It's Wise Women Wednesday, each week I interview a woman that I believe is inspiring, living abundantly and following her passions. These are all women who live a life of abundance and bring creativity into the world.
Q. Who are you? What is your background?
A. Who am I….That I am finally beginning to discover. My name is Susan Russell. I am a single mom with two incredible kids – a son who is 20 and a daughter who turns 16 later this summer. I was born in Wilmington, grew up in Wadesboro, NC and moved to Greensboro to attend UNCG….and never left! Love our city!
Q. What is your work?
A. After 22 years in the furniture and design industry, I made a career change three years ago to work for a non-profit business membership organization. I am the Vice President of Sales for the Guilford Merchants Association and am responsible for new membership development.
Q. What is one project you are excited to be working on right now?
A. The project I’m excited about at the moment has nothing to do with my job. As I mentioned earlier, I am beginning to discover myself again. This year has been one of many transitions and changes. Within a six month time period, my divorce papers were signed and I lost my best friend to cancer. It changed me in ways I didn’t recognize at first. Suddenly I saw things differently. Appreciated things more. I also cried more for quite a while, too. But through it all I discovered two things: One, the need to reconnect with my friends and to bring more joy and people into my life; and Two, that this precious life can be very short. One night I came across a quote, Author unknown, that said, “One day you will wake up and have no more time. Do it now”! Reading that jarred my soul and I immediately grabbed a pad of paper, a glass of wine, and started working on my Bucket List! I have a list of places I want to visit within the US, places to visit overseas, and a long list of crazy things I just want to do or learn! This “project” I have turned into a mission – trying to get at least one thing knocked off every month. Now, for a single mom, many of the travel plans will have to be put on hold – can’t exactly afford my trip to Italy at the moment – but the fun, small stuff can be knocked off the list. In the last three months I have been to a psychic, experienced the Roller Derby, Completed a 5K Color Run just hours before my 50th birthday, signed up for my first cooking class, and have eaten insects (crickets and worms….don’t judge me! J) I am currently looking for a bartender or someone to teach me how to saber a champagne bottle! The beauty of this is that I have gathered my girlfriends and encouraged them to do this as well. Some of us got together one night with a bottle of wine and compared our lists…. and found many more things we had in common! This has given me such joy and I encourage you to do it as well! Don’t waste time. Start checking things off!
Q. What is one thing you've done recently that's scared you and took courage, but you're glad you did?
A. As ready as I was for it, the thought of being completely on my own again after all these years was a little scary. The next scary step was finding a place to live and if I could afford a house of my own. I jumped in and bought a little “fixer upper” and have completed much of the renovations myself. I think the painting, scraping, and hammering was my form of therapy because, although it is still a work in progress, I have this wonderful little happy house for me, my kids, and our friends. Throughout the renovation process I would find pennies in random places – always heads up. I found them stuck in the floor molding, in back of closets, etc. I started calling them my “pennies from heaven” and saw this as a sign of luck and joy to come.
Q. What is the work you most want to be doing and are you doing it? If not why not what's stopping you?
A. I love my job. I love bringing people together. Connecting people for both business and personal endeavors. I love being involved with our events and workshops. If there was another type of work I would enjoy doing, it would pull from my creative and former furniture background. I would love to be a stylist for a large photography studio that specializes in interiors and furniture catalogs. I think it would be fun to design the shoots, the layouts, etc.! Maybe that is one more thing to add to my bucket list!
Q. What would you tell your high school or college self?
A. Since my kids are this age, I need to be careful with how I phrase this, but the honest answer is to just have more fun! You always regret the things you didn’t do or try. Study hard but play hard, too. Worry less about what other people think about you and just be happy being YOU. Sometimes I think you learn more from life experiences, meeting a broad range of people, and traveling than you can often pick up in the classroom. Smile more, laugh out loud, and enjoy every minute!
Q. What's one piece of advice or motto you love and use in your daily life that you would like to share with my sweet readers?
A. Collect moments and not things. Always Choose Joy!
Q. What keeps you creating when you don't feel like it?
A. I always feel like creating. I don’t have as much of a creative outlet in my current position so I fulfill this part of myself in my private time. I paint. I make jewelry out of random objects. I do faux finishes on furniture. I decorate. I write. For a while I was doing hand-painted glassware called Artwares and had them in local shops.
Q. Anything else you'd like to share?
A. If you choose to follow my lead and make your bucket list, also take time to make a list of everything you have already completed or accomplished in your life. I think you will be amazed! I have hiked through the Rainforest in Puerto Rico. I have zip-lined though the jungles of Mexico. I have climbed the Mayan ruins in Belize. I have driven a race car at Lowes Motor Speedway (got up to 143 mph!) We women have incredible, special powers that enable us – once we allow ourselves the permission to - accomplish anything we set our sights on. Don’t forget that you have made it through 100% of your worst days and that you only hit the targets you aim for!
Q. What's your favorite yoga pose?
A. I am embarrassed to say that yoga is something I have not tried yet! I’m pretty sure I know someone who can help me with this!! Would love to say my favorite pose is Warrior…just because of the name!
Q. How do you live a life of abundance?
A. I have learned abundance to me does not equate to a large bank account. (Now…don’t get me wrong…being able to afford my travel wish list would be a wonderful thing, but…) Through this past year I have learned that a life of abundance is a life of joy. Of experiences. A house full of laughter and music. Hearing your kids being excited about something. A life of abundance is a life of adventures – both big and small! Enjoy!