Upholding, with a side of questioning

Do you know about the Four Tendencies Framework?

It refers to how you respond to inner and external expectations. There are four categories you can fall into:

  • upholding — you follow through on all internal and external expectations
  • questioning – you follow through on expectations only if you think they are worthwhile
  • obliging – you only follow through on external expectations
  • rebel – you don’t follow through on internal or external obligations

I am definitely an upholder and – thus – prone to what is called “tightening” where I create a new habit and then make it more and more and more and more strict until I’m insane. For example — I started a habit to walk 10,000 steps each day and would walk in loops around my apartment complex until I got there. Or, I just cannot seem to take a day off the gym without extreme guilt even if my body feels really exhausted.

You can take a quiz here to figure out your own tendency and there’s also a book for those who want to go further.

A Yearly February Vacation

One of my few life rules is to always take a February vacation. February is often the lowest part of the year for me. Winter feels long, my lightbox doesn’t feel enough like sunshine, and I am just generally grumpy, moody, and want a break.

This year, we’re going to…

Tucson, Arizona! Have you been? It will be my first time, though we did have a really incredible vacation to Sedona a few Februaries prior.

I’m looking forward to margaritas, hiking, dance clubs, a few lifting workouts, and hot sunshine.

Taking a tech sabbath

I’ve referenced tech sabbaths before. I refer to them as periods of time where you don’t meaningfully engage in technology. For them to work for me, my phone has to be off. Not just off, butI must have prepared myschedule in such a way that I know I won’t need my phone again for a while. So, if I have a brunch date on Sunday, I have to know the exact time, place, directions, etc. knowing I’ll be without my phone the day of.

About a minute after turning my phone off, I feel this total-body loosening. Like a rushing, soothing sensation takes over my brain and body.

About five minutes after turning my phone off, I start to get bored. I feel antsy, curious about the news, anxious that someone is trying to contact me.

And then I find a project — re-organizing our entryway closet, Marie Kondo-ing my clothes, reading all my old New Yorkers.

Have you ever taken a tech sabbath? I also love the idea of idea of this Sabbath Manifesto and would love to get my life to a place where I could follow those principles weekly.


Letter of Recommendation

Have you read the NYT’s Letter of Recommendation column? I just discovered it and it’s amazing. People write a letter to an unappreciated object. Some of my favorites have been: looking out the window, karaoke at home, in-flight movies, sick days, and blind contour drawing

Go forth and read! It’s updated online every Thursday and published in the weekend magazine.

Scenes from New York

Me (upon hearing a song my partner hums all the time but can’t figure out the name of): Hey, do you know the name of this song?

Cashier: umm, no, I don’t. Sorry!

Me: Hey, do you know the name of this song?

Security card: Yeah, what’s the name of this song?! It’s…uh…Luca! Luca, do you know the name of this song?

Luca: I don’t — I think we can ask Siri. [Gets out phone] Siri, what song is playing?

Luca: Siri says I think it’s This Girl by Kungs.

Me: Thanks!!! [Eagerly looks forward to surprising her partner with song when she gets home]


Book Review: Going Into Town

Book Review # 7 – Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York (Roz Chast)


A guide to New York, it has actually helpful information and so many great observations and realistic portrayals. I literally sat on the couch and laughed hysterically out loud as I read it. Buy a copy for your in-laws or anyone who doesn’t quite get how New York City works.

January Monthly Review

Inspired by this, I wanted to start doing monthly reviews. Here we go!

1. What went well this month?

  • Tracking my daily habits. Having a quantitative and visual way to track my daily habits gave me a lot more accountability and helped me more concrete about exactly what I was aiming for each day. The format also allowed for some built-in flexibility.
  • Bringing back my work out buddy! When I started lifting, I become close friends with a fellow lady lifter. We worked 3x a week together for a few months. After I switched gyms, I worked out on my own which was fine. But now my workout buddy is back and workouts are the best mix of lifting and socializing.
  • Taking some tech sabbaths. I define a tech sabbath as turning off my phone for a long period of time. I had the opportunity to do that for a full day this month, and that was great
  • Having a solo weekend. My partner was out of town on weekend so I did my tech sabbath and focused on alone time and renewal. It was great.

2. What didn’t go so well this month?

  • Social plans. I didn’t plan a lot of social events this month. I just didn’t want to…feeling some guilt about this even though I don’t regret it.
  • Productivity.  I felt like most of my hobbies this month were consumptive and I didn’t create any art, write any letters, journal, etc. Nor was I very productive at work…feeling some guilt here too.

3. What am I working toward?

  • Injury prevention. As my lifts keep increasing, I want to focus more on great form, stretching, foam rolling, and generally caring for my body. It can be hard for me to take it easy on any given day, but want to continue to strengthen the voice of my body.
  • Mindfulness-based stress reduction. I signed up to take a MBSR course. I was interested in deepening my meditation practice, particularly in my daily life (versus just on the cushion). I am also hoping it will help with injury prevention.
  • Creating more art. I want to identify a few projects that are easy enough and that I will enjoy doing. I’m thinking some crafts, probably valentine’s day cards, knitting (likely a hat because that’s all I ever want to knit), and maybe something cooking related.