100 Little Resolutions

  1. Be Nicer
  2. Try ice climbing
  3. Make pottery
  4. Pay my credit card bill
  5. Get a summer job
  6. Take more weekend trips
  7. Catch some sunrises
  8. Buy less
  9. Make more
  10. Read twice as much
  11. Watch less tv
  12. Spend more time in nature
  13. Break bread with loved ones
  14. Find quiet time
  15. Meditate
  16. Try new things
  17. Try old things
  18. Be more present
  19. Be playful
  20. Smile more often than not
  21. Get good at slacklining
  22. Save 20% of my income
  23. Celebrate my birthday in a big way
  24. Write
  25. Spend more time outside
  26. Listen to more music
  27. Make more music
  28. Learn how to dance
  29. Be more creative
  30. Use divergent thinking
  31. Enjoy running
  32. Try new experiences
  33. Go to community events
  34. Call my grandparents regularly
  35. Get really strong
  36. Give advice
  37. Take advice
  38. Really, really listen to others
  39. Plan travel
  40. Explore locally
  41. Make time to live slowly
  42. Host game nights
  43. Play more in general
  44. Find enjoyable work
  45. Create less waste
  46. Reuse, reduce
  47. Make a plan
  48. Provide support
  49. Try things that scare you
  50. Revisit old things you always loved
  51. Build a foundation
  52. Embrace change
  53. Speak up
  54. Smile lots
  55. Laugh more
  56. Save money
  57. Be purposeful
  58. Learn more
  59. Visit new places
  60. Wander through museums
  61. Explore new food cultures
  62. Stretch
  63. Say “thank you”
  64. Volunteer in the community
  65. Figure out how to compost in the city
  66. Garden
  67. Slow down
  68. Support small artists
  69. Brew my own beer
  70. Take a daily walk
  71. Get up earlier
  72. Buy used
  73. Soak up the sun
  74. Plan for retirement
  75. Eat less meat
  76. Have a no spend month
  77. Journal
  78. Date night with your significant other
  79. Cook more from scratch
  80. Buy local
  81. Plan a vacation
  82. Make your own products
  83. Use the Neti pot
  84. Bake homemade bread
  85. Try a vegan week
  86. Repurpose old clothes and items
  87. Host a craft night
  88. Collaborate with others
  89. Take a painting or drawing class
  90. Visit a farm
  91. Invest more
  92. Drink more tea
  93. Read the ingredients
  94. Eat high-quality, ethical food
  95. Wear sunscreen
  96. Write a research paper
  97. Read more non-fiction
  98. Encourage my family to take a dream vacation
  99. Don’t lose things
  100. Be prepared

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A Lesson I’ve Learned about Lessons I’m Learning

I have struggled to come to terms with how miserable my job can make me. I always tell myself, “I’ve done this before,” and then am amazed at how bad a really bad day can be. That is how I felt my entire first year. I would come home and just could not shake the residual dread and anger that I carried with me.

My sister told me I had to change my mindset. And I tried! I really tried. It’s one of those things that doesn’t just happen when you want it to. You can’t just tell yourself to be happy about it and then suddenly you are. It is a gradual process that must be attended to.

This year is different, and while it has been just fine so far, a new revelation is making it better and better.  I kept thinking, what makes this different from my other teaching experiences? Why is this so much more challenging than my experience in Indianapolis or the Navajo Nation? How were those experiences alike in a way that this experience is different? In my head I made a venn diagram of sorts: the socioeconomic environments in my prior teaching experiences were vastly different from one another, but between the two they covered the disparities facing my current community.

What I realized was that at my first two experiences, I went into them knowing that:

  1. They were temporary
  2. I was there as a learner

Boom. What I am doing right now is not forever. A few years is not forever. This is temporary (and you can be invested in something temporary). And goddamnit, if I don’t learn more every day at this school than I have learned in my years at college. These kids have taught me life lessons that my own life otherwise never would have. So, instead of thinking, “I am a teacher and employee. I am stuck here.” I am reminding myself that “I am a learner, and this is temporary so I need to make the most of it.”

How far I’ve come.

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A Case Against the Hanger Trick

Or, “Why to Keep Your Clothes.”

Minimalism is in. Big time. And I am all for it! My family identifies me as a wanna-be minimalist. I talk the talk and pretend to cut back, but I will always be a maximalist at heart. I think it’s genetic?

I’ve used the hanger trick. Haven’t heard of it? You turn all of the hangers in your closet backwards. At the end of the season, any seasonal items that haven’t been turned around go. I use this tactic with moderation. It has helped me pass on beloved dresses and shrunken shorts to my sister and friends, and has moved tees and sweaters that I just can’t let go of back into my childhood bedroom (sorry mom!). I was looking at my closet and thinking about flipping those hangers again, but here’s the deal…

I wear work clothes 5 days a week. When I am not in work clothes, I am usually in workout clothes or pajamas. Sometimes, once or twice a week, I put on “real people clothes.” We talk about dual function, but as a teacher I am expected to dress up and dress conservatively, and frankly when I’m out of school and spending time with friends, I want to do anything but. I want to wear comfortable and flattering clothing.

When I’m teaching, I am moving around all day. I wear large, frumpy clothing so that I don’t have to worry about everything staying in place. I sweat and spill coffee and escort sick children out of the room. That’s why I’m wearing baggy sweaters that were on clearance at target. I would like to dress more like myself at work, but in my current environment I feel like I just can’t do that.

