March 23, 2010

On Being a "Grown-Up"

I turned twenty eight in October.

Now, twenty eight may be an anti-climactic age, but this time in my life... I'm starting to feel like I'm actually a real adult. I'm not sure if I like it, but I've accepted it.

I've been younger than my peers for a long time, and it always made me feel like a kid trying her hand at being an adult. In grad school almost all of my classmates were older than me, and I still felt stuck in that college mode of having a good time and looking out for number one (it's a symptom of my generation... we're all narcissists). The thing is, even though I was having a good time, I worked hard. I am proud to say that I earned my MFA (a terminal degree in my field) before I was 25 years old, moved in to a position that was created for me and then transitioned in to what was, at the time, my dream job. I was barely a year or two older than people who, in some senses, worked for me. My first intern, in fact, was actually four months OLDER than me!
 Denny Chimes at University of Alabama, 
where I earned my MFA.

Then, last May, I was let go from that job, and I was heart broken. It was the sort of job that left me working nearly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When I wasn't actually at work, I could get phone calls or be THINKING about work. At the end of my time with that company I was looking for a new job, and I wanted nothing more than to leave, but my deep love for the people and the organization kept me tied there far longer than I needed to be. Though every once in a while memories tug at my heart strings, I have no ill feelings and still think about that company and wish them well

It's been an interesting (almost) year, to say the least. Since being let go I was able to, for the first time in nearly five years, relax. I actually took a vacation in Atlantic City with my family and got to see some friends in New York. I spent time really thinking about what I wanted to do with my life and if I really wanted to stay in the low-paying long-hours world of non-profit arts organizations (the answer - an unequivocal yes).

I applied for jobs across the DC/Baltimore metropolitan area and in New Jersey, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, and beyond and ended up working in my own backyard in a position that is giving me some of the best hands-on experience I could ever ask for as an young arts administrator. I will leave this job (years from now) with a whole new knowledge base that I never had before.

So, I've been at my current job for more than six months, and though I'm still learning, I'm really enjoying it.
I've also learned that at the end of the day, it's ok to just walk away.

You know what else makes me feel like a grown-up?

I have roots.

I've been a Girl Scout Leader for the last three  years, but have really invested my heart and soul in to it this year.

I've joined the Young Professionals Network of Howard County - part of the local Chamber of Commerce. I also applied to be part of their "steering team" and after an interview process, I just found out that I got the position.

I attended my ten year high school reunion back in November, and I'm trying to reconnect with old friends as best I can. I finally got to have dinner with a bunch of people I hadn't seen in YEARS and it was awesome. 

I've made time for a social life and have a great group of friends that seem to find me really funny (who knew?).

I've developed a love for baking (how domestic of me!)

And, the craziest thing? I made an offer on a townhouse. I could actually be buying a home in the next month or so... just waiting on word from the bank to find out if they'll approve the sale and Keith and I could be moving in as little as 30 days from when everything is final.

 This could be my new house!

    Almost 11 months after being let go from what I thought was my dream job, and I have found myself in a place in life that I never expected.

    And you know what? It feels pretty good.

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