Thursday, January 5, 2012

tales from the first two months of freedom

I'm alive! I swear! I know some of you were beginning to wonder if I had literally fallen off the face of the planet. And you know what? It kinda feel like I have.

Things have been a bit of a whirlwind since Thanksgiving and I simply haven't had a chance to take a step back and breathe, much less breathe AND share the craziness with you all. That being said, it's a new year and I wasn't about to let a week of it go by without dusting off the old blog. (I literally picture like a creaky old machine that's getting slightly less creaky with each letter I type... just to give you the visual that's inside my head.) 

A ton has happened in the past two months and I want to share it with the few of you that will still be readers after this extended hiatus of mine (also, selfishly, it's kind of a fun time in my life and I'd like to look back and remember what was going on.) I apologize in advance if this post ends up a long one. I figure you all are used to my long-windedness by now. It's mah styyyle. 

Let's begin with the obvious and most relevant topic of discussion in my life ... my new job! Words can honestly not express how much this one decision has changed my day-to-day life. You have heard me say it before, but I have VERY high standards of happiness. These standards are the reason that I've made decisions that have led me here, working for a company that I am so deeply personally invested in. When I was working at the two jobs I had previously, I always had this intangible, elusive feeling that is hard to describe, but it was this feeling of being... without purpose. Every day I felt as if I was spinning my wheels, working so hard to accomplish tasks and meet goals and excede expectations, but it was all in the name of what? Someone else's business. Someone else's purpose. 

IWearYourShirt isn't just a business, it's the reason Jason and I met. It's the thing that inspired me to follow my heart and dream big (which I still continue to do and believe that my future has incredible things in store.) The thing I'm trying to get at is that this business is woven into the fabric of my life so tightly, that now the hours and hours I pour into it feel less like I'm on someone else's hamster wheel, and feel more like I'm building something that I'm a part of. That every day I'm molding it and contributing to what it will become. And that is the coolest thing in the world. 

Now that being said, I will tell you it has been no walk in the park. I thought that the hardest thing about working from home would be the lack of accountability. Would I seriously be able to get up every morning and get working, knowing that my "commute" merely involved walking upstairs and "my boss" didn't care what time I moseyed into "the office?" (Yeah... that last one was just because I wanted to make the air quotes obnoxious. Mission: accomplished.) Well interestingly enough, my motivation wasn't the biggest challenge. On the contrary, the hardest part is actually walking away. 

Going back to what I said earlier about being invested, during the day in my head I know that if I just spend one more hour working or if I stay up until 2 instead of going to bed at midnight, I'll be ahead of the game and it will directly benefit us and the business. This is a dangerous notion, I've found. I can easily work a 12-15 hour day and not bat an eyelash. But that's not exactly healthy, is it? (Um... my caffeine-addicted instincts say no.) Still, it's the most I've ever wanted to work in my life, which is saying something. I just look forward to finding a sense of balance in it all. 

And I'm sure some of you are wondering, how's it going dating the boss? ("Dating the boss." That sounds so much more scandalous and less submissive than "working for the boyfriend," right?) I'd be lying if I said we've been able to keep things completely separate. In my perfect world we'd interact like any other work relationship and then we'd walk downstairs from the office, quit talking shop and we'd be like any other couple. But it's not a perfect world. There are times when we drive each other nuts or when we add tone to things we don't need to or times where we'll be at meals and we are both completely fixated on something related to the business and we have to stop ourselves. Believe me, I've had to learn how to take criticism better (and not immediately assume because Jason doesn't like my idea that OUR RELATIONSHIP IS OVER. That's my dramatic blogging voice, more commonly known as caps lock.) But even with the drawbacks, it has a ton more advantages. We have so much fun working together in our home office upstairs and it definitely helps to feed off of each other's energy. It's fun to be able to brainstorm and problem-solve together, and I think it helps our relationship that at the end of the day we each know exactly what frame of mind the other person is in because we were there beside each other all day.

