This week, we are talking about our spring bucket list, and Emma is sharing all the exciting details about her second novel!
Plus, we are doing our book report about Think Again by Adam Grant.
You can find the podcast posts archive here.
And, if you’re looking for a specific code you heard on the podcast, you can see a full list on this page!
Download our Spring Bucket List
Elsie’s Spring Bucket List:
-Finish at least one more big load in my kiln before we move.
-Finish my Halloween dishes so we can use them this fall.
-Eat outside more.
-Visit my favorite places in Nashville before I move.
Emma’s Spring Bucket List:
-Visit some friends in Detroit.
-Update the exterior of her house.
-Take a Mother’s Day trip to St. Louis.
-Keep making jewelry for fun.
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Episode 175 Transcript:
Elsie: You’re listening to The Beautiful Mess Podcast. This week we’re talking about our spring bucket list. Emma is sharing about finishing her second novel, and we’re doing our book report about Think Again by Adam Grant. All right, Emma, first things first I am so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so excited to talk about the project you just finished.
Emma: Yeah, so I’ve mentioned a number of times on this podcast, but I’ve been writing a novel, this is the second novel I’ve written. I call it my murder book, it’s titled on my Computer, a Handmade Murder. I don’t know if that will always be the title, I don’t know, but that’s what it’s titled right now. I finished my first draft, so I finished writing it a while ago. So what I mean by this is I spent a weekend, Trey and I went on a trip with some friends and they all ski and snowboard, and I don’t ski or snowboard. I’ve tried it, didn’t love it. So they went out and did that during the day and then for like four or five hours and while they did that, I worked on editing my first draft of the novel.
Elsie: Respect for that, respect for making it your kind of trip too.
Emma: I loved it. I just sat by the fire and sipped tea and worked on this, which was fun. And I was all by myself, their dog was with me and she’s a really sweet dog so that was fun. But I like to sometimes do the dialogue out loud. It’s not like I’m acting it out, but I just like to hear it. I know that’s probably weird, but I do, so I really like working alone whenever I’m working on this. So anyway, I was just doing the dialogue out loud at the cabin by the fire it was great for me.
Elsie: It sounds crazy.
Emma: It was very cozy.
Elsie: And it was your second cabin for this novel, right? So that’s good. Yeah, that’s good.
Emma: And it was snowing and it was just really, really pretty. Yeah, it was very fun and I loved it, very cozy. Felt like a great way to end this first draft, but all I really did was read through each chapter again and make sure it has kind of a compelling beginning to try to suck readers in. And then the ending, it’s not that I try to make each chapter ending a cliffhanger. I wouldn’t say that some of them are but I’m just trying to make it like, oh, you wanna read more?
Elsie: Page turner?
Emma: Yeah, page-turner because I love to read books where I’m like, oh I’m so tired but I just finished a chapter and now I really wanna read the next chapter cuz it’s, you know, hinting is something. So I like the idea that my book would hopefully do that for someone else because it’s such a fun feeling. So that, and then I also had never even spell-checked it because I was just working on it, so I did that of course. And then I also tried to make sure that everything is somewhat coherent. Like if the seasons are wrong, like if in a couple of chapters it’s like October, clearly, and then like one chapter later, it’s Christmas, it’s like, wait for a second, is that the right timeline? Is that what I’m wanting? Did I just forget what it was? So that, and then making sure, like minor, minor characters, making sure their names match, like if I called them one name and then five chapters later, they show up again because they’re not a big part of the book and I call them a slightly different name and I’m like, oh, I forgot that that wasn’t quite right. So anyway, I did all these little boring housekeeping-type things for the most part. And then I also went ahead and wrote my email as well. I was talking with an agent from my last novel that I wrote called Cloud Nine, and she read the whole novel and gave me a lot of really useful feedback and we didn’t end up moving forward. I talked about that on a different episode. But I wanted to reconnect with her because I just really got a great vibe from her. And I just also really appreciated her time to read through my entire book and provide me with feedback. Like, wow. I wrote up an email to her about a synopsis and some comparative titles and a little bit about like here’s where we’re at with our blog stats and our podcast stats and blah, blah, blah all that stuff for the market. I sent her this draft, this finished the quote-unquote first draft of my novel and that was really fun. And I hit send as the snow was falling down and I thought, oh my gosh, here we go.
Elsie: Aww beautiful. Well, I am so proud of you and on behalf of all of our podcast audience, we’re so proud.
