My one year anniversary of working for myself has come and gone with relatively little fanfare, considering how much my life is altered because of this monumental shift. The date itself was nearly a month ago—August 18—yet I am just now coming around to writing a blog post about it (or about anything at all in fact).
Let’s get this out of the way: I’ve been a Bad Blogger. I haven’t written a blog post in more than a month, which might be the longest I’ve ever gone silent, ever. I’m rolling my eyes about how cliche it is to come back on and bore everyone with how I’ve been so busy and here are my excuses, blah blah blah. Who cares, right?
The thing I want to say about that is: I’m still here. While I’ve been tied up a lot with starting a second business and the mere task of taking care of myself (which actually has been a full-time job, lately), I can assure you, this blog and Rosy Blu itself are embedded deeply in my heart. Someone asked me recently if I was done with Rosy Blu because I haven’t been publishing things…goodness, no! Far from it, in fact—I have plans coming out of my ears for where we’re headed. And they are BIG. I just haven’t had the space to implement things.
What has been happening is more of a behind-the-scenes re-calibration. I want to talk about that a little bit today, and what this last year has been like.
As I shared my happy news of making it successfully through one year of business on my own, people kept asking me—So, was it what you expected? Was it easier or harder than you thought? What surprised you?
When I look back on the last 12 months, I am in awe.
The short answer is yes, in many ways, it was what I expected—my life has changed in exciting ways. Having complete control over my time and my livelihood have been thrilling as expected, and also challenging, as expected. I knew it would be exciting and challenging and uncertain.
But the longer answer is no, not at all. Knowing it would be exciting and challenging and uncertain is not the same as feeling those things. Many of those things felt extraordinarily uncomfortable, as it turns out. On top of several rather traumatic occurrences that happened in my personal life this year—the details of which would take a short book to explain, at the least—I can confidently say: I did not expect most of what I’ve experienced this year.
I did not expect how jarring the culture shock would feel, to go from a “conventional lifestyle” to one that is 100% up to me to create, from the ground up. I wrote a bit about this here, but that post just scratches the surface of how much thought I have put into how drastically different my days and lifestyle are, compared to the way they were a year ago. In fact, I feel like a completely different person.
In some ways, the “old me” is gone and lost. I didn’t expect to feel so different, or to have felt grief over losing my old self. I knew what it felt like to be her, and it was comfortable a lot of the time. I loved her. She got me to where I am. And also, she doesn’t fit where I am going.
And in a similar vein, my Great Purge has been both refreshing and much harder than I thought. I’ll share more on this in the future, I’m sure, but I didn’t expect how my physical surroundings and possessions would prove to be metaphors for the intangible things I’m experiencing and clearing out of my life.
But as my home is becoming less cluttered and more of what I want, so has my “inner life”. The patterns and thoughts and familiar-but-not-helpful things I have left behind have uncovered a place and a person that are distinctly more “me”. I have shed a lot of things—things that I knew were not serving me. Things that were not beautiful, loved and useful. Things that were tangible, and things that were not.
The day-to-day existence of the last year has been challenging, to say the least. I wish there was a way to convey the side-by-side feelings I hold, of supreme achievement and awe at having created this new life for myself—and the shock and trauma of having actually experienced the process of getting here.
People keep pointing out how amazing this looks from the outside, and they applaud me for making such a change and “following my dream”. I always want to respond with this paradox I can’t quite put into words…something to the effect of:
Yes! I did it, but it’s not this big unreachable thing you think it is…you can do it too (in your own, unique way)! And also, I should warn you, it doesn’t feel that courageous or noteworthy when you’re the one doing it, especially day-to-day. It felt terrifying a lot of the time, and I felt like I was guessing a lot and there were a million times I thought I was failing horribly. And you wouldn’t BELIEVE the impostor syndrome going on over here, and the TEARS! I cried a lot. I still do.
And…it’s totally, a million percent worth it.
The whole year has been a monumental exercise in what it means to “live intentionally”.
I was an elementary student in intentionality before; I now consider myself a masters-level scholar in doing shit on purpose.
