So tomorrow is my birthday and as I reflect back over the year I turned 40, I thought it might be worth dropping some things I learned (because we can always still be learning!).
1. Publishing is difficult and unpredictable and wonderful. It is not fair. You will likely always be looking up, wishing for more. This is good if it fuels the work. It isn't good if it stops you from getting your shit done. We all have one job: keeping people reading. You do that however you do that, but if you find yourself mired in shit that has nothing to do with that one job, it is a good idea to refocus.
Here's how I have convos with myself...
Me: Oh my God, did you see...?
Me Also: Yes, now get back to work.
Me Also: How do you keep people reading?
Me: Writing good books.
Me Also: Right. Carry on with that.
2. No one is on time anymore. I think we live in a world of "over-promise and under-deliver" now. I've done this myself, because I don't like saying no and I bite off more than I can chew. I would like to say no more and pretend I'm not Wonder Woman. Everyone should do this. Everyone should also be respectful of other's time. A lot of people are not. It's okay, it happens, but I'm sorry goes really far.
3. The loud people do not speak for the rest of us. Most of us are quite fine with how you want to live and how you want to have a relationship with God or if you want to have one. As Momastery's Glennon Boyle Melton says, "Everybody's in, baby." That's the way God works. Anyone who tells you different has their own agenda. Look closely at agendas. Look at them the same way you look to see who's funding research studies. EVERYBODY IS IN when it comes to God.
4. I've been fighting against sexual violence for a long time. I will always work toward making this better for other survivors. But the fight drains me. Arguing on social media or even in real life—it's exhausting to me. However, I realize that talking with rape survivors, honoring their stories, helping how I can, that is what rejuvenates me. Yesterday, my friend Courtney pointed this out and I loved it: "Anger doesn't have the fuel that love does. It can't last as long." That might not be true for other people, but it's true for me.
5. Show up. Ask questions. Talk to your kids about difficult things. Play, read, yell, apologize. Acknowledge that it isn't always awesome, acknowledge that sometimes it is. Have a life that isn't completely woven into theirs. Be patient when they give you lice.
6. Ask for help. Offer help. Tell your people you love them. Laugh and cry and find the people who won't judge you for either. Don't put anyone on a pedestal. Don't think they're more amazing than they are. We're all flawed. It's okay. Everybody is still in.
7. Do something you didn't think you could do. Something very specific that is maybe a little crazy. You don't have to do something risky every day—because honestly, we're not extreme sports junkies—but this year, pick a thing. For me it was roller derby. For Julio, it was quitting his job. For Mandie, it was running a half-marathon. For Carrie, it was starting a podcast. One. Thing. That's it.
That's it. Love you, friends!