Ariel Coleman

Illustrator & Printmaker

A little more honest

Ariel ColemanComment

The world of social media is silly, it sometimes feels like one big competition to show who’s meeting what mile stones in life and who’s having the most fun doing it. Even though what it really is is a curated feed of high moments with the low moments sifted out. 

No where on social media do you post about being vulnerable or about your fears or about the things you most regret in life. There’s not a space for, “I really wish i’d fostered that one realtionship better, or I wish i’d said that one thing a little more gentle, or I miss that other self, or that thing I used to have”. There’s no space for public honestly about the low, uncomfortable, or scary things in life, but maybe there can be? 

Maybe we can all work to get a little more honest on social media, to post more about our true experiences and less about just the good ones. 

On Growing Up

Ariel ColemanComment

Well I finally figured it out! It’s taken me 26 years to get here but here I am with a plan for what I want to be when I grow up!

It would have been so useful to have come to this conclusion 12 years ago when I was picking electives in high school, or 8 years ago when I was picking a college and a major but I guess late is better than never so no complaints!

I’ve been reading Art Inc. by Lisa Congdon and it’s finally solidified “Illustrator” as a real profession for me. It’s something I’ve always wanted to be but I never felt it was a tangible career for me. For whatever reason I never felt I could actually make a living doing the thing I love to do most (draw). How did I miss this?!

The art teacher I had in high school nudged me to be a creative writing major because as a part of my senior show I wove in a bunch of poems I had written and he figured that was what I was really passionate about, I took that to mean my art wasn’t any good so I shouldn’t pursue it. Additionally my therapist at the time heavily suggest Psychology as a major and since I trusted him so much, that advice in conjunction with the perceived feedback from my art teacher, really pushed me away from Art as a major. Not to mention the very real cultural stigma of “artist” as a profession around the concept of money. Ever heard the term “starving artist”? I now know it’s such bullshit. I’m sure there are a lot more starving wanna-be-lawyers and medical-school-drop-outs than there are real working artists, but no one talks about that do they?!

The truth is it doesn’t matter that I’ve come to this realization now and not when I was 16, what matters is that I have and I’m so so excited about it! 

Even if it takes me the next 10 years to get there that still puts me at 36 as a working professional illustrator which is so much more exciting than any of the other varied professions I’ve thought about pursuing. For once I feel like I know what I want to do with my life and I have a real path, how wonderful is that!


A drawing I did today of a plant in the office. 12.28.17

A drawing I did today of a plant in the office. 12.28.17

The daydream world

Ariel ColemanComment

I write so many blog posts in my head, on my way to work. I write so many stories on a daily basis about the things that happened to me or the way I wish they would have gone. I write constantly in my mind. About the future, about the present. My plans, my goals, my thoughts, my regrets, my wishes, my feelings. The words are like dreams, I can't control them, I just float in and out of them in sort of an unconscious asleep-like state. Heavy and light all at once, warm and vivid, yet far away at the same time. It's almost 'loud' in my head when I'm writing them, and it only quiets down when I get distracted, lost in a song I play on my guitar, focused on a task at hand, a drawing, a conversation. Lost in Nicks arms and the sound of his voice, the subtle things, like chopping an onion or painting a mountain, that don't require words, that don't require the constant building of a full length feature film I'll never get to play in real life. 

It doesn't bother me, that the words never get written down. They are like the dreams you swear you'll never forget but then you do without remembering you swore you'd never forget. They float away in the morning breeze and you wonder if maybe they are half way around the world by now, lighting up the minds of someone else in their sleep. So many stories I've written on 20 minute bike rides, and 40 minute lunch breaks that just, go away. Daydreaming as a kid on the bus, or a teenager on that long walk through the hall back from my locker in the west wing of that old middle school that smelled strange. 

When I was in high school I'd sit outside the pizza place where I worked on the back porch. I faked a 'smoking' habit to cover up my daydream-story-telling-addiction, and I'd sit out there half smoking a camel light and take myself away to another world, the one I built in my mind, of who I was and where I was going, and what I had already done. 

