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Photo by Faris Mohammed on Unsplash

If you could see my YouTube recommendations, you would notice a lot of videos featuring “normal” people training for ultramarathons. On it’s surface, this is a little bit strange because I have absolutely no desire to ever run more than 26.2 miles. Honestly, I have no desire to run more than 10 miles. I’m perfectly happy with going out and jogging a 5k a couple of times per week. So why watch these videos? Every time, without fail, I get to hear the story of someone who made a small change in their life that led to an accomplishment that…

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Which do you like more, coffee or chocolate?

I definitely like chocolate. It’s kind of addictive, it gives me a little bit of a sugar rush, and there are enough different kinds to keep it interesting. Especially if we’re including peanut butter and chocolate together, then it’s game over. The problem with chocolate is if I eat too much of it I feel awful. We’ve all probably made that mistake as kids on Halloween, and maybe once or twice since then. It’s a fine line between a treat and a problem.

On the other hand, I really like coffee. I…

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Photo by Kat Stokes on Unsplash

After graduating from college, I felt a nagging sense of aimlessness whenever I had free time.

After work, I sometimes went to the gym, played the piano for awhile, or met up with friends, but most of my days ended with a realization that I pretty much watched YouTube videos, looked at Instagram, and played board games online all evening.

At the end of most days, I felt a lot of regret about how I spent my free time. Before going to bed, I usually told myself that I would do more tomorrow. But you probably know the ending to…

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Photo by Fernando Hernandez on Unsplash

I read 2 books in 2019. By making a small change and creating a good system, I increased that number by 50 in 2020. That’s one book a week, on average. Here’s the full list. My top 10 are listed below.

[Completed December 6th, 2020]‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎

10. 10% Happier — Dan Harris

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Thought Catalog on Unsplash

I read 2 books in 2019. By making a small change and creating a good system, I increased that number by 50 in 2020. That’s one book a week, on average. I update my top 10 books of the year each month. Here is the full reading list in order of finish date (first to last) and sorted by non-fiction and fiction.

[Completed December 6th, 2020]


  1. How to Write an Autobiographical Novel — Alexander Chee
  2. Me Talk Pretty One Day — David Sedaris
  3. Between the World and Me — Ta-Nehisi Coates
  4. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry — Neil…

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Photo by Adrienne Andersen from Pexels

I am an American citizen living in South Korea. After a couple of months of contact tracing, rigorous COVID-19 testing, and pushing out social distancing guidelines, the South Korean government has substantially controlled the spread of the coronavirus. Their playbook set a great example for the rest of the world. …

When I was about 10 years old, I occasionally played a very high-stakes game. I’m guessing you did too. It went like this. I woke up and decided I didn’t want to go to school that day. So I flipped through my mental Rolodex of illnesses and associated symptoms that I could reasonably feign, thinking that maybe, just maybe, I could fool my mom into thinking I was sick.

I believe I only pulled this off once through a combination of complaining of stomach pain, creating enough friction on my forehead to pass the “you feel hot” test, and secretly…

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Vladyslav Bahara on Unsplash

I am an American citizen living in South Korea, and I am on week five of self-isolation due to the risk of the coronavirus. As the COVID-19 situation continues to escalate around the world, I am aware that I have experienced a lifestyle that will likely mirror that of many people in the United States for the foreseeable future. While living the realities of social distancing or self-isolation, I have discovered that it is easy to succumb to bad habits — or at least habits that don’t leave me feeling fulfilled by the end of the day.

If a usual…

I was 15 minutes into my move from Lincoln, Nebraska to Busan, South Korea when I realized I was having a panic attack.

It was slightly before 5:00 am in one of the two terminals in Omaha’s Eppley Airport. Sitting on one side of me was a mom and her two young kids — the early travel day with children had already compromised her willpower because both kids were energetically enjoying a breakfast of peanut m&ms. On my other side was a sleeping man in his 40s whose head occasionally slumped onto my shoulder before jolting back upright. I was…

New Year’s Eve of 2016 was one of the strangest and most eventful days of my life. I woke up at 4:00 am in Riviera Maya, Mexico. I took a cab to the Cancun airport and flew to Detroit. From there I flew to New York City — arguably the most exciting city to visit on New Year’s Eve, although I was only passing through. While at JFK, I met up with two strangers who graciously let me shower and order room service in their airport hotel. …

Nick Knopik

Helping you fill your free time with purpose |

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