Operationalizing creativity

Operationalizing creativity

I walked into my local bar the other night and took out my laptop. The bartender, a friend of mine, came over a few minutes later and asked, “What life art are you currently working on?”

I explained that I’d set up an Asana workspace for my creative projects – two podcasts, two books, this blog, my ongoing Year of New project, and a social media strategy to support all of the above – and was about to crack it open to figure out what to work on next. Continue reading “Operationalizing creativity”

New Year’s Resolutions 2018

New Year’s Resolutions 2018

I make New Year’s Resolutions every year. I don’t achieve all of them, but I feel the act of setting the intention holds value itself — and that falling short of certain goals often reveals why they weren’t high priority. (Here’s a post I wrote last year on how to keep Resolutions, and reframing “failed” Resolutions as progress.)

I wrote my Resolutions super early this year. 2017 has probably been the most rapid period of personal growth in my entire life, and I’m hoping that 2018 blows it out of the water in terms of my creative productivity, work toward understanding myself and being a better person, and overall happiness.

Here’s what’s on tap for 2018: Continue reading “New Year’s Resolutions 2018”

On success, failure, and the intersection of the two

On success, failure, and the intersection of the two

I woke up on the morning of April 9 with the thought, “I am never going to feel depressed again.”

I’d spent the first quarter of 2017 doing a lot of work on myself, much of it a survival mechanism forced by a professional situation I needed to get out of immediately. January was the fourth and final month of the most toxic job I’ve ever had, and to get through weeks of waiting to be fired, I needed to get a handle on what was going on with me internally. Continue reading “On success, failure, and the intersection of the two”

On not settling

On not settling

Note: I wrote this three years ago, but after rereading I wouldn’t edit much, though I think I probably value simple companionship a bit more these days. (Originally published on Medium.)

When I was in college, I attended a Take Back the Night Rally where an adult survivor of child sexual abuse spoke about writing a list of everything she wanted in a partner, down to his height and eye color, and then finding that person. It was a story about healing from trauma and the recognition that she was deserving of the things she desired, so I hate that it sticks with me most as an example of a successful visualization exercise. But a few years later, I sat down and wrote my own list of what I was looking for, and a month later I found him. Continue reading “On not settling”

How to look vaguely normal when you have the driest winter skin on the planet

How to look vaguely normal when you have the driest winter skin on the planet
To cope with dry winter skin, stare pensively into the mountains. Or, check out the list below.

As I’ve mentioned, I have what my mom calls “lousy Irish skin like [my] father’s.” During warmer months, this works out OK, but I live in the Northeast, where we have this thing called winter (the occasional warm spell notwithstanding). No matter what I do, my winter skin is bright red, extremely dry, and susceptible to becoming more of the prior two descriptors at the slightest provocation. Sound familiar? Below, a few pieces of advice  on how to look vaguely normal (the best I can hope for) in even the harshest weather: Continue reading “How to look vaguely normal when you have the driest winter skin on the planet”

5 ways to fake a vacation (when you can’t take one)

5 ways to fake a vacation (when you can’t take one)

Sometimes, as Rose tells Sue Ellen in Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, “I really need to get away.” Unfortunately, that need doesn’t always coincide with periods of my life in which I can actually skip town — or the country. Work, volunteering, and social obligations may keep me tied to NYC, or my bank account may not be in the ideal condition for an impromptu jaunt around Eastern Europe.

What I love most about traveling is the feeling of being taken out of my daily routine. The good news is that even when I can’t get away, this feeling is something I can replicate — often without even leaving my neighborhood. Below, a few ideas for how you can do the same: Continue reading “5 ways to fake a vacation (when you can’t take one)”

I believe people can change because of how much I’ve changed

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The New Year is a standard if cliched time for reflection, and I found myself thinking yesterday about how much I’ve changed over the past few years. Most of the changes I’ve made have been unquestionably positive: I get more sleep, I drink considerably less, and I’m more discerning about who’s allowed in my life. Here are three other ways I’ve changed since my late twenties. Continue reading “I believe people can change because of how much I’ve changed”

How to Keep a New Year’s Resolution (and Why it’s OK to Fail)

How to Keep a New Year’s Resolution (and Why it’s OK to Fail)

My 2016 New Year’s Resolution was to do one new thing every day. Now that we’re at the end of the year, I can say with reasonable certainty that I’m going to succeed. Admittedly, many of these new things have been relatively low-stakes — listening to a new podcast, trying a new restaurant, cooking a new recipe — but I also did a few cool, bigger things like participating in the Coney Island Polar Bear Dip, sleeping outside to raise money for homeless youth, going to Kenya, and running a half marathon.

People love to talk about how New Year’s Resolutions don’t work, as if this is a reason to forgo them entirely. Having spent the past 366 days discovering that, sometimes, New Year’s Resolutions actually do work, I wanted to share a few tips that have helped me stick to my plans: Continue reading “How to Keep a New Year’s Resolution (and Why it’s OK to Fail)”

4 Shallow, Self-Serving Ways I’m Coping with the Impending Apocalypse

4 Shallow, Self-Serving Ways I’m Coping with the Impending Apocalypse

Since shortly after the election, my friend Arielle has been sending out a daily TinyLetter in which she offers small, actionable things one can do to make the world a little bit better during dark and uncertain times.

As it turns out, Arielle is a much better person than I am. My near-term approach for dealing with this brave new world that not only has such people in it but also elects such people to the highest office in the land is to do as much as possible to make *myself* feel better. Sure, I joined the ACLU on November 9 just like everyone else, but for the most part my coping strategy is less “I volunteer as tribute!” and more “listening to that Fleetwood Mac tribute album from 2012 while mainlining Fromager d’Affinois.” Either I am, as Shakesville’s Melissa McEwan would say, all out of teaspoons, or I’m simply using what few spoons I have left to expedite the delivery of Nutella directly from the jar into my mouth.

Other than bingeing on Nutella, here are some things I’m doing in attempt to deal: Continue reading “4 Shallow, Self-Serving Ways I’m Coping with the Impending Apocalypse”