Recently my friend Eric proposed an idea to his circle of friends in the interest of deepening our knowledge of each other beyond our shared history and current situations of jobs and family. Would we be interested to gather one evening and to trade 10-minute talks about a topic we each find deeply interesting, TED-talk style?
Inspired by Shonda Rhimes’ memoir, Year of Yes, I immediately said “Yes”, even though I felt uncomfortable with the idea. Now that some weeks have passed, though, dread creeps upon me. Because even more frightening than the idea of public speaking is the thought, What if I have nothing interesting to say?
Continue reading What if I have nothing interesting to say?
Writing your way to happiness, Tara Parker-Pope [New York Times article]
The scientific research on the benefits of so-called expressive writing is surprisingly vast. Studies have shown that writing about oneself and personal experiences can improve mood disorders, help reduce symptoms among cancer patients, improve a person’s health after a heart attack, reduce doctor visits and even boost memory.
Now researchers are studying whether the power of writing — and then rewriting — your personal story can lead to behavioral changes and improve happiness.
I guess I should keep doing this writing thing then…for the good of my health. =)
My good friend nearly died last
night* Thursday. His heart stopped on two separate occasions, and both times CPR and a defibrillator had to be used to restart his heart. So, one could argue the semantics about it and say he actually died twice.
He was coming out of surgery for a relatively routine, low-risk sort of elective procedure for his shoulder. That it turned into one of those medical dramas that you wish to only view on television is terrifying.
Continue reading The feelings you have when your friend nearly dies
I admit when I first started, a part of me felt that getting a life coach might be hokey and questioned whether I’d be doing exercises like walking barefoot over hot coals and repeating positive mantras in the mirror. The larger part of me though was more pragmatic: having a coach should make this self-analysis more efficient, help direct me toward forward momentum and hopefully as an outsider see something that I’ve been blind to for ages. Without a coach, I feared I might end up naval-gazing to the extreme, potentially ending up wallowing in self-doubt, negativity, and guilt in wasting time ‘searching for myself’. So I decided to take the plunge and invest in the time , money and energy with her.
Now as I wrap up my last session with my coach, I have a bunch of various emotions: Continue reading Hiring a life coach was my best decision this spring
A long read from David Roberts, a star political blogger for Grist.org, but contains so many well-written nuggets on various things I too have been contemplating these last few months.
Some particular quotes highlighting that I’m trying to be mindful of, and also plan to educate our kids about:
All my in-between moments, the interstitial transitions and pauses that fill the cracks of a day, were crowded with pings. My mind was perpetually in the state that researcher and technology writer Linda Stone termed continuous partial attention. I was never completely where I was, never entirely doing what I was doing. I always had one eye on the virtual world.
Because most Web services are “free”—that is, supported by advertising—their very survival depends on distracting and bewitching their users. Silicon Valley software engineers design apps that way on purpose; they’re quite clever at it. Because America’s culture of professional overwork and exhaustion is unrestrained by workplace regulations or conventions governing e-mail, unceasing connectivity has become an unspoken job requirement. Because social groups coalesce and plan online, even brief screenless periods breed FOMO, the fear of missing out.
Nature provides what University of Michigan psychologist Stephen Kaplan has termed soft fascinations. (Dibs on the band name.) We are shaped by evolution to heed the ebb and flow of drifting clouds, rustling grass, and singing birds. Unlike voluntary or directed attention—the kind required by, say, a spreadsheet—“effortless attention” produces no fatigue. It’s the mental equivalent of floating on your back, and a rested mind is a more productive mind.
Before having children, I used to think that it would be no big deal to have both a career and a family. In other words, be a superwoman.
My mother did it, many of my friends’ mothers did it…and it felt like we owed it to our feminist elders to take on the torch and continue making progress towards equality in the career marketplace. Our partners would be more sensitive and involved in the raising of the family so the burden would be eased. Society would be fully supportive of working families and there would be many options for childcare available. I was going to make a big impact in the world, and I would happen to be a woman.
Then I had my kids.
Continue reading The Struggle Inside: Lean In or Lean Back?
When I shared the news of my leave of absence from Accenture back in March of this year, I envisioned that during my leave I would set out to accomplish goals in 5 general areas. Here they are verbatim:
- Career Calibration – I need to figure out where I want my career to go in the next 3-5 years, what I find fulfillment and enjoyment doing, and how to best accomplish this.
- Health – Physical and Mental – I’m going to sort out my exercise and sleep regime, spend as much time outdoors as I can this summer, *not* commute in the car an hour each way, and hang out with my family without having to worry about the daycare pickup time
- Learning and Creation – I will commit myself to publishing something at least once a month (let me know if you want in on the distribution – I promise not to post too many selfies of ). I’m also toying with the idea of teaching myself to develop an app in one of the mobile technologies. Also will devote time to actually watch some of those TED talks that I’ve bookmarked away.
- Community – I have neglected contributing back to my community in the last few years. I want to devote some of my time this leave to volunteer. If you know of any organizations looking for someone with my skills and enthusiasm I’d love to hear about it!
- Home affairs catchup – to address parts of my home life that have been neglected over the last few years, e.g. long-term financial plan, home decluttering and organization, buying drapes for the windows, actually doing some gardening
Continue reading The Summer of Jen – an update