Monday, July 30, 2012

Appreciating This Moment

It's really easy to live in the future. To push through your present because it's just a means to an end. Just one step on your way to accomplishing a goal, or to getting the life you want. And while I will never say that it's bad to have goals or ambitions, or to want to do epic shit, it is important to appreciate your present while you're in the midst of making those things happen.

Especially when working for a start-up, you are future-focused all of the time.  Constantly strategizing, and pivoting, and turning your little company into the big dream that seduced you all to sign up for this in the first place.

These last couple months have been trying, and tiring, and part of what motivates and pushes me through is the belief that we are working toward a future that will be awesome.  But, the present is pretty awesome already. And I want to take a moment to remember that.

I spent this past weekend visiting some dear friends in Washington, D.C. I went down on Thursday, and on Friday, I had the opportunity to work out of a co-working space in D.C. because a friend of mine's company works out of the space.  It was similar to The Beauty Shoppe in Pittsburgh (where Thread works) in that there was a lot of natural light and Ikea furniture, but there were also a lot more people.  I was sharing a desk, sitting across from my friend Anne, and trying to be respectful of the room full of people furiously typing away on their Macbooks by talking quietly, etc.

At one point in the afternoon, all 5 of us at Thread were on line, and entered in a group chat discussing that month's newsletter and other last minute Friday afternoon orders of business. Even though we were all scattered and communicating electronically, we know each other well enough, that we can totally pick up on people's sarcasm, personality, and inflection even in typed communications.  So, the thing is,  I work with very smart and very funny people. I have said several times, that one of my favorite things about working for Thread is that it feels at times like we're on an Aaron Sorkin show, what with quick rapid fire dialogue, lots of references, and plenty of wit.

Anyway, the point is that even though we're discussing work stuff, my teammates are being hilarious. To the point where I start giggling out loud. And like you do in most situations where you're not supposed to be laughing or making too much noise (libraries, church, classical music concerts) and something strikes you as funny, you try really hard not to laugh, which inevitably makes you laugh even harder.  I tried to keep it together, but kept snorting into my keyboard, when finally my friend Anne couldn't feign polite ignorance anymore and stared at me eyebrows raised.

"I'm sorry," I said. "My teammates are just hysterical."

"You are having wayyy too much fun for a Friday afternoon," she answered.

And I was. I was having a ton of fun. And I just want to be cognizant and appreciative of that. Because life is stressful. And I could keep racing through right now, so that I can get to a place where I'm not broke, and less stressed, and more secure, and more grown up. While I hope that all of those things happen, I also want to be grateful for the fact that I'm in a place in life, where I can travel to other cities to spend time with people I care about, while working for a job that challenges and entertains me.

I want to appreciate that while I might be working toward a better future, a present filled with laughter at work on a Friday afternoon is not such a bad place to be.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Water Balloon Fights, Promotions, and Aging Gracefully

Thread has a sister organization, called Team Tassy, a foundation that accompanies families out of poverty in Haiti, helping them to become self sufficient, and breaking the vicious cycle that poverty perpetuates.  Thread's founder and CEO, also founded Team Tassy.

And while we are two separate organizations, with different legal structures, and different staffs, we tend to be all up in each other's business 1) because we like each other and 2) because our work collaborates and runs into one another frequently.

So, months ago, when I first learned that Team Tassy would be throwing a giant water balloon fight as their annual fundraiser this summer, because they believe that giving should be a joy, and what is more joyful than spending a Saturday in July at a park in downtown Pittsburgh throwing water balloons to fight global poverty with 3,000 of your closest friends? I said I'd be happy to help out in any way I could.

On Tuesday when I found out I had been promoted to "Trash Captain" (I can't make this stuff up) AND would be overseeing the fight security, I realized I had a lot of work to do.  I asked if I could bring my bow and arrows as part of the security strategy, which I might still do, and wrangled up some trash bins and dumpsters and recycling receptacles, and made some humorous signs to motivate people to recycle/promote Thread, and as these things somehow always do, everything has come together, and tomorrow should will be great.  Did I ever think there would be a time in my life I'd be able to throw together a waste management plan for an event of 3,000 people in a morning? No. But then again, most aspects of my life right now would have been unimaginable until a year ago, and I've never had more fun.

Last night, while we were filling water balloons, which for the record I could do now in my sleep, I mentioned that I was planning to wear a purple sequined baseball hat at the fight*. Because, I explained to my bemused volunteering friends:

1) I will be in the sun all day tomorrow and there isn't enough SPF in the world to last all day, and I won't have time to run around re-applying sunblock every hour anyway.


2) At these kinds of events you are often looking for people/people are looking for you, and more times than not they've never met you, so this way, someone can say "Go find Kelsey, she's wearing a purple sequined baseball hat." and there will be no confusion over who I am because I seriously doubt anyone else will also be sporting a purple sequined baseball hat.

I finished this explanation, and Ian looked at me, shook his head and said, "you are going to make a fantastic old lady someday."

Which, yea, I took as a compliment. And also? It's true. I will.

So, if you are in Pittsburgh tomorrow, swing by Point State Park, hang out with some awesome people, sling some balloons, admire my hat, and help out an organization that is truly shifting the needle for some really great families.

*Regina, I know you'll totally appreciate the importance of discussing what a "water-balloon-fight-cute-outfit" would consist of, while prepping for the event.