The strength is in the letting go.

I lived an hour away from an amusement park growing up. We went every year for my birthday, a gift from my Grandparents. I loved the roller coasters.

“Hold on tight!”, my Dad would say. “Don’t let go!”

And I didn’t let go, I held on. I listened to the advice; sage, as it was, I took it to heart.

Hold on tight, Aubrey. Don’t let go.

I spend my days talking to people about communication. What their words actually convey, intentionally or otherwise. How a small nuance can affect so much. And even how – as my scientific background has taught me – the way we (ourselves) process things we say out loud. To (egregiously) over-simplify, our brains hear what we say and know it to be true. So, basically, watch what you say, because you’ll soon have to fight yourself for things you were even joking about. Or, in some instances, things you repeat because you’ve been told them.

I hold on tight. I don’t let go. It’s a strength, in many areas; I’m insanely loyal. If I meet you, like you, feel kinship with you, I care. If I invest in you – emotional or otherwise – there’s a reason. It’s not selfish; in fact, in some ways, it probably should be more. But, it’s not…you’re someone I care about, and when I make that distinction; well, I’m in. I won’t refute, nor lament, that. I don’t know how else to be, and don’t know that I want that. But.

“Hold on tight! Don’t let go!”

I won’t. But maybe I should. Perhaps, in life as it is at an amusement park, you have to throw your hands in the air. The proverbial caution to the wind, understanding that the risk is worth the reward. And the feeling, that inexplicable feeling of being rebellious and dangerous, is what moves you forward and teaches you to let go.

….

It’s time for me to let go.

https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/49722196/stream?client_id=3cQaPshpEeLqMsNFAUw1Q?plead=please-dont-download-this-or-our-lawyers-wont-let-us-host-audio

yvynyl:

Bearhug – Angeline

The first time I heard this Sydney, Australia band, my immediate reaction was “maybe Yuck changed their name?” but I’ve owned their record Bill, Dance, Shiner for a few weeks now and it’s become one of my favorite debuts of the year. It’s refreshing to hear earnest, heartfelt indie rock done so well, and this track is the perfect storm of the band’s best qualities. 

Grab the album over on Bandcamp, or out physically by mail order from Spunk Records (AUS/NZ).

—- post by YVYNYL intern + contributor Paul Brown —-

Alive

When I was young, I used to lie in bed at night, thinking “I’m alive. I’m alive. I’m alive.” I would repeat it, not to prove myself anything of the contrary; it was more of a behaviour better suited for grounding myself in the current time and place. This mantra of sorts, “I’m alive”, meant nothing at first, but as I continued to repeat it, each internal utterance was a little earthquake, the shocks of which jolted me back into a reality. Most days – most moments – I found myself not necessarily living my life, but instead watching it unfold as a movie does, each scene with me as the main character yet well enough removed that I could go through this life, almost numb, portraying the understudy who watches instead of acts. This little routine – private, isolated, personal – reminded me to breathe, to live, to act, to make things happen instead of watching them happen. That this was reality – that this was MY life and MY reality – and unlike the very vivid dreams I was having, I couldn’t wake up and find myself anywhere but here. It was simply the subtle reminder to wake up when I wasn’t ever sleeping.

Every now and again I remember this, and repeat the habit. “I’m alive” when I’m staring at the computer. “I’m alive” when I sit at the bar, waiting a perpetually late friend. “I’m alive” as I start to fall asleep, “I’m alive” when I’m sitting in traffic, “I”m alive” in my delight and my regret, “I’m alive” when I wake up to you.

How easy it still is to go about my days in a sort of dreamworld, going through the motions, watching my life unfold with each little piece, each isolated scene all tied together with the mundane thread of ‘stuff’ that binds our meager existance. I’m moving on autopilot: 
Wake up. 
Brush teeth. 
Shower. 
Walk the dog. 
Go to work. 
Clean the house. 
Eat dinner. 
Read. 
Write. 
Watch. 
Brush teeth. 
Sleep. 
Repeat.

There’s nothing wrong with habits, with routine – each culture, each person has their own. They’re the stuff that life is made of, only they’re the stuff that it it isn’t. They’re the things that get in the way, that prevent us from acting and doing and being.

So every now and again, amidst the shuffle of another day nearly done, at the beginning or the middle or the end of the routine I try to evoke a little earthquake to remind me of my participation in this daily cinema that I call my life, to usher me up from the stand-in role to the star, knowing my time and my place on the stage is determined solely by myself.

