A Forever of Sorts

I am in a forever of sorts. About eight months out of college, and six months in to my first full-time job.

Boy, what a crazy six months it has been. I have a wide variety of responsibility. And most of the people I’m managing are twice my age. Sometimes I find myself thinking, I’m still just a kid, how do I handle this…. I know it’s truly great experience for whatever path I choose to follow in the future. Whether to stay with this company, go back for an MBA, or pursue a new opportunity, I’m going to be better prepared because of this experience.

One of the toughest parts of the job is the long hours it requires. I work over 50 hours, every week. Is that what I want? No, but I try to justify to myself, saying my first few years out of college, I’ll put in the extra time, to put myself ahead the extra mile.

The long hours are tough for two reasons – there is still so much I want to do, places I want to see, things I want to accomplish on a personal level, that have nothing to do with my career. I wish I had time in the morning to read the news. I wish I could add another hobby or two to my schedule. I wish I could see my family more regularly. I’m trying to intermittently fit these things into my life, but I’ve signed so much of time away, to belong to someone else.

The other tough part, is that it starts to consume your identity. I found that I had to pause, and remind myself of who I was before I began work. Of who matters to me outside of work, of what I had done, how I define myself, before this place and these tasks and people were ever a part of my life. You will eventually move on and leave these people. You cannot let yourself be consumed in the crazy.

I remind myself, there will be highs and lows to every job. A lot of days, I feel as though this position is a great fit for both my personality and strengths. Other days I feel overwhelmed.

Besides work, the biggest adjustment to leaving college is the way it changes your relationships. You don’t live within two blocks of everyone you’re close to anymore… I honestly have a hard time keeping up on a consistent basis with most of my friends, something that had always been such an integral part of my identity. I’ve had to realize, that I’m not becoming a worse friend… Life is changing for all of us, and we have to find ways to appreciate the time we do still find together, as it’s scarcer. The group of people you talk to on a daily basis may be smaller, but it doesn’t mean those relationships have to be less fulfilling. Different is not worse.

I tried this year to stand up for myself like I’ve never done before within a relationship. I have a tendency of staying with someone until I’m so heart broken, and have such a laundry list of things that have hurt me, I’m absolutely positive it cannot work out. This time, he hadn’t necessarily done anything wrong. I just knew there were facets about who he was, that was not what I was looking for long-term. And while I had been unsure of my feelings in the beginning, I knew I was falling harder, but those things that just weren’t what I was looking for, were not going to change. So I ended it, even though I still cared, even though I still had so much fun with him. For a long time, I didn’t get why I was so upset, until a friend finally said to me – “You know why it’s so hard, don’t you? Why you’re so upset? You broke your own heart. You still cared, but you knew it wasn’t right. So you decided to let it go. You broke your own heart.”

He was so uniquely himself. I missed him so much, I began doubting everything that I was standing up for when I broke up with him.

2016, like any other year, has been a year of ups and downs. That break up was a low, running my first marathon was an extreme high, the west coast trip of a lifetime was phenomenal, work has been everything in between. But there will always be something, won’t there? Something you’re looking forward to, something you’re wrestling with, something that is changing. Life will never be settled; it will never be perfect.

So, with all the transition of 2016 and the thoughts it brought with, this is my 2017 resolution – to live by the quote: “You are far too smart to be the only thing standing in your way.”

Whether it be at work, in love, in relation to anyone or thing else I care deeply about, I will not be the force holding myself back from greatness. I am done with self doubt and insecurity. My 2017 resolution is to develop a sense of confidence and a sense of self that transcends daily life. A sense of self I can rely on to give me perspective as to what problems warrant frustration or fear, where I should invest my time and money, and confidence to handle whatever I am tossed into with grace.

The true question, is how do you do this?

Here is what I’m going to focus on in 2017 to help me get there:

  1. Wholehearted reliance on God as my constant, my savior. God, I need your help keeping you as the King of my life. I am selfish, I have a tendency to run. I know you are most high and king of all, I just ask for your grace and help in loving you, and serving you, the way I should.
  2. Not expecting perfection from myself. Remember, that humor and resiliency can generally bridge any gap where you may fall short.
  3. Travel as often as you can. Chicago, Spain, a hiking trip, a mission trip… Do not just go to see. Truly take in how big the world is, and how small you are.
  4. Skills that make me a more interesting person. Specifically for 2017, I want to try consistent yoga, reading more books, and practicing my Spanish more. For the rest of life, I also want to try photography, skiing, hiking, and guitar.
  5. Focus on your wellness. This makes all the difference. Run another marathon. Complete Kayla. Find another strength program you love. Do not sacrifice this time for yourself.
  6. Find time to volunteer on a monthly basis. You have so many amazing causes, organizations, and resources to tap into in Columbus 🙂
  7. At work – work hard, do your best, blow them away, and then rest. Do it all over again. Not perfection, but resilience. You’re still so new to your career, devote yourself to learning more and becoming a bad ass, but remember your outside identity, as well.
  8. Practice being more present in conversations. Be intrigued, be personable and share about yourself. Be compassionate. People are oceans. Dive deep.
  9. Keep up with the world around you. Find time for the news and your family and your neighbors and their problems and the problems of people you’ve never met before.
  10. Continue to love too much, to be vulnerable and open and expressive, and to never let the world dull your zest. Be wild and silly. Believe in the beauty that exists, even on the gray and gloomy days. You can always be the light that inspires another.
  11. Become an outdoors(wo)men, picking adventure over materialistic purchases, and spending time in the sunshine. Opt outside 🙂

This is what I will focus on while I know what the next year will hold. I say I’m in a forever of sorts, because I try and remind myself – should I find myself unhappy beyond repair of a long nap or a day off from work, I’m only ever one decision away from changing my entire life. This phase will continue into the foreseeable future as long as I want it to, but that’s the thing – only for as long as I want it to. I am the master of my fate. And the key, no matter what new environment, challenge, or situation is at hand, is in first and foremost trusting God to guide my hand, and in carrying a strong sense of who He made me to be while navigating ups and downs. No matter what forever I find myself in, I hope my 2017 resolution will follow me throughout the rest of my life.

What will be the next forever? Only time will tell……