When the Gold is Just Glitter and the Beauty of Fresh Starts
The difference between successful people and others is how long they spend time feeling sorry for themselves. — Barbara Corcoran
I thought 2016 was going to be my year. I didn’t just talk about it either. I worked my butt off and it’d seemed, for a moment anyway, that my hard work was finally paying off. I’d gotten a job with a slightly impressive title, I had a man who I adored, and I was feeling good about where my life was heading.
As life usually does, though, it threw a bunch of curveballs straight at my head. Things weren’t going to be what I thought they were. A lot of it wasn’t going to work out. On top of that, my depression was back and with a vengeance. This was not going to be the year I’d planned it to be.
What about when what you thought would bring you happiness is all just temporary? When what you thought was a trophy is just a cheap plastic coin? All that glitters ain’t gold.
What do you do when the dream is not real? You start over and create one that is.
Stop looking and start doing.
As a journalist, my job is to report on what other folks are doing, but being a reporter isn’t the only thing I’m made to do. I realized that through working extremely hard in just one area of my life I’d lost sight of all the other things that make me me. I’m a mentor, I love to volunteer, I have a desire to make the world better, and I have a responsibility to use my voice in more ways than just one. Recording life is important — essential even — but that’s not my only job.
One of the things I’m focusing on in the upcoming months is my baby, Write Chicago. Write Chicago helps Chicago area teenagers explore creative writing for self-expression in music, film, mass media, and more. It started as a community project. I wanted to give back during the holidays so I planned a one-day event to spread knowledge to the city’s youth. Afterwards, I kept getting the question, “When is your next one?” So I expanded it into its own organization. Learn more about it here.
Go for spiritual gold.
Getting caught up working so much hurt my spirit in more ways than one. I made excuses for not meditating and cut back on prayer time. I’d skip church for no other reason than that I had work to do. After all, I was too busy, right?
But, God is never too busy for us. No matter what we do or where we are in our lives, He never leaves us. He’s always there and I knew that He was waiting on me to reconnect with Him. I started praying more, meditating more, reading more. I started studying His Word more — focusing on my own interpretation of it and how it applies to my life.
I started searching for influences that made me happy and that continued to fill my spirit. I love my church — it’s amazing — but I also like to hear different perspectives and hear ideas explained in different ways.
I started seeking out what I like to think of as spiritual gold and I found it at City Church in the West Loop. City Church has a women’s group called City Chicks that meets for bible study on Thursday mornings. It’s led by Pastor Alli and feels like just a group of Christian sisters getting together to talk.
These amazing women poured into me in ways I can’t even explain and I’m looking forward to spending more time with them, especially at City Chicks Night which is coming up on Friday, Dec. 9.
Start betting on yourself.
Time after time, I’ve thought an opportunity would be “the one.” This one, I’d think, will be the one to put me on. This one will put me in a better position to make power moves. This one will put me on a different level. And time after time, I realized that none of the opportunities that relied solely on the actions of other people were worth the great amount of effort I was putting into them.
It’s easy to be excited about an opportunity and put that organization or group above your personal desires. You give them a ton of your most valuable resource — your time — and you push your own projects to the side. When you put your dreams in the hands of other people, you can set yourself up for disappointment.
Utilize opportunities as a platform? Sure. Give a job or a project 110 percent? Absolutely. But to think that someone else will magically put me on? Never again. The best person I’ll ever invest in will be myself so my time is my time and I’m not going to give it all away again.
Because I’m really focusing on myself for the rest of the year, I have some really fun projects coming up! If you want to be in the know, be sure to join my circle here.