:waves:

I took a very unintentional hiatus from writing here, vacillating between feeling like I had nothing of substance to say and feeling like something was there, but I couldn’t put words to it.

2018 went by quickly, and it’ll only pick up from here (so I’ve heard). In 2018 I learned how to leave a life I created for a place that wasn’t safe, wasn’t comfortable. My life looks vastly different on this January 1st, 2019 than it did on January 1st, 2018.

In January I visited Montana for the first time ever (!) and sealed my fate as a person who turns into a white-haired hippie lady and retires in a crunchy town like Missoula. You know where to find me in 2060. In February I traveled to New York for work and started thinking about what it might mean to live here. In March I came back to NYC to launch a new product for work and visited Adeline in Copenhagen for a week. Lesson learned: visit your friends, pick warm places.

In April we stacked weekends with Nicole’s bachelorette party and bridal shower and I got to see how fulfilling it is to celebrate someone who spends her whole life celebrating those around her. In May I packed up and moved to New York, then turned right back around for Kristi’s wedding and a huge college reunion. In June Nicole got married, I went back to New York and walked around wide-eyed for three straight weeks, then Nicole and Emma visited for my birthday. Lesson learned: it’s hard to show people your new home that you’ve only lived in for a month, so pick ones that are graceful and will learn alongside you.

In July I traveled to Orange Beach and home to Wilmette and Marco Island, FL. I was almost never home and the scared small part of me that wasn’t sure about New York’s home-yness was completely okay with it. In August I learned how to make NY home a bit more, but punctuated it with a quick reunion at home that included taking my mom to see Sam Smith (one of my better last minute decisions). In September we had a housewarming party for our sweet little white-brick-walled Brooklyn apartment, and it made me feel like sticking around.

In October we celebrated Katharine’s birthday with a surprise of friends visiting from DC, and in November we returned the favor with a DC trip of our own. In December I experienced my first NYC Christmas, which was both awe-inspiring and less overwhelming than I expected.

Punctuate the big events here, the cross-country move and traveling and celebrations with lots of Netflix watching alone, time spent on trains, and pizza slices eaten, and you have my year. Not every day will make the recap and I’m learning more and more how important that is – not only for contentment with your own life, but to use in connecting with other people. No, we don’t always need to stay out until tomorrow and spend a ton of money; sometimes we can just sit here on the couch eating Trader Joe’s cake or whatever we ordered on Seamless and that’s what’s right right now.

While I usually like to think (and/or fool myself) that I write for other people as well as myself, this really doesn’t have to be for anyone else. There’s a reason why Spotify’s 2018 year in review is so popular (ClassPass did one this year too!) – when we’re in the thick of it, we can forget what really makes up our lives. Looking back and being able to point out: “I see myself there,” “that’s who I am” is both comforting and freeing.

Maybe one day when I sell out to the man I’ll have cute little graphics that say “this many miles traveled” and “this many dollar slices eaten” and “this many blah blah” but for now, it’s just me here, saying hi and I’m grateful I got to experience 2018.

Advertisements

you can be who you are

You don’t have to be how anyone else expects you to be.

And not in some hedonistic way – because you don’t have to do everything you want to do either.

I knew I liked computers when I was little – not so much the hardware part of them, but the infinite worlds that lived inside a computer with an internet connection. For better or for worse, my parents let me use the computer in our living room when I was pretty young, so I remember finding the fascinating world of RPGs (you can read more here) when I was 9.

Continue reading “you can be who you are”

no doubt in my mind that you belong (on eating and belonging)

When I studied abroad in Copenhagen in fall 2015, my group of friends’ most-frequented activity was a visit to the Donut Shop, a tiny nook just a block from our school with a simple donut case, overstuffed couches and window seats with cats sleeping in them.

Their donuts had inventive toppings like crushed Oreos, Nutella with heath bar and Cap’n Crunch cereal (if you want to live vicariously through my memories, here are all the flavors – yum). We would stop in mid-afternoon when classes were over, carefully weighing our donut options for the day and sinking into those couches and armchairs.

