Happy Birthday To Me!


Because I like to treat my birthday as a personal new year of sorts and also because I am currently reading Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss, I decided to share my own answers to 3 interview questions used in that book — in the context of the past year of my life. I hope these answers can be useful for someone besides myself.

In the last year, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?

I have started devoting at least 20 minutes a day to free writing every afternoon. It’s not journaling exactly. It’s more of a brain dump. I just write, stream of consciousness, and get everything that’s in my brain out on paper. It’s for my eyes only.

I discovered this practice in my own way, but I’ve since seen that I’m far from the only one to use it. Julia Cameron calls it “morning pages” in her book The Artists Way. Bessel van der Kolk talks about the therapeutic benefits of free writing in The Body Keeps The Score. Even @thefuckitdiet recommends it.

Whatever you call it, when I do free write, I just focus on keeping my fingers moving. I don’t worry about being coherent, I just keep going. Seeing the words in my head on the page helps me get some much-needed distance from them. I can see patterns. I can make changes. I can let things go. It is definitely not a diary, and it definitely is transformative.

What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last year?

A year ago, I gave myself the gift of an Audible subscription. Since my birthday last year, I have read 54 new books — 26 of those were audiobooks. Listening to audiobooks on my daily walks has exposed me to 100% more quality ideas than I would have been otherwise. It is not an exaggeration to say this purchase has changed my days and my mind.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what new thing do you do in the last year to ground you?

I am a stay-at-home parent. I get yelled at a lot in the course of my day. Like most humans, I don’t enjoy being yelled at or a number of the other indignities of childcare. On days where these things pile up and I feel overwhelmed, I start to wonder why I chose this work. To be fair, I have had this thought about nearly every job I’ve ever had. For this particular job, I have found a go-to practice that reminds me of the answer to this question. I just slyly (or not so slyly) contrive to get cheek-to-cheek with one or both of my kiddos. The soothing physicality of it snaps me out of these unhelpful thoughts and connects me to both my kids and my why.


Published by Emily P.G. Erickson

Emily P.G. Erickson is a freelance writer specializing in mental health and parenting. She has written for popular digital publications, including Everyday Health, Health, The New York Times, Parents, Romper, WIRED, and more. Emily is a professional member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) and the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ). Previously, Emily researched PTSD for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and earned a master's in psychology. You can find the latest from Emily at www.emilypgerickson.com.

3 thoughts on “Happy Birthday To Me!

  1. Why You Deserve Someone Who Will Give You The World And Nothing Less

    There are many things we may settle for in life: the meal that has fewer calories, the bad job in the right city or maybe the clothes on the sale rack. The one thing we should never settle for, however, is love. There are many average things in life, but love should not be one of them. Through the masses of mediocre, common and run-of-the-mill things that we experience day by day, love should certainly defy them all. We should never settle for someone who could walk away and not turn back. We should never settle for someone who doesn’t recognize what he is holding when embracing our hands or someone who doesn’t remind us every day of how much we mean to him. What you truly deserve, well, is everything. What you deserve is someone missing you the moment you walk out the door, even if you’ll only be gone a moment. You deserve someone who may not believe in fairytales, but who treats you like a princess simply because that’s what you are to him. You deserve someone who will challenge you instead of just giving in. Someone who will share his honest thoughts with you because you’re going to share your honest lives together; yet, someone who knows how to forgive and to be happy instead of right. You deserve that epic passion that “50 Shades of Grey” doesn’t even cover: a spark that never goes dim, eyes that only turn to you and the need to feel your touch whenever you’re around. You deserve a passion that awakens your inner being and intertwines your hearts into one. You deserve to always feel wanted, to never doubt for a moment how your significant other feels about you. You deserve to never waver for a second that the future consists of you together, both looking forward. You deserve the safety that encompasses you like a wave, sometimes in a swell, but forever coasting. You deserve every birthday remembered and every holiday embraced. You deserve effort behind any gift, even if it’s a flower picked up from the sidewalk on the way home. You deserve a thought behind every word, especially when saying goodbye. You deserve letters, notes and Post-Its that remind you how special you are to him on any given day. You deserve to be held with tenderness. You deserve that earthshattering kiss; the one that you need to stay alive and the one that is your sole nourishment for survival. It breaks all bounds and you lose yourself in it every time. Your mind can’t find the difference between present, past and future because in that moment, time does not exist. You’re adrift between the taste of love and the feeling of forever. You deserve to be introduced to friends as if you were the rarest thing on earth. You deserve to be brought into a room with pride in hand that he is so blessed to be standing beside you. You deserve someone who would always choose the seat next to you and would never need to brag about how lucky he is because anyone could see it clearly in his face when he looks at you. You deserve something that isn’t easy; a love that is hard, but you tough it out together. You learn through your battles and you start to fight them together. You stand your ground, but you stand beside each other doing so. You deserve to be tested in your limits because it’s at the edge where you discover the greatest faith. You deserve a true and epic love, nothing short of the above. You deserve to be someone’s dream come true, never someone’s afterthought. You deserve to walk on air and walk on fire at the same time because the very best things in life are not easy. Yes, you deserve it all, but that person out there in the world deserves it, too. He deserves the girl in his arm to encompass everything he ever wanted. You yourself must justify the love you think you deserve. So be the person that deserves the world and the world will bring you that love.

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