10 Things I’ve Learned: Kate
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They say that you can’t do life alone. And I would argue that the same absolutely holds true for blogging.
Thankfully, I’ve had the chance to become friends — genuine friends — with many incredible bloggers over the past few years who can relate to all of the quirky ins and outs of this career. And one of the friends who has become especially important in my life over the past year is this girl — Kate, the creator and half of the namesake behind the popular vegetarian blog, Cookie & Kate.
Kate (or Kathryne, as her friends call her) is one of those girls who can basically do anything, and do it well. She’s a former magazine art director and has an incredible eye for all things artistic and beautiful, and stays on top of All The Trends in everything from food to fashion to interior design to WordPress plugins. She is a super techie and worked for months to create and design and code her entire blog (and trademark it herself), which most bloggers would kill to know how to do. She is probably the most meticulous and creative and passionate recipe developer I know. And she is one of the hardest working bloggers I know, running her blog entirely on her own. And, in a blogosphere where grammar is seemingly less and less important, I would like to especially point out that this girl knows how to write well.
But while her talent and incredible work ethic inspire me, I am most grateful to have Kathryne in my life as a friend. Make that an awesome friend. Our jobs have us both working from home alone for a good chunk of the day, and as such, Kathryne has become one of the friends I’m constantly iMessage-ing back and forth with all day long. Whether that be asking each other a zillion questions about blogging (she was a huge help with my new site design), swapping stories about dating (she’s one of the literal handful of other bloggers I know who is also single), or just checking in on some of the daily highs and lows of work, I so appreciate that she’s one of the people in my life who asks me about my day…and genuinely listens…and “gets it”, since much of our lives and work lives seem to overlap. I also appreciate that she’s one of the most honest people I know, and will tell it to you like it is, give you meaningful encouragement, and also vulnerably open up and share about her own life.
That said, I’m also stoked that she is game for adventure because we’re planning an epic friendcation to go spend this February in Austin together!!! Yep, neither of us like Kansas City winters, so we’re packing up our camera equipment and our dogs and
flying driving south for the winter to work remotely in the land of tacos and techies and Tim Riggins. I cannot WAIT. More stories to come as we share a tiny kitchen together while food blogging for a month, but I’m thrilled to have a friend like her to travel with. It’s going to be fun!
Anyway, enough of me talking. Without further ado, here’s Kate sharing 10 things she has learned about life.
Life doesn’t offer any guarantees.
To my parents’ credit, they’ve told me, “Life’s not fair,” over and over again. I just grew up making general assumptions about what adulthood would hold for me based on my parents’ experiences. Assumptions like, a solid education (check), good health (check, thankfully), a fulfilling career (hooray!), and some others that haven’t panned out, like marriage, and subsequently homeownership and kids. I’m not 100 percent sure that I want all of that, anyway, but it’s what I grew up assuming life would be.
These days, rather than operating on the assumption that there is some guy out there for me, I’ve accepted the idea that maybe he’s just… not there. That way, if I do meet a great guy and feelings are mutual and all that jazz, I’ll be exceedingly grateful to have him in my life. And if I don’t find him, I won’t feel bitter and resentful that I’m not getting what this life is “supposed” to offer. I think it’s a healthier outlook, plus I’m not holding myself back based on any assumptions of what the future will hold.
Welcome game changers.
I’ve never heard anyone say, “I wish I’d kept working at that awful job.” Have you? I’m so glad I quit that job. I’m also glad I dumped the guy who wasn’t right for me. I’m glad I moved to a new city when I heard it calling. Note to self: I only regret the chances I didn’t take. This isn’t the best example, but I’m still kicking myself for not taking that honors’ level college creative writing class. I was afraid of it. I would be a better writer now if I had stepped up to the plate then.
Buy a steamer.
No more ironing! I repeat, no more ironing! If you share my title for World’s Worst Ironer but still like to look put together, you really need a steamer. All you do is pour water into the contraption, plug it in and 60 seconds later, you can steam the wrinkles right out of your clothes. Amazing, right?! (P.s. The steamer will never tell if those pants came from the bottom of the hamper.)
“Good enough” really is good enough.
I have been a perfectionist for as long as I can remember. Perfectionism has served me well in some areas, but the level of self-imposed pressure that comes along with it can be utterly debilitating. I don’t know if I will ever shake the urge to get everything “just right,” but I’m trying to accept that good enough really is good enough… in most situations, at least. Better to pick my perfectionistic battles than try to meet an impossible ideal.
Dogs are essential.
Dogs make everything better! Getting a dog was a big decision but it also turned out to be the best decision I ever made. You see, my dog, Cookie, is as good for me as I am for her. She calms me down and takes me on walks. I feed her breakfast and dinner and snacks of cauliflower. It’s a win-win situation.
Birthdays deserve celebration.
My birthday falls on the most unfortunate day of the year (Christmas). It’s terrible. It’s not easy to get friends together around Christmas. Last year, I realized that I hadn’t had a proper birthday celebration with friends for eight years (eight!). I was honestly starting to question whether my friends actually liked me. A few weeks before Christmas last year, my friends surprised me with a birthday dinner! It made me feel all warm and fuzzy and loved.
That birthday experience reinforced my conviction that birthdays deserve proper celebration. They’re the one day of the year when friends and family make a cognizant effort to say, “Hey, you! We think you’re great and we’re glad you’re here!” If I were to start a non-profit tomorrow, it would be devoted to celebrating birthdays with marginalized individuals. One day of recognition really can make all the difference.
Schedule regular get-togethers with friends.
I always look forward to my regularly scheduled girls’ nights and Sunday evening potlucks. Since they usually fall on the same day and time, they’re easy to schedule around, which means that they actually happen. We usually plan them with Facebook group messages, which makes it easy to keep everyone in the loop. They’re just the best!
Yoga makes me a better person.
I’m not saying everyone should do yoga, but it’s just right for me. I loved gymnastics as a kid and yoga feels like a natural extension of my old gymnastics moves. I used to get all bent out of shape (pun intended) about my slightly crooked back and wobbly ankles, but now I look in the mirror during class and think, “Woah. Look at what those strong limbs can do.” Thanks to yoga, I stand up straighter, my mind is clearer and I feel ready and able to handle any physical challenge that comes my way.
Share the good and the bad.
I have a tendency to keep good and bad feelings to myself. Sometimes, when I hear promising news, I diminish how hopeful I am that the deal will pan out. Or I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging about good news, so I keep it to myself. When I’m embarrassed about something, I often let my cheeks burn instead of laughing about it with friends.
I recently listened to “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brene Brown on audiobook during a long drive. She stressed that in order to live a wholehearted life, it’s important to share the good and the bad with empathetic friends. Her point really hit home for me so I’ve been trying to be better about reaching out to friends lately. Ali is one of those friends for me, and I think she knows she can reach out to me any time, too.
Food doesn’t hold the answers.
I find it so ironic that I’m a healthy food blogger because I have really struggled with food in the past. In hindsight, I was literally trying to make my problems more palatable by swallowing them down. It was easier to despise myself for my own behavior than it was to confront the real issues at hand and accept that I was not in control of their outcomes. Fortunately, after years of self reflection, I’ve learned better habits. I slow down, go on walks, text a friend, snuggle up with Cookie… all of these options actually make me feel better about the situation that’s bringing me down.