Thursday, September 09, 2010

And For My 400th Post....

Let's go with a reprint. 400 posts over 4 years seems minuscule, but I'm giving myself permission to let that go.

From the very-cool Danielle Laporte of White Hot Truth who I found via Medicinal Marzipan who I found via Already Pretty who I found via....OMG I LOVE THE INTERNETS.

your permission slip from the universe

"I've got the Goddess of Permission on speed dial and she was thrilled to oblige with this sweeping list of acts of self expression and liberation. We can draw on it whenever we need. Come back often. Build on it. The Permission Goddess sends kisses and high-fives.

you have permission to

: not finish reading books that you're not really enjoying. Don't force it, close it.
: walk out of movies that suck (and hey, if you leave in the first twenty minutes, you can get your money back.)
: let it go to voicemail (especially during dinner, or snuggling, or watching So You Think You Can Dance?)
: give birthday gifts anytime of the year (which means you can be late or early and you can give yourself time to find just the right gift.)
: talk shit about WalMart (even if they do have the economic power of a small country.)
: cut the obligations cords that are driven by guilt.***
: pursue your own agenda.
: own next to nothing, live on a mattress, read and write and make love all day with no other responsibilities***
: return crappy products to their crappy manufacturers (because you can vote with your dollars.)
: leave your current business model so you can go do something bigger than you***
: tell your kids when you think that something an authority figure told them is bullshit (you need to be in solidarity with your child, not the so-called grown ups.)
: quit your job, even if you just started two weeks ago, or just got a raise, or are seemingly indispensable.
: get yourself off even, if you have a partner.
: have some secrets.
: cut out the elements of your business that you don't totally LOVE. The parts that 90% of the time make you say, "WHY am I doing this? I don't WANT to do this." ***
: give away/recycle/get rid of stuff, stuff, stuff sentimental stuff that special people gave you (your home is for you, not them); stuff that doesn't make you feel good even, if you spent a lot of money on it; stuff that has intense memories attached to it; stuff!
: say no to "free" stuff, like swag bags at fancy events and novelty erasers and pom-pom pens from the bank. (Because the only thing in life that's free is love.)

you have permission to

: fail, and fail again.
: to succeed, wildly, more than your neighbours, more than your folks, more than you thought was possible.
: be rich and "spiritual"
: be broke AND generous
: leave work early, get some ice cream, and sit in the hot tub at the gym***
: charge what you're worth***
: focus more on creating your soul job and less on finding a ho' job.***
: sleep! sleep in, nap, sleep.
: earn a living knitting for charity.***
: relax. To let go of the growing to-do list in your head. To release the need to get it "just right."***
: to dance.
: go bra-less or underwear free.
: give it all to charity.
: check your email whenever the hell you want.
: start now, without the degree, without the funding, without knowing exactly where you're going.
: sell your house to afford a big trip to India (a friend of mine did just that, no regrets.)
: walk away.
: fall in love.
: eat dessert first.

you have permission to
: not ever feel the need for permission.***

PS...The Goddess of Compassion, Quan Yin, also emailed me. She and The G' of Permish are a rad' team when they ride together. Quan Yin just wanted me to make sure she gets repp'ed in the mix: quit responsibly, say Fuck off with compassion in your heart, liberate with love, and cut clean when you need to use your sword. And when you can, do what you say you're going to do, or announce when you can't with deftness and care.

And then Ms. Permissive emailed me to say she gives you permission to whatever, however, because ultimately, it's all progress. I asked the Deities to take their debate off-line. Your liberation isn't their business anyway."

The Four Hour Work week? Yes, please.

I recently finished Timothy Ferriss' book, The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich. You can go ahead and judge me, because I sure as hell would if you told me that you read something with that title.

I was really prepared to hate it because hearing about Hero's Journeys from people my own age always rubs me the wrong way. Call it the Eat Pray Love phenomenon. And the dude was a white collar worker, so really, how hard was your life? Given that this whole blog is pretty much a white collar worker whining about the trivialities of life, essentially, I was prepared to hate this dude for being like me, but being much more vocal (read: writing the book) about how awesome he kind of is for getting out of the corporate trap.

Because I love memoir, I found the autobiographical parts really fun to read, and because the 80/20 rule is pretty much my #1 rule at work, the background on Pareto's Principle fairly interesting. Other parts of the book were pretty 'meh' (I'm not going to outsource my birthday party planning and grocery shopping to India) and other parts contained things I knew already.

