living a well tended life... at any age

dear nate…….

I’ve just finished watching my first ever television appearance, talking about my blog on “The Nate Berkus Show”. And while it was very exciting, to say the least, it was also a watershed moment for me.

Making the decision to start a blog was bigger for me than just the blog itself. My daughter was home from college on winter break and was working at an internship she’s held for several years. Every night I’d pick her up at the train station, and on the drive home she’d tell me about her day. Although she was cold and exhausted, she was also clearly exhilarated. And all I could think was, I’m so jealous. She’s happy, knows exactly what she wants to do and is DOING IT. And it occurred to me that part of the reason for that was my encouraging her, as I’ve always done with both of my “big” kids, to pursue her passion. To do what she loved, whatever that meant for her. To go for it.

It was then that I realized that I wasn’t taking my own advice. And hadn’t been for a long time.

When I started my landscape design business it was certainly with the intent of doing what I loved. And for a long time I did love it. But in the last year I realized that, along with my life changing drastically with the unexpected arrival of Noah, I had become profoundly dissatisfied. In addition, I  had new interests that I was anxious to pursue. So I sat Mike down for a  long talk, at the end of which he looked at me and said, “go for it“.

So I did.

I started by making a “wish list” of all the things I enjoyed doing/was interested in/ever wanted to try – regardless of how impractical or silly the ideas seemed. I tell you, even just writing them down was liberating! I reviewed what I had written and the blog seemed to be a natural outcome of those ideas.

But the thought of a blog – of going so “public” – was not something I relished, to put it mildly. I am a very private person, even more so in the 10 years since my divorce. I cringed at the thought of certain people “seeing” me. What would they think? How would they judge me? What if it wasn’t perfect? And I realized how much control I was giving “them” and how empowering it would be for me to take that control back. To just not care. To go for it.

But I still was not completely comfortable with launching myself out there right away. So I established a timeline that felt comfortable, while allowing me to put my plan in place immediately.

The first step was scaling back my business, by eliminating the type of work I no longer enjoyed. With the “found” time I would be able to maintain the pieces of the business that I still loved and devote time to the blog.  I would keep the blog private for 60 days, and then show it to a small handful of people I admired and trusted. I would gather all of their collective input, revamp accordingly and maybe, possibly, share it with a wider circle.

At “some point down the road” I’d “think about” creating a Facebook page (whoa!!) and then, who knew?? By now my “phase-in” plan had me safely into 2012 before I’d have to deal with any kind of major public response. And that felt just fine.

So I started writing, posting (privately),  making lists of  ideas for future posts and tweaking the appearance of the site (with the tireless help of my amazing husband). And I was LOVING it!   Things were falling perfectly into place for my projected, 60-day “roll-out” date.

And then.

I had an opportunity to respond to a search by the Nate Berkus show whose theme was “Passion to Paycheck”. I sat and stared at the inquiry for a long time. Nope, can’t do it. It’s too soon. I’m not ready. It hasn’t been 60 days. My parents and closest friends don’t even know about this. And then I thought about what started me on this path to begin with…… go for it. So I wrote a letter and clicked “Send”.

Three days later  a the world’s nicest film crew was at my house, and 3 days after that I was in the studio of the Nate  Berkus show – appearing on the segment that aired today.

I watched the show “live” with my daughter – who was home for spring break – and 3 close friends. And there I was. Out there.  Ahead of schedule. With my “imperfect”, “too soon” and “not ready yet” blog.

And guess what? I not only didn’t care  I was actually very proud.

I went for it.

Go me.

24 Comments

  1. Cindy on March 31, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Sherri-
    Just saw you on Nate! Congratulations for taking that huge step. You looked so confident and poised. I was shocked when I read this post and realized how private you actually are. I’m feeling a little stuck myself and wanting to branch out and try new things. You are very inspiring. I wish you lots of luck!

    • sheri silver on April 1, 2011 at 6:31 am

      Thanks so much Cindy! I think many people “out there” put up a more confident and secure front than they’re really feeling inside. It was nice to know I’m not alone – I hope you keep reading!

  2. Shira on April 1, 2011 at 7:27 am

    I too found your blog through Nate (actually my mom was watching and called me – she said, the woman who is on does exactly what you do!)

    I’ve been blogging for a while, mostly as a way to find my niche in this business, while still being able to stay at home with my school aged children. It’s been a great creative outlet for me (especially in the winter!)

    Good luck…

    • sheri silver on April 1, 2011 at 7:51 am

      Hi Shira!
      Thanks for writing (my mom would have done the same exact thing!) – would love to know more about what you do – please stay in touch, I will definitely be checking out your blog later today (but for now I have to get my little one up for breakfast!!!).

