August 2009 - Stratejoy
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This weekend’s event was a complete success!

  1. We had a full house.  Yay.  16 cool Seattlites = Sold Out Event.
  2. Everyone showed up, which is saying a lot considering it was 9 am on a Saturday.
  3. Amazingly enough, there were no spilled mimosas nor scissor injuries.

So what did we do? We brunched, brainstormed, shared big dreams & then broke out the scissors & glue sticks.  I was blown away by this crafty bunch…  Even those who claimed to have no artistic ability ended up creating a fab vision board or scrapbook, in addition to their big list.  Seriously, I was inspired!

And yes, I’m all full of rah rah- but if you had gotten the chance to hear about the cool shit people are going to do in their lifetime, you’d be excited too.

“101 Things To Do” seemed daunting to some, so we broke it down to anything that was personally appealing.  35 Things to do before 35?  77 awesome things I want to accomplish?  The Top 10 Big Dreams? The emphasis of the list was up to the creators themselves, as was the format.

Instead of me giving you the play-by-play– Why don’t you hear it from some of the kids themselves?!  I teared up several times today watching these posts fly around Twitter because, honestly, these were unsolicited blogs.  Muah girls!!  I’m glad you took away some powerful insights from our morning together.  It was an honor to be witness to the creation of such inspiring lists.

Lacey : Loving Local Food
Jennifer : It Pleases Me
Erin : Three Blind Moose

And as the title says, the rest of the morning I shall leave to…

A Rockin’ Photo Recap

Supplies

Pretty Paper

Brainstorming

Looking for Inspiration

Scanning for Adventures

Good Pics

hard at work

concentration

Circle of Fabulousness

77

Men need Life Lists

Power Team

Supercool interns

You’d imagine this would end with a photo of each Life List, eh?  Unfortunately, I was too enthralled by everyone’s presentation of their list to remember to take a pic.  Oops.  Only #fail of the day.

See you next time?  I’m thinking November!

morganMy girlfriend, Natalie, spent a lot of time and money training her dog, Morgan (who I also consider to be my dog).  Morgan can sit, stay, give paw, and she’s almost trained off leash.  I’ve always been impressed with Morgan and how quickly she learns.

I’ll even admit that sometimes I’m jealous of the dog.

I mean she sits around all day, naps, gets constant attention, and is constantly spoiled!  After living with her for about a year, I have learned a lot from just watching her.

Here’s a list of things I have learned from my dog:

1.  Always let the people you care about know how much you love them. It’s easy to get caught up in a routine and to take the people around you for granted.  Take time to appreciate the people you care about, and never hesitate to show them how much they mean to you and how happy you are to see them.  I can’t remember a day when I walk home through my front door that Morgan isn’t jumping on me and showering me with kisses.  Her tail wags uncontrollably like it’s the first time she has seen me in months, when really it has only been a few hours.

2.  On the other hand, don’t waste time on people who don’t make you happy. Friendships and relationships are two way streets, and if you don’t feel like you are being treated how you deserve, then move on.  When Morgan is outside at the dog park, surrounded by other people and other dogs, she will run around making friends, and once in a while, she will come across someone she must not be fond of.  Maybe she is a good judge of character or maybe there is no reason for it, but she doesn’t waste her time around another person or another dog she doesn’t like.  She will run away, cower, and move on to the next dog/person.

3.  Take time to relax.  Balancing work and life and everything else weighs on me, and I’m sure it weighs on you.  Even if it’s just an hour each night…take time to do something relaxing.  Read a book, take a walk, or watch part of your favorite movie.  Morgan takes about twelve naps a day (here’s where my jealousy comes in—haha!).  She does what makes her happy—chewing on a bone, laying in the sun, or digging in the sand at the dog beach.  She does what she wants and always makes time for herself.

4.  Let people give you attention.  Don’t be shy, and never pass a chance to open and up and let yourself be heard.  I’ve never enjoyed being the center of attention—so much that sometimes I will downplay my feelings or accomplishments so that it’s not such a big deal.  I’ve worked on it, and I have found a better, happier balance.  I enjoy sharing things with people more, and I enjoy their reactions to my sharing.  Morgan will sit and stare at me until I invite her up on the couch to rest on my lap.  She will nuzzle my arm and look at me with big puppy eyes until I pet her or scratch her behind the ears.  She never fails to let me know when she needs me to make her feel special.

5. Take time to enjoy the little things. Find pleasure in everyday life.  Take notice of things you would usually be too busy to appreciate.  Morgan is ecstatic to get outside for a short walk.  She is thrilled when I let her run outside with me to take the garbage out.  She can hardly contain herself when I give her a small bite of whatever I am eating.  A pat on the head perks her ears up and makes her tail wag.

robyn-bio1

I’m delirious.  Heat delirious.  It was 107 today in Portland and it should never be that hot.   ANYWHERE. It reminds me of home in Reno.  It’s funny, I left home to really experience life elsewhere and the heat follows me….

This week I have one of my old college roomies from University of Oregon for a visit.  And this weekend we’re heading up to Seattle to visit the rest of our old roomies for an epic weekend adventure.  It will be the first time that we’ve seen and been together since our graduation in 2005.

Alexia (visiting former college roomie) and I went to Powell’s bookstore today, aka MECCA.  I love that store, uncontrollably so.  It’s my fantasy to be locked in there after hours and run-a-muck.

So as Alexia and I were perusing the fantastic hallways of this wonderful institution, we ended up in the career section (sooo not on purpose).  Alexia wanted more information about a nursing career and I just wanted to find something comforting for my Quarterlife Crisis.  Cue the Quarterlife Crisis SECTION.

Unbelievably, a section dedicated to this period in one’s life actually exists. After looking at several books and completely judging them by their cover–that’s right, I’m not ashamed to admit it–I picked “Quarterlife Crisis: The Unique Challenges of Life in Your Twenties” by Alexandra Robbins and Abby Wilner.  It looked like the only book written by actual twentysomethings that would have perspective, unlike the others.

I didn’t end up buying it because a) I’m unemployed and b) I have a library card.

However, finding that book, and heck, even that section, caused a little trickle of hope to bubble inside.  Others have gone through this and survived.

I’m going to tackle this weekend with the initiative to really enjoy my old friends and our memories of college, even though we have surpassed that social period of time. Luckily, my friends have embraced my new Quarterlife Crisis and even think it’s affected me positively.

Lovelyroomies

They’ve been there for me in my old life and now in the new.  (That’s us about to enjoy a pitcher at Norms!)

I can’t wait for this Seattle trip/College roomie reunion 2009.  And it will help to have to some fun before my mother comes up next week for a “talk” about where things are going.

It’s going to be one hell of week.

There have really only been 2 people in my entire life that I can honestly say I hate. Well, hated- past tense- since now I only hate 1 person. Over the years, the second person (to everyone’s surprise!) has gone from despised enemy, to frenemy, to friend.

It’s hard to describe how a person can go through such a drastic relationship change, but I’m going to try.

