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Okay, here it goes… I’ve been wanting to publish this post for a while. I’ve been wanting to share these thoughts for months. I initially couldn’t because everything I wanted to say was living in my head and I couldn’t pinpoint how to get it out. Then, I couldn’t because I was trying to link up with a company who I thought would no longer be interested in me if they became aware of this part of my struggle (fast forward: they became uninterested on their own anyway).

You see, I used to be ‘that girl who worked for The Happy Planner®’. I used to be ‘attached’ to the 200+ thousand planner fans and sort of ‘in charge’ of fostering that audience. I used get to travel and meet people and participate in fun creative challenges and use my voice & crafty skills to get people excited about the product.

Let’s face it: I was part of the ‘cool club’. The club that has no where to go but up. The club that looks great all the time. The club that’s trending. The club that’s always got something new and exciting to show you. The club that’s popular…and being attached to that popularity made me feel important.

You might think it was hard for me to ‘give up my seat at the cool table’ but spoiler alert: not so much. When it’s time, it’s time.  I wasn’t doing that work because it was cool and it made me feel like I had influence. I was doing that job because I loved all the ways it allowed me to use my creativity, and I loved getting to celebrate other women like me, doing their best to live this big, wonderful, confusing, creative life.

This past summer, I felt like my job there was done. I helped grow the product and celebrate you ladies, and I knew it was time for me to figure out how to grow myself and celebrate the ideas I knew I could bring to the table.

Now, there shouldn’t be shame in that. I love design. I love paper, the craft & hobby industry, and the idea of innovating new products. I know I’m capable of that work, so I left to pursue growth in these areas, end of story. Although, this is very much NOT the end of the story.

THIS is where the ‘hard’ comes in. This is where you have to constantly remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. This is where you constantly feel like you have to talk others off the ledge who are panicking on your behalf. This is where you have to convince the people that can help you that you and your ideas are worthy of their help. This is the land of dwindling bank accounts, living within your means, and no health insurance. …an adult version of The Island of Misfit Toys.

It feels like in order to become a successful business woman, you have to appear to have this seamless, ‘under control’, ‘always upward’ vibe, however being on your own is incredibly difficult and isolating. Trying to start something from scratch can’t look like anything but a messy, tiring struggle, so why does it feel so shameful to be transparent about it and acknowledge this is so?

I don’t know the answer to that, but here’s my full disclosure nonetheless…

I started this new website three months ago, and you’ve seen me release a bunch of printables for free, share what I’ve been pinning from time to time, and try to convince myself that ‘Hey, it’s okay.’ // NONE OF IT ADDS UP to equal a lucrative, sustainable creative career in lifestyle blogging and/or graphic design, the way that my ‘about me’ blurb sort of makes it seem like I partake in. I blog and design, and use those identifiers to describe myself, but you would be mistaken if you thought I led this effortless, casual, creative life spending the hours of my morning at home in pajamas memory keeping in my planner, and actually making a living from it.  

The whole second half of this year has been experimenting, struggling financially, and trying to figure out what’s next. This site, all that’s in me to design, the freebies, the newsletter, the upcoming podcast (what?! yep.) — it’s all this bunch of imperfect stuff thats been in me soooo long to GET OUT, and I have kept busy plowing through each one — but at some point in my day, I have to go to work… real bill-paying work.

I reread Big Magic this past summer, and one of my major takeaways from it this time around was the notion that I can’t expect my creativity to support me; I have to support it. …like, with a job.

So what job have I been working, you ask? Howwwww have I been supporting this grand experiment of creativity? Where have I been getting the money to live and pay dem damn bills?

I’ve been waitressing, like, at a restaurant. Glamourous, huh?

I can’t be anything but grateful for it. I’m not grateful I’m a waitress; I’d much rather be getting paid and recognized by doing the creative work I feel I was put on this earth to do (ya hear that, Universe?), but I am grateful for its contribution to my creative life right now.  It has been the safety net supporting the many previously mentioned unpaid hours of creativity, and there should be NO SHAME in that.

I am able to spend most mornings and afternoons focusing on what is going to come next for me, because I go to a job in the evenings and on the weekend that allows me to make money to support my life. Big Magic talks about the mistake some artists make of putting this burden on their art, and I’m grateful to waitressing for being there at this time so I do not.

So, yes: I am 33 year-old waitress, with a Masters Degree in Early Elementary Education, a background in graphic design, two paper collections with We R Memory Keepers under her belt, and two and half years assisting in the launch and consumption of the mega planner brand that is now The Happy Planner®. (That’s me!)

Things don’t seem to add up, but that’s the journey, and it’s been my choice every step of the way. That’s a pretty good thing to be able to say, I think.

All this creative experimentation by day, and waitress-working by night: my whole half of 2017 has been going this way. I know why and it shouldn’t feel shameful. It really shouldn’t. I am in the process of coming up with a plan for how to combine all my skills in design, teaching, writing, crafting, memory keeping, and marketing to propel myself into the next phase of my career.  That shit doesn’t happen overnight.

…and speaking of career, after reading this facebook post by Elizabeth Gilbert — in which she talks about the distinctions between a HOBBY, a JOB, a CAREER, and a VOCATION — it allowed me understand my current place in the world with much more clarity than I had before. She writes:

“Don’t mistake a job for a career, or a career for a vocation, or a vocation for a hobby, or a hobby for a job. Too much of the time, we treat these words like they are synonyms, but they are not. They are gloriously distinct, and should remain gloriously distinct. 

A hobby is something that you do for pleasure, relaxation, distraction, or mild curiosity. A hobby is something that you do in your spare time. Hobbies can come and go in life — you might try out a hobby for a while, and then move on to something new. Sometimes you might make a bit of money out of your hobby, but that’s not the point — nor does it need to be. Hobbies are important because they remind us that not everything in life has to be about productivity and efficiency and profit and destiny. Hobbies are mellow. Hobbies prove that we have spare time — that we are not just slaves to the capitalist machine or to our own ambitions.

A job is how you look after yourself in the world. You may not need a hobby, but you do absolutely need a job.  Your job can be boring, it can be a drag, it can even be “beneath you”. Jobs don’t need to be soul-fulfilling. Don’t judge yourself about your job and never be a snob about anyone else’s job. We live in a material world and everyone has to do something for money, so just do whatever you have to do, collect your paycheck, and then go live the rest of your life however you want.

A career is different from a job. A job is just a task that you do for money, but a career is something that you build over the years with energy, passion, and commitment. Careers are best done with excitement. Careers are huge investments. Careers require ambition, strategy, and hustle. Your career is a relationship with the world. A career is a good thing to have if you really want one, but YOU DO NOT NEED TO HAVE A CAREER. There is absolutely nothing wrong with going through your entire life having jobs, and enjoying your hobbies, and pursuing your vocation, but never having “a career”. A career is not for everyone. A career is a choice. But if you do make that choice, make sure that you really care about your career. Otherwise, it’s just an exhausting marathon, for no reason.

Your vocation is your calling. Your vocation is a summons that comes directly from the universe, and is communicated through the yearnings of your soul. While your career is about a relationship between you and the world; your vocation is about the relationship between you and God. Vocation is a private vow. Your career is dependent upon other people, but your vocation belongs only to you. You can get fired from your career, but you can never get fired from your vocation. My career is dependent upon others; my vocation is entirely my own. You do not need to make money from your vocation in order for it to have meaning. Your vocation is hinted at through your talents, tastes, passions, and curiosities. Your vocation is calling you, even when you can’t quite hear it. When you embrace a vocation, and commit yourself to that vocation, your mind becomes a quieter place. When you accept the divine invitation of your vocation, you will become strong. You will know that — as long as you are tending to your vocation — everything will be fine.

Be clear about what each one is, and be clear about what can be reasonably expected from each one, and be clear about what is demanded of you with each one…but this requires sitting still at times and really thinking things through, with courage and dignity. And it requires an understanding of terms…be sober and careful and attentive enough to know what you are REALLY talking about when you consider the question, ‘What am I doing with my life?'”

