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Three-time U.S. Poet Laureate and CAS Professor of English Robert Pinsky penned the libretto for an animatronic opera from MIT’s Tod Machover. Watch a clip of Death and the Powers above. Pinsky photo by Vernon Doucette
This time, on the other end of the line was avant-garde composer Tod Machover, a professor of music and media at the MIT Media Lab, a renowned center which studies the human-machine relationship. “I knew Tod slightly, appreciated his music,” recalls Pinsky, three-time U.S. poet laureate and a professor of English at the College of Arts & Sciences. Machover had been commissioned by patrons in Monaco to write an unusual opera prominently driven by technology.
Would Pinsky write the libretto?
“In a poem, you can let your imagination run free without it entailing a lot of people figuring out how to put it on a stage, to sing to it,” he says. “The opera involves practical consequences involving many people.”
Pinsky periodically met with Machover, along with the opera’s creative team and MIT students at the institute’s Media Lab in Cambridge, where they brainstormed ideas; the pair also regularly back-and-forthed by email. The collaboration proved fruitful: a one-act opera called Death and the Powers, a never-before-seen production featuring an animatronic set and a chorus of singing robots, or “OperaBots,” that frame a narrative exploring life beyond humanity. Alex McDowell, production designer for the 2002 Steven Spielberg (Hon.’09) movie Minority Report, created the machines.
“Robert is so fluent with words and ideas that it was always a great pleasure to explore possible story ideas, precedents and background material, underlying themes, always moving swiftly from rich historical references to today’s news to popular culture and back,” Machover says. “Robert knows everything.”
The story, which Pinsky cowrote with writer-director Randy Weiner, centers around a “gajillionaire” inventor named Simon Powers, who creates a new form of existence where his essential qualities—memories, desires, ability to communicate with loved ones and to influence businesses—are preserved after death. In short, he translates himself into a “system.” Once Powers makes his final exit, the stage becomes robotic, his persona manifested through objects such as a musical chandelier and giant bookcases with lights that move to the music.
“I have been constantly delighted by what a pleasure it is to set Robert’s words—so intelligent and clear and sonorous—to music,” Machover says. “Robert’s rhythms and descriptions are not quite the same as mine, so his words have pushed me to new places. Their crispness and lack of sentimentality have sharpened my music, I think. Of course, words become something quite different when they are merged with music, both less and more of how they were originally conceived.”
Pinsky will join Machover in Monte Carlo this week to attend the September 24 world premiere of Death and the Powers. Prince Albert II, the city-state’s ruler and honorary patron of the project, will attend the gala opening. The show debuts in Boston next spring. Audiences can expect nothing short of spectacle.
“We had an absolutely great designer,” Pinsky says. “With Tod, director Diane Paulus, choreographer Karole Armitage, and some great singers, that’s a very impressive team. Which makes me feel very lucky.”
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Listen to Robert Pinsky discuss and read from his libretto Death and the Powers. Clip courtesy of Poetry Magazine. Audio recorded by the Poetry Foundation. Audio editing by Amy Laskowski.
Caleb Daniloff can be reached at [email protected].
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You can check what version of Ubuntu you have using several methods, and each has its benefits. Some give you the major version; others give you all the little details.Why Should You Find Your Version of Ubuntu?
You know you’ve got Ubuntu. Why does the version matter?
Table of Contents
Like the different versions of Windows, some things will work in some versions of Ubuntu, and some will work only in others. You need to know what version you have to install the proper drivers for your hardware and apps that will work best on your version.
It also helps you identify what updates your Ubuntu operating system needs.
Some versions of Ubuntu are best used as servers, and some are best for desktop environments.
When asking someone for help with Ubuntu, they’ll want to know what version you have.What Are the Versions of Ubuntu?
Windows and macOS are straightforward when it comes to versions. Many PCs are either Windows 11 or Windows 10. MacOS’ most recent versions are Monterey, Big Sur, and Catalina.
Ubuntu version numbers are based on the year and month of release. Ubuntu releases also come with code names made of two alliterative words. It’s an adjective and an animal name, so the result is a name like Bionic Beaver. For example, the latest standard Ubuntu release is 21.10 Impish Indri. (An indri is a large species of lemur.)
If that wasn’t confusing enough, there are two current versions at any time. There are the interim release and long-term service (LTS) versions. Support for the interim Ubuntu release is 9-months from release. The LTS version is used where the stability of the instance is critical. It gets five years of standard support and can have another five years under the Extended Security Maintenance (ESM). ESM is free for personal use and is a paid subscription for enterprises.
Canonical Ltd. builds Ubuntu on the open-source Linux kernel, so the Linux kernel version can be important to know. A current Linux kernel version number may look like 5.15. The first number is the major release version, and the remaining numbers are the minor release.
Put them all together, and you could get an Ubuntu version like 22.04 LTS Jammy Jellyfish, Linux kernel 5.15.How to Find The Version of Ubuntu in the Windows Linux Subsystem
Yes, you can run Ubuntu within Windows with Microsoft’s Windows Linux Subsystem (WSL).
Ubuntu for Windows
Upon starting, Ubuntu shares the version and more information in the command line. The version in the example is
Ubuntu 20.04 LTS
. It also shows the Linux kernel used as
. Note the
part. There are two versions of Ubuntu Linux for WSL, 1 and 2, and each has its pros and cons.
Already opened Ubuntu WSL, and that line is gone? Check the section below on finding the Ubuntu version through the command line. They also work in WSL.How to Find the
Version of Ubuntu
in the Command Line
If you regularly use terms like “Linux distro” or “bash,” the command line interface is for you.
to open the command line terminal.
Use any of the following commands to check the Ubuntu version. Each command shows varying amounts of information about the version and the system.lsb_release -d
For the shortest result, use the command lsb_release -d. The lsb_release command reveals the Linux Standard Base (lsb) information for any Linux distribution.lsb_release -a
Using the -a gives complete information about Ubuntu, including Distributor ID, Description, Release, and Codename. Oddly, Codename doesn’t reveal the full codename, which is Jammy Jellyfish in the version shown below.hostnamectl
The hostnamectl utility changes or returns information about the host or hostname. Using it without any options only returns the hostname info. Look for the Operating System line to get the Ubuntu version and the Kernel line for the Linux kernel version.cat /etc/issue
The concatenate (cat) command is usually used to join files together. When used without any options and just the filepath/filename (etc/issue), it displays the contents of the issue file. Ignore the n l. It’s not important in this context.cat /etc/os-release
Just like the command above, this shows the contents of the os-release file. Note the Version line, which shows the entire codename.uname -r
To see just the Linux core version, use the command uname -r. The uname utility gives information about the system but not about Ubuntu itself.How to Find the Version of Ubuntu Using Neofetch
Neofetch is a bash app that displays system information creatively with ASCII art.
Open the bash terminal and install with the command
sudo apt install neofetch
. Then enter your password, and it will find the neofetch.
Once the neofetch package has been found, enter Y to begin the installation.
When the installation is done, enter the command
To install a similar utility called Superfetch (not to be confused with Windows Superfetch), follow the same procedure above, substituting superfetch where you used neofetch. Each returns slightly different information, so pick the one with the information you’ll need most often.How to Find the Version of Ubuntu Using the GUI
Maybe getting into the terminal and working with bash and the command line is more than you want to do.
icon and then select
It should open to show the
screen where you can find the
. If not, scroll to the bottom of the Settings window and select
.Now You Know Your Ubuntu
With ten ways to find the Ubuntu version, many of them providing other system information, you’ll know Ubuntu better. You’ll be able to decide what updates you need, find apps that’ll work on it, and know when it’s time to upgrade to the newest version of Ubuntu.
With an overhand throw like he’s lofting a grenade, a soldier hurls a robot. It lands, all four oversized wheels absorbing the shock, and immediately the little machine is rolling around, ready to scout underneath cars and around corners before the soldiers get there. This is the SIGYN Mk1 Recon System, a throwable robot marketed at militaries and police forces and announced earlier this month.
Throwable robots are niche machines with niche applications, promising a feature no other tool can deliver the same way. In a demonstration video produced by Sky-Hero, the Belgium-based company that makes the SIGYN throwable robot, the vehicle can be released from a backpack, remotely controlled under a car, tossed like a grenade, tumble down stairs, drive over netting, and even continue to operate after being driven directly over by a car.
The robot’s four wheels are just under 4 inches in diameter, and the whole machine is just 7 inches wide and almost 8 inches long. That’s a compact body, and the compactness is the point. This is a machine that can be carried and can navigate through and under various obstacles, like gates or barricades, and it can be thrown through windows or around corners. Each face of the robot has a small camera gently angled upwards, and sensors in the bot allow it to automatically select the camera on the side the robot is driving. The cameras can see in daylight or darkness, and the robot has LED lights to better illuminate objects in its field of vision if necessary.
[Related: A New Generation of Throwbots is Ready to Be Flung Into Battle]
Aardvark Tactical is the North American distributor for the SIGYN, and accessories for the robot are made by Project7 Armor. Borrowing language that would be perfectly in place in a Silicon Valley pitch deck, Aardvark Tactical’s announcement described the robot as part of “an easy-to-use, intelligent recon ecosystem that revolutionizes mission safety.” Also in that system is the Loki quadcopter and a handheld controller. The controller can manage and share information from up to four robots at a time, including a mix of quadcopters and ground machines. With four robots in action at once, Aardvark says, team members hooked up to the same control station can “choose between and watch any of the four device feeds from the new Tactical Wrist Viewer, regardless of which device is currently being controlled.”
[Related: Meet the ‘Spy Stone,’ a Russian robot disguised as a rock]
While the SIGYN is a new throwable robot, the category saw a bit of a boom in the early 2010s. Robots like iRobot’s FirstLook and Recon Robotics’ Scout were sold as tools for forces fighting in Afghanistan, where the fact that they could be thrown would give soldiers and Marines a better angle in buildings during patrols. These robots, much like the SIGYN, were marketed to police and militaries alike, as the specific obligations of urban conflict can warrant a gameras-first approach to identifying people before going in shooting.
The category even features the spherical Explorer, probably the most grenade-like of the thrown robots. Essentially a ball of cameras that could transmit video, the Explorer was a tool for placing eyes inside one room, without the option to drive into another if the first room was empty.
While that earlier generation of throwbots sometimes won lucrative contracts, both the technology and the market for thrown cameras on wheels has likely improved since the mid-2010s. If enough police forces and military customers can see utility in sending a camera to scout before bringing in people, the SIGYN throwable robot might become a recurring tool in the arsenal of urban warfare.
Watch a video of it below:
This post has been updated to clarify the description of the company that makes the robot.
No boundary wires
4 options depending on lawn size
Up to 45% slope capabilityCons
Antenna requires open ground
15cm border requirement
Charging station needs access to a power socketOur Verdict
The Navimow is a fantastic way to keep your lawn looking trim, but you will need a wide expanse of open and flat turf to get the best value from this mower.
It sounds like a horticultural dream: a robot mower with no need for boundary wires that you can control from your smart phone. And it can be… if you have the right kind of lawn in the right kind of place.
There are four Navimow models available, for lawns ranging from 500m2 to 3000m2. We’re testing the H1500E, which is – as you might guess by its model name – for lawns up to 1500m2.Design and build
7.8Ah lithium battery capacity
The Navimow is big.
The box arrived at our testing ground on a pallet, which gives you an idea of the size and weight. The charging base alone is 80cm long by 55cm wide, and the mower itself is 58cm by 46cm by 25cm.
The mower is also heavy, so you may need help to manoeuvre and unpack it from the box and set it up on your lawn. It’s not a product you could have delivered to your grandmother and expect it to solve her gardening problems.
Both the body of the charging base and the mower are hard plastic: black for the charging base, and gunmetal grey with orange accents for the mower. The off-road wheels at the back of the mower, 20cm in diameter, have a chunky rubberised orange tread and good traction.
