what makes me feel adult(ish)

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Definitely an adult. Look at me ordering coffee all cool like.

Things I do that make me think I’m an adult;

  • Wear slippers
  • Drink black coffee
  • Buy my own toilet paper
  • Make small talk with cashiers
  • Read more non-fiction than fiction
  • Buy wine, dark chocolate, and kale
  • Buy art print posters instead of nerd posters
  • Have a bunch of friends my age getting engaged/married/pregnant
  • Think ramen is not a decent meal

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Definitely not an adult. Look at me being the one to make the kids keep playing tag.

Things I do that make me sure I’m not an adult;

  • Name my car (Sakamoto-san)
  • Have a giant pink pony plushie friend
  • Hate making phone calls/opening my door
  • Have nerd posters alongside my art posters
  • Never wear clothes at home (I seriously dig pajamas, yo)
  • Not know how to cook steak or fish
  • Think ramen is a decent meal

But all those rules are silly anyway. All that, “adults don’t (insert thing here).” Well, maybe adults don’t. Adults don’t hold grudges. But people do. And people are all ages. So maybe being an adult is like wisdom; it’s not an age, it’s an achievement. Or maybe I just say that to make myself feel adult. Is kidding yourself adultish?

otter.

NB – It’s finals week. Thank goodness I get these things written ahead of time. Booooofinalsssssssss.

the power of visualization

I’ve heard about the concept of visualization many times over the years, and recently I was reading a book about the power of the mind. It argued that you can heal yourself, improve memory exponentially, and become a better navigator all through the power of mental imagery. In other books, I’ve heard that you can “practice” a sport or instrument mentally and actually become more proficient at it. They cite sports teams that do this regularly. In still other books, I read about visualizing your day in the morning, picturing everything you want to get done and how you’ll do it, how you’ll feel, etc.

I love this advice and implement it as much as possible. Usually I just stick to visualizing my day; that’s fairly simple and doesn’t take much time. But if there’s a commitment or obligation I have that I’m not excited about, I can visualize going, and by the time that thing rolls around, I’m fully prepared. With visualization, you can reduce unpleasant surprises.

I also visualize who I want to be and where I want to end up. Envisioning the end unconsciously makes me act out those things. It’s like the old advice about writing down specific goals. I won’t go looking for those statistics, but apparently people who write down their goals are something like 90% more likely to achieve them than people who don’t, ceteris paribus. Don’t quote me on that, but it was a really high number. I don’t think I read about why that happens, but something about the act of writing it out, internalizing it, helps you work it out in reality.

In fact, one really enjoyable exercise I like to do is to plan out my ideal day. If I had no job and no school, or my dream job, what would my perfect day look like? I wrote it out exactly, from waking up to sleeping, and boy was it a heady experience. I mean, I could taste the coffee whose steam wafted over the vistas of mountains and ocean (cough). I’m hoping that by doing this, I’ll actually build some of the habits I dream about into my current routine. Baby steps, y’all. Baby steps.

otter.

bingo!

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Occasionally I’ll look back over my most motivational posts and say to myself, “Yeah, that’s a fantastic point! I so agree with that! How inspiring!” Aside from being shamelessly self-serving, I love going back to see what I was thinking and feeling in the past. I’m sure most of you have experienced revisiting interests and feeling the desire burn once again. It’s the same for me.

Here are some of my favorite motivational, dream-chasing, kick-in-the-pants posts;

otter.

learning when we’re old

Recently I had someone ask me if it’s possible to learn new things once you’re older. The context was specifically creative things; can someone who is past twenty pick up a new instrument or start to draw and become proficient? The answer is easy; yes. I think we make it more complicated because once we’re twenty or so, we’ve usually got jobs and so many things going on that adding something so new isn’t feasible. You’ve got a good (or not) thing going, why throw yourself for a loop?

Personally, I think it’s vital to keep learning new things and hobbies as you get older. It’s been proven that it keeps your brain fit, and I think it can add richness to a life worn out from stagnation. Doing the same thing year after year makes for a very dull boy.

I guess I never thought myself that there was some age at which we lose the capacity to learn. I know that some things do have a short window; being an athlete requires a certain body capability just not present in older people, but for everything else I don’t think there’s anything holding you back.

After all, Harriet Doerr wrote her first novel, Stones for Ibarra, when she was in her seventies, and it won a National Book Award.

Certainly there is an age where we do learn at a rapid pace; when we’re in school, still trying to find out who we want to be and what we want to do, it’s natural to pick up all kinds of things. But the mistake comes, I believe, when we limit ourselves to that admittedly tiny window and then never try anything new again.

