Greetings from Madison, friends! In a whirlwind of events over the last several weeks I’ve found myself back in the Dairyland and, honestly, I’m so excited to be back. At first I felt a little weird moving back when I was literally just here, but […]
Today is my birthday and, to be honest, I’m starting out 25 in a bit of weird place: I recently left my job after a year and a half and am moving back to Chicago. I’m still in Madison until I find someone to sublet […]
Resolutions from February
Here’s a recap of what I focused on in February, if you’re interested:
Don’t look at my phone first thing in the morning. Success! I thought this one would be harder, but I actually found it pretty peaceful to leave my phone on my nightstand as I went about the rest of my morning. I got out the door faster, too, since I wasn’t getting sucked into the Instagram-vortex first thing.
Scroll through Instagram less. I feel like I half-way did this? To be honest, I’ve just been a lot busier this month, so I haven’t had the same kind of downtime to dick around on my phone. I still feel like I waste a good amount of time on social media, but I think the way to counteract that is to give myself more proactive goals – focusing on doing more of something instead of saying I’ll do less. Going to try a different approach this month.
Stick to my editorial calendar. This is another one I can improve on. It’s hard finding a balance between wanting to consistently post on here, but also making sure I post things that I care about and I really want to talk about! I’ve loved writing the commentary-style posts I did this month (here and here) and want to do more of those in the future. I also have few bigger posts I’ve been working on coming soon, so I’m excited about blog stuff this month and think that’ll help keep me more consistent.
Meditate. I tried the Headspace app this month and I like the actual act of meditating a lot. I just haven’t figured out where it fits into my life. I tried it at various times throughout the day – in my morning routine, on my lunch break at work, right before bed – and nothing really seemed to stick. It’s become a great tool to have in my toolkit, but I’m not sure if I’ll actively keep trying to work it in this coming month. It’s nice to have the option when I can’t sleep or am feeling particularly overwhelmed, though.
Overall: I feel less confident about my resolutions for February than I think I did for January. We’re definitely out of New Years Resolutions season, though, and into normal life, so I’m not super surprised that they slipped a little. Also, I’ve had an insane month with a lot unexpected personal and work stress, so I’m trying to be understanding with myself. Self care, y’all!
Resolutions for March
With that said, though, I’m so ready for March! I love March because it’s my birthday month and it sort of feels like a second chance to start fresh. Hopefully that spirit will also kick start my resolutions for the month!
Read more. Bringing this one back from January! I definitely fell back onto watching TV and trolling social media more this month, so bringing back my push to read more seems appropriate. Just picked up this book today and I’m already super into it – fingers crossed it gets me excited to sit down and read again!
Write about what I’m passionate about. This blog has been a lot of things over time – part journal, part travel diary, part soap box – and, although I’m glad to have tried out a bunch of things, I’d like to get a better sense of what I’m most excited to write about. I think it’s really easy to get caught up in seeing what other people are doing and think that that’s what you need to do, but I’ve found the posts I feel the best about and that people respond to the most are the ones that I feel most fired up about. Whether it’s feminism or style or art, I can tell when I’m writing something that feels important. This month I want to lean into that. I want to write about what I’m talking about with my friends and what I’m ranting about to my mom. It makes me feel vulnerable, but I think it will lead me in the right direction with the posts I put up here. I’m excited to see what happens!
Go on walks. It’s that time of year where I just physically can’t stand to be inside anymore. Wisconsin winters are tough and working in a windowless office for so long makes the cabin fever even more intense, so walks seem like a good solution – even if it’s cold out! Whether listening a podcast or at least making myself go get a coffee in the morning, I think being out in the world will make me more present and feel engaged with humanity again, which feels important lol.
Try something new. I feel like I got pretty thoroughly stuck into the hibernation routine this winter and now that Spring is on the way (maybe? hopefully?) I think mixing things up a little bit will help me break the wine-and-grey’s-anatomy cycle. I want to try some restaurants that have been on my list forever, change up my workout classes, and generally try to be a little more open to new things this March.
That’s it for this month! I’ll check back in at the beginning of April and let you know how things go. And I’d be interested to hear how anyone else’s New Years Resolutions are going – I feel like it’s the time of year where they’ve either completely fallen away or you’ve gotten into the habit. Let me know!
This year, I’ve decided to forgo big, yearlong resolutions because they simply don’t work for me! Making a huge proclamation at the beginning of the year is simply setting myself up for failure. I know myself well enough at this point to know that I […]
I actually can’t believe this year is over! It’s gone by so fast, but, not gonna lie, I feel like it lasted forever. Hands down, I have grown more this year than any other. The person I was in January is completely different than the […]
I can’t believe it! It’s been a whole year since I moved to Madison! I feel so incredibly different than I did a year ago. I’ve started my career, I’ve made a life for myself in a city where I didn’t know anyone, I’ve experienced a lot of growing pains over the last 12 months. And even though things aren’t perfect, I’m really proud of the person this year has made me.