There are a crazy number of times throughout my day when I ask myself “What am I doing with my life?” What I’ve decided at this point in time is the following…

Memory keeping, life documenting, planning, blogging, and paper-crafting are some of my hobbies. Sometimes I teach a class on how I do this, and make a little money out of it, but all in all — they are the mellow activities done in my spare time that I enjoy doing.

Waitressing is my job.  It’s what I’ve been doing for money, and when I leave it, I happily go on living my life and trying to further my career.

I want to merge my design, teaching, writing, crafting, memory keeping, and marketing skills into a career …because in furthering my career in this way, I feel it will get me closer to my vocation, or what I feel my purpose is: to make art people can use.

My vocation is designing, engineering new ideas into life. Bringing together communities of women in the execution of these new ideas, helping them function and lead better lives.

Lately, my mom’s been trying to convince me to go back to teaching, for $70,000 a year – even though when I was teaching, I would escape to the bathroom & pray to God to help me through. …even though I would often cry on my commute to work.

I think this is her attempt to alleviate some of the struggle. I get it, because it does get the best of me sometimes. But she knows what I’m trying to do, what I’m trying to build…or at least I thought so.

Behind the scenes, I’ve been working on this product idea and am currently trying to land on a place to help me prototype it. I’m going to try to make money off of it next year…but we’ll see how that goes. IT’S BEEN QUITE THE STRUGGLE…and sometimes I feel the loved ones around you will be there for support until the time comes – in their mind – when the struggle has gone on too long. ??? This baffles me, because at this point, I’m thinking HOW could I stop struggling to get to the place of doing what I love NOW?!?! …I’ve sacrificed so much to get to this point, how could I possibly throw in the towel and go back to the thing I was doing 5 years ago that I completely and utterly abandoned?! Revert? You want me to revert?! Well, then I revolt!

I revolt, but I wonder (’cause 33 hit me funny this year) at. what. cost. ??? Will I be losing these next years to something that might never pan out?

A part of me – since I was 4 years old – has felt like my vocation is to be a really great mom. It’s been a very palpable desire. In all this pursuit & this struggle to get to get paid doing what I love, there’s always been this underlying reasoning that sounds like this: “…because when you (finally) have a kid, you’ll be able to care for them the way you’ve always imagined.” I often get afraid that this struggle will never add up to that.

It’s like the internet gives us an infinite amount of windows (windows, not doors) into what is possible because we see it in others like us, in others that we can point to and smile at and say ‘that’s like me! Look what she’s done! I can too!’ #metoo, right? Or Mindy Kaling’s ‘Why Not Me?’ right?  Or #girlboss. Or #goalgetter.  …but what if all we aspire to is not what is meant to be for us? At what point do we know this?

(…and then I catch myself. Haa haa, silly girl…)

We are never in the space of knowing. Nope, never. We’re just not. I’ve resorted to the space of feeling my way through what I should be doing next – it’s very guttural. It’s quiet. It’s instinctual, sometimes derailed by fear, or accompanied by a mini tantrum, but it always comes back as something that needs to be explored.

So I explore it. I try it next. I see where it takes me and what it teaches me…until I have to leave to waitress. That is currently my struggle, there should be no shame in it, and I guess it’s all god*. // I meant to say good* but God works there too.

December 8, 2017

no shame in the struggle ’cause it’s all god*

December 8, 2017

no shame in the struggle ’cause it’s all god*


  1. Jen

    December 9th, 2017 at 4:33 am

    You should not be ashamed of waitressing. With your personality I bet you brighten up your customers days. Two years ago my job was cut due to a merger. I had what you referred to as a career, making decent money. I was devestated, to say the least. For 10 long months I applied for jobs in the same industry, interviewed, and there were no offers. I found out about a job that paid a lot less than what I was making at my last job, in a different but related industry. I was offered the job and took it, unemployment had run out. I’m a Christian and felt God had a reason that things turned out this way. Three months into my new job I started having some health problems. I can still work but it’s a struggle, but I would never have been able to keep working had I taken a a job in my career field. At this point I’m really not sure what my working future holds. I’m just very grateful things turned out the way they did. Very long story just to say that there is no shame in taking a lesser paying job than what your education could get you. You should do what makes you happy and helps you get to where you want to go. Thank you for being brave enough to share your story.

