Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Saturday, November 23, 2013
Only by single-minded devotion can I be known as I truly am, Arjuna–– can I be seen and entered.I went back to the studio. I needed to take a leap of faith in my music career: devote more time to it, even though it might not be remunerative. Rather than get a degree or a certification, I needed to take a hiatus from my life coaching practice. I needed to continue to give myself, my artist––my Willful Child if you will––margins to play in and explore. I needed to write for the sake of writing again. And I needed my IAP to cultivate single-minded devotion. (Not to just one thing; that's not possible for me. But whatever it is I am doing, being, whomever I am loving, I must do this with devotion, focus and attention.) Our book, All Together Singing in the Kitchen: Creative Ways to Make and Listen to Music as a Family came out in September, 2011. The Full Catastrophe came out in April 2012. Neither shot to number one. No matter. We are so happy with both projects, so delighted when people let us know that they read and use the book, listen to the CDs. And of course, making The Full Catastrophe proved to us that we still love making CDs, layering our harmonies in the studio, working with guest musicians. And our long-time fans repeatedly let us know that they love it; that they play it; that they are learning the songs and singing them with their families. We have a book that stands as a teaching tool and memoir, rolled into one. And we have another CD to represent a phase of our lives, of our career. Process, not product. This, to me, is success. And finally, since my yoga training, the first thing I do every day is a single humble sun salutation. I can officially say that I have a yoga practice. Excerpted from How to Be an Adult. To read more, buy the book!
Monday, November 4, 2013
Introduction here. Or...just wait until tomorrow when I post the next part.
What We Learned About Life in 20 Years on the Road Katryna first got the idea to write a book called How to Be an Adult after graduating college. She felt clueless, living with her sister and brother-in-law in a prep-school dorm and eating the prep-school’s free food, while trying to figure out things like how to get health insurance and how to pay her taxes on the non-existent income of a budding folk singer. She pronounced, “Someone should write a book called How to Be an Adult. How are we supposed to know any of this stuff? We all need a manual. Someone should write it, and since no one else will, I guess it’s got to be me. Except I don’t know how to be an adult, so why don’t you do it?” We had grand plans to research the topic, but we never followed through. Over the years, we’d revive the project and toss around some ideas, but mostly the concept of either of us writing a book about how to be an adult reduced us to fits of tearful laughter. Who would take a couple of folk singers as their models for responsible adulthood? But by my mid-thirties, I had observed two things. First of all, somehow along the way, like everyone else, I’d figured it out, mostly, and so had Katryna. It took years, and we made lots of painful and hilarious mistakes. But many of those mistakes were wonderful lessons. Secondly, what I hadn’t figured out (taxes, insurance, retirement accounts, bill-paying) were easily deciphered by the simple act of homing in on someone who clearly appeared to be a competent adult and asking that person how she did what she did. Believe me, if you ask enough people, someone will have a strong opinion on this topic and feel it’s their mission in life to sit you down and set you straight.
Sunday, September 8, 2013
I can't believe how long it's taken me to do what seemed a small task: to turn my 2008 paperback book How to Be an Adult into an ebook. Answer: almost 2 years. Really five years, since I had the thought as soon as I published the paperback. How hard could it be? The problem was, once I reviewed the book, sometime last summer, I saw all the places I wanted to add, expand, and in a couple of cases, subtract. So I set about rewriting. And rewriting. And then factor in 2 kids, 5 careers, husband, beautiful summer weather, computer fatigue, etc and here you have it. September 6, 2013. A good a date as any to get started. Once a week, I am going to publish an excerpt from the book. So here is the new Preface. Preface to the 2013 Edition In the five years since this book has come out, I have wanted, almost daily, to revise How to Be an Adult. This is natural, of course, as Adulthood is not a static state: one never arrives. New insights, new ways of changing car tires, organizing one’s finances, even new ways of roasting a chicken emerge, and I as an extroverted blabbermouth feel compelled to trumpet the new findings to the masses. Moreover, as the mother of two children (ages 7 and almost 5 as of this writing), I’ve had some good practice with some adultish skills that helped me to refine my perspective since the first edition, which was mostly written before motherhood, though edited and published when Lila was just two and Johnny was three months from being born. Those two kids have taught me more than all my life experiences to date combined. Also, as I am fond of saying, I was this close to enlightenment before I had kids. All that forgiveness work and cultivation of a relaxed attitude about the things that really matter, which I spout on about in the earlier edition—well, let’s just say I have been put to the test. And failed miserably. But as I have also written, it’s in the failing that we learn most. When I asked for suggestions for the new edition, here were the requests: • An expanded Vocation/Avocation section, especially with the advent of Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn. • Advice on resumés and interviewing • More on time management (er, consciousness) • A section on common illnesses and what to do about them • A discussion of the importance of getting enough sleep • A handy domestic toolbox full of tips • Eggs and egg recipes • More healthy recipes • Skin care suggestions I wrote this book because I love to give advice. I love to get advice too, and it’s extremely gratifying for me to find out the answers to the nagging questions—my own, and those of my friends. To this end, I regularly annoy my family by grabbing my iPhone as soon as anyone says, “I wonder how…” or “I wonder when…” or “I wonder what…” and then Googling like a madwoman. In my work as a life coach, I work with many twenty-somethings. I love it when they ask me basic questions to which I know the answers. But I love it even more when we work together to figure out some of the deeper problems