Emma: Thanks. Yeah, I feel a little anxious to be in this next part because there’s so much about this next part, trying to get a book published that you just really can’t control. Actually writing a book, you can decide if you’re gonna sit down and write and make the time for it. And obviously, there are factors you can’t control about your schedule and things of course. But there’s so much about just finishing a project when it’s wholly yours that is easier in some ways. And then this next part it feels like I’m handing it off to the world and I’m saying, well universe, are you gonna work with me on this or not? It’s a bit more nerve-wracking. I’m sure I will learn a lot and I feel grateful too. I mentioned this at the beginning of the year, I’ve been working on my mental health. I had a tough year last year, and so I’ve been making some changes in my life I feel like I’m in a place right now where I could take some rejection. I’m not hoping for rejection, but I feel grateful to be in a place where I could take some. So, yeah I’m just grateful.
Elsie: That’s so wonderful, Emma. I’m so proud of you and I can’t wait to read it. I was thinking I wanna get it bound. You know how they can like put the little binding on at Staples or whatever, that’s what I need to do so that my kids don’t spread it all over the house again.
Emma: Yeah, I think last time I printed you my novel, I didn’t put page numbers on it, rookie mistakes. So this time I’ll definitely have page numbers.
Elsie: Emma sent me her last novel right before the pandemic started, and then my kids mixed up all the pages but it’s still my fault that I didn’t print it out. I need to print it out again.
Emma: Oh, it’s fine. Don’t worry about it I’m changing that one anyway. It’s gonna be a choose-your-own mystery book.
Elsie: Oh, I love that. Yeah. Anyway, I am so, so, so, so, so excited, and yeah, congratulations. Cheers, because that is a huge step forward.
Emma: It was on my list of goals this quarter, these 12 weeks. We talked about the 12-week year, check.
Elsie: Yeah, I wanna hear everyone who reads the 12-week year. I know it’s old-timey, but I wanna hear the rest of your feedback. We already know it’s old-timey. Anyways, we’re gonna talk about the spring bucket list today. So this is one of our favorite episodes, we just love it, it’s one of the staples. We’re gonna do it every season until forever until we stop doing our podcast. So we’re back, we’re doing it. A little bit about why we love bucket lists in case you’re new or you’re like, what are you talking about? So I started right whenever I first became a mom and the thing I like about the seasonal bucket list is it’s just a list. It’s like one page long of things you wanna do this season, and activities, I usually put mine heavily towards fun things to do on the weekends. Crafts, I put in a movie or two, I put in a place like a restaurant or two things like that. And I don’t really put anything on there that is ambitious necessarily, it’s more like just fun things to do. And I like it because it keeps me doing a variety of things with my kids, which is challenging to do when you’re a busy parent and it’s easy to settle into routines where you do the same thing every night. You do the same thing every weekend, and it just brings more variety and more special memories to our life, which is one of my big goals because our kids are starting to be at the age now where they can make memories. They’ve been in the self-erased brain phase for many years now, and they’re finally getting to the age where they can remember things from last year for the first time, which is very exciting. So, I want to build these things where each spring, each summer, each Halloween, and Christmas, they will remember something we did last year and wanna do it again is the goal. It just, just makes life richer. Okay, so we will put in the show notes a spring bucket list that you can download. We have lots of ones we’ve made from the past year, so we’ll just throw one of those in there. So if you would like to print one out, that’s cute, you can. You can also just make it on a note on your phone or you can just write it on a piece of paper. It’s just like whatever you wanna do is good. Let’s go through our goals for this next season.
Emma: So I’m thinking of spring, I think everyone can define it however they want, but I’m thinking like March, April, May, so those three months. And that’s where these three things are kind of falling for me. My first one is, I’m gonna go visit some friends next month in Detroit. So they live in Detroit, our friends Nathan and Ginny, I’ve been meaning to visit them. They are people who, they live in different areas every few years, or maybe longer in some ways. And I’ve been friends with them since I was in high school, so I visited them in lots of different places, which is really fun.
Elsie: Oh, that’s so cool.
Emma: Yeah, and one thing I’m really looking forward to, Ginny was telling me that they have a really interesting bookstore. I think she took her parents and it sounded like I’m probably gonna get it wrong because I haven’t been there yet. But it’s kind of in a weird warehouse and it has kind of spooky vibes slash mysterious, library vibes.
Yeah, it sounded really cool. So I’m very excited to go to this kind of weird bookstore. I’m definitely gonna leave room in my suitcase so that I can fill it up with books. And she mentioned that it’s like an hour away, so it’s not really in Detroit proper but it’s some kind of German town, I forget the name of it. I’ll know more after the trip. I’ll put better things in the show notes later. But apparently, they have like one of the biggest Christmas stores in the whole world. I know it’s April, but I am interested in going to a Christmas store, yes. So I think we’re gonna do that one day too. So, weird bookstore, giant Christmas store, this is really gonna be a trip for me.
