My best friend and I made vision boards.
It was surprisingly effective... and hilarious.
Please enjoy the first episode of "It's Happening Right Now!" The explosive new podcast from Andrew Meidenbauer and yours truly!
My best friend and I made vision boards.
It was surprisingly effective... and hilarious.
Please enjoy the first episode of "It's Happening Right Now!" The explosive new podcast from Andrew Meidenbauer and yours truly!
Did you just sign up for a marathon?
Are you "max'ing out" with Shaun T?
Maybe you just peeled yourself off the floor to do a crunch, not to come out of a day long depression.
Well, Happy & Healthy New Year!
Health & Fitness is the first goal on every one's list when the clock strikes midnight in Times Square. But this year, I recommend getting your career fitness on, too.
Thanks to my extensive freelancing experience, I've gotten pretty good at keeping my portfolio up to date and creating a presence for myself online and in person. Still, I found myself a little behind where I prefer to be when it comes to representing my work. After putting myself through a 2 week freelance bootcamp, I should be fully back in effect by the end of the month.
A freelance friend of mine always refers to her career as "her business". That tiny difference in language created a big shift in my how I treat my professional decisions. Every day of work I do, no matter what my current status-freelance or staff- I imagine it coming out of my own little store. At the best of times, it's charming, unique and orderly.. like Oleson's Mercantile in Little House of the Prairie. Say what you will about Mrs. Oleson, but she kept that shit TIGHT. How I maintain and update my media mercantile determines how happy my current customer is and how likely new ones are to visit.
So I wanted to offer some basic freelance fitness you can do right now, whether you are freelance or not... Actually, ESPECIALLY if you are not freelance. Whether you are happy at your job, miserable at your job, or not even really thinking about your job... promise me you will take a look at your store to make sure it is open for business when 2015 opportunities arrive.
Here's what I consider to be good Freelance Fitness...
1) BYE FELICIA FUND. Grab a calculator and figure how much cash you need to live for a month. Obviously, your rent, bills, student loan...BUT also include a health insurance estimate (if you had to cover it), mad money for drinks, dinner, metro cards-every single thing. And I would overestimate. In 2015, shoot to have three times that in a savings account. If there is a surprise layoff or surprise I don't wanna be here anymore!, you can be like "Bye Felicia!", knowing you're fine for a few months.
2) YOUR GREATEST HITS. Block 30 minutes out this week, grab a notebook and and list out the last 4 quarters of 2014. Working backwards from today, identify 1-2, maybe 3 of your strongest projects in each quarter. For creatives, this means the content that you enjoyed making the most, and got your boss and maybe even your boss' boss buzzing. (Note that I did not say huge ratings or returns for the company. While creating business value for the corporation you're working for is great, I have found that what gets me hired are the spots my peers and direct supervisors admire most. Good rule of thumb: if a friend/colleague "frolleague" texts you from a meeting where a piece of yours is shown with "holy shit! Great spot!" and you're like "I KNOW!", that spot goes on your reel.)
For line producers/project managers, identify the most complex campaigns you handled and determine the challenges you met and successfully navigated, the size and scope, etc. Editorial Directors and strategists, which presentations did you knock out of the park? How did you build bridges with other departments to communicate that vision and strategy? You want clear bullet points. If a potential new frolleague asks what you do, you should very clear on your job description and how you were successful fulfilling it.
3) COLLECT AND PRESENT Once your greatest hits are identified, collect all examples of that work or write up concise statements of each achievement, and make it presentation ready.
Update your resume and LinkedIn profile with all of this information. If you have not done in a resume in a while, (which you haven't because it's literally the most annoying thing on earth to do), start there. Then just copy and paste that info to your LinkedIn.
Creatives, open a Vimeo Pro account today and upload all of your latest work. Once you've done this back work, you should be updating on an ongoing basis. Every time you get the "killer spot!" text, upload that piece to your Vimeo going forward.
