that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I feel like such a horse's a$$ making you wait for this post. Your empty email threats were just the motivation I needed to put something in writing today. In truth I planned on 'revealing all' in the last post, but then the word count got away from me and it started to read like a mini-autobiography and... ain't nobody got time for that.

I did a lot of reading back in June. Book after book of everyday unfulfilled women/mothers turned inspirational goddesses when they crashed hard enough and stopped long enough to hear their souls crying for change. I read how these women found - and followed - their bliss and became so nauseatingly happy they wrote books about it. At first read I was annoyed (and jealous) of their joy, their success, their glossy book covers and pretty head shots, but as time passed and pages flipped I began gagging less and day dreaming a bit more and then one night an epiphany...

their story will become my story. 

Determined to join them in their happiness, I wrote out "my wish list" and started looking for clues to unlock my new no-holds-barred happiness.

In truth, I imagined this final post on my quarter life crisis to be an emotional one #storyofmysummer and I assumed I'd want document all the Oprah ah-ha moments I experienced along the way (there were MANY), but now that I'm sprinting down this new path, the forward momentum is keeping me from looking back. I'm sure I'll want to write about it one day, the "once upon a time" to my happily ever after, but for now I'll just let you know how the next chapter begins...

say whaaaaa?! yup, I'm 2 tests away from being a certified wedding coordinator and just 1 month away from my BIG business launch! (think giveaways). I literally used to stay awake at night thinking about how much fun it would be to own my own creative business; I'd come up with brand identities and brainstorm all the thoughtful thank you gifts I could send to clients. I'd fall asleep thinking "dang I wish stylized photo shoots and storyboard blog posts could be part of my day job". Fast forward to August 6th, 2013... now I'm lying awake ALL night jotting down ideas in my bedside notebook and drafting a mile long to-do list for MY business. OH MY GOD I FREAKING LOVE IT! every sleepless second of it. Had I known quitting my job was going to be this awesome I would have done it years ago (although I know wouldn't have been ready back then).

I'm thrilled that so many of you had guessed event planner; of course it's been on my 'list of dream jobs' since I was old enough to eat "cake", but I forever discounted it as being too risky a career choice for stability hungry me. It wasn't until a girlfriend of mine in the wedding industry called and said, "dude you need to plan people's weddings" that I actually started considering it and you know what? it doesn't feel risky at all. 

EVERYTHING in my life has prepared me for this role - even that university degree I started to regret is proving useful. I mean when you really break it down, social work is just professional problem solving and relationship building (and what emotionally charged day doesn't need those skills?). Plus my sense of humour, bossy take charge personality, undiagnosed OCD, photographer stalking, bargain hunting and love affair with baked goods and DIY projects lend themselves perfectly to my new venture and finally make sense. It was even brought to my attention during last weekend's event that my red hair (which has always prevented me from being a wallflower) helps me stand out in a wedding crowd, "go find Sara, the girl with the red hair".

So there you have it my friends, the conclusion AND beginning of my story for which you have all had a part in.

1000 words, 1 photo: consider yourself warned.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

When I was little, we're talking 9 or 10, I used to help my mom host dinner parties. She'd put on Shania Twain music and I'd put on my apron and flit around to "who's bed have your boots been under' lighting candles and putting sweet peas in the guest bathroom. I called myself Cinder-Sara (a nickname that still haunts me today) and I quite liked pressing napkins and making place cards out of crayola markers and folded pieces of card stock. I was always crafting things: 'do not disturb' signs, origami throwing stars, contracts for the 'Little Maids Club' we started because we were too young to babysit.

As I got a bit older and a lot more passionate about dance - yup I was a dancer (even with these thighs), - I fell in love with backstage. The quick changes, the exaggerated cues, the hard whispers, the good luck hugs. It was utter and ugly chaos right up until the moment we sashayed onstage with high buns and ruby red lips. The audience saw nothing but smiles and well choreographed perfection in blush pink pointe shoes.

Over the years I'd forgotten about these Sara'isms. I forgot that the sole reason I signed up for grad committee senior year was to have input on prom decor. That I colour coded my closet and watched taped episodes (VHS) of Colin Cowie on Oprah. I'd forgotten about the dorm room mood board I created out of magazine clippings and glue sticks. I'd forgotten that after graduation I moved to Kamloops to pursue a Hotel & Resort Management degree. It didn't matter that the curriculum excited me or that I got the highest mark in every single one of my classes,

I turned 19 and reality came knocking. 

