Reinvention: The Mother of All Conundrums

Lately, I’ve been feeling like a jack of all trades, master of none.

Listening to “Dear Sugar,” one of my favorite podcasts the other day, I was reminded that we all reinvent ourselves countless times in our lives.

We are so many different people as we make our way through life; the ambitious and rebellious 20-something, then the still-ambitious-but-slightly-wiser 30-something; the aspiring dancer, the aimless student, the hopelessly romantic single girl…I have been all of those, at one time or another.

COB Quote

It really got me thinking…is it time for another reinvention?

Anytime I start to get restless about my career, or think about what I’ve accomplished (and not accomplished) at this point in my life, I have this compulsion to crumple up and throw away whatever I’m working on and start over. Reinvent.

Isn’t it easier sometimes just to start from scratch, rather than go back and try to fix it?

Back when I knew I wanted to leave my corporate job, I was paralyzed by the overwhelming unknown. What would I do next? What job would I be able to get? What kind of lifestyle changes would I have to make? Wouldn’t it just be easier to stay where I was?

 

To talk myself down from that never-ending spiral, I started thinking about all the jobs I have been paid to do in my life. When you’ve been working since you were 6, you can wrack up a few job titles. These include:

  • actor
  • child wrangler (seriously, it’s a job title)
  • art teacher
  • fact-checker/researcher
  • editor
  • retail salesperson
  • tradeshow booth rep
  • customer service supervisor
  • retail store manager
  • communications specialist
  • marketing manager
  • writer

Ah, that last one. I remember the first time my dear friend Laurie, an accomplished and well-respected writer/actor/director introduced me to one of her colleagues for the first time. “This is my friend Sam,” she said. “She’s a writer.”

I coughed up a good portion of the cheap wine I was sipping.

No one had ever called me a WRITER before. Don’t you have to be indoctrinated into some kind of super secret society before you call yourself a WRITER? It sounded weird. And I felt this unsettling whir of embarrassment, pride and giddiness when she said it.

That was 10 years ago, and I have been making a living as an editor or a corporate communications expert for more than 14 years now. I’ve even written and published a few children’s books. And yet when people ask me what I do, I say, “I’m a marketing strategist.” Or “I’m an editor.”

LC QuoteI don’t know why it’s so hard for me to own that last one on the list. Is it so impossible to believe that writing is my calling?

Writing is what I do. It’s what I’m doing right now. I do it every day, in the lists I make, the work I do, and the ideas for future blog posts I catalog in my brain.

So what I’m realizing is this: I can be a whole lot of different job titles—I’m sure I’ll wrack up a few more in this lifetime. But I don’t need to reinvent myself at the core.

 

 

I am a writer.

There, I’ve said it.

No need to reinvent again. I am also lots of other things…a wife, a student of yoga, a painter, a smart ass…I am 32 flavors and then some. And I will always be a writer.

So there’s no need to crumple up this page and toss it. I’m just going to keep writing on it. And see what happens next.

P.S. I just finished my latest children’s book, to be published in 2017. Super secret society, I’ll be hitting you up for membership.

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Don’t Let a Down Day Get You Down

Don’t Let a Down Day Get You Down

For the most part, I would say I am a positive person.

It wasn’t always that way. In my angsty 20s (and probably into my 30s too), I was certainly more of a glass-half-empty kinda gal. I wasn’t a pessimist as much as I was a skeptic.

But the last few years have taught me how much there is to appreciate in every day—in every moment, really.

Grace

I’ve become pretty good at chasing that joy with gratitude. Any time I catch myself getting cranky, frustrated, hangry, or road ragey, I try to STOP, take a breath, and bring my focus back to the good stuff.

But then there are those days…and I know we all have them…when there is just no convincing me that the sun is shining. Anywhere.

I am sad, down, blue, and downright unreasonable.

So what do you do on those days when you’re having a no good, very bad day? As a creative person, negative energy can not only kill your good mood, it can stop all your good juju from flowing.

This happened to me the other day, when I was tasked with writing some inspirational copy for a client. I could not shake the funk I was in, but I needed to get some work done!

On a blue day, here’s what I give myself permission to do:

1. Give myself a break.

Sometimes you need one. Sometimes it’s totally ok to spend an extra 10 minutes in bed before you hit the ground running. It’s ok to take a 15-minute break in the late afternoon and just sit in your car and turn on some tunes. It’s even ok to take a mental health day and not go and do all the things you’re supposed to do. Guess what? The world will keep spinning. And if you actually take a moment to let yourself rest a little extra bit, chances are you’ll be even stronger when you get back at it.

2. Shed a tear.

You know that feeling when you’re trying to hold back tears? That tightness in your throat, and your belly, and that clenchy jaw thing? Maybe it’s just me. But every once in awhile, I find that I just want a good cry. Maybe there’s not even a particularly good reason to. Doesn’t matter—I give myself 5 minutes to get it out. And then I move on.

3. Cheer myself up.

Now this isn’t like—let me eat an entire bag of cookie chips because that will cheer me up. (Whoever thought up cookie chips deserves an award or a flogging, I haven’t decided which yet.) This kind of cheering up is like—let me take a moment and think about how I’m feeling and what might make me feel better. Maybe it’s a special cup of tea, or watching dumb videos on YouTube for 5 minutes, or stretching out on my yoga mat for a few. Whatever it is, do it for yourself. It’s a real treat.

4. Get moving.

This is the part I most often resist when I’m down, even though I KNOW it will make me feel better. A long walk with my headphones in is bound to cure most any ill. A hot yoga class is kinda perfect to get my mind off a downer day. But if I don’t have time to do that on a particularly blue day, then I make a point to get outside for a few minutes and stretch. Or I shut my studio curtains and crank up the music and pretend I’m at da club. Whatever it takes to shake some of that negativity out.

