Today please welcome Connie Jakab to Kindling. A Redbud Writer friend, Connie just released her first book, Culture Rebel, last week. I am posting her first chapter here, hoping to entice you to hop over and order it for yourself.
I like to live on the edge. I’m a brave, gutsy, ADD type of gal who can’t sit still. The problem is that I’ve lived on the wrong edge for the last 20 years.
Since my first full-time job, I have lived a life with me at the center of my attention, and now I have nothing to show for all my years of work, college and career. Coming close to 40, this has caused much introspection. What I’m discovering isn’t nice to look at. Ask me how much I’ve saved in 20 years? Zip. Well, that’s not entirely true. Thank goodness I have a savvy hubby who saves. So yes, I have some savings … through him.
That Shiny Silver Card
Even more pressing, ask me how much I’ve given in 20 years? Okay, that I can brag about a bit; I love to give. I consider myself to be pretty generous. I love taking people out and giving lovely gifts; it’s nothing, really. I just put it on this shiny silver card that I carry in my wallet, and I don’t feel a thing. The problem with this shiny card is that they send letters to my hubby, and he’s never in a good mood after he opens their mail. What’s that about?
Ask me where I’m sitting right now writing this book. Starbucks, but isn’t that where all the cool writers write? Yup, I’m pretty trendy sitting here with my five-dollar coffee that’s already cold. I think I must own stock in this place.
Oh, no, I don’t mean their bean stock, which I’ve heard great things about. I’ve decided to go a more modest route: If I buy one five-dollar coffee per day, let’s see— I’m not so great at math, but that’s got to be around $1,625 a year. (Pretty impressive “estimate,” eh?) Okay, I totally used my calculator, but getting back to my “investment,” with all that five-dollar coffee inside me, I should be heading toward becoming a part owner of this place one day! Or maybe not …
Clothes and Bling
Are you wondering where else all my money has gone in the last 20 years? Me too, but I have some ideas. I love movies. Actually, I really just like the popcorn; the movie is an added bonus. I also love clothes … and “bling.” Not Tiffany’s “bling,” but “bling” nonetheless. I’m not a show off, but I really like those big rhinestone earrings that hit the shoulder (from their great length) and make my head go lopsided when I’ve put one in one ear.
I’ve lost my wedding ring … twice. I’ve owned some great clothing too, but I don’t know where half of it has gone. I did see one of my items in a local Salvation Army store, and I almost bought it again; it was beautiful!
I’m not a “shoe person.” I don’t fully understand those people. I mean, what a waste of money. Not to mention, what a clutter nightmare! Don’t get me wrong. I do own a pair of heels that I bought in three different colors to be sure that I could match all the basic wardrobe essentials. I have boots with heels and without (because sometimes you just don’t want to wear heels while you are grocery shopping), and each of these are in three different colors.
But that’s all just practical, isn’t it? I have runners for dance (naturally in every color to match my hip-hop Adidas jackets). And of course, I purchase new runners every six months for running because I don’t want to injure my coming-up-to-midlife knees! Nope, I’m definitely not a shoe person; I think I’m more of a coat person. Now that makes more sense to me. I have a coat in every shape, color, size and style you can imagine—leather, tweed, fleece, down. I consider this shopping addiction more practical, as I live in a winter city. Keep warm and stylish. Win-win.
Diet Books and Fads
I’m also a sucker for diet books and trends; if there’s a diet book out there, I own it. I’m considering opening my own library in my basement. Name a diet-fad product, and I’m sure I’ve tried it: pills, shakes, bars, metabolism-boosting drinks, and stretch-mark cream (what a farce!). I’ve done every diet program out there: Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, raw food, vegan, drink-nothing-but-soup (I passed out on that one), Eat Clean, Balkan, and fitness model. (On that last one, I got to put chocolate pudding powder in my protein shakes! What a treat!)
Then there’s all the equipment I’ve purchased. (Old exercise equipment makes lovely side tables, by the way). There’s the BOSU, the band, kettlebells, a treadmill, the yoga block, a medicine ball, a bender ball, a pilates ball (really anything that ends with “ball”).
And I can’t forget to mention my workout DVD library, which consists of Jillian Michaels, Windsor Pilates, yoga (every type just to cover all my bases), Hip-Hop Abs, P90X, and Richard Simmons. Did I just say Richard Simmons? Geesh, how did that get in there? Who has that one, right?
I should probably just make a quick note about my love for my hair; it’s my crown, and I love doing funky things to it. There’s nothing like a trip to the hair salon! I have to dye my hair. No, really, I do; you should see how many gray hairs I have! I even have them in my eyebrows, which also calls for a trip to the spa to get my brows plucked and waxed. Maybe add a manicure onto my bill while you’re at it. Add a pedicure for ten dollars? What a great deal! Twist my rubber arm!
Last thing, I promise. Mascara. I have yet to find the one that gives me the lashes that Drew Barrymore has on the commercials. One day, I will find my dream mascara. It’s a long-term goal that I have. Wow, I think that’s it—
Yes, as you can see, I’ve made a huge investment in a product called “me.” It’s the edge I’ve lived on the last 20 years. It’s the edge that keeps me thinking that a new shirt, a night out, a manicure, a new diet, and a Starbucks will give me the life I’ve always wanted. I will be hot. I will be sexy. I will have the respect of everyone around me. That’s what the advertisement said just before it said, “I’m worth it.”
Yet I’m discovering that this “edge” really isn’t an edge at all. It has become dull and unfulfilling. I’ve given it a real “go” for a while now. It keeps promising me “babe” status, but I find I have to keep going back for refills. I’m sick of it. My hubby’s sick of it. Actually, I think he’s sicker of those letters he keeps getting from this strange person named “Visa.” Maybe you relate?
A self-centered existence leaves us with a life without purpose. I have found a new edge that I’m dying to tell you about. That’s what this book is about. I want to share my journey with you in the hopes that you may also find the strength to make the shift to a more altruistic, adventurous life filled with the purpose you were born to find. It’s not about money or stuff, but a way of living that, in some strange way, delivers the promise that all of the stuff I just mentioned tried to promise but couldn’t deliver. It’s called being a culture rebel. What does this look like? Let’s find out.
Connie Jakab, the author of the blog, Culture Rebel, is passionate about rebelling against status quo living and encouraging others to branch out. She is an active member of poverty reduction in her city, the founder of WILD (women impacting lives daily) as well as Mpact (www.mpactdance.com), a dance company that produces shows based on social justice issues. You can read her blog at Culture Rebel , find her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter . And you can order her book, Culture Rebel, here.
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