It has been a while since I read a book that brought so much inspiration to how I approach life. The last one that probably topped this book was “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown. The new book? “A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life” by Brian Grazer. Grazer is a Hollywood producer (known for Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Frost/Nixon, 24, and his crazy spiked hair), and while reading about a Hollywood producer would normally turn me off, the book is about his lifelong pursuit of curiosity. He lives and breathes it and it has contributed to how he has lived his life and his many successes. The book showcases his “curiosity conversations” where he has been led to talk to anyone and everyone about how they live their life. He is a listener and learns by asking questions. He talks about curiosity in relation to his professional and personal life.
I was one of those kids that always asked questions. I always wanted to know more and was never satisfied with pat answers — I wanted to know why. I wanted to understand how things worked and how people ticked. I am also someone who often talks things out. One of my favorite times of the day is my drive home from work with Chris. We have been married for 12 years, and have had only one car for 11.5 of those married years. I am usually quieter on the way to work. It is my last few moments of silence before a long and full day.
On the way home it can take us anywhere from 15-30 minutes depending on traffic and I find it the perfect time to debrief about our days. Sometimes I talk the entire way home because I have so much to share, sometimes it is Chris that talks the entire time, and others we banter back and forth and share intermittently about our day. When I get home I am off to go for a run, or catch up on a few more pieces of work to get it out of my head, so those minutes in the car are precious. They are one of the ways we connect and learn a bit more about what we each experienced that day. Grazer mentions this specifically in his book — how many couples do not ask each other or talk about their days:
“How many marriages that drift into disconnection and boredom could be helped by a revival of genuine curiosity on both sides? We need these daily reminders that although I live with person, I don’t actually know her today—unless I ask about her today.” page 160
And later on that same page…
“We don’t just take our relationships to those closest to us for granted. We take for granted that we know them so well, we know what happened today. We know what they think. But we don’t. That’s part of the fun of curiosity, and part of the value of curiosity: it creates the moment of surprise.” page 160
I love this. I am voraciously curious about Chris and what continues to make him tick. I am curious about those I work with, my friends, and family. How are they changing? What is bothering them? What continues to make them happy? Promise me to not take each day for granted. Ask the questions. Be curious. And, if you want to read a good book, pick up “A Curious Mind.”
Last night I had a much-needed night with a good friend. A night away from the normal day-to-day to reconnect and be reminded of what is really important. An interesting analogy was brought up during our conversation about how a great relationship is like a great financial portfolio. Ponder this with me:
_You get what you put into it. Think of it like a mutual fund or an IRA. If you continue to feed and put money into the account it will continue to grow for you. If you leave it, and never watch or nurture it then it will sit and never do anything. The same is true for relationships – whether a friendship, or a romantic relationship, you get back what you put into it. Think about how you are investing, whether financial or personal.
_Over time your investment grows. I think of the friendships that I have had over time. Some continue to grow and others have a strange nostalgia that make us want to hold on to what we remember. Sort of like keeping money in a savings account. These days it does not really matter how much money you have in a savings account, you are not going to get much return on your investment. The friendships and financial accounts that are worth keeping will grow for us over time. Those that we no longer benefit from should be divested from our lives.
_Never put your eggs in one basket. You always want to make sure you diversify your friendships and your financial portfolio. It does not mean you must have a ton of friends. You can have a few that are deep and important relationships, but make sure you do not limit yourself. Shit happens, and sometimes that means that putting our eggs in one basket can devastate our future, whether pertaining to finances or our relationships. Diversify your friendships, so that you have different support mechanisms when something or someone fails you.
_Be grateful for what you have. Regardless of how many friends you have, or how amazing your romantic relationships are, be grateful for what you have right in front of you. We forget that our lives are often so much better than we can ever imagine, we just forget to look at the shiny spots. I imagine we all can be more thankful for the wealth we have in our life, whether via relationships or finances.
A happy evening, with much food for thought pondering ideas of wealth, gratitude, and all that we have right in front of us. Hopefully this makes you think about how you fuel your finances and relationships.
11 years of marriage. I cannot tell you that marriage is a perfect place. It is full of love, laughter, frustration, emotion, and so much more. I love almost every minute of it, because I am walking forward with Chris. More than being lovers and spouses we are best friends. A best friend that I can truly say anything to at any moment. He might not always like what comes out of my mouth, but at least it is the truth. Here are a few ideas of what I think are steps toward a happy marriage:
Go to bed together every night. If you cannot orchestrate that, then if one is going to bed before the other, come and tuck the other in. I know that might sound old school, or childish, but do it. It will make a difference. It is a way to connect at the end of a long day and allows your spouse to relax. Having said all that, Chris is the night owl and I rarely get to tuck him in. Better yet, what we often do is go to bed together, snuggle, and then the one that is not tired gets to read and/or catch up on episodes of their favorite TV show on the iPad. A win-win situation.
