Dear Diary, I miss you.

Remember journals? Hand written on paper-bound books–sometimes with silly little locks on them to keep our parents’ and siblings’ prying eyes out? After I wrote my last post (mostly stream-of-consciousness thought, mind you), I walked home and snapped a photo of a spring flower coming up from a lawn. In that moment, I remembered that as a geeky and introverted child, I wrote in my diary about the crocuses coming up when I observed that spring was near. (I also wrote in it that my sister was perfect. Insert cringe emoticon here.) I wrote about silly girl things for myself, to sort my expanding view of the world.

Suddenly, I connected that memory with the thought that the purest form of sincere writing is actually gone. Does anyone journal anymore? On paper, in private, without any interest or fear of having their words read by another someday. Blogs, tweets and public posts replace that innermost random thinking we used to scribble furiously on pages we’d tuck away under our mattresses. At least, I did. Continue reading

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Day 24: Same as I ever was.

The “un-plan” for my 30 days of me time was to carve out space to do the things I’ve neglected for too long. Turns out I filled my time with the familiar, only with more freedom. Isn’t that interesting? Finding your lost love and discovering it’s the same as it always was. Only you were different.

Screen shot 2015-03-26 at 12.54.27 PMI’ve been writing professionally (in advertising and promotions) for umpteen years (maybe even 20 but at some point you have to stop counting.) Though I still get a charge out of the process, like everything, it can get rote.  So I took this break to teach myself that I could take what I loved, but grown weary of, and pivot. I wanted to see if a time-out could help me refresh and re-direct new energy into something more fulfilling. I’ve been thinking about ways to take my passion and skills to different outlets–and writing this silly blog has been a tiny part of my test.

The result? Same as it ever was. It’s a love-hate relationship. This, always-on-thought-to-paper process. But I’m lollygagging in the love section. What’s different is I’m not doing this on the clock, for a commercial brand or for my résumé. I like the craft. I like the performance without the spotlight. I like the kneading and rolling and shaping. Continue reading

Day 19: Morsels of Me-time

My blog-a-day plan has been lagging lately. My sister was in town visiting so I carved out a little play time the last few days. We can be opposites in many ways so it’s good to talk to her about some of the things I’ve been thinking about work, relationships and life, in general.

Three weeks into me-time and what’ve I learned?

Screen shot 2015-03-22 at 9.48.22 PM1. Give yourself all the freedom to explore and in the end you can only work with what’s in front of you–what you know about, what you expose yourself to, what you learn. So open up the toy box or, better yet, go outside and play. You can’t make things happen with out connecting with others and the world around you.

2. Checking out of your Normal doesn’t mean you forget everyone else’s. My friends are still changing diapers, dropping off kids, fighting traffic and having bad days at work. Sometimes me-time should be keep-it-to-yourself time.

Screen shot 2015-03-22 at 10.25.23 PM3. Go with the flow. When doors open, walk through. When the road gets bumpy, walk slowly. When you hit too many road blocks, walk away.

4. Writing helps you work out the kinks. Putting thoughts to paper commits you to them somehow. The mic is on and you’re up. Writing also gives form to feelings. You realize your fears are manageable, your goal is moveable and that backspace, delete and undo are within easy reach for good reason.

Screen shot 2015-03-22 at 10.19.57 PM5. Rest is just as important as running full steam. This is true in so many areas of life: exercise, creativity, business…red wine. The saying should go, “Work hard. Play hard. Rest easy.”

Day 15: Me-time, with English subtitles.

Screen shot 2015-03-16 at 11.54.15 PMThe interesting thing about writing this blog a day for 30 days of me-time is that I can’t shut it off. While I was running today, I could hear my thoughts typed out with every pound of the pavement.

Is it the daily practice of writing, or the focused introspection or the Buddhist mindfulness I’ve been trying to teach myself?

As an advertising writer, it’s sometimes (but not always) the same. When I’m working on headlines. Billboard headlines. The kind where you have to be clever and on-brand and tell a story in five words or less–at least 50 times over so the client has options of clever, on-brand, storytelling in five words or less. It’s hard to find the “off” button. I jot down notes on my iPhone on the subway home. I’m writing oScreen shot 2015-03-16 at 11.53.17 PMn snippets of recycled paper I have clipped together on my kitchen table. I even scribble words here and there in bed while I wind down. You can’t just flip the switch. The words streaming like a news ticker in the lower third screen of my life. Until the deadline. Until the next project kick-off. Where it starts all over again. Continue reading

Day 6: Flux Me

I am a day late in writing–if I were to adhere to my blog a day promise to myself.

My morning thoughts? Change takes time and is iterative. There is no single moment that marks the transition in a person’s life when suddenly things are different. Everything is always in process. Screen shot 2015-03-07 at 11.35.34 AMWe evolve, we meld, we vacillate. Nothing is ever as clean as a day marked on a calendar. Your emotions can’t be delineated inside of a set of dates. If only it were possible, I would schedule my moments of change in my iCal…

Yesterday, was the first day this week that I had nothing pressing to attend to. No work deadline, no subletter drama, no necessity to even leave the house. I dressed to do yoga, but instead, I vegged, napped, watched TV and chilled. I listened to myself–that I didn’t need to do anything  productive. It’s like when your body has a food craving–and you know it’s probably because you need that nutrient. I feel like the same applies to emotional and mental well-being. And exercise, at that moment, was a should-do not a want-to-do.

My practical self says get up and get busy. Find a job, find a boyfriend, figure out where I want to be. (No small tasks.) There is always a list of to-dos. Always. But I know I will survive if I sit still and my world will forgive me for ignoring it for a little while. It will even thank me for getting my bearings before taking off. I’m learning that with most things that work for me, mulling over decisions is moot. You know when you know. Maybe it’s time. Maybe it’s when you get tired of the in-between. Or maybe it really is as random as your gut says so. Without rhyme or reason, le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît point.

Screen shot 2015-03-07 at 11.26.01 AMThe nice thing about practicing daily writing is that I can hear myself better. I lose focus quite easily and conjuring up the words to wrap the day makes me dial in a little closer. Listening for the right language is hard. Crafting it so that it speaks to the moment or the day or the thoughts, still swirling but trying to gel, forces me to get closer to my inner self. And over time, I’ll come to know what keeps floating back to the surface. That through this ebb and flow of thoughts and feelings, the true things that matter to me will sustain in any current.

So let yourself be in flux. Eventually a tide takes you somewhere.