It began with utter frustration. I was physically pissed off at the book as I stared down. I considered throwing The Art of Non-conformity into the lake. Instead, I dropped the book onto my beach towel and walked away.
The short guide touts that through intentional daily actions you can live the alternative lifestyle of your choice. The more author Chris Guillebeau talked about his life of travel and goal of seeing every country in the world, the angrier I became.
My first response was hostility:
I have kids to clothe & feed and a mortgage to pay. This is bullsh*t. He has no idea what it is like to have REAL responsibilities. He is able to live selfishly because he doesn’t have kids. I could never do this.
When I returned to the book I skipped ahead to the next chapter, an assignment on Life Lists. Again, frustration.
While discussing the concept with Shad, I suddenly realized that ALL of my goals revolved around our family. Don’t get me wrong, they are the center of my world. Still, someday my children won’t absorb as much of my time. What will I do with myself once they are grown and living their own lives?
I realized I need to depend on ME for my own happiness. Somehow I had lost myself in the chaos of raising a family, as so many moms do. I had been living day-to-day with absolutely no personal direction.
Rattled, I decided to skip the bucket list exercise and move on to the next step. After you’ve added traditional items to your Life List, like owning a boat or trekking across Europe, Guillebeau asks readers to look even deeper:
He explains true happiness (and wealth) comes from helping others by doing something you love.
At this point, I threw my hands up in frustration and called my friend Tiffany, who recommended the title, and told her the book sucked.
I chucked it into the tent and went for a hike.
But I couldn’t stop thinking about Guillebeau’s radical suggestions. Then it dawned on me that I might find a niche in blogging. I could share unique family traditions, creative projects, ways to keep kids connected to the earth and help moms keep their children curious. I could make a small difference… with families.
So last year, on August 25th, Let’s Lasso the Moon was born. One year later, I dedicate this post to my dear friend Ness Hoffman (of One Perfect Day). I wasn’t sure blogging was the right direction. She wrote my first comment, a very touching one and exactly the reassurance I needed to sally forth.
This year, because of The Art of Non-conformity, I have accomplished goals I would have thought absolutely impossible last summer. In the past 365 days I have:
- Met my blogging idol Valerie from Inner Child Fun live and in person as we danced the night away at BlogHer
- Built a partnership with my favorite toy company Melissa & Doug as a Blog Ambassador
- Braved my first flight in 15+ years to travel to NYC and see Rockefeller Center and Times Square with my best friend
- Made 2,500+ Let’s Lasso the Moon Facebook friends
- Inspired another amazing Montessori mom to start her own blog
- Built a community of 500,000+ Pinterest followers
- Started taking piano lessons (I can now easily play one of my favorite songs, Claire De Lune)
- Helped coordinated a Project 365 Flickr Group that now boasts nearly 14,000 photos showcasing the precious gift of an ordinary day
- Inspired a fellow mom to take Irish Dance lessons
- Started a group project called The Kid’s Co-op and created a network of bloggers who share 150+ family friendly ideas each week
- Accepted the fact I was not meant to work 40 hours a week at a traditional corporate job
- Learned to meditate
- Realized my mission is also to help fellow family bloggers better market their amazing ideas and content
It has been a big year and I am floored as I write out this list. I am honored to have shared it with you. I find myself humbled by the people I’ve met over the course of this adventure.
Can you guess how I am celebrating my one year blog anniversary?
I am heading to the library to check out and re-read The Art of Non-conformity.
As we head into the school year, we will soon be settling into fall routines and then too quickly, holiday chaos. I ask you to take a moment today to think about your personal Life List.
Not the things you are supposed to want to do, not your family goals, but rather YOUR personal goals. What are you doing for you?
Grab yourself a copy of The Art of Non-conformity. If you find yourself angry, confused or frustrated as you read, let me know. That might be the first step.