I read a quote earlier this week on Elizabeth Gilbert's Facebook page that I really loved:
"Stop going to the hardware store for milk."
Now, interpret this however you will. Stop hoping that relationship that just isn't working out suddenly will, stop waiting for your job to provide something it isn't designed to, stop trying to get blood from whatever stone you just keep wringing. For me, it resonates as: Stop being hard on yourself and just DO something about it.
In other words...
Which is why I found myself packing a bookbag this Saturday morning to walk the half-hour to my favorite work spot in London, The Ace Hotel, in Shoreditch. I discovered it with my lovely friend Liz back in 2014 when we passed through London for a few months, and it's still one of my favorite spaces and places to get in the zone. There's a huge communal work table with power points at every seat, which today was populated by me and 15 fellow social hubbers (all 16 of us packing Macs, by the way. How trendtastic!) Around that, there's a gallery space, a full bar, couches, a working black-and-white photo booth, bicycles, a coffee shop, and occasionally a DJ spinning hipster tunes. It's hardly surprising I wasn't alone there on this gray Saturday.
I got a lot done this Saturday, making it by far my favorite 'workday' this week. Too often, I think, we ask each other, "what do you do?" and the connotation that carries is, "what do you get paid for, right now?" I don't think that always tells you very much about who someone is--we are much more than our jobs. Take me, for instance. If asked about myself, I'd like to describe myself as a writer, a runner, a yogi, a big sister, a singer, a world traveler, a chocolate addict/pescetarian...just something to give you more of an idea around what my whole self is, not just my work self. Generally, I'd rather know: "what are you really into these days?" or "what are you looking forward to that's coming up?" or "what do you like to do on a Saturday?"
Answer: I'm really into discovering new things that I can add value to, I'm looking forward to pursuing new projects, and this Saturday I worked in the Ace Hotel for hours on end at something that interested me, and didn't notice the time flying by. (And yes, I know that's all very vague!)
I can't promise I'll never go back to the hardware store looking for milk. You never know, I might tell myself. Maybe they were out the last 47,000 times I checked. Maybe this is the one hardware store in the world where they've put in a milk bar. Maybe someone stopped by with a lactating cow. (Side note: I love cows. They're awesome.)
But I can keep telling myself that there are better places to find the nourishment I'm looking for, that I'm more likely to find milk on a dairy farm or in a grocery store, and that eventually, I should start looking there first. Until then, there's always the Ace Hotel.