journal

200 Day Time Capsule Blog #4

It’s always exciting when I lose track of the 200 day count (which is every single time) and am completely surprised by my letter arriving in my inbox. Some might call this “being disorganized” or “in need of a proper blogging calendar” but I call it WOOO MAIL TIME!

This email from the past came from the day after I ran my marathon, which may or may not be completely obvious by the answers I gave.

Let’s dive right in!

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1) What day is it?

My answer from the last time capsule (3/25/19): Monday March 25, 2019

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2) What’s the weather like outside?

My answer from the last time capsule (3/25/19): It was 50 degrees when I left the house, but it’s forecasted to be 80 later today! Summer here we come.

Note to past Kim: Ah yes, the beginning of summer enthusiasm. It’s always so pure. Now it’s October and still 90 degrees and I get emotional whenever I look at my sweaters. 

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3) What did you do today?

My answer from the last time capsule (3/25/19): It is currently 8:29 a.m. and I am sitting at my desk. All I’ve done today is moan and groan and limp around because my legs and hurting after yesterday’s MARATHON. I repeat, I ran a marathon yesterday. What is life? I can’t believe it.

Note to past Kim: Honestly, neither can I. But don’t worry, past Kim, I’ve made sure to drop, “I ran a marathon” in more than a few conversations over the last 200 days. I also recently looked at an email advertising an upcoming marathon and said, “run 26.2 miles in a matter of hours? Did it,” before immediately deleting it. 

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4) What’s your favorite song right now?

My answer from the last time capsule (3/25/19): Probably Sucker Punch by Sigrid and The Bones by Maren Morris.

Note to past Kim: It’s weird to comment on your favorite songs of the past, isn’t it? I mean, are they still good? Obviously. Have I probably played some of them too many times? Obviously. 

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5) What’s the most recent movie you’ve seen?

My answer from the last time capsule (3/25/19): Natalee and I watched Pitch Perfect 3 for the first time last night.

Note to past Kim: I honestly have no recollection of this. All I remember the night after the marathon was ordering my favorite burrito for dinner and then ordering myself a cake to celebrate because #selfcare.

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6) Who did you text last and what did you say?

My answer from the last time capsule (3/25/19):  I texted my sister “lol I can only hope that’s what they think”, which was in response to her sympathizing with me feeling self conscious limping to my car this morning and having all of our neighbors look at me very concernedly. She said they are probably thinking I “worked way harder than them this weekend”, but they were more looking at me like they were wondering if they should call the police or take me to the hospital. Not to worry neighbors, just ran a casual marathon yesterday and now my body is broken.

Note to past Kim: I remember this well. I looked like a baby deer for about three days and it was no joke. 

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7) What is your biggest goal right now?

My answer from the last time capsule (3/25/19): To find something new to challenge myself with. I always forget how much proving your own self doubt wrong can make you feel invincible and so I want to find my next big challenge and then conquer it.

Note to past Kim: On it!

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8) What are you most excited about?

My answer from the last time capsule (3/25/19): There are a lot of exciting things on the calendar for this year, but I think right now I’m most excited about Opening Day. It’s this Thursday and it’s the very first time Natalee and I have ever gone. I’m so excited!

Note to past Kim: Good news, girl, the Dodgers set a record for most games won in franchise history! Also, we made the playoffs and are currently fighting our way through the NLDS. I can only hope the next time I hear from you we will have won the World Series, but for now, one step at a time. 

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9) What are you most worried about?

My answer from the last time capsule (3/25/19): This answer seems to stay the same for me, but I keep finding different ways to describe it. I’m most worried about not doing enough to make my life successful, primarily in the eyes of others. I’m working really hard to shift that fear so that I am the one whose opinion matters most, but I have been feeling the weight of other people’s expectations recently.

Note to past Kim: We’re working on it, girl, we’re working on it. 

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10) Tell yourself a really bad joke.

My answer from the last time capsule (3/25/19): I don’t even like this question anymore.

Note to past Kim: Agreed. 

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You can check out this page to see the growing archive of all of my time capsule answers. And don’t forget to check out this post to find out how you can create your own time capsule.

Our next delivery date is: April 24th, 2020

I repeat 2020! A new decade! Exclamation point!

See you there.

 


 

Check out the previous 200 Day Time Capsule Blog here.

