What I Want My Daughter to Know About Life

Every year that I place another candle on my birthday cake I find myself pondering even more about death.

I mean, I’ve always thought about death a lot. I suppose that happens when your mom flings up to the heavens in your 20’s. Or your dad is rockin’ that old age and dementia. Or maybe I was just born with some weird gene that makes me think about death and dying more than others.

I don’t really know.

What I do know is because I think about how I’m going to live my life through the lens of truly understanding and taking in that any moment can be my last – I’m motivated differently.

And with that motivation comes a deep yearning to pass any knowledge or wisdom I have up in ma’brain to my daughter – before I go tits up (that’s The Vic’s way of saying dead).

It’s so funny to be soaking up my daughter at her age right now, especially when we have random conversations about life while I’m sitting on the pot and she’s taking a shower.

Who knew an 8-year-old could be so deep?

After our chat sessions I’m usually left thinking, “Damn I need to write this down!”

So here I am writing this stuff down.

Here’s a few nuggets for my daughter and anyone else really.

What I Want My Daughter to Know About Life

You don’t have to be strong all the time. Fierce + flexible has become my mantra.

• However, choose wisely who you’re vulnerable with – make damn sure that person(s) can hold a safe space for you.

• Friends can be your family, too. And when you have that – nurture the hell out of it because not everyone experiences that in their life or even lifetime.

• Take full responsibility for YOU. Examine everything in your life – all decisions and actions taken on your end. Never start with blaming someone else; see yourself first and then unravel what could have been done differently so not to repeat that in the future.

• Forgive yourself – and others – often. 

• Be vigilant of your surroundings. Take your darn headphones out of your ears when walking alone somewhere – especially at night. Look around and in your car before getting in it and then lock the doors as soon as your ass is in the vehicle. Park in a well-lit area at night. Walk with a purpose when alone – almost like you have the strength to take on a pack of wolves if it came down to it.

• Don’t watch crime shows before bed; only when the sun is out and not every noise will send you wanting to call the police.

• Stay off social media as long as possible. And if you do join that digital space, don’t let it define who you are. Remember how you feel after you leave an app – if you feel worse after scrolling or conversing on the Interwebs, stay the hell away. You get to control your thumb and what you click on.

• Listen to your body. Eat real food. And give your liver a break in your 20’s, ok?

• Any person you’re in a relationship with will never fulfill your every need/desire, etc. and they shouldn’t. That’s why you have friends, family, work, travel and yourself to nurture so many aspects of your soul. And a good margarita.  

• As The Vic (your nonno) says, “Believe half of what you see and nothing of what you hear.” Keep that zinger in mind.

• Make truth your default setting. Tell the truth as often as possible. The more you do it, the easier it’ll become.

• Trying to figure people out is exhausting. Read a book instead. Or figure your own self out.

• Learn the Serenity Prayer and refer to it often.

• Show up. Moment by moment. That’s where the magic is, Baby Girl. Trust me on that one.

• Get your teeth cleaned every six months.

• Don’t try to win an argument with someone who thinks they’re right.

• Drink a shit-ton of water every day. I love mine with a squeeze of Meyer lemon.

• Get lost in a bookstore.

• Travel frequently – even if it’s just getting out of town for a night – that can do wonders for the head and heart.

Most of all, Baby Girl, say “I love you” and give those smooches and squeezes to the ones you love every time you greet or leave them.

You truly don’t know if that’s the last time you’ll see them, but I always tell myself it is…

So, I squeeze tight, express gratitude and say “I love you” a million times – because why not?  

Love + Living,

Keli (yo mama)

Show Up. Tell Your Story.

I can’t say I recall ever wanting to be a writer.

Even when I was little and kept a journal (you know the ones with the lock and key) + wrote silly stories — I didn’t think of being a full-on writer one day.

But in 5th-grade that changed; I found a hunger in myself around writing. But it definitely didn’t look like a hunger at first, it looked like jealousy.

I mostly remember our teacher telling the class to write a creative story. There was a timed aspect to it, and damn did I feel in the flow when I was scribbling away on that paper.

When the timer went off, I actually felt proud of what I just wrote.

My innards felt all warm and fuzzy proud, but not proud enough to share it with the whole 5th-grade class. Baby steps, people.

The teacher starts asking for volunteers to read their story. And while I was super happy with what I just wrote (especially the ending), there was no way in classroom heaven I was going to read it aloud.

A couple brave souls read their cute stories and I thought, “Look at them go, but my story is better.”

And then a girl – known for her smarts, brass + front row seat in the classroom – stood up and read her story without missing a beat; she shared her story with full confidence.

The next thing I knew I thought I was listening to my own story because it was quite identical. But I had the ace in the hole I thought – her ending couldn’t top my ending.

Oh, but Keli, it did.

Because it was the same ending.

We both did the “And then little Johnny woke up from his dream.”

I was shocked + pissed at the same time. And it didn’t help that the teacher couldn’t stop gushing about her story, “So creative! I love the ending! Really good story!”

I wanted to grab my paper right there, stand up and show MY creativity gosh darn it.

Too late.

I stewed for a bit over that experience, but it made me realize if I care that much about my writing maybe I should show up and stand up more in my writing.

After that day, I wasn’t so afraid to put my writing out there – even though I still didn’t have dreams of being a writer. I just knew I never wanted to feel like I didn’t show up fully for something I actually was pretty decent at.

I did a lot of showing up for my writing in high school. I joined the school newspaper, took creative writing classes, wrote an essay for a scholarship (and won) and my senior year I was editor of the school newspaper.

I kept showing up even though I couldn’t connect the dots.

My dreams at that time were to move to California and get into acting (even though my only acting credit was reciting Steel Magnolias in my bathroom mirror while fake crying). I think my bigger dream was to just move to California + pursue a career as a talk show host, but who really knows.

Writing was never on my radar of how I was going to show up in the world. It was just something I was good at.

I wrote my way through every certification and degree I got in my 20’s. And once social media entered the picture, I wrote there, too.

When I launched my Health Coaching practice in 2012, I officially started a blog. Just because it came with my website.

I love expressing myself through words, but again, never thought of it as a career.

Except that is exactly what it has become: my writing has become my career.

I write articles on my website, I help small businesses and creatives write their websites and blogs and newsletter and social media content: I write for a living.

I get paid to write.

But that’s not how I always saw it because I’m not a published author (yet), or my articles don’t go viral and spread like wildfire through the Interwebs.

I just simply show up every day and write —

Write blogs.

Write content for clients.

Write emails.

I write my ass off and get paid to do it even though this was never my dream, but now, it feels like it’s always been a whisper of a dream I just didn’t take the time to listen to.

Maybe you’re wondering what the actual fuck you want to do with your life.

Maybe you’re criticizing yourself for not knowing your “purpose” (whatever that means).

Maybe you’re unsure of yourself because you thought you loved one thing but realized you actually really don’t love that one thing.

I’ve been there – and on days when I can’t get a decent sentence out to save my life – I’m very much still there.

I’m not sure of easy answers in life, but the one thing that’s usually worked for me is continuing to show up until something does make sense – until you can definitely say something is up your alley, or hell-to-the-no that’s not for you.

Show up.

Go first and share your story.  

Because if you don’t, you may never know what does or does not make your soul move in ways you didn’t know it could.

Love + Still Learning To Tell My Story,

Keli

When the Whistle Blows

I scurry to the kitchen from our bedroom like I’m a running back with my eye on the end zone.

(Just to be clear, I had to Google what a running back actually does + I originally said “inzone” not end zone. THAT’S how much I know about football.)

It’s a familiar scene in the Conci household; the tea kettle is whistling + I need to shut that thing down before the neighbors call the police for a welfare check on me.

Enter me sprinting like I know what I’m doing.

Except my Hubs already let me know – like 3 minutes before the whistle blew – that it was about ready to spew like Yellowstone’s geyser.

I ignored him of course.

I was pounding away on my laptop like a herd of elephants making their way across the desert.

That’s what usually happens when I’m so deep in computer work – I forget what the hell is happening around me until the damn kettle whistles so loud it startles the ever-living-shit out of me, and I run like my life depends on it.

And then I turn that sucker off + feel triumphant for an insignificant moment because I slayed some water beast.

But this time, the Hubs got me, and I didn’t even know it.

You know how I came in and told you this thing was about to blow?” the Hubs grinned as he spoke.

“Uh-huh, I nodded like a little schoolgirl listening to a teacher she’s in love with.

