The Surprising Taste of Change (and NYC)

Did you know that if you rub essential peppermint oil on the soft middle of the bottom of your foot that you will eventually taste that peppermint in your mouth?
This was news to me. I heard this random tidbit in yoga class, and while I haven’t tried it yet, I keep thinking about that unexpected, surprising minty sensation (and also wondered if they make chocolate peanut butter essential oils).

 Emack Bolio's ice cream cones_opt

Surprising cereal and marshmallow coated cones at Emack & Bolio’s, New York City

2014 was a big year of change here at my house. Everything seemed to challenge my role in Life As I Knew It. My kids moved out, my mom got sick (thankfully she is better). Most of the change, like my kids moving out, I expected, even planned for, imagined. I knew there would be sadness, excitement, new freedoms and the like. But what I didn’t expect was to find myself constantly questioning my purpose the moment my kids left.


my kids

 Together at 2nd Ave Deli in NYC. 

For so many years, my family has been my priority. Everything else I did was “just work”.

It's only a play 2_opt

  Gerald Schoenfeld Theater, NYC

Sure that work was important, necessary, enjoyable, etc., but never assigned the significance of what I did for my family.

So this new questioning, it’s a strange taste, and it’s got me feeling pretty damn insecure.

central park rainy day_opt


 A misty Central Park, NYC

In many ways I feel like a teenager again. New independence, lots of insecurity, and even more indecision, but then there’s also an excitement that I can fill and assign priority to these wide open spaces however I see fit.

And sometimes that unexpected result is something sweet. I had no idea that the research I would do on art and doodling for my character Grace Callahan in my young adult book, The Art of Chasing Normal, would lead to my own drawing finding a way into a really awesome art book.

In the key of doodle north light books_opt

 North Light has tons of really fun and inspirational art books. Check it out!

With change, though, there’s a lot of heart work to do. I’m figuring it out, and I know there will be more strange and unexpected minty sensations along the way.

But for me, it helps to believe, that even when we feel vulnerable and stripped to the bone, there’s still something strong and fierce (in the best possible way) inside of  us.

T Rex AMNH NYC_opt

 American Museum of Natural History, New York City

Wishing you the best for 2015!


36 thoughts on “The Surprising Taste of Change (and NYC)

  1. I am glad you had such a good time in New York. I live just a block away from the Nat History museum. Isn’t the skin an amazing organ.

    Very Happy New Year!


  2. So glad you enjoyed NYC – just seeing that misty picture makes me miss Central Park! And I can so relate to what you’re feeling – I’m about to be in the same boat – and even though I’m not quite there yet (I have until September!) I’m already feeling like you are. Glad to know I’m not the only one! Congrats on the art – so cool!


    1. This was the first time I walked around the Onassis Reservoir (that I can remember). Even in the rain, it was something to see. 🙂
      Thanks, Susanna. Oh and about the kids, we can commiserate with chocolate!


  3. I felt just like that when my kids went to school all day. It does pass, but there are some guilty days in there where you feel frustrated and don’t know why. I feel a lot of guilt today because I spent the morning at my friends house


  4. Heart work is a good way to describe the process after kids leave. My youngest came home this winter for a couple of months, between job and Peace Corps, and is now getting ready to go again. Each leaving carries its own burden, and peace — the first has to be dealt with, the second has to be found. I love your process. Thanks for the link North Light Shop (and the coupon). Fun to see your drawings published!


  5. Love the art work Coleen so very talented. Now is your time to shine and take that creativity to a new level. Your kids can watch you spread your own wings and fly. I am stretching mine as I had my children late. My two have a little way yet before they fly the coupe and only now realise I must create my own career through art. Hoping they will follow my lead. Love the doodle work congratulations on being published.


  6. Congratulations on getting your doodle into a North Light book, Coleen! I used to be a NLB member and bought waaaay too many art books from them. 🙂 I’m sending you big, virtual hugs…it’s so hard having the kids move out. Only my older one has moved out and only for the school year, but it’s different. I’m so glad your mother is doing better! I hope 2015 will be a year filled with joy, fun, and all good things for you!


  7. My oldest will be going to college next year, and it’s finally starting to hit me. I’ll still have one left at home, but the family dynamics will be off. It will be bittersweet in a few years when they’re both gone, but maybe a little liberating, too.


  8. It is an adjustment when the kids leave home. But, you have so many talents and projects. I love the travel you and your hubby do. And, you will always be parents because they will seek your advice and have things to share. It’s a good time for you to continue to grow. Wishing you a happy 2015!


  9. Your doodles are awesome. I can’t say I know from first-hand experience exactly how you feel about being an empty-nester, but I know how I felt when my mom died, sort of the same way. Who was I going to talk to? Who would dry my tears and tell me everything was going to be okay? That void was huge, but I found a way through it after awhile. There’s still a hole, but I learned to depend more on myself to get through tough times and happy times. There are others who can support me, but mostly, I needed to learn to depend on myself.

    You’ll get that confidence and when you do, look out. Here comes Coleen!!

    Here’s to a dynamic and fulfilling 2015! You’re amazing and you raised amazing kids.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt


  10. It was a year of a lot of changes, wasn’t it? For both my husband and I, it was one of learning more of our own limitations.

    Congrats on your art’s inclusion in the Doodle book–very cool! And so are your photos, as always. Happy 2015 to you!


  11. Hi Colleen, I hope you feel better with your “empty nest” soon. I don’t have any kids (I’m hoping to have one this year… maybe…) so I guess I’m going through “no nest” ? Lol! Anyway, I’m looking forward to reading about your new adventures in life 🙂


    1. Thanks, Maria! It’s funny how much I feel like my pre-child self right now. It’s as if I’ve been transported back to the year after college. Indecision, change, plus excitement. 🙂 Good luck with your new adventures too!


  12. Colleen, I always love the pics you post, and oh, those cones! Never saw anything like them! And change can definitely be intimidating, but we do adjust and find our way. LOVE your “doodle”! 😀


  13. Congratulations Coleen! This was a very zen post, as in Zen Doodle, Oodles of Doodles! You are brilliant my friend. That was the perfect way to lead into your new book. Wonderful! And as I read the above, I felt very verklempt. We do center our lives around our family, our children. It is the way it should be. Yet, wow, those days when they first leave are murder. Even now, after my sons moved out almost a decade ago, it pulls at my heartstrings whenever they leave. Because you reconnect when you’re together. You re-bond. And the scab is ripped off again. “Ouch,” says the heart. I know. Get over it right? But I miss those days when they were home. It all goes by too fast. I’m just thankful that hubby and I are the best of friends. That makes a world of difference. Hang in there Coleen. Life is a crazy ride. ((Hugs))


  14. Love the art, congrats! NY always looks like so much fun when someone else is doing it. I’m not a fan of crowds, so the one time I went in my adulthood will last me a long time. 😉


  15. Your doodle is amazing – I can’t imagine the patience that must take! Good luck with all your new adventures. It looks like you’re starting them off well by adventuring in NYC. You can’t possibly be old enough to have grown up children though. I’m sure they’ll still be needing you for many more years.


  16. Hope the year is treating you well so far, Coleen. I’ve been encountering some surprising and unexpected tastes on the change plate, and it certainly does get you questioning. Hence the absence. But how cool for you that your drawings made it into a book! They are always really inspired and intricate – appropriately labelled “Zen”. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s