Episode 91

A Party For One Can Still Be Fun

This week on Overtime, where is everyone moving to because of COVID? We’re digging into the most popular destinations people are relocating to, and why. Plus, we explore how social distancing has affected upcoming fashion trends and the way we dress. Last but not least, how to have a party with yourself! We share advice for spending time with yourself in an encouraging and exciting way.

I’ve been really struggling to find ways to have fun by myself… But Pop-Tarts helped me to understand that a party for one can still be fun.

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Meg: Well hi, welcome back! It’s still me, it’s still me here. It’s me, your host Meg “Bring Ball Chain Necklaces Back Right Now” Lewis, and hi, welcome back to Overtime. Ah, this is Dribbble’s weekly podcast where I give you design news and also some tips to create your very best work.

This week out Overtime, I take a look to see where everybody is moving to and from because of COVID. Plus, is anybody wearing vinyl pants anymore? And how is this staying home all the time goofiness changing the way we dress ourselves? And a party for one can still be fun; how to spend time with your own brain in an encouraging and exciting way. Let’s go!

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Lately, I’ve actually been trying to decide where in the world, and probably in the country since we can’t leave this country, where in the country I want to move. Which state, which city, I moved to Minneapolis to start buying and renovating houses, which, I moved here from New York and it’s exactly what I wanted, because it was the opposite at the time. And even though I love New York, not any less than I did the whole time, I just love it so much… But anyway, so now I am renovating my last house that I want to have here, and it’s almost done. And so, I’m trying to figure out where I want to move next. And I’ve been really curious to know how COVID is affecting people moving because, I don’t know about you, but a lot more people in my life right now are moving than ever before. And maybe I’m just noticing it, and you know, when you start noticing something, you see it more, maybe that’s what’s happening, but I don’t think so. It seems like everybody’s at home all the time and picking at the little imperfections in their home, and maybe their city, maybe their state. A lot of people I know can no longer afford where they were living because maybe they got laid off because of COVID and everybody, like they can’t afford their city, that kind of thing. But we’re all trying to think about what makes us feel better, what we need to feel fulfilled, and we’re moving. Who’s moving where? Are people leaving all the big cities? Should I definitely not move to a big city? Should I move to a big city because the housing market will be better, or rent will be cheaper? I don’t know.

So, I’ve been really curious to know the data. I’ve been searching and not really finding the best answers because I don’t think people know yet. But luckily, this week, I finally found a website called, and this is not an ad, it’s starting to sound like one, isn’t it? But I found this website where people have pulled together existing data, but it’s also a crowdsourcing website where you can submit your own information, and basically, it’s just asking people where they live currently. And are they staying? Are they moving? If they’re moving, where are they moving to, and why? Why are they moving? And so, it’s finally just gathering this information and kind of bringing it together so we can zoom out and see what cities people are leaving, where they’re going to, what cities people are moving to, and if everybody’s leaving San Francisco, where are they going? That kind of thing.

So, I’m going to break down a little bit of what I’ve found from this website. And basically, everyone’s moving to California, which, like, being in Minnesota, I am terrified for what’s going to happen this winter. I am so scared because in Minnesota we have like, seven, nine months of winter, it’s just so long. And I was not born here, I’m not from here, so it’s it hits me hard. I’m not used to it. So, I understand the need to leave and to go somewhere warm. And so, I guess that’s probably why everybody’s moving to California, but also California is a mess right now with their cases. So, that seems a little scary for me. But I get it, you want to go somewhere where the weather is fine all the time.

Also, every time I check, I look at the list of the most popular cities to move to, and Kansas City is on there, which is where I did grow up. Also, Berlin is on there, which sounds really nice, but I can’t get there.

And so, there’s lots of information here, and if you want to see, like, lots of people are leaving New York, rightfully so, I’m sure what they’ve seen the past few months has been really hard and I can only imagine what that trauma feels like, and so you can see specifically, all the people that are leaving New York, where are they going? Seems like they’re mostly going to LA. But every time I check the website, things chang a little bit because more people are adding data. So, definitely looking at the website, I don’t understand everything, there’s a lot of numbers on this website and they’ve not explained what any of the numbers mean, and so I’ve spent a lot of time on being very confused and feeling like an idiot because I don’t understand what it’s talking about. So, maybe somebody should give me a tutorial, I don’t know.

But I’m also curious to know if this website, it looks like it, this is my hypothesis, but it looks like it’s been kind of passed around people in the tech industry or design industry maybe, so I’m wondering if it’s just a very limited sample of information and we’re actually just looking at a visualization of where people in a certain industry are moving. And so, I don’t know, like, is it really a reflection on the country or the world as a whole? Probably not. I want to see that information. I’d like somebody to make a larger piece of data, or at least for this website to get in the hands of additional people so that we can make sure that it’s representing all types of people and all humans rather than just one industry. And I’m not sure if that’s actually happening, so I don’t know, just a guess.

So, go there and input your data because the more of us that input data, the more accurate this website can be. And really, it’s going to help me to decide where I want to move because I actually kind of want to try and decide what places people are leaving, so I can go there because I’m just rebellious like that. No, I’m not. Because I really am curious to know if the housing market would be cheaper, like rent prices would be cheaper, depending on if I want to rent or buy, I’m not sure yet, based on if I can afford it, of course. So, I need to know that information, maybe now would be a good time to invest in that, or maybe it’s a huge risk. I don’t know. I have a lot of questions. And I haven’t decided yet.

Okay, so the second story I want to cover today is [from] Fast Company. I cover a lot of Fast Company because I think that they talk about design in sort of an abstract and a little bit outside of our design industry in an interesting way. So, they had an article lately, titled “Who’s Wearing Vinyl Pants in Quarantine? How the Pandemic Could Kill Fashion Trends for Good,” and they had me at vinyl pants. I stuck around for that. But it was a great question and I think about this a lot. Because me, I’m at home all the time, and clearly this article and this discussion is really only catering towards people who are working from home most of the time right now. A lot of you are probably not working from home all the time, and maybe you do have absolutely have to go into workspace every day or a physical place that you work in, and so just bear with me a little bit if I’m not considering you, I do apologize. So, I just wanted to address that.

So obviously, we’re just thinking about working from home people here because, you know, everybody doesn’t have the freedom to just be at home all the time. Anyway, so, for me, since I’m home all the time, I have been really frustrated with the fact that I’m wearing the same three outfits every day that are just comfortable, utilitarian, serving the purpose, allow me to sit down all day, allow me to go on a walk at lunch, that kind of thing. And as someone who really enjoys fashion, and dressing myself, and wearing extravagant things, and wearing loud things, and wearing things that are really uncomfortable because they look really fun, I don’t mind a little bit of discomfort, and in fact, I kind of like it because I like wearing things that look like they’re in my style and that they’re fun, and they cheer people up when they see them on me. So, [it’s] just hard for me to dress comfortably everyday but I kind of just want to.

And so, it’s definitely changing me. It’s changing the way that I dress and think about clothing. I constantly am whining about how I just want to be uncomfortable for the sake of looking really cool and great. I miss doing that. I miss being able to wear specific things just because I’m going to an event or something like that, and obviously that’s not happening anymore. So, now I’m just sitting here in my comfy, stretchy waist, elastic pants and my oversized cotton top. And so, what I’ve been doing is a lot of times I have to take videos of myself or whatever I’m teaching, a workshop on zoom, or on a call, or taking a video for social media, or doing a live stream, something like that. So, just to feel good about myself, I pop on something extravagant and uncomfortable, and then immediately after, I’m like, “Oh, that was terrible,” and I rip it off so I only wear it for the time that I’m on video. But of course, that’s happening.

And shoes. Shoes! How is the shoe industry doing? Are you doing okay? I keep thinking about that. I don’t know if I’ll ever buy a pair of shoes again because the shoes that I own never get worn anymore because I’m not going outside. And then the shoes that I do wear, I’m just wearing for a very specific person, and that person is me. No, I’m wearing the shoes for a very specific purpose, and the purpose is to walk. Okay, this sounds so silly. Was I not wearing shoes for the purpose of walking before? No. Do we? Do a lot of us? I mean, a lot of you probably do. A lot of us don’t. A lot of us wear shoes because they look good and we don’t care about ourselves walking in them.

