Nearly New Zealand

I’ve been on a short hiatus to get prepared for our upcoming trip. It’s been a long couple of weeks trying to wrap up freelance projects, but be prepared – we leave for New Zealand on Tuesday afternoon, so many photos + posts are to come.

The first update will be about the grueling task of packing/preparing while being as minimal as possible! With the help of friends, I believe we have found the best solutions and will be flying across the world with only a single carry-on.

Stay tuned…


How Do We Define Success?

This is a sort of continuation of a point I made in my last (long) post. About how our concept of success changes from the time we start college to somewhere quarter-life/mid-career.

Something we start to realize as adults is that there is no line to define success. This encompasses everything in our lives personal and professional.

I was always an ‘artsy’ person. My dad still has a collection of stories I wrote and illustrated as far back as 6 years old. He remembers being genuinely worried about me when I would sit in my room for hours on end drawing instead of playing outside. Not much has changed. I grew up rather reclusive and still am to this day. When I got pregnant at a young age, my perspective on everything changed. I was a senior in high school and had no clear path ahead of me. I am in NO way promoting this method of finding yourself, however this was the best thing that could have happened to me. For me. In general, I think girls in this position make a series of decisions that either; A. Lets them out of all responsibility, or B. Holds them back because they see their situation as an inescapable burden. There is another option, which may be the most difficult. To accept the changes that are about to come and make some for yourself. I chose this route for me and my future daughter. My boyfriend and I bought a house (making me the only senior in high school with a mortgage), I graduated, stayed home baby for two years (with an odd job here and there), then enrolled myself in a Visual Communications program at Ivy Tech Community College. I enrolled in the program on a whim after taking several certified nursing assistant (CNA) courses and realized after starting clinicals that it was not what I was meant to do. It was a spontaneous decision and yet a very long time coming. This decision was not supported by everyone in my life and would lead me down a completely new path, for the best. I went to school full time for several years, started gaining independence and honed a skill that I love.
I have been a freelance graphic designer for 4 years now.
That path I had envisioned in college was one that ended in freelance design. It was something I thought I would take many years to earn. It would be a sort of retirement: a free-spirited lifestyle allowing me to work while I travel. I never expected it to find me so soon and quite by accident.
To be continued…

A Little Inspiration

In addition to consuming information via Facebook, we have become overt consumers in the traditional sense. Recently, I have been going through a personal struggle with a compulsion that doesn’t seem like a ‘real problem’. You begin college with this idea in mind of how much you need to call yourself successful. It’s usually very minimal because, well, you’re a college kid and you don’t have much. At that point in our lives, we are only renting a space (no mortgage), working part time, content to use crappy cell phones and drive a crappy car. We were proud of the fact that these were the first things we bought for ourselves. Slowly, after we begin our careers, we reach the point we had dreamed of and move past it. In my case, I didn’t even see it happen. Something else is happening simultaneously, which is spending more when you make more. This is a concept we are all familiar with and is nothing unusual to hear. What’s surprising is that it doesn’t happen the way you think. You don’t notice it. This is because we don’t walk into stores to buy things anymore. This is because we log onto Amazon Pantry to order coffee and shower rings, but quickly spend $200 when we throw a new coffee maker and shower curtains into the mix. Six mouse clicks, 10 minutes. And that money is gone. But you get back to doing what you were doing a few minutes before and quickly forget. Then a few days later – someone delivers presents to you! Almost like you didn’t have pay at all.

There are other things, too. For me, it’s also Starbucks. I started to get a coffee every morning on my way home – it’s the last stop after I drop my kids off and before I go home to work. It began as a quick break in my routine to feel like my own personal and to get my morning jolt. Then I started getting a breakfast sandwich as well, because I am so busy getting the kids dressed and fed when we get up I forget to eat. Then I discovered the Starbucks Rewards program. Well, why wouldn’t I want rewards!? This would be wonderful, except it requires money on your account and a minumum of $10 to be added at a time. Now that I was getting a coffee AND a sandwhich, that required me to put $10 on every day to use the Rewards program.

Amazon Prime, Starbucks, Target, Netflix, Spotify, Stitch Fix, Restaurants, iTunes Subscriptions, Timshel, Movie Tickets, ThirdLove, Xbox Live, HelloFresh, Etsy….

This is all to say that I’ve started making changes. I wish I could say I had this very obvious revelation on my own, but I didn’t. I started a documentary on Netflix one day: “Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things”. To be honest, when I flashed past the main title, I thought I was going to be watching a doc about minimal design. It turned out to be very different and pleasantly unexpected. I was struck and pulled in by the beginning lines:

“So much of our life is lived in a fog of automatic, habitual behavior. We spend so much time on the hunt. But nothing ever quite does it for us and we get so wrapped up in the hunt that it kind of makes us … miserable” – Dan Harris

I would definitely recommend watching this to anyone out there feeling similarly… trapped. Who has ever felt personally victimized by Regin…. Consumerism?



Let’s Try This Again.

As a follow-up to my hubby’s recent FB post:
I have been feeling the same way about the overwhelming, soul-crushing amount of horrible information we are blasted with when we open Facebook. While I too have turned off all social media notifications on my phone, I work on my laptop at home all day and FB is a part of my social interaction. More often than not, it is my only outlet. My 5-minute break, if you will. While I can argue for the other side (information is power and we have to be informed if we want to fight), I also think that there is nothing healthy about letting it consume you. I don’t think turning a blind eye is an answer to any problem, but I DO think we should get our fix, so to speak, from all outlets. It’s hard to find a story anywhere about anything that isn’t somehow rooted in political issues, but all the same I am going to start sharing things I find interesting. I am admittedly on the internet a lot. Probably more than most people. It’s the nature of what I do. Sprinkled in with all the bad, I see things that make me happy 🙂 Facebook has become less about blogging these days and for the most part people don’t like to see these long posts. They want quick links/big headline. Well … I don’t care and I am going to start blogging again. Not only that, but I will share all things I find uplifting or just interesting.

Here is something of interest – Meet your Grandpa (maybe):