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A journey with the WordPress community with Carole Olinger – #019

A journey with the WordPress community with Carole Olinger - #019
A journey with the WordPress community with Carole Olinger - #019


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Podcast Guest: Carole Olinger

Today we are back in the WordCamp Europe corridor, this time speaking to Carole Olinger, but I’ll get to that later…

Carole gets a special mention today because she’s come on board the Big Orange Heart team. She’s going to be the Crew Chief of the HeadToWCEU project. I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago, but it’s well worth further discussion.

Some of the Big Orange Heart team are doing an extended bike ride next May… It’s departing from from Berlin and arriving roughly a month later in Portugal. The locations of the previous and next WordCamp Europes to be specific.

The intention is to show that little changes can have a big impact over time. We’re not athletes, and are getting on with our lives whilst adapting them slightly to accommodate the time needed to train for this 3,000 ride.

A project of this magnitude needs a fair amount of organising and so Carole has kindly offered to assist us with that. So you might hear me mentioning her name around here in the future. By the way, if you want to find out more about the ride you can go to our dedicated website – headto.org

Before that was even the kernel of an idea I met up with her during WordCamp Europe in Berlin this year.

We had a lovely chat with Barbara Saul from Big Orange Heart about Carole’s WordPress journey.

She came to WordPress from the most unusual of places. Having zero interest or knowledge in WordPress, she attended a WordCamp with her husband, curious to see what it was all about…. She fell in love.

This started a frenzied journey as Carole became deeply involved with WordPress and within a matter of months she was hosting events and MC’ing at WordCamp Europe.

It all happened so fast – she became a fixture and was easily recognised because of her distinctive purple hat.

New horizons were opened and new careers paths forged, and then her WordPress honeymoon came to an end.

She decided to step away from WordPress for a while… to regroup and find out more about herself and her personal motivations.

This journey included depression, anxiety, injury, meditation, yoga, exercise, a different approach to her diet – in short, she completely reimagined herself.

She’s now tentatively putting her toes in the water to see what’s next. Although this is still shrouded in mystery, two things are for sure – her future will contain bikes and dogs!

So go take a listen to the podcast to hear it directly from her…

Interviewed by Nathan Wrigley.

We hope you enjoy the show, please do subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. We’re always looking for feedback, if you have any thoughts or comments, please do reach out.

And remember… Together we can #PressForward

Podcast Details

Nathan Wrigley: 00:02 Welcome to episode 19 of the PressForward podcast. I’m Nathan Wrigley and I’d like to thank you for joining us again and if this is your first time with us, I hope that you like it and that you find it useful. Maybe you’d like to make listening to this podcast or regular thing and if so you can subscribe to us on your favorite podcast player. This can be done by going to WP and UP.org forward slash podcast dash feed. Nathan Wrigley: 00:59 This week is important for WP and UP for a couple of reasons. Number one is that it’s the 17th anniversary of the world suicide prevention day around the world. Suicide statistics are alarming. A World Health Organization study indicated that 4% of all those surveyed had had suicidal thoughts in the last 12 months. WP and UPs recent survey of 1200 WordPress professionals indicated that the number is significantly higher in our community, our community is it increased risk of isolation, loneliness and potentially suicidal thoughts. WP and UP offers free support for those in need. We want to share that it’s okay to talk about suicide, asking someone if they feel suicidal will not cause them to take their life. If you’re aware of someone struggling with their emotions, don’t be afraid to ask if they are having suicidal thoughts. You can find out more about what we’re doing over at WP and UP.org forward slash w s p d. Nathan Wrigley: 02:15 The other reason is directly related to today’s podcast episode. On the podcast we have Carole Olinger, but I’ll get to that later. Carol gets a special mention today because she’s come on board the WP and UP team. She’s going to be the crew chief of the head to WCEU project. I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago, but it’s worth further discussion. You see some of the WP and UP team are doing an extended bike ride next May. It’s departing from Berlin and arriving roughly a month later in Portugal, the locations of the previous and next WordCamp. Europe’s to be specific, the intention is to show that little changes can have a big impact over time. We’re not athletes and I getting on with our lives whilst adapting them slightly to accommodate the time needed to train for this 3000 kilometer ride. A project of this magnitude needs a fair amount of organizing and so Carol has kindly offered to assist us with that. So you might hear me mentioning her name around here in the future. By the way, if you want to find out more about this ride, you can go to our dedicated website head to dot org Nathan Wrigley: 03:41 The PressForward podcast is brought to you today by Green Geeks. Green Geeks offers an awesome managed web hosting platform that’s built for speed, security and scalability whilst being environmentally friendly. Enjoy a better web hosting experience for your WordPress website, backed by 24 seven expert support. And we thank Green Geeks for helping us put on the PressForward Podcasts Nathan Wrigley: 04:14 so I was talking about Carol Olinger earlier and her part in organizing the head to bike ride. Well before that was even the kernel of an idea. I met up with her during WordCamp Europe, which was in Berlin earlier this year. We had a lovely chat with Barbara Saul from WP and UP about Carole’s WordPress journey. She came to WordPress from the most unusual of places having zero interest or knowledge in WordPress. She attended a WordCamp with her husband, curious to see what it was all about and she fell in love. This started a frenzy journey as Carol became deeply involved with WordPress and within a matter of months she was hosting events and emceeing at WordCamp Europe. It all happened so fast. She became a fixture and was easily recognized because of her distinctive purple hat. New Horizons where opened a new career, paths forged, and then her WordPress honeymoon came to an end. Nathan Wrigley: 05:18 She decided to step away from WordPress for a while to regroup and find out more about herself and her personal motivations. This journey included depression, anxiety, injury, meditation, Yoga, exercise, a different approach to her diet. In short, she completely re-imagined herself. She’s now tentatively putting her toes back into the water to see what’s next, and although this is still shrouded in mystery, two things are for sure her future will contain bikes and dogs. This therefore is a trigger warning that during today’s episode we touch on the subjects of anxiety and depression. And so without further ado, I bring you Carol Oland Gun Nathan Wrigley: 06:18 It’s Saturday WordCamp Europe. It’s the final, final day of the WordCamp. We’ve got the party tonight. We’re out in track. Well outside track number one, where we’ve been positioned all week near the stairs, watching people coming up and going down. And today I’m joined by two people. I’m joined by now. Oh, I’m so sorry if I get your son name wrong. I’m going to try my very hardest. Carole Olinger. Carole Olinger: 06:43 Yeah, that’s perfect. Hi Nathan. Nathan Wrigley: 06:44 Okay, thank you. Thank you. And Barbara will. Hello Barbara. Barbara Saul: 06:47 Hello. Nathan Wrigley: 06:47 Now, um, we don’t know where this chat is going to go. We’re just going to talk about the WordPress community and see, see what comes out of it. I’ve just read your a blog post of yours. I can’t remember what the exact URL was, but it was the one with the crocheted Wapuus. So yeah. So that one, that’s some time ago. Yeah. Okay. But that’s good. It gives me some context anyway. Um, how far back does your WordPress journey go? Are you been into WordPress for like decade or are you two or three years? Carole Olinger: 07:18 So today you might be exactly three years cause WordCamp Europe in Vienna. 