But I think all of this is an interesting conversation in the point of fast fashion because, as before, I’m as guilty as any other American with this kind of stuff. I’ve been trying to get better at it over the last few years for sure. But before, what we would do is we would buy stuff according to trends, and, you know, we’re spending all of our money all the time, nobody has money, everybody spends it, so, we’re trying to buy the cheapest possible thing that looks the best, and I get it. And now that we’re focusing on a very limited, comfortable, utilitarian wardrobe for just serving the purpose because we’re at home most of the time, nobody’s seeing us in it, especially the lower half, so now I think the exciting thing is that we can focus on sustainable comfort, sustainable pieces that we spend a little bit more money on those when we do need them. And because now we’re not wearing as many pieces of clothing, we don’t need to buy towards trends anymore, we don’t need to buy those vinyl pants, and we can just focus on reliable pieces made sustainably, no more fast fashion. And that’s kind of, that’s exciting to me. So, I’d like to find a balance between the two. I guess I found it in the fact that I just pop something uncomfortable on for an hour and then I pop it back off because I’m on the sofa. But it is fascinating. I’m really interested to know how this is all changing fashion in your wardrobe for you as well, because I’m sure it’s changing everything for all of us.

Now, I’ve got to say, this is a little embarrassing, but not 100%. At this point, you probably listen to this podcast, you know who I am, so this information should not come shocking to you. I was scrolling through Twitter and I got served an ad for Pop-Tarts. And it’s relevant to my interests, I do love Pop-Tarts. If you’re not from the US and you do not have access to Pop-Tarts, Pop-Tarts are a toaster pastry treat, maybe you don’t put them in the toaster. You don’t have to; they are room temperature objects. It’s a pastry that you can pop in the toaster, or not if you don’t like it hot. They come in a lot of flavors. They’ve got some kind of jelly or filling on the inside, they have icing sometimes, it’s great. Love Pop-Tarts.

And Pop-Tarts had this tweet that I found to be very inspiring: it was an ad so there were some pictures of a product, but the caption was, “A party for one can still be fun.” And I found that really inspiring because I normally very much agree with that. I love to treat myself. I love to, you know, travel alone, do things for myself by myself, I love to go out to dinner by myself, I love to do very nice things for me, I’m my own best friend, it’s great. I show myself a great time and I’m good at it. But during all of this, being inside, not being able to go out in public, not feeling safe to do so at least, I don’t treat myself at all anymore. All of the things I used to do for myself by myself, I don’t have any more. And that makes me really sad, and I think about that a lot and it makes me just really bummed out. And I’ve been really struggling to find ways to have fun by myself. Nowadays, unless I’m just dancing around making goofy faces on myself, that’s about all I found to do. And so, all of the ways that I used to treat myself in public, I can’t really do anymore. It doesn’t feel comfortable or safe.

So, I tried to assess what the ways are that I am still alone. And it’s kind of all-day every day, you know, I’m working by myself, I’m in my office by myself, I’m just alone all the time with myself and it doesn’t feel that fun. But Pop-Tarts helped me to understand that it can still be fun, a party for one can still be fun. So I had to kind of think about [how] a lot of the work that I’ve been doing over the past few years of my adult life has been about how to make sure that what’s going on in my brain when I’m alone with my own thoughts, and how I can keep that productive and positive and not harmful for me. So, we’re all finding ourselves alone with our thoughts right now more than ever, there’s less things, less people, less stuff around to distract us, so, we’re all alone with our thoughts now more than ever, right? And I know a lot of us are watching old seasons of Love Island right now, maybe you’re watching Real Housewives, my brain is constantly craving things that just turn my brain to mush, where it’s just such a passive experience that I don’t have to think about myself for a little bit. But there are a lot of times when we really do, we do need to think about ourselves, we need to be in our own head, we need to think. If we’re mashed potato brain all the time, then that doesn’t help us to grow as humans, it doesn’t help us to make the world a better place.

So, what I recommend that works for me very well, is to first, whenever you’re alone with your thoughts, that’s a great time for self-improvement. This whole experience we’re going through this year is a great time for self-improvement because you’re alone all the time, you have less distractions, you have less plans, that’s for sure, so why not work on yourself? If you’re going to be alone with your own thoughts anyway, [you] might as well.

