Lessons from Therapy: Two Roads Diverged in the Wood and I– I Took the Most Convenient Path

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to understand many things about life. Bills do not magically pay themselves. You may hate your job, but you’d hate your life without one even more. Justin Timberlake’s frosted tips were never attractive. One of the biggest revelations of my life, however, is that not everything has to be incredible; if something is not incredible, it can still be extraordinarily meaningful.

Sometimes just doing is doing just enough– this is what I call the most convenient path. In essence, we all need to learn to give ourselves grace. Not everyone can take the road less traveled and that’s okay. We’re not all meant to be start-up founders. There is comfort in what is known. Our lives are complicated and many of us are just doing the best that we can. Instead of judging ourselves for not taking the road less traveled, we should appreciate ourselves for venturing to journey in the first place. No one said that life would be easy and we’ve all experienced doses of that to some degree. We deserve to give ourselves some credit.

Yours always,

EM

PPE Recommendation- Caraa Universal Face Masks

Hey y’all! I just wanted to hop on here to give a quick PPE recommendation. I happened upon Caraa Sports’ line of PPE after a long search to find reusable masks that did not irritate my skin and were breathable. After reading over 1,000 5-star reviews regarding the products, I ended up ordering a pair of their universal masks in the assorted marine colors . I am officially obsessed. The colors are even more beautiful in person and they are so easy to breath in. Caraa Sports’ masks might truly be the best out there.

A pack of 5 masks costs $25 and every mask purchase is matched with a donation to relief efforts. That is another reason why I wanted to share these with you. Your small purchase has the ability to help others by not only keeping your immediate community safe, but by also helping out first responders. I encourage you to check them out.

P.S. They just released a new line of fall colors.

If you end up picking some up, let me know if you like them!

Yours always,

EM

First Date Chronicles: We’re Not Really Strangers

For my first, First Date Chronicles I wanted to share a potential tool to help make first dates a little less awkward. I don’t know if any of y’all have heard of the game We’re Not Really Strangers, but it was recommended to me by a friend and it was honestly one of my best purchases of 2020. I thought I’d pass this along to y’all.

Per the game’s website: “We’re Not Really Strangers is a purpose driven card game and movement all about empowering meaningful connections. Three carefully crafted levels of questions and wildcards that allow you to deepen your existing relationships and create new ones. “

I could not agree more with the above description. I decided to use it on a recent first date. I’ve played it with friends during quarantine as a means of strengthening our bonds, but I thought that it would be interesting to bring the game into the romantic sphere. There are three levels, so you don’t have to worry about it getting too deep too early. Surprisingly, my date was incredibly open to it. It invited some of the deepest conversation that I’ve ever had on a first date. I seriously recommend you trying it especially during these difficult times when we must be more deliberate in our romantic ventures. I’m happy to say that we have another date planned for next weekend, so at least it didn’t scare him off lol.

Side note: I also think that some of the questions can serve as good prompts for journaling. I believe that we all lie to ourselves in small ways which inevitably alienates us from ourselves. I want to encourage you to not be a stranger to yourself especially if you are putting the energy into getting to know someone else.

Let me know if you end up trying it out. I’d love to hear more about how the game works out for you.

Yours always,

EM

Update: They’ve released a voting edition for those who are curious about that as well.

Thoughts for my Thoughts: “Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.”-Pericles

In honor of the emotionally draining election period we are going through and today’s voter registration deadline, I thought I’d share a quick quote from one of my favorite philosophers.

“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.”-Pericles

In summary my friends, please vote.

I know that this election is being touted as the election to end all elections but that is simply untrue. Our right and duty to exercise our freedom of involvement in public matters, has and will always matter. Please do not forget that regardless of the outcome or of the individuals running for office.

I encourage you to explore for yourself what you are the policies being proposed by both sides regardless of your political leanings. Empathy and compromise are the best ways to deal with this contentious time period.

I’d love to hear more from you. Happy debating my friends!

Yours always,

EM

Me Crush Mondays …because we all deserve to love ourselves the way that Kanye loves Kanye

In honor of the undoubtedly rough week ahead, I’ve decided to start a new series called Me Crush Mondays. I’m really excited to share this concept with y’all. Mondays signal the start to a new week, but they can also serve as a mini refresh/ source of encouragement if you allow for them to. Instead of getting the Monday scaries, we can all work towards shaping a positive habit or form of self care that energizes us for the start of the week. I’ve always struggled with Mondays and I wanted to share this idea with y’all as soon as it popped into my head. I hope that it may help you in some small way. Perhaps, you can inspire others in your lives to start the week off with a more positive mindset…I just realized how ironic my intro sentence is haha.

