Kelsey Writes
Browsing Category

Life

Blog Life

Sparking Joy: The KonMari Method for Digital Spaces

Marie Kondo and her approach to “tidying up” is something being talked about a lot these days. It’s inspired so many of us to dig through the clutter in our homes and get rid of so many material items that are not contributing to our happiness. In doing so, we’re allowing more space for joy to exist.

I’ve gone through a few rounds of the KonMari method since her book came out a few years ago. I’ve applied it to clothes, books & miscellaneous items, each time asking myself, does this spark joy? What about it does or doesn’t? Why do I own it if it doesn’t spark joy?

With the recent release of the Netflix series following Marie as she helps people clean up their homes, I started thinking more about this concept of sparking joy. What happens when we start thinking beyond the material items in our lives? What if we start looking at other things to “tidy up” and allowing more space for joy?

Digital Property

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time on your phone. Or your tablet. Or your laptop. Or watching tv. Sometimes I think I spend more time interacting with digital objects in the course of a day than I do with physical ones. My phone is filled with apps, photos, messages, emails, and reminders. My laptop is similar, with files and software on there I never touch.

Just like with physical objects, these virtual objects take up space. They take up room in our hard drives but they also crowd our mental space and potentially our emotional space as well.

I’ve had my iPhone for a few years now. And with it, I’ve taken a ton of photos. But the thing is, a lot of those photos are meaningless to me now. They are photos of something I wanted to share at the time and many are duplicates of the same thing but I no longer need them. I was looking through them all the other day while I was searching for something specific and I realized how bothered I was by all these photos I didn’t want on there. It all felt cluttered to me. Like these photos I didn’t want were blocking my way to the things I did want to see and keep. It’s all very similar to Marie Kondo’s approach to tidying cluttered spaces.

Letting Go

What I needed was to get rid of a lot of them but it felt wrong. I can’t just delete these! What if I’ll need them or want them in the future? It was all starting to sound like my hesitations towards getting rid of that sweater I never wore or that tool kit I might need someday. But in reality, I needed to get rid of them. The photos I didn’t want were blocking all the photos of memories I love and want to be reminded of. The selfies I don’t like or look uncomfortable in, the photo of a mediocre mug of hot chocolate two months ago, the same twenty pictures of waves in Hawaii that will never capture the movement of the ocean, they can all be deleted.

You aren’t obligated to keep that photo of you at your best friend’s birthday party six years ago if you don’t like it.

You can let go of photos that don’t bring you joy and especially those that bring up bad feelings. I mean they’re probably saved in a cloud somewhere anyway if you ever need them but why be reminded of them daily? Keep all the ones that make you laugh, make you smile. Anything that symbolizes happiness.

I used photos as the main example here but this can extend to any virtual property you own. Think about all the apps you don’t use. All the emails you’ve never opened or don’t need. All of that is stuff just like the stuff you’re physically surrounded with. Make your virtual reality less cluttered by deleting what you don’t need or want and make more space for the things you do enjoy. This doesn’t mean that you have to go and delete all your tweets from 2011 (although you could – I’m sure it would feel great) but it does mean you should consider getting rid of messages from exes or friends you no longer speak to. None of that is bringing any joy to your life. If anything, it’s subtracting from it. A constant reminder of something you no longer have. Give yourself permission to let it all go.

The Presences of Clutter

It’s possible you’re reading this and thinking to yourself, my virtual world doesn’t feel crowded. None of this applies to me. And maybe you’re right. But I think it’s a different feeling than the one we get when we’re surrounded by too much physical stuff. It’s more subtle. A cluttered physical space often hinders our ability to do something or prevents you from enjoying the space as much as you could be. A cluttered digital space is a bit different. To me it feels like a presence. I know I have a lot of photos and apps and files and messages. More than I could possibly use or keep track of. I can sense them. I see small reminders of them when I go looking for something but for the most part, they’re tucked away in their own corners.

Virtual worlds are different because they have enough closets and rooms for all of your stuff. They are forever expanding to accommodate your tweets and emails and photos. But the larger that space grows, the less meaningful those things become. The less it becomes a good representation of who you are.

Spring Cleaning Your Digital Home

I want my virtual and online presence to represent who I am and what I love. Just like how I want my physical space to be a representation of the things that bring me joy. To me, that means bringing up my Facebook profile and removing friends I no longer talk to. It means deleting emails and unsubscribing to newsletters I’m no longer interested in. It means giving up on shows I started but didn’t enjoy enough to want to continue. It means deleting apps and software I rarely use, knowing I can get them back easily if I need them. It’s about creating a space for only my favourite things and it’s about giving myself room to enjoy those things.