Elsie: Buy me some presents at the Christmas store. Oh my gosh, that sounds so fun. That sounds like the perfect trip.
Emma: Yeah, I think it’s gonna be a blast.
Elsie: Okay, my first big goal is that I wanna finish at least one more big load in my kiln before we move. So we are planning to move in June, and as I’ve shared previously, our house has been listed for sale we have been keeping it clean and perfect all the time because we have frequent house showings almost every day, sometimes more than one in a day. I’ve learned a lot of life lessons from it. The biggest one is I’ve never experienced this before, where I lived in a house that was for sale for several months and it had to be staged the way it looked in photos. So there’s no changing decor, it’s just we’re keeping it the same. Also, I can’t get out of projects that I can’t move. For example, yesterday I was making salad dressings for the blog and someone asked for a showing one hour later. So I cleaned the entire kitchen. We put our kids in the car and our dog and we went to the park and got ice cream and that was that, it’s been very challenging. So anyway, I’m not complaining, but I guess I feel it’s part of the life I’m in right now and I have to share that so that people can understand why I feel like I’m not having as many projects as I usually have because I can’t. So I miss my messy life and the thing I’ve learned from it is the feeling of waking up every day in a perfect house, like waking up in like a perfectly clean kitchen, with no mess anywhere, it is like a great feeling and I love it. I wouldn’t do it every day, I feel like cleaning my house where it’s perfect. Once a week or once a month is good enough for me and after this phase is over and our house is under contract, I will go back to the normal life of having messes. So anyway, we recently had Keeley and Michael come over and we made pots and then I just wanna get out my clay though and make like a whole bunch more but it makes this huge mess, painting them also makes a big mess. Yeah, I just need to find a couple more days to do that and then do a couple more loads in the kiln because the thing I really wanna finish two things I wanna finish my food, blogging, and little props that I’ve been making. I’ve been making these like small little white dishes that you know you can put some herbs in, or you can put like a little bit of honey or like things like that. And then I also wanna finish my Halloween dishes, I started kind of like the concept for it. Actually, I’ll put a picture in the show notes cuz I’m really happy with how it’s going so far. But I only have like a few and I wanna make at least a stack of them that we can use next Halloween. And I’ll pack them up and I’ll be so happy that they’re there. Then the third thing is I want to make at least a couple of vases because I haven’t tried making any vases yet. I feel like that is such an easy thing that I could use all the time that would just feel joyful. So yeah, that’s my goal for spraying a personal, like my personal creative goal.
Emma: I love it. My second one is, we are going to do the exterior of our house.
Elsie: So what all do you have planned?
Emma: Yeah, so for anyone who doesn’t know I moved this past October, like literally like the day before Halloween. And we renovated this house pretty extensively from when we bought it. Like we redid all the floors and completely gutted and kind of redid the kitchen, all sorts of things. But we did not do pretty much anything to the exterior just because it wasn’t in our budget at the time. And we had like two ideas for the exterior and one was more budget-friendly and it was kind of our backup in case we needed it, and the other one was more expensive. And guess what? We’re going with the backup because surprise, surprise the inside took more money than we thought, which is fine, no big deal. We love it and we’re really happy here. So the plan for the exterior is, so the house has this like white siding and it’s not very old and it’s in really good condition, but it’s just really plain very plain white siding. And then sort of the front, like where the front door has brick and it’s like red brick and it also has a black trim around the windows, and a few other little spots. And the roof is like dark, I don’t know if it’s black, but it’s darker shingles. So the house is really cute and it’s in great condition, the roof is in good condition. The siding’s in good condition, nothing is in disrepair. It just doesn’t really feel like it has a style. It’s kind of the same problem the interior had when we bought it. It just doesn’t really have a style at all. It feels like people who owned it previously, and I don’t know them at all, but just it wasn’t a big priority to them, that’s what it feels like to me. If you were like, what era is this house? You’d be like, I don’t know. It’s a split level from the seventies or eighties. I don’t know.
Elsie: To me it looks like a seventies ranch that has never really been updated or hasn’t recently been updated.
