Falling Off The Wagon

One of the most difficult things I’ve found is getting back on the wagon after I’ve fallen off.
It’s been a constant struggle trying to get back to a regimen if working out, prepping meals, and taking on client work – all while working a nine to five. It’s practically impossible to do all those things and remain sane.
I think back and try to figure out what my motivation was and where my determination came from – and sometimes it was an upcoming event or a team of people that helped keep me accountable.
I have steadily been gaining weight and have crossed over the 200 mark. I can feel the weight weighing me down. I can say it’s in consistency, that work has been stressful, that I don’t have time to prep meals – but when you have a schedule it’s so much easier to stick to and to make progress. And the schedule has to be realistic.
I’m working on taking each day, one day at a time and making a lifestyle change that can last over the years.
I’m reminded by a good friend who shared some verses she quoted while she was running and walking on the track this weekend, ” The race is not given to the swift nor the strong but those that endure to the end”, and “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.
Let us continue this race and remember it takes time for our bodies to make a difference.

Becoming a better Designer

Around this time last year I started blogging regularly and I wanted it to document my journey from here to there – there being IDEO.

I'm not there yet but a friend of mind posed a really great question. What if the industry still existed but ideo no longer exists? Then what?

This question was posed to ensure I wasn't putting ideo on a pedestal and for me to research and figure out other ways to do the work I'm interested in. It floored me. I had no responses and began to wonder," are there any other companies that do similar work?"

Regardless of the answer, I believe that I first have to become a better designer. I need to be designing for people in need, and to be solving real world problems. They can be small or big- but the best ones are within reach.

Most of design today is based on existing products that are slightly modified, but planned for obsolescence.

I keep debating if it's wise to return to school for a graduate degree or if I can continue in my field to gain additional experience. The field has grown exponentially and it's become competitive in a different playing field. But IDEO.org stands out to me as they focus on designing for people in poverty.

This hits home because my family knows what it means to grow up in poverty and struggling. Ever since I learned the power of design, I've wanted to use it to do good and to service people. It's what drew me deeper into the world of product design- designing products to improve people's lives.

So where does one start to improve themselves as an industrial designer? Especially when access to tools and understanding of engineering is limited- insert me and my scenario. Often you'll hear people say scratch your own itch. But for me, industrial design is all about scratching the itch for other people in need.

Boundaries in sharing

Since coming back from Haiti I've been writing more analog style. I've been digging deeper in my writing and getting more personal. So I haven't been sharing that publicly.

Not everything is made for social media.
We've become so accustomed to sharing everything, that the boundaries have become blurred.

I've felt the need to just come onto here and let you know I'm still writing. It's just been personal writing s that I didn't want to make public as of yet.

Cheers to 325 days of writing.

Subtle switch

There was an immediate yet subtle switch- back to consumption mode.

Yet there's this lingering thought of minimalism entering my mind due to seeing all the waste in Haiti and how it's affecting their environment.

What can I do to make an impactful change? What can we do to teach them to do something more productive and useful? How can we teach them to eliminate waste?

Don't get me wrong Haiti 🇭🇹 is a beautiful country. It just seems that they ought to be much farther ahead than where they are. It's got me putting my design thinking hat on to see what I could do to make a change.

No internet for a week and half

I didn't consume for a week and a half. No phone, no internet, no worries about bills or work or coworkers – non of that. For a week and a half.

Recently I went on a missions trip to Haiti and I was privileged to go and see the area in which my mom grew up.

Many people asked if I was culture shocked – but I didn't go with much expectations. I heard stories from not having access to any water or food, I've heard stories about how crazy the heat is, and how the natives are. I was able to live amounts the people for a week and a day but knowing that I would go back home played a part in the missions service trip.

The enjoyed not having to think of bills, work, or getting requests from people. I was in Haiti serving others full time but let's not make things all peachy. There were moments of frustration and annoyance but they passed daily quickly.

The heat got to me and had me drained and dehydrated so through the rest of the week I was checking my blood pressure. Turns out that it was significantly high majority of the week.

I have to make a doctors appointment and take my health much more seriously if I don't want any permanent issues.

