This past week I celebrated my 27th birthday AND my one year anniversary on WordPress. I actually didn’t realize it was one year ago that I signed up for WordPress, oops, good thing they reminded me.
I have been doing a lot of reflecting and setting goals for myself and the next year. So, its perfect timing to look back on both my life and my blogging journey over the past year. This post is personal but I decided to put it out there anyway. I’m hopeful that it will inspire you in someway. If nothing else, it will share more about myself which I think is needed. But, more about that later. 🙂
27 already? Wow.
26 was not a bad year but it has not been one I will look back on fondly either.
Since graduating college, traveling for a full time job and graduating cosmetology school, I have been on an up and down roller coaster ride.
And the last year and a half- well that was a mess.
I don’t mean to sound really dramatic but the truth is, I’m nowhere near where I imagined myself being at this point in my life. And I haven’t been able to catch a break.
I will admit, I get frustrated often that things are not working out. Rethinking my career choice has become a regular occurrence and I wonder what I am doing with life. What makes me happy and what I want seem to have been forgotten. Worrying- about things I can control and things I cannot- happens too much. I’ve gotten too caught up in it all. I’m hard on myself and I forget that my journey is different than that of the people around me.
These feelings are tricky because I know I’m blessed and haven’t had the hardships many people have had to endure. But that’s exactly why its been so hard to feel unhappy. How can I be unhappy?
Maybe unhappy is not the right word. Maybe I should say discontented. People use happy and unhappy like an on and off switch. You’re unhappy? Well then stop thinking bad thoughts and be happy. If this works for you, I envy you. But the truth is, it doesn’t work like that for tons of people. Me included.
This isn’t a post about mental illness. But I wanted to share that even though I have everything going for me, seemingly out of nowhere mental illness crippled me. Although it first hit me in late 2014, it took so much of me, I spent the next year and a half fighting to get myself back.
Let me tell you, this wasn’t easy. I learned that it took a significant series of events for my depression and anxiety to show itself but it was always there and it will always be there due to my chemical makeup. But I also learned that by taking care of myself, changing my thought processes and a few other techniques I can work through the ups and downs of life and stay balanced. This sounds scary to me and I wonder how I’ll be able to keep it up when I get busy but I’m committed to it.
Some people want to help but they just don’t understand because it’s not something that affects them personally. It’s truly difficult to explain that nothing happened but you’re really sad, or that you feel like you’re drowning and there is nothing you can do about it.
Unfortunately, a third thing I learned is that there are many people that don’t like the words “mental illness”. They don’t want to talk about it and they sweep it under the rug. These are the same people that tell you to just be happy.
I removed some of these people from my life, made lifestyle changes, got back into fitness, changed jobs, prayed like crazy and I survived. But after that whole ordeal, I felt like I had missed something. Like time went by but I did not get to enjoy it. This led to my discontentment.
I had done so much in a short amount of time I think life slowing down and my friends living far away caught me off guard.
I have always been a planner-short term goals, long term goals, I always had them. But now I have to make a tough decision regarding my dream career path and I’m so torn.
But this year, I will not let it get the best of me. I will make the best decision I can and I will make the most of it.
I’m also a list maker so, why not make a to-do list for myself?
This year I will truly make an effort to:
- do the things I couldn’t before
- be true to myself and what I’m passionate about and not care what people think
- stop being embarrassed because I’m doing things differently than my friends and other people my age. Control what I can and leave the rest
- strengthen my faith and relationship with God
- keep a sound body and mind (through fitness and taking time for myself)
- believe in myself and give myself credit when deserved
- understand the difference between quitting and changing
- let go when I need to
These things may not always be easy, but I know I can do it. After all, I have grown pretty darn strong over the last year.
Phew. That was a lot. But I still want to touch on blogging and my social media brand.
This year of blogging has been strange and I’m still trying to figure it out.
I don’t get much blog traffic and feedback so it has been a guessing game of what to post and how to post it.
Instagram has been easier for me, but I know there is more I can do there, too. I have found a mentor and I study other accounts that I love and what it is I love about them. When I think about it, I have come a long way and I should give myself credit. (see! I’m doing pretty well already).
I was afraid to open up as “CaitlinCosmetologist”. What if I am not good enough? What if people do not like the things I talk about? Will readers like my style?
Oh, but Caitlin, what if they do?
What is it I like about the bloggers and instagrammers I follow? It’s their personality and the things I share. They are personal and personable without going overboard. So, that is what I will try. And this blog post is the first step. My potential readers are like me, but if I don’t share myself they will never have anything to relate to.
During my time as a sorority chapter advisor I have come to realize how strongly I feel about leaving an impact. Not a legacy about myself but one that will help those around me. Maybe my blog(s) will help someone, even just one person, affected by mental illness realize they aren’t alone because I found the courage to ignore the stigma and write about mine. It could make someone laugh. Maybe I can teach someone a few hair styling tips. Would that be worth it? Yes, it would be! And what’s to lose if I enjoy it?
Why not make a list for this too? (Seriously, I love lists.)
This year I will truly make an effort to:
- devote more time to my blog
- do more planning and prep for my Instagram (go hand-in-hand with my blog)
- share myself with my readers and followers
- stay open
- build my media presence
I know these goals seem pretty basic. But that is why I think it is so important to focus on them this year. A strong foundation is necessary for success.
Along with making lists- I like to name things and I like to rhyme. But, I have no grand name for this year. No catchy slogan came to mind when I typed out these goals. It’s simply, the year I make it happen. All this heartbreak and hard work, it’ll be worth it.
And I’ll re-find myself along the way.