Often my more 'logical' self will storm into the stories and start smashing everything up. "That'll never happen in real life" or "you can't know what you're life would look like if you did that". She critiques the houses I build for structure integrity, and my business plans for profitability and accurate industry margins. She's kind of a pain in the ass, but most of the time she's right, and she always follows the critique up with, "oh, and by the way, you're 20 minutes late for work so get in the shower", and my whole self is like, "shit! I'm just a slacker, fuck, I'm never on time", and the story is forgotten, lost just like that as I hustle to pack my bag and pick out an outfit. 

I do wonder though, if I had a scribe in my mind, that was constantly keeping track. Writing every word on a tiny typewriter and fileing the pages alway for a later date, just how many pages I'd have by now, just how many filing cabinets that might take. I  guess there's no way to ever know, or to know if the daydreams in my head would be as vivid on paper, as they are behind my eyes. For now, I'll let them be, as they are in my mind, and maybe one day they'll come flooding back and I'll have the time to write them all down. One by one, word by word, I'll recount all the people I've been and places I've seen; all the stories I've crafted in my mind that we're real enough to last the rest of time. 

Adaptive Capacity

Ariel ColemanComment

From Wiki: "Adaptive capacity is the capacity of a system to adapt if the environment where the system exists is changing. It is applied to ecological systems and human social systems. As applied to ecological systems, the adaptive capacityis determined by: genetic diversity of species. biodiversity of particular ecosystems. As applied to human social systems, the adaptive capacity is determined by the ability of institutions and networksto learn, and store knowledge and experience. Creative flexibility in decision makingand problem solving The existence of power structures that are responsive and consider the needs of all stakeholders." 

My friend Emma brought this concept up to me recently and I liked the way it sounded right off the bat, "adaptive capacity" or the ability or adapt. I liked it, I embraced it. The wiki article points to institutions and systems, but I'm embracing it on an individual level. I have the capacity to adapt, to situations and systems and the world around me. I take this to mean a fluidity in the ability not only to cope and adapt when things don't go as planned but to embrace it when they don't, to empower myself to lean in to all the uncertainty and strangeness that this world has to offer and adapt as necessary. 

Finally Summer

Ariel ColemanComment

We packed all gear and put it in the car. We picked up our friends and went the store. We bought some groceries and we drove for an hour. We stopped for gas. We stopped for snacks. We stopped for a coffee and then we drove some more. 

We pulled down a gravel road, parked the car, and unloaded our gear. Backpacks on harnesses hanging from hands, we hiked a short mile with smiles and plans. Got to the crag, dropped all our stuff, looked up the wall and picked out a route. Slipped into the routine of knots and velcro shoes, clung to the wall and clipped up it too. 

The sun sunk in the sky. The wall turned cold, the shadows stretched, so we packed up our stuff and left. Drove into town and then right past. Up another gravel road one covered in grass. Wound through the forest and next to the river, found the big slab and shut off the car in a quiver. 

Open the hatch. Pull out your pack. Grab a bag and a cooler hand. Hike into the woods and over some logs, tip toe on rocks and blocks and muddy spots. Wind some more and then unwind back, come to a clearing and release your pack. Unload your tent and shake it out, set it up and zip it up. Build a fire, stand proud, pour your heart out, summer's finally come around. 

You are the only you

Ariel ColemanComment

You are the only you.

The only person who will ever know if what you say and what you do

are true and true  

through and through.

You are the only you.

The only you to lie in bed  

stuck in your head  

with all the things you fear and dread

the only you to follow through

on all the things you set out to do.  

You are the only you.  


Forward Progress

Personal Development, MemoriesAriel ColemanComment

I didn't plan to take a month off work, to take a month to redefine what I want and who I am and where I'm going, to quit my job and propel myself into a 6 week stint of unemployment, it just kind of happened. Really fast and all of a sudden.

In January I realized I was experiencing more stress than what I'd bargained for. That keeping myself up at night ruminating on events, conversations, relationships, and business decisions that were often out of my hands was an unhealthy way to expend my brain power. I also realized that my many attempts to curtail the analyzing of my situation had been fruitless for months, which meant it was time to let go. So I did. I let go of something I wanted so badly to hold on to. I quit the job that I had coveted for such a long time, that I thought would leverage my strengths and advance my career for maybe forever, it didn't turn out quite like I had thought, and that's okay, that's how life is sometimes. It was an awesome experience, I learned so much, and even though it didn't last forever I wouldn't change a thing. 