4) BUSINESS LADY LUNCHES Take another half hour this week and get dreamy about other types of work you would like to do. Even if it's not currently within your skill set or field. Actually, ESPECIALLY if it's not. Maybe you're a production manager who wants to direct a feature film? Or are you a motion graphics designer who wants to kick it old-school at a magazine? Or do you wanna cut the cord to be a chef or baker? (I regularly daydream about opening an oatmeal food truck.) Once every quarter of 2015, schedule a lunch, coffee or call with someone who works in that field for an "informational". This can be a friend, or a friend of a friend, or a friend of a friend of a LinkedIn connection who would be willing to give you a half hour of some 101 time. It doesn't need to be an interview. In fact, it's better if it's not. It's just to remind you there is a whole world of opportunity out there, which will bring you a lot of peace.
As far as I'm concerned, allllllll creative professionals can benefit from a freelance fitness program. We all know The Company can ask you to leave at anytime. Nothing is forever. But that works both ways. You are also free to leave whenever a new and exciting opportunity arises! Freelance fitness is not about Freelance freakout. In fact, it's the opposite. It's about having all your ducks in a row when it's time to go...whether it be two weeks or two years from now.
For those of you who are currently staff, I especially want you to consider "your business" in 2015. Why? Because no matter how happy you may be with your current employment situation, make no mistake...it is not YOUR business. Remember that. You do not OWN the company you are currently dedicating much of your time and energy to. Provide your service and do it well. But your business should come first every. single. day. Staff employees often attend large, all hands on deck events where the company's mission is laid out for the year.
Well, that's fine. But what's YOUR business' mission? How are your Gandalf-given talents serving your purpose and mission here on Middle Earth?
Guess what? You can't just eat infinity hummus.
I mean, you can. Freaking open up that sabra and pretend you're at the Ponderosa if you want. But hummus, while healthy, is also calorically dense. Which means if we're looking to clean up our nutrition, we have to cool it. Hummus is a snack, not Mediterranean thanksgiving.
To make portioning out my hummus a little less depressing, I plated it up a bit so it was a thing. Very tasty/adorable.
1/2 Cucumber, washed
2 tablespoons hummus
Homemade salads are depressing.
Great salads cost $275
Here's the in-between.
-Dress the greens before adding anything else to ensure flavor city. I hate when one piece of lettuce is drowning, while the rest is banished to the salad desert.
-Make your own dressing. It is the easiest thing in the world, and tastes a 1000 times better than any bottled variety. I used a homemade Dijon Vinaigrette, which didn't take more than one minute to make.
-All Egg everything! A fried egg makes everything better, even depressing salads. Hence the "frisee" title. But I couldn't do the legit frisee greens. They taste good, but I don't like their terrifying thorn look.
Club Frisee Salad
2 cups of your favorite mixed salad greens. (the darker the better, health wise.)
3 slices low-sodium turkey cold cuts
3 slices turkey bacon
1-2 tablespoons homemade dressing (which ever recipe you prefer, but NO sugar added)
1 tsp olive oil
Two weeks ago, I accomplished a pretty major 2014 goal. But unlike all of the fitness journeys that I livereal-time on Facebook, I've said nothing about it to the majority of my peeps. In my fitness challenge groups, I stress how crucial it is to state your goals publicly, encourage conversation about the highs and lows along the way, and then celebrating when your goal is accomplished. When you state your goals publicly, you build in a layer of motivation and accountability. When you track your progress with friends, you both offer and receive advice to keep you on track. And when you celebrate your own victory, you inspire others to do the same. I mean, right?
So why haven't I told anyone about this other big goal?
I've thought about why this is for a few days, and it's def because the goal I achieved is a financial one. I have some shame attached because I probably should have accomplished the goal years ago. There is also the fact that money is just NOT discussed.
Well, that's not entirely true. We hear about it when it's some nightmare Suze Orman story, causing the viewer inner panic attacks about their own financial plan. Or it's the complete opposite end of the spectrume; the self-made millionaire on his way to becoming a billionaire. It's hard for most of us in the middle to relate to either story, so we simply don't talk about it. But guess who talks about money all the time? Rich people!
