Doing that mysterious blogger thing where I hide my face because it was a
long weekend and I didn’t shower or put makeup on.
When you’re a kid, adults often discuss how fast you are growing up. It’s just one of those standard conversations, like “the weather’s nice today” or “how ’bout them Mets?”
“Ohhh, she’s just growing up sooo fastttt!!!”
This concept never made any sense to me, mainly because it didn’t feel fast at all. I desperately wanted to be an adult; to be that powerful, successful, kick-ass career woman that I saw in all my favorite movies and TV shows. 13 Going On 30 didn’t make me appreciate my youth. It made me want to put on my best pair of heels and go work at Vogue. Waiting to enter the magical land of adulthood, which would definitely be filled with accomplishments, recognition, promotions, success, fulfillment, happiness and rainbows, felt like it was taking for-ev-er.
The grass is always greener, right?
Of course, once I became an adult, I sort of realized that my favorite movies and TV shows had left out a lot of what happens in between being a kid and becoming a kick-ass success. If growing up and going to school is like learning to fly a kite, then launching into adulthood is kind of like being pushed out of a plane with nothing but a hand-glider.
“I MEAN…. I GUESS I SORT OF GET HOW THIS WORKS BUT THIS IS NOT EXACTLY THE SAME THING AND I WISH SOMEONE TOLD ME THAT WE WEREN’T ACTUALLY LEARNING TO JUST FLY KITES” You scream as you haphazardly drop to the ground hoping you don’t break anything upon impact. And then when and where you manage to land also constitutes the resources you have with which to build your life. And you need to build something, and fast.
Of course there are a lot of variations of this “fall” and also where you “land”. Some people never actually fully detach from the plane, which then descends them to safety no matter how poorly said amateur adult is flying that hand-glider. And then to top it off they land next to a big castle with a butler outside who teaches them how to work the key to the front door. And that’s it.
The opposite end of the spectrum is that you plummet to the ground because no one actually even properly taught you how to fly a kite in the first place, hitting various tree branches on your way down, only to land in what looks like a giant wasteland of a desert.
“Oh come on, wasn’t there at least a tree? What the hell did I just fall through?”
So you spend a very long time trying to build something out of sand, which is very susceptible to being blown around and flattened no matter how hard you try to maintain it. I’m not just talking about money either. Your friends, family, relationships, habits, and perseverance also play a big role in determining your “resources” and whether or not you’ll be able to build anything.
What I’m getting at is, when you have an exceptionally shitty year (or two, or whatever), it can be really easy to feel like you’re playing with sand, and that no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to move forward or improve your life.
And then you find yourself saying:
“How is it July already?! This year is going by so fast!”
There are times when I honestly wish I were a more positive and carefree person; someone who could live in the moment and not be constantly worrying about whether or not they’re doing it all right. It’s just not something that comes naturally to me. I’m hard on myself and anxious and afraid of failure and hold myself to ridiculously high standards and depression runs in my family. So when I looked at my phone the other day to see “July 1” on the screen I started to freak out a little. I was hell bent on making this year a solid and noticeable improvement over 2016. 2016 had kicked. my. ass. I’d be lying if I said I was totally over it, which is why it feels so important to make 2017 a better year than the last one.
Thinking about my yearly goals sent me into a bit of a spiral. Had I found a new job like I wanted to? No. Had I started my own business instead? No. Had I bought a triplex in order to earn some rental income instead? No. Had I been blogging once a week and going to the gym 4 times a week like I wanted? Not every week, no. Taking a black and white view of my progress so far made me feel like shit. So instead of beating myself up, I decided to remind myself of all the progress I’ve made so far. It’s a new habit that I have to consciously enforce because it does not come naturally, but it really does help.
I thought about how I worked 3 jobs for over a year in order to pay off my student loans, and how that has helped me be able to do much more with my monthly budget and save an impressive emergency fund. I reflected on my first relationship and how it helped me learn to love and be loved; two things I had previously thought just weren’t in the cards for me. I remembered how I finally stood up for myself against the girls I had once called my friends, who were always bullying me and treating me like shit. It wasn’t pretty or coherent, but I finally did it and took the first step in removing negative people and energy from my life. I applauded myself for the progress I’ve made recovering from a very ill-timed and devastating break up. And I recognized that I had started to get serious about taking care of myself, and asking for help doing it, two things I used to consider wasteful and silly, even embarassing. Maybe because I thought I didn’t deserve it.
This year I re-did my resume and kept applying for jobs. After doing some reflecting on what kind of career I want, I’ve decided that getting an MBA may be the next step. So I ordered a GMAT test prep book and have started going through it.
I put an offer on a condo that was accepted, but then fell through because the seller’s agent refused to disclose any information about the HOA finances and refused to work with any other agent. Even though this landed me right back where I started, I was still brave enough to make the offer and smart enough to know when to walk away.
And even though I haven’t posted on a weekly basis so far this year, I have been posting more frequently than I usually do, and I’ve seen an increase in site traffic and returning users, which is always nice (hey, there!). I’ve also been syndicated multiple times to Her Campus, and now a new local magazine has decided to syndicate something from me once a month (you can check them out here). I was also featured in a blog post on the Wayfair website, which was super cool.
Oh, yea, and Estee Lauder sent me 130 free lipsticks in exchange for an Instagram post (I just recently hit 15K followers, so thank you!), which was a crazy amazing opportunity that I can’t be grateful enough for.
Once I list it all out like this, it doesn’t seem like my life is at a hopeless stand still after all. I just have to keep reminding myself that I am making progress. Even when it’s incremental. Even when it’s in the form of a failure. And that’s not nothing.