Usually, you hate someone or have harsh feelings toward someone who has hurt you or those close to you. The one girl I still despise has never done anything to reconcile our friendship, where as my new found friend (previous enemy) Kelly, has gained my respect and trust over the past few years.

We have both grown and changed and I think that has a lot to do with our new relationship.

robyn-and-mesmall

I recently took a trip to Chicago and met up with fellow QLC blogger Robyn (Check out our cute picture above!!) and we ended up talking about careers, life goals and friendships. It was strange because, even though I had never met Robyn, we instantly bonded over our dramatic, chaotic, unconventional quarter-life status.

I told her the short version of my history with my new found friend Kelly, because she was going to be joining me in Chicago for BlogHer Business, a social media conference for business. This conference is the number one, must-go-to event for females in the blogging and social media industry and I was very excited to have someone there I knew. Sometimes in large groups I can be shy.

After our lunch, Robyn wished me luck with Kelly, since this was going to be the first time we would actually spend time together. I was pretty nervous!

Amazingly, we ended up having a blast together running around Chicago for a few days and it is safe to say we’ve put our past behind us. Kelly has done so much since graduating and I am so proud and jealous of her accomplishments in the social media realm!

This little trip taught me that deep down, we are really all the same. Women our age all over the place have goals, dreams, challenges, struggles, boy issues, family problems, friendship dramas  and we (those going through a Quarterlife Crisis) are not the only ones. I learned throughout the years of knowing Kelly, it is much easier to be friends with someone than to fight them. It’s just not worth the time and effort.

Our new friendship looks odd to anyone who knows my personality and our history. But, I’m learning I can’t keep living my life worrying about what other people think of me. If I feel she is no longer an enemy or frenemy, then that is all that should really matter.

It just sucks that my other friends and family will never understand the transformation our relationship has taken.

I’ve noticed as women, we have a hard time getting over things and offering forgiveness. My tip for those of you struggling with women enemies would be to take a step back, think of all the time and energy spent being evil or having angry thought,  and try to gauge if it is really worth it.

Life is short and not worth wasting time on past grudges.

On the topic of frenemies, why bother being nice to someone’s face if deep down you know you don’t get along? Be real, be upfront and just be yourself. Take the time to talk out your issues and if they can’t be resolved, then a friendship was not meant to be.

Take a minute to really think about the people in your life you “hate.” You may be surprised that deep down, you are much more similar than you originally thought.

Andrea (new) bio.

freedomI have been back in New York City for a full week now and once again I’m trying to find a rhythm.

Towards the end of my stay in Montreal I had made peace with my unemployment. I had developed a rhythm, based around hanging with friends (located an easy walk away), searching for jobs, doing some freelance work, and chilling with my roommates. It was a hard won peace and one which I’m struggling to regain here in New York…

What is totally driving me crazy (more than being unemployed, more than my endless commuting) is not having my own space.

My childhood home feels familiar, but not like mine anymore. I haven’t lived here in years and the spaces that were mine were long taken over by other people (hello kid sister) and things, lots of things. My parents are consummate pack rats who haven’t found a nook or cranny that they can’t fill.

I can’t do much with my parents stuff, but I have turned my eye to my own possessions. A lot of “new age” literature suggests that when your life needs a makeover, an excellent place to start is to give things away.

So that’s what I’ve been doing; is giving my stuff away.

I’ve parted with an extra comforter, pillows, a too-big wool coat, a designer leather skirt that never ‘felt’ like me, a variety of nicks and knacks that always required more dusting than I could provide, a beautiful traditional  chi pao dress I’d worn as a bridesmaid for a friend who no longer is a friend. I got rid of the old duffel bag I’d been toting around since undergrad, a reminder of a time and an era best left in the past.  I got rid of plenty of clothing that never fit right, which I promised to have altered but by not doing so were just drains on my mental energy.

The result?

I have a lot less stuff. But it also means I have a lot less stuff to worry about cleaning or otherwise maintaining. And right now, that’s enough to make me feel, if not good, better, freer somehow and more certain that everything is going to be alright.

I’ll take it.

kendra-bio1

RamenMy freelance work is picking up, and I’m preparing for my transition from my 9 to 5 to working for myself.

Right now, life is hard… Trying to balance all the work is a little difficult, but once I have the 9 to 5 off my back, I think I will have a nice pace going.

When I first decided to work for myself, I imagined living on Ramen noodles and tap water and being forced to rent out a corner of my tiny condo in order to make ends meet. However, I created a budget to see what my real expenses were and how much money I truly needed to make in order to keep living the life I do.

It was eye-opening to see how I spend my money, and I encourage everyone to do this.

Not only did I realize that I spend way too much money at Dunkin Donuts and Ebay.com (who can resist all the cheap crap on there?!), but I also realized that I really don’t need to make a lot of money to keep living the fabulous life I currently live.

Once I had brought this to my own attention, I reconsidered the whole “live to work or work to live” idea. For the past year and a half, I have put myself through hell, thinking that I had to make all this money to pay my mortgage and buy groceries and put money away in savings (ie: living to work and placing all value on money and the material items it brought me).

Once I start working for myself, I will be working just to live. I don’t need much to be happy. I still need to pay my mortgage and buy groceries, treat myself to a nice dinner out with friends, spend a little too much on a night out, and, of course, it’s always nice to have some backup savings…

But that’s about it.

What led me to this revelation?  I thought back to the time two years ago, right before I left to go traveling.  I was living in an awesome place in Chicago, I was saving to go travel for three months, and I was still going out and enjoying Chicago on the weekends…   AND not eating Ramen.  Do you know what I was making two years ago?  I was a full-time intern making $12 an hour and a part-time waitress.  Regardless, I was living large!

I’m not sure when I changed my mindset and thought I needed a bigger salary and a fancier job title in order to be happy, but I am changing my mindset again and going back to my previous thought process.

My first step to getting back there?  Simplify.

This past week, I have spent a lot of time “de-cluttering” my life.  I cleaned out my closets and cleaned off my shelves.  I donated a lot of stuff, and I sold some stuff—eliminating about three stuffed garbage bags full of clothes, books, and miscellaneous crap.

It felt good.

My place is cleaner, I have more space, and I feel refreshed.  I didn’t need any of that stuff…  And now I am closer to traveling again—less stuff to worry about putting in storage!

robyn-bio1

photo credit: pinprick

Did you win?  I don’t want to ruin the suspense by listing the winners here, so watch the video!

Books(This week I posed a question to Andrea, Kendra, Robyn & Marisa- When you were small, what did you want to be when you grew up?  How has this played into your life?  And perhaps the more appropriate question for a Quarterlife Crisis: What do you want to be when you grow up? xoxo  Molly)

I had the lineage of the Presidency memorized when I was 13. I even knew all of the First Ladies. I knew their terms of service, certain unique facts about both people and info about their pets.

I know, NERD ALERT.

I was teased, yes, but that was middle school and I hope I’m not the only who thought those years were shit because let’s face it, they were.