Emma: Yeah, it’s not a ranch, it is a split level, and it has two stories. But anyway, it feels like it has four stories, it does not though it’s split-level. Anyway, regarding our budget idea, I guess I should just say what the more expensive idea was in case people are curious. We wanna do an all-black house, we love that kinda look. We did that with a previous house a few months before we ended up moving and it looked really cool and I just like that vibe. I think that it looks really pretty for Halloween. I think it looks really pretty for the holidays and I like it. And our neighborhood is really eclectic, there are lots of different style houses all throughout, so there’s no real, oh, you have to stick with this pallet. There’s nothing really like that around. But in order to do that, we would likely have to replace the siding because you can’t really paint siding and expect it to last, not this type of siding, it’s like vinyl. So, we’d have to replace the siding, which would be fairly pricey. And if the siding was in disrepair or really, really old and just needed to be replaced, then that’s what we would do and we would do it all black. But since it doesn’t really need to be replaced and there is a lot of it, we’re just gonna leave it white. So our budget idea was we were gonna do kind of a lime wash look to the brick and then add some more black accents and kind of change like a light sconce on by the front door and the numbers for the house are pretty old looking and we’re gonna update those. Kind of give it some modern feelings with a little bit of black but then kind of do like a rustic lime wash to the brick. It’s gonna hopefully in some ways feel a little farmhouse modern, which is not my number one style, but I think it could work really well with what we’re working with.
Elsie: Then you’ll get it all ready for having your Halloween porch in the fall.
Emma: Yeah, and I just wanted to feel like we care. I just wanted to feel like it has a look and someone cares about it and they’ve put together an outfit for this house. That’s all I really want for it because it’s a really cute house and we’re really happy with it From the outside, it just doesn’t look like it has anything going on right now. So I’m excited to get that done in the next few months.
Elsie: I think that’s a great idea. Yeah. Yeah. I did a lime wash, I don’t think it’s called lime wash, but I did the kind of natural paint on our current house where we live now. Sherry always says it’s like painting brick with more brick.
Emma: Yeah. No, this is more, it won’t look, yours looks painted like it’s more of a solid color. Yeah. It’ll look like, almost like cloudy over the brick.
Elsie: Like you can still see part of the brick and part of it’s white.
Emma: Yeah, it’ll look almost like cloudy is the way I would best describe it, almost like it’s foggy over the brick. I don’t know, you can google lime wash brick and you’ll probably get the vibe.
Elsie: Awesome. Well yeah, that sounds great. And it sounds like you figured out something that fits the budget that you can do now, and I sometimes think those are the best projects.
Emma: Yeah, because I’m like, we could do exactly what we wanted with the all-black, but it would probably be at least a few years, and realistically it’d probably be three to five years. So I’m like, why don’t we just do this for now? It’s really not that much money, and then I’ll at least have something and if we wanna change it in five years, we still could. It’s not like we’re really adding all that much. The main thing we’re doing is lime-washing the brick. So I don’t know, there’s really nothing to lose. So this will at least be a nice thing for now. And I think I may even end up liking it more than I think, I am anticipating liking it, but it might even be cooler than I think, we’ll see.
Elsie: Yeah, I can’t wait to see it. I’m very curious because some of it I can imagine and some of it I can’t quite imagine, so I’ll just have to see it when it happens. Okay, so my next one is actually for my children. So this weekend we printed out the spring bucket list also for childhood magic and we printed that out and I let the kids pick their own items to put on there. It was very cute. But I noticed the thing that they just kept putting in different ways over and over and over and over is that they want to eat outside. That’s like a very main thing that they want is like they wanna eat popsicles outside, they wanna eat dinner outside, they wanna eat breakfast outside, it’s like everything is eating outside. That is doable, it’s simple. It’s a thing that I feel like for me at least, it’s a thing where if I don’t think ahead and intentionally do it, I would just stay in our same routine of the way we do things now and I would forget. So it’s the kind of thing that goes great on a bucket list because we wouldn’t remember to do it if it wasn’t on there, but it is actually very easy.
Emma: I love it. Yeah.
Elsie: So cute. What is your next one?
Emma: Okay, my third one is something we’re doing together, so it is our Mother’s Day trip to St. Louis. So if you’ve been listening for a long time, you might know that last year we also did a Mother’s Day trip to St. Louis to kind of the St. Charles area. And this year we’re gonna be in a different area, but our brother and sister-in-law live up in St. Louis, and our, my side of the family doesn’t travel all that much, and so it just feels like a natural thing to fit in. Our mother’s birthday is also in May. And it just feels like a good fit. So we’re gonna do that again, and this time we’re gonna take all the kids to the science center, which I’m really excited about. I’ve actually never been, and I think it’ll be really cute and fun.
Elsie: Yeah, I’m so excited. I think Nova’s gonna freak out because she is very interested in science right now, so that will be so fun.
