Occupation: Full-time Dean’s assistant, Part-time blogger/writer at Makes Me Wander.
What did you want to be when you were a little girl?
A butterfly. Maybe a sleuth like Nancy Drew. My friend and I started a Super Sleuth agency and had one case and closed. We used to play bank a lot too, so who knows. Though returning to the butterfly idea, my goal is to help people get in touch with their inner strengths and follow their hopes and dreams, so I can see something to that theory.
What are some different jobs you’ve had in your life?
I used to pierce ears and do hat-writing on Mickey ears. I’ve worked in sales in aerospace, marketing for a home improvement company, and was responsible for all written words on animated soundtracks at an entertainment studio. I was a fundraiser for blood cancers by talking people into raising the most money they ever have, and by running the longest distance they never thought they could, all within the next 12 weeks or so.
What do you work toward in your spare time?
Navigating my PJ Wilderness. It’s a Personal Journey that I can take from my PJs at home or without straying too far (since I have a day job). I’m navigating uncharted paths to build my life after my kids graduate from college so I don’t become a crazy cat lady. I want us to still have fun with each other, support each other, but my daily parenting job will be reduced significantly. So I’ve been chipping away towards a trail towards a life-reclaiming or reawakening A-Ha moment.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
I used to be a night person until very recently and I’m finding I’ve flip-flopped a little. I have more fun staying up late, but the quality of my work isn’t as good. I feel physical pain waking up early but am most sharp if I get up and get a few hours of writing in first thing. The problem is my kids are older and never go to sleep early enough anymore for me to get quality writing time.
What are you most proud of?
My efforts to be helpful to others and truthful. This world needs more kindness, so I try to approach every interaction from that perspective. I share fun things we do, but I definitely share the messy truth as well. My goal is not to be the person that others will aspire to live my glittery life. My goal is, for some of the people marching through life feeling like they live on an island of their own, to have found someone they can relate to or who understands them.
What are you known for?
Probably for building connections. Whether it’s being a resource for someone and providing an introduction to a connection, or trying to build connections in our community. I believe we are here to help lift each other up and support each other. When I first started my blog a few years back, my goal was to just write my life, and if just one person felt a connection where they didn’t before, then I’ve met my goal. Now I approach it a little differently, and I take things I’ve learned or experienced and share them with people to either try themselves or come along on my journey because we’re both probably going through it.
What inspires you?
People and their paths for how they got here. Sometimes the story starts a generation or two ahead with their family, or they made their own path. I especially love when I see people who have had a passion first, then learned how to make a life or sometimes even a living from it.
Tell me something about you that most people don’t know.
I’d say either that I was adopted from another country (and finally going to visit my birth country this year!) or that I’m an introvert. I love getting fired up to go give an inspirational speech or to hang with a group of peers, and I get a lot out of it, but then I just need longer to recover and let it all sink in. I used to be ashamed of being shy, but now that I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I’ve found a way around shy by just needing to recharge. So, I’m shouting my shyness from the treetops!
Why did you apply to be an O Mag Insider?
I have always loved trying to help people get what they want out of life whether piercing their ears, working in sales or marketing, being a part of their best day at Disneyland, or helping them reach a life goal with an endurance event. I feel like I can see past what people are telling me to figure out their real motivations, and then I try to connect with and speak to that instead. Oprah’s show was the best example of someone using this power for good for my generation. She empowers people and stretches so many people’s beliefs to open them up to new ideas, and now that her show is done, her magazine (and network) have continued to positively influence people to live their best lives. As a writer, I believe in the power of the written word and wanted to help be an advocate or an extension of what they do.
How do you live your best life?
I am going through a period of transition and am always working towards it. Like many moms, especially single moms, I used to give myself a high five if my kids got through the day meeting their goals, being fed, getting a decent night’s sleep and without having a major argument or injury. But now as they are teens and don’t need my daily reminder as much, I am finally realizing that there was this other person who I was putting last, or just crashing at the end of the day without tending to my needs. Yes, I got my creative breaks, but I wasn’t taking care of myself as well. So now I try to sleep more, eat better, move more. Simple things I am tweaking that I knew all along but finally am not just rushing through life on auto-pilot. I am trying to be more mindful and present in each day.
What are you reading now?
I am between two books (I tend to read two at a time). I am finishing Oprah’s Book Club’s latest An American Marriage by Tayari Jones. I am so grateful for the club for introducing me to Tayari’s writing, and I can’t wait to read more of her books! I am also reading Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, that I first learned about from Oprah, but so many people have reinforced it.
What’s a day in the life of Sarah Massengill Harris like?
- Argue with teens to wake up (despite them each having a phone and alarm clock radio in their room)
- Get us to school/work on time
- Work our school jobs (going to school for them/I work AT a school)
- Come home, and it’s the crazy witching hour until bedtime. It’s a blur of cooking, homework, negotiations for more $ for clothes or activities, sports practices, scouts, eating, laundry, peace talks between my teens, showering, chores and yelling at them to go to bed since it’s after 10pm. (I warn them that after 10pm Nice Mommy is off for the day and Scary Mommy comes and can’t be responsible for what she says, but they push the limit daily).
- If I’m lucky, I get some quiet downtime in, but I’m better about cramming it into my weekends and my 15 min. break sitting in the grocery store parking lot while I shift gears from work before gearing up for dinner.