You know why rich people are rich? They talk about it all the time! I've met them! Dude, I swear to God... they have zero shame in talking about their failures and successes. Because that's how they learn where their next opportunity lives. They report back to each other- whether is was a failure or success with no shame- and then they are on to the next one.
I have found I can't solve any problem in any area of my life-fitness, career, relationship-without collaboration and consolation with my favorite trusted people. We offer each other support, guidance, advice, and the occasional real-talk if required.
I achieved a major goal that I know many people have, and just never get to. I thought I wouldn't either..until I did. So I feel it's my obligation to share what I accomplished and how I did it.
I PAID OFF ALL MY CREDIT CARD DEBT!
I applied for my first credit card back in college at the campus center so I could get a free bag of Starburst. I'm not kidding. There was some kind of promotion to rope vulnerable, sweet-tooth prone college students. I had no intention of even using the credit card, but then I wanted this really big astrology book I saw at Barnes & Noble in the Galleria. So I bought it..and I guess it cost like $20,000 or something, probably more. Because once I started using it, I just didn't stop.
After college my credit score was pretty terrible, which is a nightmare if you want to find an apartment in New York City. So I did some good work in correcting that, paying back crazy past due stuff. But when my credit score improved, I learned I could just maintain some debt all the time so I could live the way I wanted in the short term, never considering what it was doing to my long game... because I didn't have one. It wasn't until I got back from that first long year of backpacking that I had a vision for my life and what I truly want to do. That vision requires freedom and flexibility, and that's impossible with the ball and chain of debt. I finally realized I could only go so far in my life, if I was dragging that behind.
Here is exactly how I killed the credit card this year, for those who have credit card assassination as one of their top goals for 2015. Please believe, I know little to nothing about money. And I don't think any of this is even super revolutionary. Other than I made the life adjustments and sacrifices required to get it done. I stopped thinking about it and did something. But in some ways I think my story might be more useful to you in that if I can do it, anyone can do it...for real!
Step 1: I took at a staff job.
-This wasn't because it was more cash. In fact, being staff often means a pay cut even after your insurance. It was just REGULAR cash. I wanted a locked amount of money every two weeks to make the budgeting and planning required easier. It also meant a year-end bonus that I wouldn't receive until the end of the company's fiscal year. This was a lump sum I knew was coming to me, but couldn't touch in the short term when temptation arose.
Step 2: I moved out of New York City.
-I could afford my apartment in Brooklyn. But like most New Yorkers, that was IT. There was no way I could pay my credit cards off in a short amount of time, which was imperative. The minute I decided this was a goal, I wanted it over ASAP. This was one of the harder choices for me to actually pull the trigger on within my plan. Any New Yorker who has done this feels a pretty traumatic set of "end of an era" emotions. Because I could not bring myself to do it, this is the prayer I started to say, "god, I know it's over..like, 98% I know it. But I will not be able to do it myself with even 2% of doubt out there. Please send me a sign so obvious, that it's not even a choice I have to make. It needs to be so obvious, it's inevitable. I'm not doing anything until I get it." Not soon after, my father went into the hospital with a serious bout of pneumonia. I spent days in my hometown with my family as he recovered, which was actually really pleasant considering the circumstances... and significantly cheaper. 5 minutes after I walked back into my apartment in Brooklyn (no lie!), my landlord called to tell me he was only giving me a year-lease retroactive 6 months, and my rent would be going up 5%. Sooooo, it was inevitable. "No thank you." I moved everything except my bedroom set into storage, and moved into my sister's second bedroom. This has brought my overhead down DRAMATICALLY. Like, I'm pretty much a millionaire up here. New York City is for trillionaires. And if you are not one, it's pretty much impossible to get ahead.
Step 3: I brought in a second source of income through online health and fitness coaching.