Other awesome perks that I have to take a moment to boast about (forgive me, please, but gosh darnit it's my blog and I feel compelled to share my life's awesomeness with you):
  • Working from absolutely anywhere my heart desires. We took a trip to West Palm Beach for some sponsors, and that picture above was my desk for four days. (Did I mention it was 72 degrees in December?) 
  • Doing really awesome stuff I would never have the opportunity to do, like broadcasting live from the middle of a herd of rhinoceros. Umm.. amazing. 
  • Working with a crew of the funniest, most creative people I've had the pleasure of ever meeting. 
  • Sunday nights are no longer filled with dread. No matter how much you love your job, if you commute to a "regular, 9-to-5 job" you know the feeling I'm talking about. That feeling inside you that says, Crap! I have to wake up tomorrow and go to work!... I don't have that anymore and it's an unbelievable feeling!
Speaking of that last one, I have to take a second to share an aside with you that came up in a conversation with a close friend of mine. We were talking about work and I was telling her how strange it is to not have this feeling anymore, and here's what I realized: 

Most people live their lives in a series of starts and stops. You get up and go to work and do what you have to do, and it's only until you come home that your life really picks up and begins again. Before you know it, months pass and you wonder, what have I really done to "live" lately? Now on the other hand, let's say you have a job that completely consumes your life. That's typically seen as a bad thing. "Your work is your whole life" you hear people say. And that's true. But what I've realized is that when your life is your work, and your work is your life, you never have that feeling of leaving it to pick back up where your life last left off. Instead you're in a state of perpetual living. Now I understand if that's a little mumbo-jumbo-y for you guys, but it's a realization that was pretty awesome for me and it's why I feel like this job has given me the gift of being present in my own life. (This theory is contingent upon the fact that you actually like your work, of course.) 

Something else I've noticed is that when you make a change like this in your life, you can't expect everyone to understand why you made it. Lucky for me, I have a super supportive family that (a) just wants me to be happy, (b) knows that when I make my mind up about something, there's no use is stopping me because I'm going to do it anyway, and (c) I'm an incredibly self-aware person and I make decisions knowing exactly what is best for me. However, I went through a tough time with some of my close friends who simply did not think that this was a good move for me. And that has been the hardest part. I never thought that in an effort to be happier I would have to sacrifice friendships. That just seems absurd. But I do understand that not everyone in this world thinks like me or has the same desires that I do, and therefore it's hard to understand a move like this not being in my frame of mind. 

I also recognize that Jason and I have a very unconventional life that may be hard to comprehend. We're quite a few number of years apart in age, we began our relationship under circumstances that were complicated to say the least (a story for another day), we moved in together after only dating for six months (and have been happily coexisting for over a year now, thank you!), he began a business based around wearing t-shirts of all things, we have a ton of friends that we've made online through the business that we'll likely never meet in real life, and he hosts a daily internet TV show for pete's sake! I get it... it's weird! But it is the friends that I sit down with and they say "I expected nothing less than this craziness for your life" that are the ones that truly know me and see how happy I am. 

I never could have dreamed of this life two years ago, but every day is an adventure and I wouldn't have it any other way. Thanks to all of you for caring enough to follow along. As you know, this blog is a weird hybrid of crafts that I make and random tales of my life, so whether you're here for one or the other (or both!), I just want to say thank you! I'll be back soon with new posts and hopefully I won't ever have to go two months without posting again. Hope your 2012 is off to a fantastic start!


  1. not that you have an 'evening commute' persay, but ben and i have sort-of subconsciously contained our work talk to that time. just so it doesn't feel like we're ALWAYS talking about work. glad it's going well!

  2. Sounds like you made a great choice, good luck in 2012!
    -Phyllis Staines

  3. Proud of you Carol! Glad to hear things are going well. 

  4. Well I'll tell Jason that he has until we leave the office until we get to the bottom of the stairs to get it out of his system. :) I forget that you know all too well what it's like working with your significant other. Any and all advice will be appreciated. ps. LOVING following along with your preggo adventures. Couldn't be happier for you guys!

  5. Thank you soo much Phyllis! All the best to you in the new year as well!

  6. Napples! I'm so glad to see you commenting. Seriously you have no idea how much it means to me for you to read and to have you as a friend. Let's do another Skype date soon. I miss ya!