Wednesday, April 27, 2011

some things look better in the rear view mirror

Over three years ago I lost a job that I'd had for 13ish years.  Initially I loved it, and eventually I loathed it.  I was lucky enough to be taught the business by my father and I worked very hard to get to the position I held when it ended.  It was financially rewarding but as I look back I know that it simply wasn't worth it.  I don't regret it.  I learned a lot about marketing, management and customer service and I met a lot of great people.  I simply wouldn't do it again.  No way.

I think I can say now that you're doomed if you don't have any passion for what you do.  I should clarify that a bit.  If you throw your whole self into your work, you had better love it.  It will suck the soul right out of you if you don't, and that is what happened to me.  In the end I was a shadow of the hard working and enthusiastic person I used to be, and it's because the job wasn't rewarding and didn't give me any joy.  Some of my coworkers made it tolerable, but that can only sustain a person for so long.

If you are one of those people who can go to a job and see it as simply a job and punch out at the end of the day and live a very rewarding life, then I applaud you.  But since heredity seems to be a sprouting theme in this blog, I will say that I also inherited the tendency to define myself by my career.  It's a horrible thing to do, really.  We aren't what we do.  If you are lucky enough to make a full time living as an artist or a teacher then maybe you can say you're happy defining yourself with your job title.  But if you are a plumber, or an executive assistant or a pilot or any other number of very very necessary things, I doubt that your job gives you total fulfillment in your life.

The first day I woke up without my job I felt like an empty shell and I had no idea who I was.  It was all I had ever known and I didn't think I had anything at all without it.  There was this spark inside of me somewhere that knew it was a good thing to be rid of it, but I couldn't crawl out of from behind that image I had created for myself.  And if I'm totally honest I didn't crawl out of it for a very long time.  I'm just now emerging from it completely.

As I've mentioned, I'm working on decluttering my life and my home.  Today I ventured into our spare bedroom that has become a junk dumping ground and found all of the boxes that came from my old office.  They have been exactly in that spot since the day I lost my job.  I couldn't face them.  It was too painful.  Hell I've only recently been able to drive by my old place of employment without it bothering me, and they've been out of business for quite some time now.  (Does it give me some small amount of glee that they went under after I left?  Yes, yes it does.  I'm a bad person, and I know this.  But I'm honest.)

Anyway, today I did it.  I went through every one of those boxes and got rid of everything, shredding the papers and keeping only the few personal pictures and things I found.  It didn't make me sad or angry.  In fact, I could look at everything and think back fondly of the great people I worked with and all the laughs I had as well as appreciating what having that job afforded me along the way.

I'm grateful to have worked there and I'm even more grateful that I no longer do.  I get to wake up each day and decide what I feel like doing.  I can work on my shops, play with my dog, make breakfast for my husband, run errands and stop at any flea market or sale I please.  I still find myself laying in bed at night thinking about work, but it's excitement in planning my next steps, rather than tossing and turning in utter dread at what fresh hell the next day would hold.

I have a very good friend who is still in the business and he asks me "how much would it take for you to come back?"  That is a very good question, and if I ever come up with a value that is equal to the feeling I get every morning when I get out of bed smiling and excited to face my day, I'll let him know.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

back from Virginia

I am back from a fast trip to Virginia to visit my family.  Got to spend a great few days with my parents, my sister, my brother, my sister in law and of course Kate, my super duper niece.  Here she is, if you don't believe how amazing she is.

Our trip was so rushed that I couldn't stop at any of the flea markets and antique malls along the route, which made me twitch a little.  There will be other trips, however, and this one was all about maximizing family time.  Having my family spread out over 4 states makes these little reunions rare and precious.  Even better was the fact that this one wasn't for a funeral--we've had a fair number of those in recent history.

Mother Nature was swell enough to dump rain on Kentucky the entire time we were gone, ensuring a flooded basement for my dear husband to swim around in smacking the crap out of the uncooperative sump pump when we got home.  Redneck swimming pool, anyone?  

This week will be all about getting ready for my giant yard sale which is coming up in a few weeks as well as finding lots of Etsy tips to share with all of you.  Oh, and the April's Army charity shop which will be open this week!  Mucho exciting!  More about that tomorrow.  For now I have to see if a nice glass of wine or three will get rid of the headache that driving over a mountain range in the rain has created.  Cheers!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Darn you Grippo's. Oh, and important charity stuff!

So I make that post yesterday, then hours later I'm at WalMart with a bag of Grippo's BBQ potato chips in my cart. Aarrrrg.  Whatever, water under the bridge, calories ingested, move on.

