What I've Learned: Part One

Published: September 6, 2017

written by: M. Kendall Ludwig, president and principal designer, CurlyRed

Now that my year-long experiment of positing to Instagram once a day is over, I've had some time to reflect on what I've learned. In both my personal and professional life, some things have changed quite a bit, and some things haven't.

I figured I'd start by sharing a few life lessons for you:

1. Even wanted change is hard. If you’ve ever read this fantastic book, then you already know how much we humans fight even really good change. You get set in a pattern, for better or worse, and breaking it can feel like a major loss. I spent the first few months living in Garrett County alternating between being thrilled and terrified. Will I make friends? Will I fit in? How will my kids do? How will this affect my business?  And yet, change forces us out of our comfort zone, and to grow in new ways. Looking back, the “pros” of relocating have certainly outweighed the “cons.”

2. Every part of my being was craving more margin. Another wonderful book describes margin as a spiritual discipline of leaving space in one's life intentionally empty. Every day since moving, there have been moments standing at the bus stop, or sitting in a cafe, or looking out from my porch, and just being present. And it wasn't until this became my new normal that I realized how much I used to suffer, mentally and emotionally, from my lack of margin. Rushing from thing to thing is no longer part of my daily life, and I don't miss it one bit.

Day 365 from my Instagram feed.

3. Unscheduled downtime is extremely underrated. This is similar to point 2, but I’ve found just having open spaces of time, either by myself or with my family, is crucial to my well-being. Having fully-planned weekends (even full of fun things) would often leave me even more drained. Having the flexibility to go for a hike or go take a nap gives me that beautiful feeling of freedom, and has very much increased my joy.

4. Homesickness is valid—and shouldn't be downplayed. I remember one Sunday shortly following my move, when I was not only missing the Ravens game, but also two other Baltimore happenings—and my heart hurt. A lot. Instead of pushing those feelings away, I shared them (over some shed tears) with Mark and a neighbor who has become a good friend (even though I felt a bit like a whiny child). I immediately felt the sadness lift, but not disappear. I know I'll continue to experience bouts of homesickness—and that's very much ok. 

5. CurlyRed has amazing clients. The amount of support, well wishes and grace that has been extended to me and my company over the past year has been nothing short of remarkable. It has made this transition infinitely easier to know that so many of you have stood by CurlyRed, and continued to work with us. In turn, we’ve been able to do inspired, creative work with fresh eyes and refreshed spirits. To say “thank you” for this gift will never be enough.

Please stay tuned over the next few weeks to read more.

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