-During this time, I began re-focusing on my own health and fitness. I joined one of my sister's online coaching groups to focus with Shaun T. I found the experience super effective and inspiring on so many levels. I loved sharing my progress with friends at the office and on Facebook, and found that people were regularly asking me what I had done. With some nudging from my sister, I finally started running regular challenge groups myself. Not only do I feel immense personal gratification, helping people lose weight and building healthy lifestyles in a way I wish someone had done for me when I was lost and depressed, coaching also brings in regular weekly "mad money". Some weeks, it's enough for a dinner or two out. Other weeks it can cover my hotel bill at Disney world. While I was willing to make some sacrifices to pay off my debt, I was NOT looking to have a miserable year until it was all gone. The second job made sure that didn't happen.
Step 4: I scheduled my 2014 vacations around business trips in Los Angeles.
-There was no way travel and vacations could go away. None. That was a non-negotiable. But I was challenged in that my favorite destinations are all warm weather locales. Meaning, I'm at least traveling to the west coast, not cheap. My last job required frequent business trips to Los Angeles. So I scheduled all 2014 time-off at the end of a major project while I was already on the west coast. After the Kids Choice Awards, I spent a long weekend in San Diego. I crashed on an old friend's couch and only paid for a rental car and a few meals. After Kids Choice Sports, I flew to Honolulu from LA and splurged on the full Aloha experience for almost three weeks. In both situations, I saved a lot of cash by starting with the ending of a work trip to the West Coast.
Those four choices brought me to the moment, sooner than I expected actually. I was looking at my bank account two weeks ago and realized I could pay off the last of my debt at that very moment. Naturally, I had a total panic attack. I called my best friend hemming and hawing, "I don't know! is it the right thing?!" My sister was totally confused by my struggle, "I don't get it. This is why you moved up here..this is a good thing!" It is a good thing, a very good thing." I'm incredibly proud of myself..now. But I think I was just so used to being the girl who always has debt, that I was scared about becoming a woman who has no debt. I don't even know who the hell that is! What if she isn't funny?! But I stuck to my original plan and hit submit. So far so good..I can still crack a joke or two.
I offer my story up as we have only two more days to make our 2015 resolutions. If you have some financial albatross around your neck, please..get rid of it in 2015. It feels so great in ways I didn't expect.
I've been watching a lot of comic book shows on Netflix lately; Agents of SHIELD, Arrow, The Flash. I think I'm obsessed because they all work off of the "it's all connected" comic book theory. Meaning, ALL characters within Marvel and DC all live and exist in the same universe. So Arrow could be watching the news in Starling City, and hear about some crazy crime in Central City. He then races over his with his hot bod (seriously, please look this guy up) to help The Flash in a crossover episode. Agents of SHIELD was kind of a gener' but good show, until episode 17 "Turn Turn Turn". Captain America 2 was released in the theater, and effected the storyline of SHIELD so dramatically I was standing in front of the television with my hands on my head "What?! What is happening?! THIS IS SO GOOD!"
As your goals for 2015 come together, understand they all live in the same universe. How you do one thing in health & fitness, is how yo do it career and finance. If that's NOT the case- if you're killing it at your job but have dangerously high cholesterol because of poor nutrition-that silo'd life is keeping you from your potential. So this coming year, start with the scariest, most uncomfortable goal and watch the doors open in the rest of your life. Let's make 2015 a crossover year.
It's all connected.
One of the great culinary adventures you can take as a kid is eating a tuna sandwich at a friend's house. Every family's recipe is wildly different. Some dice pickles into their tuna. Others can't even taste it unless there is a pound of garlic salt. And secret communities of Miracle Whip lovers can still be found.
Tuna salad is specific. So I just went for it with last night's dinner. I "cleaned" the recipe up by swapping avocado for the mayo. Then I leaned into that with some Mexican spices, red onion, and lots of lime juice. I wrapped it all up in Napa cabbage leaves and served it with a side of sautéed mixed greens (collard, turnip and mustard). The measurements below are to my taste. But you should adjust as you see fit..get specific!
