Things My Friends Have Taught Me: Practice today being the person you want to be tomorrow.
When we spend time worrying about who or what we are not today, we miss the millions of beautiful opportunities to celebrate each day and to practice doing the things we love. By making something every day, by moving our bodies, by laughing loud and during serious moments, and by taking time to wonder at the world around us, we can let go of what isn’t and treasure what is.
Life is too weird to be wasted. Authenticity is important. Using what’s weird and wonderful to our advantage helps us make the world good.
Keep reading for more on what I learned from my friend, Cam.
Why wish for your childhood back when you could just be a big kid full time? Cam's unending ability to find the wonder, the delight, and the silliness in anything makes the world a fundamentally better place.
Every day, she asks herself the question, "what am I making today?". And every day she finds a new way to stretch herself to create something spectacular.
She pushes those around her to be the best, kindest, most authentic versions of themselves. Her drive to create things that make a difference is contagious.
Cam and I hopped on a video chat to record a 90-minute interview. In the interview, I asked her fifteen questions about the person she is today.
Here are few of her answers that I'd like to share with you.
Kait: What do you wish you were better at?
Cam: A lot of things! I make the best of everything though, so I’m happy with where I am on most things. I am really driven and I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself so it took a lot of mental work to get to that point of being fine with where I am today.
I do make sure that anytime I wish I was better at something, I’m putting it in my daily routine to practice and improve.
I don’t call it a bucket list; I call it “do this before you die”. I don’t want to be pulling from a bucket when I’m old.
I don’t really think I’m good at drawing, but I’ve worked really hard to get where I am today. Now I can get an idea out of my brain, down my arm, all the way to my hands and fingers and out of my pencil. It’s like magic, right!? You see the drawing and you’re like, “How did my body do that?!” Does it always look like I want it to? No. But I can do it now!
I like to break apart "It would be cool if…" and "I wish I could...".
The "I wish I could"s need to be acted upon but the "It would be cool if"s can live in your head as a daydream. An example for me is, it would be cool if I could be a professional skateboarder. It’s not a real goal; I’d never put in the time or effort, so it just lives as a daydream. And you need daydreams in your head, too, just like you need actual goals!
You have to know the difference, though. Otherwise, you’ll drive yourself crazy always thinking you’re not working on the person you want to be.
What are some of your biggest daily challenges?
I have a lot of them! The reason I have a hard time with this question is because it’s a fear-based question. I’m scared to answer it because it does make me seem weak, but I’m gonna answer it.
I can sometimes get super low—I don’t like saying depressed because I don’t want to add drama—and yet be smiling and laughing. I’m not being fake about it, it’s just that I feel heavy and uncomfortable inside. My biggest daily challenge is knowing how to combat that low feeling.
There are so many things I want to be and so many things I want to do. It’s a struggle for me to complete all the little steps to get me there every day. Especially when it’s a routine.
Every morning, you wake up with a certain amount of willpower. You use that willpower on the decisions you make throughout the day. You have to decide to wake up. You have to decide to get out of bed. You have to decide not to go on Instagram right now and instead get ready for work.
You can only make so many good decisions in a day. There was a study done about how much willpower humans can use in a day and it’s depressingly low!
Because I make good decisions and take responsibility for other things and people easily, I used to use up all my willpower and good decisions on everything but myself early in the day. That made me feel really low. When you give your willpower to other people, it’s less valuable to them than if you were to use it yourself. Now I work hard to set my day up so that I keep most of my willpower and good decisions for myself.
People tend to make up their own story about your life. Often, if you diverge from that narrative, they either don’t care to notice or just don’t accept it.
Before, I had accidentally trained the people in my life to come to me for their needs. I did it because I care, but I didn’t realize what it was doing to me. I had trained them to use up all my willpower so nothing was left for me at the end of the day.
Now I know how to say, “Does this really need to be answered?”, “Does this really need to be answered by me?”, or “Can we just let it lie or put it on the calendar to make a decision later?”. Then, if I have extra willpower at the end of the day, I can address the things we’ve put on a list for later. If not, I don’t have to make any more decisions that day.
When I use up my willpower, especially with others taking it and not giving any back, then I feel empty and that’s when I feel low. That’s a challenge.
Tell me about your strengths.
I like myself. I’m afraid of a lot of things, and yet I do a lot of things that I’m afraid of, so I know I’m brave. I’m good at leading by example.
I know I’m a good influence. That doesn’t mean I’m perfect—I’m definitely very weird, which is a good quality—I’m just not afraid to do something the hard way or articulate my failures, which makes me a good influence on other people.
I have two best qualities.
One of them is being excited! I get excited about what would be little things to other people. I don’t have to go to Europe to feel excited about life. I don’t think everyone gets to feel that way, so I feel really lucky for that. That can also be a con, though. My ups can be a little too up and my downs can feel really low.
The second is that I’m creative. I love and hate that word, though. Sometimes I prefer to say that I’m a problem-solver because the word creative sometimes feels weak. “Creative” isn’t a power word, but it should be.
I don’t see myself as an artist, though I can sometimes see myself as an artist a little bit. I don’t see myself as a designer, though I can sometimes see myself as a designer. I don’t see myself as a developer, though I can sometimes see myself as a developer. I can logically see that I am all of those other things, but the one thing I feel and identify with is being creative.
You give me a problem and I’ll solve it.
Tell me about an event in your life that shaped who you are as a person today. Why was it so transformative?
A big one is when Stacy and I went to New Zealand. We hadn’t really come out to anyone yet. We’d just lived together for whatever—ten years.
We decided to live in another country for six months because it was a goal and we really liked New Zealand. The scenery was awesome; it was so green. We moved there and worked on farms and vineyards and were just away from everyone for a while.
We were able to come home and come out of the closet and get married and buy a house and have kids and all that. I know that wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t go to New Zealand.
I get excited about what would be little things to other people. I don’t think everyone gets to feel that way, so I feel really lucky for that.
We just had to be away.
People tend to make up their own story about your life. Often, if you diverge from that narrative, they either don’t care to notice or just don’t accept it. When we left, we removed ourselves from those connections who were insisting on who we were. That helped us to get our head above the clouds and realize they were imposing their vision on us.
When you come back from that, you have to face those people. You have to say, “I worked really hard to make this change and this is who I am.” If they don’t accept who you are then, or if they tell you you’re wrong, you can decide that you want to be around other people—people who will accept the person you’ve worked hard to become.
What are you working towards?
I’m working towards being nice all day every day—towards being remembered as a nice person.
I’m also working towards being vulnerable. I learned to become very good at hiding vulnerabilities because people always depended on me, so it took a lot to learn how to tell people what I need and what I like.
I have a huge list of goals that I’m always working on. I do actually have them written down. I don’t call it a bucket list, though; I call it “do this before you die”. I don’t want to be pulling from a bucket when I’m old. I try to live in the moment and remember to work on today today and tomorrow tomorrow.
I’m working to grow camiah. I know miah and I can be and we will be a super effective and influential crew. We intentionally set up our business as this dynamic duo. We make good, happy things. Our work just isn’t reaching the people I think it could be yet, but I think if we can make camiah work the way that we know it can, a lot of good things will happen.
I think camiah is inspiring because we’re such a good team and we’re not codependent. We full-on respect each other. It’s like building a house. We’ve each built our own foundation and then we built and connected our camiah house on top of that foundation.
“Creative” isn’t a power word, but it should be.
If you ever want to be a good teammate in life, you have to build your own foundation. If you start building your house from someone else’s foundation, you’ve messed it up. You have to deconstruct that house, build your own foundation, and then do the work to rebuild something strong.
...But what am I working towards? Mostly being a nice person.
More Things My Friends Have Taught Me Coming Soon