24 March 2014

Oprah, Eat Your Heart Out.



My cousin John just gchatted me the most traumatic thing I've ever seen.



In summary: The Breakfast Club detention took place on March 24th, 1984.

Thirty years ago today. Thirty years. Guys. Thirty. Thirty years. If that does not spur you into feeling old, I don’t know what will. Or you just never watched The Breakfast Club, which is your loss, but it doesn’t change my current state of trauma. Just yesterday I crossed a pack of highschoolers in a parking lot and held my head down not wanting to look “big kids” in the eye. Now, technically, those "big kids" could be my children. This is how anxious I am to avoid the harsh reality of adulthood. I'm not ready for this. Not. Ready. Which brings me to something I have been meaning to mention…

Ahem.
  
If you picked up on some spottiness on the blog lately, you are right. I have been taking some self-imposed time outs to work on my fitness. And by fitness I mean ice cream and cable TV, but whatever, it’s my couch. My blog. I’ll be slothful if I want to.   

The truth is I have been having some tough conversations lately. Conversations with myself, my employer, and the people around me. Conversations about what comes next. Where do I want to be in five years? What do I want to be when I grow up? Am I a grownup already? Oh, crap, when did that happen? Does that mean I am officially a grownup? Did I run out of choices? Are there do-overs? Is there still time to order dessert? Who said I asked for the bill already? I’m not ready for this kind of commitment. So not ready. Who said I already decided? Am I too old for a mid-life tantrum? Am I? AM I?

You know, that old chestnut. 

The fact is, I’m not really sure. Five years ago I went through some major, major changes. And it damn near killed me. The good news is, I bounced. I hit bottom, I bounced, and I landed. I landed somewhere comfortable. And thanks to a steady job, some freelance clients, a network of awesome and inspiring people in my life (a couple in particular :)), and a nightstand loaded with self-help books, the last five years have been just about the bestest and easiest of my 34 so far. I have it good. Real good. Not a day goes by that I don’t count the abundance of my blessings on my fingers and toes, three times over. I know my story could have gone in another direction. In terms of human growth, my growth, five years is a lifetime in itself. To ask myself where I will be five years from now is a messy, way-beyond-wet-naps messy, and loaded question.

Aunt Peaches (the website, not the person) is coming up on four years this summer. I feel like I am coming up on the crossroads. Somewhere along the way this went from a cathartic weekend hobby to an all-week part-time job with barely part-time income. It’s been awesome. However, I worry that I could be, or should be, investing that time into other areas of my life. On the other hand, I wonder, if I invested what is left of my free time into the blog, could it become something more substantial? Could it be a primary source of income? I see other people doing this all the time – why not me? What would happen if I buckled down and spent some time on self-promotion? Or developed a basic business strategy and optimized my site and feed readers? Or all those other things that smart people do? Would turning a fun thing into a job thing make it suck? Would that change the tone and thereby change the readership? Is the blog market oversaturated already, and do I really have anything to add to the conversation? Really? Do I? Really?

Don’t answer that.


It’s a tough one. And I don’t flatter myself to think I am unique in contemplating these questions...

What worries me more is that there is no safety net. No spouse. No immediate family. No extended family within 1,000 miles. Plenty of friends and amifams to help pick up the pieces if something went wrong (see above mention, aka: the whole of my 2008)…but yeah. I’m too young to embrace adulthood, too old to be living on someone else’s couch. This is scary stuff. The concept of being my own boss is far more terrifying than joyful. I know what it’s like to live on the brink of disaster. I’ve lived on public assistance. I’ve gone to bed hungry. I’ve done things for money that I didn’t want to do. I don’t ever want to go back there. I don't ever want to let myself feel that desperate or that helpless ever again. My current state of stability isn’t just convenience, it’s something I owe to myself. My past self. I don’t know what I would do if I lost it.   

And yet, on the other hand, for once in my life, my lack of connections works in my favor. I am solo. My current load is light. No dependents, no liabilities, no parents to worry about, no major monthly living expenses. As stuff goes ($tuff), I’m pretty flexible. I’m still paying off my student loan but for the first time in a long time, I can see the light at the end of that tunnel. My health is good, and thanks to the Affordable Healthcare Act, I can get reasonable health insurance for under $200 a month (--fyi: in 2008, the last time I was self-insured, it was double that and then some for crappy coverage, so youbettcha I’m grateful for Obamacare).*
*This is a perfect example of something I would not be able to mention if this blog was a job and not a hobby.
Anyway. It seems like the stars have aligned in a way to spell it out in big bold letters, IF YOU WANT TO CHANGE, NOW IS THE TIME TO GET UP OFF YOUR ASS AND CHANGE IT.

Ughhhhh.

Ughhhhhh. Can you hear the fizzle in that? Yeah. That’s apathy creeping in under the door. Opportunity is knocking but apathy wants in whether I answer that door or not. I’m desperately trying to keep it out. I’m trying to drive forward and figure out what comes next, but the path of least resistance keeps leading me to the couch with a half-eaten carton of ice cream and a loaded DVR. How is a gal to resist?

I’ll admit. I’m not doing so well right now.  

Part of this process is sharing this issue with you guys. This post is not fishing for advice or encouragement, I promise. My hope here is that by being as public and as honest with you guys as I can, it’ll spur me into accountability. And decision making. Tough decision making.  Rawrrrk!

In the next 90 days, I need to make some tough decisions regarding me. Regarding this blog. Regarding my job. Regarding my road map. Regarding the future and how these things play together.

Do I quit my job and throw myself into online entrepreneurial adventures? Do I find some other job and ditch this blog to give new prospects my undivided attention? Is it possible to find some balance that works with both (better than what I have now)? Do I want to give up the freedom of blogging about whatever I want, whenever I want in order to attract readers and more sponsors? Would it be weird to no longer have to be anonymous, hiding my name and my appearance online? Would it be awesome to sink my teeth into something new? Would it be terrifying if I didn’t know how much money I would make next month? What would I do if it didn’t work out? Would I regret it if I never tried? Am I putting all my eggs in one basket? What’s my Plan B? What will it look like if I fail? What will I look like with my bangs grown out?

A lot of questions. All of them admittedly self-indulgent, yet, some of the most important I will ever face.

And then the answer came by way of email from my friend Hillary who wrote, “I got it! I know what you can be when you grow up!” followed by a link to this video:



And there you have it. The answer to all my questions wrapped up in a crazy Californian lady living in a self-imposed Kingdom of Cats. Say what you will about the business model, but as far as inspirational life choices, this beats all.

So there you go. Oprah, eat your heart out.





  

82 comments:

  1. Whatever you do, you will do it well. It is known.

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  2. I think it's hard to comment on such a personal post from someone I don't know irl. However. I think there are fewer and fewer people able to make a living from blogging now, several bloggers have alluded to the changing landscape of such things. There seems to be some question as to how long it can last in its current form. So it might not be can you make a living blogging, but are you interested enough in doing so to try making a living at whatever blogging turns in to? I get the safety net thing. It's why I've never tried to make the leap to consulting. I'm just not that good at self promotion and not knowing gives me hives.

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    1. Indeed. I had never even heard of a professional blogger ten years ago, so who is to say what that job would entail ten years from now? It would crazy irresponsible for me to put all my eggs in that basket. Who knows what lay ahead? Here is scary article for you: http://www.niemanlab.org/2013/12/the-blog-is-dead/

      The good thing about ad-based blog revenue is that it’s fairly steady bc I have a steady readership. I can make money in other ways (on and off the internet) but that income comes in erratic batches – I need a steady anchor -- the blog *might* just do the job. It’s weird to think of something so new fangled to be a source of steadiness. Self promotion is my downfall as well. Where is the fun in that?

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    2. what's weird and a little head-spinning about these technologies is how fast platforms and tools become obsolete. MySpace becomes Facebook becomes SnapChat becomes....etc. Twitter is currently The Thing, soon it will be Google Vision and other IoT wearable technologies.

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  3. I know you will make the right call but PLEASE DON'T EVER STOP BLOGGING. I'm tearing up at the thought. I can't imagine what I would do without Aunt Peaches. Cut back if you need to but please don't quit on me.

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    1. You are sweet. I cried a little just typing the words. I'm hoping it doesn't come to that, but if it does you know I'll be on other social media, albeit in smaller nuggets of daily weirdness. :)

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  4. I'm confident that your muse and your faith will guide you. For what it's worth, your talent and spirit and quirkiness have filled my days with joy. I can only hope that you find a way to follow your heart and find and give joy.

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, Jill.
      :)

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  5. Boy I needed to read this, today. I'm 30 years older than you and I'm asking myself questions like your's. I mean 64 years old, and I don't have a damn clue? Somebody said I'd have wisdom or something by now.. they lied!! so I'm gonna give you some advice anyway.. you really will find the way from where you are now. You'll look up in 3 months or so and realize you have found your path. I think (hope!!) it will happen to me ( being 64 I'm having mortality issues). But damn I hate this lost feeling. It sucks!!! We'll talk in 3 months or so and see where things are.. but thanks for putting this up. I sure needed it.

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    1. Ha! Well gosh. I felt a little awkward airing my dirty laundry like this, but if we now both know we are not alone in this, it's worth the awkwardness.

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  6. just a week or two ago i typed into google "blog similar to aunt peaches"...because i love your blog, the content, the wit, etc etc...and i found zero. zero blogs that are similar. zero blogs that i like as much as yours. don't stop! even though there are ten million blogs out there yours really is unique. so there's a place for you. :)

    whatever you decide, i hope it feels right and fulfilling.

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    1. Hmm... "blog similar to aunt peaches"...that is an idea. I don't flatter myself to think I have the monopoly on sparkly weirdness, but I bet there are lots more. I ought to think about making a post out of this. Thanks!

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  7. I'll keep reading as long as you keep writing - I'll even click twice a day if it gets you more ad revenue, just please fix it so I can read it on my ipad without it jumping all over.

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    1. Hmmm... that is odd. By "jumping over" you mean jumping over to a computer, or jumping over to the full site?

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    2. I think perhaps what they mean is when reading on an iPad and you get to the "read more" bit and you press on it we are taken to the expanded article. However it immediately zooms down to the end for some reason (thus making me feel like I am cheating and skipping to the end of the book). When you try to scroll back up to the top - the minute you take your finger off the screen it zooms back down to the end again. Very frustrating! However I have figured out that if you refresh your page at this point it then starts to work. That's what happens to me anyway.

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    3. Yes, what Natalie said. Will try refreshing trick. Thanks.

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  8. well peaches,
    it would be awfully sad if i couldn't read your blog anymore, but i have to admit, it would be sadder if you couldn't blog in the same way. that is one of the things i love most about your blog.... your occasional politics (which i agree with!) mixed in with all the fun things. if you had to conform just to make advertisers happy it just wouldn't be aunt peaches anymore.. ya know? good luck with your decision. jennifer at moonrisesandmorningtea.blogspot.com
    i can't get this stupid computer to let me comment unless i am "anonymous"

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    1. Here is the thing, 9 times out of 10, I'm already holding back most of my opinionated posts. I think I have only posted two in the last 12 months. At that rate, it would be easy to pretty easy to just let my personal ramblings fold over into a second (less frequently) updated blog. That might actually be a lot for fun. The thing I would really have to cut back is cursing. I really love cursing, but I know it's a polarizing issue and prevents my site from being read in the 30something% of American households with kid filters on their internet browsers. From an advertising point of view -- that makes sense. There are thousands of bloggers out there, why would one partner and invest with a blog that can't reach a good chunk of their target audience? Anyway. Something to think about.

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    2. I am loving the idea of a 2nd more "opinionated" blog from you. And infrequent updates would be fine by me so long as the ones you make are real and proper rants :) You could be the sparkly John Stewart <3


      Also, please think about a book. I think you have the material for at least several.

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    3. HAhaha...the sparkly John Stewart. That totally made my day. Ha! Thanks for that.

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  9. The internet would not be the same without you. I have no doubt that all your readers would feel great sadness if you chose to do something else, but then how many of us would be happy doing a part-time job for not part-time pay, as Aunt Peaches is for you right now? I hope that you can find the decision that is best for you- I am sure you'd be awesome at anything! xxx

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  10. You know, one of the things I admire ( and okay, envy a little bit) about you is that you are so young and yet you already kind of have things figured out. You have a house and a cat and you take care of yourself in very nice style. If you have done that in just five years then, chickadee, the world is your oyster. Whatever you choose to do, I betchu, it will work out just fine. You are pretty darn capable. So now you've put it out there, you may be in for a very fun ride.
    Vallen Queen

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    1. Gosh, I don't know about that. You are sure nice to say so, though. I appreciate that! I know you have been reading for a long time, so I trust you would level with me.
      :)

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    2. Part of what I do best is level. Trust me on this.
      VQ

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  11. Aunt Peaches is hands down my favorite blog going. I love your voice and I would miss you, but as a blogger myself, I understand every word you are saying. But you, girl, have serious talent. Have you looked into being a regular contributor to other sites, blogs or magazines? Not just crafty type things, but even political or lifestyle publications? You are a commodity. Where you go, I, as a reader, would follow.

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    1. :)

      Funny anecdote. So last December I tried out as a contributor for a major website. Millions of readers. Flattered at the prospect. You get the picture. The application was three sample posts on given topics. I invested ten hours into the 3 posts, easily. Probably more. Was offered the job and they even offered to purchase said posts plus a minimum of one weekly post for a grand total of.....wait for it....$14. Fourteen dollars a post. This is the state of online journalism. I'm sure a few folks do better, but it's pretty discouraging for the rest of us.

      Just the same, you are very kind to say such nice things. I hope one day some place is willing to pick up my work (and other's) for a reasonable wage!

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    2. There are plenty of websites that pay better than that one. They're gambling on getting you exposure and experience. AT is notorious for low pay.

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  12. Just squawking off the top of my head:

    So let's say you go for it and it doesn't pay enough. In what way would taking the time off to try it affect your ability to get another job like you have now? You would not be any less talented than you are now, or any less creative. You would have gained a shiteload of new skills in the entrepreneurial end of the biz. You would have tons more beautiful projects in your portfolio. I suspect you'd be even more marketable than you are now.

    I could be wrong, tho, I don't know exactly where you work or what the job market is like in the field.

    Thanks for keeping us in the loop, I know I speak for many when I say we love you and will be willing to follow you wherever you go.

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    1. That's a very good point. I never thought about it like that. The adventure of trying (and potentially failing) might be an asset in a weird sort of way. Huh.

      Well golly, thanks Michelle. Way to be helpful like that!

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  13. Dear Peaches, I love coming here and reading what you have to say. But, if it's not fun, joyful even, what's the point? I made that mistake on my own blog by setting too high of a personal goal for the blog. This year, I changed my focus. It's been tough, but it's been real.

    I want to leave you with something I fall back on from Eppie Lederer, although it might have been her sister, Pauline Phillips who said it, but, no matter. They were awesome and had timeless advice. We'll just assume, for the sake of the story, that Eppie got the letter. The writer said she (and I remember it was a woman who wrote) had always wanted to be a doctor, but she got married right out of high school, had kids and was a "good" 1960's wife and mother. When the last child was a sophomore in college, husband came home one night with divorce papers. He kicked her out of their home, brought in his girlfriend, who was 3 years older than their middle child, and ended their marriage. She was lost, frightened and working in a low paying job given to her by a sympathetic friend. She lived in a studio and the kids were kind of ashamed of her. At her age, she would need 8 years of college, plus her residency and it would be probably 10 years before she established herself. She was looking at starting her actual career at age 63. Was that too old? Eppie's answer, and, obviously, I have never forgotten this, was "What will you be doing when you turn 63?"

    I haven't followed this sage advice myself, but I offer it to you as you think about what you want to do in a year, two years, five years. You'll be that age whether you are writing your blog or not. What do you want to do?

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    1. Deb, this is a very wise question indeed – where do you want to be at 63?
      Oddly enough, that might be what prompted this issue in my head months ago. And while I would like to say, at 63, I will be leading a fulfilling and creatively stimulated life…the fact is, I just don’t want to be eating cat food. Or working a crappy job I hate because I don’t have enough savings to retire. Or regretting my hesitance to make changes when I had the flexibility to do so years earlier when things were comfortable.

      That’s it. It’s a money thing. And I realize that paranoia comes from my personal history, but it’s also grounded in fact. The fact is that, if I save and invest at 5% (8% market minus 3% for inflation), today, I would need to save almost 60% of my current income to prepare for retirement at 65. There are a lot of factors that play into the possibilities, but yeah, it’s pretty scary. I look at the increase in the price of food and gas in just the last six years…given supply and demand, it is unlikely these things will change in our favor any time soon. So money is important. The changes I make now will have a ripple effect for years to come. There aren’t enough hours in the day to take on more work for more money, so, that leaves me here. Something has got to give. I have faith that *something* else will take its place, I'm just not sure what that something is. At least not yet. Fingers crossed!
      :)

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  14. I have only recently found your blog but have read most of your previous blogs, and I absolutely love your work. My favourite one was 67lbs of paper which made me cry, and I wonder if you have thought about writing a book based on that blog and other stories of your unusual life. The blog about the funeral was another fantastic blog. You have such an original mind and voice that I think you are under estimate your talent. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you good fortune. .

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    1. Thanks, Scarlett. Don't go back too far tho, okay, my early stuff was pretty cringe-worthy. :)

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  15. I have been standing at those same crossroads as you for the past few months. I know where I want to be and am trying to figure out how to get there. Bottom line do what is best for you. That is the only advice I ever try to give people. Talk about it until you are blue in the face. In the end, do what is best for you.

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  17. I know nothing of the world of blogging. I have traveled a lot, read a lot, and read many blogs but few have held my interest. Then I stumbled upon yours. I do not exaggerate when I say that you are the full package. Interesting, humorous and oh so creative with a recognizable voice. Whether or not you continue blogging is obviously up to you - but please know that you have brought so many smiles, laugh out louds, and creative endeavors into our world.

    I have spent hours going backwards through previous issues catching up on things and as someone that is half swiss (!) I marvel that you managed to maintain and celebrate your messy side having spent time in the tidiest place on earth. I have been bound by my father's STRICT sense of order and mess free environment and can actually say that you have helped me loosen the reigns a tad. My 11 year old and I have tried many of your crafts from pom pom garlands to confetti cake toppers and for the first time I find myself considering the idea of clashing colours and patterns. I am 48 with two children a good life and I still find the whole adult thing unnerving - that might not ever change… but you have effected change in our lives and it has been change for the better. You need to know this.

    I find myself checking every few days for an update (what no way to subscribe?!) and am always thrilled when I find one - the fact that you are not better rewarded for what you achieve with blogs is a massive design fault in the world of blogging that needs somehow to be redressed - why can people like nigahiga and Michelle Phan who put up YouTube video blogs be so well remunerated (now there's an idea) for their subscriber numbers yet not have to hold themselves accountable to a sponsor? There seems to be a big disconnect… as the out of the box thinker that you are I am sure you will find a creative solution to proceed. I hope it is one that allows us to continue to follow! Wishing you all the very best from a slightly messier swiss fan.

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    1. Ha! Thanks.

