My September morning routine: Sleep data, Astrology and Urban Dictionary

Nanny Marie ThorvaldsenSep 30 · 4 min read

These days I wake up two times. Once when the alarm rings, then I pass out again and then the second time when my boyfriend wakes me up with coffee. I’m not living a nine to five life these days, so what am I doing with my life? Here’s what my morning routine looks like at least.

I wake up using sleep cycle app. Today’s data: 79% sleep quality, 12 minutes of snoring (not me) and the sleeping notes recorded the weather so I could already tell it’s been raining all night. Autumn is here and I can feel the crisp air as soon as I pull myself out of my second coma. Delightful.

Then I check my horoscope. Yeah, I’m one of those. Always have been, so you may consider this my coming out party as a millennial astrology nerd. I also have a few crystals, no shame. I’m using the Nebula app, and I’m not really sure why I’m so into it these days, but I consider it a way of balancing my life and hacking my priorities. Priorities are hard, making them I mean, so having something that helps me understand where I should put my energy really helps. Because my energy has been all over the place lately, chaos almost.

Today is a good day for making travel plans it says, so that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’m also going to put a few extra hours into building my portfolio. You know, an extended more sexy version of LinkedIn that showcases some of the projects and campaigns I’ve done over the last few years. Biggest challenge there: not nitpicking over details and get stuck. Just get it done and worry about the details later.

When I wake up I also try not to check my social media. Have been for a while, and it’s great not starting your day off with someone’s else’s life shoved into my face 2 minutes after being woken from a comatose dream state.

Instead I’ve downloaded the Urban dictionary app. I love it, and it gives me a word of the day every day. Today’s word is “No-J”.

I love pop culture, it’s weird and constantly changing because people get weirder and are changing faster than ever. I’m also more on 9GAG than Facebook these days, makes me feel good about my generation, and it’s also surprisingly educational. Whatever important news I might be missing shows up there in the shape of a meme or video compilation or whatnot. Social digital democracy at its best if you ask me.

Then I drink my coffee and listen for birds. I miss nature, miss having the opportunity to drink coffee in nature. Need to do something about that and incorporate in travel plans. Perhaps look for futures homes that aren’t in the middle of the city with buses driving by every 5 minutes.

Then I write. Today, this is what I’m writing. Yesterday I was working on this slightly challenging chapter for my book, (yeah I’m writing a book) and trying to figure out how I can incorporate some interactive concepts into it. More info to come, but I’m only writing this book for a few selected people so won’t be publishing much of the content here. Not yet, at least.

Instead I’ll be publishing some posts I’ve been working on for everything from 5 days to 5 years. I’ve have a big flaw, and that is that I love to start new things but I struggle finishing them. I’m learning and adapting, and working on finishing more stuff. I once even started a blog called “unfinished business” just because I wanted a good laugh of the whole thing. It was a self fulfilling prophecy and you guessed it; it was left unfinished.

Then I drink some more coffee. I’ve stopped reading the news, almost completely. Once a week I give it a try and I immediately regret it when I see more ads for weight loss and tooth whitening technology than actual news. And the headlines, oh god the headlines. Shameful, distasteful and completely without any form of bullshit filter. I understand the media industry is struggling but come on people, you can do better. You meaning the you as in you as a consumer, that is. The journalists are only catering to your needs and doing their jobs. Not their fault we value entertainment more than factful information.

But I digress, sorry about that. My mind tends to go off the rails when going down the path of public perception and media. It’s interesting, mind blowing even, but too much to handle after only one cup of coffee.

So I’ll get another one, read through this again and publish it as a Monday morning post on Medium. Medium is awesome, it’s honest. It lets people tell stories without the pressure of calling it news, a blog or whatnot. It’s just stories. And this is one of mine.

Enjoy your day,

Nanny

THE POWER OF DOING NOTHING

Nanny Marie Thorvaldsen Sep 13  · 8 min read

“So what’s your plan for the weekend, Nanny?”

“Absolutely nothing, it’s going to be great”

*silence and awkward laughter*

This summer I’ve been listening to the audiobook “Girl, Wash your face” by Rachel Hollis. She said this: “One thing a woman needs to do before she is able to do anything else: taking care of herself” — and it hit me hard.

I’ve never been good at taking care of myself. I mean I do laundry several times a week and I cook for myself and my boyfriend and I know how to solve everyday things, but when it comes to knowing my mind and body’s limits — let’s just say I’m still in school.

But there are a few things I’ve come to learn over the years. I’m a sprinter, not a marathon runner. I run fast as hell but not for a very long time. And I’ve hit the wall like most people. I’ve had too many projects going on at once, too little sleep, not enough food and too much caffeine and nicotine. The attitude of “whatever gets you through the day” was strong in me. And it was all fun and games until I completely crashed and hit the wall in my second year of college.

I was head of the board at my student association, I was launching an incubator for student founders, I worked with a PR & Communications for America’s most active seed investor, I was attending an 8-week leadership program and oh yeah I was a full-time bachelors degree student. I didn’t know it at the time but I was destined to crash. And I did. Hard.

It was one of the weekends we had a gathering with our team in Future Leaders. I was getting ready for two days filled to the brim of personal and professional coaching and deep dives into reflections about ourselves and the impact we have on the world. It was already a rough morning, you know, one of those days where you bring your coffee cup to the bathroom to brush your teeth and do your makeup at the same time and accidentally you put your toothbrush in the coffee and from that point on you just omg alright it’s one of those days.

I came to the venue of the gathering, a little late because I had to gather myself for a few minutes before walking into a group of ambitious, smart and driven people. I sat down, when suddenly everything went dark. I couldn’t breathe and excused myself to go to the bathroom. I stood there focusing on my breathing for about 10 minutes until a girl who was headed to the bathroom saw me standing there looking at myself in the mirror, she kindly asked if everything was alright. I smiled and politely said “ thanks, all good” before I brushed myself off and stepped outside.

I couldn’t gather my breathing properly and felt my tears pushing through. I walked, almost ran, downstairs back to my team, gathered my stuff and said I needed to go but I’ll be back tomorrow. They didn’t know what was going on, but as a respectful group of great humans, they didn’t ask too many questions and just nodded kindly saying “see you tomorrow!”. As soon as I walked out the main doors and felt the fresh cold air hitting my face, I completely fell apart.

I cried and I cried and I couldn’t breathe and I freaked out because I didn’t know what was happening.

I jumped on the first bus I saw and headed home. Still crying, still having trouble breathing and still not sure if this was a case of serious PMS or if this was a full-blown panic attack. This is to this day the only time I’ve ever really cried in public.

I got home, poured myself a glass of water, sat down on the kitchen floor and just stared into the wall for what felt like an eternity.

I didn’t know what was happening but I knew something wasn’t right. After talking to a few good friends I realized that I was in fact broken. Something inside me broke down and I didn’t understand what it was, or how to deal with it.

I had too much going on for way too long and I didn’t stop for a second to take care of myself or take the time to evaluate my actions and state of mind. I was embarrassed, I felt weak and I felt like a complete failure. I had people relying on me and I had deadlines. I didn’t have time for a breakdown.

I didn’t properly take enough time to cope with it either. I ignored it until it went away, only except it didn’t and it took me a long time to realize what had happened.

I wish I knew then what I know now.

IT’S WHEN YOU THINK YOU DON’T HAVE TIME TO DO NOTHING, THAT IT’S IMPORTANT TO DO JUST THAT.

YOU’RE NO GOOD TO ANYBODY IF YOU DON’T MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF TO RECHARGE.

Doing nothing is probably one of the hardest things for any millennial or Gen Z I know out there. We constantly distract ourselves with apps, entertainment, events, or researching our next adventure to make sure we don’t miss out on the next wave of new things.

Most of my life I’ve been heavily driven by FOMO (fear of missing out). I didn’t want to go to sleep when I was a kid, I never missed a party in my teenage years and I was always on the lookout for something better, more interesting things to do. I’ve always escaped to things like music, movies, writing, festivals, rearranging my home, laughing at memes, playing video games or recent years crashing startup events for the inspiring people and free drinks. For a few years, I couldn’t sit still even when I tried to. Safe to say I wasn’t the most attending student in college.

I’ve always searched for things to spark inspiration, give me an adrenaline kick or play into my emotions. I love getting new experiences and being part of things that touches my very soul. Missing out on fun was my biggest nightmare, especially if was stuck at work or occupied with other not-so-fun activities. FOMO is real guys, I know it.

