________________ (Noun) is an Inside Job

Does anybody else remember Mad Libs? Books of stories with various blank spaces where you fill in the noun, verb, adjective, etc. of your choice to make the most ridiculous, funny, scary, etc. story possible?

It occurs to me as summer comes to a close that now is a great time for some adult Mad Libs.


Well, I don’t know about you, but for me, the end of summer always brings a welter of emotions: melancholy, excitement, anxiety…take your pick.

How have I been responding?

By inserting various nouns into the above headline.

What nouns have been in the rotation?

Strength. Happiness. Acceptance.

Easy enough to insert…the tricky bit has been taking them from something external to being something I generate from the inside.

Let’s take strength as an example—it’s uppermost in my mind because the last two fall seasons I’ve lost a lot of strength: two years ago I had a dalliance with typhoid fever that knocked me out for the better part of nine months; last September, bodysurfing left with me with a mix of whiplash and concussion, the effects of which lingered until well after the holidays.

In both cases, rebuilding my physical strength took time—but was nothing compared to rebuilding my mental and emotional strength.

And both times I found myself frustrated that—despite doctors and loved ones helping me—I wasn’t stronger sooner.

I forgot (and maybe you have, too) that it—whatever “it” is for you—is an inside job.

With this in mind, I wrote this post to remind me that—regardless of what this fall brings—after I actively choose (insert noun here) it’s up to me to nurture it from the inside, daily.

I hope this inspires you to have some fun picking your noun and nurturing it, too.


For more on ways to navigate a welter of emotions, you might take a look at “What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do.” 

** Yep, the above is a picture of me from last week’s vacation where I was happy to feel strong—inside and out. Vacation’s over but I’m keeping it around for a bit of visual inspiration.