we all confront—like how to break an addiction, or how to figure out what career would bring the most joy, or whether or not to marry the guy (or girl). I wanted to condense some of my coaching experience, too, in this new edition. It can be lonely to be in one’s twenties. Not always, and not for everyone—sometimes the twenties are a rowdy extension of those bright college years. Some twenty-somethings are already married. But even then, even so, many folks I have spoken with confess to a sinking feeling of being alone with their cluelessness. Everyone else seems to know what to do. Why don’t I? In her book The Gifts of Imperfection, Brené Brown talks about the important distinction between “fitting in” and “belonging.” We think these terms are synonyms, but actually they are worlds apart. “Fitting in,” to my mind, has always been about trimming off objectionable parts of myself so that I take up less space and don’t stand out in any way. I think that if I can do this, more people will love me. “Belonging” is the feeling I get when I’m among people who see my whole self––all the parts of me––and love me anyway. In fact, in many cases, it’s exactly those objectionable parts that create bonds between people. For me, my twenties were a journey that began as a “fitter-inner” and ended with a profound sense of belonging, and the way I got to this brave new place was through embracing my own objectionable parts. In doing so, I found my people, my Tribe, and through their collective wisdom, I got my answers, at least most of the time. When they failed me, when I had to strike out on my own, I came back with answers for them. In this age of easy access to all kinds of information, we are training ourselves to Google things like, “Will my daughter have friends in Junior High School?” and “Is my neighbor stockpiling weapons of mass destruction?” as if Google were an oracle. The answers to many questions, in ancient Greece and modern-day America, are equally unknowable, but my sense is that when we’re compelled to reach out to the faceless unknown for answers, what we really want is to connect with the Tribe. This book is in large part about identifying and finding that Tribe. In the beginning, you might start by looking among others who are equally clueless, and begin to commiserate with them. And then, ask questions. To that end, please join the conversation this book has launched at www.howtobeanadult.org where I will be posting regularly. Here, you can actually ask questions and get answers. We need your input! In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this book. I hope I have kept the very best aspects of the original and added and improved where it was lacking. If you have suggestions on other topics, send them my way. And of course, if you have better ideas on how to manage time, organize a budget, roast a chicken or change a tire, let me know.
Friday, June 14, 2013
. . . With half-damp eyes I stared to the room Where my friends and I spent many an afternoon, Where we together weathered many a storm Laughin’ and singin’till the early hours of the morn. By the old wooden stove where our hats was hung Our words were told our songs were sung Where we longed for nothin’ and were satisfied Talking and a-jokin’ about the world outside . . . I wish, I wish, I wish in vain, That we could sit simply in that room again, Ten thousand dollars at the drop of a hat I’d give it all gladly if our lives could be like that.When I first heard this song, I was too young to have experienced this kind of deep, communal friendship, though eager to. In college I had just such a group of friends, and listened to this song as an ominous warning. We sang together in a folk band called Tangled Up in Blue (twenty singers and two acoustic guitar players: we were a sort of super-sized Peter, Paul & Mary who were unusually gifted at cracking codes). We met up at coffee shops and the campus vegetarian joint, plotted revolution, vowed to recycle and fight the bourgeois oppressors. We also vowed to keep in touch, and though we see each other at the occasional wedding, we have mostly scattered all over the world: as Bob said, “ . . . the thought never hit/ That the one road we traveled would ever shatter or split.” After I left college, this song reduced me to tears so regularly that I had to skip over it when I played the LP. Dylan is tapping into what many of us experience when we move from our late teens to our early twenties. The adults over 25 whom I interviewed say they have stayed in touch with at most two or three friends from the first 20 years of life. What’s different about relationships in adulthood is that we are expected to maintain them for longer than a year or two. As children, it’s normal to have a different best friend every year. I maintain that as adults, it’s normal to have a rotating stable of friends too; friendships are often based on your environment, your workplace, your social activities, your common interests. As you grow and evolve and mature, these interests change. So do your friends. That doesn’t mean you don’t work to maintain those friendships that matter to you; but I have also seen many young people suffer from frustration because their college friends aren’t corresponding as consistently as they’d like. They feel let down. They feel they’re the ones who seem to be doing all the communicating. On the other hand, they might find their friend awfully clingy and needy and thus feel guilty if they spend too little time with her; resentful if they spend too much. Sometimes it takes years to figure out a good balance between good friends; to trust that the ebb and flow will just be a part of friendship, and to not freak out if months or even years go by with no communication. Look around and notice all the other friends you have made.
One of the most important things to me, especially in my post-college life, has been maintaining, strengthening, and just enjoying my friendships with the people I love, both near and far. I’m not always very good at it, but when I do make the effort, it almost invariably cheers me up. My friends know who I am (and, as the saying goes, like me anyway); in many cases, they’ve made me who I am. We’ve got history, a shared language of references, jokes, and memories. They are brilliant, funny, kind, and loving, and my time on this earth would be much poorer without them. So I try not to let them go easily. This means that I write to them, call them, send them emails with links to funny websites, but it also means that I don’t get upset when they don’t write back right away, or even for years. I don’t dismiss them or declare the friendship over. I know high tide is going to come again. ––Kate, age 26