I’ve been having a bit of an epiphany in the last several months. I think it may have started with The Happiness Project, and several other work happenings have continued to spur it on, but I’ve been thinking a lot about how I live my day to day life, and how much my perception can affect how I feel at work and home. I’ve realized that for me to be happy and feel better, I not only have to work on remembering to do the little things I enjoy and improving my relationships (which are both important.) I also have to let go of some of the fear and anxiety I’ve been holding on to. I’m an engineer, and my entire career and college experience has taken place in a male dominated environment. In my classes, my male schoolmates always seemed to know more than me, so I just assumed that they did. Time after time, I would get my grades back only to realize that I was doing better than my study partner John or my lab mate Steve, even if outward appearances didn’t show it. Since I’ve started my career, I’ve been consistently paralyzed by fear that I didn’t know what I was doing. What if my calculations are wrong? What if this report isn’t good enough? Even more so when I’m in the field (which happens quite often) and there is literally no safety net. And it seemed like all of the male coworkers knew so much more than I did. More recently, I’ve decided to stop worrying so much about if I’m wrong. When I read this article the other day, it really hit home. It says exactly what I’ve slowly started to realize. Men, in general, have more confidence than women. Even if they don’t really know what they are talking about, they tend to think that they do, or that they at least know more than us. This has been a huge inhibitor in the success of women in upper level roles because we simply don’t feel like we should be there or are afraid to speak up because we think we might be wrong. This is so maddening to me, but it makes so much sense. I’ve decided to let go of the fear and start believing in myself and my abilities. Here are some kick ass women to get us inspired. And if you have a couple of free minutes, you really should read this. It will blow your mind.
All images via the fantastically titled pinboard Vote for Women by Ginny Branch Sterling
Tina and Amy / Susan / Jessica / Hillary
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Last year I dropped the ball on fall. There were quite a few things that I simply forgot to do that are really some of the things that make the season so special. This year, I am not going to neglect any of them because I’m making a list and I’m sticking to it.
One – Being outside in the fall is my absolute favorite. I love the briskness in the air and watching the leaves change. When I was in college I used to visit the nearby state park at least once a week just to get out. I don’t really have anywhere like that in Charlotte and I so miss it. This fall I intend to remedy this by trying out some nearby trails and definitely at least one mountain hike.
Two – Last year I didn’t have one caramel apple. Not one. Major screw up. This is literally my favorite fall treat. I’m going to have about 100 this year.
Three – For some reason, whenever I try to read one of the classics that I haven’t yet, I can never get into them. Pride and Prejudice I can read all day every day, but I can’t get past the 10th page of Great Expectations. This fall, it’s happening.
Four - My absolute favorite thing that we did last year (other than the Harry Potter party, obvs) was going to the haunted trail and pumpkin patch at Scarrigan Farms. There is a rock quarry that you hang out in before (which made me feel like we were in a 90’s teen movie because who hangs out in a rock quarry) and the haunted trail is one of the best I’ve been to. That is saying a lot because I go to at least one a year and am rarely impressed. I cannot wait for us to go again.
What things are you guys looking forward to this fall?
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It should really come as no surprise to people who know me best that I have always dreamed of becoming a witch. Now no one needs to get all worried or worked up about this. I am not talking about a devil worshipping and curse casting kind of witch. I am really mostly talking about the kind of witch that can make magical cookies or light a candle by blowing or something like that. I go to sleep most nights with a small hope that I will wake up and it will be so. A few summers ago, in jest and when I was being silly, I went through this phase when I called things “practical magic” pretty frequently (I am aware this is quite dorky and I should be ashamed to discuss it but I am surely not). In part because of my obsession with the movie but also because I just like the idea of practical magic. Even though I was not quite sure what it was.
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At the beginning of the summer, right before and when I was in Europe, I got on this reading kick with a very fun and light author called Sarah Addison Allen and I very quickly read three of her books with my favorites being The Girl Who Chased the Moon and Garden Spells. Her books walk the line between reality and fantasy in a way that I found to be very enchanting (and also reminded me a bit of the movie Practical Magic). Many of her main characters possess a touch of magic but in a way that it almost seemed believable. Examples include a man who loves cake so much he can smell it baking from miles away (so basically me) and a family of women who know the exact ingredients that need to be added to food to influence the people consuming it and impact their emotions.
After reading them, I thought to myself “That right there…that is practical magic.” And I quite like that idea. The idea that we may all possess our own unique magic. Or that maybe even though most happenings have a scientific explanation, they may be helped along by something else preternatural as well. Things like the scent of lavender causing us to relax, or the visible light sparks made by freshly laundered clingy sheets when you pull them loose from each other. Or maybe even a person knowing just the right amount of vanilla to add to a recipe to make it taste like heaven without having to measure. I think I sometimes prefer to think of the world that way and why not really? It certainly makes everyday events seem just a bit more special.
What do you guys think? Do you suspect you could have a secret magical gift?
Make sure to do something spellbinding with it this weekend and have a delightful Labor Day!
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