After I graduated from college, the very next week I was sending out my resume. I was desperate for a job. Any job. Just give me a job!
In less than a month I got one. Was it my dream job? No. Did it pay the bills? Yes, somewhat. My friends got jobs. Did they like their jobs? Somewhat, kind of. But it was okay because we were all on the ‘right track’…
During this time, there were lots of happy hours, parties, events, shopping days, gatherings, dinners. Did I want to go to all these events? A few I really did, but the majority I could have passed on. Did I spend money I didn’t want to spend or didn’t have to spend? Yes!
Before you know it that goal of being a startup engineer, or a web designer, or even the goal of saving enough money to take the new course is buried deep under new clothes, dinner receipts, and revised resumes.
It happens all the time. I know people in the tech business that have gotten so caught up in their jobs that before they knew it they were 40 years old, never been married, or had kids. I see it in my life as well. Particularly in the last few years. I wish I had known back then what I know now about college tuition assistance programs …
Life always throws emergencies or unexpected cases. People losing a friend, people moving away, the passing of a loved one. Was I there for each of these situations? Yes. Did I have to be? No. Was I exhausted at the end of it? Most definitely.
In the five years I lived in New York, I started writing a book. My dream is to be a published author and to have my novel turned into a movie. I met a lot of accomplished writers along the way, all willing to help me if I completed my piece. Was my book ever completed? No. Could it have been? Yes.
See the trend? It is easy to get caught up in what life gives you. Some things we have absolutely no control over. Other times it is too tempting to pass up. The majority of the time I feel guilty saying no. But if I continue to let life rule me and my decisions, I won’t ever get to that ultimate goal. Which is devastating to think about. What is then so different between me and Dawn Loggins who went, full of determination, from homeless to Harvard? Even CNN reported about her!
Luckily for me, it doesn’t all need to be like that, and there are choices. What I have been practicing for the last few months is lots of self-care and internal diagnosis. Meaning I listen to my gut instincts more. I look at what I need to do to move forward in my life, before focusing on what everyone ‘needs’ from me.
The biggest secret of life that I have recently discovered is that it is all about you. It seems selfish but it is not. You really are the star of your own life. And once grasping this concept everyone around you is happier as well.
So what I realized I needed first was a comfortable apartment for the summer, where I feel safe, happy, and relaxed. I wanted it for a set price and I wanted it in a certain location. Once I had this in my mind, I didn’t stop until I found it. I turned down friends’ offers to go out, took care of myself and, low and behold, I found the perfect apartment within three days.
Next, I realized I was spending a lot of money on drinks and dinners that I would rather spend on new clothes and self-care products. I began saying no once more to offers that didn’t spark my interests or kept plans with friends simple yet fun.
I ended up saving a boatload of money and was able to buy a few new pieces of clothing. I also got to stock up on paraben-free products and create a nice beauty ritual in the mornings.
What has all this self-care led to? I recently began editing and writing daily on the book that has been on the back burner for years. I allotted the time to keep going forward with my dreams. My ultimate goal will never die, I just have the option to pay some attention to it or keep getting sidetracked by life. I have chosen to do the former.
By the end of the summer, I want to complete this book once and for all. I get nervous just saying that aloud, but I know it can be done. I have seen it time and time again in my life, the bigger the risks I take or the larger the challenges I sign up for, the greater the reward. Time to take responsibility for my own happiness, and ultimately my own life. I’m excited to see what’s to come!