The Designer Life
I am very organized. Keeping lists and checking things off makes me feel in control of my life. And if one of my lists happens to be “blogs to read over the weekend,” at least I have accomplished something!
Over the past few months, I realized that one area I had always neglected to organize was meal planning. First of all, I thought that was something only soccer moms did. I also didn’t think it was necessary for a household of two people. Couldn’t we just throw something together and call it a night? Then I really took a look at all the time (and money!) I was wasting trying to put food on the table, if that even happened. Many nights, dinner was picked up on the way home from work. (Eatzi’s, I love you, but my wallet does not.) At any given moment, I had 3 grocery lists (fridge, phone, and paper), plus recipes that I had pinned or emailed to myself, and then some other random things I needed from various stores. It seemed I was running to the store every other night to pick up something I had forgotten.
I decided it was time to get my meals in order. After searching online for a meal planner that was simple enough to use without spending hours to complete it, I realized it made sense just to create my own. My meal planner is very basic because I don’t want to over-complicate something as simple as grocery shopping. There are five days of meals because I like to eat leftovers and/or eat out once or twice a week. The bottom portion can be used for the other items I often need, but don’t fit into any of the recipes for the week — like wine :)
You can download the PDF for free because I want to share what I hope will help others become more organized. I would love to hear how you plan your meals, whether you use this meal planner or not!
Most of us have some form of a “bucket list.” Whether we have written them down, talked about them with friends, or just contemplated them, the things we want to accomplish in life are always in the back of our minds. In my mind, there’s a constant struggle to live in the moment and to think about the future simultaneously. There is always something to look forward to, plan for, save up for, and it can all sometimes feel like I’m constantly climbing.
Then, there’s this other idea. This concept of a “reverse bucket list” that I was introduced to yesterday (here), and it seems so simple that I can’t believe I hadn’t thought to do this before. But I hadn’t because I have always been so focused on the future, that I hardly spend a second thinking about all of the dreams that have already come true. It’s not about showing off…it’s about being grateful for the opportunities I have been given so that I can say, “Wow, I really did that!”
So, without further ado, here is my reverse bucket list (in no particular order):
- Started my own business
I’ve learned so much about the industry and even more about myself through LRD. I’ve also met some pretty awesome people that I’m happy to call not just clients or partners, but friends.
- Traveled outside North America
You can read about my South African adventure right here. It was the most amazing trip with even more amazing people.
- Changed careers and became a teacher
Best decision of my life! If you’re like me and are looking for a great way to get into teaching (even if you’re years into a career), please ask me any questions you have about Teach For America.
- Rescued a dog
I read somewhere that people don’t rescue dogs, but dogs rescue their people. I couldn’t agree more. If you’re in the DFW area, check out Collin County Humane Society for adoptable pets.
- Bought a house
Home ownership has been quite the adventure, but so exciting and rewarding.
- Completed a Whole30
I’ve never felt more in control of my life and my health than when I spent 30 days figuring out how to eat right. I’m already looking forward to Whole30 round two!
- Sang in public
So what if I was dressed in traditional Christmas caroler attire? It was a huge step to overcome this fear and let others hear one of my passions.
- Moved halfway across the country
Admittedly, I’ve never been the homesick type of person. I’d also moved about eight times before the move from D.C. to Texas, so I was an expert at packing and unpacking. It also helped that I was moving in with the love of my life :)
- Learned to cook
Turns out microwaving Easy Mac doesn’t count as cooking. After winning an office chili cook-off a few years ago, I was inspired to really learn how to cook. It’s now one of my favorite ways to experiment with creativity.
- Received recognition for my work
This may seem insignificant to some people, but to me even the smallest acknowledgement makes my job(s) worth it. Thanks for saying thanks :)
The question I get asked most frequently these days is: “Why do you want to be a teacher?”
Most people can’t quite comprehend why I left a job I truly enjoyed to pursue a new path full of uncertainty, challenges, and no bathroom breaks.
A few weeks ago, someone sent me this article, and I finally understood why no one gets it like I do. It’s because I haven’t told my story.
A leadership story is first a story of self, a story of why I’ve been called. Some people say, “I don’t want to talk about myself,” but if you don’t interpret to others your calling and your reason for doing what you’re doing, do you think it will just stay uninterpreted? No. Other people will interpret it for you. You don’t have any choice if you want to be a leader. You have to claim authorship of your story and learn to tell it to others so they can understand the values that move you to act, because it might move them to act as well.
While I enjoy writing this blog and discussing all things design, it’s really only telling a tiny piece of my whole story. I entered the design world through the healthcare and education industries, and what I experienced at those jobs over the years stuck with me. I always felt that I could be doing more to serve the people for whom I was designing. It was tough to see the connection between “making pretty things” and “helping people,” even though I know in some small way I was at least making my clients happy.
So, I decided to make a change. I applied to Teach For America, and here I am today — Ms. Robbins.
So, why do I teach? In all honesty, I’m still figuring it out. But I do think that this is what I was meant to do. From the first day in the classroom, I have never felt more comfortable doing anything. The 22 little faces that stare up at me every day make me feel like I’m in the right place at the right time. I’m serving my community on the front line, which is something I’ve always wanted to be able to do, but always felt like I would never be prepared for. What I’ve learned in my short time teaching is that you will never be fully prepared for any challenge — if you were, it wouldn’t be a challenge. So no matter how heavy the weight on my shoulders might feel at times, I know that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing right now.
That’s my story — what’s yours?
If you’re hesitant to tell your story, just remember that someone else will.
To borrow a line from an organization close to my heart…
If not you, who? If not now, when?