Living Through Uninspired Times: A Search for Honesty and Fullness

Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” -Steve Jobs

“All too often, we feel that we are not living the fullness of our lives because we are not expressing the fullness of our gifts.” – Elle Luna

It has been a long while since I’ve written. Over one month to be exact. I have failed at my goal of writing at least one post per week and publishing on Wednesdays (today I am publishing on Thursday). While I feel some weight of guilt, I also feel at peace with my decision because I knew I would return. I also knew that I needed to step away.

Over the last month or so, I have been busy as just about everyone else has (because we are all apparently in a constant state of busyness…can we please take a break soon? Say no to something? Hit pause on a project? Take a day for ourselves?). But I have also been out of touch with myself. Sure, there have been some personal matters that needed attention. And these matters required different levels of energy and strength to handle, which made them tiring in their own right. However, I knew on some level that these personal matters were not the root of my self-disconnection. I was.

I haven’t been honest with myself. As a result, I have felt completely uninspired and unable to truthfully contribute to my blog, which is all about inspiring readers to work toward the good and the better for themselves (and not take themselves so seriously while doing it…live a little!). It wouldn’t have been fair to my readers to post content that I couldn’t totally get behind.  So I didn’t. I took a break. And now I’m back, coming out of a period of hibernation to reawaken my inspired self.

Living through this uninspired time was f’ing rough. As a naturally-inclined creative, feeling no inspiration and being unable to gather inspiration from places that are usually supplying it by the ice cream truck loads really gnawed away at me. I felt stifled. Little. Sad. Alone.

I would wake up in the morning and just feel the blandness of my mind as if it was something tangible. It felt heavy and impenetrable like a steel metal door. And I felt trapped.

What’s more, I did this all to myself. And it started off innocently enough. (Oh how our inner monologues can lead us astray…)

Here I was, barreling down a path I created for myself, a direction I chose to go, the next steps I decided to pursue for my life. And there I went for a while. Doing a little bit of this, doing some of that. Doing what I was supposed to do. But after a while supposed to feels like a maze you can’t get out of and eventually you lose track of yourself.

What does losing yourself feel like? Well, like you’ve put on an octopus suit and are sitting in a subway car with your uncontrollable fake tentacles bopping around, making you and everyone else feel uncomfortable. In sum: out-of-body, out-of-mind, and out-of-place. A creature whose movements and thoughts are totally foreign to you….yet you are this creature. And also not this creature. So pretty much you find yourself experiencing a circus-like existential crisis.

How awkward. And how frustrating.

As I wrote earlier, I entered this state because I ultimately was not being honest with myself. I was doing what I was supposed to do, but not enough of what I needed to do. And what I needed to do was “have the courage to follow my heart and intuition” (Steve Jobs), to express “the fullness of [my] gifts” (Elle Luna). I not only failed at my blog schedule, I also failed myself.

I lied to myself saying, “Oh, but you need to do this. You said you were going to do this, so must do it. Otherwise you will be a fraud.” When in fact I was creating a fraud, someone so unlike me it hurt.

I’ve been so absorbed trying to be a certain way, to fit a certain mold that I stopped being engaged in the things I love: creativity, writing, reading, physical training, making friends, taking adventures, and just generally having fun and enjoying life. Take away those things and I’m effectively a zombie (minus the people-eating).

Changes are on the horizon now. The clouds are clearing. The steel door is caving in. Time will tell what truly unfolds, but I have hope that my slightly re-routed path will take me where I needed to go all along–back to my creativity, excitement, drive, and ambition.

And so if you, too, haven’t felt like yourself in a while, take a look about you. Take a look inward. What’s the same? What’s different? Where is the source of tension, of loss? Is it something you can mend? Do you need help from others to heal?

Take the time to reflect on how you’ve been feeling, what you’ve been doing, and even what you’ve been saying. Things will get better, but only if you stop and listen and observe, and then take the steps you need to make a change and get back to yourself.

It can take some time. Be patient.

We are only here once. We owe it to ourselves to make it count–to create an inspired, full, and honest life.

With love,

KP

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Feature photo credit: As Above, So Below / KP Original

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Choosing a Life of Travel and Adventure (My 100 List)

On a bus driving back from a middle school track meet my teammates, our favorite coach and I were discussing places we’d like to visit. Smiles were plentiful as we shared what lands near and far we wanted to jet or drive off to see in our lifetime–California, Hawaii, Australia, England…the list went on and on.

