Welcome to the SIXTIETH Weekly Balance post! Let’s take a look at the last seven days, what I’ve been thinking about and what I’m recommending to you guys from this week.
What I’m thinking about…
Turning 30! On Friday, it was my 30th birthday, and my second pandemic birthday. Obviously, 30 is a big birthday, and in a pre-pandemic world I’d be doing some serious celebrating. But, current circumstances and COVID-19 restrictions mean my birthday turned out very different to how I would have originally planned. And you know what, if there’s anything this past year has taught me, it’s to be grateful for what we do have and can do.
I think, growing up, I had this vision of what a woman turning 30 ‘looked like’ and ‘had figured out.’ And as each year of my life moved closer to the big 3-0, I realised that a) no one has it all figured out and b), the journey of life IS the figuring it out part. Like many of you I’m sure, my twenties were a time of lots of ups and downs, highs and lows, mistakes, failures and successes all mashed together. There are things I’m proud of, others I’m not, and more still that I continue to work on every day.
I wrote a poem to mark my 30th birthday a couple of weeks ago, and shared it on my Instagram on Friday. It was one of the most honest things I’ve shared online probably ever, and it was really wonderful to see the words and sentiments resonate with so many of you. It’s inspired me to continue writing, not for the sharing but for the peace and clarity it helps me find – though when I do share some of that work, it’s wonderful to hear it click with some of you.
So here’s to 30, a new decade, a new chapter, and one I’m excited to both read and write.
What I’m reading…
This week, I finished a book that I had been really intrigued to read – Luster, by Raven Leilani. I had seen many authors that I’m a fan of recommend it, which had me excited to tuck in.
Luster is the story of Edie, a young black woman in her early twenties living in New York, working at a publishing company, trying to figure her life out. We met Edie when she has met Eric, a white married man living in New Jersey with his family (wife Rebecca and adopted daughter Akila). Rebecca has agreed to an open marriage, and so begins Edie and Eric’s relationship. However, it’s not just Eric that Edie spends time with – over the course of the novel, when her living circumstances fall through she is unexpectedly taken in by Rebecca while Eric is away, developing a friendship of sorts with an uncomfortable power dynamic, and slowly beings to bond with Akila too.
I just didn’t know what to make of this story. On the one hand, it’s so well written – sharp, absorbing and details so well the stark contrast between the poverty Edie lives in, struggling to make ends meet, in comparison to the comfort and security of Eric and Rebecca’s suburban home and lifestyle. On the other hand, while we get to know Edie through the first person narrative of the novel, I didn’t really feel as though I understood Eric’s character, or the origins or boundaries of their relationship. In fact, Edie’s friendship of sorts with Rebecca, and relationship with Akila, are what we come to understand and see the most of in the book.
All in all, it’s a book I sort of couldn’t put down but also didn’t fully connect with. I did enjoy it, but I didn’t love it, and I think that’s because I didn’t feel that I got a full understanding of all of the central characters.
As always, let me know what you’re reading in the comments below! I’ve just started The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah.
What I’m listening to…
Here’s my top 3 podcasts from this week.
How To Fail with Elizabeth Day: As you guys know, there is rarely an episode of this podcast that I don’t enjoy, and this week was no different. Day interviews her best friend and psychotherapist Emma Reed Turrell. It’s a really enjoyable conversation about people pleasing, boundaries and saying no. Lots of useful nuggets of wisdom that I’ve saved up!
Train Happy with Tally Rye: I look forward to this podcast every week, and the most recent episode was one of my favourites. It’s an interview hosted by Tally Rye with two of her best friends – Zanna Van Djik and Victoria Spence. These 3 gals were once behind the Girl Gains brand, a female empowerment community which hosted online and in person events (pre-pandemic!). I would have attended some of these events in my early twenties and it was lovely to listen to the 3 girls talk about their journeys with food and fitness, some of which resonated with my own.
Where Is My Mind: This week’s Where Is My Mind podcast episode was a really good one – an interview with author Sophie White about her new non-fiction book Corpsing, and her previous two novels (Filter This and Unfiltered). It’s a conversation that’s more about the subject matter of the books really, and I found the discussion about the role of social media in our lives particularly enjoyable.
What I’m watching…
This week I started The One on Netflix, a new series starring Hannah Ware about a female entreprenour whose company is founded upon matching people with their perfect partner based on their DNA samples. I’m one episode in so far and intrigued!
And that’s a wrap for this week gang! If you want to get in touch, you can find me @theirishbalance on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. I hope you have a lovely week ahead folks – remember, stay informed with the advice from your local health authority regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Stay safe, wash your hands, wear a mask, keep your distance and be kind!