January 26, 2023

131- Looking Back at 2022

Mom and I sat down last week and recorded this podcast.  It’s a fun premise.  We each got to ask the other three year-end questions.  You can watch the video version on my YouTube channel, or you can listen above (or anywhere you get podcasts):

And, I did find a discount code for the Bombas socks.  New customers can use this link (it’s an affiliate link) to get 25% off your purchase. 

Please let me know what topics you’d like us to discuss on the podcast in 2023. We’d love to know!

And here is the podcast transcript.  It’s automatically generated and I didn’t have time to clean it up as much as I would have liked, so apologies for any errors.

PODCAST TRANSCRIPT

 Julie 

Hello and welcome to the Adventures in Arting podcast. My name is Julie Fei-Fan Balzer and I’m a working artist and mother to a curious toddler and my business Balzer Designs is all about helping you to live an artful life through thoughtful art education. On this podcast, together with my super special co-host and my mom, Eileen Hsu-Balzer, we ask questions of each other and our guests while discussing learning, the creative career path, finding balance, looking at art, setting goals, and why being creative matters. Our goal for this podcast is to stimulate your imagination. Hi, mom. 

Eileen 

Hi Julie. 

Julie 

How are you? 

Eileen 

I’m good and it feels good to be good because this has been such a winter of sickness for everybody. 

Julie 

Yes, that’s so true. And the theme today that I gave you is that we’re wrapping up 2022 and basically the format is: I said you come up with three questions that we both have to answer and I’ll come up with three questions that we both have to answer and we won’t know what the questions are before we start. And one of the reasons that I thought this was — I mean it’s fun to sort of like throw questions at each other, you know, a little bit. That’s always an interesting thing. I think that’s what so much conversation is about anyway, right? It’s not sort of like regurgitating information, but the second thing is one of the things that I teach all the time, like to my private coaching clients or my Boot Camp students. Or like we talked about it at this month’s group coaching — is about reflection and evaluation. It is the step that I think a lot of people miss when they make art or do anything really — write something? I mean, we joke about this because my husband right now is in school and I feel like I’m talking to a teenager when I’m like: OK, well if you finish the test early you have to go back and check did you answer the question? Do you know what I mean? And we talk about it all the time. And because there is a desire to just be done with the task as opposed to considering and so — for instance, I’m currently teaching this class, The Carve December Work Book and a huge part of that class is getting better at carving, not through me teaching you like, here’s a carving technique, here’s a printing technique, but through teaching you a framework. Or how to evaluate your work, what you liked, what you didn’t, where you had problems, and in fact, so we’re on day 23 of Carve December. And a lot of people in the class been talking about how they’re losing steam. It’s hard to carve a stamp every single day. It really is — to carve it, print it, post it, all that stuff and people are talking about how they’re losing steam. And one of the things I said is. I said: you know that’s fine, and I think what you need to do is not beat yourself up about the fact that you’re losing steam, but kind of make a note of it. Physically make a note in the workbook, because that’s important and then figure out how you’re going to stop that from happening next year. Not the fatigue. But the bad carving because of the fatigue. So for an example, one of the things you could do is say like, oh, I always tend to lose steam around like the 21st because like you know I’m preparing for Christmas or whatever. So maybe a solution is to plan out my carves really carefully in October, November when I have lots of energy so that by the time I get to those days in December, I don’t have to think. I just have to look at what I’ve written that I’m going to do. Pull it out of my pocket and do it. You know what I mean? Because I think the fatigue is not the physical act of carving. The fatigue is mental. 

Eileen 

You know what I’m thinking while you’re doing this? As you know, it’s not art for me, but you get fatigue from having to think up a new dinner every day. Yeah, and it’s exactly the same kind of procedure of finding a way to make yourself. Able to make dinner while you’re feeling totally blah about everything that comes to your mind so you can. Have certain things that are just your go tos you can figure out OK today somebody else is going to make dinner. You can just…. 

Julie 

Call the Domino’s guy yes. 

Eileen 

Well one of the things I’ve done with you when you were a little kid was — remember when I would just say OK today we’re having lemon meringue pie or ice cream for dinner or lunch. 

Julie 

I do remember that. 

Eileen 

That’s it. I mean, sometimes you have to just change it up a little so that you or your mind gets to relax and the other thing is just like with your art thing. Sometimes you just look in the refrigerator and whatever you’ve got. You use it like this. 

Julie 

But I I also think like I’m a big system person and that’s why I think like meal planning or meal prepping or even talk to Steve about maybe we just have a rotation of like 6 easy meals and like when we get tired of 1, you bring in a new one, but just taking the thinking out of it because so often — I mean this is what they talk about the mental load with women — is that it isn’t even necessarily the physical act of doing the thing. It is the mental load. Of being the one who’s worrying. You know, so for instance, we’re taking a family trip in January and I’m already, you know, making packing lists and thinking about like how it’s going to go and trying to plan out if anything needs to be bought. And da da da da so it’s like it’s already stressful, even though it’s several weeks away. But I think that that’s just — that is what they mean when they say mental load, right? OK, so let’s get to the questions. So do you want to go first or do you want me to go first? 

Eileen 

I’ll go first. 

Julie 

OK, what’s your first question? 

Eileen 

Give me some pluses and minuses that are now in your life as a result of the COVID lockdown. 

Julie 

Ooh, pluses and minuses from the COVID lockdown. OK so…. 

Eileen 

Which in your case coincides with having a baby, so it’s important to yeah, figure out where that goes. 

Julie 

Yes, it does, so it’s sort of hard for me to tell. I mean, the big minus to me is like. I just feel very socially disconnected. I feel like — I just I miss socializing and I feel like I haven’t made a lot of — I mean, I guess I’ve made a couple new friends from my son’s like friend’s parents, but I haven’t met anybody who’s like a “let’s go to coffee” or “let’s whatever” because we’ve just been so cautious and even a couple of times when people have reached out to me. I’ve been very scared. To like, say, OK, sure, I’ll go to a meal with you because I just you know. I mean, we’re just avoiding COVID so hard and it’s been so many years and now I feel like I’m sort of in a hermit place where I’m like just — I just have my little bubble with people and that’s kind of it, you know, and so that has been kind of. I would say the biggest negative for me. The biggest pro — and this is incredibly fortunate — thing is: I used to travel all the time, I mean there were times when I would be home five days in a month. You know which is crazy, especially when I was paying New York City rents. That was really crazy, and so I was not sure what it was going to be like after having a baby. But the pandemic basically stopped all my travelling and then the big question was, is my business going to die? Are we going to not have any money because I’m the breadwinner for our family and I just didn’t know. As a freelancer, you’re not guaranteed anything. So if I don’t work, we don’t make any money. If I get sick, we don’t make any money. If I get hurt, we don’t make any money, so I was like, gosh, if I don’t travel. Do we not make any money? And I thought that you know, I had tried to plan for a baby as a freelancer because of course you don’t get any maternity time off, right? Because there’s no boss to give you maternity time off. So I tried to like work really hard leading before the birth and I sort of hadn’t calculated how long the recovery would be. So to a certain extent, the pandemic was really lucky for me because the best thing to come out of it is that I figure that I can do 98% of my business virtually. I miss teaching in person, which is why I am teaching some classes here at my home studio in 2023 and I’m really excited about that. And if you’re interested in that, you can find all that on my website at juliebalzer.com, but it’s great to know like I can teach zoom classes. I can teach virtual classes, I can have meetings with people online. I can make videos I can, you know, share things through the membership program and I can do all those things. And still, you know, pay my mortgage and stuff without getting on an airplane. So that has been the biggest pro. So con, lonely and isolated. Pro = business works virtually and I think definitely I’ll take lonely every single time — I mean, because I think the fear of not having enough money to like pay your mortgage or buy your groceries is a much greater fear than wishing I had someone to talk to when I have a perfectly nice, you know, husband and a perfectly great 3-year old who’s becoming quite a good conversationalist. 