We also discussed places we had no desire to visit. I remember my coach saying, “Idaho. Who would ever want to go there?”

I jumped up off of the sticky-hot black bus seat waving my hand in the air and said, “Me! Me!”

“Of course you do. Only you,” he said, laughing.

“I Love Potatoes!”

I settled back into my seat with a big, silly grin on my face, my eyes wide with excitement. I didn’t register the teasing nature of his voice and so naturally I continued on.

“They grow potatoes in Idaho! Idaho potatoes! I love potatoes!” My grin was so large then as I thought about everything that you could make with potatoes…French fries, hash browns, mashed buttery goodness…

He laughed again, and the conversation transitioned to different topic.

A Steadfast Love

There’s nothing particularly dramatic or exciting about this old conversation yet I still remember it all these years later. It’s a moment I come back to occasionally as it reminds me that (1) my love for potatoes is long-standing and still unshakable, and (2) that my love for travel, adventure and new experiences has always been undeniably important to me.

It’s a choice I’ve made about my life–that I will (and must for my own sanity) continually seek out new adventures, opportunities and travels as much as my budget will allow. As I’ve written before, I live my life in a way to minimize any regrets I could have later on down the road because I didn’t do this or that.

I try to do everything I want to, within reason. And at the very least I’ll know someday that I tried my very best to make it all happen.

Putting Love into Lists

To better focus my passionate travel-adventure desires, I’ve made bucket lists, both long and short, throughout my life. The same items have often appeared from list to list–visiting the Egyptian pyramids, going on a safari in Africa, learning to scuba dive, etc. etc. But what each of my old lists share is that they have gotten lost or have simply been forgotten in the abyss that is Google Docs.

Recently, I opened up a bucket list that I started at a time when I thought such a list would keep me motivated and excited about the future since I was in need of a little inspirational push. Well, no surprise: I forgot about it. As a result, it never served much of any purpose except for fulfilling my incessant need to organize my thoughts and plans.

Looking through it, however, I realized that I still wanted to do all of the things and go to all of the beautiful places listed. I was also surprised that I had already started to chip away at the list, having visited Colombia, gone camping, seen a Thunder from Down Under show (100% recommend), sat in awe during a Cirque du Soleil show, completed a color run, hiked among the beautiful rugged nature of Red Rock Canyon, and taken pole dancing classes (also recommend).

I was elated when I was able to cross these items off. I thought to myself, “Holy shit, I’m doing it!”

And so here’s to getting out there and f’ing doing it–to continuing down whatever dreampath you set for yourself long ago but have forgotten about or strayed from. Go back to it now and review whatever it is you wrote down, drew, or clipped from a magazine and saved in a folder.

It’s Time

It’s time to pick up your dreams or plans again and forge ahead–because it is an honorable and courageous act to try your best to do what makes you feel most alive.

If you feel that you need permission to go forward then I’m giving it to you now. Your steps may be small and require some time and preparation but they are not insignificant. Each step you take is a display of your own bravery and perseverance to keep on despite challenges and setbacks that life puts in your way.

To keep myself accountable to my own dreams, I decided to distill my crazy-long bucket list down into a top 100 list, a la Hanny who blogs at Beradadisini.

Here it is and here I go, moving forward every day.

Wishing you a happy journey,

KP

My 100 List

  1. Go skydiving
  2. Learn to scuba dive
  3. Volunteer abroad
  4. Go on an eco-vacation
  5. Attend a wellness retreat
  6. Attend a silent retreat
  7. Go snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef
  8. See the Northern Lights
  9. Go paragliding
  10. Write at least four books (1 poetry, 1 fiction, 1 nonfiction, 1 children’s picture book)
  11. Visit the Amazon Rainforest
  12. Stay at Kindness Ranch
  13. Volunteer at a farm sanctuary
  14. Own a beach house
  15. Stay on a private island
  16. Start and manage a successful small business
  17. Go on a safari in Africa
  18. Visit the Egyptian pyramids
  19. Stay at an ice hotel
  20. Go on a vegan cruise
  21. Visit all 7 continents
  22. Go on a week-long train trip (ideally the Trans Siberian Railroad Trip)
  23. Attend a fancy (fur-free) runway show
  24. Learn to tango in Buenos Aires
  25. Have three meals in three countries in one day
  26. Participate in GISHWHES
  27. Learn Italian past a beginner level
  28. Learn basic Turkish
  29. Learn basic Hungarian
  30. Learn basic Arabic
  31. Learn to play Clar De Lune on the piano (or violin)
  32. Learn how to give a good massage
  33. Party all night until morning comes
  34. Run a half-marathon
  35. Try acupuncture
  36. See a movie at a drive-in
  37. Live in an ashram for a period of time
  38. Go skinny dipping
  39. Watch a meteor shower
  40. Learn the basic star constellations and be able to identify them
  41. Give a moving public speech to a large group of people (100+)
  42. Attend a TED talk/TED conference
  43. Attend a writing retreat
  44. Take an acting or improv class
  45. Take singing lessons
  46. Take a class in basic car mechanics
  47. Take a photography class
  48. Take a class in painting or drawing (or both!)
  49. Build my own garden
  50. Learn a few good magic tricks
  51. Take a ceramics class
  52. Take a jewelry making class
  53. Take a sewing class and learn the basic skills
  54. Go on a winery tour
  55. Take a social etiquette class
  56. Learn to drive stick shift
  57. Get a PhD or an advanced certification
  58. Attend the Venice Masquerade
  59. See the 7 Natural Wonders
  60. Explore the 7 Underwater Wonders
  61. See the 7 Industrial Wonders
  62. See a Blue Man Group show
  63. Attend a fancy red carpet awards ceremony
  64. Go to Niagara Falls
  65. Visit Bora Bora
  66. Visit Stonehenge
  67. Visit the Coney Island Boardwalk
  68. Tour the White House
  69. Go to San Francisco
  70. Swim in Devil’s Pool, Victoria Falls
  71. Vacation in Igloo Village (Finland)
  72. Attend and participate in a body painting festival
  73. Create my own perfume
  74. Visit all provinces in Canada
  75. Visit all 50 states
  76. Visit the Great Bear Rainforest
  77. Get an MFA in Creative Writing
  78. Become a major donor to at least one organization
  79. Visit the Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center
  80. Become fluent in Croatian and Spanish
  81. Invest in the stock market
  82. Learn how to be a strong negotiator
  83. Learn to birdwatch and go birdwatching with a guide
  84. Learn to ballroom dance relatively well
  85. Ride in a hot air balloon
  86. Own an electric scooter
  87. Take a solo trip to three different countries in one summer (a la Eat, Pray, Love)
  88. Work in a bakery
  89. Pay for the bill of a stranger
  90. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or to help the homeless population in another way
  91. Improve basic mental math skills
  92. Go white-water rafting
  93. Jump off a waterfall
  94. Create a set of greeting cards
  95. Take a helicopter ride
  96. Bathe in mud
  97. Give blood
  98. Go on a cross-country roadtrip
  99. Learn to make a few good cocktails
  100. Learn to surf

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Feature photo credit: Istanbul Lion / KP Original

Finding My Anchors Amid Uncertainty

The Rock (yes that Rock–Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) is the inspiration behind today’s post. Or one of them at least.

(Remember, I’m going to occasionally talk about my obsessions on this blog…The Rock is just one of many…and did you know he has an f’ing alarm clock you can download?! Mind blowing goodness, that’s what it is.)

In a recent video post on his Instagram page, The Rock spoke and wrote about his anchors in life–his family and his physical training–and how they drive him to keep pushing himself.

In The Rock’s own words, “Find your anchor and protect it.”

(Now that man should have his own f’ing daytime talk show. Oprah, can you smell what The Rock is cookin’?)

Rock GIF.gif

And so, thanks in part to The Rock, I’ve been thinking a lot about this idea of anchors. 

Having recently transitioned out of one life chapter, I’ve been grappling with how to stay steady and strong as I begin a fresh, new chapter.

A lot has changed over the past few years.

  • I’ve grown older and wiser and tougher.
  • I’ve changed jobs and volunteer gigs.
  • I’ve had some dark days and I’ve had some great ones.
  • I’ve travelled and stayed still.
  • I’ve tried new things I never in a million years thought I would (pole fitness, skiing, Krav Maga, shooting a gun to name a few) and stubbornly refused to let other things go (mac and cheese addict forever).
  • I’ve read and not read.
  • I’ve written and not written.

All through these normal life fluctuations my anchors have largely remained the same and kept me sane–my family, my friends and my own training.

Anchor #1: Family

My family has given me the unconditional love only a family can. Despite our disagreements, annoyances, and frustrations we may share sometimes, I know that I can always count on them to be there for me no matter what. 

I am grateful to have such a family as I know not all do. They are there with a life float if I ever need it and they are always open to listening if I choose to share my thoughts.

