Author: ericaeyoung

Graphics tell stories

Way back when, I explained in general how I use visualisations for personal storytelling. Finally, I have a specific test case that I can share. At the end of August, a very trusting friend agreed to join me for a 95km trail run along Hadrian’s Wall path. It’s considered the best-preserved frontier of the Roman Empire and covers a beautiful stretch of land from coast to coast in North England, just south of the Scottish border. In case you’re curious, we used Contours to organise the trip and they happily took care of booking rooms, recommending daily distances and luggage transfer. I’d highly recommend them! Here’s what I did before, during and after the experience along with the resulting visual. Before: What information do you think you want to capture? What are the best / most convenient tools to capture that data? In this case, I could easily collect the quantitative data I was interested in using Strava. This app can capture distance, time, pace, elevation change among other useful metrics. As an added bonus, …

Intensive UK course

It’s been almost 24 hours since I returned home from the 3 Peaks Challenge. While I’m still processing the experience, there is one concept that became a recurring theme throughout the journey. In the Art of Possibility, Zander says “You can always grace yourself with responsibility for anything that happens in your life. You can always find within yourself the source of any problem you have.” It’s not about taking more than your fair share of responsibility for any given situation, but understanding in what ways you contributed to it. Of the many lessons the experience taught me, it certainly helped me to internalise that concept. To quickly provide some background, the national “3 Peaks Challenge” involves summiting 3 specific UK peaks within the span of 24 hours. The 3 peaks involved are Ben Nevis in Scotland (1345m), Scafell Pike in England (978m), and Snowdon in Wales (1085m). The total vertical climb is about 3000m and the hiking distance is 42km, or roughly the length of a marathon. You can do it independently during any 24 hour period, but it’s popular to attempt the challenge …

Nesting

So, it turns out that I had quite a few things in that Hong Kong flat mentioned in my previous post. Not only that, but I had a fair number of items in my mother’s storage unit back in the States. Thankfully the London flat absorbed the majority of the stuff that arrived in April without issue. I won’t bore anyone with another itemised list, but safe to say I have more sets of dishes than any one person could possibly need. However, it’s wonderful to have everything under one roof and I’m slowly but surely editing. If I had to describe the design theme emerging in my new home, it would be “industrial repurposed”. There are a wealth of clearing houses, restaurant supply stores, second hand shops and other treasure troves filled with used industrial equipment and furnishings, all at reasonable prices. I’ve added many of them to my Local London map. Constraints breed creativity, and it’s been so much fun figuring out what I can make out of my finds. Hard to believe that none …

The Reliants Project: 9 months

Before we dig in to the last 3 months of findings, it’s about time for another round-up of articles and blog posts related to adult friendship that have popped up over the last six months (see last round-up here): Get Over the Stigma That Something’s Wrong With You Because You Want More Friends from Lifehacker Half of Your Friends Probably Don’t Think of You As a Friend from NY Magazine Most people aren’t resilient to life’s hardships, researchers find from Quartz The Science of Making Friends from the Wall Street Journal (paywall) Study shows people have an upper limit on the number of friends they can add to their social network from Phys.org Why Smart People are Better Off with Fewer Friends from the Washington Post Perhaps it’s priming bias, but it feels like this collective conversation has picked up steam over the last year. It also seems as though these conversations share many parallels with the “Future of Work” and “global nomad” macro trends. Recently I had the pleasure of meeting Esko Kilpi, who is a leading researcher in this emerging …

24 hours

Inspired by Benjamin Hardy’s recent blog post, I decided to picture my ideal day so that I can use it as a consistent, visual reminder of my priorities. A few of his probing questions caught my attention: If you repeated today every day for the next year, realistically, where would you end up? One of the best ways to consciously design your ideal life is to start with your ideal day. What does that actually look like? How often do you live your ideal day? With those ideas in mind, taking into consideration basic constraints around work, this is the current design for my ideal day: Activity type. While the activity types in the diagram don’t directly correlate to the dimensions I use in my  annual reflection, there are parallels. All of the active, reflective, and restorative habits fall within the “inward” category, while creative & productive are part of “outward”. Eating & social straddle the two categories because it’s an efficient way to achieve both within 24 hours and they’re such a natural pairing. Often I pair exercise & social time. Also, I gravitate towards …

