“I Just Want to…..”

"Oh Darling..." print by FiFi du Vie, $25 on Etsy

In the past week, I’ve had the same conversation many times, always  varied because of the people engaged but the theme is the  same. At some point, the person I was talking to said, “I just want to <fill this in with an activity they love> every day, make enough money to support myself, and be happy to do it every morning when I wake up.”

For some, it’s music, fashion or community planning. For others, it’s creating art, designing websites, baking beautifully decorated cakes, inspiring more people with words of encouragement.

For me, I found myself emailing the following to a friend:

I just want to do good things. Not make a million dollars. Just get in better shape financially and professionally, cook food that people enjoy and can feel good about, that helps people and the earth and animals, to live with love every day. That is my goal, that is what I want.

"You Can Be..." print by Bird Ave, $20 via Etsy

And part of her correspondence was:

I know you’re going to look back at some point and breathe a huge sigh of relief. I know that you will keep doing what your heart has been telling you to do. I know that everything has its timeframe and plan, and sometimes we don’t know what’s coming, but we keep going until we hit a wall or the universe opens up into a world we didn’t even think existed beyond our dreams. Sometimes we don’t even dare to dream anything other than what we know, because of all of the roadblocks and negative people and energy (and bills!). But, when we take those steps away from what we know we don’t want or what we no longer will tolerate, the path always appears.

Before making the switch from full time job to cooking-as-a-fulltime-job, I found a book (well, I found many books, but this one in particular) that helped put the need for change in perspective. Snap, Crackle or Stop by Barbara Quinn came to me by way of a library book sale. While I was initially drawn to the cover design, the content was like a sassy friend holding a career intervention.

The first two sentences of the book are: “I am convinced we have the power to master our own destiny. It all comes down to choosing passion over the ordinary and for accepting that our fate is what we make it.”

There is so much incredible wisdom and straight-forward insight in this book, it’s nearly impossible to choose excerpts, but here we go:

If you do nothing to make the change, nothing is what you’ll get.

The hard work has to start with you. No one else can tell you. Deep down you probably know or could describe your fantasy job. Sooner or later, you are going to have to admit it out loud to someone.

Don’t give in to complacency. Being average is tragic.

We have a hard time accepting that we can do anything. The only thing stopping us is us.

How many more years can you convince yourself that “good enough” is okay? Would you want that for your spouse, your children? If a loved one was very sick and you could take them to a nearby doctor that was fine, or make a long drive overnight to another city to see one of the best specialists to treat that condition, would you really go to the local doctor because it’s more convenient?

When did convenience become more important than passion?

I’m not in any way trying to say it’s just soo easy. For years I had been telling myself: I need more money. I need to pay off more debt. I need more formal education. Someone else has more experience. I don’t know where to start. It would be irresponsible toward my family if I just picked up and did whatever I felt like.

So I ask you, if you have those same thoughts: Are all of those things MORE IMPORTANT than finding ways to work toward doing what you love every day and getting paid for it? (And don’t you think making money at something that brings you joy every day is, on the contrary, one of the best things you could do for your family?)

Those may be valid excuses, but they are still excuses.

What would you love to wake up every day and do? And how can you begin to take steps toward doing it? I ask that sincerely. This is currently one of my favorite topics to discuss, so if you have insight or just want a chat, you know where to find me.

THE REAL REASON WE ARE HERE: Quitting My Job and Taking a Chance

After months of encouraging conversations with bloggers, nutritionists, cooks, and absolutely FRIENDS, I finally made the step I’ve wanted to take for a long time. It’s a big ol’ scary step. It’s the kind that holds you accountable for everything. It’s also, ultimately, the most rewarding.

"Fresh Start" by artist Margaret Huber

I notified my employers that I will not longer work full-time there. I’m turning Save the Kales! into a legal business (with accountants and LLC papers and all kinds of crazy things that are still very new to me!).

This past Saturday, I was having brunch with Alison and Ryan – an amazing buffet of tofu scramble, grapefruit and orange  mimosas, roasted root vegetables, coffee – and they held an intervention of sorts. They were on a mission to kick the last little bit of self-doubt out of me to convince me that I really could do this.

And in my heart I know I can. But here’s the safety net (positive thoughts! positive thoughts!), just in case I need one: If things don’t go exactly as planned, I will still get to wake up every day and do exactly what I love. Paying bills is important, running a successful business is the goal, but being able to LOVE what I do EVERY DAY is better than all of that.

‎”There are things you do because they feel right and they make no sense and they may make no money and it may be the real reason we are here: to love each other and to eat each other’s cooking and say it was good.”  Brian Andreas

I am not blind the to fact that aside from all the hard work I’ve put in, there is an element of luck. Though, Roman philosopher Seneca said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”. Maybe he’s right.

Multiple times a day, I reflect on the pure gratefulness I have to be surrounded by supportive people (people who having lovingly said “I might actually be mad at you if you don’t do this”), gratefulness for a community that has been so receptive to what I’m doing and thus to me. I am in a place in my life where I can take a chance like this and rest assured that even if it’s a little rocky to start (Alison would interrupt me here and say “IT WON’T BE!”) I will still be able to take care of my responsibilities andbe okay. None of this is lost on me for a single second.

Save the Kales! began as a blog project. It cost no money (and began at a time when I was in a bad financial situation). While I have degrees, they are not in cooking. I barely knew anyone in this community and was literally making a plan to move across the country, but when I decided to stay I went out and met the people here, opening me up to a world of entrepreneurs, artists, and friends.

My point is this: I had spent my whole life previously waiting for “permission” when I graduate, when someone hires me, when I have more money, when I get healthier, when when when when when… And it turns out, the thing I love, the thing becoming my career didn’t need ANY of it.

YOU DON’T NEED ANYONES PERMISSION. Begin a project. Be okay with the fact that some people will be critical of you. That you may not make any money. That it’s going to take up a lot of your free time, especially if you have another job to pay your bills.  All the time you spend feeling bad about where you are, comparing yourself to “successful” people and making lists of reasons why you can’t have it – just stopGo and DO IT instead.

This is all still so new to me, I get nervous, I worry, I start to think of the things that can go wrong or if someone criticizes it or —– and then I have to stop, and breathe, and take solace in knowing that I’m making the right decision. What got me here was when I finally stopped worrying and blaming, and replaced it with believing in myself enough.

Enough. Finally.