What was most useful were the questions that he asks around what you would be or could be doing with your time if you weren't spending 9-5 at work. Basically what is exciting to you? The two questions that hit me like a lightning bolt, though, were hidden away on page 37:

1. How has being 'realistic' or 'responsible' kept you from the life you want?
2. How has doing what you 'should' resulted in subpar experiences or regret for not having done something else?

Right. So how much time do you have? See also: my entire career.

Matt Madden covered something similar recently in his post, What you should do versus what you need to do, and my comment was

Too often, we fall into the “well, I was going to do XXXXX, but I don’t have time to do that with work, kids, life, etc” line of thinking. Or in our professional lives, the “well, I would do XXXX, but the corporate bureaucrats/manager/SEC/whatever won’t let me” speech. Well, sure. But the problem is that many people (self included sometimes) don’t really define what that XXXX is — what it is that motivates and excites them, what they really would like to do — because that’s the hard question. It’s easier to assume that you would have your dream life if it wasn’t for these other annoyances. Without defining your motivation, though, you’re more likely to compromise and stay in a tolerable, yet unfulfilling career, lulled into believing you’re stable.

This is where I am right now. My job is okay and tolerable, but mostly unfulfilling. And we're not stable. I am still living paycheck to paycheck, and constantly in fear of the big expenses we could have in our future: more childcare, schools, maybe a house, a move, etc. Never mind the bad shit you never really want to think about like illness or disability. We're constantly in fear of the future, especially given the economic situation these last few years.

One thing that Ferriss convinced me loud and clear, though, was not to view retirement as the end goal. He gives three good reasons:
1. You hate what you are doing when you are most physically capable of doing something else. Dumb, no?
2.Your purchasing power decreases after you retire, and you can't maintain your standard of living. He says, "The golden years become lower-middle-class life revisited. That's a bittersweet ending."
3. If you're ambitious, retirement is going to be boring, so you'll want a new job or career. Why wait? I saw this exact scenario happen to my mother. I spent so much time listening to her tell stories about finally relaxing when she retired. Then she retired, was bored out of her mind, drove everyone nuts, and found a new job and career (one that really likes this time) a few months later. I really don't want to wait another 20 years to get a chance to have a job I like.

I also admire how well Ferriss was able to market himself. I think he was a relative nobody before the first edition of his book came out, but he used some serious social media marketing to spread the word and then began showing up in Wired, Fast Company, and all over the place. Even if you think the guy's a dick, that's pretty impressive.

I don't think I could ever classify this book as a "life changer" without needing my head examined, but it's another example of reading the right book at the right time. I need to answer the questions he poses. I need to figure out what is exciting to me. I need to move from tolerable to great. And I know I want to make a change soon.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Welcome To The Time of Your Life

Or, your mid-thirties.

I know that I am old because when I was asked what I wanted for my birthday the other day (a particularly hellish day with hot sweaty weather and car repairs and another fucking tooth coming in for Z), I spat out, "I just a want a few hours where NOBODY ELSE IS TOUCHING ME!" Goodbye roofies, crack and hookers. Hello, mommyhood.

Fortunately, I got my wish. AND IT WAS AWESOME. Chronological details of my day:

* Slept late. 8:15 a.m.!

* YG took the girls to church, and I played hooky, catching up on Project Runway and the "special edition" of Glamour Dos and Don'ts. Starting the year off on an intellectual high note.

* Rode my bike for the first time in over two years. Mem Drive is closed on Sundays, so I just circled back and forth along the Charles and remembered why I love living in Cambridge.

* Spent an hour at Diesel writing and drinking Rasberry Lime Rickeys.

* Ended my NO TOUCHING hours and met up with YG and the girls.

* Hiked Walden Pond. Ate prosciutto.

* Came back home and watched The Sound of Music with Z. Sang Climb Every Mountain with feeling.

* Gave Z a bath. I could leave out the part where she shit in the tub, as 'hold a turd' was not high on my to-do list for my birthday, but I will not.

* Risotto and red wine on the porch.

* Cupcakes and presents.

* Internets.

A pretty awesome day, made even more so by all the phone calls and texts and Facebook posts. And another day off tomorrow.