I’m going to start this story at the end and work my way back. Everyone ready? Here’s how it ends:
I saw a 3-inch cockroach in the ladies’ room at work on Tuesday. On the sink.
Now, I know you’re probably busy and may have read that quickly without really think about it, so I’m going to need you to back up for a second and really dwell. A cockroach. The size of a deck of cards.
On the bathroom sink that you use multiple times a day and have done so for almost nine months.
Is your face contorted in disgust and horror? Ok, now we can proceed.
I’ve mentioned before that cockroaches are my greatest phobia, but I feel like you probably thought I was kidding around. I mean, sure, no one loves cockroaches or spiders or camel crickets or what have you. It’s not that big of a deal.
You guys. It’s a very big deal.
It had been a long time since I’d seen a roach, and I’d kind of started to think I was a little bit over it. I would mentally imagine what I would do when I found one, and I would genuinely think, “Ok, it would suck. But you would handle it. I mean, you handled the centipedes. You would figure it out.”
Well, if Tuesday’s experience taught me anything, it’s that I am not equipped to handle it.
I literally froze and gasped when I first saw the semi-sized bug crawling near the faucet. Then I simply fled. I may have blacked out for a second.
As I made my shaky way to two of my coworkers, one of them went, “You look really rattled, are you okay?”
Nope. No, I was not.
I explained what happened the best I could, but I could barely put the words together. They heard “cockroach that is three inches long,” though, and quickly jumped into action.
I kept trying to explain why I was freaking out so much, but then promptly burst into tears. While still laughing about it at the same time.
If I’d committed a crime right then, I’m pretty sure I could have gotten of with an insanity plea.
Anyway. My coworkers apparently got someone I take care of it. I left work partly because it was about time to go, and partly because there was no way I was getting anything accomplished at that point.
Now I just can’t use that bathroom without feeling deeply uncomfortable and trying to check every corner, surface, nook and cranny while simultaneously, you know, using the bathroom. (I tried yesterday…it didn’t go we’ll.)
When I got home from work, I told Joey the worst thing in the world had happened to me that day.
Without missing a beat, he went, “Oh, you saw a cockroach?”
That’s why I love him.
So there you have it. I am not over it. And I may actually have to burn my apartment to the ground if I ever find a cockroach in it.
Please tell me you also have bizarre phobias I make myself feel better?
Welp. I survived Alt Summit.
Don’t get me wrong — it was pretty awesome. Loads of nice, fun, creative people. Colorful decor. Parties. Loads and loads of parties.
Obviously, I’m a little exhausted. But my Instagram feed has never looked more exciting, so I can’t complain too much.
And besides a pretty cool new group of friends and a handful of photo booth strips, I also walked away with a couple of lessons that I’m going to start incorporating into my real life.
Y’all ready for this?
1. “Having guts always works out for me.”
New York-based designer and typographer Stefan Sagmeister was one of the (and quite possibly my favorite) keynote speakers at Alt. Besides a host of other inspiring projects, he’s working on a film based on one of his personal maxims, “Having guts always works out for me.” (Click here for a clip and then just TRY to tell me you don’t want to see this.) The gist is that by living a braver life, one will experience greater happiness.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my phobia of embarrassment, so this talk and concept really resonated with me. I can speak first-handedly about the fact that when I put aside my fears and just do the thing I’m really agonizing over, I experience greater joy than when I let the fear win.
Stefan actually showed us a little cartoon that explained how our brains (specifically, the amygdala) are hard-wired to allow fear to register in our bodies (through adrenaline and such) faster than any other emotion, the idea being that it will help keep us alive. You know, instead of just preventing us from speaking up during that department meeting or telling our crush how we feel about them.
It was really reassuring watching that little cartoon. I’m not a scaredy-cat freak. I’m just human.
But the fact remains that sometimes I let my fear impede my happiness. So the first lesson I learned at Alt Summit is that I need to buck up. Embrace the fear and know that by ignoring it, I’ll ultimately achieve greater happiness. I’m going to work on this.
2. I don’t really want to be a famous blogger anymore.
Yup, I’ve decided. I’m not sure I can put my finger on exactly which presentation it was that I realized this is something I’ve got to do, but by the end of the week, the idea had solidified in my brain. (I think it really stuck during a presentation from Tiffany Brown, Content Strategist at Pinterest.)
Here’s the thing: For most of my adult life, I wanted to be a journalist. But for literally my entire life, as far back as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a writer. That was my thing. It is, arguably, the thing I am best at in the entire world.
You know, I was just going to add a joke to make that statement sound less “blah blah look at me blah blah”, but I don’t really want to apologize for feeling that I’m good at something. So…deal with it.
The point is, being in a room full of people who wanted to turn their blogs into their livelihood, I realized that I don’t. Sure, when I wasn’t fulfilled by my work, I thought maybe making money off my blog would bring me happiness.
But looking at it as the reality it is for (a few) professional bloggers, I realized that I just don’t have any interest in that anymore.
What I do really want to do? I want to write fiction. I want to write a novel. Preferably several, but I’m starting with the one. And I figure the more I put that idea out into the universe, the more likely it is that it will actually happen.
Phew. It’s kind of scary putting big dreams out into the universe, right? But I’m facing my fears and all, so I guess it’s a logical next step.
3. Someday I should probably retire to a small, beautiful town in the middle of nowhere.
After strolling through Salt Lake City and Park City for a while, I can definitely say I harbor a few secret fantasies of living the simple life. While I think, to a degree, I like a certain amount of stress in my life, it is pretty tempting at times to give it all up and settle in a quiet suburb.
Plus, everyone is so nice. And the rent would be so much cheaper.
Not any time soon. But, you know, someday.
So…yeah. I sort of think I didn’t learn any of the right lessons Alt was supposed to teach me. (Except maybe the first one.) But life’s about making your own way, right?
Besides everything I wrote above, I am pleased to report that I met a lot of really cool people, including a handful of gals I can honestly say I think I’ll stay friends with. And if that’s the only thing I can say for sure, I think I’m okay with that.
So I’ve got a pretty big couple of weeks ahead of me.
This morning (bright and early), I’m flying to California for a tour/meeting at the Facebook headquarters. Actually, by the time you read this, I’ll probably already be in the air if I’m not already in California. (Yes, I am extremely excited.)
Wednesday morning, I’m hopping another plane to Salt Lake City for Alt Summit, which is basically a workshop/conference of the top design/DIY bloggers around. It’s supposed to be awesome. (Yup, I’m excited about that one too.)
Seriously, I love those ladies. And I really love this photo of them, poached from the post linked above:
How could you not love those faces?
Anyway. Then things calm down (ish) for a while. (Though we may be taking an impromptu trip to Colorado at the end of February…fair warning.)
I just wanted to warn you in case I go AWOL for a bit. I promise to come back with loads of fun stories. Loads. And hopefully even a photo or two. (Who are we kidding? There will be photos. I promise to be discerning in which ones I use to blow up your Instagram feed.)(Assuming you’re following me…)(@justinelorelle)
I think that’s everything you need to know…oh! Also. I cut my hair. And I was going to write a post about it, but then I went, “UGH. Not again. No one cares.” So on the off-chance you do care, I give you this photo:
Hope everyone has a great week!
I’ve been thinking about money a lot lately.
And, no, not in the “what should I buy” kind of way.
As the end if the year creeps closer and closer (side note: It’s almost mid-December, you guys. Mind. Blown.), I’ve been thinking a lot about my financial goals for the year.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that one of my biggest goals this year was to pay of all of my credit card debt. Well, it’s time for me to admit that I’m not quite going to make it.
I recently sold some stock I’ve had since college that made me a pretty decent amount if money, which helped me pay off almost a quarter of the debt amount. And I’m currently working on a freelance project that, once I get my check, will pay off all but a few hundred dollars of the leftover amount. And then, within no more than two months, I’ll be able to pay off the rest.
What I’m saying is, by no later than March I’ll be debt-free once again.
I’m quite giddy at the prospect, which makes waiting for that day to arrive even harder. My giddiness even (almost) makes up for the disappointment if falling just short of my goal. (For the record, I would have made it, but a pretty significant freelance gig fell through. In that the company I was working for just stopped responding to my emails as still owes me a check for the last round of blog posts I sent them. I’d put them on blast, but I can’t shake the glimmer or hope that they’ve jut been really busy…for the last two months…grumble.)
Anyway, it’s going to happen, and soon, and it’s one of the most satisfying feelings ever.
Then I can finally start really saving, hopefully for a down payment on a house (someday). Geez, you guys, when did we get so grown-up?
So I’m curious: Did anyone else have any goals, financial or otherwise, that they set this year? Did you make them? Or fall somewhat short like I did? What’s your next goal?
First things first, it’s time to announce the winner of the Printcopia giveaway!
Drum roll, please…..
I just emailed you about the prize. Congratulations, and thanks to everyone who entered!
Now, the matter at hand.
I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten how to work a normal full work week.
Between the storm(s), our California trip, and Thanksgiving, I’ll have Gina e full month since my last complete week of work by the end of this week.
I mean, I’m not really complaining. I enjoy working for home, even just a few days a week, and obviously everyone lives vacation and time off of work. I love my job, but it still provides me with just enough stress that I look forward to days when I don’t have to worry about it.
Thins are still going well, though. A few big projects that I’ve been working on are finally coming to fruition, and I’m even interviewing a couple of people today for an assistant position under me.
My very own assistant: every girl’s dream, right?
Plus, the partial week before a holiday is always pleasant to work. Sure, there’s a but more pressure to get the same a amount of work done in a shorter period of time, but everyone is usually caught up enough in festivities that the atmosphere is pleasant and no one is overly stressed.
Though this will be my first holiday at the current job, so maybe I’m entirely wrong about that. In that case…at least it’s only a 3-day week!
In other news, I’m running a 5-mile turkey trot on Thursday, but my left heel started really aching a couple of days ago. Not cool. My plan is to take it easy until Thursday, and then I might have to take a couple of weeks off of running. I’m already miserable at the prospect, but I think it’s my only option. Sigh.
Anyway. Enough about me. How is everyone else doing?
It seems that things are finally inching back to normal. As I write this, I am sitting in a train en route to my office.
Sure, my office isn’t opening until noon. And, okay, the trains are only running every hour. But I’m still going to chalk it up to progress.
Also, commuting off-peak? Rules. This car is practically empty, and I got to sleep in.
Actually, this last week has been the first time in a while that I haven’t felt tired all day long. It’s amazing what sleeping instead of commuting can do for your well-being.
But while I’m bittersweet about giving up those extra snoozing hours, I am excited to get back to the city and back to normal life. (Check back with me after it starts getting really cold and see if I still feel that way.)
Hope everyone else in my area is getting back to normal soon, too!