2016 was my very first one. Okay. So it’s like a, it’s, it’s kind of, it’s going on my WordPress, uh, third anniversary. Nathan Wrigley: 07:30 Yeah, I know you are, you, are you a bit like me? Did you kind of like throw yourself right at it right away where you kind of write all in? Carole Olinger: 07:39 I think I got, I got really infected by this community bug. Right away. Yeah. Um, because when I joined my first a WordPress event, I didn’t even know what WordPress was. I was just there because my husband happens to be a software engineer and WordPress developer. And he invited me to join him, uh, to WordCamp Europe, which was happening in Vienna, which I’ve never been. Um, the, yeah, he tracked me there a bit kicking and screaming because the idea of being surrounded by 3000 nerds, I’m sorry, it didn’t sound that attractive to me. So I, I actually had, um, I think it was a bit scared of getting excluded on side because not being able to follow all the conversations going on. Yeah. But the exact opposite happens. So I, yeah, I really had the most inspiring conversations and I met amazing people. Yeah. And, uh, I wanted to, to get more of this. Nathan Wrigley: 08:37 So you literally went with no knowledge about what WordPress was. You just showed up to be supportive to your husband and then actually found yourself interested in it kind of by accident. Carole Olinger: 08:48 Yeah. So I, it was definitely the community that, um, that really amazed me. So I, I like to today that I joined because of the people, um, I, I like to stay because of the people. So only afterwards I learned about, um, the, the project itself and its importance. Uh, it’s specifically for democratising publishing around the world. And what an amazing opportunity it gives people, uh, around the globe. Like it gives you the opportunity to raise your voice, uh, whoever you are and wherever you are located. So that’s quite fantastic. Yeah. Nathan Wrigley: 09:25 And did you find it to be kind of like uniquely different, you know, you’ve obviously been in and out of social groups before school and then work and all of that kind of stuff. Did, did, did that community on the, on the occasion where you went and you were with your husband, did, did something literally sort of switch went off in your mind this, wow, this is, this is different, this feels slightly unique. Carole Olinger: 09:46 Totally. Um, I, uh, I was, I’m originally from Luxembourg, which is a very small country and, uh, I was living kind of a boring life before, like I was working for the government and I was doing a day to day job, which I didn’t actually like where I, I didn’t find the challenge, but this is pretty much how I was raised. And that’s pretty much how all my friends were raised. Like, um, everything like the most important thing in life would be ease, security, um, safety. But there is no such a thing in life. So that’s what I learned afterwards and meeting all these people from different countries, from all over the world because that’s how I see WordCamp Europe. It’s like the biggest, um, family gets the biggest family get together inside WordPress from all over the world. Um, meeting all these people who suddenly talked about remote work and, uh, like digital nomads and like, um, switching careers, like even in a, in, in a higher age and totally discovering new career path or not even professionally. I mean, I mean I also met a lot of people who were just fulfilling, uh, dreams, which were more kind of a hobby. And then they found their passion and I was really near to me and I was already on Sabbatical when I, uh, joined WordCamp Europe because I, I got sick, um, after a decade of working in a job, which didn’t fulfill me at all. And I knew at that point, uh, what I didn’t want to, I didn’t want to do anymore, even if I didn’t had a plan B. But as I was privileged enough to say, okay, I’m just going to take a sabbatical and see where it brings me. And then in, in, in, in that excite exact moment, I got in touch with the WordPress community. Nathan Wrigley: 11:37 It’s a nice coalescence or meeting of two things at the same time. It’s kind of, I don’t know if the word coincidence or destiny or something, you know, it feels like it was just there at the right moment. So, so what was it, can you, can you actually look back and sort of say, okay, it a particular moment, it was one thing that somebody said or it was, I didn’t know a talk that I heard or several people surrounding me or, or just look, there’s people talking about these subjects, these remote working opportunities. And you thought this is it. I can, this is me. I can make use of this. Yeah. Carole Olinger: 12:09 Yeah. I actually think it’s more of the last thing you said. So there wasn’t a particular moment, but he was me, like from the very first minute on feeling, uh, included and uh, yeah, that was not what I expected. So, um, I was the one traveling there with some kind of prejudices in my heart. And, uh, so there was prejudice. I know it was this fear of getting excluded, which is not something I want to experience, which is something that nobody actually wants to experience. And, uh, so I, uh, I was really, I was so much of an impostor going there that I didn’t even dare to attend the talk because I felt like, oh my God, if I’m going to go and enter a session and if I’m going to sit there and somebody next to me is gonna talk to me, they are going to find out that I have no clue about technical stuff and then I’m going to feel stupid or whatsoever. And this is exactly not what happened. So I felt like welcomed and included from the very first minute. And, uh, yeah, that’s not something that happened to me in my life every time. And, uh, I wanted also to learn more about, um, the efforts behind that made the community wanting to be, um, as inclusive. So, um, I actually think now, three years later that, um, I totally, I mean I love that there’s so much effort put into this of being a welcoming and inclusive community. So now three years later, I noticed still things to improve. And I think there’s a trap coming with this that, um, a lot of people like myself, they see the efforts, they feel, they feel included and then they think, okay, that’s enough. That’s already so much effort going on. That’s enough. We, we, we don’t have to, um, we, we don’t have to strive for, for, for improvement in this area. And, uh, so that’s, that’s me getting more critical now. Nathan Wrigley: 14:07 Yeah. I mean, it’s an up and down. So a journey isn’t it? But just going back to the, maybe we’ll come to that, but just going back to the bit earlier where you spoke about attending the conference. I’ve, I’ve interviewed a lot of people in the last three weeks about word comes in attendance of WordCamps. Because we’ve, we’ve done this little podcast series, we’ve done 15 episodes about WordCamps you’re, I’ve never heard a story about somebody going to word camp not knowing what it was or, so that’s, that makes you really unique. Uh, that, but that’s really interesting. So you showed up and you kind of had this impression that it would be, I don’t know, full of nerds who were like unwelcoming and who would probably turn their backs on you and wants to talk to the other way and you just found it to be different. Nathan Wrigley: 14:52 Exactly the opposite. Yeah. A bunch filled up a bunch of like, I want to say normal people, but I don’t believe that’s true. I think it’s full of extraordinary people who are very generous and kind. And I don’t, I still don’t have a handle on that. I don’t know why that is, but it is that way. And that was my experience as well. So I turned up, I felt a bit awkward. I didn’t really have much to be honest with you. That’s still the case for me. If I go into half these taught to kids here. Yeah. But yeah, but there’s no fear there. You don’t need to worry too much about it. So, so, um, so then did you, after your initial experience, it all just ramped up really quickly for you? WordPress by, from what I’ve read on your blog, kind of took, took a real, like the front seat of your life for a bit. Yes. Yeah, definitely. Do you want to answer that? Yeah, let’s keep it short. Yeah, it was, it was a crazy ride. That’s Carole Olinger: 15:45 true. Um, yeah, so I, uh, when I came back from, from what came Europe in Vienna 2016 as I told you, I wanted to get more of this, this, this inspiration in my life. So, um, I checked on, my husband told me there, so it’s a website where you can check whether it’s auto z or other events WordPress events going on. And that’s what I did. So I was checking on what, what’s the nearest one? A and w what’s the next one, which is near two hours. And then I signed myself on my husband up to become volunteers for what can Frankfurt. So we went there and, um, that was my first time of volunteering and then we went to work in Koln, which is about one hour drive from where we live. And that was the first time that I joined to contributor day. Carole Olinger: 16:28 So, um, and that was difficult because, uh, me, attending a contributor day again, feeling like an imposter and like, okay, there’s probably nothing I can do. And, um, at the end of the day, I had, um, I had translated a theme which was committed to same day and I joined discussions, uh, to create a new tie before the camp, which is a WordCamp retreat, which happens for the first time last year. He in Germany in Salto and which is about to happen again next year. Um, so that was my first step of becoming an organizer myself. And, uh, yeah. Then I started, uh, I started co-organising WordCamps. Uh, I volunteered at every word camp that I have been visiting afterwards and I’m done. I think one of, one of the biggest, uh, events for me was exactly one year later. Again, Ad Word Camp Europe. So it can be your, seems to be turning point for me, uh, all over again. Carole Olinger: 17:28 Um, when I, well, I’m going to get asked to be an MC for WordCamp Europe in Paris and, uh, that, I mean that was, that was really a challenge for me because my English wasn’t that good at that at that point. And, uh, I am always, always trying to improve that. And, uh, so I had to, um, I was MC’ing seeing two half days, uh, in, in Paris and it was quite visible because of that. Just in the meantime, I started wearing a purple hat, which I was wearing the first time were working in London, whereas whereas also volunteering and they had a top hats on the design of the volunteer t-shirts. Uh, and, uh, I noticed that the purple hat was so great for networking because a lot of people just stopped by and, and said, I love you purple hat. And then we started to have conversation and, uh, so I wasn’t, I was in, I was working Europe in Paris onstage for quite a while. Carole Olinger: 18:17 And, um, then I had two companies reaching out for me to ask me if I would like to work with them because I was so, I was so active inside the WordPress community and so visible and they wanted somebody to