  2. amandarose

    December 10th, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Thank you for sharing as well, Jen. <3 It takes work and practice for me to detach shame from unrealized expectations, but 'welcome to life', right? We're in this together.

  3. tina

    December 9th, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    I remember your posts about teaching, then TX, then John, the new job and now this. This is part of the plan for right now. No shame in work, ever. But I get your struggle as I share it. My job/career sucks the life out of me but I do a lot of good for a lot of people. But as an introvert, I prefer to hole up at home with my family and craft. I too realize that my hobby sustains me while my job pays the bills. And aspiring to be a mom is the best. I hope you get to experience that.
    Not everyone will understand, not even those closest to you. May God help you on your journey, not to get discouraged and lead you to your correct destination. Be well.

  4. amandarose

    December 10th, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Thank you so much for these encouraging words, and the little flashback reminding me how far I’ve come. The whole thing is a blaring neon sign saying ‘Welcome to Life’, right? The ups, the downs, but it definitely eases the pain a bit to know we’re all in this together. xoxo

  5. Annalisa

    December 10th, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    I️ love this!!! In our social media dictated world, it seems so hard to be real. Real with the struggle , the heart break , the lows, the loneliness you feel while souls searching!!! This was beautifully said, thank you for sharing your truth!! The world needs it, I️ needed it! I️ can relate so much. We don’t have it “together” but we are aware. And that’s the best part. We can pursue our passion, lead our best lives, simply by living in our truth each and everyday! Can’t wait to see what you do next !

  6. amandarose

    December 10th, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Thank so much for your kind word and THIS: “We don’t have it “together” but we are aware.” YES! Three cheers for awareness! Gold stars for awareness! Thank you, Annalisa!

  7. Jossie Segura

    December 10th, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Loved reading this and getting to know you and also feeling your struggles! I am often Asking myself these same things. It’s like I know god has a calling for me just trying to figure that out. Hugs to you! Claim it girl! You tell that universe! May the force be with you!

  8. amandarose

    December 10th, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    ..and with you, Jossie! // Thank you so much! xoxo

  9. Cristina

    December 10th, 2017 at 4:20 pm

    You think your life will follow a plan and then life smacks you right in the face. And you know what? That’s ok. At 34, I’m like you but opposite. My career and vocation are going great (not without the occasional stress and struggle, but otherwise good), but my personal life has been a mess for the past few years. At 30, you think you’ll finally be this adult and have it all figured out. You finish school, get married, have kids and that’s happily ever after. Except I did it all backward and when I thought I finally found my footing, I lost it again. My 20’s seemed more stable than my 30’s. I used to find shame in that, some days I still do, but at the end of the day I wouldn’t change a thing. Marriage, family is still the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I’m willing to continue that journey-even if I continue to fall sometimes along the way. I’ll pray that in 2018 you continue your struggle and find the beauty in it. Maybe I will too.

  10. amandarose

    December 10th, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing some of your story too, Cristina, and it’s true: there’s beauty in the breakdown. Welcome to life, right? Just enjoy the show.

