Sherry McConkey chooses life, everyday.
In your TED talk, you mentioned a moment in which you realized you’d intentionally chosen a non-traditional lifestyle by marrying Shane. (e.g. You didn’t marry a Microsoft guy.) I’m wondering how that recognition/choice has changed or deepened over the past decade?
I haven’t changed at all. I often say, I wish I had a normal life. But it’s just not me. It’s not who I am. I was not normal from the get-go. I never would have left South Africa to travel the world by myself. I’ve found what I love. This is what makes me happy. I do have a different mindset since Shane died, though. I would never go base-jumping or skydiving, I’ve become conservative in that way. So I don’t think I am as crazy as I was.
Let’s talk about motherhood. How has motherhood changed the way you think about yourself?I don’t know if I think of myself as very different (other than my body!) but life has definitely changed. My focus is on Ayla and it’s way more incredible than life was before. You have more fears, and more crazy thoughts. You’re more protective of yourself and of her. There’s a million things that change about how you think when you have a child.
You’ve talked about how it was your community in Tahoe and their support that helped lift you up after losing Shane. Tell us about the tribe of people that keep you sane and how you stay connected.
"I often say, I wish I had a normal life. But it’s just not me. It’s not who I am. I was not normal from the get-go. This is what makes me happy."
When you feel defeated, how do you push yourself to keep going?
You’ve described cycling as a sanctuary for you. Can you tell us more about how you discovered it, and why it resonates with you?
We’ve noticed that so many women we cross paths with have incredibly layered hobbies and passions that make them fascinating and complex. What else fuels you?
"I’ve learned you can do anything you want in life. You have to believe. Always be kind. Don’t be insecure. It’s such a waste of time and it’s so unattractive."
What is your top life tip you think everyone should know that keeps you sane?
How would your closest friends describe you?
I will never get tired of the same old you.
You can do pretty much anything.
You know what is important in life, you are not vain or material or consumptive.
You are generous and kind far beyond what is expected.
You don’t think you are hot.
And a whole bunch more that I can’t think of right now. If I were ever to write a book, it would be called “My last Valentine’s Letter.” It’s one of the greatest pleasures in my life.