- Resting & restorativeness are very important. Days off spent doing fun things, with no agenda & no clocks ticking evilly in the background reminding you of the impending returns. You cannot always be running around & constantly hustling if you are to keep your sanity. Working on it slowly, pacing yourself so you don’t get burnt out. This is all that matters in the end: you will get where you’re going.
- Their fights don’t have anything to do with you. Sit there in the corner with your ears plugged making obnoxious noises if necessary, but do not think for one minute that what they argue about has anything to do with you.
- I don’t let the mean, petty, obnoxious, or passive-aggressive things that people may say or imply about me hurt me. Sure, I may get pissed about it briefly, but I know that what they say isn’t true. They cannot know me; therefore they cannot truly comment about me, & if they do, what they say holds no water. It isn’t true, & I know that, so I breathe out a sigh of relief. It doesn’t actually have to do with me at all. I have the brick wall surrounding my castle now, & know they are not worth it. Not when he mocks me, or she insults something I have done. I am separate & immune from the stones they throw at the wall. This applies also to the fights above.
- MINIMALISM: it feels so, so good getting rid of the expansive excess. Every time I throw something out it gets a little bit lighter & easier. I look deeply forward to the day when everything is as I’ve wanted it to be; where only the essential, the useful, & the beautiful things remain surrounding me. I do not have to be owned by my possessions anymore.
- Their phrase about the evil of boredom & the joy of creating & building resonated strongly with me. I like that culture of living too.
- Black cherry dyed hair. Skateboards. The strange animals with their strange faces that you find to be perfect. Pink elaborate tulle skirts. Zines. All these things are important.
- I have plenty of time.
- Flying a kite on the beach felt timeless. There really are few things in life as satisfying as flying a kite as high as you can on a beach when they weather is perfect.
- The philosophy of parkour, surmounting all life obstacles & physical obstacles with as little effort but as satisfying of a reward/outcomes as possible. Doing it the easy way but the worth it way. See: Restorative.
- Making an effort. I did it before as a punishment, didn’t I? To try & show them my displeasure in a visible, physical way. I felt like a wilting flower & I wanted to show it off. Sometimes I am a martyr. I like to exemplify my own suffering. But I can’t do that anymore. For my own sake. Putting in the effort, showing up. The hair color, smooth & silky. I put on better shirts & better accessories that actually said something. I stopped hiding inside the folds of the jean jacket & turned my real face to the sun. I started reading & writing & listening to the sweet dancing of music. I started trying.
- Fruits & vegetables are good. I crave them. They make me feel happy & healthy.
- Happiness is oftentimes a choice. Either way, in any situation you have the option of choosing to do something that will make your life more: magical, happy, serene, reverent, sunlight. You can choose to open the curtains, or listen to a really perfect song, or run out into the rain & dance, or think about something good. You are just like the rest of them if you fall into the trap of being dark & dissatisfied & cynical. Cynics & liars laughing, indeed. Remember the song. Your favorite, as a kid. How you feel in every moment is your choice. If it’s lame, you’re the only one to blame, but also the only one who can choose to do something different.
- I want to feel that relaxed, creative, peace-of-mind way that it implies. Maybe then things would be easier.
- They clapped & laughed in the dark room & the monsters ran away.
- Gnarly: the act of doing something potentially painful but ignoring the potential pain & (intelligent, thought out) risks in order to do something freeing.
- It felt deeply freeing; I felt it welling up from deep inside the depths of something much more expansive & deep-seated & hidden behind the fronds of ferns, then it was a supernova & the sorrow evaporated from the flowers. Then I saw the Freedom Meadow expand once more; it had a garden of blooming flowers.
- I only got what I wanted when I stopped feeling lonely & danced, joyous & reverently, at night under the moon with the music playing. The next day, they called me & said YES.
- I want his work ethic. He tirelessly did things he enjoyed & made money. He seems happy now, so I guess he did do what he wanted.
- I must get more used to being uncomfortable. I want the things that make other people fall into mediocrity, the things that exhaust them, the things that make them complain & lie prostrate on the carpet powerless to be the very things that make me invincible, strong, powerful. I want to turn the curses they throw at me around & change them into sunlight that melts vampires. I want to turn the chains & empty lies they bestow on me on their heads & change them into something that works for me.
- The full moon was so big & so bright that at first I didn’t think it was the moon. When I realized it was, I still couldn’t believe it was actually the moon. I’ve never seen it so big or so bright. I stared in meditative reverence & felt profundity. I looked at her through the scope & saw the bumpy, cratered edges. It looked like maybe I was there. I loved it. The moon & I are kindred spirits.
- You really can have it all.
It suddenly hit me, as I saw the piles of unread magazines & unworn clothes, unused digital photo duplicates, uneaten food, & unused, useless belongings. Why the hell is there so much stuff? It had accumulated, over the years, & now, it didn’t actually matter anymore. Piles & piles of it, in my living room, in the closets, on the counters.
Part of the problem was my tendency towards over-sentimentality towards things that I own. I feel inclined to keep certain belongings of mine because when I see them, I’m reminded of the exact place & time of memories involving that item. I’ve started photographing these items, because I’ve realized that keeping the actual item isn’t important to me remembering it. Seeing it is enough to spark these memories. As The Minimalists say, “The memories aren’t in the things, they’re in me.”
The second reason is that I have a deep-seated fear that if I get rid of things, I might need or want or miss them sometime in the future. Even if they’ve been sitting in my garage in a box for the past five years, I still feel that way. Logically, I know that I don’t actually need it. My life has been just fine without it, & I haven’t missed it. I also know that there are incredibly few things I’ve ever gotten rid of that I’ve missed, & magically, I’ve been able to live without them anyways.
Yesterday, I threw out the three essentially empty bottles of the same scent of lotion that I used when I was 16. The smell of them was linked to one memory of mine. But I realized I don’t need the lotion to remember. The memory is in my mind, & on paper where I wrote it down. Today, I eliminated a rubber snail that was damaged by sitting in the sun too long, toys my dog never liked, & two purses I crocheted when I was a teenager but no longer used.
Earlier, my mom helped convince me to get rid of a skirt that I wanted to get rid of but felt obligated to keep. “That’s not your style anyways, & you already have a few long skirts like that one.” I put it in the bag of clothes to donate. I scanned & threw away random paper mementos that were only kind of important to me now.
Throwing out stuff & letting go of it is scary, but very, very freeing. I’m looking forward to making more progress.
I want everything I own to be my favorite thing.
Wow, 2016 was a year filled with so many changes. There were a reasonable number of not-so-good things that happened, & a number of really good things that happened for me (you can read my poetic essay about the year here). I’ll choose to focus on the awesome things.
Before I get started telling you what I plan on doing in 2017, here’s a quick overview of what I achieved in 2016:
★ Started an online store (!!!!!!!), where I curate a collection of awesome, funky, adorable, & colorful things. I’ve sold more stuff than I thought I would so far (mostly on the eBay listings for my products), which is very exciting!
★ Re-released my debut album, Fields of Destiny, via CD Baby, therefore making it available for purchase on Amazon, iTunes, & a whole host of other online music retailers. PEOPLE CAN ACTUALLY BUY IT NOW.
★ Got my first-ever acting role, as Audrey in Ken Ludwig’s play Leading Ladies, & a second acting role in the play Shakespeare in Hollywood as Puck.
★ My first article to be published by a website other than my own was published by Thought Catalog!
★ Got pet guinea pigs, which is something I’ve wanted since I was nine or ten years old.
★ Bought a Smart Car! Ever since I was sixteen I always wanted one, because they’re both very safe & very gas efficient. This is something I manifested for myself, after test driving a lot of shitty, cheap cars. I decided I wasn’t going to settle for one of the aforementioned cars I test drove, figured out a way to make the Smart Car happen, & voila! I have a Smart Car, & I love it. It’s even more awesome than I thought it would be.
★ Got my driver’s license! After a long seven months of learning how to drive, I finally got my licence. This was one of the most influential things that happened to me, because now I have the ability to go wherever I want & make things happen for myself. I’m no longer limited in this aspect.
★ Touched a crocodile (at a local Earth Day event). It was cool being able to touch such a powerful animal, & the scales on his back were unlike anything I’ve ever touched.
★ Got a Nutribullet-esque blender for making healthy smoothies. It’s not THE Nutribullet, but my dad got it for me & I love it. I made a really great smoothie with it the other day involving blood oranges, English cucumber, & a salad with pea shoots. This was something on last year’s list.
