Introducing Perspective via Struggle and Radiance
“You are radiant. Your radiance is the soul of this company. It’s why your members and staff love it here so much.”
My close friend and co-editor Betsy said this to me recently. My first thought was, “I started a new skincare regimen recently and the Tretinoin must be working.” Just kidding. Actually, I did really think that and that did really happen, but isn’t where that compliment stemmed from. I don’t think. Goodness, imagine if this entire blog really owed its place to daily sunscreen and a triple lipid moisturizer!
No, I’m pretty sure this radiance, if we want to call it that, comes from within. It’s feeling comfortable in my own (well moisturized) skin. It’s being confident in my purpose and the choices I make. It’s being able to hear my inner voices and steer them in the same meaningful direction, or at least quiet them down enough to keep moving forward.
It wasn’t always this way. Not even close. In fact, some of these articles took 15 years to publish, because I wasn’t ready to put my words out there for the rest of the world, or your bad-ass self, to see and potentially criticize. I was too self-conscious. Too shy. Entirely too worried about what you would think and that it would be negative. But I feel ready now. At least, ready enough to put these words out there and not take them back. Let’s be honest, only certain politicians can say things on film or in print, deny them and not be held accountable for them.
After graduating from college, I jumped out of my privileged Ivy League bubble into the hustle of New York City. Without a real job, arning a miserable $10 an hour, scared and overwhelmed, I wondered where I had made a wrong turn. What was wrong with me? I was smart, talented, friendly, cute, educated: everything I thought mattered. But with all of that privilege, I was still eating ramen and Subway sandwiches every single day. All of my tiny income went towards rent and $5 foot longs, and I quickly blew through my savings.
These articles are my story. Tales of riches to rags to riches to rags, finally culminating in where I am today - not just financial security, but more happiness and fulfillment than I ever thought possible. These dramatic personal and professional swings allowed me to pursue a wide spectrum of attempts at the “good” life, and one by one I found them lacking.
My experiences over the past 15 years have led me to coin a new ethos I call ‘Work. Life. Balanced.” I’ve learned that not only is it possible to attain and enjoy the finer things in life and true, sustainable happiness, but you can do it without losing the other things you hold dear. You don’t have to choose. I know it sounds too good to be true, or perhaps attainable only after a long career of toil. But listen to me when I tell you it’s within your reach. It comes down to this: controlling your perspective and doing the work to identify and realize your own vision.
This minute you are closer than you think. I say this confidently, even though I don’t know you. And I can hear you right now! Your inner voice is shouting me down - maybe your outer voice too - and I understand your derision and scorn. You think that this doesn’t apply to you. That your life is too complicated and/or restrictive for it to apply to you. You have huge responsibilities, people who rely on you financially. A mortgage. Tons of bills. Problems at work. These are real, tangible things keeping you from this phantom life I speak of. And while this is without a doubt true, I call bullshit.
You’re reading this blog for a reason, which means a friend recommended it or you have a tiny shred of hope that my story, our stories, can help and inspire you. So find that kernel of wonder, of doubt, of possibility, and hold on to it. Hopefully you’re intrigued, if not yet convinced. That’s a great start.
If you learn to control your perspective and put the work in, you will find the balance that suits you. Check back in next week for a post on exactly that - controlling your perspective.