Photo by Imen McDonnell
Margaret , I've been a fan of yours via your insta stories (@margaret_mcinerney )for awhile , and its fitting that when we finally met , it was in the West of Ireland, which we both adore. So many things to talk about! I want to cover a lot of ground while I have you in one spot.
Do you set resolutions in January? Ive tried to set a theme for this year for a change . No one has noticed I must not be egging it hard enough.
The problem with resolutions is (obviously) follow through. I gave up resolutions for “intentions” which I renewed throughout the year. BUT NOW. . . I call it Life EditTM
Life Editing is about adding or subtracting things from your life. Think of your life, your activities, and even your time (how you spend your day) like a proofreader or film editor — DELETE — or leave on the cutting room floor the things that aren’t working for you. Tweak the bejesus out of the phrasing. Fine tune your life. It’s a process.
I like your idea of a theme. Much less pressure than a resolution. On my birthday one year my theme was “FINISH IT!” Because I used to start projects and then abandon them.
Thats so good. Since this interview I've assigned a theme a month for 2020 and will now weave in your top tips above .
Do you have a morning routine?
- Wake up (around 7 am).
It sounds perfect. I know we both oddly love cold water.
Margaret, I think it’s fair to say that you’re a bit of an adventurer. I think this is as much true for your approach to every day life as much as it is true geographically! You seem up for it all. a)Where do get this from? And b) did you pass it on to your children?
I am not chained to a regular job which requires my presence in an office — so, I have time for adventures. After my husband died in 2014 — which was terribly inconsiderate of him — I felt unmoored, unattached, uncommitted, drifting. I needed to be somewhere there was no memory of him. A place where no one knew my story. Why sit around and wallow in loss when there is a glorious world to see. And so I began my travels.
How did I get my attitude?
Its funny how DNA can be a superpower or a curse isnt it?
Are you a morning or a night person? When are you most productive? Is it even important to be productive ? I’ve noticed a common theme for awhile now - that we should all be doing less? (And aquiring less, which makes sense)
How does that sit with you? I dislike it by my very nature, I always want to do more. Its a hard feeling to shake?.I totally get it with regards to possesions though.
Ha. I’d LOVE to be that woman who rises at 5 am and goes to the gym. But, I’m not. Having children once required early rising for all the obligations of raising children but now I’m totally flexible. Up early when it’s required. Sleep in when needed.
Productivity. What a topic! I was a Project Manager for many years and it’s almost IMPOSSIBLE to turn off that task-oriented side of my brain. I’m productive when I have something worthwhile to produce. We’re women — it’s in our DNA to get shit done!
The “less is more” movement makes sense on so many levels: Sustainability. Financial. Spiritual. Fewer things: YES! They can weigh you down. And in the end you can’t take it with you. (Apologies to Kaufman & Hart!).
I spent a few days at Glenstal Abbey and the monks KNOW HOW TO LIVE! A completely curated environment. Simple. Elegant. I am eager to incorporate “Monastic Minimalism” in my apartment.
You told me about that , what an antidote that must be for anything that ales you . I know you have a gra for Ireland- what are your 3 favourite things about life here?
Only three? I could go on and on. Someone, quick, stop me!
In general , is your life panning out as you planned, or has their been any change in course?
Another, HAHA. My late husband and I weren’t planners. We made a lot of quick decisions but (mostly) things turned out well. Out of necessity, I worked. I had a job that turned into a career.
There are ALWAYS course corrections! Life & death are unpredictable.
Yes and there is something so satisfying when you can turn a job into a career.
Margaret you have 4 grown children- is your work done there or are you still trying to make improvements? Its a hard one isn’t it?One of my New Years resolutions last year was to offer no unsolicited advice to my son. I hinted sometimes but can say I kept it. This year I'm broadening that out (this is harder than it sounds).
UGH. Parenting Adult Children — there should be some courses on this topic. It is more of Relationships with Adult Children and it’s hard to stop being “Mother Knows Best.”
But, my work there is done. None of them are in jail, all are interesting, kind, funny, and challenging humans.
AGREE — don’t offer unsolicited advice. Our mission as parents to adults is to live our OWN life to the absolute fecking limit! And let them in on the fun if they want to ride along.
I have a one son and I’m always curious — do mothers who have more than one child have favourites ? How does that work?
OF COURSE WE HAVE FAVORITES! My *Favourite* changes depending on who helps me out the most. I have small refrigerator magnets for all my children (and their spouses) and a “winner’s circle”. The favorite of the day / week / month changes frequently.
OMG thats so good. A winners circle. Being competitve in nature I would tried to win this everyday! or else I would completly rebel and never enter the circle! I can only hope it keeps them all on their A-game constantly.
You have a beautifully curated Instagram page (@margaret_mcinerny) where did you learn to take such professional yet thoughtful artistic pictures? You seem to be that rare bird that has equal left brain right brain access.
Thank you! Anything one posts to the world should be about quality rather than quantity! Many years ago I was a Studio Manager for Arndt & Berthiaume photography. They were advertising / editorial / fashion shooters in Minneapolis. I scheduled shoots, booked models and stylists and watched them produce great work. Probably my favorite job ever.
Ive always thought you could also be a proffessional window dresser - what I consider to be the ultimate creative job .
Career wise, can you tell us where you started out?
I started working in the ad biz at 26 (I’m 70 so you can do the math) — I was a “paste-up artist” for the Target Corporation in Minneapolis — this was in the dark ages BEFORE computers! Ha. How did we create without them! One job led to another — managing the photo studio, working at a small arts newspaper, freelancing as a Production Artist at various design shops. I ended up as Director of Project Management at two large Ad Agencies in Minneapolis. Managing creative teams is a lot like adult day care!
(Actually no, I can't do the math ...)
What are you looking forward to this year?
My trip to Vietnam with my son Paddy in March. We are traveling with some former U.S. Marines on a tour that will be relevant to my late husband’s service in Reconaissance.
I cant wait to hear about that. I would love to go to Vietnam plus I am obsessed with all things US Marines. Talk about the ultimate entourage !Talk about a group that have skillsets!
I bought a ticket for Borris House Festival this coming June.
Also — being productive (HA) with printmaking, sewing and maybe painting for my own amusement!
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