DON’T JUST TAME THE DRAGON

Our emotional state affects our physical state. Depression, anxiety, stress and all the good stuff affects how we treat our physical self and there are countless studies on why it occurs and how to fix it. In many cases, a doctor’s appointment and a prescription is the answer to many. I’ve been enough in the US to see just how massive the options at CVS (their largest drugstore chain) are for helping with this and that. It scares me every time I see a box of aspirin (paracetamol) on the shelf containing 250 pills and sold for the price of 7 dollars (65NOK). 250 pills of aspirin??? If you’re in that much pain I would go see a specialist. Solutions like these are temporary and hurtful in the long run when it doesn’t really fix the real problem which is in fact; You just need a friggin break.

Whenever I decide to do absolutely nothing I do so because my brain is on overload. Knowing when you need a hard reboot in order to not completely crash might be a painful learning experience, and if you are like me you’ll have to fuck up a few times to figure this out. You might need an evening of nothing, a weekend or a full 7 days of doing absolutely nothing.

So whats the learning in all this?

When you make the decision of doing nothing, you subconsciously tell yourself that there is no pressure, nothing to stress over and nothing in your life that just has to be done. And this is where the magic happens.

When you set your mind to do nothing you not only block out the parts of you that are stressed out, you let yourself go into a mindset of rebooting. Some might call this boredom, but in my experience boredom is seldom, and boredom is good. We’re not bored enough these days, we have too many easily accessible ways of simply escaping it whenever we want.

We’re so heavily addicted to and influenced by the rest of the world that we forget that if we don’t put ourselves in the driver’s seat we will completely lose track of what is real, and what is not.

Ask yourself:

DOES THIS GIVE ME ENERGY, OR TAKE IT AWAY?

It’s either yes or no. This single question has in some ways revolutionized the way I make decisions on whether or not to do something. I’m still learning because I’m a notorious yes-person and always have been, but saying no to the right things is a master of the arts I’m aiming to one day master.

ENERGY ISN’T JUST FOR ELON MUSK OR NEO HIPPIE ASTROLOGISTS

Being unaware of your energy level is so easy in a noisy and easily distracted world. We tell ourselves we’re not tired, we just need some sleep. So you drink some water, take an aspirin, get a few hours of sleep, wake up and feel slightly more like a human. But this doesn’t really matter if you’re already running on fumes.

What is real is you, as a human. Your heart, your stomach, your brain, and your lungs. It’s so easy to forget about the things that are literally keeping us alive when its too much noise pulling us in all kinds of directions.

Previous generations might not see this the same way we do — they didn’t grow up with smartphones and notifications and social media and likes and follows and whatnot. We barely remember a time without the internet. They grew up in a world where if they wanted to experience the world and get influenced by it they had to go outside, go to a bar, a concert, a lecture, a dance class or to a town hall meeting. They had to more actively make a decision to be influenced by the world around them. Today we get neck kinks from staring down at our phones or screens, and that little red dot only adds to our mental to-do list.

Stress and FOMO and intruding notifications will be the death of us if we don’t start listening to our bodies and our energy level.

I believe that many of the challenges in our daily life can be solved with a heavy dose of nothing. Not all the time, just once in a while to balance out all the chaos. Not everything needs to have a fancy fix, but we must dare to take time for ourselves and free our calendars to set aside for just simply being alive, if only for a little while. It might be inconvenient, but absolutely necessary and it will trigger your mind to see things differently. And hopefully, prevent a full-on breakdown because youre doing too many things at once.


I’m currently focusing more on my writing, and I want to get better at it, so don’t hesitate to leave a comment or send me some feedback on this piece. Also, clap if you like this article and follow if you wanna read more stories like this one! Thanks for reading.

/Nanny
me@nannythorvaldsen.com

Being In a Bilingual Relationship

I´ve been in two bilingual relationships for some time now: one with the love of my life, and one with my work. Both comes with great learning and its time to put some of this into words (lol yes I just went there).

