Rerouting my pity train

Since I’m turning 30 in couple of months I’ve been combing through the archives of this blog trying to remember what I was like when I first started writing here in 2009. I wrote my first post, about doing laundry, in September that year, just months after I turned 20. 

I recently stumbled across a few old posts of mine that sounded really melodramatic and depressing, like this one, and I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry.  I feel so silly looking back on them now. Everything seemed so big back then, viewing life through the lens of a girl just months into a new decade of her life.

But I do think those feelings of anxiety and doubt are normal for a student on the verge of graduation, looking over that cliff, afraid to make the jump without a parachute.

So I wanted to address a couple of the points I made – refute them, actually.

Because I ended up proving myself wrong.

Fairly useless degree in creative writing.

I think when I said my degree in creative writing (it’s actually an English degree with a concentration in creative writing) was useless, I was just parroting what I’d been told by other people, opinions I’d absorbed but that weren’t entirely my own. I’ve always loved writing – why wouldn’t I want to study it at school? And now that I work in a professional environment and spend my day emailing people who don’t know how to put together a complete sentence, I really do think my writing skills are valuable. 

No, I’m not a successful novelist (yet),  but studying creative writing taught me so much more than how to craft a plot or the difference between showing and telling.  I write every day at work, both creatively and technically, so my degree wasn’t useless. It’s useful. It’s not worthless. It’s worth more than I could have imagined.

I know I’m being totally unrealistic by hoping for a lucrative profession in the writing industry.

It’s not unrealistic to hope for or dream about the things you want most. I wish I could go back and shake that discouragement right out of myself.  And it might have taken me a few years, but I get paid to write now. I get paid to do other things, too, but writing is a huge part of my job and it’s one of the reasons why I love doing what I do. 

Grad school probably isn’t even an option…the only grad school I’ll likely get in to will be Podunk U.

I watched a lot of my friends complete their master’s degrees long before I even ever applied.  I’d talked myself out of it because I didn’t think I deserved it. Didn’t think I could do it. But my parents never gave up on me and with their support (and the support of my husband) I was accepted to Syracuse University and completed my graduate degree in Public Relations last spring. 

I guess that Microsoft Office certification wasn’t as helpful as my high school teacher assured me it would be.

So an official certification isn’t really necessary, but understanding how to use common office software is a pretty undervalued skill.  I’m constantly being asked to help people in my office, whether it’s formatting a document in Word or inserting cells into Excel, you’d be surprised how many people don’t actually know anything beyond the basics of these programs.  I think this will start to change as Millennials become the majority workplace demographic, but for now, my advice is to keep learning.

What I wouldn’t give to trade my shy, introverted traits for brave and outgoing ones.  

I still feel this way sometimes. My shy nature can often be crippling, especially in the Public Relations field.  It’s the biggest challenge I face on a daily basis.  But it also means I’m good at thinking before I speak or make a serious decision.  That quiet introspection is undervalued but it’s something I’m proud of now.  That’s not to say I wouldn’t enjoy having a few more extroverted qualities, but you play the hand you’re dealt. 

So, I guess my point is, you never know what might happen, and you shouldn’t doubt yourself. Just let life play itself out and enjoy the ride while you can.  None of the things I have now were planned for, but boy am I grateful. 

To quote 23-year-old me,

“Things change. They may change slowly, but they do. You never really notice differences on a day-to-day basis, but when you look back, it will be hard to ignore the space between who you are in the present and who you were in the past.”

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Compulsive snacker. Bleeding heart. Unhealthy obsession with Tom Hanks and cats. Florida State and Syracuse University alum.
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