Life-Hacking Skills

It is widely known among my friends that I do not, in fact, own a smartphone.

Yes, I know, it’s quite the tragedy. As they have assured me many times. How do I get along without it? How do I live without a portable camera and Instagram filters? How do I know where anything is?

To which I say – just fine thank you, cameras have always been portable, photo-editing can be done on my computer, and MAPS, thankyouverymuch.

But as a result of this caveman philosophy, I constantly surprise myself with how much I can actually make life work for me with simple stonelike tools such as a LAPTOP and THE SHITTY INTERNET ON MY PHONE (5 year old platform) and GOOGLE MAPS – BEFORE I go somewhere.

First of all, I have the insanely weird talent of being able to look at a map 1 time and know exactly where I am going, and it’s a pretty sure thing that I’ll always remember how to get there after that, too. I look at it once, and my brain holds it forever.

Pretty nifty tool. Who needs a fucking GPS? I’ve got MY MIND (it’s better than yours).

So normally, if I need to get somewhere, I simply look up directions beforehand and handily take myself in that direction. I first learned I had this skill when I lived overseas for 3 months and successfully navigated myself on the Metro, the bus system, and to church. Alone. At 17 years old.

LIFE. HACKER.

Except, this morning, all went awry. I am in Kansas City for the weekend for my grandma’s 90th birthday. It’s an epic family reunion and includes people I haven’t seen for 6 years. Some of them for longer. And with some of them (mostly IMMEDIATE family ones aka Father) it has the potential for extreme awkwardness.

So, I decided in order to cope with sharing hotel rooms and cars for the weekend, I was going to rent my OWN car for 5 hours and 5 hours only, so I could have a zen-like afternoon before everyone else showed up.

I planned out where I was going to go. Good coffee had to be a part of this, obviously. I literally cannot go to a city without having their best coffee. When I was in London 2 years ago with my best friend, we had not a drop of tea in the 2 days we were there. BUT I HAD 3 CUPS OF COFFEE. At least.

Enter problem 1. I get off the plane, get my bags, and get on the rental car bus. WITHOUT turning on my trusty laptop to look at Google Maps. I had no fucking clue where I was going.

The lady at the rental car place asked if I needed directions, so I asked her how to get downtown. Inside, I secretly sparked with the adventure of having absolutely NO idea where I was going, other than two directional cues (LEFT, then RIGHT).

I’m a badass, so of course off of these 2 directions, I got myself downtown. Within 2 minutes of arriving in the downtown area, I inadvertently turned onto a street I had planned on going to, anyway – the Kansas City Library and its supercool parking garage.

WINNING. I then proceeded to meander around downtown and then landed myself in the ARTS DISTRICT.

WINNING x2.

It was at this point that my skills almost evaded me. Though I drove around for an hour, I could not track down a coffee shop. I just KNEW they were right out of my reach (spoiler: I was correct).

But just in time, my life hacking skills saved me as I spotted a Panera Bread. As anyone with life hacking skills knows, Panera Bread has the most accessible free wifi ANYWHERE.

MWAHAHAH. I promptly parked in the nearby mall parking structure (FREE), walked over to Panera, and SAT OUTSIDE (FREE) at the outdoor tables while I mooched their FREE internet to find out where I was and where I needed to go. Turned out that earlier, I had literally come within 7 blocks of a coffee shop I’d been looking for. (See, told you they were just out of my reach)

So with my trusty Panera wifi as my guide, I headed back out and within 10 minutes had parked and ended up in Oddly Correct, a lovely little hipster coffee shop (The Costa Rica they have on their brew bar right now is epically delicious, FYI).

So the next time any of y’all say “OMG YOU DON’T HAVE A SMARTPHONE?” here’s what I’ll say:

OMG YOU DON’T HAVE LIFEHACKING SKILLS?

Suck it, bitches.

Do you have any lifehacking skills? What street smarts do you have that you’re most proud of? Do you have a weird brain likemine that retains directional information? Holla at yo booiiii!! I mean… girrrlll…

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Laurie’s List of Dream Travel Locations – Part One

It’s been a long week at work. I’ve been training for a new position that I got promoted to, and my brain is dry of any creativity. I’ve been trying to think up posts all week and have gotten nowhere. Until…my lovely friend Aussa suggested I write about travel locations. Thank God. This is one post that I can write that will be reviving to my soul. I need to think about these things this week for inspiration! I need a mind vacation!

I realized, though, when I started this post that I want to go too many places for one post. Therefore, I’m going to start this series. And on weeks where I feel uncreative and tired, I will unveil the next installment of the series! Two benefits: inspiration for me, and earth porn for you. Win win!

So, grab your beverage of choice (mine will be sparkling limeade) and come along for our little adventure! This shall be in no particular order, since I really can’t organize which one I want to go to most. And it will be totally out of continent order too, just depending on which one I really feel most inspired by right now.

San Pancho, Mexico

My most pressing travel dream is to go to San Pancho and live there for 3-6 months. For so many reasons. It’s small, it’s a beach town, and it has the perfect hippie vibe. Everyone is laid back. Everyone surfs. All the hippies and artists are there. There’s yoga. It’s cultured, but I can learn Spanish too. I want it. It’s amazing. I’m dying to go back. And I could drive down there and take my cat with me. I would live in a tiny rooftop apartment with beads over the doorways, lounging around in linen pants all the time. My hair would be in dreads because I’d never have the care to wash it. I’d drink agua fresca all day and lounge on the beach. I’d hike to nearby beaches in the afternoons and om in yoga at night. Pretty much, it’s my entire dream life.

 

Patagonia, Chile

It’s Neruda’s fault I’m obsessed with going to Chile. The lilting Spanish is seductive to my ears. The beautiful little houses and the bright culture sounds entrancing. And I’m not sure you can look at that picture and NOT want to visit. So. Seriously. Beautiful. Take a sip of your drink and just look at that view. Ahhhh.

The Trans-Siberian Railway

I am DYING to take this 14 day train trip from Beijing to Moscow. I think it would be mind blowing. So much countryside. So much beauty. So much of the world. I want to do this so badly, it sounds like the adventure of a lifetime! Winding across the countryside, crossing rivers, watching women and men and children wander down dirt roads in their every day lives. Seeing the everyday movement of another nationality. It’s fascinating.

 

Istanbul, Turkey

I have been obsessed with Turkish culture for years (just ask Carly). Turkish is on my bucket list of languages to learn. I’ve been to Izmir (on the coast) but never Istanbul. I so want to see Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar, the Bosphorus. I want to wander the streets and sip on Turkish coffee, listening to the mullahs utter the calls to prayer from atop gorgeous minarets. I want to stuff myself on doner, lahmacun, baklava. I want to drink cay for days in little teacups shaped like lovely curving women. I want to taste the language on my tongue; Turkish and Azeri are the only 2 languages I’ve ever dreamed in besides English. I want to remember how to say “nasilsin” and “san nasilsin”. Watch the flash of the women’s eyes and the dance of their long dark hair. I want to sink into Turkey and its passionate self.

And this last is for Aussa, who inspired me. I saw a picture of these tents in the Smithsonian or Town and Country (can’t remember which) when I was probably 10-13 years old, and I’ve wanted to sleep in one ever since. Maybe it’s the tie-in to my precious Lothlorien, where tree-living is their life. It’s unsure where they are located. Some say California. The more sure location, however, is in Bavaria.

And so with that, I leave you until our next “picture vacation”! I hope it was as refreshing in the midst of your week as it was for me!

I’m… Tired.

So, I’ve been ramping up and speeding up and trying to organize so that I can shift this blog over to a new design and a new domain name. (Yes, for reals! Coming soon!) But one thing keeps coming up for me.

I’m tired.

I look across the blogging web-o-sphere and my mind automatically starts comparing and compartmentalizing. “Oh, this one has that many followers, oh that one writes so cleverly, oh that one is good at branding and marketing” until suddenly I am so small that I look like a mouse and my voice comes out in a squeak. How dare I think I have anything to offer?

I get discouraged because I try to build readership but let’s face it – I’m shooting in the dark. I don’t know what I’m doing, to be honest. I want to market myself, brand myself, speak up for myself, but I look around and get overwhelmed. Everyone else here seems to have it figured out. Me? Well… I’m just one. step. behind.

Until finally looking at it all, I’m so tired that I just want to toss in the towel.

Of course, this means it’s time to lean in. Lean right into that nasty pain that’s whispering insidiously, “You’re. not. good. enough. What makes you think you have anything worthwhile to share?” And keep leaning. Lean forward so far that I fall over the cliff and suddenly I’m flying, out of the nest like a baby bird, flapping my wings and looking socially awkward but hey – I’m keeping myself afloat.

The thing is, I need some air currents to catch my fall.

I’m hoping you can help. Listen, I’m stubborn and it isn’t easy for me to actually ask for that heavy word – HELP. It’s a four-letter word after all, and far more damning than any curse. But I’m tired of being tired. I do believe, so deeply and genuinely, that my words are worth it, but I just can’t do this alone anymore. I need you. So I’m asking.

Can you tell me what you’ve done to market your blog? To get your voice out there? To be so audacious and daring and brave as to believe that your words are powerful and deserving of an audience, and then going and getting one? How do you get past the overwhelming feelings that comparison brings up, and what you do on a daily basis to combat it? How do you manage keeping up with your readers through social media? Would you be willing to share your secrets with me? If so, share below or send me an email: bornsirius at gmail dot com.

Quarter Life Crisis

If you are feeling trapped and dissatisfied, have recently experienced a complete change of life direction, and are in your mid to late 20’s, you might be experiencing a quarter life crisis.

