James T. Green is a conceptual artist, radio producer, writer, and educator from Chicago, Illinois, and now in Brooklyn, New York.

thoughts + feelings

that may or may not exist

27: Over The Moon

Over The Moon

Last week we touched on origin stories and that turning point when you decide to make action on something that has been on your mind for a while. I received a touching response from Saya Hillman about the journey that pointed her towards her new life in Chicago.

”After I graduated from Boston College, I was supposed to spend a year in Kingston, Jamaica teaching English (the subject not the language) at a boys Jesuit high school, where I had stayed as a volunteer the year previous. I moved back home to Chicago for my transition phase where living with my mother was ok because it was a stepping stone. Or so I thought.

After a few weeks of prepping for the move, checking out library books on lesson planning and buying luggage, and about a month before I was supposed to leave, I got news that due to violence in Kingston, the program coordinators feared for our safety and thus were canceling the program. All of a sudden I was someone who had just gotten a ridiculously-priced education, was living at home with her mother, had no job prospects, and felt as though everyone else was moving forward while she stood still. 

Disheartened, I started working at a local coffeehouse, while desperately scouring the net and sending out resumes. A couple of loooong months later, I got my first ‘real’ job, as a Program Manager at a non-profit. The fact that it was in the heart of downtown coupled with me signing a lease for my first apartment had me at age twenty-two feeling like I was finally on the path to adulthood, and it’s been a magical ride ever since.

I am over the moon with the place I am today - professionally, socially, romantically, spiritually - and can’t imagine my life any other way. If things had ‘gone to plan’ and I had spent a year in Kingston, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t have ten-years of blissful self-employment under my belt, my husband/best friend whom I met at one of my own events, pages upon pages of thank you’s from people I’ve helped, and so much other goodness that’s fallen into my lap. While those three summer months of coffeeshopping in Evanston were stressful and filled with more sadness than happiness, I am so grateful for that experience and everything it led to. Onwards and upwards!”

Her story is an inspiring way to start off this week. Onward and upwards indeed!

Have a great Monday and see you next week,


What did I find interesting this week?

1) Client Feedback on the Creation of the Earth: McSweeney’s has a funny piece imagining how the creation of the Earth would have gone if God was asked to do so by a client.

2) Maya Angelou on Identity and the Meaning of Life: Brain Pickings discusses Maya Angelou’s life, her values, and other wisdoms shared in the book Conversations with Maya Angelou.

3) Saya Hillman on Seriously Badass Women: Saya, who shared her origin story right above here, was recently interviewed on Seriously Badass Women. A great read on her full story that fits in a much better format than email.

4) Sing You A Song: Leah Reich has been killing it lately with her “A Year of Wednesdays” series. Here’s another story from her childhood about singing with her family.

5) Why working late is not the answer: UX Thought chats about why working late is not only bad for business but bad for yourself and your clients.

James T. Green