All posts by: Lisa Rivero

T Is for Trust

“Could making the effort to see the best in others—even for just one weekend—help me rein in my cynicism enough to stop mistrusting the world?” ~ Alina Tugend

What would happen if we consciously trusted more? Alina Tugend, who admits her instinct had been “to be wary of just about everyone,” writes about her personal experiment in trusting more and being less pessimistic, with some unexpected benefits:

“I was letting go of some of the pessimism I’d allowed to build up in my life. Freeing myself of my ‘everyone’s a jerk’ mentality was indeed feeling like a far less taxing way to live, and as the day went on, I noticed that I wasn’t getting as heated over little perceived injustices. In fact, later that afternoon, when another driver pulled into a parking space I was about to take, I didn’t immediately assume he intentionally stole it from me. Instead, I took a moment to see it from his view—maybe he thought I was just idling on the street or that I’d stopped to make a phone call—and it actually seemed like an honest mistake. By the time I found a new parking spot, I was over it. The draining, time-consuming anger I would normally have felt in this situation had vanished.” Read more

There’s only so much we can do to increase our physical energy, especially as we get older, and we can’t create more hours in the day. Tugend reminds that what we may have more control over than we realize, however, are the “draining, time-consuming” emotions that so often interfere with getting the most out of daily life.


TThis post is part of the April A to Z Blog Challenge. For more on my 2016 theme of Private Revolution, see A Is for Ambition. Click here to read all posts in the Private Revolution A to Z Challenge blog series. 

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S Is for Siblings, Study Abroad and Social Justice

 “[I]f something is telling you to go somewhere, the first step is to simply ‘say yes’.” ~ Gavin Furrey

This academic year has been the first in many years when I haven’t taught. Pivoting to working full-time at home has been the right decision for many reasons, but I do miss one aspect of the classroom: regular contact with young adults.

The current 20-something generation is, in my experience, hopeful, open, engaging, creative and smart—far from stereotypes set forth in popular millennial bashing.

Consider, for example, Anna and Gavin, my niece and nephew. Only about one year apart in age, they grew up as fast friends and sources of mutual support (kudos to their parents).

Anna is a student at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. One of her most recent published stories is about a Northern Arizona University student who, as a junior, has already spent four semesters studying internationally in Paris and Montréal, even in the face of discouragement from professors and advisors who thought he was too young. That student is her brother Gavin:

“Looking back, I realize that I made it into the right choice for me.” [Gavin] Furrey said, “I decided it was what I wanted to do, and because of that I gained incredible experiences and growth in Paris, and still had time to squeeze in a year in Montréal.”

Once he graduates in spring of 2017 at NAU, he aspires to go back to Montréal to complete a masters degree in international development at McGill University.

“I would like to work for an international non-governmental organization,” Furrey said, “specifically one that attends to refugee crises or human rights violations.” Read more

As many of us enter our second adulthood, we can look to those entering their first adulthood for inspiration for how to say “yes” to life’s opportunities and refusing to be defined by others’ expectations.


SThis post is part of the April A to Z Blog Challenge. For more on my 2016 theme of Private Revolution, see A Is for Ambition. Click here to read all posts in the Private Revolution A to Z Challenge blog series. Don’t forget to leave a comment on Saturday’s post for a chance to receive a free signed copy of The Adventures of a Sparrow Named Stanley!

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R Is for Recombobulation

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This is a short post, as I just returned from three days out of town and need to recombobulate.

Nearly anyone who flies in and out of Milwaukee will recognize the above signage. What I didn’t know until starting to write this post is that “recombobulation” as it is used at the Milwaukee airport is an award-winning word, as Anne Curzan explains (emphases added):

Each year we [at the American Dialect Society] vote not only on the Word of the Year but also on, for example, the Most Useful Word of the Year, the Most Useless Word of the Year, and the Most Creative Word of the Year. For 2008, recombobulation area won the title of Most Creative Word of the Year.

If you haven’t been to Concourse C at the General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee in the past five years, you may not have encountered the original (and as far as I have heard only—but readers, please let me know if there are others) recombobulation area, designated as such by its own sign. It is set up just after the security check point, a place where potentially discombobulated passengers can recombobulate: put their belts and coats back on, put their laptops and toiletries away, reload all their miscellaneous objects into their pockets, etc.

I cannot help but use the verb now—usually to myself, in my head—every time I’m putting myself back together after security, no matter what airport I’m in. But here’s the thing: I don’t just recombobulate at airports.

I am willing to admit that most days I have to recombobulate several times a day. Read more

Creating a personal recombobulation area—if only in our own minds and hearts—to put ourselves back together on a regular basis sounds like a pretty good idea.


RThis post is part of the April A to Z Blog Challenge. For more on my 2016 theme of Private Revolution, see A Is for Ambition. Click here to read all posts in the Private Revolution A to Z Challenge blog series. Don’t forget to leave a comment on Saturday’s post for a chance to receive a free signed copy of The Adventures of a Sparrow Named Stanley!

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Q Is for Queried by Life

“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

The above quotation by Viktor Frankl has bounced around inside my head since I first read Man’s Search for Meaning 20 years ago and has greater import with each passing year.

How are we questioned by life? So many times, we are in situations that we wish were different, or we dwell on pasts that we cannot change. Whenever I can stop myself to ask, “What am I being asked?” or, to ask of life, “What can I see differently here?” or “What can I learn?” things go better. The circumstances don’t change, but I do. I get a better perspective. I can turn my attention to my own choices and growth and space rather than trying to control everything else.

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

A meaningful life is different today at age 52 from when I was younger. Not necessarily better or deeper because of age—I know people far younger than I am who have this figured out far better than I do—but different. Maybe it’s because I am getting to know myself better, becoming more comfortable with all of my flaws and quirks and regrets, stripping away what no longer works and attending (as in given attention) to what remains.

Between a provocation and our response to it, in that space, we are queried. The more we can stay in the space and listen for the questions, the freer we become.
Q


This post is part of the April A to Z Blog Challenge. For more on my 2016 theme of Private Revolution, see A Is for Ambition. Click here to read all posts in the Private Revolution A to Z Challenge blog series. Don’t forget to leave a comment on Saturday’s post for a chance to receive a free signed copy of The Adventures of a Sparrow Named Stanley!

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P Is for Purpose

“Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning


P This post is part of the April A to Z Blog Challenge. For more on my 2016 theme of Private Revolution, see A Is for Ambition. Click here to read all posts in the Private Revolution A to Z Challenge blog series. Don’t forget to leave a comment on Saturday’s post for a chance to receive a free signed copy of The Adventures of a Sparrow Named Stanley!

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