No Take-Backs and the 24 Hour Rule

Did your school lunch consist of healthy snacks – apple slices with peanut butter and home-made granola bars? Or were your parents “cool” enough to send you with pre-packaged Cheetos and Skittles? (Or the holy grail of packed lunch, Lunchables?)

I got pretty lucky for the most part – including a year of sugar cereal packed in a plastic container when I refused to eat sandwiches “with birdseed on the crust” as I called it. I was definitely cafeteria queen that year.

That year, I did not participate in the complicated snack bartering process taking place every day over the laminated tables. But the birdseed years? Yeah, those were the years when I desperately hoped to get lucky and emerge from the elementary school market openly gloating over a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos snagged in place of generic pretzel sticks. On those occasions, the “no take-backs!” rule was shouted as soon as the prepackaged goodness hit my hot little fingers.

You made a mistake? You don’t even like pretzels? Too bad! No take-backs! Better luck next time.

Sometimes I find my email making the same claim. Didn’t mean to hit send? Wrong recipient? Reply instead of Forward? Too bad! No take-backs! Better luck next time. Continue Reading

To Do or To Be? Making Resolutions

It’s still August, but the weather has shifted and my American friends are getting ready for back-to-school season and the internet seems full of new planners, backpacks, and freshly sharpened pencils. Autumn, more than winter for me, is a time to start thinking about resolutions for a new year.

Most of us make resolutions, but we often frame them in terms of what we want to accomplish or produce, rather than the type of person those resolutions are making us to be.

We resolve to lose 10 pounds or get a degree or eat more spinach. We plan to make partner at the firm or earn 100k or buy a new vacation home. We try to take 100 photos in 100 days or learn to ski or master making perfect pasta.

But why? Why do we want to do so much? Are we not content with just being? Continue Reading

Where Do You Get Your Significance?

“And what I’ve realized is that I cling to stress because I fear I am not worthy unless I am busy. I maintain an overbooked schedule because it makes me feel needed and successful. To give up the sensation of feeling stressed, for me, would be to give up feeling significant.”

These words really caused me to think. I’ve been consciously trying to stop hurrying and to build more margin into my days. I don’t like being “busy” for the sake of it, and there are few things I enjoy more than a lazy afternoon spent reading a good novel. But what about this idea of “feeling significant”?

This is a question that seems to plague almost everyone I meet: what makes you feel significant? What makes you feel like you matter? Where does your worth come from? Continue Reading

Introverted or Extroverted?

Of all the personality traits or types, “introvert” and “extrovert” are probably the most well-known and commonly used.

But what do these designations mean? And why do they matter?

A few years ago, I was chatting with an acquaintance at work about my plans for the weekend.

“Well,” I said resignedly, “I’m going out to a meet-up happy hour. I’m dreading it, of course, but I’m making myself go.”

“Why are you dreading it?” she asked, puzzled. “That sounds like so much fun!” Continue Reading

A Cure for Frustration: The List

Have you ever found yourself irritable, frustrated, or angry, but you aren’t sure why? You know something is bothering you, but you aren’t sure what?

I find that if eating or napping doesn’t fix it (hello, “hangry”!) – if it’s the kind of thing that sticks with me for a while – the best thing I can do is make a list.

It sounds like silly advice, I know. But it really helps.

The benefit of the list is that you don’t have to be able to explain anything. Sometimes, trying to talk it out or write it out in sentences and paragraphs can lead to more frustration: the “why” or even the “what” of the irritability is difficult to pinpoint and explain. Speaking and writing properly requires that we relate at least two things to one another. A subject + predicate. But what if I only have one, or half of one?

Enter the list. Continue Reading