such a hard time maintaining the friendship because her negativity is suffocating. She constantly complains about her job – how much it sucks, how lazy her coworkers are, how rude the customers are, etc. She also complains about how she still lives with her parents, how her dating life sucks, how she doesn’t get along with her sister. The list goes on. I’ve expelled so much energy on trying to put a positive spin on these things for her. “Well, at least you’re healthy, you have a job, and a roof over your head.” It seems to go on deaf ears, though, because there’s always something to counteract my positivity once again.

But haven’t we all had days, weeks, or even months like this? Where we find ourselves in a funk and just can’t seem to snap out of it? Depression runs in my family, and I can absolutely say that I have had weeks where it took every ounce of effort for me to get out of bed, get ready for the day, and go to work. Working out didn’t help, eating right didn’t help, even venting about it didn’t help. It almost seemed to make it worse, believe it or not.

I love today’s message because it gives recognition to the fact that this is normal – we all experience rough times in our lives. But it’s up to us to change how certain instances and emotions effect our day-to-day lives. When you’re feeling down on yourself, acknowledge the negativity, and then release it from your being. Focus on something positive to counteract that negativity.

Example:
Negative – That conversation went so badly. The client was so upset and angry. My boss is going to be very disappointed in me.
Positive – That was a rough situation, but I handled it as best I could, and now have the knowledge to approach it differently in the future. My boss may be disappointed, but will understand.

It’s so easy to get caught up in the Debbie Downer moments of life because we want to feel sorry for ourselves. By changing our frame of mind, we can cause a ripple effect – in a positive way. Have you ever noticed how exhausting it is to be around somebody with constant negativity? How it puts a damper on everybody and everything? The same goes for being positive – the more we send good vibes to each other and remain uplifted, the more that will spread to those around us.

Today is Monday, and today we are changing our mindset on how we look at the weeks ahead. Each week we should focus on three things that are going to make our lives better and more positive.

I love Mondays because:
It’s a fresh start to a new week. Any speed bumps or tough situations I had to deal with last week are in the past. Today is a new day, this week is a new week, and there’s nothing but blue skies ahead.
We get catered lunch at the office. I don’t have to worry about packing a lunch, or going out and spending money on food. We are generously provided a good quality lunch to start our week.
It’s a busy day at the office. I’m not just chained to my desk all day long – we have lots of meetings and plenty of social time.
I have personal training after work. I have a great workout to look forward to, which sets the precedent for the rest of my week. I get to start it off with a bang, and keep my motivation going through the week.

I am such an advocate for keeping a positive outlook on life, and I absolutely feel that it’s important to spread the word. Reassess how you go about your days and how you feel about your life. I promise you will feel better, and so will those around you. Negativity breeds negativity, but positivity does just the same! Even if you can’t seem to flip anybody else’s perspective, at least make the effort to do it for you.

Thirty Is The New Twenty-One

As my 30th birthday draws closer [18 days!], I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on my life – where I’m at, how I got here, who I’m surrounded by. I mean, thirty is a milestone b-day! It’s the first big birthday after 21 [unless you count, 25 – woo hoo, you can rent a car]. That’s nine full years of anticlimactic birthdays. And nine years of goofing off, being a kid, being young and dumb, etc.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change anything about my twenties. I learned so much about myself and the person I want to be. I had bad relationships, I had good relationships, I gained friends, I lost friends. I traveled, I explored. I learned that I’m an introvert with the occasional extrovert moment, and no amount of alcohol will ever change that [cue the post traumatic stress and anxiety – I am the queen of regretting my decisions in the harsh light of day, and then dwelling on them for years to come]. I learned that it’s okay to miss out on things, to not stretch yourself so thin, to make time for yourself. It’s okay to be selfish sometimes!

I am reminded every day of my age. Facebook and Instagram are overrun with engagements, weddings and pregnancy announcements – constant reminders from society of what your life should be like. When I was a teenager, I had a plan – go to college, meet future husband, graduate at 22, be married with babies by 25. Plain as day, simple as that. In my mind, that seemed completely logical and reasonable.

