I’m an article junkie. I try to read most of them in Pocket so I can track the reading volume (I’m a tracker at heart), but a lot slips through the cracks. I’ve come across a couple interesting reads lately that have made me consider doing some new things with my life:
This article solidified things that were obvious, but that I hadn’t consciously acknowledged: as we grow older, friendships tend to fall to the bottom of the responsibility totem pole. We prioritize spending time and effort on partners, children, parents, work, etc. over our friends.
Friendships are unique relationships because unlike family relationships, we choose to enter into them. And unlike other voluntary bonds, like marriages and romantic relationships, they lack a formal structure. You wouldn’t go months without speaking to or seeing your significant other (hopefully), but you might go that long without contacting a friend.
The article talks about how young adulthood is the golden age for friendships since you usually are in an environment that is conducive to intense bonding (college) and you have yet to be yoked to huge, time-sucking responsibilities (jobs, marriage, children). As we grow up, friends move away from each other to start new lives elsewhere. Jobs and romantic relationships take precedence.
In addition, the article talks about how adult friendships tend to operate on an unstated level of politeness:
One of the findings from Langan’s “friendship rules” study was that “adults feel the need to be more polite in their friendships,” she says. “We don’t feel like, in adulthood, we can demand very much of our friends. It’s unfair, they’ve got other stuff going on. So we stop expecting as much, which to me is kind of a sad thing, that we walk away from that.”
That’s another factor as well. I’m 100% guilty of kind of not hanging out with my friends enough. You get into this rhythm of going to work, coming home, making dinner, going to the gym, watching TV — and it seems like such a hassle to plan a night out even though when you actually do it, it’s so fun.
I make the time to see my parents once a week. I find the time. I need to find the time to continue to nurture my closest friendships as well, because those relationships are fundamental to my happiness and well being.
This title made me LOL pretty hard and the author acknowledges that she did the attention grabbing header on purpose. Anyway, her methodology isn’t anything I haven’t heard before, but it was nice to get a little refresher.
- Start small: Repeat a tiny habit daily
- As she mentions in the article, the focus is on quantity, not quality. Flossing one tooth probably isn’t going to help your dental hygiene very much, but getting yourself into the habit of flossing at least one tooth will likely lead to you flossing all of your teeth more often than not.
- By committing to an action for a very small length of time each day, you’re trying to automate the habit. In the author’s case, she studied French on Duolingo for five minutes a day and committed to reading one page from a book each night. Oftentimes, she studied longer and read longer, but she hit at least the baseline, so it always felt like a win.
2. Focus on one habit at a time
- Once I start reading books and articles about habit formation, I want to FORM ALL OF THE HABITS AND GAIN ALL OF THE SKILLS. I want to learn Spanish, calligraphy, how to keep house plants alive, improve my cooking skills, improve my heart skills, learn how to do some basic home DIY, exercise more frequently and eat more healthily. Trying to do all of that will lead to unquestionable failure. So.
3. Remove barriers: Have everything you need at hand
- Creating the tipping point: “ It’s that small change that tips you over from making excuses to taking action.”
- So that’s the usual stuff people talk about: laying out or packing up your gym clothes ahead of time, filling the fridge with easily accessible healthy snacks, having time blocked out on your calendar, etc.
4. Stack habits: Build new routines onto existing ones
- This is about creating trigger points for a new habit by coupling it onto an older, existing habit. Anything that you do around the same time every day without thinking about it is a stackable habit, such as brushing your teeth.
So the habit I need to get into right now is consistent exercise. I need to go at lunch even if I don’t want to. Even if it’s only for 10 minutes, that’s what needs to happen!
So this entire article is basically a condensed excerpt from a book that is on my immediate to-read list: All the Single Ladies by Rebecca Traister. I can’t even begin to articulate my feelings about this article, but I’ll just put up some of the interesting tidbits:
In 2009, the proportion of American women who were married dropped below 50 percent. In other words, for the first time in American history, single women (including those who were never married, widowed, divorced, or separated) outnumbered married women. Perhaps even more strikingly, the number of adults younger than 34 who had never married was up to 46 percent, rising 12 percentage points in less than a decade. For women under 30, the likelihood of being married has become astonishingly small: Today, only around 20 percent of Americans ages 18–29 are wed, compared to nearly 60 percent in 1960.
Men, especially married wealthy white men, have for generations relied on government assistance. It’s the government that has historically supported white men’s home and business ownership through grants, loans, incentives, and tax breaks. It has allowed them to accrue wealth and offered them shortcuts and bonuses for passing it down to their children. Government established white men’s right to vote, and thus exert control over the government, at the nation’s founding and has protected their enfranchisement since. It has also bolstered the economic and professional prospects of men by depressing the economic prospects of women. In other words, by failing to offer women equivalent economic and civic protections, thus helping to create conditions whereby they were forced to be dependent on those men, the government established a gendered class of laborers who took low-paying or unpaid jobs doing the domestic and child-care work that further enabled men to dominate public spheres. Our civic institutions both reinforce and determine these historic assumptions: Consider that school days end in the mid-afternoon and let out for protracted summer vacations. Who is meant to care for those children if we do not subsidize child care? Women. Women who our institutions presume do not have jobs that extend till five, till six, or into overnight double shifts. Women the nation still assumes to be married, even though they are not and even though marriage itself continues — contra the conservative dogma that it is a cure for poverty — to hobble women’s chances at equality in lingering ways.
Boom. Buying this on March 1st.