In Vogue magazine yesterday, Serena Williams wrote a brilliant, painfully honest essay about her upcoming retirement from competitive tennis. She recoils from the word "retirement" though, preferring "evolution" to describe this transition from professional athlete to mother, entrepreneur, advocate, and angel investor.
Photo by Luis Alberto Rodriguez, Vogue, September 2022
She is openly frustrated that she can't do "the physical labor" of building a family while maintaining her customary dominance on the tennis court, but she seems resolved and, at least somewhat, at peace in the ache and thrill of letting go of what was. "I don’t want it to be over," she wrote, "but at the same time, I’m ready for what’s next." That clarity of knowing when things can no longer remain the same but feeling unsure what's next (or how to get there) is wildly familiar to me. I have felt it myself at key turning points in my life, and, when new clients reach out to me, they are often sitting right there... poised and ready for change but not sure how to go about it. Sometimes they don't even know where they're trying to go, but they know that what's happening right now (and what has been happening in the past) no longer fits who they are or who they want to be. It's a precarious spot. If you're moving on from something you love, letting go might be more bitter than sweet. If you're moving on from something you hate, you might not know how to begin... and continue. Toward the end of her essay, Serena wrote, "I’m going to miss that version of me, that girl who played tennis." I wish she could see what we see… what I see anyway… that, try as she might, she will forever be "that girl who played tennis." She is also many other things—including someone who has always showed us what happens when we invest in the truth. This essay is no different. Like George Washington in Hamilton, she is teaching us how to say goodbye, not just to the Serena-era of tennis, but to outdated estimations of ourselves... to move on when and how we need. She is leaving behind something she loves, but there is no erasing the past—even for those of us leaving behind a chapter we're not so happy about. There is only moving ahead from exactly where we are, knowing what we know. As Grand Pabbie, the Troll King, said in Frozen II, "When one can’t see the future, all one can do is the next right thing." The work I do with clients is to figure out the next right thing for their health and well-being, and build on that—steadily and definitively. I love this work because there are no wrong answers. The only mistake, at the beginning of any change, is diminishing the importance of what is and what was. The situation right here and now is the best teacher we've got. Wishing Serena (and you) a peaceful, steady evolution to what's next.
Hunter S. Thompson once wrote, "Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel… On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio." I have to agree with him. Music is fuel, and what I learned this week about how music impacts exercise was both surprising and completely intuitive. Turns out, it has nothing to do with beats per minute. It's all about you and what you love. Read more...
The Only Woman by Immy Humes, Phaidon, 2022
Last, Immy Humes has gathered a photo collection called The Only Woman of "women who made their way into a man's world, shown through group portraits, each featuring a lone woman." From the "advent of photography" in 1860 to the present day, spanning 20 countries, this book chronicles pioneering women—from musicians to railway workers, civil-rights leaders to astronauts. I'm creating a holiday gifts folder just for this—and putting it on my wish list, too!
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