For those of you who have followed Bohemian Notebook since the beginning, you are familiar with the usual 20-something roller-coaster of personal/professional uncertainty I have described throughout this journey they call “Early Adulthood.” In the last two years, I have preached barefoot freedom, I have gone haywire-silent to make my mark on a superficial “real world,” I have praised regular paychecks and thrown my hands up when they were taken from me, complaining (artistically, I hope) of the stubbornness and stupidity of Human Relations Departments world wide… all in the name of Finding Happiness…
I am 26 years old, and I have the greatest job I could have ever imagined. This post is about how I got there.
This post-grad journey has been a long one. Lucky for me, it is unusually well-documented (thank you WordPress). I can look back now and laugh and nod my head and furrow my eyebrows in that “what-the-hell-is-she-talking-about” way we each know all-too-well… My first post was published in October of 2013, almost exactly two years ago. I was young and restless, as they say – new to a weird-and-proud little city with a suitcase full of consignment crop-tops and strappy sandals… what else did I need, really? I also happened to have a Liberal Arts degree and a right-brained, creative drive to reach my dreams.
I think most of us feel this way in our early twenties. We all have dreams, whether they are specific to certain trades and experiences, or they are broader than that. It takes a special endurance, I have discovered, to continue on that dream-path for very long. There are certain people born with that adventurous and entrepreneurial mindset; others are blessed with impressively well-timed dumb luck.
I fell somewhere in the middle.
From the start of the Blog series, I have written with the goal of inspiring people (especially fellow recent-grads) to focus their energies on doing what they love and finding purpose in that joy — it has been an excellent mantra to live by during this transition-into-adulthood. Every new venture, every bump-in-the-road, every seasonal job has added its own unique value to the skill-set which finally qualified me for my real-life dream job.
Since graduating High-School, I have held 18 jobs (typically balancing my time between two or three at a time)… While I do not necessarily recommend a quantity of quite this valor to anyone (this number is likely — hopefully — an outlier statistic), I have personally reaped the benefits of a well-rounded professional background. At first, interviewers viewed my resume as that of a “job-hopper,” uncertain of her long-term goals, incapable of committing to any long-term position; and then, suddenly, jaws dropped at my accomplishments.
Now, understandably, two months at an Old Navy, followed by six months at the Olive Garden and another seven weeks at Regal Cinemas may be viewed as job-hopping – the trick is to hop with purpose, and accomplish enough to leave a permanent, positive mark on the people who will vouch for you.
At first glance, I spent six months wine-tasting, 15 months snowboarding, another 15 months playing with kids, then randomly wound up in Atlanta for no apparent reason… In reality (while much of that is awesomely true), I had the bits and pieces to pull together and portray myself, legitimately, as a Wedding & Event Professional with experience in planning, design, and production in four very different states. Bazinga.
My official title is the Wedding & Event Manager for a beautiful, historic country club just a few miles from my front door. Here’s the best part: they actually pay me to think about weddings all day… what?! Healthcare? What?! 401-K?!! WHAT?!! Craziness. It’s true. People can make money doing what they love to do, and companies can give a damn about the wellbeing of their employees.
So, all of this hullabaloo over the last two years, all of this hippy-dippy, gypsy-minded, find-your-happy-place blogging really freaking worked. Please, recent-grads, young people, still-young-at-heart-despite-my-new-nearsightedness people, for the love of God, keep working toward the life you imagine for yourself. It takes persistence, it takes a few eye-rolls, it takes a lot of store-brand cereal, but it is so completely possible. I have a long road ahead of me, and many more dreams to accomplish, but I am one of the many, many examples of people who have made dreams a reality… and I’m only 26…
Become a priority in your own life, because, as the proverb says, what you allow is what will continue. A recent pinterest find quotes, “We either make ourselves strong, or we make ourselves miserable – the amount of work is the same,” (Carols Castenada). Are you living the life you want to live? Is your progress forward, or has it been backward? My usual readers have heard me say it for two years now – it is your life, and you only get one. I hope this inspires some of you to take a side-road, less travelled, if only for an afternoon.