Emma: Yeah, it’s gonna be a good time.
Elsie: My third one is we’re on our countdown now, we are moving in three months and it does feel like it’s going fast. So we have a list of places we want to enjoy in Nashville and for us, it’s not necessary. There’s like lots of new restaurants and lots of like, I don’t even care though like I just wanna go to like our special places where we have memories. We have like a couple of breakfast restaurants that we used to go to all the time when Nova was little, and we have this steakhouse, I always talk about the Grandpa Steakhouse, that’s a thing that we have to do. There’s this sort of, rustic restaurant in Leaper’s Fork where we like to go. Just little special things that you know, and my garden center. I feel like I moved to live close to this garden center, it’s like the greatest of all time. So I don’t feel like I can buy a lot of plants right now because of moving, maybe I could buy a couple. They have a very robust gift shop in there so I can at least go in and enjoy it. Just as a thing to do because it is so joyful. And then there’s also just like little things that we’re gonna miss. The first thing Emma said was are we gonna hate living away from Trader Joe’s, the answer is yes. And things like Jenny’s ice cream shop, things like that. I don’t know, I just wanna enjoy it while it lasts.
Emma: Well, you know, the Mother’s Day trip in May to St. Louis I’ll bring my cooler and just throw a bunch of Trader Joe’s in there throws in there on the way home, no problem.
Elsie: Oh my gosh, Emma has this cooler method, so if you live in a smaller, medium-sized town that does not have modern conveniences, like Trader Joe’s Chapels.
Emma: Oh my God. That sounds like I live in the frontier, I do not.
Elsie: Then tell us, if anyone has tips, If there’s like a genius tip, maybe there’s something that we don’t know. I feel like Trader Joe’s is one of the things I’m gonna miss so much. I might have to do the cooler method, it’s so sad.
Emma: Yeah, just fill up the cooler. You got the extra freezer, no problem. And then you got all the frozen foods that you need and your frozen croissants and you’re good.
Elsie: Oh, okay so was that our whole bucket list? Is there anything else you have from that?
Emma: Not really. I mean, those were my big three. Another thing I’m kind of doing, but it’s really haphazard, is I’ve been making jewelry specifically, I’ve been making like necklaces and I’m gonna make you one Elise but I was kind of waiting until you move, so I don’t have to mail it. But I just make ’em from my friends, like all my friends in my book club. And I’ve made myself a ton, obviously. It’s kinda like, a Little hobby that I can do in the evening and it only takes anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes depending on what I wanna do, like what part I’m doing. And I also like to go thrifting and find necklaces and take them apart and use those beads, it’s just like a little hobby. I feel like it’s your pottery thing, but way easier because all I bought for it was a caboodle and then beads. I don’t have like a kiln, but it’s just something fun.
Elsie: I need a hobby that is way easier too. I do feel like a miniature hobby would be a good thing to have right now. I have my books but I would like something that is a small drawing, painting, sculpture, or craft. That just sounds good. I don’t know if it’s the time of year, like, does anyone else have a spring crafting itch because I just really feel it right now or maybe it’s just cuz I can’t, so I want it more?
Emma: That’s the perfect way to describe it. Just kind of like a miniature hobby because it feels like I can open up my little bead caboodle and do stuff and then I just put them back, and close it up. I can set that anywhere where Oscar can’t reach it and then it’s all cleaned up and I don’t have to worry about him trying to get into my beads or leaving a mess out or whatever. I like a little mini hobby where I can just work on it a little bit in the evening. Just something creative to do that feels just for me and just fun.
Elsie: Well I’ll give that some thought because that’s very inspiring. Okay, so our next section is talking about the book Think Again by Adam Grant. As we’ve shared previously, I love Adam Grant. I will put him on my must-follow list for Instagram. If you just enjoy, like, feeling inspired also a lot of his content is about critical thinking and being open-minded. I just like love his whole Instagram is one thing, it is a repost of tweets, which I normally would hate that I normally seriously would hate that. I just leave that to other people to follow those and post them. Adam Grant is special. I think it’s one of those special things, kind of like Sharon says, so Instagram where you can just have sort of like a gateway to being a better person in a small, like micro doable way, and I appreciate that. So anyway, I’ve wanted to have this book on our book report since the first month, but for whatever reason, we’re just doing it now. So I really enjoyed it. Did you enjoy it?
