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Backstage at What I'd Rather Be Talking About
In case you missed it the first time, the story behind the newsletter. And how it can help you in your own life.
It’s nearing the end of summer, and just like the days of summer TV programming, I’m coming to you with something different this week.
What you’re reading is my 39th Substack - I’ve been sending out an issue every Thursday since last December.
And I don’t plan to stop.
I feel like I’ve found my calling, creating this content each week.
With that in mind, I thought this would be a good time to revisit how things started.
You may be wondering…
Where did I get the name, What I’d Rather Be Talking About?
In my previous life, I taught Spanish and English as a Second Language - this means I met tons of great kids and worked with some amazing people.
It also means I attended more meetings and in-services than I care to recall.
Few experiences compare with teacher meetings, especially those at the end of summer. The longest and driest meetings always fall on the most beautiful day of summer; teachers are packed together on folding chairs in cafeterias or gyms, and before you can say icebreaker, it happens.
The meeting gods cast their spells and suck the life force out of the whole lot.
And so begins a slow meeting death march that lasts from August to June.
It was during one of those
torture sessions meetings that I developed a survival technique.
While quietly sitting in my seat, I started creating my own meeting agendas by making mental (and sometimes physical) lists of everything spinning around in my head. I thought of all the things I’d prefer to discuss than the meeting at hand.
“I’d rather be talking about _____ or ______ or ______.”
I came up with revelations to share with friends, book ideas, blog content, commercial jingles, and alternate career ideas. I pondered the meaning of life. I dreamed of the places I’d rather be, and as the meetings dragged on and my stomach rumbled…I made lists of everything I wanted to eat.
I got all sorts of new ideas, and my brain felt alive and creative.
All of this became very entertaining to me, so I started sharing my thoughts via old-school note-writing and, if I was feeling brave, texts.
I’d also try to add a little life to breakout sessions and department meetings.
Hey, do you watch LOST? (Remember, this was years ago.) What are your spring break plans? OMG, have you tried chickpea tofu?
And so on.
Soon, these mere mentions weren’t enough. I needed to take my material to the next level.
So, during the pandemic, I took advantage of the fact that Zoom meetings felt like being on TV and would share my own commercials at the beginning of department meetings. I’d actually look forward to them because I’d talk about the Amazon finds and tasty new treats and beverages I was discovering during lockdown.
This was all going really well until after the pandemic when I took a job in a different district. I was in a team meeting with fellow teachers. I missed my old team/friends and wanted to make friends with my new team. The meeting was particularly (and I’ll go ahead and say it) unnecessarily serious and intense. So, of course, I thought they could use a commercial break. I waited for the right moment - for my debut. (If you will.)
While the team was busy looking up curriculum standards, I lifted the delicious drink I was enjoying and said, “Can we please pause for a commercial break? This beverage is AMAZING.”
I got their attention all right, in the form of confused stares that screamed, “How to say we don’t do that here without saying we don’t do that here.”
Safe to say, my routine did not work there.
At that moment, I decided I needed a place to share What I’d Rather Be Talking About.
One year later, on a cold December morning, I sent out my first What I’d Rather Be Talking About.
And I haven’t looked back.
But for now, let’s look forward.
I’ve got some great stuff in this issue and exciting news at the end.
P.S. If you haven’t already, I’d love it if you’d hit subscribe below. I know it is a little confusing with the button - am I clicking for the free or paid? Enter your email and then choose your plan. The free plan offers this newsletter (which will remain in the same format I’ve followed since the beginning). The paid includes this newsletter plus an additional newsletter (details on it at the end of this newsletter) and other exciting things (podcast???) to come.
What I'd Rather Be Talking About is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Discover the secret to success in this episode of Skinny Confidential.
I’m considering becoming a tourist in my own state after listening to Only in Wisconsin on the Zero to Travel podcast.
Because who can risk being a fashion don’t this fall? Thanks, Shea Whitney, for the intel - 10 Outfits That Are Out of Style.
Valentina explains How To Upgrade Your Everyday Outfits.
If you don’t have Netflix, Forbes tells us about these August shows coming on a variety of services. (I’m most psyched about Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones - on Netflix.)
Finally, how many of these 11 blockbusters have you seen this summer? (Apparently, I need to get out more… I’ve seen ZERO but would love to start with #2 on the list.)
Last week I did a *special feature* for paid subscribers. Here are two tips from the list I shared -Where to Travel in Fall 2023.
Not sure where to go, but positive you need to get out of Dodge? The Conde Nast Traveler ESCAPE ROUTES podcast is here for you!
Triple Threat: LoveBeyondNations shares 7 spots for September and October Travel (ranging from Puglia, Italy to Nashville, Tennessee!), Through My Lens, has Tips for planning a fall New England Trip, and Travel Global shares 10 US cities that are great for fall travel.
EASY. PLANT-BASED. GOOD FOR SUMMER. I’ll order that. Minimalist Baker shows us the way. Also, check out their site - so much there & easy to navigate.
More interested in summer appetizers? No sweat. The Food Network dishes up 90 (count’em) Summer Appetizers You’ll Want to Fill Up On.
Watermelon sangria, anyone? Sip on that and other refreshing & elegant cocktails thanks to this liquid spread by Town & Country.
ON A SERIOUS NOTE:
At the beginning of today’s issue, I told you about the pain and suffering I felt while in school meetings. You might be thinking, “DUH. Meetings are boring. Your story is not so special.”
I’ll give you that.
But, like every other problem in life, the thing you think is the problem is actually not the problem. It’s a symptom of something else. In reality, the ulcer and migraine-inducing, life-force-sucking meetings were actually just a symptom that the career path I was walking down wasn’t for me. I needed to pivot and explore something new.
Which I found in writing.
If you find yourself feeling like you’re trapped in a school cafeteria with the life force being sucked out of you, it might be time to look for that other path.
The one that lights you up.
This path can be work-related or something else.
Only you know What YOU’D Rather Be Talking About.
Now go talk about it.
P.S. Here’s the important message I told you was coming… the weekly bonus newsletter for paid subscribers has a name… The Saturday Sidebar.
The Saturday Sidebar will be like the secret messages you whisper to your friend in a meeting, the job search info you share with your co-worker confidant, and the relationship advice you give your BFF in the corner of a crowded party. In other words, it’s the good stuff we share in private.
This week, The Saturday Sidebar will be all about making changes. Whether you’re looking to change your job, lifestyle, health, or routine… you’ll find content that shows you the way! There’s a 7-day free trial if you’d like to try it out.
Thank you for reading!