On the Search for Failure

I’ve determined, after seven years, that I’m on the search for failure.

I’m also on the search for success. Grand success. Maybe not the kind of success that allows me fancy cars and houses across the globe, but success that allows me the items I desire: helping others; living comfortably, without worrying about paying bills, or deciding if buying underwear is more of a priority than groceries, as an example; being able to help my family reach that same level of comfortable; traveling when I want and to where ever I want; less stress and more health.

No where in there am I striving to amass a great wealth. I do want to be secure for my future, should I be fortunate to live to my 99th birthday, but again, I want the security in the points above.

For around a month or so, I’ve mentioned closing the custom & wedding side of S2 Stationery and Design. And I have. October 1st, closed that door. And I’m glad it has been closed. It’s left me with time to really focus on the things I want to focus on and most importantly plan for the ways I want to grow S2.

I’m no where near complete on my goals. They’re evolving and every time I write one down, another comes to me later. Not to mention, I have other things that pop up and show up and steer my path a different way, which I know shifts my goals a bit more.

This past weekend, I found myself discussing with very good friends my goals for both my business and personal life. We discussed pregnancy and relationships. We discussed it all honestly. What sticks from the two conversations was the statement I said several times in both:

I’m never going to be happy until I actually fail. Until, I can say, I did the best I could with the stationery and I failed and it’s time for me to be an adult and stop following this dream.

Chances are, I’m not going to fail. I know in my heart that what I’m doing is what I’m suppose to be doing. I know it’s hard to explain and for those who aren’t like-minded to understand or even begin to fathom, but I’m not going to fail. Mostly because I don’t see failing as a bad thing. I think even in the things that don’t go right, or that crash and burn, or realize that something I felt so strongly about doesn’t work any more and needs to be revamped or cancelled or changed, there is opportunity. There is growth. This is the natural flow of life.

I’m sure I will fail in little ways as this dream continues, but I wouldn’t quite say that this journey has been a failure thus far.

It is this reason that I struggle now. That I’ve been struggling for the past three years since returning from Japan. It is why, I’ve allowed myself to fall into this abyss of uncertainty and comfortable, yet uncomfortable, discomfort while working a job I don’t like and going through the motions of living a life that isn’t doing anything for me or my goals.

I have good friends at my job, I have made great connections and I’ve allowed myself to believe that I need this backup because at one time, I did. And I’m sure I need this backup a little bit longer, too, but the reality is that until I let go of the backup, I’m never really going to fail and because I’ve yet to really “fail,” I’m going to continue to stay annoyed and in this uncertain abyss because this doesn’t make me happy. This doesn’t make me motivated to grow or change or fail.

And so, all of this has led me back to the point of origin for S2 Stationery & Design. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to get back to the root – to the dream that launched this business idea and company seven years ago. Once that’s in order, I’m adding the passion project that I believe will be my legacy.

Once these things are ironed out, I’m sure my future will look bright, my pockets will be as well, and I’ll be living a life where failure isn’t something I’m seeking, it’s something I’m staring at and saying, “hello, where are you taking me next?”

I can’t wait to share all of this with you!

 

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“Sara, Where Are You Now?”

I’ve gotten this question a bit recently. Those that are friends and follow me on Facebook and Instagram, actually read this blog, and got my personal emails updating my journey know that I am back in the US, but haven’t got a clue as to where exactly in the US I am. (I like being a bit of a mystery! Or at least that’s part of my new plan…to being a mystery even to those I love much and hold close to my heart.)

I am homeless, a bit, and so I bumped around from place to place. I landed in Los Angeles and spent a night in the company of one of my dearest friends before taking Amtrak to the Bay Area to stay with another good friend. I stayed outside of San Francisco in a city called Mountain View for seven days. It was nice. Quiet. I stayed in most of the time, but walked daily to a coffee shop about one-and-a-half miles from my friend’s apartment to get out, exercise my legs and enjoy the air. I was also able to see three good friends in the area, one of whom I hadn’t seen since I met her three years ago in Chile!

On January 16th, I took a flight from the San Jose airport and made my way to the East Coast, to Maryland to be exact, where I’ve been staying with my mother. It has been wonderful to put my bags down and leave them down for a large bit of time and space. I carried a lot of baggage with me on this past journey and they were heavy, stressful, and exhausting. Simply carrying a purse and my laptop make me happy these days, instead of those two along with a backpack and suitcase in tow.

Since returning to the East Coast a week ago (so little time and yet, I’ve accomplished much!), I took a weekend to visit New York City and it was pleasant. After being away for three months, it was nice to step back into my home city.Before I left, I had such an intense hatred for NYC  that this feeling of comfort and slight sense of security that I experienced was a pleasant surprise.

Walking around New York last weekend was heavenly. Not only did I get to see my best friend, I was able to stay in her apartment just across the street from my old apartment in Manhattan. I spent a large amount of time in Williamsburg, Brooklyn hanging out with my family, and I managed to see my printing company, have an interview with a woman I met during my internship at Etsy last year in Park Slope, Brooklyn, and meet with clients- one at my favorite place “City Bakery” and the other in their home on the Upper West Side which allowed me to peek into another favorite place of mine, “Zabars.” Needless to say, I traveled around, rode the subway, walked a bit, and felt home. While I definitely felt that riding the subway was new, I knew it wasn’t, but that feeling of hating the subway didn’t exist. In fact, it just felt good. Good to ride the subway, good to be back in my element.

I am 85% a changed woman, although, I’ll never get over the serious amount of stupid and selfish people that roam around the world and NYC specifically, but I felt different as I made my way around a City that blindfolded I know by heart. I felt deep in my heart that I belong to that City, but also that I need to be patient about moving around it and moving back to it, no matter how excited I am to get back into the swing of things.

I wasn’t quite sure how this would all play out and I’m still not sure how it will, but I feel like the general pull of my life is to New York. The Universe is showing me signs that I should be heading that way and that I will be heading that way in due time. Which is awesome!  At first, I thought that I would end up spending a lot of time in the Maryland area and even considered possible moves to cities like Detroit, maybe even Cleveland (I have a large network there). Of course, my heart isn’t in any of those places, they just offer space, which I want, and in New York, I don’t have space. Either way, I can confidently say that New York is where I will land, and there is even a possibility that I’ll end up in New Jersey. I have been considering it more and more and it seems rather feasible at this point. I can get decent space for myself and my business and be just across the river allowing me to get into NYC just as easily as if I lived in the actual City. But I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. It’s nice to look for options in the interim.

Having said that, as we passed from 2012 into 2013, I took some time to write down goals and objectives for the new year. I didn’t put anything down too specific because it was more of a full-on 10 year plan, and things will change, but I gave myself some time to really consider what it is that I want in my life over all. I admitted things like wanting to get married and have children. These are HUGE for me. HUGE! I also admitted that I want space for my business that is separate from my personal life and even if that means a different room, or a den, I want it, as long as it is affordable. That space should be positioned in a place where I can reach my city and yet leave it so I don’t ever grow to hate it again.

I’m not going to go into the entire list of goals and objectives, but I did get in touch with my real self and she showed herself quite clearly; I’m happy to help lead/follow my true self to where she wants to go in 2013 and beyond. Japan taught me that.

As for where I am now, well, I’m on the cusp of temporary and something-like permanent, with a healthy gallon-size space for flexibility, change (because the only thing that is constant in this life is change), and adventure. My travels will continue (I still have many more paper-making countries to visit) and I may have another stint in Japan for a longer period of time, but I know with every fiber of my being that New York City is calling and I’m getting ready to head back with a full, curious sense of wonder and willing to make sure that my stationery business and myself go out and do what it needs to do to be present, alert, and implement change.

So yeah, that’s where Sara is. Still on that journey, but getting steps closer to a place she wants to be. Huzzah!

Assessing the Five W’s on Bear Mountain

This past Sunday I went to Bear Mountain for a hike. I woke up ridiculously early, at 5:45 am (which is late because I was supposed to be on the road by 6am), made breakfast, took a quick shower and headed to the garage to pick up my car. I was on the road by 7am and at Bear Mountain by 8. Which was great!

It was more than great. It was beautiful.

I didn’t get to spend nearly as much time on the mountain like I wanted, I had to return the Zipcar by 11, but the time I spent on the mountain and in the car driving both there and back were worth waking up early, paying for the Zipcar, and risking climbing some steep rocks without health insurance.

About a week ago, I had decided that I needed me time. I needed to get in a car, listen to loud music, sing along to Backstreet Boys (yes, I still have Backstreet Boys songs on my ipod)

Why?

