If you’re anything like me, you’re approaching the end of this year thinking “Goodness, what have I done with the time?” You’re wondering where the year went and if the time was well spent.
If you’re really like me, then you think you’ve wasted it…
You’ll think you spent too much time on your phone and not enough time with your family and friends. You spent too much time being fearful and not enough time taking leaps of faith in yourself. You’ve spent too much time numbing yourself with Netflix and trash TV and not enough time in the pursuit of your dreams.
But if you’re anything like me, that isn’t true.
2018 was a year of challenge for me.
I used the word “brutaful” to describe it because it was so painfully brutal that it knocked me down yet so beautiful because of the deep lessons it taught me. This time 12 months ago, I sat and thought about all the lessons I learned and how I wanted to apply them to my next 12 months.
I came up with 3 core values I wanted to live by in 2019.
Creativity, Self Love, and Balance.
Those were the core values I decided to use as my guideposts for the year. If I was ever lost or confused about a situation, these would lead me to clarity. And boy have they…
So much has happened in 2019. And despite what my very critical ego might try to suggest, the year was actually very well spent. I did a lot that I’m proud of. A lot happened that brought me peace and joy.
I QUIT MY FUCKING JOB.
I had a job that I both loved and hated. I loved the company and what I thought they stood for. I loved the people that worked there and some of the work I got to do. But I hated that I had to try so hard to prove myself and my worth while never getting anywhere. My boss was impossible to please. She had the communication abilities of a child but expectations of a drill sergeant. I wanted so badly to make the job work but it was becoming draining on me mentally, physically and spiritually.
It drained me of my energy so much so that I completely stopped doing the things that brought me joy. I let go of my morning routine, I stopped meditating, I wasn’t writing at all. All the goals and dreams I had planned for the year? It looked like they were going to stay mere scribbled words on a list that I’d never actually achieve.
During the height of this, I finished “Girl, Wash Your Face”.
Something in this book really clicked for me. I realized that the reason I was so miserable at my job was because I was choosing to stay there. I was dropping my own priorities to take on someone else’s and that was my choice. I had the ability to choose what I wanted and until that point, I wasn’t happy with the choices I was making.
I assessed how my choices lined up with my new core values and saw just how off the mark I was.
Spending all my time working or stressing about work didn’t feel balanced at all. Forcing myself to stick with a job that was crushing my spirits didn’t feel self-loving. Working on things that didn’t light me up meant that I couldn’t spend my time pursuing creativity.
This realization made me want to quit my job. So I did!
I didn’t have a new role lined up.
I had very little in my savings account to hold me afloat and absolutely NO game plan for moving forward. But I left anyway. While there was a sense of fear and uncertainty, I felt relief and excitement too. I took a leap of faith and made a decision to live in accordance with my core values. I was damn proud of myself for that.
I decided to use this FUNemployment to make up for lost time. I wanted to take a photography class. I wanted to get back in alignment with myself. I wanted to write more. I wanted to finally start my blog. So I did!
In April, my blog baby was born.
For two years, I had dreamed of starting a blog. I loved the idea of sharing my story and living so openly and authentically that it inspired others to do the same. But I was too scared to start it. I was worried that people would criticize me for my writing style, or worse, for my life choices. But I had already done something I was afraid of so why not keep the momentum up?
I kicked off Myself Out Loud.
I’m still so glad I did!
I wondered if anyone would read it – would anyone care? After sharing my first blog, I realized that I made the right choice. The number of people who reached out to share their own story with me blew me away. People reached out to say they thought my vulnerability was brave and inspiring, that my words spoke to them or evoked emotion in them.
Me. My writing. It was impacting people. I couldn’t even believe it.
The goal was to go 6 months without a real job.
During those 6 months, I wanted to spend as much time as I could working on things I felt passionate about. I’d do odd jobs like Uber, Wag, and Instacart then assess my financial situation once the 6 months were up.
With my blog baby finally out in the world, I needed to figure out how to get it off the ground. I also wanted to start life coaching classes but that was going to be tricky. I needed money for the tuition and didn’t have an income. All the money I had saved was barely enough to help me pay bills for 3 months. The money I’d get from any part-time work would need to be spent toward necessities. Coming up with the funds for this seemed impossible.
I sat down and asked the universe for $2,500 extra dollars.
Those extra funds would be all I needed to start the Life Coaching accreditation process. I meditated on it daily and while absolutely zero income was flowing in, I had a feeling that one way or another, the universe would provide for me. Somehow, that money would show up and I’d be able to start classes.
Then I got an email from a guy I’d never met.
He said he found my resume in his system and wanted to interview me for an opening on his team while he was in town for the next couple of days.
I didn’t understand how my resume was in his system though. I hadn’t applied for any jobs in several months and even then, I only sent out 4 applications. I looked up the company and read through the role. It seemed like a good opportunity. While I didn’t want a job, I thought that it couldn’t hurt to see what this was all about.
The next day I went on the interview. I didn’t prepare for it at all – I didn’t even bring copies of my resume. I showed up with one goal in mind, I wanted to interview them. That’s all.