In all honesty, very few of us give ourselves the appreciation that we deserve. For this first Me Crush Monday, I encourage you to make a list of at least 5 affirmations. Take time to meditate upon them. Try not to make them general affirmations. Make them specific to you and your journey. On Monday, I want you to read them to yourself while looking in the mirror- when you wake up in the morning, when you take a lunch break, or whenever you have time.

I’ll share with you one of my first affirmations: You are strong for choosing to court the uncertainty that comes with pursuing your dreams in the midst of your deep grief.

Side note: As counterintuitive as it may seem, these Monday posts will go live on Sundays. I’m hoping that this will give you time to prepare yourself/ have something to look forward to on Mondays. Of course, all of these activities can be performed at any point in the week.

Feel free to share some of your affirmations below. I’d love to hear from you. Don’t forget…

Staycation Nation

As I sit here writing this blogpost, my next door neighbor is banging away on his newly acquired drum set. While I appreciate the joie de vivre, I do wish he’d work through his midlife crises in a more introspective manner or at the very least substitute his drum set for one of these. I kid, BUT I will be adding some noise cancelling headphones to my holiday wishlist lol. Everyone deserves their little piece of escape.

Speaking of escape, I never knew that staycations would one day become the norm. I mean I don’t think anything, apart from The Simpsons, could have predicted the kind of year we are having. We live at home, we work at home, and are somehow expected to find our escape in our homes. It’s a lot for any person to manage. (Side note: I’m particularly impressed by the parents that are toeing this difficult balance.) In an effort to help you with your much deserved staycations, I wanted to share some things that I’ve been doing and tools that I’ve utilized to give myself those little moments of mental reprieve.

  • Reading: Reading truly is the ultimate escape. Even before quarantine, I found solace in the way in which words can weave wondrous worlds for us to wander in. (I couldn’t help myself with the alliteration lol). I’ll try to get some posts together regarding my quarantine readings.
  • Decorating: Decorating is truly an underrated art. I’ve always taken quite a spartan approach to my living arrangements. If I had what I needed, then I was utterly grateful. However, spending so much time at home has really illuminated the importance of personalizing your space. I’ll do more posts regarding in depth tips for decorating , but I did want to mention three things that really have helped me
    • fairy lights– I’ve purchased multiple sets of the lights linked here. They add such a soft glow of gloomy nights when you don’t want the harshness of overhead light. They are an excellent way to create a space to escape. I personally love the “romantic” feel that they add to any space.
    • Japanese screens– Japanese screens or room dividers in general have been an essential part of my quarantine experience. While they are a little on the steep side, they are still much less expensive than paying rent for a larger place to live! I’ve utilized room dividers to assist with creating physical barriers in my small space that assist me with mentally dividing my now complex relationship with my living space.
    • Bedding– Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always invested in decent bedding. However, I never appreciated it until quarantine. While this may not be the best habit and perhaps counterproductive to the whole division of space trend, I find myself using my bed ask my main work space some days. To be honest, sometimes I have to muster a lot of energy to work and I can’t manage to both work and get out of bed. When I commuted into the office, I had an external pressure to be “ON”. Now, Wentworth is my only co-worker. Although he is a somewhat shady boy, the pressure to be fully present doesn’t feel the same. Instead of punishing myself for not being able to get out of bed some days, I decided to invest in myself and create a space that I could feel both comforted and productive.
  • “Me-Do” List: This one may be self-explanatory, but I find that I create to-do lists for everything. I always have discouragingly long to-do lists pertaining to my job and my life responsibilities, BUT I don’t…well didn’t have one for the things that actually feed my soul. That’s why I started making “Me-Do” lists. Forgive the grammar, but I was feeling cutesy haha. On my weekly “Me-Do” list, I put down things that I enjoy doing that have no end goal or objective apart from bringing me peace and/or joy. I don’t have to do everything on that list, but I challenge myself to at least do one of the things on my list at some point during the week. When I’m feeling more ambitious, I challenge myself to do one thing from the list each day. The nice thing about “Me-Do” lists is that there isn’t a right or wrong way to utilize them. Some weeks, I do the same “Me-Do” every single day. Other weeks, I fit in a quick one on Sunday just to say I did it. Below are some examples of “Me-Dos”
    • Painting(I have this exact set. I absolutely love it)
    • Playing guitar
    • reading one book chapter
    • cooking a nice meal
    • lighting some candles( these are some of my favorite candles. convenient and great burn time)
    • getting dressed

You get the gist of it. Your list should be reflective of all of the things that you put to the side in favor of things that you have to do.

