Ten years ago, I had just graduated from graduate school in Washington, DC. I had started The House That Lars Built a couple of years earlier for a class assignment. It turned into my portfolio, which I took with me to internships and jobs and beyond. This was before Pinterest so I was also sharing beautiful pictures that inspired me.
Paul and I got married in the fall of 2010 and I moved to Denmark, where he was from and living. I had spent the previous summer in Copenhagen, where I had met him, and had had a ball in my textile design program, biking around the city, meeting new people, going on adventures. When I moved there permanently, things were different. I didn’t have any friends. I didn’t really have a network. Danes are notorious for taking a long time to warm up to newcomers. It was September and the days were becoming shorter and the weather cold so I found myself inside without much to do.
We were assured that the process for becoming a resident of Denmark would be a quick and speedy process, but for some reason, it took much longer than anticipated, almost a year. During that time, I couldn’t work, get a phone, a credit card, etc. While there were some miserable aspects of this stage in my life, I also knew that I probably would never receive this opportunity again–to do nothing!
Because the thing is…I didn’t do nothing! On one hand, I explored Copenhagen REALLY well. While Paul was at work, I would walk around down town and visit all my favorite shops (and not actually shop because $$$$) and museums. I got to know the metro system extremely well as well as the roads on my bike. In hindsight it was a lovely time in some ways.
When I wasn’t exploring the city I was working on The House That Lars Built as if it were my job even though it most certainly wasn’t. I didn’t even know that you could make money from blogging yet. Because our paper flower DIY wedding got featured on a few different wedding sites like 100 Layer Cake and Pinterest had come out at around the same time, it went bananas and I was asked to create tutorials for various sites and soon became a permanent contributor to Brooklyn Bride and Oh Happy Day. Though I wasn’t getting paid too much, it was soon enough to pay my student loans and I was pretty thrilled about that!
I started to realize that I really liked sharing projects and sharing about my life and happenings in Denmark so I shared a bit more . That said, I’ve always been somewhat of a reluctant blogger. I’ve always been cautious about the implications of putting your life out in the public. In fact, I didn’t even mention my first name for years! Ha! Overtime I realized that the strength of sharing your story is being transparent so I’ve become a bit more open, though the hesitancy ALWAYS exists!
Once my Danish residency was official I went to town applying to various jobs in Denmark. In fact, I even called up the editors in chief of various design magazines because their phone numbers were in the mastheads! I applied to dozens and dozens of jobs during my years in Denmark and guess how many jobs I heard back from? None! Not one single one. Ha!
In the mean time, I continued to work on The House That Lars Built and treating it like it was my job.
When we moved to Utah, the same thing happened! I applied to a few jobs, got a few offers, and for whatever reason, the jobs never worked out. It was always a devastating blow, especially since I was to be the breadwinner while Paul was going to school. Once again, I continued working on The House That Lars Built. Soon, I started to get sponsorships and a few more freelance writing jobs and was able to pay the bills. We were scraping by, but at least something was working. I kept on applying to jobs with the same results–nothing.
It took two full years before I realized that Lars was actually working, much to my surprise, and maybe I didn’t need to apply to other jobs. It had become my job! I hired my first design assistant and then got a business partner and we’ve been plowing full steam ahead ever since.
I can see my experience much more clearly these days and now know that the reason The House That Lars Built worked was because of my road blocks. In an alternate reality, I would have gotten a job and wouldn’t have had time to work on it or wouldn’t have been SO desperate to have it work out. There just wasn’t any other option that was working out!
I’m beginning to see this time of quarantine in a similar light though I don’t know how it will turn out yet. There are certainly some pros to being stuck at home. For one, I’ve never been able to spend so much time with my son. It’s showing me what it could be like to be a stay at home mom (though perhaps not an entirely accurate depiction as I’m still working full time).
Because of this, I thought it would be nice to create a bucket list. Who knows when we’ll have the opportunity to spend so much time with our families, or do projects on our own, or whatever our situation is. So we might as well take advantage of our time!
Here are some things that we brainstormed as a team that could be fun to add to the list:
Social Distancing Bucket List
- Conference Call Group Workout
- Karaoke over zoom
- Re-read favorite childhood book series
- Trunk picnic in parking lot
- Distance picnic-family on own blanket
- Group apps : psych
- Clean out closet (what do you love, what fits, what doesn’t need mending)
- Organize pantry
- At home spa
- Full round of monopoly with housemates
- 500 piece puzzle
- 1000 piece puzzle
- Create window art
- Sidewalk chalk mural
- Zoom movie night with friends
- Order from local takeout
- Create a WFH space
- Recreate “it’s a small world” with youtube + diy boat
- Drive by party
- Drive in movie
- Online shopped for a necessity
- Online shopped for a luxury
- Watch highlights/vintage reels of fav sport (or olympics)
- Send snail mail to graduate
- Buy something off a wedding registry for a quarantined wedding
- Buy something off a baby registry for a newborn baby
- Run your own 5k/13.1/26.2 because yours was cancelled
- Order cotton candy and play/make carnival games
- Create indoor museum of favorite artist
- Makeup free week
- No jeans/slacks for a week
- New wardrobe completely based off of pj’s/lounge wear/yoga pants
- Create vision board/travel plans/research city guides for where you’ve always wanted to go
- Turn bathtub into hottub with jets
- Garden starts/indoor herb/ “victory garden”
You can find the printable over at our shop here.
I’d love to hear what’s on YOUR bucket list. Or how this experience is going for you. Spill it!