I am grateful. I am grateful. I am grateful. Thank you.

Anchor #2: Friends

My friends have given me joy, adventure and a place among them to shine as myself. With them, I am safe to be exactly who I am while also being pushed and challenged so that I can grow ever more wiser. They make me smile, but more importantly they make me laugh.

This last sentence reminds me of a line in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice when Elizabeth Bennett writes to her aunt and uncle about her relationship with Mr. Darcy: “I am happier even than Jane; she only smiles, I laugh.”

My friends aren’t quite like dreamy, steamy Mr. Darcy but the same sentiment applies as they give me pure joy.

Thank you. I am so grateful.

Anchor #3: Training

And then my training anchor comes in two parts: inner (self, soul, emotional, mental, whathaveyou) and outer (physical). I have found over the years that if I leave either part unattended my whole self suffers whether or not my family or friends are readily available.

My inner training has ranged from reading and writing to coloring and meditating and yoga. All of these practices bring me back to center even amid chaos.

My outer training has varied over time from steady distance running to high intensity fitness like Krav Maga and MMA. Whatever it is, I know I need it. Go a week without it and my mood and outlook already feels off. With it, I feel powerful and empowered.

Find Your Anchor(s)

If you’re like me and feel like you’ve lost your way during a life shift or anticipate some life changes happening down the road, I encourage you to think about who or what are your anchors and make sure you keep ‘em by your side.

You may not need them all the time (helicopter anchors are no good just like helicopter parents–eek!), but when you do need them they will be there waiting for you. Just remember to pay attention to them occasionally if they happen to be real people…real people don’t wait forever (real talk).

And if you feel like you don’t yet have anchors–don’t worry. Try some different tactics on for size that may make you feel calm, collected, safe and happy. No harm in trying and no harm in failing. Just keep going.

I wish you boundless seas of goodness in your anchor search. May you find what you need even amid uncertainty.

With love,

KP

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Feature photo credit: Opatija’s Sea Maiden / KP Original

The Art of Beginning Again

You know how people say something (career field, skill, craft, etc.) is both a science and an art? Well starting fresh, beginning again, starting new, or whatever you call it is more of the latter than the former.

There is no manual, no special sauce formula, no foolproof “ten steps to a better fresh start” (although the internet may beg to differ). You just kinda go, maybe make a plan, and then hope for the best all the while cowering with fear inside, your palms constantly slippery with the sweat of anxiety.

But let me back up a bit.

It has been over a month since I’ve written. There are so many things I want to write but don’t yet know how. During this gap, I left my job, a field of work I enjoy, and a strong support system, then moved across the state to enter a completely new field via graduate school.

To say the least I’ve been busy and tired and decided somewhere along this busy-tried highway that writing was again just something that could wait. And so I shelved it, like I often end up doing. It got put back on one of those dusty, dark places you might find in a garage, stuffed among the useless cords, old paint, and ratty shoes.

Being Afraid and Stuck

I give the cold shoulder to writing when I am busy, sure, but more so when I am afraid. And I still am. 100 f’ing percent.

In addition to being afraid I’ve been a cocktail of other emotions. Happy. Sad. Happy. Sad. Really sad. Really nervous. Happyish. Maybe excited? Relaxed. Frantic. Almost hysterical. Calm. Confused. And of course, afraid, afraid, afraid. (Not the “dark thing under your bed” afraid, but the “holy f, what am I doing?” afraid.)

Packing up your last successful life chapter and waiting at the station until you pull into the next one just, well, sucks. Plain and simple. Let’s just call it what it is.

Things are eerily calm yet unsettling at the same time. You feel like you’re on a wobbly dock trying to stay balanced so you don’t fall into the water below where it’s so gray and murky that you can’t even see your own reflection.

And you can’t see that darn reflection because your new chapter self hasn’t quite manifested yet. It’s partly there — since you’ve got all your past chapter selves hanging around like friendly, old ghosts  but none of these feel quite right to take on your next steps.

So you’re just kinda stuck for the time being and more vulnerable than usual. Which is where I’m at right now. (I also want to cry uncontrollably. Comes with the territory.)

Things I Know and Things I Don’t

I desperately want to get un-stuck but I know it’s not quite the time yet — it will happen though.

What I also know is that I wanted this change (i.e. leaving my job, moving away, going back to school); I planned for it in all humanly possible ways — lists, sound financial management, early packing.

