As the year 2012 dawned and I was in my office finishing the last of the post-holiday season shipments, I made a notecard to set on my desk with a list of words for the new year that embodied the direction I wanted my life to veer into: Learning. Humble. Awareness. Honesty. Joy. I memorized it and reflected on how those themes were present in my life in the car, at stoplights, in bed as I fell asleep, as I waited for photos to upload, whatever. I made it a quiet part of my routine.
When I wrote those words on that card I had no idea all the crazy mental quarter-life crisis crap I would go through this year–I mean we all go through it as we grow up, it’s a milestone, that moment where you say, “Wait, nothing in this culture makes sense or has anything to do with me.” So I feel in-tune with the strength of those words because they foreshadowed so much. 2012 has been about the absurdity of life, the fun of life, and giving up on everything I don’t want. Here’s a brief list of the collateral effects.
- I stopped listening to music that made me feel bad. I stopped listening to music that made me feel like the singer did not value women. I started searching for new singers and bands to listen to. I started listening to music that made me feel good about myself, good about people, music that my body could move to. I started liking music again–the best thing.
- I stopped feeling tension between my identity as a mother and my identity as a businessowner. I realized the sexist motivation behind even implying that mothers have guilt, and that clearly nothing is wrong with my life choices or my child, or anyone else’s. The best efforts of our sensationalist media and the archaic policies of the mainstream business world (made by men for men) to ignite guilt and insecurity in women have nothing to do with me, you, or our worth. With that resolution I started re-igniting my own passions socially, personally, politically, and in business instead of seeing my life on pause just because I raise a child. Because, why. I’m a whole person.
- I stopped musing about what the valuation of Hello Holiday was. I stopped wasting time re-editing our business plan. I started building a website and I started sharing what we were building with our friends, and I started collaborating with my favorite designers and finding talent and inventory and decided to solve the problems that kept me from moving forward. (Because, again, why.)
- I stopped caring about whether or not people were mad at me, or annoyed by my opinions. The more I thought about my convictions, the more I discussed them with others, the more I faced challenges and opposition and re-examined my assumptions, the more confident I became. Now when my reality is dismissed or denied by some manchild on Twitter enjoying his right to an adult tantrum, I can brush it off easily instead of becoming filled with self-doubt and loathing. See also: Based.
- I caught up with my email. I gave up on hand-wringing about how many there were and now I just answer it.
- I started to see blogging as a tool instead of a career or cliqueish “lifestyle business” that put my potential in a box. I can pursue new skills and start the new business I really believe in and go out to eat with friends without Instagramming the whole thing, and just live my life and use blogging as a tool to share it because it’s fun to share.Â I got a taste of how you have to “do blogging” and felt myself going to a very inauthentic place. I felt myself under a microscope and started playing a role. You guys all know this–you readers all know, and you’re not impressed by this revelation and you shouldn’t be. But I didn’t always know because I thought it’d be cool to be a minor internet celebrity but that’s a toxic, embarrassing world. Had 2 stop. So grossed out at myself.
- I bought comfortable shoes.
- I bought my first self-defense weapon, Safety Cat! It’s not a big thing but I’m happy to own it!
- I felt less jealous of other women.
- I stopped sucking up to people who acted too cool for me.
- I got closer to my mom who supports me, clarifies my problems, and mothers me to this day.
It’s cool to give up when you don’t like what you are doing. It’s fun and freeing to take a lightsaber to a big pile of dead stupid projects you are trying to ignore. Last night I hosted a book-signing event for Chris Guillebeau’s The $100 Startup, and one thing he said was “Entrepreneurship is about freedom, not making money.” I started this all because I wanted the chance to live my own best life. Now that I’m refocused on that goal, I couldn’t be more unstoppable. And based.
Grateful, thank you, more please!