Today I want to open up to you and tell you about something that has been on my mind for some time. Let’s start by saying that 2023 has been a very challenging year for me. 🙅🏽♀️ To date, I’ve been trying to get pregnant for over a year and a half. In June 2022, I had to give up the idea of devoting all my time to Clean Cooking with Caitlin because I could not get the income we needed for our family. So I started Spacebar Sorcery, a web development and digital solution agency based in Orlando. Don’t get me wrong, I do love all the aspects of this agency, the web development, the digital marketing, and the digital media design that we do. But there is one big problem. 🤔
2023: a year of challenges and growth 🌱
The time I have to spend at my desk getting a digital solutions agency off the ground is a lot, and it conflicts with my values of health, vitality, and family adventure. Some of you know that I also have a blended family with four children. In the last year and a half or so, I got married. Our children have continued to adjust to a blended family, and I have built two businesses at the same time. 💻 One of them, Clean Cooking with Caitlin, is the one that fulfills a purpose that I’m passionate about, but it’s slowly ramping up in terms of income. Spacebar Sorcery, on the other hand, has great income potential and is in line with the trade I studied for more than a decade. 🧙🏽♀️
At the same time, there were other huge changes that I was able to manage. For most of my life, I struggled with one form or another of anxiety disorder and depression. For the past couple of years, my social anxiety was crippling. I always wanted to be an entrepreneur but I was always trying to avoid conversations with other people. Inside, I knew I wanted to connect with other people but I didn’t want to be hurt. So for much of my journey with Clean Cooking with Caitlin, I made videos and wrote blog posts. But I didn’t connect with people. Early last year, in 2023, I decided enough was enough. I couldn’t build a business without connecting with other people! 🙌🏽
During a personal development seminar I attended in May, I realized I wanted to share my story and learn how to speak in large groups to inspire others. I read a book on how to manage social anxiety, and one of the underlying messages was that you have to overcome it. You have to do it right away. I always hated that concept. Just do it, because our minds get in the way of many things. But I’ve since learned that sociability is a muscle that I think we can all strengthen. And now that I do, I’ve become completely addicted to facilitating connections with others. 🙋🏽♀️
It’s not that I never get anxious, but I realize that most of the anxiety is before the event and that anxiety can be turned into excitement and motivation if I choose it. I also went back on medication. The doctor told me I should never stop taking it because I’m just deficient in dopamine and serotonin. I hate to take that statement as a final and definitive answer. But the deep, dark areas of depression are places I don’t want to visit all the time. It is a place where you want everything to go away, and that is a scary feeling. 😨
2023: The Breakthrough 🧠
For those of you who have known me for a while, you know that around 2019 I quit my job at a cybersecurity startup to start doing nutritional coaching and trying to pursue my passion for health and wellness with Clean Cooking with Caitlin. I had previously lost 50 pounds and felt like it had transformed my life. Over the past two years, I slipped back into a less-than-ideal routine, which got worse and worse. I felt the need to adopt a new identity or persona to build my digital marketing agency business. The two did not seem to overlap. Now, as I am continually struggling with stress and trying to figure out how best to manage it so that my body will allow me to get pregnant, I have been thinking about how to better align my values and activities. 🔮
I have also noticed that my office job and the environment in my community are not conducive to healthy living for any of us. And I know that environment is almost everything when it comes to health and vitality. I have been obsessed with this topic for many years, sometimes more out of analysis paralysis than action. I have watched many documentaries, read many books, and written many blog posts. And right now I feel like an impostor. I feel like a fraud because I can sit at my desk for 10 hours. Because my diet has slipped. And also because I stopped running for a long time. I have hiked a lot and spent many months thinking about it, and I think I want to do it.
My purpose is largely passion-driven, but because I need to make a living, I have decided to focus my marketing efforts on helping health and wellness innovators create websites and implement and market themselves digitally. I also thought I would also return to nutrition coaching. However, I discovered that I am a social entrepreneur. It is challenging for me to focus on cash flow, and that has created a lot of marital arguments. I had to rethink what I think about cash flow and I decided to look at it as power. Because if I can make money from my business, I can build the power to do extraordinary things. ✨
For one thing, I hope to be a voice for creating a healthier work environment that includes solutions to the harms of long hours of sitting and the isolation one feels when working remotely. All of these factors have contributed to my depression and I know they contribute to others’ as well. I ask for my health back. For more alignment with my values. But I know I have to be realistic and be able to support my family as well. I can’t just sell everything and run off with a big camping trailer and call it a day. This is how I came up with the idea of the Orlando Thrive Tribe.
The Orlando Thrive Tribe (OTT): Let’s Build a Healthier World Together 💪🏽
What then is the Orlando Thrive Tribe (OTT)? Inspired by the blue zone methodology and my desire to build a community focused on improving each other’s health and facilitating social economic activity to further that goal, we are at a huge turning point in our world. Anxiety and depression left and right, terrorism, people getting diseases, and only being treated with medications. You and I demand a better world! 🌐
So how can we make that happen? I will start small. I know in the grand scheme of things, I’m no large entity with a lot of power. But I do think that any one voice can get the ball rolling. I’ve already started to discuss what it takes to get blue zone certification in Orlando and Orovito with Dan Buttner, the author of the Live to 100 Blue Zones documentary. And I asked him, how can I help bring this to Orlando? I want to find other people who are passionate and who will help us connect as a community with decision-makers to improve our community toward a healthier lifestyle. 🌊
Although these are small steps, the main goal will be to create a community to facilitate friendships that foster healthy living. For example, there is a past identity in me who is a strong social drinker. It is easy for me because I like to have fun and alcohol is available everywhere. To fall back into this habit, just think, “What are you doing this weekend?”, or “Where will you find something to do in our area?”. It seems that most of the options available are eating and drinking. Remember that I have a family of six and live mostly on one income. So how can we make this activity affordable and inclusive for everyone and make it fun and engaging at the same time? 🎉
That’s what I set out to do, and we will have our first inaugural meeting with a healthy potluck and roundtable near the Oviedo area. The intent is to have an event where everyone brings a store-bought or homemade product. This is because we want to encourage cooking to participate in the potluck. It is a Saturday and we will try to make it as comfortable as possible for everyone, regardless of your level of introversion. In this meeting, we will also talk about how to move forward because I don’t want to be the only voice in the discussion. I want all of you to join me and help take leadership in building a healthier community for the Orlando metropolitan area! More information about the event is below! 👇🏽
Inaugural Healthy Potluck Picnic & Vision Roundtable 🥗
When: Sunday, February 4, 2024 at 1:00 PM to Sunday, February 4, 2024 at 3:00 PM GMT-5
Where: Winter Springs Beauty Salon, 839 E State Rd 434 · Winter Springs, FL
Join the Orlando Thrive Tribe for our first gathering, a fusion of health and community spirit! We’re hosting a Healthy Potluck Picnic followed by a Vision & Goals Roundtable. Members will share nutritious dishes, exchange recipes, and engage in a guided discussion about personal and collective aspirations for health and wellness. This event aims to foster connections, inspire healthy living, and set the foundation for our community-driven wellness journey.
The event is designed to be a comfortable space for all, whether you’re outgoing or a bit more reserved. We strive to create an environment where everyone can participate at their own pace:
- Small group interactions make it easier to connect and share.
- Designated ‘Thrive Guides’ will be available to help you navigate the event and introduce you to fellow members.
- Family members and friends more than welcome!
- Connect with like-minded individuals who are all on a journey to better health and well-being.
- Find inspiration and support in a community that values every member’s voice.
- Be part of shaping a healthier, happier Orlando.
We understand that everyone’s path to wellness is unique, and we celebrate that diversity. Whether you’re an extrovert, introvert, or somewhere in between, there’s a place for you in the Orlando Thrive Tribe. Let’s grow healthier together!
About Orlando Thrive Tribe: We are a newly formed community group dedicated to promoting health, well-being, and longevity in the Orlando area. Inspired by the principles of Blue Zones and Moai social support networks, our mission is to create a vibrant, supportive environment where members empower each other to lead healthier, happier lives. Through regular meetups, workshops, and community initiatives, we aim to be catalysts for positive change in personal health and community well-being.
More information about the event here.