It has been exactly two months since I’ve written anything. Not a blog post, not a poem—hell, barely even a fully composed grocery list. I just haven’t had it in me.
Much to the chagrin of every writer that ever existed, the urge to write is not an ever-flowing champagne tower that can just be tapped into. Eventually the waiter walks away, the bubbly stops flowing, and you’re left with an empty glass and no idea what you should be writing.
But then every once in a while, the urge comes back. You’ll be wandering through the store, block of cheese and bottle of wine in hand, and suddenly you’re itching to go back to the keyboard.
Today is one of those days.
I’d like to tell you that I missed every moment I was away. But the truth is, I didn’t.
I’d like to tell you that I felt bad for not posting a blog for two whole months, without so much as a warning to you all. But I didn’t.
You see, here’s the beautiful thing about adulthood that I’m just beginning to fully comprehend--I’m an adult, and that means I get to do whatever I want.
It’s a concept that I’ve always entertained but never fully vested myself in. Sure, I knew that, without someone telling me otherwise, I can wake up and eat ice cream for breakfast and never wear makeup again. But, as I’m slowly realizing, it’s deeper than that.
I’m an adult, fully in charge of my own decisions, but also fully responsible for my own happiness.
If I don’t want to do something, I don’t have to. Plain and simple.
And neither do you.
I temporarily left the blog and writing world, knowing that when the time was right, you’d welcome me back with open arms. I knew that, when it would make me happy, I would post again. And I will likely drop out again for a while and only post when I feel like it—and that’s totally okay.
If there’s something in your world that isn’t serving you or no longer makes you happy, then maybe it’s time to reevaluate your relationship with it. (Or with them, if it’s a person.)
No one is forcing you to do anything. And nobody else is ultimately responsible for making sure you like your life except for you. So, if you don’t, please do something about it.
There are too many copies in this world: be yourself and do what makes you happy.
Stop pretending to be someone you’re not. Own your flaws, your attributes, and all the things in between.
Speak up for yourself.
Demand respect for yourself and your time.
Honor the things you love.
The minute you realize, damn, I’m amazing, so will the rest of the world.
Moments exist in life that serve no other purpose than to bring us back to reality: fights with your best friend where you clearly in the wrong; being rejected or embarrassed; a family member getting sick; a loved one dying.
God or whatever you want to call that Supreme Being above us is a big fan of humility—not in terms of humiliation, which is an entirely different animal, but reminding us that we are not perfect and we will falter.
But most importantly, we are reminded that we can get back up—that there are things greater than our struggles, anxieties, and misfortunes.
In times like this, when I've been knocked down and told to re-evaluate my situation, an overarching theme stands out.
Most of what you think is important doesn't actually matter.
Your job is important. But should you let the piles of undone work take over your family time or occupy your thoughts while outside of the office?
You may fret about your physical appearance. And yes, feeling good about you the way you look is worthwhile. But is it worth stressing over? Are those extra 10 pounds worth the self-abuse you heap on yourself?
You may worry about where you will be in 5, 10, or 20 years, but will that change the present?
Popularity, if you're doing enough with your life, what you eat, how you carry yourself, what your friends think of you, how much stuff you have, and how much money is in your bank account—the list of fascinations goes on and on.
But, friends, this is not the stuff that matters.
Sure, on a practical level, some of it is worth entertaining. (You need money to buy food, so keeping an eye on that bank about might not be a bad idea.)
But the point is, life isn't worth stressing about things that aren't serving you.
When you think about what makes your soul happy, is it really what you wore last week? Or if your friends laughed at your joke? Or if your boss likes you?
Your soul doesn't give a second thought to any of that stuff.
So where does humility play into this?
Humility reminds us of the importance of our life—as well as the experiences and people with which we fill it.
The love you give to your family and friends . . . this is what matters.
The relationships you foster and grow over time . . . this is what matters.
The generosity you bring to the world around you, taking care of anyone and everyone you can . . . this is what matters.
The way you nurture yourself, both body and spirit, so you can better give yourself to your passions . . . this is what matters.
So slow down: appreciate this moment, and remember that life is so fleeting and yet so full.
That is what matters.
Guys, Mondays are hard.
Even the best Mondays seem tortuous to get through, which is a bit of a conundrum to me—Monday's the beginning of a new week, a fresh start, a time to seize the day and run with it!
. . . that is, until you get to your desk, see dozens of blinking, unread e-mails, get buried under a mountain of paperwork and tasks, and feel general discontent that your beautiful weekend is already gone.
At the end of your work day, even though your home to-do list grows exponentially, the only energy you can muster is to sit on the couch with the TV blaring and your eyes gazing listlessly at the screen.
Sound familiar? We've all been there. And considering it's Monday night, some of us are still there.
