When everything changes all at once

I’m learning a totally different life this month.

Three weeks ago, I left my job at Moody Publishers. I went from working 30 hours a week at a publishing house and freelancing on the side, to freelancing as much as I can with job hunting on the side.

Two days later, I moved from a studio apartment in Lincoln Park, where I’d lived alone for 15 months in walking distance of most non-work things, to a three bedroom in Logan Square with two others girls within walking distance of, well, quite a bit less.

I used to use public transit to get everywhere outside my neighborhood: work, friends, downtown, or social things in other neighborhoods. Now, while I’ll likely still use CTA at times, I’m doing a lot more driving (borrowing my roomate’s van or boyfriend’s car) or making plans *with* one of my roommates and them driving, when I used to go more places alone.

I used to be alone by default, and with people by choice (well, outside of the office). It was occasionally lonely, but I was mostly content. Now I live with two people. I’m still alone during the work day for the most part, but the evening default is easy coexisting or hanging out. And while it’s different, I’m still content.

I used to read around 6 books a month, and did most of that while traveling to and from work, to events, or on lunch break. Now that I’m home more, I’m relearning to make time at home to read.

I used to blog for a few minutes at lunchtime, getting thoughts out when my mind needed to do something personally productive before getting back to business. Now I have little routine (yet), and would need to set aside blogging time.

Come to think of it, there were a lot of little things I did or pondered while on busses and trains, all of which will either be reintegrated or let go.

Basically, everything changed.

A job to freelancing. Living in one room to having a living room and a dining room and a laundry/pantry nook and a porch. Living in a commercial, busy area to a residential, slower one.

Feeling stuck to feeling like I could go a lot of different directions now. And the latter being about as frightening as the first.

It’s been a really good shift. I’m sorting through things I’d been letting clutter up. I’m cooking more. I’m eating out signifcantly less (and spending money less in general, both naturally and out of neccessity). I’m looking into new freelance opportunities. I have more space to spread out, I love having a dishwasher and laundry for the first time in years, and there’s so much natural light.

The transition has downsides too, of course. I’m nervous for the future: I don’t quite know what I want to do or what I’m going to do or how I’m going to do any of it. As I look for jobs and work, I’m torn between finding something full-time, or finding a way to make it on less so I can consider school, or an internship, or more freelance opportunities. And in that uncertainty, there’s the worry of finding anything at all.

I have more freelance than I expected right here at the start of the transition, and that’s been a huge boon, both to my sense of self during this time and to my budget. But I’m struggling to find a routine that works to keep up with it and find my way internally at the same time.

I’m nervous but happy at the same time.
Anxious but content.
Scared but hopeful.

I don’t know where I’m going. And if a lot more time goes by without figuring something out, I might lose it a little.

But for right now, for these weeks, for a bit longer, not knowing is OK.

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5 things not to do when your life is a bit overwhelmed

Why am I overwhelmed? Well, because I’m a 20-something. Wasn’t that a given? Do we even have a choice? But specifically, I’ll get to that at the end. Maybe. Unless I get too overtaken by feelings to finish.

1. Avoid putting things away, specifically clothes.

This is a broad one. We’re talking laundry, of course. But we’re also talking returns I need to get in the mail (that Nordstrom sale, seriously), and, even more space-consuming, my stacks of clothes to sell or donate. It’s great that I cleaned out my closet (and that I’m returning a lot of what I ordered!), but it all adds up real fast in a studio. After a couple of busy weeks and in the midst of a couple of big changes happening, my place is a mess, and at least half of it is stuff I’m trying to get out of here.

I need to get on this.

2. Feel like being social will help and then make too many plans

Ok, this one is obviously too much of a generalization. So often, being social does help, and working on building and connecting is great. Feeling isolated is typically a negetive, and I’ve learned that if I want to go have people to go bowling with on a Saturday, I might need to plan it and invite them (and they will come, and it will be great, and I will not win, unfortunately.) But I might have to accept that at the moment, my relationships might have to build a tiny bit more slowly, and that’s ok, and I can alway get back to planning things to bring people together after things calm down.

That said, I think we’re still going to go do karaoke two weekends from now, so let me know if you want in.

3. Ignore your dishes

The self-loathing isn’t worth it. Put on some music or an audiobook and go do them. (Or move somewhere with a dishwasher. Whatever works for you, though you probably don’t want to transport dirty dishes when moving. Obviously. Anyways.)

4. Start marathining a new show.

Ah, so I’m actually doing fine on this one for the moment, but I’m including it as a reminder, because I am so tempted to break my stress by finding something to watch mindlessly for a while. I’ve mostly been picking up a book instead, which should get me points. (Except that I read most of a 400+ page Brandon Sanderson novel yesterday, and maybe that wasn’t my best use of time, but it was Sunday for heaven’s sake, and it was restful!)

Aaaand, here’s the big one:

5. Apartment-hunt and job-hunt at the same time

Because really, these take so much time. Each. While neither process is pretty, neither is the end of the world.

Unless you need to do both at the same time, then it’s a little bit the end of the world.

And unfortunately there’s no way out of it, unless one of you has a fast-forward device to get me a few months ahead of this.

But where would the fun be in that?

What are ten things you still want to learn?

learning
1. The first is entirely due to Netflix. Is it weird that I never cared about art history before watching White Collar—but now want to know all of it? I’m pretty much determined now to eventually take some sort of class on this.

2. Science. There is a lot that I’m missing. Because I went to Moody.

3. Kick-boxing. Is anyone in Chicago interested in taking a class? I’d need to find something really inexpensive, unfortunately.

4. Coding.

5. To use InDesign better, to know more about what Photoshop can do, and to know how to use Illustrator at all.

6. How to dredge up the energy every evening to keep up a clean apartment. Or cleanish, you know, whatever.

7. How to sew my own clothes: I’m starting to work on this one! As in, I have pretty much everything I need for a dress pattern, except printing out the pattern. And practicing on the machine I haven’t used in years, first.

8. Pretty much all of the skills involved in being a spy, a con, a space pirate, Arrow, and/or a Time Lord. I’d also accept merely being outfitted with the Intersect in my brain like Chuck (but with better control), and/or allomancy.

9. To draw. A friend and I have started working through a “You can draw too!” sort of book, and by started, I mean we’re both terrible still. We also just sort of skipped a month (or so…) without planning to, so, this may or may not work out. (Sarah, oops?)

10. To be moderately successful at being a functioning adult.

This is not, by any means, all of the things I want to learn. But you have to start somewhere, right? Also, a longer list would become depressing, especially if I have to include stuff like “holding my breathe underwater properly” and other embarrasing things.

Yeah.

What are yours?

When you couldn’t be bothered to fix your old “About Me”

I wrote an “About Me” sometime in 2011 when I began this WordPress blog, and then never bothered after that. I left it up so long I finally added “from 2011” at the top to explain anything that felt out of date, and another time made a couple of tiny adjustments to make it less dated. And then, finally, I just removed the page entirely. I’ve only just gotten around to working on a new one. Or, you know, starting to.

I think it was easier to describe myself in my teen years because the need to be able to was so strong. That, and in a strange way I think I knew myself better then. I didn’t know who I would be. And I didn’t really have any idea who I should be. But I had an idea who I was, in those moments, and I ran with that.

Finishing school kind of screwed that whole thing up.

I still don’t know who I will be, I only have a slightly better idea of who I should be, and heaven knows I don’t always know who I am. To be honest, half the time I think the question and concept of “knowing who I am” is flawed anyways.

But the funny thing is, the way I described myself in 2011 isn’t half bad.

Overanalytical, argumentative, cynical, hyperactive, stubborn, indecisive, facetious, innapropriate, impatient. My failings.

My passions? Harder to define. Learning and knowing. In the past, and hopefully soon the present, my education. Showing people that most of life’s questions have more than one right answer and we should probably stop hating one another over them. Laughter, being overcome by it and causing it. Showing people love through words and actions. My faith. Words. Sentences. Punctuation and grammar.

Just like you. And you, and you, and you over there with the brown coat.

Now, I don’t think my failures or passions make me that much different from the general populace, but they do make me a bit different from the specific people I come into everyday contact with.

I’m less cyncical indecisive innapropriate… ok, actually, the failings I listed are still pretty accurate. If I were to write them now I might reprioritize them. I might add “listless” or “lost” (although I’ve learned that this one might just be a general symptom of being a 20-something.)

I still wouldn’t list successes or positive traits. I have them, but sometimes they fail me and and sometimes I don’t live up to them and sometimes I lose them entirely. I’d rather not set that standard for myself, here, in public. (I’ll save that for any future job interviews).

And my passions, though using “passions” feels overly passionate now, are a bit immaturely written, but still—there’s still me in there. But now I’d add books, and design, and good feminism, and a need for community.

And through learning about my passions and failings, and how they shape me, I get these glimpses of who I’m maybe, perhaps, potentially meant to be.

This blog is occasionally about that.

The rest of the time, I write to amuse myself.

And hopefully, once in while, you.

The biggest difference? Now I mostly write about books. I hope you don’t mind.