I can't wait to serve my nieces a green tuna salad. Their minds are going to explode.
Mexican Avocado Tuna Salad
1 5oz can solid white tuna in water, drained.
1/2 ripe avocado
1/2 red onion, diced very small
21 Day Fix Southwestern Seasoning to taste
salt to taste
pepper to taste
As of midnight tonight, the holidays are over, done. finit. Girl, bye. I will be going out with a bang; disgusting-delicious Tuna Noodle Casserole. I cannot WAIT... but I'm not going butt-nuts all day. Delightful-delicious smoothie lunch is as follows...
Vanilla Chai Smoothie
1 scoop vanilla Shakeology
1 cup brewed unsweeted Chai tea, cooled
1 tsp raw honey
1/2 frozen banana
2 or 3 ice cubes
cinnamon to taste (or allspice if you got it.... I didn't got it.)
Throw everything in a blender. Enjoy while binge-watching episodes of Transparent..because both are the bomb.
Adapted from Martha Stewart's "Eat Clean" recipes...because they are so simple, tasty and they always freaking work. In fact, I'm about to order their new cleaning eating cookbook "Clean Slate", because clean eating and PREPARING IT MYSELF LIKE A GROWN ASS WOMAN WHO CAN MAKE HER OWN FOOD DAMMIT! is a big 2015 resolution for me. I used this recipe as the base and added an egg cooked sunny side up for protein.
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 bunch collard greens (12 oz) ribs removed, thinly sliced
1/4 cup pine nuts toasted
Grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
12 oz whole wheat spaghetti (like farro)
1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino romano
Pound this entire recipe all day, everyday for 7 days in between your healthy meals
60 oz distilled water
1 tbsp cranberry juice
2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
40 drops Dandelion Root Extract
lend all ingredients together in a pitcher while playing around with your new tabletop photography studio, and shouting resolutions at your roommate, husband, wife, sister, brother..whomever is in close range.
"I'm gonna KILL it this year!"
"Can you believe I'm going to look like Beyonce in a month?!"
"What are we gonna eat tonight..HAS to be clean!..Eat Clean, 2015!!!"
Please note, recipe does NOT include the following:
Because the holidays are OVER.
Adventure is for everyone... and so is Magic Mike.
Just ask my friend Kim.
She came to the movie because it was the only way we could hang out while she was in town. The town being New York City, of course that's not entirely true. We could have gone to a broadway show, or a coffee cupping, or a tour of the Stock Exchange. But none of those events involved Channing Tatum, which was a required element for any of my social interactions at the time.
I was committed to spreading the Gospel of Channing-a message of men with big arms who can really dance and "oh my god, he's funny too?!?!" (Please see 21 Jump Street.) But all of this was lost on Kim, who sat mortified as I and a hundred or so gay men hooted and hollered to Channing's thrilling interpretation of "Pony" by Ginuwine. Amen.
I don't feel that bad about it. 1) Kim made me try Bubble Tea that day- which would be super refreshing, if the thousand black gelatin beetles at the bottom were a little easier to swallow. And 2) She did walk away from the movie with a very positive view of adult dance crews. We should get one going immediately and call ourselves "Mixed Emotions", in reference to our biracial backgrounds. With a name like that, how could I say no?
While our hair challenges are different, (Kim is Chinese and White. I am Black and White. We'll never be able to share hair product.), all biracial people can come together around The Question. I bet you Olivia Munn gets it everyday on the set of The Newsroom. Someone asked Derek Jeter at a Little League game. And President Obama got so sick of everyone asking him, he wrote a book about it.
“Soooo, what are you?”
In my case, it is almost always asked out of pure, benign curiosity. No harm intended. But the fact that people are so curious about it, they feel compelled to ask a stranger their personal history is still amazing to me.
