I dedicate time to reflect on life and actions every six months in order to make adjustments. This is the second six month review of the year and begins the planning of the next calendar year. After a rough year and a half, I needed to slow down and find my bearings, and plan out a route to get to my destination in life. Sometimes you need to slow down to speed up. I made a number of changes after my last review. Although things haven’t gone according to plan, the past six months have been the best I’ve had in a long time.
Life had other plans for me this past summer. My original intent was to road trip across the United States. Instead, I found myself busted up in Illinois nursing a few bad wounds. Staying at home forced me to look inwardly to sort things out of make sense of life. If I did go on that road trip, I would have reveled in the joys of exploring without truly exploring myself. I would have come home with the same struggles I have had in the past.
I quit my retail job at the beginning of May so I can carve time out to do the things that I enjoy, slow things down, reassess my path, and look at my life’s map. I didn’t realize how much I missed retail. Leaving my job gave me the time and freedom to visit other retail stores to observe from the consumer’s standpoint with an experienced eye. I saw what big and small firms are doing right and what they can improve on. Retail is back on my list of industries that I’d love to work in. I want to find myself in a challenging position in retail to turn around a firm or a firm’s retail location using the quantitative analysis of their sales floor and blending with a qualitative assessment of their branding, marketing, and sales to expand increase revenue. I think that would be some fab stuff to work on. While searching for that fab job, I returned to the retail industry’s front lines helping customers on the retail sales floor.
While recovering from my injuries, I had to make a choice between moving back to my parent’s place or finding a place of my own. I lived part of the time in DeKalb and part of the time in Maine Township last school year. I learned that I need to be more careful with choosing my house mates. I would live with two of my three house mates again. However, I prefer to live alone. I chose to move back to Maine Township after considering my long term goals and dreams in other facets of my life.
Since my brother’s wedding, my relationship with my dad has become a lot better. He’s been nicer, light-hearted, and generally positive. He’s complimented me on some of the things I’ve done. I’m blessed to have this right now but it takes some getting used to. We’ve had a rocky relationship since I was twelve. I like this version of my dad and our relationship. I hope my dad and I can nurture our relationship to make it better.
I continued my sofa sessions and I feel like moving from surviving and existing to a state of living. My therapist/counselor is beginning to push me now that I’m more willing to challenge myself. It’s a hard thing to do but stripping my life down has given me time to work on myself. Depression and other mental illness is a complex dynamics of many things intersecting with a person or group. I want to move from managing my illness to thriving in my life. I’m currently working changing my thought patterns and perspective of things. Reframing an event or moments can shift it from something negative to something positive. Perception of self has ramifications throughout a person’s life. For example, I’d be disappointed that my life took a turn for the worse in October 2013 but now I feel like that it has taught me to get back up quickly, be more resilient, and find the resources I need to be the best version of myself.
I chose to take two classes at NIU this semester instead of attending full time. I felt like this will help me get the traction I needed. I’ve been spinning my wheels and going nowhere academically because I was in a mode of survival and anxiety. By cutting back, I had the time to develop a framework and model of learning and doing. I can take this framework to learn, research, and do on my own. I took a language course and an economics course. It has been an enlightening experience and I’m glad I went this route. My goal is to take what I learn from my academic coursework and connect it with what I’m learning within my personal laboratory. I’m content with getting whatever grade I get in each class as long as I learn a ton that my grades don’t reflect.
The past six months have set me up for personal exploration. I wanted to know my ‘whats.’ (What fascinates me? What makes me happy? What drives me? What are my dreams? What are my passions?) I’ll be headed into the next stage of my life where I build a career and lifestyle can that can sustain my interest and drive for thirty to forty years. The extra time has given me an opportunity to look at the things I used to enjoy and see if I still enjoy doing it. It has helped me tremendously and gave me guidance on what to do in the next six months and plan for next year.
What things have you learned in the previous six months that can help you lead the life you want to lead? What changes would you make in your life?