Today I have an exciting new DYL interview to share! I tapped Alaina’s shoulder of Live Creating Yourself to share her life intentions. Though she’s obviously got an incredible talent for graphic design and is even responsible for naming the now popular Rue Magazine (among many other contributions), I asked her to do this DYL for a whole different set of reasons.
Knowing her personally, I’ve always been struck by her ability to fearlessly state her opinion without second guessing herself. Not that I’m much of a slouch myself, but I really, deeply admire her ability to say what she thinks from an honest, open part of her that doesn’t worry about “what others might think.” While she asserts her thoughts on everything from spirituality to the latest Kelly Wearstler project, she does so without being overbearing or judgmental. And for this reason, I think I personally have a lot to learn from Alaina. I know that many of us, including myself, can learn to share our opinions more fearlessly. As you’ll read, it’s pretty clear how she’s able to create such a mix of strength and gentleness that is 100% her own.
Not a ground-breaking concept, I know, but being kind to others is the most important value in my life. Sadly, it seems that many people in today’s society are completely self-absorbed, worrying only about themselves and stepping on others just to get ahead. I don’t know where this self-entitlement and “I’m better than you” concept came from, but I am very aware that I am no better than the next person. So, I try my best to be considerate of those around me. I thank the busboy who pours my water. I stand up and offer my seat to the older woman or man who gets on the bus. I write back to the new blogger who emails me for advice. These simple acts of respecting and appreciating other people are so often forgotten; but I think it’s really important to remember that a simple “How are you today?” can go a long way.
Looking for beautiful things around me is a reflex. I have a tendency to find beauty and inspiration in things most people would never notice. For example, I recently liked the way a restaurant wrote their menu in chalk so I took a photo of it. And I remember on a day trip to Annapolis, I noticed an old red roof on a house that was far from beautiful – but the way it contrasted with the bright blue sky behind it caught my eye, so again, I snapped a photo to remember it. This habit probably stems from being a graphic designer and my constant need to be inspired, but this tendency to focus on the good instead of the bad definitely helps my emotional well-being, as well. Win, win!
Whether my credit card likes it or not, I travel as often as my vacation days allow. Traveling is the best kind of education; it allows me to learn about different cultures and people, and, more importantly, it helps me grow as a person. I am the first to admit that up until college, I was a rather close-minded – and dare I say, a judgmental – person. Now I feel like anything goes! And the world is all the better for it. Having been exposed to so many different lifestyles and cultures, I’m now very open to trying new things, listening to what others have to say, and accepting people’s opinions and beliefs, regardless of how different they are from mine.
This is less a goal I’ve made for myself and more so something I was born doing. My parents would joke the only babysitter they needed for me was a box of crayons because I could entertain myself for hours drawing pictures, writing stories, and even creating my own board games (true story – it was Life Jr. and you ended up choosing a high school instead of a retirement home at the end of the game). Today, I still find myself restless when I don’t have a to-do list taking up two pages in my notebook. Instead of flipping through the channels, I tend to work on a new house project or start redesigning my blog for the 100th time this year. I can’t not create. It keeps the creative juices flowing.
I am of the “you only live once” school of thought. If I’m at an Italian restaurant, heck, I’m ordering a big plate of pesto linguini! If it’s a Tuesday and I have nothing to do, I will always consider buying a great bottle of wine, calling up my best friends, and spending the evening laughing and reminiscing with them. I recommend this advice to all of you out there: stop counting calories, stop worrying about what others think of you, and enjoy this life. You only live once!
Check out past DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews.