Tag Archives: life

The best thing I did this year

Two years ago my life was falling apart.

Bankruptcy, divorce, losing my mom to a 4 ½ year battle with ovarian cancer.

I was, almost literally, unmoored. I remember thinking, this is what it feels like to be a ship lost at sea without a way back.

“I want to go home” constantly looped in my head, but I didn’t know what it meant or how to get there. I drank too much, worked too many hours, and tried to stay afloat. My heart was broken. Some days it still is.

This is often what I think about when I see people doing destructive things to themselves or others. Sometimes it’s a small heartbreak and sometimes it’s big.

We don’t do ourselves any favors when we try to deny that heartbreak. I resist the idea that we can gloss over our problems or concerns, or that anyone is doing life better than anyone else. There isn’t a formula, algorithm or app in the world that can tell you how to be human.

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Where does “Outsider, 2009-2013” go on a resume?

Living on the margins is not something you put on a resume.

Most of the time it’s not considered an asset in any area of life. The only upside (“s/he knows a lot about life”) often ends up being a backhanded compliment, or an expression of pity.

The truth is that being an outsider is terribly lonely, even if you are good at switching between people and environments.

For example, one thing that gives me credibility in a workplace (a fascination with quick translation, and assessing complex ideas/tasks) makes for a difficult experience socially. I can talk all day about work and be fine, but I’m way too intense and think-y to feel comfortable in most social situations. Of course I’m fairly good at blending in, but that’s different from actually feeling like you belong somewhere.

Over time I’ve learned to embrace being strange, but there’s still plenty of friction. I went on a date a couple of months ago and the woman I had a beer with labeled me a “formal hippie” (whatever that is), and said I was too serious and a snob because I’d mentioned that I wanted to spend my time with people who were passionate about something in their lives.

Continue reading Where does “Outsider, 2009-2013” go on a resume?

Your life is an information design project

One of my favorite bloggers, Lauren Bacon, just posted something really smart, you should go take a look. 

A trap that’s easy to fall into is the whole “I don’t have enough time to do X even though I know it’s good for me” thing.

Since we spend so much time being regulated (job, family, bills, etc…) it’s easy to feel like there’s no time to be creative.

That attitude overlooks one crucial truth: everything in your life is information design.

This is true whether you’re talking about doing laundry, renegotiating job role with your employer, or going for a job. You are subject to structures of information all the time. And, you can impose your own structure also.

Now, I’m just as guilty as anyone else. Right now I work massive hours, don’t exercise, and am not eating as well as I should. So this doesn’t come from a place of righteousness at all. But as my own toughest critic I know that most of the structure I am working within is flexible.

The problem isn’t the things in my life, it’s the way in which I arrange them.

As Lauren points out, we have a responsibility to be conscious about the project that is our life. Everything is important, both for what we include and what we don’t include….what we get done and what we don’t get done. Those are all part of the information design that structures our life, and tells us consciously and subconsciously what is important.


What does your life look like as an information design project?

We are the weirdos we wondered about

As a child I remember looking up at all of the strange, grown up people and wondering how they came to be.

Since my parents were doing something different (one hippie + one serious but different Italian living in Hawaii) there were always curious people around. They were doing things like running food co-operatives (my mom started the first one on our island), practicing spiritual/religious traditions that were well outside of the mainstream,  homeschooling their kids, traveling constantly, and generally embracing the road not usually taken. I used to think, “how amazing and weird these people are.”

Continue reading We are the weirdos we wondered about