About a year and a half ago, the hashtag #1st7jobs (or #firstsevenjobs) began making its way around Twitter as celebrities and others shared lists of their early work experiences. The idea, I think, was to show that where you begin does not dictate where you end up, and it takes hard work and trial and error to build the career and life you want. While there are certainly critics of that narrative, I found the hashtag to be an interesting exercise, and one worthy of further exploration than Twitter’s character limit would allow.
With the holiday season well underway, I’ve been thinking a lot about family and community. I had the pleasure of spending Thanksgiving with family, as I’ve always been lucky enough to do. While I was so grateful to be surrounded by my mom, aunt, cousins, and husband, the absence of my father and uncle were palpable — it was our first Thanksgiving without them. Spending these last few days at my parents’ house, it seems as though everywhere I look, I’m reminded of my dad. It’s as if I can still see him sitting in his favorite chair and hear exactly what he would say in response to just about every situation.
A few months ago, I read about a study indicating that people are happier when they spend money to buy themselves free time (by outsourcing chores) than when they spend the same amount of money on material goods. (The study was widely covered; you can read more about it here, here, and here.) The authors reported that the reduction in time-stress resulting from paying others to perform daily tasks and routine chores led to greater life satisfaction across a wide range of income levels. In other words, even people who are not wealthy benefit emotionally from spending their discretionary money on services rather than goods. Given this information, why am I, like so many people, still cleaning my own house and weeding my own flower beds?
COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. COPD is an umbrella term that encompasses both emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It’s the disease that led to my father’s death this summer and that made him struggle to breathe for years. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, COPD is the third leading cause of death in the United States, killing more than 135,000 Americans each year. More than 15 million Americans have been diagnosed with COPD, and many more are likely unaware that they have the disease.
Last Saturday morning, my husband asked if I wanted to drive to a nearby town and have breakfast. I glanced at my to-do list and replied that I had too much on my plate for the weekend and would rather just stay home and start on my chores.
One of those tasks was to replace a perpetually leaking tire on my car, so at about 11:00 AM, we drove together to the tire shop. By the time we left, I needed to eat something (pregnancy hunger can be sudden and intense). Rather than swinging through a fast food drive through lane, we decided to stop by a downtown coffee shop that we rarely visit. Though they had healthier options, I indulged in a delicious cinnamon roll and a chai latte.