Kathleen Shannon tells us about climbing Mount Everest, living in a blue bubble within a red state, and how doing new and scary things make her happy.
The thing that makes Kathleen happy is trying new things, and trying new things that scare her.
Kathleen and her husband took a 14-day trip to Mount Everest—10 days up and 4 days down. It was a beautiful trip, but it was also hard and fulfilling and pushed her to use a new set of skills, which made her very happy. Giving birth is another example of something that was physically challenging, but was filled with a lot of love.
Smaller things can be challenging and fulfilling too.
One of Kathleen’s mantras is, “doing fun things takes work”. When we are younger fun things happen to us (our parents plan a trip, or we are in college with everyone else), but as life progresses we have more responsibilities and we have to make an effort to have fun—and sometimes that effort isn’t hard, it just requires us to commit to it.
Being a mom, Kathleen is more watchful of risk, but that doesn’t stop her from seeking adventure. She wants to take her son to the highest point of each state; she acknowledges that he may not be outdoorsy, but she wants to make sure he knows the world is bigger than their back yard. No matter what her son pursues, Kathleen wants him to be brave.
Kathleen wonders at what point people start putting labels on each other. Recently (around the time that David Bowie passed), her son was playing with star stickers, covering his body, then moved on to watching David Bowie videos and his makeup tutorials, and then he just asked to play basketball. Kathleen admires that he has such diverse interests and doesn’t ever want to put labels on him.
Some of the happiest people are those who don’t have rigid expectations.
The idea of travel and adventure make Kathleen happy, but over the holidays Kathleen relaxed and chilled with her family. She had created an expectation for adventure and travel, but the reality of having a two-year-old doesn’t lend itself to adventure and travel (even though Kathleen still does that). Kathleen has recently embraced the idea of relaxing at home and not needing to go on trips to have a good time.
If Kathleen had the option to go on any adventure, she would check out national parks.
Once Kathleen explores something, the second time is not as thrilling. This is why Kathleen thinks entrepreneurs are addicted to launching and creating new product; you get addicted to the high, and doing a new product provides that high.
Every year, Kathleen and her family travel to Seaside, Florida. It’s a quaint town, where the Truman show was filmed. While Kathleen likes more grit in her travel, she likes that she knows what to expect, it’s super easy, and she loves doing that with her family every year. She loves that reliability and the fun doesn’t wear off.
Living in Oklahoma City may paint a picture for some people, but living in a red state means that creatives live in a bubble and create a little blue area that bonds creatives together. Everyone is really nice and engaging, whether they are friends or strangers. Seaside she feels like a freak show because people don’t get out of their way to be nice; perhaps because everyone is a tourist and they are out of their comfort zone.
Kathleen believes in and values transformation; being able to have long golden locks down to the waist and the next day cutting down all her hair. Kathleen admires celebrities that are not afraid of change. Giving ourselves permission to be new people makes life more interesting and hopeful.
People warn you about getting old, but when Kathleen hit 30 she was happy to be 30; she feels like her entire life she was preparing to turn 30. She wishes she could be 33 forever.
Happiness means everything. Happiness means love.
Links / Read / See / Hear
Jason Zappolo for editing and mixing this episode; follow Jason on Instagram.
Orly Margulis for social media support; follow Orly on linkedIn.