You interact with your virtual space as much or more than you do with your physical one so it’s important to take care of it. Use the KonMari method of finding what sparks joy. Tidy it up. Open the windows, take out the trash. Hit the delete button a few hundred times and don’t look back.

Blog Life

25 Things I Haven’t Figured Out at 25

I’ve seen a lot of posts talking about things the author has learned by a certain age. Life lessons and things like that. But what about all the things that you haven’t figured out yet? There is no timeline on life, no age you should have figured out something or had a certain experience. Everyone experiences life a little differently. Some things you figure things out pretty early on and others you spend your whole life chasing down the answers to.

Here are 25 things I have not learned at 25 (and that’s okay):

1. How to stay on top of laundry 

There’s a reason this is number one. It was the first thing that came to mind when I sat down to make this list. Laundry eludes me. I have so many questions. How does it add up so fast when I’m only doing laundry for one? Why does it always feel like there are more clothes in my laundry bin than I actually own? Do people out there really have a laundry schedule? Did I make this list just to avoid such a hateful chore?

2. What I want to do when I grow up

I want to be so many things. I want to do so many things. I both know exactly what I want to do when I grow up and also have no idea. The thing is, I’m going to do a lot of different things. I’m not going to just have one job (as nice as that would be). I’m not that person. I’m going to have a lot of different jobs and do a lot of other things just for fun and that’s honestly really exciting.

3. What my favourite book is

As both a writer and an avid reader, I am embarrassed to say I don’t have a favourite book. The Holy Grail of books that I hold above all others. It feels taboo to even say that but alas, here I am. My closest answer to this question is White Oleander by Janet Fitch because it definitely had an impact on me. It’s been almost 10 years since I read that book. Would I still love it if I read it again? I have no idea. Do I panic every time I’m asked about my favourite book? Absolutely.

4. How to bake… anything

Baking is kind of a mystery to me. I’m sure I could bake something if I tried but this isn’t a list of 25 things I could figure out, it’s a list of things I haven’t. Baking will have to be something I figure out in the years to come.

5. Where home will end up being

This used to scare me. What do you mean this might not be my home forever? As I’ve gotten older though, I’ve attached myself to the idea of having many homes. My island will always be home but I also want to feel at home with the people and the places I spend a lot of time around. I want home to be something deep within me which can extend to a lot of spaces. Who says we can’t have a lot of homes? How do we take the things we miss from one home and carry them with us everywhere?

6. What my purpose is

I flip back and forth between believing we have a higher purpose in life or not. I think on some level there are things each of us is well suited for and perhaps meant to do. I don’t need to have it figured out at 25. It’ll find me when it’s meant to. I’ll know it when I find it.

7. How people enjoy coffee

How? Why? The same question applies to beer.

8. If I want to have kids

Somedays I do. Somedays I don’t. Somedays I think I could form a deep connection to something else in my life and be perfectly content to not experience motherhood. Sometimes I float somewhere in the middle. And that’s okay.

9. How to deal with the bad days

25 years in and I still haven’t found the perfect cure to a bad day. It’s probably not laying in bed with a box of cookies all day. Or maybe it is. Maybe the best cure is just taking a break from life for a bit and what better way to do that than with Oreos? I haven’t figured out how to avoid bad days yet but I’m not sure I want to. The bad days help you appreciate and make possible all the best days.

10. What my food sensitivities are

I know they’re there. I know I have a couple. Should I find out what they are so I know how to properly make my body feel good with the food I’m putting in it? Probably. Will I continue to live in ignorance of my inevitable sensitivities (I’m looking at you dairy products) until it becomes a larger issue? Also probably.

11. My perfect Starbucks order

I’m getting close with my grande caramel frappuccino. And if I’m being honest, I didn’t really go near Starbucks until this past year. It was an intimidating place for someone who doesn’t drink coffee but yet, here I am. I still think there’s room for improvement though, some small alteration that would set my order over the edge. The hunt continues.

12. How to conquer social anxiety

This is a day to day battle. It’s gotten a lot better over the years but interacting with people on any level is still sometimes a struggle. Not letting that anxiety, that fear prevent me from doing the things I want to do though is what I’m trying to focus on.

