feature-wisdom

Kim’s 10 Selected Sagacious Snippets

Age = wisdom. Right?

Maybe it’s because in just over 2 weeks I’ll be reaching a certain “milestone” age, or maybe it’s because I’ve been forced to do a lot of introspection about life, careers, people, love, etc. as of late. Whatever the reason, I’m feeling very old & wise at the moment.

So, I thought, what better way to dispense these completely unsolicited pieces of advice!

Kim’s 10 Selected Sagacious Snippets*

*Heed at your own risk—I assume ZERO responsibility for your life mistakes.

  1. Career-wise, if you’re not passionate about it, don’t do it.
    For some people, the only passion they have is making money, no matter how it’s made. If that’s you, bravo! As long as you’re doing something that makes you money, you’re set. For others (like myself), I have to actually enjoy what I do every day. That includes the work I’m doing and the people I’m working with. I’ve been in my field for almost 14 years now, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned during that time, this would be the #1 lesson.The awesome thing about life is you can discover brand new passions at any stage. Rediscovering my love for design & creative media in several new ways, even 14 years into my career, is one of the greatest things that’s happened to me so far in 2015.
  2. Travel.
    Truly, there aren’t enough words for me to express how important travel is in the development of a globally-minded, well-rounded individual. When I speak to people who not only haven’t gone more than 100-200 miles from where they were born, but have no desire to do so, my heart aches for them, and their children. If your entire world view is based on the people you grew up with, like if that’s really your whole world? Trust me. “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”
  3. It’s true what they say about insanity.
    You’ve heard this before: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This can apply to almost anything—career, friendships, romance, health/wellness… it goes on and on.  The point is, if you want something different to happen in your life, you have to DO something different.  No more complaining that things aren’t the way you want them to be, and sitting there waiting for magic to happen. That’s crazy talk!  So get up. Make a move. NOW!
  4. Reading really is fundamental.
    I don’t care if it’s a magazine in the waiting room, or a nail/hair salon, or the back of a box of cereal, but please read things. Many things. Because we’re adults, and we should all know by now that a strong command of your native tongue is paramount. How are there so many “educated” people in our English-speaking country who can’t pronounce English words, spell them, or even properly punctuate a sentence?
  5. emotional

    Still from Tarzan ©Disney

    Feel more.
    This is a big lesson for me. Being “emotionally constipated” has been a weakness of mine for years. What I didn’t realize for the longest time, was that bottling things up inside was doing NOTHING for me except causing stress, illness, and sleepless nights. I’m not saying I’m fully reformed, because I still sometimes find myself remaining silent when I should speak up about my feelings. But even if the transition to a fully expressive Kim has been a sometimes awkward and ugly one, I’m increasingly more proud of the Kim I see in the mirror each day.

  6. More specifically, love more.
    Love is something I used to pretend didn’t exist.  When I didn’t have my “perfect” kind of love in my life, I found it easier to deny its existence than to face up to the fact that many people had the kind of love I wanted, and I didn’t.  Then, last year, I found myself being inexplicably drawn to love. Even in small things like clothing, accessories, and home décor, if it said “Love” on it, I’d buy it.  It was as if my acknowledgement of love somehow made my heart more receptive to the fact that it’s always here, all around me, everywhere I look. And when I recognized that, I learned there is more love available to me than I know what to do with.
  7. Animals = joy.
    My dog Barney has opened up a place in my heart that I didn’t know I had. I’m almost 100% sure this is the same place that having a child would be a part of, but of course, that would be a larger, deeper, more permanent attachment. But the bond I have with my dog is nothing to “sniff” at (ba-dum-bum).  Barney and I are besties.  He’s my (sometimes) silent companion, my cuddle buddy, my playmate, and I’m convinced he knows my spirit better than a lot of people do.
  8. The Treachery of Images (This is Not a Pipe) by René Magritte

