“I’m not where I thought I’d be.”
Familiar with this little b? I'm well-acquainted. It first crossed my mind the September after college. Everyone was either at work or back in school, and I was alone in a Starbucks filling out more job applications (this time to retail positions because the design jobs seemed to be DOA). At the time, I could quickly shrug it off. Fresh out of school and only 22, I was just beginning and had plenty of time to get where I want to go.
These days, though, it’s not as easy. No longer a recent graduate or just starting my business, I’m 29 and that thought crosses my mind louder than ever before. “I’m not where I thought I’d be.” Listen. I saw 13 going on 30. I was actually 13 when that movie dropped so I know what’s up. I’m supposed to be at the top of my career and in a killer apartment by now. Sooo… I have how many months to make that happen?
As soon as I turned 29, I could really feel myself race against the clock. After all, I’m a hard worker. I show up for my dreams and I want this. This HAS to come through. How could it not? Recently moved to a new city with my newly rebranded studio, I had one year to meet Jenna Rink (Jenn. Garner’s character) at her level. So I hit the ground running, and no doubt there’ve been many wins to celebrate since. But even so, I’m far from that killer apartment or even a reliable paycheck. Sometimes, I hardly have one at all. “I’m not where I thought I’d be.”
As the months have passed, the feeling of failure was getting real and I was carrying it with me everywhere. That is, until the other night when I said something that flipped a switch in my mind. In a moment of resignation with tears in my eyes, I said, “I guess I’m going to turn 30 while still in this scrappy season of my career.” And there it was, put into words out loud. Acknowledgement that, like it or not, this is where I’m at. This is happening. With that recognition, I was released from this vision of my life was supposed to look like. Something I’d created long before I even knew what my career would be.
I was exhausting myself trying to “catch up” to an expectation that was founded on nothing more than media and fantasy. “I guess I’m going to turn 30 while still in this scrappy season.” This is my reality and there’s nothing wrong with it. If I’m going to find success with my craft, it’s going to happen later. Jenna Rink had her path, but hers isn’t mine nor it is yours. (Like, I guess I still have 6 months left. So if the universe wants to throw me a Hail Mary pass, I’m open. But if not, that’s okay too.) I don’t know how or when I’m going to find success with Declarative. I don’t know if I ever will. But regardless, I’m still going to keep showing up and working towards it. And I now realize that that’s enough.
So if you’re in a season where “I’m not where I thought I’d be” weighs on your heart or keeps you up at night, know that you’re not alone. I’ve been there too. And if you’re still working towards a goal or an ideal vision of your life, don’t carry that as a failure because it’s not. You’re just still in process and on your way. Your path may be unfolding differently than you expected, but that doesn’t make it wrong. You haven’t fallen behind, but in fact, are right on time. This is YOUR journey. You’re planting the seeds every day by showing up and working towards what you want, and that’s enough. That is everything.
With so much love to you, my fellow dreamer.
x Kristine of Declarative