From One to Ninety (And Beyond)

It was 12:30 p.m. and I was sitting at a table, breaking a cookie into a bite-sized pieces as I sang happy birthday to the man of the hour. With big eyes, he looked out at all of us, not sure what to think or what to do. His mom held a candle in her hand, the small flame flickering in the afternoon breeze, and she and his dad stood in front of him, encouraging him with puffed cheeks to blow. Instead he reached for the candle, noticing when we laughed, and again when his mom blew out the candle for him and we clapped. Then his eyes shifted to the cake before him and he dug in.

At 4:30 p.m. I was sitting on a couch, spooning my way through a hot fudge sundae as I talked baseball with the man of the hour. He donned a Dodger hat, and the rest of us wore jerseys, shirts, and hats to match as we all watched our favorite team play their final game of the regular season. A cool breeze snuck in the back door, making it easy for us to sit close to one another as we whispered stories or shared them with the whole room, the light and easy conversation the kind that Sunday dreams are made of. Then, with timers set and everyone in their place, we took a group picture to commemorate the day.

It was a one-year-old birthday party and a 90-year-old birthday party, back to back. My sister and I attended both, with a minor costume change in between.

As we celebrated Berkley, we watched as he pointed at balloons and curiously poked his bare feet into the grass in the backyard. We told him all the reasons there were to celebrate and looked into his beautiful eyes, excited for all that they were destined to see.

As we celebrated our grandpa, we barbequed Dodger dogs and passed around Cracker Jacks, recreating one home inside another. We glanced from cousin to aunt to sister to parent, thankful for all that my grandma and grandpa have built, and hopeful that it will only continue to grow. We hugged my grandpa, knowing 90 is not nearly as easy as one or 20 or 40 or even 89, and we looked into his beautiful eyes knowing that they’d seen so much.

I myself have had 29 birthday parties. Some have been small, some have been slightly bigger than small. Some years I feel pressure to do something special, something exciting, while other years I’m perfectly content doing absolutely nothing. All that I hope for, all that we can ever hope for, is exactly what I found at both of these birthday parties: love.

For birthdays mark both an end and a beginning, and we want that transition to be shared with people, in places, surrounded by all that we love. Over time, those people, places and things may change, but if we’re lucky, we’ll always have that love. From the time we’re only one year old and we aren’t even sure what love is, to when we’re 90 years old and we know that love is all there is.

So, to you on your birthday (whenever that may be) I wish you love. For your first birthday, Berkley, I offer you love. And for your 90th birthday, grandpa, I thank you for love. For you’ve given it to me, to all of us, and each and every year, we watch it grow.

5 Habits I Want to Implement into My Life

Last year around the end of September I had just finished reading Rachel Hollis’ book Girl, Wash Your Face and I was doing my usual round of Internet stalking. I wanted to learn all about the woman who got me so inspired and see if there was anything else I could immediately learn in order to jump start my way into badass-ery. In the process, I came across her “Last 90 Days Challenge” which encourages you to bring grit and determination to the last three months of the year so that when the New Year comes, you’re already in that motivated mindset. (You can check it out here.)

Personally, with my schedule, I couldn’t maintain the requirements of the challenge, but embraced the mindset as a whole. I am someone who, in looking at the last three months of the year, might want to just get them over with so I can get to that inspiring fresh start in January. So after reading about this challenge, I started last year and will continue this year to look at these last three months as equal opportunity months, that have as much potential as the first three months of a new year after that strike of midnight.

On top of that, I’ve made a list of five habits I’d like to implement into my routine for these last three months and thus carry with me into 2020. These are things that I’ve thrown around in my mind for a while as something I want to do, maybe that I finally want to put aside the time to finally, actually do.

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1) Drink 60-70 ounces of water per day

One of the cornerstones of the Last 90 Days Challenge is to drink half your body weight (in ounces) of water every day. I already do a pretty good job at drinking water, but I want to make it a habit to hit a goal every day (or as many days as possible). I usually carry around a 32 ounce Hydroflask with me, so I’m going to try and make it a habit to fill it up twice each day.

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2) Put lotion on every day

I keep a small bottle of hand lotion in my purse, but I have never been good at remembering to put on body lotion after a shower or before bed, or, you know, ever. I buy the lotion, and it sits on my bathroom counter like I’m some sort of consistent moisturizer, but I’m not. So, I’m trying to make a better effort. What can I say, I want to be smooth, y’all.

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3) Read before bed

This is something I’ve desperately been wanting to do in place of scrolling through my phone. Not only do I think it will help me fall asleep easier, but it will also help me fall asleep earlier. As hard as it is to admit, it’s way easier to close a book than it is to put down my phone. And since I’m trying to distance myself from my phone, I think this is a good place to start.

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4) DIY Projects

I probably have at least ten projects sitting around my room that I’m “going to get to eventually.” During the week, I’m too tired after work, and then on the weekends, I’m either busy or not wanting to do anything at all. So, I’m going to try and work my way through them one by one. I’m going to set one up on my desk, and maybe even pick one day a week to set aside time to work on it. This goal/habit is pretty vague, but I’m putting it on this list mostly as a commitment to finally start these bad boys. I know full well that I feel my best when I am being creative, so I want make more time to do that.

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5) Meditate a few times a week

I tried meditating for the very first time last year and while it was a little off-putting at first, I couldn’t deny that it was relaxing. Since then, I’ve downloaded the Headspace app to try to motivate myself to do it more, and while I don’t use it often, in the handful of times I’ve used it before bed, I slept like a baby. So I want to make it a habit a few times a week, either in the morning to start my day, or when I get home from work, or right before bed. Anytime I can just take five minutes to relax and block everything else out.

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Have any habits you’ve been wanting to add to your routine? Now’s the time to start! 🙂

Don’t Suffer

A fun fact about me is that I’m cold—all the time.

I have two sweaters on my office chair at work and I almost never leave the house without some sort of extra layer, even in the dead of summer. My friends and family have (mostly) come to accept this—they only mock me half of the time now—and some even go out of their way to let me know when we (meaning only me) should bring a jacket to wherever we’re going.

If I were a teenager, I might try to spin this whole thing as a cute quirk. A way to get the boy to lend me his jacket because I’m just so cold teeheehee. But alas, I’m not 16, and I don’t even think it’s cute. I would love to confidently walk out the front door without wondering if I will catch hypothermia at the movies or grapple over what I should say to convince everyone to sit outside even though it’s hot and we might sweat all of our makeup off.

This past weekend a big group of my family got together at a house on the beach and the moment we pulled in I felt the ocean breeze shiver down my spine.

Shit. I thought. We just got here and I’m already cold.

I paced around a bit, trying to get my blood flowing so I didn’t have to look completely pathetic, but after a few minutes I leaned into my mom and said, “I really think I have to put my sweater on already.”

My mom nodded, nonjudgmental, then put her hand on my arm and said, “Like my yoga teacher says, ‘Don’t suffer.’”

At first I just smiled, thanking her for the words and for not, you know, pointing and laughing at me like I assume everyone should. But as I pulled on my jacket and then walked back around to the kitchen to lean back into the conversation I’d left, the real meaning of the words sunk in deep.

Don’t suffer.

It’s really simple on the surface, isn’t it? But let it sink in for a second.

Don’t suffer.

In the context of yoga, it reminds you not to stay in a pose that causes too much pain.

When you apply it to every day life—like whether or not I should be ashamed to put a sweater on at a family reunion—it acts a reminder to just let yourself be. Maybe that means saying no to party you don’t want to go to, or putting down a book you don’t have any interest in finishing, or taking a nap instead of going to the gym today, or whatever it may be.

Don’t suffer. Especially with the little things. Give yourself the freedom to be comfortable and it will give you the opportunity to thrive.

Needless to say I put the jacket it on, instantly felt better, and wouldn’t you know it, I had an amazing afternoon.

What’s the Point?

Have you ever been so caught up in the monotony of the day-to-day routines and stresses that you found yourself frustrated and exhausted and wondering what are we even doing here? Or, and not necessarily as dark as this sounds, but, what’s the point?

It’s that, is this it? feeling. Is life just alarm snoozing and work and bills and debt and general frustration?

Deep down we know it’s not. We know there’s more. We know this thing has purpose. But some days that truth is a little cloudy, and others it seems downright hidden.

But then there are days or sometimes just moments when it shines bright.

Like when you see someone do something so kind that it makes you want to cry.

Or when you see people look at each other with such unconditional love that you feel it too.

When you stay up late talking to your sister about nothing and everything at the same time.

When you watch the sunset on the beach and that warm glow makes everything slow down.

When you eat something so good it makes you (want to or actually) dance.

When you do something you never thought you could.

When you get butterflies in your stomach because someone or something is so overwhelmingly exciting.

When you tell a friend something you’re struggling with and they lift a little piece of that burden off your shoulders.

When you lose track of time laughing and then trying not to laugh and then after a while laughing just to laugh.

