I've avoided writing a lot of intensely personal posts this year, mainly for professional reasons, but it's now time for my (personal) year in review, so here we go...
It's odd, I never imagined being 32 years old and being in a position where I couldn't make ends meet. I thought I'd have my own property, a booming career, and a more intricately detailed life plan by now. In the past year, I've realized that, not only does a person need to fight for those things in this modern day, but also sometimes a person needs to resign or re-imagine his or her dreams in order to muscle through tough times.
Some of this, I admit, is my fault. Some of us are blessed with a life that nurtures confidence. Others of us go through things that tear us down and it takes years and years to rebuild that confidence. I spent my entire twenties thinking that I wasn't as intelligent or capable as others in the world of business. My entire career, from journalist to marketing professional, consisted of me constantly second-guessing myself, undervaluing my work, and, in some cases, allowing bosses to lead me blindly by the nose, instead of relying on my own intellect and research skills. I thought that I was sub-par at everything, regardless of praise or accolades from outsiders. If there is one thing that I have benefitted from in being laid off, it is the ability to step back and realize how wide the gap was between my perception of my professional skills and reality, and that my insights and instincts regarding my profession are better than those of most "gurus" out there. I've blown the poker faces off of several interviewers with my knowledge of user experience and marketing science. I've learned never again to undervalue my skills or debase myself so that people can treat me with less than the respect that I deserve. The saying is true, if you don't value yourself, no one else will.
Realizing my value in the professional world has been a blessing and it has opened the door for many great interviews and opportunities. Unfortunately, even with everything being in the right place, sometimes it's just the wrong time. I've had two "almost hire" situations in the past four months, where I thought I was just waiting for final approval from the "higher ups" before I received the offer, only to have it shot down at the last minute on a technicality, budgetary or otherwise. They say a person shouldn't get his or her hopes up until the deal is on the table, but it's hard not to get jazzed up when you hear those words, "We're just waiting on approval to extend the offer." Especially when it's a great job and you picture yourself there, sitting in your own office, imagining what your new day-to-day routine will be, thinking ahead on what projects you'll sink your teeth into first. It's heartbreaking when you have those daydreams snatched away at the last minute.
Luckily, I do have the immense support of friends and family, who have been there through all of the ups and downs with me. It's funny, I guess, that I've always been nice and cared for others, but I have never once expected anything in return. The support and kindness that I have received have been more than my heart knows what to do with. Accepting all of it is difficult. All I can do is be grateful and gracious and hope that I can get back on my feet soon so that I can start paying back and paying forward.
Speaking of being on my feet, of course, my life would be entirely different if I hadn't signed up with Team in Training this year. With a wonderful and supportive team encouraging me onward, I completed feats of fitness that I never thought possible, and continue to do so every day. I would never have gone for that full Ironman dream had I not had the confidence to run a marathon on my own.
Not only did Team in Training provide me with a fit body, more confidence and new, quality friendships, but it also provided me with the ability to give back to others in ways that I couldn't myself. Raising money for blood cancer, even though initially I had no connection to the cause, has felt overwhelmingly gratifying. I can say with certainty that I've helped to contribute to a cure that can help millions of people, forever.
One major thing I can say for 2012 is that it has toughened me up, more than ever before. I have endured a lot of disappointment, a lot of heartache, but I have also gained lots of love, great health, and a stronger belief in myself.
I don't set "New Years Resolutions" for a number of reasons, but I will say that I hope 2013 brings me a real offer to a great job, the ability to meet fundraising goals so I can continue participating in Team in Training, and that I continue to become a stronger athlete and a better friend to everyone in my life. I hope that everyone in my life who is struggling finds peace and a better situation in 2013. I'm going to throw these wishes out into the atmosphere and, with any luck, they'll come true.
Happy New Year!