#3: Big fat mosquito bites and longing for a Diptyque candles I saw on instagram
$35B CEOs and my living room networth
You’re reading Try Stuff Energy, a weekly newsletter on how it feels like to put yourself out into the word and well, try stuff, written by Caitlin Sowers.
Scrolling through my Linkedin newsfeed, I pause on the headline “Fidji Simo gets tapped for Instacart CEO”. My eyes scan to the photo of a petite and beautiful woman, who appears barely 30. Having just scoffed down my lunchtime dessert, braless and in the T-shirt I slept in, I question if I should keep reading. I do and learn Fidji was originally hired as a marketer for Facebook but worked herself up to an executive level. I continue my internet skim and find a quote from a Stanford event at which she appeared:
“As for the promotions, the thing that’s important to understand is that promotions should be lagging, which means that you should already be doing the next job for a while before you get the promo; by the time you get the job, you should be figuring out how to prep and be ready for the next one.” - Fidji Simo
I immediately close the article and feel tired. The practice of sprinting toward a moving goal post was once familiar to me, but now annoys me like a big fat mosquito bite. A week before I found her headline I quit my job with a gut feeling I needed rest and an inability to lie to myself. I’ll be taking the next 2-3 months off before I return to design, and have absolutely nothing lined up. I often talk about about taking time to rest, but internalizing that enough to not feel shame for choosing it is a whole other thing.
“We touch the freedom that is possible in any moment when we are not grasping after our experience or resisting it. Without such moments of pausing… livings things would either die or become insane. Instead, we survive because there are natural periods of coolness, of wholeness and ease. In fact, they last longer than the fires of our grasping and fear. It is this that sustain us.” - Ajahn Buddhadasa
I might be okay with a period of coolness if I was where I thought I should be. My life does not look like what I thought it would as I approach 30. I realize this when I shove open our sticky living room door with the wooden dowel that replaced our broken door knob months ago. Decidedly unglamorous.
In just a few short steps my feet find their way to a rug who’s pattern seems to be forgetting itself, its beige colours muddying into one, so old it was purchased from a senior moving into a care home. I continue scanning the room, my eyes fall on a tired couch with sunken cushions (one is torn), opposing an arm chair made by a little known Swedish startup, Ikea. I wonder to myself why I don’t own a beautiful couch, or at least am not grasping to own one, like the latter would excuse the former. As if the cost of my living room furniture might be an appraisal of how well adulthood is going: so far $400. Maybe a designer chair would help, or at least a Diptyque candle.
My meditation teacher would ask: “Who would you be if you no longer believed anything was wrong?”
Happiness is >= your perception of the events of your life - your expectations.1 I would add that Social media = Expectations^(1 Billion). I recently listed the total cost of everything I wanted to buy in a month, most of which was influenced by social media. The astronomical sum tallied to $6400 Canadian dollars. I’m no chartered accountant but I know this is ass backwards insane. The conversation criticizing social media is tired, so I won’t stay here long. I’d just like to comment on how instantaneous and almost reachable it makes lifestyles/careers/almost anything seem, which skyrockets our expectations for life. I don’t need to know what Kylie Jenner’s living room looks like, or the contents of a Danish super model’s bathroom cabinet. I lose footing in my own gratitude when I’m stuck straining my neck to see what hand I didn’t get dealt.
Inventing a life is superior to imitating one anyway. Inventing a life involves trying stuff, a lot of stuff, most of which will humble you and this is a good thing. In the words of journalist Krista Tippett, good stories take time. You may be directed to places that others won’t understand, and certainly won’t be impressed by. It’s a practice in finding the outline to the shape only you are. The outline that will contain and emphasize you throughout life.
This morning my feet stuck to my circa 1970 linoleum flooring as I crept into the bathroom, the morning air already humid, trying not to wake Tony. I was reminded of the black and white hexagon marble tiles stored in my memory from a late night instagram scroll. I bet they would feel cold on my feet. For a moment I consider if we should rent a nicer apartment, or better yet own one. Then I remember our cheap rent (okay, cheap for being Vancouver’s neighbour) and the generous stretch of job-less time I have ahead of me. I think about the way the sun peaks into our bedroom window that always takes my breath away a little bit. I think of our friend who fairly and soberingly pointed out that it’s a luxury to have a home to yourself at all. My expectations slowly deflate, having realized their own unimportance. I feel sure I’m not focused on something that matters at all, not even a little bit.
Things I tried
Putting on red lipstick and a blue silk skirt to head downtown and get myself out of a funk. It worked. Wearing petal bouche available from Violette_FR.
Reinstating my meditation routine. This recording by Tara Brach on calling on your future self gave me feelings of acceptance and love.
Submitting to the enjoyment of escapism pop-culture by way of the podcast Sentimental Garbage, a season by season analysis of Sex and the City by Dolly Alderton and Caroline O’Donoghue. Absolutely fantastic.
This delightful Cinnamon Toast Crunch over-the-top-you’ll-be-embarrassed-while-you-order-it Starbucks-drink (credit to sweet with a tweak). As per the following: Grande iced shaken espresso, no classic, extra ice, light cinnamon, 1 pump white mocha, 2 pumps sugar free vanilla.
Setting a timer, lying on the floor, doing nothing for 5 minutes. This little gem came straight from my therapist who I pay the big bucks. Sage advice for overachievers.
Understanding our broken financial systems that make cryptocurrency not just necessary but deeply hopeful. I highly recommend The Price of Tomorrow by Jeff Booth, so far it’s a contender for my best book of 2021. More book reviews over on instagram highlights!
Watching too many Allison Roman Home Movies, not for recipes (they’re fine) but for her self assuredness. Confident women are just plain cathartic. Allison has serious Try Stuff Energy, which was confirmed after reading she dropped out of university and got a job at a restaurant instead of going to cooking school. Her ITG top shelf was also a great time!
Hi 👋, I’m Caitlin Sowers. I started sharing my life online via youtube videos in 2017. I love the art of story telling and am deeply curious about what I can learn by listening to others’ stories as well as sharing my own. As a proud multi-hyphenate I have more interests than I know what to do with.
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