This weekend I get to see my family!!! This is always very exciting since we are spread out over 4 states and don't get to be in one place all that often.  My brother and his family have just moved into their new house and I can't wait to see it, and them, and to spend Easter with my beautiful niece Kate.  I'm taking her an Elmo backpack so hopefully I'll be on the good aunt list.

I have close to a million things to do before we leave--I'm absolutely horrible at preparing for trips.  I procrastinate terribly and end up leaving everything until the last minute.

One important thing I must do is to plug a very important charity event.  I am a member and leader of April's Army, a team on Etsy that is made up of wonderful giving people.  The group was founded because of our love of April Winchell and her site, Regretsy.  It is snarky and wickedly funny, but at it's center is a charitable heart.  Often misunderstood, April uses her humor for good and is one of the most tender hearted and truly good people I've had the pleasure to find on the internet.  I am very proud to be a part of the team, and to run the April's Army team blog.

Our team is a support group, crafter and Etsy seller think tank, and many other things.  First and foremost, however, we want to do good things for people in need.  To that end we are holding monthly charity events.  Team members contribute an item to be placed in a special shop, with all proceeds going to benefit that month's cause.

This month we are raising money for an amazing member of the team.  I will likely dedicate an entire post to his story at a later date but if you would like to read about Jason you can do so here.  Jason and his girlfriend are amazing people and I feel so fortunate to have learned about them and to help in some tiny way.

The shop will open soon, and I will alert you when that happens.  If you simply can't wait to help, you can donate directly on his site, or purchase anything from his girlfriend's shop, For Jason.  Jason has even created something of his own to sell.  I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of my very own Herp Derps.

Alright, I won't subject you to any of my normal musings today.  Please just take a few moments to read Jason's story, go get a chuckle on Regretsy, and at least for today don't take stuff so seriously.  And if you find your face buried in a bag of potato chips, give yourself a break and go do something good for someone else.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Indecisive? Who, me?

I am my father's daughter.  While he is my ultimate hero, the most amazing role model and a fantastic man, I blame him for my lack of decision making prowess.  It's not his fault, though.  We come from a long line of flip flopping, option weighing second guessers.  Coming by it honestly doesn't make it any less frustrating, but at least it gives me a bit of comfort.

I think I have started five blogs in the last ten days. Probably three times that many in the last couple of months. And by started I mean that I have created them and named them and never made a single post.  Why? Because they weren't right.  I've been trying to figure out what single thing I could make a blog about that would include all the things I want to say.  What suddenly dawned on me while lying in bed this morning is that I don't want this blog to just be about my love of vintage or my weight loss or cooking or Etsy or working from home or any of the dozen other ideas I've had.

What I do want it to be about is me.  Me, the work in process, who is struggling to balance all of these things.  The woman who left her career 3 years ago, the career she had expected to retire from.  The woman who has some screwed up food addiction that she can't get a grip on. The woman who is trying to honor the memory of her grandmother while not becoming the hoarder she was with my love of all things vintage. The woman who is trying to make a living working from home, doing things she enjoys on her own timetable.  The woman who loves her husband, loves her family, loves her annoying cat and mentally challenged black lab, loves her amazing niece Kate and her yet unborn but equally amazing nephew Jackson.

So if you are going to follow this blog, expect something different all the time.  Some days I will be all business and I'll be sharing tips and tricks that I'm picking up along the way while I work to make my Etsy shops successful.  Other days I'll be lamenting about the entire bag of Grippos potato chips I've just eaten or rejoicing that I've actually worked out for a change.  There are a hundred things I'm working on simultaneously in my life and I will likely get to all of them eventually.

I will try to make this blog more about tips and ideas and less about ranting and raving, though that may happen from time to time.  It is in my nature to vent loudly and often but I'm trying to work on that.  It is also in my nature to be unnecessarily vulgar, but I am going to do my absolute best to refrain from that.  It's a bad habit, first of all, but more importantly I would like this blog to be something that people can follow without cringing.  I apologize in advance for the times I fail at these goals.

It seems incredibly arrogant to say, but I would like this to be of some value to the people who read it.  Even if the value comes from you pointing at me and saying "wow I'm not going to do anything that stupid."  I don't claim to know everything, or even very much for that matter.  But there is a lot to be said for sharing ones self in an honest manner.  I will get far more from this blog than you ever will, and hopefully you're ok with that.  Feel free to hold me accountable, call me an idiot, applaud or scream at me--anything you like.  I've been told I'm not great at taking criticism but I'd like to work on that as well.

So.  Here it is.  I'm sticking with this one.  I'm not making any more new blogs, this is it.  Seriously, I mean it this time.