Something that I’ve been thinking about a lot right now has been the idea of self improvement and always being curious. I think it’s the most important thing and it it’s something that really dictates how I live my life and the people I choose to surround myself with. James Nord was talking a little bit about this in his episode on the new Fohr Ground podcast and I found myself nodding my head as I listened. He was talking about wanting to have better taste in music at some point, and making the decision to actively work at that to have better taste. I am like this as well and think it’s so important to be constantly learning, striving, growing, evolving.
The older I get, the more I realize how little I know.
In some ways this is a little bit depressing. I often compare myself with friends who are so much better read than I am; friends who speak so eloquently and drop big words into conversation without seeming pretentious or try-hard; friends who grew up with money and traveled the world from a young age; or friends who studied Art History in college and just know SO MUCH MORE THAN ME. UGH WHY DID I MAJOR IN BORING FINANCE (oh wait – it got me a great first job). Also, friends (like my friend Victoria – her playlists are insanely good) with amazing taste in music. But comparisons aside, realizing how little I know is also exciting as there is so much more to learn.
I will caveat this list by saying I realize my lifestyle (single, childless, self-employed!) is probably more conducive to all of this learning. A lot of my girlfriends are on their second or third child so they’re lucky if they have time to spend twenty minutes reading, let alone going down an art rabbit hole online or looking up new words every day.
Some things I’m personally working on…
As I read, I keep a running list of words I don’t know and look them up later. And then if I’m comfortable, I try to work them into conversation later in the day. For the past couple weeks I’ve assigned myself a “word of the day.” I’ll look it up and try to work it into conversation if I can. I was actually thinking about making this a little series on my Instagram story – would that be interesting to you?
Art has become one of my biggest passions simply because of how it makes me feel but every time I go to a museum it’s another rabbit hole of how little I actually know! Last weekend I went to The Met with a friend who majored in art history. My little notepad on my phone was full of follow-ups and things to look by the end of the day. I really love spending time with people who do know a lot about art and I try to absorb everything I can learn from them.
My year of books post was really fun to write but also a wakeup call. I read a LOT of trash. And that is totally fine; reading has always been more about escaping than learning but I do really want to read more literature this year – classic books, books by foreign authors, things that will challenge me and make me use my brain a bit more! You can absolutely do both and have a mix. My aim is to alternate; adding more non-fiction, business books, foreign books, and classics to my reading routine… in between the thrillers and YA, of course!
I’ve always said that music is my weakest link – I know a decent amount about art, books, movies, and TV but always find I’m behind on music. Honestly, I have the taste of a 70 year old man (I looove classic rock and would be happy just listening to The Beatles/Rolling Stones/Billy Joel all day). But I would like to have better taste. I always listen to my Discover mix on Spotify which has helped me discover new artists I like, and having friends who make amazing playlists helps with too.
Or just being mindful of what is playing and taking notes if I like it. On Wednesday we saw Dianna Agron at Cafe Carlyle. I loved all of the older songs she sang and wrote them down as she went. When I got home, I made a playlist (and then used Spotify’s suggestions to add to it). I learned a lot just from that simple exercise and can’t stop listening to the playlist.
With food and restaurants.
An ex called me a restaurant hype beast which was really grating. Food – good food – has always been incredibly important to me (haha that sounds funny) as I grew up in a restaurant and my parents always prioritized eating well (both healthfully but also with developing our palate + trying new restaurants). I didn’t appreciate this nearly as much as I should have as a kid but I really appreciate it now. I read Infatuation at least once a week, I check the Eater Heat Map every month. Also, I have a google doc with old standbys + all the places I want to try.
I’ve been told I’m a good friend to have as if we’re making a plan I am always happy to pick the restaurant and make a reservation. I know this obsession can be seen by some as pretentious or “paying for ambience” (that same guy used that term which also annoyed the heck out of me) but it isn’t just about trying the fancy/expensive new place, it’s about finding the best dim sum or hole in the wall ramen spot! If there is good food to be eaten, I want to know about it.
Some things I don’t really care to further my learning on…
This is probably a little surprising given what I do for a living. But I have friends who are SO up on the latest designer and who is who of the fashion world. Honestly, I just don’t really care. I’ve been scolded (in a joking manner) for not knowing who is who and I always laugh because I really just don’t care. I care about style. Also, I like to shop but do I care who is in and out at this or that design house? Not particularly.
I remember when I was 22, I bought a book about football in an attempt to learn more about it to impress a boy. My parents still tease me for that. I don’t like sports, I don’t care about them. Also, I will go to a sporting event and eat all the things and be social but at the end of the day I just don’t care!
How about you?!
photography by Carter Fish.