It was tough. I felt like a failure. I felt awful for leaving my friends and coworkers in a lurch. I had so many doubts about it, and kept myself up at night worrying whether I had made the right decision. Nick spent a lot of time talking me down and building me back, so did my mom, my career coach, and my good friend Aaron. All people with so much love and respect for who I am, reminding me, and standing by me when I didn't even want to stand by myself. 

Walking into the unknown against what most people were telling me was really hard, "but is seems like such a good job, I don't understand" and "I thought you liked it there, are you bored?". It was tough to feel like it was my gut feeling against the better judgement of a lot of people I really respected. Opinions of others that felt paramount to my own based on some hierarchal system of worth I had made up in my head. In the end though; I'm the only one who can really decide what's best for me, and channeling that through this whole experience has been really enlightening. In the end it was just a job, and it just wasn't the right fit for me, and that's totally cool. 

I spent the first two weeks after that decision in shock, wondering what I had done, applying to anything from retail positions to office manager positions, letting my brain run wild with the fear of "never figuring my career out"  and "haphazardly running out of money". 25 years of the "what are you going to do when you grow up" question haunting me in my sleep. Once the initial shock wore off and I confirmed that I'd be fine financially for the next couple of months, I shifted my focus to finding a position that would be sustainable over the long run. 

After my career coach helped me narrow down my search to marketing or creative positions, at either a branding agency, tech company or finance company, I focused on what I really needed out of a position, room for growth, a mentor, on a team, and in bike-able distance from my apartment. I networked. I had coffee with 19 different people crowd sourcing their knowledge on portland companies and potential positions. I spent hours on my resume and applied for 34 jobs via linked/indeed/direct websites. I had 8 phone interviews 2 video interviews, 5 in person first interviews 3 in person second interviews, and a final third interview with Umpqua Bank for a program coordinator position on their creative services team. A position that fit all my criteria, and I got the job. Relief, excitement, terror.

To say the month went by fast would be an understatement, but now that it's over I'm really glad I took this time to recharge and reinvent myself a bit. 

While hunting for a new job I've also spent the last month digging my heels into my community, my surroundings, and my art. Thinking hard about what I want to do, and applying myself to career development, but also indulging in R&R.

Its been incredibly luxurious to sleep in, drink coffee, sit on the couch, and think for a number of hours each day, not crazy monkey mind thoughts but solid thoughts about what really makes me happy. Figuring out what I need to foster in the future for that feeling to persist.

I found, like many on soul searching sabbaticals, that it's relationships that are the most important thing to me. That having good, positive, healthy relationships around me accounts for at least 80% of my happiness. If I feel understood, heard, taken care of by the people in my life, and am able to understand, hear, and take care of those around me, I'm a happy person. I don't need more money, fancier adventures, or a prestigious career, I just need to feel like I matter and that I'm apart of a community of people that matter to me.

We put so much weight into all these arbritary things, like status, success, wealth, material possessions, when in reality so much of our happiness comes from people, the people in our lives. The people we lean on and those that lean on us. It's often only when you strip away all of the stuff that doesn't matter, when you can see the stuff that truly does. 

The other part for me at least, is a mix of positive thinking, healthy eating, an active lifestyle, and having plenty of time to think, reflect, create, and build my life around me. That balance is hard to find sometimes, but I think it's worth it to strive for, to try to build that balance into the everyday.

An introvert at heart, I've loved every minute of my unscheduled days that have enabled me to write, paint, draw, cook, read and otherwise quiet my brain from the buzz of a hectic schedule. I've had this time to recharge, to fill up on what makes me whole, and build myself up, and now that I've had this time I'm ready to get back to work, to challenge myself, to foster new relationships and to learn, so much learning to come. 

Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way. My friends and family, my friends and family at Wild Friends, my career coach, and all the people who got coffee with me, cheers to new beginnings!



Talk Less, Listen More

Personal DevelopmentAriel ColemanComment

I talk a lot, I've always thought this was a strength. I love to communicate, to express my ideas, to share my opinion. Recently I've begun to see it differently, I've realized the more I talk, the less I can listen, and listening is incredibly important.

Listening means you can understand more, you can learn more, you can take in more of the world around you. You can glean knowledge, wisdom, and perspective from those around you. You can connect better, ask better questions, be a better friend, coworker, employee, girlfriend, sister, daughter if you listen more. 

Additionally, I tend to speak aggressively (passionately). I grew up with a headstrong set of siblings, three other people who were always in competition get their ideas heard, the four of us, will probably always be this way with each other. It felt as though I needed to talk louder, faster, and with bigger words to get my point across. That to be heard meant to be practically yelling at my brother. Turns out this is far from true, it seems the louder and more aggressive I get, the less I'm heard. The more I talk, the less my thoughts and opinions have validity. It's a balance. 

I seem to forget that I have the right to an opinion but not necessarily the right to voice it. Yes, I need to stand up for myself. Yes, it's good to share, connect, and communicate. Yes, it's good to be headstrong, bold, and passionate, but it's not the best relationship-builder to voice an opinion with such headstrong-ness I need to work on the finesse, the art of communicating in a way that feels productive rather than destructive, and sometimes that means listening, challenging patience, and zen-ness. 

I need to listen more,  and talk less. I need to hear others out, before jutting in, I need to embrace calmness and patience when I speak. I need to remember that if people don't feel the same way that I do, it's okay. That I can continue to feel, think, or know something in my own way and that it's not the end of the world if others don't agree. The art of communication, is just that, an art. To master I need both skills, speaking and listening. 

Block Print: Moon Mountain

Creative PursuitsAriel ColemanComment

I've been watching Jfellows block print for weeks, via Instagram, and it finally got to me last night. I walked to the art store, bought some black speed ball ink, a lino block, and got to work. This doodle is the one I carved on my pumpkin a week or so ago. I spent a good 15 minutes deciding whether the sky should be black or white, and I'm really glad I decided on  black, I like the way the moon 'glows'. 

The coolest part about block printing, is how all the prints turn out a little bit different, they are each unique in their own way. I'll definitely be doing more block printing in the future.


The Whirlwind

MemoriesAriel ColemanComment
Flying Kites

I have only a vague idea of what happened the last month.

I remember this past weekend, the sunshine bliss of the Oregon coast, posted up at Agate Beach with my family for Father's Day. The sun, the kite, the bark of Pavlov the dog. Our walk down Beverly beach Sunday morning the things my dad would find and hand to me- as if lost artifacts from another life. The conversations around the campfire Saturday night, the game with Hailey, and my dad, and my brother. My mom and how happy she was to have everyone together even though that meant she had to sleep on the ground in a moldy old tent. The way my dad laughed about the lack of sleep, the way it felt to throw my arms up when I scored, the way Hailey and Jess and I put our noses together in a sun soaked cuddle-hug. How helpful Nick is. How I cried laying in his lap, in the sun, on Sunday morning, half happiness, half nostalgia for the weekend come and gone. 

I remember sitting at Michael and Aylas last weekend, the perfect grilled chicken and roasted red potatoes. The soccer game we played after, the icey shower I took after, the way it felt to sleep, sweet sleep, after that long day. I remember walking to Max's tavern Saturday morning with Nick and Pavlov. Sleeping in the cold dark room that is Pierce's and Jess's. The next day, tricking Pavlov back into his dog run. Getting my mom a coffee, going over to the parents house. Berry picking in the hot sun, blueberries, so many blueberries. I washed my car, I debated over curtains, I bought too many plants at Home Depot. I brought the plants back to our apartment, Nick and I planted them in our backyard. 

The weekend before gets blurrier, but I know there was a summit view of Mount hood, and an amazing trail ride at Post Canyon. There was jumping in the reservoir and sandwiches in White Salmon. Sun and happiness and all of the important things. Sunday we laid by the River with Niki and Brandon, we drank radlers for the first time, and I really felt like I was a "Portlander" for the first time too. 

The weekend before was memorial day, it's the fuzziest yet. We drove out to the coast in a caravan of new found friends and camped off the side of the 101 up a steep private drive near a huge puddle. We went surfing, and stayed up late playing "Mafia" and "Cheers Governor".  We got coffees on our way out of town and I doodled from the front seat.

But that's all I can remember, the rest is just summer sunsets and sleeping in on Sundays. 

Practice Communication

Personal DevelopmentAriel ColemanComment

Communication comes in so many forms- a picture, a doodle, a post, a piece of writing, a video, the words out of your mouth. How do we get better at communication? How do we tell the story, better? What do we need to say, and how do we want to say it?  

Digital story telling. Is that a video? A website? A blog? It's everything. Everything that gets said about you online is a part of your story. The posts, the pictures, the content, the design. It all counts, it all matters, it's all important. 

Brands understand this. Brands work hard to have a single, unified image or identity. They seek to reel customers in by identifying themselves as one thing/person/arch-type and then reeling in those people (customers) that want to "be that". Once they've reeled them in, it's easy to say "hey buy this" and they do, or "hey donate to this" and they do. 

When you feel a sense of trust, a sense of connection, a sense of understanding, you feel good, and that enables you to take action, to buy or donate or contribute in some way. 

These feelings are rooted in communication. Rooted in the ways we communicate, what we communicate, how we communicate. If you want to motivate people you have to believe in them, if you want to see someone succeed you have to trust them, if you want to make someone feel connected you have to speak to them as you would someone you're connected to. To do any of this well, it has to be authentic, real, heartfelt. 

These Doodles Matter

Creative PursuitsAriel ColemanComment

On Monday I sat in my living room drawing what I could see of the world around me. The usual things: lamp, tv, coffee table. I branched out and began drawing things I could see out the window: houses, power-lines, cars, a lonely bicycle. By the time I had finished, I had a bunch of doodles, and I liked them all. 

I love that simplicity. I didn't have to get out a bunch of paints, or find some giant piece of paper. I just drew, little doodles, in my little doodle book, and there they were. 

I have a long history of pretending like these "little doodles" don't matter, or don't count. I've been telling myself they aren't "real art". They aren't "sellable" or "worth anything". I've been discrediting them my entire life. Be it society, or the world of college-level-art-history, or even my own insecurities about my worthiness, it doesn't matter, I'm here now to change all that nonsense. These doodles MATTER. 

These doodles could very well be called the backbone of my work as an artist. You could even dare to say these doodles are what make me an artist. I'd venture to say these doodles ARE ART, and they count. They are as real as real art gets, and I'm going to keep doodling them. 

The We's outweigh the I's

MemoriesAriel ColemanComment

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind, in no particular order here's what I remember:

We made new mountain bike friends. We went to beers with them and it was great. We joined an indoor soccer team. We got pizza and beer with Matty for the last time. We played Rumicube. We played Speed in our pajamas on Peters old leather couch. We made plans to go to Tofino, we booked our VRBO in Whistler. We played Spades with my roommates. We went to beers with the whole Yakima squad. We made friends with Chaz and Tarah. I sold my hold up. We sold my Kona. We sold my roof rack. We moved in together.

We went grocery shopping together, and brought our groceries home to our fridge. I bought us concert tickets. We spent hours rearranging the apartment. Literally, hours. I bought a table. We said goodbye to Matty. We cried about it, twice. Nick drew me a bath. We road new trails. I got a new bike. We changed our internet password to a new phrase we just coined "Santa Cruz family". Nick sprained his ankle, I bought him frozen corn. Later I pulled my hamstring, I used that same frozen corn. We co-mingled our gear.

We went to REI, I got a rain jacket. We went to the container store, I made us buy a silverware organizer made out of bamboo. We found a dead mouse, it freaked us out. I drank my first Montucky. I didn't have a red t-shirt, Nick let me wear his. I wrote a cover letter for Nick.  I played guitar in the new apartment and the acoustics were amazing. We watched half of spider man and taught my parents how to play spades. We made chocolate chip pancakes for my sister. He did my laundry, I ate the rest of the ice cream, we watched New Girl, without Matty. We fell asleep, tangled up, under all the covers, with the window open, and the fan on... like we always do. 


Content Catalog - May 16th 2016

Content CatalogAriel ColemanComment

Great podcasts, interesting articles, inspiring Ted talks... there a new ones every week! Here's what I found this week: 

One day could almost always be today... 

A great podcast written by Fitz Cahall himself, the original founder and producer of the Dirt Bag Diaries. Him and his wife Becca live in the city of Seattle, with their two little boys. I love hearing his perspective on incorporating his 'normal life' with his 'life of adventure'. He says "The true gap between them (adventure and home) is our perspective on their distance from one another... the hidden corners of the parks, of these wild places can only become fabrics of our lives if we choose to weave them in." I love that. 

Life is full, and life has space. There is no contradiction here.

A New York Times opinion piece about how much time we really have. I'm particularly inspired by this piece because I recently started logging my time. I created a spreadsheet with every half-an-hour booked out for what I want to be doing with that 30 minutes. Whether it's eating breakfast, checking emails, or working on a project at work I've scheduled out my days entirely. What I've found is that I really do have time for everything, as long as I stick to the schedule. 



Passion is a side effect of Mastery

Personal DevelopmentAriel ColemanComment

Everything I've ever been passionate about, has been something I've done a lot of. I've always thought that I've done a lot of something because I liked it, but it turns out it's more the other way around. 

Sure, there's the initial spark, the excitement. The "new shinny thing" aspect to everything, but that wears off, and then what do you do? You keep doing the thing and it's only when you get semi good at it that you really like it. 

For years I had a guitar and I didn't like playing it, so I didn't. I wasn't good at music, I didn't have a "good ear" I took lessons- they didn't help. It wasn't until I had had a guitar for 7 years that I actually started playing it, and in the beginning I didn't like playing it at all. My fingers hurt, I sounded awful, no one wanted to hear me play. In fact I don't know why I kept trying to play at all, except for that I didn't have much else to do that particular summer.

After a few months though, things shifted. I got a little better, I could play chords and basic rhythms. I wrote short songs and sang along. Eventually I had "mastered" the basics, and "found" a passion. 

When I worked at the bike shop-it wasn't fun till I was good at it. When I worked at Daves it wasn't fun until I was the old know-it-all. It's simple, things are more fun once you master them, the flow state comes easier, the challenges become greater. 

I guess I was thinking I'd have that initial spark feeling with something (job, hobbie, relationship) and it'd be so good that the initial spark or discovery feeling would never wear off. Turns out that that's not how passion works. (Or life for that matter. Initial sparks always wear off). Passion isn't the initial spark phase lasting forever, it's what comes after you've mastered something and can sit down and play like an old pro.

Creativity and its arch nemeses Production

Creative PursuitsAriel ColemanComment

I came home from work, sat down on the couch, and drew what I could see of the living room. A tiny doodle, in my tiny sketch book, of a tiny section of my house. It was easy, it took 15 minutes, it was fun, I felt better, and then I posted it to Instagram. Authentic content. 

We're always discussing content at work, or more, our lack of content. We need a zillion photos of happy moms with kids eating our peanut butter, we need an info-graphic of what it means to be "palm fruit oil free", we need a video explaining just how to stir that non-palm-fruit-oil peanut butter back together. The content creating could really be a full time job all on it's own. We need a media team of 1 graphic designer, 1 web developer, and a 1 professional photographer just orchestrating a never ending stream of professional looking content for us to post, tweet, gram, snapchat, email, Pinterest, Facebook, and blog about, so that we can build a national brand following and take over the nut butter market.  

We don't have a graphic designer, or a web developer, or a professional photographer, we just have me, the amateur at all those things, and sometimes I get bogged down by the never ending stream of content that's already out there. The websites that are already beautifully designed, or the info graphics that were clearly constructed by professionals, or the photographs that seamlessly mesh in with the overall aesthetic of all the other content...yet are still uniquely interesting all on their own.

At work, my creativity gets trapped in this 'I'm not good enough, I'm not efficient enough, this isn't valuable enough' mind set that stops the content from even leaving my brain. Before I can even write my video idea down I get hives about what someone else might say about my 'amateur content', or worse how I've been using my salaried paid time to create something that may be utterly useless.