The interview went really well. He brought other people in to chat with me too. Those spontaneous interviews also went well. I liked everyone I was meeting and what I was hearing about the company. When it was all said and done, I knew I’d be getting a job offer soon.
I went to my car and cried.
Who cries because they’re going to get a job? Me, I guess.
It had only been a month since I left my job, I wasn’t ready to go back to work. I had just gotten out of a bad work situation and was worried about going back into a new one. Plus, if I took this job, how would I make time to keep working toward my own goals? Experience taught me that having a job meant that I’d get no time for myself.
But I also needed money.
I knew that I’d be able to get by without a real job for a while, but how long would that be? I still had bills to pay and a relationship to contribute to. I needed an income.
I decided that I’d only take the offer if they offered the pay I wanted.
The offer came through, and it was less than the amount I had set in my mind. I told the hiring manager what I wanted and why then left it at that. I felt at peace with the possibility that he’d turn me away. Instead, he came back and matched my requirements. Crap!
I wondered if I was being tested.
Was the universe checking in to see how committed I was to pursuing my passions? If that was the case, should I turn down this job? Or was the universe tossing me a lifeline by providing a job when I had zero income?
I went back and forth on it for a while and in the end, I decided to take the job. This one came to me so easily. I didn’t even try for it yet here it was. To turn it down seemed silly and selfish.
If I was being tested to see how committed I was to pursuing my passions, then I’d have to pass that test by committing my nights and weekends to them. This would also mean I’d have an opportunity to live a more balanced life – one of my core values for the year.
As it turns out, I made the right choice.
The job has been great! I get to work with really laid back people that I admire a lot. They expect me to do a good job and that’s it. They don’t have wild expectations that stress me out or make me lose sleep at night. It offers the kind of flexibility I need to devote my nights and weekends to my passion projects.
On top of that, 3 months in, I got a pretty sweet bump in my income! This increase meant that I was now making more than I ever had before and that I would be able to pay for life coaching classes with no stress to my financial situation or peace of mind. I had asked for an extra $2,500. The universe gave me far more.
With funds in hand and no excuses left, I needed to sign up for Life Coaching classes. So I did!
Signing up for Life Coaching classes gave me heart palpitations.
And not in a good way.
The idea that I could create a career out of talking to people about their life’s goals and struggles seemed unrealistic to me. Other people could do it, but me, I’m a joke. I couldn’t succeed at that so what was the point in trying? I’d waste my time and my money while bruising my ego too.
Those were the thoughts running through my head as I signed the contract to start classes.
Though I was nervous and felt silly attempting this endeavor, I’m confident that I made the right choice. Taking classes has forced me to step out of my comfort zone which I likely would not have done otherwise.
As part of the certification program, I’ve had to take on 3 practice clients which has been beyond rewarding. I get excited to hop on video calls with these ladies, chat through the hard stuff, set plans for the future and watch them take steps toward growth. Their gratitude for working with me is more than anything I could have asked for. Taking this step has shown me that maybe I really am capable of turning this passion into my purpose.
And the biggest highlight of 2019? I got Engaged!
Yes, we’ve been together for 11 years. And yes, this is still incredibly exciting for me. What might not be as apparent is the reason why this is so exciting.
Growing up, I was never the girl that thought of marriage.
While other girls were making their barbies get married, mine were playing in mud baths. I never dreamed of my big day and as an adult, I dismissed marriage as an option for me.
If I’m being really honest, I think the reason I was so put off by the idea of marriage was two-fold. Not only did I come from a broken home, but I also didn’t have a lot of love for myself. Most of my life, I felt the need to stay quiet and small – I hid such a significant part of me from the world too. If I couldn’t love all of me, how would anyone else? With self-love lacking, I didn’t think I was worthy of receiving love from others.
But then I stopped quieting my voice. I stopped playing small. I started to show people who I really was – all of me, not just the parts I felt safe showing. In doing that, I found love for myself. In 2019, I practiced self-love so much so that I really felt it. I also felt worthy and deserving of external love too so when the time came for someone to ask for my hand in marriage, I wanted to say yes. So I did!
Yes, a lot happened in 2019.
My very critical ego might step in and say “you should have done more” but when I really sit back and think of what I’ve accomplished this year, I have a lot to be proud of. So much has happened and I’ve done so many things I thought I’d never have the courage to do. I decided to focus on 3 key areas important to me and use them as my guiding lights. In doing so, I feel like life has gone from “brutaful” to plain old beautiful and I couldn’t be more thankful.
So if you’re like me and feel a lack of progress in your year, stop and take inventory of all that occurred. Look through your calendar, your facebook and Instagram posts, and even text messages. What happened that brought you happiness and excitement? What did you accomplish?
Remember, we only have so many 12 month blocks in our life. Not each new year is promised to us. And just because you start one doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to finish it. Our time in this life is limited so work with what you’ve got and do your best to reach your goals. Then, give yourself credit for all that unfolds. Chances are you’re doing more with your time than you think.