Life

New Directions

Where to begin?

Over the past couple of years, I know I’ve insinuated that I may or may not have been looking for something more than running truelane full-time. Four years—how long I’ve been blogging as my full-time job—is as long as I’ve held any job, really. But over the last two, I’ve mostly felt lost. I tried to set goals and make plans, but the plans were mostly one-off phrases like “write a book” and “get out of debt” but never did I concoct a plan to accomplish these goals. Finally, something about my twenty-seventh year taught me to be proactive rather than reactive, and that has kicked off a string of spreadsheets that sprouted ideas and kept me on track and here I am writing a blog post about why I’m temporarily reacquainting myself with corporate America.

I feel like I’ve been living a double life all summer. Back in June, I re-enlisted with the temporary employment agency I worked for back in Minneapolis, but it’s been a brand new experience from the get-go. You’ll never believe what I did this summer—I worked as a pier agent for Royal Caribbean Cruises (I know! Not! Princess!) for one day, checking people in for a cruise to Alaska. It was thrillingly unbearable. Then, I spent a few days working the front desk for a Jewish social services center, which was overwhelming and stress-inducing. After that, I worked for about a month in shipping & receiving for Adobe on Lake Union, walking distance from my apartment; those 30 days were about the most bored I have ever been in my adult life. The reason I took these gigs was just for life experience, writing inspiration, and the fact that they had an end date.

I took a few weeks off afterwards to travel and see family and decompress from the bleakness of the mailroom job, and then on July 16, the agency called me in the late afternoon with two opportunities. One was an events coordinator at a valet and event rental company, which sounded like too much responsibility for a temp job—especially when they told me it was temp-to-hire, meaning I’d be working full-time as a regular employee as soon as possible. The other was for an office assistant at a property management company for about a month, and with a completion date in sight, I said, “Sign me up!” 

It started the next day. I woke up at six o’clock in the morning, hopped on the commuter bus downtown, and as soon as I walked in to the fifth floor office of this commercial real estate & property management firm, I had a weird sense of…place. Something felt—oddly—right.

I’ve been there every weekday, 8 to 5, since that Wednesday. Reentering the office world I left in August 2015, I’ve had a weird sense of déjà vu, but at the same time, a completely different experience from the corporate financial world I was in before. All of the corporate clichés are the same. All of the coworker interactions are the same. But there’s something different—maybe it’s the stage of life I’m in, maybe it’s just that the office and work are better suited to my personality. But it makes me wonder…maybe I didn’t hate working in an office? Maybe it’s just that I hadn’t found the right one. I look forward to going to work every day, and truly, I didn’t think that was physically possible for someone like me.

In fact, I look forward to it enough that they’re going to offer me the job—full-time regular—and I’ve decided I’m going to take it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not looking for a new career—this job is just an EP in the discography of my life. I’ve believed for a long time that I could someday be a full-time author, and I still believe in myself enough to go for it. In fact, I don’t mind sharing with you that over the summer, I cranked out page after page on my first novel. The first draft of the manuscript is over halfway done, and that excites me so much. But I’ll be honest, I want to be in a better financial place before I drop everything to write books. I’ll still be working on it in my free time, but I’m tired of stressing about putting a $7 latte on my credit card while I sit in the coffee shop and tell myself I’m living the dream of being a writer.

Things have been so shaken up since July 17 with moving, the job, family stuff, and more that I feel like I haven’t even had a chance to process these changes. But then, there’s been some weird change in me, and it feels strange to have been able to feel it so palpably. Although I don’t feel settled in my surroundings, I feel more settled within myself. I’m starting to wonder if it’s a early-twenties-to-late-twenties change. Patience is something I’ve learned over the last year, which I think was an instrument of fate because it is absolutely driving all of the situations in my life right now between moving and not being able to unpack or furnish my apartment right away, as well as the temp-to-hire process.

Let me say plainly that truelane certainly isn’t going anywhere—I won’t be quitting or cutting back on posts or social media, but the content will evolve, naturally, just as it always does when anyone else grows and changes. I’ve been joking that this new 8-to-5 office job is a side hustle I started to go along with being a full-time blogger and influencer. I shoot over my lunch break or write and email at hotel lobbies downtown after work. My early twenties have come and gone, but for me, the hustle is starting just now. I’m hoping that not having to seek out random projects every month to pay my rent will allow me to redirect my creativity into new directions and fresh avenues.

In the meantime—here we go again, corporate America. Ever since I moved back to this city of industry by the sea, I’ve been wishing for a new experience without knowing what it was. This job is giving me a chance to place myself in a new community, spend more time in unexplored neighborhoods, and be a part of something bigger than just myself. And let’s be honest…curate a fabulous work wardrobe.




You're Writing It All Down Anyway

When I made the move to truelane from my first fashion blog zipped in 2015, I created this ‘Life’ section in anticipation of writing articles that would change the world. After all, one of my “sister lives,” as my friend Allison calls them, is being a renowned journalist—sharp as a number two pencil, quick as a fly-catching frog and as hard-hitting as they come. As much as I love to write, that isn’t my style, and since the world-changing articles weren’t coming to me I focused on my outfit posts and travel content and let life hang in the balance.

Fast-forwarding four years, while trying to brainstorm ways to stay creative and relevant in the Age of Influencers, I started to rethink my approach. What if the category of life included just that; life? Could I write little blurbs about things I’m thinking about or going through that don’t have to be groundbreaking? As soon as the thought popped into my head, I shook myself.


Of course everything I write doesn’t have to be groundbreaking.

 

The epiphany spoke to the pressure of being good enough—scratch that, ~*~*UNBELIEVABLY INCREDIBLE*~*~ enough—in 2019 to have anyone even turn their heads in your direction. My generation and I struggle with pressuring ourselves to become amazing in a short period of time; look at all the nineteen-year-olds out there who have built an empire or created a film or crafted gun control campaigns while I sit here unable to accomplish anything. It’s a classic and negative cycle of comparison, and it usually takes a whiskey and a phone call with my mother to start climbing out of it. If I’m not going to write something revolutionary, why hit ‘publish’ on anything at all?

I had to hammer it into my brain for weeks before sitting down to even write this post: not all of my writing is going to be great. If you want proof, just look at the first draft of my young adult novel I’ve taken an entire year to get halfway done. Does that stop me from writing it? No (okay, sometimes). Why should I let it stop me from writing anything else? One blog post is a microscopic commitment compared to a 60,000-word manuscript. The point of this blog page was to put myself out there; to flex a writing muscle or two and get over the fear of putting my words in front of others. It might have taken me four years to overcome that fear, but every day I realize a little more fully the importance of pushing yourself. Not everything has to matter. What matters is doing it at all.




truelane Book Club: October 2018

My 2018 mantra was this: “Read more, also hustle.” My little sister was even kind enough to embroider it on a wall hanging for me, and it has certainly helped me succeed. Being on a mission to read more has forced me to get serious about my Goodreads account and pay weekly visits to my local library, putting me in contact with thousands of new-to-me titles. It inspired me to share some of them with you all, and I decided to create the official truelane book club.

It’s a fun one because there are no rules. There are no time limits or deadlines. I select a “book of the month” off my reading list and share it on the #truelanebookclub hashtag, and I couldn’t believe that others shared too! Seeing everyone’s posts brought me so much joy and truly reminded me that social media is a community, not just an avenue for me to promote product. As an influencer, it’s easy to feel like you have blinders on because those promotions pay your bills. But I wouldn’t be able to pay my bills this way if it wasn’t for my stellar readers, so thank you for being readers & reading along with me!

The October book of the month was The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro. I love historical fiction and anything set in the art world, so I had high hopes for this novel. Thankfully, all of us participants loved it overall! Here are a few quotes from the #truelanebookclub crew:

“Loved it! Couldn’t put it down.” - @maburns103

“Loved the book. I didn’t see her as a forger at all. I liked how she prevailed in the end.” - @aliciakeiser

“I loved the plot of The Art Forger, but the writing wasn’t very exciting or descriptive. And it ended kind of abruptly. It took me a second to realize I had finished the book.” - @dresstothrive

“I've never read a book like this before. Although I'm only a few chapters in, I'm very much enthralled. It's excited to see what the protagonist will do with every opportunity given.” - @musicforghosts

(How nerdy am I that I’m so excited I got to use the quote feature on Squarespace? Very.)

I agree with @dresstothrive that the writing didn’t really capture me, which is a necessity if a book is going to become a favorite of mine. The protagonist of the book, Claire, is a painter and makes a living painting copies of famous works that are sold as reproductions—totally legal. However, she’s propositioned to create a forgery of one of the most famous works in recent history; a Degas that was stolen in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist of 1990, which is totally illegal. With every discovery that unfolds, it makes you question which characters are the true artists and which are the true forgers. I was satisfied with the ending, although it did feel sudden and rushed. Plus, I was so excited that it was set in Boston (one of my favorite cities!) so I loved the setting as well.

Feel free to leave comments here if you have any more thoughts on the book! Stay tuned on the #truelanebookclub hashtag for November’s title, and please feel free to send any of your favorite books my way.

Similar recommendations: