At the age of 25, I thought I had life all figured out: I was a young, smart, newly minted graduate from one of the best graduate schools in the US. I was convinced that I would become the next marketing director for some Fortune 500 Company (right out of school, no less), marry the man of my dreams, and have a shoe collection that would rival that of Carrie Bradshaw. Nothing could stop me. Except for my own complacence.
After I got a job that was ‘good-enough’ (a BFD after the economy went to hell in a hand basket in 2008-2009), I fell into a comfortable pattern – I woke up, went to work for 8 hours, came home, and chilled. That habit of doing the same thing, day after day, soon became a black hole of boredom that I was sucked into, a vortex of mental atrophy. My work was not really that stimulating, but it paid Sallie Mae so I couldn’t really complain. Nothing was really exciting to me at that time. The mundane routine was beginning to gnaw around the edges of my life. I put on weight. When I looked in the mirror in the morning I wasn’t bursting joy to embrace my day. A sense of blahness descended on my life-like carbon monoxide – odorless and deadly – and I didn’t even care.
Looking back on my life then, I realize how much I took for granted, and how jaded I was. I wasn’t happy where I was but I was too lazy to do anything to change it. There were many days where I looked up from an Excel spreadsheet and thought, I could be on the other side of the world right now, on a beach, or in a volcano, having the adventure of a lifetime, and it jolted me out of my stupor. On top of that, diagnosis of my mother’s lymphoma – back for an encore – shook me so deeply that I finally understood that my time on earth was too precious to waste. These little reminders that I had one life kept poking through the haze of my doldrums until finally I had to do something about it.
So now each day I try to be a little more aware, a little more present, and a little more motivated to get out of bed and greet my fate. That means finding joy and contentment in everything (very yoga-ish, I know), and learning to be proactive in reaching for what I want. Even though I am still in the cubicle rat-race I make it my mission to be interesting, impactful, and alive as long as I have breath in my body. Living any other way just not an option and being jaded is not a privilege I can afford.