Coming Home.

Coming Home.

Community Most Popular Posts Motivation + Inspiration Shift Of Power

It’s been three days since I’ve been back from Italy and I still haven’t opened my computer. It’s not because I don’t have things I need to do (I do) or that I can accomplish everything I need to on my phone (I can’t). It’s because for two whole weeks, I was reminded of what my life was like when it wasn’t portable. And I was brought back to a time when my worth or livelihood wasn’t even remotely dependent on a screen.

I’m not an avid traveler in the least, but I know the power of what a change of space can do for the soul. Traveling, whether to Rome or Rhode Island, will rip you away from the familiar and at the same time remind you of all the things you recognize and hold dear even when the landscape is foreign. You start to remember who you were before the proverbial “world told you who to be,” and you start to wonder if you’d still be YOU if born in another time zone, speaking another language, under a different sun/moon turnover. The things you think define you fade away during takeoff, and all that’s left are your thoughts and feelings upon landing. Going away becomes a homecoming.

But back to the laptop. I know I have work to do, and I know I can’t claim “re-entry” forever. I’ve gone off the grid before. I’m down with the Vacation Responder settings. But there’s something particularly off about my tech-aversion this trip around, especially since it was all in such close, tangible access the whole time around. I could feel my laptop’s sleek, cool edges kiss my fingers as I slid it out of my bag for TSA, expecting my flight to be filled with issuing invoices and playing email catch-up. I recognized my computer’s gentle weight and thud as I landed my backpack back at home in its resident corner of our 475 square feet, fully expecting it to yell for my usage now that we were far from the coastlines and Caprese salads. I listened hard. I really did. But I couldn’t hear its call.

There was a time, you might remember, when the internet was a joyful side-dish to the hearty main course of life. But gone are the You’ve Got Mail days of delighting at a *ping!* and taking each website for its www-face value. Inbox Zero is now the goal, and a site can’t just be a SITE anymore: it’s got to be a HUB, with impeccable SEO and a whole host of press mentions and celeb-cred to prove its legitimacy. We live our lives about one-third of the time on our own and the rest of the time vicariously through influencers, and we spend hours peeling through click-bait headlines that lead us to half-baked content meant to leave us wanting more and clicking together opinions we’re not sure are even fully ours. There is so much good to the internet – connection! collaboration! insight! But somewhere between the romance of Shopgirl and NY152 and now, the internet has become the hearty main course of life that each amuse-bouche IRL experience is crafted around.

 

Our almost two-week long trip to Italy was our honeymoon, yes – but it was transformative way way beyond the parameters of our relationship. During our twelve days hopping from big cities down to coastal towns and back again, my Noticing muscles were on overdrive and overstimulated to the max. I saw freshly-washed clothing being hung upon outdoor laundry lines because that’s just how it’s always been done. I heard 80s and 90s tunes covered and reimagined into dance tracks, with not one Top 40 hit or latest-pop-sensations in earshot (okay, just one – the ONLY exception was that “Juice” was playing everywhere, which as a long-time Lizzo fan made me beam with pride). I walked through thousands-of-years-old ruins while captivated by a tour guide probably half a decade younger than me who needed no notes or maps to help her and told the history of each corner by beginning with phrases like “You must now imagine…” And between stumbling upon the best meals of my life and chatting with locals filled with hometown glory, I remembered what it truly means to make an impact that lasts longer than your Self.

And so my reluctance to touch my laptop isn’t actually about an aversion to technology itself or some newfound dogma claiming the internet is ruining our society. No: my current hesitation is because I’ve been reminded for the first time in YEARS of what it truly means to live a legacy. My laptop – my so-called digital window-to-the-world – is a tool in my legacy-making toolbox…but must never, ever be the thing I use to CONSTRUCT and DEFINE my legacy itself. Wandering the uneven streets of Pompeii and scanning out over the Forum ruins and eating at cafes on the side streets of Positano and Amalfi reminded me of something I heard a historian once say that I can only now paraphrase: No era of our civilization is inherently more or less advanced than the other. We just gain and lose knowledge along the way, over and over. When I looked out over things I’d only seen in textbooks and dreams, my overwhelming though was NOT “What on earth were the tools they used to build this?” – it was “Who on earth were these people whose minds could conjure up such a vision?” Or, to be honest, I mostly thought nothing at all. Because it was the feelings that took center stage.

