As I near the two-year mark since moving to New York — and consider having just turned 28 — one thought keeps trying to weasel its way up into my brain’s DMs. “Don’t you think you should be much farther ahead than where you are right now?”
In typical fashion, I revert to the self-debilitating reply of “Yea brain, you’re right. Why is this taking me so long?” And therein lies the bull. More on that as you scroll.
When I first moved here, I had a stint working in the fashion industry, and it ended up being an experience that didn’t work for me — and not for the Devil Wears Prada sorts of reasons. I knew going into it that fashion is an industry that requires a LOT more work than people realize. What I wasn’t as prepared for was bearing witness to the effects working in parts of the industry can have on people.
“I didn’t want to become that person. That jaded, exhausted, I’m just here because I’ve settled, I’ve lost myself in the soul-sucking fashion world, person.”
So, I quit and decided my next best step would be to try my hand at freelancing full-time, doing creative marketing & brand development.
This move, though incredibly taxing, and scary at times, has proven to be an eye-opening testament to the real reason why I uprooted my life here. It wasn’t to pursue fashion, it was to pursue figuring out what sort of work will truly make me happy for the rest of my life. It was understanding that the journey to happiness shouldn’t be masqueraded as or relegated to any one given thing, person, or career avenue. It is just that, a journey — one that is never truly finite.
Some conversations I’ve had recently, highlighted what it really means to take risks, and the power of embracing negative thoughts. We’re human, there’s no getting away from them, and so typically, when negative thoughts such as “Don’t you think you should be much farther ahead than where you are right now?” pops into my brain, I tend to internalize it and believe it to be true. Negative thoughts were like baseballs I needed to shield myself from. I shouldn’t be having them, and I needed to get over them because they were a threat to my growth, which is an extremely debilitating thought process. Even when you’re shielding yourself from a baseball, it’s still painful when it hits you at x-mph. The pain ricochets through you, probably causing minor to major damage, reminding you that you should have welcomed the ball and knocked it out of the park.
Negative thoughts are merely natural human occurrences. Ones I needed to cope with and embrace because they don’t just go away, and you can’t just get over them. So, nice try, brain, but I’m right where I need to be.
Me after telling off my negative thoughts. | Style photos courtesy of Sworup Ranjit