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

When Can No Become a Complete Sentence? (+ I’m So Not A Nature Person, So Stop Asking Me to Go Hiking)

I’m a pretty literal person + I definitely don’t read between the lines very well.

When someone remarks, “Didn’t you hear what that guy was trying to say?” I’m usually sitting there thinking so hard my brain starts to twitch, “Ummmm, nope, sure didn’t; all I literally heard was the exact words coming out of his mouth.”

It doesn’t help that my Hubs likes to tell me stories and paint me a picture of his intergalactic plans about the big-picture vision he has about how he would build something, “Does that make sense? Can you see it?”

No, I can’t see it, fool. Like, at all.

In fact, I’m now more confused about life than before this conversation.

And this is why I have such a difficult time with declining invitations.

I’m not talking just wedding invites and anniversary parties where I can RSVP with a checkmark in the no box – I mean any invite ever asked by a person.

Want to grab a coffee?

Shall we go to a movie?

Let’s do dinner!?

How does breakfast sound?

Weekend getaway sound off the charts?

As I’ve added more candles to ma’birthday cake I’m so less inclined to be social.

Call it an existential crisis, knowing myself better or just plain loving the shit out of being home – I find myself automatically wanting to say no to social stuff a lot.  

But the conundrum doesn’t fall in my desire to say no – the conundrum arrives in HOW TO SAY NO.

You see, I find it excruciatingly difficult when all I want to say is “No” or “Hell no I’m not making that” when declining an invitation or passing on an event – because I’m told there are softer + gentler ways to let people down.

(Side note: Are we really letting people down? But I digress).

My brain plays the fastest game of Scrabble® when I get an invitation –

“Hell no, I’m not going to that.”

“Ok, for just an hour or two – I’ll leave when I want.”

“Oh, forget that the new season of Grace + Frankie just dropped on Netflix.”

“Oh snap, there’s gonna be mimosa’s? Honey, can you drop me off?”

After the dust has settled and it’s time to actually make a decision whether I’m going to show up to this happening or not, 90% of the time I opt to stay home – where there’s mimosa’s AND Netflix.

So why is it not socially acceptable to just say no in declining an invite – and that be enough?

Why do we feel like we have to offer an explanation or even an apology, “Love to, but I’m so busy” “I’m richly scheduled that weekend, sorry”?

I’ve probably read a weekends worth of articles on the art of saying no + gentle ways to go about metaphorically slamming the No Door in someone’s face.  

Finding the right word choice to simultaneously not offend someone, potentially hurt their feelings yet also express what I need to express – has left me, well, a bit exhausted.

And I’m over it.

So, can we start a one-word revolution where no is a complete sentence?

I mean I tell my Little Love of a daughter that all the time, “No, is a complete sentence, honey. That goes both ways – for you and the other person.”

Why can’t I as a bloody adult just simply say, “No thanks” to an invite to go hiking (because I’d literally be dreaming of sitting on a patio drinking margarita’s the entire time [#SoNotANaturePerson #Facts])?

Now, I know I can simply say no and move on – I’m a free bird who can do whatever the hell I want.

So maybe I will.

As soon as I’m done with this margarita – because I’ll take tequila any day over dirt, rocks and the potential of being attacked by a mountain lion

Because I said no.

Love + Hell No,

Keli

36.

I’m officially 36-years-old.

Those two numbers swing closer to 40-years-old + I’m cool with that.

Call it luck of the parental draw, or my propensity to view most things through rose-colored glasses — I’ve been shown how to embrace + love another candle on the cake — thanks to my Pops (The Vic).

This brazen dude, The Vic, was 50-years-old when I came wailing into this world + my mama (his wife) was 22-years younger than the ole lad.

The Vic loved aging —

It was his mindset around growing older that made me feel like, “Hell yeah aging is cool!”

The Vic showed me to be grateful for being vertical and not horizontal in a grave. “How are you today?” “Well, I’m vertical and right now that’s all that matters!”

When someone asked Pops his age, I could see the spark in him as he revealed his age + laughed, “And damn proud of it, too!”

When we celebrated his birthday every year, he soaked up every second of it (when he could remember of course, before Dementia decided to crash his memory party).

I’ll never forget when he turned 77 – that was his favorite number (holy double 7’s!) – and all year long he spread the gospel of being 77, “I’m 77! Oh, I just love that number!”

So, in honor of The Vic – who really can’t recall much now but can always feel the love of family and friends – I’m going to share with you some of my favorite life lessons learned + thoughts on aging + favorite quips + some advice sprinkled in.

Cheers to breathing another day and having enough breath to blow out those candles!


Life Lessons + Favorite Quips + Advice (in no particular order!)  

  • It may have taken me 30+ years to learn, understand and truly integrate: BOUNDARIES ARE MY BEST FRIEND. (I had to learn that the hard way in my caregiving journey with The Vic).

  • Over-spiritualizing is a thing. Honor who you are, especially if you’re a planning, practical, get-shit-done, let’s-do-more-than-talk-about-it person.

  • When your life is in crisis – or like mine was when caregiving for The Vic + I had very little fucks to give – you really find out who will be there for you + who won’t. Those people who showed up for me during The Vic/caregiving years are still there for me now when my life looks hella less in crisis.

  • But don’t be jaded by friends or family that didn’t stick around or whom you expected something from – let life prune your friend garden ‘cause it sure as hell will if you allow it to.

  • Oh yeah, on that note, expectations are a set-up for resentment(s). And resentments are like walking on hot coals all day. That shit blows.

  • Experiment. It’s one of my favorite words + a lens I use to play with + see life out of. Because life really is one giant-ass experiment.  

  • My child teaches me more about myself (by being her mother) than I teach her about life.

  • 10-20 minutes of walking can do more for my body + brain than any amount of cement pounding, or crazy body contorting I think I’m into.

  • Coffee shops can revive you. After almost a decade of caregiving, working my ass off + always being ready to clean up bodily fluids + chase down my Pops – nothing was more healing to me than dropping the kid off at school, opening my laptop + letting the caffeine have its way with me.

  • I might identify as a freelancer more than an entrepreneur.

  • I can still bust a move on the dance floor. Only now I pee just a little bit when I turn into Michael Jackson, “Shamone!”

  • Time can heal wounds, but so can damn good therapy.

  • I still can’t drink liquids too close to bedtime or I’ll piss ma’self (sorry, Hubs).

  • Food shaming is not okay.

  • I reserve the right to change my mind regarding food choices. I’ve seen a pattern with my body + food preferences; it likes to change its damn mind. So now, I just go with it instead of judging it.

  • If I wasn’t married and didn’t have my little babes, I’d probably live in an RV with only ten articles of clothing. Often, I’m curious how that version of Keli turns out.

  • Your family might disappoint you.

  • Your friends might disappoint you.

  • Decide your non-negotiables + healthy boundaries with friends + family – you do have power over you.

  • Every year I become more open to digging in roots + possibly buying a home (with some major travel wings).

  • Relationships are better when you can share your truth + listen to the truth of others.

  • I’m madly, deeply, all-consuming in love with podcasts.

  • I want to start a podcast one day. (I’ve been saying that for almost five years now!)

  • I’m more aware of aging + my health now + I’m not sure how I feel about that.

  • And with each candle I add to the cake I shout, “I’m vertical, bitch!” And let each year have its wild way with me.

Love + 36 Wild + Glorious + Soul-Jerking Years On This Planet,

Keli

I Don’t Want to Live My Life Through Instagram Captions

Why’d you just throw your phone on the couch?” The hubs questions me…a bit concerned.

I shot him straight: “I get sucked into the black hole of social media, I can’t stop scrolling and then when I’m done going unconscious, I feel like shit. So, I chuck my phone at the couch in defiance.

Ummmmm, ok…if that works for you…more power to you,” that smarty-pants remarks with a chuckle.

Except it doesn’t fucking work for me.

Like at all.

I Don’t Want to Live My Life Through Instagram Captions

You know how it goes…you’re moving along in your day…you literally stop to smell the roses and think, “Oh boy, I need to capture these pretty red things on Instagram.”

Pull out phone. Shoot. Click. Upload. Caption…

And wait for the comments and likes.

That’s how I was living my life — notice something, write a caption in my head, make it pretty (aka: throw on that filter)…

And then sit back while I  wrapped my worth in wondering how bangin’ I wrote a caption or not. 

Was I funny enough?

Did I showcase my wit here?

Is this profound enough?

Talk about driving yo’self bat-shit crazy.

In my mind, something drastic had to happen.

Cue the scene where dust kicks up and a lonely woman’s walking down the street to some new destination…except not sooooo dramatic for me…and you sure as hell won’t find me walking down a lonely-ass highway.

For a few years now, I’ve contemplated quitting social media.

Every time I have this major social media consideration I wonder how I can quit social media – for myself – and run an online business.

I mean, isn’t that part of running a successful online business – a bangin’ social media presence?

And holy buckets of cold water, let’s not even get on the topic train that my minor in college is Social Media Marketing.

What the actual French toast?

Here’s where things get even fuzzier (like the murky water you can’t even see your toes in) – I manage my client(s) social media accounts.

Like full on; graphic design, social media captions, schedule, post, engage – the holy bloody social shabang!

And get this…

I don’t hate it.

I actually enjoy it for other people – just not for me.

To make things even cloudier, I believe in social media.

I believe in the power it has to connect people (especially business with their audience/clients).

Heck, my hubs found his bio dad (and half-sister) on Facebook – the power is palpable.

I don’t HATE social media.

I just hate how I feel after I use it (for me, personally).

And life is way too damn short to have those feelings for something I use on a consistent, daily basis.

So, I decided to take a social media detox that turned into a break.

And I haven’t returned from that break yet.

I’m not sure if I ever will.

But right now, I’m not throwing my phone on the couch anymore and I’m not waking up to a zombie scrolling session on Instagram.

Insta was my drug no doubt.

I’m learning how to reconcile running a blog and offering freelance writing/content marketing services without having social media to spread those Keli Conci words.

I can tell you my time is spent actually writing now and not allowing my thumb to take another scrolling hit off of Instagram.

Oh, and not viewing life through what “profound/funny” thing I was going to caption on Instagram.

Life and Business Beyond Instagram Captions  

So, what comes of trying to run a blog and offer freelance services without social media?

Honestly, for me, I’m not totally sure…yet.

Trust me, I’m not the first freelancer or writer to say, “Peace the hell out, social media.”

Writer – and one of my biggest inspo’s for taking the flying leap off of social media – Alexandra Franzen decided to quit social media (years ago) and hasn’t used it since.

If she can do it by golly, so can I.

I want to focus on my writing, on telling damn-good stories, going deeper than a snippet or a caption. 

I want to peel the layers of life in story-form, not just highlight the good in a short-lived Instagram shot.

Give me the pretty, the downright ugly and everything in between — even the things that end up leaving scars and a bloody mess to clean up…

Because that’s real life and I’ll take more of that, please. 

Love + Letting Go, 

Keli