At that time I wanted to be the first female President but this was before I discovered 18th & 19th century British Literature, Film and Art. I found an identity in Literature growing up–a bond to this day that hasn’t been broken. Now I don’t necessarily want to be a professional writer per se.  It was the literature, the characters, the vernacular and the way authors used the English language that captured my imagination and helped me to escape into eras, decades, and different worlds. It’s why I studied English Lit. for my B.A. and why I literally live in a house of books.

I didn’t really have any concrete career ambitions as child; I wanted to be my New Mexican/Tex-Mex Barbie that my parents bought since it was the only one that was Hispanic and had long black hair like me. I wasn’t quite sure what being a Barbie entailed while being six years old, but I knew I loved her clothes and that was enough for me.

It wasn’t until I saw Moulin Rouge that I had my first real career dream. I wanted to be a costume designer. I researched everything about that film including Catherine Martin (costume designer and wife to BRILLIANT director, Baz Lurhmann) and her efforts to create such a fantastic and amazing reality with clothes. I researched schools, programs and started costume projects. I worked at JoAnn’s Fabrics at the time and took full advantage of my employee discount and subsequently became broke with every paycheck.

So why am I not a costume designer right now?

That’s an easy one. I used to be someone who didn’t really believe in “dreams”. I had them, sure…  I just didn’t think they were obtainable. I grew up with a practical, traditional way of looking at things. Life as my parents defined it didn’t really leave room for “dreams”.

Practical Path: Go to school, finish school with a practical degree, get job with said finished school degree, and stay with job. Work at job, get married, have kids, yada yada yada.

I don’t prescribe to that way of thinking anymore.

Since encountering my Quarterlife Crisis, I live my life with a different train of thought. My expectations are completely different now.

I expect to live my life with happiness, maybe with a new career, maybe with new people, who knows…  I have many interests and passions that could make me happy doing almost anything now.  I think I could be happy with many paths.

Growing up with such a defined or basic view of a life-path played into who I was at school and how I treated my life.  Now? I’ve accepted the nontraditional path since I know I can’t control everything and will never be able to.

What do I want to be now… good question!  It’s a Catch 22 of sorts. I have an opportunity to do anything I really want and I’ve taken advantage of that to an extent. I have no serious commitments, am totally mobile and have few responsibilities. I am, however, stuck in unemployment for the moment during a recession where I get one phone call for every 50 or so jobs I apply for now.

I’ve deduced something very important during this Quarterlife crisis. I want to be happy. This is my first and far most important priority during this journey. I can work anywhere really in order to pay the bills, but as long as I keep happiness a priority, I’ll be able to excel in my passions and interests and keep and create new career opportunities.

It’s all about being positive I’ve found out….  Otherwise, why waste the effort?

marisa-bio1

photo credit: 2fs

Robinandsis

(This week I posed a question to Andrea, Kendra, Robyn & Marisa- When you were small, what did you want to be when you grew up?  How has this played into your life?  And perhaps the more appropriate question for a Quarterlife Crisis: What do you want to be when you grow up? xoxo  Molly)

When I was growing up, I played “house” with my two younger sisters constantly. I was always the more practical of my sisters: Holly wanted to be a Dutch girl when she grew up so that she could always wear wooden shoes and Alex wanted to be a dolphin trainer so that she could meet Flipper.

When we played house, I was always the “Mom” and surprisingly, I balanced two jobs on top of that. I was a 9-year-old mom-doctor-artist. Pretty impressive, right? I was a creative kid who loved helping others, so mom-doctor-artist was the perfect profession for me.  Back then, I was only concerned with three simple things that I “like to do”:

Being happy
Drawing
Helping people

Now…  I am not an artist nor a doctor. I can draw nothing other than stick figures, and I faint at the site of blood, so it really wouldn’t have worked out anyway.

I am, however, still searching for something that I just plain “like to do.”

And I want that to be my job.

Over the years, I have wanted to be a restaurant owner, a high level businesswoman, a traveling journalist, a teacher, a counselor, and…  the list goes on and on. I think I have been searching for my niche for a very long time and hoping that eventually it will just find me.

I have given different occupations a chance, but I lose interest quickly when I feel like my skills aren’t used and my talent is underestimated. I’ve also really started to pay attention to how quickly time moves.  I feel like I am still a “recent college grad,” when really I’ve been a professional (well…kinda!) for the past three years.

Point is… Time flies and life really is what happens while you are sitting there making plans.

I have reached the conclusion that I will never enjoy a corporate job. I will never enjoy a 9 to 5, because there is too much living left to do! I can’t do that cramped in a cubicle, doing mindless work. I’m looking for a job that doesn’t seem so much like work.

cubicle

I also think I do need something of my own so that I can only answer to myself due to my severe aversion of doing bitch work for “the man.” I know I’m better than that, and if no one else will take advantage of my true skills (not my data entry or copying skills), then I’ll work for myself and pat myself on the back!

I’m working on getting the courage to leave my secure job and take a chance, but it’s scary to take that kind of a chance.  I’m confident in my skills, but I need an idea…a plan…  More on that later, I promise!

robyn-bio1

photo credit: stewf

nogrownups(This week I posed a question to Andrea, Kendra, Robyn & Marisa- When you were small, what did you want to be when you grew up?  How has this played into your life?  And perhaps the more appropriate question for a Quarterlife Crisis: What do you want to be when you grow up? xoxo  Molly)

Adults love to ask little kids what they want to be when they grow up.

It is a strange tendency, if you think about it. Small children can’t even come close to being able to express a clear answer based on skills, interests, temperament and professional knowledge.  Heck, even most adults can’t.

Adults, I think, ask this question for one of two reasons.

The first, and the more insidious, is because in our “success” oriented culture we want kids to start thinking about their futures early. While this has its benefits, it’s also a form of social conditioning that trains us to be still more future focused. We forget early how to embrace the moment and instead keep our eyes on the carrots held by society’s sticks.

The second reason I think adults enjoy asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up is because children often respond with some of the cleverest, funniest, most interesting answers to what we as adults often find a weighted question. 

littlekendraWhen I was a kid I wanted to be (in order from youngest to oldest): a doctor, a lawyer, president of the United States and a superhero. The older I got, oddly enough, the more fantastical my career aspirations became.

I remember fervently praying to god in French class, my sophomore year of high school, for super powers, or at the very least, the ability to create my own bat cave with the necessary technologies. I was a bizarrely spiritual kid with a strong attraction to the mystical side of the Catholic faith in which I was raised.

This is my explanation, fifteen years later, as to how I could possibly believe that God would give me super powers.Faced with transubstantiation and the dead rising, how hard could a little thing like super powers be? I promised to keep them a secret.

I wanted super powers because for as far back as I can remember I was aware of human suffering and desperately wanted to end it. Given the vastness of the situation- environmental degradation, hunger, poverty, war- I quickly realized that it would take super human efforts to fix the problem. And while fifteen years later, I no longer pray to God for superpowers to help me fix the problem, this strong desire to make the world better has played a role in both my career and personal life.