  1. Its easier to be honest

I talk English at home, and in my job there’s usually three languages present at any given time: Norwegian, English and Swedish, sometimes with a hint of Finnish. Being forced to think twice about the words that comes out of your mouth is great as you start being very selective of the words you use, and for some reason I find it easier to take the tough conversations in English. Being honest in another language is easier because it feels less threatening, less personal and you choose your words more wisely as you pretty much have less words to choose from. In my experience, getting to the point and being real about what’s going on is much easier in another language.

2. You get a lot of laughter in your life

I crack up on a daily basis of pure linguistic funniness. Misspelled words and lack of the right words in brain fart scenarios provides a lot of laughter and fun into a relationship, and I can’t tell you how many times conversations have ended up being purely about language. It’s fun to learn new languages and it forces you to think differently about how you communicate with others.

3. You have something to teach each other

Me being the Norwegian and him the American there is a constant learning curve in our relationship. Because besides of pure language there is a culture that comes with it, and there’s a lot to learn. Dating a foreigner forces you to truly learn about your own culture because you have to teach it away to someone who is generally clueless, and I’ll tell you right here that I would have given less fucks about Norwegian culture hadn’t it not been for the fact that my partner is obsessed with it. I’m Norwegian, it’s just present in me and my history — nothing exciting really. But when you have to represent and teach your own culture it opens your eyes to finding new things you probably never would have found otherwise. Him being American teaches me great things about his culture in way deeper ways than what I could ever learn from an outsider´s perspective.

4. You learn true patience

On top of all the laughter and word play, concepts and cultural quarks you eventually come to a point where language sometimes can be a barrier. In stressful situations it can sometimes be difficult to get the right message through, and given the fact that both of you are learning each other’s language you need to be patient and loose you’re linguistic arrogance (yes we all have that). My vocabulary in Norwegian has always been great, and I’ve always had an interest in new exciting words, new ways of explaining things. Having pride in your vocabulary in one language will definitely challenge you when you’re ‘forced’ to dumb down your language in order to make yourself understood. This is where the importance of being patience comes in. Take a breather, appreciate how far you’ve come and how exciting it is to learn new things every day.

5. Your language skills obviously improves

When I first started dating my partner my English skills were dreadful. I didn’t think so at the time as I’ve always been excellent at it — by Norwegian standards at least. Being an B+(ish) student in English all my life and having had a somewhat international family tree I’ve grown up with a large range of languages in my life, and my perception of my English skills two years ago was that “I’m pretty good”. Today I realize how much I’ve learned, but I needed people telling me — otherwise I’ll just to the same mistakes over and over again. Like stupid typos and grammatical errors that should have been cured a long time ago. I like writing, and have been writing for a long time, and for some years now I’ve pushed myself to write more English whenever I could. Like this.

6. Your personality grows

As your language skills grow you also find out new things about yourself as you become familiar with the culture that comes with the language. Something as simple as “I like that” or “ I don’t like that” gives you a stronger foundation to truly finding out things about who you are. To me, learning new languages and cultures has given me way more than I could ever expect it to. I’ve found out many things about myself I probably would have never found had it not been for these cultural experiences. That’s because when you look at things with an entirely new lens, specifically through some else’s, it’s amazing what can be found and how you can grow from it.

Thanks for reading,
Nanny

Why Artists Make Great Founders

A year ago we wrapped up the first 500 Nordics accelerator program in Oslo and I noticed a small trend. The first Nordic batch included 12 companies and 33% of these founders present were musicians. This made for a more vibrant cohort and naturally a more entertaining one as well.

Most interesting I noticed a few parallels between the life of a musician and the life of an entrepreneur. They really aren’t very different as it turns out. So I was wondering if being both a musician and a founder at the same time gave one an unfair advantage. A sort of double edged sword for the great battle that is launching a startup.

grain

GOING AGAINST THE GRAIN

You get told what to do from your first breath. How to eat, how to speak, how to walk. How to dress, how to write and how to solve conflicts. Make the proper and expected choices. It takes a certain level of boldness to carve your own path, follow your passions and take that lead to pursue your passions.

I have always found people that do something different from others extremely intriguing. The ones who think, talk and walk differently. The ones who establish their own style and hack life in their own beautiful way. This is the life of an artist, and more so this is the life of an entrepreneur.

