Strategies for Resilience

I have said before that I think we should make resolutions throughout the year. As I am readjusting to a work schedule, I am quickly reminded of how difficult it is to stay happy and healthy while working full time. Here are some of my strategies for staying active and alert this year, but also in just the coming weeks.

 

Sign up for fitness opportunities that are outside of your comfort zone!
Rock climbing, rowing, paddle boarding, kayaking, biking… whatever! Whatever is new and different and scares you just a little bit. Trust me. It is so good for you to be out of your comfort zone.

Do something alone.
Take a trip. Go downtown just because. Take yourself to dinner and a movie.

What do you love the most? Do that a lot.
For me, that is camping. I vow to camp at least once a month until it is way too cold.

Reconnect with your passions.
I became a music teacher because I love music, but I only play when I have an event coming up. Solutions: schedule an event, join a group, go to jam sessions, etc..

Have a job just for fun.
My boyfriend and I are hanging up posters for giving music lessons, because we get to work one on one with students and make a little extra money in the evenings. In addition to having a pleasant working experience, we are also building a small financial cushion to help during those unpaid summer months or career transitions.

Make new friends. (And keep the old!)
I made exactly one friend in my first year living in Chicago! I also made friendly coworkers, but that’s different. It is amazing how happy and relaxing it is to spend time with another person, and to get out of the house to do something with them. This year I want to continue making friends, and will work harder to visit my friends in Chicago and beyond.

Don’t disconnect.
There are a lot of ways to distance yourself from difficult work. Last year, I became closed off at times. I would avoid calling my family because I didn’t want to share the details of my day or week, and would be quiet and angry when I would get home. I would just sit on the couch fuming for hours! I realize now that I need to take some time to myself, like a 30 minute walk, or listening to upbeat music on the drive home, and then I need to reach out to the people who love me and share my day and listen to theirs! Connect with the people you love.

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The Best of August on The Wonder Of

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On travel

Backpacking in Banff National Park

Lake Agnes Teahouse Hike

Hiking in Jasper National Park

Vacations: Good, Bad, and Beautiful

In the City

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Entertainment

Book Lists

Unexpected Party Playlist

5 Podcasts to Listen to on Your Roadtrip (Or Right Now!)

Books I Read This Summer

Every Movie I Watched this Summer

I’ve Never Played Poker Before

Ten Best Album Covers of Summer 2017

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Outer Space

Space is my Jam

Eclipse Experiences in 5 Regions

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Professionals Series

5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Applying for Jobs

10 Ways to Get Ahead and Get the Job

Dress for Success: The Professional

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Reflection

On Ritual

Changing Mindset

True Crime

Weekend Getaway

Resiliency

 

 

Every Movie I Watched this Summer

Here is a list, in no particular order (other than the order I remembered them) of all the movies I watched this summer. Some were rented, some were at the theatre, some were my suggestion, some weren’t!

40 Year Old Virgin
I know. How did I make it this long without seeing this?

Get Out
If you haven’t seen this yet, do it.

Westworld (the original movie!)
This was SO GOOD. We especially enjoyed it because we had watched the new Westworld series. It was very cool to see the original plot, and the concepts of future technology as predicted in 1973!

Planet of the Apes
My siblings and I watched the old Plant of the Apes movie a lot. I don’t really know why… I think it was the only kid-friendly live-action movie we owned? Anyway, we really like it. This surprisingly made me cry… more than once. I really felt for the apes.

Witches of Eastwick
So good and way way raunchy! We loved Cher’s original nose, the bawdy humor, and of course, the magic. Expect to see this again on the Halloween watchlist.

Entire Jurassic Park Series
How are these 90’s films so much more female-friendly than the 2015 Jurassic World? It is so great to see women represented as strong, leading scientists and researchers. I wish we saw more of that.

The Circle
There were a lot of big names for such a bad movie. Emma, Tom: this is the only time you’ve ever let me down.

A Wrinkle in Time
You know how you watch movies with your parents when you are little, and drift in and out of them? My memory has distorted and spliced these films, and I remembered A Wrinkle in Time a little bit wrong. We still enjoyed it! Kind of 1984ish for children. Plus alternate time dimensions.

Wonder Woman
Strong women in lead roles inspiring strong girls everywhere. I loved it.

