All Over the Place

Well, it has been a whirlwind…

All of my ideas, and visions for the future swirling around and altering themselves in seconds. I suppose that’s just how life goes, especially when you have so many interests, ideas, and missions. It’s interesting to feel so motivated in so many different areas of life. Maybe, just maybe, that’s why I always quit too soon. I have an issue where once I get an idea, it becomes a montage of dozens, all with equal importance in my mind.

Taking things one step at a time is difficult when everything seems so dire, and interesting. I know I talk about my own thought processes often, but I find that it’s easier to hold onto my motivation when I do. I know that I have things to do, sometimes I just allow myself to forget. Writing this down, and occasionally looking back on it helps keep my shit together, to be perfectly honest. I can’t help but plead with you, plead with myself too, in order to keep holding myself accountable.

I often wonder if anyone is really listening, or if anyone really cares. I always come back though, to the idea that I have no reason to question that, I am fulfilling something for myself, and that’s okay too. I feel as though, society pushes people away from themselves. Everything that society is, a conglomerate of individuals if you will. When people are pushed together, sometimes it’s difficult for them to remain separate entities, they may remain in title themselves but, in everything else they are an ant to a colony, a bee to a hive, all serving a queen. It’s an interesting thought, isn’t it?

From what I’ve noticed, most of the people blogging, and/or creating, are holding onto their individualism more than most. Maybe, just maybe, we are the people clinging onto ourselves, and saying screw you to those who judge us for it. This is why I continue to create, clinging onto the idea that we are all trying to stay, and be, very much ourselves.

Motivational talks for personal development

Since getting back from my camping trip, I’ve had a difficult time getting back to a clear mental state. After everything being so quiet for a few days, coming back to the world just feels so loud. I decided this morning to go through some different youtube videos/TED talks, to help get me back to a motivated state. Not just to motivate, but also to organize my head, I realize that I push myself into a state of confusion just because my mind is either moving too quickly, or not at all, and before letting that get insanely frustrating. I took a breath, and decided to go down a rabbit hole of motivational people to try to spark inspiration within myself again.

Without further ado, here’s a list of 4 videos to watch, when you just need someone to help you understand your life:

  1. Charlie Chaplin: The Great Dictator Speech https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8HdOHrc3OQ To start, we have a speech that is so relevant during election season, and throughout all time. It’s a beautiful speech, I can’t beg you, to truly listen to this, enough. It has continued to inspire, it continues to hold true, and it exemplifies values that have long been lost for most of us. If you are going to pick one video to listen to in this list, I would recommend taking the four minutes. And potentially, take many more, to contemplate how it makes you feel, what it makes you think, and how you can continue to adjust, make the meaning behind the words count.

2. Scott Dinsmore: How to Find and Do Work that You Love https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpe-LKn-4gM. Next on the list, is a video I first ran across in my search to find motivation. This may translate to a fairly stereotypical motivational speech. However, that is the theme of the post, it really was time well spent in my opinion. Scott has some great tips and tricks for people, using the statistic that 80% of the population is pursuing work that they don’t enjoy, simply because they think its what they should/need to do. It’s so important to recognize discontentment and complacency. We can make such a larger difference as individuals when we are able to pursue passionate work, rather than work that will simply pay the bills.

3. Mel Robbins: How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lp7E973zozc I will be the first to say that, without too much judgement, this video starts off a little too self-help newspaper column. However, if you’re willing to get past the shrillness, and cliche-ness(?), there is genuinely good advice in here. We are in an age with so much ability to learn, to improve, to utilize, and that’s what this talk is all about.

4. Ashley Stahl: How to Figure Out What You Really Want https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRtBHF-WPpM Wow, this one starts off with a really interesting story, and evolves into a beautiful perspective. I don’t necessarily enjoy the feeling that I’m the one holding myself back, I hate that feeling actually. However, it must be the most important realization one person can make. How to change that, is a whole different story, and Ashley gives some great advice on going in the right direction. Forcing yourself out of fear of the unknown, and pursuing those things that you’ve always wanted. Life may be confusing, self-recognition may be even more so, it’s just so incredibly important to keep trying, keep questioning, and keep taking the time to assess yourself.

