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One of the best things about getting older, I’ve found, is that you start to know, really know what you want. For dinner, as a career, in love — everything. The fog of indecision that surrounded your 20s slowly melts away as you not only give less fucks, but give more fucks to less things.

It’s a streamlining of sorts; you reassess where you’re focusing your energy, what you’re spending time on, and who’s getting the majority of your attention.

You stop going to events you don’t care about, and even some that you do.

You use less (but more thoughtful) words.

You pick battles more carefully.

You love fewer, but harder.

Life gets curated.

To celebrate the arrival of my next decade, my gift to myself is to enjoy this process.

To not fight it. To embrace it. Even love it.

To be more open at the top of the funnel, but also more selective about what makes it to the bottom.

To stop giving time and energy to people and projects that don’t give back equally.

To let things go. To keep perspective.

To make more time for learning, doing and creating.

To cook. To read. To write. To yoga.

To build a world around me that I’m proud to be the center of…

One that, hopefully, touches and inspires many others too.

Here’s to a(n awesomely) curated life.

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Dear Interwebs: I’m Proud of Ya.

by Rachael on July 24, 2013 · 40 comments

It was almost six years ago now that I started this blog. I don’t write that much here anymore, and neither do most of the OG’s from my early days. But I still see you, all of you, on our various networks. And I keep tabs, like a childhood best friend who wants to see that you’re still killing it… even if we don’t talk as much as we used to.

When our blogging generation began (at least my “class”), most of us were young, single and confused, and therefore extremely grateful for each other and the e-family we built. We needed each other to survive our tumultuous 20s (and in some cases, 30s).

Over these six years, I’ve watched so many of you fall in love. Many of you get married. A few of you get divorced. Some of you (including myself) did the crazy thing by refusing to settle, turning your (our) noses up at a boring, comfortable life and eschewing the conventional path in the name of courage, adventure and finding Real, Crazy Love.

And now! Now your adorable BABIES are starting to crop up on Instagram and Facebook. Society tells me I should be annoyed by this, but truth be told, I can’t get enough of those chubby cheeks and Michelin Man thighs.

This is to say nothing of the four-legged friends I’ve watched you bring home, the parents you’ve gracefully said goodbye to, the jobs won and lost, the businesses started, and the incredible travels you’ve embarked upon.

Maybe it’s because I’m staring down the barrel of the big 3-0, but every time I log into one of my networks and see a smattering of lovely updates and photos from my old e-friends, I feel so damn proud of everything you’ve all achieved and continue to build: relationships, families, careers, and homes.

We’ve seen each other through loss, disappointment, and heartbreak. We’ve moved mountains to meet each other in person so that we could hug IRL and cement these relationships with people we’ve gotten to know better, through their writing, than we know our own extended families.

I’m so grateful that my 20s were in a time when the Internet and blogging flourished so that I could share that period of my life, and yours, with all of you. Nowadays, our interactions are less in-depth storytelling and more 140-character snippets and adorable puppy/foodie/baby photos with fancy filters; lovely little glimpses into our lives that are now too full to sit down and pour emotions onto a blog page like we used to.

But it’s okay, because it’s indicative of how far we’ve all come. We’re older, wiser, happier, busier. We have found Our People and Our Paths in the world, and those have to be our priorities now. But I’m thankful for said little glimpses that let me check in and appreciate how your lives are coming together.

In summation, I’m all:

And you’re all:

And my e-world remains a wonderful little place I’m proud to call home.

So keep those Instagrams coming, and know that even if we don’t talk as much as we used to, you all have a piece of my heart that will belong to you, and the blogosphere, forever.

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In life, there are things we have to do – feed ourselves, go to work, keep the house in some kind of order, etc. I’m talking about the bare minimum, basic stuff you have to do in order to keep your head above water in this game called life.

Our days are filled with chores and tasks like these. All the things on your To Do list that are seemingly non-negotiable – the Must Haves in order to carry on as a functioning member of society.

