Kate reupholstering chairs, 2012

About Kate

Kate in England 2012
Kate in England 2012

Hi I’m Kate Williams… …upcycler, re-imaginer and re-puposer, do-it-yourself-er; adventurer in antiquing and vin-tiquing; adult learning specialist and social media strategist and trainer.

I am shopping for salvage and upcycling furniture — and upcycling my life.

UpCycling My Life is a new and evolving creation inspired by a process over the past 5 years in which I have struggled to reclaim a life with a central purpose and a lifestyle that supports bringing my best self to my personal and work life, without a huge disconnect between who I am and what I do (and how I live it and do it).

Daring Greatly

The process became focused for me when, in the interests of “daring greatly”, I decided that I stood to lose nothing by talking publicly about my life and business struggles — and that I stood to lose a lot by hiding and pretending to be more confident than I am. Avoiding the vulnerability that arises when I engage openly in struggle and inquiry comes naturally. The price is the loss of engagement and possibilities for love and joy and purposeful living that are the result of withdrawing from direct engagement with the realities of human life.

Recently, conversations with a new friend and mentor, Lynn Terry, put me on a fast track to clarity by putting the concept of Upcycling at the center of my personal and professional inquiry into “What’s next for me?”

What is Upcyling?

Here is the definition of upcycle:

Reuse discarded objects or materials in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original.

But What the Heck Do I Want?

When I first asked myself…

What is the lifestyle I most want? How can my current interests and passions lead to a purpose and well-spent mature life and work aligned with my life goals? What business activities will both support my lifestyle and be aligned and integrated with my lifestyle?


… I had to do some mental prep and housecleaning before I could muster up the courage to start over — again.

Daring Greatly: Courage, out on a limb

I Arrived at My Sixties…

I arrived at my sixties feeling sidelined and “not up to it” and “not enough” and with an empty reservoir of emotional resilience for the tasks at hand. I was unemployed and underemployed from my mid-fifties and my business had not developed enough to support me. I was in a relationship that I didn’t know how to contribute to so that it could grow and sustain us both….

I arrived at age 60 broke and feeling defeated. My secret shame was that I considered myself a failure — someone who had tried hard to recover emotionally and financially from moving, divorce and unemployment in my early forties.

No Stranger to Starting Over, But…

I have started over and re-invented myself many times. I’ve had a meandering career path and also a meandering relationship/marriage path. When it was time to start over, I seemed to jump in wholeheartedly. But competence and even brilliance at work was the bedrock of my life. I started having brief successes punctuated by false starts, stumbling and financial setbacks.

Long story short, I tried and failed to leverage some money from my father into a viable business and failed. And that is part of my story. Get up, get going, stumble, fall down, get up again…

And Something Else Changed

I hadn’t been able to tap into my well of energy, persistence, determination, will and cheerful optimism and professional confidence. I think I arrived at sixty with only a trickle in the stream that feeds the well. I pull it together and run dry. Wait for it to fill up some and get going again. Fits and starts.

Partly it feels like I’m trying to do things that are out of sync with the energy and purpose of this phase of my life. (That’s BIG, right?)

So, Back to the Question

I moved to England to live with my daughter and her family for about two years. I recovered from a surgery in great health. I didn’t worry about where my next meal was coming from or how to put a roof over my head. That was a huge blessing. People loved and cared for me the way a family does, just because I am Mom and Grandma — and I helped take care of things that “need a village.” I took some time to think about things and to re-imagine my life and work.

Recently (December 2013) I have traveled back to the Pacific Northwest, USA, to spend more time with my mother and live and work back in the Skagit Valley where I lived for a decade before moving in with the kids.

So, what do I want? Work aligned with my life goals and present values, taking me toward the lifestyle I want. And I would add — taking me there fast enough to get there before I die. (OK maybe that’s just a bit over dramatic, but not really when every minute seems to race from here to there.)

Upcycling is What I Do

Kate Upcycling Furniture

What you’ll see here at UpCylingMyLife.com is my process of experimentation as my life and projects unfold through engaging heart and hands in the process of learning, trial and error and reflection. You will see how I go about the process of upcycling my life, re-imagining, re-inventing and re-purposing the parts of my life I want to reclaim and renew and combine in new purpose.

You will also see how I spend time in the places I love to hang out and the things and materials that are so much fun to discover, explore, and upcycle.

Warm regards,

Kate Williams: UpCycling My Life into something with new beauty and purpose.
Mount Vernon, WA – February 20, 2014

P.S. I will always value your comments and messages here in my blog and at my Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/UpCyclingMyLife

About Kate Williams

Kate Williams is an upcycler — re-purposing the elements of her life (and things) to create something with better quality and value. Find Kate at work in the Pacific Northwest, USA, and East Anglia, UK. Upcycling: antique furniture and vintage home decor. Profession: adult & social learning specialist. View all posts by Kate Williams →

Join Kate in Upcycling Adventures

Join Kate in her adventures in upcycling her life, shopping for salvage and re-imagining, reclaiming, re-purposing and recycling.

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