Fast forward to [almost] thirty. I have no college degree [but I do have a career – thank you, insurance industry!], I met my future husband a little over a year ago, I have no children and absolutely no desire to have them right at this very moment [eventually, but not right now]. Truthfully, I can’t imagine already being five years into the life I had imagined for myself fifteen years ago.

Strange, isn’t it? To think you know what you want at such a young age, and to finally get to that point in your life and be nowhere near the place you thought you’d be. It just solidifies that no young person should be making lifelong decisions before experiencing some major life changing events.

Most people my age are dreading turning thirty. Like it’s the end of an era, making it absolutely official that we aren’t “young” anymore. I, personally, don’t understand the dread – I can’t wait to be thirty! What are 29-year-olds afraid of? No longer having an excuse like age for immature behavior? Or maybe it’s the reminder that none of us are really where we thought we’d be at this age. And that’s okay! While I don’t necessarily believe in God, I do believe that each of us have a pre-laid plan and that regardless of where we think we should be, we are exactly where life planned for us to be. That’s why I’m excited to be thirty. I’m ready to put my twenties behind me and start this new decade with a clean slate.

Don’t ever let what other people are doing, or have done, effect your life. If you have babies, don’t be jealous or feel like you’re missing out on things other people are doing because they don’t. And vice versa! Our times will come – the right things are supposed to happen at the right time. Be patient, love yourself, love your life, and enjoy the ride. Here’s to thirty, and to many decades ahead.

ISTJ. WTF?

I know – it sounds a little bit like TMJ or something like that. Buuuut, it’s not.

Do you guys ever wonder why you mesh well with certain people, and with others you just don’t? Do you ever catch yourself getting upset over something so minuscule, and wondering why the heck you got so upset about it?

Okay, well, maybe you don’t, but I wonder it all the time. I can be very short fused about certain things – and I know sometimes it’s because it’s shark week [ladies, ya feel me?], and other times it could be lack of sleep or just a rough day at the office. But often times it’s none of these things, which begs the question, Daaa fuqqq?!

I’ve been following a blog for some time now called Violet Fog. It’s run by a group of 20- and 30-something gals living in San Francisco, who write about everything from restaurants to books to beauty products – you name it, they’ve probably covered it. Gal’s if you’re looking for a new online publication to follow, I highly recommend giving them a try. They keep it real, and don’t talk about mindless subjects, which I love.

One of the articles I stumbled across some time ago was about different personality types and how you decipher your own. The writer took an online personality exam called Myers-Briggs. Essentially, the “test” evaluates you based on how you respond to the given questions, and categorizes your personality based on that. It’s a pretty cool concept, and it’s pretty darn spot on. AND, better yet, the test is FREE and no answer is wrong. I highly recommend you take it – click HERE to access. And if you do, click here to read even more about your personality type.

I took the test earlier this week [actually, I ended up taking two – I stumbled upon a different website the first time – both tests gave me the same results!] and learned that I am an ISTJ personality type [introverted sensing thinking judging]. I did some major researching on it after the fact, and could definitely relate to a good chunk of what I read. In the oddest way, reading about your personality traits from a total stranger is sort of reassuring. Like, okay, I’m clearly not alone when it comes to the way I see the world and the way I feel about and react to things.

One of the things that really caught my attention about my assessment was that my personality type needs closure when it comes to certain situations. Mostly situations and relationships. I struggle BIG TIME with lack of closure.

I couldn’t even tell you how many times I have typed out text messages and emails to old flames and friends and just never sent them. Usually it helps me to just get the words out of my head and onto something concrete. But I have definitely wasted a lot of time and energy teetering on the fence of whether or not I should reach out to people for the mere purpose of shutting the door on that chapter of my life.

Luckily, adulthood and maturity has gotten the best of me, and it’s a rare day that I actually unleash these thoughts onto the intended.

