“In transitions, we must learn to be still. Being still is, in part, about learning to be comfortable with ambiguity.”
― Janet Rebhan, "Learn to be Still"
How to navigate moments of transition 🌬️
Welcome to 2018, everyone! I’m making some changes to the newsletter, as I promised months ago. I hope you like them. I’m trying my best to be a great artist and steal inspiration from newsletters I love, such as RadReads, OnBoard Health, Austin Kleon and Can’t Complain.

Thanks so much to our sponsors who have stood by me and the newsletter for so many months. You can read more about them below, and support the newsletter too if you'd like. 
This Week's 5
Here are the five things that caught my eye this week. Let's just say I was doing a lot of year-end and start-of-the-year reading: 
  1. 2018 is the year of the intangibles: Where the Stanford’s Carissa Carter outlines the “design abilities” they teach there and why this year is one "poised to be a collision of possibilities”. If you’re interested in learning about design and how to apply it to take advantage of this rich year of opportunity, you’ll want to read this again and again. 
  2. 5 Practices from Deep Work by Cal Newport That’ll Change Your Life: This inspired me to buy Newport’s book and start reading. It’s a nice amuse bouche for the book. 
  3. 5 Ways to Read Someone’s Mind: If you struggle to build business relationships (or relationships in general), this may be helpful, though number 5 is pretty obvious. 
  4. What are the five dimensions of curiosity? There are, apparently, four types of curious people across these five dimensions.
  5. Finding Purpose for a Good Life. But Also a Healthy One. Finding purpose in your life isn’t just something that will make you happier, it’s also good for your health. 
Post Script: Learning how to say 'goodbye'
Goodbyes are rarely easy. I just said one to my partner as he was leaving for the airport. When I got back home, my heart hurt, and the space felt empty. So, I turned to my voice-activated device for company and asked the first question that came to mind:

How do you say ‘goodbye’?”

The response was a light slap in the face: “I pronounce that ‘goodbye', but text-to-speech is always improving, and I might not have it quite right.”

No, you’re pronunciation is solid. It’s the empathy detection that still needs work.  

My partner and I have been saying ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ for years. It’s part and parcel of a long-distance relationship. Sometimes we say it after only two days. Other times, the 'goodbyes' don't come until after three or four. This time, it was after a week and a half — the longest time we’ve shared.  

Nevertheless, each time we get together, we know the ‘goodbye’ is coming. In the early days, I would tell him, “I have to say ‘goodbye’ to say ‘hello’ again.” It sounded cute at the time, and I still say it sometimes. Sadly, it’s nowhere near as comforting as it used to be.

I need a new way to say ‘goodbye’ — and not just say it, but metabolize the transition between the time we’re together … and the time we’re apart.  

Not surprisingly, a search for “how to say goodbye” leads you down a somewhat sad, online rabbit hole. Results center around the passing of a loved one or the ending of a relationship. There’s also more formal advice on proper etiquette in different social situations, such as escaping the in-laws. (Apparently, the key is making a plan and sticking to it.) 

There’s also guidance on how to say ‘goodbye’ to your colleagues ("End with some parting advice that shows what a deep person you are. This can be a quote from Seth Godin or Steve Jobs, or a general statement about always learning, giving it your all, continuing to change the world and striving for greatness.” Um, maybe not.) 

There’s even guidance on how to help children learn how to say ‘goodbye’. It’s actually pretty close to the mark for adults too: “...what’s most important is for parents to give kids the confidence to move ahead. … the most important thing for any child to hear is, 'I believe you can do this.’”  

It’s pretty darn important for adults to hear that too, actually.  

There’s a list of “+5 amazing tips”, which includes one of my favorites, “Time heals all wounds.” The fifth item on that list didn't work for me though, since none of these seven say-goodbye-for-good signs apply to me. 

William Bridges writes in his book Transitions that, the period between beginnings and endings in our lives is a, “neutral zone [that] provides access to an angle of vision on life that one can get nowhere else. And it is a succession of such views over a lifetime that produces wisdom.”  

If that’s indeed the case, I am drowning in a sea of wisdom. 

Stanford’s Ed Batista writes for Harvard Business Review that, when it comes to metabolizing the moments after an ending, “[t]here’s no predetermined recipe; the key is simply being thoughtful and intentional about what will allow us to access the wisdom that can be found there, while we make ready to move forward again.” 

Reading this led me on a book-buying spree where I downloaded Cal Newport’s Deep Work, Ray Dalio’s Principles and, of course, Bridges’s Transitions. When all else fails there's retail therapy. That’s when I landed on this 2013 piece in Thought Catalog: “How to say goodbye to someone you don’t want to leave”. 

The piece is about saying goodbye to a group of friends, but this reached out to meet me: "You want to put everything into a little music box and open it up at will, seeing the tiny dancers spinning just the way they were when you left them. … 'If nothing ever changes,' we think, without even really thinking it, 'then maybe we can be young forever.'” 

Is it Shakespeare? No. Does it matter? No, because I totally dig it. 

I don’t recommend diving down internet rabbit holes mindlessly, but sometimes it helps you navigate the tender places by letting you see and feel that you’re not alone. Yes, confirmation bias is real, and critical reading is necessary. That doesn’t mean we can’t, in a moment of sadness or transition, look for music boxes, parental guidance, tongue-in-cheek professional advice or Engelbert Humperdink lyrics.  

Nothing good gets great without support.
Thank you, as always to my two largest supporters: Natalya Pemberton & Tim Karu!

Natalya is a culture and design enthusiast learning Sustainable Systems at the innovative Presidio Graduate School.

Tim runs the Mercury Inn in Portland, Maine.

These folks have generously supported E is for Everything on Patreon. Please jump on through to learn more about both them and their projects.
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Do you wish I'd shared something else? Please send me recommendations via Facebook, Twitter at @emikolawole, on Medium or reply directly to this e-mail. I will always and whenever possible give credit where it's due for great recommendations and inspiration. Have a great weekend!
It means 'hello' and 'goodbye'.
Emi Kolawole · E is for Everything HQ · Palo Alto California 94306 · USA
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