The world doesn’t scare me that way it did a year ago. I’m stronger, I stand up for myself more, I’m more in touch with what I want, I’m more protective of where my energy goes. It hasn’t been an easy ride. Honestly, this has probably been one of the toughest years I’ve ever had. I’ve been really lucky, but I’ve also been really scared and emotionally exhausted. I’ve had a lot of “what am I doing here” moments and that’s okay. I’m 24 – I don’t need to have all the answers. But at least I’m learning a lot, I’m trying to figure out what it is I want to do, and I’m having some fun along the way.
I’ve been reflecting on this last year a lot. I never even thought I would make it in Madison this long, to be honest. But I’m still here and I’ve learned a thing or two…
- Find your way in. I’m working in a field that I knew very little about starting out, but I’ve found my ways into my job to make it interesting. I like working with people, I like figuring out what tools can meet my customers’ needs, I like keeping up with industry news, I like writing certain kinds of documents, etc. It may take a while to gain enough knowledge to find your way in, but lean into it when you do.
- Take notes. I’ve been a life-long note taker and I find that I’m more engaged and understand things better when I write them down.
- Try to be yourself. Transitions are really hard for me and I’m hugely skeptical of institutions, so it takes me a long time to really buy in. But I’m glad I kept going and got to a point where I feel like I can be more myself at work. I felt like a newbie and an outsider for a long time and I know that was partially my own reluctance, but it’s so exhausting feeling like you have to put on a mask all day, five days a week. I’m better at my job now that I’m more relaxed and who cares if someone doesn’t like me anyway.
- Learn about the industry. I’m a big context person, so learning about our customers, our installation process, our competitors, etc. all helped me get a better grasp on what it is I really do and why it matters in the scheme of things. Things can get very theoretical very fast in big companies, so learning as much as I can has made me more invested in what I do since I know exactly how it affects other people, too.
- Find your people. I got really lucky and met my work bestie on my first day. We bounce ideas off each other, support each other’s projects, and dish about work and life. I always feel like I have my best ideas when we work together and she’s pulled me into some cool projects I wouldn’t have done otherwise. Shoutout to Kat for being the best! (I hope she reads this lol)
- Make things fun. This isn’t always possible, but I’m trying to take work less seriously when I can. Starting a meeting with an icebreaker about what kind of ghost you would be? Awesome. Sending out a Britney Spears themed email to your team? Done. Including the funniest stock photos you found on Shutterstock in your group editorial meeting? Unexpectedly hilarious. I know it sounds kind of lame, but you do what you can.
- Separate work and life. Once again, not always possible (especially when you’re having dreams about workflow analysis), but I know that, for the most part, people respect your boundaries. I turn off my email on the weekends and I’ve committed to making my apartment a work-free zone. I’m lucky because I don’t have a crazy travel schedule but I think it’s always important to take a step back when you can and remember you have this whole other world that isn’t your job.
- I’ll never pigeon hole myself again. I never thought I’d work in technology. I never identified as being a woman in STEM. But here I am doing just that. I have a really strong arts and humanities background and thought that’s all I could do. But now I know I can learn pretty much anything. This has to be the best thing I’ve gotten out of this job – if I can learn medical software, bring it on world, I can do anything.
- It’s okay to move on. If it’s really not working, it’s okay to leave. It’s so easy to get sucked in and to feel like you couldn’t possibly, but people leave jobs all the time and everything is fine. Listen to your gut – you’ll know when it’s time to go. I’m staying put for now, but always try to remember that life keeps moving and it’s can be the right thing to go along with it.
- People really are nicer here. I grew up in the Midwest, but I underestimated how nice people are in this town. I’ve never lived somewhere where it’s easier to meet people and where everyone looks out for each other. I’m always chatting with the cashier at my grocery store or making friends when I go out to the bars. I went home to Chicago last weekend and tried to chat with some people about the beer selection only to get shut down – it reminded me why I love living here.
- Badger Nation is real. I went to a women’s college where we didn’t football and then grad school in Ireland where football was a little different… So moving to the most football-obsessed state ever was a pretty big change to say the least. Between the Badgers and the Packers, there’s always a game on and people are always drinking about it. I’ve woken up to “Chug! Chug! Chug!” more times than I can count. This shit is serious.
- Don’t miss the Farmers Market. I never thought of myself as a farmers market person, but the one here is huge. Everyone comes out for it decked out in their Badger red (regardless of whether or not there’s a game on) and it’s just a total event every Saturday. I always buy my veggies here in the summer and love to pick up bread, cheese, jam, and flowers, too. It’s so nice to wander around and feel like your part of the community.
