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Aloha fellow learn-it-all 👋
Greetings from Diamond Head, Hawai'i 🌺
Below is the view from the top of a volcanic crater called Koko Head.
It was one heck of a leg day climbing up here. I shared my whole experience in this Tweet thread:
I’m sending this letter to you right before I head off to the airport to be off the grid for the next 4 days on Kauai. I’m about to do the Kalalau trail with a few friends I met through beach volleyball.
To be quite frank, I feel pretty unprepared for this hike. But then again, I don’t think I’ve ever felt “ready” to do anything that scares me.
For an overthinker like myself, I’ve found the best thing to do is to have a bias for action and make aplomb!
Now, let’s dive into letter 129 from a learn-it-all. Enjoy!
❓ Question to think about
How do you have such a fluid approach to life?
So, my friend Carter Anne asked me this the other day after we swam in the ocean.
I used to be such a Type A uptight kiddo, and I was confused by this question at first.
Then she explained:
Ever since I met, you said, ‘I'm gonna be here [in Hawaii] until the end of this summer, and then we'll see if I stay.’
And then the end of the summer, ‘okay, I'm here until December. We'll see if I come back after Christmas.’
Then you came back. And then at the new year, ‘I'm here til July, we'll see if I return after my travels.’ And now you’re back in October, ‘Let’s see how six more months to a year and then I might go elsewhere.’
There has been no huge grand plan for my life out here.
I’ve been challenging myself to stay open and listen to the world around me and my heart around what feels right. My approach with Hawaii as my home, but then also not allowing myself to feel like I am stranded out here on an island. It’s been an adaptive perspective that forces me to check in and regularly reassess my life.
I’ve always hated the job interview question, “where do you see yourself in five years?” In specifics, I have not a freaking clue.
But I do know that I will be loving my life.
In order to love my life, I will be doing things that I love.
The formula here is quite simple:
Everyday life + what you love = a life that you love
That means I’ll be writing these newsletters, moving my body, creatively expressing myself, building community through the connections I make, being adventurous through the experiments I run, and honing my skills to be employable. Oh, and I’ll be laughing. Life is too short not to have fun.
You might be thinking, “what about affording your living Jennifer??”
Well, I recently realized that I began on my sole proprietorship (aka freelancer aka independent contractor) journey two years ago in October 2020. When it comes to employment, I’ve come up with another simple formula. (Can you tell yet I was such a math nerd in school? After all, that’s why I pursued a degree in finance.)
The formulas is: Learn skills that the world and my future self want + meet inspiring people who grow me = a fulfilling career. In further simplified terms:
Building skills + working with growth-minded people = happy Jen
I’ll probably look back on this in a week, month or year and think that I am completely negligent of so many factors, like my burning ambition or my ego’s craving for a legacy, but for now, this has been serving me and keeping me sane on my pathless path journey.
This allows me to trust myself and the decisions that I am making that feel right to design a life that I love. I don’t want to discredit my self-awareness or curiosity and what it leads me to discover. Surely I could come up with a regimented strict plan that I could try my hardest to bring to light, and hammer the square peg into the round hole no matter what, but there are two pieces very wrong with that:
- What if you discover new knowledge that means you need to shift the compass of where you are steering?
- Where’s the fun in a plan without any serendipity or surprise?
My advice to anyone who wants to live a more fluid life that you love:
- List out what you value and what motivates you.
- Set checkpoints to reassess the different buckets of your well-being. Mine revolve around relationships, physical fitness, creativity, mental health, and spirituality. Similar to dental appointments, they are scheduled regularly and marked on your calendar.
- Use questions as a compass that are focused around the answers in (1) that guide you. Answers are a static hypothesis of what you might want, while questions are dynamic and prompt experimentation and action.
The famous physicist, Richard Feynman came up with 12 favorite problems and shared:
"You have to keep a dozen of your favorite problems constantly present in your mind, although by and large they will lay in a dormant state. Every time you hear or read a new trick or a new result, test it against each of your twelve problems to see whether it helps. Every once in a while there will be a hit, and people will say, " How did he do it? He must be a genius!"
Here’s the current iteration of my 12 favorite problems that facilitate my fluid life that I love:
There you have it! You now know what to do. Dance the tango with a confident foundation of who you are and constantly remain inspired by your surroundings and open to wherever life might guide you.
🔎 Word to define
Fluid: able to flow easily, likely or able to change
A body whose particles move easily among themselves; a substance that has no fixed shape and yields easily to external pressure (chemical definition)
To be fluid is synonymous to be adaptability and flexibility.
early 15c., "liquid, capable of flowing," from Old French fluide (14c.) and directly from Latin fluidus "fluid, flowing, moist," from fluere "to flow". Figurative use, of non-material things, "not fixed or rigid," from 1640s.
🌟 Quote to inspire
“When you grow up, you tend to get told the world is the way it is and your life is just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family life, have fun, save a little money. That’s a very limited life.
Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact. And that is: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”
📷 Photo of the Week
- To Mitch Vermet for his road biking tips on how not to fall over while biking.
- To Bumble BFF app’s algorithm for existing to successfully introduce me to my friend Carter Anne
- To the simple format that Nate Kadlac has for his book summary on Shoe Dog that is inspiring the book notes I am creating for Pathless Path
I appreciate you reading this!
If ideas resonated, I’d love you to leave a comment, reply to this email, or send me a message on Twitter @JenVermet. If you forgot who I am, I welcome you to my online home.
Never stop learning 😁
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On Write of Passage reflections:
On my excitement to journal:
On the significance of human connection in-person:
On learning from newsletters:
On the impact of cold emails: