What's in My Bag

What’s in my NOW? — Larissa Fernandes

issue #179

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The most consistent and successful thing I have been in my life has been a mother. With my 14-year-old, we respect each other, we have fun together, and we talk about the important things. At work, however, I have never been very consistent. From copywriter to recruiter to artist to professor to consultant and, now, to Account Executive. Yes, I sell things. When I’m not selling things, I’m attempting to play the piano or drums, trying to become a writer, learning to cook, and nurturing this special kid, so that he becomes a decent and kind human being who can bring more joy into the world. — Larissa Fernandes


  • My hammock — You have never really rested or felt truly at peace if you haven’t rocked yourself gently while laying in a hammock. I cannot fathom living in an apartment or house where I could not have one. In the most comfortable hammocks, you feel nestled by the soft fabric, almost as if you were being hugged by someone you love. The best place to set up a hammock is parallel to and near a wall, so that you can rock yourself gently by pushing against the wall with your foot. I’ll give you a tip: don’t buy the flat ones, by the ones that adjust to your body. You’re welcome.
  • Figuring by Maria Popova — I bought this book over a year ago and was excited to start reading it, having been a “Marginalian” reader for ten years. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get past the second page due to the writing style, which I found to be verbose and too decorative. A year later, I tried it again and, to my surprise, I devoured it over the course of three weeks. I have never read such a beautifully written non-fiction book. Once I got used to the embroidered style, I fell in love with all kinds of real-life characters; some scientists, some writers, some philosophers, most women, most queer, all genius. It’s sad how we have forgotten the very people whose struggles and battles made it possible for us to be here today. This is a book to take in slowly, to research on the side to learn more, and then reread over the years. I miss it as I would miss a friend.
  • Victrola/Record Player — Even though I have never owned a record player, a few years ago my dad passed down to me his entire vinyl collection. He knew how much I valued the power of music and thought I would be the right protector of his musical legacy (also, my mom made him get rid of it). When my sister lent me her record player recently, I was eager to try my records for the first time. As I rummaged through the collection, looking for one to play, I stumbled upon a record with the cover so damaged, you couldn’t tell who the artist was. When I looked inside, the tag on the vinyl read “The Beatles”. I was stunned; it was the “White Album”. I set the first disc (side 1) onto the turntable, moved the needle to the first song and, as “Back to the USSR” started playing, I burst into tears. It was impossible to not feel emotional throughout all of the songs. It was like listening to history; a different kind of feeling. Unexplainable, incomparable. If you have never heard vinyl records, they are the real deal. Get one and listen to real music.


  • Reddit — Reddit can be the black hole of doom for humanity, or it can be a worthy community for healthy discussions. I joined Reddit on the same day that I left Instagram. I didn’t know what to expect, but my son gave me several warnings and some great tips. So, I joined a few communities and I have been having fun talking with people about the books I read, the movies I watch, and things that interest me such as philosophy, psychology, music, writing, science and math. I have found communities where people have had the same difficulty I had to finish Walden by Thoreau, the same love for Snatch, and the same favorite songs by AJR. If you know where to look (and from where to keep out), Reddit can be a great place to learn and have fun.
  • Year Compass — This is a digital journal (which you can also print out) that helps you close the year behind you and plan for the year ahead. It is meant to be worked on once a year and I have completed it three times already. I love looking back at my year and seeing how I am always able to accomplish more than I thought. You begin to realize that some goals take longer to accomplish, while others don’t really matter as much. You can keep track of dreams, objectives and activities, and how they evolve and change over time. You learn to plan and create a better life for yourself and your community. It’s especially handy for those who don’t keep a daily journal, like me.


“I don’t know where I’m going, but I know exactly how to get there.”

I recently heard this quote from Boyd Varty. It spoke to me, because one of my greatest fears is not getting to where I want to be. Not because I don’t think I’ll get there, but because I don’t know where “there” is. I don’t know what I want to bedo or accomplish. I don’t know what my purpose is. Is there really such a thing? There are so many things that I enjoy doing outside of my day job, but none that gets enough attention. It also doesn’t help that I change interests every six months. At 38, I feel like I will never accomplish anything real. But, that quote helped me to understand that you have to keep on doing what feels right and for as long as it feels right. Eventually, if you keep working on it, that feeling will manifest itself as the “there” that you are looking for.


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