Be Awesome: Make a Comeback

downtown

Sometimes you need a do over. You just need to hit the reset button on your life. If you don’t like the direction your life is headed, you should be allowed to change it. And you shouldn’t have to apologize for it.

After seven years of teaching, we moved to Hawaii, and I decided not to pursue another teaching job. There were a million reasons behind my decision to leave my career, some more painful than others, but it left me wondering what to do with my life professionally. The things I really loved made no money, and money was not something we could do without. But how does one with no particular skills redefine oneself? 

For two years, I worked for a measly paycheck, first in retail, and then as an office temp. It made me a bit of money, but it didn’t give me purpose. In the meantime, I watched my former students living the beautiful lives they deserved, one of them even published her first novel. I worked at the mall. I was feeling like a total loser. I was depressed and felt like things would never change.

Starting next week, I’m making a comeback. I’ll be starting a new job as the development coordinator for a local homeless shelter. I’ll be coordinating all their small donor campaigns, assisting with fundraising events, and helping with resource drives and in-kind donations. It’s been a long road to this new beginning, but I have a sense of purpose again. I cannot wait to conquer this new challenge.

Okay, so hurray for me, but that’s not the point. The point is, I am not extraordinary. A series of circumstances led me down a path that resulted in feeling supremely frustrated with my professional life. I thought it would stay that way forever, but I managed to change my circumstances. If I can do it, anyone can.

It might not be simple, and for me, it certainly didn’t happen quickly. But I strongly believe that if you don’t like the direction your life is taking, you have to seize control and do whatever you can to change it. You may think you’re down and out, but you can make a come back. 

Believing in myself has never been my strength, but I believe in you. I believe in your own power to search for the thing that you love. I believe in your power to keep working toward finding deeper meaning in your life. I believe in your power to change yourself. It will feel awesome.

Anyone can make a comeback. Even me. Even you. 

 

Read more about my journey here.

Awesome in August

August seemed to go by slower than molasses. The heat continued to weigh us down in the afternoon and keep us awake at night, and I worked at the most boring job imaginable. But exciting things are on the frontier. August was a month of waiting, and waiting isn’t fun.

 

Awesomest bar without windows: Home Bar

 

My awesome photo of tater tot nachos disappeared. This one has my stupid face in it. That cider is great, though.
My awesome photo of tater tot nachos disappeared. This one has my stupid face in it. That cider is great, though.
 
We finally made it to Home Bar this month, and I cannot wait to write a happy hour post for you guys. This place is definitely a bar. It’s dark, no windows, and there are large TV screens on every wall. This is part of what makes it awesome. I suppose if you are the sort of person who likes to watch people throw things at each other, this would be a great place to do it. But if you’re just a person who likes to relax after work with a cold cider and some tater tot nachos, definitely check out Home Bar. It’s old school dive bar good times.
 

Awesomest thing to stuff in your face 24 hours a day: Breakfast Burger

 

Photo by Jessica of How Sweet It Is
Photo by Jessica of How Sweet It Is
 
The brilliant Jessica from How Sweet It Is posted the most beautiful breakfast burger. You guys! I cannot wait to try this. I absolutely love a bacon and egg burger, and this one is just ridiculous. Maple aioli adds an extra sweet and spicy hint of excitement. And she served it on a toasted English muffin because she is the smartest/coolest. Just look at it. Don’t you want to dive in face first?
 

Awesomest time machine to 2000’s politics: The West Wing

 

 
Where was I when The West Wing was originally on the air? Well, I was most likely watching Food Network. That’s pretty much all I ever did back then. But man, I can’t believe what I was missing. Sometimes Aaron Sorkin can be so pretentious you kind of want to tie his shoe laces together, but I am totally behind the Bartlet administration. I think Josh, Donna, CJ, and I should definitely get together for pancakes. Netflix streaming is pretty much the best thing ever. First Firefly, now The West Wing. I can get all the best stuff whenever I’m ready. It’s the future, kids. Get on board.
 

Things you thought were awesome (hint: it’s chocolate)

 
 
You fell in love with the amazingness that is no-bake chocolate peanut butter pie. How could you not?
 
Just in case you didn’t get your choco-PB fix already, you are also totally digging chocolate peanut butter cheesecake. I feel you. I can’t get enough, either.
 
But you really really love to wake up to chocolate. Double chocolate muffins were your favorite post this month. Maybe I should just make nothing but chocolate from now on.
 
August is over. We made it. New and exciting things are coming in September, and I for one can’t wait to get started. 

Be Awesome: Perspective

This park is home to dozens of people every night.
This park is home to dozens of people every night.

As much as I whine about not having money, and as stressful as it can be to not know if you’re going to be able to pay your rent any given month, I fully realize that I have a first world, middle class point of view. My expectations for what my life can or should be are largely influenced by this perspective. I know that for the majority of the world’s population, having a second-hand Droid X instead of a new iPhone 5 is not a problem. I get that.

I recently had a second interview for a job in the development department at IHS, or the Institute for Human Services. IHS is primarily a homeless shelter, but they run a very comprehensive program, including health services, employment and housing services, and sustainability programs. Their mission is far reaching and their compassion is absolutely necessary in our community where homelessness is all around us.

As I pulled up on my moped, wearing clothes and accessories all from discount stores that were several years old with my second hand phone and my iPod nano from 2008, I was suddenly struck by just how privileged I am. It was an idea that I had always carried with me, but in that moment, it was completely tangible. 

I was surrounded by people who had very few, if any possessions. They probably didn’t wake up in the morning and worry about what they were going to wear because they were already wearing their only clothes. They weren’t worrying about paying their rent because they didn’t have a place to live. For whatever reason, they had nothing, and they needed the help of IHS. More than ever, I wanted to be a part of the team that would help them feel a bit more secure and a bit more valued.

All anybody really wants is to be treated with a bit of dignity and respect. All that really matters is that we take care of one another. Everything else is just noise.

I’m not trying to tell you to sell all your possessions and burn your driver’s license like that kid in “Into the Wild.” I still wished I could go shopping and buy myself some new work clothes today. I just think that it doesn’t hurt to be reminded that no matter what you have or don’t have, there is somebody in the world who needs your help. You have the power to give someone that gift. Donate money. Volunteer your time. Bring someone a cup of hot coffee. There is something you can do.

We’re all in this together. Let’s help each other be more awesome.

Full English Breakfast from Awesome on 20
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