2018: feelin’ it

I haven’t had much time for writing on here lately, but I just wanted to make a note that I’m flying into this new year feeling amazing.

It’s been a HELL of a year and here at the end I feel open to whatever, excited to be alive, clear-headed, in love with everyone and everything. I have grown more in 2017 than any other year. It has been confusing and painful and scary and authentic and it has contained the most precious of my experiences so far in my short life. I feel like I am coming into my own as an adult, piecing together a confident and healthy view of how I relate to other people and things, and seeing things clearly for what they are — and I love it. I have a massive appreciation for just existing and experiencing the whole spectrum of stuff to do and feel and see as a human bein’.

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st george marathon, year two

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I am a slow runner, but, girls just wanna have fun yu know? When I first started this hobby almost 3 years ago, my goal was to run 1 mile without stopping. Now I have 4 half marathons and 2 fulls under my belt. Running has become a consistent part of my life and I don’t see that changing. It gives me a place to think and reflect, it teaches me how to enjoy physical effort, it shows me that consistency makes all the difference, it makes me into a more energetic human, and it gives me a chance to participate in super fun events with friends and family. And the events always re-energize me to keep getting out there and putting in the miles. I’m p happy after this weekend.

Now I gotta go get some water, all this humblebragging is wearing me out 😪

it is your birthday

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I had a birthday. I’m a year older and wiser. It’s p good so far. These are some pictures from my weekend trip to my hometown.

I’m going to gush a bit and I’m positive that I’ll feel stupid about it later, but I exist and I’m here to do my thing and I guess part of that is talking about my feelings into the void of the public internet. ¯\_()_/¯

Another year passing makes me reflect on the fact that I actually like who I’ve become in my few years of adulthood. I can see clearly how everything I’ve experienced has contributed to who I am and where I am. And I’m excited that there’s a lot more time to experience more things while I’m around here on this big green blob of space dust.

My outlook on life for the past few months has been pretty worry-free and optimistic and stuffed with joy and love and realness and I am just enjoying it a lot. It’s like a daydream or an alternate reality that a couple years ago I never would think possible. For me, the tough process of breaking down some of the structures and expectations I grew up with has made space to define my own values and it’s turned my world into something bigger and brighter and more hopeful than before. More than ever, I feel like I can choose to embrace things that are actually important to me and honestly understand and connect with and appreciate fellow human beings.

So hooray for being more of a legitimate adult than I’ve ever been and having more wisdom than I’ve ever had (which isn’t very much). If I could go back and give my young self some advice, here are some of the things I’d say. But I don’t think it would change anything. It turns out most cliches are true, you just don’t really understand them until you’ve lived them.

+ you are one hundred percent capable of (and responsible for) doing things for yourself and being self-sufficient

+ your perceptions/beliefs aren’t the only way of seeing the world or living life. there’s a lot of value in genuine open-mindedness

+ pain and suffering and heartbreak and embarrassment don’t happen “for a reason”. they are just part of the human experience, whatever that means to you

+ move away from your hometown for at least a few years and figure out who you are apart from all the things and people you grew up around

+ find the voice inside of you quietly telling you what’s right, and don’t let anyone tell you you’re selfish for listening to it

+ be your own guy, do your thing, nobody else is gonna do it and nobody else actually even cares. you know you were born, you know that you’ll die, the in-between is all yours.

+ you can give money to charity, aspire to change the world, volunteer, try to help a lot of people and have a lot of friends, etc. But one of the biggest differences you can make is just being kind, patient, understanding, validating, and present in the small moments and interactions with other people

+ take care of your body and mind. you pay good money to maintain your car and your possessions; it’s stupid not to invest in yourself too. sleep, healthy food, therapy, exercise, self-care.

Cheers to more living and a lot more mistakes and challenges and embarrassing cringey moments and successes and lessons and whatever else happens.

08/17

August is over! This month ->

I finished my scuba certification! If you’ve ever wondered what the bottom of the Homestead Crater is like, I’ll fill you in. It’s very dark and hot and the sand feels gooey and you can stick your hand up to the elbow in it and feel bubbles blooping up from the bottom. I think there is a sea dragon down there.

I went to my favorite developer conference I’ve ever been to! Such good talks and swag and people and food and of course javascript twitter celebrities! I was talking to the Gosh Damn creator of the Elm programming language for an hour over dinner before I realized who he was and also I met the author of my favorite Javascript satire article. I’ll stop there because this is getting painfully nerdy

I enjoyed the warm weather a lot! I had fun just about every single day.

I saw the Book of Mormon musical. It was so offensive and yet strangely not mean-spirited. How? “Spooky Mormon Hell Dream” has been stuck in my head for weeks and I’m not mad about it.

I continued to marathon train. I’m not doing as well at it as I did last time, but I’ll finish the distance and have fun doing it.

I moved! Four blocks down the street! That was a whole thing. I was really sweaty that day. But then I took a shower and sat on the couch and everything was fine and the same except I was in a different apartment.

I experienced eclipse FOMO because I couldn’t make it to the path of totality. But seeing curvy shadows was still pretty cool.

I started getting into mountain biking. Someone offered me a trade for their pimped out Giant Reign and I couldn’t say no. Hiking on wheels is way hard and terrifying but also fun.