Another personality trait that resonated with me from the Meyers-Briggs test was my type’s need for solitary jobs and the free will to do things our own way. Soooooo accurate. For example, probably anybody in the world would love to have people help them clean. I am so set in my ways, though, that I do not want any help. I need to do things my way, and without assistance. And if/when people try and help me, and they don’t do it the way I like, I get angry. Like, stupidly upset. Totally an ISTJ trait. Which leads to another fun thing we ISTJs share – impatience and lack of emotion, sympathy and empathy. Emotion makes me sooo uncomfortable. I deal with it much better through writing [hence my blog]. My poor boyfriend – I had him take this test this week, and he is the polar opposite of me in this sense [he’s an INFJ – they’re big on feelings and expressing themselves physically, emotionally, and as often as possible].

You guys, seriously, this test is really cool. It’s quick and painless, and if you’re an introvert like me whose weekend nights consist of Instagramming and Blogging, then this will be something fun and new for you to do.

Let me know what personality types you guys are! I find this to be a fascinating way to learn more about people and what makes them tick!

Tunnel Vision

Having spent most of my life in a relationship with myself, I’ve had the opportunity to witness my friends in relationships with significant others. Some of them good, some of them bad, all of them learning experiences.

Unfortunately, many of those friendships I had to sacrifice because my friends lost themselves – they dissolved into the person they were dating and cast their friends aside crutches after a broken leg has healed.

I like to refer to these people as relationship chameleons – people who change who they are and what they like depending on the person they are dating.

I had a friend off and on for years who is [still] notorious for doing this. I have seen her be the fit chick who was into skater brands, tattoos and colored hair. I have seen her be the preppy girl who wears blouses, expensive jeans and heels every day. I have also seen her become a country girl who rocks flannels and boots and lives solely on food caught by her hunter/fisherman boyfriend.

It’s sad to watch, frankly. This poor woman is almost 30 years old and has no freakin’ idea who she is. None of her relationships last for very long, and the minute she’s done with one she’s on the prowl for the next. And while all of this is going on, she’s losing friends because she alienates them to focus all of her energy on becoming the person she thinks her boyfriend would want her to be. Why do you think none of her relationships worked? Because it’s annoying to have somebody glomming onto you all the time who has no life outside of you. Suffocating might be a better description.

One of the biggest dating lessons I’ve learned in my life is from watching relationships like hers: never forget who you are.

When you first start dating somebody, it’s 100% natural [and okay] to spend most of your time with that person. It’s part of the process of getting to know each other, and of course that all-to-familiar honeymoon phase where you can’t stand to be apart for more than a few hours. We’ve all been there – it’s a normal part of relationship development.

However, there is always a point in which you start to re-incorporate your regular life back into the picture. For me, it was getting back together with friends, finding my running stride again and rebuilding my usual routine. In any healthy relationship, you should both have your own social [read: separate] lives apart from each other. It’s also completely okay to have a social life together! My parents are always going out to dinner and going on trips with a bunch of their friends who are couples.

What’s not okay is to have no identity outside of the other person [<– this is why I hate stories like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Gray – neither of them are normal relationships and yet society has deemed them romantic and ideal]. Don’t ever lose sight of who you are, what you believe in and what you want out of life. Don’t isolate yourself from your friends or your hobbies [and if the person you’re dating puts an immediate kibosh on both – RUN!].

I’ve never had an issue maintaining friendships while in a relationship – that is something that I’ve ALWAYS worked hard to keep. I did, however, forget about the things I love to do in order to carve out more time for my guy – a decision made completely on my own because I thought it would be good for our relationship. It ended up causing me a lot of resentment and depression because I wasn’t giving myself the opportunity to be ME.

If you’re in the right relationship, these things will be a non-issue. The right person will encourage your social life and support you in following your dreams. You will be embraced for who you are and won’t be expected to change. Don’t ever forget that YOU are important – and that it’s extremely difficult [if not impossible] to love somebody else if you aren’t, first and foremost, happy and in love with yourself.

Solo Girl vs. Taken Girl: Bridging the Gap

You guys know me. You know I’m aaallllll about that independent woman ish. I advocate it, I constantly write about it – I preach it, fo sho.

