Welcome to my delayed quarter life crisis! I’ve been M.I.A. lately as I’ve been trying to figure out what my next steps might be. I’ve been taking a good hard look at my career, my interests, my mental and physical health, my friendships, etc (and also, taking a good hard look at Grace & Frankie, because that is an excellent show). One of my reasons for starting this blog was to live more bravely, to try new things, and to push myself to pursue passions. The first step is to figure out what the f*ck those passions might be. I’ve always envied people who know themselves so well that they have a singular passion that they are able to throw their whole weight behind (i.e. I AM a musician/artist/actor/animal activist/professional clown). I’ve pursued more things because I felt they are what I SHOULD be doing or avoiding things I think I’d enjoy because of a fear of failure, as opposed to sorting out what I actually want to do.
Here’s what I know: I like myself best when I am writing, public speaking, taking photos, engaging in media, and community building. So, how do I put this at the forefront of who I am? How do I take stock in myself and change the ratio of my day so that more time is full of this? This post marks my commitment to exploring interests and turning it into something good (and hopefully, financially viable).
My advice to myself, and to you, is:
1. Don’t quit your day job. I’ve seen so many LinkedIn articles that tell you to quit your job and pursue your heart’s desire. Don’t do this thing without a solid plan. I’ve been incredibly broke, and can tell you from experience, it does not lend itself to creative thought. When you are worried about where your next meal is coming from or how you’re going to pay your rent, you aren’t able to think about creative pursuits or take risks. Keep your day job until you don’t have to.
2. Compile evidence. If you’re going to ask other people to put their interest, their time, or their money behind you, you’re going to need proof that you do what you say you do. Make a website, create an Instagram account, submit articles for publishing or publish on your own website, document speaking engagements. Put your stuff somewhere people can find it and keep updating. Recently, I created the website: byliz.media as a place to hold my creative stuff. While it’s in very early stages, it’s a place I can go back to, as I’m trying to be a competitive member of these fields. (You can check out my photography at @bylizmedia on Instagram). Also look for smaller opportunities to get your stuff out there. I’ve recently joined my grad school paper, started documenting speaking engagements I’ve been doing for work, and taking photos of my friends’ bands.
**shameless photo plug
3. Make the time. In almost every post, I’m either apologizing for not having had enough time or complaining about not having enough time. I’m going to call bull on myself. I might be working and in school, but my problem isn’t time, it’s prioritization. We all have the same number of hours in a day as Beyonce. If she can be Beyonce, I can write a gd post or take a photo.
4. Surround yourself with people who inspire you and make you better. To quote my spiritual guru, Amy Poehler, “Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, and it will change your life.” Try and find the people who almost make you a little doubtful of your own ability because they are JUST SO GOOD and make you strive to collaborate with their talent.
5. Invest in you. No one else is going to believe in you unless you believe in you. Be your own biggest fan and seek out the opportunities that help you get to where you want to go. As my man-friend with the yellow glasses says to me (frequently and loudly), “No one is just going to walk up to you and hand you what you want. Stop waiting for it.” Find that class, volunteer opportunity, job, want ad that speaks to the direction you want to be going and follow up.
I’m going to try my best to be true to these things. You do the same, and we’ll come back together and compare notes. If you have additional pieces of advice or thoughts, let me know!