10 Signs You're Having Your Quarter-Life Crisis

Common side effects of quarter life crisis include:

A sudden change of mind on career paths.
A drastic move across the country/world.
Breaking up with longterm boyfriends.
Feeling stifled, stir-crazy,  and unfulfilled in your current life situation.
Wild-eyed dreams of entrepreneurship.
Sudden indecision about your life goals.
Dramatic moments of wondering “what does it all mean?”
Paralyzing depression at all the options available to you.

——

Recently, I have found myself in the grips of quarter life crisis. Don’t think that’s a thing? Well, apparently, you have never been 25 years old.

I didn’t see it coming. Maybe I should have. After 23 months of alcohol sobriety, and 22 months of love addiction sobriety, all that inner work was bound to change my outer landscape eventually. I was bound to dig through all that shit and find out that what I’ve been striving for isn’t what I want, in the end.

When you’re in your addictive cycle, whether it be love or alcohol, all you see is the illusion. For me, some of that illusion was hard work that in my mind, I “had” to do or “should” do. It was this illusion of what I needed to be for others (or for my internal critic) that often led me to drink or to acting out with men. I was so in tune with this that I never got the chance to see who I really was outside of all my ideas of who I needed to be.

“You have to be a good daughter. You have to take care of this person all the time. You must stay married, it’s God’s will. It’s your job to just suck it up. You shouldn’t say that. You should do this.” Blah. Blah. BLAH.

I put myself in a cage. I was the small woman building cages for everyone she knows, from that Hafiz poem. I built a nice little cage for myself. One of my favorite songs for years was Simon, by Lifehouse:

“Catch your breath, hit the wall,
Scream out loud, as you start to crawl
Back in your cage the only place
Where they will leave you alone.
‘Cause the weak will seek the weaker til they’ve broken them.
Could you get it back again?
Would it be the same?
Fulfillment to their lack of strength at your expense,
Left you with no defense;
They tore it down.”

Well… recovery started doing something, both addiction recovery and the EMDR work I did. The walls became doors. Unlocked ones, because I’d found the key.

Imagine my shock, recently, when stepping outside the door I found a different world than I knew existed. Kind of like that movie The Truman Show. My life was totally scripted, and then I saw the cracks. And then I completely left that life.

So it should be no surprise I’m having a quarter life crisis, I suppose. But it still took my breath away in a slightly frightened, slightly anticipatory way when I wrote these words in my journal on the way home from Mexico:

“I think I’m going to at least defer my graduate school acceptance.”

Best gif to describe what everything inside of me did after writing that?

 bradwhat
(yes, I have used this before. my blog, my rules!)

AKA:

“If I’m not going to be a therapist… then WHAT THE F*CK am I going to be???”

I have been gearing up to be a therapist for 10 years. 10 years is a long-ass time for a 25 year old. That’s when I was 15, folks. Only a wee babe just out of the womb, practically. And now my plans for the past 10 years are suddenly just… not plans anymore?

Cue quarter life crisis.

The last two weeks have been a strange mixture of totally stoked and abso-freakin-lutely terrified. I have some ideas of what I want to do. Actually, the problem is that I have TOO MANY ideas of what I want to do.

I could be a photojournalist. I could be a life coach. I could be a cultural anthropologist. I could be a full time writer. I could be a  marketing consultant. I could be a wellness consultant. I could be a travel writer. I could learn graphic design.

Ai yi yi. With all these beautiful things, how could I ever decide? Thus, I’m trying to just sit in the space and see what happens. That’s what my sponsor told me to do, so I’m trying to take advice. Just sit with it and see what comes up.

I have 3 things I’m holding onto as a guide. I mentioned them in my Mexico post. 3 passions that make me feel sparkly and alive.

Art.
Travel.
Connection.

Whatever I do, it needs to mix these three, somehow. I don’t know what it looks like. But these are the things I love. (Suggestions are VERY welcome!)

So, despite the anxiety of feeling like I’m at the crest of a rollercoaster… I’m stoked. The world is my oyster. I can do anything, it seems… and with so many things that I love, the future looks extremely colorful.

Crisis? What crisis? THIS IS AN ADVENTURE!!!

Quotes Picture: it's a dangerous business, frodo, going out your door if you don't kick your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to

——

If you are experiencing symptoms of quarter life crisis, ask your doctor if New Opportunity might be right for you. Side effects may include heart palpitations, nervous tremors, adventure, drastic change, and excitement overload. New Opportunity is not for everyone. If you have a stable career that you love, a boyfriend who is a potential life partner, or feel fully satisfied in your life, New Opportunity may cause extreme mood swings, depression, or anxiety. However, if Quarter Life Crisis has recently struck you, stagnancy is optional. New Opportunity can give you that push you need to get going and change your life. Try it today!