Eileen 

Never stops talking. 

Julie 

So what what’s your biggest pro and con? 

Eileen 

OK I have on my phone right now a message from someone saying let’s have lunch next week and I haven’t done that. In probably 2 1/2 years. And I’m thinking I haven’t answered yet. I like her and I’d love to have lunch with her, but I’m thinking. I haven’t gone to a restaurant to have lunch with someone in so long. But I will tell you this because you and I are actually in some ways opposite, I know you don’t accept this, but I have discovered that being a hermit suits. And that. Uh, I used to go to a million meetings. Some of them are on zoom, which is very helpful. Sometimes I may be the only person on zoom in the meeting cause other people have shown up now, but I just really feel like I don’t wanna be in a room, especially a smallish room with a bunch of. People who might be sick. I will say I used to not think about sickness all the time, yeah. And now it’s become a part of my life. An ongoing part where I always think about it. 

Julie 

Well, see like Steve had a cold the other day. It wasn’t COVID — we tested like constantly but he just had — He had a cold and he was coughing and stuff and we canceled all kinds of plans with people because…I don’t think I would have pre-COVID because I was like I’m not, you know, like we were supposed to go to Maine for a birthday party of one of his best friends and I was…and we had to call and be like we can’t come we had we had booked a sitter and a hotel — the whole thing and had to cancel. We were supposed to have a Hanukkah party. We called everybody to cancel again because he had a cold. And so I think I have definitely become more conscious about not giving anybody any germs, and that, I suppose is a very good thing. 

Eileen 

I will say this, it’s really difficult to go back once you’ve found certain things, you like. I really like Zoom meetings, frankly, I’m that person who often turns off the camera because why should I sit there and look at the screen? I turn it on when I’m talking but — I just — as I say, my hermit-ING instincts have just…. 

Julie 

I think that’s great! So does that mean? This is the pro? For you is figuring out that you can do meetings. And stuff via zoom and that you’re a hermit and the con is that you’re scared to go to lunch with people? 

Eileen 

I just think I’m more cautious. I’m more aware of the exposure if I go to the grocery store. For the whole first like year-and-a-half, I didn’t go to the grocery store. Steve went to the grocery store for. All of us so. It’s kind of nice. It’s like having personal service. 

Julie 

Except he would call from the grocery store with, like, what is this? Is this what this looks like? anyway, but, yes, it was good. 

Eileen 

A few minutes, what can I say? 

Julie 

He’s learning, he’s learning he’s. OK, well then my question for you. I’m actually going to tell a story about it first. So I have always considered myself to be a reader. It’s like if you ask me, what’s something I enjoy doing. I would say reading right? And so people always do sort of end of the year book things where they say like how many books they read and I have seen two things that kind of blew my mind. So one: there’s a podcast I listen to, and she mentioned that she had read like 60 or 70 books this year and I was blown out of the water. I was like “whoa” and then she mentioned that 90% of them were audiobooks. And I had an immediate reaction where I was like “that’s not reading,” but then I was like, wait a second. What about it isn’t reading? It’s not like watching the movie right? Because it is still the book and like what’s the difference between being read a book versus reading it yourself? And then that’s sort of me thinking me about like processing it and blah blah blah blah. And so I have some weird prejudice against audio books, because at first I was like oh, I read like four books this year. I’m pathetic, but then I was like. Oh, if you count audio books…Well, I’m getting you know up there right into like 20-30 books this year and then this woman said she was like, “oh, you guys have read 100 books this year. You’re not even trying. I read 1000 books this year” and I was like. How is it possible to read 1000 books in a year, right? And she holds up her kid’s books. She’s like “this one alone I read 100 times last month” and I was like whoa. If we’re counting the books I read at bedtime — Books I read to him in a restaurant —  books I read to him. Whatever I was like, I’m pretty close to 1000 too, because then we’re talking, I read 5-6 books a day. You know, and then I was like wow. But I don’t count that as reading books. Even though it’s reading a book because it’s like not a book for me. You know what I mean, and so it turns out I have all this prejudice. Didn’t realize. So my first question to you, now that I’ve given that whole story time, there is. What is your favorite book that you have read this year and how did you consume it? 

Eileen 

I think. I too have gone through a lot of audio books. Partly because I can multitask so I can listen while I wash the dishes. I can listen while I, you know, fold the laundry. I can listen when I’m doing lots of other things. The one thing I can’t do I’ve discovered is I can’t listen while I’m writing checks for bills and things. I mean I have to concentrate in a different way. But then I couldn’t read a book while I was doing that either. I think one of the things about audio books is I I’m very responsive to the voice of the reader, so there are certain books that I’ve started and then just haven’t finished because I can’t stand the voice of the reader. And it takes — my irritation with the voice takes me out of the book. Because all I do is think, oh, that’s the way you say that or that was mispronounced. Or, you know, you don’t sound like I feel…. 

Julie 

But I think that’s the part of my prejudice against audio books. Just jumping on that — is audio books feel filtered through somebody else’s imagination — what they imagine that voice sounds like — what they imagine the accent is, what they imagine the speed of the conversation is — what they imagine for some reason. Like I have less of an issue with an audiobook that’s a non-fiction book. And more of an issue with someone when it starts to get into feeling like they’re doing different voices and there’s pauses in certain places and not in others, because I don’t know if I would have read it that way. I don’t know. So who knows what. I make voices when I read my son books. All the time so…. 

Eileen 

Yes, I know and and it’s actually pretty wonderful. Also, I find that I used to feel like I could never stop a book. I had to finish it. I had to read like a newspaper or magazines start to finish. I couldn’t skip articles or skip around and I don’t know why I felt that. But I just have no patience now for that, I’m not enjoying it. It’s gone. 

Julie 

I feel that way about people now I’m like I don’t know. Are you like worth a babysitter? Are you worth like amount of money it’s going to cost for a babysitter? Are you worth like what I’d rather be doing? Are you worth the lack of safety of? You know, whatever sickness you have, I mean. I know that sounds terrible. But I would say even when I started dating Steve, one of the things I said to him — I said from the very first date — I said “I am a workaholic and I will tell you this, the day that I would rather be working than hanging out with you, that’s the day that we’re break up.” 

Eileen 

Wow, what a sword that Damocles to hang over him. 

Julie 

And he still stuck around. 

Eileen 

Exactly. To his credit, right? 

Julie 

Right, well I was trying. I was at a period of my life where I was still very much hurting after my divorce and I basically was trying to push people away. So I was just like I think in a way it was good because I just was like brutally honest with people. I was like here’s my deal. Take it or leave it because I’m all about leaving it right now. 

Eileen 

Now, well, actually this goes to something you often say about art and finding an audience for your art. Which is you should — you don’t chase the audience trying to do things that will please them. You do what you do and your audience will find you. And I actually think that’s same with a lot of things in life. 

Julie 

Yeah, and I think people will understand it when it comes to like if somebody didn’t want to be like — what would you tell your kid if somebody didn’t want to be their friend? Would you be like “no stand next to them every day, smell them, rub yourself on them” or would you be like “I want to be your friend, right, that’s their loss like yeah, don’t waste your time worrying about it.” And so the same thing is going to be true whether it’s like Internet trolls, people not liking your posts, people who, even if it’s people in your family who tell your art is no good or whatever else, like they’re not worth your time. They’re not your art people and I think that’s part of the way that the Internet, I mean, in order to get back to the COVID thing. But why the Internet has been so connecting for people is because you can find that other 1% of people who think like you out there. You can find those other fabulous weirdos you know? I mean, who are weird in the way that you are. Which is great. 

Eileen 

Harder for some than for others. I do think that. I do a lot of reading on my phone, so again, that’s a different thing. Not audio books, but it’s not the physical book. In my hand. So how do you feel about that in your very judgmental mind? 

Julie 

In my prejudice — my reading prejudice — I have, so I have a Kindle. And I often feel that I have fake read a book when I read it on the Kindle, which again. I don’t know why it’s not a book. There’s text. I’m reading it, but it’s. But after I don’t know, I will say this. I think that I remember audio books not as well as I do books that I have physically read, and I think that there is something about the physical like holding of a book and turning the pages and like — that is different than a Kindle where it’s kind of like swipe, swipe swipe. I’m just a very prejudiced book person I think. So I mean, in the end what I’m going to say is all reading is good reading. I think it all counts, you know, Hooray for all of it. But like in my heart of hearts, if I were the human being that I wish I were. If I were a sparkly Princess full of all things good, then I would be sitting on a pile of physical books that I had read. I’m not so I’m not. But I I wish that. I could live in that world, you know. 

Eileen 

No, you don’t. You’d be bored. 

Julie 

No, I have books. How could you be bored when you’re sitting on a pile of books that you could read. 

Eileen 

I think you need people. You’re a very people person, you know. 

Julie 

It’s so interesting because everybody always tells me that I’m an extrovert and I and I think I’m an introvert. I always say, like I’m an extroverted introvert like I like to be by myself and I need my space, but I do also enjoy seeing people but I don’t want to like…. 

Eileen 

Lick them. 

Julie 

Well, I don’t want…I don’t want share a bathroom with them and I don’t like to have a roommate. You know what I mean? But like I’m happy to go to a party and like talk to some people. Mostly, I think that’s because I find people interesting and I’m always like my favorite part of a party is not even like the being at the party. Whether it’s a dinner party or like… 

Eileen 

I know what it is, it’s afterward dissecting it, breaking it down, comparing notes with your significant other, or whoever was there. We had a meeting, a family meeting on zoom with a business person, and afterward we all went on another zoom where we just talked about it because we all like to do that. 

Julie 

Because you want to know like what did you find out? What did you observe? What were the interesting…people are fascinating and like the stories they tell. I mean, I still remember this one dinner that we all went to and the way that the seating was arranged. We were sitting separately. So like Steve was in one place, you were in another. I was in another. And he was actually so far down the table that we had a completely — because it was a long skinny table — We had a completely different experience of the event, and so we were…. 

Eileen 

Is this a dinner at the MFA that is? 

Julie 

…With MFA and. So we were kind of like chatting. About it afterwards. And he was telling us all about like at his end of the table there had been crying and like a friendship blow up and we were like what? 

Eileen 

It was a totally different experience. 

Julie 

Exactly, and I was like — That’s so one of my favorite memories because it was like you can be at the same event. But have such a different experience based on the ecosystem that you ended up in. I just. Anyway, fascinating has nothing to do with any of this, but I’m sorry to tell you that I’m book prejudiced. If you are book prejudiced too, I’d love to hear about it and you can let us know sort of what you think? What is reading a book? 

Eileen 

Anyway, I don’t think you should be bound — this is my last remark on it, but I don’t think you should be bound by what category the book has been put into because, for example, I have read and enjoyed a lot of YA young adult books. 

Julie 

OK, so that brings us to favorite book, favorite book, favorite book of the Year. 

Eileen 

Very well written. 

Julie 

What is it? 

Eileen 

Uh, Crying in HMart.  

Julie 

Oh, really, what did you love about it? 

Eileen 

Well, in this case I could identify a bit. With the writer who’s talking about HMart is a a chain of Korean, and every Asian culture, food. But mostly it was thinking about her Mother because a lot of times food from our childhood leads us back to thinking about our natal family and…. 

Julie 

I often go to HMart and think of Grandma. 

Eileen 

Right, and I think one of the things is I’m in a funny place where I am. The mother, but I’m also a child. I’m also a grandmother and I’m also probably thinking more about let’s not be a downer here, but death and what my family will be like when I’m not here. To see it. Uh, and what? They’ll you know? What will remind them of me? And what will cause them to say? Oh God, thank thank you be gone. That’s gone, so, uh. So the book. 

Julie 

Steve always jokes that you will haunt us and the way that we will know that you have been there as a ghost is we’ll find snacks and little bits of food at the foot of the bed. 

Eileen 

Well, that’s not a bad thing. 

Julie 

I don’t think so. So my favorite book of the year was actually a YA book and something I listened to on audio. So I don’t know if it counts as having read it, but I enjoyed it. So it’s called The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, and it’s a book that was recommended on another podcast that I listened to and I was skeptical because I often find my problem with YA is that often the stories are lovely, but I find the writing is not always magical, you know, I mean, and part of what I enjoy about reading is that there is language that just sort of like carries your imagination, right? 

Eileen 

Many Dragons, maybe sometimes. 

Julie 

Yes, so this is kind of a fantasy book and the interesting thing is I liked the book so much that I actually listened to two other books by the same author and didn’t like either of them. So I thought that was interesting, but this one really hit it for me. So The House in the Cerulean Sea is like a — It’s a fictional world that sort of runs parallel with ours, in which, on this island, right at the House in the Cerulean Sea, there lives there is. It’s like a home. For magical children, basically. And a guy who is a worker — who’s a human worker, you know. Basically is sent to like assess the school for Magical children. And of course, as you can imagine, you know, like any other good, you know, story about how children can open you up, is opened up by the experience right, and it’s obviously…. 

Eileen 

The assessor is opened up? 

Julie 

Well, it’s a very clear metaphor for racism, and like everything else, and like they have prejudice against these children because they’re magical. But in fact, they’re just children and blah blah blah blah blah. Blah blah right? And so I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the world and I thought the person who read it was really good and all that kind of stuff and it is a book that oddly, the reason I say it’s my favorite is because I’m not sure was my favorite while I was in it, but it has stayed with me, yeah? 

Eileen 

You really like parallel worlds, by the way. 

Julie 

Yes, I do. 

Eileen 

Which I don’t at all. You really love parallel worlds. 

Julie 

I do I do? I do, and part of the reason I think I love it is I mean I think it’s part of the reason I’m an artist. I think it’s part of the reason that I worked in theater for years. Is that I’m, I’m sort of interested in this idea of like. 

Eileen 

Creating a world. 

Julie 

Creating a world or what you see as ordinary is actually extraordinary or what you see isn’t actually real, or that there could be something more beyond, you know what I mean? If you could just put your hand through that wall – looking glass – like whatever.  I’m endlessly fascinated by it. 

Eileen 

Put your. Oops, I can’t do this. Put your finger. I can’t get it. 

Julie 

I know because the screen is reversed. 

Eileen 

I can’t. Where it goes there, yeah. 

Julie 

You got it, yes. So I mean, I think like that to me. If they say, like the job of an artist on some level is to show you the world the way that they see it. Right, and so writers are artists, and so what they do when they create these parallel worlds is they’re saying like this is a world either that I believe is here, or that could be, or that you know is a metaphor for the society that we live in. And so I think because of that, like again, it is endlessly fascinating to me. And now you have a background in anthropology right? You’re an ABD in anthropology. And I think, like anthropology is a study of culture and it’s very much based in like observation of reality. And you know, I mean, trying to decipher what’s actually happening and trying to like figure out the rituals and the culture of you know various groups, and I think like that makes sense to me. To be rooted in reality as opposed to being interested in this kind of fantastical thing. But I do kind of think of a lot of science fiction as an anthropological study, right? You create a world that has customs. It has rules. It has, you know, all that kind of stuff and it’s like digging into something that’s familiar and yet not. I love that. 

Eileen 

It’s an interesting conversation. There are so many different human approaches to solving problems that are fascinating and sometimes surprising, and I guess I don’t feel a need to invent any. 

Julie 

Yeah, the world is amazing place. 

Eileen 

Yes it is. 

Julie 

What’s your second question? 

Eileen 

My second question is if I could read my handwriting, ohh. Let’s talk about something that you would like to do more of in the year to come, and something you would like to do less of. And I will…. 

Julie 

Well, so our third, my third question is the same thing, so we overlap here OK? 

Eileen 

Well, I got to ask it first so you have to invent a new question in the time between now. And the end. 

Julie 

OK, most embarrassing bodily fluids? Go!  

  1. OK, So what is something? So here’s something that I would like to do more of in 2023. It is a resolution that I’ve had for more than one year, but I feel like my son, who is now three. He turned 3 this fall — I feel like he is finally old enough for me to maybe get a hold of this, which is. I have very much felt like I’ve been chasing my business as opposed to sort of like directing it and so I’m very interested. And this is a grammatical point. But let’s say I’m very interested in working ON my business and not just IN my business.

Eileen 

Yeah yeah, I see what you’re saying. 

Julie 

Right? 

Eileen 

This is something you’ve actually wanted for a long time. 

And I think you’ve done this in fits and starts. Yeah, each time it’s been useful and you’ve come up with a nugget, but I think what you’re saying is you’d like the time to draw back and really take a more holistic look at all the parts of your business. Because what’s fascinating about your business? Is it’s not just one thing you don’t just do one thing and you have a lot of different buckets. Or a lot of different balls that you’re keeping in the ari. 

Julie 

Yeah, and like the pandemic happened. It’s like I was so — I mean just to paint the picture. like I’m a new mother — I’m the breadwinner in the family. The pandemic starts. My biggest client cuts my salary essentially in half and I am running. For my life. You know and…. 

Eileen 

You bought a house too, which is part of it. 

Julie 

I bought…I had bought it. I had bought a house, had a baby — pandemic, biggest client cuts my money in half. You know what I mean and now I don’t know how my business goes. So I was so busy pivoting. And hysterically trying to figure out where the next dollar was going to come from. That I think a lot of things just sort of happened because I was like I just need to like make this work right? So now it’s like I would love to take a minute and be like OK. Now that things are OK and we’re sort of on track here like, what do I really enjoy doing? Because I think like people understand I mean. People give all that like lip service to authenticity and blah blah blah but. In the end, like. I think what being authentic to me is like is doing things I enjoy doing like I get a lot of pull from people who — or not pull — but a lot of like push back from people who want me to do specific things. They don’t want to see any ScanNCut. They only want to see ScanNCut. They are only interested in art journaling. They are only interested in stamp carving and they would like me to sort of like niche niche, niche and like I understand that. But I do enjoy a wide range of things so I would just like to take the time, which I think of like planning out like what are the things that I enjoy so that I can translate that passion and that enthusiasm I have for it. Do you know what I mean? On to other people? And I think naturally, like any human being, it changes over time. I’m not going to be interested in the same things now that I was ten years ago, even though somebody else might be, you know. And so that there’s always a balance there, so I’d like to take some time to assess what I’m really excited and passionate about and want to pursue and sort of you know, figure that out. That’s my big, that’s my big 2023 I’m insisting to my brain that it’s got to happen. 

Eileen 

That’s the sort of thing you can do in little bits. Or do you need like a gigantic enormous amount of time and space? 

Julie 

Well, so the answer is, I probably could figure out a way to do it in little bits. I often find that little bits are ineffective, even though I think that is the best way always to attack a problem. But the reason I find it effective ineffective for this particular reason is there’s often a big swing pivot. You know what I mean? So for instance, if I was like you know what I want to do, I want to start a new series on YouTube where I post once a week with, you know, advice about how how to be a better artist, right? That’s fine, and that’s an idea I can come up with in 30 seconds and then I can write out a list of 52 videos that I should do? Right, But then the bounce off of that. It’s going to be OK, now I have to make time in my schedule to do that and are these videos also things that are going into blog posts or newsletters? Am I posting about them on Instagram on TikTok on Facebook, am I? How are these affecting like the things that I’m selling throughout the year? Who is the customer that this is aimed at? what level of student? Like you know what I mean? and so it becomes this thing which is like. Yes, you can come up with the quick idea, but to sort of make it work as part of your business, it’s really thinking about like how does it fit with everything else? And then it sort of necessarily shifts things in different ways. So then you have to like readjust it. I think about it a little bit like last night Steve was trying to build a track for our son out of these little bits and every time he put one piece of the track down, something else would pop off right and it was like – It was hilarious to me, less so to him. Especially as our son kept going “daddy fix it.” But like it, it is that thing about like every time you make an adjustment, something else pops and you need to like look at it. 

Eileen 

Yes, yes. 

Julie 

So for me it’s like in a dream world scenario, this is the one where I’m a Princess sitting on a pile of books, I would also like to be like in a white board room and have like a week where I’m just thinking and planning and like drawing diagrams and figuring things out and like if “A” moves to here then “B” moves to there, then “D”, then “C.” You know what I mean? And figuring it out because it is a puzzle and also partially because I don’t have any employees. 

Eileen 

I was just gonna say because then after the week and you emerge from the whiteboard room you have to do it all, as opposed to saying OK, now we’re going to have this department that does this and this group of employees who does that so that makes it harder and then decide. 

Julie 

That’s right. Yeah, so it’s like exactly. 

Eileen 

Your kid wants to come to the studio. 

Julie 

To do art. So yeah, so not only do I have to do it all, but I also have to think of it all and thinking as we talked about before, emotional labor is the hardest part, but more than that, if I spend a week doing it. I’m losing a week of other work that I probably ought to be doing. Because like I said before, if I don’t work I don’t make any money and you don’t make any money. 

Eileen 

You’re fixing the up with the movie. 

Julie 

Yes, so that is always the problem, which is I’m always loathe to give the time to the things that are developmental but don’t have a direct payoff sort of immediately because I’m like, ohh, but like I need to get those blog posts and I need to write this thing for the class and I need to get this person’s e-mail returned and I need to. You know what I mean so. It’s sort of like I’m thinking about this family trip that I mentioned that we’re taking in January and I’m already having like a meltdown about how am I? How can I be present with my family during that week on this trip and not the whole time be hysterical that things are burning down. I mean on the other side, there are people who are very lovely and understanding when you say you’re on vacation, you’re out or whatever and there are people who are terrible. Four letter words who just expect you to be Amazon or Target or whatever and have staff of hundreds of people who can help them right when they want it. And like I get it. But it just it’s very stressful to me, so I’m going to figure out how to make it happen. 

Eileen 

OK, so is that the more of or the less of because it’s sort…. 

Julie 

That’s I mean so. The more I’ve is, I want to spend more time working on my business and less time working in my business. That’s the succinct answer to that. But I think like. I think the also less so for 2023. Which is sort of less art related and more just personal, which is also about, I think getting older is, I just want to spend less time like hating myself. I just want to…. 

Eileen 

That would be a good goal. 

Julie 

I think it’s a good goal always, but it’s less time being like mad at myself for not finishing something I was supposed to do or less mad at myself for like missing a meeting or not responding to something? Or did I mean less mad at myself for not cleaning up. I Feel like it’s it is the great desire to do everything which is all consuming and very difficult. You know and the older I get it is a little bit easier to — you know, you got to make a choice. 

Eileen 

Talking about guilt. 

I will say as you as I have gotten older, I feel less yeah, no. As I’ve gotten older, I do feel responsible for things which makes me feel less guilty and that’s great. Yeah, you know, if I. If I miss a meeting. So what, uh? So I don’t have to be part of everything. 

Julie 

Right, I was listening to an interview today with a woman whose name I have unfortunately forgotten. And one of the things she was saying is the advice she gives to young writers. She’s an author. Is the advice you can see in writers is like do more of the things that are important and less of the things that are urgent. And I was like, wow, that’s such an interesting distinction between important and urgent. And I was thinking like there are a lot of things. For instance in my business that are urgent, but if you ask me what’s important, it’s spending time with my 3 year old. It’s being there to like build Legos with him. It’s you know. I mean, I think it’s one of the hardest things for me, so when well I remember when I was probably like a preteen, Bambi was re-released in the movie theaters and we went. And there was a kid behind us with his Mother, like a little kid…. 

Eileen 

I hate to tell you this, Bambi’s mother dies. 

Julie 

Yeah, so hold on. So in the movie when Bambi’s mother dies right? He says in this tearful voice to his mother. “Where did Bambi’s mother go?” And she says “Ohh, honey Bambi’s mother is…He’s not going to get to see her for a long time. She’s gone away, you know.” And the kid says. “Ohh she went to work.” And at the time I was like “ha ha ha ha that’s so funny.” But now my son if I — because I work on the third floor studio — and like if I have to go do something, I’ll be like OK I have to go to work. You’re going to stay with daddy. You know he grabs me. Like I don’t want you to go to work and like, sometimes we’re at the playground. You know he’ll walk up the stairs. Like the play structure and say “I’m going to work, you can’t come.” And like it’s, it’s like a knife in the chest every single time. Even though like I know that I have to work and I know that as a reasonable and rational thing to do, and I know that the agreement his father and I made is that his Father stays with him and I work and. Like blah blah blah blah but like it’s. Crushing, and so I thought, I think. A lot about that, which is like. Doing things that are important rather than urgent. 

Eileen 

I just want to ask about what happens after he says “work you can’t come.” Then what? 

Julie 

Then usually I say, oh, I’m so sad. Can I please come with you? and then he says OK, you can come up. And then we go up the stairs or…. 

Eileen 

Have you ever changed that scenario to say OK, have a good time at work and I’ll see you later. 

Julie 

I could do that. That’s a good idea. 

Eileen 

It’s modeling some other ways to feel about it, right? You know the only solution is not just to join each other at work. 

Julie 

That’s true. 

Eileen 

There are other possible. 

Julie 

That does explain to me now why he’s constantly like “can I go to the studio too.” Because clearly I do that at the playground. 

Eileen 

I mean, what’s interesting? I won’t say interesting. That word has gotta go. What’s fascinating is that he doesn’t expect you to stay at school with him. He doesn’t expect you. There are lots of times when he’ll he, he’ll say OK, goodbye or you know. Go now, I mean. I think just thinking of other ways to model that the resolution of that situation might be helpful. 

Julie 

OK, I’ll give it a try. 

Eileen 

OK, what do I want to do more? 

Julie 

Are you hoping, yeah. 

Eileen 

And less of and. What I’d like to do less of is scrolling through my phone because it’s a waste of time, but it takes an enormous amount of time. You start it and you say oh, well, just do this little bit and the next thing you know, an hour has gone by, which frankly you’ll never get back, and most of the stuff that you pick up off the phone is nothing. And what I’d like to do more of is — I am reminded because I’ve started doing this a bit — I don’t feel like I have to wait for 2023 to show up to do this — Making phone calls to my friends whom I haven’t seen. Many of them I used to like see. You’d run into them at the library or on the street. You’d have dinners you’d go to, you know, school events or social events in town and you’d see them. And now you don’t because everybody’s hunkering down at home. But I have found that you can get a lot of good feeling both ways from calling people and I’m trying to do that more. I want to do that more because when you reach out like that. It really feels like connecting and one of the things — Somehow because we’re all hunkering down at home — It’s harder to pick up the phone and call people because you’re interrupting them because they’ve planned their whole day around what they’re going to get done without seeing anybody or talking to anybody, so when you call — and you’re obviously prepared for a longish phone call — It feels right so, but I I do want to do…. 

Julie 

Just to make an appointment. 

Eileen 

More of that. 

Julie 

That’s funny because you also said you’re a hermit and you like being a hermit, but you’re it’s not that you’re a hermit you just don’t want…. 

Eileen 

It’s not that I hate people, right? 

Julie 

You don’t want to have to put on pants. 

Eileen 

Good point. 

Julie 

OK, so. Then I will ask you my second question, which is kind of related, which is what is the biggest obstacle that you overcame in 2022. 

Eileen 

I think the biggest obstacle I overcame was I was so bored with you and your family. No, that’s tough. I think the biggest obstacle is. One of them, which was demonstrated when we tried to start this podcast. I’m not a person who grew up with technology. I’m a person who at my age. There were no computers in college. People didn’t have computers at home in. Fact you didn’t get a computer…. 

