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Let Me Tell You About This Bird and How He Helped Me Get Over My Fear of Commitment.

You know that feeling you get when things just work out?

Like when friends come over to visit and they all want wine and you happen to have exactly the right number of unbroken wine glasses so no one’s forced to drink cab from a highball.

Like when you suddenly crave “Shit on a Shingle” for dinner and you just happen to have enough milk in your fridge and dried beef in your pantry to make it.

Like when you finally decide to wash your pillowcase and you’re so careful to set your pillow in a precise location so you can keep track of that special soft spot where your head always fits perfectly and then some reckless person (most likely yourself) thoughtlessly moves your pillow to another location and now usually there is no way to detect that spot until you actually lie on the pillow in every configuration imaginable and you know you’re in for a long night, except — wait!  There it is.  Your spot.  And you got it perfect the first time.

It’s that feeling.

That feeling that comes when you think you’re in for an ordeal, but instead the process is relatively effortless and surprisingly stress-free.

And that is exactly what happened when I emailed my boss to decline is offer of a full-time position.

I thought he might be upset.  Or worse, disappointed.  But instead, his reaction was one of relief.  See, as a small start-up business owner, he wanted to do what it took to keep a decent employee (one who actually shows up and does her work) on board.  In my case, he thought that required offering me a full-time position.  Even though, it turns out, he had the minor problem of not knowing whether he’d be able to afford me.  So he was actually relieved when I declined, and he may have let slip a note of envy.

See, when I explained to him that a full-time position is no longer my primary goal because I’ve realized now I have more time to do some other things that I’m passionate about, he replied that one day he hopes to be in the same position.


Does anyone sense the irony here?

My boss is a self-made African-American male with a wife and 2 very young sons who runs a very successful small business, and he happens to be 2 years younger than me.  And yet, for some reason, he thinks I’m the one in the position to which he should aspire.

Okay, not entirely.

He drives a very nice car.  I drive a 12-year-old Tracker.

He wears very nice clothes.  I still wear things I owned in high school.

He owns his own business.  I work for an hourly rate.

He has 2 happy, healthy, and dare-I-say adorable kids.  I have 2 dogs who once swallowed an entire bag of chicken bones and I had to feed them cotton balls to ease the sharp passage of shrapnel through their intestines.  True story.

I’m sure he doesn’t go home at night and wish that he was me.  But.  There’s something here.  An affirmation of sorts, that tells me I made the right decision.  That tells me when I cut out the shoulds, good things can happen.

So this is good news, right?  I celebrated by hanging item numbers 3, 4 and 5 on my walls.

If you recall, I’ve only had one thing hanging in my house for quite some time.  In the laundry room.  Where I maybe spend 0.00001% of my time.  Makes sense, right?

I think it has something to do with my fear of commitment.

So, in light of my goals for the new year, I hung some stuff.

Three things, as a matter-of-fact.

I hung them in the guest bathroom.  Approximately 6 feet away from the one other thing hanging in my house, and yet where I spend a significantly longer amount of time.

(Please ignore my unpainted trim.  That’s still on the 2012 task list for this money and time-sucker of a house.)

Let me tell you about the bird.  The bird is special.  My friend Alaina’s mother, Jan Krebs, is an artist.  She’s my adoptive mother from back in our college days, and one of the first people to teach me that life should be reserved for doing things you love.

I’ve always wanted a Jan Krebs original, and as of Christmas this year, that wish came true.  It’s not a painting, but some type of carved ceramic that has a rough texture and looks fabulous in person.  I knew that this couldn’t just be something I let sit around on my console table or propped up against my backsplash like so many other pieces of art I have around.  Not this time.  The bird would be the start of a movement.

And I didn’t stop there.

The tea light holders were purchases I made on a trip I took to Europe in 2004.  I bought them in a tiny shop in Strasbourg, France.

Well?  What do you think of my progress?

First, the bathroom was a paisley-infested crime scene:

Kate's Guest Bathroom Crime Scene

Then, it was naked:

Guest Bathroom After

And now, we have life:

Yep, I now have bathroom art.

This must be what it means to feel grown-up.


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NICE! and loved your boss’s reaction too. I love it when stuff turns out this way, its like that little extra something that just makes your day better.


Yes! I told him if we’d just both been honest with each other to begin with, we could’ve saved ourselves the stress!


Glad everything worked out with your work at least you know now that your work values “YOU” as a person and your not just another tool like one of the computers. being use to achieve their primary goal.That is a good thing in any relationship be it personal or business. Also your bathroom, the picture and the metal holders look very nice great job in there.


It is kind of nice to know that, isn’t it? :)

Dennis Hong

You should tell your boss how difficult of a journey it’s been. You should tell him how many countless beds you had to fall off of to get to where you are today….


Dude. It was one bed. Countless times. Let’s not exaggerate the struggle, Mr. Frey… ;)

Dan Perez

When you cut out the “shoulds”, really shitty things can also happen but can you live with not ever knowing? I decided 5 years ago that I couldn’t and I haven’t looked back for fear I’d turn into a pillar of salt.
You go…


Very true, and wise words. :) And the world would definitely be worse off if you had decided you could live without knowing!


I love the bathroom! I think the painting really brings everything together!


Why thank you! It probably doesn’t hurt that my photography skills have improved a bit as well. :)

f-stop mama

Wonderful transformation! Looks great. Good for you getting down to it and doing it.


I know, it’s about time, right? Now I just need this motivation to last through the rest of my rooms…


It looks great! It’s a wonder how much warmer things look with stuff on the walls.

Love your boss’s reaction! You definitely made the right choice. This is the universe telling you so. Thanks for sharing.


Yes! It definitely adds some much-needed color, too.

NICU gypsy

looks great! I know how good it must make you feel when your feelings are validated! Congrats!


Haha, yes — validated feelings are AWESOME! ;)


So many of your posts really resonate with me since I meet with tons of students (and graduates) all the time… the biggest thing I’ve learned after 1 year of career counseling is EVERYONE has to answer this question, what’s important to you?

(Also, this goes for relationships and other things and not just a career.)

Another important thing is success. Success is defined differently for everyone… as well as what’s important. It sounds like you have truly discovered what’s important…

Also, congrats on hanging things in the house… even if you aren’t committed to leaving them there, you can always move them. :)

My Indecision is Final. | Domestiphobia

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