The top of the mower boasts a large red stop button, an LCD screen, and three buttons: one to start mowing, an okay button, and a home button. In this way, it is similar to the basic operation buttons you might find on a robot vacuum. The buttons also double up as plus, minus and power buttons, which you use to lock and unlock the mower’s pin code.
Alex Greenwood / Foundry
The Navimow’s USP is that it uses GPS positioning to control the mower’s movements, rather than boundary wires. So, naturally, this means it has an antenna, which is a black transmitter mushroom that fits onto a black, forked, metal pole a metre high and needs to stand next to the charging base.
Again, the lithium battery is substantial at 7.8Ah, which allows this model of the Navimow to cover a 1500m2 lawn size.
In app, you can schedule the mower for any time in a 24-hour window across all the days of the week. It also lets you switch on a rain sensor and automatically dim the light for night mowing
The Navimow also has IPX6 waterproof protection, so it’s protected against a high pressure of water, but you can’t submerge it entirely. In short, it will withstand heavy rainfall, but won’t survive if it gets swept up in a flash flood.Lawn suitability
Unique online checklist
15cm border requirement
Multiple lawn areas require flat corridors
Alex Greenwood / Foundry
The checklist takes about five to ten minutes to complete, and it will ask you what your lawn looks like, about your borders, how big your lawn is, about surrounding tree and house heights, and about passages between patches of turf. Upon completion, you will get an email of your result, which you can use to inform your decision.
Do be aware that the Navimow requires 15cm clearance between its outer boundary mow line and a wall, fence, hedge or tall border, so if your lawn extends all the way to a wall or planted shrub border, you are likely to get a 15cm strip of unmown turf around the outskirts of your lawn.
You will benefit from the Navimow best if your lawn abuts planted borders with low height foliage at the front.
If you want to use the Navimow to mow different lawns, they will need to have a flat corridor between them that the mower can use to traverse from one lawn to the next. If you have, as we did, two lawns separated by a cobbled path with stone curbs, it’s not going to work.Set up
Good app directions
GPS reception may require charging base location adjustment
Lawn needs to be 6cm high or less
We’ll be honest: setting up the Navimow looks daunting. But it isn’t too much trouble once you get started.
The first thing is to ensure your lawn is 6cm high or less; this might mean, ironically, that you need to mow your lawn before you set up the Navimow. In this respect, you need to think of the Navimow as a lawn maintenance machine, rather than something that will sort out neglected grass. You also need to clear up any obstacles, such as toys or broken branches.
You then download the app from your app store – Navimow supplies a QR code – and set up your account within the app.
Next comes the installation of the charging station. You’ll need open ground with 110% skyward open clearance for the antenna, so the station needs to be on flat ground that is two metres away from any house, tree, fence or wall on any side, with reasonable access to a power point. Segway does supply a power extension cable, but bear in mind that you may need to shift the charging station to another location if reception is poor.
You then install the GNSS antenna next to the station. This is a simple matter of securing the antenna mushroom into the top pole half, screwing the bottom pole half into the fork, stabbing the fork into the ground, and then screwing both halves together. The antenna cable needs plugging into the back of the charging station, and this uses external waterproof fittings, like those on external fairy lights.
Plug in the charging station and the light on top of the station should illuminate blue if the antenna has a strong signal, or yellow if not – in which case, you will need to relocate the station and antenna to another part of your lawn.
You then activate the mower by placing it into the charging station and using the app to pair the mower to your smart phone. Once this occurs, you can screw the station into your turf and peg down your cables using the supplied screws and pegs.
We were impressed. The Navimow was so quiet, we didn’t realise it had begun to mow – and it didn’t miss a spot
The app will then take you through a calibration process, and you may find that this requires you move the base to another spot, even if the Navimow indicator light was previously green. The app will also take you through the Navimow checklist.
Once you’ve set everything up, it’s time to set up your boundary. You will get prompts through the app, but it’s a process of moving the Navimow to a starting position, fixing the 15cm measure to the mower, and then slowly directing it around the boundary of the plot you wish to mow using the arrow keys in the app.
