Got Karma?

Karma as defined by Dictionary.com means an action, seen as bringing upon oneself inevitable results, either good or bad.

I’ve been thinking a lot about karma lately. It all started over Thanksgiving weekend. We were visiting my in-laws and someone in the family had just won money off of a scratch off lottery ticket – not millions or anything like that, but a couple hundred. Everyone was making fun of him because after he won, he proceeded to tip very, very generously at the bar. In response to everyone making fun of him, he shrugged and said winning is all about good karma.

Along the same lines, my in-laws are
avid gamblers. They regularly visit casinos and they nearly as often win, which they then proceed to share their winnings generously with family. Quite often my husband and I will get a random check in the mail because they wanted to share their latest winnings with us. This has lead me to put a lot of thought into how some people seem to be so lucky, they just have that “good karma” thing going on. I want good karma.

Even my husband is fairly lucky. Unfortunately, not in the lottery sense, but he always manages to get promoted while others are being let go and things always seem to go his way when he needs them to. I’ve studied my husband for long enough to realize that good things happen to him because he is a good person. He never has anything bad to say about anyone, he is always willing to help someone in need and in general he is very accepting and kind to everyone. He gets this from his family. The reason for their luck comes down to the fact that they are just such good and nice people. When they are in a bind, people really are willing to help them out, when they want to play the lottery, the universe smiles on them because it knows that half of it will end up in the pockets of someone who needs it more.

I’ve been trying to apply good karma to my writing life. I volunteer on committees. I offer to help friends and family with things like their resumes free of charge. I go the extra mile for all of my clients. I try to offer what advice I have to give to help other writers. And, I have to say that getting clients, getting referrals and keeping clients has come way easier to me than I ever thought it would. Could this be karma? I don’t know, maybe I do have good karma after all. What is your experience with karma and the powers that be?

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Reflections

Yesterday was my birthday and I am feeling reflective about the past year. On the cover this year appears to have been quite ordinary, but on closer inspection, this year has been a type of turning point for me.

For starters, at some point this year, I woke up and realized that well, I hated where my career was going and I needed to start pursuing something I actually cared about. In realizing that, came the realization that I was unhappy in other areas of my life as well. I was turning into an uptight, emotionally vacant, unadventurous, uninspired person.

Then my mom got diagnosed with breast cancer, yep the C word, and everything just suddenly became clear. I had already decided to quit my job and ironically enough was doing just that as my mom was at the doctor getting that awful diagnosis. I was the first person called and I left my meeting to be with her. For the last month I have witnessed Cancer from the diagnosis, to the surgery, to the radiation with the possibility of chemo, to the emotional upheaval. I am happy to report that my mom is doing better, this is not a death sentence and the odds are good that she won’t even need chemo.

But what came out of this year for me is the simple recognition that life is too short. I realized that I am only here on this earth for a limited time – it could end anytime from anything and what have I been most proud of? Well, actually nothing up until now.

The thing is I have always had a plan. I always knew where I was going and how I was going to get there. But maybe that is not the best way for me. I think I may have missed some things by staying on track, and now I want to stop and see things, explore things and really live in the moment.

This blog started out detailing my journey from “rat racer” to freelance writer, but I am learning there is so much more to it than that. This is my journey to find myself. Leaving my full time job to be a freelance writer was just the beginning.

Since quitting my job, and I have actually quit (my last day is July 10th), the whole world has just seemed to open up. There is so much possibility, and so much I want to do, try, and experience. It’s hard sometimes to even know where to start. I know I must continue to make a living, but I also know now that I must make the most out of every moment and really focus on living life.

I have high hopes for this next year of my life, anything and everything is possible. I hope to detail my next year here on this blog, and I hope to inspire others to live their life to the fullest too.

Money vs. Happiness

Is it better to make good money or make less money to get up every day and do a job you love? Yes, money buys things. It pays the mortgage, it puts food on the table and clothes on your back. But I suspect that many things that I currently own or think that I need, I don’t really need, and they don’t contribute to my overall happiness.

I strongly dislike my job. Not that I don’t like who I work with, or the company, but I can’t stand what I do. But you know what? I couldn’t stand my last job or the one before that or the one before that for the same exact reason. I have never before woken up in the morning and gone to work at something I truly loved. Today it dawned on me why I keep doing this to myself, why I keep taking jobs I know from the very beginning I won’t like. It’s very simple; I have this notion in my head that how much money I make directly reflects how successful I am. But is that true? Or should my success be measured on how happy I am, and how passionate I am about what I do for a living.