  11. Liz Nielson

    December 10th, 2017 at 4:54 pm

    There is no “right” or “wrong” place to be in life as long as what your doing is still working towards your goal. Truthfully, it’s something I struggle with myself. It’s so hard not to compare yourself to others (work, home, marriage, kids, etc.). But the truth is…your path is different from everyone else’s. Just like mine is. Every path is unique to the individual. Some may have well paying jobs, kids that are already teenagers, fancy cars, etc. while we’re still living paycheck to paycheck and eating ramen noodles because that’s all you can afford. But you know what? Early “success” (I put that in quotations on purpose.) often comes at the expense of some other aspect of life. Yeah, sure, having financial stability is a godsend, but it’s highly likely that they tolerate their job at best. It feeds them, their kids, and pays the bills. There’s not true joy associated with it. Sometimes this can lead to resentment which can lead to problems with spouses, children, etc. That is not a life. That’s going through the mechanisms of a physical process. What you’re doing is seeking that something “more”. You’re working odd jobs because it is the foundation on which you’re building your career upon. And that career will eventually pave the way for your vocation. Then you can raise children who will know that it’s ok to not be “there” yet because it means that something better and more meaningful is out there. They will know because they will see a fiercely brave, smart, funny, and kind woman who happens to also be their mother. And, in the end, isn’t that what this is about? Because when we get down to the nuts and bolts of it, we do what we do to inspire and
    guide the generations that follow us. That is to always, ALWAYS live a life lived fully realized. So keep just putting one foot in front of the other because this point in life is merely 0.3 mi in the long, long road trip that is life. You’ve got so many more miles to go. And…that’s ok. Love ya, lady! <3

  12. amandarose

    December 10th, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Oh dear. These words. Yes, so much yes. Such a great perspective to have after all of my words in this post – sometimes it takes another to say them for them to mean what they need to mean. Thank you for taking the time, girl! Love ya back! Novella comments rule! xoxo

  13. Veronica

    December 10th, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    All I can is wow! You are my #spiritanimal. Thank you sooo much for sharing this. I loved the distinctions you shared about hobby, career, job, and vocation. I currently have a job I question every single day. Yes, I am grateful for it but it’s not fulfilling. I’m in school to get to my career that will be more fulfilling but man it’s tiring. I juggle being a single mom of 2, work 8 mentally draining hours, take 4 classes and find time to coach one of my children because that’s what I’m supposed to do right? I’m supposed to do it all.
    I’m 31 and i spent the majority of my 20s waitressing. Heck I did it part time up until June this year. I’m grateful I’ve had that job to fall back on cause let me ya, I’ve needed it. More money for a few hours.
    There is no shame in any of what you are doing. Although I’ve never met you, you are the most creatively inspiring person. Eait that doesn’t make sense. You are the most creative and inspiring person out there. When I wanted to try to find a way to make it to these planner conferences and what not, it was to meet you. You are a great teacher (memory keeping videos), you are a great designer, you are a wonderful blogger, and you are a beautiful person with your perfect imperfections. You will get to where you want to be because you have heart, grit, perseverance, determination and the best #hustle attitude of any #girlboss.

    Ps. Sorry for the lost comment.
    Best wishes

  14. amandarose

    December 10th, 2017 at 6:33 pm

    [insert tears pouring down face emjoi here] Thank you for all of your kind words, girl. Having someone express they see heart & grit in you is so encouraging when most of the real life people around me can’t pinpoint WHY I’m so stunted and stuck. Thank you so much fro this comment. I truly appreciate you taking the time to read and share. Much love your way, girl!

  15. Jenny

    December 10th, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    I am rooting for you girl! I appreciate all you do for us (This Is Us printables) but at some point you have to take care of YOU! I admire your courage, taking that leap of faith that so many of us are too scared to do, to follow your heart and dreams. You, my friend, will most likely live with no regrets. I wish you nothing but success, sooner than later. I hope you continue to keep us updated and please know that you have an army of planner babes in your corner! We love you!

  16. amandarose

    December 10th, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Thank you so much, Jenny. I can feel your positive vibes, and they mean the world to me. Regrets are funny things, because sometimes I think they’ll creep up nomatter what if you let them. It takes practice and a change in perspective to trust that all you’ve done and can do is the best with the information we are given at the time. xoxo

  17. Siobhan

    December 10th, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this. This definitely hit home for me and helped me to realize some things about myself and my own life. Your transparency and honesty will take you far because you don’t find too many people in the world who are like that and you are greatly appreciated it. ❤️

  18. amandarose

    December 10th, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    Social media is weird. It not only feels good to crack the outer shell a bit and give people a peek at what’s really going on, but necessary in our day and age. I’m all for that forever and always. // Thanks for your kind comment, and taking the time to read my words. All the love.


