It’s hard to explain social media to someone that doesn’t get it. And I don’t
mean answering “IT” calls during Scandal to tell your dad how to post a photo on Facebook. I mean for the people that don’t have the same urge to create, share, and interact on a virtual reality.
To the naysayers that claim social media is all perfect filters, planned poses, and only the best parts of our days…I don’t know what to say to you. Because you’re not wrong.
I’ve taken an unintentional hiatus from blogging, journaling, and meditating. Just as I tell my yoga students as they enter the love/hate pigeon pose, it is where we are least comfortable that we need to be most. I have been avoiding what I needed most, because I didn’t have the perfect thing to say.
For the past four months, I have been answering the small-talk question “How are things? How is work?” with the small-answer that is expected, “Great!” Failing to mention that I was doubting myself on an incredibly regular basis.
My life is great, it truly is. Online and offline. With and without filters. But after we spend our whole lives going to school and training for a career, and when work becomes the focus of most conversations, it’s hard to have such a large part of one’s life stray from perfect.
Freshman year of college, when we were all home for Thanksgiving, I remember everyone always asking each other, “How is ____? Do you LOVE it?” There seems to only be one right answer to that question. Lucky for me, the answer was genuinely yes, but something tells me there were some filtered yeses reporting back as well.
Conversations about jobs were always focused on nailing the interview, getting hired, and how to negotiate salaries. But what no one talked about is that once the ink of the offer letter is dried, the welcome wagon is long gone, the real work begins.
Because perfect isn’t an option for 40+ hours a week. Perfect is too easy. Perfect doesn’t stick around for learning curves, trying things that scare you, and thinking outside of what’s been done before. Perfect doesn’t prepare you to be the one in the driver’s seat one day. Perfect stays behind the screen as we scroll by.
But when asked in passing, over vodka sodas and loud music, or following good news, no one mentions that. So we think—even if we don’t believe it—it must just be me.
Well team, you fooled me. I believed it was just me, and that I needed to make a drastic change to my career path. But figuring out the 5 Ws of that shift made each day in my current role more difficult. Turns out it’s really hard to move forward with one foot in and one foot out. To the point that I didn’t want the mess of my confusion and doubt written out on the pages of my journal, to dance around in my still mind, and I definitely couldn’t sort them out to make public.
I’ve realized through conversations with my true north confidants, attending the recent Minneapolis Mad Women event, and having more thoughts in a run than steps, that you can’t sabotage your career at 23. Doesn’t seem possible. I refuse to accept that as a possibility.
It wasn’t perfect opportunities that were catching my eye, it was the idea of how perfect it could be. A perfect opportunity is the one that allows you to overcome challenges, and keep trekking to the light even when the tunnel isn’t perfectly built.
There’s no need to fight or flight from the discomfort, or filter the imperfections. Rather, we grow when we stay in the present, and show that we can be a team player and choose positivity even when it isn’t easy.
And most importantly, when work isn’t our strongest (let alone the only) source of fulfillment, worth, and joy, it’s a lot easier to remember how truly-unfiltered-great life is. Knowing regardless of what the light or tunnel looks like, you are a damn good train, and yes, you can.