Category Archives: Life

the least among us

We must stop pointing to the exceptions—these bright shining stars who transcend circumstance. We must look to how we can best support the least among us, not spend all our time blindly revering and trying to mimic the greatest without demanding systemic change.

—Roxane Gay
from “The Politics of Respectability”
in Bad Feminist (260)

small places

One of the things I like about Dillon is that it welcomes failures; in fact it embraces them. Growing up in small towns, I always felt there was something bullying about this love of failure, and that there was within it a not-so-hidden class resentment, a desire to keep everyone on the same level, even if that meant everything was mediocre. I do think that sentiment exists, but I also think there is a humanity to small places, an acknowledgement that people need space in their lives to enjoy what they have, for as long as it may last—a space outside of accomplishment. A space outside of self-improvement. A space to have emotions that might not be “productive.” A space to have emotions, period.

Hannah Gerson

go beyond

“Well, here’s the thing,” [a travel magazine editor] told me. “Many of our readers don’t actually want to travel. They just want to think of themselves as travelers.”

Wow. They don’t want to travel… they just want to pretend.

I probably shouldn’t have been so surprised. Many people say they want to write a book, but most of them don’t follow through. Maybe some of them don’t want to write—they just want to call themselves a writer. They want to have written a book.

And there’s nothing wrong with that. Might as well dream a little!

But if you really want to do something—not just dream about it—then you have to go beyond reading travel magazines or thinking about the book you’re not writing. You can’t be an impostor traveler. You can’t live your life through the lens of aspiration.

Chris Guillebeau

the disappointment of losing

Graduating … means you have experienced success already. And some of you – and now I’m talking to anyone who has been dumped – have not gotten the job you really wanted or have received those horrible rejection letters from grad school. You know the disappointment of losing or not getting something you badly want. When that happens, show what you are made of.

Jill Abramson

work worth doing

“I can tell you what I believe is the secret to a happy life,” [Sandra Day O’Connor] said.

“What’s that, Justice?” I asked. … “What’s your secret?”

Work worth doing,” she answered firmly.

“What about relationships?” I asked. …

“No,” she said. “Work worth doing, that’s all you really need.”

The Secret to Happiness, in Three Words,
According to Justice Sandra Day O’Connor

showing up

This time, I never promised myself that would speak Spanish. I just promised myself that I would practice every day. … I feel like the path for my Spanish work had been set in a lot of ways by my yoga practice. For me yoga has never been about how flexible you are, or whether you can stand on your hands. It’s about showing up. In a way, almost anything that’s worth doing is just about showing up. Not worrying about the big goal but taking baby steps, every single day and trusting that you’ll get there.

Amy Azzarito

let go

I caved and joined Pinterest, so I’ve been going through the OneNote notebook where I’ve been storing images of things for years and I came across this quote. Not sure what I like better: the quote or the reminder of the days when all Apartment Therapy posts were written in first-person plural (lol) and readers constantly griped about it. I’d forgotten about that!

Although we don’t have to carry all of our possessions with us, they still take up space in our lives. When we let go of the things we don’t particularly like or need around the house, it frees us up to experience the present moment, or life as it is now. We remember reading a quote once about clutter: that we let go of the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.

Laure Joliet

Reframe

Back in December, I was catching up on my alumni magazines and saw this article. Not too long ago, but prior to reading said article, I wrote a comment on one of Sparky’s posts that basically said exactly what the professor in the article advocates. So, a) validation! and b) I really need to work on marketing my ideas. 😛

Anyway, the short version of the article is that there are three ways to view work: as a job, a career, or a calling. Job people are the TGIF, watch the clock, counting the days to retirement crowd.

So I read this and I think: ah yes! the “3 categories” game. I have a few versions of this myself. Interestingly, they all fit into the job/career/calling scenario.

  • There are 3 types of law students: the ones who want the money / prestige (= law as career), the ones who want to save the world (= law as calling), and the ones who really want to write (= law as job).
  • There are 3 types of undergrads: the ones who want a degree because “a BA is the new high school diploma” (job people); the ones who need a specific degree to reach a predetermined professional goal (career people); and the ones who are studying what they’re passionate about and for whom a degree is icing on the cake of learning (calling people).

Which is not to say that just because you’re in one category now, you’re stuck there forever. You can, of course, move from one category to another. To that end, in the article there’s some discussion of how you can find work that you find more fulfilling. And then it goes on to say:

If we aren’t willing to switch to another kind of work, then he advises us to reframe the work we do.

AHEM. Reframe. My comment:

You’re not going to quit your job, so I think you need to reframe your feelings toward it. There are obviously things you value about it (the money it provides you, the fact you can retire early, etc.) and those outweigh the negatives for you.

Look, I even used the same word. Moral of this post: listen to me. I am wise like Yoda 😉