What If Nothing

It’s been a WHILE since my last blog post. Did you forget I had a blog? I certainly did! But while I’m here, I figured I’d dive right in with what I’ve been up to this year.

Let’s talk about impostor syndrome. 

A few months ago I was at a conference and there was a panel discussing how to cope with impostor syndrome. A bunch of my friends were attending this panel, but there was another panel at the same time that pushed me out of my comfort zone a bit more, so I decided to attend that instead. The thought crossed my mind, “I don’t think I really have impostor syndrome, so I’m good to miss it.” (I know now that this was naive, but stick with me.)

Fast forward three months later, when I find myself in a brand new role at work and so many of my responsibilities have shifted and I’m essentially doing my best to make it seem like I know what I’m doing. I actually feel pretty good about the work I’ve been doing, but in talking to one of my friends about it, I realize that rather than owning my successes, I’ve reasoned that anyone in my position would be able to do what I’m doing, and it’s not really something that deserves an extra pat on the back. To which my friend replied, “That’s called impostor syndrome.”

Yeah, so obviously nobody’s immune to impostor syndrome. Even during the moments we’re most confident, these feelings of doubt can creep in and throw things off balance. Of course doubts are natural, but a lot of narratives will try to convince you to squash those doubts and accept that you’re exactly where you need to be, doing what you need to do, and you deserve it. Which is true in some cases, but in discussing things with my therapist, she made me realize that although it’s framed as such, impostor syndrome doesn’t have to be a negative thing.

Feeling proud of the work you’ve done is certainly important, and I truly believe there is an element of self-care in acknowledging your strengths and achievements. But there comes a time when uncertainty can be beneficial. By taking a step back and considering your accomplishments, there’s an inevitable “now what” attached. And by allowing yourself to explore that, you can harness those doubts to help decide if it’s time for a change. 

This isn’t to say that you need to drastically change course and find new goals once you’ve achieved something, but rather those pockets of second-guessing can be an opportunity to think about whether or not you’re being challenged enough. Sometimes the answer is yes, and that’s when you can continue on your path to owning your confidence. But if you find the answer is no, maybe it’s time to really think about that “now what” question.

So that’s where I’ve landed this year. Not necessarily in the definitive camp of knowing whether or not I’m being challenged enough, but right now, I’m letting myself spend some time forming an answer. For me, the most difficult part is not rushing to parse it all out.

To be completely honest, I love deadlines. With an end goal in sight, a physical end goal (read: date/time when I want to achieve something), I can usually round up enough motivation to get things done. So what if those rigid deadlines were to be taken out of the equation? What if there’s nothing major I’m working towards. Where will I get my motivation then? It’s been something I’ve thought about a lot recently – hence, this entire blog post. And I’ve really been trying my best to not necessarily do away with these beloved deadlines completely, but instead, find more creative ways to set goals and enjoy myself along the way.

It’s definitely easier said than done, but there is truly no need to set a time limit in which you want to achieve your goals. Perhaps in taking my time to work at it, I will enjoy it more. Because once I get to the destination, I’m just going to look for a new thing to work toward. And the truth is, there’s only so much we can actually control when it comes to new challenges. So I’m trying to stop clinging to arbitrary timelines when there’s nothing I can do to make things go quicker.  

That balance is tricky. It’s something I’ll probably be working on my entire life. But I think I’d rather work on the balance than rush through something for the sake of meeting the goal at the end. For what reason? Just to create a new finish line? I’ve got so much time to set new finish lines for myself, so I may as well do my best to take a slower approach when it comes to challenging myself. That impostor syndrome certainly won’t go away, and when it’s time for me to kick things up a notch, I’d like to think I’ll be grateful it’s there.

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Don’t Panic

Just a warning: I’m starting this blog off with a bit of a #HumbleBrag. Sort of.

I’ve had a lot of people tell me before that I seem to have my shit together, which I consider to be the greatest compliment of all time. But let’s be real…I don’t know anyone who truly has their shit together. Odds are, we’re all faking it til we make it, including yours truly. However, I will say that throughout my first year post-grad, I’ve found some really great resources that have made the faking it look really impressive. (While on the inside, all of us “adults” are actually just giant babies). Here are some of my secret weapons.