    The Treachery of Images (This is Not a Pipe) by René Magritte

    Appreciate art.
    Even if you don’t get it, you have to marvel at the awesomeness, and the power, of art. Appreciate what it means today, what it has meant in the past, and the incredible influence these artists and their creations have had, and continue to have in the ever-changing world we live in. Most people don’t even know how much today’s popular art/music/film/television professionals have borrowed from classical art masterpieces.  It’s so ubiquitous, we’re so used to seeing it, we don’t even notice it when it’s right in front of us. I challenge you to research one piece of famous art you’ve heard of—learn about the reason behind its creation, the hidden symbols, the message the artist was trying to convey—you’ll undoubtedly see it in a new light.

  9. Don’t give power to foolishness.
    Eyebrows on fleek. Beyonce always on beat. Kermit sipping tea. Calling your significant other “bae” (which makes my skin crawl, btw). The list of foolish memes, sayings, and phrases goes on and on… and YES I’m fully guilty of allowing myself to be sucked into the vortex every now and then. But I always, ALWAYS come back to myself. I don’t immediately start using the hot new slang just because everyone else is saying it. I don’t constantly share the countless idiotic video clips of foolishness on Instagram or FB that seem to spread like wildfire. When you perpetuate the mess, you give it power. Remember that even jokes come from a place of truth, and at some point, instead of spreading it, you need to rise above. At least, TRY to! 😉
  10. Recognize your place in this universe.
    One small action can set off a series of events we can’t imagine, most of which we’ll never know anything about. If you stop and consider that, for even a second, your head might get all spinny and weird, like mine does. We all come from different socioeconomic backgrounds, have different beliefs, physical characteristics, and styles of dress. But you know what? We’re all here on the same planet, breathing the same air, under the same sun and moon and stars. Embrace that. Allow yourself to reflect on that, as often as you can. You might be surprised what you discover.

Life is an unforgettable and awesome journey. Make it an adventure!

-K

paris2

Paris, Take Three (Part 2)

Welcome to Part 2 of… however many it takes to tell this story.

In my previous post, I attempted to set the scene for the recent trip I took to Paris — my third time visiting this great city. Now let’s get into some of the fun details!

Day 1 – Arrival

After a somewhat uncomfortable flight surrounded by lots of French people who spent the entire time getting in and out of their seats, we finally arrived in Paris. We landed around 11:30am. After stopping at an ATM for cash (and running into a completely topless woman who was obviously making some kind of political/drunken statement), we made it to the RER train station and figured out how to turn our paper Euros into coins for the ticket machine.  Finally, we were aboard the RER headed into the city.

Oh, by the way…

The train ride was uneventful and easy.  That’s a good thing, because we (and I use the term “we” very loosely) needed all of “our” stamina to get out of the train station and walk the 3 blocks to the hotel. Never in a million years would I have thought walking 3 blocks would take so much out of us. But you see, up until this point I had no idea we were traveling with someone who wasn’t physically equipped for a city like Paris. For the entire 6-9 months that I’d been coordinating air travel for this trip and communicating with the people traveling with me, not once did I receive knowledge that anyone was diabetic with a bad knee and in need of a new hip. Now let me just say this: I was well aware that we had a wide range of ages in this group, from 30-something to 60-something.  But I made it very clear to the group, months in advance, that if you’re coming on a trip to Paris, THAT MEANS YOU ARE WALKING — A LOT.  So, you will understand my surprise when I learned what we were dealing with. During this 3 block walk, we had to stop a few times, we had to walk very slowly, and we had to keep a constant eye out, you know, in case anyone passed out from low blood sugar. At one point there was discussion of whether we needed to stop and get food, 50-pound suitcases in tow, before we reached the hotel. Which again, was only THREE BLOCKS AWAY FROM THE TRAIN STATION. Okay yeah… I think I need to pause on this topic now, before I say things I’ll regret.