*This article was originally published on January 30, 2006. Damn. I’m old.

aubreysabala.com

I’ve been writing on my website for eleven years.

ELEVEN YEARS, people. What have YOU been doing consistently for eleven years? (I mean, besides the topics not fit for public company.) It blows my mind, and I’m glad that I have this record of my public self, at least. It’s interesting to look back and remind yourself who you were. And in re-reading some of these articles I keep thinking that wow, things have changed. And yet stubbornly remained the same. Further evidence that we’re just a future iteration of our younger selves.

I’m going to post some of these over the next few weeks, an exercise in getting myself back to writing more frequently and a walk down memory lane to my overly-introspective self. You can find most of the archives here, but in the meantime, enjoy the next few posts.

What’s the most time consuming task in social?

percolatehq:

If you guessed “content creation”, then you’re absolutely right:

Source: Productive Social Marketing – Marketing Charts

As an enterprise, your most important resource is the time of your employees. In light of the above data it is no surprise that the biggest challenge brands face going forward in social is not measuring ROI: it is a lack of sufficient resources.

Source: Productive Social Marketing – Marketing Charts

These two images help explain why we are so excited about our latest release. Our technology is focused on building efficiencies around these two major points in a real way.

Welcome to Percolate

from Blog @ Percolate http://bit.ly/OfLyhT

I Love Percolate!

What’s the most time consuming task in social?

Redefining Priorities

People often ask me my favorite thing about living in New York. And without hesitation, I say, honestly, “Walking.” I absolutely love being able to walk practically anywhere I want to go. I walk to work every day, and am angry at myself when I’m running late and have to take the subway or a taxi to make a meeting. I do it because I love it, because it’s healthy.

That’s the view I’m taking these days: health. Previous incarnations of me, the younger version, was concerned less about health and more about weight or appearance or fitting into a size closer to the ones my very thin college roommates wore. I’d say that’s probably typical of a girl in her 20’s, the skewed focus on the aesthetic vs. the holistic. Things have changed.

Growing up, my Mom was always concerned about her weight. Her eating habits were, without exaggeration, atrocious. She constantly limited her diet to blueberry yogurt and sliced turkey breast and a two-liter of Diet Coke, then would eat an entire pint of ice cream. My Dad’s weren’t much better; he’s always been uninspired by food, saying he’d rather take a pill than have to sit down for a meal. Many days, he’d be busy running around, ‘forget’ to eat, and then his 6’0”, 145 lb. frame would eat a bag of Ruffles potato chips for dinner. The picture of health, he was not. Even when my Mom cooked, she’d make things for us then nibble on her own serving. Because I was an athlete, I realized, even from a young age, that this wasn’t normal. (And I feel incredibly lucky that I had that revelation; eating disorders are often shared by family members, based on the example they had growing up.) Whether consciously or not, I have had a very different approach to eating, which is probably why I deem meals a social activity and love to dine with others. Perhaps I’m making up for many years of missed sit-down dinners; who knows.

Fast forward ten+ years, and my focus is now on health, and more broadly, balance. I preach the benefits of trying to maintain a work/life balance, but in a lot of other ways, my personal life has skewed a bit off-tilt. That’s one of the downsides of living in Manhattan; there is something – often, many somethings! – going on every single night, and as someone newer to the city, I feel inclined to go to most of them. Want to drink eight glasses of wine over the course of the night? All too easy, and often, all too free. Remove the caloric impact of consuming two bottles of wine on any given evening, and it’s still atrociously unhealthy. Accessible? Yes. Wise decision? No.

But am I making these changes to lose weight? To fit into this incredibly thin city? A resounding no. NO. Have I wanted to lose 5 or 10 lbs? Of course. I probably know five women total who don’t share that aspiration. But is it worth it? I don’t know if that’s the right question; instead, I’d say that shouldn’t be the focus. Health should be.

My good friend Daisy wrote an article for XOJane about her unapologetic desire to lose a bit of weight, and I’m incredibly proud of her for being vocal about something that is often seen as a stigma. I’ll support her regardless, but I’m approaching this differently. I want to run a 10k, so I’m training for it. I want to get my advanced pilates certification, so I’m starting to increase my frequency of classes & looking into programs. I want to be able to be active throughout all of my life, so I’m making a commitment to that now. I’m being conscious that a morning workout changes and positively affects my entire day and I’m unapologetically making that a priority for myself, even if an extra one (or three) glasses of wine were stupidly consumed the evening prior.