Among millions more.

The way I see it, life is about finding things that make it easier. Easier for you, easier for someone you love, or even easier for someone you’ve never met. It’s about finding people and places and experiences that make you take deep, purposeful breaths. And on the hard days, it’s about believing that ease exists, and working your way forward one step at a time to find it again.

Life is not meant to be easy, but it’s full of impossible ease, and you owe it to yourself to find it. So whether you’re having the best day ever or a cloudy one at best, I encourage you to seek it. Open yourself up to the good things in this life, let them give you breath and breathe breathe breathe.

Everything in Moderation

“Everything in moderation, including moderation.” – Oscar Wilde

 

I heard this quote for the first time recently and it really hit home.

While balance is often preached as the secret to life, sometimes it’s the balance that leaves me so worn out. Day in and day out I’m trying to make sure I find time for goal setting, self care, loving others, eating right, being productive, etc. I try to achieve that balance, but by the time I’m getting into bed each night I’m feeling more overwhelmed than I did that morning.

I end up lying there wondering what I could have done better, what I shouldn’t have done at all, and how I can improve the next day. I promise to pursue that balance, but I’m also wondering how I’ll ever be able to do it.

So maybe, that’s not the answer.

As this quote suggests, maybe it’s not about finding and maintaining that balance every. single. day. But striving for a balance—whatever that means for you. That means knowing when you need more or less of something. It means giving yourself a break when you can’t find time to do much of anything at all.

Moderation is healthy. And it’s a good standard for living, but it shouldn’t be your only standard. Be wild sometimes. Break the rules. Change the rules. Know when you need to be disciplined. Know when you need a nap or a snack—or two snacks. Respect when you need to be quiet and when you need to scream. Find your balance, and don’t be ashamed if it doesn’t look like everyone else’s.

I Can’t Pee in the Ocean

You’ve read the title. You know what we’re here to talk about.

It’s an overshare, but we’re moving on.

I, Kim, cannot pee in the ocean. This is a fact of not only my adult life, but my life for as long as I can remember. Or at least since the day I figured out that the ocean is kind of scary and may or may not swallow you up if you aren’t careful.

The ocean just gives me a lot of anxiety.

The beach? Love it.

What’s not to love about a place where it’s not only encouraged to lie around without pants on, but to do so with snacks and a drink close by, AND to nap at least once while you’re there?

If you give me a book, some pretzels and a hoodie, you can do whatever you want in the ocean and I’ll be right there waiting for you hours later—most likely sunburned in a place I could have swore I put sunscreen on, and wondering if there’s a popup ice cream shop somewhere. All of this comes crashing down however, when there are no bathrooms.

Which was the case this past weekend.

It was a lovely Saturday afternoon. My sister and I had made the (only slightly) trafficky drive to the beach and were set to spend our afternoon there. Since it was later in the day, we hadn’t brought any snacks because we didn’t want anything to take away from the tacos we were planning on devouring that evening.

We were at what you might call a secret spot so there were no bathrooms in sight, which wouldn’t have been a problem if I didn’t realize I had to pee the moment we stepped onto the sand.

“It’s fine,” I said, “I’m fine.”

She was not fine, said the narrator.

For the next half hour or so, we lay in the sand, my sister studying for an upcoming test and me reading a chapter of a book I will definitely have to reread.

“Do you want to walk down to the water?” my sister said, faux casually.

I thought about saying, “yeah, sure, I just love the water,” but we both would have known I was full of garbage and we also both knew that my only thought for every single one of the last 30 minutes was: I have to pee I have to pee I have to pee I have to pee I have to pee.

Needless to say, we walked down to the water.

I was feeling roughly 0% confident, seeing as my record of peeing in the ocean in the last, say, 10 years of my life was 0. But I had to go, you know? And so I trailed behind her, wondering how many of our fellow beach patrons were pointing and saying, “she’s definitely going to pee in the ocean, let’s watch.”

If they were watching—which, gross­—they would have seen little more than me hopping around, quietly shrieking and gasping and unnecessarily cursing. At one point a wave came in higher than I thought and water splashed up into my eye. Another time I thought I might maybe kind of a little bit go pee, but then I saw a flock of birds and got distracted and so it went away.

Eventually, after thirty minutes of not being able to pee in ocean, I trudged up the beach, lay back down on my towel and re-opened my book.