When I was younger, it was completely embarrassing. Imagine being a chubby high schooler and being singled out like that. "You! I can't figure you out.. but you're odd! You're just a little different than everybody else here. What are you?!"
No matter what my answer was, it was never sufficient. So many expectations are laid on biracial people to be tortured, or righteous, or misunderstood, or "caught in between". All of which I have experienced. But most of the time, I was just a regular kid who liked watching Ducktales while shoving cookies in my mouth.
The fact that I still think this sounds like a good time at 37 makes me a not so regular adult. As does a host of other personality quirks, which make the question "So what are you?" still pretty valid to ask of me, but...
..isn't it valid for everyone?
A biracial background is not required to be misunderstood. Your hair might be manageable, but your everyday life might be incomprehensible to others, even yourself. (How often have you thought, "how in the hell did I get here?" or "Is this all there is?") If a stranger took the time to ask you what you were, you wouldn't know where to start...
But they don't.
And that's a shame.
The Question that felt like a curse as an unhappy teenager, became a blessing as I got older. After college, I used it as angry motivation to establish a life that was easily digestible for anyone on the outside. I goal'd the hell out of my late 20s to get in shape, pay the bills, and snag a boyfriend. I established a grown-up foundation from which to function in society. It also got everyone off my freaking jock for a little while about what I was so I could just be.
But that time was also superficial, stressful, and limited. I had a good life by design, but not one that really reflected who I was or what I believed in. No spontaneity, variety, no fun, no meaningful connection. At 34, I felt purposeless and alone. I would have loved for someone, anyone to ask me the question again...but I got rid of them a long time ago. So the only person left to ask was myself.
What the hell am I?
Curiosity + Enthusiasm = Adventure
If you accept that as the formula to adventure, "So What are You?" is the problem to be solved. My life changed when I stopped approaching The Question with irritation and anxiety, and instead met it head on with curiosity and enthusiasm. I brought it forward and made a commitment to explore every single avenue that looked even 50% interesting. If after I took a few steps down that road, I was still digging it...I just kept going. I had absolutely no idea it would lead me to Ninety Mile beach in New Zealand in the ugliest, most comfortable pair of jeans I ever owned. Adventures are surprising like that.
So if you are interested in starting your adventure, the first step is getting super real about that question. Right now, at this moment... where you're sitting or standing..is this all you are? Will you only do this? Do you feel a part of the world around you?
If not, fix that. Now.
Consistent and focused work with this formula will lead you to creative, innovative and practical solutions for a more adventurous life.
This does not mean you will end up in New Zealand if you don't want to. It just may mean you finally sign up for that baking class. Or you french that guy sitting next to you on the train. Or you move to Philadelphia next week... Who fucking knows?
Or it could even be that sleeper hit; you make a new friend. (When was the last time you did that? BRAND new?) Once you start taking The Question seriously, you're going to have to make it public soon. There will be a moment when you cut through the generic chit chat you have with a casual acquaintance and say something like..
“Listen, I’m thinking about doing something totally weird. I’m so scared, but I think it could be AWESOME. But probably a disaster. Do you think I'm crazy?”
And she'll be like, "Hell no! do it..who cares?!"
If you find that you're to scared to ask yourself the question, afraid of adventure...well, I'm asking you now.
What are you?
I push because I know it's worth it, and I promise you are not alone.
In fact, Kim and I have started an adult dance crew open to anyone filled with these "Mixed Emotions". The choreography is easy to learn, but challenging to execute. We host a Channing Tatum movie night once a month. Bubble Tea will be served.
Please join us.
They say print is dying, but The Warwick Advertiser is immortal.
Right around this time 30 years ago, I was scanning the paper to find out which school bus I was assigned to. By the time I had made my friends on bus "J", The Advertiser was directing us all to Halloween events like the town costume parade- which if I remember correctly, only required that you be a little kid in a costume who showed up at the Grand Union parking lot at the designated time to participate. Donuts and Cider were served.
