Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Finding My Vienna

When I turned 25 last month, I vowed to myself that this would be a year of self-discovery and self-improvement. I made a commitment to be more dedicated to cultivating my inner happiness; through surrounding myself with uplifting people and investing myself in my community. To quote my spirit animal Liz Lemon, "I'm going to become wonderful!" 

I want to make my twenty fifth trip around the sun memorable and exciting: Learn to say "yes" to more nights out with friends and another shot of whiskey. Wear yellow skinny jeans and not give two shits about how my thighs look. Eat sushi whenever possible. Tweet. Blog. Be sassy. Volunteer. Write with purpose. Voice my opinion. Reconcile my Millennial brain and Gen  X heart with my old soul. Live intentionally.

Most importantly, I want to have the courage to define my passions and pursue them wholeheartedly. Right now, I know my passions: urban development, small business, and people. I'm working on the pursuit.

Confession: I've been deeply, deeply unhappy in my current career since Day One. After a summer of unemployment, I was so thankful for a well-paying job at an established non-profit. I continue to be grateful, but I am no longer going to allow this gratitude to tie me to a job that I despise. This organization does wonderful things, but it's just not for me. It took me months to admit this to myself. Not only was I unhappy, but I felt bone-crushing guilt for feeling so. I felt that I needed to take a page from my those who came before me; to pull myself up by my bootstraps, suck it up, stay the course. But after 15 months of near-constant depression, I'm done. I'm choosing happiness. I'm choosing happiness. 

Billy Joel said it best, "You know that when the truth is told, you can get what you want or you can just get old." I'm choosing to find my Vienna. 

In the past month, I have clearly defined the criteria of my "realistic dream job." (I say "realistic" only because I'm fairly certain that the market for tap- dancing-conspiracy-theorist-FBI-agents is pretty narrow. You know, because of the economy.) I want to be working downtown, for an organization focused on the growth and development of Grand Rapids. And I will have this job by the spring of 2013. I'm being positive. I'm setting goals. I'm remaining true to my responsibilities without losing myself in the process. I'm pulling myself up by my bootstraps and staying the course until I achieve my dream. (Funny how that works.)

I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to pursue my dreams, to find my happy. The support I've felt from my husband, my parents, our families and friends is overwhelming. They have celebrated my successes and held me in my darkest moments. I would not be the person I am without any of them. 

I want to leave you with something my friend Kyleigh said tonight. She so eloquently put into a few sentences what I've been struggling to verbalize my entire adult life:

Photo of "Gravity Matters Little," my favorite
ArtPrize installation this year. 

Maybe there's hope.

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