American Hustle
This is very well made. It is artsy and realistic, not like it reminds you of real life, but you could imagine it as it would happen in real life.

 

Resiliency

Wow, the last day of August. I know officially we have 22 days of summer left, but unofficially today feels like the last day. It is time to go back to school and back to work. It is time to think about money and how much money you can justify spending on warm sweaters and apple cider and how much money you should just put in your retirement account. Maybe I’m the only one who stopped thinking about money by July? Anyway. It is time to get life back in order.

We have had loose themes the last few months, including Nature Week and our Professionals Series. For the month of September, we will feature 1-2 pieces each week about resiliency (I promise, we’ll lighten up in October). This comes as I readjust to my workdays and suck it up and do something I am not at all excited to be doing. Additionally, in my last week of freedom summer break, I was exercising for over an hour every day. Since my first day of full time meetings, I have not exercised on purpose one single time. I am so busy!!! I am going to correct this. Maintaining personal health and happiness requires determination and resiliency.

If you are interested in writing a piece for September, I am accepting pitches on the topic of resiliency. Email your ideas to ofthewonder@gmail.com

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Six Things

I am so busy right now! I am in meetings all week and very busy getting myself organized when I’m not. Here are six things to give you a little midweek distraction.

 

jojotastic-my-new-favorite-graphic-tees-on-Etsy-6Love this list of quality graphic t-shirts found on Etsy.

 

Ask-MR-What-If-I-Hate-My-Job-Man-repeller-750x1125.jpgI hate my job. What should I do? Leandra Medine knew exactly what I needed to hear.

“It’s okay not to love every aspect of your job. We’re fed this messaging that work in 2017 is supposed to feel like a Caribbean vacation replete with health daiquiris and photo-taking tutorials, but I wonder if that has completely disillusioned the process of actually, you know, working.”

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Are you following the murder of Kim Wall? I found it deeply disturbing, and decided to learn a little bit more about here. Read some of her work here.

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Have you visited the American Southwest? I lived there for several months and I have vivid dreams about being there still. This travelogue makes me want to visit again.

 

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Thinking ahead to Halloween. I think this would be so fun to make for myself!!

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All of my meals have been very colorful this week! Here is a collection of my Harvest Colors.

 

Books I Read This Summer

Well this is it, folks. Summer is officially dead to me. I’m in meetings all week, and as far as I’m concerned it’s fall. I will wrap myself in bright sweaters and soft leggings each evening, seeking premature cold-weather comfort to stifle the chill of being in the frigid air condition cell all day.

Maybe I’m being dramatic. Let’s reminisce about the summer! It was too short and I was too busy, but I did my part of escapism and read several novels. Here are the books I read and the journeys I read them during.

Handmaid’s Tale
I started this before I was out for the summer, but it was solidly summertime! Dark and horrifying, drawing eery parallels to modern times, this was not a light summer read.

Hillbilly Elegy
This was also not a light summer read, but my timing was appropriate. Reading about the struggle and consequential political defense of working class whites, I read this while visiting my hometown in southern Indiana. Many of the economic factors described in the book have happened exactly in my hometown, and reading this helped me understand some viewpoints I have always railed against without trying to understand.

Woman in Cabin 10
This was a haunting summer read that I have found even more chilling since the news of this true crime case. I devoured this book, even trying to read it slowly and stretch it out, it only lasted three days. I loved Ruth Ware’s book “In a Dark, Dark, Wood” and this did not disappoint.

A Man Called Ove
This book is tender and sweet, and brings joy and laughter where you least expect it. Featuring a crotchety old man, a mangey cat, and loving neighbors, this book brings the solemnity of age and joy of youth. This is a read that everyone can enjoy.

The Lying Game
I couldn’t get enough of the Ruth Ware books! As soon as I saw that she had another book out, I begged our hosts in NYC to take me to a bookstore. I visited two or three before I found it, and in true form, finished it in two or three days. Ware’s thrillers are so captivating and the main characters are so relatable, I really can’t bring myself to put them down.