 

The feelings I felt – and the thoughts I formed directly related to them – those were centuries of legacy in motion.

 

Maybe your tech-of-choice isn’t your laptop like mine is. Maybe it’s your phone, or a tablet, or the television you use to numb or learn or search the massive void of 0’s and 1’s. Or maybe the thing you use to craft your You-ness isn’t even a piece of technology at all.

But it’s worth asking every now and again: is this thing helping me articulate my legacy, my meaning, my mission…or is it deciding those things FOR me? If this thing did not exist…would *I*? And am I clear on what matter the most to me, or am I scrambling to keep up with what I think matters most to others?

I won’t be able to stay off my laptop for long – nor do I WANT to! – but while I’m in this headspace, I’m going to do as much as I can to preserve the magic I feel. I’m going to write as much as I can pen-to-paper, then transcribe my words onto the screen if I need to publish an essay or article or even just a podcast’s Show Notes. I’m going to opt for IRL meetings whenever possible instead of tying myself to my Gmail account. I’m going to take my phone, and my purse, and my papers, and I’m going to sit outside somewhere or at least by a window to work and feel connected to the world at the same time. And when I’m on a computer (like I am right now as I transcribe this piece, with just one browser tab open at a time and the intention to “get in get out and get on with my life),  I’m going to make sure that whatever I do on that piece of metal is MEANINGFUL.

Our legacy isn’t in the things we birth or the structures we build, but the knowledge we pass and the DNA strands we eventually return back to the stars. Click To Tweet

Our technology could disappear tomorrow like the city of Pompeii, and we could run through the knowledge-lost-knowledge-gained tap dance hundred of more times in this century alone. But what I have to say matters. What I have to give matters. And it does for you, too. And there is no passage of time or piece of equipment that could ever change that. Time and tech will try to steal your voice and reclaim it as their own, but your impact is yours to make, not theirs. And that impact fully transcends whatever it is you perceive to be your day-to-day benchmarks of predefined success. Our legacy isn’t in the things we birth or the structures we build, but the knowledge we pass and the DNA strands we eventually return back to the stars. And leaning into that profound knowing, and letting the things that once dictated what we did and how we did it take a seat on the shelf (or the far-left corner of 475 square feet) for a while can be more than enough to remind us of who we are.

I went to Italy, sure. But you don’t need to travel across time zones and sun/moon turnovers to come back home.

The Year-Round Bikini Body (Or, I Survived Summer Vacation And All I Got Was This Healthy Perspective)

The Year-Round Bikini Body (Or, I Survived Summer Vacation And All I Got Was This Healthy Perspective)

Body Most Popular Posts Motivation + Inspiration

It’s that time of year again: bikini markdown season.

Just weeks ago, I was rushing to Target hours before vacation time, rotating 8-item-max after 8-item-max in and out of my 8-item-max dressing room just hoping to find a cut, color, and style that looked halfway decent on my apparently not-adequately-prepped-for-bikini-season bikini body. This is supposed to be the pinnacle of my hard work! I thought. This is supposed to be the moment of glory!

And yet I just hadn’t cared enough to overhaul my routine in the weeks prior, leaving me crossing every finger and toe hoping there’d be something that was somewhat acceptable to wear. Because as I’ve always been told by ads and media – along with the rest of America’s female population – if I don’t put in the work beforehand, I’m certainly not bikini-ready.

It’s almost hard to believe that mere weeks ago, so many of us were gazing longingly at the swimwear section with visions of goal-bodies and “I’ll wear that whens” dancing around in our heads. Now, those same barely-there strips of spandex give us the side-eye from their 40% off racks, mocking the fact that we’re back to where we started. And if we’re not, then we’ll surely be there soon. That’s what New Years Resolutions are for. Obviously.

before i cared about bikinis.
it’s all about the one-piece, really. circa ’95

The idea of preparing for a certain “body” – a bikini body, a spring break body, a holiday bod – is what industries are built on. They pressure us into feeling like we’re not ready, we’re not prepared, and certainly not well equipped to handle all the alleged pressures that come with vacationing. In the ’40s and ’50s, bikinis were a sign of rebellion – now, they’re symbolic of a goal that’s been accomplished. A bikini isn’t just an article of clothing, it’s a trophy you earn for doing things “right.” We’re supposed to work HARD to wear that bikini, dammit!, and we’re supposed to hate ourselves if we don’t. We’re supposed to ramp up our workouts before a vacation, and shame ourselves if we “fall off the wagon” before it’s over.

