Goodbye yellow post-it notes

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A string of bright yellow post-it notes framed our front door. On them were words like “Purse” and “Preschool lunch” and “Nanny bag” and “Pump.”

My husband had written them for me the night before I returned to work after my second maternity leave. Every morning, depending on the day of the week and the month of the year, he’d mix and match the post-it notes and attach them to the doorway. A last minute check for me to ensure that I had everything that I and two littles might need for the day.

And so, every morning, after rushing through breakfast and tugging on hair and packing the last bits of lunch along with a collection of bottles and diapers and changes of clothes, I’d consult the post-it notes. Check, check, check. Ready to go.

At the time I was an account director for a web design agency. The job was a good one. And I was good at it. Good enough, anyway. But I wasn’t passionate about it. So I wasn’t great at it. I could do the job and so, for three years, I’d assumed that meant I should.

A few days a week I worked from home (change the post-it notes). And I had eased back into this post-maternity-leave life at 30 hours a week. But neither of those situations were likely to last very long. My job was a facetime job. For me to be successful people needed to see my face and they needed to see it a lot of the time.

And so I worked to make it work. Be present as much as possible at work. Change my schedule if my team or client needed me. Change the post-it notes.

It never felt good. And it never felt right. It felt rushed and stressful and hurried and complicated.

But, perhaps worst of all, it felt unintentional.

I had not chosen this path. I had blindly followed the path that just happened to be in front of me.

I had never chosen to become an account director. I just hadn’t chosen to be something else.

I had not chosen to enter into another nanny share for our second child. I simply hadn’t chosen to do something else.

I hadn’t chosen to stick with a nanny who didn’t share our views on raising children or to share that nanny with a family whose values did not match our own. I just hadn’t chosen to change those situations.

And so we rolled along. And I lived on the path that just happened to be there.

And that path is a fine path. It’s a path that many follow. Two kids in full time child care, two parents in full time, out-of-the-house work, schedules so complex that the post-it notes change daily. It’s a path that many choose to follow and because of that deliberate choice, it is a good path. For them.

Steve Jobs quote

The day I finally made a choice was not an easy day. The day I finally made a choice, I cried. A lot. And I shook with fear and anxiety and the sheer uncomfortable feeling of choosing. Selecting a path and a far less traveled one at that.

But I chose.

I chose to not go back to work full-time when they asked me to. Even though they told me I could not do my job part-time any longer.

I chose to propose a new arrangement. I chose to bravely say aloud what I had wanted all along. To write. To align my passions with theirs. To stop being good enough and be great.

From there, the choices started flowing.

We left our nanny share. We hired back the nanny we loved but part-time to match my part-time schedule. I spent more time with my infant son and never missed another preschool event that I didn’t want to miss.

I stopped writing on the side just because I could and started writing with intention. I began to take on projects that were important to me, contributed in some way to my own passions or my family’s future.

And I tossed those post-it notes in the recycle bin.

