Welcome to the second installment in the Sophia series – I introduced it last week, but here’s the overview again in case you missed it:
Think of someone you admire — a talented artist or scientist, entrepreneur or adventurer.
Do you know what their great regret in life is? What advice would they share about parenting, or aging, or finding fulfillment? What book has had the greatest impact on their life?
Chances are you don’t know. Which is why we’ve created Sophia, a project to collect life lessons from fascinating people.
Here’s how it works. We’re conducting hundreds of long-form interviews with accomplished individuals, asking them to share stories and advice about topics that are central to a well-lived life — happiness, relationships, aging, work, parenting, habits and routines, to name a few. We’ll publish these personal conversations on HuffPost, and we’ll also use the lessons our guests share to build a special platform (think of it as ‘Yelp for wisdom’) that organizes their collective insights by topic.
In the coming weeks we’ll feature life lessons from Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners, successful executives, engineers, authors and athletes, dynamic thinkers and doers of all stripes. If you want their practical wisdom delivered straight to you, follow Sophia on Facebook or subscribe to our email newsletter.
The heart of this project is the set of questions we pose to each guest. Some of the questions elicit weighty responses, i.e., Have you had any recent realizations about living a rewarding life?
Other questions are more practical, i.e., What’s the greatest travel journey you’ve taken that you’d recommend to others? What’s the most meaningful gift you’ve received?
Each individual’s answers are personal and unique, but they are all also broadly useful. So follow or subscribe for lessons, ideas and insights you can apply to your own life. Get in touch with us at sophia [at] huffingtonpost.com; we read every note. Also, we’re always on the lookout for new guests. If you have suggestions, including someone wise and insightful in your own life, let us know.
I posted my responses to the first section last week, and now I’m about to tackle the second section…but I’m not sure I have any business whatsoever sharing my ideas on this topic – it’s ‘Love and Relationships’, something I am TERRIBLE at, sadly. I’m not going to be able to answer all of the questions, but I will post them all here for you to think about. Let’s have a go at it, shall we? 🙂
Love and relationships:
- What advice would you give your younger self about finding love and building lasting relationships? I would tell my younger self to stop looking for love, to stop feeling like I always had to be in a relationship, and to learn early in life to be comfortable with myself and who I am. I would tell myself that the bullshit lies and propaganda that my mother tried to drill into my head (you must have a man, without a man you’re worthless, you need a man to take care of you, etc etc etc – no lie, this is what I was raised hearing…is it any wonder I’ve been so messed up??!) was just that – bullshit lies and propaganda. I would tell myself to focus on my career, my education, and being happy with myself rather than fretting about the dude du jour. SUCH an idiot. I would also urge myself to be more patient with relationships, to quit rushing through life like I’m running a sprint (and I don’t run)…and just relax a little bit.
- Did you learn anything from your earliest relationships? I did learn a lot from those relationships….mainly what I didn’t want! There’s something so sweet and innocent about the person that I was back then, and I miss her….sadly, all of the events that have transpired have changed me from that wide-eyed optimist to the more-than-a-little-jaded sea hag that I am now, and all of it has been my own fault. I would love to be able to blame someone else (and there have been contributors), but ultimately it’s my own fault. This is a hard pill to swallow, but..c’est la vie. All I can do is learn from my mistakes and try to avoid making them again in the future (unless they are a really fun mistake…then I might make sure I’m a slow learner 😉 ).
- What’s the best gift you’ve ever received from/given to a partner or close friend? This is a tough one…I’ve received a lot of wonderful gifts over the years!! One that’s really memorable was from my first serious boyfriend – after we broke up. My 18th birthday was a few weeks after we decided (very amicably) to go our separate ways, and he showed up to my house on my birthday morning with two presents: a bottle of lemon gin (a running joke between us after he fed lemon gin to my cat on my 17th birthday), and a bottle of Calvin Klein Eternity perfume. To this day, I love the smell of Eternity, and I think of him every single time I smell that fragrance, and the memories are always good. 🙂 I’ve been given lots and lots of wonderful things by my friends, my family, and my loved ones over the years…so, I’m a lucky girl. 🙂
- Do you have any lessons for best approaching love and relationships when you’re single? Oh, Christ….I have absolutely no business answering this one! I have done pretty much everything wrong, I have made every mistake that I could make (and probably your share of screw ups, too)…but I think I deserve a bit of credit for not giving up. I know that people talk badly about me, they make fun of me for the poor relationship track record that I have (a few have even done it to my face, which I give them credit for)…but whatever. It’s all good. I can take solace in the fact that I’ve made my way through this world with my heart on my sleeve, doing what I thought was best in the moment…and I’ve had one hell of a great time, which has to count for something. 🙂 I wish I could have made better choices, put me and my needs first instead of always bowing to the needs of whoever I was in a relationship with – I should have dated myself, I think. It’d probably have turned out much differently for me. 🙂 I think that’s the best advice to a single girl that I can give – date yourself. Focus on yourself first….everything else will come in time. Put yourself out there, try new things, see new places, and say YES as often as possible. Be open, be available, and be ready – you never know what’s waiting for you. 🙂
- What advice would you have given yourself on the day you were married? I’m not touching the next five questions with a ten foot pole….no way. There’s very little insight I have on this part of the puzzle, sadly – but if I ever figure it all out, I will come back and tell you. I promise. 🙂
How did you/your spouse propose? N/A
When did you decide that you were ready to marry your spouse? N/A
What advice would you give to couples for keeping their relationship healthy after having children? [How did you adjust your marriage after having children?] N/A
(If partner has died) Do you have any advice for dealing with the loss of your partner? N/A
This section was a killer! I am so bad at relationships – not just romantic ones, but platonic ones as well. I don’t think I’m as good a friend as I should be, and I really need to work on that. I need to find a better balance between my work life, my family life with the Wee One, and my friendships. Hopefully someday I will find the magic formula….until then, I’ll just keep trying. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…. 🙂