"I went from feeling sluggish and stagnant to powerful and productive while social distancing." ~Janine Rudder
Today is my twenty-fourth straight day at home. With the exception of walks around the neighborhood and brief grocery store runs, I haven't left the house. Neither has my husband or my bonus daughter. We are all just here waiting and wondering together how life after the Covid-19 pandemic will look and feel.
I’ve elevated fun from a “nice to have” in my life to one of my core values, and amazing things have started to happen. ~Janine Rudder
My supervisor is retiring. To celebrate her, the members of her team are creating a video montage of us describing our fondest memories of her. I spoke about her laugh – big, scandalous, and unapologetic. I also highlighted that she has this delightful gift of making fun of most of the situations she encounters. She has made fun and joy an intention in her life, which made her a more effective leader because people believe that she cared about them, not just their work product. I ended my 60 second farewell video by emphasizing that I am better for having known her, and I really meant it.
“I love learning lessons from other people. I don’t think that we all have to live the same tragedies.” ~Priscilla Irvine
Priscilla and I both roamed the halls of Boston Latin Academy in the city’s Roxbury neighborhood with over 1,000 other wide-eyed, yet ambitious teenagers. She was one grade my senior. However, we didn’t meet until, totally by chance, I took a position in the office where she works.
We worked together for over three years. During that time, I was able to witness her transition into motherhood (Priscilla has twin four year old girls). I became especially enthralled and inspired by her pursuit of herself. While striving to be an amazing mom, she also sought to be curious about, and make significant investments in what really matters to her. Priscilla’s goals and visions for her own life never languished.
“It drew us out of our private bubbles and compelled us to confront the reality that a pristine, smiling photo on Facebook doesn’t convey.” Janine Rudder
Over the past 10 years, I’ve become increasingly disillusioned with Christmas. The suffocating consumerism, frenzied pace, and pressure to overspend began defining the holiday season for me. Immediately following Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday, the coupons would flood my inbox, and multiple renditions of the same 5 Christmas songs become life’s soundtrack. I find none of it uplifting. To me it is all a distraction from what really matters.
“I’ve outgrown the self that allowed doubt, fear, and apathy to take the driver’s seat.
I decided to let my brazen, adventurous and rebellious side lead.” ~Janine Rudder
Exactly one year ago, November 2018, I knew that I was on the brink of a transformation, but had no idea how momentous it would be. I had been creating the conditions for change in my life since the beginning of the year and had built up good momentum to leap into what was next. Although I hadn’t fully formed all of the details of the vision, I knew the essence of what I wanted my life to be. That turned out to be enough.
“I wanted to lead in the dance with my finances, not the other way around.” ~Janine Rudder
Since January of this year, I’ve been saving 50% of my after tax income from my primary job and its been surprisingly very satisfying. Full disclosure, I have a few other income streams – teaching Pilates, private coaching practice, and income from my rental property. However, the revenue from all of those sources combined is only a quarter of what I earn from my 40 hour per week job, so it doesn’t yet cover my essentials (housing, food, transportation, etc.). One of my goals for 2019 was to drastically shift my relationship with money. I wanted to lead in the dance with my finances, not the other way around.
“As a woman of color it is absolutely vital that I show up in full command of my self-worth and value.” ~Janine Rudder
We’ve all heard the phrase “walk in like you own the place,” at some point or another. Typically, it’s with a negative connotation and refers to someone’s over-inflated ego or self-aggrandizing behavior. Usually, the phrase user is implying that someone could behave more modestly or adopt a more unassuming approach in a given situation.
"The biggest enemy of your personal boundaries is your willingness to disregard them." ~Janine Rudder
Even though I crossed that threshold many years ago, every so often I reach a milestone that fortifies my place in adulthood. After each of these events, I feel like my path forward is clearer, my belief in my capabilities stronger, and my life more aligned with my values. Lately, establishing and honoring boundaries has been at the heart of these pivotal moments.
"Why have we, as women, gotten so uncomfortable wanting what we want?" ~Janine Rudder
Too many of us have never learned how to honor our real, true desires. This has come up in a number of conversations I’ve had with capable, creative, confident women lately. They’ve been hesitant to express the full magnitude of what they want, apologetic about wanting it, or unable to allow themselves to imagine what a satisfying life would look and feel like.
“Proudly owning my varied talents and interests required a reframing. I had to unlearn what I knew about success, and what is possible, and adopt a new way of thinking about what is truly important.” ~Janine Rudder
This topic speaks so loudly to me, and others in the creative space, that I’m amazed that I hadn’t broached it sooner. For years I’ve engaged in this internal struggle. My natural inclination to be enthralled by many activities and career paths at the same time negates much of what we’ve been taught in Western culture about adulthood, responsibility, and success.