So, when it comes to my thoughts in my head and what’s going on with where my brain is at, there’s two different versions of myself I think that seemed to happen whenever I’m alone with myself. One of them is absolutely magical: I’m feeling great with myself, I feel like I know what my purpose in this world is, I’m feeling positive about who I am in my place in this world and what I can do for the world, what my skills are, what makes my personality unique and incredible, what I have to offer the world, all of that, and that space of love is so magical. But the other part of it is self-deprecation.

So, the other side of that, sometimes I get in my own head about a mistake I made, or something I said, whether it just happened or it was a few years ago, and I start to spiral downwards and hate on myself more and more and more, and think about how terrible this year is and everything that’s going wrong and how I’m getting swallowed up in it, and I’m not relevant anymore, nobody cares about me, nobody wants to work with me, all of that stuff. I have both of those parts of myself and they interchangeably happen all throughout the day. It’s just, it’s chaotic. And I’m sure you’re all the same way too.

So, what I like to do is listen to my brain. There’s a pep talk I give myself whenever my brain is being really self-deprecating where I try to remind myself of my purpose in this world and why I’m great. But when you’re really deep in it, it is very hard to believe yourself in those moments. So, if I’m in a place where I’m so down low, I’ve spiraled so deep down, down in the depths, and I try to give myself that pep talk and it doesn’t work, then I know nothing’s going to work. So, that’s when I stop what I’m doing, and I comfort myself. Whatever that comfort means, obviously, we all know there are different comforts, some of them are dangerous, some of them are productive and safe. Watching Love Island is okay, meditating is okay, journaling is okay but that’s still with your own thoughts. What I like to do is just comfort myself, put on my comfort show, whether that’s ‘The Office,’ whether that’s ‘Friends,’ it doesn’t matter what it is for you, ut it on, give yourself time away from your brain.

For me, I like to do this pose where I put my legs up the wall and take some deep breaths and just stretch a little bit [and] take some time for myself. Comfort yourself when it’s not going well. But when your brain is in that space where it loves itself, you’re doing great, feeling energized about the world and about who you are, you don’t have to feel completely euphoric about yourself, but whenever you’re not spiraling and being self-deprecating, take advantage of that. Utilize those times. Because that’s when you should focus on self-improvement and start thinking about yourself. What is your place in the world? How can you make this world a better place? How can you utilize your skill set to offer things for the world that nobody else can? What are your unique perspectives on the world that not many other people have and how can you show those to the world?

So, when you’re feeling good and you’re in that space, buckle down and self-improve the heck out of yourself, baby. You deserve it. So, allow yourself to do it when things in your brain are going well. But when things in your brain are not going well, don’t try to push through it and force yourself to improve yourself because you’re just going to keep getting more and more frustrated with yourself and it’s going to keep getting worse. Listen to your brain and where your brain is at and give your brain what it needs in the moment. So, if it needs comfort, you’ve got to give it comfort, because that comfort will allow your brain to rebuild and feel better so that you can keep fighting for yourself.

So, another thing that I like to do for myself, whenever I am feeling good or not feeling good is, I like to get weird with myself. So, I dance alone to whatever songs are on all day long while I’m at my computer. If a real bop hits, then I’ll stand up, I’ll turn the volume up, and I’ll get to going. I’ll go to town dancing by myself. I’ll go 100%, I get all sweaty, and it’s great. It makes me feel really good, it makes me feel really good about myself, and it helps to reset. So, what I encourage you to do, at the very least, you don’t have to dance by yourself if that doesn’t make you comfortable, whatever. But what I do challenge you to do is at least do yourself the favor of allowing yourself to feel safe to explore who you are, and to get weird and get curious about yourself when you’re alone. Because if you’re not allowing yourself to be safe to be you, and to be your weird self when you’re all alone, how do you expect to ever do that and be that person.

So, the first step to be confident with who you are is just allowing yourself to be that person by yourself. So, this is a great time to practice that because we’re all alone more than ever right now, right? Unless you have a partner or roommate and you live in a studio, I apologize, have them step out for a second, wait until they’re doing a number two on the toilet, and then get weird with yourself.

Another tip that I learned recently came from a tweet from artist/illustrator Shawna X. And Shawna recommended this exercise that she learned about: rather than trying to come up with a calendar for what do you want to do extracurricular-ly for yourself in a specific day, after work or whatever, whenever you have free time for yourself, rather than doing that, first start with setting the intention for how you want to feel. What do you want to feel tonight? How do you want to feel tonight? You’re done working, how do you want to feel? And, we know this, because we’re always in different moods, like some days you might just be exhausted and you just want to relax. So, your emotional intention for that evening would be like, “I just want to feel zoned out, chilled out, and good.”

So, then decide what you want to do based on that. So, maybe tonight is not the night when you want to continue to peel off the paint on the tile because you painted the tile when you first moved in and then you decided you don’t want that paint on there anymore. This is very specific to me. So, maybe you just want to watch the latest episode of ‘Catfish’ with a glass of wine because you want to feel chilled out and good. That’s fine.

So, setting the emotional intention I find really valuable. And I do that now at the beginning of the day too. I say, “Today, I just want to feel no anxiety. I don’t want to feel rushed. I just want to kind of just casually work, I want to feel good today. I’m going to put an emphasis on that.” So, I make sure that I work my schedule and I work my day with design and with all the stuff I have to do around that emotional intention. And I do that with weekends too. Maybe on a weekend, I want to feel really productive, like I got a lot done. So, I’ll make sure that I clean, that I work on house projects. And this emotional intention stuff has been a game changer for me, and maybe it is for you too, maybe it’s not. Two ways, two people. That’s okay. We don’t have to have the same way work for both have us, you know how it goes.

So, I think that a party for one can still be fun also works with this pandemic we’re dealing with, right? Because we all are experiencing those times where we go out in public and we think we’re going to be able to do something fun, but we get there and we’re like, “Oh, shoot, nope. This is not what I was expecting. This does not feel safe.” And you turn around and leave. And maybe you’re with another person, or you have a partner, or a friend that you’re out with, or your quarantine buddy, whatever it is, and they are really into it and they want to do it. They’re not having the same, the boundaries are not the same for them as they are for you. So, what I would recommend when it comes to a party for one being just as fun is to find your boundaries by yourself first. So, try to scope out those patio spots, or that public park, or that sunflower field that everybody’s talking about, go find it by yourself first. Say, “Does this feel right to me? Am I comfortable with this? Is this going to be okay for me?” And if you’re fine with the boundary and you’ve set it and you’re like, “Yeah, I feel okay about this,” then maybe invite your spouse, or partner, or whoever your quarantine buddy is, your family, invite them along.

So, find your boundaries by yourself, it’s definitely safer to do that right now, because you’re just endangering other people. It just gets really complicated if there’s another person involved. So, make sure that you’re finding your boundaries alone. And it helps you to kind of go through an experience alone, which is good, it helps you build your self-confidence, it helps you learn more about yourself. When you can go through new experiences all by yourself, especially when you’re pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and kind of getting scared a little bit, going through those experiences all alone really helps you to bond with yourself a little bit more too, which I find really exciting. That’s one of the things I love the most about traveling solo.

Alright, so heck yes! During these times, we’re all alone more than ever, so yeah, Pop-Tarts, party for one can still be fun. Let’s have some good times by ourselves, find ways to get weird with yourself, allow yourself to be safe getting weird and being who you are while you’re alone, and heck yes. And have a Pop-Tart, why not? I’m going to go get a Pop-Tart right now.

Ah, you’ve done it, you listened to me for over twenty minutes at this point and now you can check this off your to do list. If it wasn’t already on there, add “Listen to Meg, listen to Overtime” on there and then check it off and maybe feel a little bit better about yourself. But I had a great time, and now I’m really hungry for Pop-Tarts, so you’re welcome to me for that. But of course, as always, if you’d like to take this conversation onto the internet, use #DribbbleOvertime and make sure to tweet me or tag me. My handle is @yourbuddymeg or to see my work, and I look forward to having you hear me next week. Bye, hear me next week!