When I started working part-time in my early thirties, I listened to Joy. And my career took off from there.

I shouldn’t have started working part-time at barely 30 — could have been bad for my career.

I shouldn’t have hiked the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim with a group of people I had never met — could have been dangerous.

I shouldn’t have gone on vacation with my boyfriend, my ex-boyfriend, and his girlfriend — could have been awkward.

I shouldn’t have gone on writing retreats with authors I admire — could have been embarrassing.

I shouldn’t be dancing in my office with my window open and the speaker on full volume on Sunday mornings — could be inappropriate.

There are…


It might actually be a joy-killer for both of you.

We were on the Autobahn 67 South when I took an exit my then-boyfriend didn’t expect me to take. “Where are you going?” he asked. And I finally got to say the word I had been dying to say for weeks: “Paris!” I had secretly planned this trip, arranged time off for him from work, packed his bag, booked a hotel, made dinner reservations. I had made up a story about why I would be driving him to work that day.

I had had this conversation in my head: I would say: “Paris!” …


Reflections on fear, success, comparison, and joy.

Remember my last post and how I told you about my anxieties around the upcoming river trip?

Well, you are reading this post now, so that’s already a spoiler that we didn’t drown (not that something actually dangerous was ever the source of my fears). And while I lost my phone in a challenge to the river gods, my whits did not disappear in the rapid with it.

Other than that, everything I was afraid of happening pretty much happened on Day 1: Not only did I get the boat stuck on a rock, but it also:

  • happened again and…


A haiku reflection on wildfire smoke.


It protected my outdoor adventure vacation from an anxiety meltdown.

Last week, I rafted down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River through the Frank Church––River of no Return Wilderness in Idaho.

Before we got in the car to get on a plane to get on a boat to get on a river, we had been packing for days, planning for weeks, looking forward to this for months. But much had changed since we were first invited to join this adventure in early March.

Close friends dropped out for various reasons. Both my and my husband’s physical strength was weaker. The water levels were ridiculously low for July, so we…


A haiku reflection on change.

with their big black feet
swans stroll along the river
all like: “change? what change?”

I am sitting on a bench in downtown Wiesbaden. To my right, there is a chain coffee shop where one of my favorite boutiques used to be. On the way, I passed a Five Guys. A Five Guys! I don’t remember what store used to occupy the beautiful space in the beautiful building from the 1800s. I do remember it was not a U.S. burger chain.

I am catching myself thinking that everything used to be not just different, but better. …


What others remembered about my father made me think about how I want to be remembered.

“I remember the day when he told me the truth about my maternal great-grandmother. He talked so matter-of-factly about this big family secret I didn’t even know existed.”

That was my cousin’s answer when I asked her for a spontaneous memory of my father when we were sitting together after his memorial service. My other cousin’s wife said (with a side glance at her father-in-law): “He was the first of his generation to immediately welcome me into the family, so kind and generous.”

Other things I heard were: “he helped me…,” “he showed me…,” “he trusted me to….” People remembered…


Martha Beck’s premise of the essential and the social self.

When someone asks: “Who do you think you are?” (usually with a passive-aggressive undertone that implies the addressed ought not to think of themselves very highly), they probably aren’t interested in getting an honest answer.

But what if they were?

Who DO you think you are?

Would you tell them?

Or would you share with them the version of yourself you want others to see?

And then there’s the real question: Who are you? Are you who you think you are?

I had spent so much time and energy obsessing about somebody else that I had lost sight of who…


About learning to see what you are looking for.

Whether on the road or on the river, I am usually the first to notice any wildlife. We have actually turned the car around because other passengers did not believe that there was a moose (which is totally worth turning around for). There are two reasons why I am good at wildlife spotting: I am constantly scanning for it, consciously or not, and I am good at pattern recognition (colors, shapes, movement).

The one reason for those two things being true: my father, who died a year ago this coming week. While there were various flaws in his fathering, he…


At least to me. Let’s move away from how society measures success.

I posted the image above on social media recently with a text that talked about the investments I made to have the kind of life that allows me to go skiing on a Thursday afternoon. I wasn’t giving stock market or real estate advice. I mused about the courage and money I invested in my well-being when I decided to work part-time in my early thirties — 20% of my salary for one day off. You can read the Instagram version here.

The post got more reactions than usual. Some from people who made similar choices, some from people who…

Sylke Laine

Self-Disruption Coach, Writer, UX Designer. “How to Start Wasting Time and Become Less Productive” → https://letters.mrslaine.com/start-wasting-time

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