    December 11th, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    I am at my house in San Clemente, and I want to get in my car and go to Los Angeles for the day… I can totally do that, and depending on the time of day or traffic, or a possible accident or even construction the route is going to vary. It’s about a total of 65 miles from my house to LA, give or take, and maps might take me….

    Option 1 // The 5, to the 405 to the 605, to the 10

    Option 2 // The 5, to the 605, to the 10, to the 710

    Option 3 // The 5, to the 73, to the 55, to the 91, to the 110

    Option 4 // The 405, to the 110, to the 10

    Option 5 // The 5 – a straight shot…

    (these are just a ‘few’ options…)

    The fact is, you will get there. You’re not supposed to be there at any specific time, you won’t be “late.” You’re just enjoying the ride, or thats a goal in itself.

    You’re on the road, on route to your destination (which we may never fully arrive to – cause will we ever? Let’s be real!)

    You got in the car and you are moving forward! YAY!

    Don’t stop, or turn around because there are unexpected detours, accidents, construction or just major traffic because everyone is just staring at the car on the side of the road who is waiting on a tow truck…

    You’re doing it. You’re waking up each morning, working hard and moving forward.

    You got this, I believe in you. That’s forsure.

    I am excited to see where you make stops along the way.

  20. amandarose

    December 12th, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    Thanks so much, Hannah. It’s a pretty spot-on analogy, too. Your kind words are much appreciated, girl. xoxo

  21. Gaelle

    December 12th, 2017 at 4:36 am

    Hi Amanda, thank you for sharing your journey with us, it really resonated in me as I found a bit of myself in your words and experiences (as many others did I’m sure). In this time where it’s all about the glossy picture, the best filter, always looking perfect, t’s really refreshing and necessary to have people brave enough to say “this is reality, it’s not all fun and glitter”. Never be ashamed of what you do to sustain yourself. At the end of the day, we all need to put food in our plates, pay the rent, pay the bills and you’re brave enough to do that while pursuing your dream. Kudos to you! I don’t know you but you seem to be genuinely honest and
    positive person. I wish you all the best!

  22. amandarose

    December 12th, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    Thank you for this comment, Gaelle. I could use the kudos. 😉 Much love! xoxo

  23. Theresa Doan

    December 12th, 2017 at 5:21 am

    Girl…you are inspiring in so many ways. To take this leap into the unknown while you find the path to your vocation is brave. Life isn’t always easy….and how much would we appreciate if it was? The struggle is part of the journey. I have faith that you will do big things and I can’t wait to see where you go.

  24. amandarose

    December 12th, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    Thanks, sweet girlfriend. It’s true — how much would we appreciate life if it was always easy? YES, sista. YES! Thanks for your kind words. xoxo

  25. Tracey Clark

    December 12th, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    I deeply appreciate you sharing your experience! I can’t tell you how much this resonates with me on so many levels. I’ve written & rewritten posts where I’m attempting to put some of my thoughts about these matters into words. I will be revisiting in rereading this over and over again. It’s really got me thinking… Thank you so much or being brave enough to tell the truth. I’m so inspired.

  26. amandarose

    December 12th, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    Oh, dear Tracey — YOU have been a fave of mine from the beginning — from my first blogging days, when you were featured in Artful Blogging Magazine. This comment means so much to me, and I’m glad I could return even a fraction of the favor you gave to me many moons ago (<-- that's me speaking as wise old Asian man) Haa haa! Anyway, thanks for your kind comment and for being you! All the love your way! xoxo!

  27. Rachel (@thelifefacilitator)

    December 14th, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    YES! THIS! Thank you, Amanda for sharing this!

  28. amandarose

    December 15th, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    We’re all in this together, girl. xoxo

  29. Carol

    December 15th, 2017 at 11:59 pm

    Thank you I truly enjoyed reading this. Trust me things will work out and You will be like that flower that grew out of the cracks on the concret. All obstacles are a lesson but those obstacles will prepare you for what God has in hand. Keep dreaming and believing and always speak your success into existence

29 Comments on no shame in the struggle ’cause it’s all god*

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