13. How to stop procrastinating

Clearly evident in how it took me about three months to finish this post. One thing I will say in defense of procrastination is that it often helps me fully form an idea, organize my thoughts and solve any anticipated problems before starting a task. Procrastinating is not always a bad thing.

14. How to not let doubt creep in

It’s always there. Am I good enough? Does this meet the standard? Will people like me? I’m working on not letting doubt have the loudest voice or the final say. It will always be there but there are other voices (like hope, like courage, like confidence) that all deserve room at the table too.

15. Where to find the perfect pair of leggings

I have a deep love for leggings and I’ve tried a lot of pairs over the years. I’m sure the perfect pair exists, I just haven’t found them yet. Although Lululemon does have something pretty close. It took me a long time to give in to the hype but I can confirm that they are pretty great.

16. How to make new friends

This is a skill I really wish I had learned on the playground. I grew up in a really small town where my friends were the same friends I had in daycare. There was never really a need to make new ones (or a desire to as an introvert) until I hit university and realized it was a skill I was definitely lacking. I have a lot of anxiety when it comes to social interactions (see #12). Challenging myself to get out of my comfort zone and simply talk to new people has helped push back on that a bit. Finding a larger social circle is definitely in my goals for this year.

17. How to turn ideas into realities

I have a lot of ideas. I’ve started a lot of projects and have had ideas for a million more. What I haven’t quite figured out is how to turn all of these beautiful ideas into reality to share them with others. A lot of this comes down to overcoming my need to make everything perfect and I’ve come a long way with that. Not every idea is going to end up becoming something but I want to get better at sharing them in some way.

18. How to travel cheaply within Canada

It’s near impossible, I’ve realized. If you’re reading this and live in a country where it’s relatively inexpensive to travel within your country or to neighboring countries, please do more of that. For me, for you.

19. How to write a good essay

Do you ever have Imposter’s Syndrome for your entire degree? I went to school for English Literature. I wrote a lot of essays but did I ever really learn how to write an essay or was I just simply making it all up as I went along and got lucky?

20. How to speak French

I’m working on it. I’ve gotten pretty good at reading and understanding French in written forms but speaking, writing or listening? That still needs some work.

21. Where I stand with religion

I think this will be one I’ll be exploring and thinking about throughout my life. Do I believe in a higher power? Would I call myself spiritual? Do I align my beliefs and practices with a community or group? I’ll report back when I’ve figured it all out.

22. If I like running

Let’s be clear, I’m not a runner. But sometimes I get the idea to try it again. Lots of people run, maybe it’s something I can do too! The jury is still out on whether I actually like running or if I like the idea of running.

23. What I’ll name my future pets

I’ve given this a lot of thought. Do I go clever or cute? Do I go with an old faithful that’s been overused but still great? Do I use some obscure reference to a movie or a book I like? We shall find out.

24. How to be selfish

I’ve gotten a lot better at keeping my best interests in mind but I still struggle with setting healthy boundaries for myself when it comes to helping loved ones. Putting my own needs first and making sure that I’m in a good place is something I could do more of.

25. Who I am

But then again, I don’t want to have myself figured out. I am full of contradictions and I will always contain multitudes. I will be endlessly exploring and discovering new parts about myself.

Creative Writing Journal Life

Alive

I have been writing I am alive in various places at various times throughout my life. It is a phrase that on the surface seems so simple. A statement. A confirmation of something I have taken for granted every day of my life. But when you pull back its layers and really examine it, there is a lot more to it. The more I think about it, the more alive becomes one of those Big Words that we never really define like Love, one of those Big Words we can only hover around the edges of.

It’s not a phrase that you write accidentally. Those three words are strung together with purpose. A declaration. I think that’s why it’s a phrase I keep coming back to. I have written it in notebooks, on windows, on napkins, in messages, in poems, in sand, on skin. Every time I write it, it comes with a new meaning and a greater depth from new experiences.

I AM ALIVE written in childish uppercase on yellow construction paper in purple crayon like the bold statement it was. I was young and announcing my presence to the world, similar to saying I AM HERE. How exciting to be alive & bold & shining.

I am alive, a soft marvel of discovery scratched in blue ink in a textbook flipped open to diagrams of the skeletal system.  An exploration of my aliveness, an exploration of all the pieces that make up who I am. An exploration of all the systems working to keep me alive.

I am Alive written like a promise, like a prayer on the inside of my wrist in a dark bedroom. The relief in such a truth. The hope in moving forward. The weight of being alive beating like a drum inside me.

