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.

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