Almost a year ago I made a pretty clear declaration of where I saw my future leading. When I read back through that post, it reminds me so vividly of how I felt and what I was going through. At the time I had absolute clarity on what I wanted, and it set me on a path that I have been dedicated to for the longest time.
I started saving money, planning dates, strategizing, and telling all my closest friends and family my intentions. After that moment, as the year dragged on, I built up more and more of a client base. Working long into the nights and weekends to make work that I could be proud of. It was all moving into place and things were going well. That is until the end of spring.
At the time, I was nearing the end of major projects at my 9-5. The kind of projects that always seemed to suck out all my energy and make me a pretty terrible person to be around. I’d come home every night absolutely exhausted and then force myself to work late into the night on freelance clients, dangling the proverbial carrot in front of myself; “It’s all worth it, because all of this is only temporary. One day it will give and I’ll start the next chapter on my journey.”
Well fast forward about 8 months later, and nothing had really changed. I was in full-blown burn-out mode. I had just almost spent the last whole year working my fingers to the bone to achieve the goal I had set out to accomplish. I kept telling myself that at the end of those projects, I would be done.
Well as always, life throws curve-balls your way.
At the same time that these projects started wrapping up, I was told that an opportunity on another team had opened up, and they wanted to offer it to me. The position would allow me to move beyond my digital expertise and into a larger responsibility for a notable national client.
Appealing opportunities like tv spots, print ads, photoshoots, national campaigns and more, were suddenly on the table. Honestly, I was a little surprised at first! They wanted me? The team was well known within the agency for all the amazing work they were doing. So my first feelings were of a little bit of shock.
“Are you sure they want me?”
“Yes, its already been put into motion.”
It was about the worst time and the best time, for an offer like this to come my way.
After the shock wore off, I started to feel lighter, happier, inspired. I realized I was really excited! This team had a lot more opportunities for the kinds of creative executions that I just wasn’t getting on my old team. So while I was super sad to move on from my tight-knit team, I was equally optimistic and excited to throw myself into a new learning experience.
Once the transition begun, I knew that while this would expose me to new creative experiences, it also meant a lot more hours at the agency. So for about a month or so (the month I was ghosting out over here) I was attempting to balance wrapping up my old projects and starting new ones. Plus trying to finish up some freelance projects, it was getting a little crazy! I was feeling a lot of my energy shifting.
Now that I’m full time on the new team, a lot of it feels, well… new! I’m learning all about different processes, personalities, clients, and the expectations of the team and the work. It’s been such a 180° from my last position’s responsibilities, and I’ve more than welcomed it. But with this change an interesting side affect has started to reveal itself.
I’ve found it more difficult to nurture and invest in my freelance business. Don’t get me wrong, I have a few clients right now and love working with them! It’s still exciting to start a new project and get to know my client’s businesses so well. But with the more demanding hours of my new position and the energy I need to invest there, it’s been more than hard to balance both worlds. Sometimes something’s gotta give.
So after a lot of reflection, discussion, and considering my intentions for the future, I’ve decided to take a break from freelance design work.
Now it doesn’t mean that I will take a break forever. It just means for now. To be totally honest, I am kind of terrified (ok a lot) telling you this. It feels so scary to be this transparent, but I really want to be authentic to who I am, where I’m going, and why. This has been one of the hardest personal decisions I’ve made, especially when I’ve been spending so much energy towards a goal where my freelance business was so integral.
But I realized that I had to be true to myself, and freelance just wasn’t what feels right for me in this moment. I think after going so hard for so long, I just need some time to reset. To take a pause and really see what I can absorb from this new experience, and at the same time give myself some permission to create for just the sake of creating again.
After some reflection, I’ve decided to really take advantage of not working in my downtime to refocus on my original intentions from the start of this year… exploration. I want to use this time to experiment with new passions, interests, and curiosities.
I’m thinking of this as a time to broaden the horizons of my own creative fulfillment.
What does that mean exactly? It means testing out new photography styles, concepting photoshoots, exploring other areas of my life that I’m interested in. Like home goods, wellness, cooking, style, and art. I want to spend more time creating with my hands, instead of a computer. That will all still express itself here, on Observant Nomad.
I want to grow with you, and share what I learn. I want to experiment with new ways of creating content and creative evolve. It’s so freeing to open your limitations beyond your usual mediums, and I’ve already come up with all kinds of content I want to start exploring. In the end I just want to tell you that I hope you’re as excited as I am to share this new direction with me, and see what I can create.
When my good friend Rachel invited me to join her on a special weekend getaway with fellow foodies, local entrepreneurs, and creative types, I only had one answer. A resounding yes. I had no clue what we would be doing, where we would be going, or even what the whole thing was about. I just knew I had to say yes to any new adventures that came my way.
All we did know was that we had to pack a small overnight bag and dress for some potential light hiking and hanging around the campfire. It was such a wonderful experience to show up to a pre-planned trip where I didn’t have to worry about any of the logistics or hosting. And once we arrived at the meeting spot we were welcomed with hot cups of fragrant coffee from Novo Coffee and plenty of tasty breakfast treats. We mingled and chatted with some acquaintances and friends who were all in the unknown right along with us.
After a few hours of riding deep into the far east of Colorado, we finally landed in Pawnee National Grasslands. The magical sight of towering canvas tents greeted us in the distance. We were at the Makery Experience.
Once we unloaded and settled in, the spectacular detail of the scene before us was finally clear. Imposing white stone buttes rose in the near distance, soft blue-green sage and tall wheat stalks swayed all around us, with cacti appearing here and there among them. Twinkling patio lights lined the walkways and encompassed the teepee poles. A huge fire pit was smoking ready to roast the delicious food being prepared by Western Daughters.
It was overwhelmingly beautiful.
I’ve using Pinterest a lot more than usual lately. Maybe there’s an influx of amazing inspiring images, colors, patterns lately. Either way, I’ve been going ga-ga over a lot of my pins and finding inspiration in the themes that seem to appear there. So I gathered my favorites for today to feel a little refreshed and inspired.
Besides a similar color palette, I think a lot of these images have an imperfectly perfect feeling to them. The ocean waves smoothly washing over the grainy sand. The torn edges of a collaged photograph. And the imperfect repetition of the hands in a pattern. Sometimes the most beautiful art is the one executed freely.
You might be curious where I’ve been these last couple months. And what can I say? It’s been a while since we’ve had a little check-in with what’s going on in my neck of the woods.
So I thought, let’s put together a little recap of what I’ve been up to lately this summer.
Last time we chatted I was moving into a new house with my guy (eeek!) and what can I say? It’s been harder than I imagined! We both knew it was going to involve some changes, compromises, and challenge us, but I’m not going to lie, it’s been a tad difficult. We’re doing the normal expected things like trying to get used to each other’s little idiosyncrasies and rhythms. But layering that with our shared stubbornness and independent personalities – it’s been a ride.
During all this we’ve also been working hard on projects for the house. Planning decor DIYs, figuring out how to organize the home, and fill the space in a thoughtful but not cluttered way. But now that we’ve had our housewarming party, there’s a layer of stress that’s been lifted. We seem much more settled and less focused on working on projects every night. Which has done wonders for our moods and things are balancing out.
Now we can each enjoy our own nighttime rituals and social lives without worry. We’ve also started a standing date night on Fridays. We take turns planning them, which is a great way to feel connected and create meaningful habits into what has been a big change.
In an effort to balance the stress and effort we’ve been putting into our home, we’ve also gone on a couple camping trips so far. Early in the summer we went on a little impromptu off-road trip near Nederlands, CO. We ended up doing some fishing, camping off of a backpacking trail, and visited a local mountain brewery.
For the Fourth of July though, we made a big trip up to Grand Lake near Granby, CO. We have a secret camping spot high above the town and surrounding areas that we really loved. It was the perfect view and we were even able to see about four different firework shows from up there! It was sort of crazy awesome.
We spent our days sipping spiked tea + lemonade, listening to country music, playing yard games, and we even whipped together a traditional shrimp boil – which was delicious and so flavorful. We took one day to walk around Grand Lake and sample the local shops, bars, and food.
While we were there, I knew we had to try paddle-boarding. No classes required, we simply rented a couple boards and slowly paddled around the lake and inlets. Sometimes we dangled our feet into the cold water and laid on our backs soaking in the warm sun. I had so much fun that now I really want to get one of my own. I found it a nice leisurely lake activity, and I can see why people love it so much.
When we were back in the city, I made sure to find ways to really squeeze the most out of the season and enjoy our new neighborhood. This summer I bought a Denver Passport which is a little booklet that allows you to grab 2-for-1 drinks all over Denver at the newest hot spots. Denver’s culinary scene has been exploding for the last couple of years, so it’s been a really cool way to try new places, or visit the places we’ve always wanted to go.
