I feel like I just blinked and it was the end of March. In the past few weeks, I've started to talk to people about how the months of March and April are like a second holiday season for myself and my husband. March is the big "birthday month", with both of our birthdays, along with my mother's, two of our nieces, and a number of my friends. April is our "anniversary month" (aw, A is for Anniversary and April, that's cute) with our dating anniversary on the 9th and now our wedding anniversary on the 28th. It's also Easter and Passover next month (or Eastover as I'm going to keep calling it).
It's also been a big month of transitions. First and foremost, Eric found and accepted a new job. The second he told me, I burst into tears, not because of sadness, but because of relief. We were lucky that he was unemployed for less than three months, but as two people who crave stability throughout chaos (thanks recession of 2009), it was nerve wracking every time he got a rejection, or didn't hear back from a gig he was excited about. It also was three months of me trying to be supportive and focusing on the long term, and realizing that the layoff brought us closer together. During that time we fell into a weird role reversal from traditional gender roles. I was taking care of the bills and calling the shots about how we spent our money. For instance, if I wanted to go on a date night with him, as long as I had the money for us both, we were going. He would spend his days cleaning the house and having dinner ready when I came home.
I also felt relief that I no longer needed to be "the rock" for us and could turn my focus back to myself, which was perfect timing for my 31st birthday. I kept the celebrations pretty simple. I took the day off from work and decided to spend it doing things on my own schedule and without input from others, so literally a "me" day. That "me" day consisted of going to spin class, making and having brunch at home, buying and eating a cake from Milk Bar (some is left in the freezer I swear), getting a mani/pedi, receiving phone calls from friends and family, accepting awesome gifts (including dance classes, embroidery kits, and craft subscription services), going to the Andy Warhol exhibition at the Whitney and then drinks and dinner at Air's Champagne Parlor and Tokyo Record Bar. It was an excellent, rad day doing some of my favorite things.
Throughout the day, I kept thinking about what it meant to be 31 and how much I've gone through over the past few years and the lessons I've learned along the way. At times I catch myself wishing for just "one normal year" where nothing crazy, eventful or dramatic happens. However, I couldn't say right now that I'm 100% satisfied with the work I'm currently doing for myself, hence launching Creative Office Hours and wanting to spend this year focused on more creative work. Over the past few weeks, I've had a few eye opening moments that showed me that I need to not settle, take a pause, or think opportunities I want are going to be handed to me. People will certainly find value in you and your skills, but it's on you to make sure you're taking the path you want to go in.
One of the biggest lessons I've learned about developing a career is a quick fix isn't going to work. God willing, I'm going to be working for a very long time and I have to learn how to stay focused. It's a long journey and if you manage to stay on the same road you originally set out on, you're still going to have a lot of twists and turns along the way. Because it's a long road, it's going to be easier to navigate if you try to go through the day to day with grace - and not being a total jerk to your colleagues and collaborators. Someone recently told me that they respected me because I was "taking the high road" throughout a particular situation, which shocked me because I am notorious for being incredibly headstrong and stubborn. I can't recall where I heard it, but I have a vague recollection of someone talking about how life is measured in how well your react to things, so being seen as someone who takes the high road isn't too shabby.
Life is a highway, your career path is a long one, but make sure to take the high road always.
Though driving along a long highway overpass with many twists and turns sounds like a nightmare, or an intense game of Mario Kart.