The Reliants Project: 6 months

It’s been 3 more months and I feel like I have more questions than answers. No doubt a more dynamic visualisation tool would be incredibly useful, but I also feel that the information I’m keeping track of is incomplete. Just to remind readers (and myself) why I am doing this, my goal is understand how adults make friends they can rely on by tracking my own experience building a personal network after moving to a new city. I call this type of friend a “reliant” in honour of my new home, London. Relocation is one of the most jarring experiences for individuals and often results in significant changes to their personal network. It’s also increasingly common. reliant   /re·li·ant/   noun. 1. a British car manufacturer. 2. a person on which someone depends. Here’s the visualisation as it stands today, 6 months into my journey. As before, the data has been anonymised by removing labels. If you’re interested in the first 3 months, I wrote about them here. Connections are categorised into 4 groups: local contacts, non-local contacts, local reliants …

A new year, a new tool

It seemed fitting to spend New Years in the home of an accomplished clockmaker and ironic that not a single handcrafted-clock accurately announced the arrival of 2016. What the home lacked in terms of punctuality it made up for in English country charm and wood-burning warmth. It was the perfect place to quietly reflect on an eventful 2015 and prepare for the year ahead. In the company of a very reflective friend with a well-developed set of personal development tools, I attempted to glean some wisdom and adapt his methods to fit my goals. Until now, I had only two simple processes that I employed to reflect on my year and set future priorities. For the last 6 years I’ve kept track of my happiest moments and tried to identify any patterns, trends or shifts among them. I also regularly set personal themes to guide my actions over a set period of time, which typically lasted 3 months to a year. My friend introduced me to the idea of using radar charts to rate aspects of life on …

What remains

Visualisations can be extremely powerful. I vividly remember reading this Wait But Why post, appreciating how it cut through the noise and compelled me to evaluate priorities. When they revisited the topic a few weeks back it struck a cord, generating a lot of discussion among my network. As a result I decided to make my own version of the visual, focusing only on the time I might have left (acknowledging that each of the moments is a gift and certainly in no way guaranteed). The resulting graphic is above and highlighted stars are explained below. 2028: The year I’ll be 48, the same age my father was when he passed away 2038: The year my mother turns 90 2040: Providing I reach my 90th year, I will still have 1/3 of my life to look forward to 2058, 2061, 2066: My age will be the same as the average life expectancy of a US, UK and HK female (respectively) 2070: My 90th year Seeing the quantity of years laid out in this manner can be startling. There are an infinite number of estimates you …

The Reliants Project: 3 months

Hard to believe that I’ve already been in London for 3 months! Thanks to all of you who have shown interest in participating in The Reliants Project. If you haven’t already, you can read more about this personal project in my previous post. If you’re just learning about the project and interested in tracking your connections, reach out to our community through this typeform. reliant   /re·li·ant/   noun. 1. a British car manufacturer. 2. a person on which someone depends. At this point I’m trying to focus on the connections made outside of work, so I am not including colleagues in the statistics or visualisation unless they’ve had a direct impact on my meeting others beyond the office. While it’s still early days, here are some basic statistics thus far: Existing local network: 13 (not work colleagues) Events attended: 11 (3 work-related) Organisations joined: 2 (1 fitness-related, 1 hobby-related) New connections made: 25 (individuals that I’ve had regular contact with since meeting, also not work colleagues) Existing network that has moved to London: 2 Existing network that has left London: 2 New …

The Reliants Project: how adults make friends they can rely on

Turns out we want to talk about friendships. Thanks to those of you who reached out to me personally in response to my earlier blog post. I’m also excited to see the dialogue around building and maintaining friendships as adults has since expanded beyond a handful of forward-thinking blogs. Articles have popped up in The Atlantic, The Huffington Post, The New York Times and Vox acknowledging the challenge of adult friendship as well as analysing the systems that may be counterproductive (such as urban planning). Here are a handful of my favourites: How Friendships Change in Adulthood How our housing choices make adult friendships more difficult How To Make Friends As An Adult In 4 Simple Steps Dorms for Grownups: A Solution for Lonely Millennials? Friends of a Certain Age The Limits of Friendship Having just moved to a new city, I am acutely aware of this trend and have been actively thinking about ways to better understand this dynamic. A wise friend suggested that I focus on the myths we tell ourselves about making friends, which are easy to find in …