Heidi Isern

writer. thinker. whiskey drinker.

Tell Fear to F*ck Off-4 Ways to Jumpstart a New Life

“I love her, but I’m too afraid to tell her in case she laughs.” “My real dream is to be a chef, but I’m afraid of starting over at 39.” “I have this idea…..but I’m so afraid it just won’t work.” All these were quotes I pulled from Scaredy Cats Anonymous, a dimly lit place where people release their qualms and take shots of courage to make a leap forward

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Why You Can’t Make Your Relationship Last

“Stop writing about finding a relationship,” he told me. “That’s the easy part. Write about how to keep one.” My friend John was a 40-year-old serial monogamist. He couldn’t make a relationship last even though he aspired to find a woman he could “have passionate sex with until he was 85.” Yet he was on his 15th girlfriend, unsure of her long-term viability. Most people say they would cut off

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Quantity or Quality? My Blogging Struggle

I’ve let my readers down this week. My usual Wednesday post, ‘humpdayheidi’ is on a 7 day hiatus and it’s killing me. Writers aren’t supposed to take breaks, are they? They are the entrepreneurs of words, working 26 hour days and taking out second mortgages so that they can pursue their passion. I thought I was such an artist, sacrificing for my craft. You see, in March I decided to

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My Family’s Gay Indian Montana Wedding

“In my wildest dreams, I never thought I’d be going to a gay wedding,” said my uncle. “I didn’t even know what gay meant as a kid,” said my dad. “In college the term gay just meant being happy. We’d say we had a gay ol’ time.” My uncle chuckled. “Well, guess we’re about to have another one.” We all loaded ourselves in trucks to go to a garden spot

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How to Survive Loss, Without Losing Yourself

“There is an art to missing,” said an old man in Nice as he took a sip of wine. Red droplets hung from his mustache while he told me about his lost wife, his amour de la vie. The french translation of “I miss you” is “tu me manques” which literally is “you are missing from me.” But I was too young then. I didn’t understand what missing meant. Since

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Books that Change the Course of Our Lives

“Books change people’s destinies.” – Carlos Maria Dominguez, The House of Paper Good books have a way of getting into your bloodstream. They become a homeopathic treatment, imprinting new thoughts into your molecules, changing the core of who you are and what you seek. The right books cause us to love deeper, travel more, take risks, end things, start things, and redo things. A 140 character count tweet won’t alter

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Age 40 – Half Dead or Just Starting?

I must regretfully inform the public that it is the last year of my 30’s. I just turned THIRTY NINE. I used to think this was the time I would go over the hill, roll down and die. Although Instagram’s filters smooth my wrinkles into youthful smiles, I can’t fool anyone. I’m not a millennial. I’m part of the lost generation that is stuck somewhere between X and Y. I’m

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Why Feeling Like You’re Not Enough ….Is More Than Enough

There’s a trend with accomplished high achievers. Mistakes haunt us like banshees and we never feel like we are good enough. Hating ourselves can be motivating (fail fast, move forward faster?) but can also debilitate us. Sometimes I wallow in a well of self disgust so deep that I cannot climb out to brush my own teeth. Apparently, there are a lot of other ‘well dwellers’ out there too. I

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How to Stop Feeling Like You’re Underwater — Life Tips from Pros and Ducks

“I feel like I’m drowning,” a friend told me. “The more I try to accomplish the more buckets of stuff get dumped on my head. How the hell is everyone else coping with life?” It’s hard to shake the feeling that everyone is managing to stay afloat while the rest of us gasp for air. I get it. I live in San Francisco where overachieving is the status quo. People

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A Critique on Critique: How to Use it, How to Lose it.

“Are you ready to get torn to shreds?” I was asked. “Um…I think so,” I said. “Good. Then maybe you have a shot of being something.” A marketing expert was offering his editorial ‘guidance,’ aka critique. I’ve been dealing with critique my entire life. From writing workshops to company design reviews to my old cello teacher’s dismay at my Vivaldi renditions, I was always told I could do much better.