Maybe it’s just me, but don’t we have enough going on in our lives that can make us feel like we’re screw-ups? We didn’t get our car serviced on time. We missed that noon deadline. We forgot to text our friend back and messed up our plans. The very last thing we need is to make ourselves feel like we’re in the wrong, for something that affects no one but us, for something completely in our control, and for a “right” that we ultimately define for ourselves.

Here’s a thought: what if there WAS no wagon to fall off or get on? What if there was no bikini body, no spring break body, no holiday dress-ready bod?

What if feeling good in our skin wasn’t just a seasonal treat – what if it was a year-round reality?

The aforementioned trip I took back in July was my first summer vacation in five (I know) years. No summer vacation in 5 years = no bikini, which therefore = no “bikini body.” In the weeks leading up to my five-day getaway, I found myself feeling like I wasn’t doing enough. Work was crazed, mornings were rushed, and nights were late almost every day of the week.

I’m not exercising enough. I’m eating past 7pm. Maybe I should do a juice cleanse?

The thoughts that wish-washed in and out of my mind started to pile up, creating anxiety around a trip that was literally just about the sit-back-and-relax. That’s when I found myself in Target less than 24 hours before leaving, hoping that I’d find something I’d feel somewhat decent in. Because there’s this idea that we’re not supposed to feel good in a bikini if we haven’t beaten ourselves to a pulp beforehand. Which I certainly had missed out on.

Most sites and magazines will talk about “the bikini body” right before summer starts – but it’s actually more important we talk about it NOW that summer’s calmed down and closing up shop.

There’s actually a lot of positive to take from this if we dig deep: for a few weeks out of the year, we strive to be our healthiest selves. If we just focused on what we really want instead of what we think we want, this kind of thing could actually change our lives.

What do we REALLY want when we say we want a bikini body, then?

We don't necessarily want to LOOK different - we want to FEEL different about the way we look. Click To Tweet

Sometimes this means letting go of the few pounds those late nights packed on. Sometimes that means gaining muscle on top of our frame. Sometimes that means adding a little softness where there was rigidity. But these are not the main event; they’re the supporting players in this varsity game of Feeling Good. Think about it: if we felt good about how we looked, would we really want to change it?

The goal, then, is not to exercise or eat differently – it’s to figure out what makes you feel your best and go from there.

Let me tell you, I did not ramp up my workouts or change my diet drastically – actually, at all – before my bikini body vacay. Because every day, summer or otherwise, I strive to feel good about myself and in myself. It frees up brain space to devote myself and my energy to other things. Like my relationships, career, through line, and passions. Things that sometimes become eclipsed when those feeling-bad feelings take control.

I didn’t do one thing differently to prep for this vacation, even though I know I could have to have been .001% more tighter or toned or whatever you’d associate with a bikini body.

And guess what.

I had a blast. In a bikini.

A bikini.

On my body.

I’m not saying there isn’t validity in eating a little bit cleaner before you go away, or in a post-vacation detox after you’ve had a little too much to eat/drink/keep you up all night for a few days on end. Hell, I’m there right now! I don’t feel *great* but I know I will soon. Instead of trying to find quick fixes and panicking about deadlines, our goal should be to establish a healthy foundation at a neutral time so it’s there for us to fall back on when we ARE feeling out of sorts.

Come December, we’re going to be going on holiday vacations, then after that, there’s “spring break” season, then after that we’re back into summer. The cycle will never stop, and if we’re being truly honest here, neither will the ads and sales that tell us we need to get our butts into gear. There will always be something to “get ready” for, but that doesn’t mean YOU need to “get ready” for it. Focus on health and happiness year-round, and I promise you, you’ll never need to worry about overhauling your whole routine and sending yourself on a roller-coaster.

How we FEEL about something ultimately determines how it LOOKS to us. Feel good for you, and you’ll look good for you. Feel hot on the inside, and you’ll look hot on the outside. You are the only opinion that matters.

Your “bikini body” is just your body with a bikini on it.

If you have a bikini, and you have a body, you’re already there.

Easiest game plan ever.

bikini-body-gif
forgot to take a bikini pic for this post. oops. but hey, bikini or not, this bod is a bikini bod….and proud of it.