Goal #50: Have a Pen Pal

Letter from my pen pal

I officially have a pen pal! I got my first letter from my lovely pen pal Thistles and Whistles over the weekend. After realizing that we both have 101 things to do in 1001 days lists AND that both our lists contained the goal “have a pen pal,” a great idea was instantly born and we quickly exchanged contact info. Isn’t the internet an amazing thing? I don’t think we stop frequently enough to marvel at the potential connections and information always and instantly available. Never thought making a new pen pal friend from the UAE would be so easy!

It’s such a lovely experience to sit down in front of a blank piece of paper, scribble down some thoughts and opinions, telling someone halfway across the world about your life, then wrap it all up with an envelope and stamp and send it out on its long journey across the ocean. It’s almost like journaling, but you actually have a person reading and responding on the other end.

But what I really love about letter writing is the lack of instant response that we’ve all gotten so used to. Those different shades of pings, dings, and beeps regularly drawing us away from the present moment and uncontrollably pulling our gaze toward our phones and computers. With letter writing, you sit down with your cup of coffee, your most attractive stationary, your best inky black pen, and you use as much paper as feels necessary to tell another human what’s going on in your life. You don’t want or expect an instant reply. You want to wait. You want that other person to open your letter and leisurely read it over their cup of coffee. You want them to mull over what you told them for several minutes to several days before they pull out their best stationary and favorite inky black pen and give a thorough and well thought out response. You want to have forgotten about the letter you sent until several days or weeks later when you open your mailbox, surprised and delighted when you finally hold their response in your hands.

Speaking of which…time for me to compose my response! Hope you all get something good in the mail today.

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Positive Monday

Humans worldwide agree: Mondays are hard.

Let’s make them a little easier by taking a moment to think about all the things that make our lives wonderful. The word gratitude has been bouncing around the internet quite a bit lately. And for good reason, says science — practicing gratitude actually improves your health and well-being.

So on this Monday, I’m giving thanks for some things that help me chug through my week and tackle my (sometimes daunting) list of goals like a boss.

BKR Water Bottle

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I’m the type of person who can’t leave the house without her water bottle. I have a fairly extensive graveyard of old water bottles that just didn’t work out for me. But this one, I adore. It’s made out of glass so you don’t have to worry about any sketchy chemicals, and it comes with a cute silicone sleeve to protect it from breakage — I dropped mine once on a cement step and it didn’t even chip! Plus you can throw the whole thing right into the dish washer so it’s stupid easy to clean.

Fount

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I just discovered this amazing tool and I want to shout about it to all of you. Fount is a simple bookmark you add to your browser which, when clicked, shows you the name and style of any font on any webpage. I’m obsessed.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

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I may have stayed inside all of last week and binge watched the entire 2 seasons of this show on Netflix….it’s too cold to go outside, okay!? Set in 1920’s Australia, it follows the adventures of the wonderfully feministy Miss Phryne Fisher, Lady Detective. Season 3 is set to come out sometime this year — I can’t wait!

This is my new favorite music video:

Happy Monday, y’all!

Failed.

chess_hires

We need to talk about failure.

After just 3 weeks, I totally blew my goal to eat vegan once a week for a year. My first reaction when I realized my utter failure was to feel bad about myself for doing such a poor job at sticking with this seemingly easy goal.

I think you can all relate.

But then I started thinking — why did I fail?

Do I not want to move ahead with this goal because it’s hard? Or because it’s just not a goal that’s well-suited for me? Do I actually WANT to do this goal?

It’s not that a don’t like vegan food — I definitely do. And I ate some really great food during those first three weeks — that beet soup I told y’all about, this AMAZING vegan mac and cheese at a lovely little vegan friendly restaurant around the corner, I even made some delicious vegan marshmallows to satisfy my unrelenting sweet tooth.

I like vegan food and I think it’s good for me to eat vegan more often. Okay, so I do want to do this goal. Then what’s the problem?

I failed because I thought this goal would be easy and I didn’t plan ahead for how I would accomplish it.