As we got older, the classifieds section is where we found our first job, first car and a free kitten for our good homes. And when we were older and crazier, The Advertiser called our asses out in the Police Blotter. In a public outing of the week's police incident reports, the whole town could see who got caught knocking mailboxes over with a bat or urinating in public. An old friend who was busted for the latter, (way too recently), framed his debut in the Blotter and set it on the mantle above his fireplace.
Now that I've finally made it to the Big Leagues, I know exactly how he feels.
I'm not gonna douche out here and tell you, "Do you know that pretty much every college aged student outside of the staaaaaates is encouraged to travel for at least a with little to no money?" Because who freaking cares. That is the douche'y truth. But I am as American as they come. I was raised to direct all my maturing towards the SATs. Once I survived that, I could live in a dilapidated house with 6 other students and no adult supervision. We ate Rice a Roni for dinner, followed by a cigarette on the living room couch we moved outside to the front porch, and paid our monthly bills with keg parties. It was awesome.
This is why I got obsessed with the idea of old-school travel slideshows during my last trip to Australia. For me, it's a model of adventure travel that we can all get our heads around. The wacky single aunt just back from her third trip to Japan, a cousin in the military who has been stationed in Asia, your parents' "party couple" friends telling you how big the pretzels are at the REAL Oktoberfest - we all know at least one these characters. And back in the day, they would break out a slide carousel for their neighbors and pass the authentic German beers as they shared their story in pictures...what's more American than that?! These are our great Adventurers.
All they did is examine the parameters or their own lives with a little more creativity (job, budget, schedule, etc), and then bend those parameters to pursue what they truly value. You can trash all of your stuff and head to New Zealand like I did. Or if you only have a long weekend, you can make those three days count by driving to a new state and explore it all by yourself. I've done both of those things, and I swear they are equally rewarding.
Wacky Aunts and Party Couples aren't rich or even particularly special. They are just brave enough to tell their family, "you know what..I'm skipping the family reunion this year. I need all my vacation days to go to Macchu Picchu"..
...Or France, or Tahiti, or Ithaca..where ever! It's about quitting the endless wait to become the perfect person, in the perfect place, at the perfect time; finally free to do something different. It's not coming. There will always be something in the way.
F--k that. Do it NOW.
Adventure is for everyone.
Adventure = Curiosity + Enthusiasm x Action.* Anyone from a kindergarten teacher to my friend the Public Urinator can apply this equation to their lives and create a measurable change. I know this from personal experience.
This information is important. It should be as practical and readily available as the date and time of the $29 Golf and Beer discount ad taking up half of the Advertiser's page. I reached out to the Albert Wisner Library, Warwick's amazing local library, and they agreed.
I called this talk You Are Here because that little phrase in English, was often the only thing that kept me from a full-on nervous breakdown in various parts of the world. Adventure is scary and exhausting, like 73% of the time. But that small reminder on maps from Tokyo to Budapest has grounded me just enough to take the next step into the unknown, where that 27% of Awesome lies.
For me, I think those next steps are about sharing those ideas, advice, and resources here. I'm going to post something every Wednesday around lunch time...because it's Wednesday and lunchtime right now.
Check it out. See what ya' think. If you've gotta question, holler at me. My hope is that it's the start of a really great conversation...but who knows?
That's part of the adventure.
This equation was inspired by Chip Conley's amazing book Emotional Equations. Really awesome approach to dealing with big, challenging feelings. I'm filled with those..so of course I loved it.
4 days in, and I'm already crushing 2013.
No doubt this will be my most successful year yet, because I'm not assuming from the jump that I will fail. In other words, no resolutions.
That shit's over.
I am a go getter-goal setter from waaaay back, boy. Starting in 2000 with the classic "I need to lose weight", I quit smoking, started counting Weight Watchers points, and learned how to run. By 2005 I had lost 50 lbs since high school and completed the NYC marathon.
