Meet Sarah Pardi


MEET SARAH PARDI

SARAH PARDI IS AN ADVERTISING MANAGER WITH A BACKGROUND IN ART AND WESTERN ART HISTORY. WHEN SHE ISN’T WORKING IN ADVERTISING, SARAH IS HOSTING A TRUE CRIME PODCAST WITH HER BEST FRIEND, CAITLIN! (A TRUE CRIME PODCAST LOVER HERE, I GAVE A FEW LUMINOL EPISODES A LISTEN AND WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND. THE LADIES MAKE THE LISTENER FEEL AS IF THEY ARE GABBING WITH THEIR GIRLFRIENDS!)

GROWING UP FROM A FAMILY WITH A HISTORY OF ADDICTIONS AND POVERTY, SARAH SUPERSEDED HER CIRCUMSTANCES AND BECAME THE FIRST TO GRADUATE FROM COLLEGE IN 2013. THROUGH HER FAMILY’S STRUGGLES GROWING UP, SARAH WAS ABLE TO CULTIVATE A POSITIVE OUTLOOK ON LIFE AND SHE GREW UP AND BEGAN TO CHANGE HER PERSPECTIVE. HER INTERVIEW IS FULL OF GEMS! KEEP READING TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SARAH!

 

Q: WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND? ARE YOU FIRST-GENERATION, UNDOCUMENTED, COME FROM A MILITARY FAMILY, ETC.?

A: I WAS BORN AND RAISED IN RURAL OREGON. THE FIRST FEW YEARS OF MY LIFE WERE UNSTABLE AS FAMILY MEMBERS STRUGGLED WITH ADDICTION AND WE MOVED THROUGHOUT THE STATE. WE FINALLY SETTLED IN A SMALL TOWN CALLED DIXONVILLE, WHERE ONLY A FEW HUNDRED PEOPLE RESIDE. THIS PART OF THE COUNTRY HAS A LARGE POPULATION IN POVERTY - WHICH IS WHERE OUR FAMILY FELL ON THE SPECTRUM, AS WELL. WHEN I REFLECT ON THOSE DAYS, IT SOMETIMES SEEMS LIKE IT HAPPENED TO SOMEONE ELSE. I TALKED TO A THERAPIST OF MINE A COUPLE YEARS AGO ABOUT IT BECAUSE I COULDN'T SEEM TO GET THIS CHIP OFF MY SHOULDER. THE HARDSHIPS I HAD FACED IN POVERTY SEEMED TO FOLLOW ME INTO ADULTHOOD - AND THIS FELT BURDENSOME IN A LOT OF WAYS. I FELT LIKE I COULD NOT RELATE TO MY PEERS. SHE TOLD ME SOMETHING I WILL NEVER FORGET - "YOU ARE LUCKY. EVERY SINGLE PERSON HAS TO FACE A HARDSHIP LIKE THIS. YOU HAVE THE BLESSING OF COMPLETING YOURS AT SUCH A YOUNG AGE, WHICH MEANS YOU CAN HELP OTHERS GO THROUGH IT WHEN IT'S THEIR TURN." LONG STORY SHORT, I WAS THE FIRST PERSON IN MY FAMILY TO GRADUATE COLLEGE IN 2013. I GOT A BA IN ART (PAINTING/DRAWING).

Q: WHAT WOMEN (OR MEN) INSPIRE YOU? WHY?

A: I, TO THIS DAY, AM DEEPLY INSPIRED BY MY LATE GRANDMOTHER. SHE HAD SUCH A PROFOUND INFLUENCE IN MY LIFE. PEOPLE TALK ABOUT STAGE PRESENCE - AND SHE HAD THIS IN HER EVERYDAY LIFE, BUT IN THE CALMEST WAY YOU CAN IMAGINE. EVEN WHEN SHE WAS UPSET OR WORRIED, SHE WAS SOMEHOW GROUNDED. I ENVY AND RESPECT THIS SO MUCH.

THERE ARE, OF COURSE, HIGH PROFILE PEOPLE WHO INSPIRE ME - POET WARSAN SHIRE, SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN, MICHELLE OBAMA TO NAME A FEW. TO BE HONEST THOUGH, THE WOMEN CLOSEST TO ME INSPIRE ME - AND I THINK THIS SAYS A LOT ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF STRONG, CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS WITH WOMEN IN OUR COMMUNITIES AND HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO CULTIVATE THESE.

Q: DID YOU PURSE A HIGHER EDUCATION? WHY OR WHY NOT? IF SO, WHAT SCHOOL DID YOU ATTEND AND WHAT WAS YOUR DEGREE?

A: YES, I DID. I ATTENDED THE UNIVERSITY OF OREGON'S SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE AND ALLIED ARTS. I HAVE A BA IN ART (PAINTING/DRAWING) AND A WESTERN ART HISTORY MINOR. BECAUSE MY FAMILY WAS SO POOR, I PAID FOR IT ON MY OWN - WITH GRANTS, SCHOLARSHIPS, AND WORKING THREE JOBS AS A FULL TIME STUDENT. THOSE 5 YEARS WERE THE MOST DIFFICULT YEARS OF MY LIFE. I FELT SO ISOLATED BECAUSE ALL I DID WAS PUT MY HEAD DOWN AND GRIND. BUT, NOW? I GET TO REAP THE BENEFITS OF WHAT I WORKED SO HARD TO CREATE. NOW, I THINK ABOUT WHAT I CAN BE "PLANTING" NOW TO HARVEST LATER AGAIN, SO TO SPEAK.

Q: WHAT DO YOU FOR A LIVING? IS IT WHAT YOU THOUGHT YOU WOULD BE DOING 5-10 YEARS AGO?

A: I WORK IN ADVERTISING AND DIGITAL MARKETING. I AM AN ADVERTISING MANAGER AND OVERSEE MANY FACETS OF MARKETING AS WELL - WHICH AT THEIR MOST BASIC DESCRIPTIONS ALL COME BACK TO STORYTELLING. 10 YEARS AGO, I WOULD HAVE NEVER GUESSED THAT THIS WOULD BE THE ROUTE THAT MY LIFE TOOK.

THERE WAS NO WAY OF KNOWING THIS THEN, BUT WHEN I STUDIED VISUAL ART, I LOVED IT BECAUSE 1) IT WAS CHALLENGING. AND 2) IT WAS CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING. AND 3) I COULD ASSESS A REACTION AND CHANGE COURSE (THE ART PIECE/PERFORMANCE) BASED ON FEEDBACK.

WHAT I DID NOT KNOW THEN, WAS THAT IT WASN'T NECESSARILY THE ART ITSELF THAT WAS IMPORTANT TO ME - IT WAS THOSE 3 "INGREDIENTS" IN THE RECIPE THAT WERE. ONCE I FIGURED THAT OUT, I FOUND SO MANY WAYS TO APPLY THESE TO MY LIFE. THIS LED ME TO OTHER CAREERS I FIND FULFILLING, WHERE I GET TO DO THAT EVERY DAY: BE CHALLENGED, CREATIVELY SOLVE PROBLEMS, AND RE-ROUTE BASED ON FEEDBACK.

Q: HAVE YOU FOUND YOUR PASSION IN LIFE? IF SO, WHAT IS IT?

A: I HAVE A LOT OF "MANTRAS" I LIVE BY - AND ONE OF THEM IS "ON THE CONTINUOUS HUNT FOR LA JOIE DE VIVRE." I DON'T THINK THERE IS ONE PASSION IN LIFE, AT LEAST NOT FOR ME, FOR WHATEVER REASON. LIKE ME, THIS IS CONSTANTLY CHANGING, SHIFTING, DEVELOPING, ADJUSTING, GROWING... THERE IS AN EBB AND FLOW TO PASSION, SO I JUST FOLLOW IT LIKE A PUPPY, CONTINUING TO GO (LITERALLY AND FIGURATIVELY) WHERE I FEEL THAT SPECIAL "SPARK" OF PASSION. I CALL THIS "SEEKING MAGIC", EVEN IF THAT SOUNDS CHEESY. I AM ON THE RELENTLESS PURSUIT OF PASSION.

Q: WHAT EVENT OR MOMENT OCCURRED THAT LED YOU TOWARDS YOUR PASSION?

A: I READ A LOT OF BOOKS AND LISTEN TO A LOT OF LECTURES ABOUT LIFE. SOME OF THESE I DO FOR WORK AND SOME BECAUSE THEY INTEREST ME. THE FIRST TIME I HEARD AN ALAN WATTS SPEECH CHANGED HOW I PERCEIVE MY OWN DESIRES - THAT WAS AN IMPORTANT MOMENT FOR ME IN FINDING MY PASSION. I READ THE UNTETHERED SOUL AND THIS WAS ANOTHER LIFE CHANGING BOOK FOR ME - I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT IF YOU HAVE NOT READ IT. LASTLY, I THINK THAT DOING THINGS THAT ARE DIFFICULT IS SO EMPOWERING. EVEN IF YOU FAIL, IT'S EMPOWERING. WHETHER IT'S GETTING THROUGH SOMETHING YOU DID NOT CHOOSE, AND THAT YOU DID NOTHING TO "DESERVE" (LIKE POVERTY, ILLNESS, OR ABUSE), OR IF IT'S SOMETHING THAT YOU HAVE CHOSEN, LIKE WORKING THOSE 3 JOBS TO PAY FOR YOUR EDUCATION, OR FACING YOUR TRAUMA HEAD-ON, OR EVEN GOING TO THE GYM EVERY DAY AND PUSHING YOUR BODY TO WHERE YOU DIDN'T THINK IT COULD GO - THESE THINGS HAVE TAUGHT ME SO MUCH.

Q: WHAT DO YOU THINK IS ONE KEY ELEMENT OR EVENT THAT HELPED TO GET YOU TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY?

A: FOLLOWING MY INSTINCTS. DOING EVERYTHING I CAN TO GROW MY INSTINCTS. TRUSTING THEM, LISTENING TO THEM, GOING WITH THEM EVEN IF I AM NOT SURE. EVERY TIME I HAVE FOLLOWED MY GUT, I HAVE FOUND SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL ON THE OTHER SIDE OF FEAR.

Q: WHAT DOES SUCCESS LOOK LIKE TO YOU? IS YOUR IDEA OF SUCCESS DIFFERENT FROM A PREVIOUS VERSION?

A: TO ME, SUCCESS CAN'T HAVE A UNIVERSAL DEFINITION. IT REALLY IS DIFFERENT FOR EVERYONE - AND IT'S BEEN DIFFERENT FOR ME IN DIFFERENT TIMES OF MY LIFE. THE FIRST TIME I WENT TO THE DENTIST, I WAS A TEENAGER. I WAS BORN WITH PERIODONTAL DISEASE AND I HAD LOST HALF MY TEETH AT THAT POINT. IT WAS SO PAINFUL AND EMBARRASSING. I WORKED EXTRA HOURS TO PAY FOR DENTAL WORK - FOR YEARS. AT THAT TIME IN MY LIFE, SUCCESS LOOKED LIKE HAVING GOOD DENTAL HEALTH. IF I HAD THAT? THAT'S ALL I NEEDED. BUT ONCE WE HIT ONE PEEK OF SUCCESS, THERE'S ANOTHER TO CLIMB. TODAY, SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE MAKING AN IMPACT ON OTHERS. I HAVEN'T DONE THAT IN A WAY THAT FEELS SUCCESSFUL YET, SO THAT'S THE NEXT ONE I WANT TO REACH.

Q: DO YOU HAVE ANY FAILURES WHICH IN RETROSPECT, TURNED OUT TO BE LEADING YOU TOWARDS A BETTER DIRECTION?

A: OH ABSOLUTELY. FOR ME, THESE ARE USUALLY ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS. ONE OF MY GREATEST WEAKNESSES IS NOT WANTING TO DISAPPOINT OTHERS SO MUCH, THAT I PUT THEIR BEST INTERESTS ABOVE MY OWN. I WON'T LEAVE A JOB BECAUSE I KNOW I'M INSTRUMENTAL. I WON'T LEAVE A RELATIONSHIP BECAUSE I KNOW THE OTHER NEEDS ME - SO ON AND SO FORTH. DIFFICULT GOODBYES FEEL LIKE FAILURES TO ME, BUT EACH OF THESE HAS BEEN THE CATAPULT THAT I NEEDED TO GET INTO THE NEXT GROWTH PERIOD IN MY LIFE, AND THE NEXT OPPORTUNITY. THEY SAY "ONE DOOR CLOSES AND ANOTHER OPENS" AND AS CLICHÉ AS IT IS, IT'S TRUE - BUT SOMETIMES WE HAVE TO BE THE ONES TO CLOSE THOSE DOORS ON OUR WAY OUT.

Q: WHAT IS A QUOTE YOU LIVE BY?

A: "WHAT YOU SEEK IS SEEKING YOU?" – RUMI

"WHAT IS FOR YOU WILL NOT PASS YOU BY."

Q: IF YOU COULD GIVE ADVICE TO YOUR YOUNGER, THIRTEEN YEAR OLD SELF, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?

A: NOTHING IS TOO DIFFICULT FOR YOU. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS "SHOW UP".

 SHOW UP TO EVERYTHING AS YOUR HIGHEST, BEST SELF AND YOU WILL ALWAYS WIN.

 

CONNECT WITH SARAH!

IG: WWW.INSTAGRAM.COM/SARAH.A.PARDI

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