Make the most of your time here.
The New York Times alert that lit my phone midday today stopped me in my tracks. Amy Krouse Rosenthal, the writer who just ten days ago, broke so many of our hearts with her Modern Love story about her husband, had died. While I had known her children’s books for years, I knew nothing about her until ten days ago, when her column made me suddenly want to learn everything about her.
A writer and a maker, Amy left a mark on this world. She offered pragmatic wisdom galore in her kids’ books, adult books, and film projects. And as I’ve sifted through it, one piece really stuck out. It’s the conclusion of a TEDx talk she gave in 2010, where she asked the audience to think about what their seven-word message might be. What was possible to convey in just seven words? Everything, it turns out.
Amy’s seven words: Make the most of your time here.
These couldn’t be any more fitting. This woman truly crammed LIFE into her days. And among so many other things, she inspired me, a fellow writer, maker, and mother to take a few minutes to take stock of my own life. Her short, ten-day stint in my life has made me want to hug my kids tighter, run a little longer, and soak up a little more sunshine. I don’t have a seven-word message yet — maybe it’ll be something like “Get outside and explore that beautiful world.”
But for today, my only seven words are Your words and soul live on, Amy. RIP.
‘Tis the season of bright ideas and high hopes, a time when many of us resolve to do better and be better in the year ahead. The notion of a new beginning can be intoxicating, particularly after a year like the last one, which has left many of ready to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. But far too often, this feeling of intoxicating optimism and promise is short-lived. Read more
Mark Zuckerberg famously marked his return from paternity leave by posting a “what should I wear?” photo of a lineup of grey t-shirts and hoodies. Steve Jobs, known for wearing a black mock turtleneck and jeans every day, reportedly returned from a trip to Japan wanting his employees to wear uniforms to work. These men are not alone — a cursory web search on this topic returns article after article about successful people wearing the same thing to work every day. Their logic is simple: eliminating decisions saves mental energy. Read more
Sometimes the universe seems to open up — delivering interesting ideas, people, and opportunities seemingly out of the blue. Or, as Elizabeth Gilbert puts it in Big Magic, it may be that we open up at various points in time, providing more space for newness to land in our orbit. These times in our lives feel full of optimism and hope – enabling us to make room for things we may have previously thought didn’t or couldn’t fit. Read more
A few weeks ago, as I prepared to return to full-time work, I asked my kids (well, the two capable of responding) how they felt about me heading back to the office. My daughter’s brow furrowed as she sorted through the sea of uncertainty I knew was teetering behind her stiff upper lip, but her older brother surprised me by quickly and cheerfully replying, “I think it’s great, mom.” Read more
So often, I hear people say things like “I’m going to work hard for the next X years so that I can then spend more time with my kids later,” or “I’m going to get my life in order before the holidays so I can start working out for real after the holidays are over,” or “I’m going to get through this busy stretch of work events and then start cooking healthier meals at home.” My personal refrain is often “I’ll make more time to write when [my work slows down, my children get older, insert a million other excuses here].” Read more
Rooted in Buddhism and other Eastern philosophies, meditation has been on the rise in the Western world for the past few years. In the last 10 years, “mindfulness” has exploded as a Google search term (see below), and Amazon’s shelves are stocked with books on the topic. Oprah has teamed up with Deepak Chopra to create the 21-Day Meditation Experience, meditation rooms are now mainstream at Silicon Valley companies, and people in New York are “having a sit” versus having a beer after work at swanky places like Ziva Meditation and The Path. Read more
“If you’re a real creative director, you need to be making creative things. It can’t all just be about making ads,” Donald Robertson, SVP of Global Creative Development at Estee Lauder, told Fast Company this month in his spotlight as one of the magazine’s 100 Most Creative People in Business. Robertson, who shares illustrations with Instagram followers at @drawbertson, gets up at 4am to paint for four hours every day before he heads into work. Read more
Before having kids, my husband and I drove across the U.S. twice, trekked to Everest Base Camp, cycled through the Pyrenees, surfed in El Salvador, and among other adventures, spent a full summer circumnavigating the globe on foot and in a car. We ate crickets in Mexico and horse in China, devoured buttery croissants in Paris, choked down steaming yak milk tea in Tibet, drank vodka to pass the slow traverse across Russia, and leisurely plucked pieces of sushi from little boats floating around a lazy Susan in Japan. Travel was our foundation, simultaneously reinforcing our independence and helping us to find comfort and faith in our growing partnership. Read more
“Every person on this earth has a bright light inside of them. Sometimes it shines easily to those of us on the outside, and other times it’s entirely hidden. It’s our job to look for the light when we meet people…to seek the brightness, and once we find it, nurture it and feed it and help it get brighter and brighter.”
A friend recently shared this perspective in a conversation about the principles that guide our lives. Her kids go to Quaker school (commonly known as the “friends schools”), and this is one of the school’s core teaching philosophies. In short, it’s the belief that education is about drawing things out of people, not just putting things into them. Read more