Reflections of 2018 - Goals for 2019

1.05.2019
T-Shirt Dress & Blazer: H&M/Boots & Tights: Forever 21/Belt:Steve Madden/ Backpack:Kate Spade

Happy New Year!

Society tends to look at the "big picture," or at least tries to get us to look at it. I have been told repeatedly that I am missing this "big picture." I understood this to mean that I didn't have a plan. As a bit of a nomad and with a highly curious nature I have never been one to settle down in any aspect of my life; always hopping from one hobby to the next, one city to the next, and from one interest to the next. People want me to pick one thing and sort of stick with it. As if my current lifestyle wasn't good enough to meet imposed standards. People in my life have always wanted me to pick one hobby, one career, one interest, one man, one house, one city, and combine all of this into a life that I don't veer from. That isn't a bad life, but it isn't a life true to myself. Not that I don't want a fulfilling career, a loving relationship, and a beautiful home, the point is that I want them in my own way. This pressure has led to a lot of shame and frustration. In 2018 I finally came to the realization I don't need to follow "this path." Although not a revolutionary concept to some, to me it has been hard to accept.

I am not missing the "big picture." I understand it fully. I have decided that it doesn't make me happy. While happiness is an unreliable measurement, it's a worthwhile one. I realized none of it matters. This lifestyle that society pressures us into believing is for one, a construct to help us "survive" that no longer applies to modern society (but this is a very different topic). Not only is there no valid reason, such as survival, for me to follow it, it also doesn't do me any good. It isn't ideal for a lot of people (hence all of the innovative risk-takers out there). People I thought were my friends have deliberately tried to ruin my chances at a job for fear that I would take their job when I was applying to a completely different role. Women who hate me because they believe their (crap) boyfriends like me. First of all, let's set the record straight, I don't want anyone's man or career, but the most important fact here is that most people don't even want their own job (or man for that matter). Trying so hard to conform to this path led to more bad than good, as a matter of fact, it was holding me back from a life I truly wanted.


Time to get real. 

In 2019 I am rewriting all the rules and not feeling ashamed of them. As a highly-ambitious person, the fact that my path doesn't look like what it's "supposed" to look like has brought me so much shame although I've held amazing positions, excelled at all of them, and even became self-employed. Yet, this never felt like enough (first world problems, insert eye roll here).

What to do when your career isn't working for you?

I believe there is so much pressure in your twenties to do it all and climb that corporate ladder to success. Because we all know that if you are not successful and a big-shot by 25, you are a failure. Ridiculous. If I am going to spend my entire life working (40 hours a week is a lot), I'd like to do something I am (at least) interested in and preferably fascinated by. The first step: I took a critical analysis at my life and career, I was evaluated what positions I would logically be promoted too and how that position would fit with my needs and goals. Conclusion: It was a nice career path but this "big picture" did not match the kind of life I wanted. I reworked to the path, tried to see all the possibilities, and yet as I looked to my possible future it seemed bleak and almost intolerable.

What did I do next?

Back to the drawing board! I asked myself "what did I want out of a job," read a ton of books, talked to different people, worked for a law firm, even went to community college and signed up for a computer science class (it is something I have always been interested in and ended up loving it), and kept working my "big picture." I landed on something. I'm superstitious and I am not ready to share my new found passion (that was actually there all along) but it's creative, challenging, and dynamic. When I look at this career, I see open doors and possibilities. Looking back I remember all the classes that sparked my interest, that left me anxious to learn more, and now it all connects. It all makes more sense.

PROBLEM!

It's creative but technical meaning that I was never going to get an opportunity to learn this while on the job. I was never going to go from working in a marketing department and then get transferred to this department. I had to learn technical skills to be a viable candidate. Meaning not only did I have to go back to school, but I also had to start over. I was not going to be applying to a masters program like most of my peers. I was not going to be moving up in my career while I was in school like most of my peers. I was probably not going to be making a lot of money like most of my peers. I was maybe even going to have to accept an internship at 26 unlike most of my peers now accepting senior roles. Hello, anxiety, shame, fear, embarrassment, and dread. I debated to keep working and take 1-2 classes but what was the point? If I could financially take time off and focus on getting these technical skills within the year, I could be well on my way to a career I am excited about by 2020 instead of dragging out the process.

Solution?

So, here I am. January of 2019 I have enrolled in a well-known certification program that will take up most of my time and also enrolled in a few specialized courses at my local community college to further my learning. I decided that I should no longer feel ashamed for not wanting to work in a career that I picked when I was 16, applying for college, and was a completely different person than I am now. I deserve to dream without comparison. I deserve to give myself a chance. The shame will be left in 2018 because to be honest, I am REALLY excited about this.

Yes, I am afraid about spending a year back in school and then having to probably get an internship ( I will be 26 by that time). But I have to remind myself that I would love the chance to just intern doing this as opposed to working full-time at jobs I am not fulfilled by. Yes, I am terrified, but I am also really looking forward to being a student again and watching a bunch of new possibilities open up.

I am grateful to the mentors and support team that I have for guiding me and giving me the opportunities that have led me to this exact moment (special s/o to my first boss, who will always be the best mentor anyone can ask for)!

Summary

I will live in a way that is authentic to me and be on the constant pursuit of designing a life I want.  Remembering that life is a journey, at the end of it, I will die, and nothing will have mattered so while I am here, I will create, I will experience, and I will keep trying.

Cheers to a new year and as F. Scott Fitzgerald has so famously said "For what it’s worth... it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you’ve never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start over again.”

When in doubt of your pose just play with your hair. I didn't even realize it was my go-to.

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