Waiting for the Other Shoe

"You're waiting for the other shoe to drop. You're so tangled up in your fear that you're not really experiencing the job of what's happening in your life right now."

We'd just sat down to a delicious meal when my friend delivered this wisdom. Although my life was flowing like a river out of the Rocky Mountains I was having a hard time enjoying it. I was fretting. Pacing. Worried about events that hadn't happened yet. Her words stopped me mid-sentence.

She was right.  (Damn it)

Life was so good for me -- better in fact, that it had been in months. And yet. I was waiting for that other shoe to drop, crushing all that long-sought happiness. My happiness was being swallowed up by the fear monster. The perceived pain I was feeling felt real and yet--it wasn't. It was just phantom pain I was reliving from the past even though that I wasn't in the past--I had moved forward to a new time continuum.

If you're like me, you might tend to focus on the shoe rather than the joy. But focusing  on what seems like a precariously placed shoe isn't going to make it stop from falling.

Waiting for that shoe to take it's tumble exacts a cost.
It tightens your chest making it hard to breath.

It closes off your heart.
It distracts you away from what really matters.
It squeezes the joy right out of your life and everything in it.

The only thing that can stop the shoe from falling is out of your control. Shoes are gonna drop sometimes and it's okay. You will be ok. You always have been and you always will be.

How to Really Enjoy Your Life

I was lucky. I grew up in a home with two parents who did what they wanted for their work. My mom loved to write, sing and play the piano. Outside of her children, she loved her creative projects. My dad moved the family to Michigan so that he could pursue his love of creating prototypes in the auto industry. Cars were his passion from the age of 5 and even though no one before or since has been an engineer--he has followed that passion. While we didn’t live in a huge home with lots of designer items we had a nice living and were probably one of the wealthier families on our block in the suburbs of Detroit.

My parents also had the same life dream to travel all over the country in a trailer. When I was growing up we hauled our pop-up trailer around the country every summer to a new destination. Now that they’re both retired, they spend 4-6 months a year traveling the country in a trailer--just as they dreamed of doing. It’s not the most conventional nor cost effective thing but it is one of the most important things for them and so they do it.

Unlike many other parents they didn’t tell me that I had to be one thing or another. There was never any pressure to go to law school or business school--though two of my siblings did that on their own volition. My parents seemed most focused on whether I was a good person and if I was happy. They did want me to make money so that I was stable but otherwise they never tried to sway me when I wanted to do something which for me was usually creative and often just a little ahead of my time. I’ve followed my creative leanings and given into my passions and this has largely worked out for me. Like I said, I was lucky to grow up in the house I did with parents who cared about this as well. If you didn’t, don’t worry. It’s not to late. It’s never to late to follow the stirrings of your heart.

I know that we live on physical planet and  have to live so sometimes you need to take a job “just for the money.” I know I certainly have. Just make sure that you don’t only take only jobs just for the money.

 

"If you say money is the most important you'll be spending you life completely wasting your life. Doing things you don't like doing in order to go on living that is go on doing things you don't like doing which is stupid."

Alan Watts

Do YOU like what you're doing? If not, this video is just for you.

The Year of Love

Last night a big number rolled over in the calendar. As the new year started I found myself sitting on my couch starting to have a pity party for one. Then I remembered that being alone on this day was actually my choice. I was offered a plane ticket to New York for New Years. New *freaking* York! But I made a choice. I decided to spend New Year's Eve at home in favor of a trip out a bit later when it coincided with a work event. Though it's much more cool to be in New York when the ball drops I made a choice that supports me for the longer term. Um, does this mean I've finally reached adulthood?

As I sat pondering all of this I found myself doing what I'm wont to do when there's something on my brain. Turning over word combinations in my head I decided to write. Although most of what I write never reaches anyone else's eyes I thought I'd share it with the hopes that maybe you'll relate to it. I'm not going to pretend that I have something novel to say about the new year. It's just really me talking to myself as the appointed 2013 hour arrived.

---------------

Dear Suz,

Remember a new year started--not a completely new life. Sure, you can go ahead and make those resolutions to run climb another 14er and save 20% of your income. In addition do something that’s really powerful. Something that will power everything else in your life.

Let this be the 365 days that you really love yourself. Love yourself enough to:

Take small, reachable steps rather than HUGE leaps.

Let go of stress of any form.

Save more than you think you need. This will give you more options and freedom.

Appreciate every scar, crease in your face and every single failure. This means you're really living.

Be kind to yourself.

Allow yourself to be upset from time to time.

Just be upset. Don’t get upset about being upset.

Not worry about that other shoe. It's dropped many times and you're still here.

Be willing to face others disapproval, especially when it means you earn your own.

Remember to stand strong for what you want.

Cook more often. Despite what your first boyfriend said--your food is edible.

Smile more often. It really does make things easier.

Not worry about those little rolls of flesh that pop out over the top of your pants.

Focus on what you have in your life. Practice being grateful every day.

Be unabashedly you.

Be open to love from wherever it comes.

And most of all remember this. You don't have to all of these at one time. Just do one little thing each day that brings you more love and happiness.

Love,
me

You Can't Trade a Sister for a Prada Purse

There's something about a sister. You love 'em. You can't turn 'em into a brother.

Or, a really nice Prada purse. I'm sure my sister, a major fashionista, would appreciate a really nice pair of Louboutin's rather than having to deal with me sometimes. You can't blame her. I mean, unlike me, shoes don't ask to stay in your extra bedroom, drool all over your expensive clothes and use you as a personal concierge right?

My sister and I have always been a study in contrasts where our differences were more numerous than our similarities. Other than a lovely pair of parents and two older brothers that is. After spending more than a decade in Chicago, I decided to move to Boulder nearly 3 years ago. This month I decided to go back to visit after a 2 year absence. This time the differences in who we are and how we live our lives became even more pronounced.

My sister generally lives a life of stability and order. She married, became a mother of two beautiful girls, is an immigration lawyer for a major corporation and remained a very pragmatic woman with a great deal of focus and will power.  She has impeccable taste and always looks amazing.

Her sister is not any of those things. Single and childless, I have a strong wanderlust and once lived in 6 different places in a year and a half. I help tech startups and growing businesses create strong marketing programs and haven't held a "real" job in a number of years. While pragmatism runs in the family, the stronger part of me leans more towards creativity, independence and fluidity. My style tends to be much more casual, my clothes don't always *quite* match and I'm prone to wearing skulls on my clothing and jewelry.

As you can imagine, the lenses with which we view the world come in very different shades. Let me demonstrate...

Upon seeing this photo of my dog my sister asked:

"Is your dog wearing a necklace?"
Um, that's a dog collar.

I'm still chuckling over that one.

Of course a few hours later I was the one who uttered:
"I think she hurt her paw."
About my 6 year old niece.

I'm sure my sister thought it was a very good idea that I didn't have children.

Families are funny. Sisters even more so. As the holidays rapidly come to a bittersweet end I'm sure you can relate. You might be wondering if an alien stork brought that sibling or cousin to the doorstep instead of a version that seemed more like you. But having someone who shares your blood but a very different perspective is a good thing. Difference is what makes the world a rich beautiful place and what makes it turn on it axis.

And? While trying to walk in my sister's size too big Louboutins may not be easy at least I get some really nice hand-me-downs that I'd never be able to afford. And, she gave me the two most beautiful nieces I could ever have hoped for.

Yep. I'm a lucky girl.

The 5 Best Decisions I've Made

One of my favorite bloggers, Schmutzie recently wrote a post about the 5 Best Decisions of My Life. Inspired, I decided to pick through my life to find mine.

Writing

Even when no one else is reading. It helps me sort out my thoughts on things. It also means that my creativity isn't limited to just shopping and putting together interesting outfits. Which...is what happens when I stop writing. Blogging in particular provides a connection channel with others. Sometimes my writing shows up in the form of websites for clients other times it's blog posts. Other times I simply write my thoughts in Evernote, my favorite app for writing. Wherever I do it...writing is a daily imperative. One of the best decisions I make again. And again.

Making Travel a Priority

I grew up spending my summers in Starcraft pop-up with my family crossing off national monuments and national parks like I was a girl with a bucket list. By the age of 16 I had visited every continental United State except one: North Dakota. This set me up for lifelong wanderlust. In the past few years my travels have taken me to: Morrocco, Madrid, Barcelona, Sweden, Paris, Amsterdam, Prague, London, Austin (2x), New York (3x), Colorado (before I lived here), Santa Fe, Los Angeles (2x), Bahamas, Miami, New Orleans and California (5x).

At the moment I don't have any impending trips in the near future and I'm like a man in the desert desperately in need of water.


Web1.0 and 2.0

The first time I saw the world wide web was I was hooked. Getting involved with building this communication medium called intranets back in 1997 was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Managing the development of web sites during web 1.0 came next. My work during this time was my favorite ever. I loved exploring into new ways of communicating, connecting and selling through the internet. Although I went away from it professionally for a bit coming back a few years ago was an even better decision. I love the pace, creating new things, the social aspect and being to connect with people all over the world. Can't imagine not being in the internet tech world.


Being a pain in the ass

In one time in particular. It was back in the late 90's. I was very sick. The kind where you have a 102 degree fever for 3 weeks and have trouble walking up even slight inclines but the doctor passes it off as a bad sinus infection. Landed in the ER 2 days after that appt with a 105 degree fever. I begged, pleaded and pretty much refused to leave the hospital until the doctor admitted me because something was really wrong. Indeed it was. 2 days later in Cardiac ICU I flatlined due to bacterial strep in my pericardium. If I hadn't been in the hospital I would have died. Luckily, I was willing to be a pain in the ass. Life giving decision. Literally.


Moving to SF & Then to Chicago

I've done this a bunch and I'd say most of them were great decisions. The two best moves I made were from Michigan to SF in the mid 90's and from SF to Chicago in the late 90's. The move to SF opened me to a bigger world beyond provincial Detroit. This was also where I truly started to know myself. The move to Chicago was great because it gave me financial stability and most importantly, let me spend the first 5 years of life with my nieces and my sister. Both of these were career changing moves. And? Offered me the chance to get to know myself and my family better. Moving to Boulder allowed me to get back in touch with my love of tech startups. Great moves.


Intuition features prominently in all of these decisions. Thinking that following the gut and the best decisions are hand holders.

None of these decisions are permanent. They can all be changed. (well the 5th one could have been permanent as in no longer here.) It reminds me not to fret too much about decisions and if I make one I don't love I can just make a new one.

So.

What are the 5 best decisions you've made?