How to Adult

When I was in high school, I saw a post online that said “I wish there was a Sesame Street type program that taught you how to do adult things like grocery shop and do your taxes.” Luckily, that magical program now exists. Scrolling through this channel’s videos, you’ll see that they’re all practical life skills that we should probably already know how to do, but no one has ever explained to us before, and now it would be kind of embarrassing to ask. Maybe you never learned how to properly do your laundry, or maybe you have no idea what the stock market even is, or where to begin when you’re looking to move into your own apartment for the first time. Good news, folks: these short, informative, and concise videos are a great place to start, so you don’t have questions like “how do adults make friends?” in your Google history.

Yoga with Adrienne

What do you do for exercise and stress relief when you can’t afford a gym membership, it’s too cold to run outside, and the nearest “donation based” yoga studio is basically just a place to stand too close to other people while everyone sweats and pretends to be healthy? You do Yoga with Adrienne. It definitely takes a bit more discipline than your usual workout regimen, but for me, it’s been worth it during those days I can’t bring myself to do any other sort of workout. YWA videos don’t take too much time – some are as short as ten minutes – and Adrienne’s guidance with each video encourages you to go at your own speed. Her friendly and inviting teaching style translates effortlessly through her videos and it never feels like a chore to keep going until the end. And for another option, if meditating is more your jam than yoga, check out Insight Timer – it’s free, has over 5,000 different guided meditations to chose from, and it’s free.

The Financial Diet

I can’t exactly remember how I stumbled upon this channel, but I can probably guarantee it was toward the end of my college career when I was about to move back home, I wasn’t sure if I would have a full time job, and I had spent the majority of my time in undergrad stressing about money…you know, the usual 22 year old stuff. Enter two angels: Chelsea and Lauren. TFD focuses on small ways you can make a big impact on your financial situation. Of course, these aren’t hard and fast rules for every person; you’ll definitely need to try what works best for you and adjust accordingly. But overall, their financial advice is extremely easy to digest (Get it? The Financial DIET?) and their personal experiences are super relatable. Whether you’re interested in boosting your side hustle, getting the most out of your paycheck, or need some tips on how to best use your credit card, spend some time on TFD.

Period Kit

This particular adulting tip is just for those of us blessed with uteruses. I gotta be honest, the first time I watched this video by Ingrid Nilsen (one of my favorite YouTubers) I thought it was unrealistic for me to carry around so many things all the time. Who has room in their bag for all that? But the truth is, we’ve all made the unfortunate mistake of telling ourselves we’ll always have tampons and liners in our bag, and then the day comes when those emergency things get used, we never replace them, and the horrible cycle continues – pun 100% intended. It wasn’t until I started carrying my period kit around with me everywhere that I realized I have not been living my best period life in the past. Especially for anyone who tends to be surprised by their period each gloriously non-pregnant month, this kit is the ultimate game changer.

Zocdoc

For someone like me who basically spends all of her free time at the doctor, this website was such a lifesaver…seriously, because doctors keep you alive. (I’m ALL about the puns today!) This was especially a great resource for me when I moved and had to change all of my doctors. All you need to do is search for the type of doctor you’re looking for, your zipcode, and what type of insurance you have. Even if you don’t have insurance, you can choose the option “I’m paying for myself.” The website gives you an extensive list of doctors in your area, and you can filter through based on your personal preferences. You can also make appointments online, fill out your new patient forms, and check-in before you even get to the office. I’ve found that 95% of the time, the offices are familiar with Zocdoc and will know how to collect your information on the computer. So not only do you have a one stop shop for finding a new doctor, but you also don’t need to talk on the phone with other humans to make an appointment. Isn’t the Internet amazing?

~ Extra miscellaneous tips that really drive home the “adulting” image ~

  • Always carry a pen with you
  • Decorate your bathroom
  • Sign up for theSkimm
  • Get a reusable water bottle (and bring it everywhere)

What are some adulting tips that you rely on in this totally bonkers life we’re living? I want to know them all! Soon enough, we’ll all be faking it so fantastically that maybe we’ll stop using air quotes when we say the word “adult”…Maybe.