Sunday, August 14, 2016

On My Mind, Day 7: Faith, Hope and Luck

This is the final post in my week-long commitment to writing for one hour every day. I have learned a few things during this past week. First, I have even more respect than I already did for people who write blogs and social media posts for a living. The idea that there are people who are on deadline to put something out there each and every day is pretty amazing. It takes a lot of insight, creativity and perseverance to just keep on writing.

Second, I learned to be patient and forgiving with myself as a writer. There were days I really looked forward to my hour of blogging and there were a few days when I was a little stuck. Some of the things I put out this week had a lot of insight. And other times it was more of a log of my daily activities and events. I always used to feel like I had to have a lesson at the end of each of my blog posts. But sometimes it is enough to just share a story and let others take whatever they need from it.

Finally, I was reminded that I do enjoy the process of writing. Even if no one reads it. I could just keep a journal of all of these thoughts and there would be a zero percent chance that anyone would ever see it. But I choose to put my thoughts, experiences and observations out here instead. I like the idea of expressing myself in a forum where there is even a small chance that someone might stumble across my words at just the right time in their life to help them move along on their journey.

I have been inspired by so many people through books, podcasts, social media posts and other forms of creative expression. The podcast where Brandon Stanton talked about his creative process is a huge part of what inspired me to dedicate this week to my writing. 

I have no idea where this path will lead. But I do know that I won't get to wherever I am supposed to be unless I am true to myself. Just over a year ago, when I left my corporate job I wasn't sure what I wanted to do next. Somewhere along the way, it occurred to me that what I really wanted was to find a way to support myself that did not involve me taking another corporate job. Although I have had my struggles, I sit here today much closer to that goal than ever before.

Last night when we were driving around town on my birthday adventure, we drove past the University Hospitals building where I had interviewed for that grant writing job back in May. As we drove by, I thought about how different my life would be right now if I had taken that job sitting on the cube shelf. I just don't think I would have been happy there.

If I had taken that job on the cube shelf, I probably wouldn't have enjoyed my June getaways with Mark Johnson nearly as much. And I wouldn't have been able to take three weeks off from work in July to help my Mom recover from her knee surgery. And I would have been working downtown in the middle of the chaos of the Republican National Convention. And I would have been walking back and forth from one building to another on the hospital campus every day in this oppressive heat, with my hair frizzing out to epic proportions. 

Even though I was really afraid to say no to the security of that job, I had faith in my inner voice which was screaming at me not to take it. Since I started listening to that voice, I have had some wonderful things happen in my life, including meeting Mark Johnson. And I have slowly started to decompress from years of stress and anxiety. 

And I had hope that something better would come along, if I could just be patient and let things play out. And lucky for me, they did. I put myself out there on Linked In and let people know that I am available for freelance writing jobs. And I set my intention to make just enough money writing that I wouldn't have to go back to an office job.

Then out of the blue I got a note from someone I used to work with years ago, offering me a chance to write for her. That work, combined with the other clients I have now, might just get me to the point where I can financially support myself through my writing. One year ago, I could barely imagine that it was even a possibility, and now it might become a reality. I am so lucky. So truly lucky that all of these things have started to fall into place for me. 

I feel like this is the beginning of another phase of my life. And I can't wait to see what happens next. I won't be writing in my blog every day anymore, but I will make a commitment to write more often and share whatever insights, experiences and lessons the universe sends my way.

And if you ever want to share your thoughts with me, just leave me a note in the comments section. I would love to hear your story.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

On My Mind, Day 6: Celebration

Today will be a short post because it is my birthday and I am still celebrating with Mark Johnson and his daughter Zoe. I turned 45 years old today. When you are younger, each birthday feels like an exciting milestone. But as we get older, a lot of adults are no longer enthusiastic about their birthday. Maybe it is because they are afraid of getting older, or maybe it is because they don't want to make a fuss anymore.

I am not one of those people. I love celebrating my birthday. No matter where I have been in my life, in the best and worst of times, when I wake up every August 13th it is my day. And everything just seems a little brighter. I think it is really important to celebrate your birthday, no matter what. It is the one day a year that acknowledges your creation. The day you were born onto this planet. And that alone is an awe-inspiring event.

This year was a really special celebration. We had an amazing day. Mark Johnson put together a "build your own birthday" surprise with a series of envelopes labeled from 1 to 7. And Zoe Johnson decorated all of the envelopes with colored patterns like hearts, stripes and polka dots. For each number, there were multiple envelopes to choose from. At each decision point during the day, I got to pick from one of the numbered envelopes and that is where we would go next. I have never had anyone go through that much effort to plan a birthday party for me.

We have been all over Cleveland today, from a cozy breakfast at Crocker Park, to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to the Buddha Room at the Cleveland Museum of Art, to a little walk and shopping in Coventry and then dinner at my favorite Mexican restaurant. They had more things planned, but we started to run out of time. And some of the activities, like watching the sunset at the park, were thwarted by the rainy, humid weather.

I am truly overwhelmed by what Mark Johnson did for me today. And how much fun the three of us had hanging out together. It is one of the best birthdays that I can remember. As if I wasn't already convinced how amazing this man is and how much I love him, this pretty much sealed the deal.

So I guess my message for today is simple as well. Take time to celebrate your birthday every year. And I hope that you have at least one person in your life who will make you feel as special as Mark Johnson did for me today. We are all here on this earth for a purpose. To live freely, to love deeply, to laugh out loud and to take in as much beauty as we possibly can.

I got to do all of those things today. And I still have a piece of cheesecake waiting for me.