      First, I should be honest, I'm not half-Swiss, but I did live there for four years :) Swiss time taught me to compartmentalize my messiness, which I sort of hate, but it's taught me to be far more productive than I would be otherwise. That's a gift right there. This is my Swissness-by-proxy shining through. I don't know if I could handle being raised in a house with Swiss style order and organization. Kudos to you! If it were me, I suspect it would spur some serious teenage rebellion, that's for sure.

      Second, you raise a good point about other folks using You tube and alike to build an audience. See, this is the thing; I have built a small-but-decent sized audience without the basic fundamentals of audience connection. Most bloggers build readership connection by blogging about their day-to-day lives (this is what we did last weekend, this is what I wore, this is what I ate, this is my friend, this is my kid, this is my neighborhood )....I don't really do any of that. I'll very occasionally reveal some deeply personal past stuff, but the present stuff, the basic stuff like my name and appearance and basic social life I keep private. It's sorta of surprising to me that people stick around in spite of that. I'm not using the basic online "connection" tools. Part of me wonder would would happen if I did. Hmmmm...

      Thanks for being so thoughtful in sharing your perspective, Natalie, one semi-Swisser to another :)

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  18. Although it may seem counter-intuitive at a point where time is limited, have you considered writing a book (either with a publisher or as a self-publish downloadable) that would start producing some passive income for you and free up at least one part of the question? You can be yourself in a book (or in an online magazine of your own) and not be constrained by advertisers or forced to 'not rock the boat' because you would remain in charge. It feels unfair that very talented people are giving away their writing for free on blogs when 10 or 15 years ago that standard of writing would have gained them a lucrative career. When did we all stop expecting to pay for other people's labour and talent?

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    1. You are sweet to say so, Shayne. Thanks!

      Yes, I would like to write a book some day. I've actually talked with a couple of literary agents in recent years. The good news is, I might have a shot at publication. The bad news is it will take hundreds (if not thousands) of hours of my time and as a first time author, the likelihood of profiting more than four figures isn't very good. That would mean, essentially, working for less than minimum wage. If I was truly passionate about something, I would probably do it anyway, and one day I hope it comes, but right now...it's just not in the cards. One agent was really blunt, which I appreciated, and said flat out; "for every 500 books at the bookstore, maybe 3 of those authors are making a living off their writing." So that was fun.

      These e-books, however, might be a thing. Like you said -- passive income. I know a couple of craft bloggers that have narrowed their subjects down and approached it that way. That might be fun. I also know some folks who conduct online classes via password-protected blogs (Alissa Burke has tons of these and they are really great). Might be worth contemplating if/when time allows. Hmmm...

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    2. I would happily contribute to crowd funding (something like kickstarter, or one of the ones that lets you keep the money even if you don't hit the goal) for an Aunt Peaches book/blog/project. You could set your goal to something that would allow you to live and focus on your work for a certain period of time?

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    3. Gosh, I never thought about something like that. If I got a really good idea together for something tangible, I would totally do it.

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  19. Coldplay lyrics come to mind "You don't know how lovely you are"..
    I understand that you do what you have to do. So in the end, take care of yourself. I'm 24 and have already experienced the scary, broke, not enough money to buy groceries thing. It's not fun. BUT. Do not underestimate your talent. Your blog is one of two I read. And it's the best. I remember the first time I was taken to it from pinterest, I was hooked. I immediately added it to my dash. I remember thinking how different it and it was. You are witty, funny, sarcastic. You cuss! You weren't a robot housewife pretending to be perfect. Your voice and your content come across as so real, so expressive. No matter what, your readers are here and understand whatever decision you make.

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    1. Thanks for that. It makes me happy to hear you guys "get" me even when I don't get myself.

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  20. Fear keeps people from reaching their full potential. We all have a *purpose* here, whether it be helping our fellow humans, taking care of people or animals, doing art, writing, whatever. There is purpose in everyone. And the thing is, we are kept down by the almighty dollar (or the fear of losing the dollars) and it blinds us to our TRUE purpose in life. So.....here is my two cents. It's more practical than anything else.

    Start preparing for the future. Stock up on the essentials you need for living. Toothpaste, dry goods, craft supplies, cat litter, striped sox, etc..... and start socking some moolah away for a rainy day. Put your goal in front of you and start skrimping on things you dont need and start saving for things you will need. Make a list for daily things. Write in time schedules for everything you have to do, you need to do, and you want to do. And do them. Allot times for what you have to get done. This will keep you on track. You cant quit your job right now, so you will have to fit that job into your time schedule that is your pathway to life's purpose.

    Remember: Our fear comes from our loss of sense of purpose, our loss of sense of self, our loss of sense of being part of a bigger, more important picture. So, take control of what you *can* control and stop allowing fear to grab you by the throat.

    Start reading Esther Hicks. Start manifesting what you need in your life. What you want. Be affirmative to you everyday. Stop your doubting and start believing in you. Others already believe in you. Now it's time for YOU to believe in you.

    Remember this: If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the now.

    Grab life by the cajones. You only come down this road once. Love Rook xoxo

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    1. Beautifully put! I am blown away by the simplicity of the plan outlined in Rook's second paragraph, and appreciate the quiet encouragement of everything else.

