Does anyone know WTF they are doing?

A lot of my friends and many of my clients tell me that I am funny and should start a podcast…but I don’t listen to podcasts (nor do I read blogs), so I keep hitting a wall when thinking about how to start one of these things? My girlfriend gave me some advise- just start. Do a little something every day, so here goes.

As the year comes to a close (more specifically, another DECADE), I ponder what the hell I am doing with my life and if it will ever amount to anything. I am sure that I am not alone in this fact- we are all out here trying to be out best selves so that when we die, people say nice things about us and hopefully we are successful enough to leave some kind of legacy for our families.

It’s been about 2 years since my departure from the tech and corporate structured world and I am not sure that I can say I am in a better place. Financially, I most certainly am not. Becoming an entrepreneur sounded like a great idea, but as I review my year and (lack of) savings, I can’t help but feel I made a big mistake. I am totally more available for my children, which is great. I have the luxury of being able to cook for them and attend their events – shit, I am leading a book club at school next week. But book club leaders don’t pay dividends and the worry is starting to settle in the back of my brain, reminding me we are one swift kick away from a less fortunate life.

I am in the final stretch of graduate school. Two more classes and a capstone and I will have to figure out how to apply this degree to life and make some money off it. I should be working on that plan but here I am blogging… my multi-tasking obviously needs some work.

I am curious though- there are people out there that can tell you exactly where they want to be in five years and once five years pass, they do exactly as they have planned. They work the job, get the promotion, make the family, buy the house- all a part of the plan.

I am definitely not one of those people. Life throws so many curveballs, it seems ridiculous to even try to create a plan. I more or less believe that you can have your goals, work towards them, but have to be flexible with the process. Not every ball you hit will be a homerun and sometimes you are going to miss the base and have to try a new strategy.

I thought I would stay in tech, finish that MBA and make shit loads of money. At some point, I realized I was living someone else’s dream. Tech doesn’t excite me. I wanted to do the “right” thing and create a comfortable life for my kids. At some point, I realized that the “right” thing was costing me my happiness, even though we were financially comfortable.

I know that the best way to support my children would be for me to be happy and show them that we do not need money to be happy- which is exactly how we have been living for the past two years. And if you ask my girls, they can attest to the fact that mom is more happy, we still live comfortably (with less stamps in out passports) but they eat well and have a mother who is more present. Not every day is perfect and I am sure they see day-to-day that I am more mindful with how I spend money, but I think that we have built a stronger family dynamic and hence why this site is called “Raggedy Riches” because we may be broke but we still have wealth.

So, for all of you that are wondering what my plans are for 2020 and what I will be when I finish my education, all I have to say is, “It’s a surprise”

Writing is hard

I am a storyteller. I like to make people laugh. As an Aquarius, I can be wild and spirited, and sometimes pretty impulsive. My friends often tell me that I am the best person to go on an adventure with, whether that adventure is to the zen garden for a hammock, joint, and a nap, or traveling to Aruba for parasailing and exotic drinks on the beach. I am the person who is always doing 101 things and trying something new every time you see me. It actually looks weird- typing those words- because I don’t find myself very interesting- I just know I am never bored.

Someone told me that I should write a memoir- I thought that was funny because I have wanted to do this for many years- I just don’t think people give a shit enough to read about my emotional rollercoaster of a life. Who’s life isn’t interesting and tumultuous? We all have some kind of issues and some trauma that has shaped our lives. I am not special in this fact. I am not sure that my story will be exciting or anyone will care, but as my friend suggests- this may be a cool piece of yourself that you can share with the children someday. So, fuck it. Let’s write.

I am going to release several short stories about my life. Some of the names have been changed but all of the content is from experience. Please follow my journey!

Trust in the process

A couple years ago, I was working for in IT making more money than I have ever made in my life, well over six figures until one day, I was let go. I was told it was not a performance concern, but financial. The reality was it was nepotism. The reason is no longer significant – Regardless of why it happened, it did. And I was a widowed, single mother of two daughters that needed to figure out her next move.

I had enough money saved to make it a few months before I needed to worry, but trying to find a job in fourth quarter in IT is not an easy task. With the frustration of looking for work, I began to question why I really wanted these jobs? I didn’t particularly care for Information technology. I mean, certain aspects are really intriguing, but many of the roles I was working in didn’t fulfill me intrinsically. My last role drained me emotionally. Workplace drama, business inefficiencies and divided teams made every day feel like an uphill battle and for what?

It felt like I was coming home and drinking wine just to unwind from my day more frequently than I should. I was always stressed out and it was taking it’s toll on my entire life. How could I not see that before?