But here's the question: how do we recover so that the rest of our bright, shiny week doesn't end in the same sad state of despair and laziness?
With this post, I mean to say one thing: you are important. The work you do is important. The energy you bring to this world is even more important. So, if you can do what you can to make your place a little brighter, a little more comfortable, then what are you waiting for?
I'm here to let you in on a little secret: this world doesn't want you to be yourself.
We live in a confusing, change-encouraging society. In the midst of chaos, surging emotions, tense political battles, and the like, it's far too easy to forget who we are—to lose our grounding on a shaky sea.
And in this hurricane, I'm sometimes left shivering and wondering: who the hell am I?
Maybe you're like me and sometimes forget the things that make you you--your goals, what you find funny, the silly bits that enjoys watching cat videos for hours on end, your idiosyncrasies, and so on.
Just calm down, take a breath, and use these seven tricks to try to reconnect with You:
Above all else, remember this: when you lose yourself and all feels hopeless, you will always be there. You might be hiding in the very crevices of your soul, but all of your hopes, desires, and dreams remain.
And there's nobody better than you, you authentic, wonderful thing.
While I'm working, I often pour myself a nice mug of tea—especially in the Fall, when I can indulge in delicious, warm flavors like cinnamon and licorice. (This one in particular is the best.)
Yesterday's editing involved a challenging client project that tested me both mentally and emotionally—and when I reached for my steaming hot tea specifically poured to calm me down, I noticed some writing on the tag, which said:
"You are unlimited."
Normally I agree with the little inspirational quips on the tea tags, but man, do I disagree with this.
Yes, you should believe in your potential. Yes, you should push yourself professionally, personally, and emotionally. But everything has its limits. Especially you.
I've written before about the importance of self-care; how can you take care of others when you aren't taking care of yourself?
Speaking from my experience, we try so hard to do everything: to have amazing careers, a flourishing side gig, beautiful homes, take care of picture-perfect families, and build watertight relationships with loved ones.
I'm going to say it: it's just too much.
On a weekly basis, I reach a breaking point and something has to give. Maybe the blog only gets one post that week instead of three. Maybe I let our house fall into a state of constant clutter for a while. Maybe Cosmo doesn't get an hour-long walk every day (sorry, buddy). And it's totally okay.
We can't think of ourselves as a constantly regenerating machine, ready to give to others endlessly. Your daily ability to keep going is finite—a tank that slowly loses its contents.
You can refill your tank by taking care of yourself; it's a simple concept, I know, but so many of us neglect it. Relax, read a book, eat some real food, exercise, or get some sleep. It's that easy.
Just for a moment, take a breath and remember that you need to take care of yourself and respect your limits. As productivity expert David Allen once said, "You can do anything, but not everything."
Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to spend an entire weekend on the couch reading—not cleaning my messy house, not working on articles or editing, not feeling like I should do anything. And it's going to be beautiful.
This week, I've been a raging ball of stress. There's too many things to get done at the office, so many ideas for the blog and website ping-ponging around in my brain, piles of clutter sitting around the house—it's enough to make a person head straight for the bar to indulge in the strongest margarita available.
As much as I love such margaritas—especially with a giant plate of nachos—I'm getting to the age where I need to respect my body in a healthier way.
Taking care of yourself comes down to so much more than eating your quota of fruits and veggies (although that's pretty important, too). To keep yourself in tip-top shape, you need to make sure your mental health gets a check-up every once in a while. Self-care is too important to neglect.
In case you needed some friendly reminders on how to take care of your one and only body, I've compiled a list of 12 ideas to consider below. Take each one with a grain of salt (preferably around that margarita glass) and see if it works for you!
Audra Lorde said it best—"I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival."
And isn't that the beautiful, absolute truth?
Take care of yourself and the universe will take care of you.
Look, we're all busy. In today's world, everyone seems to run from place to place without taking any time to stop and admire the view.
With so many websites vying for our attention, it can be easy to miss out on great pieces from authors across the Internet—I know I do all the time. In an effort to alleviate any stress missing my blog posts may cause my beloved readers, I'm happy to introduce the weekly Victoria Harris Writes Newsletter!
Each week, subscribers will receive an e-mail with a brief synopsis of all posts from the week, links to those posts, and any additional fun facts that may have slipped past your radar. No frills, no fuss, no blunderbuss—just the posts that drew you to the site in the first place.
To register for the weekly newsletter, click the "Subscribe" button to the left of this post (or click here). From there, you'll be directed to the Subscription page where you can enter your e-mail address. It's that easy! Every Sunday, you'll receive a freshly minted e-mail with the week's best reads in your box.
And now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.
Writer, editor, and storyteller living in the Twin Cities.