Saturday, April 23, 2011

This is your Life.

My friend posted this today. It is the embodiment of what I have been thinking about for the last few weeks. I have been searching, restless, uneasy and unhappy. Honestly, I decided to change my life before I saw this, but the timing of it is certainly impeccable. I have spent many years working to get to this point in my life. I'm glad I did, because I love my job more than anything. I'm gaining immeasurable confidence that I've not had in years, professionally and personally.

I used to be fearless. I got on a plane at 18 years old and didn't look back. It never occurred to me for one second that I couldn't, or wouldn't, do anything I wanted to do.... Experience and maturity caught up with me over the years and have been slowly poisoning me with self-doubt. But not anymore.

Looking back now, this transformation started with one decision on one ordinary day in January. And it was a decision that I had made many, many times before. I started Weight Watchers for the 4th time. All those times didn't matter. What mattered was THIS time. THIS life. THIS day. I was done being the THAT girl, not for anyone else, just for me. This decision was all on me, whether I succeeded or failed, would be because of my choices. It has been 4 months, and it hasn't been perfect... but I haven't given up. I'm still making one choice on one day to be better and give this gift to myself.

In this same vein, with the new momentum, I took a big risk and changed my research focus at work. This is risky because I am running out of time to finish my project before fellowship is over. At that point, I had lost a lot of valuable time to a project that I hated, that wasn't mine. I was intimidated by it and overwhelmed, and the inability to cope with it was embarrassing. I had to present my work for the department and got skewered. The project needed to be overhauled and redesigned, which was not working out at all.

I had an epiphany. As long as I needed to start over, why not start over with something I loved and was passionate about? Doubts still crept in-- Would people laugh at me, or would they even care? Is this too big a risk? Despite the nerves, I pressed on, made a completely new project, and it's been the best decision I could have made professionally. Four months ago I was ready to quit all of it, work, school... move back home and find something else to do. Now, I pushed open this door to a whole new realm of possibilities that I never thought were an option. I love my job again. I can't wait for this future and what I have to offer.

I don't remember the day I gave up on myself. I've been broken and wounded and shackled. I've tried to fit myself into the shape that other people had for me. It has required some trimming, but I've managed to do it. When I looked around, I was no where to be found. My fearless, bubbly, outgoing, fun-loving, introspective, passionate friend was gone. That girl that I used to be, the girl that I loved being, has been slowly smothered with the adult-ness of growing up, paying bills, working. Part of that is expected with maturity and experience. But I miss her. I have realized that she is the essence of my true self... the one I want to be... the full and positive version of myself that I love. She has been quiet for long enough.

So today I stand at the gate of a new life, a new day. I am seizing this chance, changing my perspective, doing things I've been afraid to do. I'm taking my life back. I'm done being perpetually unhappy. I'm through riding through life in the backseat.

This is your Life.
Do what you love, and do it often.
If you don't like something, change it.
If you don't like your job, quit.
If you don't have enough time, stop watching tv.
If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing the things you love.
Stop over-analyzing, life is simple.
All emotions are beautiful.
When you eat, appreciate every last bite.
Open your mind, arms, and heart to new things and people, we are united in our differences.
Ask the next person you see what their passion is, and share your inspiring dream with them.
Travel often, getting lost will help you find yourself.
Some opportunities only come once, seize them.
Life is about the people you meet, and the things you create with them so go out and start creating.
Life is short.
Live your dream and share your passion.

"The Holstee Manifesto", 2009, written by Dave, Mike, and Fabian.