Beyond my graduate school studies in sustainable development and my decision to pursue a career, in part, in environmental policy, I’ve found that I have a difficult time relating to people who don’t seem to recognize the connections between their life choices and the larger problems of the world. My friends and “special friends” all tend to be motivated by more than money or interests, but also by a larger sense of connection to people and the planet.

What does that mean as I face once again the question of who I want to be when I grow up?

Beyond helping to color the kinds of activities I’m willing to engage in, not much. I’m more motivated these days by the sentiment represented in this quote:

“When I was in grade school, they told me to write down what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down happy. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment. I told them they didn’t understand life.”

More than anything, what I want to be when I grow up is happy.

Not the kind of happiness that’s represented in television commercials by an endless parade of smiles, and writhing hips, set to a kicking soundtrack…  Rather, a deeper sense of contentment based on strong connections to loved ones, to my work, and to society as a whole.

This is why I am actively seeking work that I find personally meaningful that also contributes to society and why I am moving home to be closer to family and friends.

kendra-bio1

photocredit: eatbitter

(This week I posed a question to Andrea, Kendra, Robyn & Marisa- When you were small, what did you want to be when you grew up?  How has this played into your life?  And perhaps the more appropriate question for a Quarterlife Crisis: What do you want to be when you grow up? xoxo  Molly)

I am 25 and have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. Now, I have said this before and I’ll say it again: I really thought when I was little by the time I was 25 I would be a grown up.

Not so much.

My roommate Siobhan recently sent me this amazing YouTube video and it pretty much sums up how I feel about my life on a daily basis. I know there are other girls out there who feel the same way! I probably watch this video 5 times each and every day now. At least!

When it come down to it, I don’t think men and women living today in Generation Y can really classify themselves in one career field. It isn’t like when our parents were younger and they dreamed of becoming an Astronaut or Dentist or Teacher. People our age go through so many different types of careers and many people (myself included) have multiple jobs at one time.

What do I consider myself? Well, I’m a writer first and foremost. And even though I have not taken a dance class is over a year, I still consider myself a dancer. I knew how to dance before I knew how to read. It makes me sad to say that today I don’t dance as my career.

It is so ironic that my first performance, when I was 4, was to a song called “When I Grow Up.” From that point on, I was convinced I was destined to be a dancer. I am the only one in my family who has ever taken dance lessons. When I was 6, I was chosen out of many students at my studio to join the competition team and I stayed on that time until I graduated high school. Up until the age of 11, I thought I was going to be a dancer.  Then I found out there was a height requirement to become a Rockette. (I have not grown taller since I was 11 and I am just 4 1/2 inches shy of the 5’6’’ requirement to dance at Radio City…)

I then thought, “Okay, well if I can dance, then I could teach!” I even interviewed my dance teachers, who are like aunts to me, for my 6th grade Career Studies class.

Here and there I swayed from that path, but only for a few days. Once I thought I could maybe be an architect since I love unique design and buildings, but then I would remember how much I hate math and went back to my dance teacher dream.

It wasn’t until the end of high school that I had to really sit down and decide if my career would involve dance or not. Aka… I had to decide if I was going to go to college for dance or for something else. That something else was another passion of mine, something I had done equally as long: writing.

I ended up choosing the latter. Honestly, I did it because by the time I was 18 I knew I wasn’t as good or talented dancer as I once had been. When I was 6-10 yrs old I would like to think I was a very talented dancer for my age, but as I got older dance became a very commercialized activity and I realized my talent was nothing compared to others. It wasn’t fun anymore,  instead it was cutthroat and competitive.

I became a journalism major and subsequently graduated with an Honors degree in journalism, mass communication and marketing. During my 4 years in school, my brain ran through about a dozen different careers. These are some of them:

When the time came, I applied for jobs in Public Relations at a few theater companies and small more feature-y newspapers and magazines. No dice.

I actually ended up going to graduate school, living at home with my family and working at a non-profit that helps developmentally disabled individuals. It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I’m glad I decided to work in non-profit prior to any real-world corporate gig. (Most people I have found go the other way. They work in corporate America first, realize how much it sucks and then go work someplace that actually helps people.)

Lately my thoughts on career choice have been all over the place! Over the past 6 months I have thought about:

1. Traveling the world as a paid blogger
2. Teaching New Media at a medium-sized college or university
3. Opening a Bed & Breakfast
4. Starting my own new media consulting business (I am doing this one!)
5. Getting a corporate America desk job at a Social Media firm

Those are just five among many many other things. It’s not that I am not satisfied with my job right now, I just have this syndrome (which I acquired from my Dad) that nothing is ever good enough. I feel like I could be doing more with my life.

I look around at all those 25-year-old grown ups with families and houses and career and think… “When will I grow up? And what will I be?”

Will I travel the world or live overseas? Will I ever teach? Will I work in corporate America ever? I really don’t know. I may never know. But, I think that the majority of my life is going to spent trying to figure this out. My life job is going to be searching for my purpose on this earth… And I’m okay with that.

I’m okay with that as long as I am happy and calm that is!

Andrea Dancing

*The very last performance I ever did with my studio back in Buffalo was a 20 year Anniversary tribute to our instructors. I have danced with most of these girls in this picture for 20 years and this routine was a parody of the very first dance we ever performed…. “When I Grow Up”

Andrea (new) bio.


We’re hosting a giveaway!

a Habitual Happiness Giveaway

habitual happiness

Here’s the Deal: I want to help you make happiness a habit.

And we’ve got three fabulous gifts that will help you do just that. They’ll help you begin to carve out the road to happiness and success on your own terms; your own personal rockstar life…    Read on to find out what I’m giving away and how to enter!

The cow picture has nothing to do with the giveaway. It just makes me giggle.  And that makes me happy!

The Goodies:


style statement book

Style Statement: Live by Your Own Design

Style Statement is one of my favorite books. Carrie & Danielle’s philosophy is right in line with my own — the secrets to your authentically joyous life lie within you and only you. It’s up to you to tune in and recognize what you truly love, and how that can help you live an authentically joyous life. This book is “part workbook, part inspirational narrative,” and all beautiful. You’ll be inspired by what’s inside, especially after you’ve filled in your own details!

STYLE STATEMENT is an inspiring take on the power of style and authenticity. [The book] presents a series of inquiries that lead readers to the personal words that guide the spirit, look and feel of their life. Via Carrie and Danielle’s Lifestyle Map, readers then explore how their own unique Style Statement can generate momentum in every area of their life.

Want to know more? Take a look at the video below where Carrie and Danielle talk about their book and the feedback they’ve received about the Style Statement process.

Props to Carrie and Danielle on Vimeo.

(Clarification for those who want the entire scoop:  Carrie and Danielle as a rockin’ business duo have since broken up, but you will find Carrie’s new site: Style Statement and Danielle’s blog: White Hot Truth alive and well and inspiring as ever.)