Julie 

Told me about the computer that with the big thing with the cards that you…. 

Eileen 

There was a class I took which was a very advanced class and what we got were the punch cards, the old IBM Type punch card. But that was like 1 experimental class and it wasn’t that you had a computer at home in your dorm room and you didn’t have a computer at college until part way through college. And I never took a real computer class you know which you would you took starting in kindergarten, first grade. So every time there’s a new technology for me, it’s a giant barrier psychological barrier that I have to cross and I don’t upload, uh, new software a lot because it means another learning curve and I don’t upgrade my equipment. I mean, there’s been this pattern of new stuff comes out your brother’s the 1st to get it, you get it ,and then some of the old stuff that you guys have may trickle down to me. Or when I have a problem I call one of you. You’re my IT department and you’re very kind and helpful about it, but it’s not a consistent way of learning stuff is just solving one particular problem. So I’d like to…. 

Julie 

From a technology point of view, like you’re actually older than the Boomers, right? You’re too old to be a Boomer. Yes, yes, which is interesting right? And like I am at I’m too young to be Gen. X but too old to be a millennial. I fall in this weird xennial category, which is also Middle Rd. where I didn’t grow up with technology, but then I kind of had it. All you know what I mean, and so I think there is a weird technology gap thing in that generational sort of weirdness where you’re kind of off generation with the majority of people. 

Eileen 

I remember once a week in your elementary school. You would have keyboarding class. Keyboarding was a separate class. And it wasn’t integrated into your other academic subjects, and one of the family jokes is in high school. You took keyboarding as an elective. 

Julie 

I took typing on a typewriter. 

Eileen 

And you got. 

Julie 

A B. I got a B minus working to potential. Usually. It would be unusual if I came home with an A minus. 

Eileen 

Very unusual, yeah, that’s what they said, we’re working to potential. 

Julie 

My Asian mother had a long conversation with me about why I was doing so poorly. So to come home with a B minus working to potential was traumatic. To say the least. Threw my whole GPA off for my entire, you know, high school career. C’est la vie, so I’m not a very good typist, apparently. 

Eileen 

What’s interesting about — also related is that I have learned things as you have learned things because then I have to learn them in order to be able to help you. So you were editor of the high school newspaper. You had software for that and I had to learn the software in order to help you and there are — It’s similar to I didn’t grow up loving football, but your brother played Pop Warner and high school football. And so I learned football because it was an important part of his life. So if you hadn’t been a computer person. I probably wouldn’t even know how to turn it on. 

Julie 

Well, look at you. You’re doing so great. OK, so you’ve overcome technology. I think the biggest thing that I’m the biggest obstacle I’ve overcome in 2022, has been sickness. 

Eileen 

Hey hey. 

Julie 

So we’ve been lucky enough to not have had COVID, but…. 

Eileen 

Everything else. 

Julie 

Have we had every single other disease that you’re going to have so there was a period of maybe 2 1/2 three months. That I was just sick and my son was sick and it was just sick, sick, sick, sick, sick and it was. I have never been so sick and we got flu this year. We definitely had RSV, we have had some other kind of. Gross just put…. 

Eileen 

You you had strep, the doctor didn’t even believe that you could have strep, and you did. 

Julie 

The doctor didn’t believe I could have strep throat because I also had post nasal drip and active cough that was productive and he and he was like you can’t have strep on this, but the strep test came back positive. He’s like OK. You’ve got two things at the same time. My son had pneumonia like we…. 

Eileen 

But he simultaneously had flu A too. 

Julie 

Yeah, and like anyway, we’ve had everything that you can have and like. At some point I had laryngitis. 

Eileen 

Except coldness. 

Julie 

There were — what — four days that I could not speak at all, which at least one of those days Steve had to go somewhere. And I was alone with our son all day trying to like get a 2 year old to like do things without being able to speak. We did a lot of hand signals, it was hilarious. We reverted back to some baby sign language. Uh, but I would just say like it’s it has and the other thing about being sick is besides the fact that you feel terrible and like, it’s very hard to do stuff and you’re tired and like everything is bad. I do so much stuff through video and so much of what I do is also talking. It’s one of the reasons we’ve had almost no podcasts in the back half of this year is I’ve just been sick for three months, you know, and so I mean, I’m afraid to say that I feel better. Let’s knock on everything that looks like wood right now. But it is like. It’s hard to talk and you…I’m like coughing every two seconds and I’m, you know, sound terrible and it’s. Just anyway. So that was just really difficult, both on a personal level and from an actually getting my job done kind of level too so…. 

Eileen 

Talking is one of your magic powers. One of your Super powers, and when you lost it, you were devastated. 

Julie 

I was! It actually was an incredible like humbling moment for me where I was like. How do people do it? Who have lost the ability to speak? Who can’t like communicate? That way? It is so exhausting, although on the other hand I have to tell you: I carried around a sign the days that I had to go and do stuff — that said, like I have laryngitis, I cannot speak and if people started talking to me or doing something, I would just hold up the sign. Right and it was amazing how many people were incredibly kind. It was also hilarious how many people then started speaking slowly or loudly and I was like “I can hear. I didn’t suddenly not be able to hear, but. OK,” you know and like…. 

Eileen 

You actually went to the doctor. You had prepared a whole written thing to tell him. 

Julie 

I did, I had my name, my date of birth like my patient number so that I could just hold it up on my phone. I had like the list of things I had written — an entire two-page synopsis of my illness so that they had a complete history that I did not have to speak it. I just handed the print out to the doctor. Who then read it out loud. I mean it was. But that was the thing is, I was realizing that like. How much preparation is needed when you can’t speak in the moment and I think because I have, for instance, I’ve always been a person who like if you said “hey, give a speech.” I would probably not prepare that much to be completely frank. I would just kind of like, think of like what’s my major point and then I would just go because that’s always been something that’s easy for me. And so it was so interesting to me to have to prepare for daily life tasks, not even like giving a speech in a very considerate way, and I actually think hear me out here. I know this sounds crazy, but it’s kind of like one of the reasons I like being a student because it makes me a better teacher — is I feel. Like it made me feel. Like I learned some things from that struggle that I have taken with me in terms of I teach a lot of classes where the students have to speak and I know that for a lot of people, it’s traumatic. Impromptu speaking is not their thing. I tend to speak really fast. I’ve often said, like I’m not being rude. Maybe I am to you, but I’m an interrupter. I come from an interrupting family. I come from an interrupting culture, you know, interrupting is my superpower. If there were an Olympic sport interrupting. I would be the 10. Yes, exactly we are. We’re interrupters and it’s always been culturally fine within our family. Within our network. But I do run into people who get really upset about interrupting, and then I’m always sort of like, oh OK, this is something I don’t get, but I will try to be respectful of your culture of not interrupting. You’re very boring. Slow culture of not interrupting. 

Eileen 

Actually, people who have come into the family like dating, you know and even marrying have often I had to adjust to this because they were thinking it was rude or it was hostile that. The two people who were talking and our family were angry when it wasn’t at all. 