You need to stand about 6 metres away from the mower at the back and slowly direct it. You then set your off-limit islands and create channels to other sections of lawn.
The final step is to then give it a test run. You’ll need to enter the pin code into the mower LCD screen to unlock the device.Performance
In-app cutting height adjustment
The Navimow is quiet. Segway states 54 dB(A), but it seemed quieter to us and far below the noise level you’d expect from a conventional electric or petrol mower.
Through the app, you can set the cutting height between 3cm to 6cm, and schedule the mower to work at any time in a 24-hour window across all the days of the week. The app also allows you to switch on a rain sensor and set the light to “dark mode” so the light dims automatically if mowing at night.
For our first test, we set the height to 4cm. The Navimow did its job quietly and well. It zigzagged its way across the lawn in 21cm wide strips and covered 16m2 in roughly 15 minutes. The coverage was even and careful. You can follow the real-time progress of the Navimow in the smartphone app.
The mowing screen gives your connection and Bluetooth status, battery life, and coverage and progress so far.
Alex Greenwood / Foundry
One thing to note is that the Navimow deposits cuttings back onto the lawn, so if you want a clean finish, you may want to rake up the cuttings afterwards.
For the second test, we scheduled the Navimow to cut to 3cm at a particular time of day. Again, we were impressed. The Navimow was so quiet, we didn’t realise it had begun to mow and it didn’t miss a spot.
Here, you can clearly see the zig-zag mowing pattern and the 15cm edge border.
Alex Greenwood / Foundry
The mower can’t cope with slopes over 45 degrees, but we found that wasn’t a problem.
In terms of safety, there is a big red stop button on top of the mower itself, and a blade sensor that stops the mowers blades spinning when the sensor area is touched.
When the mower has finished, it returns to the charging station and charges automatically. You can check the charge level through the app’s main page.
The Navimow also boasts an anti-theft feature in its Exact Fusion Location System, which means you get an alert to your phone if the mower moves outside of its virtual boundary, and its current real time location.Accessories
You can buy accessories for the Navimow, including a VisionFence sensor that allows the Navimow to adapt to more complex lawns and avoid obstacles in a more intelligent way.
There’s also an ultrasonic sensor accessory that will, again, help to avoid obstacles. You can also buy a temporary fence to protect areas you want the Navimow to avoid, and an antenna extension kit, including an extension cable, if you want to install your antenna on a wall or roof.Price and availability
We tested the H1500E with the 7.8Ah lithium battery for lawns up to 1500m2.
If you need more coverage than this, there is the H3000E for lawns up to 3000m2; this model comes with an integral ultrasonic sensor and three years free 4G data.
If you don’t need so much coverage, there’s the H500E and H800E for lawns of 500m2 and 800m2 respectively. The H500E works using Wi-Fi and has no GPS anti-theft measures.
If you’re in the UK, visit the Segway Navimow website, where you’ll be able to find a full list of local dealerships. There are also online buying options. FR Jones & Son has the entire range on its website: the H500E, the H800E, the H1500E and the H3000E.
If you’re in the US, you can get a Navimow via Indiegogo but you’ll need to be quick to get it at its best price.Verdict
The Segway Navimow is a brilliant robot mower. It’s quiet. It does the job well. You don’t need to fuss with boundary wires. But it is pricey.
Depending on where you live, there are limitations. If you have a high mound of turf outside your back door, or tall trees or shrubs sprouting out of your lawn, or lots of grassed walkways in-between raised beds, you won’t get the best value out of it.
But if you have a mostly flat, largish series of lawns, open to the sky, with flat corridors between the lawns and low front borders, you will love the Navimow. You can schedule the mower through the app, and just forget about your lawns from May to October. It’s a wonderful way to keep your lawn tidy and weed-free.
Even when it starts out in a nosedive, a leaping lizard uses its tail to right itself, flinging the appendage to alter its own angular momentum and ensure it lands safely on its feet. Robots can do this, too, using controlled robotails that will guarantee a safe landing, a new study says. So the next generation of search and rescue robots may not be modeled after snakes, spiders or flying creatures, but lizards and dinosaurs.
Like a tightrope walker using a balancing pole or a cat using its tail to perch on a tree, lizards can use their tails to provide external torque, according to researchers at the University of California-Berkeley. They swing their tails upward to prevent themselves from pitching forward. Robert J. Full, a professor of integrative biology, has studied the way geckos use their tails to keep them from falling off vertical surfaces when their feet slip, but this is the first time anyone has studied how tails are used while leaping. The results also support a 1969 hypothesis about therapod dinosaurs like the velociraptor, which may have used their tails as dynamic stabilizers.
Students in Full’s lab watched a lizard recover in mid-air after its feet slipped during a leap, and came up with a stumble study to gauge the importance and use of a tail. The researchers coaxed some red-headed Agama lizards to run down a track, vault off a specific obstacle and land on another vertical surface. But the surface friction on the obstacle varied, so the lizards lost their footing sometimes, flailing out of control. Then the animals would wrench their tails around to right themselves, and come in safely for a vertical landing.
The team created mathematical models to account for the tail motion in three dimensions, and they built a robot dubbed Tailbot to figure it out. Tailbot was basically a remote-controlled car with an aluminum rod at its rear end. The team launched Tailbot off a ramp, inclined at the same angle as the lizards’ vault, and kept the tail rigid. Tailbot plunged down nose-first. Then they used a tiny gyroscope as a sensor to provide Tailbot a sense of its own direction, and programmed the car to swing its aluminum tail in response. They launched it again, the tail swung upward, and Tailbot righted itself, maintaining a nearly constant body angle, the researchers report.
This could be extremely useful in designing robots for use in uneven places, like disaster areas full of rubble. An actively controlled tail, responding to changes in body attitude, could ensure the robot won’t fall on its face and break.
Just to drive their point home, the team tested their math on a velociraptor model, and found it could have used its massive tail in a similar fashion. Given strong enough muscles, it may have been capable of aerobatics beyond those displayed by geckos and other tree lizards, the researchers say. The paper appears in the early online edition of Nature.
I am sitting down to write this article the weekend before it’s due.
Not because I forgot about it or because I’ve been “too busy” to focus on it, but because one of the many lessons I’ve learned from my self-care discovery this year is that I do well with deadlines.
Pending deadlines used to worry me, I’d spend weeks and weeks thinking about things I didn’t need to do yet, only to complete them on time.
This lesson came to me when I was sitting in my therapist’s office telling her how many presentations I’d written the night before the deadline, or in the extreme case that there was no deadline, the night before the speaking engagement.
She smiled and said, “but that’s how you work best, stop worrying about it.”
And with that, I realized I could grant myself permission to meet my deadlines without feeling guilty that I didn’t beat my deadlines.
This is one of the many lessons I’ve allowed myself to learn since opening my agency back in 2023.
I had broken my leg, my role has been “eliminated” from the agency I worked at, and in the midst of it all, opened a business from my bed.
I was learning how to become an agency owner while learning how to walk again.
The very fear of failure that had always prevented me from opening my own business became the fear of not being able to provide for my family.
I look back at the events and the chaos of that year with an immense sense of gratitude. My injury served as a catalyst for every client I serve today.
This year, I’ve finally been able to look back and recognize how much stress and anxiety I endured as a result.
Agency ownership is the job I’ve always wanted, and it took an immense amount of hard work. I now have an amazing team and clients across the globe and I am thankful for each and every one of them.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that my learning curve was steep.
Before I was able to start hiring my team, if I was awake, I was working. If I was asleep, I was waking up in the middle of the night thinking about deadlines.
All of this took a toll on my physical and mental well-being. Hindsight is always 20:20 and stopping to think about this journey has given me the chance to consider some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way.It Takes a Village
I have always found the SEO community to be abundant with friendship, kindness, transparency, help, and knowledge.
There are conferences I attend annually because the camaraderie feels like a reunion.
