For the past decade I was trying to become more responsible, more impressive, more professional, more adult, all while becoming less and less like me.
As cliché as it sounds, I am finding myself again. I’m rediscovering parts of my life that were neglected for years. It had been too long since I had a heart to heart with a friend or revisited poems written during that summer of 2009. For the past decade I was trying to become more responsible, more impressive, more professional, more adult, all while becoming less and less like me.
Once the weight of those expectations lifted, instead of feeling empty or lost, I felt free. The place where anxiety and frustration once was, cleared away, and wonderful things rose up to fill that space. Friends that I lost touch with over the years came back into my life. Old stories sitting on shelves were read again with fresh eyes. Those half-done projects around the house finally finished.
This time has been fertile ground for pondering questions long ignored and discovering joys long forgotten. Now I finally have the freedom to tend to those parts, some overgrown with weeds and others needing just a little sunshine to flourish again.
What areas of your life need a little more TLC these days?
This simple practice helps me persevere on this uncharted path and remain open to the possibilities that lie ahead.
After I left my job, I decided to approach day-to-day living in a slightly different way. Since I no longer had a set schedule, I wanted to create a structure, a kind of psychological safety net to catch me on those bad days. I needed a line of defense to surmount those feelings of indecision and doubt that inevitably arise when we venture outside our comfort zones.
I begin each morning by writing down three things I want to achieve for the day. There is no limit to what goes on this list. It can be searching for a job or as prosaic as calling mom and trimming the plants.
Tuesday might look something like this:
1. Update resume.
2. Write article.
3. Buy birthday gift.
During this time of transition when my next steps are still hazy, I can rest in the fact that at least those three things got done. This simple practice helps me to persevere on this uncharted path and remain open to the possibilities that lie ahead. To keep going in spite of those internal voices, “You’re stupid to think you have anything worthwhile to say”; “Just get a real job”; “You don’t have what it takes.” To push past insecurity and fear. To keep at it, day by day, three things at a time.
P.S. Rebecca’s also a believer in the “three things” philosophy. Check out her good thoughts here.
It wasn’t a matter of whether she would be a princess, an astronaut, a president, a boy in the country; it was simply a matter of when.
As a child this poet believed she could experience it all. It wasn’t a matter of whether she would be a princess, an astronaut, a president, a boy in the country; it was simply a matter of when. I wonder how many of us still hold this belief deep down, even subconsciously. Throughout my life I took this for granted. My parents and teachers would say, “You can be anything you want to be.”
For a long time, I shied away from committing to anything because I wanted this statement to hold true. As a young girl I was filled with idealism for the future, basking in countless manifestations of my “potential.” I imagined what it would be like to marry long lists of different boys. I imagined all the ways I would change the world and all the shiny awards I might get to put on my mantel. I also imagined having a mantel.
Despite these grand daydreams, I think ultimately what was underneath it all was fear. Fear of actually going after that specific thing I wanted whether it was to share a story in class or talk to the guy I had a crush on in 4th period or simply to say out loud, “Here’s the thing I want to do.” Those things might be small like “I actually want to go see that movie instead” or bigger things like “Actually, I want to write poems for a living.”
At a certain point, all those things I wasn’t saying or doing piled up and I realized maybe, theoretically, I can be anything I want to be, but if I don’t start now then I’ll be left with this, and one thing I know for sure is this is not what I wanted.
Repurpose what’s already in your closet.
I used to buy outfits for special occasions only to find that after the party, I rarely used them. Before splurging for that upcoming wedding or “Dirty 30” bash, check out these tips to repurpose what’s already in your closet.
Solid Statement. Find solid-colored items with a nice cut and mix in key accessories. A casual jersey dress or a fitted tee and skirt can be elevated with statement pieces like a bold necklace, an elegant pair of shoes and a swanky clutch. For the gents, try some quirky socks, a fun watch or tie to stand out in a sea of suits.
Work Wear. The last thing we want to think about are our day jobs, but hear me out. Work attire is sexy! Pairing black pants with a silk blouse and stilettos or a wrap dress with chandelier earrings is boss. One day I’m going to wear pants to a wedding and it is going to be awesome.
The Understatement. There are a few pieces in my closet (a bridesmaid dress from my parents’ wedding, a vintage disco gown from this Austin gem) that seem a little too specific or over-the-top for most occasions. But, by turning down the volume on accessories and primping – think gladiator sandals, undone hair and minimal makeup, it totally works! I wore the bridesmaid dress to a fundraiser once and people loved the story behind it.
I find when I repurpose items from my closet, I have more fun. Perhaps I’m more comfortable in my tried and true clothes or maybe I’m secretly satisfied that nobody realizes they’re 10 years old.
P.S. I’m wearing an old homecoming dress in the photo on the right.