Being Prepared

For last week I had a post on Christmas and how I miss the days of giving macaroni necklaces as gifts (so much cheaper and arguably more full of love than a Gucci purse). But, because of a little ice storm I was without power for 3 days and unable to publish it. Now, Christmas has come and gone and I’m now focusing on the year ahead.

One of the purposes of this blog is to look at my life plan. One of the reasons for my meltdown on my thirtieth birthday was that I wasn’t ready. I didn’t accomplish everything I thought I would have “by thirty”. More surprisingly was that I also hadn’t realized that I had such an expectation of myself. I had made goals, but I had no plans or strategy on how to get there. Maybe it was the ice storm that left us without heat (and no generator) during Canadian winter that I now see that this is extremely careless. You have to be prepared.

Having a list of goals of “things to do or accomplish before thirty” is a fun idea but not very realistic. If you have “be successful” on your list, do you really know what that means? Well, in my experience it means that you arrive on the doorstep of your thirtieth birthday and realize you’ve spent the last ten years hoping rather than doing. I also have to question where this idea of  “by thirty” comes from. Why thirty? Why not thirty one? Why not just 3 months from now or in five years?  Still working on that one…

Much better is the specific goal: “Have X amount in my savings account and be in a career that is progressing.” On my thirtieth birthday I had neither. Zero “Xs” in my accounts and a career that was going nowhere special.

Now I am inside my thirties and I see the road ahead much more clearly. I have goals for the next year that I divided into quarters, like a business plan. After the first quarter, I’ll assess and maybe subject my family and friends to a formal presentation with graphs and charts. Maybe not. But I will work on finding other ways to be accountable for the strategies I put into action.

As you look ahead to 2014 I hope you keep this in mind. Keep your goals clear but also have a plan about how you will get there. If you are truly realistic and well-planned, you will reach your goal. Can it be that simple? I think so. Let’s experiment, shall we?

Here is my working list for the upcoming year (help keep me accountable!):

-Continue to blog once a week for both my blogs and reach 200 followers

-Contribute more to other blogs

-Publish regular articles by sending out regular query letters to editors

-Send out one short story (2nd quarter)

-Organize two speaking engagements (3rd quarter)

I would love to hear your plan or your strategies for the upcoming season of your life. Please leave a comment and have a happy and safe New Year’s Eve!

Imagefrom Toronto Sun

One of a Kind Inspiration

This past weekend I went to Toronto’s One of a Kind Show. I had never been before and I’m so happy I got to go because I got some great Christmas gifts for people that are usually hard to buy for – that means you, Dad.

But beyond all the amazing displays and unique buys it was the artists in the booths that most impressed me. Everyone was so passionate about their work and they were so eager to share their stories and creative processes. One woman told me about a cow hide she hand-picked in Paris that took her a year to actually cut, dye bright fuchsia and make it into a purse because it was so beautiful (I’m glad she did because the final product was gorgeous…I even went back to visit it one more time before I left).

Unlike other events that are businesses or gimmicky products, this show is full of artists and the creativity in the room got my fingers itching to get home and work on a couple short stories I’ve been putting off (hence the late blog post this week…).

Walking around the event I realized that how each artist had made a very brave choice one day. They took a leap of faith and said, “Okay. I’m going to make hand-crafted salt and pepper shakers that knock your socks off. That’s how I’ll make a living. That’s the passion of my life.” Some of them said “baby booties” or “Christmas stockings out of my ex’s old ties” or “purses out of old bicycle tire inner tubes” but it’s the same idea. And they made living out your dreams look easy.

It has taken me more than thirty years to realize that I love writing and that I am finally going to make a go of it. I’m not quite sure yet what topics I want to cover (aside from this blog) and I feel pangs of jealousy when I see people working within one passion and making it.  But I have also decided to use this as pure inspiration and motivation to get my goals crisp and clear.  As 2013 comes to a close it’s time to re-evaluate and dream up some new ideas and goals and be one of those people that makes living an awesome artist’s life look easy.

Would you go back?

ImageA couple of posts ago I proposed that our fashion choices shouldn’t be limited because of our age. It got me thinking about the motivation behind dressing younger. Obviously it is a way of capturing youth or appearing youthful, but since listing all the great things about being thirty I have to say, I have no intentions or wishes to go back to that age.

As a teenager I felt tired all the time. I was moody, angry, and I would shave my head just to get it all out. My hair, if I had any at the time, was always a different colour because life was boring. No responsibilities may sound wonderful, but when you think about it, it’s kind of dull. The worst part was having no freedom. I wanted away from my parents as soon as possible. I now live ten minutes away from my mom and I miss her now that she’s on vacation all the time, living the semi-retired life. It’s amazing how our hormones can get the better of us.

What if we entertain the idea of being twenty-five or twenty-eight again – that’s perfect, right? Just before thirty again – a little more time to get everything sorted before true adulthood. But would we? Or would we do exactly the same thing we did at the time – idle. I know that’s what I did.

Thirty wouldn’t have been the shock that it was if I hadn’t spent my twenties thinking everything would magically click into place by my thirtieth birthday. And now it’s the pressure of being in my thirties that has kick-started my career, my life and my happiness.

So, even if Doc pulled up in the DeLorean, I wouldn’t go back. And, what’s more is that I don’t want to look like I’m there. I want to be part of the decade where things happen, get put into place and I become who I am really meant to be. Don’t get me wrong, my twenties were great, but a lot of the time, I felt lost and incapable. It’s a much greater feeling when you start to feel like an adult and realize you’re going to depend on yourself. Maybe some of you got there in your twenties and that’s great. I hope that for everyone. But for me it has been my thirties that have shook me in bad ways and good and have motivated me to work harder to get what I want out of life.

A final note on the fashion. I’m sure we’ve all checked out someone from behind, thinking he or she is your age, only to be ridiculously confused and disappointed when they turn around. Don’t be that guy or girl. Be proud of any age you are and do your best to live it to the fullest. And if you ever envy anyone who is younger, remember that you’ve already been there and they will one day be where you are, if they’re lucky.