I didn’t quite realize it in the beginning, but this whole time I have been re-shaping my life to be exactly how I want it to be. Filling my habitat with the things that are beautiful, loved and useful…and learning how to let go of the rest.
I knew becoming self-employed was a drastic move, but I didn’t fully realize I was choosing to re-shape the foundations of my existence from the ground up. Perhaps you need to be living in my skin to see the hilarious irony that I accidentally turned my whole life upside down and rattled my old “comfort zone” to the very core, so I could live more intentionally.
Sure, I was choosing a job that was more aligned with who I am…but I didn’t realize that my “new job” would have a ripple effect and change how I look at everything.
In this journey, my eyes have been opened to the vastness of potential there is in making choices for myself. Things I thought were unchangeable before, I now know I can mold them. I can opt out, or I can enhance them if I want to, or choose completely new possibilities.
And also, I am more acquainted with the limits of where intentionality can take me. I have been learning—often, the hard way—that no matter how many choices you make, how you set things up exactly the way you want them to be…you can’t control some stuff. Some really, really big stuff. Life- and death-level stuff. You can make choices and be intentional and you will still feel heartbreak and grief and difficult emotions. Being intentional cannot be a substitute for enduring the vulnerability of being human*.
What’s the point of all this, Michelle?
That got heavy real quick there, didn’t it? Maybe I’m getting a big woo and ramble-y now. I’m used to writing with a purpose, and communicating clearly and simply—but in this instance, the thing I’m trying to get across feels big and nebulous. Like trying to sum up a life-changing year chock full of ups and downs and lessons, in one tiny blog post.
It’s laughably impossible.
But I broke the silence today because this nebulous thing I can’t quite grasp really matters. And it’s something I want to share. And it’s related to the core of what Rosy Blu is: which is filling your life with things that are beautiful, loved and useful. And getting rid of anything that is not those things. It is what led me to create the Love What You Have course, and I Don’t Buy That, and it’s why I think meal planning and other such routine tasks shouldn’t suck.
It’s alchemy at its finest, and I know now more than ever, there’s true magic in this process.
During the last year, and even now, I have been publicly quiet about these life-changing things that have been reorganizing me. Because I’m still in some sort of metamorphosis, the chaotic messy in-between place of who I was before, and who I am becoming. But I am hard at work for the next phase—and someday, you’ll see what that looks like here.
For now, I’m still learning lessons about what it really looks like to be an intentional sovereign over my own life.
What it looks like to take responsibility for my health, stability and well-being, and not give up that power to anyone else.
To be supported, but not dependent.
To coordinate my outer reality with what’s going on inside.
To identify unrealistic ideals of perfection, and learn to accept and love the imperfection that is in front of me.
To make choices according to my needs and desires—especially when it’s incredibly uncomfortable.
And even amid the challenges and uncertainty, maintaining the assurance that it’s all worth it.
I keep telling myself I should be publishing more often; that I’m neglecting this blog and if I were better at all this, I’d start now, writing a new post every week and launching all kinds of helpful products and it would all be daisies. (Admit it—you, too, have a mental construct of all the things you’d do if you were better…and by not doing them, you’re kinda failing. Always. Am I right?)
But I also know, this quiet time has been fruitful, even if it doesn’t match what I expected—of the situation, or of myself. I’m not actually failing, I’m exactly where I need to be. Which right now, looks quiet from the outside, but it feels like raging transformation. I know it’s true, even if no one can see it from the outside.
Someday soon I’ll break my quiet streak, and I’ll have new exciting things to show you and it will get a lot more interesting around here.
But for now, I am enjoying the realization that I am more of myself than I was before, and that is a very good thing. There is magic coming up soon.
Thank you for being here. Also, I love you.
* I find it hilarious to have wrapped up that life lesson in a neat little bow like it sounds right there. As if I’m completely fine with the fact that I can’t avoid pain and suffering. NO BIG DEAL GUYS. I learned the lesson and now I’m a perfect, enlightened human. *Cough cough that’s a big fat lie! Aren’t I funny?*