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This month’s playlist is pretty low effort and has too much Ty Segall.

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/leahjlou/playlist/2iawnpxFqZofVVrj5YTn3y

I just want to run trails and eat nectarines

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On Saturday morning I ran a trail half marathon and I got home and showered and put on this stupid shirt and ate three nectarines.

Trail running is the best. It’s like hiking, but a little faster. There are hills to climb and branches to trip over, but nobody cares how fast you go and you can’t compare any two different routes anyway.

I’ve always always been a road runner, but I think I’m over it. It’s still fun but why would you choose repetitive pavement-pounding over bouncy rock-dodging and stream-hopping and pinecone-squishing? With super cool scenery all around you?

Other nice things that happened this weekend:

  • I bought a gaming laptop!
  • I walked to the movie theater and watched some short films from Sundance this year since I didn’t make it to the festival!
  • I had a frappuccino!
  • I made hash browns!
  • I hung out with a very beautiful poodle!
  • I went to a mexican restaurant and got a drink with a rubber ducky floating in it!

 

weekends in my city

A few times a week I get smacked in the face with real actual joy to be existing.

My typical weekdays are pretty good. I get to see the sun poke through my blinds every morning, go running, cook food, ride the train, write code, read books, pet my dog, work with great people. And then, on top of all that, every week for two days I don’t have to work and I can do absolutely anything I want. Weekends! They are marvelous and I don’t know why we are allowed to have them because isn’t life supposed to suck and be difficult?

(Oversimplifying here, of course life is hard sometimes, but honestly, those times are easy to forget during a late Saturday morning brunch while being served crispy hash browns by a hot tattooed waiter.)

Weekends in SLC are awesome. I can sleep in or wake up early and go running at Liberty Park. I can go to a museum or outdoor concert or on a motorcycle ride or pub crawl. I can run errands on my bicycle or catch a movie at the Broadway theater or clean the bathroom or practice drums or get my car washed or aimlessly walk around Costco. I can go to Caputo’s for a sandwich with the freshest mozzarella or Purgatory for fried cauliflower tacos. I can go rock climbing or hiking or river rafting. I can buy peas and bok choy from the farmer’s market and make a stir fry.

On Sunday I woke up wanting to be in water, and we decided on a tube float at the Weber river. I was picturing a relaxing activity for snacks and drinks and less-than-practical swimwear. In reality I ended up with a Pringles can full of river water, missing sunglasses, and a lot of scrapes and bruises. Falling into a rapid while trying to eat cubes of watermelon from a tupperware was terrifying and hilarious and I would definitely do it over again.

P.S. I took exactly zero photos this weekend, which is weird for me. Also, I recommend watching the movie The Big Sick. Laughed, cried, was charmed, 10/10.

power tools and a planter box

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I bought some power tools: a drill (with bits!) and a jigsaw. A friend had offered to lend me his. I told him I just wanted to have my own. Also, maybe this is weird, but I thought it would be nice to be the one lending my drill to somebody else.

Sometimes, you want a certain thing, and then you find a way to make it. Other times, a vague need to make a thing happens, and then you have to figure out a thing to make without filling your house with useless garbage.

My tiny patio was empty and fresh herbs are always useful, so a planter box seemed like a good enough idea. I drew up some plans loosely based on these instructions and bought lumber from the Lowe’s where I bought my tools.

On a weeknight after work, a couple of friends watched and fed me pizza while I put it together inside my apartment. At first I was clumsy, but by the time I finished, I was fast at switching drill bits and confident with my high-speed saw (and also pretty sweaty). I celebrated my success by vacuuming little piles of sawdust from the corners of my cramped kitchen. A coat of sealant and a bag of soil later, the box was ready for my tomatoes and herbs.

I’ve never had such a good excuse to constantly make tomato basil pasta and mint mojitos. Which reminds me: this summer has kicked ass, to be honest. I’ve been in a funk for a long time, but this season has been so good and normal and easy and relieving. (I am sounding extremely eat pray love)

Also, this is the first time in my life I’ve successfully kept herbs alive for more than a few weeks. I can care for dogs and cats and even human children, but the daily water needs of a basil plant have, in the past, proven to be too high maintenance for me. This time I’ve been diligent. It’s probably because I don’t want dead plants in my pretty box.

hi blog

I’ve been “blogging” in some form or another since the days of Geocities and Neopets. Social media exploded right in sync with my own coming-of-age. Oversharing on the internet runs deep in my veins.

We’re supposed to feel silly about it. And I do! I cringe hard thinking back to my early MySpace bulletin posts, with only the deepest song lyrics and artsiest webcam selfies of course. But I actually think it’s pretty cool that we were trying to reach out and create things and make connections. Humans have been doing these kinds of thing since… ever.

Also, a surprising amount of actual opportunity has come from my years of writing on the internet. Community, friendships (even a few of the kind you’d fly across the country for), internships, jobs. I’ve learned that the world is bigger than I thought and smaller than it seems. And I’ll always believe that formulating ideas and stories in writing is a valuable outlet for anyone.

So hi! I want to blog again. I hope I can make this a nice place to be.