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🪂 Letter 70: Skydiving, Camping, Sailing, Designing Your Life, Paracosm

8 min

What would I do with in my life if I had unlimited resources?

Aloha fellow learn-it-all

Greetings from Waikiki, Hawai'i 🌺

My supervisor for my project here had to depart early with an expired visa, so I am stepping up to run the rest the program alongside my other colleague. I can't believe it has already been halfway through with the 34 student’s study abroad program. The more I connect with each of them the more I realize how unique each of their backgrounds are.

Being a young professional is such a fun time to be alive at the cusp of so many opportunities. I am beyond grateful to be cultivating this community and forming bonds with students from across the country.

They make me feel young again like fooling around on this swing.

If you are new here or missed last week's edition, you can catch up on the past letters here. If you are reading this for the first time, I’d love you to sign up below to join the other learn-it-alls:

Now, let’s dive into letter 70 from a learn-it-all. Enjoy!

🖊 Writing

This past weekend my brother and dad sailed across Lake Huron. I was supposed to be on the Friers 50 boat alongside them sailing up to Mackinac Island in Michigan. I don't regret being here in Hawaii but nevertheless the feeling of missing out from my family's reunion still stings.

As I reflect on this, it reminded me of the blog I wrote last year from sailing this race called Why Sailors Sail:

There are many beautiful sights while sailing the sea; the starry lit sky, the budding sunrise, and birds flying overhead...

It’s hard to appreciate all of those when vomiting over the side of the boat.

Last weekend, I raced 266 nautical miles across Lake Huron in Michigan.

At the start, pictures captured bright smiles of excitement for the journey ahead. What wasn’t accurately captured was the turbulent in-between. I remember a wonderful two-day race, but also thoughts of quitting and jumping ship. There was a cycle of misery. My forehead pounded with a headache.

🎬 Watching

I watched a TED Talk by the executive director of Stanford’s design program at the d.School and book author Bill Burnett present on 5 steps to designing the life you want.

These five steps are:

1. Connect the dots and create meaning across what you believe, what you do and who you are. This is something similar to an Ikigai venn diagram where it is intersecting what we value along with, what we are good at and what the world needs. It is something I am still chipping away at. This can be done through leaning into your curiosity.

2. Reframe gravity problems that cannot be solved.  Accept these blockers and move on. My discovering of dyslexia was definitely a gravity problem that I struggled to navigate.

3. Make three five-year odyssey plans. Have one be where you are now and making it better. Another where what you've currently done is obsolete and you lean into a side hustle. The this plan can be a wild card of those dreams you've had. These serve as a process to ideate and see how you can intersect different plans to what you are doing today.

4. Prototype everything in your life before jumping in to try it out. This means having a bias for action and asking interesting questions, exposing assumptions, involving others with your ideas and sneaking up on the future. When you hear stories from others on paths you might want to take, wait for the ringing of narrative resonance. This is radical collaboration through hearing others stories

5. Choose decisions well. It is better to make up your mind and see decisions as irreversible. When you collect a bunch of ideas it can lead to choice overload where you have too many that it leads to no choices being made. You must also listen to your gut when making decisions and be mindful of the process and how you must converge after diverging the possibilities.

Some dysfunctional beliefs Burnett listed that I found uplifting to note as false are:

1. Follow you passion. We each have too many things to choose one thing to identify ourselves as, so don't box yourself into one identity.

2. You should know where you're going and how otherwise you are late. We all come out of this life being dead, so what is the rush. What is anyone late for? There's also no time machine so start with where you are today and move forward from there without comparing yourself to everyone else on different path.

3. Are you sure that this is your one best life? Are you settling? Life is not linear and there are many different versions of yourself that can result in a better designed life. Don't pressure yourself to do anything less than best.

🏖 Hawaii Update - Camping 🏕

Living on an island you’d think it’s easy to unplug but this was the first time that I actually felt like it while camping at Kahana Bay with my friend Andrea.

It was one of the most fun evenings I have had yet full of stargazing, spam, and sand everywhere.

Yes I saw the cars streaming by on the freeway. It was a reminder of humanity along side the sound of the waves breaking the shore.