help them to, um, to get more involved inside the WordPress community in the right way. Cause we all know open source communities. Sometimes it’s tricky when you have a product that is connected to the project. Um, sometimes people might be suspicious but oh, they show up now what do they want from us? And that’s not the case. So they wanted somebody to help them. And then I decided to give Plesk a chance and uh, to work with them, uh, as they would community ambassador, which I did for almost two years and I had an amazing ride. And then all of a sudden I was able to travel WordCamps all around the world. Nathan Wrigley: 19:10 So suddenly you’ve got international flights all over the place, attend these events. And it was amazing. I really enjoyed it. Really amazing. Um, I know this is completely tangential and nothing to do with what we’re talking about, but um, I know that dogs are a big part of your life. Yes. You like dogs? Yeah, they are my family. I do take them now when we flying. So when we flying, they’re usually with my mother in law in Luxembourg and uh, so when we can drive to word cams, we took them with us. So they are here now in the hotel and no, or probably outside with my husband having a walk and visited word. Kim’s in four countries if I’m not mistaken. So is that normal? Would normally, would you be allowed to attend a conference with dogs? Is that a word? Is that a word? Barbara Saul: 19:55 Can I say just a different kind of baby, aren’t they here so he can bring his children so you can bring your fur babies. Nathan Wrigley: 20:00 Somebody told me absolutely. You’ve got like a, I don’t know what the right word is. Boggy a buggy with it does one of my dogs. Carole Olinger: 20:08 So is it’s getting quite old and he has some health issues. So we bought him a buggy because we want to take him a a with us. And He is, he’s pretty, he’s fine. I mean he can walk and stuff, but he cannot walk as long as the other two. So, and we want to have him with us, but also we don’t want to disadvantage the other dogs who need a lot more of, uh, activity. So to keep this, uh, in a way that every dog’s gets what they need. We have a boggy now, but to come back to your initial questions, it’s not like dogs are specifically allowed at WordCamps and for example, he are now, they are with us in the hotel, but I’m not bringing them to the conference just so first of all, 20,000 people, it’s nothing that any dog would probably enjoy. Nathan Wrigley: 20:56 Yeah, that’s a good point. Carole Olinger: 20:56 Yeah. But also there are people who might have allergies and stuff. So this is, this is nothing that I would actually recommend people to do, but, um, whatever you’re doing is we haven’t even with us at your hotel. So all activities around they are, they’re coming with us and there’s not 3000 people at at at one point. And for the smaller word camps that we’ve been visiting WordCamps where we actually took them with us to the conference rooms as well when it was clear that no attack, he had an allergy or, or being scared is also an important topic. There are people who have made bad experiences with dogs and a, yeah, so it depends. But also we’ve been visiting WordCamps where they were just around an outside, um, at the areas and not at a conference itself. Nathan Wrigley: 21:41 Yeah, we were talking earlier to somebody, um, who had been organizing the kid camp. I think I’ve got that right. But it’s just like a, another interesting feature, you know, um, you’re allowed to bring your children. It’s encouraged. Nobody bats an eyelid when you bring your dogs. I was wondering about the purple hat, you know, it being a kind of like a, what did you say? I can’t remember the right word, but you said it, it kind of enabled people to walk up to you and bring on a for conversation. I wondered if the dogs had the same effect. Carole Olinger: 22:07 Absolutely. So for the first weekend, um, after it can be you’re in Frankfurt, I think they were, they were just stars and they became like the, you know, official mascots for the German WordPress community very quickly. So people loved them. And also what I notice is that, um, there are people who sometimes feel overwhelmed, um, being at a conference, especially when they are introverted. Carole Olinger: 22:34 And uh, I had few, uh, situations where people who were exactly just kind of, um, yeah, we were a bit anxious to be around. So many people spend a lot of time with a door, a lot of time with the dogs, like patting them, hugging them, they didn’t make them feel in, made them feel constable. And that was pretty good to see so that my dogs were contributing to this dog contribution here. Nathan Wrigley: 23:00 Yeah, that’s good. I don’t know if there’s like any medical data about this, but my understanding is if you stroke pets often and for long amounts of time, you are generally like a more calm and relaxed person. Yeah. I don’t know if that’s true. Barbara Saul: 23:13 It’s true. It’s absolutely true. I think they think they have actually proven it. So, um, you know, I certainly feel calmer for uh, having the cats fall asleep on me and not move for several hours. You know. Nathan Wrigley: 23:27 I have Guniea Pigs and yet we we stoike them every day. You give them like a cuddle this way, straight them for long enough. I don’t know if you’ve ever had Guinea pigs. They emit this amazing sound. They do take, I’m not going to try to admit the amazing sound, but they’ve just, it as soon as they start emitting that sound, everybody in our house gathers around cause it’s quite a spectacle. Oh lovely. There’s a big side of you or if I’m getting this correct, which is into, um, forgive me, I’m going to have to let you lead on this kind of like yoga or wellbeing side of things. Is that, is that a big part of your life? Do you bring any of that stuff with you here? Carole Olinger: 24:07 Yeah, since, uh, let’s say since two months, it’s a very important part of my life because, um, I mean I s I stopped back from, from, uh, from, from my professional, uh, relationship now inside the WordPress community and also from active contributing because I felt like I needed the break. Like, so I, I, I struggled with depression for let’s say for almost two decades. And, um, yeah, I think I kind of burned out, uh, insight inside the community because I tend to, so, I mean, you probably have felt some of my enthusiasm for the community during the past 20 minutes. We talking and when I am enthusiastic about something, I tend to really dive very deeply and quickly into something. And, uh, so that’s pretty much what happened. Uh, so that’s, that’s one part. But the other part is also that I had to deal with, uh, some very unpleasant, uh, situations during the past year, um, in inside the community and which showed me that, that, that not everything is just as great, um, as, as, as it may seem, uh, in the beginning. Carole Olinger: 25:19 And I had a hard time to deal with that. So, um, it took me a few months to realize that I had an inner conflict going on inside me and that this was in empty. This was kind of the, the Kickstarter for that, for a new depressive episode. And I’m, so I decided at some point to, to g after, after three years of involvement to take a break, to step back a bit and to focus on my, on my own health. And, um, so how am I going to do this? So I started to, um, to take your course, um, on MBS aura, which is mindfulness based stress reduction. And I signed up for an online course with the founders, um, of, of, of this kind of therapy in the u s um, this is an eight weeks course. So I, I’m almost at 10 now. So I learned meditating and I learned about the positive effects it has on, uh, me struggling with depressive episodes on me, struggling with anxiety on me, struggling with feeling insecure. Carole Olinger: 26:24 Uh, it really has, it has done great things for me and I felt like, so in the beginning, me sitting, I, I’m, I’m, I’m, I’m loud. I like to move. And me sitting there for five or 10 minutes being quiet in the same position was like, what the heck is this gonna do for me? I am, I’m going to, I cannot even do that for two minutes. And I couldn’t even do that for two minutes in the beginning, but I got to feeling, and it’s something I read, it’s like a muscle that you are training. So the more, the more you do it, the more intense it gets, the more long you do it, the more you, you, you are able to just connect. The more the benefits are for you and the more easier it gets. And, uh, it was so very helpful to me and I was combining that with yoga and yoga. Carole Olinger: 27:13 I fell in love with it at the first time I tried it. So I was doing that, um, with a group of women, uh, in the town that I’m living and I immediately fell in love. And I’m also doing that on a, on a regular basis at home. So at a moment I have an injury so you can see that by hearing the podcast. So I have an injury which, um, kind of limited limits me on how I am gonna sit from a meditation and how I am. I’m gonna do yoga and it is a bit challenging already. And I’m only doing that for two months because being here we can cure is a bit challenging for me because I, I took my distance and because of things that specifically happened to me at this event last year, let’s say in between. And um, it’s, I’m already missing it. Carole Olinger: 28:02 Like I feel like I’m not 100% in my balance. And this is an effect after two months. And that, that’s hilarious. And also I, I really started to take care of my diet again and really, uh, eat in a healthy way. And, um, I started running and that’s also a new thing for me because I am not a person who wasn’t into sports, so I never was into sports and specifically not into running because for me it was like, what’s the interest? I’m, I’m a competitive person. So it was like lots of interests like running alone in the fours and where’s the competition? So what’s going on there and it’s super boring. So on, on, on my, on my uh, bucket lists like running was very, very, very on the low end right next to meditation. And then I, I started running and now this is a, um, yeah, of course this also break now because of the injury, but, um, running is also very meditative to me. Carole Olinger: 29:00 So having all these activities combined and having, uh, having found, fortunately a great therapist is helping me so much. Getting out of the depressive episode that I had to cope with since last summer. Nathan Wrigley: 29:14 I was wondering, um, I don’t know, Barbara, maybe you can speak more about this than I do, but then I can rather, I just wondering how, you know, you’ve, you’ve found real help for yourself in yoga and meditation and running. I wonder how many people strike the right thing the first time, you know? Yeah. You don’t, you don’t hit on Yoga, you hit on something which wasn’t yoga, which wouldn’t have worked out for you. And, and you know, eventually you get to here this great. Yup. You got it the first time and you feel, do you feel that life is returning to its normal you know, the way it was? Maybe let’s go back a year in a month. Does it feel a little bit more like balance is being restored? Carole Olinger: 29:52 I think it’s, I think it’s better to be honest. Um, so I always say, um, I think one of the, one of the privilege, one of the privileges that we have as human beings is that we are able to be, to evolve. And, uh, me standing here now is, it’s all different, Carole, that you would have be able to mad five years ago and I hope it’s going to be different. Carole, you’re going to meet in five years at some event. And uh, I, yeah, I have to strong feeling that this episode in my life is very, very important one. And that doesn’t say that everyday is an easy one. Also, while arriving here, I had a tough time, uh, the first day I had like some kind of a of an anxiety crisis, which I didn’t even know that that could affect me in the way you did. Carole Olinger: 30:41 But the difference is that, um, having, having this, this difficult situation to struggle with and combining it with mindfulness practices and being aware what is happening and not fighting against but just acknowledging what is happening and, uh, to, to, to, to dive into it. So to be able to let it go afterwards, that was a new experience to me. And, uh, I was, I was overwhelmed when I arrived here and then I was going back to my room and I was laying there. And then also there was the injury and uh, I was like a bit, Nah, kind of. Yeah, I don’t say that word, but, um, yeah, I was laying in my bed and I, I said to my husband, I, I feel like I don’t want to be here. I have my car here, I have my dogs. I want to take my car and my dogs and just ride back home. Carole Olinger: 31:32 And that’s how I felt. But then I was really, I was able to realize, okay, what’s going on here now? And uh, I applied some mindfulness practices and I, I realized what, what was happening and I could, I could accept it and I was also able to tell myself just to kind of pass. And it did. And then I was able to go out again and to meet all the older people I was looking forward to, to, to, to meeting for four, four weeks and a month and 100% enjoying it. And I was super proud because I was also aware of what I just did and I was super proud that I managed a situation in such a healthy way. And, and that’s the thing, like when you’re struggling with depression, when you’re struggling with anxiety, when you’re starting with, I mean so many, so many issues, um, that can affect your mental health or your physical health. Carole Olinger: 32:28 Most of them, it’s not about fighting them and it’s not like there’s going to be a pill or a specific therapy that it’s gonna, it’s gonna heal you forever. That’s not the thing. It’s going to be part of my life, but I am getting better and better and better in dealing with it. And that’s what I, that’s my number one priority right now. And that should be my number one for GE in the years to come. And that should be everybody’s number one priority because there’s nothing ever more important than your own health. Nathan Wrigley: 32:56 What a nice story. That’s really nice. Anything else to say? Barbara Saul: 33:03 I’m, I’m speechless. I think it’s one of the things that I absolutely love about you, Carole, is that you do inspire whatever you’re doing. So coming along to a WordCamp as somebody who has no idea about WordPress. I remember we came into the community at a similar time and I volunteered for WordCamp London thinking I have to talk to people cause you know, with all of these geeks and nerds who really don’t want me to be there because I don’t know anything. Um, I just throw some websites together. But then you were there as well in one of those early WordCamps and I thought, okay you’re breaking down the barriers for other people that they see you and they think, oh, I can come to and I’m welcome in this community too. And now, you know, we’re just getting used to the whole thing about mindfulness and wellness and looking after ourselves. And it’s okay to do that. Um, and you’re there as what you’re there again, talking openly about it and how it’s helped you and it’s just, um, amazing. Thank you so much. Nathan Wrigley: 34:10 Okay. So the typical story is, is not that is it? We get this sort of like, it’s plain sailing. It’s always going to be a flat line. It just doesn’t go up and it, that’s not life, isn’t it? Yeah, you’ve got a perfect encapsulation in it. Just the two or three year period of how it can, yeah. It goes, travels up and it travels down. And any feels from everything that you’ve just said, it feels like you’re, you’re gaining some resolution on that. Yeah. You’re feeling like within the last day or two, in fact, you’ve made great strides and you’re feeling like you want to be here again. Carole Olinger: 34:45 Yeah, I do. And it’s, it’s, um, you know, I’m totally fine with, uh, yeah. Also inside this community that there are ups and downs and, um, so at a moment I don’t feel like I want to be professionally involved and that’s, that’s okay because that’s one of the reasons besides meeting all the people that I wanted to see, that I wanted to find out about, is there going to be future, uh, um, let’s say in the next weeks, a month. So I don’t feel, I don’t feel like I’m, this is going to happen very soon for me because it’s early, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to be involved. Like I said earlier. Um, I joined because of the people and I want to stay because of the people. So I am, I don’t have hard feelings that my, I mean my ride was crazy and amazing and now that was a period which was more difficult for me. But like you said, that’s, that’s life. And I also think