When I was living in New York, I always imagined that if I could just find a good, stable job that I liked, I’d be set. The first rung of the ladder was all I needed to pull myself up to success, and then everything else would fall into place: the wardrobe, apartment, perfect guy, maybe even if a sweet puppy too. But between a barely recovering economy, my lack of experience, and the competitive industry I was trying to break into, I never quite “made it.”
Fast forward five years…
I’ve moved to a different city, swapping subways for traffic jams and a roommate for a fiancé. On paper, my life looked a lot like what I’d been hoping for back in NYC. I had the job, the apartment, the salary, and even the dog. Twenty-something Cat with her Chucks and sarcasm would have been thrilled to see her future. But thirty-something CeCe with her Target ballet flats and student loans? She was miserable. Like, my-Lexapro-isn’t-up-for-this-task miserable. Despite the fancy title and a paycheck I would have kicked a kitten for five years ago, I couldn’t take another day and was ready to resign. And then, out of the blue, I was let go.
It’s kind of like if you had been gearing up for weeks to break up with the boyfriend you were no longer in love with, then on the day when you’ve drawn a line in the sand and decided once and for all to end things, he dumps you. A week later, you find out from a mutual friend he’s already onto the next chick.
At first, it was a relief. By resigning, I would have had to tough out another two weeks and live off the meager emergency fund I’d saved up. Now though, I was free, with severance and unemployment pay to boot. The sense of relief was disorienting.
But in the months since, as I’ve enjoyed what I call my summer sabbatical, the lack of routine, purpose, and regular paycheck has started to chip away at that joy. I’ve started to feel less like the badass thirty-something woman I thought I was becoming, and more like the lost twenty-something girl who struggled through life in the “greatest city on earth”, wondering when life would finally get better. It started to feel like despite everything I’d done in the last five years, I hadn’t really made any progress toward achieving my dreams. And then I remembered how when I was desperately dreaming of a better life, writing about my struggles and putting them out there for others to read had been a solace and joy. No matter what craziness was going on, if I could find a way to tell the story and laugh about it, I felt like I could survive and thrive.
I’ve blogged in the years since I was Cat in that city, but never with the same openness or passion. Certainly never with the consistency or persistence. A career in marketing, among the brands and influencers, tinged each attempt with thoughts of building a platform, studying analytics, and monetizing, sucking the joy out of the thing itself. Now, at a time when I find myself feeling as close to Cat as I’ve ever been since ending that chapter of my story, I’ve decided to take a page from her playbook and return to blogging. Honestly, joyfully, and with no intention other than to share my story. So here I am.