For the majority of my life I’ve prioritized activity over stillness and quiet. It comes from a desire to fill my short life with as much fun as possible a love of experiences. Even as a child, I would go to bed asking “Mom, what are we going to do tomorrow?” I’m yet to be convinced that sleeping is worth the time it takes away from my day, but I’m learning that experiencing more doesn’t necessarily mean doing more. I’m learning how to do less, but experience it more fully.

The shutdown due to COVID-19 has accelerated my shift in…

Mont Blanc, 2015

As a chronic optimist with a tendency to fill every second of life with fun, I’ve found pressing into the hard things in life a slow but incredibly freeing process. For years I lived as if I was allergic to anything painful. My life was a non-stop storm of activities, travel, work and relationships. Ignoring mental and physical rest, I avoided reflection. I ran on long “highs” of life, until the pent-up emotion would cause a deep, quick crash. Quickly downplaying these painful experiences, I would put a viciously positive spin on life.

Elizabeth Dias framed the idea of toxic…

In the midst of so much pain and chaos, I’ve been grateful for quarantine offering me an incredible time of peace and focus. My extroverted self has been thriving in a complete liberty from expectations (from others, and those I set for myself) on how to use my time. One of the things I had de-prioritized in my life was writing, and I’m loving my new at-home routine of a glass of wine at sunset, lo-fi hip hop in the background and simply putting down my thoughts.

Happiness is fragile.

Chasing happiness is a pervasive topic in current culture. 8 Billion search results

Social distancing means cleaning out Google Drive, where I found this piece I wrote last year while living in New York City. I wanted to keep a cheeky tone, but wrote out of a place of true frustration as I kept finding myself in scenarios where I had to — God forbid — wait for something. I love reading this a year later from a more intentional and paced Southern California life, not to mention while living shelter-in-place.

It’s Saturday night and I’m walking down Essex Street as slowly as a New Yorker possibly can without looking suspicious. I meander…

It was textbook flirting during summer in New York City. We were at a fundraiser at a bar in Chelsea, and you were tall and blonde, a head above the after-work crowd of young professionals. I thought I would be making a risky first move that evening, but quickly learned my attraction wasn’t one-sided.

The best place to order a drink at the bar just happened to be right next to where you were standing. You didn’t miss a beat when I walked up, and immediately started a conversation and offered me a glass of rosé. …

This summer I didn’t know what I wanted. I was dating for attention, and dating people who — looking back — I would have never wanted a future with. You can’t control who you’re attracted to, but you can set your standards high enough to realize that attraction and compatibility are often disparate things.

My best friend didn’t like you, which I think made your unpredictable personality even more attractive. Aloof and slightly unapproachable in social settings, your confidence wasn’t the inspiring type. Routinely off to somewhere new, well-travelled and passionate about your work, you were just my type.

On…

We locked eyes through the steamy eucalyptus mist, wrapped in our nubby cotton towels. I was breathless and shivering from a plunge in the ice pool, and his face was rosy from the steam room.

My fellow bather at the Russian Baths had a cropped beard and familiar, quirky smile that quickly placed him in my mind.

Five months prior I was wandering Orchard Street. I stopped to examine the menu of a Georgian restaurant, and heard a voice from over my shoulder,

“It’s good, but I know a better spot.”

Beside me on the sidewalk was a man, carefully…

As a UX designer, I’m constantly building prototypes. I want to do it better, and am constantly looking for inspiration to improve my process. These are a few things I’ve been learning along the way of becoming a better designer.

1. Share crazy ideas

Welcome and encourage out-there ideas! Don’t criticize or shoot down ideas that you don’t agree with, or don’t think are possible. Question and evaluate them, see what you can learn from them. …

Throughout high school, students are primed and polished to enter into a higher education program, and many don’t consider an alternate route to life after high school. With the influence of a college degree becoming diluted, many college graduates find the world has not been anxiously awaiting their graduation with offer letter in hand.

Instead of blindly enrolling in degree programs, what if we encouraged students should to explore different approaches to advancing their education? There are other ways to gain the skills and experience needed to have a successful career that don’t require a 4-year degree.

Listen to your compass, not your clock.

Take time off…

Alivia Duran

I want to improve my writing, among other things. This is my sandbox. Topics not limited to: design, feelings, education & relationships. Based in LA ☀️

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