And you know what? I love it. I was running on the Westside Highway this morning, and I simply thought: I LOVE TO RUN. It’s not always easy and I still loathe treadmills and in the heat of the summer? Lord help me when August comes around. But I love it. I do it for a lot of reasons, and if a welcome side effect is fitting into a smaller dress size, bring it. But that’s not what I do it for. I do it because I like beating my previous mile time. I do it because I like challenging myself in a FlyBarre class when they do that horrid dog fire-hydrant leg thing & I finally don’t have to stop. (NOTE: This day has not yet happened. Not by a long shot.) I do it because I want to kick my boyfriend’s ass in tennis. I do it because when I have a daughter, I want her to inherently know that health is an emphasis in our family, that weight is merely a number, that eating is something to revel in and to enjoy, and that her Mom is strong. I do it for me. Starting today, I do it for myself.

clara judgypants: Nora Ephron: What I Wish I’d Known

clarajudgypants:

People have only one way to be.

Buy, don’t rent.

Never marry a man you wouldn’t want to be divorced from.

Don’t cover a couch with anything that isn’t more or less beige.

Don’t buy anything that is 100 per cent wool even if it seems to be very soft and not particularly itchy when you try it on…

Wise words. RIP, Nora Ephron.

clara judgypants: Nora Ephron: What I Wish I’d Known

Friend(ly) Feedback: What’s the Right Way?

I consider myself a product marketer. Because of my former role as an Information Architect MANY moons ago, I approach marketing with this UX background in mind. I view how, where and why you communicate with your users as experienced from their point of view. (Which is likely why I’m on my self-determined quest to rid the world of “Login” used incorrectly as a verb, one website at a time. Facebook, you’re welcome.) So, as someone who not just uses these products but is also in a role where I help build and market them, I’ve been thinking recently about the best way to give feedback. This is especially tricky when a) it’s not your – or your company’s – product and b) the people whose product it is are your friends.

Recently, Foursquare made a change to their mobile app and while beautiful, one small tweak (the removal of the “Local” filter) has made this product really challenging for me to use. I *WANT* to use it; in fact, Foursquare is one of the apps I use the most, especially as someone newer to NYC & still finding my way around both the city & the friend circle. It’s been tremendously helpful for me to see where my friends are convening on any given night (*cough* Tom & Jerry’s *cough*) in case I wanted to join. But as a long-time user of the product, I have more friends on it in San Francisco & other places of the country, so being able to see where my local friends are is really challenging now that this filter is removed. It’s a minor change that probably affects a small number of users, though I’d argue that many of those affected are “power users” with numerous Foursquare connections in multiple cities, like me. 

Upon noticing these changes, I posted a question about them on Twitter. And then immediately wondered if that was the right medium. I had a few questions about the change, and tagged @Foursquare hoping to get an answer. I chose that method for a few reasons: I figured it would be the quickest way to get an answer as I had seen a lot of other people using the new release, and I didn’t want to bug my friends that worked there. Namely because they are the Founder & Sr. Software guy (Hi, Dens & Harry!) and I could only imagine the influx of messages they were getting, plus they’re generally super busy guys…me bugging them about product questions would only add to their likely already-full Inbox. 

BUT. Did I just inadvertently throw my friends under the bus? As a marketer, I am acutely aware of how criticism can spiral into a PR nightmare (see: Uber New Years Pricing, which is another story entirely and one I believe they ended up handling relatively well in the long run). Was my choice to ask the masses – genuinely not knowing the response – and following up with my frustration that one of my favorite products became nearly impossible to use hurting more than helping? I genuinely try to suggest solutions every time I surface a problem. In this case, I was hoping to add visibility that some of their power users weren’t able to use the product as they did before. But was it the right forum?

I’m not sure. I tend to have a pretty thick skin myself, but do know that negative feedback on something people have invested so much time, thought, energy, and care in can affect morale. And that it hurts more when it comes from your friends. Was I just a gigantic asshole (and am I exacerbating it by posting this piece?)

I hope not. I genuinely am interested in hearing everyone’s opinions on the best way to handle this in a world where we often look first to public forums vs. private notes. Forget that they’re friends; we should be considerate of this whether or not we know the people behind the product or company. So please, weigh in. What’s the best way – and where is the right forum – to offer constructive feedback?