If you happen to live in a first world, Westernized city/state/country, chances are you may feel overwhelmed much of the time. Especially in major metropolitan areas in the U.S., the culture is focused on a lot of –ing words: doing more, working harder, feeling better, looking hotter.
Having grown up in this culture, I appreciate its drive and thrust towards progress, but it’s also a culture of near-unattainable ambitions and intense pressure. It can cause us to feel never enough—never successful enough, never hot enough, never healthy enough. It can cause us to build schedules and lives that help us to feel like we’re striving towards those expectations, even as we remain out of touch with what really brings us joy and fulfillment.Continue reading “Stepping out of survival mode”→
She remembered who she was, and it changed everything.
The first time I was given a personality test, I was 23, fresh out of college, and very, very sure I knew exactly who I was, how I function, and what I value. At the time, I was a student in a small ministry school, and the aim of the test was to help us communicate better as a team that would eventually go to India together on a mission trip. I agreed to take the test, but I felt condescended to and frustrated.
I was unique—how could I be categorically labeled and defined by a formula?
I recently came across a single phrase* that got me thinking about my attitude towards much of what I would like more of in my life: material resources (yes, I’m talking about money), relationships (yes, I’m talking about getting married and having children), and even spiritual fulfillment (yes, I’m talking about God).
This week, I turn 29 years old. While not officially 30, I feel it’s close enough to merit some reflection on the past almost-decade.
In fact, “29” feels a little odd to me—like the space between two stair steps. Like I’m reaching for something ahead, but not there quite yet. Those two digits that have evolved, at least in contemporary American culture, to suggest that now there are no more excuses to put off adulthood. Your career should be well on its way; if you’re not married yet, thinking about it should factor into your every decision (hate to say it, but especially for women). Your twenties are for exploring and experimenting. Your thirties are for adulting.
I recently returned from a trip to Paris, during which my priorities were shaken up, stirred, and reordered. Still stuffed with French butter, baguette, and chocolat noir, I spent my plane ride home drifting in and out of sleep and melting memories of those things that make Paris Paris: the gray and cream cityscape at dusk, the steep ascent to the hill at Montmartre, the assurance of perfect croissants on every block. I’ve been to the city many times, but this particular trip moved me in such a way that I’ll be processing, remembering, and living in it for weeks and months to come. Continue reading “Cultivating creativity + community”→
Here’s to being vulnerable: for most of my life I’ve struggled with perfectionism. I’ve felt I had to make the rightchoice in every single situation, however seemingly inconsequential. Did I study the right subject in school? Did I say the right thing in that conversation? Am I wearing the right outfit? Did I eat the right thing for lunch? I used to obsess over decision I had made, agonizing over whether I had made the “wrong” one and whether that would taint a (ridiculous) aspiration to live perfectly. Continue reading “How to fail forward”→
One of my favorite French phrases borrowed from the English language is le week-end. In French, “week” is semaine and “end” is dernier. I guess the French allowed week-end to slip through the typically impenetrable fortress of the French language to make it just a little easier to reference those glorious two days at the end of every work week.
In theory, we rest and recuperate on Saturday and Sunday. Le probleme is that the French- and many other cultures- do le week-end so much better than most Americans do. When we do have “time off”- which is often rare- we have the tendency to fill those extra hours with more scheduled time. Grocery store runs, hours at the gym, and quick coffee dates with friends end up dominating days off, or hours after work. Continue reading “Why you should schedule rest”→