September 6, 2019

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Photo credit: bradley

Remember when Justin Bieber had conjunctivitis*? No? Well you must have been spending 2017 more productively than me. Also, that was an elegant segue into telling you that I have an ear infection! Poor me. Symptoms of an ear infection (in children) include: trouble sleeping, crying more than usual, and fussiness. Check, check, and CHECK. This is a pretty advice-heavy week because your girl likes advice columns (snooping into people’s personal lives + practical wisdom = what more could you want?).

*Don’t worry, there’s nothing gross at that link.

  1. Voting for the Woman Candidate Because She’s a Woman, Time. “In their book Gendered Vulnerability: How Women Work Harder to Stay in Office, political scientists Jeffrey Lazarus and Amy Steigerwalt found that women in Congress are generally more effective than their male colleagues. They point to the fact that Congresswomen tend to have more staff in their district offices, serve on committees for issues that are of most interest to their constituents and are more likely to co-sponsor legislation that helps their voters. Separate research shows that female lawmakers bring more federal money back to their districts.” It’s kind of like those findings that you have better chances with a female ER doctor. Interesting and maybe not surprising to many readers!
  2. I Thought My Writing Career Was Over. A DIY Furniture Project Saved It, Bustle. Oh this is a beautiful essay about creative blocks, DIY projects, and the wisdom of our ancestors. This part made me tear up: “There are so many questions that I wish I could ask my father as an adult. Wandering through the aisles of that hardware store and feeling incredibly lost and out of place, I wished he was there to answer them: Why are there so many different kinds of nails? What am I doing with my life? How do you choose the right paint? Do I need a stud finder? Do you know that you have twin granddaughters? Do you know that one of them looks just like you? I worried that without him there to answer my questions, I would never be able to provide my characters with their own backstory, the knowledge of who they were.” On a casually unrelated note, I love you Daddy.
  3. You Can Do This (Really) – Advice for New Graduate Students, Librarian Shipwreck. Here’s some great advice for the back to school folks, especially those in grad programs (thinking of you all this time of year!). But this advice is wise for anyone, about how to turn comparison and jealousy into motivation: “it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been told not to compare yourself to others, you’re probably going to do it anyways. So do it right. Keep an eye on what your fellow graduate students are doing as a way of figuring out what things you should probably be doing. That someone in your cohort has recently published a book review in a journal should not fill you with envy, but it should make you think that maybe you want to try doing something similar. That a member of your department is running from city to city to present papers at conferences, should make you look into what conferences you might want to present at. That someone in your cohort has just won a prestigious grant, should remind you that you can and probably should be applying to those things as well. Yes, you might feel some pangs of envy, and yes, sometimes your fellow graduate students will be infuriating braggarts (if one of them is really like this, you might want to select them as your nemesis), but being aware of what your fellow graduate students are doing can help orient you to the types of things you should be doing.”
  4. #1223: Feminist Wedding Etiquette Help, Captain Awkward. Honestly my mom could have written this advice (especially the fait accompli strategy, which is a perfect word for a perfect concept)! Even if the people in your circle are all supportive and reasonable, you can too-many-cooks yourself into wedding indecision so easily. “We did, basically, NOTHING that my mom envisioned a wedding would be like (a year before the thing she was pre-apologizing to relatives for how “rustic” it was going to be, cried on Mother’s Day because “all her children” had chosen non-Catholic weddings and did that mean she was a bad mom, worried that nobody would come if it wasn’t going to be “like a real wedding”) but on the actual day she came up to me right after and said, “It was a beautiful ceremony and the two of you are peas in a pod, I can see that.” She could see that I am surrounded by friends, she could see that people were relaxed and happy and having fun, she could see that I am loved, and that was enough. For some families that will never be enough, and there’s no wedding or script that could ever fix that and I worried that that was going to be us because some of the discussions got pretty rocky for a while. But here’s what was really going on: During the planning stages she couldn’t imagine it, she could only compare it to what was missing from the picture in her mind about what it should be. She was worried about looking silly in front of other people. On the actual day, I was happy, guests were happy, everybody had enough to eat, the weather was great, we were all happy to see each other, and she could finally see what we’d had in mind. What I learned that I’d really like to pass on to you: The less I explained and justified it and the more I just did it, the better it all went.” Also this piece ends with some seriously adorable wedding anecdotes like this one: “A friend’s dad is a composer, he wrote all the music that played at her wedding ceremony. It was incredibly beautiful music and also incredibly hilarious because the entrance music had a vibe of “Oh hey, the groom, that’s pretty good” for the first part and “THE BRIDE, MY INCREDIBLE DAUGHTER, IS COMING, I REPEAT, THE BRIDE IS COMING, BEHOLD THE BRIDE” for her entrance.”
  5. Here’s the Thing: You Aren’t As Stuck as You Think, Sophie Benoit. This is an advice column I’m subscribed to as a newsletter, and I really appreciated this advice: “You need to give yourself chances to feel in control. I’m 100% sure that this is much easier (and cheaper) said than done, so don’t feel like this is supposed to come naturally to you. Like all of a sudden every weekend will be— or should be— packed with FUN. Fun isn’t the point, in fact. It’s The Point Adjacent. But the point is discovery. It’s looking for things to keep you fulfilled while you work toward going to a new city and a new job. Because if you don’t do some of this work to figure out what you like, what is fulfilling outside of a job—jobs are not sufficient for fulfillment!!!—before you move cities or change jobs, you will end up in the exact same spot you are now. The weirdest part of life is that wherever you go, there you are. You can’t get away from yourself (this is part of why I take so many naps; I’m exhausting to be around).” This advice is in response to someone who feels stuck in a job they hate and don’t know what they want to do next, and I really like that part of the recommendation is to explore what you do like, and reconnect with your passions, hobbies, and connections outside of work. I think that’s so healthy and a great inspiration for the fall: try new things!

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