Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Things We Want

Things I wanted recently that I bought: Champagne sweatshirt from Blonde Design, Vera Wang White booties (purchased from a wedding site, even though I'm not a bride), and a Stace Face mug from Starbucks (the mug is an ode to Stacey Bendet, one of my favorite designers).  

When it comes to shoes and things I have a tendency to get what I want, and it's not always because I work hard for them. Sometimes I get gifts (or gift cards, thanks to Christmas), or sometimes I just wait it out for the ideal sale. Sometimes I even (gulp) charge these items to my credit card. There's nothing quite so motivating as getting what you want, especially when you don't have to wait to get it. I found all of these items via Instagram, and purchased them almost as soon as I was done hitting the "like" button.

It wasn't until today, when people at my work were asked to give feedback on the type of work environment that we want that I got to thinking about wants and needs on a deeper level. Sure, I have a long wishlist of components that would make up the perfect place to work, but I know now that there is no "perfect" place to work. Every job has its perks and occasional drawbacks. I read my email  back to myself and began making corrections; there wasn't a point in presenting upper management with a shopping list peppered with my point of view. Instead, I started off by thanking them for being interested in my feedback to begin with. After all, they didn't have to ask. I then acknowledged their goals so they knew I had heard them out and didn't just read the part that said "Please send your feedback." I offered up my concessions, then offered a few small details about what works for me. The result wasn't a ransom letter (these people after all supply me with the funds to buy my shoes) but a professionally articulated statement of what I thought I would need to be that much more successful at my job.

This exercise reminded me that some things are worth the wait, or worth working for. Take this blog for instance. I almost didn't type this post, because I wanted to go to sleep and call it a night. But it hit me that I wanted to write. Sometimes getting what you want requires pain and perseverance, and knowing this, I have been trying to avoid the uncomfortableness of it all. I had forgotten how good it feels to publish a post; to talk freely with my boss; to save up for something I really wanted. 

If you focus on delaying gratification just a bit, you might actually end up with the thing you never even knew you wanted. Case in point, this cool blue Nubar nail polish, gifted to me by a sweet friend at the company. I have wanted so badly to find my footing in the nail industry over the last two years. I have worked tirelessly because I wanted to learn; to prove that I belonged. At a certain point I forgot about wanting that so badly and just started being myself and doing my best. The result is a pretty great work relationship and cool moments like seeing my name on a polish bottle, something I never would have dreamed of wanting previously. 

I caught myself thinking I would have to go out and buy some new clothes for a tradeshow this weekend, but I stopped and realized how ridiculous that is. The fact of the matter is, I don't need anything new. I have plenty. It's time to stop wanting and start appreciating. I'm so glad I stayed up to write this post. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

What Joan Did

Writers like to be remembered for what they said. After all, their words are their legacy. But one of the reasons why I love Joan Didion is because of what she does. Didion is a non-fiction writer, so her memoirs and journalistic accountants are filled with research. I can picture her typing away daily, with notes and books at her side. Didion started young too. She won an essay contest at Vogue, back when the glossies cared about real writing and giving new voices a start. Her work at Vogue paved the way for a career full of literary and screenwriting contributions. Now at 80, Didion is the new face of Celine's Spring campaign. I've always admired the ease of Didion's look; she looks like how I always pictured a writer to look. 

Seeing her in this campaign reminded me of finishing her collection, "We Tell Ourselves Stories In Order to Live" on the way back from my Napa vacation. I thought it so fitting that I completed this very California-centric read (see her work, "Where I Was From") while driving through the state. Being a native Californian, I feel an even deeper connection to Didion's words. I was reading by flashlight (the sun had long gone down) as I completed my 1104 page book that had begun on a separate road trip to the Midwest a couple of years ago. On the second to last page this phrase caught my eye, "There is no real way to deal with everything we lose." I let this sentence wash over me just as the dark of night washed over the California scenery and the road seemed to tuck itself under the tires of our car like a long black ribbon. 

I began reading Joan Didion in college with 'The Year of Magical Thinking," a book all about the subject of loss. I've lost people I love, memories, things, and maybe even time, but Didion is the writer who has showed me the best way to deal with loss. After reading her work I became interested in writing memoir, which I pursued in college. Because of her, I too know where I come from. Joan deals with things by writing about them. She has that perfect cadence that speaks beyond years and pages. Her words yank you from the darkness of a lonely road somewhere and place you onto a clearer path. That's what Joan does for me. Kudos to this fashion house for reminding us that we still have one of the greatest writers of our time with us today.

*Images & details on the campaign via Vogue