that, um, no, let me rephrase that. Okay. I, I always invite people around me when I was a teenager already who knew exactly what do you want it to become when they were 14 or 15 or 16 years old. Carole Olinger: 35:57 And I always thought there’s something wrong with me that I don’t know dad. And I thought the majority of people know that they are meant to become a doctor or a pilot or a mechanic or whatsoever and never had that. And I, I, I’m not having that now and today. Um, and, and, and this is because of the experiences I made in my life, including this one. I know my thing is not becoming a specific type of profession. I’m a human being. My thing is reinventing myself every now and then. So I think it is important for me, and this might be true for other people as well, to regularly step back to move forward to um, to reevaluate your own priorities, to evaluate your own values, to be able to evolve and to become the person, the person you’re meant to be. You’re not meant to be a doctor or you’re meant not meant to be a pilot or whatsoever. Carole Olinger: 36:58 Um, I wanna I want to become the best of the person that I could be. And um, you, that’s a great realization though. Yeah, a really wonderful thing to suddenly understand about yours. I only realized that in the past weeks, like this is not something that I, I knew one year ago I was really liberating. It is, takes the weight off. It is totally liberating because I don’t feel any more that there’s something wrong with me that I don’t know what I want, where I want to be next year. Nathan Wrigley: 37:25 Do you know if WordPress, like I’ve heard say that this, not WordPress, sorry, WordCamp, I’ve heard say that somewhere here in this building is, is, is some nod or, or they’ve set up some sort of yoga thing or a wellbeing thing. I haven’t had a chance to see it is, and you know, is, is there something along those lines? Have you checked any of that stuff out? Carole Olinger: 37:47 Yeah, I know, I know it is happening. Um, but I, I, I absolutely wanted to do the yoga because of the injury. I didn’t go and for the meditation I was more doing that for myself. But I loved that it got realized this year. So last year when I wasn’t organizing team, um, we talked about dad when, uh, when the event was already over, like, so it was not the point to introduce that at. I talked to that with another organizer who was still on the team and I think we were talking about this, uh, I work in Brighton and, uh, so I, uh, I was so happy to see that just got realized this year, even if I didn’t actively participate. But that was mostly due to an injury to the injury I had. And example one of the sessions is currently going, I think now it’s Jennie Beaumant with meditation. So I am here with you now. I’m sorry. No, don’t be, I’m totally enjoying it. Nathan Wrigley: 38:45 And you’re going to go, I think Barbara. Barbara Saul: 38:47 I’m going to go to the mindfulness one, which, oh Ramallah. Yeah, I want to understand more and I know Rafaella as well. So, um, that will be really interesting. So I’m going to write it up and then see if we can take that into the UK a bit more as well. And London perhaps. So we’ll see. You will enjoy that. Oh, maybe I should just go and enjoy it for myself. Nathan Wrigley: 39:09 Yeah, maybe. And then think about it after the fact, after the fact when, yeah. Thank you so much. Thank you. This was really, really an interesting discussion but also like, I love your story. I love, I love the, you know, the sort of the up and the down and the the, the way that you’ve handled it recently and I’m so glad that feeling, feeling the way you are in these last time. Carole Olinger: 39:34 Thank you. I totally appreciate it. Good. Thanks for having me. It was a pleasure. Nathan Wrigley: 39:43 One of the purposes of the PressForward podcast is to lift the lid on topics that don’t get talked about enough to allow people to share their stories so that others might listen and by listening they may gain an understanding that they’re not alone. There are other people out there who are faced the same situations that you are facing. They have found a way through and can offer support to you on your journey. Maybe that person is already in your life but they might not be and that’s what WP and UP is here for. To connect you with the support that you need. Nathan Wrigley: 40:23 PressForward podcast is brought to you today by Green Geeks. Green geeks offers a specially engineered platform that gives WordPress users web hosting that is designed to be the fastest, most secure, scalable hosting available in multiple data centers. Their WordPress hosting makes deploying and managing WordPress websites easy with automatic one click install managed updates, real time security protection, SSD raid 10 storage arrays, power cacher and experts support 24 hours a day to make for the best web hosting experience. And we thank Green Geeks for helping us put on the PressForward podcast. That’s it for this week. Please let us know if you’re enjoying the podcast. If you’re finding it useful or helpful, you can reach out to us@WP and UP.org forward slash contact. Remember that there’s a serious point to all this though, and that is the WP and UP is here to provide help and support that help is available to you or people know and can be easily accessed at theWP and UP.org website. Please spread the word about this new podcast. Tell your friends and subscribe on your favorite podcast player and remember that together we can hashtag PressForward.

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