One of the most impactful parts of the conference was not learning techniques and tips on running a business, but Kat's closing presentation Hardwork & Fairydust. I seriously felt like she was telling parts of my own life story as she was up there spilling out her dreams, fears, and how she got to where she is with her business. It made me want to work harder, to keep pushing, to really do this thing. Because you may not know it, but I have given up so many times.
Reflecting on my life and decisions recently, I have learned that I do not challenge myself as much as I should. Maybe I fill my plate with responsibilities to the point of exhaustion, but I do not truly challenge my skills and abilities or fully pursue my interests.
|via Lara Casey Shop|
My senior year I was selected as editor-in-chief for our high school yearbook and I literally was eating, breathing, and sleeping that publication. Like seriously. I got to school early, I stayed late, I spent my lunch in the yearbook room, I actually was enrolled in two class periods of the class, and I took proofs home to edit every chance I could get. It took time, but I learned how to use Macs. I fell in love with graphic design and teaching myself how to use every Adobe program in the book. It was the first year we were using digital images--which was an incredibly big deal in 2004!
And I don't know if I have ever felt as much pride as I did when copies of those yearbooks came in and I held my hard work in my hands. I flipped through the beautiful spreads, and smelled pages hot off the press. I was actually really good at something, something bigger than myself, something impactful. OK, well as impactful as a high school yearbook can be, but you get the point.
I looked at colleges with journalism programs and had daydreams of working for a magazine in New York. Maybe I wasn't the best writer, but I could learn, I could find other areas of a publication to thrive in. Then I ended up at a college with only a journalism minor which I began and then quit when I thought the first copy writing class was "too hard". I completely ate up my creative writing class, but didn't think I was good enough to continue. I was incredibly interested in marketing--but I did not have the guts to persevere through having to take calculus.
When I got to the end of those four years the I had a ridiculous amount of student involvement experience and a room full of sorority crafts. Funnily enough, I did have one small internship...at a full service bridal boutique. I was floored to have the opportunity, but I did not run with it. Instead I steamed dresses, picked up paper goods from the printer, and ran errands. And I did not speak up. I did not beg them to teach me all the things. I did however listen to Norah Jones' Come Away With Me album at least 100 times that spring. They literally owned NO other music.
It can be hard not to look back and regret some of these choices or wonder where I would be had majored in something different or continued to pursue those passions in college. Without life the way it happened I probably would not have gotten to spend a year on the road working for my sorority. I may have not originally started blogging back in July 2009. I would not have had an incredible graduate school experience at South Carolina. I definitely would not have met my selfless and amazing husband, Mr. Young. I would most likely not currently be in Richmond, Virginia. I would not have met Bonnie, my fabulous partner in crime with Dogwood Brides.
Right now I am currently reminding myself to be grateful. Grateful to have come to this realization at 27 and not 47. To be at a place in my life where I have the emotional and financial support to pursue these crazy dreams. To have so many decisions to look back on and say "why?", ensuring that I start to follow my heart. It makes me feel a bit cray cray and sometimes I get teary when I'm overwhelmed with the excitement of it all. I am so grateful to already know I will look back at 2015 as the year that things happened.
Ten years after I held that first beautiful publication in my hands, I will finally launch another.