As I prepare for the upcoming house sale, I have tasked myself with going through clutter. Holy shizzz…you don’t realize how much crap you have accumulated until you have to sort through it. But sometimes you do run across a nugget of gold. The other day I was going through clutter and I came across a folder from 2005 marked “goals.” Inside there were several job listings that I had printed off that were all magazine jobs based in New York City. Travel magazine, boating magazine, health magazine, bridal magazine, etc. I try to not look back with any regrets but for a split second that day, I wondered what happened to that dream? I vividly remember the day that I realized the dream in the first place. I was at my parents’ house, my mom and I were swimming, and I was telling her that I discovered a program at Drake that was all about magazines. “That,” I told her, “would be my way to tell stories and get paid for it.” Go for it, she said. “You know that means this will probably take me away from Iowa, like to New York City, California or maybe Chicago.” She encouraged me anyway and said whatever it took for me to be happy. So I enrolled into Drake for their magazine program and went to school while I worked full-time. Shortly after getting into the program, I learned about a school-sponsored trip to New York. We’d have the opportunity to meet and network with several big name publishing companies. I could barely contain my excitement. “I’m going,” I told my parents. My dad shook his head and didn’t even try to hide his worry. “Shawnna, why? Why New York City? It’s dangerous there.” It’s dangerous everywhere Dad, I told him. He didn’t want me to go, he never does. My mom was a lot more liberating. “Have a good time, Sis. You’re my adventurous girl.” So I went to New York with dreams as big as the Manhattan skyline. I soaked it all in: the vibe, the rush, the air, the people, the possibilities, etc. Everything about it was exciting to me; I remember feeling so alive. It was a jam-packed few days; we met with tons of editors and visited probably 10-12 different magazine offices. Toward the end of our visit is when the reality for me sank in. One of the Drake alums showing us around candidly spoke about the starting salary for magazine jobs in New York City: $25-28k and you’re getting coffee for people to start out. I’ll never forget how bad my heart sank. By that time, I had been working full-time for 3-4 years and felt I wasn’t meant to start at the bottom rung but the even bigger problem was that I already had my house. In my mind, there was no way it could work. Financially, I had way too many obligations. And just like that, I gave up that dream. Filed it away in the folder marked “goals” never to be seen again.
At that time, the house was certainly the distraction only I never realized it until I discovered the folder again. I refuse to let myself wonder “what other” dreams I’ve given up because I know that the melody of life plays just exactly as it’s supposed to. Had I went to New York in my 20s, I never would have made it. I would have given it the good ol’ college try because that’s just me, but I didn’t have thick enough skin. More so, I didn’t know myself well enough. I didn’t have the confidence that I have now. Now I’m going on 12-14 years of communication experience and I have a master’s degree. I’m qualified for more senior level jobs and the house will soon no longer be a distraction. It is becoming clear to me that selling this house is the start of true FREEDOM for me and I can't even describe how exhilarating that is. There are no limitations, nothing holding me back any longer from making my dreams come true. I can finally live a life of never ending adventure! My future is as open as my heart; I could spread my wings and soar ANYWHERE. I can just surrender to whatever the world has in store for me. :) It’s another big step in the freedom of just being ME and it’s AMAZING. :)
They say timing is everything. But for now, onto the next box.