Happy Friday everyone and thank you for joining me for another Design Your Life feature!
Today we have Chelsea of Chelsea Gwynne. She is a full-time English teacher, part-time blogger and jewelry maker and a beautiful newlywed. She is currently living in Boston with her husband and Shiba-Iny pup (who was featured on my blog here, so cute!). Chelsea shares where she finds daily inspiration and how she tries to live her life with intention. Enjoy!
There is so much noise around me. I teach high school during the day, and there’s nothing like the din of hundreds of teenagers making their way to third period English class. On my way into work I have talk radio on, or I’m singing at the top of my lungs. On the way home, the noise is honking cars at traffic lights and the rumble of a city at rush hour. I have to force myself to find quiet places. “Make quiet” means you might have to fight to find a truly quiet space. No Pandora playing, not phone text-tapping, no news on, no chit-chatting. Creativity needs some room to breathe, and it needs some quiet stillness to grow. You do, too! Allow yourself even just 25 minutes of true quiet per day (nature sounds are good!) and you’ll notice your inspiration, creativity, and gratitude increase.
If you’re a painter, go to a good restaurant. If you bake cupcakes, go to an antique store. If you’re writing a self-help book, visit a kindergarten class. If you’re a jeweler, visit art museums. My point is that we often look within our own interest areas for further inspiration or invigoration. Look elsewhere. The most inspiration I’ve found for my jewelry comes from old movies, nature walks, and art museums. Looking elsewhere helps me to look with fresh eyes when I’m back in my studio.
I feel like our society pressures us to define ourselves quickly and permanently. “I’m an athlete” or “Total Type A” or “I’m going to be a lawyer” or “I dont understand politics.” We make these seemingly defining statements about ourselves and feel closed in by our choices, cities, jobs, and even loved ones. My advice is to be undefined. Who really cares if you want to be a bakery owner but also love Motorcross? Embrace the fact that you cannot be checked off in certain prescribed boxes. I wear Lilly Pulitzer and Mala beads, I make jewelry and I teach high school, I’m nearly obsessed with what is happening in the Middle East, but I have Buzz Feed: Cute Animals bookmarked. I always feel some pressure to be able to have a thesis statement on who I am and where I’m going. I don’t. I’ve decided I’m undefined.
My grandmother is so stylish in this picture. She’s resting on this car, presumably somewhat new at the time, and in the back of what looks to be like several multi-family homes. She’s posing, however, like she’s on the beaches of St. Tropez. My grandmother knew style. She was never afraid of color, prints, or huge jewelry. She knew how to pose in a photo, whether it was hopping up on a car or waving to the camera. She lived to be 99 and in the years before she died she loved to check out how I was wearing my hair (she always preferred if I’d “had it in rollers”) or if I would tie the belt of my coat “just so”. Older generations have a longer relationship with their own style, so they might be able to provide some inspiration for yours.
I married my next door neighbor last July. If you’d told me when we were kids that I would end up with “mean Mike”, I would’ve thrown my Walkman at you. “No chance,” I thought! But Big Love happens in unexpected places – or perhaps the places right next to you. One day I looked at Michael and I just knew he’d be my husband. But once you know, you have to allow it, be open to it, and foster that love! I wouldn’t be half the person I am without my husband. Creatively speaking, he helps calm my worries about the pieces I make or the pieces I write. He suggests activities to clear my head, or to inspire me. We climb mountains, eat Indian food & generally love life together. Big Love in necessary for big creativity.
Check out past DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews. And if you would like to be considered for a Design Your Life feature, please email Jen at hello(at)with-intention.com