Emma: Yes, very much and I made some notes in my notes app. I listened to this one, which Adam Grant reads and he has a really wonderful voice. So if you are interested in audiobooks, it’s a great audiobook. Anytime that I was really into a section and I knew I wanted to talk about it on this podcast. I would just put it in my notes app. so I’m pulling that up. So one, this was kind of earlier in the book and I’m gonna get some of the numbers wrong. So just whatever is in the book is what is correct, not what I’m about to say but you’ll see where I’m going with this. So he talks about how knowledge is always growing, and he said something around, since 2010, medical knowledge has doubled every seven years or something rapid like that. Again, I don’t know if I got the seven years right. I don’t know if it was 2010, but something rapid like that, like medical knowledge, has been doubling in my lifetime, definitely. So the idea there is we need to be able to change our beliefs on things just as fast as our knowledge is changing otherwise we’re gonna cling to outdated and wrong info. And a part of the beginning of the book is he’s kind of laying out why we should think again, why we should be open to changing our minds and reevaluating beliefs that we hold. And this was one of the things that he goes over is, well, why wouldn’t you if like our knowledge base is changing? And I just really appreciated thinking about that more and I even think sometimes about how there are textbooks that we read when we were in high school or college they’re probably wrong now, they’re just inaccurate and that’s okay. And so it’s like yeah, I need to change my ideas around certain things because what I might have been taught is no longer the most current correct information that we have. So it’s okay to update your ideas when you get new information, and we should always be open to hearing those, that new information and new ideas because something that we might believe, it’s not that we’re like an idiot for believing it, but it just happens to be outdated now there’s something new that’s been discovered or whatever, and I like that, it makes me feel very hopeful. That our world is getting smarter and better and that medical knowledge is changing and growing and doubling, that’s like awesome. But yeah, it means that we might need to change our beliefs around things and that is hard sometimes and he talks about that a lot. But anyway, I was into that.
Elsie: Yeah, something that I love about Adam Grant that he kind of repeats often is that it’s important to not associate your beliefs with your identity, not make your beliefs a part of your identity, because if you do that, then you are unable to change them without dismantling your entire identity. That was such a great mind shift for me because I think I always felt like I was supposed to have beliefs that were a part of my identity. I always kind of thought that that was a good thing before learning to think about it differently. So I think that’s very encouraging and the idea of staying open to change your mind at any point for your entire life, I think is a very inspiring thought.
Emma: Same, and I think it feels a lot, I was gonna say safer but I think it’s even deeper than that. I’m not sure what to call it, but to know that the ideas that I hold, the beliefs that I hold are not me and that’s okay and that’s good. So I can change them and update them, and I could even change them and then go back if I have new information. That’s okay too and I like that it just feels like you’re a lot more flexible. You’re open to whatever’s happening in the world. You’re not this rigid, could break at any moment thing, you can change the world and that’s really good. I like that idea because I wanna be a part of the world and I wanna be a part when there’s new knowledge and new information out there and our ideas don’t have to be us, in fact, they’re not. Okay, and then another thing he was actually talking about, I think he was from a lesson, he’s also a professor, but he was talking about how he’s telling the students about this old SNL skit or sketch and the premise of it is there’s a tour guide who’s kind of doing like an infomercial about traveling to Italy or something. It’s supposed to be humorous, but the tour guide is like, look we can take you on a hike, but we cannot turn you into someone who loves hiking. So have realistic expectations about your vacation. If you’re a sad sack at home, you’re gonna be a sad sack here in Italy, it’s that kind of thing and I just really loved that because I love the idea that the power is yours to like love hiking or change your attitude about something or decide that something that used to bother you doesn’t bother you anymore like the power is yours. I love that idea and it’s also just a funny way to put it, that we can take you on a hike, but we can’t make you like hiking. Sometimes I do think, I think everyone does this, but I certainly do it. Where I romanticize something, I’m like, well, if I was just in a different house, then I would be happy. Or if I was just, you know, different thing, then I’ll have it all put together. I’ll be a person who drinks enough water, I don’t know, whatever it is. And it’s like, no, actually it doesn’t have anything to do with where you are it’s you. Are you a person who X, Y, Z has a good attitude, drinks water, and takes care of himself, whatever it is that you’re wanting to do or not going to Italy isn’t gonna change you you’re just gonna be the same person in Italy.
Elsie: It’s all true. Yeah, no I thought that was funny as well. Did you have any favorite stories from the book?
Emma: I don’t know. Those were really the two things that stood out to me a lot because I put ’em in my notes app. Did you have a favorite story?
Elsie: I did, I guess I’m gonna kind of spoil it, but I think you would still enjoy reading it again if you haven’t read the book because you have to hear it in Adam Grant’s voice. He was telling a story about a situation where a mother who had just had a premature baby was being recommended to do some routine vaccines and she was denying them because she had anti-vaccine beliefs from her subculture, like her friends and family groups that she was a part of. And you know that several doctors tried to persuade her with facts and information and it did absolutely nothing and she was like absolutely not. But then they had a special person who they nicknamed a vaccine whisperer who came and had conversations in certain situations and they explained the whole entire interaction. And the biggest thing that was different and that I learned from is that he was mainly just asking questions and listening. More questions, more listening, more questions, more listening, more questions, more listening, and then only telling her the same facts and advice that she had already been told after she asked for it and wanted to hear it. And that I think is a huge life lesson for me I think I have been at some points prone to wanting to win an argument or wanting to convince someone of something they don’t wanna hear or things like that. And I think after the last few years of the Internet, we’ve all seen this type of thing done better and worse and this is a story, I thought was very inspiring because it shows that there are paths to help people change their minds about information, but it’s not with yelling, it’s not with like mic dropping and things like that. So I was very inspired by it.
Emma: Yeah, and I love the approach of just being curious about someone, like sincerely curious, not just trying to get to your point or trying to get them to see things your way, but really trying to understand where they’re coming from and what things are or what it is that they’re seeing and why they believe what they believe and understand that on a real level, a deep level. I think he had another story about a man who’s black, who’s African American, and he talks to KKK members and similar thing, he’s learning about them and befriending them in a real way, and a lot of times it seems to like they changed their beliefs about, racism.
Elsie: Yeah, that one was kind of different, but yeah that was like humanized something that previously wasn’t humanized. There are so many good stories in the book though. It’s definitely a very inspiring book.
Emma: Yeah. What was your favorite section or theme?
Elsie: Well, I love the chapter called The Joy of Being Wrong, I liked the statistician or the pollster story. There was a story about someone who had predicted the results of an election and at the last minute they basically changed their prediction because they couldn’t stomach the reality of the candidate they didn’t want to win, winning but they still won anyway. It was just an interesting human story. But anyway, I like the idea of starting to be like, enjoy learning things that I’m wrong about, be curious and sort of excited to find gaps in my knowledge, things I need to learn more about, things I need to improve, all of that. I like it, it feels like a better life attitude and what I wanna teach my kids.
Emma: Yeah, and I also like a number of the stories, like including that one about the pollster and they had their own political ideas and it was in conflict with the facts that they were seeing of what the stats were saying. I like the idea that with curiosity and learning about subjects, you can be agnostic. You can choose to not have an opinion while you’re learning about something and researching something, it doesn’t mean that you don’t wanna form an opinion later. You can do that later, but it might be really helpful not to enter the researching or interviewing or learning about time with like, oh, I’m a Democrat, or I’m, you know, whatever. I believe in God, whatever your thing, it’s like, well, maybe you wanna enter it with an open mind, I have no opinion on this. I’d just like to get all of the information and see what there is, which is a good way too. Curiosity doesn’t have to be an opinion or a point of view.
Elsie: Yeah, no, for sure. Okay, so my takeaway that I love, and I immediately had a talk with Jeremy about how we can do in our parenting is I love the part about how it’s not really helpful or even like best practice to ask kids, what do you wanna be when you grow up constantly that instead, we can tell them, which is true. You can be lots of things when you grow up because he was saying that the average number of jobs for adults to have is 12. And when I think about my life and my career I feel like I’ve done almost everything that I’ve ever been passionate about as a job at some point. There are so many phases to it, there are ones that lasted a long time, and there are ones that were just for a season. So now I’ve started the practice of saying to my kids, you can be lots of things when you grow up, what are all the things that you wanna be? And they can list a lot of things and I’ve just realized suddenly this is so much more helpful and healthy for them than for them to just pick one thing because what is even the point of that?
Emma: Yeah, and it’s that whole thing of like, don’t make your ideas your identity. If you’re like, well I’ve been saying since I was a kid, I wanna be a lawyer or whatever it is. Do lawyers just cause I feel like kids, they know about doctors and lawyers.
Elsie: He had a really good story about that, about his cousin who became a doctor because he grew up saying it and then he kind of felt like his family expecting to do it and they really, really wanted him to and then, in the end, he’s happy with his career, but he is like, I don’t know if that’s what I would’ve picked if I felt like I didn’t have to. I just really don’t think you can pick a career when you’re in high school. I don’t know very many people who did or do pick exactly what they’re gonna do mainly for money at that age, you’re usually wrong. So, I don’t know. I think maybe having a giant list of things you wanna try or things you wanna experience.
