the big 200

thebig200

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.

my dream is mine

                      “Mine, mine! It’s all mine!” (photo credit via fark.com)

This is something I think a lot of people lose sight of. My dream is mine, not yours, and your dream is yours, not mine. Even if we share some aspects, our dreams will never be identical. And that’s a good thing. Because no two people are exactly the same, so no two people will ever share the exact same dream.

No one around me gets nearly as excited as I do when I talk about Korea, or Asia in general, really. Beyond the awesome ministry we have here and how exciting that can be, I have a hard time finding people to freak out with about food and language and how cool bowing is. That’s okay. I don’t expect everyone to be as passionate, but if you’re like me, you love talking about your dream. It’s on your mind a lot and fills up your conversation. As long as you’re not being a total jerk and boring people with it endlessly, there’s nothing wrong in sharing your dreams with people who care about you. Your friends should be interested. If they’re not, get new ones. Haha. You think I’m kidding.

But remember, they won’t have your dream. Don’t expect them to be nearly as excited as you. A good friend should show some enthusiasm and lots of support, especially when your dream is infantile and new as a baby bird, in danger of being squashed by criticism and “honest advice.” The thing is, all dreams will have problems that you may not see in your starry-eyed visions. After being initially enthusiastic and helpful, a good friend should also gently point out the flaws you don’t see. Maybe that product won’t do so well in today’s market. Maybe that book is awful. Whatever it is, make sure you’re open to hearing the critiques. Think about them, because if they exist, you will definitely need to overcome them, and having a battle plan is great. That friend who is such a wet blanket (in your opinion), may be just the person to help you tackle problems.

Now for a small announcement. This post comes directly out of something that is a small taste of my big dream; moving to Korea. In June I will be visiting Seoul for a few days. It was pretty unexpected, but I was on cloud nine for a long time. I still am, really, and my head is full of plans and I can’t stop looking up stuff to do in the big city. Every other thing out of my mouth is “When I’m in Korea…etc etc.” I’m pretty sure it’s boring my friends, but they’re being nice and taking it in stride.

I’m really glad I’m getting to go. Even though it’s for less than a week, flying from Taiwan is a lot cheaper and takes less than three hours, so the trip is less stressful. Since I want to move there after I graduate, I think I’ll feel more confident if I’ve done it before. Also, I’ve always been a little concerned since I love Korea so much but have never actually been. Hopefully this will show me that I do love it, and my dream won’t be dashed to the ground by reality.

So remember, your dream is yours and no one else’s. That makes it special, but fragile. Realize that no one need understand or invest in it as fully as you, and if you’re the friend being shared with, make sure you’re more encouraging than not, and wait a bit before pointing out that really obvious flaw in the ointment.

otter.

the next step or; like a jumper, man!

Pinned Image

Where are his eyes? On the next jump.

I have a really solid vision of what I want my future to be. I know my dream. It’s so close and tangible I can taste the kimchi.

BUT. <<there it is. There is danger. I suffer from COP and ED*. I’m in real danger of over-planning everything, writing down every single step of the way and really getting myself worked up and frustrated.

I heard some really good advice somewhere recently. Whoever it was said that instead of worrying so much and spending all your time making plans, you should focus on the next few steps. I think he said four, but I actually prefer just one. I think for a lot of people, even four is too much at one time, especially if each step is very involved or will take a lot of time.

When you focus solely and intently on just the next step, you leave yourself room for flexibility in the rest of the plan, you don’t worry as much, and that step is more likely to succeed. For me, the next step is clear; go to school and get a BA. That will take up the next two or three years of my life, and before I complete that goal, I shouldn’t worry about what comes after. Maybe six months before I graduate, I can start serious work on the step after that, but it just doesn’t make sense to plan something so far in advance. For one thing, a lot can happen during two years. Maybe I’ll get married. Maybe I’ll decide to move somewhere other than Korea. Anything could change my plans.

I used to be a jumper. As in on a horse. An Equestrian. (For whatever reason, most people don’t get that when I say “jumper.”) I jumped for two or three years, and absolutely loved it. One of the first things you learn in jumping is to only look at the next jump after you’ve cleared the first one. Once you start the course, you look only at the jump you are about to clear. Once your horse’s forefeet come off the ground, you must immediately turn your whole body and focus to the next jump.

I think this is so applicable to planning your future. Taking it one “jump” at a time and focusing your entire being on that next step means that that step is more likely to come out well.

Take advice from an equestrian and just look at one jump at a time.

(I really miss jumping.)

otter.

*COP – Chronic Over-Planner/Planning

ED – Excessive Dreamer/Dreaming

Picture via Pinterest

New Year, New Life!

Chinese New Year just passed, and since I didn’t do much in the way of, uh, “actual” New Year’s resolutions (read: none), let me do this instead. I’m going to share the most exciting thing in my life right now; the re-directing of it.

First of all, a little personal background. Up until recently, I was having a really hard time figuring out what to do in my life. I had some ambitions; be a writer, travel, be an editor, work for myself, and so on. These plans were nebulous at best, hazy representations of what I considered “the good life.” But they were based on expectations I and others had placed on myself. I , like the majority of other people, have always thought of work as, well, work. Something not very enjoyable that nevertheless had to be endured in order to make money and survive. I wanted to work in something fun, like writing, but, let’s face it, writing won’t pay the bills if you’re not an instant best-seller. So I knew I’d need something more, let’s say, professional, in order to survive. Something I could say and people would be impressed with. Something high-end that would fit in with my idea of successful.

Enter in a couple of books (thanks especially to my mother who got me into this first one). First, we have 48 Days to the Work You Love by Dan Miller. I won’t go into too much detail, since it would be better for you to just buy it, but the book takes you on a 48-day journey to find what you’re “born” to do. Sounds cheesy, right? Well, it’s not. It makes you think about your best talents and how you could work in that strength, and also helps you realize that your dream job is plausible and possible. I had to write a list of dream jobs, and a couple of them were really obscure, like “tea-taster,” or “full-time blogger.” Obscure, yes. Impossible, no. At the very least, this book broke me out of the mold of having the “perfect” career and focusing on only the money.

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. ~Confucius

Wise words, friends. So, I have my list of dream jobs. Have I narrowed it down? Not yet. I’m still young, I’m in no rush to find the rest of my life. It might make things a little less stressful, but I have a problem with over-planning and living in the future anyway.

Now, enter the second book; Living the 80/20 Way by Richard Koch. If you’re not familiar with the 80/20 principle of business, do some research. Trust me, if you’re new to this, it will CHANGE YOUR LIFE. (*cue dun-dun-dun) His first book was strictly for business people, but this one focuses on applying the principle to your life. Much better for people who are bored by statistics. I feel like this book is a good runner-up to 48 Days, because it helps you get to your dream job and dream life in practical, minimal steps. Read them.

Am I excited? Oh yeah. I’m still spending more time planning than actually doing, but I think I’m on the right road to the future I want.

Huzzah, world! Here comes a crazy white girl!

otter.