When I was younger, I was meticulous about my schedule. I planned for the weekend a week ahead, and I planned for my future years ahead. I loved doing it. And I’d cringe when something got in the way of my plans, even if it was just that my plans were shuffled around by a few minutes or hours.
At the same time, I always had a lot of passions and interests that inspired great grand ideas and before finishing one plan, I’d move onto the next (ADHD much?). Although sometimes it’d be frustrating to not finish all of my plans, that trait of fueling excitement in more things than one saved me on some level.
In a lot of ways, I’m still the same person on both grounds. I STILL plan ahead for my weekends (even months ahead now) and have ideas for my future years ahead. BUT, now I keep my long term plans a lot more fluid and flexible. I try not to get as disappointed when something gets in the way of my vision, or when what I want doesn’t materialize right in the moment. I’ve accepted that I don’t have control over a lot of things and that it’s okay. I think we all have different ways of coping with disappointment- some get sad and wallow, some people accept it as part of life, some people push through it until they finally reach the initial dream or goal they had in mind, and some people adapt their goals. Maybe we do all of these things at some point in our lives, I know I do. But lately, I’ve been much more on the adaptation train.
For example, my dream in college was to be a ballroom dancing pediatrician (in training) living in San Francisco, married with a dog and one out of two kids on the way by the time I was 25.
Did this happen? HA! Nope. Good joke. (Was I insane for even considering making all this happen in a short time? Possibly. Maybe not. Doesn’t really matter either way).
So what does my life look like now?
I am a zouk dancing healthcare consultant living in Atlanta with incredible deep relationships with close friends and my family at 25.
When I was done with undergrad, I was burnt out. Way too burnt out to consider a medical degree that expected me to study and memorize the shit out of biological terms (I always hated studying so fack me, but that sounded like legit torture that would end in my ultimate demise- spiritually for sure and maybe physically too). I knew I wanted to stay in healthcare, so I applied for some random healthcare degrees. Chose to go to the program with the highest rank that I got into. On a whim. Didn’t question it prior to going. Just did it. It was okay. Some days I was excited about it, some days I doubted my choice.
I also kind of quit dance at that time (still burnt out) but tried to do it once in a while socially. I didn’t have the emotional energy to commit to it like I did in undergrad, so I decided to take the next few years kind of easy. I took it easy in all ways. Didn’t let school work consume me, and didn’t go out much except for a few lame Tinder dates or when my roommate would get me out for a special occasion (and let me tell you, she could rally. She was the best roommie and friend though. Love ya Puj!! <3).
I wouldn’t say my life at the time was what I always dreamed of, but it was a step up. I moved somewhere warmer, I was moving up with my healthcare education, I was exploring new things, and I was giving myself a break from my very busy undergrad life.
Then as school started to wrap up, it was time to apply for jobs. I told myself, I don’t really care what I do but I either want to stay in North Carolina or move to California since that was the ultimate goal.
I was SO picky that I didn’t apply to very many jobs. And the California jobs were competitive and I didn’t make the cut to the ones I applied to. Next game plan was to apply to jobs just to practice my cover letter writing skills (with some help). I applied randomly to a really well known consulting company in Atlanta on a whim and my cover letter got me an interview, woo! (Didn’t even know it was that big of a deal at the time). They flied me out to Atlanta and gave me a free dinner, but no job. While I was here though, I fell IN LOVE with Atlanta. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was sunny and earthy/grassy and populated with a lot of young people and there were a lot of cute little shops and restaurants all around. So, the next job opening I saw in Atlanta, I applied. And when they offered the job, I took it and didn’t really consider the options. I’m about risking big without thinking twice. I figure there’s always a learning experience and it could lead me to an even better place, or there is usually a way out if I realize I made a huge “mistake”. (I don’t actually believe in mistakes, only learning opportunities).
So fast forward to today. I had the best year I have had in a long time. In addition to continued support from my family and lifelong friends (LOVE YOU GUYS LIKE NO OTHER), I met some amazing people here. Shout out to Ceci for being my first friend here and helping me get acquainted when I just moved, Travis and Mary for basically being my family away from home, Nikki for jump starting my crazy amazing year in Atlanta (I am so grateful for you, more than you know and more than you realize. It would not be the same without you AT ALL), and Maddie for being my creative friend who can understand and share my creative lifestyle in ways some others can’t. OH, and I can’t forget about my Zouk dance fam. You guys are amazeballs.
Besides the new people I’ve met, I’ve also just enjoyed the F out of my life since I’ve been here. That’s definitely partially due to my job for the paycheck, flexibility, and support they have given me to do all of this, so thank you Triage. Since I’ve moved, I’ve traveled to NY, Colorado, Michigan (obvs), Miami, North Carolina, Tennessee, Las Vegas, LA, Canada, San Francisco, Sacramento, Chicago, and Mexico. I went to several concerts (Blink 182, Music Midtown, Shaky Knees), multiple weddings, had some of my favorite friends visit, hiked in multiple locations, went to several company parties, and just enjoyed some random adventures. Zouk was definitely a HUGE part of my life here, and that’s because that’s what life opened the doors to for me at the time, and I ran with it. I needed it in many ways.
My point isn’t to brag, but to share. Maybe inspire. I am certainly grateful for all this, but between all these exciting and happy moments, I had many moments where I felt broken down and sad and lonely and lost and exhausted.. and cried.. a lot… Life is going to give you pain. Bad things will happen. You won’t get what you want or what you yearn for. You will be let down. You will even let yourself down at times. You may feel stuck in a place you don’t know how to get out of at times. You will be disappointed. You will even be more than disappointed at times. You will feel so confused how such terrible or unfair or sad things can happen. Some things that can’t be fixed. Sometimes not even to you, but to other people you care about, or to people all around the world. BUT (there always is a but), you can still have a happy life.