Three words that hold a lot of meaning to me. I come back to the word alive over and over, contemplating its definition & my own aliveness. Am I alive enough? What does that mean? How do I be more alive in the way I go through life? Alive as here & now; alive as breathing, moving, dancing; alive as anticipation; alive as more things to come.

I come back to it now, I Am Alive, and it feels different yet again. This time, full; this time, beaming. I’m writing it here in this journal entry but it sits in my chest, expanding and collapsing on itself with my lungs as I breathe. As I move. As I live. I Am Alive, each word holding its weight, each word of equal importance. I Am Alive, I am saying and this is the happiest I think I’ve ever been.

Blog Life

#FinishedNotPerfect – Letting Go of Perfection

I am a straight up perfectionist. A chronic starter of projects I don’t finish. I chase down a lot of ideas that never fully develop. I don’t know where I got this from, I think I’ve always had it in me since I was pretty young. Always distracted by some new shiny idea or thing. Always the one to get discouraged when things didn’t work out exactly as I wanted them to.

As a creative, this causes some issues. If you want to make art, you have to make art. If you want to get somewhere with an idea, you have to put in the work. I have started more projects than I care to admit. I’m primarily a writer, but I also love to design and take photos. I have started poems, stories, blogs, product designs, online courses, business ideas and more. A lot of them have never been completed to the point where they’re real things.

The Usual Process

Here’s what happens: I get an idea and I get pretty excited about it. The best part of any project for me is the brainstorming part. There are so many possibilities and so much potential! I’ll work out a plan for how to start making it a reality and set forth on my next big adventure. Usually this ends up being me collecting a bunch of resources and acquiring any necessary materials (in the case of my blog, it was about acquiring the domain name and hosting, etc.). I hate feeling unprepared so I’ll then spend a lot of time researching what needs to be done or the experiences of others that have done similar things. I’ve learned a lot about Photoshop, vintage typewriters, starting YouTube channels and drop shipping products among other things along the way. From there, I’ll make the obvious first steps (create the first couple blog posts, take the first lesson, write the first lines).

Here’s the problem: I get stuck somewhere in the process. Sometimes it’s because I encounter something I hadn’t anticipated. Sometimes it’s because I don’t know enough to complete a specific task. Other times it’s because I simply freeze. I let doubt creep in. The idea that was so perfect in my head now no longer seems possible. There’s some obstacle I need to get past. Usually that obstacle is my own expectations. If it can’t be perfect, what’s the point? It’s a hard mindset to get in as I go over and over the idea in my head, trying to find a way to solve the problem and restore the vision I began with.

This is usually the part where I get distracted by some new shiny idea because this new one seems so much easier and it’s so full of possibility and potential!

It’s a problematic cycle for a lot of reasons. The most important is that I never finish things. I’m preventing myself from feeling the satisfaction of fully creating something and all the learning and growth that comes with that process. It’s also problematic because my own expectations are the real issue. Nothing is ever going to live up to that vision if I keep expecting it to be perfect every step of the way.

#FinishedNotPerfect

At the beginning of the year, I found a video talking about #finishednotperfect by Jake Parker.

http://https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRtV-ugIT0k

 

To say it completely changed my perspective is an understatement. I didn’t realize how much I needed something to be perfect in order to finish it until watching that. Since then, I’ve been actively trying to finish things as opposed to making them perfect. The creator of the video has some pretty insightful things to say. He mentions the idea of growing and getting better at your craft by means of completing projects and it makes a lot of sense. You often learn more from your mistakes than you do from the things you were able to get right the first time.



My Game Plan for 2018

Set reasonable goals that are small enough to not be overwhelming and work at them until I finish them. That’s it. It won’t always be perfect or pretty. It won’t always turn out exactly how I want them to but I’m moving forward as opposed to taking the same 2 steps forward, 2 steps back routine I had been doing.

A lot of it has about forgiving myself too. Forgiving myself for the days I don’t get work done or the times where I just can’t do something the way I want to. Accepting and embracing where I am on my journey is the only way I can make the necessary steps to getting to where I want to be.



The result? It’s still pretty early in the year but so far, I’ve stuck with a fitness plan for an entire month. I’m now working in the middle of training for a 5k run and I’m about to launch a clothing business as a side hustle. None of those things have been perfect but you better believe they’re going to get finished!

Do you relate to any of this? How can you incorporate #finishednotperfect into your life to work towards your goals?