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52 Self Discovery Questions - Questions #10, #11, & #12

10. What's one thing I would like to do less of and why? How can I make that happen?
I want to hide less from the world.
True, I'm an introvert and solitude is often my happy place.
Also true that the world at large can be scary, especially if you're awkward at human interaction or don't know if you're confident you could survive a violent encounter with a stranger...
I'm quite an anxious person and that has definitely held me back over the years from trying new things. I would really like to find ways to ease, slowly but surely, out of my comfort zone in order to actually expand it.
I could do this with the right people, I suppose. Those I trust and feel comfortable with gently encouraging me to go somewhere new with them or attempt an activity out of my wheelhouse. Again, I'd have to be insanely comfortable around that person...and that can take a while for me.
There's so much I'm probably missing and I don't want to anymore. Baby steps, right?

11…

52 Self Discovery Questions - Question #9

9. What's one thing I would like to do more of and why? How can I make that happen?

Since moving to the metro and settling into Saint Paul some three odd years ago, I've been pretty isolated within Saint Paul itself. Granted, there are a lot of fun neighborhoods here and a ton of quirky things to discover and explore - but I haven't seen much of Minneapolis.

And for someone who constantly rips on Minneapolis as the inferior half of the Twin Cities, I think I owe it to myself (and my Saint Paul neighbors) to know precisely what it is I'm defending them against.

Thus, one thing I'd like to do more of this summer (and year, really) is experience some of Minneapolis. I want to check out neighborhoods I normally wouldn't have bothered with. I'd like a tour of establishments that have never been on my radar. I want to compare their green spaces with our (better) ones. I want good reasons to take the Green Line past Snelling Ave.

If you're not local - shame, y…

Welcome to The Mystifying World of Modern Dating

Truth be told, I have no idea why I did this
To set the scene: I had recently gotten out of my last long-term relationship and was finally moving out to start my life anew on my own terms. My ex and I were on (mostly) good terms, still operating as friends and giving each other life advice (and maybe a little dating advice) so it felt like a good time to test out the dating app scene. He'd been perusing the waters of Bumble and Tinder, but I wanted to see for myself just how strange and difficult this land of online dating really was.

The Experiment:

The first dating app I installed was Hinge - their slogan is literally that they are designed to be deleted, they promise lasting results that fast. Within two hours of creating my profile and answering three conversation-hook questions, three different guys and one girl were trying to match with me.

1. Let's call this guy City Pages - since he's a freelance writer for this local publication. We spent a day or two chitchattin…

52 Self Discovery Questions - Question #8

8. Which three words describe me best?
Solitary.
I often prefer to be alone. I do my best thinking alone. I do my best writing alone. I observe and experience more deeply when I'm alone. That is where I heal.
Neurotic.
Everything has to be just so. Little things can easily overwhelm. Time is precious and finite. Plans are made for a reason. Spontaneity = uncertainty.  
Imaginative.
Entire worlds exist inside my head and sometimes they spill out. A multitude of beings that demand their voices be heard and their stories told. I see all of it. Did I conjure it or was it always there?


How would you answer this question? If you'd like to take this challenge, you can find all 52 questions here.

How to Unlock Your Best Life: Move The Fuck Out!

If you've been reading any of my recent blog posts, a consistent theme has surely cropped up and that has been the desire for me to have my own place to live. A few weeks ago, I actually signed a lease on a new studio apartment - for real.

Nestled in a lovely Stepford-esque neighborhood just south of where I work in Lowertown, this ground level unit is running me less than $700 a month and has freshly painted white walls, newly refinished floors, surround sound speakers and well....excellent water pressure. Because that's important.

Last weekend, I started moving in and it was an adventure:

One member of my moving party cancelled on me the morning of - due to a hangover - and while I was initially bummed at not having her large SUV at my disposal, I made the best of the situation in order to move 80% of my personal belongings via two car trips. A huge shout-out to my cousin and her boy for the assist. And a special thank you to Angie who was battling a hangover of her own and …

52 Self Discovery Questions - Question #7

7. What are my personal gifts? I used to think that I viewed the world from a lens that was very different to other people's. Where someone saw opportunity, I saw struggle. Where most would see the glass half empty or full, I was looking at what the contents were. Where I saw beauty and wonder, most others saw decay or rot or vulgarity. I saw paths other people couldn't...

For a long time, I felt very at odds with the world around me. I knew I wasn't the only "different" person in the world, that was statistically impossible, but I don't think I was meant for the small farming community I came up in either. It took travel and years of relocating to see that there are so many different lenses through which to view the world - each of them valid and unique to the individual bearer.

One of my best and strongest of gifts is my ability to change out which lens I see the world through, depending on who I'm interacting with, what kind of perspective-shift I need…

52 Self Discovery Questions - Question #6

6. How do I feel about my personality type?
First things first. What is my personality type?

I've taken a good number of the free versions of the Myers-Briggs Type assessment, but it wasn't until I had the opportunity to take the full version at my old workplace that I was able to really unlock just how my brain works. See, I'd always clocked in as INTJ - and that felt pretty on the mark.

I'm definitely the most introverted of all the introvert types, I am definitely on the analytical side, I prefer dealing with logic over emotion, and I need to have all the pieces of a puzzle in place before I can make an informed decision.

Lo and behold, the full assessment pegged me as INTP. Okay, a little off the mark, but they can't be that different, right?

Turns out, they are - but mostly in their dominant and secondary functions - and I'm not going to bore you with those details. You can read all about INTJ versus INTP if you're interested. As I read more deeply abo…

Even More Unpopular Opinions

So I've done two of these so far (find them here and here) and now I'm back with a whole new round of unpopular opinions. Agree or disagree, some of these are sure to spark conversation or debate!


1. Glossier is overrated.

2. Short hair on girls is super cute.

3. Game of Thrones was probably the worst series of the decade. 

4. Traveling alone is more fun than traveling with a partner.

5. Bob Dylan is good, but probably not the best folk singer of all time. (Sorry, fellow Minnesotans!)


52 Self Discovery Questions - Question #5

5. What is my life’s purpose?

How does anyone answer this question?

Better still, does my life need to have a purpose? Can't I simply exist, taking it all in, with no greater aim? But then, that would become my purpose in life, wouldn't it? Ahhhh the paradox!

No, but truthfully I've always kind of envied those individuals who knew exactly what they wanted to do with their life and what they were all about. They moved with purpose...every action taken was a step towards something meaningful to them.

I've never had that. I used to flit from dream career to dream career, but never really put any effort into working on achieving any of them. I guess I knew all along that most of my "passions" were fleeting. I've never been truly driven to accomplish anything...

Until quite recently, actually.

You see, I had this novel idea (quite literally) that had been stewing in my brain for years, and it wasn't until I made the commitment to participate seriously in la…

52 Self Discovery Questions - Question #4

4. What are the operating principles of my life?
I had to think about what this question was really asking for a moment... and I've concluded that it's about my personal operating system. What are the principles that guide my life and my behavior, what are the values that I live consistently, etc.

There are a lot of principles I like to think I'm abiding by consistently, but let's be real - I'm probably not. So after careful examination, here are the key components to the operating system of my life:

Autonomy

I am my own person. I wasn't always though - I spent a good number of years living in the shadow of others, in service to their goals and dreams instead of my own. I turned 30 a few years ago and it sort of woke me up to how much time I've been wasting living other people's lives. I needed to make some changes and start pursuing what *I* wanted and live how I want to live.

It's still scary, for someone like me who has always had social anxiety a…

52 Self Discovery Questions - Question #3

3. What are my most important needs and desires? Does my present life fulfill them?

At my core, I am a very internal being. I live in my head a lot - and to be fair, there's a lot happening in there. From the crafting of entire worlds and characters and story arcs to the simple calculations of how many hours I need to work in a week to make sure I can pay rent, my mind is a very busy place to exist within.

Sometimes I need an escape from that. It's critical to prevent mental burnout. One of my most important needs is having a safe space to exist outside of my head and a way to truly connect to my body in real time. Pilates and yoga are great for that, but there's also a need to find a green space in an otherwise concrete jungle. I need to have ready access to quiet parks - for walking, for reading, for meditating, etc.

Socializing with like-minded individuals and those who don't drain my energy is vital to keeping me firmly rooted in the real world, too.