Being unemployed provided me the time to be home and around more for my children. It was a blessing and felt really satisfying to be around and prepare home cooked meals and not be rushed to exhaustion and defeat. I realized that staying in an unfulfilling job wasn’t worth it, even if it paid really well. I needed to make a bigger change.

Before I worked in Information Technology, I was a massage therapist. (Totally different, right?). And I didn’t want to go back to massage. I felt like I had moved onward and upward from my days in massage, having completed my Bachelor’s in Business Management and Leadership and even taken several Master’s level classes, but I didn’t know what else I could do. So, I took a job practicing massage for a local fitness center. This would afford me a free gym membership to get back in shape, a revenue stream, more time with my kids, and some time to figure out my next move. The catch, I am broke. But, you have to start somewhere, right?

Very quickly, I realized that I was going to be worked to death for a fraction of the income I was bringing in. But practicing massage also helped me remember how gratifying is it to help people manage their stress and physical and emotional obstacles. I thought to myself, “I can do this better”. So, I started looking for a space to rent, obtained licensing, and started the road down entrepreneurship. The American Dream: owning your own business!

Of course, self-employment has it’s perks- you choose your schedule and answer to no one. But the obstacles are grand as well. From licensing, zoning, and construction, to battling the world of marketing and SEO, self-employment is definitely for those with grit.

It’s been over a year and my business is not yet booming. Some weeks are fairly busy, some weeks I make nothing. It is stressful, but the stress isn’t the same as before. Maybe because I chose this stress- it’s different. This is the least amount of money I have ever brought in, but my mortgage is paid and my children eat well, so what more do we need? Money will come. And money will go.

Yesterday, I surprised a good friend with a coffee at work and she called me this morning to thank me while I was driving to volunteer at the Children’s Hospital, donating massages for the nurses that work the ER. My friend asks me, ‘Why would you do that? You’re giving your time and you’re making no money.’ I reminded her to trust in the process. If I don’t make money today, I can give my time to others. I believe it will come back to me.

I thought about my conversation with my friend as I was leaving the hospital. Even if I don’t gain new clients from my visit, those nurses needed massage today. The weekend brought several tragedies and some children did not return home with their families. It was more gratifying to provide some relief for people that put everything in to protecting and providing care for the human race.

I don’t know what direction to go most days but I do know I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

My daughter misses the bus almost every single day.

I used to be one of those moms who would try to get her kids to bed at 8:30 every night so they would be well rested and exuberant children in morning, ready to attack the day with a smile (insert sarcastic laugh here), but between the push-and-pull and frustration of kids that simply didn’t want to sleep, somewhere along the line, I gave up. I conceded. I donated my proverbial “Mom of the Year” trophy to all of the judgmental moms that wanted a grab at it or to throw it at my head.

The progression of parenting is an interesting one: the first child will often have first-time parents reading all of the preparing for baby books, filling in all of the blanks for keepsake books, planning and preparing schedules, meals, and naps with such precision that you could practically plan the royal wedding in your sleep.

By the time you have a second child, you find yourself relying less on the books and more on survival. You eat when you can. You sleep when you can. Your perfectly managed scheduled will now be an indefinite status of “tentative”.

At some point, you start to lose your sanity due to sleep deprivation and haven’t showered in days when you start to question what’s really important? If you child eats a snack before dinner, will it matter? Will this snack be THE snack that destroys all of the healthy eating habits you have been working to instill? If you ignore your baby’s cries so you can take five minutes for a hot shower, will it matter? Will your child grow up feeling unloved and rejected? Sounds pretty dramatic, right?

When I was pregnant, my body literally provided all the protection to my children’s environment. As they came into the world, I had to give up the idea that I could protect them and understand not everything is meant to be controlled. My peace-of-mind was more important than being upset daily. I found more value in letting them stay up and read than I did arguing for them stop intentionally prolonging their bedtime ritual. Instead of going to bed frustrated and disconnected, some nights are bursting with laughter and dance sessions and we go to bed with smiles and feel loved.

So, my kids don’t go to bed at a reasonable hour. It took me NINE years to get my youngest daughter to sleep in her own bed. NINE YEARS of getting throat-kicked and bitch-slapped. But for the past couple years, every morning, if she’s not already crawled into my bed throughout the night, I will call her back in for our morning “huggle”, which is simply a five minute super hug cuddle as I slap the snooze button three more times. This is how my daughter misses the bus. We miss the bus almost every day and I have to drive her to school. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

At the point when I gave up trying to mold my children into what is deemed by societal norms to be “appropriate behavior”, the guilt and shame of not being perfect was washed away with it.