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice
I am still working on this one. Think Sherlock Holmes meets young scholarly woman. In this story, the beginning of the Mary Russell Series, Sherlock and a young woman have a platonic and professional friendship where they study and conduct science experiments together, and work side-by-side as sleuths solving cases. These mysteries are tame, not scary, but thoughtful and interesting. Mary Russell is a headstrong independent woman, showcasing traits that were not popular in women during that period. It’s a feminine take on the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s originals, set in the countryside instead of the city, happening during wartime in the early 20th century.

 

 

 

Reflections and Intentions

Reflections
-Yay! We had our best blog day every last week!
-New workout routine (making adjustments for myself)
-I’m changing my mindset
-Clean, fresh apartment space
-Conversations with old friends, celebrations with new ones

Intentions
-Prepare myself for the next 2-4 months right now!
-Buy plane tickets for a personal getaway
-FINALLY pay that parking ticket
-Set-up freelance opportunities for teaching and playing
-Have fun every week (every day?) this month

Intended
-Continue our Professionals series
-Make a pinhole viewer and observe the eclipse
-Get ready to go back to work

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Weekend Getaway

I am a teacher dreading the beginning of the school year, and am devising strategies to get me through it. The first that I am actively working on is changing my mindset. The second very important strategy is full of bribery and rewards. I am planning local getaways (camping nearby, kayaking through the city) but am also looking at sneaking in weekend trips like this one to Joshua Tree National Park.

Where: Joshua Tree National Park
When: Mid Fall
How: Cheap flights, camping as lodging
Why: To get away!
What: Camping, hiking, sightseeing, stargazing

Step 1: Cheap flights to California
Generally, flights to San Diego are cheaper than Lost Angeles or Palm Springs. If flying into one of the first two, we will also need to rent a car and drive 2-3 hours to Joshua Tree National Park, so the earlier flight the better. (These flights were under $100 yesterday !!!)

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Step 2: Rent a car, enjoy the drive
A good drive is full of good music, intelligent podcasts, planned stops in at the coast and in Palm Springs, surprise stops anywhere interesting, and great snacks.

Step 3: Make the most of the park
Say I arrive early afternoon. I will set up camp and take a short day hike before dinner dinner. Then I’ll take an evening walk, and star gaze. I’ll stay up reading in the tent, listen to music, and playing cards.

Step 4: Get outside!
The next day entails a long, strenuous day hike. After dinner, I’ll take an easy evening walk. More lounging at the tent and stargazing (glad I bought a star map in the Grand Canyon! Or are they different star hemispheres…?)

Step 5: Go home, don’t be too sad about it.
I want to wake up in the dark and take a sunrise hike. After, I’ll have some coffee, pack up camp, head out and fly back. I will likely get in late, which means before I left, I better have done laundry and washed all of the dishes and planned the rest of my week.

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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.

 

Dress for Success: The Professional

This post is a part of our Professionals series.

Sometimes, you have to fake it till you make it. There is definitely merit in putting your best face forward when interviewing for new careers or asking for a promotion. Additionally, if you win that job or upgrade, you should probably treat yourself to something nice. Bonus points if you can wear or use it at your place of work! Here are some upgrades I have my eye on.

Tech Upgrade

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Engraved Leather Laptop Case

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Foliage Laptop Skin

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Rose Gold Macbook

Dress Up

I love Madewell’s central shirts and can’t wait for these central drapey shirts to go on sale!!! They look so comfortable, and like they would flow over your skin in a very flattering way, where many dress shirts will puff out awkwardly.

I like pairing luxe silk camisoles and tanks with a conservative cardigan or relaxed blazer.

Imagine this jumpsuit with this bold blazer… the ultimate power suit!


Classic Loafers and Chelsea Boot

Flats are a quick finish to any business outfit, and most importantly, they allow you to move around comfortably. Here are four selections: Classic CognacRose MetallicVelvet Mule, and Leather d’Orsay.

 

Grooming

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Debaser Pocket Perfume is my favorite luxurious perfume right now.

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This NYX Drop Foundation can mix with lotion for a personal tinted moisturizer or be applied alone. Best part? It lasts all day!

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My favorite peppery deodorant.

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Really curious about this gold-plated safety razor. Definitely a great gift for the high-class professional in your life (if you can afford it!)

Related: 10 Ways to Get Ahead and Get the Job and 5 Questions to Ask Yourself When Applying for Jobs