Like me for instance. I have a whole slew of stuff I’m learning right now, and the fact that I’m over twenty hasn’t given me any problems thus far.

List of things I’m learning or want to learn;

  • Ukulele
  • Drawing digitally
  • Animation
  • CSS/PHP/other programming languages
  • Korean/Chinese
  • Singing
  • How to be cool (this one, I think, is probably impossible…)

otter.

the big 200

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Guess what? I just hit 200 posts on TFA! ShaZAM! That’s a lot, and considering I don’t post every day (or even every week sometimes…ahem) that’s a long time. It means a lot, and when I saw the notification, I had to stop and think a minute. 200 posts. What does that signify, if anything? Where have I come from? Where am I going? It’s also kind of a coincidence that I also recently hit 200 followers. That’s not a big number by internet standards, but that’s a really crowded virtual room of people all (reading) listening to me. Kind of blows my mind.

This milestone sparked a train of thought. My history as a blogger has been pretty casual. If you want to read my blog journey, go here. I’ve always dreamed about making my blog my job, but it wasn’t ever very realistic in my head.

Now that I’m going somewhere and have been at this for a while, I can see how I can make it better. Yes, I’m still basically just a dinky lifestyle thought-spilling, stream-of-consciousness writing, mind-drooling blogger. But experience begets wisdom, and I’ve been watching the environment for a while now. I have big plans for when I get to Korea. Before then, even. You notice I’m expanding my talent base to include drawing – expect more new things. It’ll be a slow process. I’m going to self-host at some point, get my own domain name, spice things up a bit. I haven’t really ever had a goal before. I like sharing my life and thoughts, but it wasn’t for any specific purpose. I didn’t have an aim.

I’m working on one now. It’s like starting a business. You need a vision, and then the business plan. I’m still working on defining the vision, but you can be sure I’ll share it when it’s hashed out. And I want it to be big. Something beyond “Sharing about life in Asia from a white girl’s perspective.” That’s been done. It needs to be unique. After all, I’M A SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE.

So happy 200th to me! May the next 200 be just as awesome. (And you guys, all you dear readers. You guys are awesome. Mwah.)

otter.

what is my element?

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Yes, I look silly. No, I don’t care.

Sir Ken Robinson, in his book, The Element, discusses the idea of this elusive concept as the intersection of natural talents and passions. He says that it is at this intersection that you can be the best version of yourself, be most successful and be happiest. He gives various examples of people who have discovered their Element and flourished, from dancers to musicians to cartoonists. I won’t give away the meat of the book – borrow it from a library if you’re interested, but it was a great push for me to search for my Element.

It took me a while to figure out what mine is, or are, since I think everyone really has several.

But I think I’ve narrowed it down.

  • Creativity/New Ideas – I can think of a million and one ideas on any given day. Now, following through on those ideas is another matter. I’m a starter, not a finisher.
  • Enthusiasm/Humor – I get incredibly invested in my ideas, or anything I care about, and can be the most enthusiastic and energetic person there is. I’m also told I’m very funny. I do know that I love funny things and will always be the one trying to lighten things up.
  • Writing/Language – I once took one of those types of intelligence tests and scored strongest on the linguistic side. Which makes sense, seeing as that is my major. I love words, grammar, writing, reading, blogging, and anything word related.

Perhaps because I think I’ve already discovered my dream job of teaching, I can see how well my strengths complement that discipline. Think about it; when teaching, I get to do something different every day or week, I get to create enthusiasm and use humor (best way to teach kids, after all), and I get to work with language and writing as an ESL teacher. Perfect! I hate doing the same thing over and over again for a long time, so a job where I have to come up with new ideas constantly and utilize them in a fun way sounds like heaven!

Finding how my talents and the things I enjoy work together has been a huge blessing. I know so many people who are working at jobs they hate, never getting enough time to spend on what they enjoy. What a drag! I looked at their lives and then looked at how my life could go; picket fence and suburbs and all, and it felt like I was being suffocated. But looking at my life in Korea as an elementary ESL teacher and blogger, well, looks like a field of daises with unicorns and fluffy cats and milk tea trees and clouds that rain coffee. Or something like that. All the best things in the world.

This book was enormously helpful. Yes, I probably could have figured all this out on my own, but having a guide and being able to read accounts of other people who’ve discovered their dreams just puts the wind right in my sails. I get so inspired to find inspiration. I also appreciate how Sir Robinson emphasizes the lack of higher education most of these people had. I’ve always believed you don’t need a degree to be happy or successful. If only the Korean education system agreed with me.

otter.