Whenever a new year hits I usually have flashbacks to January 3rd 2009. My husband and I were unemployed, and waking up that morning was one of the oddest feelings ever. We were in LA, about to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, living in an apartment below a couple that owned way too many cockatoos for it to be legal, and trying to figure out what the heck to do with our lives.
We moved to LA because I landed a sweet contract job at an ad agency in Venice, and after two days it fell through. Thankfully the company still honored my contract, but after the new year, what was in our account wasn’t going up again any time soon.
So that morning when it seemed like the whole world was getting up to go somewhere, we got up, went to a coffee shop, and perused craigslist and whatever job sites we could. At about 2 we’d take a break and go surf the nearest spot (and still my least favorite surf spot, El Porto.) It’d be packed with other surfers, and we’d call it the unemployed support group.
Or we’d go lift at Gold’s Gym – which to this day was the greatest people-watching ever. I once was on the squat rack next to Ronnie Coleman and am still kicking myself for not asking to work in with him.
But it all worked out, and we have SO many great memories from those uncertain and awkward times. I am so thankful social media wasn’t like it is today and we didn’t have people’s highlight reels in our faces 24/7 for comparison, too.
I got REALLY good at writing cover letters, and after a month or so my husband got a job as a video game tester (he loathes video games too, so that’s hilarious.) I finally landed a part-time gig working for a company called Bristols-6 – and I don’t think this blog or any of my accomplishments would have happened if it weren’t for my boss there, who taught me so much and gave me the freedom to then work remotely when my husband landed a coaching job at UH and we moved to Hawaii seven months later.
My whole point is this.
Starts of a new year can have a really lost feeling. Whether you have a job or don’t, have a kid or don’t, are fulfilling your dream, or searching for purpose and direction. I’ve had friends that recently lost loved ones and it’s the first year without someone in their lives. On the other hand, there are also people who are kicking ass and super pumped right now. And cheers to that too.
And there are people who are kinda oblivious to it being a new year and the pressures that come with it, and they’re my kind of goals. I think the happiest people get just as pumped about opportunities for growth and joy on April 12th, 2023 as they do on January 1.
So, perhaps it would all be better if we just took it day by day, instead of looking at it through the lens of a new year and the expectations it holds.
And maybe just realizing it’s totally fine, and acceptable to see that it’s a new year and just think to yourself, WTF.
Then think WTF can I take into my own hands and get done today? Back in 2009, it was to reach out to as many companies as possible, keep in good health, take it day by day, spend as little money as possible, and surf.
This year, when everyone went back to work or got back to the groove of things, and my son went back to school, it’s back to life being eerily quiet and just me and my dog… and I am trying to figure out what the hell I am doing. Or where I went wrong.
So instead of going down that odd and windy road, I’ll take a moment and think, what’s it going to be today: Get out of my head, no excuses, get outside, and get my one or two work tasks done. Maybe vacuum up some dog hair if I feel like overachieving. We shall see.
But the whole point of this rambling is this: If you have a sense of emptiness, confusion, lack of direction or your life feels like it’s been sprayed with l’eau de WTF this time of year…you are not alone, so not alone. People who look like they have it all together and figured out probably are in the mix too.
Keep on taking baby steps, whatever they may be, and it will all work out. Or, as Bob Marley said oh so perfectly, “Everything’s gonna be alright.” It just might not be right at the beginning of a new year.
Hang in there, and take those baby steps today.
*The pic above was taken last year at about this time when the sun actually came out for a bit. Have yet to get my act in gear to take any pics this year, and I never know what type of photo to use for posts like this.