BUT, now that I’m in a relationship, I kinda sorta forget that I should probably write about how to consolidate the two.

Because, let’s be honest, I am totally guilty of being THAT girl who’s got the perfect life […according to Instagram].

* Here’s my boyfriend and I – smiling and happy.*
* Here I am with my family – we have this amazing house in Tahoe and we hike and play games together.*
* Dobie/Mama selfie!*

GAG. Life is SO not like that on the backside. Like.. Sooooo not.

Let’s face it. Life is HARD. And relationships aren’t perfect. And if I’m really real with myself, I have struggled a bit with getting back to who I was B.R. [before relationship]. And NOT, to be clear, NOT the party girl with the wild heart. Not her. Definitely do not miss her. But the me who enjoyed doing things by myself, who had girls nights, bonded with my dog and crafted things and had a life of my own.

Now, don’t get that confused with wanting to be by myself. That’s not what I’m saying. I love my guy. LOVE the man. And spending time with him is one of my newest favorite pastimes.

But, finding a balance between my new life and my old life has presented quite a challenge for me.

Exhibit A: family time. I love my parents. They are amazing people. They have this love and this bond that I’ve just always admired and always wanted for myself. And prior to my boyfriend, I spent a LOT of time with them. And now that I’ve got this relationship, we’ve all had a rough time with the fact that my time is more occupied nowadays. Sometimes I just feel like I’m spread so thin, like the last thing I have time for right now is a last minute family dinner. But I feel this horrible guilt for saying no. At what point does the guilt stop? At what point will they accept that I just don’t have time this week? Maybe it’s something that never goes away. I don’t know, and it’s a learning curve for sure.

Exhibit B: Miss Bella. My heart and soul. The furry girl that has gotten me through some of my lowest and hardest times. My rock. I can tell that even she is feeling the growing pains of this new relationship; of this new schedule and this new life. Now that we’ve moved in with my guy, we are dead center of suburbia. There aren’t really any places where she can run off leash and chase wild animals, which is her THING. We’ve done so much of our bonding on nature hikes and walks – being surrounded by concrete has really pushed us off of our normal routine, and she has definitely balked at me trying to get that back at it in our new location. Again, a learning curve – finding what works and what doesn’t [and the diminishing daylight and my full-time schedule doesn’t help this matter].

Exhibit C: ME.

When I first moved in with my boyfriend, I wanted to DID devote everything I had to making his house “ours.” I threw myself into decorating the bedrooms, painting the walls, organizing cabinets and marrying all of our stuff, etc. etc. And then all of a sudden I was done decorating – and it was like, so sudden that I was almost depressed afterwards. What now? I hadn’t brought any of my old routine into my new one. I literally felt lost. Who am I now? I’m not single Sarah – I’m not the wild girl who went out every weekend until 3 or 4 in the morning and got right up in the morning and did it all over again. I’m not single Sarah who could do anything she wanted, hang out with anyone she wanted, whenever she wanted. So who had I become?

And that therein lay the problem. I didn’t know. And when I don’t know, I become self destructive.

“I cleaned the house today, I deserve a glass of wine.” *Drinks three [four] glasses of wine.*
“I’m bored and my boyfriend still isn’t home.. Guess I’ll see what’s happening on Facebook.” *Stalks every ex-boyfriend and their current girlfriends and dredges up memories.*
“I’m done decorating and I have no hobbies anymore. Shopping it is!” *Spends $1000 at the mall.*

It was after several weeks of this type of behavior, AND feeling disconnected from my boyfriend on top of it [because clearly I wasn’t happy with myself], I realized that I was starting to head down an all to familiar [and not at all positive] path. A path that was the reason that I never found a decent man, and was about to the reason I lost the only good one I’ve ever had – unless I drastically changed something.