  3. Cintia Parsons on April 1, 2011 at 9:21 am

    I just watched it and I came to your blog to say “you rock”. But after reading this post, I have to say that not only do you rock but that I am super proud of you! I know I’m just the girl who lives in your old house but non-the less, I admire you, your choice in life, and I think you are spectacular. Way to go Sheri!

    • sheri silver on April 1, 2011 at 3:41 pm

      Cindy – thanks SO much! You are much, much, more than the girl who’s in my old house – and your lovely thoughts and all your support means the world to me – thank you!

  4. Bj on April 1, 2011 at 10:47 am

    I saw you on the Nate Show yesterday. Congrats on taking the steps to do what you love. I wish you MUCH success! I too Blog but only for my own enjoyment and to share my journey. I love doing my own Blog and following the blogs of others.

    • sheri silver on April 1, 2011 at 3:40 pm

      Thanks so much – for writing and for your kind words! I hope you continue to “check in” and would love your feedback!

  5. Shira on April 1, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Hi Sherri-
    I used to have my own business as a garden designer, but found that really unsatisfying. In the past few years I’ve been consulting to school gardens, community gardens, teaching, etc. I’m fortunate that I’m able to just ramble along and work on whatever pleases me.

    Would love to hear any thoughts you have on my blog!

    Shira

    P.S. – I’m an obsessive baker, but don’t blog to much about that stuff!!

    • sheri silver on April 1, 2011 at 3:39 pm

      Okay – I LOVE the name of your blog – sounds like we have a lot in common as I, too have become disenchanted over the years with the business. There are aspects of it that I love and am trying to hold on to those. Baking? Obsessed – it’s my truest passion, to be sure. I will absolutely check out your blog and would love to keep talking!

  6. Britta on April 1, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Sheri,
    I love the idea that once you, the landscape designer, weeded out what wasn’t working, you created space for something new to bloom. Congratulations to you for going for it.
    Britta

    • sheri silver on April 1, 2011 at 3:36 pm

      Thanks Britta- what a lovely way of expressing this new journey. The support and encouragement I’ve had has been incredible, particularly from people like you , who I’ve only just recently had the pleasure of meeting!

  7. Lisa @ Room by Room on April 1, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Congratulations on just going for it!! It’s a big step.

    I am in a similar boat (but with younger kids). 🙂

    Rather than being perfect first, I am just winging it, and hoping to perfect it all as I go. It’s a journey!

    • sheri silver on April 1, 2011 at 3:31 pm

      Thanks Lisa – “winging it” is a new concept for me. It’s not always comfortable but I’m trying to embrace it!

  8. Shira on April 2, 2011 at 7:12 am

    Hey sheri –
    I finally had time this morning to read through all your posts – and I would definitely say we have a lot in common!

    I love to chat further – I’d just email you directly, but you don’t have a contact me button (come to think of it, I don’t know that I do either! Must check that out)

    Shira

    • sheri silver on April 2, 2011 at 10:44 am

      Oops – I should work on that! My e-mail is sheri at sherisilver dot com – would love to chat more!

  9. Gigi on April 2, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Just saw you on Nate. Thought I’d check out your blog. Congrats on starting, will be following you,

    • sheri silver on April 2, 2011 at 10:39 am

      Thanks so much! I appreciate your support and would love to hear feedback from you!

  10. Karen Peek on April 3, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    I want to say congrats and good luck with your new journey you are taking. I myself have done the same thing. I used to work as a nurse and then I was hit with a heart condition and adrenal disease which forced me to quit working. I was devastated thinking life was over for me. Then when I accepted my life altering diseases, God gave me a cooking passion and I now have just completed my first cookbook and started blogging myself. I like you had no idea how to get noticed on my blog and only wish people cared enough to read and be interested. I wish you the best of luck and hope your new dreams come true.

    It is very scary going into the unknown world and trying to make it in this new world. I hope you have all the success in your new blog and look forward to keeping up with your blogs. I cannot bake to save my life so I will really enjoy your blog. Hope to hear back from you soon.

    • sheri silver on April 3, 2011 at 11:10 pm

      Thank you so much for your note! Best of luck with your book and blog; I hope we can stay in touch and exchange ideas and information!

  11. Debra on April 5, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    Hi-I also saw you on Nate (I TIVO it each day and just got around to watching your episode). Congratulations on making this big move. I enjoy reading your blog and look forward to visiting alot. And I can’t wait to make those scones!

    • sheri silver on April 6, 2011 at 7:59 am

      Hi there! Thanks so much – just took a peek at your blog and love it! Looks like we have some things in common……let me know how the scones turn out and thanks for your good wishes!

  12. Tobie on April 15, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    Hey, neighbor!
    Just saw your Nate Berkus appearance and read some of your posts. Congrats on taking the big leap! You inspire us all.

    • sheri silver on April 16, 2011 at 2:59 pm

      Thanks so much Tobie! It’s been fun!

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