Like so many others in 2008, I lost my job. But this situation is different than what you’d expect. My job was a house full of teenagers that left for college. At the same time, I just finished a 2-year house renovation, as well as a few other entrepreneurial efforts. My husband Mark began some new photography projects and needed some help—so I pitched in—but I still lost my “official” job and I was feeling it.
Our jobs are so much more than how we make a living. They’re wrapped up in our identity and influence how we see ourselves, as well as the way others see us. Our jobs give us structure, purpose and meaning.
Not that I wanted to go backward… I knew I had to move forward and find something challenging, interesting and fulfilling. So what does any adventurous girl do? I traveled. Mark and I took many trips near and far, and it was beautiful. I started hiking and swimming, and found that these are passions of mine. Laps are great exercise, and I’ll walk anywhere. I also drastically simplified our life by donating, organizing, and scaling back in a lot of areas. I followed the new trend of if “it doesn’t give you joy, then get rid of it!” So my clothes closet shrank, and my kitchen became super-neat with only the things we used regularly or loved ridiculously.
Now that I was an empty nester, (such a comical title, really, ’cause I have three dogs and my nest still feels full) I had less time expenditure on my previous incredibly amazing job—and it was certainly an adjustment. I loved that dang job. But it was their time now, and I was not going to stand in anyone’s way. A continuous goal of mine is to help others succeed—not interfere. That’s what I’m about. If that’s what you want to do, then go for it! I get it. Happiness is doing what you LOVE!
Throughout our lives as Mark and I “went for it,” we said yes to many projects and took a lot of risks to get where we are today. Some of the risks were huge successes—and some wicked failures. The “Sons Project” was our finest because it was ALWAYS our number one priority. Plus, they are so fun and so beautiful that there’s nothing we wouldn’t do for them. Most of the risks we took catapulted us into the air, but sometimes the pole vault wouldn’t clear the crossbar. Some jumps worked beautifully. Some didn’t. But I don’t regret them. I now have a treasure trove of wisdom from them.
Projects and risks don’t scare me. What I’ve learned—from both the successes and failures—is that you can’t flourish in your endeavors without support. We need other people and resources to help take us to the next level.
And it can seem relatively insignificant on the surface, but we still need each other. Kinda like holding a door for someone. It’s not a big deal, right? You just stick out your arm to hold the weight for a moment, but boy, did you help. Their arms were full! And if you turn around and smile, you’ve made their day even better. Pop open your umbrella in a downpour… now there’s a double rainbow! 🌈🌈 Even if we only have the ability to help others in small ways in everyday life, it can mean so much to the person who receives the help.
Modern day technology makes people think they can wing it. Get an app. Automate it. Google it. Follow it. Like it. Everyone is together… but alone. I believe the people we meet are with us to enrich our lives, give us insight, and to help make our days better and brighter. To prevent mistakes. To keep us from falling. To make projects succeed. To get results for the risks. I never get tired of the story of the day I met Mark. He didn’t just hold the door for me—he opened it and kept it open. He added excitement to my life, and I kept him organized and provided a safe place for him (and our family) to rest and just be himself.
Risks, along with other exciting things, are what makes life worth living. Of course there are many valid risks in life that we should be mindful of, but dwelling on what we have to lose—rather than what we have to gain—can keep us from seeing opportunity.
If you have a core group, family, or tribe and you set out to make a difference in the world, then good things WILL happen. It literally took a chain of people—of strong links—to get this website up. It wasn’t just me going, “Ok, l’ll start writing.” It took one friend to remind me of the Keys to Success. It took another to plot out how I could reach people online. I also had the support from Mark telling me to go for it, and making my first *tiny* experimental website, and from my sons John and Doug—who are the textbook definition of unconditional love and support. There’s also my sister Nancy, who introduced me to my current web designer. And I can’t forget about my mom, the epic magnet, who from a young age showed me how to talk to—and care for—people.
There are many others, but those key players brought me to this place—and to my web designer who took a risk on me, and who takes risks everyday as she builds her business NorthCoast Post. She has the patience of a saint with this newbie (me). She is a genius and the kindest of souls. There are at least 10 crazy coincidences between us that are truly from Angels. Gluten Free Sage (my Sage Page) is the third child of mine and the fourth of hers. I write, she designs. I talk, she listens. “Patience is a Virtue” is my mantra this week. I’ve learned a lot, and it has made a big difference in how we do things. If Life is Art, than Sage Page is a fantastic example.
If you have a big dream—that your heart is truly desiring—don’t let anything stop you. Sure it’s risky, but if you can make a difference and possibly change people’s lives, then you have to march forward and DO IT. The world needs your contribution.
I’ve learned it by living it. By watching people before me. By risking criticism. By wearing my heart on my sleeve. By making sacrifices and going full-out-on-a-limb. I know the idea of risk is relative and that tolerance is in the eye of the beholder, and I’ve got more “risks” and exciting projects in the works. I do believe that for the value I receive, it’s worth it. I just hope I’m helping people with Celiac and gluten intolerance and, really, life in general. It’s my number one goal! If you’re a regular visitor to Sage and I’ve helped or inspired you somehow, please contact me and let me know!
“You were born a winner, a warrior, one who defied the odds by surviving the most gruesome battle of them all—the race to the egg. And now that you are a giant, why do you even doubt victory against smaller numbers and wider margins? The only walls that exist are those you have placed in your mind. And whatever obstacles you conceive, exist only because you have forgotten what you have already
achieved.” —Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem