Before we begin, let me get something out of the way: It is taking all of my effort not to make this entire post about my FitBit. I am a huge data nerd — to the extent that I once gave Joe an Excel spreadsheet for Christmas — and I also love anything having to do with the subjects of nutrition, fitness, or weight loss (which is not to imply that I eat nutritious food or am fit or good at weight loss — I just like thinking about it). Anyway, when you roll all that up and dispense it in a way that involves me staring at my iPhone — another great love — you can imagine the extent to which this two-inch device has taken over my life.
Wait. Let me say one FitBit-related thing before we move on:
Yet another thing I deeply enjoy — and I daresay I excel at — is articulating my own suffering. I am so fragile and wimpy that the slightest things cause me great discomfort, and I enjoy pouring all my energy into vividly articulating my pain. The other day I was whining to Joe about the toil of having to get the kids in the car because it was parked outside (since we can’t use our garage because the couch that Salvation Army wouldn’t take is still in there), and my retelling of the event could have put me in the running for the Pulitzer. I recounted the many harrowing treks back and forth from the house to the car, detailing how my calf muscles strained as I heroically made the ascent up the sloped driveway. Joe should have had tears in his eyes as I recounted the despair the descended upon me when I wrestled all the little ones into car seats and seat belts, only to realize that I had forgotten the keys in the house, which would require another voyage down Mt. Driveway.
Combine this fact with what I revealed in #1, and imagine for a moment what a powerful tool a FitBit is for a whiner who is also a data nerd. It’s complaining…with metrics! Instead of telling Joe that his last-minute text adding something to the list while I was at the grocery store made me have to walk “a lot more,” I can now note that my FitBit data shows that I magnanimously undertook and additional 437 steps so that our family could have bacon.
It’s a new world.
I decided to update my LinkedIn profile in a moment of intense procrastination, but as soon as it started asking me questions about what I do all day, I drew a blank. I added info about the book, which was exciting, but then I was at a loss when it came to inputting my current job title. I could have said “mom,” but that’s not exactly the type of info LinkedIn is looking for. After an absurd amount of over-analysis I gave up in disgust and just typed in that I’m the Executive Vice President of Blogging ConversionDiary.com. (Which I realize doesn’t make sense that I wouldn’t be CEO of my own blog, but something about a subordinate role felt right.)
Anyway, what I did not know was that LinkedIn was going to blast out this notice to the bazillions of people in my network, subject: Congratulate Jennifer Fulwiler on her new job!:
I got a lot of wry emails in response to that one.
A few years ago, the business school where Joe sometimes teaches offered for each of us to do a Birkman Method personality inventory. It’s basically Myers Briggs on crack (my words, not theirs), and is known for high accuracy and detail when it comes to elucidating people’s personality types, with a focus on what work environments best fit their strengths.
The other day I came across my results, and I was amazed once again by just how accurate they are. I received a big binder packed full of insights about what situations are likely to lead to stress, and which are likely to help me thrive. I laughed as I flipped through it, because when you take a step back and behold the big picture, it basically said I should be a desert hermit who has a blog and occasionally comes out of her cave to go to black-tie galas…which is exactly right.
This note in particular cracked me up:
Indeed, the way I react when I’m in seasons when I deal with non-stop chaos and never have a moment to myself have led to behavior from me that is, to use the phrasing of the Birkman method, “surprising to myself and others.”
Remember my cousin the Benedictine monk? His monastery is now making their own beer! The last time we visited Mt. Angel, one of the monks mentioned that they were interested in starting some kind of income-generating activity like this so that they could have more resources to serve their local community. Also, does it get any better than hanging out with monks and drinking freshly brewed beer? (Answer: No, it doesn’t!)
We ordered a set of Benedictine Brewery cognac glasses for my grandfather for Christmas, and they were absolutely beautiful. I was blown away by the quality. I don’t think the monks are selling beer just yet, but I highly recommend their other products if you’re looking for a great, unique gift idea.
The new couch continues to bless. One of the first days we had it, my seven-year-old daughter walked into the room and exclaimed, “It’s like we’re visiting one of our friends who lives in a nice house!”
I’m getting back into running! My attempt to get new running shoes was the self-esteem-demolishing exercise in futility that it always is when you’re a woman who wears size 12, but the good news is that I discovered the best running song ever! You can pretty much delete your entire workout playlist on your iPod and replace it with this song: