Every once in awhile a person will cross your path who will have you really thinking about what you're doing and why. Recently that person for me was Laura Gaskill of Lolalina. She asked a group of bloggers if anyone would be interested in participating in an blogger's chain letter of sorts talking about our writing process as part of the Writing Process Blog Tour.
What intrigued me about Laura wasn't that she asked us permission to include us in the tour. What intrigued me was her mission "to create a cozy, creative, positive corner of the Internet, and to connect with and inspire others who wish for the same thing." I believe there's too much negativity in the world, so was excited to find someone else who shared that belief. I wanted to know whether her positivity meant she saw herself having "The Good Life." To find out I asked her to participate in my A Good Life Snapshot series. I especially enjoyed her interview and hope you do as well.
1. How do you define The Good Life?
I have come to think of The Good Life as two sides of the same coin, with mindfulness on one side, and following your bliss on the other. Mindfulness, to me, means living in the present moment with awareness and gratitude as often as possible. Eyes open. Not taking anything for granted. Keeping things in perspective, and not letting pettiness or negativity overwhelm you. The other side, following your bliss, is about living an authentic life and being true to yourself. Making sure your work, your home life, even your clothing and decorating style sits well with who you are inside and what is important to you. I think both pieces are necessary to truly live your Good Life.
2. Do you think it's possible to pursue The Good Life? Why or why not.
Being mindful and cultivating gratitude is truly possible for everyone, no matter the circumstances of your life. Not necessarily easy, but possible. The other part — the following your bliss part — can be trickier. It can depend on resources and geographic location, and other things out of your control. BUT, I think if you are lucky enough to be healthy, and have a place to live, you can make something happen. We can come up with so many excuses not to pursue our dreams!
3. Do you think you have The Good Life? If yes, when did you learn this?
Yes, and it's a major work in progress! Becoming a mother and full-time writer have been major turning points for me. Having a child made me feel suddenly extremely vulnerable — which helped awaken me to the fact that I have a lot to lose, and by the same token, a lot to cherish and love right now. Since having my son, I have made a strong effort to live my everyday life more mindfully, appreciating all of the tiny moments while I can. Five years ago, when I left my teaching career and moved to the east coast with my husband, marked a new beginning in my life. We bought a house, had a baby, and I worked really hard to inch my way into a writing career. When you sum it up like that, it sounds easy ... but it was decidedly not.
We went through some really tough times financially and emotionally before the hard work started to pay off. Now I am proud to say I am a full-time freelance writer, I am able to work from home, have plenty of time with my young son, and I have exceeded my teaching salary ... which admittedly was not a terribly high bar to reach, but because writing is such an elusive profession, I'd still say that's pretty darn good.
You asked when I learned that I am living The Good Life, and I actually know the exact moment. I was driving home from dropping my husband at the train station, looking forward to starting work that day when it hit me: I love what I do. I could clearly see the arc of my life spreading out before me, and I realized I would always want to write. I would never need to "retire" because what I do is what I would be doing anyway.
4. How has blogging helped you recognize The Good Life?
Blogging has opened me up to a tribe of wonderful people, some of whom have become dear friends. People are doing some really inspiring things on their blogs, so I guess for me, reading blogs has been just as helpful as authoring my own blog. But my own blog, of course, holds a special place in my life. Over the past five (!) years it has been a way to record my hopes and dreams, hold myself accountable, and measure my progress. I also keep private journals, but they will never replace the community and encouragement that comes from keeping a blog.
5. Do you have any tips you'd like to share with others?
My best tip is to pay close attention to the things you are most drawn to, and pursue them. Record them, write about them, photograph them, hunt them down, do them — the things you love are like breadcrumbs leading to your most authentic life. Don't put the "urgent" ahead of what's really important. Seek out supportive people, and don't be afraid to say goodbye to those who do not have your best interests at heart. Ignore the haters, and leave the trolls under the bridge where they belong.
Thank you so much Eden!
About Laura GaskillLaura lives in a little yellow house in Providence, Rhode Island, with her hubby, son, cat, and four hens. She's a Houzz contributor, freelance writer, and lover of all things warm, cozy, and creative. She started blogging in 2009 craving a shift towards a more passionate, creative life--a life she is now living. She can honestly say that blogging has been an essential part of her journey. On her blog, Lolalina, she aims to create a cozy, creative, positive corner of the Internet, and to connect with and inspire others who wish for the same thing. You can find her as LauraGaskill on Twitter, Lolalina on Facebook, LauraLolalina on Instagram, and LauraG on Pinterest.
Credits: All layouts designed by by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life. All images personal photos of Laura Gaskill of Lolalina and used with permission.
A Good Life Snapshot is a monthly series featuring a DIY or lifestyle blogger I follow and who I admire.