Few details can escape my masterful planning (ask anyone who knows me, surely there will be nods as they read this), yet the planning didn’t make me feel any better. It reassured me that I can plan well and that I’m insanely organized. But I didn’t need this reassurance.

What I needed was someone to spill the beans, to tell me that fancy schmancy secret formula to coping with a new start — the “science.” But no one did because no one really knows.

The Terrifying Beauty of New Beginnings

Each new beginning is our own precious little terrifying experience. We can shape it however the hell we want it.

Even if someone is taking the same steps as you or has taken the same steps before you they are still not experiencing exactly what you are. 

Sure, you can gather some intel from Past New Beginners and seek advice from your dear family and friends but ultimately it’s your choice in how you proceed down the promising yet poorly lit New Beginning Road.

Whether it’s dancing like hell or running around bat-shit crazy, do your thing.

And I know, I know — you can’t see the entire path in front of you but that’s half the fun! And half the fear. (I know that too).

For me personally, I worked very, very hard professionally to get where I was in my last life chapter and so starting a new one makes me feel a bit like a splattered bug on a car windshield — dead on arrival.

I’ve felt disoriented and uncertain and questioned my own abilities, talent and experiences. In sum, I didn’t feel like much of anything and my head and heart were totally out of sync.

But these frightening feelings and thoughts pass as they now are for me.

I had to take some time to remember where I was and who I was and who I am today, reminding myself that I’m one badass mother f’er. (Self confidence is the shit, isn’t it? Makes you feel like you can fly — and you can, metaphorically speaking.)

It also helped to begin establishing a routine, meet new people and explore what the area has to offer to cultivate that feeling of excitement about the future. 

Perhaps this is the “science” part of the Beginning Again Equation — but we are all different and maybe this is not how you would handle a new start (and that’s fine).

So go ahead and take whatever new beginning that you have chosen or that you’re thrown into and make it fully your own, fear and all. 

Begin again as the person you’ve always admired (your true BA self) and I’ll be right there beside you, doing it too.

Cheers!

XOXO,

KP

P.S. My newsletter is currently under construction — stay tuned for more updates! Thanks for reading!

Confessions from a Recovering Perfectionist

“[You] don’t have to change your goal. Change your path, be willing to, and don’t see that as a failure. That’s just life.” -Diane Hendricks

“Have no fear of perfection. You’ll never reach it.” – Salvador Dali

It was not long ago that I was and very much considered myself a perfectionist. I wore this label proudly though my younger years and into adulthood as a badge of honor. Who wouldn’t want to be a perfectionist? I thought, without ever realizing what endless heartbreak it can bring into your life.

Childhood: A Budding Perfectionist

I grew up, like many of us, with the world around me continually telling me that if I wasn’t 100% all the time — 100% perfect in every way from head to heart to body — that I was simply not good enough, that I always needed to be something more than I already was.

For so long I believed this lie. I lived my life seeking perfection and pretending that I could really and truly be perfect.

I remember growing up thinking that even little things had to be perfect around me.

If a folder wasn’t quite positioned right among a stack of other folders, I felt compelled to immediately rectify this wrong and make it structurally perfect.

If I was painting and I didn’t recreate the colors just right from the photo I was going off of I would take many, many hours (often into the night) to painstakingly mix the right color combos.

The worst offender to my perfectionist self was always writing — it never wanted to behave but I always tried to bend it to my perfectionist will, nitpicking every word, sentence, paragraph, and grammatical error.

I became hampered by my quest for perfection — I slowed myself down and often stunted my own progress and growth. I would start something and then never pick it up again because I had already decided that it wasn’t good enough even before I really began.

If I continued on with a hobby or task, however, I would practice ad nauseum to try to push myself to the next level. But in reality, since I was always spinning in my own self-created perfectionist cycle, I never got much of anywhere — I was doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for different results.

Adulthood: The Perfectionist Saga Continues

As I entered my working life with my perfectionist ways still intact, I would sometimes struggle along quietly with projects and assignments — not letting go of an article, report, proposal, etc. until it was in tip-top shape. I didn’t understand what good meant and so good to me always felt wrong. It couldn’t just be good, it had to be perfect.

I was sensitive to criticism, much as I had been in my younger years. I took every comment personally, fretting over every little word I was told. I then took these words and weaved them into a thorny little negative self-talk quilt that I would revisit throughout the day and into the night, wrapping myself in self-hate until I finally fell asleep with a heavy, hurting heart.

I would wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, unhappy with what I saw.

  • This little part needed to be exercised away.
  • This little spot needed to be covered in creams until it disappeared.
  • This strand of hair was ugly.
  • My nose was ugly.
  • My arms were ugly.
  • My legs were ugly.

Everything was ugly and all sorts of bad and I didn’t know what to do with it all. I felt overwhelmed. And overwhelmed with a deep sadness that no matter how hard I tried, I would still look this way and be the way I was — imperfect.

What’s more, I thought others around me had to be perfect, too. I got agitated when someone didn’t write in the same style that I did or follow the same grammatical rules. I got a twitch when I watched someone clean the bathroom in a way that I wouldn’t.

I wanted to make everything around me perfect — or at least bring everyone into my little perfectionist bubble so that they too could see the light.

I continued on in this self-destructive manner until I decided: f this shit. Enough was enough.

Adulthood Part 2: Recovering from the Perfectionist Disease

Nowadays, I don’t consider myself a perfectionist. If anything, I am trying to distance myself as much as possible from this label because I found this state of being so extremely unhealthy. 

I was blindly barreling down a path that was actually significantly hindering my own self-growth and making me lose out on opportunities to live a fuller and more meaningful life.

Quite simply, I was driving myself (and others) crazy.

I now know there were never any benefits to perfectionism. And if anyone claims that there are, they are likely trapped in the same self-delusional perfectionist cycle that I was.

At a certain point in my life, as I’ve gone through various stages of growth and change, I dedicated myself to making a very concentrated effort to rid myself of my perfectionist ways.

Today, I am a recovering perfectionist. I try my best to let go and just be my imperfect (and perfectly fun) self. 

I may not be able to totally rid myself of all perfectionist tendencies, but so what? What matters is that I’m trying. I am trying to live my life just like you — I am trying to be free to be myself. This new focus in my life has brought great joy to my healing heart.

Now when I approach my tasks, hobbies, or work, I am open to failure, criticism and ultimately, growth. I have largely cleared the perfectionist disease from my system and can now have a more open heart and a clearer mind (and my body looks damn good too, if I do say so myself).

With writing especially I’ve seen much improvement. I just go and do it, even if I have nothing good or eloquent to say yet — I know that I will and that I just need to keep going. When I see a typo or some other kind of stylistic pothole now I think, “Great! I have a typo. I can fix it!”

There are some things in life we cannot fix and other things we shouldn’t try to fix. Yet we do have the power to revisit and revise parts of ourselves that are weighing us down and making us miss out on all the great, wonderful things life has to offer.

As they say, perfection is the enemy of the good — so why can’t we settle for good enough? Why must we keep striving for something more? Is that more really better and greater in the end? Or is it just driving us a little more insane and taking us away from something else that’s important?

Today, I am also more of an advocate against perfectionism. I’m not saying that you should let go of your search to be an expert or be very good at your field of work or hobby. All I’m saying to you is to let yourself off the f’ing hook. Because you’re not perfect.

You’re not going to be perfect. I’m not going to be perfect. We’re not f’ing perfect. And it’s okay.

We need to let other people off the hook too in addition to ourselves. We need to stop expecting utmost perfection from others because it’s just not going to happen. You’re just setting yourself and the other person up to fail. It is not constructive. It is destructive and demoralizing.

Growth is a positive thing. Change can also be a positive whether it’s for the better or the worst (since it is during the bad times that we build our character most). But we cannot grow and change in the ways we really want to until we let go of perfectionism.

There’s more to life than being perfect, and it is when we learn to live with our imperfections that we can start to become who we really are.

So let’s do that and be free to be our imperfect, wonderful selves.

Cheers,

KP

P.S. I’d love to hear your own personal story of overcoming perfectionism — email me anytime or comment below!

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Feature photo credit: Bathroom graffiti / KP Original

Living in a State of Transition

I sit here in my bed at midnight, with my now scentless essential oil diffuser quietly gurgling on as my sole companion, trying to write a blog post after a little over a two-week long hiatus, and I am struggling.

All those habit experts are right — you gotta keep doing something for quite a while (about 21 days, they say) to stay on the wagon. And if you fall off the wagon anywhere during this habit-forming time frame you’re gonna have a hard time coming back around.

But here I am, back again. I made a promise to myself and I am going to keep at it for as long as I need it.

I set out on this blogging journey to reawaken my creative side that has been dormant for far too long, pushed away in favor of other priorities.