February Lifestyle Design

$50 off a Stratejoy Course

You can apply the $50 gift card to either Stratejoy‘s in-person Lifestyle Design course here in Seattle or to The Joy Equation, our 30-day online course. That’s a 20-33% savings! The courses are designed to give you the time, tips, and resources you need to recognize your own awesomeness, define your version of success, and build a plan to claiming your happiness. Life’s too short to feel stuck, bored or unhappy. Here’s what one participant had to say about it:

… By taking the time to actually define my core values, my own vision of success, and what I truly wanted, I realized that happiness was something I could start working on now …

Molly doesn’t tell you how to live your life. She simply gives you the tools and resources that will help you do that for yourself. Everyone’s version of what success or happiness looks like is different, so the last thing we need is someone telling us what they are — Molly helps YOU figure it all out on your own terms.

And that’s what I love about the workshop and about Stratejoy. No pressure, just tips, tricks, motivation and accountability. The good stuff. 🙂

Want to know more?

Click here to find out more about Lifestyle Design.

Click here to find out more about The Joy Equation.


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Two for the Price of One Entry:

101 Things To Do Before You Go:

Creating a Powerful, Meaningful, Inspiring Life List

Get ready for an inspiring art-filled, mimosa-fueled, life changing ALL AGES MEN AND WOMEN event! Come spend a morning with your best gal pal creating your official “life lists”.  Invest some quality hours with your mom or daughter sharing your big dreams.  Or bring your husband, boyfriend or partner with you – find out what surprises are on their list!

When? Saturday, August 29th 9 am – 1 pm, Northwest Work Lofts

What? Did you know that the latest scientific research in positive psychology states that creating life lists plays a crucial role in happiness? Join us for an exhilarating morning as we work through a step-by-step method to create a powerful & meaningful life list.  We’ll start by identifying your personal core values, complete a few writing & brainstorming exercises to connect values to goals in different slices of life & end by creating a vision board or memory book full of your 101 Things To Do Before You Die. There will be lots of time to create and you’ll walk away with an incredible record of your goals to remind you to “get busy!”

“In my coach training and busy practice, I have discovered that successful people almost always have life lists.  These lists enable them to be more joyful, proactive, and accomplished.  The most current research underscores that clear-cut goals– and a path to accomplish them– contribute to a meaningful and flourishing life.” – Caroline Adams Miller, author of Creating Your Best Life

How? Preregistration by Thursday, August 27th is required.  The Event includes beverages, brunch & art supplies.  Cost is $89, so with a two for one entry, each person invests $44.50!!

How to Enter


Simply leave a comment with your all time favorite inspirational quote. Of course, include your name, contact info and which prize you’re interested in.

For extra entries do any of the following:

Winners will be chosen randomly and announced on Twitter next Thursday, August 20th as well as on the blog next Friday.

Good luck all! I can’t wait to read all the fantastic quotes — I’m sure they’ll inspire an extra-joyful week!

Marisa Sewing pic1I have a love hate relationship with sewing.   For every five projects I create, I am only really pleased with one. My spare time recently (and to be honest, I have A LOT of spare time) has been dedicated to creating projects and creating an Etsy account.

I also should have prefaced this entry by saying I AM THE QUEEN OF PROCRASTINATION.

Seriously, queen, master, leader, slave, whatever, procrastination has me body and soul.  But still, when it comes down to it, I will get it done and get it done well.

My mother taught me how to sew.  She used to make me clothes as a child and I remember fondly wearing her dresses with a lot of child pride.  They were pretty, simple and always got me attention.  She helped me to find my interest creatively too, especially when I sewed my first item at the age of nine years old.  It was a Jasmine costume from the Disney movie, Aladdin.

I know, awesome right?  IT WAS.

I remember taking sewing classes at Fabric Land longggg ago.  She was there too, helping with the classes and at home to guide me and help me with my “homework”.  And since Nevada Day was October 31st, we used to get Halloween off from school every year and spend the day waiting in anticipation for trick-or-treating.  To this day it’s my favorite holiday and will most likely be for a very long time.

Maria Sewing pic3My mother’s favorite costume that she made for me was Snow White.  I have very pale skin and black hair so naturally I wore my homemade costume for years.  In fact, even though my first Halloween costume was She-Ra, Princess of Power!, most of my Halloween memories are of me as Snow White.

It makes me smile when I think about how much my mom loved to dress my brother and I up in her creations; it was honestly inspiring to see her like that while growing up. I am so thankful she passed on this tradition of creativity.

It wasn’t until I was in college that I started again making my own costumes.  First it was Little Red Riding Hood, then a Woodland Fairy and even a Jane Austen gown!

But my most favored possession, the one costume I will keep forever and ever, was MTV’s Daria, my cartoon alter-ego.  I’ve been thinking lately about how I need to resurrect Daria for Halloween this year, but recently inspiration for a Wonder Woman costume to add to my collection has been gaining speed.

We’ll see…

I have my mother’s sewing machine now.  I had it through school and was even allowed to use it growing up.  It’s from the late sixties and works well to this day.  Every time I use it I think about her and how I miss those earlier days of being a kid and watching her thread it with such ease and patience. I like how it permanently binds me to her.  I like how whenever I push the pedal, the loud fast purring makes me remember how my mother used to chide me into slowing down to sew.  And sometimes when I sew something, it staves off the homesickness.

My current projects include three skirts, two tote bags and a recreation of a dress that I found at Goodwill.  There’s nothing like wearing clothes you’ve made and knowing that not only do you look good, but also you’re showcasing your talent, your creativity and your passion.

marisa-bio

girlMy friend and former roommate, Deb, a cow milking, tree hugging, policy making chick from New York’s Hudson Valley region, positively flits through life.

She’s the kind of girl that you expect to find birds resting on her fingers like something out of Walt Disney’s Snow White.

It’s not that her life is perfect, or that she doesn’t have the same troubles or worries that the rest of us do – she most definitely does – she just seems to always find a way of getting through them with a smile.

One day last summer as I lay in the living room of Casa Guilford (yes, we named it), our sweet little house in the woods of Vermont, Debbie bounded through the living room Tigger-like ‘as was her wont’.

I’d had enough.

“Deb,”  I said feeling very much like Piglet out of Winnie the Pooh as I fretted over this and that, “How is it you always seem so Happy?”

“Weeeelllll,” she said in her drawn out way that makes you feel very much as though you’re going to be let in on a Super Special Secret.  And then she paused, visibly flummoxed as though she herself hadn’t given it much thought, before brightening and shrugging as she said, “I do the things that make me happy.”

She bounced off to lie in the grass in the field outside of our house leaving me to ponder: How often do I really do the things that bring me pleasure? Not just the Big Things such as travel, but the little things like a mid-day nap in the shade of a tree on a sunny day, setting down a page or two in a scrapbook, or mixing up a batch of much beloved oatmeal raisin cookies for a special friend?

Or are these tiny daily pleasures the first to get shunted aside?

For me, and I’m guessing for a lot of other people as well, the first things to go are the things that bring me pleasure. It’s as my friend Steve pointed out to me recently, “At times, Kendra, it seems that you don’t like to be nice to you.”

And he’s right, over the past year or so I’ve gotten into the habit of being infinitely meaner to myself than I would ever allow myself to be to even my worst enemy. I wouldn’t imagine telling a child they couldn’t eat until they’d finished writing a page of their essay, but I wouldn’t hesitate to do that to myself.

Faced with a lot to do and very little time, I phase out the daily pleasures that make life worth living. Which apart from being cruel, it’s these small pleasures that give us the clarity into figuring out the answers to the Big Questions such as “What am I doing with my life?”  and “What job (if any) will bring me joy?”

Steve’s words reminded me of Deb’s so long ago and helped to jolt me out of my-nose-to-the-grindstone stupor.

Consequently, I’ve started to carve several hours out of everyday for the things that give me pleasure. In the past week, in addition to sending out a half a dozen or so resumes, contacting a handful of people for networking opportunities, and diligently working on my graduate school capstone paper, I’ve also spent my week scrapbooking, hanging out with friends, and just messing around.

And you know what?

For the first time in months, when people ask me how I’m feeling, some days I can honestly answer, “Great!”

kendra-bio1

photo credit: Today is a good day

footprintsThis weekend was very laid back in comparison to the past few months of my life.

I took some time to get my life back in order. You know, the usual: laundry, the gym, grocery shopping, painting my nails, laying outside, playing in my garden and reading.

On Saturday, it was so beautiful it was the perfect day to jump in the car and get out of the city to relax.  I took a trip to the Chesapeake Bay to try and soak up some sun with a few of my girlfriends. We got to talking about the city, DC life and our jobs. I told them about how excited I am for this blog and to live through my Quarterlife Crisis with other young women going through the same thing.

And then our conversation turned to how we all decided to move to DC (since we all moved here at different times and for different reasons.) It was interesting because lately, I have been thinking about when you know it’s time to move on.

I mean, I’ve lived my whole life according to a certain social time line. We go to high school, try to do well to make it into a great college, try our best in college so you can land an incredible job, maybe go on to graduate school and get a Masters, and then enter the work force.

But what happens after that? There is no set path for us to follow. Everyone takes a different route to try to achieve success. Some get married, some start families and others start businesses.

We all go our separate paths.

Except, how do you decide when and where to go, once you have entered that work force? We are not like our parents– expecting to stay at the same job for 20 years and then retire. So when, if you aren’t settling down or getting a crazy promotion are you supposed to know when to move?

When do you know when it’s time to go?

I talked it over with some female and male friends and this is the advice I was given:

I’m not saying I’m thinking of leaving DC anytime soon. I constantly walk down the street or hop on the metro and think of how grateful I am to be in this place. I have the best roommates, I live in an amazing area of the city, I have a job that challenges me (from time to time), a man who loves me, and a phenomenal family just a plane ride away.

This is where I always dreamed I would be. But, there are days when I wake up and wonder: How will I know when it’s time to go?

How will you know?

Andrea (new) bio.

photo credit: Vu Bui

robyn-5Things are constantly changing and the effect this has on a person really depends on how well you roll with the punches.

Somewhere along the way as I was growing up, I was taught that I always needed a “plan” — that I needed to know where I was going and what my goals were and how to achieve them.  Getting “off course” or running into bumps in the road completely caught me off guard and left me unprepared.

I entered high school, joining club after club and sport after sport in preparation for college.  I wanted to appear involved and well-rounded in my college applications.  After four years of high school, I entered college doing the same thing.  I joined clubs and took honors classes and picked a pretty major — all with hopes of future employers finding my resume to be impressive.

After doing some job hopping and trying to play the “real world” game, I’ve realized I’m so sick of sticking to plans and doing things that look good for people I really don’t care to impress.

“Going with the flow” and “playing it by ear” are underrated. Why not be flexible and see where that leads you?  It could be somewhere much better than where your plans would have taken you.

Changing your thought process and current mindset is the hardest part, but once you really take control of that part of your life, it’s worth it.

I’ve mentioned before that I think I made this change after traveling.  I woke up each morning with no plans and without a clue of where to start.  I learned to roll with the punches.  What do you do when you are in an unfamiliar city and you don’t know a single person?  It forces you to just see what happens and be open to wherever the day may lead you.

I remember being in Franz Josef, New Zealand.  It was my second week apart from my travel buddies, and I was beginning to feel a little lonely.  I was also in the smallest city ever with only one restaurant, one gas station, and one hostel.  Most travelers head there to do the glacier hike, and I had already done that.  I had one day left, and I found myself bored.  I asked a man on the street what he would recommend I should do with my day.  He laughed and told me: “Look around!  This is it!  Go!”

Without a plan and without some tour mapped out in front of my face, I was missing what was all around me.

New Zealand is gorgeous… breathtaking and untouched.  I followed the man’s advice.  I looked around.  I hiked down a trail, following a small stream and ended up at a dead end, having to turn back.  On the way back I got lost and ended up coming to an open spot surrounded by trees where various people were building fire pits and setting up tents.  I had stumbled upon a “jam party.”  As the sun went down, more and more people came — many single travelers and everyone looking to share a common, new experience.  We stayed up drinking Goon (cheap wine out of a box), getting to know each other, exchanging travel tips, and listening to people’s jam sessions.

Just what I needed.  Just what I was looking for.  Random.  Entertaining.  Incredible.  Unplanned.

robyn-bio1

Photo credit: geoftheref

Dock DivingOne of my favorite activities that we do in Lifestyle Design is to write little story called  “A Day in the Life of Me”.  Here’s the challenge I pose to my girls: What would your best life actually look like on a day-to-day basis 10 years in the future? Where would you be?  Who would you be with? What would you be doing?

Most find it a hard exercise to complete, especially those who are stuck in the “I don’t know what my best life looks like, I just know it’s not this” phase.  They feel like they don’t even know where to begin…  Others don’t want to put it down in writing (thus making it “real”) because what happens if it doesn’t come true?  Won’t that make them feel like a failure?

My responses:

To the first group who don’t think they know what their dream day would look like: Try it anyway.  Concentrate on feelings you would like to create & experience instead of the concrete facts you fear you don’t know.

True- you may not know the exact job you want in 10 years, but I bet you do know that you want to use your creativity, work a 4 day work week & be surrounded by smart like-minded professionals.   Maybe you don’t know who your partner or husband will be or if you’ll even want one- but I bet you do know that the significant other in your life will be sexy, honest & independent, and that your relationship will be one of love, trust & adventure.  You might not know where you want to live, but I bet you do know that you need a walkable neighborhood, incredible sunsets & a killer gelato shop nearby.  Obviously, you’ll need to fill in your own details.

Don’t worry about the big facts if you don’t know them– go for little details and the essence of your best life.  Work in the small things that you want present: a morning jog, time to write, or a loving home.

