Last month, I decided to apply for a Ted Talk. My proposal was sadly rejected, but here is my “big idea worth spreading.” Enjoy!
What is your “Big Idea Worth Spreading”?
Life can present unexpected hurtles, and we can suddenly, without notice, be barred from doing what we love. When we conflate what we love with who we are, and we can no longer do what we love, we feel stuck, confused, and downright depressed; But there’s a catch: while many folks have life-long passions, activities that have been honed and cherished from a young age, most adults that I know can name a handful of hobbies that they have acquired later in life. While we tend to define ourselves and rate our happiness by what we are currently doing, if we interviewed our former selves (even 5 or 10 years ago), we would likely provide different answers regarding what we love, and in turn, who we are. When our daily routines change unexpectedly, we can adapt. We can find different forms (and perhaps even more) happiness in new patterns and actions. With a little resiliency and creativity, we can pivot with grace by redefining who we are and what makes us happy. When circumstances in life make it difficult (or impossible) to do what we love, we can shut down, or we can embrace novelty, and remember that what we do is who we are. It is this dynamic relationship that makes life so sweet.
Why are you the right person to give this talk?
I started a business in May of 2018. I had a baby in June of 2020. Between these events, there was a global pandemic. When I was pregnant, I naively thought I could continue to operate as I had before. “I’ll just bring him along to all of my (business) events,” I told friends. Well…I got a rude awakening when I found myself chained to my couch with a colicky baby that never seemed to sleep! Slowly, I felt myself letting go of a business I had worked hard to build. I stopped emailing, marketing, and planning. I didn’t have the mental capacity to do more than take care of my son. Months passed, and I continued to spiral downwards. I stopped exercising, making art, and spending time outside with my husband. I told my mom that I thought I was having an identity crisis. I didn’t do anything I loved to do anymore. I didn’t mountain bike, ski tour, or rock climb. I couldn’t operate my mobile art studio, let alone make art. “But Becca,” she said, you only started doing those sports when you moved to Colorado, and you only started your business a little over a year ago. What did you do before that? And before that?” Her comment hit home. How quickly I had forgotten my former selves. Determined to be happy, I envisioned ways to try new activities and modify previous activities. I pitched and taught a Mommy and Me Barre Class at the fitness studio where I had previously taught. I developed a Baby Bird Art Class for artists as young as 6-months-old. I bought a Peloton. I began working on my business after I put my baby to sleep. I scaled down my business so I could be a stay-at-home mom. I signed up for baby music and swim class and met other moms. Instead of dwelling on what I wasn’t doing, I embraced my new life, and to my surprise, I began to find happiness. I expanded my notion of self from a limited and immediate version, to a dynamic identity, encompassing learned experience and untapped possibility, past and future iterations of the wildly fluctuating, unique, me.
This past month, Building Hope asked me to contribute to their Hope in 5 article, which they have been running since the start of the pandemic. I hope it brings you some hope (and joy!) wherever and whoever you are!
While we’ve been given a ‘shot of hope’ with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, we’re likely still months away from maskless hugs, nonchalant travel, schoolrooms filled with kids and regular indoor dining at restaurants. As we proceed cautiously and hopefully into a new year, we still need to maintain a culture of mask safety and physical separation. How do we keep this up for another few months? Here are a few tips.
1). Smile with your eyes. Even babies can tell when you’re smiling — it’s all about those eye crinkles! Smiles are contagious, and eye contact can show respect and connection. Say hello to people in passing. Your light will impact them – and you, guaranteed.
2). Embrace a new normal. Creating a modified version of the things you used to do is better than abandoning what you (used to) do altogether. I am a workout fiend, but I have a 5 month-old baby, so my definition of exercise has changed. While I’m not outside ski touring all day, a 40-minute stationary bike ride provides enough endorphins to keep me happy.
3). Balance nonfiction and fiction. Read the news, stay informed, but give yourself a break, and pick up a novel that transports you. The last book I read, “American Dirt,” told the story of a Mexican family seeking asylum, and I was left feeling immense gratitude for my safety and freedom.
4). Try, learn, grow. Make something with your hands. Set down your electronics, and bake, draw, knit, or hammer! The satisfaction that comes from creating something can be transformational. I love it when people who say they aren’t creative step out of their comfort zone and surprise themselves. I strongly believe that trying new things (and especially things that make you uncomfortable) is the only way we grow. Even if the finished product is not perfect, you’ll feel empowered, and soon enough it will be a repeating cycle: try, learn, grow.
