a home office.

After I officially gave notice at my publishing job a few weeks ago, Matt and I finally tackled the office space in our apartment.  When we moved into our 700-square-foot Brooklyn home, we used the small back room mostly as a place to store miscellaneous furniture.  We came to think of the space as mine, primarily because it housed my closet and two shelves full of my books.  As we began discussing the possibility of my career shift, revamping the room and turning it into a more functional office space for me was always a priority.

The room is tiny, but after an afternoon at Target and some game-time decisions that allowed us to keep old pieces rather than buying new, we had turned it into a comfortable, cheerful space that makes me feel productive and inspired.

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Spoiler alert: There are more than a few wedding photos featured in my office space.  I’m a newlywed– can you blame me?
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I’m the kind of girl who likes a lot of colorful, positive images around during the workday.

 

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My mom sent me this quote from British spiritual teacher Jeff Foster.  It’s so perfect for this moment in my life that I had to copy it down and hang it right at eye level in my office.

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I worked in the publishing industry for five years, so you can only imagine how many books I’d collected by the time I was ready to pack up my cubicle last week.  I shipped two huge boxes full of books back to my apartment and swapped out many of the titles that had been sitting on these shelves to make room!

One of the things I increasingly struggled with at my corporate gig was the routine of sitting in a gray, windowless cubicle for nine hours a day, every day.  It made me feel trapped and, quite frankly, just…sad.  I am excited to have created a workspace that feels more like “me.”  I’m so motivated when I walk through the rest of our apartment and see the office, knowing that I have the opportunity to sit myself down here at any given moment to work, create, and hustle.

We’re still planning to paint the room, and I’m thinking about a soft, buttery yellow.  Do you have any other ideas?

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One of Matt’s fantasy football drafts fell on the same day that we fixed up the office.  I walked out of the room to make dinner, and within seconds he had settled in to try out the new space and draft his team— I couldn’t help but take a photo! 

 

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26.

Today is my 26th birthday!

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My favorite birthday card from an old friend who knows me all too well.

With our June wedding, we threw the biggest celebration of my life just a few months ago, so when I started thinking about this birthday recently, it honestly felt pretty insignificant.  I’m a sucker for any opportunity to be a little extra festive, so I usually go crazy for my birthday, but this one felt a little different.  After feeling so much attention and generosity in June when we got married, I was ready to flow in and out of September 20th with little to no fanfare (at least for this year).

But now, having initiated another major life shift last week, 26 feels worthy of a bit more excitement!

When I resigned at my corporate job three weeks ago, I intentionally scheduled my last day at the office so it would land a few days in advance of my birthday.  I wanted to walk confidently into the next year of my life, head held high and heart ready to embrace this wildly new chapter.  I am now on Day Two of the “transition week” that I granted between wrapping up at my old gig and diving in 200% to my new routine, so my schedule has been a mix of enjoying time for myself and laying additional groundwork for my writing career.  I’m grateful that I allowed for this reflective time, and that it also fell during the week that I am turning another year older.  As I sit here at my new desk in my home workspace, I can quietly absorb all that’s happened over the last twelve months, and pat myself on the back just a little bit for having the courage to jump into the next twelve months the way I have.

25 was undoubtedly the biggest year of my life yet.  I sunk my roots deeper into this Brooklyn neighborhood that I love so much.  I prioritized meaningful, gratifying friendships and invested time and energy into my one-of-a-kind family.  I planned a wedding that was both visually beautiful and intensely sentimental, and walked away married to the man who has been my partner in all things for over seven years.  I did a lot of soul-searching, and granted myself some grace when it came to questioning where I had landed professionally.  After all of that, I declared myself ready to walk away from a safe and secure work environment to protect my health and happiness, and to pursue my dreams.  It was a year of brutal honesty, authenticity, and not being afraid to “put myself out there.”

I feel a little exhausted thinking about all of it!  But, most of all, I am excited to see what happens next, and to figure out how I can continue to build on all of the goodness that has manifested in my life recently.  It hasn’t been easy, and it may not get any easier, but I’m ready!  26, bring it on!

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the last day.

The morning started like this:

me, sitting at my desk, half-dressed, listening to “Brave” by Sara Bareilles on loop, drinking a smoothie, and sobbing as I received encouraging text messages from my parents, all before 7 AM

Four and a half hours later, at 11:30, I packed the last of my things, handed in my company ID badge, and walked out of my office building for the last time.  The tears had started again as I walked toward the subway, and then I looked up and saw this:

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It’s the most beautiful day here in New York, and the first day that really feels like fall– my favorite season.  In that moment, it felt like a small gift from the universe just for me– as if this first day of my new journey was meant to also be completely gorgeous so that I would walk outside and know that I’d made the right decision.

When I started at my job almost five years ago, I was twenty-one years old and making a two-hour commute to New York City from my hometown in Pennsylvania.  I remember so clearly a very dramatic, suburban, wide-eyed thought that I had as I walked up Eighth Avenue on my first day.  “Here I am, in New York!  This is where I’ll make a name for myself.  I’m here to make my fortune!”

There have been moments over the last few weeks since I gave my notice that I wondered if, in doing so, I’d thrown away the opportunity to fulfill that naive twenty-one year old’s city ambitions.  I know that it’s not.  I am entering a transition, and it’s going to be challenging and uncomfortable, and it might stretch me to some of my previous limits, but it will lead me to a place where I can call my own shots as to how I make that name for myself.  I don’t think it’s ever too late to figure out how you really want to live your life.  Circumstances aren’t always right for making massive life changes, and I am grateful that the stars have aligned in my own circumstances to make this possible for me at twenty-five, almost twenty-six years old.  Now, the trick is to let myself feel each and every stage of this transition, so I can get to the other side ready to chase success in my own right and as my best self.

For now, I am going to take myself out to my favorite little French spot on the corner to sit outside on this perfect day with a book, an order of French fries, and a glass of champagne.  Because if there’s any better way to mark such a major milestone, then I don’t know what it is.

 

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i did it.

I can’t believe I’m typing this, but here’s the big news:

I quit my job today.

Wow.  It looks even weirder typed on the screen than it sounds when I say it out loud.

I, constantly overachieving, straight-shot-from-point-A-to-point-B Alli, have done something completely unexpected.  I’ve strayed from the path.

The truth is that, while this may seem like a surprising and plan-deflecting move, it’s really just a return to my original life track.  I was lucky enough to land an awesome internship in book publishing when I was a junior in college, but prior to that, my focus was all writing, all the time.  The publishing internship was intriguing at that time– could I really spend my life surrounded by books?  I fell completely in love with the idea, and before I knew it, it was three weeks after graduation and I was sitting on a bus bound for my first day in the Sales department at a major New York City book publisher.  Now, almost five years later, I know that I lost myself somewhere in the excitement of landing that job.  And if it means taking an unexpected turn to get back to where I want to be, then I need to make that leap.

It’s been a privilege to work where I’ve worked for the last few years.  I learned to interact with lots of different kinds of people, saw the inside of corporate America, and read hundreds of books along the way.  But, it’s important to follow your intuition (I’m a big fan of Jess Lively and her work on this subject), and to know when to take the next step to get where you really want to be.

So, here we are– at the next step!

What’s the plan?  The plan is to write, and to create.  The plan is to learn, and to network with people who are interested in what I can do and what I have to say.  The stars have aligned over the past few weeks and I’ve made some exciting contacts out there in this exciting online world.  I’ve already jumped into some freelance assignments at a few fantastic outlets, and I’m looking forward to building that portfolio.  I’m excited to share my work as I gain momentum!

Thanks for following along as I start down this new path.  It’s never too late to follow your gut instincts, or to try to work your way back to the beginning.

 

 

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