Buzzing with excitement for the future

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Since making the decision to leave my traditional job and create what I want to do with the rest of my life, it has been a journey.  Where do I want to go, what do I want to do when I get there, and how can I make it happen while continuing to maintain my current life and job are just a few of the things I think about pretty much every day.

Then there is the business component.  I’m a creative, I’m all about the heart and soul of a company not the nuts and bolts and I stress a lot about that area. That’s a lot to weigh and consider, not to mention the pressure I put on myself to ensure I am making the ‘right’ choices.  So I’ve had to turn to alternative ways to make these decisions that have always crippled me.  Instead of my usual pro and con list, I am now looking inward for the answers.

I recently felt myself buzzing with excitement when I began following a specific category of accounts while working to grow my social media presence.  I took note of the sensation coursing through my body, recognized it and then it hit me!  I thought to myself, I must be going in the right direction. I felt like I hit the jackpot and all I had to do was listen to what my body was telling me.  That would have never occurred to me a few years ago.

I always hear people say ‘you have all the answers, they are inside you’ but I’ve never really known what that meant… until now.  Now it is painfully obvious!  How could I not listen to the intuition and feelings bubbling up inside me?  Perhaps they weren’t as strong because I wasn’t following my true path, or maybe I was suppressing them because I wasn’t ready.  I guess it doesn’t really matter what happened in the past because I am at the dawn of a new day.  I am filled with excitement, energy and passion to bring my unique talents to the table to create something that will make people take notice.  I don’t want to change the world, but I do want to share the stories of the people that are…. so stay tuned. This woman is about to make her mark.

 

Holding it together when your heart’s not in it

It’s amazing what a little exploration and research can do.  In my case, it equates to hope, opportunity and the pursuit of happiness.  A recent trip opened my eyes to a new world that is so overwhelming I can’t wrap my head around where to begin this journey.  I mean overwhelming in the best possible way; the kind of way that makes you scared shitless, full of emotion, passion, when you are holding back tears of happiness because you just know it’s right, the fire of ambition bursting to get out because you want to do everything when you know it’s not physically possible. The kind of excitement and energy that sends your mind into a Tasmanian devil like state, each idea like a spinning plate at the circus.

The past few days have been so synchronistic with each meeting and conversation leading to another connection and networking opportunity in a way that let me know I am exactly where I need to be. I have been fortunate enough to be here before, but never with this intensity.  I want to jump right into the water and start creating, but unfortunately, like most, I don’t have the luxury of stopping what I’m doing to spend 6-months building the next step of my future, and that begins my current struggle.

If I could walk out of my job right now, I would do it.  The situation is so toxic it takes every ounce of energy I have to continue.  I am bitter, resentful, and angry and I have a hard time putting on the happy face and pretending everything is ok when I’m done… and I am officially done. I’m done with New York, and I’m done with this side of the career.  

Knowing there is a bright future ahead makes it better but better is relative, which begs the question ‘How do you hold it together when your heart’s not in it?’  The practical side of me knows I need to keep earning a paycheck until the rest is off the ground but the emotional side of me wants to put my foot down and say ‘enough is enough!’ and walk away.

I know another life lesson is on the way, and I’m sure when I’m through this one I’ll look back and have no idea how I did it, but that is half the fun right?  One step in front of the other until you accomplish the impossible. Let the marathon begin!

The Reinvention Begins

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Ever have a song stuck in your head like an ear worm.  Right now for me it is ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go” from The Clash. I have spent the past 20+ years running away from my home, thinking life would be better outside of the small rural town I grew up in.  Sure, it’s been amazing. I have built a life, a career, made great friends across the country, found and lost the love of my life, and worked my way to success in NYC, the toughest and most competitive city in the country, yet, something is missing.  I guess I’ve known it all along, but have been closed off to it. That’s how we go through life isn’t it?  Seeing what we want to see, until we’re ready to open ourselves up to the truth.

The journey of self reflection is never easy but it is rewarding. I’ve done a lot of thinking recently and I’ve found that I’ve been waiting for things to choose me in life, not me choosing them. Sure, I’ve had to make the decision to go with what’s been thrown at me, but I’ve never sought out something I really wanted.