Thoreau Inked
~~~~~

There are still days when I don’t live intentionally. When I unintentionally and quite blindly follow the path that just happens to be in front of me. But since that day when I finally made a choice, those days happen far less frequently.

A longtime fan of Tsh Oxenreider and her blog, The Art of Simple, I could not wait to read Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World. As Tsh says,“It doesn’t always feel like it, but we DO have the freedom to creatively change the everyday little things in our lives so that our path better aligns with our values and passions.”

Today, my path aligns so much better with my values and my passions. And with the stories and lessons in Notes from a Blue Bike, I feel better prepared to continue to make intentional choices with regards to my life and the path my family takes.

Notes from a Blue Bike comes out today. If ever you have yearned for a slower, simpler, more intentional life, I promise you, the inspiration and wisdom you need are found within it’s pages.

If you want to read more about the book or living intentionally, this post is part of a blog tour. Check out the other posts here.

16 Comments

  1. I love that you finally took that risk and step into the passionate place you needed to be. Intentional living is something that is more fulfilling than any paycheck and so many live in that place of ‘going along the path in front of you’- even when it doesn’t align with our true purpose and calling.

    I am so glad you were able to honor your heart!
    Chris Carter recently posted..Devotional Diary: SeasonsMy Profile

  2. I love this so much Tricia because it so mirrors my life path. I didn’t choose what I ended up calling my job – I just didn’t choose anything else and I fell into it and I was good at it so I stuck at it. But man, intentionally making a choice? It’s amazing and empowering and downright scary. I think that we are traveling in a similar direction right now and I’m so so glad that you are following you path intentionally.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Glitter and GlueMy Profile

  3. Congrats on following the path you wish to pursue. You are very brave – and I’m guessing this will pay off huge for you in so many ways since you are now following your values and passions. And thanks for the book recommend. I often feel like I am running like a mad woman on auto-pilot. I crave more “simple,” so I plan to add this to my reading list.
    Kerry recently posted..10 Bloggers to Read for Inspiration, Laughs and TipsMy Profile

  4. I love this post. I felt that same fear and then exhilaration when I left my job and chose to do what I love and be with those I love. Buh-bye post it notes.
    Herchel S recently posted..DIY Homemade Flushable Wet Wipes (that don’t hurt your tush)My Profile

  5. this sounds like a good read…something to look into for sure. thanks for sharing!! making these kinds of decisions i am sure are difficult but it looks like you are doing great with your final decision!

  6. As a guy who once said “no mas” at a job and walked away without a plan, I can so appreciate what you’ve done. And I especially love that you recognize some days will be easier than others to follow the path – those days make the times we can really nail it that much more fulfilling.
    Eli@coachdaddy recently posted..Guest Post: 5 Things I Want my Kids to Learn from Sports, by Christine of Love, Life, SurfMy Profile

  7. ” …sheer uncomfortable feeling of choosing.” yes, it’s so hard at first. But then you can’t imagine living any other way. You’re speaking my language in this one. xx.
    sarah reinhart recently posted..Simple Joy week 5: easy, breezy, beautifulMy Profile

  8. First, I had a good chuckle over the post-it notes. When I was still nursing & had to leave on a biz trip, I’d leave my husband a series of detailed checklists & schedules. Now I just lay out some clothes for the girls and enjoy traveling sans pump! As a full-time working mama in a two-income house, this post resonates with me. I’m often torn between staying on the ez, well-paying path or taking the road less traveled. Thanks for sharing your journey.
    Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama recently posted..What to Expect When You’re a Sports Mom (Guest Post)My Profile

  9. Oh you, the way you wove this.

    First of all yes, intentional living. Making choices rather than rolling along. Living your own life. These are the things I strive for, too.

    And second, the book recommendation — holy wow, can’t wait to read it!
    Galit Breen recently posted..1502 Deerwood BendMy Profile

  10. I absolutely adore the feelings in this post! I am proud of you for putting out into the universe what you wanted and it all sorted out! It can be such a scary thing, but you did it with so much grace, and thank you for sharing such a great story with us! You really know how to connect with a reader =)
    Dominique recently posted..Big Dreams of Little Athletes! Pampers Game Face! $100+ Prize Pack Giveaway!My Profile

  11. i love the honesty of this post. Sounds like following your passion was the perfect choice.
    Robbie recently posted..Never ReadyMy Profile

  12. Beautiful message. I quit working full time last year. I know it was the right choice, but lately I have been feeling a lot of pressure as I’m not yet making any money to help support our family. I know this pressure is just in my head but I still feel it. Your post helped me to remember why I made this choice and how much better we are because of it. How much better I am. Thank you.
    Shannon recently posted..Friday is for Family: Love your childrenMy Profile

  13. While our lives are very different, I’ve recently moved into making those tough choices for myself and am working to live with intention. This was beautifully written, and I thank you for sharing.
    Lydia recently posted..The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley (Historical Fantasy/Paranormal Romance)My Profile

  14. The part about not choosing your path – but just not choosing anything else – really spoke to me. I have found myself in that same place time and time again.
    Mamapotamus recently posted..Pregnancy Brain is RealMy Profile

  15. It always makes me glad to hear of somebody following the path they really feel called to rather than just going with the currant they’re in. I hope you find it a true blessing! -Tabitha

  16. This is a great post. I listen to a podcast called Laugh or Go Crazy and one of the topics they talked about recently was living with intention and birthing your talent. Do what you want to do and not live in fear and not trying what you want to try.
    Pamela Frost recently posted..Disney World Marathon weekend videoMy Profile

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