I have been feeling overwhelmed lately and full of emotions that I haven’t been able to explain myself. Nothing bad has happened, but I’ve just felt the need to be alone. To get in tune with myself and to actively hear myself while outside of the noise and chaos of the city.

Originally, I had planned to disconnect from the internet that weekend, but that proved too difficult. So I didn’t, but I limited my time on the internet.

Which I think is the reason why I needed to be outdoors in nature last weekend-I needed to disconnect from the internet and from the busyness that has become my life recently. Running an online business is difficult and it has me connected at all times of the day, even when I’m supposed to be sleeping. Bear Mountain was my way of saying, “NO MORE!”

I don’t want to get too into depth on why I was there because it was a personal morning for me.  But I am including some photos and I will tell you that I got clarity that I needed for my emotional self as well as my business self.

See, I’ve been doing a lot lately. I’m in the middle of packing, in-between homes, my internship will end in September, I am planning on going to Japan in October, I am selling at markets, making new products, trying to figure out what I want to do with my business, stressed out a bit about my youngest brother going to college this fall, and lastly wondering what it is about me that hinders me from doing certain things. Tons of things about the future, I know, while doing my best to be in the right now, which is a struggle, but I’m getting a hang on it.

And so as I moved along Bear Mountain and took in some sights and just breathed the mountain air, I felt more balanced that I’ve felt in a long time. I felt in the right now.  What’s more, when I got back into the car, I put some music on, cried a bit and let my hands wave out the window. It was magical, it was inspiring, it was exactly what I needed.

I was home by 11 and I immediately dove into projects I needed to get done in the right now. I felt so incredibly alive and want that feeling more often- the feeling that I can get away, feel my inner self and hear my thoughts a little more loudly and clearly, and indulge in a feeling of freedom that I don’t often find in NYC.

I think the other big part of this was losing the fear of falling or injuring myself.  I don’t have insurance and haven’t had any since April 1st, which means that I’ve been super sensitive to the fact that even walking off the edge of the sidewalk could cause injury and I don’t have the means to take care of that. Now, of course, I know that if something is meant to happen, it will happen regardless of whether I am prepared or not. We don’t often control situations like this. Being on Bear Mountain reminded me of that. Not once driving was I concerned about injuring myself, no, I was concerned walking down and climbing up big rocks.

As I wandered down a path that was all large rocks, I thought, “I could fall and a. no one would know I’m here and, b. I don’t have insurance to get myself back together if something were to happen.”  Yet, I climbed the rocks down anyway and back up again. As I did, I realized that this feeling is for naught. That I can go down and up with no fear. My fear is, while not illogical, completely unnecessary. If something were to happen, then it was going to happen and I can’t control that no matter what, so fearing going down and up some rocks is the least of my worries.

That’s what I needed to remind myself. That everything I’m experiencing right now, I’m experiencing it and it doesn’t lessen unless I tackle them. I can’t tackle them unless I give myself time. I’ve got a lot of rocks to climb and a bit of fear to leave behind.

Pictures below are of what I saw on my brief mountain top journey. I will be going back again. I plan on even calling the area north of Bear Mountain my home one day. We’ll see.  I hope you work out your fears and rocks as you will.

“Thinking As We Run”?

I don’t think when I run. How about you?

Actually. I’m lying. I do think when I run. I think about my body. I think often about how I hate running when I don’t feel like it. I also always think about my breathing, or lack there of.

Sometimes, just sometimes, I think about being angry as I run. In my younger days, when I had no filter for my anger, I found solace in running my anger out.  Which means I would think about my anger, my target, whatever it was and I would run it out of my body. Or as I have called it, I’d take my anger out on my body. To some extent that description is true, but at the same time it isn’t. What I loved about running to get my anger out is that it’s my thoughts and the road. With every pavement pound, my anger lessened a little more until it disappeared.

I say, my “younger days” because well, I got a therapist and realized that running out my anger isn’t the best method. I have learned to face my anger, accept it as a real emotion, rather than feeling bad or guilty for it, and figuring out its origin.

Now, I don’t want anyone to think I have it all figured out, because I don’t. In fact, I have confrontation issues and I don’t like to stick up for myself out of fear of losing friends or things I value, but the important thing is that I’m getting there.  I am learning.

For example, just last year, I discovered what I am and am not willing to take and sacrifice when it comes down to my business. (HUGE deal, people!) This year, I’m learning what I am and am not willing to do in regards of business growth and development. In both cases, I’m also realizing how important it is to stand firm in these decisions. This is what I value for myself and my business.