Tomorrow5. Let it be.

And finally, I just try to stop resisting. I get still, I tune in, and I tell myself–tomorrow is another new day. Another chance to move forward, in the right direction.

Trust me, even though the sun may not be shining today, it will be there tomorrow. And the next day too.

The Truth About Working From Home

The Truth About Working From Home

Job_C

 

1.The majority of my pants no longer have buttons. Or zippers. I live in “active” wear. And it’s kind of awesome.

2. Along the same lines, I hardly ever wear a lick of makeup anymore. Also kind of awesome.

3. If I don’t take a shower as soon as I roll out of bed, chances are, it’s not happening until 9 p.m. I used to always shower at night so I could have more time in the morning when I worked an office job; now I’m excited to get right to work, and I sometimes forget to shower until I start to put on my pajamas at bedtime. Not so awesome.

4. The value of tea cannot be underestimated. Tea in the morning. Tea in the afternoon. Tea anytime. Read more

Serendipity

Serendipity
 Serendipity

Serendipity is such a great word. Doesn’t it just sound like a feather on the wind? I always picture the dog/dragon Falcor from The Neverending Story when someone says that word.

I think I like it so much because of what it means though.

The official definition: the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for.

Serendipity. Destiny. Fate. Call it what you will, I’m a total believer.

Read more

Why You Should Talk to Strangers

Why You Should Talk to Strangers

I’m not really the kind of girl who chats with strangers.

In fact, I tend to avoid them. At the gym or on an airplane, I’m the chick who gives you a smile as she’s putting on her headphones and cranking up the music.

Because I’m sure you’re really nice, but I’m not looking to make any new friends. And I don’t really want to end up in a political debate with you, or talk about the Kardashians, or hear about why your chick lit book is totally enthralling and I have to read it.

I’ve always been kind of a snob when it comes to strangers. But I think I’m a changed woman.

StrangersOn a recent trip up north, I met two strangers who I think the Universe may have placed in my path for a purpose.

Which made me think back to last December, when I was on a very emotional and nerve-wracking trip to the same destination. And if it weren’t for the kindness of a few strangers, I’m not sure what I would have done.

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Mixing A Little Mindfulness Into Your Morning

Mixing A Little Mindfulness Into Your Morning

Back when I was working my corporate job, mornings were a hectic, spastic kind of a mess. To get up and out and take care of everything that needed to be handled before rushing out the door to sit in traffic was…madness.

I always wanted to get more organized, and maybe even bring a little calm to my mornings. But I could never figure out how to do it without making it even more time-consuming and complicated.

As I retooled my life towards a more creative path, reclaiming my mornings was one of the first priorities on my list.

Setting an intention for your day sets the tone for everything to follow; it’s no wonder you’re feeling stressed, panicked and exhausted if that’s how you’re starting off every morning.

Flip that dynamic around—I dare you to just try it for a week and see if it makes a difference in your sanity.

Here are a few simple things I do every morning to bring a little more awareness, calm, and mindfulness to my day. And by the way you guys, this actually doesn’t take any more time than my hectic morning routine did. Read more

Give a Little Bit

I have been fortunate to be surrounded by generous people in my life. My parents are both very generous people, as are my friends, my husband, and his family.

MandyBut I don’t think I really understood generosity until I got to know my mother-in-law, Mandy. She was always extremely generous to me, in all ways. She welcomed me into her family with incredible warmth and acceptance, she was always an amazing listener and advice giver, and she helped my husband and I in so many ways, emotionally and financially. She was a rock for us.

When she passed away last year, we were heartbroken and in shock. At the celebration of her life, people my husband and I had never met came up to us at the gathering and smiled and hugged us as if they had known us for years. “You’re Matt and Sam,” they would say with pride. “She told us all about you.”

And then they would tell us what a thoughtful and generous person Mandy was. “Did you know she helped me out when I really needed it?” they would ask, and then go on to tell us another tale of how Mandy had helped them out of a jam, given them a gift they could never have afforded themselves, or made a donation to a cause they cared about. Read more

7 Simple Steps to Creating a Vision Board

7 Simple Steps to Creating a Vision Board

How do you take a first step towards a more creative life?

Create a vision board. Fill it with your intention, your wishes, and your vision for your future.

Making a vCloseup Vision Boardision board is a simple, inexpensive and creative way to manifest what you’re looking to do. A vision board can jump-start your creativity if you’re feeling stuck, and help you find your flow once you get unstuck. Read more

NYC : Girl in the City

NYC : Girl in the City

A more prudent and financially responsible person would probably not take a trip across the country when unemployed. I, however, have never been known to be prudent.

5th AveAs the saying goes, you either have time or money–rarely do the two come together.

One of my dearest friends had been living in the city for more than a year, and I had always wanted to come visit her in my favorite city–but I could never get away from work. When that problem disappeared, I decided to make it happen, fiscal responsibility be damned.

Get Outta Town

I’ve traveled alone for business many times, but it’s been a good long ten years (at least!) since I traveled somewhere by myself just for fun. My husband is my steady travel partner, and we’ve had many great adventures together. But this was a whole new animal.

And it was kind of freeing. Cheesy chick flick with a side of chardonnay on the plane? Check. Headphones with awesome music on all the time? Totally. Kind of loving this.

And because the friend I was visiting is, you know, working, I had the chance to do a lot of solo adventuring in the city. And yes, I did get lost. More than once. But it was an incredible week that I will always, always remember. Read more