Yet I needed the break — as I keep telling anyone who will listen it’s A-OKAY to take a break from anything you’re doing (we all seem to need this reminder more and more — perhaps a separate discussion, a different post).

At present, I am in a state of transition, moving out of one phase in my life and into another.

  • I am transitioning from one professional role and soon into a new one.
  • I am transitioning from a longtime home to a more temporary one.
  • I am transitioning out of a highly present and supportive friend group and hopefully into another (while still trying to figure out how to keep aforementioned supportive friend group forever).
  • I have already transitioned out of a couple volunteer roles and am still trying to figure out what to transition into next.
  • And I seem to be transitioning in and out of fitness goals on a daily basis.

As you can see, I am juggling a variety of transitions at once and because of all this juggling I determined that a break was in order. My mind was getting so cloudy and heavy, weighed down by the decision-making, next steps, and planning.

It has felt like someone took some mushy gray clouds out of the sky and stuffed them into my already filled head and plopped me back down, leaving me to flop over sideways like a stuffed animal whose head is too big for its body.

“It’s all too much!” I wanted to scream, but didn’t.

Instead I retreated, kept silent, vented, did some of my usual things, stopped (temporarily) doing other things, got angry, got sad, got happy, got excited, but mainly waited in a state of blahness — not completely unhappy but also not really all that happy.

On top of all that I felt guilty. Guilty for taking a break (how silly!). So then I felt more blah and whatever about everything, lacking motivation in some areas (why wake up? What is this alarm clock?) but not in others (gotta get to my 10K step Fitbit goal!).

So I’ve decided to surrender, quiet my “feeling guilty” thoughts and just accept that this is my life now — that I am living in a state of transition. It is a place I know I must travel along for a little while until I am redirected to my next steps.

This transitional area sure isn’t a fun place to be — but then again no one said it would be. There isn’t a manual for transitional life stages (would be nice though, wouldn’t it?!). And I have no solutions for you, if you too, who happen to be reading this, are traversing this same cloudy path.

But I don’t need solutions now — and neither do you.

This spot we’re in is not a place for solutions — it’s simply a path from A to B or B to C or C to Z (if you’re rocking those major life jumps).

It’s a place to keep moving, but also to stand still, to take time and to reflect or just to take a break and catch up on your favorite shows. You’ve been taking care of yourself for a while now and so you know what’s best for you — so do that.

Take your break. Live in your transition. Hang on through your transition.

Know that once you come out on the other side of where you’re going you’ll have changed — and you’ll be stronger.

Onward,

KP

P.S. There’s this cool newsletter thing I’m up to — subscribe here for a weekly dose of inspiration.

Feature photo credit: Lake Love / KP Original

How to Figure Out What You Want to Do with Your Life

Like many other twenty-somethings (and arguably folks of any age), I am on a journey trying to figure out what in the hell I want to do with my life.

It is a universal struggle — I know you have been there (and if not — that’s really great and I’m beyond envious). And in some cases, the struggle may be unending (*dread*) or put more positively, ever-changing.

We can also move in and out of this struggle over time — at one point in our lives we feel we have shit figured out and then at a later moment we are back to square one, wondering how in the hell we got back there. Shit happens. Challenges and change are inevitable, but how we choose to approach them is when the fun really begins.

And so what to do with this dilemma — this “figuring out what to do with your life” thing? Plenty of resources exist that you can consult — books, articles, webinars, courses, entire websites…all good stuff, all helpful in various ways.

But since we live in a world (‘Merica!) where we are always trying to one-up the next person and improve ourselves ad nauseum, I would like to take my place in this world and one-up all of these resources with my own helpful guide to show you how fun this dilemma can be.

And so I give you: “How to Figure Out What You Want to Do with Your Life.”

(Note: Please read on expecting humor and silliness and some nuggets of wisdom — enjoy and cheers!)

Ya ready? 

