When I was 26, I got myself from Santorini, Greece to San Remo, Italy via six different pieces of transport (ferry, train, plane, subway, train, taxi). I did it alone, without speaking Greek or Italian and I only got lost once and that was because I fell asleep on the train.When I was 27, I moved to New Zealand with a dude I’d been dating for three months. I earned my M.A. in 18 months while working two jobs. (P.S. I would not necessarily recommend doing this.)
Category: life advice
One of those this-is-an-era-of-terrible-that-will-mark-my-life rough times.This friend is slightly outside of my age group – a homeowner, a minivan driver, mom to a very, very challenging teenager. Said teenager was in the midst of making a huge mess of his life. There was addiction and lying and fleeing and a heaping helping of blame.All this despite very, very good parenting.
Her son’s shenanigans had been going on for years and of course (of course!) my friend and her husband felt terrible. I’m sure there were lots of late night conversations and a lot of “what could we have done differently?”
But when I talked to my friend about this, she told me something insanely, mind-blowing zen.
“You know, I don’t define myself exclusively through my relationships with other people. I’ve loved being a wife and a mother. And I take those roles very seriously. But there are other things in my life that are important to me and other things that I did before I became a wife and a mother. Someday I might be a widow and someday my parents will die. But I’ll still be here and it’s important that I have other things in my life that I love.”
(at this point I think I probably put my hand on her arm and asked her if I could be her when I grew up and how, in the name of all that is good and holy, did she become so wise?)
And she’s right, of course.
Our friendships and families and partnerships are incredibly important. And they should be. But they’re not everything. Your interests and hobbies should be part of the picture. Your political views. Your career. The things that excite and inspire you.
When we put all our proverbial eggs in one basket, we’re giving an awful lot of power to that one aspect of our lives. If I only define myself by my career, what happens when I get laid off? If’ I describe myself as a ‘mom’ first and foremost, what will I say when my kids are 25 and living in other cities?
We’re all clever, interesting, complex humans. Let’s define ourselves as such.
image via ARROW
Not very shocking confession: as someone who works from home, I can frequently be found in stretched out yoga pants and novelty t-shirts, a top knot, and flip flops.
It’s comfortable and nobody is the wiser because anytime I’m in public I wear (slightly) nicer outfits of skinny jeans, boots, flowy tops, and scarves.
But lately, I’ve felt like all schlumpiness has been taking it’s toll. It’s hard to take yourself seriously in unflattering yoga pants and I’m constantly running into my neighbors in the laundry room/mail area/recycling bin area while wearing an old Mailchimp t-shirt.
As such, I’ve decided to upgrade my bum-around clothes. Because you know what feels just as comfortable as yoga pants and a t-shirt? An over-sized sweater, a pair of silly leggings, and some fancy slippers?*
But the latter feels just slightly more adult-ish! When you’re wearing cute bum-around clothes you feel smug and put together!
*I realize that there are thousands of people who view leggings + big sweater as a viable outfit. I am not one of those people. I don’t feel like I’m public-ready when everything I’m wearing is stretchy.
Behold! Outfits that are totally comfy and perfect for Sunday morning lounging and Target-run appropriate!
Almost all of us want to be happier at work.
No matter where we work, no matter what we do, no matter who we work for – most of us most of us believe we could be happier. More content. More satisfied.
I hear this from my clients all the time! We talk social media. We come up with ideas for info products. We wax philosophical on the merits of traffic-driving posts versus personal essays on important, thought-provoking topics.
Regardless of the client or topic, one questions almost always comes up:
“How much traffic/followers/subscribers do I need before I can ________________?”
And while I do have a pragmatic, number-based answer to that question, I also have a much healthier, sanity-saving response.You will be a lot happier if you track your efforts rather than your accomplishments. Click To Tweet
This is true for many reasons.
1. As with most things in life, the only thing you can control is yourself
You can’t control if something you write goes viral. The biggest traffic spike this blog ever received was when Reddit thought I was the Ermagerd girl. Shockingly enough, I did not build ‘be mistaken for internet meme’ into my marketing plan. You can control how often you post. You can control how much time you spend on Twitter befriending awesome people. You can control the topics you write about.
You can’t really control who links to you, who retweets you, who likes your funny cat photos on Facebook. You can make it significantly more likely that people will link to you and like your stuff, but you can’t really make anyone do anything.