The solution: invest in building my personal wardrobe for when I’m out. It is a small selection, and I repeat favorites throughout the whole season, and then some. So, I’m going to hold onto the little black dresses and bright high heels and delicate caftan because one day, on vacation or date night or at a special event or ceremony I will have the perfect excuse to wear it again. So I’m not going to get rid of those nice pieces, even if I haven’t worn them in 6-12 months, and I will buy one or two more. I went to a special work function recently, where I did not have to adhere to uniform, and I threw on an old waffle knit sweater that I used to wear during ceramics class, and may still have patches of dried clay on the sleeves. It was the nicest looking casual top I could find in my closet this morning. (Yikes.)

So here is a call to hold on to those items that let your personality shine through, and make you feel comfortable and happy and like yourself. Because Friday-Sunday, we can get away from our work identity and rediscover the person that brought us there.

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Changing Mindset

I want to change my circumstances. The people who love me insist that, while my circumstances are not ideal, they are bearable. They say I need to change my mindset.

How does a person change their mindset? A way of thinking feels like something you acquire and can barely and gradually adjust, like posture or breathing. You carry yourself in one way, behave this way always, and never notice it. And you notice it so rarely you can hardly change it.

I feel angry and anxious when I think about the circumstance I want to change. I also feel, in small parts, grateful to be self-sufficient. Proud to be independent. Loving towards the people I care for. In small parts.

So perhaps the way to change the mindset is to make those small parts big parts. Grateful to be self-sufficient. Self-sufficient enough to buy something I really don’t need, but really would like. Proud to be independent. Free to take a trip over the weekend, just because. Loving towards the people I care for. I can reward those people, thank them, care for them in more loving ways. If I make the small parts big parts, maybe the big parts (anger, anxiety) will become small parts.

Maybe not. Maybe I will bribe myself with presents and distract myself with outings to get through this. That is not changing my mindset, that is enduring. But I already know that I can endure.

So, maybe if the small parts are big parts, then the big parts will be small parts, and I will be happy again. Maybe I can change my mindset and accept my circumstance.

 

5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Applying for Jobs

This post is a part of the series, Professionals.

I have thought for some time that “back-to-school” season only feels like prime time for job applications because I am a teacher. After reading this great advice today, I realize that the fading of summer into fall feels like hiring time because… it is. College grads just finished their wild and free summer and as their friends head back to school, they are looking for work. Seasonal positions leading up to the holidays start hiring, and parents scaling back and changing work schedules to be home when their kids are home create new openings at their place of work. I don’t know for certain that August is a more active hiring season than January, but this time of year is similar in that it is definitely a time for self reflection and personal change.

Here are a few points to think about if you are looking for something different.

  1. What brings you joy?
    Before combing through your qualifications and needs, decide where you want to go. Long term. What would you enjoy? What do you honestly want to do for 8 hours a day 5 days a week? You are spending 40 of your 168 hours a week working, and ideally 56 of those are spent sleeping! Or do you want something with more time flexibility? Also, think about what environment brings you joy. Do you want a collaborative team, or do you work best alone?
  2. What are your needs?
    Do you need a 9-5 structured day, or more flexible time? How important are included benefits or matching retirement plans to you? For me, I have no kids and a Roth IRA, so I feel more flexibility regarding benefits than someone with a family or different retirement set-up might. What salary is livable for you? How many vacation days do you need? Can you settle for less if you really love your job? I also am accustomed to lengthy vacation time and little freedom within the work schedule. I think I would be comfortable with less vacation and a lower salary in order to have more flexibility throughout the year. Sometimes a few part time jobs can fill needs and keep you happy better than a full time job.
  3. What are your qualifications?
    Working qualifications can include a college degree and formal training, but are not limited to that. Specific, evening short term experiences can be surprisingly applicable and relevant. An example: I spent one day volunteering with the National Park Service, in an unofficial capacity. That sounds irrelevant, but that day was spent teaching students about the migratory patterns of geese using an interactive game outside in the national park. Students were in nature all day, no electronics, lots of bugs, and had to use physical clues to act out a migration scenario, playing as if they were the traveling geese. This experience of teaching outside, giving students tools to learn through play, and using materials that cost nothing (one stack of index cards, essentially) gave me a wealth of knowledge and experience that teaching in a regular classroom for a whole year wouldn’t provide. These experiences are best shared in a letter of interest, and should be directly tied to skills needed for the job you are applying for.
  4. What have you already done?
    In many instances, especially in the arts, there is a way to prove yourself. Even if there is not an audition or required sample of your work, take the extra step and create one. They are hiring someone to write about their product line? Look at the writing already done, and do it better. Submit this sample along with your resume and cover letter. Or think way outside the box, like this applicant.
  5. Would you hire yourself?
    Would you hire yourself for this position? Think on this. Convince yourself, write the reasons, envision yourself there. Can’t picture it? Don’t apply. Find somewhere where you feel you will be a great fit, where there is room for growth, and where you and your place of work can have an exchange of reward.

Related: 10 Ways to Get Ahead and Get the Job

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I Started a Patreon!

I am so excited to have the opportunity to gain support directly from my community. If you have never used Patreon, all you need to know is that it is a simple and direct way to support artists and freelancers you love in a quick and painless way. Patreon also allows us to meet goals together. When I reach $100 a month on Patreon, I will start a new interview series, chocked full of photos and personal details about everyday people- veterinarians, teachers, designers, servers, runners…. everyone!

Patreon is a security blanket that lets me dream about expanding this blog in big ways. Big ways like paying to host the site, upgrading technology, hiring a photographer, traveling for the blog, attending conferences, and traveling to new places to share with you. I hope we can do all of these things together!

Thank you for your endless support. Please support my Patreon here, and give anything you can. Your support will change this blog in a big way. If you can’t give today, then share this page, instead. The more eyes the more opportunities for this blog to grow. Thank you thank you thank you!!!

Kelsey

 

Related: Money Minds and Summer Saving
                Summer Resolution