Getting unstuck

I’d like to say that I’ve had writer’s block lately, but I think it’s more honest to say I’ve been stuck, or just busy with other things. However, I think the universe is conspiring to unstick me, or at least point me in the right direction.

Earlier this week, I found a post on Gretchen Rubin’s blog that included this quote from author Eric Hoffer: “When we do not do the one thing we ought to do, we have no time for anything else.”

A side note – Rubin is the author of The Happiness Project, a book about finding more happiness, and why it’s important to do so. I found it so interesting when I first read it on a plane, that I pulled out a notebook and started making notes.

When I read her post this week, I knew immediately that the one big thing I ought to be doing is getting my house organized, as I wrote in November after reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, by Marie Kondo.

Even though I didn’t make a formal New Year’s resolution this year, I decided that 2015 would be the year I tame my black holes, purge items I no longer need, and go through the last few unopened boxes from our move ten years ago.

And even though it’s only February, the decluttering and organizing have been calling my name more loudly than the writing projects have. Sigh.

I’ve been fairly consistent about decluttering, but there’s still a lot to do, and I’ve been reluctant to blog about it. My two main focuses in this blog have been writing and food. Decluttering would be a whole other blog. But, especially when you work from home, life tends to seep into your work, and vice versa.

I do have a freelance assignment that I’ll be working on this weekend, so that’s one thing that will move my writing off the back burner.

I also ran into a colleague the other day, and we talked about freelancing. I was curious about how he structured his day, and was inspired by his productivity.

This morning, I read Judith Timson’s column in the Toronto Star about “our stuff,” which made me feel better about my own stuff, and spurred me to write this post. The truth is, I haven’t put off writing this post  just because it’s outside the scope of my blog, but also because I’m a bit embarrassed by how long it’s taking me to deal with the “stuff.”

But one of the lessons I’ve learned since I lost my dad in 2008 is that things take as long as they take. Grief, for example. Decluttering, too.

I’ve found that getting rid of stuff isn’t actually hard. Deciding what to keep, and what not to, is the real difficulty, and sometimes the slowest part. Kondo’s book has helped me think differently about some items that I might have kept for sentimental reasons in the past, but the whole process is still a challenge.

When the one big thing you need to do could take a whole year, you have to figure out how to make time for other things that are also important.

Progress isn’t necessarily linear. You move forward, you slip back for a bit, and then you move forward again.






Advice for young adults (and older ones too)

Even though I’ve been consistent about blogging on the same days each week, sometimes life gets in the way, which explains why I didn’t post anything on Tuesday.

This morning, when I was catching up on e-mails, I found one from LinkedIn Influencers, asking what career advice I would give my younger self. I have a lot to say on that topic, because my younger self took a long time to figure out what I wanted to do, career-wise.

But for now, I’ll provide a few links to advice from other sources:

1. The LinkedIn blog: “If I Were 22: 80+ Influencers Share Lessons from Their Youth.”

2. Judith Timson’s column in today’s Toronto Star: Words of wisdom for commencement season.

3. A commencement speech by Sandra Bullock at a New Orleans high school.

Advice to new grads seems to be the theme of the week. But I don’t think it’s just for them. 😉




Thoughts on celebrity, and Dr. Ruth

I had a few ideas for what to write on my blog today, but scrapped them when I read Judith Timson’s column in today’s Toronto Star. She wrote about the influence celebrities have on our lives – a timely topic, prompted by the buzz around the Toronto International Film Festival, which ends on Sunday. But it was Timson’s own thoughts as a journalist that struck a chord with me. “Up until this year, as a journalist, I did not have one picture of myself with a celebrity,” she wrote. She now has one, which she has “shamelessly” framed.

As a reporter at The Canadian Jewish News for 22 years, I never asked for a picture of myself with a celebrity (it doesn’t sound like Timson did either), but I do have one or two.

In 1999, I interviewed Dr. Ruth Westheimer at her hotel over tea, when she was in Toronto for the Canadian Booksellers Association trade show. We talked mostly about her then-newest book, Dr. Ruth’s Pregnancy Guide for Couples, but I ended the article by writing, “Unlike some celebrities, she loves bme & dreing recognized. ‘It’s nice to be Dr. Ruth,’ she said.”

The world-famous sex therapist, a child survivor of the Holocaust, was a delight to interview – articulate and candid, with things to say that were worth hearing. Her trademark giggle and impish humour made her a lot of fun to talk to. She told me at the time that she wasn’t computer literate yet, but I googled her this morning, and see that she is now on Twitter.

I believe she was the one who suggested taking a picture of the two of us, although it could have been one of the hotel employees. If she didn’t suggest it, she definitely encouraged it. Who was I to argue?

Before we sat down for our interview, a passerby recognized her, and requested a picture of the two of them together, which Dr. Ruth cheerfully agreed to. “You’re an icon,” the woman said.

I didn’t shamelessly frame the picture of me with Dr. Ruth – it’s in an album – but I am (shamelessly, or not) including it in this post.