2. Most goals are reached really, really slowly with a lot of hard work
About 12,000+ people read this blog every day. Which is great!
I’ve been getting paid to write since I was 20 and I’ve been posting seven days a week for five plus years. If I’d been working towards the goal of 12,000 daily readers when I started my blog, I would have given up seven years ago. (Also: I would probably have drowned myself in a sea of noodles and butter but that’s beside the point.)
3. Most accomplishments probably don’t feel the way you’d expect
When you’ve been working towards one goal for months and months (or years and years) you might just come to hate that goal. Or by the time you reach it, you’ve seen it looming in the distance for six months and it’s not particularly surprising or joy-making.
When I handed in the final paper for my M.A. I felt super glad it was over. And then I went out for pizza with my boyfriend. When I signed with a literary agent, I felt nervous and all “Welp, I guess this is what I’m doing with the next two years of my life. So that six-week trip to Russia and Mongolia is out of the picture.”
4. You’ll have a lot more efforts than accomplishments – so you’ll feel happier when you track them
What you say: “I’ll keep track of how many new clients I get!”
How you feel: “Sooooooo, three months and I’ve only landed one new client. I’m a failure, I hate everything, and I should go drowned myself in a pool of butter and noodles.”
What you say: “I’ll keep track of how many potential clients I pitch!”
How you feel: “Wow! I pitched five potential clients this month! I’m about a million times braver than I was last month and my presentations are heaps smoother. I’m getting better at dealing with rejection and my pitches are getting tighter and smarter each time.”
See the difference?
Lastly – and most importantly obviously – regular efforts lead to accomplishments. If you focus on little, day-by-day steps the big stuff will take care of itself.
photo by Melinda Pack // cc
Here are three tips that really help me focus
Focus Tip #1: Take a 30-second cold shower
Focus Tip #2: Legs-up-the-wall yoga pose
Focus Tip #3: Take a dance break
How do you stay focused? Tell us in the comments!
photo credit: annie spratt // cc
Clearly, I’m a woman of extreeeeeemely expensive tastes.
While I lovelovelove reading blogs it’s so lovely to pull something glossy and gorgeous out of your mailbox and flip through it on the sofa or in the park. I love dog earring pages and ripping things out for future use and bulletin board-pinning.
Also? A yearly magazine subscription frequently costs less than $20. That’s the same price as an entree and a drink and those won’t bring you joy once a month for a year!
In addition to all the obvious magazines (O, Real Simple, etc) here are a few of the magazines that I love.
7 cool magazines we should all be reading
I think that smart is sexy, so I obviously think that Mental_Floss is the sexiest magazine out there. Here’s what they say about themselves:
“Mental_Floss is an intelligent read, but not too intelligent. We’re the sort of intelligent that you hang out with for a while, enjoy our company, laugh a little, smile a lot and then we part ways. Great times.
And you only realize how much you learned from us after a little while.Like a couple days later when you’re impressing your friends with all these intriguing facts and things you picked up from us, and they ask you how you know so much, and you think back on that great afternoon you spent with us and you smile. And then you lie and say you read a lot.”
Isn’t that an amazing name for a magazine? They focus on “people, passion and possibilities changing our world for the better. We celebrate people making a positive difference in their communities, their countries, their businesses.
Our philosophy is to embrace the passion behind new ideas that inspire innovative solutions to some of our greatest challenges. The Intelligent Optimist explores the possibilities generated by fresh perspectives on everything from technology to health and the human spirit. We present intelligent optimism as a path to happier, healthier lives in a better world.” Lovely, right?
Honestly, when I ‘read’ National Geographic I’m usually just looking at the pictures and wishing I was there. This magazine covers travel gear, unknown destinations, cool personal essays, and heaps of helpful travel tips. Annnnnnd the awesome photos that make you wish you were there.
Garden & Gun
Isn’t this name hilarious? When my BFF and I were in Nashville last month we discovered this little gem and picked it up, thinking it was a joke. It’s not. It’s gorgeous and interesting. I
t’s bursting with South-specific recipes (a sweet tea granita or local cheeses), interview with Southern musicians, artists, and writers, tours of breathtaking historical homes, and tips for travel destination in the South. I’m a third-generation Minnesotan and even I’m into it!
JUST KIDDING! (or am I?)
Do you subscribe to magazines? Which ones do you love?