      Peaches, you're hitting that bump in the road that we ALL hit at one point, usually in our 30's. You're doing better than you realize--especially if you are mulling all of these very overwhelming ideas and trying to figure out how to make it all work. The winter dragging on and on probably isn't helping, either. You'll get through it, probably with the help of ice cream and gold glitter and pom poms and your crazy-amazing (cra-mazing?) creativity.

      Personally, I think the coffee-filter manufacturers should be paying for ad space on your pages, based on all the cool and neato stuff you've made out of those things.

      I'm sending good vibes to ya....

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    2. Thanks for that! I will look up Esther Hicks. I'm pretty good at getting the most out of my day everyday (at least that is what I am told) but there is always room for improvement. I don't that my current state of anxiousness is caused by actual fear, or fear of a life that might put me closer to fear on a daily basis. I guess that's what I have to figure out.

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  21. Selfishly, I hope you continue blogging, even if only once in a while. Thank you for your honesty. It is refreshing and encouraging. I have 6 years on you and I still go through this. I say that not to DIScourage, but to ENcourage. I don't know that we EVER grow up, and that is quite all right. It means we continue to evolve and stay interesting! So whatever you decide....well, it'll be swell. Good luck!

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  22. Very insightful post, Peaches. I'd like to meet the person who doesn't experience these feelings at various stages of life. Reinventing yourself now should not preclude blogging… or writing of some sort. It's really your most significant area of creativity, way above and beyond coffee filter flowers, though I do love those, too! Did you ever consider teaching Creative Writing? You'll figure it all out. Meanwhile, Half-The-Fat by Breyer's is delicious.

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    1. Really, Half-The-Fat? Okay. I'll try it. I have become a recent fan of the Trader Joe's brand vanilla (have you tried? Never thought I would be a vanilla advocate -- it's that good). But I trust Breyer's to deliver quality goods.

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  23. Wow did this post hit home! I've been going through much of the same...though I'm in the other part of the population, what with dependents (but also more of a safety net). My blog has been pretty quiet lately too, because I've decided to go after a dream as well. I'm friggin terrified, but I'm attempting to actually get into fabric design after, uhm, a decade of doing pretty much zero with my degree in apparel and textile design. ...I honestly am coming to the conclusion that, by far, the hardest part of this whole, "growing up and following our dreams" thing is taking that first step...getting past the fear of "oh god, what if it doesn't work?" and recognizing that, hey, yeah, if it doesn't work, you'll have to give up on that specific dream, but ultimately that's WAY better than just hiding the dream away, pretending that by never moving towards it, it will somehow magically happen *shakes fist at Disney*. Obviously I don't know what the best direction for you to move in is, but hugs towards getting it figured out!

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    1. Agreed. It's that first step. Like you, I have spent ages getting comfortable with the concept of taking that next step...I just need to go out and do it. And figure out what direction. And put on some sassy shoes, but whatever, it's a step and that's what counts. Right? Right.

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  24. I had just typed a comment about how close to home so much of this post hit for me, but then I accidentally deleted it--Oh well, I guess it's been one of those days. :)

    But the short version: A lot of this rings so true to the kind of internal debates I've been having with myself as of late: Should I take a risk and try to do the thing I love (versus a thing that--sort of barely--pays the bills)? What if I fail? What if I fail because it turns out I'm not good enough? Et cetera, et cetera.

    But everything you said makes me feel like it might be worth the risk, that it might be worth working through my doubts and looking for a way to actually do something that I want to do.

    So for what my two cents is worth, I think that anyone who can inspire folks (folks she hasn't even met!) that way is pretty guaranteed to end up being some kind of awesome at whatever she decides to do.

    I guess the footnotes version of my original comment is: This is probably exactly what I needed to read right about now and I'm so glad you wrote it. (And I absolutely cannot fathom the idea that The Breakfast Club is that old. Then again, it might have been getting a generation old when I first watched it--often and repeatedly--when I was seventeen, but I probably would have refused to believe it was getting old even then.)

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    1. I'm glad we are in this together! The Great Unknown seems lightly less scary when we know we are not alone in our unknowingness.
      :)

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  25. A bit strange to offer my two cents to someone I don't know (usually only give unwanted advice to my children), however here goes. I was struck by the fact that you seem to be happy in your current situation but feel you "should" be doing "more". It sounds like you have, through hard work and walking through the fire, built a daily routine that includes contentment, peace, good friends, challenging projects, laughter and a safe, healthy home. Don't let other people's "shoulds" force you to make changes you aren't comfortable with. You are the only one who can define your wins (and fails). Change might be the right thing for you but I have found that the right path usually presents itself as irresistible (even if it seems on the surface to be leading to a dark and scary place). My advice: until something presents itself as irresistible, enjoy your hard-won peace and be patient. And remember, nobody knows where they are going to be five years from now or even five days, we just like to think we do. I have a wonderful, full life that doesn't look anything like the life I thought I would have. Best wishes and good luck with whatever path you take and thank you for the interesting blog posts.

