📝 Notes for the Curious: Edition #79


Sound the alarm! Notes for the Curious is officially 3 years old.


How did that happen? If you had told me three years ago that I would still be writing and sending this little missive out into the world every two weeks, I would have laughed at you. Habits are something I struggle to maintain. Regular correspondence is not my strong point (it would appear that I answer a lot of texts and emails in my head forgetting that I actually need to send them in order for people to receive a reply), so the idea that I could keep this up every two weeks was challenging at best.

I was looking back over everything I had shared since 2016, recently. Together, we’ve read over 370 articles. Can you believe it? The top level topics have only changed slightly but I noticed a definite trend towards pieces which were less how to do this or that, and much more about challenging how things are done and encouraging broader more critical thinking. I think that’s very reflective of where my learning has developed in the past three years, but wonderful to know that the deepening of what we read together hasn’t put people off, you’ve pretty much all stayed around to see what comes next and the Notes have consistently grown to reach more people who like the same things we do.

As for what comes next, I’m looking at a reader survey in the coming weeks, a commitment to diversifying the voices that I represent through the Notes and much more. I want to say “here’s to the next three years!” but really, who knows? I will keep writing the Notes as long as I am enjoying them and as long as I know that there are still people who want to read them. So maybe it’s more, here’s to seeing what comes next and remaining curious.

For now, let’s get on with the Notes…

1) When sharing might not be caring

In the Amsterdam Mamas community this week, a parent posted this fascinating opinion piece from a 14 year old and her experience of joining social media. This is such new territory for parents and children. Knowing where the boundaries of their life as a child and your story of being a parent begins and ends is a very grey space. Some time ago, we decided not post pictures of our son any more on social media. Does that mean that pictures of him do not exist on social media? Of course not. We have family and friends who share photos, we didn’t go back and delete anything we’d previously shared. We are just more aware of what we post now. That said, I had never considered that one day those “cute stories” and “funny things he said” will cause him discomfort. I don’t have any particular views on whether or not this is the right decision for anyone else or even if it will continue to be the right decision for us as a family. If you’d like to share your thoughts on the topic, I’d love to hear them.

2) What if…

Women stopped trying to lead like men. I mean, what if…?

3) No to plastic?

I’ve been struggling with the issue of plastic in our lives for a while. I’d love to be able to stick my head in the sand over these issues but I live in the Netherlands, home of The Ocean Clean Up, and it is impossible to ignore what we are learning about the impact of plastic on the planet. As part of my “reset your life” sabbatical, I’ve been deep decluttering our home and I think we’re at the point where we really need to be more conscious of our plastic use. We’re starting with a dedicated plastic recycling bin and commiting to recycling what we use as well as learning about the different types of plastic so we know what can’t be recycled and should therefore be avoided. I don’t think we’ll ever reach a plastic free life though, as these people point out, life without plastic is possible, it’s just really hard.

4) The living hell of email

I have lots of feelings about email. Very few of them positive. I must have tried every email management system going, and yet… It seems I am not alone in feeling that email is broken.

5) Ending lonliness

In edition #77, your favourite link was the one about how to make friends. Which is why this article on what it is like to live without any friends caught my eye. My work in community began, nineteen years ago, precisely because of loneliness - at the time, my own, now it’s other people’s. Loneliness and disconnection are the epidemics of our times. Community will save the world, I keep saying it and it only becomes more true. We desperately, deeply need to learn how to belong to each other, to find ways to connect. Please remember to always look a little below the surface of your daily actions, check on your people and be aware of others around you. We’re going to fix this, I truly believe it. But it will take all of us to do it.

Until the next Notes,


Who am I and who do I help? I’m Emmy McCarthy and I make small businesses better and help people create leadership in their communities.

❓ Do you have a burning question that you think I can answer? I don't have all of the answers, but that just gives me a good excuse to learn more. Hit reply to this email to send me your question.

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