But then there’s another list; at least for me – a list of things that make me feel really good when I manage to fit one (or more) of them into my day. They’re not anything that anyone else would notice if they didn’t get done. They’re my Nice to Haves.

They might be viewed as “extras” – activities that aren’t a #1 priority; that only get done when you magically find extra time in your day. And when was the last time that happend to you? I’ll take “Never” for a thousand, Alex.

What with recently entering startup life, these lovely Nice to Haves have fallen even farther down (completely off?) my To Do list. And it’s making me sad. I feel lethargic and unaccomplished when it comes to my personal life. And I was expecting some of that in the beginning, of course. But it’s time to re-prioritize and reclaim some of that balance… before I go batshit insane.

My big five, the five things that make me feel so good but always seem to get pushed to the side because they aren’t basic needs, are:

WRITE CREATE.

SWEAT.

CONNECT.

LOVE.

ME.

Write Create. I feel so much better when I’m writing regularly. I do write a lot at work (and I love it), but of course it’s not the same as writing for pleasure. Writing is cathartic; it helps me to organize my thoughts, it feels good to exercise my own voice instead of the company’s, and of course I always love feedback from the blogosphere. It sounds silly but I feel a little proud of myself when I hit publish on a post. (I just changed this to “Create” because I get this same feeling from cooking or a craft project. So really, just making something – whether it’s dinner, a throw pillow, or a blog post.)

Sweat. Obviously. Don’t we all feel better when we’re exercising? I am trying so hard to end my pattern of “two months on, four months off” the work out wagon, but life just keeps getting in the way. No excuses, though – when I exercise, it sets up my whole day to be a win. I’m more productive, I make better choices, I have more confidence, which impacts every single interaction I have that day. So isn’t it worth finding that extra half an hour in the morning, no matter the cost?

Connect. This involves any kind of activity that helps to build or strengthen my networks. It might be meeting new friends at a happy hour, networking at an industry event, or helping someone out with advice, introductions or ideas (an up-and-comer I’m mentoring, a professional contact, a friend of a friend, a stranger who reached out…) Each of these actions are rewarding either by growing my network or by karmically paying it forward (which we all know 1. feels fantastic and 2. comes back to you tenfold in the end).

Love. LOVE means cultivating and caring for the relationships of those closest to me. Taking time to do something extra sweet for Shawn, calling a best friend to check in on their new project, making sure I talk to the family every few days. Admittedly, I’m not the best at this – I may send you a present in July just because I saw it and thought of you, but completely forget about your birthday unless Facebook happens to remind me – but I’m at the point where I know who the people are that I want in my life forever, and I’m striving to make sure I keep those bonds as strong as I can, no matter how busy I get.

Me. Those little things that make me feel like a million bucks. Getting a mani/pedi, a nice dinner out with the man, a wine-filled girls’ night, reading an actual book (really, reading anything besides industry-related articles), even an Arrested Development viewing marathon (FINALLY!!!!!) Basically, granting myself the freedom to do things I love purely for the pleasure, without feeling guilty about it. Lately, every time I take an hour to do something that isn’t for work or the house or someone else, I feel this nagging that it’s not worth doing, that I should only spend time on tasks that will provide value to my job or to someone else. I need to remember that it’s okay to do things that make ME, and no one else, happy – for no other reason than simply because it does.

So those are my big five (what are yours?? You knew I was going to ask).

I hereby vow to squeeze at least ONE in per day, even though they’re Nice to Haves and not Must Haves, because they make me happy, and I deserve that. They make me feel good about myself, my relationships, my productivity and my quality of life, and what on earth could be more important that all of that?

michelle

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On FOMO, YOLO, and Existentialism.

by Rachael on May 6, 2013 · 16 comments

Is there anything more disappointing than becoming exactly what everyone said you would? Feeling the way they told you you’d feel, wanting the things they told you you’d want?

It seems such a failure to be so painfully un-unique, to be the same as, oh, everyone else in the whole world ever. You’re no snowflake. You’re just another child of a couple baby boomers; another Gen Y-er who eventually gave up boozing for a healthy relationship, a fulfilling career and a pack of friends she can really lean on. (Like everyone else approaching 30, I traded in the large pack of acquaintances for the small nuclear circle of love. Yet another cliché, sigh.)

I suppose it’s all relative, right? The most interesting person in the world probably feels they’re anything but. When people say they admire this or that about me, I feel like a fraud, a phony. Is it an issue of perception, or am I actually faking them out? Is it a front I’m putting on that can be ripped away? Or do they truly see who I am — an accomplished woman — and I just cannot?

When I look at myself, all I see is the loose ends: I have trouble paying my bills sometimes, I worry if I’ll be a good mom, I hate myself for not calling friends enough, for deciding to move across the country from family when they need me most. I love my job, but I’m terrified of somehow losing it all. That the tech bubble will burst, or that because social ROI is still (nearly) impossible to measure, my work will never be appreciated.

And yet a part of me knows that, at least on paper, I lead a life far more fortunate and exciting than most in this world. I face exhilarating challenges in my job, constantly engage with brilliant people, and learn new things every day. I never worry about food or a roof or even about having someone to lean on; my primal needs are more than covered (and usually come with a side of bacon).

I fear the expense, worry and responsibility of raising a family, and yet I can’t imagine a life without creating one. I outwardly revel in “feeling old” and staying in most nights, because truthfully, part of me is so relieved that I did stop feeling the need to constantly be out and drinking and surrounded by people. (I don’t want to party anymore, but I sort of miss the girl who did.)

And I wonder if that light died too fast, and if it will ever flicker back on… or is this just the next chapter, and should I simply be glad for it?

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Almost exactly a year ago, I packed all my worldly possessions and flew across the country (BTW, my favorite new flight search tool = flighthub. Get on it!), accompanied by a loudly protesting feline. We moved to a city I’d only ever spent a few hours in, to live with strangers I’d found on Craigslist, and start a new job at one of the world’s coolest companies. I had Twitter friends, and friends-of-friends, but essentially, I was on my own. (Well, except for that yowling cat.)

I’ve never been one to shy away from change; if anything, I search it out and crave it. If things aren’t changing, I feel like I’m stuck, or stagnant. Or the ultimate sin in my eyes - boring.

So, if you think about it, it actually makes perfect sense that I’ve decided to leave the security of corporate Americana for the scrappy, insanely busy lifestyle of a lean little startup.

Adobe has been an incredible ride. I’ve worked on social for some of the world’s biggest brands, while learning from brilliant teammates, colleagues and the world’s best manager. And best of all, we had a ton of fun while doing it. (God, I will miss our Skype chats full of videos of animals doing and wearing silly things they have no right to be doing or wearing. It’s incredible for team morale.)

But the opportunity presented to me is one I simply can’t pass up. The chance to lead my own community team and head up social for one of the nation’s most exciting companies; a business that’s not only part of the “share economy” I so love, but actively revolutionizing the transportation industry? Sign me up, please.

April 15th will be a very good day this year. A) Because my taxes are already done, and B) because that’s the day I’ll start my work as Sidecar‘s National Social Media Manager, where I’ll be focused on growing our amazing national rideshare community by leading a team of 8 community managers spread out across the nation, all charged with telling the SideCar story in their home city.


 

Dream job FTW.

So that’s me! What are your big life changes? I need to get back into the blogger-ly world – in the year that I’ve been here, I’ve focused solely on exploring the new (enchanting) city around me and developing my new relationships; I feel like it’s time to get back into e-world as well.

So *sips my wine* - what’s new with you??


Update: We’re hiring like crazy as we expand – check out the openings here and we could be coworkers (squeeee)!!!!

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