To the second group who are scared to record their dream day in case it never happens: Trust.  It’s true that we have very little control over the actual events of our life.  Who are we to predict a illness, lay off or shot gun wedding?  But why should that stop you from putting out to the Universe what you desire?  Operating from a place of fear is bound to make your life scary.  Operating from a place of hope & positivity opens up doors.

I’m not asking you to write your best life down and then reject everything along the journey that doesn’t agree with your vision.  I’m just asking you to have a clear idea of what you want at this moment in time.

I find it incredibly rewarding to do the inner work that it takes to recognize your future self.

So what does my dream day look like 10 years in the future?  It feels a bit odd to share with this large of an audience, but if my day inspires you to sit down and write out yours- awesome.  If you need more support and exercises to help you– we’re taking registration for October’s Lifestyle Design!  And preorder prices (valid through August 17th) are up for the online version of the course!

A Day in the Life of Molly: August 7th, 2019

I wake up early in a sun drenched room with bird noises, white sheets, and the Big Man.  He strokes my hair while I snuggle up for a little longer.  I feel loved. Soon enough, I’m waking the kids up and they’ll begin their tornado morning routine.  Luckily, I’ll be off for a  neighborhood run with some exercise pals, while the Big Man makes them breakfast.

As I come back from my run, I notice the house is clutter free, modern and filled with photos and art from our travels.  Kisses and homework checks for the kids and then I walk them to the bus stop. Home again,  I sip green tea, eat fruit & eggs & sit for my morning meditation.  I feel full of vitality.

The Big Man leaves for the office. I shower, dress in my walk in closet with a mini chandelier & emerge in jeans & funky flats.  I feel creative.  I head back to my office, which is nestled in our backyard, full of sparkly lights and a vegetable garden.  I’m working on a new woman’s retreat in Montana and it’s finally coming together!  Seattle Magazine calls to interview me for a piece on women business owners.  I feel successful.

Meet my sister for lunch at some adorable cafe.  Sparkling water with lime and something delicious to eat.  She just got a huge promotion at her job, so we start planning a vacation to Mexico to celebrate!  Surfing, dancing & margaritas– here we come!  I feel adventurous.  Call the Big Man- have him schedule Mexico in his calendar.  It’s on!

Put in another few hours of work, writing & prepping for teaching a new course the next day.  Complete letters of recommendation for my summer interns- what an incredible group of women!  Put in a quick call to my financial planner to follow up on some investments.   I feel balanced.

I pick the kids up from their after school activities  in my environmentally friendly car and we meet the Big Man at a friend’s house out on the water.  BBQ, laughter, good friends.  The kids are having a blast swimming and jumping off the dock.  I decide it looks like fun and dive right in!  I feel playful.  The adults have a great conversation about the education, politics, and big dreams. I hold the Big Man’s hand the whole time.  I feel connected.

A sleepy family finally makes it home after a full day.  The sun is setting.  Kids to bed after storytime, songtime & snuggles.  Hot sex with the Big Man.  To bed with a calm head and happy heart.

I know, I know, it’s not very exciting.  Some may even say- shock- traditional!  But remember, I said typical day.

You know me, of course I’m after adventure as well!  I want festivals and summitting peaks and acting on stage again and another trip around the world– but if my day-to-day ended up something like that, I would be incredibly grateful for my beautiful life.

What does your dream day look like?  Come on’ ladies!  Lets see them!

vegas cakeWhen I was a little girl, I never had those fantasies or dreams about getting married.  I never played out the scenarios of the bride and groom in the chapel, toys walking down the aisle and whatnot.

And I never really questioned it.  Until now I suppose.

My cousin Andrea, my last single female cousin from my huge, fantastic crazy family is getting married later this week.  Up until this point I have been pretty much indifferent about it.  It’s not to say that I’ve been indifferent about my cousin or the fact that she’s found love and has been planning this event for what seems forever, but I’ve just been indifferent about the idea of a wedding itself.

I always said that if I ever got married it wouldn’t just be once and they all would probably take place shotgun style back at home.  And home is not any old place in the USA.  I’m from the conservative Las Vegas: Reno, Nevada, where you can get married in 15 min.

And get divorced in 10.

It’s funny (not funny haha, but sad funny, like a long-winded *sigh*).  I grew up with parents who probably should have never gotten married in the first place but remained together for the “sake of the children” which in turn resulted in a later divorce while I was in college.

Is this direct influence a cause for my current opinion of marriage?  Well yes, probably.  Are they happier now than before? For sure. Even my brother and I have better relationships with our parents individually now.  It’s quite nice actually to know your parents are living more positive and happier lives than what you remember…

I joke about multiple marriages and having shotgun weddings at that little white chapel downtown because I don’t know if I believe in the whole marriage thing. I don’t even know if romantic true love exists; I usually file it under social misbeliefs like the supernatural and “God”.  I believe in what I can touch, feel, breathe and taste.

This Quarterlife Crisis has changed and pushed me to believe more in myself.  It has definitely cemented the fact that this one and only life of mine shouldn’t be wasted on sadness and depression.  It’s pushed me to believe that I can find happiness.

And perhaps, just maybe, that may involve someone else.  Someday.

And so that’s why I stop now and think about Andrea’s wedding a little bit differently.  She’s honestly happy.  Completely and utterly content with getting married and being married.  And I’m kind of jealous.  She’s gotten to that point in her life where she can give a part of herself to someone else spiritually and even legally.

I know I’m not there yet and to be truthful, I question if I ever really will.  But I’m getting okay with that and with whatever else happens in my life. I work better alone, live a pretty awesome life alone and have been fortunate enough to befriend wonderful people who will be there for me years down the road.

So yeah, to each his- wait, to each HER own…

marisa-bio1

photo credit: Jason

Runaway Bride When I was in college, no–go back even further–in high school, I knew that getting married was not something I considered in my immediate agenda.

When my girlfriends and I would ride the bus we’d gossip about who would end up with their current boyfriends and who wouldn’t. Even then, I knew that the boy I dated in high school would not end up my husband. (That’s a seriously terrifying word to say, isn’t it!?)

In college I dated a few people, nothing extremely serious, but it was then that all of my girlfriends started getting very serious with their respective beaus. This used to really bother me because all of my girlfriends are insanely smart. We were all honors majors and talked about all the awesome things we planned to do with our careers after graduation.

Well, I moved to DC and they moved in with boyfriends.

Careers became a different priority for them and the men in their lives became number one. If I had a man in my life, I’m sure I would have been the same. They are lucky to have found their soul mate and have a career…

A few weekends ago I went to the first of my girlfriends’ weddings. I was so excited flitting around taking pictures I didn’t have time to react. My mind was also flitting around. It was hard to keep it calm. But the minute I saw my girlfriend walk down the isle in that white dress it was like a wave washed over me. Everything from that moment on seemed so surreal. When they were announced as a married couple for the first time, it seemed so weird to me! She has a different name now!

Of course, I ended up reflecting on my own romantic situation. And I had a little bit of a crisis.

I thought back to the men in my life I have uttered those three little words to and which ones I could “see” myself with in the end. There was only one. A someone I dated a few years ago that I truly thought I could marry. It was the first and only time I had that feeling.

Needless to say, things didn’t work out (it was for the best) and I am dating someone else now. My current man friend, guy-I-am-seeing, whatever you want to call him in lieu of boyfriend (because that word is not part of my current vocabulary) has been a part of my life for years as a friend and lately a tremendous help throughout my Quarterlife Crisis as more than a friend. It’s been a rough ride for Daniel and I from the beginning, mostly due to my chaotic head.

My theory behind that challenge is “Nothing in life that is easy is worth it.”

Daniel lives in Austin, Texas so we struggle with the distance. (This is why I didn’t bring him to the wedding. If he was there, I would have been in a much calmer state. He has this uncanny ability to calm me down just by being there.) We don’t have a traditional relationship and when I was sitting at the wedding reception it was hard for me to evaluate where he and I stand in terms of, “till death do us part.”

With him, I try to focus on the present. Right now, he is one of my best friends. He loves me for the person I want to become and he loves me for the crazy person I am right now. I’m not sure if we have that long-term kind of connection though, and this is what makes my brain run in circles. I have a tendency to always look to the future, especially when it comes to males and relationships. And if I can barely image the idea of my wedding, there is no chance I can even come close to picturing the person I’d marry!

At my girlfriend’s wedding I came to the conclusion that if (and that is a HUGE if) I ever do get married it won’t be traditional at all. I would be able to handle a boy, a beach and some booze. Maybe some friends, definitely some family. That’s it. No fancy dresses, frilly flowers and unnecessary spending and stress.

My biggest hang-up though is not the cost of a wedding– it’s the permanence of marriage.

Talk about scary! I am one of the most independent people you will ever meet. I think the fact that I was born on Independence Day only adds to my forthright demeanor. I’m not afraid of being alone for the rest of my life. I’m afraid of being with the same person each and every day. I’m afraid I’ll get bored and not able to have my own life.

I was having panic attacks at the wedding and ended up text messaging my mom throughout most of the night, in hopes she would calm my mind. She and my father have been married 29 years.

I remember I wrote to her, “Mom, this is way too scary. I don’t think I can do this,” to which she responded, “Andrea, no one said you had to. You can do whatever you want to do as long as it makes you happy.” (It’s reasons like this that I love my mom. She is more than a mom, she is one of my best friends.)

Am I the only one who is terrified of the words fiancé? Wedding? Or the phrase “As long as you both shall live?” Please tell me I am not!

Andrea (new) bio.


One of my favorite Calvin and Hobbes strips is the one where Calvin points out that nothing helps a bad mood as much as spreading it around. It’s funny because it’s true.

As an official member of the unemployed class (my internship has finally ended) the one upside to my unemployment is that a lot of my friends are too. This makes me feel like less of a loser.

If my brilliant, funny, talented friends are having as hard a time finding a job as I am, well, clearly I’m not the problem. Right? Right!?

While I find a certain comfort in my friends unemployment (although I hope they all find fabulous jobs), what I’ve lately found discomforting is Facebook. This tool for connecting both friends and vague acquaintances can sometimes feel like a tool for self-flagellation when my feed informs me of a flurry of recent nuptials, births, home purchases, exotic vacations, law school acceptances and other oh so joyous occasions.

Retch.

It’s not so much that I want what they have. It’s just that sometimes, at the risk of sounding petty, I get tired of being happy for other people. It’s not a jealousy thing. In fact, I’m perfectly content with their happiness. But I’d be more content if they chose to be happy somewhere else.

Once again in the misery loves company vein, I find that I’m not alone in this sentiment. A good friend of mine recently admitted that she rarely logs into Facebook because constantly being inundated with other people’s good news depresses her. Her own closet admission, makes me wonder, why can something as banal as Facebook be so, well, irksome when you’re in flux?

As my friend Rachel pointed out to me recently, “It can be annoying to see happy little family photos, just as I’m sure it can be annoying for my friends to see happy singleton photos when they are married. There’s such a thing as TMI and Facebook is great at it.”

But I think that’s only half the story.

For the most part, what Facebook gives us is the happy bits of people’s lives.

It doesn’t tell us that the acquaintance who just got married doesn’t really love her husband, but that she gave into social pressure and settled. It doesn’t tell us that the person who seems ebullient over his law school acceptance doesn’t actually want to go to law school. In other words, Facebook is like the reality television of life – what it presents is real, but edited down and filtered to present one’s best possible self. And inundated with the perception that people we at least sort of know somehow manage to navigate life without the banal everyday lows of a quarterlife crisis, can leave those of us in the depths of our QLC feeling like a starving kid staring through a window at the rest of the world devouring a five star feast: hollow.

There is something to be said of using willful ignorance to preserve one’s sanity. In much the same way that the 24 hour news cycle has given us information without context that study after study has shown only serves to amplify mistrust and fear, I think the constant overexposure into windows of acquaintances lives can convince us that everyone else is happier and more together than they really are.

I’ve given this some thought and I’ve decided that to both preserve my own sanity as well as my ability to appreciate other people’s joy I’m going to dial down my exposure to the virtual reality of Facebook.

I’m going to spend more of my time living life instead of Facebooking about it.


photocred: Marius!!

Jet skiAfter an amazing weekend at my friend’s lake house in Michigan, I have been attempting to snap back to reality. No more boating and jet skis and lying in the sun. I woke up to my alarm in my Chicago condo with a pile of dirty laundry on the floor and an empty fridge (must get to grocery store!).

Speaking of reality… My sister, Holly, is graduating from college in December. As she fancies up her resume and starts researching businesses, I’m trying to give her advice. I’ve only been out of college for three years, and I really only have two years of experience in the corporate world, but even after such a short period of time…

I have realized that I don’t NEED to sell out and sacrifice what makes me happy in exchange for a bi-monthly check.

If you are talented and motivated and have the drive… Take control of your own life.  Network and find where your passions and interests intersect with a way to make a living. Work for yourself!

Taking my own advice, I’ve decided to stop complaining about my job and, instead, start doing something about it…  Shocker! Here are my three action steps on the road being happier:

  1. I’ve been applying for more freelance positions and hoping to eventually have enough to work for myself, make my own hours, and have more control over how I spend my time.
  2. I’ve made it a rule to stop bringing my “work bad-itude” outside of the workplace. Once I’m out the door, I turn on my ipod and listen to something upbeat.  I try to do something that makes me happy in the evening—meet a friend for frozen yogurt, go for a run along the lake path, bake some cookies, or visit the puppy store down the street just to say, “awwww!” I’ve realized there’s plenty of time after work to squeeze in something fun and completely un-work like.
  3. I decided that I am happier with life when there’s something to look forward to, so I am going to plan a trip for myself. Maybe somewhere new, but close or maybe somewhere on the other side of the world or maybe just wherever the next best flight special is going…  Currently accepting any recommendations!

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photo credit: robert of fairfax