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Wanna Be Interesting? Write in a Bar

Kafka was wrong. He once said that writing is “utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.” If this were true, no one would write because they’d be too busy committing suicide to connect with their keyboard. At some point, you do have to chain yourself to your desk to type out the words that have been marinating in your mind. But that’s not the main part of

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Why Don’t We Listen to our Gut?

  “Don’t listen to your heart. It will lead you down painful paths,” an old gypsy once told me, reading the fractured love lines in my palm. “Don’t listen to your mind. Its calculations will turn you cold,” commented an investment banker, showcasing his ringless hand. “Listen to your gut,” said a trusted colleague. “It always knows.” Does it? I was given ‘gut advice’ many years ago when deciding to

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Choice-Make One and Don’t Look Back

“Should I quit my job to travel?” asked a reader. “Definitely travel,” I replied. Like most people, I only dole out advice that justifies my own life choices. “I just don’t know what I’ll regret more,” she said. “Not preparing for a promotion or not taking time off for adventure.” She later reported that she had constructed an excel spreadsheet of pros and cons and the final count revealed that

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3 of the Best Life Lessons Learned from Dad

1. Don’t Talk, Plant a Tree Dad isn’t a big talker. When I call home, Mom and I gab for 56 minutes straight before she passes the phone to Dad for his 4 minute end cap. Dad, as usual, is engrossed in a Mariner’s game. “How’s them Mariners?” I ask. I know nothing about baseball. “Good,” he says. Silence ensues. We scramble for words, improvising topics as we go. Should

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When Lying is Better Than Truth

Last week, I lied to all of you. Ok, I didn’t lie. But I certainly didn’t share the whole truth, which is almost the same thing. An old friend pointed this out to me while we were catching up downtown. “Heidi, what the hell was going on in your last post?” Like any good friend, he knows when I’m not telling the “whole truth.” A glass of wine had loosened

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The Naked Truth of Getting Older

As a woman, I’m not supposed to like getting older. Society tells us that most of our worth is tied to our youthful looks. This generates a sense of panic among 30 something dating, all of us hoping to lock down a mate before we hit our expiration date. “Warning: Best Before 40.” Who knows what piles of mush we will become after that? Amy Schumer cleverly defined this cut-off

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The Talk No One Wants to Have

“It’s time we have the talk,” I said. “What talk?” Michael asked, knowing exactly what talk I was referring to. “You know, the Define the Relationship Talk.” He groaned. This talk, better knows as the DTR, carries more trepidation than going to your annual check-up right after a bachelorette weekend in Vegas. However, this particular DTR had nothing to do with romance. Michael was my client. He’d been leading me

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Good Naked vs. Bad Naked

“The thing you don’t realize is that there is Good Naked and there is Bad Naked. Naked hair brushing-good. Naked crouching-bad.” In this Seinfeld episode, Jerry dates a nudist and quickly realizes that naked can have a dark side. For example: crouching over the countertop while nude, eating a pastrami sandwich. Vulnerability is the new naked. The trendy topic, fueled by Brené Brown’swork, encourages us to open up and connect

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Open Up, Close More Deals

“Don’t cry at work. If you are upset, go home and cry in the shower.” This was the advice I once gave a female colleague when she was going through a hard time, leaking tears all over our Excel spreadsheets. It was 2006 and we were climbing the management consulting ladder. To be successful, I felt we should come to the office with both our suits and emotions steam pressed.

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Leaving Perfection – A Poem

“I thought I did everything right in life,” he said gripping his hair in his palms. “An ivy league school, a high profile job, the pedigreed woman. All gone. What happened? How the hell did I fall down the rabbit hole and end up here?” Here? Well, HERE is the best place to be! Take my hand You good-hearted man I’ll lead you completely astray Through tangled vine gardens And

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