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Join author Susan Campbell Cross as she tackles that very question in The FabYOUList: List It, Live It, Love Your Life, an inspiring, humorous and heartfelt story of reinvention. Susan’s declaration of, “There are so many things I thought I would have done by now!” led her to ...
Join author Susan Campbell Cross as she tackles that very question in The FabYOUList: List It, Live It, Love Your Life, an inspiring, humorous and heartfelt story of reinvention. Susan’s declaration of, “There are so many things I thought I would have done by now!” led her to reflect upon what exactly those things were. Pen and paper in hand, she composed a “wish I had done” list and challenged herself to do everything on it before her 40th birthday. Fly on the trapeze, skinny dip, learn to surf, go church shopping, take guitar lessons, run a 5K, and get a paid acting job, were just the tip of the iceberg. Ironically, the list ended with #40, “write a book.” This is that book! It’s all about how in conquering numbers 1 through 39, Susan transformed her life—and how YOU can, too.
The FabYOUList: List it, Live it, Love Your Life invites you along on every madcap escapade as Susan ventures outside her comfort zone and into the adventure of her life, ultimately coming face-to-face with what she discovers has been her biggest obstacle all along—herself.
“Susan Campbell Cross’ The FabYOUList is not only a very fun read, but a road map for a happy and fulfilling life, written by a fearless, hilarious, and damned insightful woman.” — Tom Bergeron, Host of Dancing with the Stars
“The FabYOUList is an inspiring book that will encourage you to get out of the house and into the parachute, computer class or that foreign country you've always dreamed of visiting. What I love most about Susan’s message is that it’s pro women and pro living it’s not about waiting until you retire or holding off until the kids are grown. It’s about doing it NOW!”— Kym Douglas, author of Bliss Happens and Lifestyle Expert, The Ellen DeGeneres Show
“Cross is like the best friend we all want to have disarmingly honest, funny, relatable and sometimes heartbreakingly insecure but through it all, courageous and positive as she tackles each experience in a way that has you rooting for her success.” — Nancy Alspaugh Author of Fearless Women: Midlife Portraits
ONE THING LEADS TO ANOTHER
When I turned thirty-six I had a stunning realization. I wasn’t just thirty-six, I was pushing forty. And I was freaking out. Something was missing. But what? Here I had this beautiful family, a husband who loved me no matter what, and three healthy children. Still, I felt restless and incomplete. What was it that was troubling me? It wasn’t my age. I knew thirty-six wasn’t exactly old. The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was the fact that I had reached the middle years of my life and what had I really accomplished, aside from having kids? Not much. When I was younger I had hopes and dreams and aspirations, but once I became a mother, I lost track of all of that. Moms tend to do that, it’s part of the job description to put our children’s needs before our own. For me, up until that fateful birthday freak out, “before” meant “instead of.” I had to do something about it.
I was always a big fan of the “to do” list. If I don’t write things down, I tend to forget about them. I call that momnesia. My lists were always full of mundane tasks like grocery shopping, picking up the dry cleaning, and taking my kids to their eight hundred activities. I made a new to do list every day, but I never put myself on one. I decided to make a different sort of list. One that was entirely about me, and what things I wanted to do for myself, not just things I had to do for everybody else. It took me quite a long time to do it too, evidence of how long it had been since I’d given myself any real consideration. In the end I came up with forty challenges, some hard, some easy, some downright nutty. When I was finished I had forty goals, and no clue how to go about accomplishing them. All of a sudden I felt overwhelmed. Forty things were an awful lot. I hadn’t done any of these things for the first thirty-six years of my life. Now I was challenging myself to do all of them before I turned forty.
The first thing I put on my list resulted from my having done what only the most insecure and vain people do. I Googled myself. Nada. I tried again and again typing in all different variations of my name. Susan Cross. Susan Campbell. Susan Campbell Cross. Susan Lee Cross. Susan Lee Campbell. Susan Lee Campbell Cross. Still nada. This bothered me to no end. I wanted to be accomplished, to do something important, that would be recognized by others, and searchable on the Internet. Like I said, I was insecure. I was looking for outside approval, as if my self worth depended on other people finding me worthy, worthy of mentioning on the Internet anyways.
Being un-Googleable in L.A. is the equivalent of being untouchable in India. Was it possible that I’d done absolutely nothing of note in all my years on earth? Somebody must have at some point quoted me or taken a photo and listed me in the caption. Sure, I’d been somewhat isolated since having the kids, but I wasn’t invisible, was I? I’d taught a summer of Sunday school (this was during my Presbyterian phase). I’d attended a party for a famous fashion designer (I’m friends with his twin sister) and I knew someone took a photo or two of me there. I thought for sure that there would be some mention of me somewhere out there in the wide world of cyberspace. I had hoped to find some sign that maybe I wasn’t as unaccomplished as I’d thought, that perhaps I’d done something interesting or impactful (aside from raising the kids I mean) and somehow forgotten about it. But, after all my searches I had to accept the cold hard truth. I was un-Googleable.
Changing this sad fact became my number one goal on my list. How was I supposed to find myself if I couldn’t even search myself? I was determined to transform myself from un-Googleable to Google-worthy. But, how? I live in L.A., I thought. I could go panty-less to all the hot clubs and flash the paparazzi and then feign ignorance. Nope. That’d been done. Thanks a lot Britney, Paris, Lindsay, et al. I could come up with an amazing invention and market it, becoming one of the ten richest women in the world. But, that would involve me having to come up with an amazing invention. I could commit some random crime, say rob a GAP Kids or something, and then bribe the cops to leak my mug shot to the press. But if I did that, I’d most likely get sent to prison and lord knows the orange jumpsuits and florescent lighting are really unflattering. What could I do...what could I do?
All that thinking made me hungry so I decided to go to a nearby shopping center for a quick bite. Maybe something would come to me once my stomach was full. This was right in the middle of the busy lunch hour and the parking lot was crowded. I managed to get a spot just a tad closer than Egypt and started walking toward the restaurant. I had to pass a few stores on my way, one of which was Barnes & Noble. I don’t know what possessed me to go inside. I was really hungry and could smell the fresh bread from the restaurant. But, in I went and there on one of the tables was a sign from God. Moses had his burning bush and I had my glossy white paper back entitled, The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging.
I swear I heard angels singing and harps playing as I paid in cash and then practically sprinted to the restaurant. I sat there for well over an hour, much to the waitress’s dismay, completely engrossed as I read about how to create a blog. It turns out there are a lot of sites that host bloggers for free, one of which (there were those angels and harps again) was Google. If I posted a blog on Google’s site, “Blogspot”, and if I entered in key words that would come up when people searched Google using those words, I would finally be, and I dared to believe it...Googleable.
One of the many pieces of advice in that book was to blog about what you know--write from your own experience. The problem was if I’d had an experience interesting enough to blog about, I probably would have been Googleable a long time ago. Still, I decided to give it a go. I titled my blog Secrets of a Suburban Soccer Mom and wrote a post about the decision to have a third child, Third Time’s the Charm. When I finished I clicked “publish post” and then proceeded to check for comments every five minutes for the next few days. I also tried Googling myself again and again, hoping to find myself.
I wrote another post, Does this Sound Familiar? about what I like to refer to as “overactivityitis”, the disease that is spreading rampantly through suburbia causing formerly sane parents to sign up for an outrageous number of sports, play groups, and classes which in turn causes kids to be rushed from thing to thing to thing. The driving and the fast food and the lack of downtime had really impacted my life. And you know what? I wasn’t the only one. I began to get a few comments and was encouraged to write again. I’d just been on a field trip to the zoo with my son’s fourth grade class and gotten lost. The teacher and I were separated from the group for the longest forty-five minutes of my life during which we walked in circles trying to find the kids and the poor lonely mother who’d been left to wrangle all of them in our absence. People found my trauma amusing. And so I wrote again. I had so much fun writing that I forgot to check my status on the Internet. Then after a week or so into my new life as a blogger I tried one more time. I went to Google search, cautiously typed in “Susan Cross”, and clicked “Enter”. Eureka.
By the time I’d rendered myself Googleable I no longer cared. If you believe that one I have a bridge in Brooklyn you might be interested in. Of course I still cared! I was elated that I was now findable on the Internet. But, my happiness wasn’t just about the ends; the means were just as rewarding. I’d found real purpose in blogging. I was doing something I loved (writing) and was getting some very positive feedback for it. Some of my kids’ friends were even reading my blog. This of course had the added benefit of leverage. Any time one of my kids started to act up I’d say, “Go right ahead. All you’re doing is giving more material for my blog.” That was one threat they knew I’d follow through with. I suddenly had a whole new appreciation for that saying, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Or in this case, blogging is mightier than grounding.
Blogging, I discovered, was mightier than a lot of things. Mighty enough in fact, to be the means by which I accomplished another of the goals from my list, “Have an article published.” I suppose that every post I wrote for the blog could be considered an article published, but I wasn’t counting them since I was the one who had published them. Then I got an e-mail from a travel website saying that they’d republished a post I’d written about a vacation I’d taken with my husband. They liked me! They really, really liked me! They liked me so much, that they’d taken something I’d written without permission and republished it! Wait a minute. Should I have been flattered or outraged? Who cares! They liked me! Moreover, they wanted to know if I’d consider writing more travel articles for them to steal. Steal, publish—six of one, half dozen of the other.
I couldn’t have been happier. I’d crossed another goal off of my list and it had taken no effort at all. A short while later I got a couple more e-mails, one from an online social networking site that catered to families, and one for a parenting eZine (online magazine) both asking me to be a contributor. In the words of that ever so philosophical eighties band The Fixx, “One thing (yeah one thing) leads to another.”