See? I’m not mad at all! Here’s a picture of me with some of the folks in my group — once we arrived in our hotel:

By the time we made it to the hotel, showered, and came back out for an early dinner (or late lunch), I was kind of irritated and just wanted to be left alone. Not exactly the mood I wanted to be in for my first night back in Paris, but “Oh, just fyi, I can’t really walk too far/fast, and I can’t do stairs, so you need to work that into your plans, kay thanks!” wasn’t exactly the message I wanted to hear on my first day back in Paris.

Due to my irritability, I allowed the group to decide where we would eat, instead of giving them the basic tips on how to avoid tacky tourist trap restaurants. So, we ended up eating at some crap place right in front of Notre Dame with an entire menu printed in full English (huge no-no), with men standing out front waving people in (another huge no-no), and of course everything was overpriced. Not a great dining experience.

Crepes and Sunset

After we finished eating and came back to the hotel, I was at last able to relax and take a deep breath. Just as I was drifting off to sleep, my phone rang.  It was an old colleague of mine, a French software developer living nearby who I’d planned to meet up with that night. He was already at the restaurant, with his girlfriend. Crap! I was tired, and I sooo didn’t want to get out of bed.  My roommate came with me, bless her heart, and luckily we were less than 3 minutes’ walk from the restaurant.  As soon as we got there, I was immediately put in good spirits. The place he’d chosen was a beautiful creperie with sweet and savory crepes from Brittany (Bretagnie). The food was delicious, the conversation was wonderful, and it was great to catch up with my friend.

When we left the restaurant, my roommate marveled at how it didn’t actually get dark until 10pm. Of course I knew this already, but I saved it as a little surprise. Everyone always gets a kick out of that, and even though I’d seen it before, as we walked back to the hotel, it was the first moment I had to let it actually sink in… I was finally in Paris.

Day 2 – Fête de la Musique

Every year on June 21, there is an all-night celebration of music in Paris called the Fête de la Musique.  While many cities worldwide participate in this event, Paris is the heart and probably most well-known location. When I was planning my trip, I had no idea this event existed, let alone that it would be occurring during our trip.

Music is Everywhere!

On the morning of June 21, I traveled with some of my group to the Louvre. Later, we ended up breaking off to head back to the Latin Quarter with a smaller group.  While traveling, we encountered quite a few musicians throughout the Metro stations.

Orchestra

Clarinet Player (Disclaimer: I thought my mom was taking a PHOTO and instead she was recording a VIDEO)

Night Falls, Cue the Debauchery…

Once night fell (finally), the Fete was in full swing all over town.  Our hotel was about 2 blocks from Notre Dame, so activity was literally right outside our window. Literally.  There was a rock & roll band, complete with amps, drums, and screaming, set up right in front of our hotel’s main entrance. Needless to say, there were people EVERYWHERE! Drinking, smoking, yelling, fighting, singing, dancing, and of course… peeing in the streets.

Some of my more adventurous travel partners joined me for a late-night stroll to see what the festival had to offer. For your enjoyment, in no particular order, here are my highlights:

  1. A dude peeing in the Seine River
  2. An a Capella group singing in front of Notre Dame, half of them drinking from open wine and/or liquor bottles
  3. Numerous attempts to take a group photo were thwarted by young men jumping into our photo, completely drunk
  4. Organ/choir concert at Notre Dame (Note: We left early because the music was less like an angelic church choir and more like a creepy haunted gothic castle concert. Also, all the accompanying commentary was barely audible, and it was in French, so we couldn’t hear/understand anything that was being said.)
  5. People throwing empty bottles into the river
  6. People getting into drunken fights in the streets
  7. The festival stayed in full swing, all over the city, until at least 5 or 6 in the morning
  8. The number of times I said aloud, “Who is going to clean up all this mess?” was borderline excessive. But come on. Thousands of empty bottles EVERYWHERE and the entire city was partying. So it was a totally valid question.

Stay tuned for part 3… coming soon!

Go Back to Part 1