My Creative Type

I found an inspiring set of journal prompts that have helped me get back into the writing groove, and I wanted to share a couple with you moving forward. So expect a few posts this week! One of the journal prompts had me take a quick quiz by Adobe, My Creative Type, and reflect on the results. The quiz gave me the “type” of creative person I am based on my answers. I had my parents and my husband take the quiz as well, and I feel like it is pretty spot on!

My results told me that I am a “thinker” – and I’m not surprised in the least! It’s kind of gratifying to get a result that essentially supports the madness I am putting myself through with grad school LOL. At the same time, I needed encouragement that I can, in fact, find and create meaning; have a sense of wonder and depth of perception; and see the big picture. Sometimes (a lot of the time) I get stuck in my own head. I have been hoarding thoughts and ideas – but its time to let them loose! Because ideas are meant to be brought to life.

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The quiz also suggests that “the adventurer’ is an ideal collaborator, and if my husband were to take the quiz, I bet he would be an “adventurer”. He truly is the perfect counterbalance to my introspective nature, as the quiz denotes. His playfulness and energy remind me to be joyful and to get my hands dirty with the creative process; and his undying encouragement of my creative endeavors has been much needed as I attempt to get out of my head and bring my ideas to life.

But instead, my husband got the “visionary” type, and I find that it truly does fit him to a T. And better yet, the “visionary’s” ideal collaborator is a “thinker”, so I guess it was just meant to be!

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I think my husband is meant to push me outside my comfort zone and to help me move physically into areas I only envisioned in my head. And I am meant to help him find his rhythm in his present and future. Together, we find our creativity within, and despite of, and because of this messy thing we call life.

Now it’s your turn :) Take the Creative Types by Adobe quiz (it’s super quick), and reflect on your results. Were you surprised? Why or why not? Does this give you insight on how you work, and how others around you work? How can you use your “creative type” to hone in on your art? Let me know!

To dust you will return

I haven’t observed Lent in several years but this year felt different. I feel called to make some lifestyle changes for the better. and it’s nothing really new - I’ve been contemplating these changes for months now - years even - but never fully pushed myself to do it. So here it is:

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I came across a blogger who implemented a shopping ban in an effort to live a minimal lifestyle and make do with what she already owned. This resonated with me, for multiple reasons. But mostly, it not-so-subtly reminded me that I have a shopping habit. The age of internet shopping, Prime shipping, and enticing sales sent straight to inbox has made it extremely easy to become a mindless shopper. A lot of us, myself included, shop for that instant feel-good high that comes with getting something new or fresh. When I’m unhappy, I shop online. When I’m bored, I shop online. When I’ve had one too many glasses of wine, I shop online… a lot….. (The husband of a friend of mine once bought dog boots and an ATV online after having too much to drink one night - who knew you could buy an ATV online? Luckily there was a three-day grace period in which they could cancel the order LOL).

Point is, I shop to feel “better.” But it doesn’t really make me feel any better than I did an hour before I hit that “submit purchase” button. In fact, it makes my life more complicated: I accumulate a lot of stuff and spend money that could be going towards paying off debt or saved towards our future house. Sure, the $30 spend on a dress online last night doesn’t seem like a big deal, but the other seven $30-purchases made over the last month become a substantial chunk of change. So in an effort to curb my shopping habit and save money, I am implementing a shopping ban for the next 40 days. No clothes, no plants, no just-because purchases. The only exceptions are the necessary items like toiletries, groceries, etc.

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People say that you shouldn’t take something away without having something to take it’s place. So when I feel that urge to scroll through that online sale promotion, or try that supplement that someone on Instagram is raving about, I am going to put away my phone and MOVE: The second part to my 40-day fast is to replace shopping with movement and reflection. This is where yoga comes in. I find myself appreciating life and praising God the most when I am either outside experiencing nature, or when I am on my yoga mat. So if Lent is about relinquishing material desires and finding deeper ways of connecting with Jesus, turning to him instead of turning to shopping seems like the best thing to do.

I have to admit, this idea wasn’t originally mine. Caroline Williams from the Yoga Abbey is hosting a 40-day challenge to spend 10 minutes in quiet and meditation. An excerpt from her weekly email says this:

“For dust you are and to dust you will return.” - Genesis 3:19

Rather than clinging to these words as a curse or pronouncement of punishment, we lean into these words as a reminder of our place in God’s universe – God is God and we are not. As we enter into this season of Lent, a time of repentance, sacrifice, and self-denial, we make space to remember that the timing, outcome, and our hope rests in God. - Caroline Williams

Reflecting on that truth - to dust we will return - will be on my heart this week and I move forward with my own Lent fast. I will keep everyone posted on my shopping band and, who knows, maybe it can become a long-lasting habit!

xx

A hundred different lives

The following post is more of a word vomit than anything else... though I did make a promise to myself to be more transparent and open on this blog. So here goes nothing :)

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I feel like I've lived a hundred different lives in the last two months. Some are only slightly removed from the other, while others are in different cities - time-zones, even. Each life comes with its own unknowns, joys, expectations and countless other emotions that seem to mess with my head no matter where I am in that life.

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This is what JOB SEARCHING is like, for me. 

Each job I apply for, I envision myself in that role, in that town, with those colleagues you read about online; what goals I can accomplish in that position, what house or car I can buy with that salary, how much more I could do because of this or that. I also envision all the office drama, the commute time, the stress and long work hours that usually comes with managerial work. Those moments help me decide if I really want the job or not. 

Imagining what life might be like if I had **insert job here** can be exciting, but its also so exhausting... And unrealistic! No one knows what a job role will really be like until they are in it. I'm so guilty of putting emotional and mental energy into "living" through the interview, offer, contract sign, and first few months of a potential job. Yet I'm only sitting at my computer filling out application after application.

