Category Archives: dreams

Hello, 2011

The new year is upon us, my friends. It seems like just hours ago that I was bidding farewell to 2009, and here I am doing the same exact thing to 2010.

New Year’s has always held a bittersweet feeling for me. It’s kind of like straddling two different chapters of your life in only one night. It reminds me of standing at the state line, one of my feet in Pennsylvania while the other one rests in New York.

2010 was a pivotal year for me. Friendships were made and broken. I lost a very close friend to a deadly illness. I lost my job and moved back home. I went to Europe and also started freelancing full time.

I feel like 2011 is going to be infinitely cooler than 2010. This time last year all I wanted to do was leave the country. I still want to travel and see the world, but my resolution for 2011 is simply to be okay. I want to become at peace with myself and accept myself for who I am, regardless of what I have or what I lack.

What’re your resolutions? What do you hope 2011 holds?

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Famous people who died at 27

– Kurt Cobain – Lead singer of Nirvana
– Jim Morrison – Lead singer of The Doors
– Janis Joplin -Musician
– Jimi Hendrix – Musician
– Jonathan Brandis – Actor
The Elephant Man – Side show performer
I just turned 27 two days ago. It’s an odd age. You’re officially in your late 20’s. There aren’t really any other mile stones anymore until 65. You’re old enough to enlist in the army. You’re old enough to drink in bars. You’re old enough to rent a car. So really, all you’re waiting for now is to turn 65 so that you can start collecting social security.
I don’t really feel that much older. In fact, I still feel super young, and lost, and vulnerable. I thought I’d be well into a full time career by now when in reality, I think I’m just beginning again.
Where do I go from here? Am I too old to just drop everything and travel now? Should my priorities start changing?  Am I going to start feeling a pit in my gut everytime I walk past a Baby Gap?
I don’t know. Life is so weird and great and unexpected. It’s scary and it sucks and I’m still learning to take its punches like a champ.
I got a new apartment in the city. I’m officially out of my parents’ house again though I hardly feel like I’m leaving the nest for a second time.
I don’t think I quite know how to build my own yet…

Gen Y: the rich generation?

Remember that post where I compared Generation Y to Peter Pan’s Lost Boys? Well, I don’t think that I was entirely correct with that analogy.

Last week, I had the luxury of sitting down with a couple of my close friends who I haven’t seen in awhile. The conversation naturally turned to jobs and job losses. We all agreed that it was a difficult time for people in their twenties who were just starting out in the work force. We also all agreed that it was a tough blow to lose your job right before your career had even taken off.

Before I was laid-off, I thought 9 to 5ers were the end all, be all of jobs. I considered myself lucky to be slaving away at a job I disliked for 40 hours a week to make ends meet. I never even considered the possibility of doing anything else.

Being let go from your full time, 40 hour a week gig is not the end of the world. I think that I was wrong in calling Gen Y the “Lost Generation.” Yes, a lot of us are getting a slow start in the work force because of the rigid economy. But on the other side of the coin, there are tons of us forging our own unique career paths. Thanks to the Internet, we have become our own bosses. We have created our own companies and are thriving.

I’ve been supporting myself solely by writing for the past month now. The real test is when I move out of my parent’s house and back into the city, which could possibly happen as soon as next week. The thought of paying bills again and re-entering the real world, not as a full time career gal, but as a freelance writer, horrifies me.

You can never take the scary completely out of life. Even if I were to get another full time job, there are no guarantees that I would keep that job for the rest of my life. I could be laid off again at anytime.

So really, it’s all just a big experiment. You make choices, take risks, evaluate the consequences, and follow the road that gives you joy. Life is all about flux. We could become rich. We could end up poor. I could either succeed greatly at this freelancing thing, or I could go nowhere at all with it. But at least I have a “where” to go to.

You’ve come a long way, baby

It has been two months since I was laid-off from my full time job. And yanno what? I couldn’t be happier.

At first, I felt like my life had broken. For years, I had defined myself solely by a job that I hated. I was my title. Waking up in the morning and not being expected to be anywhere or do anything was crushing. I had this overwhelming fear that I was now rendered useless, that I should be shipped off to the Island of Broken Toys.

After several weeks of throwing relentless pity-parties for myself, surfing Monster.com for job listings ten hours a day, and consuming large amounts of pie and beer, I just stopped. I just suddenly stopped. This was not working. It was time to try and take a new route.