Let’s go:

  1. Make ten million and one lists of all the things you want to accomplish in your life and then lose them throughout the course of your lifetime to the pages of unfinished books, half-written journals and piles of old mail.
  2. Attempt to find that one list you wrote once upon a time ago that you stuffed into a National Geographic magazine from 2001 because you are sure now that it is the secret to your future all these years and experiences later.
  3. When finding said NatGeo magazine, you gasp in horror! Alas, the list is merely a shopping list from that one time you attempted to make homemade crème brûlée, which, like your life right now, also turned out to be a horrible mess.
  4. Cry.
  5. Cry some more.
  6. And pout and scream and pound your hands against your steering wheel because you are not only frustrated that your life continues to be in shambles because you cannot figure out what to do with said life but also because today’s morning commute is the biggest killer, with a complete stop traffic jam five miles long. The pain, the horror!
  7. Cry even more because all is terrible in the world and life is unfair.  
  8. Read an article about what genocide is going on in the world right now and realize that your life is not terrible nor unfair, sobering yourself up to the reality that surrounds you everyday — that there is more pain in the world than you can comprehend.
  9. Feel bad for thinking your struggles were anything more than trivial.
  10. Continue on with your day, which turns out less desirably than planned — your friend cancelled a long-standing coffee date after work, you catch an error you made on a major project and are repeatedly kicking yourself for it, your mother is nagging you, your father is nagging you, your boss is nagging you, your friends are nagging you. EVERYONE IS ON YOUR CASE AND YOU DON’T KNOW WHY.
  11. Break down. Your head explodes. Not literally, but you feel like it has. You want to cry again, curl up into a fetal position right on your office’s dirty reddish gray yet strangely muti-colored floor caked with months and months of dust you know is there and eye the ever-accumulating dust clusters under your colleague’s desk, collecting in her desktop’s fan, on her lower shelf drawers, on her forgotten pen.
  12. Keep it together because you’re at work and still have some thousand things to get done and your colleagues are counting on you.
  13. Collapse onto your couch at home, face first, like a tipped log, letting out a muffled welp as soon as you get back from work — which is not the work you would describe as your ideal “what I want to do with my life” since you must make this apparent to yourself every chance you get to remind yourself there is some higher goal you are grabbing at which is still unclear to you but you know it’s there.
  14. Know that it is not the worst day in the world. And it is not the worst struggle in the world. But it sure feels like shit nonetheless, all this aimlessness.
  15. Go back to list-making because this restores some sense of control in your life, which you haven’t yet gotten today.
  16. List, list, list, list and realize how brilliant you are or self-critique yourself ad nauseum because you are a self-proclaimed perfectionist and can’t let shit, or yourself, off the hook.
  17. Fall back on the couch, exhausted.
  18. Take a deep breath. And then take another ‘cause you really f’ing need it.
  19. Decide: enough is enough! And that you are enough (cue new age positivity philosophy doves).
  20. Start putting the pieces together to create a more workable vision of your future and realize that your future will not look like your parents’ necessarily or like the person’s next to you or even like your best friend’s.
  21. Ask yourself: What do I like doing? What do I dislike doing? When have I felt most alive, most excited? When I have felt dread? When have I felt most accomplished? Least accomplished? Does money really mean the world to me? What would I do if I lived with less, with more, and what kind of difference does it make in the end? What do I care most about, least? What do I remember doing growing up but have long since put on a dusty shelf thinking it was a silly endeavor but know that my lonely, creative heart hearkens for it day in and day out to take it up once again? And what would you want people to read about you in your obituary — will it be the fame you achieved, the children you helped grow, the world you helped save? What would YOU want someone to write about you after you’re gone?
  22. Answer these and other questions you pose to yourself and analyze the shit outta them. And then over-analyze because you can’t help yourself.
  23. Ground yourself, steady now, and realize that few really have this shit worked out. Realize that you are a part of a community of people trying to figure this all out — you are not alone.
  24. Realize you can find your relatively balanced place in this world once you become at peace with certain aspects of yourself and decide to work toward changing and challenging other aspects.
  25. Realize that you have it in you to take yourself to whatever next level you want to take yourself — whether that is stretching outside your comfort zone or seeing that you have really been happy all along with exactly where you are and with what you’re doing. You are the maker, creator, destroyer of whatever it is you want to make, create or destroy. It sure ain’t easy, but you got this. Because you’re a rock star.

See yourself in this list? Good — know that you are not alone. You’ll figure something out with whatever you’re struggling with in the “what to do with my life” battle.

And if no one else believes in you then I do even if I’ve never met you or know you that well (or if I know you super well then you know I got your back).

I gotta feeling that everything’s gonna be alright.

(Yes, Black Eyed Peas AND Bob Marley medley in that last line. What?! Mind explosion.)

Thanks for reading. Much appreciated, as always. ❤

Until next time!

Ciao ciao brown cow,

KP

P.S. Find more fun posts like this in Weekly Inspiration, a newsletter brought to you by me (KP) at Inspiration for Good. Subscribe right here, right now.

Feature photo credit: Work Pose / KP Original