“Well, it was about to blow because I knew that’s the only way you’d listen. I already took the kettle off the burner, but I placed it back on ’cause I knew you’d react to the whistle blowing…and not me telling you that thing was about to go nuclear.”

Sneaky little shit, this guy, I thought.

But he knows me best.

And he was right.

(Why does he have to give me life lessons via a tea kettle?)

Why do we wait for the kettle whistle to blow?

Do we like being startled?

Is it easier to just anticipate + then react?

I’m not sure why some of us learn the first go around, or why some take a few soul-screeching turns to get something.

Do we learn better by watching someone else experience life — even when it’s difficult and crushing?

Or do we have to take every hit?

I know I’m waxing philosophical here, but dang, you’d think I’d be tired of learning life lessons via a whistling kettle + the ignoring of common sense.

What whistles are blowing for you?

Love + Blowing Off Steam,

Keli

Pressure + The Snooze Button

I’m experimenting with something you probably know nothing about.

Oh wait, you’re a human, so yeah, you probably know a lot about what I’m experimenting with: Pressure.

(Don’t think for one second, I don’t automatically hear “Under Pressure” [Queen/David Bowie] and want to bust out a tune).

You see, this whole experiment came about due to my participation in one of my infamous spinouts.

And what’s a spin out you’re probably wondering?

Well, if Britney Spears circa 2007 popped into your memory (shaved head + wielding an umbrella) – I’m not there…yet.

My spin out looks more like a Tasmanian Devil that gets sucked into a hurricane.

I literally go so fast (at life, work, motherhood, wifey-lifey, etc.) something has to stop me. 

Most of the time the thing that gets me to slow down + recognize I’m in a tizzy is life being so smart: “Whoa, Kel, slow the hell down.”

Or my Hubs noticing the Tasmanian Devil spin out, watching me get all amped up from afar, and then dropping a subtle hint to me like, “You think that computer’s gonna feed you?”

Soon after I slow the hell down.

I suppose I’ve experienced enough burnouts to heed the warning signs from life + the Hubs (all thanks to getting older).

Thankfully this little spin out was able to be slowed down; like when you’re going so fast on a merry-go-round + someone comes in and physically stops it (hi, dad!), or you jump off because you’re feeling extra ballsy (hi, childhood!).

I’m always vacillating between a force helping me slow down or hurling myself onto stable ground.

(I’m working on some sort of balance, ok. #LifeGoals)

A full-blown spin out was thwarted, and I was left to ponder what actually got me twirling like crazy: why was I going so fast in the first place?

And the answer was clear: pressure.

More specifically – self-imposed pressure to be further ahead.

I was doing this to myself (as I usually do).

There’s no one to blame for my spin outs + definitely no one to blame for placing ridiculous amounts of pressure on myself.

And the truth is – I’ve been that way my whole life.

Perhaps it’s my childhood that had zero discipline.

Perhaps it’s that Capricorn in me that loves to be task-oriented + stubborn + diligent.

Perhaps it’s my fear that my idle brain will send me packing to Fiji on the next red-eye leaving everything behind.  

So, I pressed the snooze button on pressure.

Why the snooze button and not turn the entire alarm clock of pressure off?

Because sometimes pressure does make diamonds + perhaps I might need to harness that energy.

But I definitely prefer a place of low-pressure.

And that’s where I’m hanging out.

I’m experimenting with the low-pressure lifestyle.

And what does that look like?

Well, so far, I’ve stopped placing ridiculous time frames on my work life.

I love working ahead + being so on top of things that not only am I anticipating the next ten moves, I’m also living in that potential scenario.

I’ve learned to tell myself, “BE HERE NOW, WOMAN!” (I know that’s so Buddha of me to say, but damn, living in the future blows).

So here I am in all of my experimenting glory.

Every time I feel like I’m adding unnecessary pressure to my world, I literally stop and bitchslap ma’self: “You love your work. You’ll get it done. Just keep showing up and plugging away, you crazy-beautiful thing, you!”

How’s that working out for me?

Pretty darn good, actually.

I’ve thrown out mantra’s in my life (maybe it’s just the word mantra I’ve thrown out…hmmm), but I do love some self-talk that keeps me from puking on the merry-go-round or jumping off mid-swirl + getting all roughed up.

Because sometimes watching the future you on a playground chillin’ by the tree’s — workin’ on that low-pressure lifestyle — is where the magic really is.

Love + Snooze Buttons,

Keli