★ I actually wrote down five things that happened to me each day, EVERY SINGLE DAY, for the past year! In years prior I’ve always been bummed out about not having a written record of the year. I’ve never been disciplined enough to actually do this, but now, thanks to the Document Your Life journal that I wrote & published, I actually achieved this, & I’m proud of myself!
★ Felt like I’m getting a much better idea of who I am + what I want out to life.
Goals for 2017
As for all of the awesome things I’m going to do in 2017, I have a few new ideas for planning these goals. The first school of thought which I think sounds intriguing is picking one big goal to accomplish each month. I forgot where I heard this, but I like the idea. If I do this, I’ll stay on track for all the big goals I have for the year. No matter what else happens, I will accomplish 12 big things this year, & the idea of that is really exciting. Provided I accomplish the big goal for each month, I can then achieve as many small goals each month too, without having to worry about not achieving the big things.
The second idea is inspired by two ideas. The first – multiple things James Altucher has written where he discusses picking themes for your life instead of goals. The second – what Gretchen Rubin discusses in The Happiness Project, about how Ben Franklin picked thirteen virtues to rate & measure his performance in. I thought, “Why not combine the ideas & pick some themes that I want to work on cultivating this year, in addition to the big goals?” Both lists of alternate goal are still things I’m working on.
In the mean time, here are some things I plan to accomplish in the upcoming year:
★ Direct a film. By film, I mean a real film starring actors other than myself, & a variety of locations, & a script. I have several ideas & haven’t picked one yet, but this is one of the things I’m most excited about doing.
★ Run in a 5k. As it is now, I’m in reasonable shape but can’t run for more than a few minutes in a row. I bought myself some running shoes & a stop watch so that when I’m able to start training, it will be easy.
★ Continue growing my online store. I have a TON of plans for things I want to start selling, & products I’m working on designing. SHOP Ashlee Craft will soon be home to t-shirts, a whole bunch of stickers, & hopefully some new exclusive pins, all designed by me. I also think it would be awesome to design magnets, window clings, & journals.
★ Get a paid acting gig. Acting is lots of fun, & I’m glad that I took the leap & started pursuing it in this previous year.
★ Republish out-of-print books that I love under my publishing company. There are loads of great things – books, music, films, images, etc – which are great, but people don’t know about them anymore. They should, & I want to be the one to help these works of art be brought into the light again.
★ Read a lot more. For most of 2016, I sadly didn’t read very much at all. Towards the end of the year I bought a lot of great books (Choose Yourself & What To Do When It’s Your Turn are two that stand out) & actually started reading them. Then I realized how much I missed reading. This year, I’m actually going to track every book I read, & I’m going to read as many as possible.
★ Record more cover songs. I LOVED recording my cover of David Bowie’s Changes. I have a whole list of other songs I would love to cover, so I’m going to work on this a lot more soon. Before the end of the year, I will also release another album of original compositions.
★ Start investing in companies. I’ve already picked out a few good prospects I will buy stock in soon.
★ Write more books. This is always a goal of mine, because there are always so many books to write. Currently in my book release plans are the novel I’ve been working on for two years, a children’s storybook about owls, a children’s series about a mouse, another motivational book, a book of personal essays, more issues of Assemblage, & more zines. A lot of the books I’ve already published are also going to be republished under Freedom Meadow Media.
★ Release an app.
★ Travel. I would love to travel to three different places. Somewhere in my state, a different state, & a different country.
★ Minimalism. This means excluding things – physical things, mental things, wasted time, unhappiness – to make more room for the things that really do feel good. I’m not trying to have as few things as possible, but as many things that make me happy with as few unnecessary things as possible. I really like this quote from this article I was reading earlier, titled Like Henry David Thoreau, but with Wi-Fi. “Everything in my life become my favorite thing.” I want to live my life like that.
★ Figure out what I really want. For now. Become more myself. Reinvent myself a hundred times this year, if that’s what it takes. Get to the place that I think I’m going. Be happier, for real. Know what it feels like to finally have peace of mind. Explore & live in the world that is mine.
What are your goals for 2017? Let me know on the social media channel of your choice!