Well, this was a surprise:
Perry, the editor over at Nerdist.com listed my appearance on the Nerdist podcast as the #5 episode of the year, as the representative for all the year's hostful podcasts. Where did he list it? On the BBC America Anglophenia website, meaning that my name appeared on something associated with the BBC, and with that I have lived up to all Childhood Mindy, the biggest anglophile in Central Minnesota, could ever have wished for.
I'll be taking the rest of the year off.
As my gratitude project winds down (only four days to go), I can think of no better subject to reflect on than my experience with Chris, the Nerdist, and the domino reaction that has followed.
A year ago in December, I was struggling to love my job. We were understaffed in the accounting area and the burden fell to me to pick up the slack. Only my steady diet of podcasts separated me from a major meltdown. One particularly stressful afternoon (chat records show that it was 12/10/2010), I decided to look up the Comedy Death Ray silent auctions for the LA Food Bank.
I'd like the record to reflect that I eat lunch at this time each day.
I made the bid impulsively. Something in my gut said "go for it, it'll break you out of this funk." You know what? It worked—but not just for that day, it broke me out of the four year long funk I'd been living in, ever since I got fired and moved to Philly.
I took a risk that day, a risk that I'd have enough confidence to sit down and talk to people I admired, as well as a risk of some money. Believe me, that was a sizeable amount of cash for me. I don't buy stuff just because I want it. I own shirts older than some of our company's employees*, I buy/download one CD a year (this year's was a best of Nickel Creek), we live in a small apartment. I try to live frugally so that I can take advantage of experiences that will have an impact on me long after the item has been consumed.
Boy, did this ever hit the mark!
Succeeding on the first part of the risk—winning the auction—felt great! More importantly, the anticipation and worry I felt while waiting for the auction to close seemed to shake me awake. I'd been living a careful, boring life, letting other people make decisions for me about where to live, how to spend my free time, where to go on vacation (hence the note about the cruise).
My risk had paid off. Would others? Instead of telling myself "Oh, I can't do that," I started asking "Why not do that?"
- Why not, while I was corresponding with Chris Hardwick, ask if I could write for his site? Enter the Make Cool Stuff column.
- Why not ask a maker acquaintence if I could write about his company? It became my first Nerdist post and was picked up by my favorite daily read, the Mental_Floss Watercooler Ammo email.
- Why not start corresponding with strangers that reached out to me on Twitter? Enter Emily and Mandy, my first Twitter friends that I didn't know (and now there are so many of you).
- Why not ask to join favorite podcaster Todd Henry's book promotion street team? It gave me the opportunity to meet him in person and help out when the flight to his book launch got canceled.
- Why not say yes when Todd asked me to write for his site? I got to write a series, work with an editor who has become a great friend, and subsequently become a member of the Accidental Creative online team.
Day-to-day life also improved. My job turned around, I started dressing better, I found a decent hairstylist. I started treating myself like I mattered and sticking up for myself rather than deferring to the status quo.
Most importantly—I can't give this enough credit—I started listening my instincts. Periodically a situation would pop up and I would have a very strong gut reaction of which way to go, one that I usually ignored in favor of solid reasoning. Again and again this year, honoring that gut reaction has paid off. I've started listening/feeling for it, and when it pops up, I take a moment to pay attention.
2011 has been the best year of my adult life—it's been the first year where I really felt like an adult. Before this year, growing up sounded awful, the end to spontenaiety and picking up the burden of responsibility. I was wrong. Becoming an adult has meant taking control of my life, making purposeful decisions and taking calculated risks. It hasn't meant giving up my playful spirit—I've been far more spontaneous and silly than the six post-college years that preceded 2011.
And all this before I even showed up in Los Angeles to be on the podcast. That, it turned out, was just the icing on the cake. I'd gotten my money's worth long before I sat down in front of the microphone, publicly insulted the lovely city of Philadelphia, and subsequently met all of you through the internet. I am most sincere when I tell you that I love you all.
2011 was my kick-in-the-ass year. 2012 will by my kicking ass year, to put it ever so eloquently. I've just gotten my taste of powers under a yellow sun.
If you're in need of a little motivation for the coming year, I offer you two pieces I kept returning to throughout the year, a blog post from Chris and a podcast from Todd. After that taste, I urge you to buy both of their books—Chris's to get you moving and Todd's to help you put together a creative rhythm. Todd's in particular has made a major difference in my life (see above AC series).
Oh, and I found this at the end of that chat transcript with Andrew:
*My favorite tshirt is 24 years old.