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Dressing Today’s Part, Not Yesterday’s

Dressing Today’s Part, Not Yesterday’s

001I let go. I released my business/office attire to charity. Six blazers, four pairs of paints, two dresses, two blouses, three shells, one suit and one skirt no longer occupy my closet. They no longer hold me captive of a previous life.

I haven’t worked in an office on a regular basis for almost three years, yet, I held on to these clothes out of the  fear of “what if.” What if I have an interview, a business meeting or get a job in an office. Living in the “what if” instead of the immediate was suffocating.

I needed to free up that part of my closet and close off the past.  I no longer wanted to stare into my closet and see clothes that reminded me of a lifestyle, a job, a commute I no longer had to adhere to. And as I looked at my immediate future, a cubicle farm, a traditional office setting were no longer part of the picture, at least not on a regular basis.

Of course, I still know this could change on a dime,  the burden of the “what if” was too heavy. I needed a release.  I wanted to dress for the life I have today, a casual, sometimes work in your PJ’s type of work from home gig. The fear of  “what if” was overdue for release, both from my closet and for my emotional well-being.

And because I’m still a be prepared-type of person, I didn’t go cold turkey, I still held onto  two dresses (one summer, one fall), both purchased within the last year,  that I can use to fill the gap when business dictates.


A Time for Change, Again?

A Time for Change, Again?

colorful_change_1_copyI often find the use of quotes  overdone. We see them everywhere. On coffee mugs, journals, magnets, Facebook posts, tweets, greeting cards–you get the picture. At every turn we’re bombarded with quotes that say to us, “you’re great,” “don’t stop dreaming,” “don’t give up.”

This saturation has turned me off to their usefulness and applicability in my life. However, for every rule, there is always an exception. Over the past year, one quote has rolled round in round in my head:

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”–Ghandi

Now, I’m no new agey, hocus pocus kind of girl, far from it,  but I do believe in change, no matter how small or big.

The “change” quote as I like to call it began talking to me last spring when I ditched my car for a summer experiment, turned year challenge to live car-free. Thirteen months later and still with no car,  the volume on the quote is getting louder, telling me to change again.

I look around me, my lifestyle, the world, the environment and wonder what do I need to change? And in our over-connected, constant noise world we live in, I am not short on options.

  • Reduce or cut off cable TV. This is a hard one for me as I love channel surfing, yet, I am discovering that this mindless act leaves me zapped of time to fulfill dreams. After all, how many repeat episodes of “Friends” or “Two and Half Men” do I need to see? It’s just noise. Or does watching people arguing over the IRS scandal on Fox News change my everyday life? No, it just adds stress to it.  This one feels like a no brainer, but when you grew up with the TV as your babysitter it’s hard to ween yourself away. Nonetheless, I’m thinking of it. 
  • Leave Facebook. This one’s been rattling in my head for the past six months. The ah-ha moment for me was asking myself, “how do you feel when you visit the site?” Frankly, not so good, yet I keep doing it.  For me, it’s “emotional cutting.”  And yes, maybe it’s a personal issue I need to deal with, but the Facebook lives and personas that people project are just one side to a multi-dimensional coin. If we were true friends, wouldn’t I be involved in more parts of your life and know the “dark and ugly” side of your life too. And while people say, “just quit,” this one does take some time to get your head around. It may not be an all or nothing approach, but possibly some middle ground. I do like the photos. More thinking required here.
  • Eat better.  Another hard one for me because I hate to cook, but if I stopped my time watching TV and on Facebook, possibly I could find more joy in preparing meals. Even as I write this, I’m skeptical because I find little joy in grocery shopping or cutting vegetables, but possibly if I practice, develop a routine, and gain some successes, I’ll discover I’m not as bad as I think.
  • Remove the clutter. Whether it’s your closet, your kitchen cabinets or the files on your computer, after a while it all adds up and is suffocating. Living by a principle of what do I need today, what’s the life I’m living today, not the one I want to live or the one I use to live, but the one I live today. With this attitude I can ditch all the stuff that’s cluttering my closets and cabinets and release the old life or the future life and just live today. After all, God tells us in James, “you do not know what tomorrow will bring.”

I have a lot to think about and while these are hard things to implement, I’m optimistic that  the change(s), whatever the choice(s) will yield great things. If I’m ever in doubt, I just remind myself that living a year without a car has yielded great savings to my budget, but more importantly to my well-being of living without the headache of maintenance.  In that vain, I can only be sure of positive results, so why hesitate? That’s the big question. 

Car Free Summer: Releasing the Fear

Car Free Summer: Releasing the Fear

Last week, I sold my car to CarMax and officially began my quest to go car free for the summer. I don’t live in NYC, so to go car free anywhere else in this great country of ours can be seen as a bold, some might say crazy move. And though, I live in a major metropolitan area with access to public transportation, the car still rules supreme and to go without one puts you in the minority.

This move to a car-free life was not taken lightly. I looked at it from all angles, all scenarios. I evaluated every “what if” as if planning an escape from a pending nuclear disaster. What if I needed to take Paxton to the vet, what if I had an appointment to somewhere outside the beltway, what if I had a large item to get home and the list went on and on. But these were the exceptions, not the everyday. And for every exception, I found an alternative to getting there without having a car to call my own. Everything I needed was either within 5 miles of my house, accessible by foot, bus or could be done through online shopping and delivery services. I concluded that I was keeping a car out of fear. Fear of the “what if.”

I no longer wanted to be controlled by fear. I decided to let go of something that I had for 24 years believed to be a necessity of life, my car. I thought by giving up the car,  I’d feel constricted with no freedom to come and go as I please.  However, now 8 days into my car free lifestyle I’ve discovered that by lifting the burden of car payments, maintenance, parking meters, parking tickets and high gas prices, the freedom I so feared of losing was just that, fear.  I guess FDR was right after all, “we have nothing to fear, but fear itself.”


A Letter to My Younger Self

A Letter to My Younger Self

1st year post-college with new roommate, Paxton
1st year post-college with new roommate, Paxton


Right now you’re lost and unsure of what the world expects of you. Up until now, you’ve done everything according to plan:  Go to college, graduate on time with an above-average GPA, get a job(any job to support yourself and avoid moving back home), pay the rent on time and live life. But it’s the “live life” part that you’re struggling with. You have your own place, friends and enough money to enjoy higher quality beer than college $2 pitcher nights and a few good dinners out. But you’re asking “is this it?” Is this what I spent 23 years aiming towards?

And yes, dear friend, it will get a little worse before it gets better. Friends will pair off, get married, have kids and ditch you in favor of play dates over wine-infused lunches.  You’ll still be doing much of the same thing: working Monday-Friday at a respectable, yet boring desk job that has no relevance to your degree or world interests and spending  Saturday nights overindulging in cocktails that lead to all day Sunday’s in bed.

The vast array of eligible men  will dry up and dating will become an urban myth. They’ll be a few select boys who float in and out, and you’ll secretly hope that one of them will be the mysterious “one,” but they’ll frustrate you with their lack of substance and maturity. You’ll try hard to make it work and overcome the glaring incompatability between the two of you, but it exhausts you and you’ll wonder what’s wrong with you.

Nothing’s wrong with you Amy, it’s just not your time. You are not traditional and neither will your life be.  Instead, your life will be  unconventional, adventorous, and scary all at the same time. You will  take chances that others fear, live in places you can’t find on a map, meet people from all parts of the country and world, see history unfold in front of your eyes, and travel through 14 timezones alone to see The Great Wall of China. You will ride a camel through the deserts of Egypt and sip wine at a cafe in Tuscany.

You will not wait for a man to complete you or your life, but instead you’ll rely on your inner-strength and willigness to keep going on. Your passion to live life, to see the world and experience different cultures will fuel your drive to survive alone in a world made for two. This is what completes you.

You’ll realize that though marriage and children have eluded you, it’s not everything and it’s not what defines you. Only you, defines you.

So take it easy on yourself and chin up. You have more strength, perseverance, and curiosity for life than you give yourself credit.  Sometimes you may feel your life may lack drama, excitement and companionship, but to many, your life is a dream waiting to be fulfilled.

My Risk Journey

My Risk Journey

I’m continuing on my quest to understand risk, and specifically risk when it comes to dating and relationships. I have no problem risking my life flying 14 hours on Egypt Air or Air China (if you flew these airlines you’d understand the risk),  but when it comes to personal, one-on-one, I think I might like you kind of risk, I fade into obscurity and the shy 4 year-old girl that was too scared to walk alone down the aisle as a flower girl in my uncle’s wedding comes out. I choose to hide behind fear.

Right now, I have no answers, I’m just exploring. But I found the following quote helpful in my journey:

“To love is to risk not being loved in return. To hope is to risk pain. To try is to risk failure, but risk must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.”