Dear friends, welcome to Living Boldly. I’m so delighted you’re here.
Yesterday was my birthday, the first one in a long while that I didn’t spend somewhere fun and fabulous (China, Istanbul, Morocco, Paris, Jordan 😍 …). It was the suburbs of Chicago for my 2020 birthday and I thought it would be a pretty bleak day, akin to the weather that arrived in Chicago this November.
Yet, I was wrong. I woke up yesterday with a firm intention to have an absolute blast, to love myself and my body, to hug my loved ones, to eat good food, to drink a chilled glass of a brilliant Portuguese Pt Nat wine, to enjoy the gifts and the flowers… you get the point.
That intention worked. I haven’t had this much fun celebrating me in a while and I loved it. From a sulking feeling of discontent with our global predicament to a day filled with gratitude and love—that transformation only happened because I stubbornly decided to choose to feel that way instead.
Writer Elizabeth Gilbert often quotes this line by another Gilbert (no relation), poet Jack Gilbert:
“We must have the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world.”
I love that line so much.
I accepted my gladness yesterday and it made me feel so good. But it did so much more than that.
It subsided my fear of getting older. I’m 37 now and all this year, I’ve been dreading crossing that 6—7 mark. Today, I feel better than ever about growing further. (This, fear of aging for womxn, deserves its own post and exploration and I will do that soon.)
It also filled me with a wave of hope and energy toward the future. So many projects yet to accomplish, so many dreams to fulfill—there is no time to be afraid of aging and to feel regret.
On my dreams list: a photography book to publish, a children’s book to write, a TED stage to conquer, a platform to grow with Genius Womxn. I look forward to living and pursuing my dreams and that attitude makes all the difference!
Set the intention to love yourself. Set the intention to be stubbornly glad about the tiniest joys in your life. Set the intention to look forward to growing further. It could do wonders for you just as it did for me.
P.S. This week’s Genius Womxn podcast episode is with the incredible Khadija Farah, a travel and documentary photographer based in Nairobi, Kenya. It’s one of my favorite episodes to date. Listen on Apple here and on the episode’s homepage here.
P.P.S. Are you on my Genius Womxn email list? In a few weeks, I’m announcing a very special Black Friday deal for our products and if you want to be the first to know, join our email list here (you’ll also get a guide to publishing your stories when you sign up).
This week’s joy links:
I’m reading The 'Stubborn Gladness' of Elizabeth Gilbert's Favorite Poet “…the world is terrible and wonderful, and your obligation is to joy.”
I’m listening to Mulatu Astatke, an Ethiopian musician dubbed as “the father of Ethio-jazz”
I’m starting the latest season of The Crown today and I couldn’t be more excited