Each day I wake up and realize I’m getting older. I know it might not seem that old to everyone, but 25 is just around the corner for me. This marks it my fourth year out of college and living in Dallas. I’m not quite where I thought I would be at 24 and 5/6ths (or whatever it technically is).
I’m sitting on my couch in leggings, no bra, barefoot and my boyfriend’s t-shirt, writing a blog post… at 3:30pm in the afternoon on a Wednesday.
REAL ALSO: MENTAL HEALTH, MID 20s ADVICE, ACCOUNTABILITY
Sounds like a dream, right? Doing my own thing, on my own time, not giving a damn. It’s not quite as dreamy as it looks when you peel back the layers.
Goals & Being One Step Ahead
I’ve always had to be ahead of the crowd, and I thank my mom for that. I was doing middle school as a 5th grader because she decided to teach me years worth of lessons in a week at home.
I knew from a young age that I had big dreams. I worked my a$$ off to reach them and to stay ahead of my peers. I started interning in high school, helping me land a big internship out in LA at 19. I finished TCU in 3 short years with a half a dozen internships under my belt, numerous career ideas, professional and personal relationships and a tank full of ambition.
Slacking was not my speciality. Even though my career path evolved, I always knew how important it was to be the best at what I did and to give well over 100%.
Post Grad Career
I graduated college and fell into a rut. My job wasn’t as challenging as I thought it would be, but that opened other doors for me. I was able to work on my personal brand and learning the streets of Dallas. I had time to research upcoming trends in the digital world. I had a fantastic work-life balance.
My slow period didn’t last long as I started my second job just 5 months after graduating TCU. This job was polar opposite. I was busy 24/7, often truly working around the clock and being thankful if I left the office by 8pm. I was forced to perfect skills that I had previously had time to slowly develop. The name of the game was work and my personal life didn’t have a role in this game.
Now this, this is what I had dreamed of my whole life. Until I got burned out after 2+ years of putting my career before my life.
Switching gears, I went to my third job. Wow. Three jobs and three years of post grad life. Can’t say I expected this one. Unfortunately the switch worsened my work life balance. My environment wasn’t positive and I would leave the office beaten down. I had tons of work to do, but felt no pride and sense of accomplishment for doing projects. I was losing my passion all together.
Music came a calling. I needed it back in my life. I missed it. I craved it. I took a risk and quit my safe, salaried, not amazing, full-time gig. Well, kind of, I went to contract and worked part-time while on the road.
No regrets for taking a risk, but the tour wasn’t leading me anywhere after a month on the road. So I was back home, with a part-time job, unaware if it would be permanent or if I’d be on my ass in a few weeks.
Landing On My Feet
Months went by and I was truly getting things figured out. Job three, lots of new freelance clients all in areas that peaked my interest, a blog that started making money… it was great. I was able to balance work and social life. I was teaching myself new things and constantly trying to learn. Don’t get me wrong, I had the occasional break down wondering if I should be working for myself at 24 or try to find a new job to climb a corporate ladder for. But my passion and drive was winning that internal battle.
After seemingly figuring life out again, I was back to square one, or so. Job three pulled in someone, out of the blue, to become their new full-time team member. No notice, no signs, my contract was ending and passwords had changed. Balancing multiple freelance clients and my blog, making a living while having a flexible schedule, it all fell apart before my eyes. I broke down. I felt lost and alone… and like a failure.
I took risks and I didn’t come out on top. I tried to do something for me and landed flat on my face. Everyone was going to see me as a failure and I had failed myself.
Where Do I Go From Here
Failure isn’t an option. Defeat isn’t in my vocabulary. At the end of day, I know that I’m stronger and more prepared for this string of events than I sometimes give myself credit for.
My mom raised me to chase my dreams, but be realistic and smart.
Because of that, I’ve got a savings account. I’ve prepared my whole life to take a risk and have something to fall onto.
Because of that, I have surrounded myself by people who believe in me and support me. I have people who are networking on my behalf, who want me to work with their friends or favorite local shops.
Because of that, I know what my strengths are and what my weaknesses are. I find people who I can help and that can help me.
At the end of the day, sure, I’m in a limbo stage, but I have no doubt that I won’t be able to navigate the maze and figure out where I am meant to be and what I’m meant to be doing.
And right now, at 3:30 on a Wednesday, I am meant to be sitting here, talking to that confused 15-year-old who doesn’t know what they want to be when they grow up. That 20-year-old who has changed their major 3 times already. That 40-year-old who is going back to work for the first time. That person, who thought they had things figured out and well planned, but had a rude awakening.
It will all be okay. We’ll all make it where we’re supposed to be. Promise me you won’t give up, not now, not ever… and I promise to do the same.