Julie 

Yeah, it’s just a discussion. You’re just talking both at the same time and you’re having one conversation. Then you loop back to the thing that somebody else said, and then something reminds you of something. So you say your thing, but then you come back like it. You have to keep the multiple strands. It’s like a weaving of things going, and sometimes you’re you know grabbing a string from. Over here, but it’s. Not like you let. Go of the. String over there. So anyway, all of that is to say. I think that like I often. Think of talking as easy and it was a good reminder that for some people there’s a level of prep that’s required, and I think it. Has helped me. In teaching some of my classes to consider a little bit more what I can do to get the students more prepared to have those conversations, like what hints can I give them? What do I need to tell them ahead of time? Like it was not threatening to you at all when I said we were each going to ask each other questions and not. Know what the questions were before we did. This right that was not even remotely. Threatening because you are confident in your ability to talk about it and me too. I was like you could ask me anything and I feel confident that I can talk about it. You can ask me nuclear physics conversation questions. I won’t be able to answer them, but I. Feel confident that. I could say that due to mean and. Not feel embarrassed about it. 

Eileen 

I would judge you harshly. 

Julie 

But I think. Like that’s the thing which is. I was reminded how many people need. The confidence of knowing what the question is or what the lay of the land is before and so I think. Whereas I used to just sort. Of throw things out in class, I am now and. Being a little more careful. About telling people like what’s coming. Up so that they can prepare for it if they need to. 

Eileen 

Also, you’re actually doing that with your son. Because right now he’s at a phase where transitions are hard from for him. You know he doesn’t wanna stop playing or he doesn’t wanna. Have dinner or bedtime or bath time or whatever, and. So you’re finding I notice that when you prepare him a bit and say OK, we’re going to do this and then. You’ll have 5 minutes and I’ll put the timer on and then we’ll do this next thing that is helpful so you’re starting to, so you’re starting to think. That way with him. And that’s another piece of telling people in advance if he is opposed to just showing, I would say, OK, we’re going now. 

Julie 

Yeah, and I think it’s like I think the warning thing is important so he gives him some sense of control over what’s happening. Like I was saying, Steve and I were joking because I always say to him like before I put his pants on or before anything I’m like. I’m gonna put your pants on you and then I do it and he was like, oh, I just do it. I was like, well think about how weird that would be if somebody, just like, grabbed you and put pants on. Like you would be like what’s happening. You know what I mean? It’s like you want to know that they’re gonna do something to you, right? I don’t know. 

Eileen 

Just want to point out that’s the second time in this podcast that you’ve talked about putting on pants. You just want to mention it as a thread. 

Julie 

I am wearing pants just so everybody knows. I’m even wearing jeans. 

Eileen 

How do you know? 

Julie 

But yeah, I think I think that the other thing I. Think is really important about that is I try to give him multiple. Tasks at the same time, so I’ll be like this is going to happen then this, then this. Because I think that helps his thinking in terms of understanding consequences in terms of understanding that like if when I after I do this then that will trigger this next event, right? So after you put your socks on then you can get a snack and then we’re going to get in the car so that he understands you know. OK, socks go on, which triggers me being able to get a snack. I can’t get a snack unless I have my socks on. And that once I get the snack, that means that I have to head to the car, right? That sounds stupid. But it’s not any different than when you’re teaching somebody to make art, and you say you know there isn’t a right or a wrong choice here. But if you use that high contrast color, then it’s going to make the blue pop out and this is going to be the focal point of your painting because you put that orange over there as opposed to if you do it this way. You know, I mean, it’s constant understanding consequences. I feel like in life and art is like one of those really vital skills. And you know, the other day, Steve. Took our son to daycare and he said, oh, he insisted on taking your car this morning and I said why did he want to go in my car and he said. And Steve said, because he said, then you would come out of the house. And not know what your car where your car is. 

Eileen 

He said it cheerfully like that. 

Julie 

Right like ha ha joke and I was like well that’s so interesting because that means he understands like the series of consequences they take the car, which is mine. 

Eileen 

He was playing the clip on you. 

Julie 

I come out of the house. I don’t know where the car is. I am panicked, which then is funny to him. 

Eileen 

So you’re raising a psychopath, I’ve been. 

Julie 

And an amazing a psychopath. 

Eileen 

Watching this that’s. 

Julie 

But I was actually really proud that he understood like consequences like that that like A follows B follows C like. 

Eileen 

It’s a trigger of. 

Julie 

Events, because that is the beginning of understanding things. Like don’t bully people. Why don’t believe people? Because it. Makes them feel better. Don’t take that from them. Because that will. Upset them or don’t you know? I mean like if you don’t understand. Why not to do something then? It’s harder not to do it and and I do think like I recently had a business experience where somebody asked me to do something and it seems so arbitrary. And then a colleague of theirs explained why they were asking for it and immediately. I was like. Absolutely I will do that. I 100% get it because as soon as. I understood the why. You know what I mean? Not only. Was I willing to? 

Eileen 

Do it, but. 

Julie 

I haven’t forgotten about. It because now I get why I’m doing it. It’s not just some random thing that somebody asked me to do that seems to be for no reason whatsoever, and so I think again applying it back to Earth as everything in life does. If I tell you OK, now put a layer of white on it. I don’t know how that helps you when. The class is. Over if I tell you we’re putting a layer. Of white on it because. We want to. Only have the texture showing so that we can highlight the parts you know, I mean that. Are interesting then. You can go and do that in your own way, you know, translate it through your own filter because you understand the why. Wise in life are so important. But isn’t that the reason? I mean is the way my brain works, but isn’t that the reason that people get so upset when they don’t know why you broke up with them, why they were fired, why they didn’t get the job, why you know, I mean? You want to know the why? Why somebody got murdered? I mean it is. It is healing, even if it’s angering. 

Eileen 

To just know. Bit of a sense of control over the next time. 

Julie 

What does even understanding like if somebody was like I broke up with you because you snorting your sleep, I would be like, OK? Well, I literally can’t. Fix that, so that’s the problem, but. 

Eileen 

Bye bye. 

Julie 

You know like bye. You know what I mean? Whereas if somebody was like I broke up with you because your hair got in my. Food I’d be. Like Oh well I can wear. My hair back and make sure it. Doesn’t get in your food. You know what I mean? Like it’s just it’s helpful. 

Eileen 

Or I can decide what kind of idiot wouldn’t say that to me so that I could something about it. You’re just looking for an excuse. Again, bye bye. 

Julie 

Yeah, it’s not you. It’s me. People don’t like to tell you the why because they’re afraid the why is going to upset you, but in the end, I actually think the why is almost always healing. And like I do remember when I have ever in my life, been hiring or anything else. Telling people the honest why. Of why they didn’t get the job, it may be hurtful to them and they may wish that it was different, but it at least gives somebody information that they can choose to hear and work on, you know or say I’m never going to. The reason you didn’t get. This rule is because it’s for a 20 year old and you read as 45. So I’m sorry you know and you’re not going to change that. By yourself, and maybe it’s just accepting that. 

Eileen 

Occasionally they did tell you, oh, I can, I can. 

Julie 

Right? 

Eileen 

I can play 20. 

Julie 

Me too me too me too. OK, So what is your 3rd and final question, Madam? 