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    1. I think "should" might be my least favorite word in the English language! I wouldn't want anyone to live by my expectations so I hope I don't push that on anyone else.

      That said, if I look at the good things in my life, hardly any of them came my way by waiting for them to present themselves. Perhaps that speaks to my lack of patience, though.

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  26. I don't want you to stop blogging because I love reading your blog, and since I discovered it a couple months ago, I check it for updates daily. Your blog taught me to embrace the quirky things I love and just display them already (I bought yellow rainboots on this premise). However, you gotta do what you have to do. I only have my own experience to share: When I got out of the Navy I left a (mostly) guaranteed steady income and benefits and a pretty clear career path for the unknown. I had saved up enough money to last a year of unemployment. I didn't really know what my next step was, except that I wanted freedom over myself and my future so badly that I was willing to give up the only career/lifestyle I had known as an adult. Within a week of getting out, I had an amazing job (I applied on a whim in hopes I could work there), and got a puppy a few weeks later and since then I have to say I've had a fabulous time. Whatever you decide, I hope you feel in your heart it is something you are compelled to do. Because when you have that feeling, its inherent that you will work so hard enough to acheive it that you will have no regrets about your decision.

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    1. Inspiration indeed! Thanks, Jess. from what I can see, you look good in yellow so I think those boots were a great choice :)

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  27. It will make sense eventually....and you appear on the right path to get it all worked out. And I can imagine it will be amazing! Thanks for such a great personal post.

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  28. Dear Aunt Peaches...Make your blog a paying membership site. I would sign-up today without asking the cost. You are already familiar with producing regular content so that's not a problem. I would also love to see you in videos...craft demos, interviews with other interesting people, and some "Andy Rooney" type narratives with your interesting perspective on life. Writing a book, creating some craft concoction to sell, craft patterns, etc. will all add to your eminence.

    If blogs are dead, as referenced in that article you mentioned, what is the next big thing? I bet you'll be there to catch it and ride the wind. And please let us know what that thing is so we can come along for the ride.

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  29. Are you familiar with this blog? http://inmyownstyle.com/

    This lady quit her job to start blogging full time. Her husband was laid off and is having a hard time finding a new job, yet she has been able to continue blogging. I bet you can be just as successful.

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    1. No, I haven't, but I will be clicking over now. Thanks!

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  30. Most of my thoughts have been expressed already but just want you to know that you are my idol. Your blog was the inspiration for me to take a leap into blogland even though it may be on its least legs. I envy you living in a big city, your complete control over your living environment, your creativity, how you express yourself with colors and patterns, your humor, your writing style.
    I want to be just like you when I grow up. I'm 60.
    Yep, I'd pay to continue reading. Do you accept PayPal?!

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    1. Kathy, you are far too sweet to say such things, but I appreciate the kind words.

      No plans to charge readers, but I'm glad to hear you would stick around if I did. Made my day :)

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  31. I have no advice, but trust that you are a smart gal and will make the right decision for your life. I only wish you the very best of luck in whatever that decision might be. I would miss your blog dearly, but I would understand if real life took over and you couldn't be as attentive to this space here.
    I did want to thank you for that video; beautiful inspiring stuff right there.

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    1. I WAS WAITING FOR SOMEONE TO COMMENT ON IT. You are the first, Amy! Kindred spirits!

      I heard Doris Day retired from Hollywood and took up something very similar. If I ever win the lotto (not that I have ever bought a lotto ticket, but you know)....a cat Kingdom is what comes next!

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    2. Our kindred spirits are what makes your blog so special, and I do play the loto (or my husband does when it gets up high) & when we win you can come and blog from our cat/pitbull sanctuary. It will be loads of fun!

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  32. LOVELY to see I'm not the only one. I'm staring 40 in the face and I was just accepted into art school. HA! Quit my well-paying job in order to (eventually, hopefully) get a job that will most likely pay less per year than the extremely expensive school I'll be attending? Check. But! Do I want to look back one day and say "I wish I'd done that" rather than HEY! I DID THAT? I think not. By the way, you're awesome.

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    1. Good for you! I went to art school in my early 20's and so wish I had saved it 20 years -- I would appreciate it so much more. You will have such fun. So cool. You go!

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  34. I completely relate to this whole post (like, each and every bit of it). Consider another anonymous stranger found via internet magic to be in your corner, cheering you on, whatever you decide to do. The only useful advice I can offer is something my art teacher used to say to me when I was in a state of unrest: "Trust yourself. Lean into yourself, and trust yourself." If you follow your intuition, everything will be okay.

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  35. Here is a counter point to most of the comments: keep your good job--obviously you are living very well for a single female, so consider yourself a success and soft pedal any big changes in your life. Sometimes after the big 'growth' decade of our 20's, when every year can bring on changes, it can be alarming to 'settle into' our 30's. But realize that this is normal. Our drive to be creative has to be balanced against the simple task of earning a living, and that means it can take a back seat to our daily lives. Welcome to the real world. It's OK to want to be more, but the reality is that in the long run we need to realize that what we do to 'earn a living' is of equal importance. I say this as someone who was raised by children of the great depression and WWII. Find a way to balance your creative urges with what your common sense knows is a good job. Your creativity will always find a place in your life, even when has to share time with earning a living.
    p.s. I am one of your readers who thinks that writing a book is a natural for what you know and do--don't let anyone tell you writing is too much work because you are already doing that with your blog.

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    1. I hear what you are saying. And if my current job was comfortable enough to allow me to live AND save in a way that I could safety (not even comfortably) retire on day, I would stay. As is, that's not an option. It's been great for me but there is no upward mobility. I need less limits on my earnings, and with only so many hours in the day, it's just a question of where to invest my time -- another place of employment, or in myself. Scary prospects indeed!

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  36. Dearest Peaches, your voice and your blog are unique and that is damn hard to find. (I'm getting in all my cursing now, in case you go all global and gentrified...sidebar favorite curse heard as a child was - jesus-jumped-up-christ-in-a-sidecar.)

    I would miss your blog terribly if you moved on, but I would bless you all the same.

    I agree with the person who said, "Do what's best for you."

    For other tips, as one who has done consulting and blogging:

    1.) Greet with skepticism anything someone says you -must- do to be a successful (fill in the blank). For every rule, you can find someone who is successful, and successfully broke that rule.

    2.) Hire/kidnap a good accountant who works with small business owners and knows taxation law very well. If you kidnap, true advice: they love donuts fed at regular intervals. And electronic calculators. They dote on them.

    3.) Find your local SBA government office, local university business school, local women's business association, graphic artist coven, whatever. Yes, I know, you hate group socializing and self-promotion. Grit your teeth, go to some events, eat bad catered food, and ask lots of questions and ask for help.

    4.) Feed Lola lots of treats. This has no business relevance, but I'm sure she'd tell me to say that.

    5.) If all this sounds overwhelming, if any project you're dreaming of feels overwhelming, pick the teeny-tiniest step you can think of, one that doesn't cause you massive resistance. If the half-eaten ice cream calls whenever you think of the step, it's not tiny enough, go smaller. Start teeny tiny and move from there. Tell yourself you'll do 15 minutes of work on whatever, then stop and do some craft with pink feathers - then stop at 15 minutes. The ice-cream kraken has mighty powers, so we do what we must to keep it sleeping and make progress.

    6.) Did I mention kidnapping a CPA and feeding Lola treats?

    7.) Remember there are many who love you, and who will continue to love you, even if you utterly fail or utterly suceed. I will definitely like you either way. A girl who crushes on sparklies and Ira Glass must be good. That's in the Bible somewhere.

    8.) Very little in life or business is either-or. When you hate both choices, try to find a middle way.

    9.) Did I mention we will love you no matter what?

    10.) Your version of success will not look like other people. You are not other people, you were never meant to be, you were meant to be you. So go do it....and don't forget the Lola treats, and some chocolate for you, too.

    Seriously, if you want talk small business with someone, feel free to contact me, but I'm sure you already have many who will give you sage advice. Best wishes!

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    1. Holy cats, what an amazing and thoughtful comment. Golly! Great advice too. I hear you on all counts -- especially about the CPA. Got me a great one last year and he is all kinds of helpful. I don't think I would even be contemplating self-employment without him. I'll take your tip about doughnuts though. He also has a soft spot for rescue cats, so you know he is good people.

      And your right about getting involved with my local SBA -- Evanston has a pretty active one as I understand, and some Meetups too. I should really look into that. The thought of schmoozing gives me hives but it's an important step.

      Thanks again for taking the time, Vanessa. I might come barking up your tree (or jump up your sidecar) down the line.

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  37. Man alive.
    33/34 is rough. I decided to go back to school and become a librarian (previously I was a tattoo artist). I have 2 semesters left and I am trying to live in the NOW because the idea of grad school debt and unemployment makes me want to crawl in a hole and eat brownies by the pan-ful.

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  38. I found this blog posting on Sunday. Sunday is the day i catch up on all my fun for the week. This Blog struck a cord with me since at 34 i started making my major life changes. I firmly believe that i am one of the fortunate people in life... not because of extraordinary amounts of money or an over abundance of family support but because i have the ability to make a living doing what i love. For me it meant going back to school to become a Mental health and addictions counselor. I have 2 1/2 more years of grad school to complete before i can tell the world i am a therapist... but in the mean time i am working in my field. and i love it.
    because i am doing my best and following my heart opportunities seem to be falling into my lap. The last 5 years have been both the toughest and easiest of my life. So how ever you choose to answer these questions for yourself my best "advise" is sell yourself BIG. (as opposed to selling yourself small). As always i have enjoyed reading this weeks posts and i look forward to the one sided conversation again next weekend.

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-AP

 
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