All of this is important because this morning, I was sitting in a meeting during my 9-to-5, when a coworker said, so-and-so said, we are “thinking as we run”. I immediately wrote that phrase down and internally chuckled.

In reality, we all “think as we run” when we’re running a business. Yes, the people who are complete type-A control freaks will say that they have things planned out and because of that can roll with the punches, but they are lying.  Every step of the way I am thinking as I run when I wear my S2 Stationery and Design cap. I am thinking as I run as I type this blog right now!

Yes, I have an idea of how I’d like to grow in 2012 and I’m working toward that idea with goals and projected time frames, but I am constantly “thinking as I run”.

Prime example: I was contacted last year about selling a product of mine via consignment on a website launching this month here in NYC. I am horribly excited for this project and am starting out small, but I was faced with determining my wholesale price.  Um…I’ve NEVER tried to figure out my wholesale price before. Never! I’ve always just sold retail. And so I spent countless hours yesterday trying to determine my wholesale price thanks to articles on the internet sharing the suggested formulas for doing so.

I’m pleased to say that my searching was not in vain, but I sat there puzzled and hating math and everything associated with math and my business. Much like any small business owner, I was wishing for someone to appear and make this disappear, yet leaving a system in place that didn’t require me to think or manipulate numbers the way I had minutes before.

I should mention that I had delivered my small quantity to the company last Friday and so I needed to get this wholesale price determined because I am in a contract with the company and well, a business owner and artist should know the value of her work and product! In essence, I was thinking as I ran and now, I learned something new, but I also learned not to be in this position again.

When I wrote down that quote this morning, part of me was thinking of how idiotic it sounded. How unprepared it all seemed. Then I realized how unprepared and idiotic I am at times. How being so unprepared left me shocked at having missed my physical therapy appointment scheduled for 2:30 yesterday, because I had thought and written down it was scheduled for 3.

I am constantly thinking as I run and you know, I’m sure you are, too. Maybe you don’t want to admit it; maybe you think it will be poor of you to acknowledge that in a society that demands you constantly be on the go, you are forced to think on the run; well, I’m here to tell you, I’ve admitted it and you can to. Once you do, you can think a bit more clearly and figure out what paths are more important for your business in the long-term.

At least that’s what I plan do to. I’ll reserve thinking while I run for moments when I need those thoughts to make real magic happen.

I’m curious to know 1. how many of you know about thinking as we run? 2. how you handle the process? 3. how you’ve managed to stop doing this? I’m all ears- this is a caring and sharing environment! Share those thoughts below in the comments! Gracias!

Cloudy Sky, Dark Thoughts

I think this goes without saying, but sometimes our thoughts are reflected in the weather.  Or maybe the weather reflects our thoughts.

While I’ve never been one to fall into seasonal depressions, I can honestly say that this period of gloom, rain, and doom that NYC is experiencing is cramping my style and it’s making for one unhappy Sara.

Six out of seven days of the week, I am an optimist, but sometimes, just sometimes I fall off the optimism band wagon. I sink into that part of me that loves sitting in the dark listening to music by The Cure.  Or as my horoscopes for the week states, “You are like a cartoon giant walking through a cartoon forest on Monday and Tuesday — an imaginative Goliath who’s sometimes in the mood to be alone. You have a beautiful vision for the future, but it’s all so overwhelming and vague that you wouldn’t be able to explain it to anyone. Yet.”

(Yes, I enjoy reading my horoscope. It’s fun. It gives me some extra added insight to things in the air. It doesn’t mean I wholeheartedly believe in what they say and they are definitely off on some days, but overall, I read them and think, “hmm…maybe.”)

Anyhow, the whole point of this blog today is to kind of vent. Not rant, just vent. I feel a bit like I’m on a slippery slope of uncertainty. I’m in that period of area of gray that I hate oh, so much.  I like making decisions. Concrete decisions that have flexibility to them, but that have a date and a point of reference. I’ve gotten much better at going with the flow of things, but I feel like my responsibilities are getting bigger and I am not liking the feeling.  It is only April 20th and I am swimming in water over my head it feels like.  I know that I can not be the only entrepreneur feeling this way. I also know that I am not.

Several weeks ago, I was eating with a good friend of mine and she said to me, “Sara, when do you feel stretched thin? I am listening to you and I’m wondering when are you going to realize that between trying to help people figure out their feelings, creating and designing and working your full-time job, you are stretched way too thin.”  She is right. And yet, I can’t just say “no, I can’t help you,” or “no, I’m too busy right now.” I mean, I can and I will start, but right now, all of the areas that I find myself involved in, I am committed to and feel very strongly about being committed to them, so I’m not just going to walk away.

But there you have it, the crux of what I need to do: learn that lesson about walking away and saying no. I have started to learn and I have gotten better at saying no and listening to myself and my needs, but at the same time, it’s still very difficult to say no especially when it comes to friends and loved ones. I suppose we all face this problem in life and even though we become more involved in technology, we’re still giving something of ourselves to others because we’re always “on”/connected to them. It’s hard to disconnect from obligations, responsibilities, jobs, friends and family and even life.

Right now, today, with the exception of my little brother’s visit, I want to walk away. I want to take a break. I want to say, you know what X, X, X, Y, and Z, I am taking Sara time. For the first time in a LONG time, I want to go to a beach and just sit in the sand and get sunburned. I want fruity drinks and tan lines. I want trashy romance novels and no internet connection. I want THE OHM moment that seems so elusive to me right now.  Even if it’s temporary, I’d like a mini-break from my day-to-day.  Then I’d like to return to my normal schedule full of energy and vigor, ready to tackle the next line of projects, or project that gets me closer to walking away from the biggest drain of my day-to-day.

I know that some part of this is dealing with the fact that my plans to Japan got derailed for a bit there. I am not in denial about that one bit, but after weighing the pros and cons of my decision, I came out with a pretty good feeling about 2011 sans Japan. I was sure that things were okay and that mind was in a good place and had come to terms with what we (meaning me, my mind and body) were about to embark on in 2011. But then, days like the last three have just struck me down harder than I ever envisioned.

I’m also aware that my antics the past weekend had something to do with my current state of mind–the lack of sleep and the abundance of alcohol did not help. Included in that are the fact that my lower back/left hip has been a nuisance and my scalp has been a whole different can on irritation, but I think all of this boils down to an undercurrent of stress and unhappiness that has taken shape in my life the past couple of months. Which I think made my adventure to Japan so much more exciting-I was going to just shirk everything off and move in a new direction in life.

I don’t want anyone to think that I’m depressed because I don’t think I am. I think I’m more muffled. I’m stuck in a gray period. And I think I’m wondering if everything I’m doing is the right thing. I know that I have an amazing about of belief and faith in myself and my work, but I think I’m also just seeking freedom. I also know/think that the passionate and spontaneous Sara is the one fighting to rise to the surface. She’s the one that is saying, “What the hell are you doing, Sara?! Wake up and move. Stop trying to lay in bed. DO SOMETHING!”

While this posting is about a lot of things, I think it’s mostly an honest output of thoughts on where I am in this moment on days that seem to reflect my state of confusion and blahness. It is always important to always look forward and positively, but I do believe it’s just as equally important to show what you’re going through as honestly and openly as possible. I don’t think anyone would like to read my blog if it were always rainbows and happiness. It would be a lie.

As a still new business owner, I definitely know that I am learning early on in the entrepreneurship boat that if you don’t take a moment to reboot and recharge no matter how hard you work to get things done, they won’t. I don’t want anyone to think that I’m advocating giving up or laziness, because I’m not. What I am advocating is listening and paying attention to the days when you feel like shit, when you don’t want to wake up, or your back is bothering you and your body just seems a bit off-balanced, or when you just want to walk away. They give you insight on how you should take care of yourself to help you proceed in the future and more importantly how you can change things up differently so that you can give of your time in the best way, instead of a way where you feel stretched thin.

Oh, and maybe you’ll also learn to just go ahead and book that beach trip after all, too! You’ll just have to wait and see what I end up doing…

Maybe this wasn’t a ranting blog posting after all. If you have any ways that you deal with days/weeks/months like this, please share! I’d love to hear how other people/friends/readers get a handle of themselves when they just feel tired and want to move away from things. We can all afford to learn a few things from each other.

Changing Plans

So a few weeks ago, I was plotting Sara. That’s right. Plotting and planning. Making moves and decisions left and right, such as:

No, to custom work; yes, to creating items that could be sold either wholesale or individually;
No, to signing up to my CSA;yes to saving to eat on my adventure;
No, to buying things; yes, to reusing/mending items unless absolutely necessary to save for my adventure;
No, to signing a new rent agreement; yes, to looking for a home-share situation in my new place of residence.

But then, something BIG happened. Something so big, it killed several thousand people, changed the landscape and coast line of a country and shook it, literally (it still is). And so those plans got shot down. And not because I’m afraid, although I am a bit concerned, but more because my Mom said so. Well, she didn’t say no, exactly. She said she’s glad I’m not in Japan right now and that maybe I should put it off. Then I went to visit my aunt’s family and my pseudo-grandmother (my aunt’s (by marriage) mother) gave me a whole lecture in Spanish about waiting to go to Japan. Then, of course, news came out about the radiation having leaked to the farms near the plant and the traces of radiation in the food and I decided that maybe it’s for the best to just put this dream/goal of mine on delay.

When I managed to realize that I had decided not to go to Japan, I awoke to disappointment (I know quite a range of thought and emotion in a two-week time) and needed to mourn the decision. I have been talking about this for months now. Several months. I had friends in on it and then BAM. No can do.

In that, I’ve also realized that sometimes things just happen. I can not control the planet, nor do I want to. The earthquake happened and there’s a reason, even if unknown to us. And so it left me trying to map out a Plan B. When you’re so sure about a decision and then it’s not so clear anymore, confusion ensues and can become terrifying almost distracting. Not good. In that phase, I decided to figure out what I can do and not dwell on what I can’t do. Here’s what I can do:

I can take the adhesives and calligraphy classes at the NY Center for Book Arts;
I can take letterpress classes, as well;
I can run the 2011 NYC marathon;
I can save more money for when I do make the trip of my dreams come true next year;
I can look into an internship at the Hatch Show Print Shop in Nashville;
I can rent some studio space in BK;
I can take more custom orders;
I can design more;
I can sell Christmas Cards this year!;
I can FINALLY get my line together;
I can like my full-time a bit more;
I can take some more design classes at NYU and get another certificate in design;
I can start and continue taking Japanese language lessons;
I can sell at markets and tabling events with my Etsy Team, “The {NewNew}”;
I can possibly go to Jamaica;
I can possibly go to Puerto Rico with my cousin;
I can (and will) go to LA and Cincinnati to visit friends;
I can still work at Root Hill;
I can have an amazing Summer here in NYC;
I can have more time with Alice;
I can save more money;
I can photograph Mooney some more;
I can hang out with Stephen and Mooney;
I can have more time in my apartment with my cool roommate;
I can develop more of who I want to be when this very big and very real adventure takes off.

As I thought more about it, I was reminded of the first time that I quit my very first job out of college. I was a receptionist at a great office. They had been awesome to me and I loved every one there, but I wanted to make more money and I wanted more experience than just being a receptionist. I had one really good interview and was going to accept the job when my boss counter-offered me with a new position and the same salary amount. I remember mulling over the opportunity today, as clearly as it was nine years ago, and what scared me was change and the fact that I might lose touch with all the amazing people I worked with at that job.

That my friends, was what kept me at that job and why I don’t regret the decision to stay there for another two years. When I look at my resume now, I can say that I helped launch a complete branding campaign for that company. Not many newly graduated employees can say that they did that. I’m extremely proud of that period of work and time. More importantly, I’m pleased at the extra time I had with my co-workers. Some whom I still talk to now, nine years down the road. When I left that job, I was ready and confident.

So that’s just that. I’ve decided to literally roll with the punches, while still making the best of the time and opportunity I’ve been granted. I realize and accept that I am disappointed, but I also realize that I want to go to Japan without a heavy heart. I want to go and truly love the experience rather than worry about nuclear contamination. I also want Japan to heal. I know that the person I am would not be okay arriving in Japan in July and saying, “where’s the paper?”

Everything happens for a reason, timing is everything, and sometimes you just have to take what you’re given and do something completely different. I know, I just used two overused clichés, but I think that I could have gone one of three routes here: 1. still go to Japan, 2. let this defeat me, or 3: find the best alternative while not losing any footing. I’ve gone with the third. Not from fear, but from an acceptance that while I am the captain of the Sara ship, I am also just a blip on the cycle of life, or in other words, sometimes you just have to accept things and keep on moving, even when they’re not in the direction you wanted.