I’ve also signed up for theDoor to Door Organics bi-weekly box and I am loving the influx of fresh produce and fruit. We’ve gotten all kinds of delicious things like juicy watermelon, soft apricots, fresh squash, and crisp bushels of kale. It’s forcing us to eat a lot more healthy dishes and even challenges me to find new recipes and ideas for it. I’m pretty excited to keep going through the winter months when it’s tougher to eat well.
A few other things that have developed this summer include getting back to some of my past creative and mindful practices. With moving into the new house, there’s been enough space for me to develop an at home studio! It’s been a pretty exciting opportunity – but one I haven’t really put a ton of energy or focus into. The room has sat kind of in disarray and been a bit purposeless. At the time I had every intention of creating an at-home office where I could work on freelance clients and other creative projects, but as I mentioned, there have been some changes to my work so that had to take a pause.
Now that everything is a little clearer – I have different ideas for the space. I really want to turn it into a place for play. A place for exploration, experimentation, and creative challenges. A place to try new photography, styling, design. And get back to my original creative loves – painting, drawing, and art. I even did a quick abstract painting a couple weekends ago to fill my guest bedroom.
After the housewarming party, I knew I wanted to re-focus on being healthy and active again. So I’ve slowly started to build momentum towards renewing my yoga practice and trying to slowly work my way back into healthy habits.
Well, that pretty much sums it all up. Now that I look back, this summer has been quite nice. Full of change, challenges, growth and new opportunities. I feel like it’s right on the cusp of coming to fruition, which I’m a bit anxious for. These last couple months have felt a little like hibernating or watching events in and around my life play out. Now I’m ready to step back into a more active role and make things happen. From creative challenges, to personal goals, I’m feeling like things are slowly coming together and I can’t wait to see where it leads.
all photos by observantnomad. follow me on instagram to see life unfold in real time.
Where do I even begin?! You might have noticed I haven’t written anything in this space for quite some time.
I don’t really have a deliberate reason. It was just something that organically occurred once I got back from Moab in June. Everyday after Moab came and went I had every intention of writing a new post. I had all kinds of content planned, ideas to share, thoughts and events to talk about, but I couldn’t find it in myself to sit down and start the next draft.
Instead I found myself making plans for the new house, sketching decor ideas, planning our housewarming party, and throwing myself into new opportunities at work (more on that later).
So when I couldn’t reconcile the nagging feeling I was having about my lack of interest in posting, I chatted with my biggest creative cheerleader – mom.
She totally gets that I’m a free-spirit, and that usually entails a waning attention to many of my creative expressions, or a sudden change in mind when it comes to my life and it’s direction. So when I mentioned to her that I was finding it difficult to feel inspired by the blog, or blogging in general, she simply smiled and nodded her head.
She told me it was natural to feel our energies shift and change. It didn’t mean I would give it up all together, it just meant that there were other areas of my life that needed my energy for the time being. Oh yea, all kinds of hippie dippy stuff. I love it.
Once she explained this energy theory though, it made complete sense.
Other aspects of my life; like moving in with my guy, changes in work loads, and focusing on enjoying the summer, has moved my energy into those areas of my life. What solidified what she was saying for me was that I truly felt no guilt, concern, or worry about shifting my attention to different areas of my life.
For what has been literally years, I’ve spent pretty much all my attention on my work. From making sure I was succeeding at my 9-5 to taking on too much freelance work, I’ve always put work first. For the longest time I’ve had the luxury of living alone and a taxing lifestyle that comes with agency life. So sacrificing a few more hours never felt that difficult. I never felt guilty giving up Saturdays with friends to work on my personal clients. At the time, it was what made the most sense. It was where I was suppose to invest my energy.
But I think with the shifts in my life lately (moving in with the guy, making travel plans, and changes in my job) has forced my energy to refocus. And for the last couple months my energy has been elsewhere. Not here, not in the blog. I’m sorry for that, but it has been what was right for me.
With that said, now that I’ve taken some time away to focus on other places, it’s given me a new sense of clarity and purpose with the blog. I feel ready to come back but in new and different ways. Ways that bring me more excitement than it has in some time.
Can’t wait to get back to documenting my life here and exploring all of my creative passions in different ways.