Let’s take this slow 🐌
I’m headed for another mailbox of yours.
Hello, friends. It’s Katie, writing from My Sweet Dumb Brain headquarters, which happens to be a small, cozy alcove in my bedroom.
My workspace includes an old desk, where I’m writing right now; an upholstered slipper chair with a mismatched throw pillow; blackout curtains, a remnant from when this space served as our daughter’s nursery; paint swatches that have been here for months (I think I’ve finally decided on a color); a box of framed photos collecting dust on the floor; one hanging plant I’m hoping will thrive, despite my poor track record with houseplants; and nothing hanging on the walls. Oh, and the door to this room? It doesn't close entirely. Which means that, at any moment, a rambunctious toddler might wriggle loose and bust in.
As of right now, this space is an afterthought. It’s uninspiring. It’s not particularly functional. It’s something I’ll get to someday, perhaps after our daughter goes to daycare and I have a chance to tackle things like house projects.
However, I spend a decent amount of time in this afterthought of a space. It’s where I do all of my writing and working. It’s where I sneak off to whenever I have a free evening or while my toddler is napping. It’s where I hold Zoom meetings and conduct interviews. It’s the place where this newsletter gets created, week after week.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about which things in my life are afterthoughts and what items take top priority. Three weeks ago, I wrote about wanting to take this newsletter more seriously. Two weeks after that, I lost a long-term freelance client. One solution to both of these things would be to work more—to search for new jobs and readers with the kind of always-be-hustling fervor that is so prized in our society.
But I don’t want to do that. Not because I’m lazy or because I think I’m above working hard. Because I know that, right now, given my current parenting responsibilities, working more isn’t a realistic or healthy option. At this stage, putting in more hours would mean that I would have no choice but to work early mornings and late nights. Worse, it would mean that I’d be glued to my phone, responding to emails and replying to Slack messages while also trying—and, likely, failing—to be present with my daughter.
I have written again and again about reframing success and reevaluating my relationship to work. It’s time I put those words into action. So, instead of taking on several new clients and one-off gigs, I am using this moment as an opportunity to invest in the things I am already doing. I am placing greater value on my work and words. I am prioritizing myself, my relationships, and my needs.
Last week, the wonderful Catherine Andrews wrote to me with an encouraging reminder. “I find that when you commit to something more seriously, the stuff that would hinder you from succeeding in that commitment begins to fall away,” she said.
“At least, that always helps me,” Catherine continued. “I remember it’s a bit of a clearing of space for my original intention.”
Catherine is right. (She always is!) Now, on the heels of a responsibility falling away, I ostensibly have more time and mental space to treat this newsletter like the business that it is.
But I can’t do that if I spend all of my time worrying about what’s ahead. Instead, I need to trust the process—that by committing to My Sweet Dumb Brain more seriously, other things will fall away. And that’s a good thing, even if it is a bit scary at times. After all, the best things in life tend to be scary at first.
There are plenty of ways I am hoping to do this in the coming weeks and months. Today, I’m taking a fun first step. It’s something that my toddler is currently very much into, and I hope you are, too: Stickers!
Yes, the Sweet Dumb Brain logo—designed my by brother, also known as Catlanta—is now a sweet sticker. There are a couple of ways to get your hands on them:
The first option is to become a paying subscriber! You’ll not only get all the newsletter perks that come with subscribing, but I’ll send you two stickers (and a little handwritten note) in the mail.
If you’re not a paying subscriber and don’t want to become one, you can still get the goods:
$5 for two stickers
Venmo me [at]Katie-Hawkins-Gaar
Include your mailing address in your Venmo note
If you are a paying subscriber, hooray! I can’t wait to send you stickers as a token of my thanks.