Here’s to acceptance!

Vision Boards

Unknown to me, I’ve always had vision boards. Always. They started when I was a child and I hung posters up of my favorite celebrities (that doesn’t count as a vision board, but it means that I’ve tried to visualize the things that I want).  Now as I think back to vision boards of the past, I realize that I had a paper vision board years ago. I can remember exactly what it looked like. Try to picture this if you can…a wall by my bed with scraps of my favorite wrapping papers scattered all over the place.  The papers ranged in color, glitter, texture, pattern, thickness, etc. And I loved every piece. I know that when I moved away and parted with my favorite scraps I was sad.

Yet, the vision boards haven’t stopped. Even now, in my bedroom above my desk is a collection of random pieces of magazines, ads that I’ve loved, quotes that have inspired, photos that have taken my breath away. The pictures range from babies and people that I love, to places that I  have been that have a special memory, etc.

I also carry vision boards with me. Okay, maybe these aren’t vision boards, exactly, but I carry clippings of emails, photos, my favorite horoscopes, things that inspire me all the time. I have them in books as markers, I have them in my journal, I have them in my personal planner (yep, I’m old school, no electronic calendar system for me). Whenever I open a book that I’m reading, I see these items and I immediately feel warm and happy. Aware that things are positive, that good things fill my life and most importantly that life is where it should be and where I want it to be.

I’m writing about all of this because earlier this week, I was talking to my coworker and we discussed how over the longer New Year weekend (my company is giving us a 5-day weekend) we’re going to clean up and straighten ourselves for the new year. We’re going to not just clean house physically, but clean ourselves mentally. Of course this goes along the lines of not just my mental health, but I’m going to start planning for the 2011 year of S2. In June, S2 will have been around for two years! It’s crazy to think that when I still feel like I just opened shop a month ago. I plan to do the following:

1. Go through all my papers and rid myself of the things I no longer need.

2. Plan to get my business paper work together for tax purposes, along with personal tax information as well, but I want every receipt ready to go come tax time.

3. Work on putting together my strategy. I’m not saying that I can piece together a business plan in 2 days, but I’m going to FINALLY get that business plan in order. Or at least a rough rough draft of it.

4. Lastly, I’m going to finally work on my signature S2 Stationery item–a piece that is near and dear to my heart and what brought this to fruition.

All BIG plans for five days. I’m aware that this means I can’t just sit around and watch movies during the day, but I don’t intend to leave my house. Nope, nope, nope. I’m going to stay in pajamas and work and maybe watch a movie here and there. I’m going to start 2011 new and ready to face the stationery world and achieve my goals.

With all of this in mind, I will also create my new vision board. I’ve already got some pieces ready to go up. I plan to get some kraft paper so that I can create my vision board on kraft paper and at the end of the vision board’s span, I can roll it up, or fold it and put it in my annual box of mementos.  Currently, I just stick the pieces up on the wall with tape. This means that when I move or have to take something down, pages get torn, or get thin from the removal. Now, though, I will not have to be concerned, thanks to the wonder of kraft paper!

I am incredibly sad to have to take down some of my favorite pieces of design. Even more I’m sadden by the thought that  down will come the photo of Maya Angelou and her “Phenomenal Woman” poem, the Heineken ad that talks about Charisma, etc, but I know that they’ve run their course. They’ve visually offered me something that I’ll never forget–inspiration.  I will always be able to revisit the vision wall, I’m just going to put it in my 2010 box, but I do know this, I will not remove the  photos of my ever classy grandmother and my father, my friends in Paris, nor my Infinite BFF, Mark. Those will stay up; the rest will come down.

As a matter of fact, I’ll take a picture of my wall/vision board now and then in January post a photo of my new and bare vision board for comparison. I will also regularly post pictures of them so you, my readers (if there are any of you out there), can see how they expand and involve.

Here is my current vision board:

For those of you considering the idea of a vision wall/board (which I highly recommend that you do), I share an article that I remember reading many many months ago in Oprah Magazine by her columnist Martha Beck, “What The Heck’s A Vision Board—and How Can It Change Your Life?” I remember reading it and thinking, “wow, what a great idea!” Of course, I didn’t do anything about it, but that’s just because I had yet to realize the connection and the power of my own wall of inspiration.

Do you have a vision board? Have you noticed that these things come true? Share your thoughts and stay tuned for photos of my vision board and my future vision board.