The good news was that the exorbitant amount of anxiety the water had given me had essentially scared the pee into some back corner of my body. So for the next hour I was able to lie there and read without wondering if my bladder was going to explode, causing Shonda Rhymes to use my story on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. The bad news was the breeze picked up and my pantsless, unable-to-retain-body-heat existence started to shiver the pee out of hibernation. Thus, around 6:00 p.m. we packed up our bags, made the walk back to our car and drove totally over the speed limit to the taco joint. #criminal #gottafleetofreethepee

In conclusion, I peed.

It wasn’t in the ocean and it probably won’t ever be, but I peed.

To everyone out there whose bladder has got no motion in the ocean, you’re not alone. And to everyone who can’t relate to this story in any way,  you know a lot about my bladder now and I apologize.

If You Have Time to Kill, Take These Personality Tests

This past weekend my sister and I dove into the world of personality tests.

While I like to think we know each other pretty well, and we know ourselves even better, you can never really know enough, you know?

Us humans are complicated things, so it’s nice to gain some insight into why we might do the things we do, in the way we do them, at the time we do them. And while therapy is a necessary and wonderful thing, sometimes it’s nice to put entirely too much trust into tests on the Internet and then evaluate your entire life as you sit in your living room watching a baseball game.

So yeah, you could say we had a wild weekend.

If you are looking to learn a little bit more about yourself, or just have 20-30 minutes to kill, give these a try.

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1) Your Love Language

This will teach you about what you consider to be love and how you need it to be expressed/shown to you.

My Result: Quality Time

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Find the test here.

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2) Enneagram Test

This will tell you about your personality and where it fits in to the nine major types.

My result: Type 3, “The Achiever”

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Find the test here.

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3) Enneagram Test with Instinctual Variant

This is a shorter version of the enneagram test that asks you to rate yourself on specific personality traits.

My result: Type 3w2 with a Self Preservation Variant

Find the test here (just below the last one)

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4) The 16 Personalities Test

This is essentially an extension of the enneagram test that measures your personality against 16 different types.

My result: The Advocate (Type INFJ-T)

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Find the test here.

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5) Which Type of Potato are You?

Because, well, don’t you want to know?

My result:

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Find the test here.

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I cannot and will not claim any responsibility for any emotional confusion/identity crises that may result in the taking of these quizzes. I will, however, take full blame for anyone craving potatoes at work today. I’m looking at you, scalloped.

BAWAGA: A New Mindset

I talk a lot about inspiration on this blog. Whether it be my own ideas, lessons I’ve learned from others, or words and phrases I’ve picked up anywhere and everywhere else. I’ve talked about mantras and mottos that carry me through rougher days (i.e. It’s Not Time to Worry Yet and Just Live the Day) and I’ve talked about mindsets that motivate me to push myself forward (i.e. Shout Your Strong and Opening the BIFC Door)

Today, I bring you yet another mindset, that comes straight from the first baseline of Dodger Stadium.

It was a hot afternoon in May and a small group of us were there to see the Dodgers play the Mets. Seated in field level seats right next to the foul pole, we were very close to Dodgers’ right fielder, Cody Bellinger, who, in case you haven’t heard, is having the season of his life.

“He’s such a badass,” my sister said as he warmed up after hitting another homerun.

“You might even say he’s…a badass with a great ass.

Badass with a great ass. (BAWAGA, if you will)

Obvious thirst aside, this stuck with me. Not necessarily as a quality we should give to others (sorry, Cody), but as a mindset we should take on for ourselves.

Let’s face it, sometimes it’s hard to like—let alone love—ourselves all at once. For me personally, I have moments of love, sparks of that hey, I dig that about myself, but very rarely (if ever) am I walking around thinking, “man I love my brain and my spirit and my body, I am just the total package.”

But what if I did? What if we did?

What if we pursued that total self-acceptance on a daily basis? What if we woke up thinking and believing, I am a badass with a great ass, I can do anything and then went about our day? How would that change the way we viewed our world? How would it change the way we treated others? How would it change the way we approached obstacles?

For athletes like Cody Bellinger, they need to take the field with a BAWAGA mindset, even on days when they don’t feel like it. If they don’t, they leave room for both doubt and the confidence of all of the other players to stand in front of them. And when all of that is blurring your vision, it’s impossible to play to the best of your ability because you don’t believe it exists.

The same goes for us regular (non-professional baseball playing, MLB record breaking) humans. We all have the ability to “play” at our best ability, but first we need to believe that our best exists. We need to go into each day with positivity and motivation and we need to look in the mirror with love and admiration. We need to appreciate all sides of ourselves—including the backside ayyyy—and remind ourselves that we can do anything. Why? Because we’re badasses. And not only that, we’re badasses with great asses.

Is it corny? Yes.

Is it cringy?  A little.

But does it secretly motivate me to go out there and kick some ass? Sure does.

10 Easy Ways to Learn Something New Every Day

If you are like me, you love learning. You love dropping fun facts and (as subtly as possible) saying look what I can do! And while 12 years of grade school might have given us somewhat of a distaste for the long winded, multiple choice kind of learning, these days it doesn’t take much for us to learn something new. Oftentimes it will just find us in the middle of an average day and that little light will go on in our heads saying, hey, I didn’t know that!

Call me a nerd but that is a rush.

I love that feeling so much that I actively try to learn something new every day—as many times a day as possible. Any little tidbit of new information I can find, I grab it and hold on tight, and then wait for the perfect opportunity to say, “did you know…” to my friends and family.

So, if you can relate to any of that, or if you’re just curious what kind of information I’m consuming on a daily basis in an attempt to turn my brain into its own Mary Poppins’ bag, here are 10 easy ways to learn something new every day:

 

1) Subscribe to a podcast

I went on my podcast app and counted, I am subscribed to 32 podcasts. THIRTY-TWO. Is this extreme? Am I an addict? Don’t answer that. I love all of my podcasts and I listen to (not all of) them every day. They cover just about every topic in the book, making it easy and fun to learn about a little bit of everything. Some of my favorites include: Ear Hustle, Beach Too Sandy, Water Too Wet, and Heavyweight

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2) Click on the Google logo

You know how Google often has those decorative versions of their logo on their homepage? Did you know that if you click on those you can learn about the historical icon or event they are honoring? Talk about easy access to fun facts.

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3) Subscribe to an e-newsletter

There is so much information on the Internet, both good and bad, so it’s nice to have someone else wade through it and give you the highlights. I’ve bounced around between newsletters, trying to find one that best fits what I’m looking for and right now my favorite is Next Draft. An email is sent every weekday after lunch and it is organized into ten bullet points of both important current information and interesting articles you might not have read otherwise.

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4) Watch a documentary (on Netflix, Hulu, or even YouTube)

I know, I know, we all have good intentions when we scroll through and add documentaries to our queues, and we all promise to watch them next time because we’re just not in the mood right now. But I encourage you to take a chance on one when you’re looking for something to watch. There is so much good stuff out there! Some of my favorites include: Evil Genius on Netflix, Three Identical Strangers on Hulu, and You’re Not Allowed to Die Here on YouTube.

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5) Go outside

I know this sounds obvious, but there’s no denying it. Our houses and apartments and dorms are wonderful and cozy and safe but there is so much to see and learn when we get outside! Just the other day a group of friends and I walked out to look at the moon and someone held their hand up and said, “did you know that if you can cup the moon in your right hand it’s a waxing moon and if you can cup it with your left it’s a waning moon.” No, I did not know that. But will I now drop it in any conversation about the moon? You’re damn right I will.

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6) Look up a new recipe

One of my favorite things to do is cook, and I love looking up recipes that I can put together with things I find in my fridge. Lucky for us, the Internet is CHOCK-FULL of recipes thanks to all of the wonderful food bloggers of the world. From breakfasts to desserts to gluten free tea party recipes, there is something for every occasion, just waiting for you to dive in.

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7) Download a language learning app

Learning a new language, or at the very least becoming familiar with key words in another language can be so valuable, both in every day life and when you travel. There are tons of apps out there that can teach you practically any language you can think of. My favorite is Duolingo, because it’s free, easy, and fun to use. Plus, an adorable owl named Duo sends me cute reminders to do my daily Spanish homework and it excites me.

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8) Take a different way home

If you do a lot of driving for work, either as part of your job or just in commuting to and from, try a new route. Turn one street early, or get off on a different exit. Expand that mental map and see where different roads lead, you never know what you’ll find along the way!

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9) Ask questions

Whenever you think to yourself, “I wonder how…” or “what is that?” or “when was..” pursue those answers. I can’t tell you how often I ask a question out loud and then immediately Google it. Even if they are little, seemingly meaningless answers they are something and you never know when you might need that something in the future.

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10) Listen

This doesn’t just call for putting on your listening ears, as my mom would say. This calls for using all of your senses. Put your phone down. Pick your head up. Look around, listen up and interact with the environment around you.