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🥰 Letter 58 from a learn-it-all

6 min

What quality of your mother do you wish to emulate most in your life?

Hello fellow learn-it-all,

Greetings from Chicago ☀️

We had what felt like a heat stroke over the weekend here. It was unexpected and I'm surprised I didn't get sunburnt #blessed

It was also my mom’s birthday yesterday! We didn’t get to be together like last year, but if we were, I’d envision it looking something like this enjoying ice cream and doggies:

If you are new here or missed last week's edition, you can catch up on the past letters here. If you are reading this for the first time, I’d love you to sign up below to join the other learn-it-alls:

Now, what's in store for this issue?
    1. The start to my trimester review
    2. An tribute to the woman of the week
    3. A pondering about how moms are the ultimate polymath
    4. A word that has me feeling nostalgic
    5. A quote that I couldn’t believe is truer
    6. A question to get you thinking about Mom's days right around the corner
    7. A snapshot of a new path I ventured to
    8. Some shoutouts to mothers, my brother and a fellow newsletter writer

Now, let’s dive into letter 58 from a learn-it-all. Enjoy!

🤔 Reflecting

I started a review of the first trimester of 2021. I’m still piecing it together. I’ll share the highlights next week after I review my goals more. I had a lot of friction from setting some strict targets last year. I have since recognized the importance of deadlines. I find myself needing to refer to my annual review to even remember what my goals were so that us a surefire way to know that I need to recalibrate them. If they're not top of mind then what's the point of them?

Until next week, a brief reflection on my monthly habits

My April habit: at least 5 minutes of stretching every day. I ended up considering laying on the ground stretching because I found it really grounding less than perfect posture sitting or standing at my desk. Also scoliosis sucks.

New habit for May: Walking or running or biking at least 3 miles every day.  Every day, I have a non-negotiable with myself. The pact is that I walk at least one or two miles no matter the weather conditions. I learned the importance of this when I spent way too many days cooped up last year. It created a dreary mood I am not fond of.

This idea came from inspiration as I responded here on a tweet, it is my go-to strategy for when I feel overwhelmed:

My walks are to change headspace. Another reason I am so excited about adding this habit to my repertoire is that it kills so many birds with the same stone: I can call friends, listen to new tunes, feel like I am a part of nature, or listen to podcasts.

Side note: I'm on the market to buy a watch to track all my fitness better rather than just my phone. I’m thinking of going against the grain, so I'm not looking for another Apple product. I've heard through the grapevine that Garmin is stellar. Would love your input.

🖊 Writing

Happy 60th birthday to my mom! She has given me the world.

Truly one-of-a-kind. It’s where I get my discipline in following through on things. She's the definition of grit. My dad tells me her character is a spitting image of my Dziadzia, who I don't remember well since passing from a heart attack in 2006. There's no doubt that who we are is molded by who raises us. Those formative years are, well, formative.

She set the bar of success extremely high. My mom was the first member of her Polish raised family to be college educated. Not only that, she had several promotions at General Motors and attended night school to receive her MBA. Her courageous stories of being one of the few females managing middle-aged men in factories are a feat I cannot fathom as I work remotely behind my safe screen. She knew what she wanted to and went after it. That tenacity is something I still aspire to cultivate myself.

🎬 Watching

I resurfaced a website I made to celebrate my Dziadzia’s life. On it I found a video (filmed in the parking lot of Bob Evans in Ohio) where I interviewed my Mom on her birthday six years ago. Even though it's not the best quality, this makes me wish I filmed more for projects like these. If you click the picture below it will take you to the video:

💭 Pondering

Nobody trains moms. They simply do and are quite miraculous at that. They are the ultimate polymath. Of the many pursuits, she manages my dad's business, cooks meals, takes care of a zoo of animals, raised three children, taught us how to be human, how to do laundry, how to garden... The list can go on for eons.

🔎 Word to define

Saudade: A feeling of longing, melancholy, or nostalgia for something enjoyable that has happened in the past... or maybe even something that never happened at all. You can't quite put your finger on why you feel this way.

It is the recollection of feelings, experiences, places, or events that once brought excitement, pleasure, and well-being that trigger the senses and make one experience the pain of separation from those joyous sensations. It acknowledges that longing for the past detracts from the excitement you feel toward the future. A somewhat melancholic feeling of incompleteness.

Saudade describes both happy and sad at the same time, which is most closely translated to the English saying ‘bitter sweet’, despite no direct translation.

Etymology: Originally found to be used by by poets of the King Denis of Portugal who reigned 1279–1325. It is supposedly characteristic of  the Portuguese or Brazilian temperament. In the latter half of the 20th century, saudade became associated with the longing for one's homeland (homesickness), as hundreds of thousands of Portuguese-speaking people left in search of better futures in South America, North America, and Western Europe.

Example: I look at pictures of my past trips with my family and I cannot help but feel a pang saudade. Gratefulness that they happened and a desire to return someday.

If you fancy, I found a cool jazz infused song by the Dutch guitarist Jan Akkerman called Saudade…

🌟 Quote to inspire

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou

❓ Question to think about

What quality of your mother do you wish to emulate most in your life?

📷 Photos of the Week

The 606 path I ventured over to west of the city over the weekend in 81 degree weather. I’ve been getting back into a groove and ran a 5k.

This lovely smelling lilac was too splendid not to share.

🙏 Shoutouts

I appreciate you reading this! If certain ideas resonated or you have feedback to improve my future newsletters, I’d love you to leave a comment, reply to this email, or send me a message on Twitter @JenVermet.

Never stop learning 😁

Until next week,


P.S. if you're interested in a snippet of one of my mom's favorite movies, look here.

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