Today, this blog is a preteen. I launched it 10 years ago. Going back and re-reading posts is an exercise in embarrassment, pride, growth and humility. Like I said, a preteen.
A lot has happened in ten years.
I got married and had two babies. We bought a first car and a first house. I buried my father and grew closer to my mother. We went to countless weddings. Made new friends, drifted from others. Lost a friend to cancer. Started new hobbies. Picked up a barbell. Went from being a VC, to an interim-CFO to a full time CFO. Sold a few businesses, some that went well, others that didn’t.
I got all nice hangers this past decade and donated more than half of my closet (all “didn’t like” or, let’s be honest, “doesn’t fit” went out).
I learned a lot about parenting. I discovered that I was a much tougher and crunchier parent before I had kids. Before my kids were born I rarely let them watch television; I read to them nightly for a minimum of 30 minutes. They slept peacefully in their beds every night. I crafted with them. I never yelled. I was, in short, an annoying sanctimommy. After they were born one made a habit of 3am creep-ins to snuggle (we have not discouraged). The television does get turned on during the week and oh well. They do read and we read to them. They eat good meals more often than not but I’ve widened my definition of “good.”
I’ve become less ambitious. I lean out. I’ve said “no thanks” to a few opportunities that would be big personal career headlines. Part of this may be fear of failure – probably – being afraid to try. But it’s also wanting to be able to pick up my kids from school and sit with them at the dinner table. It’s working with people I know and trust, with all of our good bad and ugly. It’s loyalty to my business partners and what we are building.
I grapple with changing the world. Could I even do that? But isn’t that what I went to school for? I don’t know if I could change the world, but I have peers from Georgetown and HBS doing really big things. I really don’t know, but I like spending time in multiple vectors; building a life and not just a living.
Re-reading posts was interesting and embarrassing. I spend little time editing, which is clear upon re-reading. Some are insipid. That’s ok. I never said it was going to be mind- blowing stuff. But others stood out. Below are my personal favorites:
A few things about me: https://realtismoi.wordpress.com/2007/01/10/just_a_nugget_o/
Bridezilla’s Revenge https://realtismoi.wordpress.com/2006/06/01/bridezillas_rev/
Clampett Christmas https://realtismoi.wordpress.com/2006/12/14/i_am_so_proud_l/
How to take a bath: https://realtismoi.wordpress.com/2007/01/13/a_must_do/
Letter to God: https://realtismoi.wordpress.com/2007/10/10/dear-god-i-real/
Random Thoughts: https://realtismoi.wordpress.com/2008/04/11/when-you-are-sa/
Life Lessons and Cooking! https://realtismoi.wordpress.com/2008/04/29/life-lessons-an/
Early thoughts on motherhood: https://realtismoi.wordpress.com/2008/04/29/maternity-leave/
Before Fitness Was All Social, a friend and I created The Manolo Challenge: https://realtismoi.wordpress.com/2008/09/09/the-manolo-challenge/
What it’s like to lose a parent: https://realtismoi.wordpress.com/2009/01/07/what-its-like-to-lose-a-parent/
Twenty Fives Things About Me: https://realtismoi.wordpress.com/2009/01/27/from-facebook-but-its-blogworthy25-random-things-about-moi/
A few honest regrets: https://realtismoi.wordpress.com/2010/03/09/regrets-a-memoir/
One of my first menus: https://realtismoi.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/dinner-party-menu-for-people-who-have-children-and-want-to-look-composed/
My most read post ever, work related: https://realtismoi.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/stranger-in-a-strange-land-or-being-a-woman-in-tech/
On birthdays: https://realtismoi.wordpress.com/2013/05/03/let-me-eat-cake/
My absolute favorite post – I wrote a letter guessing what my father would have written to Avery: https://realtismoi.wordpress.com/2010/04/10/letter-to-a-granddaughter/
THE BIG LESSON
After ten years of writing what is the big lesson? It’s to listen. Listen to your life. Listen to your friends and family. Pry more, into yourself and others. Take time to observe your thoughts without judgement. Listening is loving. It is a way to show compassion and be part of this world. It is a path to empathy. It is a giving of yourself.
I didn’t start this blog with that in mind but in reflecting on ten years of posting, I realize that it’s when I am most present that I write. When I am distracted I don’t. I am interested in those times when I don’t have anything to say. Can it be that I haven’t been noticing the wonder that is our world? This is the best article I have ever read about listening and I would urge you to print it and read it in a quiet place. Then tuck it in a drawer and bring it out every once in a while.
One other big lesson. Buy a proper winter coat, with a hood. It took me forever to learn this lesson. My previous coat was ok but my NEW coat, well, it’s a whole new world. I think I’ve been cold for a decade. And wear the hood.
Listen. Think. Be grateful. Know you can do more than you think. Wear a proper coat.