I am driving north tomorrow for a retreat with my business partners. A man I admire once said that he liked to call them “advances” rather than retreats, as they are intended to move you forward. Either way, it’s a day when we’ll talk about what’s working, where we want to be, how we want to get there, and why we are grateful to be on this adventure together.
It feels odd to take a foot off the pedal in order to move ahead, but we all need that. Whether we own a business, have a family, or just wake up in the morning, we all need little bits of time when we aren’t actively marching forward. We need to take inventory of where we are and where to go next.
My business is more than a decade old, as is my time blogging. The other day I was going back and forth with someone on Twitter and I was reminded of a post I read years ago. It was a beautiful essay on a daughter that never was. I happily offered up the memory, before I knew it the author, a woman I care for a great deal, was with us, agreeing to republish the beautiful post. I want to share Sarah’s post, along with others, because sometimes I think that opening ourselves up to the stories of others allows us to better understand our own.
Maybe something here will touch you or make you think, “So, it’s not just me after all.” I hope so.
Wendy is a newish friend for me. Her writing slices through me, sometimes there is a candor that makes me blush, other times there is a lack of apology that make me feel a deep roar and a kind of defensiveness on her behalf. “She’s living here people, give her some space,” I think-snarl protectively.
This post on the Washington Post is classic Wendy. Nothing about it is simple, and yet she gives so much to us in her story. We can learn and maybe, just maybe, we can expand our compassion.
That post I mentioned earlier, the post from Sarah, it’s here. I’d encourage you to go through her archives. She has a gift, a lyricism to her writing, but also a mind that makes you want to read more and do better.
I don’t remember how I found this one, but it cemented for me the idea that we all have ridiculous battles we face. Maybe it’s an unreasonable client, maybe it’s a trollish reader, could even be our own voice of doubt, but the point is we aren’t alone in it and when you think about it, your merits far outshine the ridiculous attacks on you.
This is something that Devon Corneal turned me onto. It isn’t light, it may not be black and white, but it does raise a very good point about how we protect and, in my opinion, how our protection of those we feel need protecting, sometimes actually protects those whose ridiculousness needs to be heard. Read it, I may make more sense then, or maybe not 😉
Kristin is someone who people often said to me, “Do you read her? You two are very similar.” I was curious and a bit nervous. Turns out, she is, as Anne Shirley would say, a kindred spirit. Her writing never comes with packaging that you have to undo, no plastic, no twisty-ties, just straight up honesty. This post will show you.
Another Kristen, this one I found when I first started blogging. I admired her so much, still do. Her latest post echoed within me. Like the best kind of writing, it isn’t exactly me, but it is enough me that as I read her words, she left space for my own emotions. I trailed off and then back. I felt no shame, no confusion, I love being a mom, love my kids, love Sean, but life does change. There is a part of you that is no longer line leader. I love the permission she offers, it’s important that our kids, spouse, families, or/and ourselves see the person we were before, because it/she/I am still there.
Angela wrote a post about a backpack. Simple, ordinary, and yet this little slice of time heralds a passage to new autonomy, a “do it myself” that tis more silent and more final than those that have come before. It is so lovely.
I saw so many links to this next post, but for some reason I didn’t click and didn’t click. When I finally read it I was so grateful. It is the flame of not following the “do parenting this way” cheer. It’s showing kids we struggle, demonstrating that after blowing up, we can still go on. I think that it’s really a generous lesson about life.
Punctuality. I have never had it, not as a kid, not as a single person, not as a parent. You can judge me for it. I also don’t know which way the toilet paper roll goes. Frankly, in our house it usually never makes it to the room, instead sitting on the counter and bloating with the water spilled over the edges of the sink…which is why this post felt like a back rub coupled with a “you’re beautiful sash.” If you are ever late, read it. Thank you, Kim!
What makes you happy? Why don’t we think about this more?
I got so much advice about how time would fly as a mom, I never stopped to consider how it would fly for me. Time, like life is for all of us—parents, spouses, individuals. Thank you, Allison, for reminding us of that.
While I’m out of the office tomorrow, Will is in charge. He’s a pretty cool cat.
It’s Thursday as I publish this, I hope your Friday is fan*ckingtastic.
I hope some morsel here helps you tweak things ever so slightly toward joy.