- It’s safe and cheap and nice. I have to say, being able to afford to have a life outside of work is really nice. I don’t have to pinch pennies to go get a beer or go to a concert – every time I go back to Chicago I get a little shocked at the prices. It’s also a city where I feel really safe living as a young woman, which is saying a lot these days. Overall, the quality of life is so good, there’s fun restaurants and bars, lots of young people, and it feels great to be able to support myself my first year on my own. I’m not sure I could say the same if I lived somewhere else.
- Invest in friendships. I haven’t always been a good friend. In college, I was the girl who would leave my sick friend behind to go to the party. It always made me squirm when people came to my room and cried. I consistently chose guys over my friends and expected them to understand. But now that I’m older I’m learning how much more valuable my female friendships are. They are the most consistent relationships in my life and my friends’ support is the bedrock of my happiness in a lot of ways. I’m working hard at being more present with my friends and I’m trying to be more vulnerable with them, too. I wished I learned sooner.
- Cut out the Crazy Makers. When I was reading Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way she talks about people who are Crazy Makers: people who suck up all your energy and make you feel like you’re the one who’s crazy. I knew exactly who she meant. I’m now more protective of my energy and who I spend my time with and I’m happier for it. People who make everything about them aren’t the people are going to support and inspire you to be your best.
- Distance is okay. This is the closest I’ve lived to my family in about 5 years so, at first, I was seeing them all the time. It got to a point where I didn’t feel like I was developing my own life in Madison, so I decided to take some space and stay home for a while. I learned that even though I’m close to them I don’t have to be around them all the time – it’s important to set boundaries and it’s okay to say no to things. I’m young and want to have my own life and there’s nothing wrong with that.
- Go to the party. If I ever got invited to a party and the only person I knew was the host I always went. Of course I got nervous and yes I downed a drink or two as soon as I got there, but I always made myself go and meet people. I did this a good deal in Dublin, too, and I’m always so glad I did. There are always inevitably a few awkward moments, but it’s amazing how easy it is to introduce yourself to someone or strike up a conversation around the punch bowl. It’s a muscle you have to flex regularly, but I’ve met some of my best friends in Madison this way.
- Give friendship time. Friendship is not like dating: you won’t necessarily know right away if you’re a good fit. After one date you pretty much know if you’re interested or not, but with friends sometimes it can take longer than that. You have to warm up to each other and let your guard down and do stuff together. Of course there will be people you just won’t get along with, but sometimes friendships start out awkward and become amazing. Be patient.
- Go with my gut. Learning to tap into my gut and trust my own feelings has become my most powerful tool. At this time in life it’s so easy to get caught up in other people’s expectations – what your parents think, what your friends are doing, what you thought you’d be doing by now – so learning to be honest with myself and trust my own feelings has helped me so much. I overthink a lot of things and my gut is my grounding force.
- Self care isn’t always easy. I’ve talked about this a lot on the blog, but self care doesn’t look like what I thought it would. Sometimes it means taking long luxurious baths and drinking wine, but sometimes it looks like getting my ass to the gym and saying no to going out because I need to take it easy. It’s a struggle, but it’s feels really important to become an advocate for myself.
- Life is funny. I don’t pretend to know what life will throw at me anymore. This year has made it very clear that I have no fucking clue and zero control, so I might as well make the best of what’s in front of me. It’s good to have goals, it’s good to be passionate about your work, but life is also life and we do what we can.
If you made it to the end of this post, you are the real MVP (and also probably pretty bored or you’re my mother). Seriously though, moving to Madison was a scary and sort of random decision on my part – I needed a job, I wanted to be close to home, I didn’t know what else to do – but I’m so glad that I did it. It hasn’t been easy and probably won’t get any easier and that’s okay. I’ve learned so much, grown up so much, and am being really intentional about what my next step is… stay tuned to find out!
It happened all at once, didn’t it? Suddenly it’s that time of year when the days are shorter and the nights are dark and quiet. Even living in the heart of Madison the mood is starting to shift – kids wrapped up in sweatshirts instead […]
This summer I made a promise to myself to focus on me. The last year has been really tough: moving to a new city, starting a really technical job, living alone, meeting new friends, fully supporting myself financially for the first time. It’s been a […]
With all this beautiful weather we’ve been having, I had to get outside so I took a long glorious walk down by Lake Monona last weekend. I feel so lucky to live right on the isthmus (the best geographic term, right?) and to be so close to both of Madison’s gorgeous lakes. Winter has been a tough time to move to a new city – everyone is in hibernation and there’s not so much going on – but this little thaw we’ve had has gotten me so excited for Spring. After being away from the Midwest for so long I’ve forgotten how much the cities come alive with the weather!
I didn’t expect my walk to turn into a photography expedition or else I would have brought my big camera but I had to share some snaps I took on my phone while I was out. How crazy is that ice?! I’m such a sucker for that sort of thing so these are only a few of the like billion photos I took of it.
Anyway, I hope you have a wonderful Tuesday and soak up the sun while we have it for a moment. 😎