I recently realized that the depression I’ve suffered with for years is rooted in disappointment that my life hasn’t turned out how I pictured it. My intention for this year was to figure out how to make the best of where I’m at while still hustling for a better future, and now my life is so full that any guy who’s interested in me is going to have to prove he’s worth me fitting him in. Here’s how I did it.
1. I PURSUED AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE.
When I was in high school, marching band and cheer kept me slim, but I was never actually fit because my stamina was awful. I gained 28 pounds during my first six months of college and was in denial that it was due to a lazy lifestyle and not my birth control shot. I’ve had that weight on me for the past eight years and only recently decided to make a change. Working towards getting fit for the first time in my life has been less about losing weight and more about gaining energy and confidence.
2. I CHALLENGED MYSELF IN MAJOR WAYS.
When I started showing up daily for my 13-week workout program, I thought it’d be silly not to capitalize on all this motivation. I ditched what was familiar and left my apartment for something nicer, which will force me to come up in my finances so that next year I can afford the new rate. I set major goals for my career and starting doing regular professional development. I even changed my eating habits and my hair regime. You’d never believe what can change in your life when you decide you’re going to dress for your body type, not hold yourself back in your career, fuel your body properly, and live in a place where you’d be proud to have friends over.
3. I DEVELOPED HOBBIES.
I always struggled to figure out what to put on my dating profiles. Technically, I love to write and hike, go bowling, and explore new restaurants. But how honest are you being if you do those things, like, once a year? These days, I get outside more and explore local trails, eat out with friends at least once a month, and spend time perfecting my writing craft. I’m actually being the person I want to be.
4. I TOOK HOLD OF MY CAREER.
I went back to school and started my first full-time job with benefits. Although I don’t see myself staying in my role much longer, it’s become an easy enough job where I don’t take the stress home with me and get to work on my various side hustles once I’m off the clock. Behind the scenes, I’m planning and working towards several ways I can ultimately achieve the kind of lifestyle I want and advance in my career.
5. I STARTED DREAMING OF AND PREPARING FOR A SOLO FUTURE.
I no longer put my homeowning and financial dreams into meeting someone and having a second income. I decided to create my own second income and I’m working on creating a third and fourth as well.
6. I’M SO FOCUSED ON AND EXCITED ABOUT MY OWN PERSONAL GROWTH.
I used to have my eyes wide open to potential mates, but I’m starting to doze off. To my surprise, the more I focus on taking care of my own health, happiness, and finances, the less I worry about finding love. The girl who wanted nothing more than to be someone’s wife is officially unconcerned about marriage at this point.
7. I TRAVEL AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.
When I got back from Australia in 2015, I hardly left my hometown. I got a free trip to Nashville for a job interview in 2016 and was in a wedding in Kansas City the next summer, but 2018 has officially been my year. This summer, I’ve gone horseback riding and white water rafting in Colorado, visited the Lake of the Ozarks and Houston for the first time, and will explore Europe this fall.
8. I STARTED STICKING UP FOR MYSELF.
Last fall, my grad school cohort took an assessment called Emergenetics. One of the things it gauges is your preference towards flexibility. Mine is very low, as I often see having to flex and accommodate for someone else as an inconvenience. But my preference is not the same as my ability, which has always been extremely high—like, to the point where I’ve been a pushover. Not anymore. I take PTO when I want and no longer feel bad about it, stopped doing things I don’t enjoy whenever possible (wish there was a way to get out of paying bills!), and learned how to keep customers and friends from walking all over me.
9. I GOT CLOSER TO MY FAMILY AND FURTHER FROM FRIENDS WHO DON’T PRIORITIZE OUR RELATIONSHIP.
There are people I’ve been friends with for years who have continued to take from me without giving anything back. I no longer have the time or energy. Every time I’m about to move to a new rental and the approximate four times a year I really just need someone to listen to my problems, I wonder who I can call besides my parents. I’m far from a needy friend and it’s probably because no one’s ever there when I need them. What I don’t need is yet another flaky friend or boyfriend—I’d rather just be single and solo and do my own thing.