You know, they’re really aren’t lying when they say time goes faster as you age…I’m not naive to the fact that I’m merely 29 and have a lot of miles left in this tank (God willing), but the days, weeks, months and years certainly move a lot faster than they did when I was an adolescent. That’s one of life’s many cruel tricks, don’t you think? When you’re in school you’re eagerly awaiting the next recess or summer break, chomping at the bit to graduate from one grade to the next, but then you do and quickly find yourself finished with school forever, wishing that cruel trick of time manipulation would come back and rear its ugly head in your life just once more. I promise I won’t dare complain about time moving too slowly ever again. I promise!
Sadly, I haven’t quite conquered the whole time manipulation thing just yet, which is precisely how I’ve found myself sitting here realizing it’s been over six months since I left Corporate America...
I’ll be honest, I don’t love the seemingly harsh realization that it’s been six months. Six months feels like a loooong time and yet I don’t know that I have a lot to show for it. Or more accurately, enough, to show for it, by my standards at least. Perhaps from the outside looking in it seems quite the opposite, but to me I struggle to clearly articulate the things I’ve accomplished in that timeframe. In half a YEAR! Sure I visited Portugal for a month, celebrated the holidays with my family and my partner’s, read some books, worked out, learned some new crochet patterns, opened an online store, did some top secret behind the scenes work on an upcoming launch (more to come on that one soon!), but surely there must be more?!? It’s been SIX MONTHS!
Okay, okay, I may be going just a wee bit hard on myself and the truth of the matter is I genuinely feel more busy since leaving my job. I feel busier than I did when I was stuck at a computer, managing my inbox and work deliverables for 9+ hours a day. But how?! Personally, I chalk it up to filling my day with things that I actually want to do and pursue. Each night before bed I set out an agenda with accompanying to-do list for the following day. My minutes and hours are booked and busy! If I have downtime for whatever reason, there’s a laundry list of things I want to accomplish that can very quickly step up to the plate and fill the gap. I feel busier but I feel more fulfilled. I feel busier but simultaneously more free. I feel busier but inexplicably happier...
And while all of the above is true, I won’t lie, every day is different. Some days are easier than others. Some days I feel more motivated to get after that never-ending to-do list - I mean seriously, how does it keep growing?!?! - and some days I feel like I don’t have the capacity to respond to emails let alone work on my business. And you know what? That’s okay. I’m learning to let it be okay. To let those good, bad, in-between and all the way around moments be okay. They’re all part of the patchwork of days, weeks and months that make up my life now. One of the biggest reasons I wanted to pursue life as a solopreneur was FREEDOM and in that desire for more freedom in my life is the realization that each day in fact does look completely different. But that’s exactly what I wanted. That’s the life I desired (and still do!).
So, in an effort to encourage myself to be better about actively reflecting on this new and different journey, I decided to sit down and write about it. The first six months that is. I really do need to be better about excavating the words rooted deeply in my subconscious and allowing them to flow onto the page. I reflect on it all too often but not often enough with you, not enough outside myself, which I know is where all the true work and progress happens. I know this journey is likely perceived by others in a variety of ways - some good and perhaps even some bad - but I know how much value I’ve gained during this somewhat tumultuous time in my life from others sharing how they’re navigating a similar process. Others who have been so open and transparent about the good, the bad and the ugly and have thus created an environment and a space for individuals, like myself, to feel, well, not alone through it all. And I also recognize that my journey has its own unique point of view and nuances as well. So perhaps I can be that person for YOU. That person who seems to be on the stage in a completely empty theater speaking directly to YOU, you seated under the one glowing stage light beaming directly on your face. Perhaps I’m your person?!
And for that I say, if this blog post speaks to at least one of you sitting there reading it, contemplating taking a similar step for yourself, then I’ve done my job. If it makes you reflect, ask yourself new and perhaps challenging questions about your own life, your purpose and your path, then I’ve done my job. That my friends is what it’s all about for me. What the Almost Fabulous Me community was established to do - create a safe space for community building that encourages others to have open and honest dialogue with themselves and each other about life’s trials and tribulations. I know I can be better about putting this into practice myself so today I make that promise to you. Will you make that promise to me??
Okay, pinky promises established, let’s get into it! You’re probably thinking, ‘wait, there’s more?!’ Yes, friends, buckle up because I’m about to dive into what I’ve learned in the six months since leaving Corporate America…
Friendship is a two-way street. Don’t spend effort or energy on anyone who won’t do the same for you. This one really started for me the moment I left LA but it’s been validated as a result of leaving not only LA but my job as well. If people value you and your friendship, they’ll act accordingly.
I love being and working by myself. It’s funny I was speaking with a friend recently who shared her realization that she craves a team environment when it comes to work. As she shared her own realization with me I was struck by the opposite realization for myself. I genuinely enjoy working by myself. Not to say I don’t like working on a team nor will I ever want to work on one again, but as of right now, I’m happiest working in my own company.
Most of us are so married to the company we work for or the title we carry. Why is that? Do you really want to be known as “Jane Doe who works for [Insert Big Fancy Shmancy Company here].” I know I don’t. Well my name’s not Jane Doe for starters so that would just be weird, but you catch my drift.
I want to feel confident when explaining to others what I do ‘for a living.’ But to be fair, I’m still defining that…As someone who thinks our careers hold too much power over our definition as humans, I still struggle answering this question. Because the reality is, it comes up. It’s one of the first things we ask new acquaintances. I don’t have confidence when answering this question now, but I will. I’m building it. I’m building that back up after having the crutch of working for a flashy company for so long.
