Change is scary. Change is exciting. Change can be the necessary push to
get outside of your comfort zone and allow yourself to achieve your full potential.
This article comes with some exciting, terrifying, challenging, incredible news. To say that I am full of mixed emotions would be a bit of an understatement.
In less than two weeks I will be packing up my newly purchased car and will be moving across the country to LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA. After living in Chicago for four years, it is time to move on. When I first moved into Chicago, I wanted nothing to do with it. It wasn’t New York City. It wasn’t a food city like I wanted. I didn’t want to be stuck in the city I grew up in. I entered this time in my life with a very negative outlook. I wasn’t ready or willing to give this city the chance it deserved. But slowly, I began to soften. I met incredible friends. I found some of the most incredible restaurants I’ve been to. I learned to love myself for who I have always been, to accept that, to be proud of that, to share that. These past four years living in a city I did not want to live in has completely changed me. Changed me for good. Without even realizing it, I was exactly where I needed to be at the given time.
This past year I have been doing a lot of thinking. If you have been following Smak for a while, you will know that I recently published an article for Pride Month. That article was a result of much thought and reflection. The personal journey that I went through to get to that point extended much longer than just this past year, but I was finally able to look at myself in the mirror and love myself. Love who I was. Who I have become. Love the fact that I want to fall madly in love with another man. While this was a huge realization, it is only a portion of who I am as a person.
Work. I always try to remind myself that my 9 to 5 day job does not define who I am. It is simply a means to an end, a way to pay bills, a way to bring in a consistent income. My career has always been an internal point of contention. After graduation from college with a degree in political science (with a minor in Spanish and concentrations in economics and international affairs), the logical next step was law school. The job market was abysmal and the success rate of landing a full-time job was low. Even after four years of studying to go towards a law or government-centric career path, I knew that it was not what I wanted. I could no longer see myself following that path. What was I to do? The next few years provided a hodge-podge of job experiences – serving as a barista at Starbucks, waiting tables at a local Japanese restaurant, slaving away at a New York boutique creative agency, working as a social media consultant for a small handbag company – these were all jobs that I took because I needed something, anything, to give me purpose and a paycheck. My most series of jobs have been in advertising sales, first with Viacom working on the Nickelodeon brands, then Fuse Media and most recently at the Travel Channel. It has been a wonderful learning opportunity, and I must admit that I am good at the job. But when it comes down to it, I am not happy. I do not see a long-term career in this industry. It lacks the creativity that I long for and am so passionate about.
Smak has been my saving grace since I first launched the website in the spring of 2012. It has given me a much-needed creative outlet and has allowed me to hon in on the creative skills that I so longed to exercise. Writing. Photography. Cooking. Branding. Social media. These are the things that I love. These are the things that I know I am good at, that I know I have the potential to build a successful career with.
Which brings us to the next few weeks. I have decided that it is time I stop hiding out of fear of failure. I know what I want to do. I have dreams, big dreams, LIMITLESS dreams, and I am no longer afraid to chase after them. Sure, this next chapter will without a doubt be challenging and difficult. But now I choose to be excited by these unknowns rather than allowing them to make me anxious and scared. I will of course have difficult days, weeks even, but I am choosing to push myself outside my comfort zone. I have no idea where I will be, professionally or personally, in the next six months, or year, or five years. But this is my next step. This is my next chapter. This is my next challenge and I could not be more excited to see what the future holds.
How wild it was to let it be.