#240 - 249. Honest Question: How Do I Meditate without Going Crazy?

I love the idea of meditation.... but how in the heck do you do it?!

I love the idea of meditation.... but how in the heck do you do it?!

Meditation. I hear it's super important. Really good for you. Right up there with exercising-and-eating-right good for you. Listen, I know some people have real problems, but between the nine weddings we're juggling this summer (including our own), a few drives across the entire state of Wisconsin and just our regular lives, things have felt hectic.

I wanted more calm. Hence, meditation. 

My goal: 30 days of mediating at least once a day for 10 minutes. Seemed pretty straight forward and this guy made is sound essential in his TED talk. Of course, I had zero idea of how to do it. But that's what the Internet is for!

Armed with the Simply Being app, a candle and a comfy place to relax, I was ready to do this thing!

Day One (Tuesday)

The Simply Being app. The reviews said it was great for beginners. 

The Simply Being app. The reviews said it was great for beginners. 

I rolled out of bed at 6:15 am, threw on a pair of sweats and a hoodie and headed for my newly beautified porch. I put in my headphones and queued up the Simple Being app. Some new-agey music softly played as a woman with a calm voice lazily stated:

Let's begin by finding a comfortable position. 

It sounded more like "lesssbegin by finding a comfortable position." I decided to sit with my legs out straight, back propped up on some pillows.

Now close your eyes. This is a time to simply..... be. 

Let go of whatever you think you have to do...

Simply be aware of your surroundings. 

Hmmm... birds chirping, car whizzing by, a light breeze. I am so aware.

Your mind may be very busy with thoughts. It doesn't matter. Thoughts come into the mind spontaneously. Let them go the way they come. 

Thoughts about breakfast, coffee, why that bird is so damn loud... my mind was very busy with thoughts. At first, it was easy to let them go. But next thing you know, I realized I was doing the math on how many Simply Being apps would have to be sold for the whole thing to be profitable. Next thing you know, ten minutes had flown by. I felt okay. 

Day Two (Wednesday)

Woke up at the same time and did the exact same steps. This time, I realized the Simply Being voice sounds exactly like Tig Notaro. I felt the urge to mock the Simply Being woman. 

Day Three (Thursday)

In the hopes of not mocking fake Tig Notaro, I downloaded new app (Meditation). It ended up being the same woman's voice (!), but with more variety. The morning session was okay. Later in the day, I had a stressful moment at work and tuned into a seven minute meditation session. It actually helped a lot. 

Day Four (Friday)

Did my morning thingamagig, but felt apathetic about it. 

Day Five (Saturday)

Josh and I were visiting his parents in eastern Wiscossin. I wasn't going to let this change of venue deter me from meditation! I took a seat out on the deck at 7 am and popped in my headphones. Tig started talking. I was just getting into it, when I suddenly "became aware" that Josh's dad was watching me from the kitchen. I was embarrassed, panicked and quit.

Day Six (Sunday)

Skipped due to previous day's weirdness.

Day 7 (Monday)

Had a lot of anxiety about my morning meditation, but did it anyway. Feeling really bad about the fact that doing nothing for 10 minutes is actually making me more anxious. 

Why does nothing make me nuts?!

Why does nothing make me nuts?!

Day 8,9 & 10 (Tuesday - Thursday) 

Still feeling anxious. I loathe getting out of bed in the morning because I don't want to do this anymore. By Thursday, I decide I am probably not doing it right. I think I need some guidance in the form of an actual person, not just some app I got on iTunes for $0.99. I quit.

I stopped 30 full days short of my 30 day goal. BUT I am willing to give it another go, I just need some assistance!

Can you help me?

Are you all into meditation? How did you start? Any advice for a newbie? Is there a place in the Twin Cities than can help me learn? Is there such thing as a walking meditation (where I get to walk)? That just seems like it'd be way up my alley. 

Please leave your words of wisdom (heavy on the "om") in the comments. OR email me at heyeleanorproject@gmail.com.

With your help, I will learn to do nothing!




Notes To My Younger Self

Younger Molly is all thinking, "Where were you when I needed you, older Molly!"

Younger Molly is all thinking, "Where were you when I needed you, older Molly!"

Notes To My Younger Self is helping spread the word about The Post College Survival Kit. We learned the hard way so you don’t have to! You don’t have to wait till your thirties for a better job, a cuter apartment, financial stability, better relationships + friendships. 

Sarah of Yes & Yes recently asked if I'd like join her blog crawl. As a newbie blogger, I said, "Sure!" (but I secretly thought, "Should I know what that is?"). The gist: Sarah asked some of her favey-fave bloggers to give advice to their younger selves. So, Young Molly, put down that Diet Coke (It's full of poison and you don't even like it that much.), pause that Postal Service CD and let's do some learning. 

1. If you want something, ask.

This means speaking up when you're in a packed car driving back from Lollapalooza and really, really need to go to the bathroom (even though you just stopped 8 minutes ago). It means telling a friend you need them to come over and drink a bottle of wine with you as you cry over a break-up. It means you shouldn't just think about landing that dream job, you should find a person who already has it and ask them if they'll meet you for coffee. Most people are open to that-- especially when a young person has taken the initiative to seek them out. It's flattering and they will see themselves in you. Be your charming self & who knows? They might even hire you.  

2. Pay your dues.

Three months of data entry, running errands and grabbing lunch at an internship is not paying your dues. Paying your dues will probably take years. Until then, be helpful at work. Offer to stay late to assist a coworker. Save your complaints about mindless grunt work for happy hour with friends. Don't just dump your coffee mug in the break room sink, do all the dishes. 

You'll know you've paid your dues when people at your company start looking to you as an authority on something other than running errands. Be patient, it will happen. And at that point, you'll have the leverage to get what you want (or simply have the street cred to land the job you love).  

3. Stop trying to make it work with that exotic, mysterious boy you met on vacation.

It's not going to work with him, nor will it work with older guy who is still living with his ex-girlfriend. It's not going to work with the guy who always seems to be out with his buddies, but is always too busy to call. And that romantic guy who doesn't have a car "because he doesn't believe in them" and always forgets his wallet when you go out? He'll be fun to make out with for like, three dates, but after that, he's just going to borrow your car and eat your food. All. The. Time.

Dating these guys is fine. Just know it's going nowhere and quit trying to force it. 

You'll know you've found a good one when all of a sudden everything is easy. He calls you all the time (but not in a creepy way). He thinks you're smart and funny and beautiful and he tells you and means it. He doesn't bitch when you ask for a back rub. He appreciates you and cleans off your windshield when it snows. He says thanks for making dinner. He'll even do the dishes. 

Date all the dirty musicians, exotic ex-pats and manic older (but not wiser!) guys you want. Marry an engineer. They are the best guys. 

4. A Lot of People Are Big, Dumb Idiots.

Don't go ahead and assume that just because someone has some fancy-ass job or title, wrote a book or lives in a perfectly Pinterest-y apartment that they're smarter/better than you. For every super-talented person out there, there are literally dozens of bozos faking it. Some people are simply lucky. Some people mindlessly climbed the corporate ladder. Some people don't care if they're in the red, just so long as their life looks amazing to people on the outside. Stop thinking you aren't smart enough. Stop comparing your insides to other people's outsides.  

And kind of along the same lines: a lot of people lack the self-awareness to know they are pretty mediocre at whatever it is that they're doing. In some sick, twisted way, this is actually a strength. When you believe you're great at something, you're better at self-promotion. Stop questioning how good you are at what you do and start selling yourself a little harder. 

5. Invest in Your Future.

If your company offers a 401K or some other savings dealio, enroll & match their contribution. Figure out a way to make a portion of your paycheck automatically deposit into a savings account (you're not going to miss a few bucks every pay period. Promise). You'll be shocked at how quickly those accounts will grow without your having to even think about it. 

Of course, 'investing in your future' doesn't have to be all boring and stuff. I'd argue the most important way to invest in your future is this....

6. Don't Ever Assume the Fun Stuff Can Wait.

Young Molly, you're now 32-years-old. More then a half-dozen of your high school classmates have died. You've cried with friends battling cancer. You've helplessly looked on as a woman you've always admired became a shell of her former self, just as she was planning her retirement. F*$&ing Alzheimer's!

If you want to do something, do it. Nobody shells out awards for living an austere life. Do the fun stuff while you can. Your obligations? Nil. Responsibilities? Just make sure you have health insurance and some savings.

If you want to travel, get your GD passport and do it. You'll never be able to travel as cheaply again (trust me, even at age 27 the thought of staying in a hostel will make you want to barf). Write a book. Learn to cook. Go skinny dipping. Stop talking about things. Do things.  

* * *  

Huge thanks to Sarah for asking me to partake in this insightful project. Of course, you want to find out more & you can at this link: The Post College Survival Kit.

What do you wish you could tell your younger self? Share in the comments, amigo!

#239. Saying No After You've Already Said Yes.

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around for a while, you could miss it. - Ferris Bueller

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around for a while, you could miss it. - Ferris Bueller

I know I'm not alone in my tendency to over-commit. Some days, I look at my calendar and an horrified by how few free days I have. It seems like just two years ago I was all, "What HBO show will I binge-watch tonight?" These days, I can't even find time to pee. 

After suffering a near panic attack in June, I started making hard decisions about my time. In the weeks before my wedding, I committed to not making any plans aside from essentials (for example, doctor's appointments). Not even fun things, like happy hour. Instead, I opted to make only game-time decisions. You wanna grab a drink next Tuesday? No. You wanna grab a drink tonight? Bring it on!

Boy, oh, boy. Was that ever a relief.

As Braveheart would say, Freeeeeeeedom! It was great to be able to fully enjoy the things I was doing every night. These things felt right in the moment, not felt right two weeks ago

But I digress.

The thing I wanted to get to (which is Hey Eleanor moment #239) is how I said no to a big, important thing I committed to two years ago.

The short story: my friend Danielle is probably one of the most amazing, "I want to change the world and no one can stop me from doing it!" people I have ever met. She's both visionary and light-hearted, driven and hysterical-- something I just adore. She's also insanely into animals, specifically dogs (she's a dog trainer; if you live in the Twin Cities, you and your pooch should take her classes). And you all know how I feel about dogs

Kenai and Sharpie... You gotta admit, just looking at these pups makes ya feel good. 

Kenai and Sharpie... You gotta admit, just looking at these pups makes ya feel good. 

In 2011, Danielle launched a non-profit called Canine Inspired Change. It's a program that brings therapy dogs to people and communities that need them. Think at-risk kids, people in hospice, sober houses, the Courage Center. If you're anything like me, 10 minutes snuggling with my dog can erase a day of BS at work. Dogs are more magical than unicorns. You can read more about why I love what she's doing here

Rascal giving hugs to a young boy who recently experienced trauma at home. *Cue my heart exploding!

Rascal giving hugs to a young boy who recently experienced trauma at home. *Cue my heart exploding!

I believe in Canine Inspired Change. 100 percent. 

I mean, look at this letter from one of the grade school kids they worked with recently:

Cue heart exploding again!

Cue heart exploding again!

That's why it was easy to say yes when she asked me to be on the CIC board. Dogs + helping people + Danielle = What's not to love? The problem was that as time went on, my calendar started bursting at the seams. This thing I really, really wanted to be a part of simply could not get my full attention. It made me feel awful. I didn't want to let my friend down. 

I hemmed and hawed about how I could make it work. For months. Then, magically, this MarieTV episode plopped into my inbox. Essentially, Ms. Marie points out that life changes. It's okay to back out after you've said yes. Be honest about it. 

I know this seems obvious.

But sometimes when you're in the moment, it's not. 

After missing several board meetings due to travel for work and wedding planning, I called Danielle and said that while I love her organization, I couldn't make it to the meetings and day-to-day commitments required of a board member. She completely understood. I then offered to support CIC through social media (a place where I'm already talking about things) and word of mouth (I talk a lot, too). These are easy things I can do and don't require me to drive clear across town for a meeting.  

In the end, I think both Danielle and I are happy with the decision. Why would she want someone who doesn't have the time to work on her non-profit? And why would I want to feel guilty about it all the time?

More CIC magic!

More CIC magic!

What I can do is tell all of you about CIC.

Like them on Facebook. Check out their website. Think your pooch might make a good therapy dog? Ask her howDonate to them on GiveMN (don't make me ask you to dump a bucket of ice water laced with dog slobber on your head). These guys are the real deal.

 

#234 - 238. We Got Married & It Was Awesome!

Hanging out on the Foshay's observation deck | W Hotel - MPLS - Wedding

Hanging out on the Foshay's observation deck | W Hotel - MPLS - Wedding

Hey Eleanor accidentally turned into a wedding blog over the past few months, but that's just because I got married.

Marriage is no joke and I don't think I need to explain why it's scary thing #234. However, I'm feeling very confident that Josh & I are a good match. We're not expecting perfection, but I think we've got a solid foundation. We really, really, really like each other. Plus, he's so handsome.

In the months leading up to the wedding, I maybe got six hours of sleep total. I stressed out over the amount of money spent on one party (#235), the fact that our venue didn't have air conditioning (#236), the weather (we were to have an outdoor cocktail hour.... #237), not to mention that whole part where I needed to spill my guts out to the man I love in front of 250 people (#238). No pressure.

Just hanging on in a NE Minneapolis parking lot in fancy clothes | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Just hanging on in a NE Minneapolis parking lot in fancy clothes | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Everything I feared might go wrong did go wrong.

It not only poured rain, but so much so that the shuttle bringing our guests to the hotel had to pull over on I-94 because the driver couldn't see the road. We postponed the ceremony until those guests arrived, which was about an hour late. 

The heat? Brutal. The humidity? Even worse. They could've held a hot yoga class in the there. Never been so sweaty in my life.

Realest moments of my wedding | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Realest moments of my wedding | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Other highlights?

The kitchen equipment showed up three hours late, the decorations we made fell apart en route to the gym, a wedding guest had to leave directly from the ceremony to the ER (they're fine, btw), and by the end of the night, the bottom eight inches of my dress looked the color of a chalkboard. 

Guess what.

It was the greatest party ever. Could not have cared less about my destroyed dress, the rain actually seemed to unify the crowd, the food was great and that whole starting the wedding an hour late business? We just opened the bar early and everyone was thrilled.

Conclusion: If you're focused on all the things not going as planned during your wedding, you are doing it wrong! Let it go, it'll be fine, focus on having fun...

It's just a party.

(Albeit the most expensive one you've probably ever thrown.)

Our good lookin' wedding party | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Our good lookin' wedding party | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Confession: I love stalking wedding photos on the internet.

Sometimes I'm all, "awwwww....", and other times I'm all "ahahahahahahahawkward!" At any rate, I figured I should share a sampling of pics for my fellow wedding photo stalkers. You know who you are. Enjoy.  

Maybe not everyone's style, but we loved this! | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Maybe not everyone's style, but we loved this! | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Obligatory emotional dad pic. Love this one! | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Obligatory emotional dad pic. Love this one! | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

My Godfajah sharing a few words. | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

My Godfajah sharing a few words. | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

The kiss. | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

The kiss. | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Let's party!  | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Let's party!  | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Uncle Mike. Muncle. Miguel del Lago. Uncle Pike. | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Uncle Mike. Muncle. Miguel del Lago. Uncle Pike. | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

That's a lot of friends! | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

That's a lot of friends! | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Twilight, rainbows, puddles, artsy stuff | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Twilight, rainbows, puddles, artsy stuff | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Realest moments of my wedding: dirty dress. | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Realest moments of my wedding: dirty dress. | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Flower stash | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Flower stash | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Pies from Turtle Bread | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Pies from Turtle Bread | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Our first dance. | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Our first dance. | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Dancing with my dad | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Dancing with my dad | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Josh & Moomsie | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Josh & Moomsie | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Dance time | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Dance time | Uppercut Boxing Gym Wedding - MPLS

Huge thanks to Jonny Edwin & his beautiful wife Liz for the kickass photos. If you're getting married, you should hire them. Srsly. 

A big shout out to The Bash Collective, who planned & styled our wedding. It was worth every penny! I did not worry about a thing the day of the wedding, thanks in huge part to Alyson & her team. They did a fabulous job. 

Other amazin' vendors:

Excellent grub by Andrew Zimmern's Canteen. Pulled pork & chicken, watermelon salad, a smattering of different BBQ sauces, corn bread, plus an appetizer spread to die for (Thai chili shrimp, chicken satay, homemade hummus & pita chips... dude!). Their cucumber-mint lemonade, spiked with vodka, disappeared faster under-agers at a cop-busted house party. Brian & his team from Liquid Motion were a delight to work with & seemed genuinely happy to be there. One of our guests that's a veteran bartender even commented what a great job they did. 

Matt Kotefka: wedding DJ. I've known Matt since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. He's one of the greatest guys ever & his DJing skills are second to none. Do you want people to mill about your wedding and not dance? Great! Make a playlist on your iPod! Do you want people to dance at your wedding? Hire Matt

Our last minute decision to hire the Traveling Photo Booth was a total WIN! So fun & a great alternative to a guestbook. Videographer? Mariah Harrison all the way. Just saw our highlight reel today & it's so great.

I got my Justin Alexander dress at Bridal Accents Couture (not to be confused with Jason Alexander), but the ladies at A Stitch Above the Rest are the ones who really made it special. There alterations were perfect, they were so nice to work with. I had zero reservations leaving my dress in their hands. And the shoes? Clark's. I know. I know! Friggin' Clarks!

My coworker Madeleine did our gorgeous flowers. Though she only does a few weddings a year, the girl knows her stuff! Marissa Rasmusson, my hair stylist and friend, made my hair look like a million bucks; makeup by Alison Schlak (nailed it!). 

If you've always wanted to get married in a boxing gym, check out Uppercut.  

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Have a wedding "disaster" that turned out to be not so bad after all? Share in the comments. And if the disaster actually was that bad? Share in the comments!


#233. I Ran with the Bulls (& Lived to Tell the Tale)

When I discovered the Great Bull Run was making a stop in the Twin Cities, I nearly barfed. Few things are more "hey eleanor-y" than running with the bulls! I mean, people die and/or are gored doing that in Spain every year, right? Even though I knew I'd probably die, I had to do it. 

Reasons I was scared:

1. It's running with 2,000-pound bulls.
2. It was the weekend before my wedding.
3. It's running with 2,000-pound bulls.

I spent about a week hemming and hawing over whether or not to sign up, but after reading through the Great Bull Run's FAQs, I decided it couldn't possibly be as dangerous as it sounded.

Here's why:

1. The track is only 1/4 of a mile. There are plenty of safety nooks to hop into if you get too close to the bulls.
2. They say the bulls want nothing to do with people and avoid them at all costs.
3. They claim bulls run past you at 35 mph, which sounds really scary... but also means they pass you in three seconds. Although they release three waves of bulls, that's still less than 10 seconds of even being near them.

However....

You are still running with bulls!

So, I rounded up a few girlfriends (and the husband, who wore the GoPro) and off we went to Elk River to run. With bulls. Watch what happened in the YouTube video above.

Spoiler alert:

The scariest part of this entire thing was the traffic jam entering the parking lot. The second scariest thing were the [drunk] people running the race. The chances of you getting trampled to death by eight bros slamming Bud Light Lime tallboys vs an actual bull is probably 3000 : 1. I did see a few dudes get trampled, but they were asking for it and walked away sans major injury. 

The experience was fun, but definitely not as scary as this, this and especially this. It was waaaay less scary (and stupid) than running with actual bulls in Spain. Perdoname, but the people who do that are a bunch of f*&$ing idiots

Please feel free to share the dumbest thing you've done on purpose in the comments below. 

Fearless Heroes: Dana Cowin

Dana Cowin, editor-in-chief at Food & Wine Magazine/totally fearless woman!

Dana Cowin, editor-in-chief at Food & Wine Magazine/totally fearless woman!

Lately, there's been a lot of talk about leaning in. I read Sheryl Sandberg's book and for the most part, liked it. The section about mentors really resonated with me, mostly because I realized I have one! I met Dana Cowin, editor-in-chief at Food & Wine magazine, four years ago during the New York City Wine & Food Festival. As a life-long publications nerd, I'd admired her from afar; and there I was, talking to her over brunch at the Breslin and we were hitting it off. I only see Dana a few times a year, but her genuine interest and encouragement always gives me a huge boost of confidence. She's quite incredible-- successful, creative, direct, honest and always so put together. Her support means the world to me. This spring, she suggested I do an interview series on fearless heroes. Where better to start than with my own fearless hero, Dana. 

* * * 

What’s the most difficult thing you’ve had to overcome & how did you do it?

Probably quitting a really good job and admitting it wasn’t going anywhere at all. It was really hard because what came after that was the complete unknown.

I was at Vogue magazine and working for this woman I really admired. I was doing somewhat interesting stuff, but in order to have grown in that, I would have had to have been a line editor and I was never going to be a line editor. Accepting that I wasn’t good at something and I wasn’t going to be able to progress and quitting was hard. How was I going to support myself and was I ever going to be good at anything?

My college roommate indelibly told me, “You are amazing at packing a suitcase! You're so organized and everything fits and you’re so good at making choices… you are going to have a great career ahead!” And I thought, “I’m going to have a great career because I know how to pack a suitcase?”

I did quit and I told everyone that I was going to write fiction, which I really wanted to do. And then I discovered I wan’t really good at that, either! I wrote fiction all through college... and I used to review first novels for Vogue. I really enjoyed it. I really wanted to write. But I would take a short story and every morning I would rewrite the first paragraph. I mean, by the end of six months, I had four paragraphs that were perfect, but I didn’t have a story. So, I had a double dose of failure.

The failure wasn’t the hard part, the hard part was making a change. Failing itself isn’t actually so hard because you figure that out and move on. The irony is I was right to quit that job at Vogue and I thought it was going to be the end of my career in magazines. And it wasn’t, because that same editor that I adored moved to House and Garden and she rehired me. At the time, it was my absolute dream job. She put me in a position where I wasn’t responsible for line editing copy. What seemed like was the end of everything as I knew it was only a pause. 

It's the August 2014 Food & Wine magazine... you should probably pick up a copy.

It's the August 2014 Food & Wine magazine... you should probably pick up a copy.

I completely get that—because you find yourself defined by what you do. Especially when you land such a cool job out of college.

I wasn’t so concerned. Vogue is an extraordinary magazine. I was working with incredibly talented people. So many of those people are running their own magazines today… somehow I wasn’t as concerned about the status I would lose, which I did. When you suddenly don’t have that job, you don’t go to the same parties and people aren’t as interested in what you are doing.

I was really worried that I would never, ever, ever figure out what to do with my life. That was why it was so hard to make that move, because I could have kept going without quitting and life would have unfolded in quite a different way. It would have been potentially safer, but it turned out I just couldn’t do it anymore. It was scary, but better.

What would you say to someone who knows they need to make a change, but is having a hard time finding the courage to do it?

I had plan A, B, and C, and I think if you want to make a really big change, that somewhere in the back of your mind you need to have plans. I did quit and I did want to write fiction and I did write fiction. At the same time, I lined up a relatively cheap rent and I basically found enough work to cover it. 

I also gave myself something of a time limit. To quit a job to write fiction? Really? Putting some sort of timeframe on it is good because it’s a little bit less scary. You quit because you hate something and you follow your dream… but at some point, your dream hits that midnight moment and it’s over and you do something more practical. After six months in limbo, I started applying for jobs. I got a transitional job, but just believing there is something better than what you are doing is a great motivator. Don’t do it without planning how you’re going to pay your rent and eat. I do think that jumping blind is not a great idea and I don’t think that a lot of people probably do that… but it’s also easier than you think. Figure out how cheaply you can live and how much happier you would be living less well, depending on what well means to you, and create an opportunity for yourself to find what you want. I know a lot of people rush from one job to another because they think it’s really important to be employed. It can be very depressing to be unemployed, but I think it’s more depressing to be badly employed.

Dana and I at the launch party for this book I wrote one time. 

Dana and I at the launch party for this book I wrote one time. 

Who is your fearless hero?

My grandmother. She was born in Duluth, Minnesota. She was very brave. She came east to college and then she went on to law school. My grandmother was born in 1901 and went to law school in the 20s. Nothing would stop her. Any time you ever tried to make an excuse to my grandmother, she would just scoff. The notion that there is no reason ever in your life to make excuses, you can make anything happen, I think comes partly from her. She was incredibly direct. Incredibly honest. A lot of people have fluff around them. She was not unkind at all, but she was so direct. I’m not sure that I am as direct as she, but as a model for saying what you think and just not being caught up in anything except what really matters, she is a such a role model. She went on to work as a pro-bono lawyer for children in need in the Bronx. I have a similar desire to help other people if I can, and I think that is from her. To be a woman working in the Bronx, to be a lawyer, I think that she was pretty fearless to be doing that too. In fact, I named my daughter after her [Sylvie]. 

* * *

Huge thanks to Dana for being my very first Fearless Hero feature. Who is your fearless hero & why? Comment here or email me at heyeleanorproject [at] gmail.com. 


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