Overwhelmed and Overburdened? Freedom is Possible.

Dear friends,

I want to tell you the truth about what my life was like a few years ago. I was overworked, exhausted, addicted to sugar and caffeine. Whenever I’m tempted to sugar-coat (pun intended) the stress of that lifestyle, I remember this: I came down with shingles at the ripe old age of 23.

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Confessions of a Recovering Perfectionist

Have you ever had your life get flipped, turned upside down?

No, really – I want to know. This isn’t just an excuse to quote the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song. I want to know if you’ve had every shred of confidence swept away. I want to know if you’ve stood in the clearing, terrified of the emptiness around you.

And most of all, I want to know if you’ve come through stronger than you were before.

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To the Writer Who is Just Starting Out

One of my closest friends from Vassar once told me about how he saw Maroon 5 play before they hit the big-time.

It was at a bar in Boston, as I recall. I was quite impressed, because at the time, “Songs About Jane” was everywhere. It played at parties, at my on-campus job, on my roommate’s computer. Maroon 5 was a big deal then, and they’ve become a bigger deal since.

But the people in that bar’s audience had no idea who Maroon 5 was (or would be). Nor did they care. They weren’t paying attention. They were drunk and rowdy. Eventually, Maroon 5’s lead singer had enough. According to my friend, Adam Levine lost it. He yelled at the crowd, “You’ll never stop us!”

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One Question To Ask When the Going Gets Tough

On my first day of kindergarten, my mom gave me some advice.

She told me what her mother told her on the first day of school: when you walk through the doors, don’t worry about making friends. Just focus on finding the girl who looks even more upset about all this than you do. Go over to her and say hello. Smile. Then, you’ll have a friend.

My five-year-old-self was incredulous. Could it be that simple? With a little prompting, I gave it a shot. I walked up to a weeping girl and said, “Hi, I’m Caroline. What’s your name?”

With that, I made my first school friend. It was a serendipitous choice, since she was (is) an excellent visual artist. Back then, I could barely cut in a straight line — OK, that’s still true! — so she’d help me with arts and crafts. She didn’t like to write, so I’d help her with compositions. We saw each other through.

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