I finished reading Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes, which was a really good book, easy read, and had some humor. I thought the book was going to talk more about how the little yes’s changed her life instead of a few examples of the amazing events she said yes to. Here are my favorite parts of the book:
Yazzzz 🙌 👏. I cannot agree more. Sounds like my motto.
Do you wanna play? Shonda’s toddler asks her to play. It only takes 15 minutes but her mindset changes. Spend 15 minutes to share your love with your children and yourself, whether it is a bubble bath, manicure, or anything other activity you really like.
She changed the bottom of her email signature to say:
Please Note: I will not engage in work emails after 7 pm or on weekends. IF I AM YOUR BOSS, MAY I SUGGEST: PUT DOWN YOUR PHONE. (p 128)
I think this is great because the strange mindset in the American work force is to keep keep working. You check an email here and there after hours because it’s “easy”, it’s “quick”, and you just “want to stay on top of things.” But in reality, it is perpetuating people working constantly, being always available. Not everyone is a doctor. Not everything needs fixing ASAP. Relax and take after work hours to do other things outside of work. Relax on vacation and turn that work phone and emails off. Truly disconnect.
Losing yourself does not happen all at once. Losing yourself happens one no at a time. No to going out tonight. Not to catching up with that old college roommate. No to attending that party. No to going on vacation. No to making a new friend. Losing yourself happens one pound at a time. (p 141)
To add some context: Shonda was talking about being very into her work and rejecting all personal invitations that came her way (so much that invitations dwindled over the years). She took out her emotions with food and one day realized she didn’t like what she saw and said yes to changing her habits, especially after The Airplane Seat Belt Incident of 2014.
When I read this, I thought of my year after graduating college. I was working full time (8:30 am – 5:30 pm, so the hours were good). Then two nights a week, I would take two classes for the Master of Science, Accounting program at Baruch College, which started at 5:40 pm and ended at 8:45 pm. I would spend the rest of the night studying and other nights studying as well, for the CPA. There was barely any free time left. With whatever time I had left, I spent it with family, close friends, and fitness classes. I said no to so many things. So much that, people just thought I was busy all the time and stopped asking me to hang out. Did I lose out on some opportunities? Maybe.
But I didn’t have FOMO because then my life would have been more miserable that entire year. Did I learn how to better use my time? Yes, I did, and it helped me figure out who are friends are who are just acquaintances. It’s like when you graduate or move to the next grade and your “friends” end up in a different class and never talk… you’ve never really were “friends.”
Being a mother is not a job. It’s who someone is. You can quit a job. I can’t quit being a mother. I’m a mother forever. Mothers are never off the clock, mothers are never on vacation. Being a mother redefines us, reinvents us, destroys and rebuilds us. Being a mother brings us face-to-face with ourselves as children, with our mothers as human beings, with our darkest fears of who we really are. Being a mother requires us to get it together or risk messing up another person forever. Being a mother yanks our hearts out of our bodies and attaches them to our tiny humans and sends them out into the world, forever hostages. (p 107)
I really like how she said this. I’m not even a mom and I know moms have it really tough. They have to do the traditional child-bearing role AND go to work. I don’t know how my mom does it and I definitely don’t think a card does it justice (although she really does nag me if I forget to draw one).
On Ceilings Made of Glass (p 167). Shonda was selected to speak at the Hollywood Reporter Women in Entertainment and she felt a bit weirded out because she was “getting an award today because [she] is a woman and an African-American,” which is exactly who she is no matter what, but it really meant the tough journey of succeeding in America.
I really love what she wrote about women fifty years ago running towards this glass ceiling, never giving up even when the bounced right back. And after many many women did that enough, it caused enough splintered ice. There was
“wind whistling through… all these holes giving me a perfect view to the other side…. So I didn’t have to fight as hard. I had time to study the cracks. I had time to decide where the air felt the rarest, where the wind was the coolest, where the view was the most soaring. I picked my spot in the glass and called it by target.”
That is was a group effort.
Women need to help women. This is why I surrounded myself with a bunch of strong kick-ass women in United Women in Business. I didn’t know anyone in it. I found them via a Google search. I joined it as a member, then I became a Board member shortly after. Best experience ever. When I need support, when I need to feel inspired, I know I can find it here.
Badassery (p 195) 1 (noun) the practice of knowing one’s own accomplishments and gifts, accepting one’s own accomplishments and gifts and celebrating one’s own accomplishments and gifts; 2 (noun) the practice of living life with swagger : SWAGGER (noun or verb) a state of being that involves loving oneself, waking up “like this” and not giving a crap what anyone thinks about you. Term first coined by William Shakespeare.
When I read this term, I thought, UWIB = Badassery Group. Women need to accept compliments and not provide excuses as to why something went well or if something looks good. Say thank you and move on. Cause inside, we know we are awesome. Why apologize or minimize the acknowledge we get? Get it, #GirlBoss.
Marriage. “The traditional reasons for marriage no longer [exist] for an independent woman… marriage is just a piece of paper, a binding contract used to protect property and assets, and a lot of times it is rightly used to protect women’s rights if they have been raising children and find themselves left without an income. Marriage is a financial partnership. Marriage has nothing to do with love. Love is a choice we can make every day. Romantic love as a path to marriage is a fairly new concept.” (p 281)
Context: Shonda talks about this great guy in her life and since this is her year of yes, will she say yes to being married? She tells the guy the above and they part ways after. She is happy afterwards since she had no idea how she could have met his expectations and how she would not prioritize him over her work.
I agree with her thoughts on marriage. I really believe a lot of it has been lost in the years. If you love someone, you do not need a paper to prove it. You don’t need to spend $30,000+ on a wedding to let your family, friends, and family’s friends know it. You don’t need bridezilla or all the stress that comes with planning a wedding.
Lastly… “I am different. I am an original. And like everyone else, I am here to take up space in the universe. I do so with pride.” (p 291)