On Giving Up

Not Giving Up
When I graduated from college at the tender age of 21, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I had a degree in journalism, and I was going to save the world! Obviously. Due to an illness during my sophomore year, I had three credit hours I had to finish over the summer of my senior year, so while most of my friends walked across the stage with their diplomas and went on to jobs all over the country, I was enrolling in a final Italian class that would take me to Florence, Italy for months. It was heaven. But it also wasn’t real life. I came back with no job, no prospects and no idea what to do next.I ended up getting a job in the engineering industry, as a marketing assistant to the director of business development at a small firm. It was a first job like any other…long hours, somewhat boring duties, and worst of all (for me anyway), I didn’t feel like I was doing anything productive. I wasn’t saving the world and I certainly didn’t feel passionate about what I was doing, but the economy was horrible, and a job was a job. So I soldiered on.

Two years (and another job) later, I found myself married with a little baby girl. I had a blog that I had started back when I was in Italy, as a way to keep in touch with family and friends, but now it served as my outlet. It was somewhere I could write, be creative and let out the frustrations I felt as a young wife and mother. I had another mind-numbing job, but the blog was my release. I received my first DSLR camera for Christmas that year, and I spent hours studying the user manual and taking online tutorials. I spent my days at the office daydreaming about pursuing my creative interests, but knew as long as there were mouths to feed and bills to pay, I was stuck.

And so I stayed. For years I plodded along at a career I didn’t really love, as I worked nights developing my talents. I became fairly successful at my day job, gaining leadership positions in my industry and becoming a well known name in my field. But I was never really happy.

I was terrified. I was scared if I quit, everyone would think I was a failure. I was scared of losing my comfortable income and my stability. I was afraid of starting over after I’d spent so much time growing my career. And for years, my fear kept me in check.

But last week, after so much time in such an unhappy place, I finally did it. I quit. I gave my two weeks and cleaned out my desk…and then I walked out with a box full of office supplies. Just kidding (sort of!). It was really frightening, but I did it. I have no idea what’s going to happen next, but all I can do is keep moving forward.

So to all of you lovely ladies feeling stuck after college, please, follow your passions. Don’t wait as long as I did to take a risk, a leap in the right direction. If you can’t afford to quit your day job just yet, use your free time to do what makes you happy. Explore different outlets, start a blog, paint a picture, pick up a camera. Just don’t forget who you are and what you want. Remember, it’s totally okay to change your mind. And being scared? That’s okay too.


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