Saturday, August 27, 2016

A Year In

Hey guys. Took me a million years, but I'm back.

This time last year, I was embarking on my first post-high school year. My first year as a 'real adult'. I know. Cue laughter.

Looking back on my senior year of high school, I remember how restless I was. It was like I spent the whole year feeling anxious and fidgeting. I worked a lot, and skated a lot, and dated a lot, but I had a really hard time feeling sure or stable. I do feel like I did more growing that year than almost any other, so maybe that's a part of it, but at the time it just felt like I couldn't get my feet under me.

But the restlessness of my senior year left me even more ready to move on. I came with a lot of ideas but no sure things. A year in, I have mixed feelings about how well I used this year. Part of me feels like I did a lot of running for not a lot of progress or hard results, but I also realize that I learned and grew a lot this year, and am now in such a better place to build a happy, successful, complete life.

Here's what I learned, about myself and life and work, this year.

Not going to college was the perfect decision for me. I've never really been pulled by the whole college experience/lifestyle, and I'm so happy that I didn't push myself into it based on what my peers were doing. I'm sure further education will have a role in my life at some point, but definitely not in the traditional sense. Being in the same place for four years continues to be extremely uninspiring to me, so I'm happy I listened to that.

No matter how much I work, not working will always be more stressful. I feel like I wasn't even home this year, just jumping between work and skating! I pulled some really long hours/days/weeks this year, but no matter how stressful those were, I was always unhappier and more anxious on the days/weeks when I wasn't working. Work, and progress, and moving forward keep me centered and content and help me feel in control. If I suddenly have downtime, or start to get comfortable, I immediately stress out.

Personality can open just as many doors as skill level. I worry about not being 'good enough' to go after things. But I've realized that, to get you started and open the door, our attitudes and personalities have as much to do with it as our skill level. Many people will be understanding of the fact that you're 19 and maybe don't know a lot. But they'll still be impressed if you're excited, hard working, make the first move, show up on time, prepare, and don't need to be micro-managed every second to stay productive.

Our society is screwing 20 year-olds, but you don't need to fall victim to it. I'll be 20 in December. Our society thinks that at 20, you shouldn't have to be supporting yourself. Shouldn't be thinking about marriage. Shouldn't be getting up early on Saturday mornings and sometimes, even declaring a major. But we are adults, and that's all lies. Be responsible for yourself and make good decisions, because the same people who are telling you 'not to worry about it' now, will think you're a joke when you turn 26 and haven't accomplished anything.

Money is great, but make sure it's not the only reason you're there. I'm all for being financially independent and doing what you need to do, but a job is more than a paycheck. It's where we spend most of our time, interact with people, and contribute to the world. We work because we need the money, yes, but we also need to create something, help someone, learn a skill, or at the very least, be shown we're appreciated. So whether you're an architect or a dancer or a cashier, don't put up with a toxic work environment, a stagnant career, or utter boredom.

You need friends, and walks, and stupid sitcoms, and books, and haircuts. A huge lesson from this year is learning that working for the paycheck and grinding for your dreams is fantastic, but it is not all there is to life. No matter how driven we are, we need to make time for relaxation and fun and joy. I started to cut these 'extras' because they weren't necessary. But being joyful is necessary, so now know that I need to be more diligent about making time for them on the regular.

Overall, I'm happy with who I became this year. I feel so much more level-headed, and clear on what my priorities for my life are. With September right around the corner, I'm confident in the fact that this Sophomore year of life will be filled with grit and work and hopefully, satisfaction.

Thanks for reading! xoxo

PS-Can you believe my last post was in April, guys? This summer was full, so an unintended (but, apparently, needed) break was in order. I don't know exactly what blogging will look like this year, but I am hoping that there's more of it. Thanks for sticking around!

PPS-2015 Was Quite A Year, and 2016 Will Be Quite A Year.