All my friends were off becoming doctors and nurses and teachers and I was what? becoming a banquet manager? My ego and entrepreneurial spirit directed me towards a Bachelor of Commerce and off I went to Calculus class. In hopes of meeting a boy with an accent, I applied to study abroad and was accepted into a university in France. Prior to my departure I moved escaped to the Okanagan after a failed tree planting effort and who should I meet that summer?


Insert true love. I gave up Paris and he gave up the right side of his bed. Ten months later we were engaged, I enrolled in the Social Work program and Trev started SilverCrest Trucking & Excavating. Fast forward 10 years - a house, a business, a degree, a blog, 2 babies, an intact marriage, 6 years of pensionable service and an air of smugness. By society's standards we were doing okay.

but then I turned 30. 

despite all our acquisitions and pats on the back, my feelings of inadequacy were stronger than ever. I was hyperaware of all the things I was failing at and who was doing them better than me - parenting, blogging, exercising, decorating, dressing myself, dressing my kids, playdates, date nights, girls' nights, photography, work. I was suffocating. Drowning in self-doubt and self-imposed expectations. 

I became the meanest bully on the playground and my target was me. Not good enough, try harder, be better, you can't give that up, you can't drop that ball, this is your fault, you chose this, look at you.

I became angry. The 'I wanna flip a table and punch a wall' kinda angry (which is slightly out of character for me). 

The child welfare system in B.C. is broken and no matter how loud I screamed - and trust me I did - it just kept rolling along bulldozing everything that stood in its way. I was a casualty of the machine and this sort of political injustice infuriated the h-e-double hockey sticks outta me. I fought the good fight but at the end of the day I was the only one left with any scars. 

Insert stress leave.

Did I choose the wrong career? That question scared the bejeezus outta me. Between school and work I'd dedicated over 10 years of my life to the profession of social work; that's 1/3 of my existence. Could I really just give it all up? And even if I did, even if I was brave enough, what would I do?

You all know what happens next. I spent the next 7 weeks crying and reflecting on how I got here and where I needed to go next? I called on friends, called in favours and found enough peace within myself to hear the answers to my above questions*.

*I can't believe I just wrote that last line; it sounds totally barf but it's totally true. 

I'm not a sit around and wait kinda gal, but when all the wise women in my life told me to "calm the f*ck down", write out a career wish list and trust in the universe/God - I took their advice and what happened next both shocked me and shook me. I still get goosebumps just thinking about it and you will too (I think hope).

Ummm since when do I type novels? Jeesh. Sorry guys, I'm a bit longwinded this evening #clearly. I probably should've started things off with "Dear Diary". Anyways I'm going to leave you with that and see - based on all the above and what you already know about me - if you can guess what my next chapter will be? How it all came to be is absolutely insane and I think you'll all agree it's the perfect fit. I can't wait to hear your predictions (no cheating for those who already know) and share my newest news.


P.S. I'm 99% certain that if I didn't have this blog and all your wonderfully inspiring and encouraging messages I would not have made this leap. It was your faith and the support of my family, friends and mentors that gave me the push I needed to free fall. Moral of the story: if you anticipate a life crisis in the future, start blogging now.

P.S.S. blog rule #88 clearly states that no post should be published without a photo. remember my dilemma in the Winners' change room? I asked, you answered and here I am in the little jade dress channeling my inner Syndey Poulton (the pockets proved VERY handy - is that a pun? I can't tell).

open bars oughta be illegal.

Monday, August 12, 2013

looks like someone didn't do her homework. 

if you recall I was gonna fill you in on the final chapter of my "did I just quit my job?" journey but instead I watched 10 episodes of 'House of Cards' and nursed the worst wine hangover in the history of Sara.

there's a reason I don't consume alcohol all that regularly and Saturday was evidence of this. instead of taking in all the Island sights as planned, Trev & I made our way to the Victoria Airport a whole 6 hours early and watched Kevin Spacey screw over the White House while I threw back at least 1/2 dozen vitamin waters.

on the bright side the Island was almost as beautiful as the wedding we attended... check out this chuppah (I hope I said that right?). Jessie & Dan are truly 2 of the most amazing people - maybe if I play my cards right I'll be reincarnated as a grandchild to their future children. 

in true Amazing Race reject fashion, Trev and I flew into Vancouver on Thursday afternoon, hopped on a skytrain to Bridgeport Station, caught the 620 bus to Tsawwassen, shared a disgusting plate of poutine aboard the ferry, rode the #72 bus to Sidney, transferred onto the #83 and proceeded to pick up our itty rental car before driving the remaining 50 minutes to Cowichan Bay. Mr. Knol and I don't do cabs and almost didn't do jets when Trev realized he didn't have ID to board the plane!! loooong story. always is.

anyways when we finally arrived we felt like we were transported to a small fishing village off the coast of P.E.I. we spent a good chunk of our vacation talking to locals about the merits of living on boats. for non-boat/mainland people this lifestyle is extremely fascinating. one lady told us she bought a boat for $2000, put another 2-G's into renovating it and now she and her 3 children live afloat year round for a mere $360/month in moorage fees. can you imagine living in cramped quarters with THREE little ones? she's a better woman than I.
so yes we had a wonderful time (minus the throwing up); it was a nice distraction to the fact that I'm now unemployed. I continue to have mini-panic attacks about this fact throughout the day, but I'm hoping they'll subside as success replaces insecurity.

the fact that so many of you are embarking on your own personals journeys - pursuing your own happiness - is making me unbelievably giddy. thank you for sharing your stories with me, for sharing this process with me and for sharing nuggets of wisdom like this with me...

Whatever you hold in your mind will tend to occur in your life.
If you continue to believe as you have always believed, you will continue to act as you have always acted.
If you continue to act as you have always acted, you will continue to get what you have always gotten.
If you want different results in your life or your work, all you have to do is change your mind.
- Anonymous

drunk Sara vs. hungover Sara 
(neither is pretty)

I quit my job.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

yup I'm a quitter. 
Trev & I are off to Vancouver Island for a weekend of drinking fun, but you'll have my full report on your desk by Monday 9 a.m.

the month I pinned every inspirational quote known to woman.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

I really don't like this photo of me - in fact I sorta hate it - and it's not the photographer's fault, they didn't make my smile 1 part teeth 2 part gums (that's just bad mouth genetics). My giant gum bearing grin is something I try really hard to tone down. In truth I've spent the last 30 years of my life (okay maybe 26 as I can't imagine 3 year old Sara caring too much) trying to tone everything about me down: my laugh, my hips, my ideas, my lips, my emotions, my hair, my personality... 

For as long as my brain can remember, I've wanted to be smaller, quieter, shorter, less passionate, more palatable. 

perfectly petite. pretty. passive.

basically everything I'm not - a skinny, flawless, non-competitive, drama free, secret keeper. I desperately wanted to be girly that girl who didn't have to worry about finding a prom date or cellulite or getting straight A's. I wanted to wear cut off shorts and a tan - and an unrestrained smile.

So why did I post a gummy headshot of myself? because people mistake my confidence as me being confident. Sure I may be outgoing and own a blog, but that doesn't mean I don't have insecurities or dark moments or host dinner parties in spanx. 

I harbour A LOT of feelings (both good and bad) and have spent the last 7 weeks holed up in a travel trailer reading every 'what colour is your parachute?' self-help book known to man and you know what I've learned?

I'm a good person. 
A person worthy and deserving of good things... and when I actually started believing this, good things started to happen.

I'm sure there's a lot of eye rolling going on, I know my eyeballs would certainly be doing some socket laps after reading all this (along with unfriending and blogroll deleting), but I know one of the reasons many of you tune in week after week is because I'm honest. Sometimes brutally so...

and if I'm being honest, striving to be someone I wasn't almost put me in a straightjacket. Instead of a padded room I opted for an embarrassing stress leave. Probably the most painful yet amazing thing to ever happen to me (aside from giving birth x 2 which was pretty freaking amazing... and painful). 

While I'm not advocating that everyone abandon their day jobs, I am encouraging those who are experiencing any kind of unhappiness or unfulfillment to slow down on the hamster wheel. 
Take a moment. 
A few deserved breaths. 
Remind yourself of your long forgotten childish childhood dreams. Take inventory of all the wonderful and not-so-wonderful things that make you YOU and fall in love with them (or at least stop hiding them). 

How fitting I'm posting this on a Sunday. 

End of sermon.

* me & Mr. Maraboli's quotes have become well acquainted .

I promise there's only one more post like this, the conclusion of my "journey" (coming sometime in August) and then it's back to regular programming. 

xo Preacher Knol 
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