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Discovering my path to decluttering

Photo: LukaTDB/Getty Images

Somewhere in the flotsam of my bathroom vanity drawer is a decent pair of tweezers. Somewhere in the deluge of paper bags in my hall closet is a reusable one. Somewhere in my clothes closet is a pair of jeans that still fit.

Crap. It’s time to declutter.

Usually moving is the impetus for me to declutter, and I used to find pleasure in the sorting, deciding, and purging process. Moving may be impetus again, as some seismic life shifts are forthcoming. …


The Californian’s Dilemma

I’ve been through a Bay Area exodus before

A person taking a photo of a San Francisco street at the top of its hill on a foggy day.
Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

This week in The Bold Italic, we are publishing The Californian’s Dilemma, a series that goes beyond the headlines about the “California Exodus,” featuring essays from San Franciscans about why they’re choosing to stay or leave. Check back daily for new essays.

I was 11 when I first visited San Francisco and decided, with the innocence and might of youth, that I had to live here.

The memories of that day trip I took with my family are fragmented; hazy around the edges. San Francisco shared characteristics with my hometown of Salinas, California, about an hour and a half south…


“Mommy, can I play on the iPad?” my daughter calls from the kitchen, where I’m sure her hand is hovering over the device, waiting for my assent.

It’s Saturday morning. My husband left early for a round of golf, and I’m an “okay” away from a blissful hour sequestered with my writing book and favorite pen. Heck, I might even have a chance to finish this story instead of letting it tumble around in my head, spitting out phrases while I’m cutting into the right lane to avoid the car in front of me.


For the week of 9/17/2021

As seen on my daily work-from-home-forever walk

“Inner work is hard and there’s nothing wrong with celebrating yourself for progressing in that area,” writes Bernie’s Daughter. If the pandemic has taught me one thing in the past year, it’s that self care is my first priority.

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“Change from my working pajamas to my sleeping pajamas,” writes Jayla Sun about working from home, in her humorous, but very relatable working-from-home-forever post.

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So excited by Medium's new LISTS feature. Excited to see what you all share!


The last conversation I had with my grandfather was about the weather and cribbage. I shared that it was crisp-cool and surprisingly not foggy in San Francisco in June. Told him I took a good walk with my dog today. He said the weather in Sparks was warm, but not too hot. He’d beaten my aunt at cribbage earlier in the day. I used to resist talking about the weather, finding it superficial, but not today. I knew his time was coming.

“I love you, Grandpa,” I’d said before I hung up.

“I love you too, dear,” he had replied.


Dog walks make nearly everything better.

When I’m faced with uncertainty, doubt, or heaven forbid, a situation I feel ill equipped to handle, my default is to push harder, do more, and try and fill all the gaps in my knowledge at once.

This doesn’t work.

This morning I dropped a 5-week city college class on a programming language I’ve studied a bit. I thought the timeframe — a semester class condensed into a 5 week summer session — would be manageable.

But I didn’t consider everything else I’m doing. I’m a mom. I’m an engineering manager for this lovely platform where you’re reading. I’m a…

Julie Russell

Board Member of NaNoWriMo nonprofit, member of Alabama Street Writers’ Group, & Engineering Manager at Medium. Opinions are all and always mine.

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