One afternoon, one of our friends came across a quote that I think of often – pretty sure the actual text is lost in our GroupMe forever, but the gist of it was “don’t worry about the last 5 lbs. you want to lose. Those pounds are from staying up late drinking wine, and the last time you had a good meal with a great friend – they’re good memory pounds.” I remember connecting the message of that quote with all our trips to the Donut Shop, and understanding that I could choose to value people and memories over an arbitrary image of what my body should look like.

Continue reading “no doubt in my mind that you belong (on eating and belonging)”

airport kendall vs. real kendall

The other day when I woke up, my boarding pass from that weekend’s trip was stuck in my pillow – yikes. This summer was saturated with trips and people and travel time and I couldn’t even get away from it enough for my boarding pass to not flutter into the covers. Packed into the calendar’s pages since May:

1 move
2 weddings
1 college reunion
2 trips home
1 vacation
1 visit to family

I kept having the same conversation in passing:

“You’re leaving again this weekend?”
“Yeah–”
“You must live in the airport!”

I don’t want to be someone who lives in the airport, but the pit in my stomach when I say that tells me I’m lying. I think I do.

Continue reading “airport kendall vs. real kendall”

a follow up :)

Isn’t it wild to look back on our lives and see the hand of God? He really does write the best stories.

I realized that what I wrote last week could have come across a little holier-than-thou — unfortunately, I’m great at doing that.

When I was a freshman in college I kept notes of people’s Instagram names on my phone so I could look them up and try to be like them.

I
am
not
kidding

Instagram makes it easy to spend time scrolling through curated accounts, and I remember finding the accounts of these perfect girls, Christian and in a sorority at a school like Arkansas or Ole Miss and probably Young Life leaders, and I had this visceral desire to be them.

The parts of our lives we choose to share can be so aspirational, meant to create desire or longing in other people for a life as exciting and busy and never-boring as ours. Or what we share can just regular snippets of a life lived, stumbled through, and appreciated – but because of my strong, strong desire to be somewhere other than my own life, what was shared left me feeling empty nonetheless. Continue reading “a follow up :)”

aesthetics, power and instagram

A few days ago, I was scrolling through the Instagram Discover page and tapped “Read more” on a relatively long caption — a few paragraphs. That tap on the “Read more” button is one way Instagram tracks engagement, a critical data point to weave posts up your feed that you, specifically you, will engage with.

Tech says this: engagement is king, queen and the whole court.

When I was in Miami visiting a friend this past weekend, we talked about how you choose how to use your influence. We also walked through the Wynwood Walls, and before we rounded the corner she said, “just so you know, Miami is pretty superficial. Everyone will probably be taking solo shots.” I hail from the fake-candid-laughing-big-group-shot-with-friends world, where we shy away from asking for solo shots to avoid looking vain. But she was right — lots of solo posing, lots of serving looks, lots of Instagrams, some for #sponsored posts, I’m sure.

Once I tapped “Read more” on that photo a couple days ago, I kept scrolling and saw how the Discover algorithm placed post after post in front of me with the exact same formula: girl, white, pretty skinny, posing profile or with her back to the camera, in an exotic perfectly-saturated location. At least 10 of the same formulaic photo appeared before I got spooked and decided to do something else.

(Engagement is king, right? So we go where the likes are.)

Since brands hand out clout (and money) to those with largest followings, and sponsorship can so easily become aspirational, contrived, toxic — how do you make the choice to be authentic? Continue reading “aesthetics, power and instagram”

line items

Isn’t it fascinating that the line items we create in the budgets of our lives sustain the lives of others?

Lots of people buy ClassPass memberships each month, and because of that, I can pay my rent, buy groceries and do other things with money that adults do. Because other people made room in their lives for ClassPass, I can make room for Trader Joe’s, and so on and so on.

Clearly my unit economics are wrong. Clearly this model isn’t about making line items to support people, it’s about the service we’re getting.

But what if it were about the people? What would change about my attitude toward money and where I place it if I thought about the people behind that money?

Continue reading “line items”