Surprisingly, running 26 miles did not make me happy. Must be my career's fault! Time to laser focus on my job. After a year as an assistant in Comedy Central 's branding department, I was determined to write and produce at least one promo. I ordered cupcakes for department birthdays by day, and wrote scripts for "South Park" episodics at night. By 2007, I was a full-fledged writer/producer on the best in-house TV branding team there ever was or shall be. Another box ticked qualifying me as a successful, happy adult...
...Which was weird, because I wasn't.
My overall health and fitness level improved when I lost weight, good news. And I was psyched I found a way to pay the bills with a job that didn't make me want to kill myself...even better! Super useful stuff as you move from your 20s into your 30s; when it's time to become a functioning adult.
But at 36, I don't want to just function anymore, I want to thrive and contribute. That involves big decisions and risk taking in every single area of my life. In fact, there are no more separate areas to be partitioned based on clearly defined, very narrow goals; it's just my life. That's it. This is all there is.
And so help me freaking God, if I spend one more year boiling it all down to whether or not I gained or lost three pounds, I'm going to do a cannonball off the Brooklyn Bridge.
This new thinking started in 2008, when my best friendand I began giving tag lines to each New Year; a mission statement to live under for the next 365 days. We kicked it off with "Great in 2008!' after a particularly uninspiring few years. Then we lowered our expectations a tad with "Just Fine in 2009" after life got very real with a few sad and scary turns of events. We got brave again for "When? 2010!!". I decided to quit my job, ditch my apartment and New York City to travel in the South Pacific for a year. We kept the party going for 2011, with "2011: Double the one, double the fun!", as I continued to travel in between gigs back in NYC. And last year, under "2012, Treat yo' selve'!" I finally made a comfy, new home for myself in Brooklyn.
This year's new tagline is "2013: Rage Against the Machine". I refuse to beat myself up on the last day of every year until I am no longer on this planet. Instead, I will officially believe that I am totally sufficient the way I am right now. I will trust that I'm a grown-ass woman who knows how to take care of herself and navigate the world and doesn't need hard and fast rules to keep me in line. Instead of goal setting, I am VALUE setting; knowing that if I actively remember what is most important in my life and act accordingly, the rest will fall into place.
I will be brave and follow my epic values quest where ever it may take me. And if while questing, I gain 10 lbs...
So wot?! Who cayz?!
This is happening right now.
I love these photos. If I stare at them for longer than a few seconds, my eyes get all wide and they start to burn from tearing up.
My parents are still with me, thank god. It's just intense for me to think about them as young people who had no idea what was going to happen. There was a time that my Mom and Dad didn't know each other. Then my mom saw my dad playing at a jazz club in Georgetown. They went out and made jokes and shared dreams and got married. (I guess, right? That's the order of operations?) They were regular people who felt lost sometimes and sucked at stuff. They shared great joy and great pain together- and after many years, went their separate ways to build new lives. In between all of that they managed to squeeze 6 children into their schedules.
These photos were both taken before I was born. There was a time before they knew me-any of the jokes I would make or dreams I would have. Even now, we can really only share so much because of the parent-kid divide. Maybe that's why they had a thousand children? Perhaps some little voice told them this little girl will need a small theater ensemble in the living room to perform all the plays and newscasts she will write and produce. When I got to medium size, depressed and lonely in high school, my only friends were the ones at home. And when I got big, they became best friends, willing to visit me in Australia during my quarter life crisis.
Or maybe every time approached a new fork in the woods they were like, "fuck it... I don't know. Let's do.. this. I guess?"
Either way... it's comforting to know that a life that has worked out so perfectly for me, was designed by two people without a blueprint.
Andrew has finally gotten it together to visit the new place in Brooklyn. He has lots of constructive feedback like, "You need more s--t on the walls! Why is this over here? You need another chair!"
In return for this criticism, I wake him up every morning with a song and dance number. Today it was, "I Can See Clearly Now" at the top of my lungs. I'm sure my neighbors enjoy it as much as Andrew does.
A real meeting of the minds.
New Life. New Design. New Blog.