Captivations is a monthly feature with links, stories, and news that captivated me.
The last couple of months, I’ve been drawn to the general themes of personal development, finding your true self, and figuring out who you are. So, these first notes (honestly a hodgepodge of thoughts) relate to exploring your life, rediscovering yourself, and aligning yourself with what truly matters to you.
What is Self-Care?
Treat yo’self, they say. The most tangible things seem to be going to get a pedicure or stopping by a bakery for a cupcake, but what it should really mean is being able to be your true self without guilt, stress, or constraint. Self-care isn’t a reward. It’s the habits that brighten up your life every day. This article explains it a little more.
Heartbreak and Longevity
I’ve been observing and thinking about why people end their marriages or decide to stay. Uncoupling can be heart-breaking, especially if there are kids involved. Sometimes the cause is infidelity, for others, it’s simply because time changes people and relationships are fragile. You can’t predict the person you will become but you hope you’ll grow in the same direction, parallel with your partner.
Maybe growing parallel is even scarier than infidelity. Infidelity will leave you wondering if those characteristics or the potential of the actions were there all along or if the person you loved changed along the way. But growing parallel is like running a race with a partner, checking in every step, stopping at the same water stops and checking each other’s mindset all along the way. What if your partner decides they are too tired and want to quit running? What if he/she decides she wants to go off-course?
It’s a lot to juggle. How do you honor your partner and honor your own dreams and desires on top of everything life throws at you? Who are you when you’re part of a team?
Losing and Finding Yourself
This article was a good read about one woman’s journey as a wife and mom. Sometimes we take on so many labels – girlfriend, mom, marketer, teacher, wife – we forget who we are as ourselves. We focus on fulfilling those roles, caring for others, and being who others want us to be that we forget to invest time and energy into who we want to be and what drives us outside of those roles.
This also makes me think about what it’s like to take on the new role of parent. A child sometimes becomes the ultimate focus and purpose in one’s life. Is there a self beyond being a parent? A fear of becoming a parent is losing the person you are because of your priority shifts. The shift can result in becoming a better version of yourself, but what if it doesn’t? How do you find and maintain yourself while fulfilling the responsibilities of a parent?
It’s typical after a big life change that one would question who they were and what they value. Big life changes could be a devastating heartbreak, a new baby, a physical move, or a job change, among other things. While you may revel in the opportunity to start fresh, you may question if everything before this point mattered at all. We’re always evolving, hopefully into the best version of ourselves.
I keep thinking, wow, I’m such a different person from who I was five to ten years ago. I cringe thinking about who I was, but I’m thankful I’ve grown and matured from who I was. This evolution, the result, and the timeline, looks different for everyone, but I hope you are a different person from who you are for the better. We’re always one decision away from changing our lives.
This is one of my favorite illustrations of this thought! (I’m not sure the origin of this.)
What really matters
In my 20s, I experienced the “quarter-life crisis.” I didn’t know what I really wanted to do, though I think it stemmed from having so many choices and the opportunity to do whatever I wanted. I think this sentiment, this yearning for clarity, was always there and will always remain, but the focus has shifted to how I want my life to matter and how I will make a difference. I have the opportunity to make the world a better place. How can I use my skills?
Ultimately, I hope we are not defined merely by our job titles but the way we show up for the things that matter to us, be it family, friends, job or a cause. We may not be able to measure it by dollars made or hours billed but I hope it’s through the knowledge that we brought depth to our lives and valued quality over quantity. Maybe that’s savoring our baby’s childhood. Maybe it’s all the nights we spend laughing with friends. Maybe it’s campaigning tirelessly for our values. Maybe it’s the clients we truly listened to. Tangible goals are fun because you can check them off and see their progress, but I hope we live a life proud of who we are when we show up for ourselves and for others.
Abby Wambach’s Barnard Commencement Speech
If you need some encouragement, I recommend giving Abby Wambach’s commencement speech to Barnard a read. On top of advocating for women to demand more from the world, she reminded graduates to build up the people behind them, hoping their accomplishments are only stepping stones for even greater accomplishments for future generations. She also reminded me that the labels we and others put on us are not the only way we go through life. The role we lead might change but our beliefs and our goals can stay the same.
And here are some other interesting stories and links I want to share this month!
50 Lawns in 50 States
I love this mission! In 2017, Rodney Smith Jr. traveled to all 50 states to mow lawns for the elderly, disabled, single moms, and veterans for free! This year, he is doing it again, and in addition to mowing lawns, he’ll be teaching kids lawn mower safety, encouraging others about community service, and inspiring others to mow lawns of people in their neighborhood. There are already kids signed up all around the U.S.!
Yikes to Finding Affordable Housing
Affordable housing is a struggle. In fact, it’s a crisis. These charts tell the story clearly and if there’s no change, it will affect poverty levels, the health of children, and the opportunity to help low-income families, among other issues.
I tried goat yoga! Ok, it was mostly me doing a little bit of yoga of being very distracted by the cute little goats wandering around. Their team placed goats on our backs during certain positions. If you want to try it, check out GOGA in Austin!
I’ve been ghosted and I’ve ghosted others. From not answering the texts of guys I went on one or a few dates with to friends I was very close with, ghosting causes real hurt, especially when the nostalgia of close friendships are remembered. This article gives some explanation about why. When life gets busy and friendships naturally grow apart, is that ghosting or does the act of ghosting need to be a sudden end? Have you ever been ghosted?
All plastic is recyclable, right? Not quite! Check out this article for some things that aren’t. Rule of thumb – no food products and wax linings.
I read Thrive by Arianna Huffington and one of the most interesting parts of the book was when she talked about death. (This article talks a little about it.) How would our lives and emotional selves be healthier if we talked more openly about death? We tend to tip-toe away from the awkward conversations and possible emotions but maybe if we talked about it more, it wouldn’t be so scary and grief would look differently. Maybe death wouldn’t feel so devastating if we have an open community built around supporting those who grieve. Yes, we’ll still feel undeniable grief but the way we help others through grief and the way we grieve might not be so taboo or awkward.
What’s got you captivated lately?
P.S. Did you see our weekend trip to Wimberley we took recently?