• #30before30,  lifestyle

    #30before30: ditching the five (or ten, or twenty) year plan

    "I don't know where I'm going from here but I promise it won't be boring." (David Bowie quote about having a plan)

    Several years ago I wrote a bucket list for my life. It was thirty things I wanted to accomplish before I turned thirty, ranging from personal development to education and career goals. They ranged from getting a degree to learning a new language to traveling to different countries that I’d wanted to visit since I was in high school.

    I don’t remember all the goals on the list, but I do remember that I accomplished almost none of them. When I was twenty-eight, that felt like a failure. After all, conventional wisdom puts a lot of stock in having a five-year plan, going to school, advancing in a career, setting goals for your personal life and checking them off. At twenty-eight I had accomplished none of the major plans I’d set for my twenties, and the things I’d worked at for several years—getting married, putting ten years into moving up the ladder in a career—suddenly dissolved. I hadn’t traveled the world, hadn’t made it to college, and had pretty much shelved art, once my passion, as a dead end.

  • lifestyle

    When words fail

    When words fail

    I think that when you write every day, whether for work or for pleasure, there’s a self-imposed pressure to always have the perfect words at hand. Whether for a lover, a friend, or a stranger, to celebrate, comfort, or just mark the passage of time, there’s an expectation that you’ll have the right sentence at the right time to express your feelings.

  • lifestyle,  travel

    Perspective

    Perspective

    Our road trip to the Oregon coast was amazing in so many ways (and I’m excited to tell you all about it, in a series of posts starting later this week!), but it didn’t go very smoothly. Less than twenty-four hours in we were stranded on the side of the highway south of Portland. We had left late in the evening after work the day prior, had a rough night in a less than stellar motel, and discovered we’d given the wrong house key to the petsitter; breaking down seemed like the final insult when we’d only just begun our trip. After having the car towed to a local shop my partner and I decided to walk the dog to a local park to blow off some steam.

    I’ll willingly admit I wasn’t in good form that day. I was tired and grouchy, and grumbled to my partner, “I wish we’d never come on this trip.”

  • blogging,  lifestyle

    An unwritten life

    There’s a scene in The Brothers Bloom, Rian Johnson’s 2008 comedy about con artist siblings, where the younger brother has an epiphany about his life. Fed up with forever playacting as the main character in his older brother’s wild cons, he exclaims, “I’m thirty-five years old, and…I’m crippled…I’ve only ever lived life through these roles that aren’t me.

    “I want to do things I don’t know are gonna work out,” he spouts, to which his brother replies, “You want an unwritten life.”

    I’m not quite as old as Bloom–I’m only turning 29 this summer–but I understand his frustration. To wake up nearly thirty and realize that nothing I intended to do with my twenties has come to pass is a sobering thing. It’s not that I’ve had a bad life–I own my home, have few debts, am fairly healthy, and have a small circle of family and friends who love me. But I’ve also spent much of the last ten years trying to fit into the roles I thought were “best”, and now I’m waking up feeling crippled by self doubt.

    I’ve worn a lot of identities in my twenties, trying them on and shrugging them off again as I tried to find one that suited me. I have, by turns, been a barefoot hippie activist, a dutiful wife ironing work shirts, and a corporate manager in neatly pressed slacks. There is a lot of pressure in life to be successful and at times I’ve lost sight of what was important to me as I tried to pick the “right” path. At the end of ten years, all of those attempts to play the part feel like nothing more than a con, and I’m the one who was scammed.

    I’ve been through a very bumpy journey of self-discovery over the past few years and especially over the past few months. It seems like my life has been in constant flux for a while and although it’s exhausting, it’s also exhilarating to finally throw off some of those old chains of thought and action and find myself circling back to the goals I originally had for myself. Unfortunately I’ve been so tied up IRL that I haven’t spent a lot of time in this blog space, but I’m coming back now after so long away ready to start fresh.

    Although I miss blogging, I’ve realized that, as with so many pieces of my offscreen life, it’s time to make some changes. I rebranded into a book blog in 2014 but that niche has started to feel restrictive. I have so many passions in life beyond books–travel, cooking, DIY, pets, style, music–and so many random things that pop into my head that I want to share. In moving over to a lifestyle blog I’m also dropping some things. I’ll be setting aside my Facebook page and my YouTube channel, at least temporarily. I don’t use FB much these days so maintaining the page is not worth the time, at least for me. (This may change in the future.) As for YouTube, I have never been comfortable with video and don’t foresee having the spare time to play with it this year. Instead I’ll be focusing largely on Instagram, followed by Pinterest, since photography is one of my early passions alongside writing and I want to spend more time behind the camera this year.

    I haven’t set an exact timetable for the switch but I plan to launch the new blog, An Unwritten Life, in this space by the end of March. My URL and my social media tags for Instagram and Twitter will not be changing, so no worries about losing me there! If you are interested in following along I recommend that you sign up for my email newsletter and updates so you don’t miss new posts.

    Here’s to the adventure!