I started applying for freelance writing jobs. I applied for everything, regardless of how ridiculous the assignment was. The offers started rolling in. In the past month alone, I’ve written articles about cooking classes, casinos, fires, local businesses, co-ops, musicians, and dating. I’ve realized that I can support myself by freelance writing.

It’s about living your life on your own terms. Your job does not own you. If you hate it, you have the option of quitting at any time. Yes, there will be risks and consequences involved, and you have to weigh each one of them equally, but the choice is still there.

I am starting a new and unsteady chapter of my life. I am striving for happiness and fulfillment. I want to enjoy this time and explore all of my options. There is no room for settling.

Adios, 2009

So in less than a week, 2009 will be over and we will be ringing in the new year. It blows my mind to see how fast this year went by. It seems like just last week I was at the Electric Factory watching Gogol Bordello with my then-boyfriend, drinking my ninth Miller Lite and reminiscing about 2008. I vividly remember that the guy  in front of me was so blitzed that he had trouble standing up and was leaning his haunches into me. I said something nasty to him just before the clock turned midnight and he called me a bitch and that whole situation set the tone for my 2009.

As a whole, the year was one of huge awakening for me. I got my first real big-girl job at the newspaper, I broke up with my live-in boyfriend, and I began slowly discovering what I will and will not tolerate in relationships and friendships. I started setting boundaries for myself, drawing lines in the sand that I expect some people to never, ever cross. In 2009, I began growing up. 

I think that I will remember this year as a year of transition. It was a quiet transition, but a colossal one as well. I didn’t suffer from any serious illness or had anybody close to me die. In fact, no huge tragedy occurred in my life. But I began realizing certain things. I started seeing for the first time what I really wanted out of life and what sacrifices I’d have to make in order to achieve my dreams.

2009 taught me to be my own hero. For so long I have heavily relied on others to provide me with happiness. I never knew that self-gratitude could come from within. People change, relationships fall apart, but I would always be able to depend upon myself. I didn’t need a boyfriend or a single serving of Jesus Christ to rescue me. I could do it myself. I had a job, a car, and a solid foundation that told me what was right and wrong at a very early age. I didn’t need anybody to wipe my ass or leave a trail of breadcrumbs. 

I laid the groundwork for my dreams this year. I have a blueprint of what I want out of my life and what it’ll take in order for me to succeed. I think 2010 is a good year to be like, “YO. It’s go time!”

Dream big.

When I was three or four years old, I told my mother that I wanted to be a piece of cheese when I grew up. In fourth grade, my occupational goals became a little bit more realistic and I realized that I wanted to be a marine biologist and a movie star. 

My indecisiveness followed me to college where I originally enrolled as a philosophy major. In my junior year, I transfered schools and changed majors, thus causing me to join the ranks of the thousands of other kids my age who were on the five-year-plan. 

Now, as a young adult, I honestly have no idea what I want to be when I grow up. I do know that I want to write, but I don’t know how to incorporate that passion into a work environment that doesn’t involve sitting in front of a computer for 40 hours a week. 

Recently, it seems, that more people in my immediate circle are risking it all to follow their dreams. I know of at least two people who have quit their well-paying media jobs in the last three months to pursue a career in the fashion industry. They’re selling their handmade clothing and jewelry online  and waitressing on the side to support themselves. 

Before rent and credit card debt and the need for health insurance, my plans for myself did not include Excel spreadsheets and multiple freelance and bartending gigs to help pay the bills. I wanted to change the world, or at least make it a better place. I wanted to travel. At one point, I wanted to own another horse and live in a loft above a barn. I still have exceedingly high expectations for myself, but now-a-days, my dreams seem to be on the back-burner. And I’m not just talking about putting them on hold for weeks or even months, I’m speaking in terms of years. Somewhere amidst the clutter of growing up, I’ve forgotten who I am and what is important to me.

One of the things I was taught in college that has stuck with me throughout the years is a term called eudemonia. It’s a state of living at your most authentic self, a way of flourishing across a lifetime. A person finds out exactly it is that drives them and uses their passions to create a kind of personal velocity. This is the only formula I think there is to leading a happy, fulfilled life. Forget about money, or status, or designer handbags. Find out what moves you and then focus in on that. Whether it be writing, or art, or math, or pasting dead bugs under glass frames, do whatever it is that you love to do. And do it well.