Wednesday, October 24, 2007

When life hands you lemons, plant a lemon grove

For reasons I don't need to get into, this October has been a particularly difficult month for me personally. Having walked on this green Earth for over four decades, I am enlightened enough to know that there is an ebb and flow to life that we mere mortals can't control, and sometimes we just have to hang on and ride that wave of unhappiness to shore, and hope and pray there's not a tsunami coming right behind it.

In 2001 I lost my big, muckety-muck job in Gotham, and at that moment in time, I couldn't imagine a worse fate; single, unemployed (in a post 9-11 New York, no less), and in my 3o's! I cried for days, ate a lot of comfort foods, then woke up one sunny, bird-chirping morning, and decided the pity party was over. So, I grabbed a sheet of paper and a pen, and I made a life list. Of course I could have written down a hundred things that I wanted out of life—to look like Angelina Jolie, for Bill Gates to hand me a blank check, to fit into my jeans from high school—but I kept it tight and realistic. I knew that I didn't want to go back to the 7am - 7pm rigors of working for a corporation, so at the top of the list was that I wanted to be my own boss. I felt unchallenged creatively at that time, so another goal was to spend more of my free time cooking, and crafting, and becoming a more artistic being. And, since I always wanted to write a book, that went on there as well (I ignored the fact that I had never written a short story, much less a book). The next day I hung up my proverbial 'shingle' and started Suzanne Brown Design, which has—despite the many highs and lows that go along with owning your own business—provided me with a wonderful, freedom-filled life. Naturally, being my own boss allowed me more hours in the day (I was no longer falling asleep on the sofa at 8pm in my work clothes) to begin exploring photography, and cooking, and crafting, which in turn started me writing, and the next thing I knew, I was writing a book. Oh, and I somehow realized that my best friend would make a pretty good husband (I was right), so I got married, too. So you see, it was that singular event of losing my job, and being thrown into uncertainty, and—at times—despair, that I was able to craft a brand new life for myself.

After three supremely crummy weeks (which culminated today by running over a chipmunk!) I decided it was time to make a new life list. I wanted to put down in writing what my goals for the next five years are, for if there is one thing that 2001 taught me, it's only when you stop dwelling on the ebbs, and start focusing focus on the flows, that a truly wonderful life presents itself.

1. To write a second book.
2. To get back to Africa.
3. To get a regular TV slot/program.
4. To build a new home with a great kitchen and enough closets.
5. To take a vacation with my entire family, like we did when we were kids.
6. To somehow—and I'm not sure how, but I want to figure it out—make a difference in this world.
7. To never run over a chipmunk—or any other living creature, for that matter—again.
7. And to someday fit into my skinny jeans from high school. : )

What's on your life list? Let me know!

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