So it’s almost 2015. “Almost” as in about an hour and a half away. That seems very weird to think about. I know I can’t be the only one that’s finding that weird to think about, right?
I don’t know that it’s the natural progression of time that I find strange so much as my own place within it. There are days when I still feel like I should be in my early- to mid-twenties (I’m NOT, trust me – that’s about a decade ago now), and days when I wish I was still that young. And that’s not so much a time-related weirdness as much as it’s the feeling that I haven’t done as much (so far) with my life as I “should” have, and I find myself wanting that time back as a do-over.
It usually happens when I try to hold myself up to someone else’s measuring stick to judge my own life. I’m sure you know that measuring stick – it’s the one that shows up loud and clear every time you check your Facebook feed. So-and-so is married, this person has a new baby, that girl you knew in grade school (but haven’t actually spoken to since) is working her “dream job” out on the west coast. I have to be in the right mood to go on Facebook in the first place, and as soon as the “measuring stick” starts getting to me, I have to shut it down. Because right now, I have good things going on, and I wouldn’t want them to go away, and I wouldn’t actually want to trade them for a few years of rewind. But with too much comparison to others comes the self-doubt. On those days when I’m wishing for a rewind or a do-over, I have to remind myself that no, now is good. Those are the days when I have to remind myself that:
- In 2008, I was working at a job that I was starting to hate so much that it was becoming unhealthy for me, and I had a crazy dream about going back to school. Yep, a dream. But I worked to make it a reality, quitting my full-time job and going back to work on getting my degree. (It wasn’t a decision I made lightly or without a whole lot of planning, though. Dreams need actual real-world work in order to be at all feasible.)
- In 2010, a year earlier than I’d thought (thanks to transfer credits, placement tests, summer classes, and talking to faculty to help to waive certain requirements), I graduated with that degree. And honors. And new friends, knowledge, and direction.
- In 2011, after working several temporary positions, I found my current job. Full-time, at a company I like, with good people.
- In 2012, I had surgeries on both my legs, allowing me the opportunity to have less pain in my life. (Now I just need to start using those legs to get me back into the gym again!)
- In 2013, I started my own business. I set up my home studio and began producing art on a regular basis and got myself out into the world to do exhibits and art fairs. It was something that (through all the years of being a customer/attendee at different fairs) I never actually thought I’d be capable of doing.
- In 2014, I grew that business, doing even more fairs. I have to double-check my books, but I think I turned an actual profit this year, and it’s only my second year in business.
- In 2014, I bought my own house.
Sometimes I have to step back and look at that list, and sometimes I have to pretend that it belongs to someone else, just so I can see the successes and accomplishments for what they are. And then I can pull it back around and force myself to see that they belong to me. Each one is something I’ve been able to do (of course with the help of my family and friends), and it doesn’t even show the smaller things – the travel and actual art and friends and the day-to-day successes. I put all of that out there not as another measuring stick, not to have others try to gauge their own progress by mine. Because everyone’s milestones are different, and having something different in no way means you have something less (something I have to remind myself of on a regular basis). I put it out there to add to the celebration of accomplishments that I hope everyone can do with their own lives.
And look! Like I said at the beginning, 2015 is almost here. Look at what we’ve all been doing for the past few years. I know you’ve got something good. And tomorrow, as the year begins, I’ll probably spend some time thinking about the things I want to accomplish in the months to come. Just think of what sorts of crazy awesome things can we do with the next 365 days!