3

COMPARING THE ARTISTS

From my experience I found that artists and founders share many of the same traits. As a lover of music, and all that makes everyday life a little more colorful, and as a newly engaged startup geek I´ve been able to draw some interesting parallels.

PASSION

Everyone has passion for something, and those who manage to manifest their passion into making something are my kind of heroes. The ones breaking down their personal walls for others to see, and creating for others to experience. Musicians spend all night trying to get that one guitar solo perfect, similar to founders using endless energy on how to fix that one specific bug in their system. This effort would never exist without insane amounts of passion for their respective crafts.

CREATIVITY

Yes, creativity is something we all have somewhere inside us, but not all of us are creative by nature. Artists are the definition of creativity, it is literally their job. This is key in entrepreneurship as well, because if you can´t think outside the box – really – you don’t have much chance for success.

COMMUNICATION

Whether you are a newly formed band or a recently launched startup, you have to get the word out. You have to be able to communicate why you have something unique, and why you’re worth paying attention to. In this regard artists and founders share another common trait; they are usually not so good at marketing themselves.

CRAZINESS

Yes, I went there. Look at the greatest artists of time; Van Gogh, Edvard Munch (go Norway!), Mozart, Pushwagner, Kurt Cobain, Ozzy Osbourne and Lady Gaga. All either certified crazy, or border line mental. You have to be a little crazy to leave a big mark on this world.

HUSTLE

One of our musician founders shared a great quote with us. “A musician is someone that puts $5000 worth of gear into a $500 car to drive 100 miles to play a gig for $50.” They do what it takes to get the job done. Similarly it takes a certain level of hustle for founders to launch their products, get users and raise funding.

This is what I admire in both founders and musicians. No matter how many people are telling them to get a real job, or take a path more accepted by society they keep pushing forward. This is why I am inspired to work with both of these kind people at 500 Nordics.

rockhand

*Originally posted on 500nordics.co 

The Morning Glory As Social Media Manager

Eyes opening, drooling, where am I. Ok, safe. Water, drink. Where´s my phone, what time is it. Okey didn’t oversleep, could’ve been worse. Okey no snoozing now, carpe diem, wake up. Check your phone and see if anything has happened. 137 notifications? FML. Was only offline for five hours. I hate the internet, fuck this day.

I read somewhere that you shouldn’t check your mail immediately when waking up because it’s stored in your brain as a “to do-list”, which means do fucking not check it before you’ve got a cup coffee. Or three. You wouldn’t answer an important call at a bar would you? No, you have to be alert, at least awake, for that shit.

Okey, checking Google Analytics(it’s like a drug and I’m addicted). Really? Darn, gotta change something. Be more creative.

Now Facebook. Ugh. Tags, likes and comments. People are stupid. Starting to resent Pokémon a bit. No, I love Pokémon, people are just annoying. Oh cool iPhone 7 is coming out this fall, maybe I can afford iPhone 6s+ now. Because I truly need that big ass screen doing all this on my shit iPhone 5C. No iPad doesn’t do the job.

Next up: Snapchat, Gmail, Slack, Wunderlist, GoogleCal, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter. No, definitely need a shower and coffee before that shit. Babies, reminders, notifications, connections, showoffs and dry humor definitely has to be processed after caffeine.

*Making coffee on the way into the shower, drinking while water turns warm*

I’m alive. Ish. Okey what to wear. Chill out clothes for home office? Abso-fucking-lutley, no reason dressing up yet. Makeup? Nah. Maybe, do I have a Skype meeting? No? Then whatevs. Second cup of coffee in the making(Nespresso style). Hair up in a towel-turban, legs moisturised. Nicotine. ASAP. Alright let me just turn my computer on so I can get a better overlook on today’s doings.

This basically sums up my morning routines the last six months. Time for some reflection.

The Power of Disconnecting

As my phone has become my main work tool I’m starting to see the need for some well drawn boundaries. All apps social is good for more than just stay connected with people, it’s a great way of seeing what is trending, what people care about and basically seeing what is going in this world, but there is a line.

Yesterday I did something I sometimes do when I need some serious downtime; I shut everything off. Phone, iPad, notifications on my computer. Silenced that shit hard, disconnecting from the constant influence by the world surrounding and far beyond.

It was glorious and felt like rebirth.