There is still time to make it a good year

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

With one month left of the year, it’s easy to call it done and get ready to make 2021 a better year. But there’s still an entire month left. A month is plenty of time to turn things around and redeem 2020.

I have some ideas.


Christmas is looming and for many, it’s a hard season to endure. This year will probably be even tougher than normal, given that many of us won’t be spending it with our families. Since the holidays are going to look different this year, I think it’s a better year than ever to give. Give your money, and if you don’t have money, give your time. …

Permission for parents during the pandemic

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Photo of author and her daughter by Amanda Marie Studio

I keep hearing the same thing over and over right now: the poor children.

The poor children who don’t get to see their friends. Who don’t get to go to school. Who can’t play sports or go out to dinner or visit their grandparents.

I hear this often and I say it often because my heart breaks for children right now. This would be a hard time to grow up, particularly for those who don’t understand what’s going on, or for those who missed out on their graduations or proms. This sucks for them.

But right now I want to focus on the parents because this shit is hard. …

Simple ways you can make more time for reading

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Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash

I am one of those people who posts pictures of the books I’m reading on my Instagram stories. I do this not to show off how many books I read, but because I like talking about books almost as much as I like reading them, and this opens up a space for the kind of dialogue I desperately crave. You’d be surprised how much of my meager following likes to engage with these posts.

One message I get over and over is, how do you find time to read so much? They especially want to know now that I have two children. It turns out a lot of people say they want to read more, but they just don’t have the time. …

A must-have process for this new stay-at-home mom

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Photo by Hope House Press — Leather Diary Studio on Unsplash

I recently became a full-time stay-at-home mother of two thanks to a layoff. I don’t get a ton of free time, but when I do, I spend it trying to get some writing done.

At first, it seemed like every time I got to my computer to work, I spent the majority of my small break trying to decide which project to work on. Since I could never decide which was most important, I switched between all of them.

This is not productive. Multitasking like this is counterproductive and promotes stress and fatigue. According to Psychology Today:

“Multitasking creates an illusion of parallel activity, but actually it requires mental switching from one task to another. This drains the glucose fuel needed by the brain, making the brain less efficient and creating the feeling of being tired.” …

The timing was bad, but the opportunity is great

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Photo of author and her daughter by Amanda Marie Studio

Two weeks before my maternity leave ended, five months before my 10-year anniversary, I was laid off from a company that I love.

It happened on Election Day during a pandemic while on my leave. This didn’t feel good; doesn’t feel good. But that is precisely why I know that it is good. Sometimes, when you’re comfortable, what you need is a push to get out of your comfort zone and try something new.

I am taking my layoff as a serendipitous nudge from the universe that it is time I change directions and do what I am meant to do — write. But write for me, channeling my creativity into my own work that has my name attached to it, rather than putting all of my energy into someone else’s business. …

On uniting in uniqueness, not uniformity

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Photo by Billie on Unsplash

We celebrate birthdays, weddings, pregnancies, and retirements. We celebrate promotions and bat mitzvahs and business launches. There is a party or a shower or a happy hour for every occasion, but there is something we don’t celebrate — something that is arguably more important to acknowledge than all of the above: our differences.

When I think about a world without differences, I see dystopia. I picture women in crimson dresses and white-winged hats walking in a militaristic line; a pallid sameness; a monotony. …

The fear is real, the block is not

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Photo by hannah grace on Unsplash

For the more than 10 years that I’ve been writing professionally, I have believed in writer’s block. I’ve believed in it until 30 minutes ago when Seth Godin changed everything I’ve ever thought about it.

In Marie Forleo’s podcast featuring Seth, she prompted him by saying there’s no such thing as being blocked because being creative is a choice — something he says in his new book, The Practice.

Seth responded by saying that writer’s block is real and writer’s block is made up. He said:

What writer’s block actually is, is fear of bad writing. We are afraid to see the bad writing on our way to getting the good writing. If you tell me you have writer’s block, I will say, “Show me your bad writing.” …

Because we don’t always leave Instagram feeling good

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Photo by Stephanie Greene on Unsplash

Social media is delicious. It is mind-numbing enjoyment that’s almost as great as eating pizza. It’s beautiful, inspirational, funny — it’s everything you want it to be.

And that’s exactly what scares me.

The new Netflix documentary-drama The Social Dilemma reveals just how acutely social media platforms are designed to suck us in and keep us there, taking hours, days, weeks of our time away from us. And for what? …

Here’s what I learned

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Photo by My Life Journal on Unsplash

I have just completed a year of habit tracking. For 365 days, I’ve tracked, analyzed, and reflected upon all the things I do day after day. It only took one month of tracking for me to realize the discrepancy between what I thought I spent my time doing and what I really do. A year later, I’m happy to report that the results in my habit journal are significantly more satisfying than they were when I started out. …

We Are Here

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Photo by Sander Weeteling on Unsplash

Leaves crunching underfoot, the sun warming my chilled face, my daughter’s laughter ricocheting around the yard — it’s a memory I never want to forget. And yet, had my daughter not urged me to notice the moment — to really feel what I was experiencing — it’s likely the memory would fade away, quick as the setting autumn sun.

We are here, she said, reminding me of the fleeting nature of things like fall, a perfect afternoon, childhood.

We are here, she said, a gentle nudge to come back into the moment, to notice what I may not have otherwise.

We are here, my nearly three-year-old daughter said, reminding me that the wisdom of children is overlooked and undervalued. …


Kolina Cicero

author | reader | mother |

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