I was out in Austin all last week for work reporting from SXSWedu. I had a blast and learned a ton. There are so many amazing educators and entrepreneurs (and edupreneurs) doing innovative work to help improve education for everyone. It was super inspiring and caused me to do a little soul searching about my own life path and what I do.
Related... I just found out about some exciting changes in my work. This evening, after celebrating with my sister over a glass of wine and catching up on GIRLS, we talked about what we both want to accomplish this year and I begged her for help on what I want to do in my outside-of-work time. She reminded me most people just go to work and then go home. But I'm not most people (and you shouldn't be either!).
The real question I've been struggling with is why I do what I do (blog, write, make things, take photos...). I know even the people that look like they've got it all figured out may not even know why they are working so hard or what their real reason for doing it is. I'm not interested in fame or even money, I just want to wake up everyday and feel inspired, and hopefully inspire others. I know what I love to do: build relationships, create, travel, and write. In my new job I'll be able to do most of these things, but I still think I need an outlet (this blog!) to share projects I do on the side. And I've decided they are just projects -- this year is about creating for the sake of creating and seeing where it takes me.
I decided a while ago I don't want to make things just to sell them with no greater meaning or contribution to the world. (it's totally fine if you do this, but it's just not for me). And on the blogger front, I'm more into creating than consuming...critically thinking about things instead of just trying to sell ad space or talking about an outfit created out of various brands. This might not be business savvy - but it's much more true to myself.
For the forseeable future I'm going to focus on learning and creating. As my mom has alway said, I process things by writing and getting lost in my work. I get lost in my work during the day at work, which is awesome, and for some reason I still have to have another creative outlet to be lost in my work at home. Like, making chalkboards with my sister today. It does beg a bigger question - why make just to make? But then, that's my stress relief...and somethings are bigger projects that you can build on, like working on a longer essay or painting (I don't paint, but if I did!). I'm still a little bit scattered in those projects, but I do feel a good sense of what I like to do and what I spend my time on, which is a start.
What's awesome is there are so many things you can make. You can make a sweater out of reclaimed fabric or a visually-compelling blog post. You can make a beautiful meal or a social campaign. I'm lucky I get to make all these things -- at work and at home -- and I'll be sharing some of them here! My sister and I will be attempting to make one thing (or work on part of a thing) everyday for the next month and share on instagram using the hashtag #etxemade.
Get furniture for my new house. We spent all day at Ikea the Saturday before last, but in the end we accomplished this goal. Unfortunately the locally-made dining table we've been waiting for was made the wrong size, so I'm still eating my breakfast standing up in the kitchen.
Practice German. I could have practiced more, but I'm using this awesome app called Memrise. Wunderbar!
Set up home studio. I did it! I took me all last weekend to make my table, hang my corkboard and make a dresser in my room so my clothes had a place to go, but it's done. Now time to create!
MY GOALS THIS WEEK
Make something everyday. Or work on the making of something. Things I make at work count.
Go on a run. I now live across the street from the park AND it's not snowing anymore. Woohoo!
Wrap up my SXSWedu coverage. I'm working on a project for work that I'm really excited about but it is kind of hard and new and scary for me. I'm figuring it out.