This goal requires a lifestyle change and a lot more thought about what I’m putting into my body. This goal requires planning, a well thought out grocery list, the ability to say no to ordering pizza when cooking doesn’t sound like any fun. This goal requires vegan cookies, because, well, I know myself.

Yes it will require more work than my regular eating habits necessitate, but will it be worth it? I guess that’s what I’m trying to figure out.

Sometimes we make goals for ourselves that don’t actually work for us. Sometimes we make goals for ourselves that we give up on because they’re too hard. But it’s hard to know the difference until we really give them an honest try.

So I’m keeping this goal on the list. I’m going to put in the work it requires, and then if I decide that it isn’t working for me. I’m going to trash it. And I’m not going to think of that as a failure. More like a learning experience. This is a big experiment to figure out who we are, what we’re capable of, what we want out of life. Exploring goals we might fail at takes us one step closer to figuring ourselves out. We just have to make sure we’re putting in the work before we decide what is and what isn’t for us.

The 5,000 Question Survey

Digging

I’m digging up the past here. Remember back when Livejournal was the pinnacle of the internet and everyone was doing those “about me” surveys? Well, I found one and I’m totally doing it. Can we make these popular again?

This is for goal #88 “Complete the 5,000 question survey.” I discovered this goal surfing around Day Zero Project (where my list first began to take shape), and it immediately gave me flashbacks to my angsty Livejournal days. Obviously I had to add this goal to my list.

I suppose at the time I didn’t quite realize how insane 5,000 questions for a survey would be — I’ve only slogged through 200 questions thus far. Some of the questions are decidedly stupid, but I pulled out a handful of gems for your reading pleasure:

  1. What is the truest thing that you know?  The purpose of life is to be happy.
  1. What did you want to be when you grew up?  Archaeologist. 
  1. Which decade do you feel the most special connection to and why?  The 1920s, I’d totally be a flapper. So much going on politically and culturally.
  1. What is your favorite oldie/classic rock song?  More than a feeling – Boston
  1. Is there a movie that you love so much you could watch it everyday?  Stranger than Fiction
  1. What’s the best joke you ever heard?  What do you call a dinosaur with good taste?… A Dinosseur
  1. What is the first animal you would run to see if you went to the zoo?  Red panda
  1. What cartoon would you like to be a character in?  Adventure Time. 
  1. What insects are you afraid of?  Moths. 
  1. If you could print any phrase on a T-shirt, what would it say?  “I ate all the pizza and I drank all the beer.” -Charlie Day
  1. Of all animated movies, which is the best one you’ve ever seen?  James and the giant peach or Fantasia (the original)
  1. What is the happiest way you can start your day?  Sleep in. Wake up to coffee & donuts
  1. If someone wanted to understand you what book could they read that would help?  Pretty much anything written by Stefan Zweig

Oh yeah, and keeping up with the Livejournal theme…

Current mood: Hungry Mely

Current music: Here I Go Again – White Snake

Who else got their start with good old LJ? C’mon be honest.

Let me introduce myself

Me in an apple tree

Me in an apple tree

My name is Kate and I’ve lived in beautiful, frigid Michigan my whole life. I’m a full-on crazy cat lady and coffee enthusiast. I can’t resist donuts or cheap used books. Yoga keeps me sane. My one desire in life is to see the world. Like, the whole world. All of it. I hate routine, I never want to have kids, and I’m ready to move away from Michigan as soon as possible.

I’ve worked doing communications for a nonprofit organization for the past 2 years, and I’m in the process of figuring out my next career move. The nonprofit I work for just closed its Michigan office — I’m still doing my same job, but today marks my first day of working from home full time. I love it.

I like making goals and lists and I’ve got lots of different interests but I never seem to devote the time I’d like to them. Which is why I started this 101 things project. I’m making plans, holding myself accountable to them (by opening myself up to public internet shame if I don’t complete them — yikes!), and hoping to gain some insight into myself and what I should be doing with my life along the way.

Pleased to meet ya!