Wednesday, December 18, 2013

What do you do? What is your identity?

Yesterday I shared with you a home tour of a house that I built several years ago, and you can see that tour here. In response to that post I received a comment from a lovely lady, Vel Criste, at Life and Home at 2102. Stop in and see Vel, you will love her writing. Her comment was that she didn't know I built homes.  Well, she is right. I don't build homes....anymore. I used to build homes. I used to be a home builder. A creator. I created.

You know that game where you set up chairs, and you have people walk around the chairs, and each time the song ends anyone who couldn't find a chair to sit in is gone, and each time another chair is removed and eventually only one person and one chair remains? All the others are gone - out of the game. Well that's me, I am one of those who no longer has a chair and is no longer in the game.
Via Pinterest
I have been trying to figure out what to do now. In fact I have been trying to figure this out for several years now. I know several years is a ridiculously long time to try to figure out what's next. What is even sadder is that I still haven't figured out a thing and I am still trying come up with that great idea of what I will do and who I will be. I would say LOL, but I am not laughing.

Like it or not, what we do is an identity of who we are. It is not our only identity to be sure but it is a pretty big one. Oh, that's Bill he makes furniture, Kim is the best mom in the world, Jessica is the county commissioner and could run the whole state. That's Patty, um, well... she used to build homes, I don't know what she does now.....Hmmmm.....
Via Business Insider

Who are you? What do you do? What is your identity? 


My adolescent psychology professor told us that the saddest person is the one who made it big when he is young and never does anything after that, that could top that one achievement. As an example he said, think about the college quarterback who everyone loved, everyone knew, thousands of people cheered his name. He was a winner, a football star, but college is over now and he is not good enough for professional ball. What does he do now? When people see him they tell him how great he was and how they remember that play..... But now he is home sitting in his living room and he doesn't know what to do next. All he seems to have is his memories. He gets job offers to sell cars and other manly objects but no one is cheering his name and he isn't accomplishing a thing. What now? My psychology teacher was right, having already achieved what you believe to be your greatest accomplishment and then living a life around that past is a horrible place to be. The high point of your life is over and it is always rearing its head and reminding you of what you once did and of who you once were. The football field is empty now. There is no one there. 
Via Saturday Down South

Get up! Move on! Don't feel sorry for yourself! Do something! 

I couldn't agree more. Yes! Great advice! Let's make some goals, a strategic road map of the exact things I need to do to get where I want to go. Paper and pen in hand I sit down to start my new plan. Minutes pass... I think I will make some coffee and maybe I should get some highlighters and some multi-colored pencils, and..... I am not writing.. I don't know what to aim for. I don't have any agenda.
Carie Harling - Dispatches From the Frat House
Blogging has awakened the creativity in me. I purchased a DSLR camera sometime ago and everyday I am becoming a better photographer. Photography puts emphasis on the details. I have always been a details person. The details are what make up everything in our lives. It is always all about the details. It is also about the big picture, the end result, that finished house. I am good at the big picture. I like to write and blogging gives me that opportunity as well. I have always wanted to be a writer, to write novels. Well I am not writing any novels, not even close, but still I like the writing I do. I enjoy taking photographs and putting them together with my words to convey the things I want to share. Blogging has been a wonderful outlet and I am enjoying it immensely.  But is it just a hobby or can I make a living doing this new creative thing that I do? I wish I didn't need to make a living, but I do. Are you making a living blogging? Can you offer me some advice? I am an independent soul and I don't need anyone holding my hand, but I sure could use a little guidance, a bit of valuable information. I will most likely blog even if I can't make a living at it, but then that means I need to do "that unknown" something else, I have yet to figure out. What if I have already figured it out?  What if I am in the midst of that great new accomplishment of mine? Wouldn't that be nice!

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  1. Dear Patty,

    First of all, thank you for the mention and the compliment! I'm tickled pink!

    Now about the Identity thing. I can still feel a pang of pain in your writing Patty, and that is definitely understandable. You used to create grand things like gorgeous houses and I also feel the pride and sense of accomplishment you have with that. BUT, you may have forgotten the fact that though you don't build them anymore, and you don't live in any of them. These houses will FOREVER BE YOURS!!!! Isn't that amazing? You are the creator. the mind and heart behind it all and with that you should always be proud and thankful still.

    I also understand the feeling of missing something in your life right now. That 'empty' football stadium, but YOU have great talent and creativity, no one can take that away from you and hence it shows in your blogging. I don't know much about the business aspects of blogging obviously, (YOUNG HOUSE LOVE has some great tips on this), I hope you can still find something you could do that has something to do with house building/designing (like as an online consultant perhaps), since I would hate to see your talent be shared to only us! I know you could do so much more Patty! Keep us posted, Cheer up and have a merry Christmas!


  2. Hugs. I don't have ads on my blog.

    I'm sorry that it has been a difficult few years.

  3. Patty, what a good heartfelt post. You had me right there with you, in a few lines understanding you better than in any previous post. While I agree that blogging can satisfy these creative needs we have, I can't help you with the question of whether blogging will make money for you. I hope someone who knows will give advice with that. I have wondered if the days of The Pioneer Woman are over, blog to t.v. show. We all know that Julie blogged about Julia Child and it became a bestseller and then a big movie. And Smitten Kitchen now has a cookbook out and tours the country. Can it happen again?

    I'm sure that people like Nancy of Nancy's Daily Dish have purveyed their Etsy stores into much bigger businesses by blogging exposure. And an author surely has to blog today or contribute to her web site. Almost any business today seems to be blogging too.

    Having had two articles published years ago, I went straight into writing novels. After the first couple of rejections I stopped submitting, just kept writing novels. Then blogging came along and I realized how much sheer talent was already out there and so I blog and keep writing, just because they are my characters and I have to keep growing them. I've thought of e-publishing, me who does not even own a whatever they are called that you read books on! Maybe I'll try that eventually.

    Meanwhile, we both know that the first step is identifying what you want and then laying out steps you can take to start getting you there. Please follow up on this post and let us know what you learn along the way. I predict that you are oh, so not alone!


    P.S. Remember that 10 years from now you can either still be asking the same question or you can be 10 years into the path you decide on.

  4. I am 45 and back in college. It is never to late to reinvent yourself. We should never stop learning, growing, and changing.

    I hope you are enjoying this holiday season.

  5. You obviously have a lot of education and experience in the housing market, so I would think that would open doors for you in that field alone! Regarding making money on your blog, you can sign up for AdSense with Google and apply for Blogher (another type of advertising). I know that is how a lot of people make money on their blogs. One thing that I've learned over time though is it takes some time to get your blog established. You need to get a lot of traffic on your blog in order to make money. So you can really decide how big you want your blog to get based on what you want to earn. But, it doesn't happen overnight. If you need consistent more reliable income I would recommend working within the field that you already have some experience in. And btw, you are definitely not alone in this journey! Many people make career changes in their lifetime so it feels like starting over each time. And you're never too old to make one ( in my opinion). Good luck with whatever you decide to do!

  6. Oh, Patty! I too have struggled with my "identity" since giving up my 14 year career in PR and marketing when we moved from Texas two years ago... I'm still trying to figure out the next step in my career, but for now thank goodness for blogging!! :)

    The Glam Pad

  7. Hi Patty. My name is Jeanette and I am new to your gorgeous blog. I am awe struck by your home design. We may put our creativity to side for a while but it always there. Sometimes it just needs to reignited in another manner. The homes that you have designed have your stamp on it and always will, so even if you don't have a seat. It is never to late to start anew.

  8. Thank you all for your kind and thoughtful words, they are highly appreciated. I know that I am not alone, and that there are so many people in a similar situation. I am looking forward to this next part of my life - I think - no really I am, reinvention leaves a lot of bruises along the way but that's okay, bruises heal. We shall see what the future holds, especially 2014! This new year is coming quick and I want to make it a very good year. Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!
    Patty at Home and Lifestyle Design

  9. Hi Patty. I so appreciate your honesty in this post. My sons are in the same identity confusion. One quit a well paying job in Atlanta but does not know "what he wants to be now." The other graduated with high honors from Emory with a degree in philosophy with the intention of going to law school, but he has changed his mind and doesn't know what he wants to do now. And then, like you, I want to do something creative, but I am still in my teaching career that does provide an income. Blogging provides me a creative outlet like it does for you, but I have never been a "salesperson" type person and it seems you have to do that to continually promote yourself and in doing so - your blog - just not in my personality. So what I have come to terms with is that my job and my creative pursuit are two different things. Would that work for you? Could you have a job now in a totally different field? I think eventually I will retire and the blog will be my creative outlet. It has been very rewarding. I don't know how to make money on it without it feeling too commercial..not sure this even makes sense. I just wanted you to know that I am right there with you. A belated Happy Holidays to you.
    p.s. I just left Whitney English's site on branding. It is an expensive endeavor that she is offering, but it might be of interest to you. Take a look here...http://blog.whitneyenglish.com/authenticate/
    and she did a post you might like to read here: http://blog.whitneyenglish.com/if-you-dont-like-where-you-are-going/

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