Emma: That’s kind of what I would say is like, you don’t wanna be like, well, I’ve, I’ve been saying since I was a kid, I’d be a lawyer. So even though maybe my interests have changed, or I’ve learned more about it and I realize it might not be a good path for me, you might feel kind of foolish. You might feel like you’ve already made this a part of my identity, so I better just dig in, and would be better if you’re like, well, your vocation isn’t who you are so you can do lots of different things. And when you’re young, which I would categorize young as all of life, then you can try different things and if something isn’t a fit anymore, you can potentially change it. And maybe you will use some of your training from whatever your last thing was into the new thing, or maybe not. It really depends because I feel like the example with the gentleman who went to medical school and he became a doctor, he really wanted to do business and he ended up doing some kind of business in the medical field and there’s no way he would’ve been able to do it as well if he hadn’t had his background in all his training. But he also felt like he spent a lot of time trying to fit into this mold that he had cast when really it wasn’t, it’s the thing that he was most excited about.
Elsie: Yeah, I definitely think it’s okay to change your mind and in our lives, I would say my most stark example is owning that store. There are things like that where it’s like, it looks like a dream, it sounds like a dream, like on paper it’s a dream. It’s beautiful and everything about it is great, but just doing it every day was kind of boring. It was definitely one of the boringest jobs, it’s definitely the boringest self-employed job I ever had, it was very repetitive. We ended up starting a whole blog together because we were so bored in that store. So, everything worked great and I loved the store, I don’t regret it at all. But I think that the willingness to change and evolve and like pivot was very important because, at the time when we sort of like stepped back from it and then actually closed it, people were very freaking disappointed in it, in us doing that, I get it. There was an emotional attachment, it was special. I got married on the third floor, someone got engaged in our store. It was magical, but it was not a fulfilling career as we thought it would be. We learned something.
Emma: For me, I don’t think it makes it less magical that we evolved personally. I like that you mentioned that you immediately were talking to Jeremy about incorporating this into your parenting I would say that even for people who aren’t parents just as a culture as a society, we should probably, and I think Adam Grant’s, one of his themes of the book is this, we should let people change. We should view that as a positive, good thing. We should let politicians change their minds. We should let people change their careers in their forties, fifties, and sixties, and not stigmatize it, or try to make anyone feel like they’re a failure or they’re weak for changing their mind. Those kinds of narratives we should change, and we each have the power to do that. We’re all contributing to a culture that we live in together with our communities. So you know, that’s something we can do, whether you’re a parent, whether you’re just whatever. There are all sorts of ways we can do that, but we should definitely make it a positively good thing that people change their minds, that people change and evolve and grow, especially as they have new information. That’s good!
Elsie: So yeah, if you can’t tell, we loved the book. Let’s give it, I’m trying to think of what the rating system should be.
Emma: 12 vocations out of 12.
Elsie: Okay. 12 out of 12 vocations, that’s fine.
Emma: Which is five stars.
Elsie: Our rating system is a little big. The important thing is if you’re gonna read this book, it’s great as an audiobook. I recommend it as an audiobook. Adam Grant, he’s a teacher, he’s got a great voice and it feels like you’re in a class that you wanna be in. I would I read a lot of books in this category and it is different from all the books I’ve read before. It really is just based on critical thinking, changing your mind, like that type of thing. Most of the books we read are about like, productivity or other things, nothing like that. This is a completely different book, but it still kind of fits into the category really well. So I feel like if you have some of those other ones on your shelf if you liked Big Magic and you like 12 Gear, you like the other ones that we’ve read, then I think this one fills a different gap and you should definitely add it.
Emma: I agree.
Elsie: So we have received multitudes of feedback that your favorite part of the show now is no longer really the podcast, but it is just a joke and effect with Nova. So we heard you loud and clear, and Nova has been telling all her friends at school that she’s the best part of Mommy’s podcast, and she’s right. So yeah, let’s turn it over to a joke in a fact with Nova.
Nova: Mom will you remember me in a second?
Elsie: Yes, I would.
Nova: Will you remember me in a minute?
Elsie: Yes, I would.
Nova: Will you remember me in a half an hour?
Elsie: Yes, I would.
Nova: Will you remember me in an hour?
Nova: Will you remember me in a day?
Nova: Will you remember me in two days?
Nova: Will you remember me in a week?
Nova: Will you remember me in a year?
Elsie: Yes, for sure.
Nova: Will you remember me in a century?
Nova: Knock knock.
Elsie: Who’s there?
Nova: I thought you would remember me.
Elsie: Good one. Thanks so much for listening. We’ll be back next week with a find your personal style, deep dive.