farewell, 2012.

On Saturday night, Anne (my WobiSobi bestie) and I met up with our friend, Laura, for dinner at one of our favorite spots. Laura’s home for the holidays. About a year and a half ago, fresh out of film school at Florida State, she packed up and moved across the country to pursue a career in filmmaking in L.A.. You know those friends that you can be separated from for ages, but when you’re reunited things pick up right where you left off? We always circle back to each other and it feels like nothing’s changed, even though our lives are completely different with each visit.  I think those kinds of relationships are one of life’s greatest blessings.

As we caught up over four courses, Laura asked us what we were most looking forward to in the new year. Hmm… while I tried to organize my thoughts on my hopes for 2013, I just kept thinking about how grateful I am for the overwhelming peace I’m feeling as we round out another year. For the first time in my grown-up life, I feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be…

Let’s rewind.

It’s 2007, and I’m a painfully shy newlywed just graduating from business school. I’ve spent the last seven years with my nose in a book, working toward “the future” which is happening, like now. I land a great opportunity in a high level marketing position at a big healthcare organization and I’m ready to take on the world, bright eyed and bushy tailed. And naive. I go on a shopping spree to build my “woman of the working world” wardrobe, and armed with a bevy of pencil skirts and grown-up pumps, a freshly-printed marketing degree, and enough blind ambition to fuel an empire I start my career — wrapped up the comfort and security of My Five Year Plan.

You know what they say: “If you wanna hear God laugh, tell him your plans.” Watch an episode of MTV’s new series, Underemployed, to glimpse the awkward flailing of overconfident twenty-something college grads as they gracelessly careen into adulthood. It’s messy, right? No one tells you how difficult it’s going to be. Or maybe they do, and you just don’t listen. Well eventually, my bubble of ignorant bliss burst and the grim reality of corporate management overwhelmed me. So I enrolled in grad school and started working on my MBA. To further entrench myself in the corporate management I wasn’t sure I was cut out for. Still scratching my head on that one. And paying off the student loans.

Instead of admitting that maybe I wasn’t built to be a modern day power girl and that My Five Year Plan needed adjusting, I kept trying my damnedest to force my square peg into a round hole. I spent my days in the office, my nights at business networking events and parties doing PR for work, and my weekends in classrooms. I was angry with myself for not keeping it together; I’d worked so hard to get here so why couldn’t I toughen up and just be happy? It didn’t take long to snap under the self-imposed pressure. After months of relentless anxiety and a handful of doctor-prescribed pills to take the edge off (they didn’t), I dropped out of grad school and quit my job. Enter what can best be described as The Dark Days: 24 months of debilitating stress and depression, intense self doubt, and job hopping from one ill-fitting “marketing” position to the next in hopes of regaining my footing. Business-to-business sales? Sucked at it. Non-profit fundraising? Terrible at that, too. On the outside, I had it together — all packaged up in cute outfits and a perma-smile. On the inside, I was a hot mess in the throes of a major quarter life crisis.

Looking back, I should’ve cut myself some slack. My life changed intensely and dramatically really fast — new husband, new house, bills to pay for the first time in my life, a demanding job with no real work experience, et al. Hindsight and 20/20, yada yada.

You know what happens next. Just when I thought I was destined for an eternity of dreading going to work, Chad and I made the life-changing decision to join his family’s business and the rest is history.

So back to Saturday night, and the aforementioned peace. After spending the majority of my 20’s in inner turmoil trying to find myself, I think — just maybe — I finally have. 2012 was one for the record books. It was equal parts challenging, terrifying, and fulfilling; and through the struggles and sacrifice and thousands of splinters I learned a heck of a lot. We celebrated major successes this year and took a few failures to the chin. It seems that through the long days and learning curves and total exhaustion, I discovered what’s important to me, and I’m incredibly grateful to be in such a good place.

It’s been five years since I graduated from college, and my life doesn’t look anything like my 22-year old self expected.  Instead of expensive business suits and stilettos, my closet is filled with denim and practical flats. My once perfectly delicate manicured hands are covered in scratches and most days I leave the house without makeup. I haven’t opened Powerpoint in years. I drive a minivan! And I’m loving {almost} every minute of it.

Every day, I say a little prayer asking God to help me live with open hands and an open heart — to surrender the vice-grip of control and let him guide me where I’m supposed to go. Because of all the things I learned in 2012, the best lesson was that amazing things can happen when you stop trying to stubbornly forge your own path and start being open to new experiences; fly by the seat of your pants a little and just let life happen.

So long, 2012. You’ll be tough to beat, but I have a feeling the best is yet to come.

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  1. 12.30.13

    And all the best for 2014 :-)

  2. 12.30.13

    Reading this one year later…. Thank you. Your honest revelations resonated with me. I needed this. L

  3. 1.11.13

    So beautifully written. I totally can identify to a lot of those experiences. Contentment is a beautiful thing isn’t it? Enjoy the happy~ :)

  4. 1.2.13
    Kimberly said:

    I love this post. I went through the same thing of trying to fit into the corporate world and when that failed, trying to fit into my parents’ law enforcement world. It was crazy. I just finished my first year of owning my own business as a Wedding Photographer and I couldn’t be happier. 2013 is going to be a great year! Keep up the amazing work!

    • 1.2.13

      Good for you, Kimberly! Branching out and doing something on your own is the scariest thing ever, especially when everyone around you is telling you “why it won’t work.” But when you put in the blood, sweat, and tears you can be successful at whatever you put your mind to! Wishing you the best of luck in your business in 2013!

  5. 1.2.13

    Refreshing. My favorite blogs are the ones where the writers share parts of themselves, not just pretty pictures. APP is always a must-read for me! Life has a funny way of working itself out, doesn’t it? After an incredibly rough 2012, I am so excited for 2013. The possibilities are endless! xox.

    • 1.2.13

      Thank you for the sweet words of encouragement. Keep your chin up, Kate! I hope 2013 is a fresh start for you!!

  6. 1.1.13

    Love love this post! Such honest writing. So sorry you had to go through so much turmoil at such a young age, so glad you found something you love and are passionate about!
    The only way is forward…way to go!

    • 1.2.13

      “The only way is forward,” is a great mantra! Thank you for the support!

  7. 1.1.13
    Katie said:

    Love this post Keira! I started to get that awful “Doctor (fill in one of many names here) is coming down the hallway again” clammy hands feeling when you were talking about our adventures in healthcare marketing (or is it health care? ;P). You have really made a fabulous life for yourself and I couldn’t be more proud. I hope in two years I can write something just like this.

  8. 1.1.13

    What an amazing post! The best I’ve read on your blog, hands down. Thanks so much for the honesty, and you should be so proud to be where you are now! As a recent college graduate trying to figure out it’s tough, and I definitely don’t have a handle on it. But good things will come a long and you have to keep trucking, just as you learned. And I’ll remember this post next time I’m feeling too stressed out – that maybe the right thing will come along sooner than later. Happy 2013!

  9. 1.1.13

    Such a great post, and one that I can whole heatedly relate to. I too am suffering a “quarter life crisis” and hope to find my own path to happiness and job contentment soon. Your story has been inspiring, so thanks for that and happy new year :-)

  10. 1.1.13

    This is the first post I will ever read on your blog……Thanks for being one of the first of my great experiences this year. – Discover new, interesting and inspiring people (check) –

  11. 12.31.12
    Autumn said:

    One of my favorite posts of yours to date. God has a way of making us throw our plans up in the air.