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If You Teach a Woman to Fish...🎣
Do we make our habits or do our habits make us?
Let’s talk habits. Good habits, bad habits—what we do becomes who we are. (And yes, I’m a Virgo.)
For many of us Twenty-Somethings, the last 10 months have allowed us to dedicate time to our habits; in work, in love, in life. I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge how privileged many of us are to be where we are during this time of compounding global crises. Most of us Zennials are childless and we’re not, as an age group, high-risk for infection of COVID-19, our only responsibilities being paying rent and keeping our jobs (and wearing masks, social distancing, not being super-spreaders, etc.). Not all of us are so lucky, but I do think we’re at the best possible age to be dealing with this mess. I hear Twenty-Somethings all the time saying, “We’re losing a year of our prime!” and, OK, 1. There’s no way this is our prime. 2. I mean, imagine being a little kid, or even a teenager right now? Or having a little kid or a teen right now? Maybe it’s just me, but I think we could all benefit from focusing on gratitude for our good fortune these days.
Anywho! Back to habits. In Atomic Habits, James Clear explains that there are four elements that create every habit: cue, craving, response, reward. All habits, helpful and harmful, consist of these four steps. Further, he notes that every single thing we do is a habit—we just go through the process rapidly and, often, automatically.
In The Daily Stoic, Ryan Holiday reflects on habit, saying “We should apply […] ruthlessness to our own habits. Find what you do out of rote memory or routine. Ask yourself: Is this really the best way to do it? Know why you do what you do—do it for the right reasons.”
Look, I’m not saying the twenties are necessarily all about perfecting our each and every thought process, but I just thought I’d pose some food for thought. In this time of new beginnings (2021, January, Biden-Harris, Aquarius szn—you get the gist), many of us are resolving to start anew. This year, I’m dedicating energy to bettering my own habits and creating a stronger foundation for self-growth. For example, this newsletter in itself is a habit I’m challenging myself to. Cue: Wednesday. Craving: Wanting to write, get my thoughts out. Response: Writing, editing, unloading. Reward: Increased self-confidence, improved writing skills, potentially a bigger audience. Clear says habits need to be obvious, attractive, easy, and satisfying. Dear Twenty-Somethings checks all those boxes for me!
Maybe you want to quit biting your nails or drink less coffee or meditate each morning or meal prep consistently. Clear suggests habits form (or conversely, break) best when they align with our identity. As an example he gives, instead of saying, “I’m trying not to smoke,” (you’re a smoker trying to quit), it’s reframed as, “I don’t smoke,” (you’re not a smoker). Make sense?
Some of my favorite habits include: buying myself flowers, listening to my horoscope on Spotify every morning, doing yoga on weekend mornings, trying a new recipe every week, scheduling regular (Zoom) dates with my girlfriends. All of these habits help me to be the person I want to be.
What habits are you making and breaking, how and why? What can you start doing today to better yourself? Make some changes, baby, it’s a new day!
In other news, here are a few picks to get you through the week:
“In My Dreams” by Kali Uchis - Kali is right up there with SZA for me, personally. This is my all-time feel good song—throw it on before an interview, a first date, or just if you want to feel like that b!
“Best Friend (feat. Doja Cat)” by Saweetie - One of these days I’ll make a playlist of all of my favorite women-empowering rap songs, i.e., the best 21st century music genre. Send this one to your BFF to make their day!
“Orange Slice” by Sitcom - In all honesty, I can’t explain why I like this song so much. It’s a little indie, a little nostalgic, a little sad-boy-energy.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman - OK, so a lot of people hated this book. Personally, this was one of my favorite books of 2020. There’s nothing like a trippy plot twist, and the off-beat (read: weirdo) protagonist is bizarrely refreshing.
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Miguel Ruiz - A great read if you’re looking to get in touch with your own spirituality. Ancient Toltec wisdom provides four laws of life that will surely open you up to self-love and emotional stability.
The Atlantic: “To the Humanitarians of Tinder” - I read this article back in a Global Media Cultures class I took at the University of Amsterdam, and it’ll never not be relevant. TL;DR: STOP USING BLACK BODIES AS PROPS IN YOUR PHOTOS. Thanks, xoxo!
The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - I really hope you’ve all seen this one. If not, enjoy my favorite movie of all time. Trippy, cute, beautiful—it really has it all. (I cannot stand Jim Carrey, but he just hits the nail on the head in this one.)
Netflix’s I’m Thinking of Ending Things - If you like dark and confusing (who doesn’t?), put this weird pick on the top of your docket. Admittedly, I read about 10 articles to understand the simplest parts of the plot afterwards, but if you’ve got the time, why not?
Handheld Milk Frother - I know, I know, most milk alternatives don’t froth all that well, but there’s nothing like a homemade cappuccino or latte before starting your day. Habits, baby!
Cordless Water Flosser - Who has time to actually floss anyways? OK, probably a lot of people. I find this pick is quick, easy, and almost kinda fun.
Butternut Squash Salad - This was last week’s ~new recipe~ for me, and I couldn’t believe how filling it was. I also made my own interpretation of Ina Garten’s dijon lemon vinaigrette and let’s just say it was a good week for leftovers.
Sriracha Sweet Chili Roasted Brussels Sprouts - A friend sent me this recipe the other day and it is to die for. B-sprouts are my fav veggie, and this take is perfectly sweet and spicy. Enjoy!
“Alternative Universe in Which I Am Unfazed by the Men Who Do Not Love Me” by Olivia Gatwood
When the businessman shoulder-checks me at the airport,
I do not apologize
Instead, I write him an elegy on the back of a receipt
and tuck it in his hand as I pass through the first class cabin
Like a bee, he will die after stinging me
I am 24 and have never cried
Once a boy told me he “doesn’t believe in labels”
so I embroidered the word “chauvinist”
on the back of his favorite coat
A boy said he liked my hair the other way
so I shaved my head instead of my pussy
While the boy isn’t calling back, I learn carpentry
build a desk, write a book at the desk
I taught myself to come from counting ceiling tiles
The boy says he prefers blondes
and I steam clean his clothes with bleach
The boy says I am not marriage material
and I put gravel in his pepper grinder
The boys says period sex is disgusting
and I slaughter a goat in his living room
The boy doesn’t ask if he can choke me
so I pretend to die while he is doing it
My mother says this is not the meaning of unfazed
When the boy says I curse too much to be pretty
and I tattoo “cunt” on my inner lip
my mother calls it “being very fazed”
But left over from the other universe
are hours and hours of waiting for him to kiss me
and here they are just hours.
Here they are a bike ride across Long Island in June
Here they are a novel read in one sitting
Here they are arguments about God or a full night’s sleep
Here I hand an hour to the woman crying outside of the bar
I leave one on my best friend’s front porch
Send my mother two in the mail
I do not slice his tires
I do not burn the photos
I do not write the letter
I do not beg
I do not ask for forgiveness
I do not hold my breath while he finishes
The man tells me he does not love me
and he does not love me
The man tells me who he is
and I listen
I have so much beautiful time
Question of the week: If your chosen industry didn’t exist, what would you do for work?
Thank you always for supporting me—and a HUGE thank you to everyone who has reached out in the last week about the newsletter. Your support means more than you’ll ever know! I invite you to comment below or email me with any suggestions, thoughts, fav poems, or whatever your heart desires. Connect with me on Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads or online if you feel so inclined.
If you liked what you read, send this newsletter to a friend! Heck, send it to five friends! Sending love and light to you, wherever you are. 🌟
I hope you put some blush on your nose today and show the world who’s boss. Cheers & happy Wednesday!
xoxoxo, Quinnie <3