Tell each other what you think as much as possible.
Try not to snap or react. Sometimes we are grumpy, have a poopy day, and we snap. Okay to be fair, Chris is WAY more patient then I am, and I snap way more often than he does. Do not take it personally. You know when your pants feel too tight and you plop down on the floor of the closest ready to explode with tears? Be there for each other at those moments. I know, I know 99% of the time it is the woman sitting on the floor. So to all those husbands out there. Sit down next to your wife and listen to her emotions, her hormones. Just love her immensely on those days.
Eat together at your kitchen table. Do it without your iWHATEVER device, your DVR, or Netflix. Absorb those moments together. We do not do it often enough, but when we do if makes life feel so different. Sad, but true.
Communicate, communicate, communicate. Just because you might have been with and lived with someone for 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 years does not mean that you should ever stop communicating. I should have made this point first because to me it is by far one of the most important aspects of marriage. Talk it out. Share what is on your mind. Listen. Discuss and resolve.
A happy marriage. No prescription. Just start with respect, love, and a listening ear. It is all up to both of you.
I am addicted. Yes, I am absolutely wholeheartedly addicted to my husband. Chris is my person. Today marks 11 years to the day that we decided to begin this crazy adventure together through health challenges, fun trips, job changes, family ups and downs, moves, money woes, dreams come true, and most importantly day-to-day bliss. He is the person I want to call, the one I want to yell at when I am frustrated, the one I want to soothe when his world is turned upside down. While I have only known him for just over 13 years, and it often feels like 25 years, I really cannot imagine a day without hearing his voice.
Call me a sap, call me whooped (he would say the same) but I hate traveling without him, or having days when I cannot feel the comfort of his arms around me whether to celebrate an amazing day or to say we will get through this together. He is my travel companion when I am the crabby one on an airplane (I get so bored and restless), on a road trip, or when I am stuck somewhere and have to pee. He keeps me fed and knows when I am on that tipping point between hungry and ravenous (the difference of great extremes).
Together we decided very early (prior to marriage) that we would only bring good to those around us. That our relationship was not only about each of us as individuals, and what that would mean to be together and be a family, but what our collective and shared world would mean for those that we are around. Meaning that our relationship would uplift and bless those around us, whether through our example of love, our support of others, or in elevating the thought of those around us. Together we take a stand small or large for what we believe in – in hopes that it means that others benefit by the work we do whether professionally, in the community, and in our personal lives.
I never take Chris for granted. Every day I cherish him for what he is, what I learn from him, and how we continue to grow together. I never tire of sharing him with others, lighting up when I talk about him, and spending every day with him. Happy “love you so much every day” – day.
I have written from time to time about farts. It might gross some of you out, but those of you that are transparent and not afraid to say what is really on your mind know that we all fart, and sometimes it happens in public places. On an airplane, in a dressing room, or at the grocery store. These days with gluten and dairy intolerances, it seems to be a more common occurrence, or maybe a more common conversation. Do not worry this blog is not completely about farts, I have another mission for your day.
It is about hugging. Ah you read the title. A colleague recently shared (jokingly of course) that he was not a fan of hugging. His wife confirmed it. He said: “Hugging makes me fart.” I laughed, and then I laughed again. Literally I can see what it means. Sometimes Chris has squeezed me so hard that well a bit of air might have escaped, but again, not the focus of this blog post. I loved what he said, and I love how funny it was to me. It was real and raw, and even if he was kidding, it brought a smile to my face and made my day!
Growing up, my house had few hugs. I do not remember hugging my siblings much, or my parents, or grandparents. It was not really encouraged and not something I witnessed too often. So I am not sure at what point in my life that hugs became prevalent. I am a hugger. I have no problem meeting a new person and by the time I have had a conversation, interacted, feel comfortable and connected giving them a hug at the end of our visit. It often feels odd to get to know someone (a man or a woman) and not give them a hug at the end of the visit. Although there is one thing I have noticed. Men often feel awkward hugging a woman too close. A hug is a hug is a hug. Just bring it in and hug it out. Who cares about what body parts come into contact with each other? To me a hug is a way to connect, a way to say I value you.
Even in an extremely love filled relationship, a hug can sometimes feel more meaningful than a kiss. You can squeeze the crap out of someone and show how much they mean to you that is sometimes hard to show in a kiss (especially in public). In the morning I often find Chris wherever he is in the house and demand my morning hug. I feel somewhat off starting my day or being at work and realizing I did not get my morning hug. (Makes me grumpy). A hug says things that do not need to be said, soothes a bad day, tears, and even a grumpy person.
Just remember though that the next time you hug someone, they might just fart!