Fellow Philly blogger, Jessica Lawlor is about to close the submission window for her second annual "Get Gutsy" contest. Over a bowl of dan dan noodles in December, she encouraged me to participate and share my story. As 2014 was such a pivotal year for me, I put pen to paper (read: fingers to keyboard) and the below story flowed out of me. In last week's post, I briefly touched on my 2014 reflections before jumping into a diatribe on gratitude. So think of this as me making up for some of the details I left out of that post. I hope you enjoy a look at HSL 2014 – the abridged version. :)
Savoring Life, One Experiment at a Time
If 2013 was my year of the epiphany, than 2014 was my year of experimentation. And it was nothing short of transformational.
A mentor of mine once told me about Saturn’s return, which is the astrological belief that upon Saturn’s return to its original place in one’s birth chart, profound life changes will occur. Now whether my epiphany was due to this astrological coincidence or not, it happened – and I've never looked back.
After graduating from a prestigious corporate communications leadership program and experiencing sequential years of career success at a global Fortune 100 company, my professional trajectory was on a healthy incline. Everything I worked for was paying off. But as irony would have it, it was during this peak in my professional success when my entire life perspective changed.
Her Savory Life (HSL) was born out of a desire to open my aperture to a new way of thinking. It began as a force function so I had a reason to write about savoring moments in my life. Before then, those moments seemed to rush by without absorption or acknowledgement. But through the process of creating and writing HSL, I experienced much more than an appreciation of the little things. I went through an emotional awakening where I not only found my authentic self, but found purpose in writing for others. My true self had collided beautifully with my work life – and it was making a difference for other people.
HSL has since evolved into an inspiration platform for emotional wellness and refinement of the art of living. In parallel, I spent the latter part of the year charting a course of action-based experimentation to push myself even more while testing my theories and interests. I tried a stint in advertising. I began freelancing. My articles were featured on prominent blogs. I attended workshops and networking events. I began working with people outside of the box of a past life - all who are so passionate about what they do. All the while I became addicted to living meaningfully and conciously as I watched my personal and professional lives fuse into one. I can proudly define myself as a communicator, writer, thinker, lover, idealist and life enthusiast.
In 2014, one of my proudest accomplishments was deciding my life would be a hybrid - filled with diverse experiences and non-linear thinking. Sounds simple, but before this year, my mind was closed to anything other than what I was doing at that moment. It still blows my mind to think that in an alternate scenario, I might have continued to look straight in that linear way, following a traditional career path without ever veering off of it. Until 2014, I’d assumed I should only do what the 15 years of academic training had prepared me to do. To boot, I always thought my professional life would remain completely separate from my personal life. So I’m proud of the courage, risk and enthusiasm it took to question and change all of that. And yet as I think about the closing of that linear chapter, I wouldn’t give back any of those experiences, because like stairs on a ladder, they were instrumental in leading me to this moment. Its a good feeling to wake up every morning in control of your path and your purpose.
This is your only life. So why not try something new. You might be pleasantly surprised.
Getting gutsy is all about stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals and live a life that makes you truly happy. This post is my entry for Jessica Lawlor’s Get Gutsy Essay Contest. To get involved and share your own gutsy story, check out this post for contest details and download a free copy of the inspiring Get Gutsy ebook.