It’s the weekend! To celebrate that, and my tentative (semi-regular?) return to this space, here’s good things from this week.
I’ve written before about the desire to be untethered, but also rooted deeply in a place. This appeals to the former, and brings attention to nomad women, rather than the usual tech bros in Bali or Chiang Mai.
I’ve been reading Sarah von Bargen’s blog since forever (or 2010ish?), and she’s always got good tips that actually feel accessible. These are the habits she’s cultivated that support her business and creativity.
A quick search revealed that I already linked to Joan Didion’s piece, “On Self-Respect.” But it was back in 2012, and I think we could all use a reminder of how brilliant she is. Has anyone read South and West yet? I’m hoping to get my paws on it soon.
A local photographer in Lancaster took the photo that is the prompt for this microfiction contest! Entries are due by July 21st.
I’ve mentioned Susannah Conway’s Unravelling the Year Ahead before. Chad and I go through it together around every New Year. She just released a companion, a mid-year check in workbook. I’ll be going through it soon, hopefully this week.
Bonus: I spent almost all of last weekend sprawled on a blanket in our yard, reading with the cats. It was glorious.
This week has been an whirlwind of tying up loose ends with various work projects and last minute tasks and errands before heading off to Costa Rica for a week. As I mentally prepare for vacation, it struck me that I’ve really gotten out of the habit of long form reading. I never thought that would happen to me. My mom used to take away my books as a punishment when I was a kid, and I remember more than one tug of war with a book as the rope before bed.
I’ve realized that my attention span has definitely gotten shorter. I love blogs, and this isn’t necessarily a criticism of them, but I really want to achieve a balance of quick snippets of reading with visual elements and long form, profound reading that strikes me deep and makes my chest hurt its so good and true and beautiful. I’ve been in a book rut, probably just from being out of practice, so I decided to reread a favorite — a book that’s more of a good friend than a series of words — Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. After I finish that, I’m hoping to read Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly while I’m traveling.
After that, I’m wide open. What have y’all been reading? What’s your favorite book? If you could only recommend one book ever, what would it be? Is there a book that’s profoundly changed the way you see the world? I’m begging for recommendations, here. Please don’t be shy!
So, this week we returned from Iceland and are moving to Philadelphia.
Poor planning on my part.
In honor of that (the moving, not the poor planning), here is some related reading.
This has made me super excited to fall in love with West Philadelphia. When I’m scared that I won’t, it reminds me that I will if I decide to. It’s the first place that we have decided on. We picked it. We are choosing to live there instead of having our location be dictated by necessity.
In a rare moment of calm within the last few weeks, I had a sudden, gut-level sense that things were about to shift. I didn’t know what it would look like or what would be involved. I didn’t totally trust it, as I was in the midst of weeks-long anxiety. Things have been crazy.
It has been a long few weeks. A couple of months, really.
And on the other side, I’ve decided to give myself permission to do things I want to do because I want to do them. Not because they’re a good back up plan for an English and Spanish major. Not because they’re difficult or noble or an option. I don’t have to do everything I’m capable of doing. I don’t have to prove to be a hard worker to myself, to my parents, to a nonexistent audience I fear is hiding under my bed or in my closet. I don’t have to do all the things.
I don’t have to overwhelm myself, filling my time until people notice how productive I am. This has only yielded multiple unhealthy results.
It’s taken me a full year and a half, maybe more, to get here.
Right now, I have some breathing time, and an offer, a promise, of a tangible shift only a few weeks away. My gut was right.
How else to celebrate but a productive trip to the library on a soggy late afternoon?
This is how I plan to spend my time over the holiday. Five glorious days to sleep, be with family and friends, read because I want to, and be thankful for what’s to come.