badass Nesties

Discovering your "badass" self after your kids leave the "nest"

Lost and Found

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Once upon a time, I found joy and contentment in creating things.  Some of these things were useful and had purposQuotes-From-Elizabeth-Gilbert-Big-Magice.  Others were created for the sheer joy of creating.  I am not sure exactly how or when I lost my creativity mojo (for lack of a better word) but I did.  I wish it were as simple finding a lost set of keys or a wallet, which usually only requires retracing my tracks and starting with when I last saw them.  When it comes to lost creativity, I am uncertain how to pinpoint the moment of loss.  Either way, I woke up recently missing it terribly.

Let’s start with this blog for example.  In 2014, after experiencing the life changing event of becoming an empty nester, I decided the best way to explore this new chapter was to share through this blog (badassnesties.com).   After 19 years of focusing my energies on raising my two boys, I was finally able to shift the focus to myself.  This focus was not intended to be selfish but more to discover how I would continue to find and share joy in this next chapter of my life.  The bigger goal was to discover a purpose that intersected with a career choice.  I wanted to explore the meaning behind “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”  Having always wanted to find expression as a writer, this blog would not only be a place to start but also create a place of self discovery.  However, after only three posts, it was retired into a pile I like to call “the creative graveyard.”  It joined my long-forgotten scrapbooking, photography, knitting, jewelry and music pile.  I am fairly certain they ran away with my “hit the gym” pledge of 2012.

So where does a person go to find their lost creativity?  What does a “Lost and Found” look like for an intangible such as this?  I have spent the past 5 years making my living by helping people and employees find affordable health care.  Although it provides a respectable income, I have never felt connected to it.  Yet against my inner voice, I continue on despite my inner calling to do something else.  My heart cries out for a connection to purpose and my head wants a connection to security.  My head says, “You spent so much time preparing and learning your trade so why would you want to start over?”  Somewhere along the way, the head won out and I followed what was practical and never looked back.  There is always tomorrow for pursuing what brings me joy.  Right?  Perhaps tomorrow I will learn the guitar or get back to writing.  Well, time has a way of getting away from you so “perhaps tomorrow” is a broken promise disguised as regrets evil twin.  Like a neglected spouse or lover, I don’t think my creativity got lost as much as it got tired of waiting and went to find a better caretaker.  I don’t believe it ever gets lost, it just dies without a willing host.  Am I alone in this?  Does anyone else find they put off their creative pursuits to only wake up and realize tomorrow arrived without bringing along these long forgotten desires?

The bigger question is why did I abandon things that bring me joy for work that doesn’t?  Why do I continue to put off until tomorrow the things that make my heart sing and brings me joy?  Perhaps it is fear of failure or having my creative work mean nothing or be less than good.  Who am I to consider making a living from the impractical?  Can the practical and frivolous share a space together?  There is only one way to know for sure.

Although there is no “Lost and Found” for lost creativity or joyful pursuits, there is a way to reclaim this part of your soul.  Take the time my friends for the things that make you smile.  Create something for no other reason that it brings you joy.  Perhaps if your practical pursuits and creative side meet often enough, you just might find a new career or hobby.  If not, do it anyway if it makes you happy!

Love and Laughter,

Cheryl


 

 “Do you have the courage to bring forth this work?  The treasures hidden inside you hope you say YES!” – Elizabeth Gilbert #Big Magic

 

Confessions of an over-packer

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"Did I forget anything?"

“Did I forget anything?”

If life truly is a journey and not a destination, I have over packed for the trip. Those who know me (and love me anyway) will confirm that I am a compulsive over-packer. My husband and boys have often brought it to my attention since they are the one’s that get stuck carrying my luggage. What can I say, I hate being caught unprepared for ANYTHING! Need first aid? I’ve got you covered. Having trouble sleeping? I have lavender oil to help relax you. Bee sting or sunburn? No worries, I have something for that too. This is not to say that I am a pack rat or hoarder. At home, I live by the principle of less is more. If it doesn’t serve a purpose, it is donated, recycled or disposed of. I like the feeling I get when I create more space in my life. Clutter without purpose bothers me. For some reason, I take a whole different approach when traveling. Since I rarely (if ever) end up in the wilderness or far from a store, this over preparation makes little sense to my co-travelers.

This propensity to over-pack had me thinking about all the extra “baggage” we carry around throughout our lives that  isn’t kept in suitcase.  As I begin this next leg of my journey as a Badass Nestie, I have decided to lighten my load a bit. After much soul-searching (which I highly recommend), I have decided to unpack and get rid of anything that no longer serves my higher purpose or keeps me from living life to its fullest. It’s amazing what you’ll discover as you start rummaging through all your “stuff.” My “stuff” included: Outdated excuses, unnecessary distractions, fear, worry, misguided beliefs and a harsh inner critic. Quite a load for a journey let alone one small blog. So here is what I discovered as I traded in my extra-large luggage for a light portable carry on.

1. Fear and Worry have been long-time companions on my journey, which makes dumping them quite a  challenge.  They have been faithfully by my side as I raised my boys and launched two businesses.  Upon close inspection and review, I confess that they have never actually changed the outcome of any situation for the better. If anything, they rendered me useless to accomplish even the simplest tasks.  They are even there when every thing is going well to remind me that perhaps I overlooked something.  I must confess, they get in the way quite often when I step out of my comfort zone to try new activities.  Snow skiing for the first time with my family is a perfect example (see previous post).  The final straw for me was the day I realized that fear was holding me back from leaving an unsatisfying career to try something new.  Warning:  If you too decided to unpack fear and worry, it is important to note that other’s will gladly share theirs with you.  It is helpful to think of fear as something  exclusive to each individual (like a toothbrush) and sharing is absolutely a no-no.

“Fear is like a rocking chair.  It will give you something to do but it will get you nowhere.”  – Proverb

“Everything  you want is on the other side of fear.” – Jack Canfield

2. My Harsh Inner Critic (a.k.a. my own personal bully) has really overstayed her welcome.  She has wasted countless hours of my time focusing on every flaw and failure.  This freeloader must go.  We could also label her a time-waster and distraction.  Funny how easily (for good reason) we are appalled when we witness or hear of an incident of bullying, yet we allow ourselves to say (whether silently or out loud) terrible things to and about ourselves.  I am truly blessed to have a husband that sees me through a lens I have named “Love Goggles.”  After 25 years of marriage, he still thinks I am the prettiest person at every event and continues to see only the best in me.  Perhaps it is time we trade that harsh inner critic for a pair of fabulous “love goggles.”  I promise they will fit nicely in that light portable carry on.  Try a pair on for size and take a look in the mirror (at least daily) and say “Hello, gorgeous!  Looking good!”   

“You can’t change what’s going on around you until you start changing what’s going on within you.” – Unknown

“You, yourself, as much as anybody else in the universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha

3. Finally, let’s  dump  the Out-dated Excuses and Distractions.  The reason I lump these last two baggage hogs into one category is because they both have one thing in common –  They are the protective cloak I have donned to avoid possible  failure while pursuing my dreams.  The out-dated excuses are too many to name but here are a few oldies but goodies: “I don’t have enough time.  I don’t have the skills or experience.  I’m too old.  It’s already been done.  I can’t afford to do it.”

For more years than I can remember, I have wished I could be more fit and lose 15-20 lbs.  I have made attempts at losing it by eating better and walking.  I finally resigned myself that those extra pounds were just a right of passage for “women my age”.  This of course was just an excuse.  I had yet to do the real work needed to reach my goal.  I started and stopped more fitness activities than I can remember.  As the Chinese proverb states, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  So finally, I stopped the excuses and hired a personal trainer.  This was a big deal for me.  I am the person who slinks out of yoga early because I pretty much suck at it.  I hate the gym with its smelly odors and intimidating machines.  But I threw out all the excuses and far too many distractions that kept me from reaching my fitness goals.  After a painful evaluation, which included body fat analysis and tons of measurements from my 24-year-old trainer, I committed to a year.  I even threw out the “I’m not a morning person” excuse and booked my sessions at 7 am twice a week.  I promise you it isn’t pretty.  I have woken up in a panic when I couldn’t lift my arms.  I have had days I couldn’t walk up and down stairs.  What has amazed me is that after 4 weeks, I am getting stronger and doing things I could barely do before.  The feeling of accomplishment is worth every achy muscle.  With my harsh inner critic put to rest, I decided that my goal is not those 20 lbs or a dress size.  Instead, I am working toward being fit enough to enjoy an active, adventurous lifestyle.

“The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own.  No apologies or excuses.  No one to lean on, rely on, or blame.  The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey – and you alone are responsible for the quality of it.  This is the day your life really begins.” – Bob Moawad

“When we are being truly authentic with ourselves and others, we remove all distractions to living our greatest lives.”  Emmanuel Dagher  

“Sometimes there is no next time, no time-outs, no second chances.  Sometimes it’s now or never.”  Alan Bennett

So fellow travelers, join me in lightening the load.  Take only that which serves you and your higher purpose.  Your journey has molded you for the greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be.  Just make sure you aren’t carrying more than you need.  Most importantly, take only what allows you to find joy in the journey.

Love and Laughter,

Cheryl