My passion project: Reclaiming my power so I can be here for everyone else

passion and success quote from Walter CronkiteThe NaBloPoMo prompt for today is: Are you pursuing a passion project?

It is funny that this prompt comes today. Since last week I have been mulling over a blog post about how women set personal and professional goals and prioritize life so they can be better to themselves, their children, spouses, and what have you. I am my passion project. I am reclaiming my power so I can be better all-around.

Have you ever been in a really dark place but didn’t know it until you came out of it? That’s how I feel about my whole life. Nothing bad has really happened, in the scheme of all that could happen. But life HAS happened, and somewhere, I think a VERY long time ago, I lost myself. My mother would say that sometime in the tween/pre-puberty years, I lost my power.

And so I’m trying to take the power back by taking the time to pursue my professional goals, which to be honest are also my personal goals. After having my kids and being home with them it has become obvious that I wanted, no NEEDED to have a career. I HAVE to be successful at something outside of raising my family. I need that validation that comes from having a successful career. I need to use my brain or I go to very deep, dark places. Also, someday both of the kids will be in school, and I don’t want to be a droid working in an office. I need to keep myself fresh so I can take off when they do.

But for a while I didn’t know what to do for a career. I knew I needed to do something that I could do mostly from home. We need the income, but the cost of going to work is outrageous. Plus I still want to be home with my kids. I still want to be here after school, and have the flexibility when they are sick, or there is a vacation day. Or to be a room mother. Or whatever.

I also knew I need to create, so after a lot of trial and error, I decided on graphic and web design, and later, blogging. I already have a ton of student loans, so I didn’t feel like I could justify another degree. So I had to totally retrain myself. With several years of training and practicing behind me I am spending less time working for money doing jobs I hate, and more time building my business. I am now taking risks (by not working as much for pay) and spending a lot of time writing, networking, and working for free to build my portfolio and reputation. This is not easy on the family since I do still have to work for pay, and so I have to squeeze a lot in to every day. But we manage, and we are all learning how to better manage our time and fulfill each others needs. And I am much happier.

I HAD to find something that was me. I was not being a good mother. I was not being a good wife. I was not being good to me. I had to find an outlet for my creative energy and emotions. Simply being at home is not good for me. I need contact. And I am not afraid to say I need validation. Who doesn’t?

I am my passion project and I am taking my power back, and we are all better for it.

What is your passion project? Have you, or do you plan to make time to pursue your own goals? Do you think it is important for you to do this in order to be good to everyone around you?

Parade Passion!

Ithaca Festival Happiness
Parades are my secret passion!

I know this sounds really silly, but I am passionate about parades. I am so passionate about them, in fact, that they make me cry when I see them. No joke, if I wasn’t embarrassed and I let myself, I would cry my eyes out with happiness during parades. And in fact, I have. My husband and I joke that parades make me inappropriately emotional. It’s true. And forget about it if there is someone or some group in the parade that is overcoming some sort of adversity. I’m done for! I want to run right out in the street and hug them and slobber all over their shoulders.

I have two favorite parades, and neither one of them are the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I do enjoy the tradition of it though; hanging out and making food and having the parade on in the background.

“Mom, mom! Hurry! Spiderman is coming!”

Or, “Ben, get in here! Justin Bieber is about to sing!” (Don’t get too excited folks, I doubt the Biebs is going to be in the parade this year.) Okay, so maybe the Thanksgiving Parade IS in fact one of my favorites.

That means my OTHER two favorite parades are the Ithaca Festival Parade and the Happiness Parade at the Finger Lakes Grassroots Festival.

The Ithaca Festival Parade is the kick-off to the Ithaca Festival, which is an annual music and art event. This parade draws not only a huge crowd, but also a very diverse lineup. Think Volvo Ballet and Chainsaw Marching Band.

Volvo Ballet
Volvo Ballet
Chainsaw Marching Band
Chainsaw Marching Band

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is some of the best happiness you will ever experience.

That is, until a little later in the summer when you are met with the Happiness Parade.

Happiness Parade at Grassroots
Happiness Parade at Grassroots

This parade takes place on Saturday afternoon of the festival, at 3:00, which actually always turns out to be about 4:00. This is very close to the height of the festival, while people are still happy and before they are totally burned out. Basically people who want to march gather and dress up in crazy outfits, or paint their boobs, or do nothing special at all, and march around the festival grounds being happy and playing instruments. The only point to this is to just be happy. And make me happy it does. To the point of tears.

I am passionate about parades because people gathering in common happiness, peacefulness, and joy is enchanting to me. It is a very special piece of humanity that I love.