Thursday, February 23, 2017

Live Your Truth



Live your truth. For the past several days, these words have resonated with me. I've heard so many people encourage me to live your best life or do what you love. And I thought I was. I was doing everything I was supposed to. My life looked perfect on paper. But I felt empty inside. 

My life has not been perfect by any means. I've faced my fair share of challenges. I would not say my life has been easy. But I did follow this timeline for myself. It looked good on paper. In fact, I'm almost afraid to touch my perfected LinkedIn profile. I spent so much time trying to talk myself up and make myself look impressive. I spent so much time pursuing a life I thought I should want. I didn't want to be judged by others and I spent a lot of time comparing myself to other people. But maybe we should back up a little...

After high school, I entered a four-year university (well, five for me) and studied nutrition. My desire to study to nutrition stemmed from my aspiration to become a doctor. With a nutrition degree, I'd have all the prerequisites for medical school but it seemed more fun than studying biochemistry. Also, it was parents approved. Less than a quarter in, I knew this plan wasn't meant for me. I tried to switch my major but changing programs wasn't easy at this university. Somehow I trekked on. Five years later, I graduated with my bachelor's of science. I was proud. I had plans. I wanted to be a researcher. I was going to work for a year and then apply to graduate school. 

Surprisingly things went according to plan. I quickly got a brag-worthy research position at a prestigious university. Life was falling into place, right? Just the opposite. I was miserable. I was living at home, as this job was 20 minutes from my parent's house. I was saving up for grad school so there was no point in getting my own apartment--this meant I did not feel independent, as I had in college. I didn't know anyone in the area besides my best friend and boyfriend [now fiancĂ©]. To make matters worse, I made no attempt to make friends. I wasn't happy with myself. My job had wonderful benefits but I worked crazy hours and wasn't able to really plan time for myself or socializing. Also I worked from home a lot. It sounds good in theory but it got me into the habit of not getting dressed or leaving the house, which led to depression. 

Jump ahead a couple years, I finally convinced myself to apply to graduate school [the depression had actually kept me from applying after my first year out of school]. I needed to escape. I applied to a bunch of programs across the country, all related to what I was doing at the time. I didn't spend much time actually looking into the programs. I just knew I needed to do something. 

After several months of not hearing anything, I got an e-mail from New York University. I was waitlisted for their master's of public health program. Unfortunately I was also waitlisted for the other program I thought I was more interested in at Tufts. Colleagues encouraged me to submit additional documents in hopes I would get into the Tufts program. However, before doing so, I heard back from New York University. I had been accepted and I needed to make a decision in the next two weeks. My gut told me jump and that's exactly what I did. 

I didn't know much about New York. I had visited after graduating college with Joe and we had loved the city. I had a good feeling but I was also terrified I would hate it. I'd never lived in a big city before. Joe started the New York job hunt, as we had already discussed moving out there together. Unfortunately, relocating across the country is no easy feat. In fact, he wasn't even able to move out until two and a half months after I had. It was lonely without him. 

I started my graduate program just after labor day. My best friend texted me after my first class and asked how it'd gone. I remember sitting on the bus and realizing that I hadn't liked the class at all. Of course I lied and said it was great. Who says they hate the thing they moved across the country to do? I also assumed I would grow to like it. Or at least tolerate it. And I never did. In fact, I really disliked it. I thought the program was awful. The way it was run. The majority of the staff. Maybe other programs at NYU are better but this was not my cup of tea. At all. 

Moving to New York did have a silver lining [actually multiple silver linings!], I was able to pursue more events related to my blog and YouTube channel. Aside from loving this city, I was also able to be more creative. I wanted to spend more time on my creative pursuits but felt weighed down by the lie I was living: my real life. 

I rushed through my program and was able to complete it in a year and a half. My last semester dragged on but I kept telling myself things would magically improve when I graduated. I would get a full time job I loved, I would have time to work on myself, and everything would be perfect. I bet you can guess how that worked out. 

After the holidays, I came back and struggled to get myself to apply to jobs I had no interest in. I kept going back and forth as to whether or not I could pursue something else. Something that felt right. I was [and still am] working on myself through [much needed] therapy. I was realizing more and more how untrue I've been to myself for such a long time.

Last week I had a revelation. I can't keep lying to myself and forcing myself to do something that makes me miserable. I need to do something that genuinely makes me excited to get up in the morning. I need to be spending the majority of my time each day doing something I feel passionate about. And that something is creative. I need to grow my brand, my blog, my YouTube channel. I need to starting living my truth. 

I don't expect to suddenly make a full time income off my blog. That is unrealistic. But I do expect myself to reach out for opportunities that will lead me in that direction. I want to learn everything I can and put myself in nerve-racking situations to meet new people in this field. To be honest, I'm still reworking my resume and determining what types of jobs to go for [and if you have any advice for changing your career, that would be greatly appreciated!]. 

I'm just starting this journey. This journey of accepting myself for where I am and what I actually like. I hope you'll join me in that journey. 

If you take away nothing else from this post, please remember:

And above all else--

Live Your Truth



2 comments

  1. I love this! I’m currently stuck on the same boat. I want to spend time doing something I’m passionate about, not be forced to do something just because it’s what’s expected of me. Thank you for this & best of luck! :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! I'm glad to hear someone else understands. I really hope you are able to do what you are passionate about. Best of luck to you as well :)

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