Starting Over: New Home, New Life, New-ish Business, All New Outlook

I recently moved into a new place – finally – after close to two years of living with various roommates and friends.

After two years of upheaval and drama and trauma and stress.

Two years of sands forever shifting beneath my feet.

Two years of just barely hanging on at times.

Two years of weepy conversations with my best girlfriends about how to get myself out of a bad situation. One I never, ever, dreamed I’d find myself in.

Two years of enormous changes, some good, some bad, some very bad.

But I’ve found stability again.

At last, hal-le-lu-yer, at long last!!

As of June 15, 2018, I’m in my own place again.

Last week, my best friend came over with a beautiful bunch of roses and a bottle of Vueve Clicquot champagne to celebrate my new digs.

Two nights ago, she came over again and set up my desk, while I was pouring us some wine.

The desk at which I can laser focus on my copywriting business again, and my vision for what I want it to become.

And where I can also focus on my vision for my writing projects outside copywriting, of which there are many.

While I can’t share all the details publicly about what went down in the last two years, I can share a few, in the form of a timeline, to give you an idea of why this peaceful, calm environment I now find myself in is so darn meaningful, and what it means for the next phase of my business.

:: Early June 2016 – Living on the coast of North Carolina in my favorite beach town. Running my copywriting business from my home office in my tiny, 600 sq. ft. apartment.

:: Mid-June 2016 – Begin feeling lonely, sad, disconnected.

:: Early-ish July 2016 – Hmm, this is beginning to feel like full-blown depression. Nah, maybe it’ll pass. I’m probably just stressed about work stuff.

:: Later July 2016: OMG, what is wrong with me? This isn’t just feeling sad and stressed. This feels bigger, scarier, and more distressing than that. I need to make some massive changes, or this will not end well. Not to be melodramatic or anything. Plus, this incessant weeping is making my face look puffy.

:: July & August 2016: Not feeling better yet, I start journaling obsessively as way to metabolize what’s happening and make a decision about what to do next. First up, I decide to do a few small things daily to make myself feel better, such as: taking a walk to the mailbox (a 15-minute round-trip), watching something funny on YouTube, calling or texting a friend, listening to Joel Osteen podcasts on repeat, writing in my journal, reading interviews with my favorite authors, brainstorming ideas for essays, books and blog posts I’ll write, and so on. These things seem to help.

:: Late August 2016: I give my 60 day move out notice to my landlord. My daily journaling has unearthed a desire to move back to the Triad area of North Carolina, where I’m from, where my brother and sister live, and where I have friends I’ve known for 30+ years. I decide to do this in late October / early November 2016. This area is four hours and 200+ miles from where I currently live on the coast, so it’s going to be more than your standard move. But I know in my bones this is exactly what I need to do.

:: September 2016: I start looking on craigs list for a roommate situation in Greensboro, NC. I want to do the roommate thing for the first 6-12 months in my new / old hometown while I get my ducks in a row. Yeehaw, I find somebody great! I visit her for a weekend and stay in what will be my bedroom. It’s a gorgeous house in a gorgeous neighborhood. We get along well. This feels right.

:: October 30, 2016: I move into my place. It turns out to be a terrible, awful, extremely ill-advised idea, which I couldn’t have known at the time. The roommate is a wonderful person, really lovely, but there are some addiction issues. Which to be fair, she told me about before I moved in. But she also said she was in recovery, and fully committed to her sobriety. Unfortunately, I was the fool who believed it.

:: November 1, 2016 – January 18, 2018: I don’t even know where to begin. Multiple hospitalizations, rehab stays, and visits to our home from EMS and the local police department, (including the time there were close to a dozen officers on our doorstep and in the front hallway, some of them armed to the fucking nines, with rifles), interspersed with periods of calm, peaceful sobriety.

From day to day, I never know what to expect. I wake up each morning, knowing that today is a total crapshoot, a spin of the roulette wheel. Maybe it will be “normal,” reliably calm, with no crazy-ass drama. And some days it is that way. Other days, just the opposite.

I can never fully relax and focus on my work, building my business, or anything else. My business suffers. Terribly. My mental health suffers. Dreadfully. I’m turning into a jumpy wreck of a person, nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockers, as my dad used to say, always waiting for the other shoe to drop.  

I know I should probably just move out, but I really want to believe her when she says she desperately wants to get and stay sober. I believe she believes that. And I don’t want to leave her in a bind with the rent. So each time there’s a relapse, I’m willing to give it another go when she says, “Please give me another chance, I promise it’s going to be different this time.”

:: January 18, 2018: No more. I’m at my wit’s end. I’m going to lose what’s left of my remaining marbles, the gossamer strands of sanity that are miraculously still intact, if I don’t make a change, ASAP. Just back from another stint in rehab in mid-January, she relapses again just a few days later. On Thursday January 18, I decide my safety, happiness, and mental health are much more important than trying to help someone by staying in a situation that frankly, feels like a lost cause. How many times does the promise have to be broken before I wise up and move out? Geez, Kimberly.

I call a friend who agrees to come over that Saturday, January 20, to help me get moved out. I’ve already lined up a wonderful place to live with someone who is sober and drama-free. Her home is peaceful, and sane. Huge sigh of relief.

:: January 20 – March 4, 2018: I live in this pleasant situation for a little over six weeks. Then I decide that I need to bring even more stability to my life, so I set about looking for a J-O-B. I figure I’ll do something 9-5, Monday- Friday, in my field of copywriting and marketing, while I continue running my copywriting business as a “side hustle,” at least for now. Or maybe I’ll give up the copywriting business altogether, because I’m just so tired, so very, very tired and depleted from the chaos and drama of the last 18 months.

Lo and behold, I do get a job, as a Copywriter / PR Specialist at a wonderful advertising and marketing agency in the next town over, 40-ish minutes west of where I’m currently living. I move again.

:: March 5, 2018: I begin my new job, woohoo! I move in with my best friend of 30+ years, who happens to live in the town where I get the job. This living situation is temporary, until I get settled in my new job and new town, at which point, I’ll get my own place.

:: March 5 – May 18, 2018: Gosh, how I love my co-workers, the workspace itself, and even the work too, but I know 2-3 weeks in this isn’t the best fit. Have I been working for myself too long? Am I not 9-5 employee material anymore? Is there something terribly wrong with me? I wanted a full-time job, in my field, working with great people on great projects, and I got exactly that.

What in the world is my problem? But I can’t ignore the fact that I haven’t slept in the 2.5 months since starting this job, my stomach has been in knots the entire time, and I’ve been deeply unhappy and stressed.

This does not go unnoticed. Perceptive and kind people that they are, the president and VP of the agency, and my immediate boss, chat with me one Friday afternoon about the situation. They notice I don’t seem happy. They notice I seem stressed much of the time. They want me to enjoy being there; quality of life is one of their highest values. They ask what we can all do to make things better, to make it possible that we can continue working together. We all decide I’ll go to contract status, something I desperately wanted, but was afraid to ask for. Another enormous sigh of relief.

:: May 21, 2018: I’m now contract status at the ad / marketing agency, and I feel almost delirious with joy, almost instantly.

:: June 15, 2018: I move into my new apartment. More joy. New beginnings. My address, in fact, is on “New Drive.” I don’t think this is a coincidence.

Now that I FINALLY, at long last, two years on, have some peace in my life, what does it means for the next phase of my business?

  • Well, for one thing, now that I’m not a full-time employee anymore, I’m taking on copywriting, marketing, and website review clients again.
  • I’m revising a couple of my current offerings, and adding 2-3 all-new offerings (to be announced this summer).
  • I’m developing an all-new opt-in incentive, a free e-course on how to create a magnetic marketing message, so you can get more business, bookings, and sales (to be released this summer). I am soooo excited about this!
  • I’m phasing out one-off client projects, and transitioning to longer-term engagements with clients.
  • I’m creating a digital product to help creatives improve their websites and web marketing, so they can more easily call in and convert their ideal clients, to be released by the end of the year.
  • And I have a few other business things in development up my sleeve as well.
  • I’ll also be spending more time on my non-copywriting-related writing projects. Lots of stuff happening there.

That’s the short list. I won’t bore you with the long one.

Over the last two years I’ve prayed for guidance many, many times for the answer to what course of action I should take – should I get a full-time job, continue building my copywriting business, or do some combination of the two? Should I stick with copywriting and marketing, or go into a different line of work entirely? Should I stay where I am, or move to a different city? Or should I drop out of life altogether, and figure out a way to travel the world? You know, just run away from it all, far, FAR away.  

Somewhere in there, among the prayers and the doubts and the questions, I told myself, instead of trying to figure everything out to the nth degree all on my own, I’ll leave myself open to guidance – from where ever. I decided to trust, and have faith. Not an easy thing for someone who always likes to know the next step, and the next, and the next one after that.

As airy-fairy and woo woo as it sounds, I feel like I’m being lead in the direction I’m meant to go in. As if the last two years, as challenging and exceedingly difficult as they’ve been, have a profound purpose that’s meant to serve me, that I can use to serve others. I don’t yet know what that purpose is or how I will use what I’ve been through to benefit others, but all will be revealed, I believe.

Right now, I’m just taking it day by day (while of course doing some planning for the future. I mean, c’mon, I can’t change who I am entirely, right?)

I don’t know if this is the right approach for everybody, but it’s the right one for me, right now.

I’m trying my best to live by the Martin Luther King, Jr. advice: “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

So, no real copywriting or marketing advice here.  But I hope that my convoluted, messed up, chaotic, drama-filled and wacky journey over the last two years, and the fact that I’m still hopeful, ready and eager to go after my goals with gusto, proves that you can withstand a crap ton of challenging BS, and still come out ready to rock your life plans.