Clean Water in 2017

So this missions trip for me was all about experiencing Haiti from a service standpoint. Yet it’s becoming more than that. If there is one thing I hear over and over again, it’s “do not drink the water”.
Often you hear this from country to country – especially when traveling overseas and in poorer countries.
But why is it that in the 21-century clean water isn’t prevalent everywhere?
Since going to school and studying industrial design, accumulating debt because “it’s an investment” and having a belief that I can change the world through design, I figured I can start with figuring out the best way to get clean water.
I really want to design to improve people’s lives. I understand that having a business requires making a profit – even if its just to sustain the business.
So where does one start?
I can see where a missions trip can have good intentions but we have to bring bottles of water with us. What happens to the waste we’ve brought and accumulated? If there was a better way to help filter water locally – so that foreigners could drink, and not get sick – this would eliminate costs for the non-profit as well as waste added to Haiti’s landfill.

Too Good To Be True

This was an email I wrote to Jonathan Feilds. Pretty much gushing my feels over the interwebs:
Time and time again I come back to this drafted email wanting to reach out and for some reason I never hit send. Instead, I erase what I previously had typed up on the screen and start over. Your podcast is very inspiring. Hearing from people that have overcome the difficulty and struggle when it comes to creativity, spirituality, and belief, finances, passion, and work.
This Friday, I leave for a missions trip to Haiti. It’s where my parents were born. I was scheduled to go on a sightseeing excursion in December, yet someone decided to encourage me to apply for the missions team – even though they weren’t accepting any more applications. Admittedly, I didn’t want my first visit to be of one where I would be exposed to the poverty my mom and grandmother grew up in. I wanted to see the beautiful island people spoke so highly of.
At some point, I realized this would be a selfish act. I followed through with the application and went to the first meeting that was held in regards to the missions. The person that invited me to apply and even the meeting ended up deciding they weren’t ready to go. They gave up their seat.
Our team consists of Doctors, Nurses, teachers and me. By formal trade, I am a designer and artist. Yet on this trip, it’s my job to document. The story the process, the adventure even of going to do the great work of feeding people, doing outreach, teaching and showing and extending love.
I know my struggle is far different from those around me. And we shouldn’t compare.
I’ve come to realize that networking is important. Getting out of your comfort zone is important. Reaching out is important. And most of all a closed mouth doesn’t get fed. Success – however one chooses to define it – is determined by the individual.
As a first generation born American in my family, I thought, ” go to school, get a good job pay the bills, get married and have kids and lead a successful life”.
Man, was I wrong!
I write all this to ask one question – where does the shift in mindset need to change? It all sounds too good to be true. Yet you’ve interviewed many people, and they seem to be living full lives.
I don’t know what I am hoping to hear back – or if you will even have the time to reply.
Designer in distress,
Keshna Donia Thermitus

Half Assed Work

Half-assed work. Is it better to not be done at all or is it better that you have a starting point somewhere to improve and learn from?

The days are fast approaching to my missions trip, I am looking forward to having stories to share. Stories about my experience and stories of the people I meet there.

So that means I won’t have immediate access to internet and wifi for a good two weeks.

TWO WEEKS! First world problems yeah?

I’ve debated writing in advance and sharing posts over the next two weeks but I don’t want it to be shitty and half-assed- Like the post I did yesterday.

I’ve managed to show up for 298 days as of today. I would hate to break my streak. But breaking my streak would mean that I don’t publish. I do have a journal I am using to write about my missions trip.

Last night I met up with a few friends to celebrate my girls birthday. And we talked about her experience. She told me that she came back grateful for everything she has.

“You come back a changed person”, she said.

If there is one thing I am looking for its clarity.

I’ve wondered far too long to know and understand why I’d be given a desire to design and impact people’s lives to not do anything worthwhile with it.

So If you come to this blog after Friday, and you see no posts – just know I am writing analog, daily- while on my missions trip.

Birthday Surprises

I was feeling salty.

Someone came up to me and asked me to sign a birthday card.

I signed it and wished the person a happy birthday. Yet all I thought about was me. My birthday was also last month. I didn’t get a card. ::sigh::

Oh well right?

It was time to leave and my Pastor Cousin wanted to ask me about the missions trip I have coming up (I leave this Friday), He asked about my expectations and I didn’t really have any. All I know is that it will be hot. How do you gage expectations of a place you’ve only heard extreames? 

But then…. the Leadership Ministry decided to bring out a cake and a birthday card. And I got my own ICE-CREAM CAKE!!!!! It was really a surprise and…..

It was really a surprise and bet – it’s fairly difficult to surprise my nosey ass…

Thank you to my crew.

Y’all are the best. Though we bicker like family we also try to be on the lookout for one another. 

Leadership, especially in the church setting is difficult and requires much sacrifice.

Thank you – I appreciate you.

Now I know I shouldn’t eat this all by myself….. who wants ice cream cake?