Those free one-off coaching sessions I offered last week? A few remain, still! Hit 'reply' to claim one.
Not seeking coaching right now? (Not even a one-off conversation?) How about passing along my offer to someone you know—call it a Valentine from me, call it a Valentine from you, it doesn't matter, but please make sure you spread the love. Even if you're not interested, I'd love for someone you love to benefit.
The sum of your past yous = bad math
In a coaching conversation with a prospective client last week, I realized once again just how common it is for folks to inhabit their pasts, as though there's some magic calculus embedded there that explains why their Right Now looks the way it does.
It seems a great many intelligent, creative, and motivated people believe that, if they're well into their 30s, 40s, and 50s and still searching—for their true selves, for their right career, for a life partner—it's because they made a mistake, took a wrong turn, screwed it all up long ago.
In their minds, it's a simple equation that centers around blaming their past selves for being incongruous with their present desires: They didn't ask themselves enough questions at 18; they didn't pursue the right opportunities at 23; they blew the one relationship that could've been 'it' because they weren't able to be fully vulnerable at 28.
Well, that's horseshit. Plain and simple.
Aging might be a linear process, but personal development is not.
You could spend a lot of time chastising yourself for deciding to go with a pre-law major at 18 because you thought it was what you should do...and now, at 33, you're an unhappy lawyer. ("If only I'd taken a gap year between high school and college, I'd know myself better at this point.")
You could bemoan the fact that you knew you hated working in D.C. public schools back in 2013...but you returned to one in 2015 after you took a cross-country gamble for love, and had your heart broken. ("I spent my young years looking for a partner instead of figuring out what I want to do with my life, and now I'm in a career I hate and I still haven't found my person.")
You could make yourself miserable over your belief that it was your emotional detachment or untreated depression or long work hours that caused him or her to cheat on you or leave you. ("I'm divorced now because I didn't work hard enough on my marriage.")
All attempts to safeguard against future unhappiness by underscoring the so-called errors of the past and carrying them around like life-long punishment.
Plenty of people self-flagellate over what-could've-been-but-wasn't because some past version of themselves made a decision that wasn't informed by present information (you see how that's an impossible feat, right?). They believe that torturing themselves with hindsight machinations will prevent similar missteps and oversights in the future. A logical thought, maybe, but it doesn't work like that.
You don't need to wear your past decisions like an albatross around your neck.
The decisions we make can only ever result from the (limited) information we have at that particular time in our lives.
What you know today, you couldn't have known at 20 or 24 or 31. You have different information now—more information, better information—and your present day decisions will reflect that.
So, if you want to find yourself, your right career, your big love—your best wisdom lies in who you have become. Not in the old version of you who squandered an opportunity more than a decade ago; not in the old version of you who moved forward with a marriage despite the warning signs; not in the old version of you who spent time and money on a college degree that you have yet to use at 50.
You have become someone specific and valuable, and you can trust that you are much more than the sum of your past yous.
I believe in your Right Now self, and I'm also celebrating who you will become next.
Questions are always welcome here. This particular question comes from several of you actually, in response to last week's findings, wherein I revealed that Dana and I are house-hunting in Appleton, Wisconsin. You want to know why Appleton, so I'll tell you a bit more about what we're thinking.
For starters, it's very near to where Dana grew up; my in-laws are close by, as are several dear friends of ours, so this means we're not starting from square one by moving here. Wisconsin is pretty centrally located between our family in New York and our family in California, which makes flights (and drives, because—let's face it—we're veteran drivers) shorter. Another thing that's very important to us is to steer clear of any house that'll land us with a scary mortgage; we won't buy anything that demands we pull in a lofty income until our dying day. Downtown Appleton has an abundance of beautiful character homes on tree-lined streets, near city parks, many under $100k. Finally, we intend to keep traveling! Not nearly at this frequency, but there's more we want to see, and we really value the freedom that comes with a mobile lifestyle. If we live below our means, which we can in Appleton, we anticipate having the resources to continue our adventures.
That's the short of it. If you're willing to share, I'd love to hear how you decided on the town or city where you're settled.
Found, on the internet
Beyond Curie: Celebrating Badass Women in Science is a Kickstarter for a series of prints highlighting 30 women who have made extraordinary advances in math, science, and engineering.
Speaking about the refugees being housed in an empty, repurposed Netherlands prison, photographer Muhammed Muheisen reports: "We're talking about dozens of nationalities. Dozens. The whole world is under this dome." What do the refugees think of their living arrangement? "We are here under a roof, in a shelter, and we feel safe."
Anxious? Overwhelmed? This might help.
Found, right under my nose
Did you know it's possible and entirely within your control to Release Unfinished Projects?! I suspected this was the case, as I happened to write down a note to myself sometime just before the new year that in 2017, I'd promise to abandon my reading any book that wasn't delighting me. BUT. It occurs to me that this act of releasing can be applied to other things, too! Added bonus: As Max Daniels says, "it is absolutely possible to release old projects with relief, instead of regret" [emphasis is mine].
Found, out in the world
At lunch today, I watched this man converse with the birds. Right after this picture, he moved his left hand slowly, palm along the bar, curious to see how close he could get before the birds hopped away. That's something I'd do, I thought. But I was glad to have the opportunity to witness it instead.
Seeking (placing a want ad with the Universe)
As an experiment, I'm going to practice asking the Universe for what I want at the bottom of every newsletter. This week, as I resume my jogging practice after a looong hiatus, I'm asking for tenacity. And flexibility. And subtle signs of encouragement (such as a reduction in how winded I get when when I climb the hotel stairs). Please and thank you!