“Work” doesn’t always have to equal doing something that makes money. I “work” a lot of hours each day but I’m not always making money doing so. In fact I rarely am (right now at least). Why does that make my work any less meaningful or impactful than others who receive a regular paycheck?
I am brave. The amount of times I’ve heard this from friends and family who have seen me take the leap…Me? BRAVE?? As a naturally risk averse person I’ve found myself struggling to accept this adjective to describe myself and my decision to leave Corporate America. But you know what, I am brave. I can do hard, scary, seemingly insurmountable things.
My journey is inspiring others. Even if they may not take the time to reach out and say so. I’m making a difference. The world we live in can be very isolating. Social media can leave us feeling particularly lonely if we’re not getting all the likes or comments that we see others throwing out so freely. However, when I’ve had real, in person conversation, I’m reminded of the things people say and think behind closed doors but perhaps don’t take the time to verbalize either via social media, text or phone call. Others take notice of what I’m doing. Others are inspired by what I’m doing.
Mental health plays such an important and powerful role in how we physically show up. I could probably do a whole separate blog post on this one and maybe I will some time, but I am more confident in how I look physically than I have been in a LONG time. When I was at my job I was doing everything right on paper - eating well, exercising regularly, prioritizing sleep - but I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted to see. I was so consumed by losing weight and fitting into my clothes better that it occupied way too much of my headspace. Ever since I started putting more time and energy into myself and less into the stress of work, I started seeing changes in my face, my body, and the best part is, I genuinely don’t think about how I look. At least not as often as I once did and certainly not in a negative light.
As Americans, we spend way too much time working and not enough time living. We spend more time working than probably any other activity. Certainly more than we spend time with our family or friends. And in fact, the effects of work often bleed into our family and friend time. It’s too much, in my humble opinion. I don’t know about you but that’s not what life’s about to me.
Life is short and so incredibly precious. If we know from extensive research that the regrets of those in their final hours on earth are working too much, taking life too seriously, not taking enough risks, why don’t we make those changes in our own lives while we still can?
I need to take my own advice. How easily I recommend to undergraduates to try new things, say yes, immerse themselves in more experiences, but am I really putting that into practice in my own life? Note to self: take own advice - you give good advice!
I’m my own worst enemy. Ever heard of ‘analysis paralysis?’ Oooo buddy am I a chronic sufferer. Couple this with my naturally perfectionist nature and sadly I can take myself out of the game before I’ve even had a chance to suit up. The first step is awareness, right? It’s a work in progress…
Growing Pains. This one’s a doozy. I left Corporate America and my ‘title’ behind and suddenly find myself scrutinizing my closet, my makeup routine, my skincare, everything! Add to the fire the fact that I’m entering a new decade of life this year and we’ve got a recipe for a full blown identity crisis!
I want to be known for being a good and kind person. Someone who makes others feel seen and heard. The reality is that can be accomplished no matter where I work or what I do for a living. In fact what I do for a living has no weight on that matter. It’s irrelevant. What matters is what kind of human I am.
I’m challenged by stillness. I’m still figuring out what this means and its implications. I’m not sure I want to nor find the need to change this but perhaps just want to be more aware of it. Aware that rest is necessary for progress too.
Travel is a crucial part of my identity. It unlocks new levels of creativity and joy for me. It’s the perfect way to reset my nervous system, step away from a place or situation and return with a fresh set of eyes. Having the freedom to travel when I want without having to check in with a ‘boss’ or input an official request is a game changer.
I am a creative. Exploring the depth of my creativity is an ongoing journey but I need to practice listening to that creative desire within more often. There are days I feel like painting, drawing, coloring, making something. I need to practice listening to my intuition and leaning into those creative practices I’m not as comfortable or familiar with.
I’m happiest when I’m trying new things - new restaurants, bars, experiences, etc. - and sharing that with my community. Being able to do that whenever I want, now that’s a new level of happiness.
When we take that first step into our purpose and true power, the Universe will conspire to validate us and our decision. The CRAZIEST things have happened to me since leaving Corporate America (more on that later), all of which I’ve interpreted as signs of validation. Signs that I am in fact moving in the direction of my greater purpose on this planet. The Universe has given me signs completely out of the blue without any seeking on my part, signs that have reinforced I am doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.
Things I do not miss from Corporate America - the politics of it all; meetings; phone calls; feeling the need to constantly ‘sell’ myself and my work; the need to define my career path and goals clearly and communicate them to anyone and everyone; a lack of work/life balance; juggling numerous personalities and team dynamics; Sunday Scaries; losing myself; feeling depleted...
Things I’m grateful for in my present life as a solopreneur - ability to work from home (or anywhere for that matter); having lunch with my partner every day; building my own schedule; freedom, freedom, FREEDOM; my self-discovery journey; finding myself again; spending all day every day with my dog; renewed sense of energy, motivation and joy. So. Much. Joy.
This is a post that has quickly turned into more of a novel than I anticipated so I’m going to stop myself while I’m ahead, but hopefully some element of this self-reflection spoke to you. As you can see, I’m still figuring a lot of it out. And I mean a LOT. As I mentioned earlier, I want to be vulnerable and transparent with you in the hopes that you can see some element of yourself in the words I share. I hope that you identify with something spoken about above and if you do and need or want someone to talk to about it, please know my line is always open.