To Growing Up: A Year in Review
Let me preface this post by saying this: As a nearly 28-year-old, I am fully aware of the challenges that lay ahead of me and the growing I have left to do.
There’s no roadmap in life. As Seniors in high school, we think we have it all planned out. Four years away at college, an associate role right after graduation, a fairy tale marriage to “the one” and being out of debt, (plus having enough savings) to buy a house before your first kid at, say, 26. Sound familiar? I, like many, had my bright and shiny plan in-hand walking off the graduation stage at 18 — full of hope, and a very skewed sense of reality.
Fast forward nearly a decade and I feel that I’m finally free of the rose-colored glasses. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t take long for the “everything will work out in my favor” bubble to burst, but the feelings, those took a little longer to fade. Lost, confused, less-than, ill-equipped, unprepared, unfulfilled. It was the lingering feelings like these that led me to believe that I had failed. I didn’t stick to my plan. I didn’t go away to college — hell, I’m still nowhere near that degree — I kissed (at least) a hundred frogs, have more money in my couch cushions than my savings account, and can barely keep the plant in the corner alive, let alone a child.
I had my twenty-something panic moment, AKA my quarter life crisis, and decided to make some changes. Real changes. It wasn’t a step completed overnight, but rather a long, thoughtful, and deliberate process, with multiple steps (and some missteps) that led me to this point.
I, personally, don’t know many that would say that 2017 was one of the better years on record. In all honesty, it was kind of a fucking shit show for most of us, right? I don’t know about you, but even the monumental highs I felt throughout the year, only slightly eclipsed the lows.
My year looked a little something like this:
This year, I moved away from home for the first time, into what I can only call my dream apartment. I’m not ashamed to admit that I pridefully sat and stared at my first Christmas tree for way too long, with teary eyes and A Bing Crosby Christmas on in the background. But, I was also reminded again, that I moved away from my people. My family and friends — the only life I’d ever known.
A little fish in a big pond
Mid-year, I left a job I was comfortable at, for one that terrified me. I went from a company of 15, to one of over 100,000. I needed to shake-off some dust, get the exposure and feel the thrill of a challenge. While I got all those things, I still lacked fulfillment. Ultimately, it was decided that the puzzle piece I was looking for, wasn’t this one after all. As of December 1, for the first time in a very long time, I was unemployed.
Swipe your heart out, kid
Historically, relationships (read: emotional availability) and I haven’t been a match made in heaven. You could say I have a little bit of baggage. When I moved to Seattle, I foolishly thought that I’d left those bags neatly packed away in California. When I thought I’d come across something with promise — boom, the past would repeat itself — resulting in a blazing fire. Or I’d find out they were a Gemini, same outcome. 😑
Happy hellos and painful goodbyes
Moving to a new city was difficult, but my saving grace was reconnecting with one of my best friends from high school, Brooke (Who you can meet in Episode 2 of The Offscript Podcast — Shameless self-promotion). Despite leaving my safety net back in California, I felt comforted knowing that I had a little back-up, right here in Seattle. If only I’d known how much I’d rely on Brooke, as I had to make the painful decision to face reality and close the chapters that had no way of moving forward.
A new lease on life
This year, for the first time in a very long time, I felt alive. I mentioned it during Mental Health Week, but I feel like I’m finally growing into the me I’ve been destined to be. I started therapy (which happened to be the second best decision of 2017), and made serious strides in sorting through and processing some of that baggage. I also spent more time than ever in planes traveling back and forth between Seattle and The Bay Area, and have the stacks of NyQuil boxes from the five or six man-colds I had, including the one I have now, as battle scars.
Don’t get me wrong, there was definitely more good than there was bad this year, at least on a personal level. I’m not trying to be negative. In fact, I’m trying to be the exact opposite. As of late, my outlook is to embrace the bad with the good, and learn from the lesson each experience offers. I know, first-hand, how easy it is to get sucked into a negativity vortex and only see the darkness. After a while, you even begin to subconsciously create scenarios, find the bad, or even selectively alter situations to fit the need of that hungry darkness. While it’s unhealthy, toxic and damaging on every level, it’s also a tough habit to kick.
Looking back on 2017, I see a lot of ups and downs. But overall, I see progress. While I didn’t achieve everything I set out to, I’m wrapping up the year happy, healthy (once this cold goes away), and free — and that’s what matters. I’ve learned, especially this year, that plans aren’t always meant to be followed to the letter, the detours are a part of the grand adventure, and the pressures we place on ourselves to do, or achieve, by a certain age are bullshit.
This year, the training wheels came off. And much like I did when the actual training wheels came off my bike some 20 years ago, I bitched, moaned and whined the whole time. But, in the end, the wind at my face and the complete and utter freedom, outweigh any shakiness that remains. I’m ready AF to pedal into my Eat, Pray, Love experience that is 2018, with my head high, support system cheering me on, and knee-pads and helmet at the ready to cushion the inevitable blows. Life’s a bitch, but man, she’s a beautiful one.
I look forward to our shenanigans together in the new year. This NYE and moving into 2018, be wise, be bold and for the love of God, be safe. Cheers, to you and yours! 🥂
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