Friday, December 29, 2017

My Yearly Blog Post

The year 2017, for a lot of people, was a flaming hot pile of garbage.

Literally, everything has fallen apart. Most noticeably, the United States. What the F is going on? I started watching the news every morning and I'm realizing that I should just switch back to Hallmark Christmas movies and call it a day. I can't take the ridiculousness.

But, for some very strange and out-of-character reason, I’m closing out the year on a high note. On a Mariah Carey circa 1995 note. But, it was a long road to get here. A very long road. Like, months and months of endless road that seemed inevitably heading towards a cliff that I was going to fall off. And it was all my own god damn fault. I had a good thing going and I said, “You know what? Let’s trash this shit!” and threw my life headfirst into a downward spiral.

In January, six months after deciding not to move to New York from Los Angeles, I decided that I was completely unhappy. My anxiety and depression were at an all-time high (or so I thought!) and I wasn’t where I wanted to be career-wise, or for the long run. So, with a heavy heart, I resigned from the agency I was working at and set a date to move back to Boston to get my life together.

January went by in a blur as I wrapped everything up at work and hung out with Copper (the dog) (also my best friend in Los Angeles) as much as I could. I was so embarrassed about leaving that I hardly told anyone. I mean, there are some people I still haven’t told and I keep getting invited to events. So, for those people, I’m sorry to say I won’t make it to your holiday parties.

February was spent in a constant state of panic. Was I making the right decision? Was it too late to un-quit my job and back out? Was going to Boston in the dead of winter A FOOL’S MOVE? I was constantly sad. My last day at work was one of the most depressing days ever because I didn’t want to admit it was over. I left quietly and drank myself stupid and took the SADDEST, accidental Uber pool back to my apartment.

And then, like that, I was leaving. My apartment was empty. I sat on the empty floor of the apartment that I lived in for three years and hysterically cried. My sister suggested we go next door and get a drink (a flaming margarita, to be exact), and I continued crying. Then, we returned to the apartment, and I cried some more. Everything in me felt like I was doing the wrong thing. The mere fact that I didn’t want to tell anyone that I was leaving was a good indication that this was a mistake. I felt like a complete failure, but the worst part was that I didn’t even know what I was failing at. My dreams? My career? My friends? I couldn’t tell if I cared more about actually failing, or if I cared more about the way it looked to other people.

March and April were spent desperately looking for a job (and finding out that I may need my gallbladder out). I turned down one job and then received basically zero interviews after that. I was too cocky. I thought that because I worked at one of the top advertising agencies in Los Angeles, that I’d be a shoe-in for EVERY JOB IN TOWN. But… most people either hadn’t heard of the company or thought it was a fake name because it was also a weather description (72andSunny). Those in the advertising/marketing world had heard of it, but they didn’t care much. Also, at first I was trying not to go down the HR path… but eventually, I realized it’s all I could really do because I had spent so long in that realm.

So, there I was. Miserable because I was living with my parents in Everett, Massachusetts and not in my own apartment in Los Angeles… and having to deal with the fact that I’d have to be an HR Manager for the rest of my life. (When you’re down and out, you tend to think you’re going to be down and out forever.)

Finally, I got a job! I didn’t want it, but I got something. It was two steps back in my career, but it was something. It was in an industry I had no interest in being in, but… it was something. I told people about it, and everyone’s response was, “Oh! Huh… really?” So, yeah. It wasn’t the right fit. (I was advised to wear a suit to the interview. I didn’t. But I was advised to.)

And then, in a stroke of luck, I emailed my friend/mentor/former boss and told her I got a job that I wasn’t super stoked for. She somehow got me an interview at a reputable marketing agency in town and within a week (with only two days until my start date at the other job), I was offered the position. I finally felt relieved, for the first time in months.  

May was spent rebuilding once I started my new job. And once the feeling of relief faded away… a lot of other feelings took its place. I didn’t realize how hard it was to start over. Learning the ropes at a new place and befriending new co-workers when I missed my old place and coworkers SO MUCH was really, really hard. The company was great, the job wasn’t bad, but… I still couldn’t shake the feeling that I had made a huge mistake in moving home.

June was a pretty depressing month (probably the most depressed I was this year!!!! TAKE THAT JANUARY DEPRESSION!) while I desperately tried to settle into my new life and failed completely. A lot of things hit me at once. I missed my friends in L.A. and I felt that the friends I had in Boston had either moved or weren’t my close friends anymore. I left, and I changed. They stayed, and they changed too. Or, they stayed and didn’t change and we didn’t have anything in common anymore. I was so removed from their situations (that hadn’t changed in four years) and I had nothing to add any more. Therefore, I had fewer people to hang out with. Fewer things to do. And everything just kept pointing to the fact that I made a huge mistake.

By July and August, I was tired of it. I was so tired of being miserable all the time. I started traveling to get out of my rut. I went to Vermont twice, Los Angeles, Chicago, Provincetown and New York. I made it a point to do something different every single weekend so I didn’t feel stuck and sad and full of regret.

In September, something started to click. I was feeling more settled, less anxious and even, dare I say it, happy. I began a new antidepressant in the beginning of October that KNOCKED ME ON MY ASS at first, but once it started kicking in I really leveled out. All it took was a couple of days of eating absolutely nothing and being so exhausted that I couldn't get out of bed! No big deal.

I then went to Vegas and L.A. again and really started to feel like I found “my place” at my new company. I was doing yoga all the time and taking care of myself. I finally starting feeling like myself again.

Then, in November, I got recruited by a really cool company for an amazing job opportunity. I never thought I’d get it, but the conversations kept going really well. I was excited and flattered they even reached out but felt okay if I didn’t get it because I was happy where I was. Then I got it. And I couldn’t turn it down. And I’m starting in January. And I’m traveling to GERMANY!  And looking back on this past year, I just keep thinking - as corny as it sounds - everything happens for a reason.

I’ve been incredibly lucky in my life. The careers that I’ve been able to pursue and be successful in have been tremendous. I sort of can’t believe it. I’m sad to be leaving my job, but so happy that I was able to work there during such a scary time of transition. The role, the people, the place was exactly what I needed. And they’re SO supportive of my next role (which is a hybrid of my HR and improv background, believe it or not.)

I’ll always come back to the quote, “If you work hard, and you’re kind… amazing things will happen.”

They have. And they will continue to happen. And for that, I am super grateful.

So now I'm going to enjoy my last few days of vacation, reflect on the tumultuous and lovely year that is thankfully behind me... and learn more words in German because right now all I know how to say is, "Hallo. Ich mag Bier und Kartoffeln. Tschüss!"

(Hello. I like beer and potatoes. Bye!)

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