finding my calling

The wonderful Heidi from Life in Pink is my guest blogger today! She was one of the first bloggers I started to read a while back, and I’m honored to have her on here sharing her thoughts. She has had quite the whirlwind of the past year or two, so I hope you enjoy reading about her moment of reinvention and then find your way over to her blog for more when you’re done.

Winston Churchill once said “if you’re young, and not a liberal you have no heart. If you’re old and not conservative, you have no head.” Given that my own political ideals have shifted I take this to heart. But with political ideologies – a practice I studied for five years, you tend to have an identity crisis.

For five years I studied politics, told everyone I was going to run for office and most people believed me. Then I was broke. I don’t know what it was – maybe because in reality, you know, the reality outside of the collegiate bubble that we live in for anywhere from 4-10 years depending on what degrees we pursue. A reality that was full of harsh bosses, cliquey coworkers, ass kissers who were out to beat you to the top and then some. Politics broke my heart, it was a messy breakup full of tears, rejection letters and plenty of Ben and Jerry’s (and beer). You’d think my chosen career choice out of college was an abusive boyfriend – for three years, it may have been just that.

But then I changed my mind a few times. I got excited, preliminarily apparently.

Then I was laid off and resentful and broken only six months before my wedding.

I found another job. Temporarily. At a lobbying firm and I convinced myself I was going to go back for an MPA (thankfully I hadn’t yet taken the GRE’s or applied) but then devastation happened and everything changed.

Cue a phone call. On a perfect honeymoon that arrived after a perfect wedding after an awful summer that included a devastating job loss and a bathroom flood that destroyed half our apartment leaving concrete floors and ruined furniture (yes I realize many people have experienced much worse) but those two things happened simultaneously. It was a bright blue day, I had only brought my phone so I could take pictures and possibly twitpic them. I should have left it at the hotel. There was a missed call from the temp agency I was working with at the time and an email.

Contract ended. The phone call, as I remember it was a blur really. Something about how I wasn’t cut out to be an executive assistant. But what really resonated “Think about what you really want to do. What’s going to make you happy.”

So I did. As we sailed back to shore on a full open bar catamarran after spending the afternoon snorkeling, I thought about that very question. What was going to make me happy.

Onto another change. We decided to move closer to family.  I decided to attempt a masters in education – which at the ripe age of 18 was what I had originally wanted to do with my life. A few barriers, including financial ones as I was unemployed and the husband was working on a political campaign, led me to put it on hold. I took my praxis exams, did well. Was told I would be accepted if I took 16 credits of history which, I just didn’t have the financial ability to do at the time. So I put it aside. Maybe it wasn’t for me anyhow.

I found myself working for an inspiring company for just under a year, where I changed my mind but discovered passion. A passion for fitness, but more impactful a passion for social media. I had always been a blogger. I had always loved connecting with people through the internet and the thought of using the internet to market ideas and create community resonated so deeply and left me so excited. I left, on amazing terms, to forge that career in social media, to pursue a masters in marketing and get on a path that I’m proud of. I realized through these tribulations and trials that reinventing yourself and not knowing what you want is okay. It’s okay if it takes a few stumbles to find a career you’re proud of. Whoever expected 18 year olds to know what they want to do with their lives and declare a major by the age of 20 was out of their minds. Hell, my parents are still reinventing their own careers thirty years after being thrusted into the workforce.

When you feel broken, when you doubt yourself and your abilities, it’s tough to find hope. To find a calling that you think will make you happy without constantly second guessing yourself or wondering if whenever you see your two bosses meeting behind closed doors, if they’re talking about how awful you are and are getting ready to fire you on the spot. But some rapper dude once said “just brush the dirt off yo’ shoulders.” True ‘dat homey.

Lacking confidence is awful but at some point you just need to pick yourself up. At some point, you need to give your “failings” (or stumbles, whatever you want to call them)  the big fat middle finger and stand proud of your accomplishments – because even if you “failed” you still learned something or another along the way and met people who impacted you and your life.

After all, life is about lessons, and that which does not kill us makes us stronger. Hey, they’re called cliches for a reason right?

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