Sound Bites Circle-Sticking

At what age are we supposed to stop speed dialing our mothers? I’m hoping you’ll be the one to supply the correct answer of never, along with a gentle smile.

Are there certain sets of words you’ve come to associate with your mom? How many things spell c-o-m-f-o-r-t for you, and how many of them can be traced back to her?

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My mom has a thing about *gathering data.* You’re just gathering data, Sweet Pea. Whether this winds up being a good move or not, you’ll know more coming out than you did going in.

I don’t know why I feel that’s such wisdom for the ages, but I do. I find the idea of being in experimental mode very freeing. You’re just taking notes, I often tell myself. You’ll have a better idea of where you stand soon enough.

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Here’s another one I’ve been returning to lately: “No need to hurry. No need to rush. No need to be anything but one’s self.”

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What do you have for recent thoughts you feel good about? What do you have for little sound bites circle-sticking in your brain? I made a little list this week, for you and for me:

-Solid, sound advice: be able to tease yourself. Sacrifice a scheduled reorganization of your sock drawer every now and then.

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-Nothing in nature blooms all year.

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-If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never [ever] have enough.

-Unsaid sentences aren’t necessarily indicative of unfelt emotions.

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-Don’t delay _________. You fill in the blank.

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-Every morning you wake up in _________, step outside, take a deep breath, and take in the magic of that place.

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-Enjoy the good parts about living alone. About being in this phase. Theoretically, you won’t be in it forever.

-Alone is good/bad/happy/sad. See if you can’t both find some beauty in each other.

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-Never be afraid to ask for what you want. Things to do ahead of time: dry clean your favorite blazer, do your homework, practice your polite-but-firm. Two more words to consider and take to heart: “eye” and “contact.” Now is not the time to go all shifty.

-Be grateful, but not in a remember-to-beat-yourself-over-the-head-with-it kind of way. Just…be grateful. For the milestone moments and the mini meltdowns. They’re all telling you something.

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-Don’t be afraid to keep a stash of Justin’s white chocolate peanut butter cups in the cupboard with the door that won’t shut. When they’re 4 for $5, buy 4.

-Be nice, to other women especially.

-You’re not the only one with 7 pairs of black pants in her closet — none of which currently fit the bill. We’ve got: too long, too short, too fitted, too loose, too tapered, too flared, and [WAY] too annoying to iron. Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.

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-Figure out which kinds of things you’re allergic to. For me: amoxicillin, the word “foodie,” any reference to “clean eating,” and articles with titles like “Six Ways to Your Dream Body.”

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-Don’t wait for someone to give you closure. You give yourself closure.

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-Be patient with what you’ll soon know.

-Health is not just about what you’re eating or how religiously you’re exercising (or how intensely you go about it when you do). It’s also about what you’re thinking and saying. It’s about what’s top of mind and how happy you are with that answer. It’s about how deeply you’re able to sleep, how present you’re able to be, and how meaningfully/regularly you’re able to contribute to the significant relationships in your life.

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-Make a point to breathe (sometimes harder than others), move your body, and drink some water. But also: use your active wear for lounging, put your feet up, eat something you really want, and don’t you feel bad about it, not for a single second.

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-There’s nothing the matter with you — no neat and tidy reason you haven’t met someone yet. So much of it really does just come down to timing. And you wouldn’t feel good if you settled. Unspoken: your time will come too; keep not settling. 

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-If you’re attracted to people who have goals and lists and some depth, for goodness’s sake, make sure you have those things too. Start fumbling through your own plans, start feeling out your own dreams.

-Give yourself the grace to change whatever starts not working/not feeling right.

-Pay closer attention. (As in please, please, stop and smell the literal roses.)

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-Put your worries into a four-box grid. Label the axes Important/Not Important and Controllable/Uncontrollable. Cross off all of the uncontrollable and not important ones and do what you can about the rest.

-A+ counsel from Marian Bull: “You don’t always have to have a Gmail tab open.”

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-Add paprika to your next fried egg situation.

-Play songs on repeat and don’t worry about killing them. Pick out the lyrics you like. Currently: so come on let it go, just let it be, why don’t you be you, and I’ll be me.

-Make a back-of-napkin list of things you’d like to be. Doesn’t have to be eloquent, or even remotely attainable right now. (A manager. A rainy day writer. A homeowner. A good cook. A person with loved ones all around. A mom.) Go figure out how to be those things.

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-Related: do something. Get yourself in a position to seize the next opportunity, and stay open to trying something new. It doesn’t have to fit your vision of the perfect job or the perfect life. It might actually be better if it doesn’t.

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-Read a book recommended by a friend, something by turns funny/smart/sweet.

-Enjoy every last second of the highs. Resign yourself to riding out the lows.

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-Develop those *inner resources.* (Another gem from Mom.) Do the hard work so you have a few things to call upon/prop up around yourself whenever things start feeling really far from ideal. Bonus points if you’re able to do this without lots of dollar signs in co-pays. (I couldn’t.)

-When you’re ready, when it feels right…let your saved-up wishes start coming out.

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-Swallow whatever truth you need to swallow. For me: no one is going to step out and live for me. No one is going to give me permission to be myself. No one is going to magically appear and make it 30x easier for me to love myself. I have to be the one to whisper the words I’ve been waiting to hear, and I am the one who is going to need to believe them. (Getting there, getting there.)

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-Three things that matter: flexibility, curiosity, and compassion.

-“None of those other things makes a difference. Love is the strongest thing in the world, you know. Nothing can touch it. Nothing comes close. If we love each other we’re safe from it all. Love is the biggest thing there is.” -David Guterson

-Notice what you do when you’re happy. When I’m happy, I don’t write so much. Instead: I cook. I take photos. I hang out with people. (Related: notice what you do when you’re on the up and up. I’m not nearly as introverted as I thought I was.)

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-If you’re someone who takes a long time to hit your stride, go easy on yourself. I never really found my footing, in NYC. And it’s taken me two years, in Oregon. And even now, just b-a-r-e-l-y. Totally touch and go!

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-Run your own race. (Walk/jog/whatever you please.) I’m generally not wild about the expression you do you, but in this case I think that’s exactly what we should do. Both of us.

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{Downtown PDX via @marshallsteeves, pines via @tinkerstreet, Mt. Hood National Forest via @robbyzabala, airplane view via @jennhouston, St. John’s Bridge via @gemini_digitized, open door via @heymaggiejane, foggy mountainside via @andrewgolesch — all on Instagram.}

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