Eileen 

Final question. What would you tell yourself 10 years ago? Not your childhood, not like. 

Julie 

What would I tell myself in 2012? 

Eileen 

10 You the €10 ago you. 

Julie 

Well, 10 years ago me is a particularly interesting person because ten years ago me was still married to my ex-husband. 2012 is a year is the year our marriage hit. The divorce button, shall we say, and so 2012 is the year that my business was incorporated. 2012 is the year that I…. 

Eileen 

I’m magical. 

Julie 

Left the theater. 2012 is like what what I say to myself I would say. You are amazing. Do what you love, be kinder than you feel, including to yourself. Your girlfriends are the best human beings on earth. And don’t settle. 

Eileen 

How about you in a certain way you did follow that advice? You just asked about it. 

Julie 

I did and I would say like part of the reason I would give that advice is because I’m happy with my life right now. There’s some ways. I feel like. I could have fast forwarded to get here a little Bit better, but you know what? Like they always say — all those bumps in the road, like all that stuff like that’s why I am who I. AM and…. 

Eileen 

That’s right, they shape you. 

Julie 

They shape you and I like who I am. So why I mean, as much as I wish I could have escaped. So much of that pain. I like the person I am. In 2012 You would say eat only vegetables and stay out of the sun. 

Eileen 

No, I wouldn’t even say that. Now I. Will tell you this though, so at my age which is. I’d like to say venerable. Uh, there’s sometimes a a myth among some people that. You don’t change much when you’re older. Somehow, once you turn, I don’t know 60. It was long ago for me. You’re set. And and that you’ll just be that forever. That you and I’m gonna say there’s plenty of changing ahead. There’s plenty of new experiences ahead if you want it, and if you seek that, seek them out. There’s a lot of interesting things, and I really mean interesting things. If you. Make room for it in your life. So don’t worry about it. Whatever magical age you’re turning, you know you turn 60 and you think Oh my God now I’m 60 it’s over. There’s a lot ahead. You just have to continue to be as open to it as you were when you were younger. 

Julie 

Don’t you can. Change if you choose to change. You can learn if you choose to learn. I mean it goes back to. 

Eileen 

You can meet new people. You can have new conversations. You can have two grandchildren where when you were ten years ago they were not even a twinkle in anybody’s eye light. 

Julie 

That technology thing, yeah. 10 years ago I was in my 30s and I was like Oh my gosh, I’m getting divorced. I’m too old. I’m never going to have a baby and then I. Had a baby. 

Eileen 

In my 40s you just have to understand that. Your life continues. As long as you are open to it. 

Julie 

Yeah, you start dying the moment that you stop being willing to learn. I believe that whether you’re 20 or whether you’re 70 like the day that you decide you don’t have anything left to learn the day that you decide you’re not interested in learning things. That’s the day you start dying. 

Eileen 

And meeting new people and and you know, whatever, by the way, 10 years ago, I didn’t know you were. Gonna move here. 

Julie 

Yeah, that’s true. 

Eileen 

It’s been an enormous change I did not anticipate that either of. My two children. Would live here and now I can drive to your house in 5 minutes or less. True well. 

Julie 

I had lived in New York at that point for 12 years or something, so it didn’t seem like there was any chance that I was. 

Eileen 

Right? 

Julie 

Coming home. But here you go here. I am OK so I had to. Change my last. Question since you stole it. 

Eileen 

I don’t think that the fact that I said it before you means I stole it. I think it just means we’re on the same wavelength. 

Julie 

That’s fair, that’s fair, OK? So this one is simple and it’s something we’ve done in the past, which is just what is a recommendation. That you would give to people something from 2022 that brought you pleasure and you would like to share that joy with other people. And if you want so, you can. Think about it, I will go first. Since I had to come up with. This question and think of the answer OK. 

Eileen 

No I can. I can go. I will say this. Don’t you be afraid to cut things out? It’s funny because I just answered that other question about being open to things, but you can also eliminate. The noise, for example, I no longer watch any TV shows. Of certain genres because they’re upsetting to me. I don’t watch crying things. I don’t watch scary things. I don’t watch violent things it. Just it’s not. It’s not healthy for me and it’s not enjoyable for me. Uh, if there are things you don’t like. About yourself. Get rid of them, I just think you have to make room for the new things by eliminating some of the things that aren’t. 

Julie 

Yeah, I mean I. Think this is so true like. I didn’t know. I didn’t know how good this life could be until I had gotten rid of other things and had a hole that was able to be filled, and I think that’s true about a lot of stuff. I also think like in terms of turning stuff down, I’ve heard a million times and I think it’s true. “No is a complete sentence.” You don’t need to tell people why. You don’t need to give them a reason. You just say no, that’s a complete sentence. 

Eileen 

Ohh, I’m sorry, I just can’t. 

Julie 

Yeah, you also don’t need to say. That you don’t even have to be polite. About it, you can just. Say no, no no is a complete sentence. OK, my recommendation. Is so much less like, thoughtful and interesting. It is a simple consumer issue which is at the beginning of this year. I bought myself some bombas socks and I thought it was crazy because they cost 25 times more than any sock on the market and I was like how can a sock be this expensive? But I was like, I will use this 20% off coupon and I will give it a try. I literally cannot wear any other socks. I am mad if my Bombas are all in the laundry and I don’t have them. 

Eileen 

Clear indication that you need to buy more because that’s it would be a pipe dream to think you would do more laundry. 

Julie 

I mean, fair, fair. But I have bought my son some I bought. My husband some for. Christmas like because he also I was like oh do. You want somebody who’s like they’re so expensive I’m. Not buying those expensive socks. So I bought them for him for Christmas and I hope that he likes them. They have changed my life, because here’s the thing. I have terrible feet and like one of the things is. We don’t wear shoes in our house. But I have to wear like something because my feet hurt if I just walk around you know what I mean? Literally, and I often have had to have like inserts in my slippers or else and what I find is when I’m wearing bombas they actually have this kind of support in them and so my feet are much better now. In just socks you know, I mean than they ever have been, and it sounds so stupid, but I literally love them so much. I don’t even know what to tell you so they don’t. 

Eileen 

They also have this thing where for every pair that you buy, they donate one too. 

Julie 

Homeless shelters yes. And I will also say this. They have coupons and stuff all the time so. You know what I will look for a coupon code and I’ll try to post it with the podcast. Because I have. I’ve never bought them at full price, I’ve always got a coupon because there is always one, so don’t buy them at full price. They’re great, but. Don’t buy them at full price. Wait for the sale or I’ll look for a coupon. Code and try to post one OK. OK, so I think well this has been a long podcast, but a good one. We had a lot of catching. Up to do. I do want to remind you that there are lots of great classes that you can check out over at balzerdesigns.com. You can find me at juliebalzer.com as well or on Instagram as Balzerdesigns and I’d love to hear from you. If you want to help the show in any way you perform, if you like to see more podcasts in 2023, you know leave a review, mention us on social media, tell a friend about us, you know, send an e-mail to somebody about it. Leave a comment you know here on this video on. YouTube all of those things help. People find the show so thanks so much for listening and for subscribing and we’ll see you the next time on the Adventures in Arting podcast. 

Eileen 

bye. 

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