I knew what my problem was. Whether I wanted to believe it or not, my lifestyle had changed [for the better, yes, but it had changed all the same]. My old friends from my single life were bound to me by one thing: drinking. Okay two things: drinking and being single. And losing my single status meant losing people who, if I’m being honest, weren’t really “friends” in the dictionary definition type of way. They were more fair-weather, if you know what I mean. And there was no reason to be out partying and “man hunting” when I already had a man.

So, the point of this whole thing – how am I bridging the gap? How am I meshing my two worlds?

In the best ways possible.

I finally got back in to working out and running again, and this time I’m in it harder than ever. After packing on some happy relationship weight, I am ready to shed off the fat and pack on the curves in the RIGHT places [I am a woman after all, and curves are our THING]. I’m also looking in to taking some photography classes – I’ve always loved it, I’ve just never had the proper skill set and training to actually be good at it. I’m hoping that once I’ve got a bit of training under my belt, I can capture some photos to display in my new home with my guy. And maybe some crafting that will speak to the masculine vibe we have going in our house.

I’m not sure what my future holds, but I do know that I’m finally on the right path. I’m finally on a healthy and happy path. And while I’m still figuring out that proper balance in my life, I am enjoying every minute of the journey.

I Now Pronounce You.. Minister of a Nondenominational Church

Many of you may remember that just a little over a year ago I was maid of honor in a wedding. A wedding that was elegant, beautiful, detailed – the bride thought of everything. From the lovely bouquets in which she specifically and thoroughly picked which blooms she wanted to include, to the hand-dyed silk ribbons that adorned the bouquets and boutonnieres and wound their way through the reception tables’ centerpieces, to the couture wedding dress that made her look like a Disney princess as she and her groom danced their first dance as husband and wife under the twinkling white lights that were strung from tree to tree.

It was, for lack of better expression, the wedding that every little girl dreams of having one day.

And until a few months ago, I sort of figured that’s how most weddings are. Everything you see on social media is generally the same [aside from the theme and color scheme, of course]. White dress + groom + bridal party + flowers + aisle + alter + wedding guests + reception. All of it is always there.

Well, almost always.

My best friend got engaged two winters’ ago, and, due to the fact that her fiance had never even wanted to get married [or so we all thought], they decided to keep their wedding very small. Family and close, close friends only.

But, even small weddings are costly and stressful. After a couple of months of trying to find a venue they liked under $10,000 [with no luck], they decided to forgo a “traditional” wedding altogether. After a couple of Google searches and a call to the city of San Marcos, it was determined that only two other bodies were needed for the couple to say their “I Do’s” – a witness and an officiant.

And so it came to be, after a drunken FaceTime from the two of them last fall in which my best friend and her fiance asked me to officiate their wedding, that I would be their ordained minister. I used the website my aunt and uncle got ordained through, went online, and [literally] two minutes later I was official. Sarah Jack, Ordained Minister of the Universal Life Church, Nondenominational. At your service!

After a weekend of bachelorette festivities in Temecula, California, and absolutely zero wedding planning whatsoever [save for the location and the accommodations], the three of us set off for Avila Beach, just north of Pismo and just west of San Luis Obispo. A place near and dear to all of our hearts. The groom’s best friend, the witness, was to meet us there.

Up until the week leading up to the wedding, I had no nerves or qualms about the upcoming nuptials. I figured once I knew what my friends’ vows would be, I could form my speech around that. That idea went right out the window the minute I heard that they hadn’t written any vows. “We’ll figure it out when the time comes,” my best friend said. Having nothing to relate to except for the carefully planned and detailed wedding that I had been a part of last spring, I had difficulty wrapping my mind around the casualty of it all. And that’s when my nerves started to set in. Now what would I say? Would I even be able to find words? At what point do I read them the traditional “I Do’s” and initiate the giving of the rings?

I needn’t have worried so much, if at all. The day of the wedding was like any other day of the year. My speech came together that morning, and then the four of us had breakfast on the beach and spent the rest of the day sightseeing. It wasn’t until six pm when it was time for us all to get ready that the soon-to-be bride and groom first parted ways. They were married just after sunset, on Avila Beach, with one witness and one ordained minister – the air was warm, the sky was beautiful, the water was calm – the evening was absolutely perfect. The entire day was perfect. Perfect for them.

