“Some of us are born with a crack in our souls”. This was the first line of a piece that I read in a recent edition of Cereal Magazine while I was rummaging through a sea of design magazines at the bookstore the other day. What a heavy sentence. I read it again and again and had to stop for a moment and think to myself what it actually meant. Is it a positive thing? Is it a negative thing? Does this mean that we are all inherently broken people? Does it mean that as humans some of us are different? I have been thinking a lot lately about relationships and more specifically, an individual's capacity for each of those relationships, and it got me thinking about how I approach the relationships in my life during my 28th year of age.
If it isn’t obvious by now, I seem to be a realist who is exasperated by reality. I don’t enjoy things that come too easy. I like complex puzzles, learning about things I don’t understand, eating complicated foods that require assembly like grapefruit or artichoke, dating men that don’t live on my continent and understanding cultures that are far different than my own. When I was doing a summer program the summer before college at Parsons, we learned about the many different shades of grey. In the 1930’s, Ansel Adams perfected the grey scale, which meant that the human eye can successfully distinguish between more than 500 different shades of grey. Can you imagine that? Each of these different shades of grey have a specific prism in which we look at the world. If you have all the same color or prism, than you have all the same things in a world that is meant to be different.
So continuing on with this theme about capacity levels, let’s say you have a circle and you’re going to divide that circle up into three sections: first is personal, second is work and third is relationships. Within those sections, and as a general rule of thumb, I like to live my life in the realm of an 80/20 breakdown. If you aren’t familiar, the 80/20 Principle states that 80% of the output or results will come from 20% of the input or action.
Author Tim Ferriss popularized the idea of applying the 80/20 Rule to your lifestyle in order to make everything more efficient. He recommended applying it in everything from personal hobbies (focus on the 20% of your interests that give you 80% of your enjoyment), friends (focus on the 20% of people that you’re closest to and spend 80% of your time talking with and seeing), clothes (focus on the 20% of the clothes you wear 80% of the time), etc.
Let’s take the three sections that I mentioned earlier: personal, work and relationships. For this post, I’ll focus on how I like to break down my personal time. If I were to choose the 20% of my interests that give me 80% of my enjoyment that would be my blog and self-care. Within my blog, I love to travel to boutique design hotels, research topics and then write stories that I find interesting, take snapshots of my outfits that I love to wear, read design magazines, watch the latest Cannes film at my local independent theater, discover a new artist and create a playlist, check out a new hotspot to add to my City Guides, shop for new vintage clothes or home products, see the latest exhibition at one of the modern art museums, etc. Within self-care, I like to do pilates, barre, cycling, bootcamps and boxing, hack my personal health (different kinds of testing, acupuncture, sound baths, etc.), and go to the spa (massage, facial, manicure, steam room, etc.). It’s really hard to add more things into this rotation, but really everything I do in my personal time is wrapped into the one thing that I love most and that is my blog. So when I break it down this way, there really isn’t a question as to what makes me happiest and what I should spend my personal time doing.
That being said, I seem to have mastered how to maximize my day more than anyone. I have a stream of continuous energy from the enjoyment of my work (both professional and personal) and love spending time with those relationships that are important to me, but I am very selfish with my capacity and what I keep for myself and what I can give to others and I think you should be too. Understanding your capacity allows for you to set and manage expectations for yourself and others to help you be a better you.
Also, as a side note, LouLou’s in Paris is a marvelous place to have lunch with a rather lovely outdoor seating area. Make a booking for a nice girly lunch and then stroll over afterwards to the Tuileries gardens and the Palais Royale for a coffee at Kitsune.