TGI- Wait, What Day Is It Again?

TGIF! Happy Friday to you.
Yesterday I thought it was Friday. On Wednesday, I thought it was Monday. But I am pretty sure that today is Friday. Clearly this Freelance thing is messing with my ability to tell where I am in the work week. When I worked at the bank, I always knew what day it was. My alarm would go off, and immediately by brain would try to assess where I was in the whole Having To Go To Work thing. Oh damn. It’s only Wednesday. Son of a bitch. Nowadays – not so much.
This week, I spent a lot of time slowing down and listening. I’m trying to listen to my own intuition more, but I’m also trying to take time to listen to other people’s wisdom and experience. Here are a few things I’ve found.

Seth Godin’s Udemy Course
Seth Godin is a Marketing Guru. A lot of what he says is common sense – but sometimes it’s so common that you’ve forgotten it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read one of his daily emails and said to myself, “yes, that makes sense, I knew that! But I forgot!”
He’s recently come up with an eCourse for freelancers, you can see it here.
Seth encourages us to be unique, do good work, treat people fairly, and not compromise. I’m not even halfway done with the course yet, for a simple reason: if you are going to learn how to be unique and do your best work as a freelancer, and get good customers, you have to be clear about who you are and what you are offering. I had to stop and make sure I knew the answers to this before I went any further. I’ve come to some conclusions, and I’ll hopefully blog more about those soon. I’ll get back to the course soon…

Jeff Goins, Writer
Jeff has several books out, about finding your calling, being a writer, and doing good work. I first ran across his name several months ago, when Amazon suggested a $.99 eBook to me: “You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One).” Well how could I pass that up? Of course I downloaded it. But never read it. I would remember it from time to time and think, oh right, I need to go look at that book… tomorrow…
Well yesterday a friend sent me a link to a page on his blog which was interesting and inspiring for several reasons – first off, he just jumped in and got started; and second, it involved coffee! It inspired me. I started reading my $.99 eBook. (You can get the book from Amazon, here).

Liftoff with Devon White
I honestly don’t know much about Devon, I found out about him through some other emails I receive. There are two web sites, Go Grattitude, and Blooming Humans, that are linked somehow, but honestly I’m not sure how. They send emails regarding – you guessed it – living a life of gratitude, and living a more purpose-driven life. Some of it is a little “out there,” even for me, but the message is always positive and you can’t have too much of that! So when an email came through offering a free 9-day series of videos presented by Devon, on “lifestyle design and dream realization,” I had to try it. I mean, how apropos everything. Today was Day 2. Interesting so far – we’ll see where it goes…

All of these things are interesting finds, and valuable information for someone who wants to make changes and live a more positive, healthy life. I also know that one can read about these things ALL DAY LONG but what it really comes down to is putting all of it (or at least even just parts of it) into practice. In my case, I at least have to read the damn stuff first.
I have a propensity to collect these kinds of materials, and then forget about them. Well, perhaps right now is the time to start changing that. Small steps, you know. I’ll keep reading and listening and gathering info, and we’ll see where it goes.
In Jeff Goins’ “You Are a Writer” book, one of the first things he says is stop going through the motions, stop trying to figure out who your audience is, stop trying to please other people with your writing. JUST WRITE. Well… duh. But I had forgotten.
So, I’m writing this blog post. I’m an excellent procrastinator, and actually I’m putting off another writing project by writing this post – but I think it’s technically OK since IT’S ALL WRITING.
I finally have another idea for a small, limited-edition hand-made book. I’m working on a story about a worm who attends a fancy dinner party. I hope you’ll like it – but ultimately I’m writing it because I feel like it so there.
I’d better get back to it.

But first: some squirrels at work.

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saying goodbye

Friday February 6, 2015 was my last day at the bank.
It was bittersweet. I’ll go into that more later, but for now, here are some photos I took on that last day. I worked with some really awesome people. I will miss them.

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lara

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ditching it (hopefully part one of a series)

 I really fucking hate going to work.
I know, that’s pretty strong language. I try not to cuss (albeit rather unsuccessfully) and I really try not to use the word “hate.” Too strong. Too negative.
But here it is, Sunday afternoon and I’m doing laundry and I have to iron shirts for work and then there’s dinner to be made and I’m not sure but someone said we have to go to the store for vegetables and I didn’t work out today and I was supposed to vacuum the bedroom and…
And to cram all of that into two days, including everything else I WANTED to do, like write a few things, edit and print some photos, work on a logo for my new online magazine, create some new greeting cards, look at magazines at the bookstore, watch a movie, read a book…
I just have a problem with it all. In fact I have several problems with it all.
How come I have to wait till I’m old to retire? Don’t get me wrong, I plan to be in great shape in my late 60’s, but come ON, I’m already in my mid-40s and this will most likely be as good as it gets. I don’t think anything is going to get less droopier or saggier between now and 65. Why can’t I have time NOW to go hike the Camino, or go to the gym twice a day to do Zumba… while it all still feels good, and I can still enjoy the physical sensations of it all from the perspective of a semi-young (relatively speaking) person…
I’m sure I’ll enjoy retirement, when I get there in 20 years. It’ll be great to putter around in the garden or yak with the gals while knitting caps for premature babies. But there’s a few other things I’d rather be doing, and I’d rather be doing them NOW.
If I could retire now I would spend more time doing the following activities, while I’m still young:
  • Zumba
  • Get in overall better physical shape
  • Travel within the United States and find interesting places for challenging hikes
  • Learn to quilt
  • Cook something more involved than a turkey sandwich and steamed broccoli
  • Write grown-up and children’s picture books
  • Publish a book of essays
  • Podcast
  • Volunteer to teach people to read
  • Day Trade
  • Get one more tattoo and color part of my hair blue – both just because I can and before I’m so old that they both seem even more ridiculous undertakings than they already do.

