Friday, January 23, 2015

A Long Time Coming: Part Two

Sweet friends, thank you so much for all of your kind words, support, and encouragement on my last post where I recapped the Creative at Heart Conference! You have no idea how much it means to me that there are people out there who believe in me. When I'm late night coding attempting to learn code, and trying to figure out Wordpress for our new site (more to come on that!) I love knowing I have y'all out there to hold me accountable. To keep working hard, and to believe I can truly do this crazy thing called starting a business. 

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
When I was in high school I dove into all of my passions head first. I was dancing (which I had done since a young age), taking ceramics, and head over heels with journalism. Anything creative that I could get my hands on--I grabbed it! I filled my parent's house with ceramic pieces and completely collaged my room with every teen magazine I could get my hands on. 

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 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. 


Anna Young said...

It's so amazing and inspiring to see you going after your dreams, Anna! I know what you mean about truly challenging yourself - I've been saying I was going to run another half marathon for almost 4 years's about time I just did it already! You're going to be fantastic :)

Anna Young said...

I'm so excited for you Anna! (And the part about a copy writing class being too hard or not being a good enough writer for a magazine? I think the post just proved that thought wrong! haha) I LOVE reading about people chasing their dreams and passions. You've got this, girl!

Anna Young said...

I was so happy and proud 10 years ago when my BFF was the editor of our yearbook. I admired your hardwork, and can't wait to repeat those feelings with DB! Proud of you!

Anna Young said...

You go, girl!!! I especially love this line in your post: "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." I think I could remind myself of that more often. I was also my high school's yearbook editor - every time I read one of your posts I learn we have one more thing in common! :)

Anna Young said...

Thanks Charlotte, it's certainly one thing to talk and another to act! I still have another half on my list too...let's hold each other accountable!!

Anna Young said...

Thanks for your sweet words Liz, more posts to come that you'll love to read then!

Anna Young said...

You are the best, you know I couldn't do any of it without you! Thanks for always supporting me and digging around the IRS website for info :)

Anna Young said...

It's so easy to fill, fill, fill and think that you are accomplishing something--when all we're doing is wearing ourselves out! We have a never-ending list of similarities it is crazy!

Anna Young said...

This post is so inspiring!!! LOVE IT! Now I want to just go conquer the world and all my dreams!! So proud to have a friend like you! I agree with Megan below and you above that I always talk and think how busy I am, but it's not the type of busy I crave! Can't wait to keep following along in your fun new journey!!


Anna Young said...

I love the mug and all her designs but can't get over the grammar error. I Googled to see if it was fixed and your blog came up. Good find. :)