Sometimes it’s hard to grasp just how much our lives have changed in the past year. A year ago, we were packing up our apartment in Chicago. We had just bought a house without actually seeing it in person and were about to embark on a cross-country road trip with a newly potty-trained 2 year old during a pandemic! Oh, and I was 34 weeks pregnant. HA!
Today, we’re living in our dream home. Finally, we’re meeting neighbors thanks to vaccines, making summer plans with friends. Also, we will be celebrating Jack’s first birthday in one month. It’s a good reminder that nothing is forever, and there is always something good on the other side of whatever you’re struggling with.
This move has really changed me and shifted priorities in a way I never expected.
The Difference One Year Can Make
While we were still in Chicago, I had this looming feeling of being stuck. Any of my close friends or family members will tell you it was a weird time for me. I was so grateful for so many things. However, I was ready to start the next chapter and it just wasn’t working out the way we’d planned. Also, I was craving more space and to be near family, a permanent home that didn’t require 3 flights of stairs, a yard, and to be closer to friends (soooo many of our friends left Chicago the last 1-2 years we lived there). So, I felt like everyone else was moving on and I was stuck, and that there wasn’t anything I could do about my situation. At the end of the day, Rob’s job was in Chicago. The right opportunity in Denver had not presented itself….yet!
So, in a weird way, the pandemic was a huge blessing for our family. It allowed Rob’s company to be open to the idea of him working remote, permanently, and that kicked off so many amazing changes. I remember Rob getting off the call and telling me that we could go, and I started crying! We finally got that fresh start, and could do whatever we wanted—it felt so freeing!
Going Back to Painting and Less Tech
That feeling of being stuck was gone. And, just about everything else this year has been a dream, I didn’t know I had, come true. So, despite everything else crappy that happened this year, for us personally, it’s been a happy year of firsts and new beginnings. Of course, it’s had plenty of challenges and frustrations along the way, but that’s life, right?
One unexpected change this year has brought is getting back to painting. I started painting maybe 8-9 years ago and sold my work through “The Fox Shop” which no longer exists. I eventually stopped because I didn’t physically have the room in Chicago to do it. Every time I would pull out my supplies, I’d get so stressed because it would be so messy in such a small space. But, low and behold, a few months after being in our new home, I got the itch again.
I’ve also noticed this internal pull to spend less time on my phone. This was probably because I can easily get sucked into the mindless Instagram scrolling and comparison game. I wish I could say it never bothered me. However, the reality is that as a blogger or influencer, those numbers do matter. Like, a lot.
They determine whether or not I get partnerships and how much I’m paid on those. However, with algorithm changes and being “old” in this space and not having any desire to create viral videos, it’s very hard to grow and just feels like an uphill battle that I don’t want to fight.
Living in the Moment
I’m grateful that it allows me to connect with you guys. However, from a career mindset, it is so dang frustrating. Especially when my dollar worth is based off my popularity—like, how did I sign up for this? Oh ya, that’s right, Instagram was a very different place back then. When I started, blogs were where it was at, not an app.
I’m learning to let go of the idea that I need to be super active on Instagram to stay relevant. Also, I think a big part of that is that I’m finding joy and happiness in other, more tangible areas of my life. And, maybe part of it is getting older and saying “who the F cares.” I just want to enjoy this one life and do the things that make me happy!
Right now, painting has been making me really happy. There’s something about knowing that a piece you’ve created will live in someone else’s home. That it brings them joy that literally warms my heart. It’s been such a gift that I didn’t expect or know I needed and is something I plan on giving more energy to this year. Why? Because it just feels right. And if I’ve learned anything this past year, it’s to do more of what feels good, and less of what makes you feel like shit—amiright?!
Subtle shifts are happening and I’m leaning into it, trusting the Universe and enjoying the journey. I have no idea where it will go, but for the first time in a long time, I’m hopeful and really excited about working!
After a year in Denver, I’m toasting to less tech, less Instagram, and doing more of the stuff that brings me joy. I’m spending time with my family, friends, spending time in nature and working with my hands. Also. doing painting, gardening and home projects. And, if you’re wondering, no, I’m not ready to quit blogging. However, I’d be lying if I told you the thought hadn’t crossed my mind! Maybe part of that is the additional stress of being a full-time mom and running a business. It’s a lot, all the time.
Jack starts daycare in about a month. So, I’ll have more free time, and who knows, maybe I’ll change my mind completely. But for the past few months, this is where I’m at!
A cross-roads of sorts. Maybe this is just what happens in your mid-30s?
I’m navigating these new feelings, and dreaming of what might come next. I have ideas of what I want for myself, my family and my career, but I’m not sure how it’s all going to happen just yet. I’m know that the Universe has my back and that big things are coming.
To me, most importantly, is having that vision, holding onto it and believing it’s yours. The how will come in when it’s ready.
Has this year or phase of your life brought on similar feelings? Have you made any big life changes recently?