Why I Quit Everything

Why I Quit Everything

This year I quit everything.

Okay, maybe not everything, but most things.

I came into college wanting to do things. Every single thing in fact. I spent much of my college career actively involved in every student organization, every event, every opportunity that I could be. I was checking off boxes. Boxes on a checklist called the ‘perfect college experience.’ My Google calendar looked like a checkerboard, every hour accounted for, color coded, segmented into perfection. My life was made up of little boxes. Suddenly, everything felt like an obligation. Things that I used to love, I dreaded. I wandered from box to box, waiting for it to be over. I was thinking 8 boxes ahead at all times, I was never existing now.  My life was a to-do list and as soon as I checked one thing off, I added three more. I was losing at my own life. And I was choosing it.

 

Why?????

 

For a long time, I didn’t ask that question. I accepted that this is what I had to do to succeed. I slept less, I was sick more, coffee ran through my veins at the speed of light. I was buzzing, electrified and miserable. Ambition had turned into obsession. I had almost completed the checklist, I was ‘succeeding.’ And I realized after 3 years, this was not my checklist anymore, it was someone else’s.

I think that we often confuse busy-ness for success. I thought a colorful GCal meant I was doing something right. I had places to be, meetings to attend, projects to finish. But at the end of the day, I was not sparkling, I was exhausted. I had accomplished almost nothing in this frenzied chaos to succeed. My mind was messy, not meaningful. I had no clear direction, I was spiraling in a million directions and to be quite honest, not doing particularly well at any of them. Productivity doesn’t mean much if you don’t really care about what you’re producing.

What I want to tell you is: STOP. Stop, breathe, calibrate. Look at your day, divided into pretty colors and think about whether any of that actually added any value to your life or to the world.

If you cannot talk for more than 15 minutes about why you are doing something, stop doing it.

Here are some quick reasons that are not a valid why:

  1. everyone else is doing it
  2. you think that you ‘should’
  3. it will look good on a resume
  4. you are able to do it
  5. someone told you that you need to
  6. you want to look good to other people

If any of those things are your why: quit it. Drop it. Gone.

Rest itself is an action, not a lack thereof. There is nothing glamorous or impressive about burnout. Trust me. Free time is so, so important. It’s when I create, connect, rest. Free time shouldn’t be a rigid obligation, penciled in between everything else where you finally remember to eat a meal. Free time doesn’t count if it’s you eating a meal of pretzels while multi-tasking on your laptop.

My senior year I quit everything that was not adding value to my own life or to the world. And I have never been happier. The world did not end, no one hated me, most people probably didn’t even notice I was gone and I was finally, finally free.

I’m still busy. But with things I love. None of it feels like an obligations. I stopped “should-ing” and started choosing. I have time to read books, to write, to sleep, to think, process, plan. All of the things I had forgotten that I needed to do. I am better at everything I do now. I’m moving in a steady and consistent direction towards a career I’m really, really excited about. I feel balanced and at peace for the first time in maybe my entire life. Cool things keep happening because I’ve decided to attract cool things. I’m happy, healthy and for the most part, I’m pretty sane! Do more by doing way, way less.

Our time is so finite. Our energy is so precious. Stop handing it all out like cheap candy. Be picky. Hang on to your magic and disperse it effectively on things that make you happy to be alive. There is nothing lazy about laying on the couch and regaining your sanity. It’s brave. And so necessary if we are going to keep fighting the good fight.

I have finally chosen my life and it’s a beautiful, liberating feeling. Please, please choose yours.

 

5 Books You Should Read Instead of Thinking about Brett Kavanaugh

Some of my favorite recents reads, coincidentally all by female authors. Let’s read more and do better.

 

1. The PowerIMG_7407-2 Written by a mentee of Margaret Atwood, this book is a feminist prose for the new age. It switches the script gendered power and forces you to rethink what it actually means to be in control.

 

2. PreistdaddyIMG_7409-2.jpg Hilarious, beautifully written art. Poetry in memoir form.

3. Fates and FuriesIMG_7412-2.jpgOne of my favorite books of all time, the perfect combination of narrative and artful writing. You will need to read at least twice.

 

4. Heart TalkIMG_7405-2.jpgCleo Wade is my hero. You’ve probably seen her work on Instagram and this book is a perfect collection of poems and life wisdom. I read this right before I go to sleep or first thing in the morning to get my shit together.

 

5. Dear Madam PresidentIMG_7411-2I cry like every time I read this book. Written shortly after the 2016 presidential election this is an ode to leadership and womanhood that has never been more timely. I use it as an instruction book for daily living as well as aspirational goal setting. Important, important, important.

Weakness

Weakness

I’m 5 foot 2. 107 pounds. Probably can’t do a pull up. Not that I would be one to try. One thing I’ve never been described as in my life is strong.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been told to speak louder, be more authoritarian, stop being so nice. I’ve been told to lean in, stand up, take up more space, take charge, say no.

The older I get and in the more competitive environments I find myself and at the higher level I succeed; the more frequent the comments have become. I am told to be a good leader, I need to stop being “weak”. While much of that advice was well-meaning, it is disempowering. And it is false.

When they say weak, they’re talking about the moments that I listen instead of speak, think instead of raise my hand, process instead of stand up, acknowledge instead of interrupt. Again and again and again.

And for once, my introverted and introspective character breaks and I actually just want to scream at all of them: they are wrong.

My interest in hearing others out is absolutely not a lack of confidence in my own ability. My tolerance is not passiveness. Do not confuse my kindness for submission.

Do not confuse my true strengths for “weakness”.

It takes strength to shut up. To observe. To forgive. To trust. To choose the war over the battle. To serve.

For so long, power has looked like man. Loud, big, competitive. A man painted by men. Just because it’s our history, that does not mean it should be our future.

We need to speak and we need to listen. Stand up and lean down to lift other. Join in in harmony and stay silent for someone else’s solo. Give opinions and receive feedback. There is a time for speaking up and standing out and taking up all of the space and interrupting when you haven’t had the chance to be heard. But let’s not confuse all of these things for inherent strength just because they’re loud.

Stop telling leaders who don’t look or sound exactly like the ones that you’ve always been used to, that they are doing it wrong. Stop telling boys to stop crying and girls to speak louder. Maybe we wouldn’t need to speak so damn loud if anyone else stopped talking long enough to listen.

There is so much strength in listening, understanding, silence, crying, feeling, apologizing. These are not female or male characteristics, these are human.

Stop calling all of my strength, weakness.

Thrift Haul #3

July was a mess of heat, estate sales and popsicles for me. I wanted to share some of my most recent second-hand finds at various garage sales/thrift stores/flea markets with you for inspo!

IMG_6991One of my favorite most recent items! I’m into oriental-style decorative art and this little bud vase is amazing.

IMG_7005Another thing I tend to gravitate towards is feminine motifs. I think it’s super fascinating how different cultures/times portrayed women and my room is now covered in strong femme examples. This one is from a Pacific island circa mid-70s.

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IMG_6995 I’m a sucker for kitschy and unnecessary little things like this but how beautiful is the dragonfly motif?

IMG_7004Lamps are inexplicably expensive even at Target. This little marble guy was a $1.50 and I’ll throw on a little white shade.

IMG_6994IMG_7001IMG_6993Mugs. Big fan. Always. Need. More.

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IMG_7002Kitchenware is a great thing to pick up for cheap at garage sales. It’s usually in almost perfect condition and kitchen shit can get really expensive even at Ikea. I also prefer the vintage styles.

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IMG_6989Okay so I don’t yet have a coffee table, but I still buy coffee table books. Aesthetically pleasing books that you’ll probably never read but MUST have as a respectable Gen Z’er are everywhere at second hand markets. I loved this little houseplant book cover and the vintage dictionary circa 1950 was too cool for me to pass up. Anthropologie would probably charge you $30 for one of these tbh.

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This jacket. I saw it and fell in love. I can actually picture the bleach-blonde teenage girl working at the diner wearing this jacket decades ago. Best part of all: the shop owner sold it to me for $10. This is going to be a favorite this fall and I love the story that it tells.

