By the time this spring turns into summer, I will be married (provided all goes to plan, touch wood, et cetera). During our engagement I have circled back to one question that introduces many others. Will I change my name?
This is the first post of my new monthly series, in which I’ll share five of my favourite things. They may be books, articles, podcasts, plays, or whatever else I’ve been enjoying.
Last September I shared 23 things I’ve learned by 23. Now approaching my 24th birthday, I’ve put together another list. I’m all for lifelong learning.
Here we go:
1. You can’t and don’t need to do everything. Prioritise your commitments.
2. Qualities can be more important than qualifications.
3. Social contact can help you live longer. Make sure to ‘build your village’.
4. What a stranger at a train station thinks of you really doesn’t matter.
This is my third podcast recommendations post (click to read part one and part two). I keep finding new series to listen to when I’m travelling, washing dishes, in the bath or wherever else. If you think of any others I might like, please let me know in a comment or tweet!
18. The Debrief Podcast
With humour and good advice, Stevie and Tessa tackle topics faced by many people in their 20s. If you’re in Edinburgh this month, I’ve heard Tessa’s show is great too.
Recommended episode: How To Do Things That Scare You.
July seems to have passed quickly, thanks to travelling, working and packing to move out next month. I’ve been chipping away at larger projects and stepping away from my laptop more often during evenings and weekends. I’m feeling focused and content.
The summer break from MA classes and essays has given me more time for personal reading. I’m enjoying Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work & In Life, One Conversation at a Time. If you’re put off by the seemingly corporate title, I recommend giving it a chance. Susan Scott’s book contains reflective exercises for defining what your version of success looks like. It offers useful tools for holding necessary, thoughtful conversations with partners, managers and other key people.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Sarah Beckett, co-founder of Birdsong, a London-based ethical fashion brand. Birdsong’s mantra of ‘no sweatshops, no photoshop’ is one I’m definitely on board with. The team works with a range of women’s groups and young designers to create sustainable, socially impactful pieces. I’ll let Sarah share the rest.
Molly: What led you, Sophie and Ruba to set up Birdsong?
Sarah: We all did the Year Here programme in 2014. Year Here is a postgraduate programme for young people who are interested in social change. It gives you a range of experiences in the social sector and you have to build solutions to problems along the way. We all had different experiences, but shared interests. Sophie had already been involved with lots of women’s activism.
I’m writing this from a chair next to an open window. The sky outside is blue, barely streaked with clouds. The nearby birds are lively and the air is fresh. I spent the long weekend in good company. As May shifts into June, it’s peaceful here.
Elsewhere, though, it’s been a chaotic month. I mentioned in January that it can be hard to reconcile difficult, world-changing events with ordinary life. When the Manchester attack happened, it felt wrong to focus on anything else. But intense observation seemed wrong too. Within minutes and during the hours that followed, tragic losses were turned into content. Circumstances no family would ever wish for were shared over and over again.