 And I would spend less time doing the following:
  •  Ironing
  • Making my lunch to take to work
  • Wearing heels and “dress slacks”
  •  Having performance reviews
  • Answering the phone leading off with “thank you for calling – insert company name here.”
  • Going to meetings while listening to people in suits try to sell stuff

I also have a problem with the whole 8-5 thing. I don’t want to work for anyone else. Well really I wouldn’t mind working for someone else, but I don’t want to work for a large company anymore. Sure, the benefits are great – they match my 401(k) contributions and they pay for part of my health insurance and I get a bit of profit sharing. But at what cost? I spend 9 hours a day indoors, with a view of a lobby and a little sliver of part of a tree outside. I am on display for everyone that walks by, like when you go to the Renaissance Faire or whatever and you see they guy making candles, or the woman making jewelry – I am The Hamster using two computer screens and trying to look busy.
I experience two seasons indoors:  “cold air conditioning” summer, and “really cold air conditioning” winter. I work for someone who makes over 5 times what I do. I guess my job helps people, but I still don’t derive much personal satisfaction from it, I’m sorry to say. I am working for The Man and I know it. And part of me hates it.
The part of me that gets a gym membership, enough food to keep me satisfied, a travel budget, healthcare and a new iPhone doesn’t mind the job too much. But the rest of me knows there’s more to life than living this way – trading my life to a corporation for stuff.
I know some pretty creative people – both in my family and as friends. Some of these people make their living being creative. Some are artists, some are film directors, some are entrepreneurs, some are musicians. They have found a way to make it outside the confines of the corporate 8-5 job. Some of them despise the corporate 8-5 lifestyle. For some of them it was never even a consideration from the very beginning.
I live with the constant nagging feeling that if they can do it, so can I, but obviously I haven’t, and so if I can and I haven’t, then there must be something wrong with me… And OK so I have neurotic tendencies, but still. THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH ME BECAUSE I HAVEN’T FIGURED OUT HOW TO DITCH MY DAY JOB.
And here it is, later on Sunday afternoon – no ironing or vacuuming done, I have to get off the computer now so we can go the store because WE HAVE RUN OUT OF ZUCCHINI and I am all bunched up and frustrated.
Well one thing’s for sure – I’m not getting any younger. Will I look back when I’m 60 and regret that I never tried? I really don’t want to do that. Am I too chicken to try? It’s now or never, at least to get started…
Deep breath.
First things first – grocery shopping. Then…

Stay tuned…
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compliance is my friend.

My day job deals with investments. I’m licensed to sell securities and insurance and whatnot – the rules and regulations that apply when you’re licensed are practically endless.
I have to disclose this web site, my Twitter account, my FaceBook page – anything I do that’s personal, but still public. My emails at work get saved for 5 years, searched for key words; and everything gets copied, scanned, approved, filed, and documented…
Once a year, we get a visit from our Compliance Department. They come through, look at customer files, ask us questions, make sure everything is on the up and up. Usually we get visited by Tom and Rex – our 2 Compliance Gurus. It’s pretty natural to dread these visits – they must know that their names don’t always elicit a whole lot of excitement (poor guys)… yet they are 2 of the best guys you could know.
I’ve tried to adopt a motto over the years of “Compliance Is My Friend.” They don’t want to bust me – they want to keep me out of the ditches. Sometimes they do end up busting me, but fortunately it hasn’t happened too often.
So last week when we got our annual visit from Compliance, I decided to invite them to lunch. We had a good time! Well, I had a good time, I hope they did too. They told me that they don’t get invited out that much but I think they still manage to eat pretty well while they travel. (And WE’VE never been invited out by THEM, ahem…)
Tom and Rex are 2 really nice people. I share some common experiences with each of them, and we’re all fairly particular about our record-keeping; in some ways we have similar personalities.
During our lunch, we talked about movies. I asked them what some of their favorite movies are – and got really different responses from both of them…

Rex
The Searchers
Red River
El Dorado
Random Harvest
North By Northwest

Tom
Animal House
Star Wars, episodes IV, V, VI
The first 3 Raiders of the Lost Ark movies
He even admitted to liking romantic comedies…

So, now you have a brief introduction to the Compliance Department. Remember, they are your friend.

tom, ace, rex.
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