Thoughts On Identity

roadSome years back I wrote an essay called Learning The Language. The piece reflected on my experiences living abroad, learning to navigate a foreign country and culture with a somewhat limited grasp on the language.

The essay wasn’t so much about learning to speak a foreign language, as it was about learning who I was (and who I was not) in the context of that new environment but also in the context of the world and my life.

I was in my twenties, recently graduated from college, recently married. I was trying to find my place in the world, as if my identity were a destination. But now I know that identity is not a destination, but rather a journey.

Identity is fluid, not finite. And that is very good news! It means we can change our minds, make different choices, and consciously move in the direction we want to go next.

In this age of accelerated change, our roles are continually shifting, sometimes without our permission, other times by choice. How much will the world change in a person’s lifetime if she lives to be 90 or 100? Quite a lot. So, in a sense, we will always be Learning the Language.

Three Artists

Since she was very small my granddaughter Evalyn enjoyed painting with me in my studio. Over the years I’ve seen her creations evolve from messy blobs of black and red watercolors to quite sophisticated sketches and designs.

One day when she was maybe four, I took her to visit a friend of mine at his art gallery. I introduced them, “This is my friend Stan. Stan is an artist.”

Evalyn gasped. “I’m an artist too! And so is grandma!” she exclaimed. The label artist was something that connected the three of us, a shared identity. Oh, the wisdom of children!

Continue reading “Thoughts On Identity”

Getting things done! Three tools to keep you on track.

It’s easier to meet goals when other people are expecting something from us – our boss, our work team, customers, family. We don’t want to let them down.

But when our goals are personal, it can be more difficult to get traction. We might put off personal goals because we think they only matter to us.

Implementing this simple three-step process can help.

One: Buddy Up!

Find an accountability buddy. Your buddy is someone who has their own goal to accomplish. They will commit to holding you accountable and vice versa.

You both agree to scheduled check-ins and complete honesty about your progress, or your lack of progress.

There will be times when you don’t make progress. After all, the whole reason you need a buddy is because you’ve been struggling to meet this goal on your own.

Continue reading “Getting things done! Three tools to keep you on track.”

Beating Procrastination

Monday morning started out wonderfully! After a restful weekend and a good night’s sleep, I felt refreshed.

As soon as I rolled out of bed, I grabbed my coffee and did my usual morning writing. Perfect! This is a routine that rarely gets altered. It’s a habit I’ve created.

Remember the habit loop? Cue -> Action -> Reward. I was off to a great start!

It was one of those rare days when I didn’t have any appointments. I intended to get a lot of writing done!

What did I do instead? I procrastinated.

I showered quickly and headed out. I’d been out of town and wanted to reconnect with my friends at the neighborhood coffee shop.

None of the usual cars were in the parking lot, so I drove on down town for breakfast. I was halfway downtown anyway, right? And, I could swing by and pick up the mail.

After a conversation with the restaurant owner, and too much time reading the newspaper, I walked up the street to an art exhibition. Since I was in the vicinity, I’d snap some pictures of my friend Leonardo’s art. He’d asked me to. Continue reading “Beating Procrastination”

Sit and think. Or just sit.

So much noise. So much advice. Everywhere we turn. From every direction.

Five things to do on a first date. Three ways to relax. The One thing you should never say in an interview. Seven signs you’re in a bad relationship. Ten life hacks to make yourself popular. Fours ways to lose weight. Eight habits preventing you from attaining your goals.

The messages here? You don’t know how to date, to relax, to get a job, to have a relationship, to make friends. You’re fat. And you can’t meet your goals.

You’re a mess! But we can fix you! Continue reading “Sit and think. Or just sit.”