November 17, 2010

It's Been 6 Months

It's been 6 months since my last day of working in an office. How is that possible, because May 17th seems like it was just yesterday!

If you read this blog (all of 8 people, I'm sure!), you've seen some of the things I've done during the past 6 months. And all that has been fine and good.

But my intention when I started this blog was to document this journey. I have to admit, it hasn't really felt like a journey, just more like an extended vacation. I keep waiting to be called back into the office any day now!

And as fun as it is to share pictures of my summer & the beautiful colors of fall, I also want this blog to be something for me to go back to years from now; to see how I got from point A to point B. What stood in my way? What fears did I have? What successes did I see? How did I change?

So I'm going to use this entry to reflect on these things.

What have I been doing?
I'm not exactly sure! Ok, that's not quite true, but seriously, there are days I go to bed & ask myself that same question. And I don't always have an answer!

But here are some things I know I have done:
1. enjoyed this great city I live in
Summer in Chicago is amazing & we've had some pretty spectacular weather! I've enjoyed doing my morning devotions with a cup of coffee sitting in Millennium Park; going to a couple of movies in the park; taking some amazing pictures of Chicago; walking around my neighborhood - including to the new Target that opened 4 blocks from my house! Fall hasn't been too shabby either. Being able to enjoy the changing colors has been a gift.
2. crafted
I've added to my Etsy shop sets of note cards, photos with Scripture on them, a wedding shower kit, pennant banners, fabric blossoms, felt corsages, fine art photographs, personalized photos, a mini album made from a coffee sleeve, gift tags & most recently holiday cards
And there's more that I've made, I just haven't posted them for sale.
My Etsy shop size has increased over 600%, from 10 items to over 60!
3. time with friends & family
In 8 days in June, I helped my brother & sister-in-law move into their first house, prepared for my sister's wedding, was her maid of honor, & helped celebrate my Grandma's 80th birthday. Whew! That was a busy week. The rest of the summer, I enjoyed Wednesday evenings with my small group girls. I had frequent lunches with a dear friend (and former co-worker). Vacationed in Michigan. Spent 3 days in Washington DC with some of my cousins.
4. working a part-time job
This may come as a surprise to some of you since I haven't publicly announced it. I started at the end of October & it's only for the holiday season. I'm working at Paper Source in one of their retails stores. I fell in love with this store the first time I walked in 6 years ago. And when I quit my job, in the back of my mind, it's been my dream place to work. I'm not sure where this will lead, but it's been fun to do something different!

What things have surprised me?
1. My Etsy sales - and by sales, I mean the lack of.
I thought that by increasing the number of items for sale would draw people in, but it hasn't quite worked out that way! I've discovered that as great as the Etsy site is, it's easy to get lost in the mix of it all. It's hard to stand out.
2. How easy it was to adjust to unemployment.
I had no problems going from working 40 hours a week to not working at all. Early on, I had a few moments of "what am I going to do next", but not bad enough to drove me back to the workforce.
3. I miss being around people all day.
I may have not enjoyed my previous job, but I did like most of the people I worked with. When I decided to quit, it didn't even occur to me how important the socialization aspect of a job is. I kinda understand how stay-at-home moms feel - adult conversation is important!

4. After about 4 months, I was ready to get back to work.
At least part time. But not back to what I was doing before. I've been there, done that. Feeling ready for a new job happened much quicker than I thought it would.
5. I am addicted to daytime television!
I can't even turn the tv on in the morning, or it's all downhill. Sad, but true.

What goals have I set?
I didn't really have any goals when I set out on this journey. And perhaps that wasn't too smart. But I didn't really know what to expect & knew that financially I was covered for a year. So I was kinda winging it. But now I need some goals.
1. Find a local crafting community to get involved in
2. Figure out a marketing scheme for my products (and with no marketing experience, that is much easier said than done!)
3. Be accepted into at least one craft and/or art show
4. Find a part-time position to get me out of the house, but also at a company that inspires me creatively (when I originally started typing this post a couple of months ago, this was one of my goals. I guess I can check this one as accomplished!)
5. Create a schedule that allows me to be productive

What have I enjoyed the most?
1. Freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want
2. Being able to be creative whenever the inspiration hit

What do I worry about?
1. Not using my time wisely (I seem to get distracted pretty easily)
2. When I'm ready to go back to work full time, I won't be able to find the right job

What am I thankful for?
1. That I could take a dream I've had for a while & be able to actually live it.
2. The amazing support of my friends & family

How blessed I am!

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