Reflecting on the past: Sketches

I thoroughly enjoyed looking back at old notebooks, and because I found an old high school sketchbook recently, I decided to reflect on some old drawings as well. I find it super interesting to see what my tortured adolescent brain decided to come up with. Let’s dive in, and find out.

As it turns out, circles and lines have always been my thing. Maybe I speak fluent alien, and just don’t know it?

I really like this one, I remember it taking hours upon hours of stippling, I’d say it was worth it none the less. It’s something pretty to look at, and it’s actually quite relaxing drawing a bunch of tiny dots, in interesting patterns.

Another one of my favorite doodling habits, shapes and shading. What a way to kill a few hours, especially during school. I have to have a million homework assignment sheets, and old tests, all covered with drawings like these. School was never really a source of enjoyment for me, but I found doodling to be a good way to kill a lot of time there.

Ignore the page staining, I must’ve spilled some coffee on it at some point… Oops. Anyway, this is the first page in the sketchpad, and as you can see it’s could definitely use some work. That said, the emotion behind it still holds strong for me. I was a pretty angsty teen, but to be honest it was only because I was so mad about the injustices of the world, still am, to be perfectly honest. This drawing was created after watching a documentary about war-torn countries, and seeing images of children stuck amidst the chaos, just broke my heart.

Well, let’s follow the last image up, with some characters I drew. Honestly, drawing characters was one of my favorite things to do, although I have to say, I still suck at drawing anatomy. I really only drew floating heads, it’s always fun none the less.

See what I mean about the anatomy? However, this alien guy is actually one of my favorites from all of the old sketches in this book. I just find him so cute, and I’m sure I had some story for this guy as well. Maybe I’ll have to revisit and revamp some of these old character designs.

Well, I guess that’s about it for shareable doodles, for now. Does anyone have tips for learning to draw figures, people, and anatomy?? I would genuinely appreciate any tips or tricks, especially now that I’m taking some extra time lately to doodle away.

Getting Lost

Day trips are the best when you don’t have a plan. It’s usually a hit or miss, but knowing that something incredible COULD happen, simply because you’ve set out to adventure is really fun!

We decided to just drive in one direction, and found some pretty beautiful locations. Not to mention we ate some really yummy food. A hike was in the original ‘plan’ but, deciding to scrap that was actually kinda nice. Finding a water fall, and walking around was a great way to just relax.

I find that being out in nature is amazingly refreshing, and with the seasons changing, the fall colors just starting to come out. It was a beautiful day, and a great trip. Up into the green mountains we went, and I’m so glad that we took the time to really be present for the day. Finding true beauty in the things that we so often take for granted. Sometimes it feels like the world is ending, and we are all headed towards doom and gloom, but not on days like this one.

I really encourage people to get out and take some time to breath in some fresh mountain air. There’s nothing like it, and you certainly won’t be disappointed. After being cooped up inside for so long, and being afraid of everyone, and everything. It’s great to remember that we have so much more than what we see looking outside our window.

Wild apple tree

Expecting Change

Is it naive to expect a life-altering change when you don’t have a plan?

I guess it seems to me that life throws things at you when you least expect it, right? I never usually give myself the time necessary, I never wait. Now, in this uncertain place, I have been taking the time.

It feels as though nothing is coming my way. I wonder if it has something to do with manifesting ideas into action, and neglecting to pursue the ‘safe option’. I understand that hard-work is mandatory in our lives, in succeeding, but, I find myself working hard on potentially all of the wrong things. There are some positives to take away from this time off, and to be honest, my mental health has been going pretty well. I have been more creative, more hopeful. On the other side of that though, I have been more unsure, and confused.

What should I expect from what I am pursuing?

It’s obvious I’ve been pursuing more creative fields, I’ve been working on a lot of things I enjoy. Coming around to the fact, the things I enjoy don’t bring me sustainability. I absolutely hate that money is what keeps the world turning. I hate that status = money, and money = power. I have no desire to increase my value monetarily, but unfortunately we are all forced to pursue it. I have long-term goals, things that require the proper funds. I want to travel, I want to buy land and start an animal sanctuary some day, I want to learn to build sustainable housing, etc.

