A man, a plan, a canal, panama
Hello everybody and welcome to the very first post on this blog. Before I get started with the normal, day-to-day content, I figured I should take a moment to provide some context for how all of this came to be.
First and foremost, I hope you’re all staying safe out there. I know parts of the country are looking at re-opening in the next couple weeks and that it means a lot of people are going to be exposed to high levels of risk. Please take precautions to protect your health (as well as others) and I hope we all pull through this as a community and a world.
As I write this, I am facing the start of a new path in my personal journey.
Throughout quarantine, I have been faced with both copious amounts of free time and excessive levels of isolation – both situations that can lead to pretty toxic outcomes for my personality.
(I know I can’t be the only one who spirals when operating without adult supervision and someone to provide validation, right?)
I spent the first month of quarantine wasting a huge amount of time, anticipating the day when I would return to work.
That was a little rough.
I have since become restless, optimistic, brave, and perhaps desperately in need of a project or three.
I think that for a lot of us who otherwise have trouble finding the time to wind down, quarantine has proven a time to decompress, re-evaluate, revisit, plan, and otherwise meditate on where we are in our lives, where we want to be, what we value, and what really needs to happen as we return to a more normal way of life.
Personally, the amount of free time I’ve had recently felt crushing initially, but has forced me to really reflect on the past few years of my life in particular. In two months, I will be turning 30. Just before that will be the 6th anniversary of my divorce from a man I left because I needed to be free of him (and his words) to pursue better for myself.
I have looked at my life not with a sense of dissatisfaction, but certainly with a sense that I haven’t gotten to where I would like to be.
I know most people are probably in that boat.
I know there’s supposed to be safety in numbers.
I don’t want to be in that boat anymore, though.
So a few days ago, I did exactly what I did when I needed the courage to leave my ex-husband: I put on Ani DiFranco’s “Swan Dive” on repeat and I tried to make a list of all the opportunities, big and small, that I have otherwise been ignoring. I made a list of my talents, my gifts, my passions, and my quirks and tried to connect the dots to see what kind of vision I could draw for myself. I thought about the people in my life and how I could reach out to them to ask them for help, and who I could build something with.
I found some possibilities. This blog was one of them. My business was another. Getting my real estate license again and pursuing work as an agent was a third.
And that’s where we are.
What’s the takeaway?
This is my first time writing on this blog and it’s my first step down a long and winding path. I don’t have more for you yet.
I don’t have a course to sell you or a deep backlog of helpful content.
I don’t even have words of inspiration right now, because I don’t know if any of this is going to work out for me.
So instead, if you’re reading this, I want you to do something else, all on your own. Do it for yourself.
I want you to go listen to Ani DiFranco’s “Swan Dive,” too. (Or, if that’s not your cup of tea, find another song that inspires you, motivates you, or otherwise gets you fired up and a little antsy.)
Now take a deep breath or five, find some quiet space within yourself, and ask yourself the following questions:
- What opportunities have I been ignoring?
- Why have I been ignoring them?
- Optional: But why have I really been ignoring them?
- What could happen if I chose to pursue them instead?
- Who could I ask to help me?
- Where could I find the time?
- Where could I find the money?
- Where might I find the knowledge and skill?
- What are my talents?
- What are my gifts?
- What are my passions?
- What makes me feel joyous?
- When was the last time I felt joy?
- How am I standing in my own way?
- How can I get out of my own way?
- Who can I build something with?
- How will that feel?
- What is my first step?
- How I can take one step every day?
- How am I going to hold myself accountable for it?
You don’t have to answer all of these questions at once, nor do you have to answer them at all. I am not going to check your homework, and maybe several of these will do nothing to serve you.
They were all questions that served me well, however.
I would also ask that you limit yourself to facts only. Planning is not the time for speculation, nor is it the time for negative self-talk. For example, if you’re telling yourself not to pursue your dream because you could fail, then to be fair you also must tell yourself that you absolutely must pursue your dream because success is virtually guaranteed. The truth, as in all cases, is likely somewhere in the middle. The only way to know for sure is to try and find out.
You’re not obligated to act on any of this, either. You are certainly not obligated to immediately reach out to your best friend to ask her to go into business with you for the second time and then file your LLC paperwork, open a bank account, sign a lease, pay for classes, and start a blog by the end of the week as I have.
We all work at our own paces, and you should work at one that works for you.
But I would urge you to, at the very least, find your first step, start doing your research, and take a step forward every single day from here on. If you do, no matter how long the road ahead of you, you will make progress and you will start to find yourself ever closer to where it is you want to be.
In the meantime, perhaps consider subscribing to this blog to follow along with my journey, learn from my inevitable failures, celebrate my successes with me, and maybe even follow along some of the guides I have planned (I do have some form of qualification to talk about some of the things I’ll be discussing, after all).
If you do the exercise, make sure you leave a comment, too, to tell me where you’re going to start steering your ship. I’d love to hear everybody’s stories. And who knows? Maybe you’ll inspire someone else, meet a person who can help you along in your own journey, or just make a new blogger’s day by engaging.
Until next time, take care of yourself and I hope you’re all staying safe out there.