In less than 30 days, I will have been on this earth for 30 years. It’s a big number for me, and one that I’ve been self-indulgently thinking about a lot this past year (among many other things).
When do birthdays stop being fun?
I hope never.
My beautiful friend, who is a year younger than me, made herself a “30 things to do before I turn 30” list, and it’s inspired me to do the same. I realize I’ve given myself a lot less time, but 15 before 30 didn’t have quite the same ring to it.
The list started off ridiculously practical – a “to do” list of all the things I’ve been putting off for ages. But, they stand for all the ways I feel weighed down. If I’m going to be my best self in 2017, I figured I’d better start somewhere.
I wouldn’t say I’m a private person, but I am deeply self-conscious (is anyone surprised?). Even putting this list out into the world seems incredibly vulnerable, but I need you to keep me accountable. Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear, right? I am excited to write about my progress and fill in the infinite pages of this space again. Because I’ve missed it.
Last weekend, I spotted this on a Post-It stuck onto a classmate’s bathroom mirror. It was from a book I had read in college, and it’s something that’s stuck with me ever since. It’s always relevant, but seems so especially important to say right now:
“The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world.” – Paul Farmer
Came across this list, and now I’m wishing they could rush the release dates so I can round out my summer reading.
Especially looking forward to:
Her first book since the middle-school classic.
This compilation by the woman who wrote the scariest story I’ve ever read.
“A magnum opus for our morally complex times from the author of Freedom”
In the meantime, currently reading: quiet (because it’s cheaper than therapy).
3 things inspiring me today:
1. A classy luau
2. This instagram, found via cup of jo, combining celebrity snapshots and quotes.
“Maybe that’s enlightenment enough: to know that there is no final resting place of the mind; no moment of smug clarity. Perhaps wisdom…is realizing how small I am, and unwise, and how far I have yet to go.”
– Anthony Bourdain
3. My beautiful grandmother, who celebrated 80 years of life yesterday.
(Photo via studio diy)
I devoured this book.
It got delivered on Saturday in a sturdy brown box (thanks amazon prime), and by Monday afternoon, I had that empty feeling that comes when you’ve finished something good (not unlike binge-watching a tv show).
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not her biggest fan. I didn’t get pulled into “Girls”, despite multiple attempts to sit through the episodes, and I am guilty of once comparing her body to that of a turtle (I’m only human). But this book is good.
And it’s good firstly because Lena Dunham is a good writer. She writes deftly about first times, first jobs, and first therapists. She makes it something more than just a confessional, or “just a memoir.” Coming from a generation that published this book (and I’m going to add this one as well), this book brings substance and art back to the genre.
Secondly, she never questions whether her experiences are worth sharing. That would be the biggest critique of a twenty-something upper-class white girl writing a memoir. Probably exactly the reason why, in the title, she puts “learned” in quotes. It’s one of the first things she addresses in the book – almost as if to say, “Let’s get this out of the way.” Because, honestly, isn’t it about time we owned our stories?
“There is nothing gutsier to me than a person announcing that their story is one that deserves to be told, especially if that person is a woman.”
If I’m being truthful, I ended up picking the book (instead of this one) because of Michicko Kakutani. And homegirl never steers me wrong.
I celebrated my first grad this past weekend (though I didn’t quite make it to the ceremony, owing to the 8am start time and the lack of tickets for our entire extended family – sorry, Kenny!).
Graduation season is here and goddamn I love me a good commencement speech.
Inspiring, (hopefully) succinct, and full of well wishes and optimism. They frequently neglect to mention the onslaught of student loans and that the past four years playing beer pong and sleeping in has left you with a mostly useless degree requiring you to go to grad school or work for pennies while you move back in with your parents (this is why I’ll never be asked to give a graduation speech).
There are so many good speeches, and a quick youtube search will yield videos more inspiring than TedTalks; and, of course, there’s Steve Jobs at Stanford:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition … Stay hungry, Stay foolish.”
But one of my favorites is George Saunders at Syracuse. The core of his message can be summed up like so:
What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.
It’s worth the full read/watch.
I’m realizing more and more that the only thing that matters is how we treat each other.
Just wanted to put this out there, as this resonates with me more than I care to admit.
Third-wave feminism and a look at two new books:
Consider Spinster‘s concern with the way women melt into their relationships: “It wasn’t merely that my identity was constructed entirely out of my relationships with other people — my relationships were my identity. My relationships took the place of myself,” she writes. Anyone who has worked with younger women will tell you this mentality is neither unusual nor specific to Bolick’s milieu. Subsuming yourself in relationships, no matter how empowered you were raised to be, is a common affliction of growing up in patriarchy.
(so it’s not just me?)
“The only way for a woman, as for a man, to find herself, to know herself as a person, is by creative work of her own,” wrote none other than Betty Friedan. The secret that Toni Morrison’s story reveals is that women, in fact, do better by their loved ones — whether in traditional, unorthodox, or unofficial arrangements — when they buck the messaging and become their most fulfilled selves, refusing to be swallowed by relationships or reduced to them.
My feelings about (third-wave) feminism and how women should treat other women can be summed up by Amy Poehler,
“’Good for her! Not for me.’ That is the motto women should constantly repeat over and over again. Good for her! Not for me.”