This never happens in my personal life, despite the fact that I value my personal time as the most valuable thing I have. I don't sit around wondering if my weird sunday doodles of couches are worth my personal time. I just do them, because I want to, and because I enjoy it for the sake of it. I tune out the noise of potential feedback for the 15 minutes of the doodle, and then once it's finished I can decide if it's useful or not. It's only once it's finished that it becomes content. Creativity is only linked to content if that is in fact what gets produced. If I was creatively cooking creativity would be linked to lunch. I don't care whether I'm efficient enough, or professional enough because 'being creative' isn't about 'creating content', it's a state of mind not a state of production. Creativity in this way flows freely from my finger tips and regenerates it self with each new thought, drawing, doodle, and BAM there you have it, a never ending stream of content

The anxiety I feel at work is brought on by bottom lines and time constraints and my own personal made up idea of what is 'professional' or not. It's brought on by feeling like I must be in a state of production, in a place of being productive. "I'm at work, they are paying me, I must be productive". I need to combat this, I need to build a little wall around me that says "I'm in the creative state I'll come out once I've produced something and then we can run it through the 'is this good enough' machine but till then I'm back here creating so leave me alone". I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to do this, so if anyone out there has any good ideas let me know.

Serendipitous Saturday Skiing

AdventureAriel ColemanComment

I often time dream of living alone. Of coming home to a perfectly clean kitchen the way I've left it, of a bedroom that isn't walled by a bathroom and another bedroom that other people use. Of Friday nights not encumbered with the pressure to go out and drink. 

Then there are the Saturdays, where I am serendipitously invited to go cross country skiing with my roommate and his girlfriend and all the stresses of living with others are washed away, by the opportunities that living with others present. 

In all areas of our lives there are ways to streamline them to make them easier. To cut out the hardship and difficulty in exchange for comfort and convince. Sometimes simplifying makes things better, more organized, and richer because of the simplicity. Other times though, simplifying takes away the hardships, but also the rewards with it. It's important to know which is which, and in which areas of your life either/or applies. 

For me, this is certainly the case with my roommates. Even though I feel like my life in Portland is established enough, I am always yearning for adventurous friends, people to inspire me to go out and embrace the wild side of the world, people who have that itch, who are willing to buy a 300 dollar sleeping bag, who take 6 months off of work to backpack through Peru. These people inspire me to go and be, and be happy where I am, like in the middle of the woods, with skis strapped to my feet, and nothing but serene silence around me. 

I made really great friends this weekend, simply by being on the right couch at the right time. These people all brought together from a girl who moved here from North Carolina, including couple from New Hampshire, and a girl from Seattle. This is how friendships are made, serendipitously on Saturdays in the snow. 

Identity Capital

Personal DevelopmentAriel ColemanComment

Yesterday I was standing in my bathroom feeling mildly distraught about all the places I hadn't been, things I hadn't bought, financial independence I had yet to achieve. I had been flipping through instagrams per the normal morning routine and between images of Glacier National Park, and mountain bikers in New Zealand I couldn't help but feel like I'd seen practically none of the world and done nothing cool at all. To top it off I started in on the negative self talk about how I couldn't even do those things if I wanted to since I have so much student loan debt, barely any idea what I want to do with my career, and no prospects of finding my life partner, or buying my own house anytime soon. 

Here I was in the bathroom at 7:45 am in the morning, asking myself, "what the hell am I doing brushing my teeth? I should be backpacking through Europe right now, or working a second job to save enough money for the house. I should be taking classes and learning all the stuff I don't know yet, reading books or working out or painting murals or apprenticing somewhere. Oh my God, panic, I have so much to do, I don't even have time to brush my teeth!!"

This phenomenon happens to me a lot. It's not about wanting more money, more fame, more success, it's about wanting more identity capital. I want to succeed in so many areas of my life, and I want to be graceful through it all. I have big plans, big dreams, big ideas about all the amazing places I could go, things I could do, companies I could start, lives I could change and impact. 

I don't have an issue with my dreams about backpacking through Nepal. I do take issue with, however, letting dreams of backpacking through Nepal get in the way of what I'm doing right now.

Being afraid that you won't get to do all the things you want to do in life, is the most ridiculous fear of all because it pulls you away from the things you are currently doing. Things that you previously wanted to do. It's as if you spend your entire life jumping from dream to dream never really enjoying any of them. 

The future is out there, I'm sure, based on where I've been so far, it'll be great, but I don't need to think about it right now. Right now, I need to brush my teeth, and go to work.