Amazon Prime Picks

I’m a huuuuuuge Amazon fan. Because there’s nothing like semi-instant gratification for a Gen X-er as well as options, options, options. And when they probably take over everything and the Earth is ruled by Amazon Echos gone rogue, I may regret these purchases but until then I will keep hitting Proceed to Checkout and demanding nothing less than 2-day shipping. Check out some of my favorite recent Amazon Prime purchases:

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The Body Shop Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Daily Solution, 1.69 Fl Oz

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Del Mex Classic Mexican Falsa Blanket Vintage Style (Fiesta)

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Jelly Comb 2.4G Slim Wireless Mouse with Nano Receiver Less Noise, Portable Mobile Optical Mice for Notebook, PC, Laptop, Computer, Macbook – White and Gold

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Mkono Macrame Plant Hanger Hanging Planter Wall Art

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Waist Bag Women Rivets Leather Chest Belt Fanny Pack Bags Casual Handbag Red Black

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LEISURE ARTS Cafà Letter Board | Includes 145 Black Letters, Numbers and Symbols

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Carvapet Luxury Soft Faux Sheepskin Chair Cover Seat Cushion Pad Plush Fur Area Rugs for Bedroom, 2ft x 3ft, White

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Regal Home Collections English Manor Lacey Pinsonic Quilt (Full/Queen) – Assorted Colors (White)

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Leuchtturm1917 Medium Size Hardcover A5 Notebook – Plain Pages – Red

 

ps. I don’t make money off these links or anything! Doin’ it just because I’m lazy and love convenience!

Thrift Diary #2

I’m still working on finding my favorite thrift places in Columbus but I recently went to Volunteers of America on Indianola and found some goods. Check it out for inspo for what to look for on your next trip:

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This little pot/container/thing was made in Japan in 1978 and I just threw a plant in it! ($0.99)

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An ASOS culotte jumpsuit that works for actually every single occasion this summer. ($1.99)

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A midi black dress that can be belted, dressed up/down and even work-appropriate. ($1.99)

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These shirts are huge at places like Urban Outfitters right now and you can DIY for an eighth of the price with a men’s floral buttondown! ($0.99)

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A black and tan striped midi dress. So 90’s, layer over a white shirt for true Carrie Bradshaw vibes. ($1.99)

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This beautiful, soft blue chair was $11 (!!!) and though I definitely did not have room for it in my car and had to drive home with it hanging haphazardly out of my trunk, I needed it. Thrift stores are my favorite for vintage furniture that’s high quality and adds so much character to a space.

 

Happy hunting!!!

Not Your Mother’s Study Abroad Advice

Not Your Mother’s Study Abroad Advice

You’ve heard them say it. “When I was abroad…” Everyone cringes (including the person who said it) and you carry on. The thing about things that everyone claims are life changing, is that they are. Even if you don’t think it will be. Here are the things that mattered to me. That changed my life. That might change yours. And then you can be that guy who talks about their experiences abroad and everyone cringes but you smile anyways.

  • buy things at the grocery store that you don’t recognize
  • order things off the menu even if you dont know what they are
  • ride public transit
  • follow local news
  • volunteer teaching English
  • make friends who aren’t American
  • wear real clothes to class
  • walk!
  • go up to the highest place in every city you go
  • don’t overpack
  • read local authors
  • write it down
  • collect postcards, they’re easy to transport
  • don’t rush
  • do your research before you go to a new city
  • don’t forget to call your mom and dad
  • take pictures
  • sometimes forget to take pictures and just look
  • avoid going to same Irish pub in every single city
  • try McDonald’s in every country
  • don’t forget to sleep
  • take vitamins
  • go to a trivia night, you will know nothing and that’s good
  • sometimes just sit in a cafe and listen
  • open heart, soul, mind
  • tell your professors thank you in their native language
  • study sometimes
  • repeat outfits
  • be alone occasionally
  • take naps
  • if you have the chance, stay with locals
  • know that bad things will inevitably happen and it’s okay
  • dance as much as you can