I think its fairly normal to do this, but it definitely doesn't help. Lately, I've tried to imagine myself in a certain field, doing a short variety of jobs and roles in a certain city. It helps to narrow down the potential options, which can be good and bad. For example, while in the middle of this black and white mindset, I had the opportunity to interview for a job that was totally left-field. Not in the same city, not in the same field, not anything I was currently pursuing, but something I was still qualified for. 

So imagine my brain trying to scramble for a new mindset after all its hard work narrowing down my future life 20 years from now. NOPE. Despite this, the really really good thing that happens, thanks to these moments, is the clarity it provides in the midst of chaos. While my brain is trying to comprehend pursuing different job fields in different locations while trying to finish a degree in another field, its a reminder that nothing is permanent. 

And, even better, I can do all the things I want to do. I can pursue yoga teaching, and economic development work in my community, and writing, and painting, and all the things. Because it is my life and its up to me to truly live it. 

Are we, as a generation, more depressed?

I read a blog post on theeverygirl.com and felt like I needed to share it here. Depression is real and it truly does seem to be spreading. Between the issues we have going on in our household and the conversations I have with friends and family around the country, depression is not limited to a certain gender or season of life. But I do find that our generation suffers extraordinarily.

There is a certain amount of solace in knowing you're not the only one who feels this way - sad, tired, irritated, angry, apathetic - but its definitely not ok to continue feeling this way. So below are some examples that I found to be extremely relevant to my life, along with tips that are actionable. I hope you find it useful! All words below are straight from the post, but the photo is mine :)

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Why Aren’t Millennials Talking About Depression in Relationships?

"  I recently caught up with a friend who, over wine and with the TV rolling in the background, divulged to me some of her recent troubles in her romantic relationship. She and her boyfriend had recently moved in together, and their dating bliss was cut short by a cruel winter and a sudden shift in attitude around the house. With winter came a cold shoulder, early bedtimes, and an ever-present silence in their home. This shift scared her and tested their relationship tremendously, and it wasn’t until she came upon the name “seasonal depressive disorder” did she have some identifier as to what had been plaguing her relationship.

After some brief conversations on this subject with her introverted, manly-man boyfriend, he, too, agreed that the cold had bothered him so much so that his general mood and attitude had been shifted. The rift had driven them further apart and space needed to be created in order for moods and behavior to start fresh. With warm weather came a semi-return of their usual selves, but the relationship was not as hunky-dory as it had been before.

As she discussed this with me, I wondered why it had been difficult to find material online, or people she knew around her, that had gone through similar things in their significant relationships. Though lots of diagnostic information and general advice can be found on this subject, none of it spoke to her and her generation — millennials that would ideally be enjoying some of the best years of their lives.

I did research on my own to see what I could find on the subject, and though I read pages and pages of articles I found more solace tucked away in the comments on forums on online articles that graced the topic. However, three large themes emerged in the realm of why depression impacts millennials and their significant relationships. In these cases, there are straightforward answers and suggestions provided to help solve them, but nothing worth change comes easily.

Because they are lonely.

Loneliness (which can be experienced even in relationships) is a driving factor in millennial depression. Loneliness can often feel debilitating and fruitless, but seeking other solutions outside of “going out to meet people” can help in these cases. Loneliness can often lead to negative physical behaviors, such as over-drinking and smoking. Even though being in a relationship can seem as though you’re taking “being alone” out of the equation, sometimes it can be the opposite. Because relationships take daily commitment and hard work, if one person decides to check out, it can leave the other person in despair.

Exercise can boost spirits and release endorphins, even if only a couple times per week. From personal experience, listening to a book on tape, podcast, or music out loud in your home, at your desk, or while commuting can help stave off the lonely blues. You can also journal, try something new (classes, restaurants, etc.) and give yourself some breathing room to adjust.

New female roles make bridging the gap difficult.

New advances for women in their professional and personal lives often challenge traditional female roles in relationships. In the past, the clear gender roles left women by the sidelines, professionally, which is — finally — starting to change. But that sentiment can be hard to break, and both you and your partner might have preconceived notions about who does what in the relationship. Everyone brings home their own work stresses, but if you and your partner are on different pages about what “should” be difficult for the other, contempt and miscommunication can definitely creep in.

Open communication is always your best bet. Take a long look at your expectations for yourself and your partner, and then have a conversation about it so you can both be on the same page and support each other better.

Heavy comparisons thanks to social media.

Social media can be one of the largest triggers of depression. Dependency on Instagram to pass time or entertain us only shifts our frame of mind to pure comparison. The quote “comparison is the thief of joy” rings true here. Social media can not only be draining but also cause you to over-compare yourself to others’ “highlight reels” of their life with their partners.

A few things you can do…

  • Set a timer and limit yourself to scrolling
  • Hide your apps in a folder so you’re less likely to get to them
  • Download a time-tracker app like Moment to really time how long you spend scrolling through the ‘gram

I hope, on behalf of all millennial women and men, that more avenues of communication and connection can open up in this space, and that whatever stigmas exist surrounding this issue dissipate with time. Millions of young people suffer from depression and similar illnesses — and this doesn’t stop when love enters the picture.

 

It is important to know when to seek assistance outside of what you can give. If you’re feeling depressed, know that you’re not alone and you will not feel like this forever. We recommend reaching out to your doctor or setting up an appointment with a licensed therapist or counselor. Getting help is a sign of strength, and you deserve to feel well. "

 

Thank you theeverygirl.com for posting such a timely, relevant topic and getting it right!

*visit the original post to see in-text links!*