The experience itself is one I will treasure forever and never forget. Having the opportunity to officiate a wedding was nerve wracking, but so amazing and unique – something I may never have the opportunity to do again and I’m so, so glad that I did. If anybody ever asks you to officiate their wedding – DO IT. Do it, do it, DO IT! You will not regret it. It is both exciting and humbling, and, for me, it really gave me a new perspective on love. And, while a bit intimidating, it gave me a chance to say something heartfelt and meaningful to two people who are promising their lives and their souls to one another. The last words they will hear before being bound in holy matrimony.

If it sounds so final and so binding – it’s because it is. But it isn’t scary. It’s exciting. It’s the adventure of a lifetime. And having the power to send them off on that crazy adventure is something I hope everyone will be able to experience at one time or another.

 

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Listen to your GUT.

I just wanted to take a second here to discuss something that frequently pops up in my news feed on Facebook.

As a writer [ha – or, you know, blogger], I like to follow other blogs.

One that I follow is called PuckerMob. Essentially I think it’s just a general blogger site where anybody can sign up and post whatever they feel. Not sure, to be honest.

Anyway.. It’s one that I follow. And the posts constantly pop up in my newsfeed on Facebook. And every once in a while one will catch my eye because I feel like it’s something that I can relate to.

Lately, though, I’ve been having a hard time with the posts popping up. And maybe it’s because I’m in such a good, happy place in my life right now that I just literally can no longer relate to how these people are feeling.. BUT, regardless, some of the things people have been writing about are just SO depressing and self mutilating, in a sense.

For example, about two months ago, a post popped up that I was 100% on board with and, in fact, wrote a relatable post about but didn’t end up going public with. The premise of this woman’s post was that she felt she had met “The One” and that he also ended up being “The One That Got Away.” She wrote that she was so afraid to be herself with him in fear that she’d lose him, and so therefore she was so calculated about what she said and how she acted around him. And, in the end, she lost him anyway.

Around the time I came across this post, I was feeling a similar feeling about a guy I had dated several months back. A month-and-a-half post break up and I still couldn’t get him out of my head – I constantly felt like I had lost “my person.” We had this instant connection and I was drawn to him like a moth to a flame – and yet I could never let my guard down around him, could never truly and fully reveal myself to him. Looking back on it now, I was never actually comfortable around him. He exuded this “perfect” persona and consistently had this judgmental air about him that kept me from warming up and opening up to him. I am the first to admit that I’m a bit of a weirdo. Having spent the better part of my life as shy and introverted I’ve definitely just become accustomed to accepting myself for who I am. And when I didn’t feel like I could be that person around this guy, I should have known that something wasn’t quite right.

And now I’ve met somebody who, from the get-go, I’ve been able to completely be myself with. He knows everything about me [and vice-versa] and I’ve never felt ashamed about my past choices nor have I ever felt uncomfortable around him. Suffice it to say that he actually likes and matches my weirdness with his own. And, BONUS, he makes me want to be a better person.

My point? WHY do we do this to ourselves? Why do we get so lost in these emotions and let them dictate our lives? And why do we hold onto these feelings for so long? If we constantly think that somebody got away or allow ourselves to miss somebody who, in the grand scheme of things, really didn’t impact our lives for that long of a time, we will lose out on so many other BETTER opportunities.

Case in point: the minute I gave up on this guy, and the second I let go of the grudge I’d been holding against another ex, I met somebody. Karma? Heck yes.

Don’t waste valuable time, emotions and energy on people and things that you know deep down in your gut are not worth it. There are always warning signals in these situations. ALWAYS. Every time I’ve gone been heading into a black hole there have been signs warning me against the plunge.. And I’ve ignored them. Every time. And I’ve had to suffer the consequences.

This new guy? No bad signs. No warning signals. No negativity.

The lesson here? Karma spits out what you feed it. So give good to karma and it will give good to you. And listen to your gut and your soul. They are never wrong!