I have a journal that I write all of my blog ideas and recipes in and on the cover it says, “This is EXACTLY what I wanted to be doing after four years of college”.
Depending on the use of this journal it could be taken very literally, but for me I am applying a sarcastic tone to the quote. The front of my journal summarizes my sentiments exactly. When I graduated from the University of Cincinnati back in 2006 with a BA in Communication/ Public Relations I had expectations and dreams of becoming a corporate Public Relations Specialist. At least, that was my first thought. Then it went from that to being a marketing executive, which I still enjoy and love, with hopes of becoming an Art Director. Then I thought I would be good in a leadership position as a manager or a consultant of some sort. Now, I work in higher education as an adviser and I think of opportunities I can grow within this field as well. As I think about these ideas, I start to think what would really come of these career choices?
Sure I could receive promotion after promotion, which would allow me to make more money (which I could use) and a corner office that only serves the purpose of vanity and promote elitism (in my opinion). Sure I could make an impact and build great things into people, create awesome marketing campaigns, work 50+ hours a week, have a wardrobe that consists mostly of business suits, and work hard to make more money for a company that I don’t even own, and pretend that I am happy to receive a 3-7% increase every year, and I will continue to do this year-after-year for the next 35 years of my life. Is that how this works? Whose dream am I living?
It has been said, that you will have a good quality life if you go to college, maybe even graduate school (which I did), get a good paying job, get a house in a nice sub division, two cars, get married, have a girl and a boy, and a lab or golden retriever and name him “Buddy”. Really? Is this life? Seems pretty boring to me. The term “rat race” is fitting for this approach to life. We spend so much time running around in a maze never knowing what is behind each corner. We go through the maze blindly trying to be the first one to get a piece of “cheese”. Not even a good piece of cheese like a Gouda, Brie, or Gorgonzola. I raggedy piece of American classic single cheese. Thinking that we have accomplished something. The problem with this maze that we try to do well in is that it is has its constraints. The maze is in a box. So we go by this template (i.e. American Dream) that keeps us in a box. When did we get so caught up in living a dream that someone gave us versus sitting still and really thinking about our own?
When we were younger, most of us wanted to be things that we wouldn’t dare think about doing now. Most of us wanted to be veterinarians, zoo keepers, whale watchers, marine biologists, botanists, wrestlers, astronauts, or….whatever. What happened? I’m willing to bet along the way we got stained with the idea that we needed a more secure plan. We need to go to college or pick something in life that is secure and that will make us a lot of money. So what do we do? We compromise ourselves and what we truly want for the sake of security? Money? Happiness? Now I am not saying that our minds can’t change. It seems as though they change into something that we don’t even have the heart or hunger for. Basically, we settle. We settled for a suit and subconsciously make a choice to be slaves to a system that tells us to be the top of your peers, be the best in the company, and make enough money to live comfortably. We take those normal ideals and use those as cover ups for us really chasing vanity, prestige, and greed. I am not saying anything is wrong with going to college. I do not regret my education. I display it proudly. My one regret is not listening to my heart and searching what I am really passionate about.
I sit at home, everyday, in front of my computer, working from home, and my day begins to drift into this area of wondering and questioning what life really is about. I have worked in the same position for the same university for 5 years. I sit in silence and sometimes think to myself “Nicole, you should be doing more and you are so much better than what you are doing!” But as I sit home, and do my job good enough to stay under the radar, I’m working on my food blog. “Nicole, you should be a leader or a director of a campus somewhere”, is what I hear in my head. So I pull out my resume, schedule interviews, record myself doing mock interviews and criticizing myself on how I should be better. For what? For someone else’s dream or my own? Now, I am good at what I do. And, I have skills, attributes, and characteristics that would be an asset to any college, university, or company. But you know what I realized? After going through 10 job interviews within a 2-3 month time frame, you begin to question if you are really hitting the right mark. Each one of these interviews, I made it to the final interview and was one of the top candidates to be considered and turned down every single time. You know what I finally get? I am tired of seeking approval from an organization that doesn’t really know me or my heart or how I could really be an asset all to do something that I don’t even know I want anyway. I’m tired of being rejected for a false dream. So why not turn my passion into my dream or my job?
Some of you are saying its the economy, it takes time, hang in there, it could be your interview skills, or blah blah blah. All of that could be true, but I’m not so sure it is my truth. My truth as I know it right now, in this moment of space, creation, and vulnerability is that I am a food blogger. I love doing this. I love making recipes and taking pictures. My heart screams for it daily (now I’m crying)! I love reading your comments and emails and making relationships people who I don’t even know. It softens my heart. Who would’ve ever thought that this would be my passion? I often question it because to do blogging full-time is a serious stretch. It is definitely not something you say you want to do and it just happens. I work HARD AS HECK on this blog. Creating and testing recipes, taking photos at the right time of day, responding back to emails and comments, and doing the back web maintenance work (i.e SEO, research plugins, website design, etc). I do it all! AND my full-time job as well. I have prayed for 5 years for God to show me my purpose. I am just now starting to open up to the idea that I just may have found it. I’m free, I’m at peace, I’m connected to God when I work on this blog.
I’m getting ready to close, to some of you who just come to get a recipe or look at my blog as just another food blog I don’t expect you to understand what I am feeling or even talking about. That isn’t a judgement from me to you, it’s just what it is. With God’s direction, wisdom, discipline, and tough conversations that He has had to have with me time and time again to get me to the point of letting go, there is no way you can understand. My soon-to-be husband told me “God won’t open up the door, until you start to build confidence in yourself”. That hit my like a wrecking ball the first time he told me that. Layer by layer, step by step, I started to submit to God’s plan for me and learned how to let go of this “American Dream” that has yet to fulfill me. It has only filled my debt with student loans. I am open and I know that when you are open and surrender with your arms to the sky the universe will rise up and meet you where you are. I have to believe that. I still look at jobs from time to time because I do like to work and I am not in the place to be a full-time food blogger…yet. The difference is, I see potential job opportunities as a way to support my household, exercise the skills that I have learned, and to meet people. That’s it! My job doesn’t define me. Because I am not at this organization, making a certain amount of money, and have a certain title, DOES NOT define who I am and it certainly doesn’t make me lesser than anyone or someone better than me that has or want those things. Heck, the grass is not always greener. This is my truth as I know it today. I love cooking, baking, creating, building, managing, and loving this crazy job as a blogger. I urge you to really still your mind and think of what you want in life and go that way. Don’t do something just because someone told you, you should do it. Have faith in yourself and step out on faith and live who you are.
I’m still a work in progress though.