Life’s a Journey, Not a Destination

Yep, that’s from an Aerosmith song. It’s also the truth.

Yesterday I realized that it has been nearly 12 years since I worked at a job. Like a real job. Where you go to an office and have to be there every day from 9am to 5pm. And there is a boss who gets mad at you for being late, or taking a long lunch. (Although, really, my boss at that job would never have gotten mad about either – he was probably late too).

It was at a TV Station, and I was the administrative assistant as well as a producer for a couple of shows. (Sounds more awesome than it was). The only highlight was the people that I worked with. Made some lifelong friends there.

I mentioned this milestone on Facebook yesterday, and I got a lot of congratulations. Which left me thinking this morning about how awesome it sounds that I haven’t had a real job in 12 years, but I’m paying the bills, traveling, and just generally doing well. I’m afraid that sounds like I just up and quit my job one day and followed my dream and it was just perfect.

It wasn’t.

And I want to clarify.

3c0fb1c6e623c6f473a0140166fc2db1

So, I left the job not to follow my dream, but because I was pregnant with my first baby. The baby was coming in October, and my husband’s school year started at the end of August, so I arranged it so I stopped working at the end of July. That way we got to spend one more month together as just us.

At the time, I was selling stuff on eBay, because though the ideal was that I was going to stay home with the kids, the reality was that the loss of income wasn’t great.

I did the eBay thing for a few years, but got pretty bored with it. I had to drive too far to find good stuff to sell, And I got pregnant again…

Eventually, I started Mystery Shopping. I know, I know. You think it was a scam. It wasn’t. Seriously. I made some good cash with that gig.

But it wasn’t good for me. I was going out of my mind because I had no friends, a husband who hated his job and two kids under two years old. It became not only an escape for me mentally, but it also got me addicted to the good feelings you get when you buy something new. It got out of control.

At the same time I was doing a little substitute teaching on the side. But most of the income for that went to pay for child care. So, other than getting me out of the house to talk to other grown ups, not much was accomplished.

By year 4 I had a third child and 64k of credit card debt. (Yes, I know both could have been prevented, but I would never go back and redo either one of them).

This is when I knew something had to change. I stopped both subbing and Mystery Shopping cold turkey. No more adding to the debt.

I started writing for a few websites, doing recaps of TV shows. Some were paid, some weren’t.

I found a guy through Craigslist (not as scary as it sounds) and convinced him to give me the gig as his virtual assistant. He paid me a whopping $8/hr – but I could do it with my kids sitting next to me on the couch, so it was awesome.

I worked with him exclusively for 2 years. It built up my confidence and made me realize I could do a lot of things that I hadn’t realized before that i could do. Eventually, I took on more clients, and got to the point that I was able to completely pay off my debt.

After a total of 4 years, I dropped the virtual assistant stuff, because it was wearing on me. It wasn’t something I enjoyed anymore – and it was only stressing me out.

So, for the last 3 years I’ve been a Web Designer exclusively. And that’s all about to change too. I’ll keep doing it, but I’m going to be super picky about who I work with, and just so you know, more is coming.

I tell you this for no other reason than to say that I had no idea 12 years ago that I would end up where I am right now. And where ever you are right now, who knows where you will be in 1, 5, or 10 years.

I have no idea what will push you onto the path that you are going to go down – but I do know that even when there seems to be detours, or u-turns, it’s all working toward taking you on the journey that you are supposed to go on.

94f66233eb20cd5d791254d1f28165f4

There were times in my life that people would say, “So, what are you up to these days?” and it made me feel flighty as hell. Yes, I get bored easily. Yes, I move from one thing to the next, but each is a step up from the last thing. There is a constant forward motion to my movement. Or if not constant, at least steady.

I don’t slow down, I don’t quit trying, and I don’t ever let the words, “So, what are you up to these days” make me feel bad anymore. Now it’s a badge of pride. I’m glad that people don’t know what to expect out of me – and I hope that they aren’t usually expecting the worst.

What you need to understand is that each step in your journey is molding you into the person you are supposed to be. Good and bad, each of these things need to happen. But nothing is ever going to happen unless you start moving. Get up out of your comfort zone and do something about it. Now.

015bccdc30588d0d5d83f10f05f86368

 

 

 

It doesn’t make any sense

I think it’s safe to say that most people would agree with me that this winter has been a helluva trial. It’s been ridiculously cold. We’ve had a stupid amount of snow. And for my entire life I’ve lived in Ohio or Michigan, so it’s not like I don’t know what winter is like. In fact, it’s been so cold that I’ve worn a coat all winter. And I pride myself on not ever really needing a winter coat unless it’s below 15 degrees.

The bonus of the bone-chilling cold is that the Great Lakes are pretty much frozen solid. Lake Superior is one big ice cube, and that equals ice caves.

It should be stated here that I am not a fan of winter. I tolerate it because I like the other seasons, but if I had a choice, I’d live in New Orleans for the duration of the cold.

When the kids want to go sledding, I do not participate. I stay home and make sure hot chocolate is ready when they return.

But when I heard about the ice caves, I knew it was something I needed to see. My husband felt the exact same way, and we started planning a weekend trip to Munising, MI.

I’m sure the Apostle Islands caves are gorgeous, but Munising is closer, and is also our favorite area to camp in the summer. The caves at Grand Island were supposed to be just as spectacular – with the only downside being that you have to hike across a mile of frozen lake to get there.

20140308_101557

This trip didn’t make any sense. It took over 16 hours to get there and back, and we spent less than 3 hours doing the thing we went there to do. But it was absolutely worth it. Worth every minute of the 16+ hours in the car. And worth the ridiculous hike through knee deep snow.

But, turns out, if there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that the thing that doesn’t make any sense, is usually well worth doing.
Read the Rest…

Portfolio