Hi, it’s me. Jenny. She says, peering out sheepishly from around the corner of her laptop. I . . . uh . . . it’s been a while. I know. Maybe you didn’t even notice. And if not, that’s okay. As to be expected, actually.
It’s a pretty narcissistic thing we do, this blogging thing. Sure, it falls under the big umbrella of helping others through the power of story and shared experience, but ultimately who can deny that it’s also somewhat self-centered? Standing on a digital soapbox, pontificating on life and lessons learned, declaring those thoughts worthy of public reception.
Lately, I just haven’t felt they were. I’m tired of hearing myself say the words transition year. I don’t know. I’m still figuring things out.
Not to mention the small tornado in my mind at this very moment: Is this post too abstract? Will it send people away in droves?
Can I be honest with you for a minute? (See, I don’t even have to wait for you to answer — another perk of having your own blog). I don’t know how to do all of that inner processing while simultaneously writing about it publicly. Heaven help all those Disney stars. I admire writers who have the courage to splay their hearts, their lives, and their proverbial dirty laundry out for all to see. I just . . . I can’t. I suppose The Personal Development Police correction would be: I won’t.
It’s not that I don’t want you to see the ugly underbellies of change — the twisting tornados of self-doubt, the bone-cutting sadness on some days and the dance between apathy, excitement and despair on others — because so much of change is also beautiful, enlightening, wonderful, and rich with insight, compassion, and learning.
But in broad strokes: I am reconfiguring my life and my business so that I can respect it. All of it. That means blazing new trails, hibernating for the sake of innovating, and not just swimming in a school of sameness. It means acting in alignment and integrity with my values in every area of my life. It means getting clear on who I am, what I stand for, and what my boundaries are before I can create from that new foundation.
I am choosing not to share more of the details because I don’t yet have perspective on them. And, as the tenor of this year has been, just when I think I’m turning a corner (for real this time!) the catalysts for change keep crashing like waves across my brain, scattering flotsam and jetsam about for me to filter and recycle into something useful.
Off-road: The Unboxing of Personal Evolution
When I propped up my first website 8 years ago, it was on a naive and impulsive whim that somehow my research-loving book-worm ways could provide shortcuts for other people to improve their own lives in some small way. But the gotcha! was that I soon realized that ALL of life’s answers could not be assimilated merely from reading — they had to be lived. Who knew?
I could have never in a million years have predicted I would be spilling my guts out from time-to-time in order to respect the fact that to actually be of service I had to share my own stories, and create a community founded upon authenticity—on shared triumph and shared pain.
It was only when I hit “publish” on posts I was simultaneously mortified by and proud of (like this one) that I slowly learned what most people are hungry for: solidarity; a feeling that we are somehow not alone in our hero’s journeys.
I couldn’t have yet known when I first started at 22-years-old that tips, templates and neat book summaries are nice, but mostly get tucked away into corners of our minds like pressed sheets. Real learning is delivered through the mess in the middle: through challenge, struggle, and the game of “figuring it all out” — even though the mischievous wink from the universe reminds us there is no “there” there; right here is where it’s at, warts and all.
Digital World Improv
Just as I declared upon the formation of Life After College that “there’s no manual for the real world,” it turns out there is no manual for being a full-time author/blogger/speaker/coach either.
There’s no rule book for how much to share or when or with whom. Or how to put on a brave face when you’re trying to glue a thousand tiny pieces of your heart back together from various cracks and breaks (damn that rickety shelf of Old Habits That Die Hard!).
I’m sure those of you who write publicly in some form will be nodding in agreement when I say that we’re all just making it up as we go along in this Wild Wild West of personal branding and the knowledge economy. This crazy warp in time where so many people are starting to make a living just by — gasp! — being themselves, having ideas and talking about it all. Can you even imagine any of your grandparents in a job like that?
So what I’m really trying to say here — 900+ words later — is please bear with me as I work through my hibernation mode. This is a start, and awesome things ARE forming. I just don’t have the first clue about how to tell you what they are yet. I will though, I promise. I know such promises are empty until the work speaks for itself, and there’s no guarantee that it ever will.
But I can say this: somehow I’ve carried my blogs and my career this far. And someday soon, I will figure out how to publicly shepherd them all into their next evolution, just as soon as I find some terra firma for my own. Thank you for sticking around in the meantime, or even if you don’t — no sweat, I’ll catch you again on the flipside. :)
Hair of the dog?
Even though I wasn’t writing much last month, I still found a way to indulge in some good ol’ healthy book porn.
There’s no better task for an overactive OCD mind than moving to a new place (which I did last month) with shelves, closets and endless crevices to be organized. Hallalujah for some tactile distraction! To that end, here’s some fun I had setting up the bookshelf in my new studio:
I’m still in the great city of New York, sandwiched between SoHo and the East Village. For inquiring minds: yes, the cost of rent is enough to induce a small panic attack on the first of every month. But you know what’s even crazier? I love this city so damn much that it’s worth every last precious penny.