Gift from The Sea, by Anne Morrow Lindbergh

This book is tiny, but mighty. Written by an obvious introvert, so she basically had me right there.

It’s a little dated, but still relevant. There is an assumption that the majority of women do not work outside the home, but remember this book was written in a totally different generation when that was true. When you look past that, there are all sorts of gems found here.

Beautiful words and imagery couch some incredibly deep analysis of changes women (primarily, but also men) go through, particularly at middle life. Her writing speaks to me on a deep, heart level. She has eloquently put into words the internal and external struggles I have been feeling over the past few years. Who am I, where am I going, what is my purpose, why am I not satisfied with what I have?

I feel understood and validated that this is a less well-defined but nonetheless predictable developmental stage in life and it is ok, even expected and natural that I am feeling this way. Most developmental theory seems to kinda gloss over these middle-aged years (especially for women). Lots of emphasis on your body beginning to break down, your mind starting to slip and how you just soldier on with raising kids, working and making money with nothing particularly interesting happening. Oh, except maybe you are also lucky enough to be caring for your aging parents as well (right here) or perhaps having a middle life crisis. But this is a crock! Not the part about helping parents (that’s a privilege, at least for me it is), but the part about this stage of life being a yawn-fest that sometimes culminates in an epic, tragic, negative struggle.

It sounds a little cheesy, but I prefer to think of this transitional time in life less as a “crisis” and more as a huge opportunity to start a new and fun chapter. It is not without any struggle to be sure, but overall, I feel like my life has gotten richer and deeper. I enjoy using my brain which feels powerful – like a muscle car amped up on experience, creativity and wisdom. It is fucking fun to drive this thing around! I feel like I am breaking new ground, letting go of shit that no longer serves me and I am excited to see where this new creative phase of life leads me. This book is a great reminder that getting older doesn’t have to be a downer, but rather, offers its own charms and opportunities to those of us who choose to see it this way.

The Artist’s Journey

This book really kicked my ass. Into gear.

I’m taking a lot of liberties here, but the main messages I took away from reading this succinct little book of wisdom include:

    • Our creative or artist side (whatever our medium of choice) exists on kind of a parallel plane to normal everyday life.
    • It is up to us to find our way and tap into this other reality and let our creativity flow out of us.
    • Problem is, we let stupid shit get in the way of this = resistance.
    • The best way to access our internal wisdom and creativity is to regularly sit down and just fucking do it. For example, if your medium is writing, you’ve got to create habits that get you in front of that keyboard on a regular basis.

I also appreciated how this author’s voice careens back and forth between classical literature to pop references, brass tacks tough love to woo-woo wacky existential stuff all the while merrily ignoring the accepted “rules” of how to write a traditional book. This delights me to no end! It’s a wild ride of a trip through one artist’s stream of consciousness about how to unleash your own brand of creativity but does not suffer for this format. It is at once entertaining and incredibly inspiring, but thankfully, avoids the pitfall of shaming readers for not just doing it already.

50 for 50

I can’t believe I’m in my 50th year of life. How the fuck did that happen?!

I like birthdays. Its like your own personal holiday. And I’ve never felt weird about my age or getting older. I’m not feeling bad or sad or mad about turning 50 in 2021, but I do feel a certain sense of wonder. Like, wow, that’s a lot of years on Earth.

I am also reflective; a lot has happened in that time span! Both good and bad, happy and sad. Hard to believe it is all part of the same story, my story.

I love stories, especially those found in books. Fiction, non-fiction, cookbooks, travel books, self-help, philosophy, memoirs – you name it. Books have been constant and treasured companions during my life.  So I’ve decided to include them in a little commemorative challenge I have set out for myself during my 50th year  – read 50 books before my 50th birthday. That’s a lot of books! And my social media consumption is likely to suffer, but I am committed. I’m a little over a week in and already 3 down, stay tuned!

Hunger, by Roxane Gay

Hunger Roxane Gay Recipes Are Merely A Suggestion Karyn Shomler

I read this book in one day over a month ago and I am still thinking about it.

The subject matter is relevant, to be sure; I think we’d be hard pressed to find an American woman today without “body issues” and/or a history of some sort of sexual abuse.

The honesty and artistry of the telling though. That’s what really got to me. The openness to her own vulnerability and willingness to share it was incredibly awe inspiring. I felt exposed myself by virtue of her exposing her deepest self. There could be no hiding anymore after reading this account.

So beautifully written too. A casual tone and an economy of words, but with nothing left unsaid. How does she do that?! Truly a work of heartbreaking beauty. Makes me want to run right out and read everything she has every written and give her a hug of gratitude (which she wouldn’t want, the latter that is).

KC Shomler

Hunger Roxane Gay Recipes Are Merely A Suggestion Karyn Shomler

Hunger Roxane Gay Recipes Are Merely A Suggestion Karyn Shomler

Hunger Roxane Gay Recipes Are Merely A Suggestion Karyn Shomler

 

Laptop Confessional

I’ve got a confession to make:

I’ve got a big ol’ crush on Richard Branson!

This book –  Like a Virgin offers a glimpse beneath the mane. Great business mind, kind heart, likes to break the rules (for good), empowers his employees to take exceptional care of customers. An all-around Rockstar who is not afraid to take risks. And he owns his own private tropical island.

Yeah, that last bit kind of gets me. The risk part, not the island part. I could take some lessons from Sir Richard’s example and dismantle my own aversion to risk. One of his mottos after all is “Screw it, let’s do it!” I could definitely benefit from more of that attitude in my life, more courage to go for it and pursue what interests me and what I find personally fulfilling. Damn the consequences!  And… that tropical island bit wouldn’t hurt either.

 

Your Are A Badass

This book spoke to me on many levels. The author’s voice is delightful and was a total joy to read! I wish I could write like this, goals.  Like a trusted, potty-mouthed friend who wants to help light a fire under your ass so you will reach your goddamned potential already. No Eeyores allowed!

There is so much no-nonsense wisdom packed in here as well. One bit that sticks out in particular for me (and I may or may not have it framed on my wall as a reminder) is about how you shouldn’t assume that just because something you enjoy comes easily to you it doesn’t have value. And can (hopefully) make you rich. That was sort of revelatory for me because I think I had it in my mind, somewhere deep, that work is both hard and, well,  kind of sucks. I like this idea much better!

This is a book I will probably go back to over and over again when I need a shot of courage. Well, this and maybe some tequila. But seriously, it is very difficult to step out of the socially sanctioned rat race and try to do your own thing. I’m doing this and I often feel simultaneously naughty and terrified. It helps to have a voice of reason and encouragement to turn to at these times.

I like just seeing it on my shelf too  – its a good reminder that I am indeed a badass! And I’m getting closer to owning it.

 

Black Sea is Brilliant!

Black Sea; Dispatches and Recipes Through Darkness and Light by Caroline Eden is my kind of “cookbook”. 4 things I love about it*:

  1. It has a sexy cover
  2. Lots of beautiful pictures of food and places.
  3. Provides historical background.
  4. It includes Turkey! The next big stop on my lifetime itinerary.

*Noteworthy that none of these mention recipes, heehee!

Do Yourself A Favor And Read Chillpreneur

4  valuable things I learned from Chillpreneur, many thanks to Denise Duffield-Thomas:

 1.       Making money doesn’t have to be hard or painful.

 2.       Just start! It doesn’t have to be perfect right out of the gate.

 3.       Protect the golden goose (take care of myself or I will lose my creative energy).

 4.       I have valuable stuff to share and it won’t suit everyone’s taste, but that’s ok.