In case you haven't noticed, I've been gone for quite some time. My hiatus is a story for another day, but for now I'm here to jump back into life as it currently stands.
I've never been one to follow on the same path. For as long as I can remember, I've been known to beat to my own drum. In fact, if you look at my history, I've been a bit of a misguided leader. A train off the tracks. A go with the flow type. But I own it because it's what makes me me. And I'm here for that. The last year of my life hasn't been out of the ordinary for anyone that knows me. In fact, my whole life I've lived in what my heart feels at the moment. My 8th grade yearbook says I wanted to be an Interior Designer. My senior yearbook says I went to school to be a Pediatric Oncologist. And while I am addicted to clearance finds at HomeGoods and I did learn how to suture up a banana at med camp, neither of those paths were what I ended up taking. I created a whole new path after realizing being a doctor wasn't for me (but I'm open to marrying one). And then again when I decided that living in a deserted beach town in the snowy weather of December wasn't for me. And also when I discovered living at home with my mom in a town with one stoplight wasn't for me. Yet again, I'm back to discovering what isn't for me but what makes this time different is that I am struggling so hard to accept that this path I'm on may not be for me.
Recently, I've been struggling financially so hard that it's become mildly depressing. Looking at my bank account, trying to figure out how to earn enough money to pay this months rent, eating random combinations of food that don't make meals because going to the grocery store was too expensive, became really depressing, really fast. These past few months, I've had days where I've woken up sad, some days I never left the couch for 15+ hours. The feeling of having this overwhelming credit card debt and an empty bank account have consumed my life and the once bubbly personality that I knew myself to be. I'm not depressed every single day to the point where people even noticed or that I felt the need to tell anyone about it, but the heavy thoughts of financial burden never quite left my mind and I recognized it. So I decided to take on a fourth job. Yes, that says fourth. Because being a full-time grad student doesn't allow me to work a full-time job, I have all these random part-time gigs that are inconsistent and leave me poor. I drive for Uber and Lyft, I babysit for three families, and I substitute teach. With it being summer, I haven't had school income since April, babysitting is only a rare few date nights, and Uber and Lyft drains my gas tank and increases my car repairs. So I decided to take on another role, a new role in the most consistent job I could think of: retail.
Lilly Pulitzer has been my idol since my sorority days when I discovered the love for the bright prints and the backstory that she came from. Lilly was an innovative, dream-chasing, inspired woman who created a fashion empire by mistake. I idolize her just as much as I worship the clothing. (I've said before that I would scrub the floor with a toothbrush if it meant I got to work at Lilly Pulitzer, just ask my roommates.) And even though I knew I'd spend majority of my paychecks on the attire, I applied for a part-time sales associate job anyway. I went in to interview only three days after applying and when my (now) manager offered me the dream role I didn't even know was available, I almost cried actual tears and hugged her. But I didn't. Instead my jaw hit the floor after being offered a full-time, with benefits, with financial security, with paychecks probably printed on Lilly Pulitzer checks like the ones I use for my personal bank account, real full-time event planning position. I didn't ask for this, I didn't apply for this, my literal dream was handed to me at arms length on a silver platter that I didn't know how to carry. The obvious answer was to scream YES at the top of my lungs in the middle of the store but... grad school.
So for the past three weeks, I've been struggling with this overwhelming decision of which path to take. Do I follow my heart and go with the dream job I've wanted since I was 18 or follow the logical path that society says I should and continue to finish what I started. I've done the millennial thing of talking with my therapist to seek out a solution. I've talked it over with my mom. I've talked it over with my friends. I truly struggled to make this decision because of the looming uncertainty of "what if I'm making a huge mistake". And as much as I don't care what your opinion of my life is, that tiny part of me is thinking about what you think of the choices I am making. I think what I needed was a little validation because when a friend called me brave, that's when it clicked into place for me. That one word to describe me is what got me here. It restored the faith I've lost in myself these past few months, it turned my depression into clarity. Brave is exactly how I feel when I redirect the path I'm on. Being perceived by someone else as brave was the validation I needed to know that I am supported in whatever path I choose.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that life is full of twists and turns on the path were on. The uncertainty of life is overwhelming at times, but it's also why we are here. It's not about living to have bragging rights or completing a journey that your heart doesn't stand behind. Life is about making a game time decision that's right for you at this time. It doesn't have to be a five year plan and it doesn't have to define the outline for the rest of your life. Why pursue something that doesn't get you excited to wake up in the morning or stay with a job just because it's what you chose to start and now don't want to finish? Sure, there will be days I wake up and not want to go to work in a retail store on a Saturday because something else is going on. But that is human nature. Even those who are completely in love with their job have a few days they'd rather sit at home, but it's important that the days that you love your job outnumber the depressing days you spend on your couch binge watching a show and eating leftover pasta from four days ago. Depression is real and can sneak up on you or it can hit you like a bus. Don't live your life for a five year plan, live the life you want to live in this moment. But most importantly, lead the path you want to and don't look back.
Author - mallory
I've always lived a wild life, so here I am to document it for the world... be ready for some fun adventures, xoxo.