IT‘S MY BIRTHDAY TODAY!
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.https://wordsbyemily.co/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/1080p.mov