The more I think about that one question, the more I realize I have never really known what I want, except to be in love, but women aren’t supposed to say that. It’s weak and simple minded, we are supposed to be independent, self sufficient and equal to a man, put our career first and worry about the rest later. But when is later? After the next promotion? The next job? The next move? Before long you’re looking in the mirror wondering where your 30’s and half of your 40’s went and how you’re going to find love before the wrinkles really set in!

I fell into my career and it was a great fit. I threw myself into the job constantly pushing myself to grow, change, evolve and be the best I could be and it worked. I was in my early 30’s and on top of the world, I won an Emmy, I had a great boyfriend this was it! It was finally my time!!  Then the bottom dropped out. The man I had fallen in love with died, and I felt the only thing I had to lean on was the job. Once again, I threw myself into it because it’s what I knew. It was a safe place. I could hide from the pain of my broken heart for a few hours a day, and before long I was numb.  I had lost my passion for the job, living life, and finding love again.

5 years later I would move to NYC and learn to embrace life again, in the greatest city in the world, but once again I’m throwing myself into work, and once again I’m not happy. It seems pretty obvious when you write it out, but it has been eluding me for a decade.

In life, you meet people along the way that change your perspective.  Some are acquaintances, others know you better than you know yourself, but all of them bring something interesting to the table, if you listen and pay attention.

I recently met up with a college sorority sister and she said something that stuck with me. I don’t remember the exact wording, but it was essentially ‘isn’t it time you put something else first?’ She’s right! I don’t have a fighting chance at finding love if I can’t make it a priority and I can’t make it a priority when I’m burned out, overworked and stressed out.

So I sit here mapping out the next phase, creating the second half, trying to determine what I want and how I’m going to get it, while maintaining my independence and integrity. What do I want to do with my life! Say that out loud.  It’s liberating and terrifying at the same time!!  And once you figure it out, how do you do it?!

Lucky for me I have some great friends, like Oprah! Super Soul Sunday has become my Sunday Funday; the books ‘Do What You Are’ and ‘The Pathfinder’ are my roadmap and I’ve got Sharpies and a sketch pad to highlight my goals on this journey to the ultimate destination…. happiness and love!

I believe both start at home, the place I never thought I’d return, yet somehow it seems to be calling me back.  Like an old friend, warm and familiar, where I can be myself and people ‘get’ me.  Who knows? The next song that may be playing over and over in my head could be John Mellencamp ‘Small Town’.

Bring it on universe!!!  I’m ready!!!

Looking back to move forward

I’m back.  There’s nothing quite like a birthday to help you re-evaluate your life and get back on track and this recent birthday did just that, like a nice slap in the face and that’s why I’m here.

Ten years ago I didn’t know it but I had just met the love of my life and we were newly dating. To say the last decade has been a roller coaster is an understatement. We dated for three years before he died and I lost the future I thought we had together. Since then I’ve been trying to put my life back together one baby step at a time. I made it through the grieving process and 5 and a half years later took a leap of faith and moved to New York to reset the compass and start the next chapter.

So here I am, 9 months later in the first few hours of my birthday and that’s when things got interesting.  I had just finished working an 11 hour shift which carried over into the first few hours of my birthday.  Because of my new hours, I knew I would start and end this birthday at work, so I just told myself to suck it up and move on.  When I left the office building at 1:40am it was raining so I decided to forgo the subway and hail a cab.  If only it were that easy.  After three failed attempts, one of which included the driver stopping asking me where I was going and then driving away, I gave up and headed to the Times Square station.

During my time there I learned something most New Yorkers don’t know, they actually clean the subway.  It may only happen once a year but the power washer was out flooding the hallway, with water trickling down the stairs and onto the platform where I was waiting.  Not the loveliest of experiences but I found a place to stand where I could avoid the water and buried my face in my phone to avoid seeing whatever is in the subway at 140am.

After about 20 minutes of waiting I finally pulled my head out of my phone and that’s when I realized my train likely wasn’t coming any time soon. Partially because of the worker standing on the subway track… and the sign that said my train is running express, which means it’s not going to get me close to my apartment.  Great.  Back to the original plan, try to get a cab… Again.