My current lif…

So you want to teach yourself Japanese? Part Two

What I love about the Duolingo app is that the first thing you learn when you take Japanese lessons is how to read and pronounce Hiragana - the most basic alphabet in Japanese and one you could conceivably use to write entire sentences in Japanese (excluding foreign-borrowed words that are always in Katakana) if you don't know any Kanji.

There are 46 standard Hiragana characters - and essentially, 46 standard sounds to be found in the Japanese language. We'll discuss modified characters/sounds later.*

The first row of Hiragana characters featured here are the vowels and they're the most important to learn. The good news - there's only five of them.

あ - a (pronounced like ah) い - i (pronounced like ee) う - u (pronounced like ooh) え - e (pronounced like eh) お - o (pronounced like oh)

There are a few Japanese words that are comprised only of vowels, such as お (ah-oh) blue and  え (ee-eh) house. Most, however, are comprised of two or more consonant characters.
The next set of Hi…

52 Self Discovery Questions - Question #2

2. What are my most important values and how am I living in ways that are not aligned with my values?

I really value the spirit of travel. I think it's incredibly important to go to new places, meet new people, and learn new things. Within reason, of course. Push your boundaries but don't traumatize yourself, y'know? Take calculated risks.

I hate stagnation. I don't like languishing in one place too long. I don't like being around the same people doing all the same things for years and years on end either. Everything is transient. Everything is temporary - that's what makes the experience so important and precious. I end up taking things for granted that just...won't...leave. I even end up kind of resenting them.

I am not living my best life and it's killing me.

While I enjoy traveling and seeing new things, I also really enjoy having a place that's all my own to come back to. A place for this low spoons* introvert to recharge. I don't have such …

52 Self Discovery Questions - Question #1

1. What matters to me most?
This is probably the best and worst question to begin with because it's going to set the stage for the following 51, isn't it? And it's a scary question to answer honestly, because I feel like it's one that could incite a lot of unfavorable judgement. What "matters" to us carries moral weight, especially in our own minds. For those who feel that family matters the most to them, my answer might grate on their nerves a bit. For those who insist that adventure and exploration are most important, my take might leave them a bit baffled.

However, in the spirit of getting to know ME and allowing you to see this journey with me, I will strive to be as honest and open as I can. *It's important to note that our values shift and realign a lot in life, so while this may be true for me now it's all prone to change in the future.*

So, what matters the most to me?

The short answer: Freedom.

The long answer: The ability to live my life on m…

What I've Been Watching - Netflix Edition

I promise this is going to throw 90% of you for a loop, but for those 10% who get me - you won't be surprised at anything on this list. Without further ado, these are the five most recent Netflix series I've been bingeing.

1. A Korean Odyssey


Quite possibly the 1,000th retelling of the Chinese novel Journey to the West (or Xiyou Ji), A Korean Odyssey follows monkey king Son O-gong's trials as he attempts regain his rightful place in the heavens. On earth and imprisoned, he comes across Samjang - a human chosen by the gods to save the world. At first he wants to eat her, but with the help of a magic bracelet that makes him fall in love with her, the two slowly agree to team up to deal with the supernatural forces threatening to destroy it all.

I love modern retellings that put their own cultural spin on the story, and this did not disappoint! It honestly had everything - from ancient feuds, k-pop stars that are actually monsters, cute zombies, and a tearjerker ending. 9/10 …

52 Self-Discovery Questions - Blog Challenge

Starting in May, I will embark on a quest to get to know myself a little bit better - using Sandra's 52 Deep Questions from Always Well Within. Each week I will be answering one question, in depth, in order to truly unearth how I feel about that question and what my answer says about me.

I went down quite a rabbit hole to find this new blogging challenge - and I'm glad I did. So a huge thanks to both Always Well Within and The Wonder Forest for leading me to this fun idea.

Are you interested in this blogging challenge? Try it with me! Below are all the questions:

What matters to me most? What are my most important values and how am I living in ways that are not aligned with my values?What are my most important needs and desires? Does my present life fulfill them?What are the operating principles of my life?What is my life’s purpose?How do I feel about my personality type? What are my personal gifts?Which three words describe me best?What's one thing I would like to do more…