For the last several years, I have been able to purchase everything I have ever wanted, go on trips whenever I wanted and have pretty much done everything I felt like. However, while my shoe collection grew exponentially, I turned into someone I didn’t know, perhaps because I was trying to force happiness, and replace it with a fake sense of fulfillment.

It amazes me, now that I have gotten back into writing, how I can hardly sleep at night and I wake up every day filled with story ideas, excited to get behind a computer for hours on end. On the weekends when I use to spend my time shopping or hanging out with friends, I now stay home and work and I am perfectly happy doing that. I stay up later, skip my lunch break, and pass up shoe sales because I have this burning urge to write. I can’t get my ideas down fast enough, I can’t apply for enough freelance jobs, and I can’t learn more about writing fast enough. And you know what? It doesn’t feel like work at all.

For the first time in my life I have a clear vision of what I want to do with my life and some semblance of an idea of how to do it. I resent my full time job even more now because I know that it is not for me. I have been in the wrong place for a long time and every minute I spend there is taking away from my writing time.

The bottom line is, when I am writing I am happy and that is worth more than a pay check.

Simplify

This year, my goal is to simplify my life. I’m done with the complicated, the stressful and the fast paced life. I want and desperately need to simplify. Here are some areas that are cluttering my life both physically and mentally:

My work situation. I find myself working insane hours. Mostly because I have a full-time job that requires above and beyond the normal 40 hours a week. Now that I have started freelance writing, it seems that I am constantly on the go. I never, ever just have down time. However, my hope is that this is a transition period and that in the future writing will enable me to simplify.

My personal life. It seems that due to my long days, I have very little time to spend with family, friends and even my husband. When I do actually have time, I feel like I am running from one social event to another in the effort to try to see and please everyone. I think I need to take some time and think through my schedule before I agree to plans to give myself time to enjoy the time I have because I am not pleasing anyone being on the go so much.

My wardrobe. I know this sounds funny, but I have entirely too many clothes, shoes and purses. I could literally stock a whole shoe store, not to mention the three drawers I have that are full of tank tops, many of which still have tags on them. Who needs so much stuff? Keeping it all in order is a chore in itself.

My ability to make decisions. I worry so much about what other people think and how my decisions will affect them. Of course by this I mean big decisions, but I am referring to smaller decisions too. Like when my husband asks me simply, where I would like to eat dinner, or what movie we should rent. I can’t make up my mind. I am so indecisive that I let it bother me to the point that once we finally pick out a movie, I spend the whole movie worrying that he is bored with it. I need to stop fretting over these minor things, make a decision and stick to it.

My perfectionism (is that a word?). I am a perfectionist. I don’t have the ability to do anything halfway. I strive to do everything perfect, dress perfect, keep my house perfectly clean, you get the point. Well, the truth is I know that no one is perfect, yet I still try to be the impossible. Lately, I have been trying to cut myself some slack and say, you know what? If this isn’t perfect, it just isn’t. And I have to force myself to walk away.

Finally, my sleep schedule. I need to make the effort to go to bed earlier. I know myself and I know that I do not function well on little sleep, yet I still stay up too late when I know I have to wake up early. Why do I do this to myself?

And with that my friends, I simply say goodnight!

Welcome to A String of Words

Welcome to A String of Words, a blog about my life. I am a woman in my mid 20’s who woke up one day, looked around and wondered how on earth I ended up on the career path I’m currently on. It is not what I ever imagined for myself, it’s not even something I remotely like to do. What I like to do, what I love to do is write. I have known that for as long as I can remember, I even majored in journalism. And yet somehow, I got sidetracked. I forgot who I was and what I wanted from my life. I forgot to be true to myself. I got blinded by the promise of benefits, a 401k and a regular paycheck. Don’t get me wrong, those things matter (I do have a mortgage), but I am determined make my passion, my work and survive off it.

So here I start my journey. I start living my life the way I had envisioned it. I get back to my roots. I get back to writing. I learn to write about anything and everything, all day, every day. I’m sure I’ll stumble, but I won’t give up. It’s time for me to seize the moment, be true to myself and live my life.

I invite you to join me on my journey as I leave my day job behind and transition to the writing world, building my writing life one word at a time.