Asking the proper questions is difficult, albeit impossible, due to the sheer volume of necessary questions. There is no possible way to ask them all at once.

Right now I have a few at the forefront of my mind. One of them being, what is most important? Is my mental health more important than making a steady paycheck? If so, how am I going to reach my long-term goals? I think these questions are probably going through everyone’s mind at certain points of their life. I think everyone has good reason to ask these questions regularly, but what about the answers? I’m not sure we are meant to get them, rather than, embrace the question itself?

Reflecting on the past

While I agree that it doesn’t help to dwell on the past, I’ve found that looking through old journals really helps with developing new ideas, and understanding how you’ve felt in the past. I took the time today to go through some old notebooks and find some entries that elicited emotion. Below, I’ll share from a journal I kept through the summer of 2019, so over a year ago, in the hopes that it will give some insight into my current journey.

When will I grow up, and stop living in daydreams and idle fantasies.

Stubbornly feigning indifference, while bearing the weight of worlds.

These were placed on the inside cover of my notebook along with a poem I chose not to share. I have learned through these passages, I have come to recognize pieces of myself, pieces that I still struggle with, but in some ways have come to love. I dream. I question. I feel deeply.

Wander exceptionally far away from what you know, only there will you find yourself.

This one is still relevant to me today. All of my goals lead to a time where I am able to wander. A time, that will give me the freedom to experience, to learn, and to find myself.

Note to Self:

In order to find _______ .

Adventure is inherently important. Nothing else matters. Finding magic means taking the necessary leap.

Be free, create the world you dream of.

Make your ideal reality.

Here I am, over a year ago, searching, yet not knowing what it is I’m looking for. My mind during this time was similar to what it is now, I still yearn for a sense of freedom that I haven’t found. However, I have come to understand the importance of so many other things. I have come to understand the importance of connection, of family, and of being vulnerable enough to let people in.

Small City

Heightened awareness of status in a bourgeois sense.

Finally finished with college degrees, shopping for polos and pleated skirts.

Waiting eagerly for the chance to wear them to new jobs, holding themselves in a higher esteem than they truly should.

False confidence emitted in hazardous waves.

Unappreciated and well despised by those who walk the streets in rags, by those who have seen cruelty and misfortune in this little city.

Now, this piece holds some true anger. I remember the day I wrote this, I was at a stoplight in the city that I was working in. I was watching people walk by, holding their shopping bags from ritzy stores. At this same crosswalk I saw others walking by, dirty and tired, carrying everything they owned on their backs. It was a long day at work, and I had befriended some of the people that were carrying everything they owned on their backs. I felt for them, for their misfortune, and most of all for how misunderstood they are. I still think that everyone who has the privilege of new things, a hot meal, and a place to sleep, should take the time to get to know, and potentially help, someone less fortunate. However, I no longer feel that I can immediately condemn or judge those who do have more.

Nothing feels familiar, and everything is out of place. Lost in a cascade of emotions, never seeming to make sense. It has taken a long while to understand, and here you are, still looking at some unknown land, with a language that eludes you. It was once your vernacular, and yet, it is foreign.

This passage to me, was all of my feelings of disconnect, of uncertainty. Wondering where to turn, who would listen, who would care. This is still something I struggle with, connection for some reason feels so important, yet so scarce.

I guess this blog is an embodiment of my yearning for similarities in such a vast world. This is a place for me to be me, completely honest and open, forgetting all of the time I spent burying my thoughts. It’s also about gaining the confidence to share passages like these. I hope, if you’ve taken the time to read these, that you can gain something too.

Top 5 Reading Picks for 2020

So I decided, because reading is such a big part of my personal development, that I’d share some of my favorites, and a few that I think would be fitting for this whirlwind year.

  1. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

“Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.”

Aldous Huxley

Brave New World is a novel that I personally think everyone should read. I’ve read it three times now, and am seriously considering reading it again in 2020. It is a dystopian fiction, but it is so relevant, and thought-provoking. What started for me as a personal choice English assignment became a mind altering read, that made me fall in love with Aldous Huxley as a writer. While I found that the first 50 pages or so, were hard to get through, I ultimately couldn’t put it down. Going into a utopian society where people are made for specific roles, and everyone is conditioned to become exactly what is expected of them. One man, comes to recognize individuality and the issues with the current system. What was meant to be perfect, becomes very much the opposite. Being written in 1931, this book brings a new light to our modern world, and genuinely makes you question where we are headed. Highly recommend.

2. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

“make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.” 

If you enjoy biographies, and adventurous spirits, there is no better book than Into the Wild. Jon Krakauer, takes the time to get to know the subject, Christopher McCandless, like no other. Even though the tale ends in tragedy, the inspiration drawn from the life of a true idealist/adventurer/lover of life is incomparable to any other book I’ve read. This is another book I’ve read over and over again throughout my life, when I need to remember who I am, and what my dreams are, I always come back to this. We can all take something from McCandless’ life and death, a true tale of embracing what the world has to offer, and never looking back.

3. A Doubter’s Almanac by Ethan Canin

“In people like us, the craving is as strong as the craving for food or water, the yearning for touch or light or love. I was looking for something–a diversion, an occupation, an unwavering force–that would elevate me, that would lift me out of the melancholy dissection of my own interior geography that otherwise would have consumed me pitilessly, as it had my father. I wanted to fly above myself– if only for a few hours–and look down in tranquility upon my life.” 

Now, this is a book I picked up by chance on a sales rack at Barnes & Noble, it sat on my shelf for months, before I decided to give it a shot. Wow, am I glad that I did. It is a book about life, about how an analytical, mathematical mind is plagued with unanswered questions. This is one you really have to read in order to understand, anything I say about it will do it no justice. I love the different perspectives, the writing style, the focus on family but also pain and the need to understand loved ones. Seriously, you won’t be disappointed.

4. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

“But at times I wondered if I had not come a long way only to find that what I really sought was something I had left behind.” 

Krakauer again. To be honest, he is just one of my favorite authors, his writing style is captivating, and this book in particular is a first hand account, which makes the book all the more interesting. Now this book made me cry, several times, so if you aren’t interested in getting emotionally encapsulated, don’t read this one. This book is overall about climbing Everest, about disaster striking, and about the drive that brings people up one of the largest mountains in the world. However, it is about so much more, and I think anyone can draw personal correlations to this book, all the while gaining a perspective completely unique. The struggle that is human kinds desire to achieve the unachievable, and how that brings people to life and death situations. Most importantly though, it’s about how you come out on the other side, what you’ve gained, and what you’ve lost. An amazing read.

5. Finding Everett Ruess by David Roberts

“I am overwhelmed by the appalling strangeness and intricacy of the curiously tangled knot of life.”

Everett Ruess

I am currently reading this book, and I can say that I’ve been having a hard time getting through the second half. However, the first portion of the book was completely captivating, hence it’s place on this list. I expect you’ve noticed a theme of biographical non-fiction on this list, but I find it is a genre I hold a lot of interest in. Learning from other people, from dreamers, wanderers, vagabonds, it’s all so fascinating to me. Everett Ruess, is no doubt flawed, living through the Great Depression and taking his parents kindness for granted. However, if a bit selfish, he chose to focus on what mattered to him, focused on art, experience, and a life of adventure. In his short life, he made multiple trips across the American West, and spent every moment searching for beauty. If you like mysteries as well you may like this book, as the second half is all about the search for Everett, and his unsolved disappearance.

As time passes

Something that has always been a massive cause of anxiety for me, has been feeling that I’m not doing enough. Progress is something that can’t be seen in the day to day, and being like most young adults, that makes me feel like no progress is happening at all.

Trying to take things a day at a time, hoping that living in the present will lead me to a better, more light-hearted future.

Spending less time thinking about what I’m going to do, how I’m going to get somewhere, etc. It has helped keep me from my feelings of hopelessness and anxiety. Life ebbs and flows, things change, some days feel like the world is ending, and some days, it feels like opportunity is all around.

Opportunity to live, to flourish, to be. There are so many quotes out there describing, and explaining life in so few words, but the truth is, there are no words to explain what life is to each individual. I guess the point of it all is for you to decide, for you to find out. That’s what makes life so captivating and inspiring.