Yes it kept raining on and off. I was a bit shivery and couldn’t make up my mind of whether to get my only dry clothes wet in the rain. It felt like I was on a sailboat again and I’d ask myself what to sacrifice. My present self or future self? I ended up wrapping myself up in the hammock and imagined the sunshine coming out and kissing me with its rays.

I was beyond grateful my sleeping bag, thick socks and journal were still mostly dry under the tent.

As I was lying on the beach, I felt this calling to go find my journal and hope that it wasn’t soggy so that I could write. It’s jam-packed with thoughts since March, and it would’ve been a tragedy if it it was gone forever. It is priceless and I’d pay a hefty amount of money if I had to pay a ransom to get those memories and ideas back.

I had so much on my mind. Ten pages later and I distilled it down to another poem to share with you all.

I'm in a hammock in Hawaii
        I'm high on life and never felt happier.
        I feel love.
        I see beauty.
        I hear waves.
        I taste salt on my lips.
        I smell pureness.
        I see tall strong trees holding me up.
        I trust these trees and the knots I tied to them.
        I feel tingly goosebumps up my forearms as the sun shines.
        Peek-a-boo she says from behind the clouds
        She brought a rainbow friend
        I could not help but smile.
        I predicted that one was coming soon.
        Tears streamed down my face
        as I look up at the plentiful trees around me.
        as my pastel hammock flapped in the breeze against my face
        as I watched the pack of surfers play in the swell
        I wanted to join them but was too content
        The sun was setting
        Light was fading
        There were too many fleeting thoughts on my mind
        And my journal called me.

If you missed my three week reflection poem from last week, here it is.

🔎 Word to define

Paracosm: a phenomenon where a detailed, imaginary world is created in one's mind
a detailed imaginary world.

Paracosms are thought generally to originate in childhood and often developed during childhood and continues over a long period of time, months or even years, as a sophisticated reality that can last into adulthood.. The creator of a paracosm has a complex and deeply felt relationship with this subjective universe, which may incorporate real-world or imaginary characters. They commonly have their own geography, history, and language.


The term "paracosm" was coined by the self-professed paracosmis tBen Vincent, who was a participant in BBC researcher Robert Silvey's 1976 developmental psychology study.


A Michigan State University study undertaken by Root-Bernstein revealed that many MacArthur Fellows Program recipients had paracosms as children, thus engaging in what she calls worldplay. Sampled MacArthur Fellows were twice as likely to have engaged in childhood worldplay as MSU undergraduates. They were also significantly more likely than MSU students to recognize aspects of worldplay in their adult professional work. Paracosm play is recognized as one of the indicators of a high level of creativity, which is as important as intelligence.


Both J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis as children were inventing paracosms that they later drew upon to write The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia.

🌟 Quote to inspire

"I constantly see people rise in life who are not the smartest, sometimes not even the most diligent, but they are learning machines. They go to bed every night a little wiser than they were when they got up, and boy, does that help, particularly when you have a long run ahead of you." –Charlie Munger

❓ Question to think about

What would I do with in my life if I had unlimited resources?

📷 Photos of the Week

Before I jumped out of the perfectly functioning plane on Friday I asked Victor, my tandem skydiving instructor "Will I survive?"

He responded: "you will die, but not today."

The rest of the 15,000 feet flying in the air made me feel all types of ways.

Nauseous, elated, dizzy, dehydrated, emotionally drained, deaf, but most of all rejuvenated for one of the most breathtaking experiences I have ever had.

I am so grateful for the life that I live (and slightly jealous that birds get to fly everyday.) It was epic. On my 25th birthday I told myself I would skydive and I’m proud to have finally manifested this dream of mine. My rational brain was spazzing out, but I am so glad I silenced it.

🙏 Shoutouts

To my college entrepreneurship Professor Friedman for organizing the annual Duck reunion call. I got one of the lowest grades of my time in university in his creativity and innovation course my last semester as a senior but it was totally worth it. He introduced me to a way of thinking I had never fathomed by thinking about living life with intention, my values and what I want to be remembered for on my death bed. To this day it has been one of the most impactful courses I've taken. For my final I created this website.

I appreciate you reading this! If certain ideas resonated or you have feedback to improve my future newsletters, I’d love you to leave a comment, reply to this email, or send me a message on Twitter @JenVermet. If you want to learn more about who I am, I welcome you to visit my online home.

Never stop learning 😁

Mahalo 🌺


👣 Footnotes

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