5). Think like a marathon runner. You’ve made it this far. Would you quit at mile 23? You’ve got this! We’ve all made a lot of sacrifices since March 2020. Imagine it’s 2080, and you’re telling your grandkids about this crazy time in history. I’d like to say that I did everything in my power to improve the situation. We persevered, we were resilient, and we stuck it out in the darkest hour.
I’m not (yet) a parent, but I’d like to acknowledge all of the parents who are currently working double time to keep their kids safe and happy. Let’s face it parents, your job is tough. Talking to your kids about COVID-19 is a challenge. Getting your kids to wear masks and gloves might be impossible. Telling your kids they can’t touch or play with other kids on the playground is heartbreaking. Spending more time at home is a major adjustment.
Remember, you are doing a great job! Keep up the good work and stay strong.
And…for your sanity, give yourself a (mini) break and register your child for Creation Station: an online program tackling relevant themes (where has all the toilet paper gone?) and safety principles (wash your hands, stay at home, and wear PPE), brought to you by Mountain Top Children’s Museum and The Frosted Flamingo.
Creation Station Workshops are divided into three segments: Learn and Explore, Interactive Game, and an Arts and Craft session. Your child can check-in with us every week so you can check out!
Zoom account is not required, but preferred. Details on how to use zoom included in confirmation email after registering.
Ages 3 and up welcome. Workshops are separated by age.
Creation Station Craft Kits are available for purchase through The Frosted Flamingo, and include everything you need for the Arts and Craft portion of the workshop. To make your life easier, we are offering FREE delivery, right to your door! Details included in confirmation email.
It’s free to register, but space is limited. Click here to sign up today!
It’s hard to believe that the world has changed so much over the past two weeks. No matter what you do for work, where you live, or who you are, you are affected by COVID-19. Now more than ever, we must build our tolerance for adversity and uncertainty. It’s time to develop new routines and hobbies. We are presented with a unique opportunity to slow down, grow, and reflect.
Below are 2 resources that I have found helpful in these changing times.
1). “Conversations Menus” from The School of Life might provide some respite from only talking about COVID-19 in the coming days. Maybe something to use for virtual dinner gatherings with our loved ones we can’t currently see in person. This resource comes from my friend Arrington McCoy.
2). Eight Reasons to Embrace Shelter-in-Place (from my mom)
- You radically reduce your carbon footprint by not constantly driving or flying.
- You get re-acquainted with pleasurable, generative activities that tend to get sidelined when your time is consumed by work, social engagements and charitable activities.
- You (have the opportunity to) spend more time away from your desk, standing, walking and observing, being physically active rather than passively sitting.
- Instead of monosyllabically texting, as a way of staying in touch with friends and family, you now have time to write letters and converse with them on the phone or via skype.
- You are compelled to really look at and think about your surroundings– your home, the natural environment that surrounds you, your community, and your workspace– and decide whether they are what you want them to be; and if not, how you can change them for the better.
- If you have children, and they are at home, you have the gift of spending real, uninterrupted quality time with them.
- You have time to replenish your intellectual capital: reading, exploring, observing, questioning, learning.
- You have time to think about and be grateful for all of the blessings life has conferred upon you.
Thanks for reading!
When I first heard about the Corona Virus, I admittedly rolled my eyes. Statistically, the the “crisis” seemed overblown…until it started to spread. From China to Europe, to Seattle, and finally to Summit County. It became a pandemic, and universities, businesses, events, and public institutions closed their doors.
As a small business owner, the implications are real. The Frosted Flamingo has already canceled 2 events, and we will likely cancel more. While it is true that young, healthy people who become infected are very likely to recover, the same cannot be said for our elderly population, and members of our community with reduced immune systems. I am currently 6 months pregnant, and I am likely to contract this virus. Will I die? Probably not, but if I become infected, I will likely infect someone else, and that person will infect someone else.
We have an ethical responsibility to prevent the spread of this virus. That is not to say that we should lock our doors and cut off contact from the outside world, but we can limit the spread of Covid-19 by acting with intention. My parents were scheduled to fly from Boston to Denver next week, and they have intelligently cancelled their trip. While this was initially very disappointing, I am increasingly proud of their decision.
Home Delivery DIY Craft Kits
Staying at home and dealing with cancellations can be frustrating and disheartening, but The Frosted Flamingo is here to help! Order a DIY craft kit to be delivered to your door. Choose anything from our year round projects, kids projects, or seasonal + holiday projects, and we’ll bring you the materials, tools, and instructions.
Staying at home doesn’t have to be boring.
Find more information on Home Deliveries here.