Standing on the Ledge

I’ve been standing on the ledge of a pool for the past year.

It’s a lively pool party – people are laughing and having fun together and everything points to one thing: the water’s fine. I’ve even dipped my toes in a few times and it feels perfect.

So why can’t I just jump in?

It's just a matter of jumping in to the life you want to live.

The pool

The pool I want to dive into is the simple living, minimalist blogging group that I’ve become familiar with over the past two years.

The pool includes a daily writing habit, a weekly posting schedule and intentionally consuming information. It includes larger project ideas like eBooks and real books and the opportunity to someday, somehow get paid for what I love doing most.

To me, it sounds lovely.

The ledge

The ledge is where I’ve been at a standstill for the past several months. I’ve kept an erratic blogging schedule, lost my way on nearly every mindfulness practice I’ve set out for myself and honestly, failed every “good writer” habit I’ve tried to develop.

I’ve been beating myself up about not always holding up the “practice what you preach” principle.

But today I realized that holding on to those missteps and failures is a stupid idea.

An almost comically stupid idea.

Can you relate?

The jump

So here it is! It’s time to decide whether to leave the pool party or jump in. And there are a lot of cool people at this pool party, so how would I look and feel if I just left now?

I’ve decided to take the jump into prioritizing my blog and my interaction with the community, both online and off.

I’m going to jump into personal and professional development and start doing what I love.

Heck, I may even cut down on my “real life” work commitments so that I can add more non-monetary value to my life, and hopefully to yours.

No worries though, my blog will always remain ad-free and sponsored post-free.

The bigger picture

One thing I promised myself when I started this blog was that I wouldn’t make it all about me. I wanted to be able to reach out to readers and random internet strangers about how this stuff affects them too.

So in writing this post, I realized we all have pools that we’re just dying to jump into.

You may have been standing at your ledge for 30 minutes or 30 years, but what matters most is how soon you take that next step. Will it be another 30 minutes? Or another 30 years?

I didn’t realize how much I was holding myself back until just today when I, quite randomly, decided to free write for a few minutes. (I used 750 Words if you’d like to try it out.)

I got all my negative thoughts out and then my writing started to shape from whining and excuses to actually encouraging myself to jump in. I was channeling my inner cheerleader (which I never was in real life). It was fun and revelatory.

So here’s my challenge to you: find your ledge, but more importantly find your pool.

What have you been putting off? You can take a little time to explore the “why not” that’s been holding you back, but I recommend not dwelling too long on it. Dwelling on the “why nots” creates a breeding ground for more “why nots”.

And “why nots” are embarrassing and cumbersome to have to carry around at a pool party.

So here’s your permission: spend some time free writing, brainstorming or – here’s a novel idea – sit quietly and think about what pool you’ve been meaning to jump into. Find out what’s been hiding below the surface and realize that you’ve already been invited to the party. All you need to do now is show up and get to that ledge.

And then jump.

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On the Eve of the Move

We’ve completed nearly two whole weeks of living out of suitcases and bags and boxes in our hometown. We’ve had a wonderful time staying with family and friends, and now we can measure our time left in Indiana in hours instead of days, weeks or months.

This is crazy.

Later, I’ll do a more in-depth post about our move (what we ditched and what we’re taking) but for now, our car is packed. We have 7 boxes to take, several bags of clothing, bedding and travel sundries, and a very grumpy rabbit. We will ship only 3 more boxes.

Moving Boxes

Have you ever had everything that’s dear to you in a single car? It’s unsettling and exciting at the same time. We’re truly starting fresh in California, and we’re both so excited to carefully curate everything that comes in and out of our soon-to-be home.

What to expect in the next couple of weeks

While I don’t even know what to expect out of even the next few days, I thought I’d share a glimpse of what I’ll be writing about once I get up and running out in California. I have several backlog posts that have needed polishing and publishing for a while now, but were victims of the whirlwind of moving. Here’s what you’ll read from me soon:

  • My thoughts on the joy of simple work now that I’ve been self-employed for several months
  • Our final days in our apartment in Indianapolis and move-out
  • Packing our car and making the final decisions of keep vs. store vs. trash or donate
  • Our adventures of finding an apartment in a new city (did I mention that we don’t have an apartment lined up yet?)
  • Our adventures of first-time furniture shopping in a new city

And finally, once this all settles down, I’ll be turning my focus towards how my minimalist journey has been changing the way I eat and the way I think about food. But we’re not going to talk about that now, because the past two weeks of holiday eating have not been exemplary of our diet (although I’ve loved everything I’ve eaten).

Next time you hear from me, it will be from the other side of the country! I hope your holidays were filled with more love, less stress and lots of time with the ones you care for most.

Sending you all my warmest wishes for a peaceful and productive new year.

I Quit My Day Job

And just like that, the chaos that these past two weeks have felt like has come to an end – they were my last two weeks at the agency I’ve worked at for a year and a half.

If you felt rumblings of that in my recent post about my brother doing what he loves most, you were right to suspect I’d be making this change soon. And what a terrifying, difficult and yet incredible change it’s going to be.

I am once again leaving my comfort zone for something completely new!

CheersSo what’s next?

Good question. I’ve actually picked up some contract work as an editor for Quora and another gig as a data entry assistant. On top of that, I’ll be working as a marketing “consultant” of sorts for a couple of startups in the family (yes, those wooden sunglasses being one of them).

But right now, it’s less about what I’m going to do for money, and more about living the life I want to live. As Millennials, I think it’s hard for us to realize that it’s often more within our grasp than we might think. I could settle into an office job (and settle into saying “someday”), but why wait?

The someday trap

I was working myself into a continuous string of someday’s – I said someday I’d write more on this blog, someday I’d get out of Indiana (more on that in the next post…) and that someday I’d start doing what I love for a living.

The trouble is, I haven’t defined what it is that I most love, and I certainly haven’t run into that mythical day called “someday.”

When we put things off for the future, we’re not just procrastinating. We’re building a comfort zone, creating a bubble, making ourselves a safety blanket – whatever makes the most sense to us, we’re doing it because we don’t want to face any sort of fear, productive or otherwise. We’re becoming more risk averse and, while this isn’t necessarily true across the board, it makes me and many people I know less creative.

I become complacent in an apartment and in a city that doesn’t make me feel the magic of everyday life. I find my routines becoming more dull. I find myself sad, but unwilling to change.

So what is it that you’re putting off for someday? What little changes here and there can you make to bring you one step closer to what you really want to do?

For me, it’s getting onto the same schedule as my husband and introducing more flexibility into my work. And this isn’t the last leap we’re going to take…stay tuned for my next post about where we’re going to live next!

Hint: It’s a big change, and we can’t just coast through this one without some significant planning.

Palm trees

Wisdom Wednesday: Seth Godin on Change

sethgodin

Are you holding out on change because you’re scared you’ll fail? One of Seth Godin’s books, The Icarus Deception, was one of the major drivers in my last job change – I was willing to take a big chance to improve my situation, and it turned out better than I could have anticipated. Waiting would have significantly changed the outcome, possibly for the worse.

The beauty of this is that it applies to both businesses and personal lives: practicing rapid innovation can move you forward in ways you never expected. But keep it in check 🙂 Too much change in such little time can make adapting more tedious than it should be.

I challenge you to implement one change today that takes you out of your comfort zone.