Gay is a big believer in eating dessert first. Translation, “Do the reward first and then go back and do the other.” Too many people work, work, and work only to find themselves out of time when it’s time to have fun. Gay goes on to make the point to make time now for things that are important.
Zen Chick is Gay’s slow-down “business.” She maintains a website with regular blog posts filled with advice. She also holds local workshops and has people local and around the world connected to her via the web. She enjoys helping people find ways to put more enjoyment in their lives by living a simpler lifestyle. The tagline on Gay’s website (www.ZenChick.com) is: Slow Down, Simplify, Love Your Life.” She’s living proof that this works.
Of course she says you can’t just shirk your duties, but you might need to reassess priorities so that you can enjoy your life. Gay says people need to learn to say, “no.” You can’t do everything all the time. During our interview I saw that she had a bit of blue color in her hair and even I knew it wasn’t from old age! “Life is short, do what you want to do,” she says and adding a bit of spice to her hair is just an example.
Gay had this revelation one day while working in corporate America. She decided it was time to chunk that and do something new much to the amazement of her co-workers and bewilderment of her bosses. She enrolled in a program in chiropractic medicine but switched direction and decided to train as a massage therapist. This, she thought, could be her new pathway. A few months later she entered a massage therapy program, graduated, even served on an advisory board to help develop a licensure program for South Carolina. And now 26 years later she’s still running her own successful center in Spartanburg called “The Healing Touch.” Gay spends four days a week there and the other days she can be found on her farm and helping others learn that it’s okay to make a change even late in life.
Gay Barefield speaks from the heart. “Every day is a process in learning. Some days are scattered and complicated. But I have come a long way from being OCD in my 20s, very driven and changing careers in my 30s, still driven in my 40s, but settling into my new career. And now in my 60s, settling into my life – simplifying more and more!”
We can all learn from Gay. It’s time to slow down, simplify, and love your life.
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Okay, that’s probably not a politically-correct term because I’ve heard that some chickens will attack would-be photographers/writers.
When I started “Foothills Faces,” part of the experience was to take me out of my comfort zone and let me spend some of my “retirement” time interviewing folks I didn’t know. And actually, the original intent was to have a Carolina foothills version of the wildly popular series – “Humans of New York.” That guy, Brandon Stanton, started out walking around New York City and snapping photos of total strangers and then had the nerve to go up and ask them to share some of their pithiest thoughts on their life. He’s good at it and now travels the world.
So I was thinking I could do the same thing here in Polk, Rutherford, Cleveland, Spartanburg Counties and snap a few candid photos of some interesting-looking characters and then walk up to them and get their life story in four sentences.
I had my chance this past week and blew it! I did see this interesting-looking character sitting outside at a table at my local Ingle’s (Landrum) drinking a cup of coffee, smoking a cigarette, and working the crossword puzzle. I see him there on a regular basis and it was pretty cold on this day and he was still out there. So, I got up my nerve to ask him. I figured I would break the ice by saying, “You working on the puzzle?” He replied, “Trying to,” and I knew I had my opportunity. So I asked would he mind posing for a photo for my blog? He looked at me and said, “Better not.” I pushed my luck knowing I could probably outrun him…though not by much. So I pushed a little harder…”Are you sure?” He peered back over his newspaper and gave me the look…the one that meant…time to go! I went.
But I wasn’t done. There just 50 feet away was sitting a guy in his pick-up truck. The back was filled and overflowing with bags of stuff. I haven’t a clue what. The cab was packed with more stuff leaving only barely enough room for the driver to sit. He definitely looked like an interesting character. I thought, “Wow, this guy is living out of this truck. Surely, he has a story to tell.”
However, I didn’t even have the nerve to ask him. And so I ended my potential goldmine of stories empty handed. There’s always another day!
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The folks on American Pickers could learn some things from Lyddie Shaneberger. Lyddie (a nickname for Lydia) has been picking since she was one year old. Okay, maybe not quite that far back but that’s when she attended her first auction. Who knew this would be the beginning of a career direction and the creation of Lyddie’s business LS Mercantile + Salvage Co.
Now 25 years later, Lyddie can thank her parents for starting her out in the world of picking. They took her to that first auction and she hasn’t looked back since. She says picking is in her blood or perhaps it was her parents raising her with an appreciation of history and storytelling. Lyddie especially appreciates the storytelling part. She loves to ask questions and discover answers to the “treasures” she’s collecting. Where’d it come from? What is it? How old is this? Who are the people who once owned this? As Lyddie spent years learning about the business, it wasn’t until she was a teenager when she started to understand the monetary value of the items. And she understood the potential to “recycle” them or repurpose them and hopefully match up a buyer to her discoveries.
At age 16 Lyddie was already setting up shop; selling online with her own Etsy store. Just the year before her family’s life changed forever. Her father had an accident, a 30-foot fall from a hunting tree stand. He was left unable to walk. Lyddie looked for ways to help with family finances and that’s when she realized that her love of picking might not only help the family situation but could be her life’s calling. It has not always been an easy road.
“You won’t make it” is a phrase Lyddie says she and many other would-be small business owners have heard. For some, it’s enough to discourage them from trying. But for Lyddie…it was a challenge she would face head on. With encouragement from her parents, her boyfriend Dave, and her circle of friends - Lyddie has worked to take “pickin’ vintage” to the level of a serious small business endeavor.
Lyddie usually travels the Southern states but she’s planning a foray to the Northeast this coming fall. She’s forever on the lookout for the next big find. She says she doesn’t care to follow “trend” as some people in the business suggest. Instead she prefers to follow her heart. She picks what she loves and knows that someone else will love it too. There have been times when Lyddie has only had a $20 bill in her pocket and got lucky and found items that were worth hundreds. It happens. It takes street smarts. Lyddie Shaneberger has them.
Lyddie’s goal is to have her own storefront somewhere. It would also involve curating collections for people’s homes, having a space for artisans and makers, and possibly a market for each season for others like her to come together and create an experience that would be so good she could make Country Livingmagazine one day. She also hopes to graduate spring 2020 and even possibly start a MBA program while her boyfriend finishes his Ph.D. at Clemson.
Lyddie Shaneberger has some advice for would-be small business owners. “Do it. Do it with all of your heart and your patience. Be passionate about what you do and you’ll never wake up not wanting to go to work on a Monday. Work hard, be strong, and don’t let others get under your skin. You control your own life. So create who you want to be.”
Lyddie’s story should be an inspiration to us all.
More to know
You can find Lyddie’s unique collection of pickins’ at her space at “Workshop Vintage Market” at 108 North Lafayette Street in downtown Shelby and is open Monday, Tuesday, Saturday from 10 until 2 and Thursday & Friday 10 - 5:30. Do a search on Etsy using LS Mercantile + Salvage Co. to find her space in the cloud. Lyddie is also on Facebook and Instagram and you can reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lyddie was born and raised in Forest City and is appreciative of the sense of hard work instilled in her by her parents.
Is starting out retirement with this new endeavor - to bring you short snippets of life through photography, videography, and audio recordings of some of the wonderful people and places of the Carolina Foothills..