To say that I've been in a rut lately would be an understatement. There have been at least five times where I've tried to write this post and just sat there, wind out of my sails, staring at the blinking cursor on my OneNote, mind wandering to the large jar of almond butter in my desk drawer and how big of an effort it would be to get up to find a spoon. My rut is a mix of writer's block and identity crisis, and it's translated into me trudging through the past couple of weeks basically wearing the same three outfits day in and day out*.
For a few too many weeks, I escaped my rut through chardonnay and (seriously effective) impulse shopping and watching endless strings of Lost episodes on Netflix in dirty leggings. Then I half-heartedly downloaded the Tony Robbins classic, 'Awaken the Giant Within,' to my Kindle in hopes that somewhere deep inside my uninspired, almond butter-filled body there is an amazing, fabulous version of myself who is capable of being so much more than I have been lately.
Although I wish I could tell you that I finished the book and I'm sitting here in my most dazzling outfit, all of my sass fully intact with a new lease on life, the reality is that I've only made it through 35 pages because I can't wake up early enough to read and have been unable to break my string of Lost episodes in the evening. What I'm trying to say is that I'm wallowing, bored, aware that it's all my fault and fully up to me to fix, but I just can't right now. To be honest, I've come to a realization that it's important to let yourself go a bit, to loosen the restraints and loll about for a while.
In the midst of all of this indulgent lollygagging, I have mustered some motivation to make a few changes, and wanted to share them here with you. The first is related to the chardonnay. The second is related to my career. And the third is related to my writing. There are a few reasons I want to share: because I think some of you have similar struggles, because some of you have ideas and wisdom to help, and because it's preoccupying my thoughts and therefore easy to write about.
Change #1: Reclaim my healthiest, most vibrant body
If you've been following along for a while now, you know that being healthy and fit is a priority for me. Yet it's something that's a constant struggle, because, you know, wine and chocolate were invented and "doing cardio exercise" is a seriously, horrifically, terrifyingly awful way to spend 45 minutes. There are a lot of creative strategies that I use (to the dismay of some readers *cough, Jessica's mom, cough*) that work really well for me to balance these competing forces.
Yet there were these nagging little issues building up that I'd been ignoring for a long time. A persistent rash on my face that wouldn't go away. Sores that took way too long to heal. Mood swings and irritability that I'd never experienced before. Fatigue and low energy that led me to have the personality of milk toast by the end of the work week.
Since my dermatologist is basically the only doctor I trust,** I went to go see her and she promptly told me that I had rosacea and signs of chronic inflammation. She prescribed a low-dose antibiotic and gave me the name of someone can only be described as a shaman healer*** who could help me with identifying what was causing all these problems.
So see him I did, give him 11 vials of my blood I did, along with $1,200 of non-reimbursable dollars, and in return was given a list of foods that I was allergic to but eating constantly (like all RICE! And YEAST! And PORK!!!) or rubbing directly on my face (like CUCUMBER!!) as well as a 90-day plan to eliminate dietary causes of inflammation.
You guys, I've been doing it for ~8 weeks now and my problems are COMPLETELY GONE. My skin is as smooth as a baby's butt, my energy levels at an annoying all-time high, and I HAVE A SIX PACK**** for the first time ever because all of this unnecessary flab and bloat has melted off of my body. It's also made me feel strangely powerful and in control of my health and well-being.
If you're having similar symptoms and interested in learning about the blood test and 90-day plan, there's a bonus post on my freebies page for my beloved email list members. (If you're not on the list, but want access, click here to join and I'll send you the link.)
This bonus post is not for the faint of heart, and has some verrrrrrrry unconventional advice that some people *cough, Jessica's mom, cough* might not want to read.
Change #2: Drive my career with intention and purpose
Have you ever hit a career wall, where you wake up one day and find yourself wondering why you've been doing this job all these years? That happened to me, in almost that exact way. It was after a long period of reflection at the end of my father-in-law's life, where I spent a lot of time considering what qualifies as a fulfilling and purposeful life, and then applied that lens to my own life. And I literally work up one day at 4 o'clock in the morning thinking this exact thought: "I have basically spent my adult life living in a MARRIOTT!! In the panhandle of Florida! In the suburbs of Philadelphia! In Texas and California and Tennessee and other places where my husband, family, friends and dog are NOT!!!" and I could not muster a tangible example of a lasting, important impact that resulted from this investment of my time aside from completed objectives of the projects I'd supported (save for my client BFFs and a strange new skill that I describe as the ability to mentally depart from my body during meetings that are going south).
I realized that I needed to get really clear with myself on a vision for my life's work, and then intentionally drive towards it. So I wrote out the vision I have for my life, in extreme detail, covering everything from where I live to what I do every day. And I've decided to simply say no to things that aren't aligned to this vision, to save myself time and space to do more of those things that matter.
That might sound selfish, but I think it's the opposite. You may have heard that you live your life in moments, and I've started to realize that you have to be intentional about how to spend your moments or they become absorbed in unimportant activities and mindless tasks.
Of course, there's an art to saying no that can occupy an entire post, but it's an absolute necessity to be intentional with your time in order to live the life you want. This little exercise has taught me that what fulfills me has very little to do with my day-to-day responsibilities. It's also not a simple as making the choice between a corporate and creative path. Instead, the things that I love relate to developing others, figuring out how to do something better, more effectively, and doing work that is of value to others.
Change #3: Take my writing seriously, for the first time ever, and forever
Related to point #2 above, I've been making some changes to carve out more space to do the things I love, and am good at, both in my full-time and creative ventures such as writing this here l'il blog.
One of my biggest challenges in writing is this insecurity that it wouldn't be accepted or approved of by colleagues and clients at my full time job because it is so off-the-beaten-path of what I do for a living. So I've kept it a secret, written it under a pseudonym, and have let it grow organically rather than sharing it for fear of judgement. I think that trying to take parallel creative and corporate paths while overinvesting in one of them has led me to my current rut, where I'm ready to stretch and run with my writing but also in a place where I feel that I have more to lose in my corporate career.
In tandem, I've felt a lot of pressure to define what it is that I'm doing on this blog, to focus it, to "define my niche." But I am just not a person who can be in a niche. In fact, I think it is essential to be able to talk about my thoughts on Siddhartha and whether or not denim culottes are socially acceptable in the same stream of consciousness. So I am letting go of feeling the self-imposed pressure to decide where I am going with my writing or this blog. Because we're going all over the place, folks. Feel free to hitch your wagon.
*Four if you count my pajamas. And including the leggings in the picture above. It's amazing what a good trench coat can do for an outfit you've been living in for days, amiright?
**Driven by vanity, maybe, but she has the skin of a newborn baby and my other doctors give me dubious, potentially ludicrous diagnoses. For example, my dentist told me I had a "microcavity" (what is THAT?!) and couldn't give me a straight answer when I asked for a black-and-white answer on whether or not I do, in fact, have a cavity.
***Doctor of Wellness and Oriental Medicine
****Only first thing in the morning, when flexing with a tremendous amount of exertion
Oh, hello there. Made it all the way to the end, did you? Do you have any advice for snapping out of a rut? Are you feeling like I'm overdue to give you the chance to opt in for certain topics? Have any additional thoughts on culottes or Siddhartha that you'd like to share? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Let me know in the comments.