Well that’s all from me. I hope that this post was somewhat helpful. I’d love to hear from you! Let me know in the comments if you have any book recommendations or suggestions for feeding your soul.

Sincerely,

EM

Saturday Musing: Adulthood-When Mundane Becomes Extraordinary

Being an adult is an underrated form of being extraordinary. After a day of cleaning (well half cleaning) the house, I’m sitting here writing this post. I’m not sure why this never donned upon me before, but being an adult is truly extraordinary. After an exhausting week of work, we are greeted by the weekend. A time we are supposed to reserve for rest and relaxation. A time that many of us reserve for doing the work in our lives that doesn’t get recognition or pay-cleaning, cooking, paying the bills, going to the grocery store, and general preparation for the week ahead. Adulthood and life in general is composed of these little, mundane moments. That’s why we fail to acknowledge our extraordinary. I didn’t feel like waking up early in order to preserve my sleep schedule and I certainly didn’t feel like getting out of bed today. Yet, I did.

We are so sold upon the idea of what we have to do that we forget to appreciate ourselves for getting it done. Yes, the house must be cleaned and the bills need to be paid, but it doesn’t make us any less extraordinary for doing those things. During our early years, we are rewarded for our efforts through very obvious forms of advancement. We move up in grade levels, earn diplomas, and for some of us degrees. Finally, if we’re lucky, we get our first job. That’s where it ends. No matter how many promotions you may get or cities that you move to, your life is defined by the mundane because adulthood is mundane. However, the extraordinary comes in when we choose to embrace the mundane. Some days we may run from it and that’s okay, but on average we get things done without so much as a second thought.

I always saw the extraordinary in my mother. It seemed like she moved through life with ease-no small feat for a single mother. I didn’t realize it growing up, but there’s nothing easy about it at all. I was even selling her extraordinary short. She made a million selfless, mundane decisions that kept our world turning. Her extraordinary was beyond what I could fathom. So today, and every day, take time to appreciate yourself for the mundane-especially if you’re a parent. Just know that your mundane is what makes you extraordinary.

I’d love to hear from you. Let me know what makes your mundane extraordinary.

Sincerely,

EM

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Failing Upwards

Full disclosure “failing upwards” is totally one of those motivational phrases that I absolutely abhor. I am most definitely failing, but the only thing going upward is my debt. No… seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the premise of the phrase. We owe it to ourselves to do something that scares us, go for our dreams, and inevitably risk failure. However, as a society we have become risk averse. We are so risk averse that we have lost sight of what it truly means to fail.

Failure has suddenly become synonymous with not doing enough, doing too much, or not knowing what to do at all. In essence, we’ve begun to attach the word failure to any moments in our lives that make us uncomfortable or question our long-term trajectory. The issue with this lies in the fact that failure is not a state of being, but rather a description of an outcome. This is where the idea of failing upwards falls short. No you are not a failure because you’re unmarried, your kids suck, or because you like the new Kanye. You are, however, a failure if you let outcomes become your identity. On the bright side, this means that you’re most likely not a sociopath so there’s that.

In all seriousness, as a society we need to work towards embracing the idea of growing pains and erasing the idea of failure. Normally, I am opposed to the new-age, “participation trophy” approach to life. No, not everything is good. No, not every result is positive. Yes, you have failed and you will fail again. However, in the overexposed society in which we live we do not have a realistic litmus of where we should be in life. This leads us to attach failure to any aspect of our lives that “falls short”. In an ideal world, failing upwards would describe a comfort in knowing that not everything will go your way in life. However until we learn to escape the pressure of what should be and embrace what is, we will continue to universalize the implications of our failures. Stop failing upwards. We must learn to just fail and keep it moving.

Until then, have fun defying the laws of gravity!

Sincerely,

EM