As I was leaving. feeling defeated, exhausted and depressed about the start of my first birthday in this magical city I looked over and saw a familiar face.  I couldn’t quite place her at first, so I looked away and then did a double take.  And that’s when I realized it was the cleaning lady from my office.  We smiled and waved to each other and both went on our separate ways.  Perfect.  The first friendly face I see on my actual birthday is the cleaning lady.  Isn’t there a saying about that?  Whatever you’re doing on your birthday or whoever you are with you will be with all year?  Great. My social circle has been reduced to the cleaning crew.

I shook it off and darted up the stairs in hopes she was my lucky charm and sure enough she was.  There were about 4 cabs at the light and one of them motioned for me to get in.  Yes! I was on my way things were looking up!  I promptly hopped in and got settled, gave the driver my cross streets and we were off.  Then I heard something I hadn’t heard in decades… Debbie Gibson singing “Only In My Dreams”.  I was a bit dumbfounded, isn’t it 2014?  Why was this song playing?  Was it in my head, and if it was… WHY?  The song eventually changed to something current but I had to question what it all meant.

How far back have I gone in my quest to move forward in life?

I’m currently working the hours and a shift I worked 20 years ago when I started my career and my friend is the cleaning lady who speaks limited English!  And why after working 20 years in this business am I settling for starting and ending my birthday at work with little time in between.

Adding to it all, just a week ago I was doing the same thing… working… instead of honoring a life cut short, the anniversary of my loves death. That is not how I want to live my life. We are only given so much time on this earth and it’s time for me to pay attention to MY life. And so begins the latest journey, full of introspection, tough questions, hard answers, and difficult decisions.

Day 1: I’m officially 40

It’s finally here.  Today is the day.  I am officially in my 40’s.

After a weekend full of events and no sleep I knew today would need to be low key, so I rented a poolside cabana and invited a few of the besties to spend the day relaxing with me.

The Pixie told our cabana boy it was my birthday, and he asked if today was actually the day and I had to pause.

I’ve had so many celebrations, and I’ve gotten so used to saying it’s tomorrow, or it’s Sunday that it took me off guard.

‘Yes, oh yeah, today is the birthday’

It was perfect.  We all sat around the table, exhausted and nearly staring into space.  We couldn’t figure out if we were still drunk or tired or maybe a combination of both.

We kept trying different combinations of drinks, and food to try to pull us out of the exhaustion.  Beer, caffeine, mimosas, food, noting seemed to work.

After it was all said and done I headed home to come down and relax from the weekend’s events.

I physically couldn’t do any more, not even go to dinner.

Looking back on the last 10 years I’m left knowing I have grown into a different person and one I really like.  Not that I didn’t like the 30 year old version of me, but this version is more refined with more wisdom and a greater appreciation for just about everything.

So many friends have touched my life, and I’m learning I have done the same for them.  What an amazing and wonderful experience.  I am so very fortunate I can’t even express it in words.  It’s like winning the friendship lottery.

I’m looking forward to taking these fabulous friends, some new, and some old with me through the next 4o years.

Day 2: The big party

It was time to head home from our very quick wine tasting adventure, and in some respects I wished it didn’t have to end.

There is something about a good group of gal pals that can make a trip that much better.

Before we left town we stopped at Randal’s Restaurant for breakfast, before it was over the owner… and head chef… Randal was out at our table getting his picture taken with me for my birthday.  Funny stuff!

Before long I was relaxing on my couch for a little while getting ready for the big night.  The party of the decade… for me at least.

As 430 hit the race to turn 40 really began.  Rush to the hotel to check in and drop off the bags, then dart over to drybar to get my hair done, then back to the hotel for quick makeup the dress and then it was out the door.

At one point during the mad rush I found myself almost nauseous and I had no idea why.  This is the biggest event I have ever done for myself.

Once I walked into the restaurant I immediately calmed down.  One by one, people started to arrive.  What an amazing evening, I was surrounded by all the people I love and it was happy.

Before long I saw champagne being handed out, the Sweetheart gave the toast and I was teary.  I can’t express to you how lucky I feel to have such amazing friends.

Following the toast, was the cake and then a special gift from my close group of friends.

The BFF, Spa Girl, Pixie, Coffee Fairy, Sunshine, Perky, Sweetheart, the Cheerleader and a few others had pooled their money to give me an airline gift card…. what?!  Who gets treated like this?

I am so lucky and blessed I couldn’t have asked for a better evening, but it wasn’t over.

The dance floor proved to be a weird experience all evening.  Sweetheart kept dragging me out there, and I didn’t mind.  I love live music and I love to dance so it was perfect.

The first time we went out a young, short guy came up and asked if I was married.  I was so confused, it was such a random question to ask, then I realized I was wearing a tiny crown.

‘oh no… I’m 40’  uh… not exactly the best response I was later told.  He told me my dress was sexy and I looked 25.  So the dance floor wasn’t half bad.  Before long I repeated the conversation with another guy in the same group, it really was kind of crazy.

Our second trip to the dance floor ended with the band asking me to come up on stage.  What?!  I played along and had a good time.

It’s so funny 5 years ago I would have been mortified, embarrassed and would have crawled into a hole or just been so stubborn I wouldn’t have made it to the stage.  So maybe there is something about 40 that makes you comfortable in your own skin.

After my stage debut I was told the surprises were over.  Although I was told the same thing before the band. but it was all good.

By the time the night was over we were back on the dance floor a 3rd time with a group of Canadian businessmen.  What a strange turn of events.

But hands down the best birthday I’ve ever had.  There is something to be said for giving up control.  I had no expectations, and wasn’t stressed about planning what an amazing concept!  Wow there really is wisdom with age!

Day 3: Staring Down 40-Fest begins

After work I rushed home to meet the girls so we can start out on the first leg of the Staring Down 40-Fest… wine tasting.

The Spa Girl, and the Pixie, met at my house, we packed up the Encourager’s car and headed over to pick up the BFF…. and we were off.

It was a short hour and a half drive, up the mountain.  We turned off the interstate on a quiet winding road, and the immediate reaction was that we were about to embark on an adventure reminiscent of a horror movie.

At least the reaction from a few of the girls, small winding roads are where I’m from, so it felt very comfortable to me.

The Spa Girl led us in the right direction, she kept saying she was smelling the wine…. aaahhh a girl after my own heart.

We hit the first winery and grabbed a ‘flight’, then we each grabbed a glass and sat down to enjoy a delicious cheese and meat platter.

Then it was off to the next winery… time was ticking away… and there was wine to drink.  We decided to make a stop and get some food in our bellies before downing more vino and it was a good call.

Harry’s Hideaway was our spot, we walked in to the restaurant and told the gal doing the seating we had 5 people.  Her response… ‘we don’t have room for 5 people’, and then we looked around.

The restaurant had a total of 4 tables in it, but she was happy to help us out by putting some tables together outside.

Many many stories came out during dinner and before long I realized why Adel had put us outside… we were the rowdy bunch.

Cars pulled up and the passengers knew it too.  A few even commented about us being ‘banished’, but we didn’t care.

Before long we had to hit the road and get to the next tasting room, to continue our rowdiness and we did not disappoint.

At the next tasting room we promptly got another ‘flight’, and we found out our host was also having a birthday, just a few days after mine.

We grabbed Yahtzee and started to play, a few little girls there with their parents were intrigued by the grown up versions of themselves.

They came over to our table and watched us, we befriended them, and before long we were all out on the dance floor rocking out to Justin Bieber played by the tasting room DJ.

And that’s when it turned south.  The Encourager is a bit crazy with the camera so she asked us to do a Charlie’s Angel pose, ok no problem… that’s cool we can do that.

After the Angels photo shoot, she ordered us to lay on the floor.  What?!  We all looked at her like she was nuts, but eventually one by one we all laid down on the floor.

We had no idea what the vision was but we certainly followed directions.  She wanted all of our heads in a circle but there wasn’t enough room so we ended up being a pile of women, with arms and legs wrapped around each other laying on the floor of a tasting room.  Nice.

I was sandwiched by the Pixie and the BFF, and I heard the Pixie say ‘the BFF’s foot is in my coochie’ and I couldn’t take it.  I was laughing so hard I was crying.

The best… or maybe worst part of it all is that we weren’t even drunk!  Sure we were happy, because otherwise we wouldn’t have followed the silly directions.

When we finally managed to pull myself up off the floor, I surprisingly found a random bobby pin in my hair… how does that happen?

I didn’t want to know.

What an amazing first start to the big weekend.  I can’t wait for the rest of it, to see what happens!