I’ve found myself my very own “Twitter-village” of friends, peers, and mentors, and we keep in touch between conferences and events.
Twitter has become my social network of choice.
Another way I’ve created a village is by bringing #SEOBeersKC to life. If #SEOBeers isn’t active in your city yet, I’d recommend making it happen.
I can’t take credit for this idea, it’s all Matt Lacuesta, and through this, I’ve made some friends and connections.I Found a Mechanism for Accountability
Twice a month, I meet with the Agency Owner’s Accountability group that I was invited to.
Some of the group have physical offices, other teams are fully remote, just like mine.
The person who put this group together framed this as being each other’s “Board of Directors” and we hold each other accountable with business and personal goals.
We also have a framework for asking each other questions about strategy. Or if we like our accountant. Or which software works well for a specific goal.
From the outside, we could be seen as competitors, but that’s not what this is about. Our support for one another has lead to growth for everyone that partakes in our meetings.I Learned What to Delegate
This is the year that my team really took shape.
Massive kudos to them for keeping up with my pace, and keeping me in check.
I learned where my time and energy was best spent.
This was hard for me, but ultimately, I really enjoy strategy and I have a team that can execute it.
In August, I took my youngest daughter to England to visit my family.
For the first time since I opened my business, I was able to step away from the office for 10 days and it was business-as-usual for our clients.
The entire trip felt like a massive trust-fall, and my team didn’t let me down.I Found Self-Care Regimens That Work for Me
This is probably the biggest thing I needed to learn, and the hardest lesson for me to accept.
It is probably the thing that I needed to pay attention to the most, and still struggle with.
When I was struggling the most with work-life balance, the thing I needed to do was invest my time here.
Until recently, I struggled to place any value in self-care.
My mind races to the next thing on my to-do list.
I’d prioritize client work or requests from other people and assume there’d be time for me later.
Later never came, until I stopped to create it.
I was rarely able to be fully present, walk away from my phone or stop.
As I’ve found ways to “fill my cup,” I have been able to set boundaries to prevent myself from working evenings and weekends. Most notably, I’ve stopped feeling guilty about taking time for me.
So, how did I find a self-care ritual for myself?
Pottery came first. One night a week my hands were on a wheel of clay. If I wanted to touch my phone to check a tweet or an email, I would have to balance that with cleaning my clay-covered hands.
I tapped into a creative outlet that didn’t need WiFi.
As much as I love this newfound creativity, I ran out of room for all my new plates, cups, and bowls and took a break from this hobby but I know it’s there if ever I want it.
Therapy plays a role, too.
I found a therapist I can relate to. I also found a hypnotherapist that helps me meet goals that I’m struggling with.
I find that hypnotherapy gives me 30-60 minutes of the deepest relaxation I have ever known. When I wake from the short rest, I can breathe deeper, think clearer, and meet goals that I’ve set for myself.
There’s a physical element to self-care, too.
I see a tonal chiropractor to help me try and minimize stress and anxiety. This isn’t the bone-cracking quick adjustment I’ve experienced from other chiropractors.
He specializes in slow movements of the body during a 30-minute session in a meditative environment. He has helped me reduce the symptoms of chronic inflammation from my leg injury, which ended up presenting as severe stress and anxiety.
I’m learning French.
I’d long wanted to learn a third language (English and Hebrew are the first two). I’m using the Duolingo app and I’m almost at a three-month streak.
This had a two-fold effect.
First of all, I am achieving something I’d be thinking about doing for years. The added benefit is rather than mindlessly scrolling through a black-hole of social media, I put the Duolingo app in the space Facebook used to occupy.Have I Found the Secret to the Perfect Work-Life Balance?
The lessons and tools I’ve outlined here have helped me find a sense of balance.
Each of these has been a valuable piece of the agency ownership journey I’ve embarked on, and if I’m being completely honest, there are many ways I can improve my work-life balance further.
My biggest tools in finding this balance are the permissions to do seek balance itself, the willingness to try something new, and the friends to turn to on the days when everything feels like it’s a little too much.
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