Let’s get personal for a minute, since this is, after all, my first time here. Perhaps you’re wondering what brought me here and where I plan to go from this jumping off point.
It’s April 19, 2017, at 5 AM, and my alarm blares to life. It has been exactly 29 years, 3 hours, and 50 minutes since I made my debut here on earth. I wipe the sleep from my eyes, rise out of bed, make coffee and push through my morning routine. The house is silent at this hour, which is, generally, a good place for doubts and fears to fester. I’m trying to hold back the impending existential crisis that creeps in at almost every birthday over the last five years. I can feel the tendrils of this one reaching out already, though, and I know it’s going to be a big one.
I often tell myself that I’m not actually scared of turning 30, and for the most part that’s probably true. Turning 30 and having nothing to show for it is what I am afraid of. My life is full of so many amazing things that it’s, honestly, a ridiculous thought. I have a wonderful husband, a beautiful daughter, solid friendships, a career, a few stamps in my passport, and a handful of hobbies in which I dabble. This is how almost-30 looked, for the most part, when I envisioned it from a youthful standpoint.
For some reason, though, I thought there would be … more. But more what, exactly? I’m starting to ask myself profound questions that have no place in my brain at such an early hour. Did I live my twenties the way I intended? Should I have traveled more, settled less, experienced greater thrills? How did I end up here, 365 days from turning 30, and what did I do with the last decade of my life? The inner battle continued as I questioned everything and simultaneously noted all the beauty my life held. For each “I have this,” my subconscious echoed “but did you do that?”
Entering my office, I couldn’t help but feel a touch of disdain for merely being there. That is when I realized how miserable I was with my job; I felt unchallenged, unfulfilled, and completely disinterested.
I remembered a “30 Before 30” list of goals I had created at 24, and I pulled it up. Number 10 read, “Start my own business, do something I truly enjoy.” When I wrote the list five years prior, I had plenty of time, but now, with under a year left, I would have to make adjustments. After a few relevant changes to the list, I began coming to life in a way I hadn’t in a long time. I remember discussing it with my husband, Nick, and telling him, “I’m closer to 30 than ever, and I realize that I am not living my best life. I intend to start doing that because I’m nowhere close to death and I’ve only got one shot at this.”
The first thing I did was manifest my love of stationery into a side business. It was so much easier than I anticipated. I signed on as an Etsy seller, created a handful of designs and listed them. I launched my Etsy shop on Mother’s Day, two weeks earlier than intended, in a burst of excitement over a new printer I received from Nick as a gift. Happier than ever, I did not doubt that this had been the right move. It has also been a positive sign that since opening I have yet to go one week without sales. This meant I had checked number 10 off my list, but still, I wanted more.
I found myself frequently sitting in my office during downtime and researching other paths I could pursue. What I wanted was freedom from my desk job. Wasting my days tethered to an office was getting old quickly. I was drawn in by many possibilities. Freelancing and blogging became my focus areas, and I began to brainstorm pitches and portfolio ideas. Knowing which direction I wanted to move did not prevent the fear of taking any substantial steps.
Then I lost my job.
A New Beginning
Something bizarre happened when I lost my job. I was overcome with relief, which in turn made me feel guilty. Who did I think I was to be relieved?Losing my job was supposed to stress me out, I live in NYC, have a family, and a mountain of bills. It didn’t, though, instead I found myself walking out the door feeling freer than I have in a long, long time.
One week later I signed up for a 5 Day Blogging Fast Track course and took on two freelance writing clients. I have not looked back since I set out on this path. I keep thinking to myself; this is it – this is what it feels like to live my best. It is having freedom from the 9 to 5, treasuring family moments instead of rushing through them, and working toward my goals.
This is my new beginning because it is never too late to have one. I am more at peace than I have ever been, even though I am taking some substantial risks. Every day I am taking steps, small and large, on a journey to find my best self.
Not everyone shares my story, but so many feel that same strain of stuck. Is your life the best it possibly can be? Are you working towards ensuring that your life is complete and fulfilled? If not, what is holding you back? You will be amazed to find out what is truly possible when you let go of the weight keeping you down and step into the unknown.
In 6 months I will be 30 years old, and I know can’t wait to greet that age as though it were an old friend. The fear is gone, and the existential crises are far and few between because in my heart, I know I’m walking the right path now.